The Library of Alexandria at your fingertips

Recently The Age published an article entitled Technology pushes teacher student relationships into new territory. It was an interesting read, but didn’t go far enough in my opinion. The quote from Andrew Douch saying

Everybody’s got access to the Library of Alexandria at their fingertips. We can take the conversation up a whole other level,” he said. “Students will be able to supply better and more recent answers than the teacher can, which is exciting and threatening maybe for some teachers.

is true. However, what was not mentioned in the article is the need for students (and teachers) to verify the validity of the information at their fingertips. This is what librarians did (and still do) when selecting books to be placed in the library collection. Librarians also do this when curating and developing Libguides, YouTube playlists or other resources that point to valid information online. This video from QUT Library helps show students how to validate what’s available online.


EduTECH 2014 part 2

Yesterday I posted about the EduTECH 2014 conference in general. Today I’d like to add a little more information about the content of the session that I participated in.

If you read yesterday’s post, then you’ll know that the title of the panel session was ‘Future possibilities of the cloud for schools’. (Interestingly, when I was talking to non teaching friends pre-conference, almost every one asked me what the cloud was.)

Our focus questions were:

  • How can we capitalise on the vast information available and networks online?
  • Selecting cloud-based resources such as videos, apps and portals
  • Reimaging school in a paradigm of online learning
  • How will the cloud continue to extend the roles of technology in education?

Paul Hamilton of Matthew Flinders Anglican College chaired the discussion. My points included:

  • Anytime you have connection to the internet, you have your documents. The latest, synced version. No need to wonder if you’re working or collaborating on the latest version.
  • The cloud is device agnostic
  • Perfect for devices like Chromebooks that don’t have storage.
  • Black Saturday photos, documents in cloud wouldn’t have been lost.
  • Perfect for collaborating across the room or across the world.
  • A great way for introverts to collaborate.
  • Social bookmarking. Curation.
  • The cloud caters for our online library system and ebooks that can be discovered and downloaded immediately at anytime.
  • Self organised learning system. 4-5 children per PC. Broadband + collaboration + encouragement.
  • Edna Sackson’s post Too many iPads. Is 1:1 ideal or should we ensure there’s someone online somewhere to collaborate with?
  • I select cloud resources by reading blogs and through Twitter feed, by trying them out personally, then professionally then sharing with colleagues.
  • Cloud resources I use include: Blogs, wikis for student resources, wikis for professional learning, google docs, google forms, history pin, YouTube channel and embeds, Flickr, padlet, Google+, twitter, diigo, scoopit, zite, Feedly, storify. Used to love Ning and posterous. Potentially publishing to iBooks and Kindle. Google docs for PBL class.
  • The internet of everything is enabled through the cloud.
  • Edna Sackson often uses Skype with other schools.
  • Jenny Luca’s post on the cloud for schools is a must read.
  • My role at Kew HS, leadership team meeting I presented to. (All cloud based technologies)
  • Cloud referred to in the Pew report
  • Cloud referred to in the 2014 Horizon report
  • Cloud referred to in the IFLA report
Thanks to Kim Yeomans for this photo.

Thanks to Kim Yeomans for this photo.

Google Docs workshop

Today I ran a Google Docs workshop for our teachers. It was voluntary, which I had hoped meant participants were keen and willing to ‘grab their learning’ (quote thanks to Brette Lockyer). The second session will take place on 11 November, where the plan was for teachers will share how they’ve been using Google Docs in their classroom.

For today’s session, I was aiming for teachers to be able to differentiate their own learning, however we were somewhat hamstrung by people without computers, people who’d not already registered for a Google account or those who couldn’t remember their password.

I was too ambitious hoping for lots of sharing and discussions about how we could use Google Docs for Redefinition, when the actual need was to learn how to name a Google Form, how to add questions and how to send a form.

Hopefully some teachers may do some learning on their own before the next session as I had provided a number of how-to resources. I’ll need to reevaluate what to do with the next session or if we need a third session.

All of the resources I used are on a page in my professional learning wiki.

Huge thanks to John Pearce, Britt GowJenny LucaHeather Dowd and many others for sharing their work, ideas and links.

Teach meet Melbourne at Scienceworks and the Planetarium

Another wonderful teach meet on Saturday hosted by Simon Keily at Scienceworks. As always, terrific presentations, but this time we were fortunate to have a preview of a new show in the Planetarium as well.

Roland Gesthuizen created a Storify of the afternoon:

Thanks to Celia Coffa and the gang once more. The next teach meet will be hold on 20 July at Xavier College in Kew. Love to see lots of people there.

ICTEV13 – the details

After trying to unsuccessfully create a Storify for the ICTEV13 conference, I thought I’d give the Twitter embed search tool a go. I would have liked to have separated the sessions into different stories, but this is probably the next best thing (I hope).


Digital citizenship and literacy

This past week I’ve been working with all of the year 7 students on digital citizenship and literacy. Here are the resources I compiled, with thanks to many of my PLN including Jenny Luca.

Think before you post

A couple of interesting things occurred during the classes.

  1. Only about four students out of eight classes had heard of the term digital citizenship;
  2. the vast majority of students (aged 11 and 12) had Facebook accounts and
  3. more than half of the students admitted to using the internet when they were meant to be asleep.

The feedback was good from students and teachers and a few teachers were going to use the resources with their own children. Hopefully this will help students manage their own digital footprint now and into the future.

Penguin Teachers’ Academy resources

So today’s the big day of the Penguin Teachers’ Academy that I’ve been blathering on about here for the last little while. It should be a great day of sharing and learning. To help continue that, the vast majority of the resources I’ll present can be found here:

Cool reading resources wiki

Thanks to all of those people who have generously agreed to share their own work.

QR codes for orienteering

Some time last year, I showed Phys Ed teacher Andrew Thickins’ year 11 Outdoor Ed class how to make their own QR codes. The students had developed online surveys and posters to advertise said surveys. I suggested adding QR codes to them, which a fair number of the class did.

 Andrew also follows the innovative way technology can enhance Phys Ed learning and teaching as shown by Jared Robinson on his The PE Geek blog. It was here that Andrew read about using QR codes for orienteering.

So late last year Andrew and colleague Tom Williams began developing an orienteering unit for year 9 using QR codes. They are happy to share the documents they developed here:

Before the activity began, students who had smart phones were asked to come to the front of the class. Then teams were allocated so that each team had at least one person with a smart phone.
Some of the lessons were conducted on foot and some on bikes. The students really enjoyed the interactivity of the unit as some of the QR codes linked to videos and websites to give clues.

It was certainly an engaging unit and a big thanks to Andrew and Tom for developing something really engaging and also willingly sharing it here.

Penguin Teachers’ Academy

I was very excited and proud to be asked by the lovely Tye Cattanach to deliver the full day professional learning event for Penguin Teachers’ Academy on Friday 8 March in Melbourne.

I’ll be presenting on innovative reading and book promotion techniques using ICT and will focus on:

  • The Readers’ Cup – a free reading competition for Victorian schools
  • Book promotion and sharing students’ responses to text using ICT
  • eBooks. How we’re using eBooks at Kew High School
It is $120 for the full day, which is a bargain in my opinion. If you are interested, you can access more information and the booking form here. Also have a look at the day run by Corrie Barclay on ICT for Primary literacy at the same link.