Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Tweetscan - how Twitter really works

Take one class of teachers for fifteen minute taster of blogging - how do you show them what the power of web 2.0 can do? You do a twitter call-out and then sit back as all these folks say hi. Thanks everyone, I will do it again soon ,but this was great.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Two posts in a day? - peak creativity !!! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
After much procrastinating and discussion and reading of blogs, I have decided to use the 21classes portal for blogging with my year 8 class. I have tried this two years ago with Edublogs, but ran into issues with spam and firewalls and internet budgets being eaten up so I am giving the idea a second go - older but wiser about what to do.
Blogging myself- although it still doesn't come easily is getting to be more natural and at least I can say to the kids that I do this too! So last week I dived in and had huge hastles with sites being blocked for making avatars as part of our discussion of Internet safety - thanks Jo McLeay for the idea - but we worked around this and there was much fun in creating them at and

We discussed what the guidelines for using these blogs would be and I thought they seemed from vaguely interested to the usual 'why more work?'type response. Well the registrations are happening, as I have asked them to do it from home to save their internet budget, and so are the first posts. I just wanted to share the buzz as this is the kind of response I had hoped for but thought that these cool young computer savvy folk would not do. Here are some of the responses I have received to the question 'What do you think of blogging and what use could the blog be?'

I really like doing this blog because it is sort of like something I would do in my own time and I think it is really cool that we get to do work in class that we enjoy. I like communicating with people from other countries, and talking about our different lives and school work, and I think that this website and and blogging would be a fun way of doing it. I also think that, we could also use it to write about not only school work and book reviews.etc, but stuff that we did on the weekend and hobbies that we have.
I think some good entries might be, to talk about books that we have read so that we can compare the books that we have read to ones that they have read. It might also be a good way to write up book reviews and other small written tasks.
I'm really looking forward to posting more blogs.

I really like being in the accelerated class because I get to mix with other kids, not just the ones in my home group. Also to have some new point of views to listen to. There's some pretty bright kids in the class :) I like the way that here at ***** we have access to classes like this one because it gives students a chance to increase their learning.
I'm looking forward to starting to speak to students from other countries and schools because I'd like to learn about their cultures and things they're interested in.

I think it's awesome that we get to do blogging in English. It should be really enjoyable and its definitely a change. I'm looking forward to talking to interesting, new people from all over the world and finding out about their general way of life.

I think this blog would be more enjoyable if we could include videos and pictures of our favourite things or write about our interests as well as school issues. I believe we could use this blog to communicate with people from other schools or countries and find out there interests and beliefs, it would be a great experience.

Who is a happy teacher tonight then ? Yay blogging !!!

A moment to draw breath and say sorry.

Below is the wording of federal Parliament's full apology to the Stolen Generations:

"Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia."

So tomorrow is the day when the government of Australia apologises to the stolen generation.It is indeed a significant moment and at times it reminds me of the day we watched man walk on the moon as our classes are being taken to watch it live. Hopefully in the same way we saw the world shift slightly on its axis that day, tomorrow will signify a shift for the way we see ourselves as a community in this country.Certainly it is a powerful signal of generational shift and hopefully the start of healing, but this is a slow process, like all change.
Trying to bring some focus on this to my year 8 class we looked at Dorothea McKellar's My Country and Oscar Krahnvohl's parody in class today and I asked the students after a significant and very thoughtful discussion to write their own version for publication in class and on their blogs. Hopefully next week they will have some up and published - it certainly had them thinking and talking about a huge number of concerns and positives for their country and this important time.
On a lesser note tomorrow I am also doing a brief overview on blogging to three groups in a rotational workshop at school. Hope it works!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

'Did you ever wonder?'- a second look at where we are heading.

Find more videos like this on The Global Cooling Collective

Thanks to Clay Burell for bringing attention to this excellent presentation about education and Global warming by William Farren - an educator in the Dominican Republic. Show this one around- it asks some very important questions and will provoke discussion in staff meeting and classrooms. Thanks Clay and well done William!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Voicethread becomes Wiki

The year has started and now it is time to start connecting the dots of all the information I tried to absorb over the holidays. I am asking my year 11s to produce a voicethread about their childhood using a selection of photos from their own sources.This is to be a reflective piece before we start looking at the poetry of Paul Kelly with an emphasis on our Australian experience. I have embedded this one about my childhood on a wiki on wikispaces as a model for them and I am planning to have them produce one each this week. I will also get them to create an avatar for themselves in Meez The wiki address is forgive the spelling error - I can't work out how to correct it. I hope that some others will come in and comment on them.