I am very grateful to the PD committee/BOT at my school for funding my ULearn experience. Part of the PD process at my school is to give feedback about what you got out of the opportunity and how you are sharing it with colleagues. I thought rather than hunt down one of the forms why not "blog it" and then send the appropriate people the web link... we are in the 21st century and ULearn is about using this type of technology.
Ulearn08 was in Christchurch. It was attended by OVER 1600 teachers. It was 4 days packed with inspirational people giving keynotes and workshops sharing their amazing ICT. The internet connection was alarmingly fast and we were able to blog and twitter (watch the back channel) while listening to the keynote speakers.
I got so much out of attending this conference. The keynote speakers were motivating and filled the audience with enthusiasm for integrating ICT and making the pedagogical shift that the revised curriculum will demand. A focus on the 21C student and when, how and why they learn. They did not give us the answers but definitely inspired us to embrace the changing times.
Over the last two years I have been focusing on implementing a virtual learning environment (aka LMS - learning management systems) Moodle to deliver my lessons, I have made some pretty satisfying progress. This conference enabled me to meet so many other like minded people and the opportunities to learn from these people were endless. Endless in the sense that many of these people I now follow via twitter on a daily basis. We "tweet" about all our developments and problems but to non-twitterer's I'd call it being "connected".
Andy Coltham (ePrincipal WelCOM) ran the first workshop I attended, he is a Moodle guru! He taught me how to embed video, sound, websites and learning objects. I now understand some html code. As a result of completing his workshop we have now implemented "books" and "gold stars" into our Moodle site. I shared this information with the digital learning teachers and we agreed that this will enable us to make more sequential for lessons that require this type of structure.
I attended 7 workshops in total. I blogged my reflections each day so for a more detailed account please go to the blog entries dated October 7th, 8th and 9th.
What have I done on returning back to school since attending the conference? I have been offering *bonus* PD sessions to our staff on Thursday mornings. While the number of staff have been small they tell me that the information I am passing on is invaluable and allows them to implement more student-centred ICT tasks. The biggest problem is finding a time which suits everyone as we all know teachers have very busy lives.
I really hope that the school will see value in allowing me to attend ULearn09 in Auckland. I know that I have had my fair share of the professional development pie (and I am very thankful) the experience was incredibly valuable and I am more than willing to share what I learnt with the rest of the staff.
5 interesting ways to use Google Docs in the classroom and tips (Google doc presenation). To give credit to my source and to emphasize the usefulness of twitter - I was looking at tombarrett's tweets and this is how I came across the link to the "5 interesting ways" presentation.
For those who think that you need internet access to access your google docs, I have some news for you. You can access your docs offline/no internet connection, it was a new feature introduced in March 2008. The Google Docs Offline function is powered by Google Gears, which is a browser extension that allows developers to store application data offline and sync it back up again later when users are reconnected.
So to use the offline mode, just click on the "Offline" link on the top right corner of the Google Docs main page. A pop up window will appear and promp you to install Google Gears.
2008 has been a challenging year in the digital classroom, my students have not been given the microsoft suite (No word, excel or powerpoint) and it has caused unnecessary barriers in their learning. I had albeit breif word to Douglas Harre about the ministry not buying the licenses for macs and he fobbed me off with Neo-office but now that I have become more knowledgeable of other web 2.0 applications I can see us becoming more independent, less reliant on microsoft's office applications. We still have a way to go so that all the staff teaching digital learning classes are comfortable using the web 2.0 applications but it is the way of the future (it is the way now).
Sharon Harper and Toni Twiss mentioned "Twitter" to me back at Ulearn07. I did not really understand how it would be beneficial for me. They said it was microblogging where you tell people what you are doing... I could not see why you would want to do that.
Before attending Ulearn08 I joined twitter (I was still skeptical about why you would want to tell people "What are you doing". I made my twitter-name "Moodlegirl". It was not until I was in the first keynote and I was using the "back channel" that I started to see how twitter works. Now I twitter day and night keeping in touch with teachers who are themselves ICT guru's and I learn so much from hearing their "tweets" about what they are doing.
Today I started following heheboy (Heath Sawyer) and while having a quick look at his old "tweet's" I came across this reference to WET PAINT TIPS it is all about using wiki's in education. - The easy way to get students to join a wiki.
I have not really used wiki's before but my last unit this year for my year 9 students is going to be partially inquiry based, looking at the sustainability of NZ fisheries. I have some good ideas on how we can do this but I am still trying to figure out how to get the students to "buy in" and I have not really worked this part out...
It certainly was an awesome experience. If I had any criticism it would be the information overload - just too much info to digest, but over the months I will slowly work my way over the material I collected and the resources generously made available by the presenters on the Ulearn website.
While twittering I came across this cool video of the "Tactile Google Earth"
Here is something to thing about... a furby has more "grunt" than the lunar lander!
Dave Hampton, the inventor and engineer who designed Furby, said his creation contained a chip with more processing power than the electronics inside the original lunar lander. The 21,600 lines of programming code on Furby's main two processors are devoted mainly to communicating with the many sensors in the toy. Furby's forehead has a light sensor as well as an infrared transmitter and receiver, for Furby-to-Furby communication
A mini SD adaptor from Dick Smiths $10, but only $12 from www.flashcards.co.nz
The mini SD cards come in a maximum size of 8GB.
Put the files in the media player folder
Size is not a issue. Projector on the phone (www.chinavasion.com) they cell phones with a projector. Screen size 30 - 50 square inch. Nathan suggested the price was around the US$500 mark and postage was $16.50. Will projectors be a thing of the past because they are built in??
In fact it is worth doing a google search on "projector in the phone" there is heaps of cool stuff here or coming.
Remember you can always move data from your laptop to your mobile using bluetooth or you may have been supplied with a USB cord. There is also the download from internet, but that is a very expensive option!
Here is a little promo video for a phone with built in projector, it is only $365.63 here is the web link if you are interested:
Hey what about using the mobile phone to bluetooth the projector in your classroom. What else will there be in the future?
A website to visit for opera mini Liz Kolb's website - cellphones in learning was also highly recommended.
Other tips: Turn your mobile phone into a scientific calculator - I will need to email Nathan for some more details on how though.
Nathan gave me a CD with a load of stuff on it which I am keen to have a look at.
I am meeting heaps of Moodle people. I met and emailed Malcolm Roberts at Wintec because he invited Shazz and I to visit him and do some moodling. There is a chance that we may be able to show off our stuff at Hamilton Girls too because he is facilitating to them next year.
Mark Callagher - an efellow and from Wellington College is also a Moodler - sitting next to Sharon at lunch has been VERY valuable.
Douglas Harray - I must write to him and suggest he looks at the GLOW system Scotland has. Not that I am suggesting we get GLOW, what I think we should look at is going in unison - one open-source system, people can do their own thing but we use the same LMS so we can help one another. Pool and share resources amongst all schools not spreading it thin.
Derek wrapped up the Ulearn conference with this video:
It certainly made me think. Well it is certainly evidence that "failure" is all part and parcel of being a champion/winner/leader.
Day 2 started with a keynote given by Steven Carden, New Zealand author and businessman. Steven Carden talked about collaboration between business and education.
"Education is about the community and the community is about the education" - it really summarises the revised curriculum.
Steven Carden was such a good speaker.... I went online during his presentation and bought his book "New Zealand Unleashed", I was enjoying his presentation that much! He also used this updated "Did you know" video to support his points.
The take away message from this keynote:
We are experiencing rapid, extreme change - discussions are needed about our future. What sort of society do we need to be to survive in a changing society?
Steven argued that we are not ready for this change. We forget how small we are (NZ) on the world's stage. We do not have any profound answers... yet. Dialogue is needed.
Tony Ryan - Being a transformational teacher I heard Tony Ryan talk last year and I have a couple of podcasts where he shares his view, so when the opportunity to attend one of his workshops presented itself I signed up. A simple explanation of what Tony Ryan is all about is summed up by his 4E's - ENERGISER, ETHICIST, ENTREPRENEUR (and intraprenur) and ENVIRONMENTALIST.
He focused on being an ENERGIZED teacher, you have to go in each day and be full of life, you have to give it everything - we need to model it to the students. He saids that he is convinced that it is not so important what we teach in classrooms, it is who we are. To focus on the spirit and the passion of who we are. This lead him to showing us this You Tube video of Matt:
Cool video link: "Where the hell is Matt" - You tube it, I dare you to! (It has had over 11 million hits)
So how do you get traditional Huli Wigmen to dance with you?
This video explains how Matt has managed to travel around the world ALOT and have it all paid by a sponsor:
Other things I have learnt:
I learnt about Jump Cut for making video/movies using still shots and you can add voice bubbles and sound.
Quicktime pro - I have learnt that you can make audio recordings. ie. no visual. I have also learnt how to join movies together and that a .flv file (which will open in quicktime if you have instored perian) then you can save it as a .mov file
Will Richardson brings up the very important issue of being "GOOGLED"
They talk about our students being "clickable" - they should be creating their own networks, sharing and making connections. Creating communities.
We need to educate our students that what they put on the internet could have big consequences - both positive and negative. Prospective employers - you should anticipate that they will google you. But hey it does not need to be all bad, if you have a great blog that tells a great story about you then you have an amazing addition to your CV. If this prospective employer finds nothing but photos of your boozy nights then maybe they will get an insight you don't necessarily want them to know.
So in class do we monitor ?? (give em' free speach) or do we moderate?? well first you need to get your students connecting.
Teachers come in all shapes and sizes - the example of Andrew in Scotland teaching Will's kids to use scratch using skype and an online desktop sharing tool. From the twitters I got this website "Alice" will look later.
Using twitter while these keynote-er's talk has been insightful found another place to spy too! Made my first "twitter" to Allanahk
The first two keynote speakers got a bit boring towards the end. Nothing new - talked about "drive-bys" go in for a day to teach teachers to blog and pod-cast and then gone... well we know that does not work!
The internet is SUPER fast.... I can't believe it. There are 1600 of us on wireless and it is not lagging in the slightest - It would be so awesome if we could have something up in the sunny Bay of Plenty.
While waiting for it to start they had a video montage... just a reminder I need to go back and have another look on You Tube ... "tom lehrer elements". I downloaded one video but there were heaps there that would be worth going back and having a look at.
I have met some people in real life... Allanah King Racheal Boyd and Andrew Churches. I had been a lurker on Andrew's blog Educational origami blog for a while now, it is a shame I was not able to get into his workshop.
Chris Carter - he has his own blog. Kevin do you have one? He had not updated it since 15th September though. Anyway, he talks about individualised learning, being connected, sharing best practise. He mentioned that secondary schools were getting two teacher only days next year to develop the revised curriculum - he also stated that primary school teachers would get one day, this caused a bit of noise amongst the audience. EEC ?? perhaps they might get half was joked.
The 1 GB connection here is awesome!! I have been able to do a few internet searches during this blog and they have been lightening fast.
My friend Sharon introduced me to Moodleman's blog - well it had not changed much but I have just found Moodle man's NEW blog/website. It is here. He writes: Can Moodle change a school? YOU BET! Well I was impressed with his blog and thought it worth making the blog entry here to remind me to go back and visit his blog now and then.
Holidays... You have to love em' - finally I have a moment to fiddle and play with some IT stuff without the interruptions of normal school day stuff. I have actually learnt a fair bit in the recent weeks but not reported it here (tut tut).
First thing to report: a new Moodle module we added last week "books" very cool. Great sequential presentation of information.
Second thing: I have learnt: how to embed stuff like video, sound, web sites, learning objects into my Moodle site thanks to Anton Coltham from WELCom - he is a Moodle Guru!
Third item to report: wink. Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users. The only problem is it is PC software but hey its freeware so thats a big plus!
And not to forget the successor to the hot potato module, I believe it is going to be called QUIZPORT. It has been Gordon Bateson doing all the work behind the scenes on this and he has invited people to try it out here: