Friday, 26 September 2008

Poetic Digital Storytelling

Found this simple how-to video on a great wiki created by Mark Spahr as a resource for training staff on using Web 2.0 technologies . The video itself is on Teachertube and is presented by Degerb.He uses six (?)different apps to produce the video and I love the Robert Frost poem he has used as a model. Would it really require six apps?
The wiki itself is a fine example of resourcing your staff for training and the idea of a lunch for those who come along is lovely. Reminds me of Jess McCollough and Anne Mirtchin's idea of Walk-in-Wednesday- all great ideas on how to capture the interest of time poor teachers to show them how to save time!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Dave Walker

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

I finally discovered where the delightful cartoons by Dave Walker have a home on the net thanks to Rhondda's Reflections blog - a fascinating blog full of great information- well worth a look. Lots of the cartoons are on blogs but what is nice is that they are free to use. Thanks Dave and Rhondda!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Sticky note madness

Ok so I am on holidays and spending too much time online catching up on my reader.This one comes from an equally eclectic site that I always find something amazing on- English at kkc Well worth a read if you are a teacher of English. This one is lovely to watch

Sunday, 21 September 2008

It is Right in front of your nose...SEE?

Ok loath as I am to start getting political and ranty - there comes a time. On Friday I had a great email from Dr Craig Smith from Innovations and Excellence at the Dept. letting me know that we were able to be the only govt school to receive funding for the Powerful Learning Programme run by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson. This is a great honour and I am so pleased my school will be able to access this programme and the knowledge it will provide for staff. The funding is fantastic and I have the awesome Jenny Luca to thank for the recommendation.I was so excited about this and I have the holidays to read up about the programme and discuss with others how best to make use of it. Super - love some good news, especially after the excitement of the arrival of our new macs.
I wondered why I have no comments under my new movie after tweeting it a few times to see what folks thought. It was my first real attempt to use iMovie and though very rough and full of poor camera work- because I was so excited I forgot I was filming on several occasions- and I felt I had really started to work it out. But no-one came or those who did , didn't comment. Disappointing I thought oh well.. never mind. But when I think about it it is so tiny in the sea of other peoples achievements and what they are doing. Five laptops in a school of 1200 students - do the math and the techies are having real trouble working out how to add them to the network. Reality check Sue and so I went back to planning how I would make use of them.
Then last night I was chatting to Sue Waters who was bemoaning the inability of twitter to be reliable- a four hour outage- and we chatted about my week. Somewhere in the conversation I mused about the fact that the PLP programme was great but the eternal issue of 'I've run out of Internet money Miss..' would raise its head and she was aghast. Yes our kids have to pay and yes if we do anything substantial eg my use of the amazing Carrot Mob movie (short version below) to discuss optimism and social change and the kids blow all their money on the download and I have students telling they are $7 in the red because of the movie I told them to watch.
YES Susan - THIS is what is stopping adoption of more web 2.0 technology and teaching more than anything else. No the teachers are not slack or luddites, it is just that anytime they stuck their heads out of the sand they failed because the system doesn't allow them to succeed. Students get $2 at the start of the year and they have to top it up all year. Many forget or protest, many parents refuse thinking their child has been playing games or just can't afford it.
I have had conversations with many classroom teachers about this and admin people as well. Our school budget and the plan we have been locked into by the department make it very difficult to change and what might happen if it were made 'free' worries these folk greatly.
So let me know- how does your school fund the internet? Do you students pay a levy? What plan is your school on? I need some solid help here and some suggestions to help change REALLY happen. Thanks to Sue Waters who then posted about this and has made me see what is in front of my nose and really try to do something about it.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Transforming the classroom bit by bit...

The interesting thing about trying to create change is that often you may be waiting around and hoping and planning for it for so long, that when it actually starts to happen, you may miss the moment because you are already trying to think about the 'next thing'. This almost happened to me yesterday. After weeks of waiting, the Macbooks which are being supplied as a result of the Emerging Technologies Grant from the Education Department, finally arrived in the school.It may put this in to perspective to say we have always been a windows based school and there are no laptops for students at all in the school.. these are the very first.
Gary Bass and Frank from Connecting Point came to school and brought some extra machines to enable all the class to have a hands on experience. As well as all my year eight class, a number of staff came and visited and had a play with Macs. Gary took the class for the double and they went through some of the differences in the operating system and then we set them loose. They used Photo Booth and had a great time exploring the effects. Then we dragged them away from that and began to explore Garageband. Several of the musos in the class went berserk when then realised the programme actually typed out what they wrote. Several played with the basics of podcasting and then we moved on to IMovie.
The double flew by and I actually had to tell the students that the bell had gone for the end of the day. They loved it and I was able to film the experience and the process of making this into a movie for the grant and for myself made me learn how to use the basics of the programme. It is still very basic, but it does capture the fun of the afternoon.
So who was doing the learning ?