Thursday, November 29, 2007

Life isn't always what it seems.

Tonight I came across this interesting site created by Dan Brooke which demonstrates in a very clear way what Photoshop can do for the 'beautiful' women we see on our tv screens and in the popular magazines. Just hover your mouse over each of the words on the page and you can see what can be done. What a great way to show our young girls (and boys) exactly what goes into preparing an image that is then presented as 'real'. Despite the fact that I think we all know that this goes on it's still no wonder so many of us women are never satisfied with how we look. The woman in the image on Dan's site is Amber MacArthur who is a Web 2.0 commentator that I have listened to many times on net@nite, a podcast that she and Leo Laporte host. Amber also suggests that we take our girls for a video visit to Youtube to check out the Dove Evolution Commercial. Now they can see what a bit of make up, lighting and Photoshop can achieve towards creating a totally unrealistic perception of a perfectly beautiful woman in all her simple untouched glory. The power of
Check it out the youtube video here.

Better still take your girls (and boys) to the Dove Self Esteem Campaign for real beauty. What an interesting way to begin a discussion with both girls and boys about perceptions and (mis) understandings of our strange, strange media flooded world.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John Pearce- an inspirational teacher

I attended the VITTA conference last week and if I say so myself I managed to choose some pretty amazing and inspirational teachers to listen to. One session that I really enjoyed was presented by John Pearce, a primary teacher in a Victorian school. Earlier in the day John had been presented with the VITTA Primary Teacher of the year. You know the deal, they start to read out the things that the winner has done and I must admit as soon as I heard things like this person has created some wonderful science resources, keeps a number of blogs, has his students create blogs and wikis for sound educational purposes that are recognised all over the world...well you know the drill. I reckon by the first sentence I knew it was John who was the winner. and it's well deserved. So I was very happy to go along and listen and watch him show lots of inspirational examples of how he has used these web 2.0 tools to engage and inspire his students. John very generously provided us all with a CD with many of his resources and ideas. I haven't yet had time to check it out, but it's on my list of things to do. There were a couple of little gems from John that I'd like to share. In explaining RSS feeds John used the analogy of a postman. In 'the olden days' we used to have to go down to the post office to get our mail. (without RSS feeds we have to go to the website, blog or wiki to get any updates.) And then they employed postmen. Now people didn't have to go to the post office. Their mail was delivered to them by the postman. (RSS feeds are the online equivalent to the postman) A cool analogy that is simple and easy to explain to teachers and kids alike.
Another great little gem was when John was talking about online etiquette and safety. He talked about the fact that he always posts the code of practice on the student blogs before they begin their online activities. He said that he used the "grandma rule" which is the idea that students should only post things that they would be happy to have their grandma read. How cute but cleverly in it's simplicity and clarity.
Finally the last gem I'll add here is that John uses RSS feeds for all his students so that he can be informed when students make changes to their blogs. This inspired me to do this with our students wikis. There were lots more fantastic ideas from John...thanks for sharing. Perhaps when I get to the CD I'll be able to add more.