Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Sunday, 26 July 2009

NSW twitterati-What concerns them?

I am keen to share a few insights from some influential NSW education bloggers and twitterati.
I ask:
Are there opportunities for learning?
What are the issues?

Over to you for solutions.

So you have a blog, a wiki or both... What now?

Deciding how you want to use your blog and wiki sites in your teaching and professional learning is a key question. Nothing needs to be set in stone, the purpose and content can be evolving. One thing to remember is that ideally the personal and professional should not overlap on blog and wiki sites being used in teaching.

It is always useful to keep up with how other teachers use their sites. Some of my previous posts have links to top blogs and wikis for teachers. At this exciting time, with the rollout of DERNSW laptops for teachers and Year 9, it is vital to keep up with what the Department is putting online to assist teachers with resources for lessons.

On her Edublogger blog, Sue Waters, from Western Australia talks about emerging technologies and provides assistance to those wanting to use edublogs.

Andrew Churches, educational origami wiki is fabulous. The Starter Sheets for various tools are extremely useful as is his work on Blooms Taxonomy.

This website, Ideas to Inspire, compiled with the assistance of bloggers and twitterati has an amazing range of useful ideas and tools. Each section is a google docs presentation.

Angela Maiers writes a number of blogs including Chalk Talk Friday where she records posts and links that have caught her attention on the networks.

A wiki by Wes Fryer, entitled Teach Digital has a section: Safe Classroom Blogging to Improve Student Writing that is also very useful.

This site offers numerous resources and quality teaching ideas including useful materials on Bloom's Taxonomy.

Miguel Guhlin has collated many useful resources on various blog/wiki sites. This one, Creating the Walled Garden: Setting Up Web 2.0 Apps on School District Servers is particularly valuable.

Ricahrd Byrne has insprired with a slideshow: Blogs, Wikis and File Sharing. Oh My! and his Free Technology for Teachers blog is a must-follow.

Ning groups are worth considering for professional learning. Classroom 2.0 is a free, community-supported network and states: "We especially hope that those who are "beginners" will find this a supportive community and a comfortable place to start being part of the digital dialog. If you feel that you are a beginner and want some extra help, please click here to join the Beginner Group as soon as you've registered."

This site offers many interesting lists of sites to explore, this one deals with web applications that may entice.

Seven e-Learning and Teaching Resources

Seven e-Learning and Teaching Resources:

ReadWriteWeb writes:
"While the down economy continues to hurt funding to our schools, more and more teachers are looking to web-based services to help educate their students. Whether it's through open resource projects like CK-12, virtual classrooms like those in Second Life, or through the repurposing of tools like Twitter, millions of teachers are finding innovative resources to engage their students. If you're a teacher, here are seven great tools to get you started."

My comments: This is a small, manageable list of must-review sites for teacher and student use. Busy teachers could reasonably review each site and achieve some valuable professional learning goals without spending a huge amount of time.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Creating a wiki for your students. Why and How?

This is a Work in Progress.

I am preparing this post as a reflection of my previous post on "Creating a blog for your students". Have a quick read of this post before you jump into your "wiki work".

I have recently found this great site, newtoolsworkshop through Twitter. For most social media tools, this is a wonderful launchpad for learning.

This social media learning wiki is also very useful. Useful to explore the main site for other tips.

I have a wikispaces wiki. As you will have learnt from the site above, there are a number of reliable wiki creation platforms.

Click for the wikispaces tutorial, for help and for help + index.

This is another very useful post for teachers getting started with wiki work.
8 Ways to Use a School Wiki to Increase Communication, Collaboration and Enrich Instruction

A useful slideshow on SlideShare, that is an introduction to wikis.

8 ways to use wikis

wiki learning

10 technologies to use in a laptop or tablet classroom

Got the time ... here's more

Get Going with Wikispaces

Wikis in Plain English, a video by commoncraft.

Valuable wiki, called webtools4u2use, with a glogster start page.

50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom

Using this wiki you can learn about the many aspects of web 2.0. It has been designed for the staff of the Hamilton and Alexandra College, in Victoria.

This interesting wiki is called Perk Up your Projects with Web 2.0

Practical Applications of Research: Wikis for learning – what to expect by Dr. Irene Bolan

Facebook Leads Sharing

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Creating a blog for your students. Why and How?

My digital learning journey began in 2007.
The steps are documented in one of my very first posts in 2007. My November post outlines the steps I took.

I settled for a google blog. At that time it was blogspot, soon to be renamed

Click to begin to set up your blog using google Blogger platform or the edublogs platform.

This YouTube video may also assist.

Commoncraft produced Blogs in Plain English video.

Learning with Blogs and Wikis is a worthwhile read by Bill Ferriter in Educational Leadership.

50 Useful Blogging Tools for Teachers says it all- almost ...

Blogging: Basics and Beyond is worth a view on SlideShare.

To blog or not to blog? A post by Graham Stanley.

Nik Peachey has written Blogging as part of the community.

This post discusses blog safety

These blogs show what teachers are doing:

Global Teacher is a virtual blogging environment which exists to promote curriculum excellence through the use of Web 2.0 technology. This directory acts as a 'front door' to a virtual staff room that is filled with rich resources, global projects and examples of teachers and students using Web 2.0 technology in exciting ways.

Feeling ready to delve more deeply into the possibilities, check the blogs of these top users.

Mrs Wyatt's inspirational work on several blogs with global blogging projects.

Resources for blog posts

Who Blogs and Tweets Fantastic Learning Resources?

Twitter is now my major source of social learning and leadership sites, tools and related resources.

This is only my start-up list. They each have a blog, but this is an opportunity to find and follow them on Twitter.


This post by Paula White gives some additional twitterati to follow. I was pleased to find my name on her list.

Another work in progress ...

New Visions for Learning - Over to You to Paint your Picture

Here is a collection of resources to guide and stimulate action to ensure maximum learning impact by the Digital Education Revolution NSW.

More about Victoria, Netbooks for 10000 Students

It now possible for teachers in South Africa to receive a subsidy to purchase a laptop. Teachers may have many questions about owning a laptop. This page serves as a point of reference to some of these questions.

Challenges, Change and Trends by David Wenmoth, NZ

Harnessing the Power of Social Networks in Teaching & Learning is a stimulating slideshow by Dr. Alec Couros

The Redback Project, a self paced journey of discovery of 21st Century tools specifically designed specifically for Victorian Educators, but potentially relevant to any teacher.

For a little more horizon gazing, check out Jacqui Sharp's wiki on ipods, iphones in education.

Enjoy this deep investigation of other teachers' journeys into social media learning.

Monday, 20 July 2009

A Technology Facilitator's Perspective

A Technology Facilitator's Perspective:

Julie LaChance writes:
"I encourage anyone that is, or works with, a technology facilitator to take a look at the Tech & Learning article, 'The Five Essentials of Technology Facilitators: Successful On-Site Help for Technology Integration'. It was written by Cheryl Whitfield back in 2005, so it is a little older, but I like the view of the position that it gives the reader.

According to the article, there are five things anyone hired for a technology facilitator position should possess."

My comments:
These five points are right on the mark. There may be other points, skills, capabilities to add, while acknowledging this substantial start.

What would you add?

Twitter / Home

Twitter: A Tweet with Message by Suzie Vesper

"Have just protected my updates due to targeting by online cyberbully. Will go back to not doing so when this dies down."

My comments:
I have been wanting to explore "Blog This!" with a tweet.
Picked this once since, it relates to important issues - privacy, security etc.
All the more significant when we ask students to register for online tools.

Sign up for Twitter, while you are there and enjoy your choice of tweets to follow with to your browser professional learning.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

PinDax - Online Message Board

PinDax - Online Message Board:

"Why choose a boring message board for your website? PinDax offers a fun real-time alternative to the traditional message board. Sign up for free, you will be up and running in minutes."

My comments: Just broke my commitment of a last post not to sign-up to any more tools.
I always loved the eboard facility of many years ago. I am a sucker for post-it note functionality.
This little app. was originally brought to my attention by @larryferlazzo. If you are not subscribed to blog feed or following him on Twitter and you are an educator, then you are missing a great number of learning opportunities for you and your students.

I'll get back to you on what use I make of this nifty tool.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Plan puts 'super teachers' in worst schools | National News |

Plan puts 'super teachers' in worst schools | National News |

"RADICAL plans to boost exam results by enticing a new breed of 'super teachers' to work in the worst performing schools have been unveiled by Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard.

An initial batch of 100 of the so-called Highly Accomplished Teacher positions will be advertised in NSW in October before the plan is rolled out across the rest of Australia.

The elite teachers will earn a higher salary than their colleagues and teach fewer classes."

My comments: It will be very interesting to watch this program through implementation and development. The language used to describe the program and individual teachers will need to be carefully chosen.

Words like "elite" and "super" may be a more a hindrance than help.

Many people will remember the derogatory comments that the Leading Teachers of the 1990s had to endure.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Change ... so much to attend to and so little time

Harsh .. maybe not.
It's about time, isn't it, that we all in education started mostly talking about getting with it rather than how to get around things that are new and a little "challenging" to our dearly held beliefs and current practices.

I am ready to say, enough!

On leadership: simply, lead or leave. It is more than being aware of the latest quality teaching principles and practices, especially in the context of the latest online social media learning tools. If you don't know and don't practise use of these interactives, websites and tools, then forget it. This is not an area that can wisely be left to others, no matter how much that method appeals.

On mobiles and mlearning: The mobile phone in all it new forms and with all the potential for valid, engaging and fulfilling learning must be used by educators for 24/7 learning. Laptops, netbooks, notebooks, it's just marking time and delaying the inevitable.

Signup, login: What are the implications for us and our students if we are guiding them to signup for accounts at multiple web sites? Are we asking parents for permission? The situation is critical for under 13 and not without danger for under 18.

New tools, applications: Have you seen or used this ....? I still read this frequently on Twitter and I am occasionally still tempted. But, I have concluded enough is enough. I cannot adequately attend to my presence on any more networks. I have accounts and abandoned "real estate" on so many networks, I sometimes worry about squatters.

Widgets: Why do we need them? When I first started my "digital learning journey", I set up an igoogle page as my lanuchpad. I enjoyed exploring and changing the widgets and gadgets on my pages. If I were still a classroom teacher, I would continue to identify practical learning uses for these little apps. I can see now it is easy to be distracted by them too. You will see the gadgets I have limited myself to on this blog.

I will be back to complete the rest ...
no picture
protected content
teens skills and getting their attention

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Infinite Thinking Machine

Infinite Thinking Machine: "Released at NECC 2009 are a new series of education friendly lessons .

Lucy Gray wrote:
Looking for something? First stop might be the Google search box. Becoming a skillful searcher is an essential skill for teachers and students in our media rich environments. The search box provides abundant amounts of information quickly at our fingertips. So, how do you use the Google search box to get just the right amount of information, analyze it for authenticity, and get it quickly? The new Google Search Lessons are aimed at helping teachers and students learn the inside scoop about skillful searching."

Subscribe to her blog, read the full post and check the lessons.
Follow her on Twitter @elemenous

You will be kept up to date with many aspects of social media learning.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

NSW Secondary Principals' Council- DER Update from the President

Jim McAlpine, President of the NSWSPC wrote 1 July 2009, in the SPC Bulletin, these comments about DIGITAL EDUCATION REVOLUTION (DERNSW:

"This is about to change the landscape of all of our schools from the start of next term, and a huge amount of time, energy and expertise have been expended this year in gearing up for it. Nearly all regional directors have arranged for briefings with their principals this term in anticipation of what will be one of the greatest challenges and one of the greatest opportunities that most principals will ever face.
I know that there were some well-intended criticisms of the SPC by some of our members early last year when we put our support into this program, and no doubt as difficulties emerge I will be reminded of these, but with a positive outlook by principals and teachers, this program should be a great educational benefit for our children, our schools and our educators.
I was given a laptop by our Chief Education Officer Stephen Wilson yesterday so that I can take it to meetings with principals around the state and explore its potential with colleagues. Congratulations to all who have been involved with this program, especially the SPC Digital Revolution Task Force, Stephen Wilson, Dianne Marshall, Terry O’Brien and Barbara Bober. There are many others in DET, including those in Bridge Street, in PLLD, in Curriculum and in CLI who have contributed and who will continue to contribute to make this a success!

My comments: I have also been following NSW public school teachers' comments on Twitter. Essentially, these are thrilling times for teaching and learning. Hasten slowly, but do not waste any opportunities to improve student engagement and learning.