At EdTechSA 2015 I presented a workshop on the journey my class and I have taken as we went about creating our class blog. As part of this workshop I created this prezi which I am more than happy to share.
Watch this space for the sketchnote of the discussion we had about interesting elements of a class blog.
In term 2 of 2014, I had the pleasure of working on a new concept with the year 2/3 class that I teach as part of my role as ICT specialist at Modbury West School.
This was the concept of branching. Branching is defined in the Australian Curriculum as:
Branching occurs when an algorithm makes a choice to do one of two or more actions depending on sets of conditions and the data provided.
Now this might sound rather dry and boring, but the way we approached this new concept was very engaging and my students now have a solid grasp of some basic concepts covered in the Digital Technologies curriculum and how they can be applied in the tasks we undertook.
This is the unit planner that was developed for the “Choose Your Own Adventure” topic
I have been asked to present to the first year pre-service teachers who are visiting our school at the moment. When I asked our AP what they would like me to present on about ICT, I was told to tell them about what I do.
This posed the question, what is it that I do?
How have I learnt (and continue to learn) what I know about ICT?
I have put my thoughts on this into a prezi about Educational Technologies and it has been an interesting experience pulling together all of the different facets that make up this area I am so passionate about.
I have decided to work with Pinterest as my main curation tool at the moment simply because I love the visual nature of this tool. I can organise the links I have into easy to understand categories and arrange these boards in the format I want them to be. Best of all I can see at a glance what links I have filed and Pinterest even tries to remember if I have already saved that link before!
So what is Pinterest
According to Pinterest itself it is
visual bookmarks for good stuff you find anywhere around the web or right on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you
The main benefits that I see for Pinterest are:
saving links in an organised and visual way
following people of similar interests
having access to links that have already been tried and tested
Whilst I intend to post in a lot more detail about what I learnt at ISTE2013 in San Antonio, I am going to start with a brief overview that I am also sharing with my staff about the main “takeaways” I had from this experience.
So where to now…
Lots and lots of resources to check out!
First and foremost the must see video from the conference is the final speaker, Adam Bellow and his keynote entitled You’re Invited to Change the World. It was a very moving and inspirational keynote and I feel very privileged to have been in the room to witness it and to meet Adam throughout the conference. If you weren’t there though it is well worth the watch.
The Ignite Sessions that happened before the opening keynote were fantastic – 10 speakers with only 5 minutes each to present their ideas. It was fast paced and full of great ideas!
ISTE also have a great YouTube playlist that showcases a wide range of presentations on topics from iPads, Digital Image, BYOD, Storytelling and much more. I know I will be going back here to view some things I wanted to see but just couldn’t get to.
My earliest email newsletters from Kathy date back to the early 2000’s and she was one of the first education technology gurus that I followed. That is why it was such a thrill to meet her at ISTE and to see that, all these years on, she is still sharing fantastic resources to a wide audience.
While I haven’t necessarily had the time to go through all these resources myself – here is a whole host of resources tweeted out by other educators during the conference that cover a wide range of topics. A miscellaneous treasure trove of resources just waiting to be explored!
On my day off in San Antonio, while I was attending ISTE, I was really looking forward to visiting SeaWorld. I had seen my husband’s photos from his visit the previous year to San Francisco and I couldn’t wait to experience the amazing orcas. Through the power of the internet, I had spent time researching how I was going to get to SeaWorld and what I was going to do to make the best of my time there and I was very excited to be going there.
After a long bus ride, which was made rather pleasant by the great free WiFi on the bus, I was finally at SeaWorld.
I excitedly made my way to the huge Shamu Stadium with many, many other people and followed my husband’s advice of not sitting anywhere in the splash zone if I wanted the camera to keep on working for the rest of my trip!
The show began and it was truly amazing to watch these beautiful creatures move so gracefully through the air and water. I loved watching them swim close to the glass so I could observe so clearly how they were moving.
But this was where my admiration of SeaWorld ended. What was really disappointing for me, and for the whole premise of SeaWorld was that this show was purely about watching these amazing animals perform tricks. There were absolutely no learning opportunities available, no explanation of why the animals might exhibit these behaviours in the wild or how they had trained them to “perform” these tricks.
The saddest testament to this is that when I returned to my school and was sharing my overseas experiences with my students, I wasn’t actually able to answer any of their questions about these creatures. I had experienced their show (twice in the one day in fact!) and didn’t actually know anything about them outside of the knowledge I brought with me.
I worry that educational technologies and education in general could go down this path though. That we are so in awe of the amazing things we can do, that we forget to go deeper and actually develop a greater understanding of what we are actually learning about and acquire the skills that allow us to continue to develop our learning. I would hate to see my students only learning amazing tricks that allow them to put on a show – I would much rather see the deeper, richer learning that only comes once the gloss is stripped away and the messier undertaking of real learning takes place.
I definitely don’t want to be a SeaWorld educator!
It never ceases to amaze me how resourceful and creative teachers can be.
As I write this post I am listening to the fascinating and well spoken Ryan Brown present on how he uses a Web 2.0 tool, Edmodo
While it is not unusual for me to be listening to IT professional development, it is unusual for the presentation to be done in a semi-dark room without the assistance of any electrical technology.
CEGSA2013 is currently in blackout mode – there is no electricity in the few suburbs around us and we have lost all access to IWB’s, data projectors, wireless access and desktop computers!
Has the conference been called off? Has there been a massive walkout of disgruntled delegates. The answer to this is a resounding NO!
What I am seeing is people with wireless data points or mobile Internet access sharing their facilities, presenters and delegates clustered around a single iPad which is showing a presentation originally intended for a larger whiteboard screen. Websites are being drawn on “non interactive” whiteboards to explain how to access different things at a later point in time.
Everyone is still engaged in the learning process. We are still upholding the conference theme of connecting with people and sharing the learning.
While it might be easier with the benefits of electricity and technology – teachers are still experts at making sure these essential elements of engagement and sharing occur!
I would love to share with you all about the benefits I have found from using Twitter, the connections I have made and the people I am able to learn from and share my learning with.
For me, Twitter is all about
knowing what is going on, nationally and internationally, in areas that interest me
having resources shared with me that are tried and tested by other teachers
connecting with other people who inspire me and challenge my thinking
sometimes meeting the people I tweet with in “real life”
I found this to be a great video for a quick overview as to why Twitter is great for educators
If you want to read more about how Twitter is good for educators, I suggest reading George Couros’ blog post and the comments on this post Does Twitter Improve Education?
So What is Twitter?
Officially, Twitter describes itself as:
At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can discover a lot in a little space. You can see photos, videos and conversations directly in Tweets to get the whole story at a glance, and all in one place.
It is a microblogging site, which allows you to share your ideas and resources, in the form of Tweets, with your followers or people following the same #hashtag as you.
This video was a great way of describing different aspects of Tweets and Twitter
Anatomy of a Tweet
This is a great post that breaks down exactly what can be found in a tweet.
A dictionary for abbreviations and terms you might see on Twitter
Getting started on Twitter is as easy as going to the Twitter website and signing up for an accout
The way I started was to follow people who interested me and yes there were some celebrities in this mix too – I’m not all about work completely. Use the search function in Twitter to look up the person you are interested in reading about and see if they are on Twitter. Sometimes when you find someone whose Tweets you enjoy reading, it pays to look at who they follow to see if there is anyone there you might be interested in following too.
#edchat – this #hashtag ticks over incredibly fast but it is definitely worth a look as the main education # in the world
#ozedchat – the Australian version of #edchat
@EduTweetOz is a reasonably new account which has “Australian educators from all sectors share their ideas, experiences, questions & passion.”
Something that George Couros shared with us today at his Masterclass really resonated with me.
As an ex country teacher, an aspect of teaching in a small country town that I really loved was that you saw your students in situations other than the classroom and they saw you outside of school too. There were no Junior Primary beliefs that the teacher lived in the classroom and slept in the sickroom. Students in the country know that their teachers are real people who have lives, families, sports and interests outside of school.
George spoke today of the professional effects for him of sharing important happenings from his personal life with his school and professional network. We heard how he has seen people, who only saw him in his role as a principal, change their attitude to him when they understood that there was more to him than just his work. They knew from reading his blog/twitter feed that he was a whole person and their attitude changed when they were dealing with a man rather than an administrator.
Words of love and kindness uplift our own thought process as well as others.
For me, this seems very similar to the regard with which teachers, on the whole, are given when teaching in the country. To use technology which is so often seen as a barrier to human connections, to open up people’s view to the fact that teachers are not emotionless bureaucrat, but rather professionals with passions and concerns of their own, can only be a benefit to our profession and our cause as a whole.
George shared this video with us on how one person has been recording online aspects of his child’s growth from baby to young child which brought tears to quite a few eyes.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be seen as whole people and regarded as such, rather than just a 9-3 professional