Friday, 30 May 2008

Pressure, Pressure...

The clouds of the end of semester rush are gathering. I have mountains of marking to do, assessment on tasks which I hope my students will have found meaningful and relevant, but the more I read in my blogging life ,the more unsure I am about what I do. Is the ability to write an analytical essay on a text a really vital life skill? What would these kids have chosen to learn about if they could have run the curriculum? Am I able to make some links about the wider world which for most of them seems only a distant roar they can easily ignore, focussing more on the pressing social concerns of relationships and social calendars for the weekend?
How does a Constructivist classroom work? Where is the curriculum based- on a set of skills that need to be demonstrated by the passage of the class over a semester? How will this fit in our new Learning centre next year and in the basically very traditional school in which I teach? How do we get teachers who are trained to work as effective solo units managing a group of 'learners' to change and the learners themselves to take on the very real responsibility of their own 'learning'?
Can I say at this point that I vacillate between absolute joy and excitement with the possibilities of what can happen in this sort of change and the negativity and doubt as the idea of supported change is such a hard one to have happen in an organisation which has the duality of being a transmitter of values from our past as well as being an institution which provides skills for dealing with a future which for all of us is not yet clear or known?
So here I sit, listening to podcasts about people doing great things, stretching the boundaries and making change happen while I have to write reports mark essays, tick worksheets and embed my comments into the kids folios. At the same time I am planning for going to NECC where I expect to be challenged even more by what is possible.
What is my dilemma? Is it that I am not coping with the pace of change? Is it that I find the demands of my job to have taken so much of my energy and enthusiasm that I should move on to something else? Is it that because I am aware of the possibilities that I find it so hard to deal with the realities of here and now as well of how to get 'there'?
I read, I blog - I try to be positive and see options, but at the moment the messages are coming in thick and fast and seemingly conflicting with each other

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A Digital Birthday Card

This is a capture using Jing Project of a tweetscan from my birthday. What an amazing moment to have all these greetings coming from people all over the world , many of whom I have never met face to face. It is a truly powerful sign that the connectedness of my network is very real!! Thanks also to those kind people who sent me a hi and to the help section at jing so I could work out how to do the capture properly - love that technology!!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

The First Bloggers Feast

After much talking and planning and tweeting we had our first Bloggers Feast in Melbourne on May 14th.Those present were Helen Otway, Howard Errey,Lauren O'Grady,Jo McLeay, John Pearce,Jenny Luca, Tony Richards, Al Upton, Pam Arvanitakis and myself.It was like a meeting of old friends as we finally got to meet those who are part of our networks and chat about issues which were surprisingly (or not) very common in our experiences as bloggers in schools. John is about to publish his book, written with Gary Bass- 'The Technology Toolkit, Helen was discussing being an Ultranet coach, Lauren changing work to keep growing her passion for it, Tony was interviewing all present, Jenny recovering from the highs of her SLAV presentation and new twitter follower, Al was talking about the 'Learning by Design'Conference he was attending,Pam and Jo and Howard were chatting with lots of new friends and me- I was playing with my new gadgets and just enjoying the fact that it was all actually happening.
The waiting staff were very amused by this group of strangers with lots of technology and were asking questions about what we were doing. It flew by, and we made plans for a bigger meeting on May 24th after the ICTEV conference at Melb. Grammar.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

My Very First Podcast !!!!

A week ago Lisa Parisi tweeted that Kevin Honeycutt was trying Yakpak and needed a few people to come in and test levels. So cos I love new stuff, I clicked the link and chatted with Lisa and Kevin and found out about the fascinating work he is doing. So last night after a really difficult day at school I was trying to organise a meeting when I saw Kevin was online so I sent him a tweet and showed my friend Pam what I was doing. We chatted for awhile and Kevin also had a web developer online and Kevin asked if he could record our conversation. It was after midnight in America and Kevin was tired and Pam and I were exhausted after a tough week at school, but we went ahead and did a show. It was challenging and extremely stimulating to exchange ideas across the world and I was so excited as was Pam who had never spoken in a conference call before. So here is the link and thanks to Kevin for his great work.Kevin's driving question was 'Are we really qualified to teach today's kids?' I would love some comments about the content!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Will Richardson - taking it to their door

Just in case you are like me and did not get tickets to see Will Richardson in Brisbane or Sydney or Melbourne, I am posting his first presentation. If only we had him to do this in every staffroom around the country.... Enjoy and do drink the koolaid!!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

NECC here we come

Ok I have been fiddling more and found how to export videos so here is one using the editing programme that comes with the flip video - apologies

The Flip Video Arrives!!

After much dithering and reading of reviews, last weekend I took the plunge and ordered a Flip Video from Ebay. It was a bit of a risk but we don't have a video camera and it offered one hour's filming and 2G of memory- so I was very hopeful that it would be useful and user friendly. Well, one week later the package which I was able to track online - thank you US postal service(what does Australia post offer I wonder?) and I have it in my hot little hand. Easy to assemble -just open and insert batteries that were included, turn on and film!!
It was as easy as that!. The sound quality I am still looking at - there is no mic input jack so you have to use the camera mic, but the picture quality is as you see below untouched. It does come with its own editing package which I will have a play with, but the above is shot- with no technique at all- sorry- in the main street of a local village that is very popular with the tourists. To download onto the computer you 'flip' out the USB plug and connect. I had a problem because my network cord was in the way , so I used my new 'Hubby hub' and it recognised it and setup in a minute. The movies were short and downloaded quickly, but they are taking a while to upload to the blog- my upload speed is very slow anyway. So there you have it- I am the possesor of a new pink- pink was cheaper OK?- flip video and will start using it in class as much as possible. The manual does not say whether I can use re-chargeable batteries so I will have to tweet about that one.