Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cybersafety

As I continue to explore the roles and responsibilities that we have towards our students if we are going to have them use technologies in education, I continue to build up a great list of resources that will be used by teachers, parents and students. The more I explore this issue, the more I realise how important this whole topic is and what a great responsibility teachers and parents have. Here is another link to another great site that helps us to understand this area. This is a page that lists of collection of ideas and sites that discuss the Social, Legal and ethical issues of online learning. http://onlinetools.pbwiki.com/EARCOS+Main+Page

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He's right next door

Tonight as I have been working I have been chatting on Skype at the same time with an amazing young teacher who teaches in another small country school only about 30 minutes drive away from where I teach. Given that there are many times where I look to find other like minded teachers who are using technology in country schools it is so refreshing to see that mrrobbo is close by and is inspirational in the things that he is doing with his students. So tonight I have checked out a wiki that he has created http://h311oe.wikispaces.com/with his Year 12 Outdoor Education class, listened to a podcast interview that he did with a Canadian teacher Rod Lucier of Clever Sheep blog fame and checked out a couple of new sites (for me at least) http://woices.com/ and http://qik.com which both look really interesting when combined with mobile phone technologies. All in all a very inspirational and fascinating chat with a young teacher who is just starting out on his teaching career. I would happily be in his class.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Using twitter to learn more about stereotypes

Our Year 9 students are currently participating in a project with international students from 6 countries called It's a small world. We are asking the students to explore the notion of stereotypes. By making connections with students from 5 schools from 3 other countries, Pakistan, USA, Malaysia and Australia we are hoping that students will be able to break down typical stereotypes by getting to know other students through a ning. We are using two of the Intel Thinking with Technology tools and a wiki to share our thinking.
One of the first tasks for students to do was to rank characteristics according to how they think others view them. Our students were finding this really difficult to do. By pure luck I happened to read a blog post by Tom Barrett about how he had used twitter to ask fellow twitters to share with his students the probability of it snowing in their location.
It gave me an idea.
so on Tuesday morning I sent out a tweet asking for responses to this..

Good morning all. For Yr 9s studying identity . When do you think of Aussies, what characteristics do you think of?










Within 10 minutes we had some fantastic answers from around the world

janenicholls @annieb3525 Being an Aussie I think we are resourceful, blatantly honest and loyal! but I'm uncomfortable describing a ppl group!

middleclassgirl @annieb3525 you could look at comedy where some good st are or go to pictureaustralia.Org and look at one of the pic trails

hopeinhell @annieb3525 hmm.. ok.. easygoing, beer-slurping, binge drinking, bbq-ing, slow-drawling, adventure hunting.. to name a few.. :D

paulrwood I try to learn so much from what I read about Aussies doing. Great folks from a different part of the world. I am in Texas

suzievesper @annieb3525 - I have some negative (but not necessarily the way I think!) Brash, uncouth, racist. Some positive - resourceful, sporty.

paulrwood I am sorry to say that I assoicated so much with the "shrimp on the barbie" commercials. Now my boss of 14 yrs is from Brisbane

lenva @annieb3525 - Aussies = casual and laidback. enjoy outdoors. confident in expressing themselves. not afraid to disagree.

SarahStewart @annieb3525 Brash but fun. Give it a go attitude. Not as sophisticated as some nationalities. Very effective at what you do eg sports...

SarahStewart @annieb3525 ...but a little redneck at times :)


onlineteacher @annieb3525 Tough. Fearless. Individualistic n opinionated. Straightforward. Kinda like way USA was 100 yrs ago *:-) Luv u guys *:-)

Some of the responses certainly got our brains and our mouths moving. Some students took offence at being considered redneck or brash and opinionated. But on the other hand it really made them think about how they also put people into stereotypes and how offensive that might be to them.
So thanks to all who contributed. It really opened the eyes of our students and had added a whole new depth to our understanding.




Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Do you know your Digital Footprint?

As I continue to explore the ideas and importance of developing resources and lessons about Digital Citizenship. I came across this presentation by Dean Shareski. Dean asks us to think about our Google identity. Have you ever googled yourself? He suggests that there are strategies and ways to take control the way we are 'googled'. I wonder how many of us even think about that. I certainly think that it's something that we should be teaching our students. By teaching the about taking control I hope to help them understand that they are should be thinking about what can be known about themselves online. And that if they are careful and clever they actually have a choice about that. And I hope that it will create an awareness of how easily information can be posted that is not desirable or appropriate. It is important that we all take charge of that information as much as we can.
As you listen to Dean's presentation ( there is an audio with the slideshare) , think about your digital footprint. What does it say about you?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Educating them to be safe is better than blocking .

As I work on our new project , Digiteen- exploring what it means to be a digital citizen, I am more and more mindful of the responsibility we have as educators to ensure that our students are empowered to manage the web in a safe and smart way. I find that my daily conversations with students are changing as I watch the sites they visit, the amount of illegal (but innocent) downloading that they do, the way they happily play online for way too much time, the ineffective searching that they do, the 'friends' that they pick up online etc etc. I am also constantly reminded that blocking all but the most offensive and dangerous sites is all but useless . Our kids are too clever for that and their personal and online networks are too strong. Block one site and they will find the next one.
No, I am convinced that it is education that they need. Actually it's what we all need. It's not only kids that do this, I see teachers on a daily basis breaching copyright, overlooking Google searches that are a complete waste of time, looking past clear 'cut and paste' articles presented as a student's own work and telling students to go research a topic with no guidelines or strategy for doing so. And basically having little idea (or is it turning a blind eye?) of safe and secure ways to use the internet.
So it is with some gratification that Julie Lindsay passed on some news that she came across I by US congress where they have passed an update to the Children's Internet Protection Act requiring schools participating in the E-Rate program to educate students regarding appropriate behavior on social networking and chat room sites and about cyberbullying.
Of course we here in Australia are not sitting on our laurels and I'm happy to say that the Victorian DEECD offers some guidelines for schools when working online with students, teachers and parents. The solution I am convinced is in education. But we have a long way to go in ensuring that our teachers, our students and our whole school community are savvy in determining how to be an effective, safe, clever and smart digital citizen.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wikispaces aiming for 250,000 educational wikis


Wikispaces has been aiming for the past two and a half years to achieve their goal of 100,000 educational wikis and they have done it.
And now they have set themselves a new goal of 250,000 educational wikis.
Here is a message that I left on the blog post announcement. Basically as a wikispace user for the past two and a half years, I am very happy with the service and will continue to use wikispaces as my wiki of preference.

We love wikispaces here at Wedderburn College and I can't believe that it was back in June 2006 when I set up my first wiki with wikispaces http://teaching-with-technology.wikispaces.com/ Since then we have used them for portals for classwork http://wedderburnp12.wikispaces.com/classwiki, as digital portfolios for individual students ( all set to private thanks to the generous 100,000 wikis for education initiative, http://rose0001.wikispaces.com/ and as an online repository for sharing and collaborating on a particular topic. http://discoveregypt.wikispaces.com/ http://cleversearching.wikispaces.com/ http://the-games08.wikispaces.com/ I have used a number of other wikis when collaborating with other schools who have chosen to use something different, but wikispaces are by far the easiest, most flexible and best looking IMHO. By the way I love the new skin on the manage page. It looks great. Good luck with the next 250,000.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Giving Students a Voice


Edutopia, supported by the George Lucas Foundation is a great resource for teachers. There is great depth in the site which gives a wide range of resources, lesson plans, videos, links to other blogs as well as blogs within the site.
I came across this rather simple yet powerful idea to give students a voice.

Edutopia.org wants to hear from you about which skills you think your school should teach to help you succeed in life. Kids are experts on the modern digital world, and we think it's time adults listened. Create a video stating your opinion, and submit it by October 15 -- we'll publish our favorites on Edutopia.org.

It's simple -- there are just five steps:

  1. Create a video, no more than one minute long, answering this question:
    "What do you think is the most important skill to learn for your future -- and why?"
    The footage could consist of straightforward talking to the camera, or something more creative.
  2. Introduce yourself with your first name only.
  3. Obtain parental consent for taping and posting on the Internet if you are younger than eighteen years old.
  4. Post the video on YouTube and tag it "edutopiaskills." (Note that YouTube users must be at least thirteen years old.)
  5. Send an email to skills@edutopia.org, telling us your name, age, parental contact information, and hometown, and include a link to the video.

You'll need a (free) YouTube account to do the upload. Find YouTube's instructions for uploading here and for directions for tagging here.

I love the simplicity of it. I think we'll have a go next term with our Year 9/10 students.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Being a good digital citizen

I am in Melbourne at the moment participating in a two day induction program with 20 other teacher participants. We have all been selected to do a range of projects around web2.0 Collaborative learning and research. The streams of interest are around social networking or streaming media. How exciting it is to be at the cutting edge. A day of listening to what others are planning is a great way to get the juices flowing.
I want to explore the responsibilities of young people when they interact with technology. I want my students to explore how they can make a difference to themselves and others by learning more and by teaching others. I also want them to interact with other students to hopefully recognise what it is that they all have in common regarding their use of technology.
Our Grade 5/6 students at Wedderburn have recently joined up with SuperclubPlus which provides very clear guidelines and expectations for students when they are online. They receive immediate feedback if they break the rules.
In planning for this project I have been emailing Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay who have already been working in this area with their students. Julie and Vicki have established a Digiteen ning and a Digiteen wiki . Their ideas and the online resources that they have created are a source of amazing ideas and thinking. I have also come across this wiki created by many like minded teachers who are committed to educating and empowering students who use the internet rather than sticking our heads in the sand, blocking sites and jumping on the alarmist bandwagon that so often follows these issues. Let's empower our students and be proactive in educating our students and their parents how to be good digital citizens. Can't wait to get started.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One Laptop per child - 21st Century skills

I have been exploring more about 21st Century skills as I set up a new project for our students that has been funded by the Innovation Next Practice Division with DEECD. My project will involve students exploring their roles and responsibilities as global citizens. Through the use of a ning and a wiki I hope to help students to understand how we all have a responsibility to be aware and respond to global issues. I also want them to understand the role the internet plays in this scenario and that we can't use distance and time as excuses for not being involved.
My research led me to a brilliant site called The Partnership For 21st Century Skills that advocates embedding 21st Century skills into education. This is the type of site you revisit again and again and I will be using it as a catalyst for many a conversation with my students. I also found a really powerful video on this site that discusses the One Child Per Laptop (OLPC) project which aims to revolutionise the access for the poorest kids in the world by providing them with a robust, cheap, low powered laptop to use in their education. Although mighty impressive and an amazing project, what really struck me was this associated video of Professor Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of the One Laptop Per Child that gives a very short explanation about the vision of OCPC. What struck me was that Professor Negroponte talks not about the laptops themselves but about what sort of thinking and creating he envisions that the children would do as a result of having access to this technology. It reminded me of why we need to be constantly asking ourselves why we have our students work with technology and what we want them to think, do, know and understand as a result.
I plan to show this video to the teachers here at Wedderburn in the hope that it generates some discussion about what, why and how we use information technology in our classrooms.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wordle-ing with the Olympics



Sometimes I delay writing in this blog because I want to spend time thinking and reflecting before I write. But the upshot of that I that I don't write as often as I should. So in the interests of getting something posted that might be of use to someone else, here is a little activity that I did with Grade 3/4 students using Wordle. They loved it and the teachers thought it was pretty cool too.
This is how we did it.

To start off our activity we are going to brainstorm all the words we can think of that remind us of the Olympics. I am going to write them into a word document and show in on the Interactive whiteboard as the students are brainstorming. Once we have lots of words we are going to save the document into a shared folder on the server so that everyone in the class can open it up and save it as their own.

Once everyone has the document in front of them they are each going to copy and duplicate words that are related to the country they are studying and add them to their Olympics brainstorm list

Then we are going to do something really cool with it. Everyone is going to use Wordle to create their own word clouds that shows the way they have changed words to reflect their country. The more times they duplicate their countries words, the more their words will increase in size.

Then we are going to use Ifranview to grab a screen print of it, resize it and then upload it to this blog.

We hope you enjoy the wordles.

To see more check out our burnersblog and our Grade 3/4 wiki.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

An Olympic day in a Sentence


Well after another exciting day of Phelps breaking all sorts of records, the Aussie girls winning the 4x 100 medley gold relay and Romania's 38 year old Constantina Tomescu winning the womens marathon, here are the Love it or hate Olympics Day in a Sentences for this week


Janet and her Grade 6 students from Ballarat said
"Ozzies love your magnificent participation in competitive games, actively modelling excellent sportsmanship."

Daniel Drury said
It was nice to view the men’s cycling on Sunday. Great scenery with reasonable visibility. All the competitors did a fantastic job in that environment.

From Blogger in the middle earth,
Today I have a headache,
my eyeballs hurt a bit,
for all the things I did at the TV where I sit -
so if you wish to speak with me
the only thing I bid
is drop your voice a wee,
and keep it simple stupid.


Kathryn Greenhill wrote
Is money being spent on circuses when worldwide people need bread, so ignored it.


From Lucy
It's the athletes with the golden hearts, not necessarily the gold medals that I love most about the Olympics.

Matthew said
As I return to work Monday at two new schools I'm hoping for at least a bronze in filing, desk setting up, and meeting people.

From
dkzody
I am cheering for Michael Phelp's mom. No one ever gives credit to the parents of these amazing athletes, and you know they have made major sacrifices for their kid to get to this point.

Hayley wrote
Hi Mrs Baird, my name is Hayley and I am 7 years old and this is my sentence: The Olympics are important to me because I know that athletes are kind and caring and show great sportsmanship and they are qualities that I want to have too!!!

Amy Pyle shared a sentence and a picture

Hiking bluff and river trails, admiring the scenery and enjoying the beautiful weather was capped each night watching the Olympics back at the lodge.







Bonnie K said
I am glued to my TV screen as Michael Phelps swims for gold after gold, making it look second nature. I can imagine what he and the young athletes have given up for this chance; what passion and dedication! In my reality, this week has been filled with stimulating work with teachers and computers and finished with a great new Woody Allen movie, Vicky Christina Barcelona. Thumbs up!

Murcha wrote
My sons have finally arrived in Beijing for the Olympic games, after a trans-Siberian train ride from Russia, where on route they were in Mongolia when Mongolia won their first ever gold medal and they witnessed the celebrations, the sheer sense of pride and bonding of a country and its citizens, that the Olympic games can bring.

And finally my sentence for the week
Why does it take the Olympics for us to knock down walls between countries, cheer for our own athletes and barrack for the underdog?






Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympics: Love it or Hate it, we can't ignore it-aka A Day in a Sentence

The Olympics is probably on the mind of most of us at the moment.
We might be teachers using this opportunity for our students to do a little bit of real maths, or google geography, or civics and citizenship or just a bit of fun keeping track of how our country is going. Perhaps on the other hand you are trying to avoid it all by spending more time outside in the beautiful weather if you live in the northern hemisphere or staying by the heater and reading a good book to avoid the freezing cold weather if you live in the southern hemisphere.

Perhaps you are a sports junkie and you are struggling to stay awake each day if watching it overnight (again it will depend where you live) or perhaps during the day you are finding all sorts of reasons to wander past the tv or stream it live on your computer or iphone. Either way the Olympics have given me a theme for our Day in a Sentence for this week.
Let's call it Olympics, Love it or Hate it, we can't ignore it.

It is my privilege to host Kevin's ( of Kevin's Meandering Mind fame ) A Day in a Sentence for this week. Kevin is on holidays on a beach somewhere I think. And so a few readers of his blog have been volunteering over the past few weeks to keep the Day in a Sentence process going via our own blogs.
Check here for the archives of all Kevin's Day in a Sentence.

So my challenge to you is to come up with a sentence that encompasses your Olympics 2008 experience. Love it or hate it, it's a bit hard to ignore so why not embrace it.

Write it in the comments section of this post or send it to me at annieb3525 (at) gmail.com. On Sunday I will collate them and post them all for you to see. Feel free to send any images that demonstrate your thoughts and ideas to my email and I will add them as well.

I can't wait to read your thoughts.





Sunday, August 10, 2008

Working with Nings

This semester I have decided to try something completely different with Year 9/10 IT elective class. I want my students to consider how their world is influenced and is changing due to the internet and in particular Web 2.

Using curriculum framing questions as our guide, I have posed the questions

How is our world changing? as our essential question.
Then as our unit questions I have asked
How does the internet influence our lives?
Why do so many people now share their lives on the internet?
How do people share on the internet?
How can we ensure that our online safety and reputation is not compromised or damaged?
and as our content questions I have asked the students to answer
What does the term Web2.0 refer to?
What are data mashups?
What are blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, social networks, video sharing sites?
What is an online profile?
What is cybersafety and cyberbullying?

While they are exploring these answers they will be using web2 tools such as a wiki to share their resources, their own blog to reflect on their own and each other's learning, a ning to communication and collaborate with each other and many other online tools to demonstrate their learning.
It's only early days and this is a journey that we will all be undertaking together.

I have already enlisted a class from a neighbouring school who will be joining us this week and we would love others to join us. So if you have a class of 14, 15, 16 year olds who are interested in joining us on a journey of discovery please email me or comment to this post and I will send you an invite to our ning and our wiki. As teachers we can also collaborate in the projects and activities that we will have students undertake.

Wiki http://web2teen.wikispaces.com/

Ning http://web2teen.ning.com/ Because this is a ning for Year 9/10 students at this stage I have made the settings private so you will need to email or ask via the comments on this post to ask for an invitation.




Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Whiteboard Challenge

Twitter once again has come to the fore (well it's not really Twitter it's the people who use it) with a connection to a great idea created by 6 very innovative teachers. In this Whiteboard challenge they call themselves the Task Masters. A great name. Meet Jess , Danny, Ben, Lauren, Chris and Tom. Check them all out here.
What they have come up with is a challenge for those who have interactive whiteboards in their classroom. Each week you take up a challenge created by one of the task masters and then write about it in a blog post on the wiki. Check out Danny's challenge number 2 which is whiteboard cloning. They are encouraging you to write, video, podcast, draw, show your learning in pretty much any way you can.
It doesn't matter which whiteboard you have in your school or classroom. It's about the teaching and learning that can be achieved with it.
So why not sign up. Make a commitment to spend a few minutes a week for the next few weeks, have some fun and learn lots more.
I am.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reflections on Blogging

Last night I participated in my regular Sunday night discussion , Oz/Nz teachers with around 35 teachers mostly from Australia and with a smattering of educators from around the world. I was a little late to the discussion last night and when I entered the meeting the discussion was centred around the role of the teacher, eLearning and the changes that are occurring due to the way we see the integration of technology. The discussion had arisen I think from a post that Lauren o'Grady had written where in part she questioned the role of the teacher in the classroom. In her post Lauren suggested that the term eLearning is or should become redundant.
What I took away from the conversation was that the fundamental thing we are on about is creating opportunities for powerful learning in the classroom and that the relationship between teacher and her students should be one of mutual respect.

I posted a comment to her blog .

I think that the most important thing/issue/idea that you raise in this post Lauren is that you begin with the most important outcome in mind and that is powerful learning. If we begin with the end in mind then the use or the embedding of technology into the learning falls into place. If we recognise how students learn best, if we ask them what and how they want to learn, if we encourage them to demonstrate their learning in different ways then the “problem” of using technology should go away. The change that is required is not so much using technology but it’s in the way we teach. It requires a real shift, a letting go of the power in the classroom and a change in the expectations of what students can and should achieve. This is not about making things easier for our kids. I believe it’s actually about raising the bar even higher. Perhaps the question is not whether we are raising the bar for our students but whether we are raising the bar for our teachers.

But what I really want to talk about is what I am listening at the moment which reinforces everything that we discussed last night. I am listening to a wonderful conversation between Sue and her students. Sue is an English teacher in Melbourne Australia. I haven't actually met Sue in real life and know her as sukojat which is her online moniker. Sukojat is very well known in the online education world and is doing some amazing things online. She has established the Oz/Nz meeting that I love to attend each Sunday night. From humble beginnings another meeting is now taking place via Elluminate on Tuesday nights so it's growing in leaps and bounds. Sue has also established a ning for the OZ/NZ educators group and a focal point for discussions and links to our regular group meetings.

But again I digress because this is what I really want to say.

Tonight Sue tweeted that she was posting her first podcast ever on her blog. It was a conversation with her students about their experiences with blogging in their English class.
Of course I couldn't help myself. I had to have a listen and I'm so glad I did.

What I heard between Sue and her students were echoes from last night's conversation with the Oz/Nz teachers group.

What I heard in Sue's podcast, was a real conversation between a teacher and her students where there was equal value given to both the teacher and her students opinions and experiences.
I heard students being able to say what they thought without fear or favour.
I heard a teacher sharing her thoughts about her own practice with her students.
I heard students reflecting on their own work and their feelings about that work
I heard a teacher asking for valid suggestions and opinions about where they should go next.
I heard students asking questions and reflecting about the process of blogging and why they would do it
I heard a teacher and students laughing, sounding relaxed and enjoying themselves
I heard a teacher skillfully probing and encouraging more thinking and reflection
I heard a teacher who clearly knew her students well and who knew a little about them beyond the classroom.

What I didn't hear was a teacher telling students what they have to think and do
What I didn't hear was students saying what they thought the teacher wanted them to say.
What I didn't hear was students who sounded bored and uninterested.

From this short podcast I could tell that Sue is clearly a highly skilled teacher who has created a professional and personal relationship with her students. I could tell from their conversation that there is some very powerful learning here.
Congratulations Sue. I would love to be in your classroom.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Do kids prefer to read online?

As I prepare to begin our new computer club with SuperClubs Plus tomorrow lunchtime, I came across a post by Will Richardson on his weblogged blog who pondered whether kids who read online are actually reading.  Arising from an article in the New York Times called  Literacy Debate: R U really Reading  it raises the question whether young people are reading effectively when interacting with text online. Will asks whether we should be teaching how to read online. My  feeling is a whole hearted Yes! It's about opening up the key to a different way of reading, a different way of comprehending, a different way of interacting with text and other digital media.
If nothing else it has made me think about what and how I read on the internet. Is it different to the way I read narrative or factual text for example? I think it is and it's started some thinking that I want to explore more.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What does it take to join the Web2.0 education community ?

On Friday night, I spent about three hours with a teacher from a neighbouring school who asked me to help her set up a class blog and individual blogs for her students. I feel really excited for her as she walked away feeling on top of the moon and so excited about the possibilities. It made me think about what it was that made the encounter so successful and why I think that she will continue with her students on this exciting and new journey.

Here are the reasons why I think it worked.
1. Consider firstly what you want to achieve.
When Susan contacted me to help her we first had an email conversation and discussed what she wanted to achieve with her students. Initially it was for her students to publish their poetry. She wanted them to have an audience and to feel that they were doing more with their poetry than just writing them for themselves and their teacher.
2. Consider what is available on the web to achieve that goal.
We discussed the different tools she might use and I shared with her my thoughts about some simple tools that she might use.
If she wanted her students to create a website where they could all write and publish to the one space with equal publishing rights; where she and the students could see what each person contributed; where all entires were date stamped; where others could contribute via a forum or discussion, then she might choose a wiki.
If she wanted the students to be a bit more reflective; write in a more linear way; have others comment to a particular entry or post, the she might choose a blog.
If she wanted each student to have their own page, have students join interest groups within a safe environment, create forums for discussion then she might choose a ning.
3. Check out other examples.
In the week before we got together I sent Susan some examples of how I have used blogs and wikis (didn't consider nings at this point) and also a few other examples of great blogs and wikis that I have seem recently so that she could be a little more informed about the way they are being used all over the world . I tried to make sure that the ones I sent her were active and really good educationally sound example. Personally I want to set the bar high and try to encourage educators to not only think about using online tools but ensure that in their design they are challenging our students to use higher order thinking skills and skills that we know they will have to have to function in the 21stC.

4. Consider what network you want to use.
I suggested to Susan that she use Global Teacher for her own blog and Global Student for her class and student blogs. Mainly because this network is the research brain child of the Victorian Education Channel and the School Libarary Association of Victoria. They manage and provide quality online resources for Victorian teachers and students. This environment has been created to provide a supported online environment, or digital playground, for teachers to explore weblogging and then introduce it to their students.
It's a fantastic environment for teachers just starting out on the blogging journey as there is a great support network as well as excellent examples of how teachers and students are creating and publishing through their blogs.

5. Consider how you are going to set up a support network and learn how to create and manage your project.
Susan settled on creating a class blog and individual blogs for her students as they suited the purpose of the activity. So we sat down together and worked through the process by firstly setting up a class blog in and one student blog.
In our three hours these are some of the things we did:
She wrote one post on the class blog
she changed the design
we added one comment so that she could experience the moderation of comments
we added a couple of widgets to the class blog
we talked about what she does as an administrator and made a decision about the settings for the students. She decided on contributors at this stage.

She is now going to set up her class using the user and blog creator.

6. Consider how you are going to remain active
Susan has also decided to set up her own personal blog in globalteachers and we talked about what she would do with that blog. She wants to be able to reflect and discuss with colleagues her teaching experiences as she is in a small school and the only Grade 5/6 teacher. She is so excited about is all and I feel certain that she is going to ‘fly’.
She is looking at it from the point of view of her students and her own professional practice.

While we worked together over the three hours we also talked about and visited a few other places on the web that would help her in her professional journey.
I shared with her the tools that I now use in my daily professional life that keep me informed and connected in such a powerful way.
Twitter, nings, (Classroom 2.0 is a great place to start) RSS feeds, wikis, (I love wikispaces for teachers) teachertube, Diigo, vokis, Animoto education are but a few of the places she is going to hopefully visit and learn from over the next few weeks

I have been actively working and learning in this environment since around 2007 and I still get really excited about all the possibilities and connections that I make every day I came away from our meeting feeling very excited for her.
I think she has caught the bug :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tonight I read a wonderful post by Steve Hargadon titled Web is the Future of Education.
He says..
I believe that the read/write Web, or what we are calling Web 2.0, will culturally, socially, intellectually, and politically have a greater impact than the advent of the printing press. I believe that we cannot even begin to imagine the changes that are going to take place as the two-way nature of the Internet begins to flower, and that even those of us who have spent time imagining this future will be astounded by what happens.

Steve discusses what he thinks are 10 trends in that regard that he thinks are particularly pertinent to education. I won't list them here because simply listing them wouldn't do them justice and you really need to read them in context.

Finally he suggests 7 steps that educators might learn more
they are: (with my comments in blue)
Learn About Web 2.0-
if you don't understand it and don't know where to start then start somewhere. join a ning, read a blog, join twitter, do something each day on the web that is part of education


Lurk-
spend some time but don't necessarily respond or comment. There is nothing wrong with just reading and looking

Participate - once you have checked out a few blogs or nings or whatever you choose to look at, have a go at participating. Post a comment, ask a question, help someone out with an idea. Remember we are all learning together.

Digest This Thought- if there is content overload, the produce more content. This works for me. I know that the more I interact with content on the web and then react or create more, the more successful I am in coping with the overload of content and ideas there are.

Teach Content Production - for me, as an educator I should be empowering my students to think and produce on the web. Doing so encourages and fosters thinking. But I have to teach how to do it, it won't just happen and/or there is a danger of too much superficiality

Make Education a Public Discussion-
we have to open up the conversation more, by posting more, by producing more, by teaching more, I hope we open up more opportunities for those who are stakeholders to talk, learn and discuss education

Help Build the New Playbook . This to me is the most powerful suggestion. We are in a position to actually teach here. This is not only about collaboration and communicating. There are opportunities here for deep discussions with our students, for challenging them to think, design, create and learn through others . It's about asking the right questions, creating the right opportunities, learning the right skills.


I couldn't resist leaving a comment and while the comment doesn't reflect my thoughts above, it adds a little more to the overall thought process I think.
---------------
Hi Steve, I see that there is a wide range of opinions and responses to your post and that is exactly what you asked for, so I hope you are enjoying the conversation. 33 comments is pretty cool. I'm thrilled when I get 5 ;) But I digress. I think I fall somewhere in the middle of those who are sceptical and those who are wildly enthusiastic. I am an eLearning coach in a school and the majority of my work is creating opportunities and supporting teachers to enhance teaching and the learning with technology. Because I see real power in the engagement factor and the collaboration opportunities of Web2, I most often suggest learning projects that use web2 in some way. And I love every opportunity to do so. But we have a long way to go. I would say that in my school there are only one or two teachers who are actively using web2 tools and only one that I am aware of that is seeking collaborations and learning opportunities with other schools independently from my support. I have learned to be patient and to enjoy the small steps that I witness. It's a real dichotomy. Here we have this rapidly expanding web2 and its associated applications in education that seem to change and evolve overnight. And yet in many (most) of our schools it's baby steps that will take years.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Twitter & microblogging

Last night I decided to clean up my blog a little and give it some attention that it dearly needed. I spent a few productive hours and I'm pretty happy with the results. But much of it was just 'busy stuff, being productive but not a lot of thinking or learning. So what kept me amused and what probably made a job that should have taken one hour stretch out to three was all the Twitter tweets that came through via twhirl as I was working. Many of them lead me to another site or a blog or a bookmark that interested me.
Twitter is kinda like blogging but not. Some people use it to say what they are up to at that particular moment, others use it to say what they are reading or viewing, others use it to start conversations or ask questions. It can be referred to as microblogging. Twitter is as powerful and as useful (or intrusive) as you choose to make it. Check out some ways that Laura Milligan suggests that we educators could use twitter with our colleagues or students.
25 Twitter Tips for College Students.
You might also like to check out sirexkat's Adventures in Microblogging which she created in flowgram. Very interesting summing up of lots of different ways to microblog but at this stage I think I'll stick with Twitter. :)
PS Flowgram is still in beta, but you can request to try it out.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Learning sometimes comes unexpectedly

Last night was one of those unpredictable amazing events that came from one idea and ended up in the most amazing evening. It started as it so often does these days from a Twitter tweet which alerted me to a session called The Flat classrooms workshop that was being streamed live on UStream in St Louis in the US. The session was being run by Vicki Davis, coolcatteacher and Julie Lindsay, 123learning and I and about 30 others just happened to log in as they were about to begin their first morning session. Being able to watch and listen to their introductions and their plans for the two day workshop was fantastic. At one stage they skyped in Darren Kuropatwa a renowned maths teacher in Canada who does some amazing work with his students and blogging. But what was even more powerful was the back channel chat that was going on at the same time on Chatzy. Julie and Vicki used this chat to add to and discuss issues and ideas with the real life group and they also continued to chat and share with us online. Two hours later I finally dragged myself off to bed at 1.00am having spent two great hours watching and listening and most importantly learning. Here are a couple of cool links that came out of the chat that I will certainly be returning to.
The Education vodcasting site is a site run by two science teachers who create vodcast lectures for their students. This means that effectively they turn their classes on its head by sending the students away with the lectures to listen to and when in class the students spend time with the teachers on more practical experiments and ideas.

Susan Morgan shared her school website which lists fabulous examples of teachers using Web2 in the classroom http://www.fredericksburgacademy.org/page.cfm?p=1212

smadlliinger shared a polling site that can be used with mobile phones to create and complete polls online http://www.polleverywhere.com

Martha Bogart shared her site on Videoconferencing http://www2.csd.org/newlinks/newlinks.htm
and there were so many more but I lost track.

Sometimes it takes no more than an internet connection, a few hours spare time, a comfy chair in a cosy lounge room to experience some pretty powerful professional development.

Monday, July 07, 2008

How do we keep up with the learning

I've just been reading an article, Fast Learners in the Information Age that was posted to Twitter from one of my twitter friends. The article discusses changes that are taking place in Australian workforce in terms of the way we learn and collaborate with each other. The use of online applications particularly those that could fit under the umbrella of social networking are being considered in some sectors as almost essential tools for those groups that manage and train vast numbers of personnel. Unfortunately in the education sector, I don't think we are up to that stage yet although I think we should be. The percentage of teachers who maintain a sense of professional development via the web is increasing but sadly I don't believe that it's at the tipping point yet. A lot more work has to be done in terms of recognising the power and potential of these tools not so much at the change management level but at the practitioner level, the teacher level. Until that happens, I think all we can do is continue to sing the praises, the advantages, the power of this environment to our colleagues and hopefully that will contribute in some small way to the change that has to happen. For me the power of learning and improving my own professional practice comes through the use of social networking communities and tools such as Twitter, blogs, wiki, Ning, Diigo and so many more. But it takes a certain enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and faith in its value to keep participating, working and learning in and from this environment. I have no doubt that as time goes on we will embrace the power of this more and more. It's up to us who are immersed in it to continue to sing it's praises and spread the word.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A safe site for kids

It is the first week of school holidays in Victoria at the moment and I should be lying on a beach somewhere warm or at the very least taking it easy on my couch at home watching Family Guy.
Instead I am filling in some time before 12 midnight when I meet with a group of other interested educators who are training to be mediators for SuperClubsPlus au.
SCP is a website designed especially for kids between the ages of 6 and 12. Kids can create their own home pages, participate in online forums, join webrings and email other members. To me it's very much like a kids version of a ning. A social networking site for kids.
But what makes this more effective than others? Well what is unique about this site is that whenever the site is open, it is always managed by a trained mediator. "All communication between members is filtered automatically to prevent inappropriate language and content, cyberbullying, unwanted flirting and grooming. "
All communications are also monitored by teachers and by highly-skilled, professional mediators. who supervise every email, every forum post, every image upload to ensure that it is appropriate and safe. Students are only able to join through a school so their identity is validated to ensure that there is no chance of an older person impersonating a child.
Check out what some teachers who are already using it say, http://www.superclubsplus.com.au/i/teacherssay
Tonight I'm looking forward to seeing and watching what students are doing in the UK when they are online.
Should be fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Studio 52- real life learning and it's fun

This evening as I sit here at the end of a really fabulous day spent with 5 teachers and 24 students from two country schools in North West Victoria I'm seeing something pretty amazing. These students have been chosen to come to Studio 52 in Collingwood Melbourne to record their own CD. Studio 52 is a real recording studio and the kids have been working with sound engineers and graphic artists to record and mix their music and then design and create their compilation of eclectic songs. Some are covers, some are original songs. Some students are beatboxing, others are playing in a 5 guitar ensemble, still others are playing bass and electric guitars with drums and singer. And some are pianists and soloists. What brings them all together is firstly Koolskools, the project that allows young people to record and produce their own music and participate in a state wide competion to find the best young performers and writers in the state. Also shared is an interest in music, in express themselves through songwriting and performance in some pretty cool and diverse ways and a shared goal of having their music published.
As I sit here at 11.00pm in the common room of the back packer hotel that we are staying in, I see a teacher from another school teaching a student from our school how to distort sound on an electric guitar, three girls practising their vocals for their track tomorrow, one teacher writing on her laptop, three boys playing their guitars practising their parts for their track tomorrow, two girls practising on their keyboards and generally having fun playing any song they can think of and other students sitting back enjoying the sound.
I am so thrilled to see some of our students who struggle at school in the mainstream context finding a way to impress and express their thoughts and ideas. We have one student who is an exceptionally talented beatbox artist. This afternoon at the studio he began to lay down his track and in the little recording Studio B there was myself, his music teacher and one other mate. At the end of two takes the studio had filled to capacity as other students heard or were told of something pretty amazing happening in the studio. When he came out of the recording booth he was greeted with clapping and congrats from students from both schools who may not have been beatbox fans but who recognised an awesome talent. I truly hope that one day our beatboxer will look back on these two days and recognise the wonderful opportunity he has had. But more importantly I hope he remembers the recognition by his peers of his talent and unique ability and dedication to his craft.

Monday, June 16, 2008

more on Cyber safety

, I have written a few posts of late on the issue of cybersafety. Di, one of the participants in the Intel Thinking with Technology course that I am running pointed out this amazing site from the UK. It would have to be one of the most comprehensive sites I have seen on the subject of cybersafety, social networking and cyberbullying. As a teacher of students who are have a presence online the challenge for me is to stay abreast of what is out there as well as empower students with strategies that they can use themselves. This site warrents far more exploration and I hope to do more of that over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Scratch-learning about programming

For the last few weeks my Year 8 students have been creating their own animations using Pivot Stickman, a very simple freely available animation software. They have created some really cool little animations. I'm going to up load some of them to this blog over the next few days to showcase them. Now it's time to move on and to me it seemed a logical step to introduce Scratch. Now I'm guessing that the purists will probably say that Scratch is not truly a programming language and I am willing to admit that I have such little idea of programming that I couldn't explain it or defend it at all. But to me and my students that doesn't matter. What does matter is exposing my students to a new learning experience that offers a way to manipulate, create, design and compute. According to the website Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art . Yesterday in my Year 8 IT class we began our journey with Scratch. I'm really excited to see what they will achieve. At this stage we are in the 'sandpit' just playing around with it discovering just what it can do. Over the next few weeks we will use some of the tutorials that have been uploaded to Teachertube and we'll also look at many of the examples that are on the official Scratch website. Can't wait.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beautiful images in Tag galaxy

Today as I continue to work with the teachers in my Intel course, one of the participants came across this beautiful site. Called Tag Galaxy, it is visually stunning and beautifully dynamic. It is a way to search for images and then to narrow the search by choosing categories that appear on the screen. The more planets(tags) you click the more you narrow your search. You do have to have a flickr account to actually get the images and of course if that is the case then you need to at the very minimum ask permission. These screen grabs don't do it justice. You HAVE to go and look at it. It's stunning.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dvolver- another new toy.

On reading the blog of 'cyberspaced' called A teacher's adventures in Cyberspace I came across this interesting little tool. Called the Dvolver it allows the user to create a little animated movie. Hmm, not sure how I would use this but I see that cyberspaced is going to try it with his Year 9 science class. Can't wait to see the results. On the site it says Dvolver creates creativity widgets - software that enables people to creatively communicate using internet technologies.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Intel Education- it never ceases to amaze me

I should declare before I write this post that I am an Intel Teach Senior Trainer with the Dept of Ed, Victoria. I obviously teach in my school most of the year but every now and then (about 3 times a year) I train teachers in either the Intel Teach Thinking with Technology course or the Intel Teach Essentials course. Both courses focus on supporting the understanding of sound pedagogy, the use of Curriculum Framing Questions and higher order thinking and embedding ICT into the curriculum. Today I began another course, this time in Warragul with 17 teachers from the Catholic Education Office.
I always love to run these courses. What do I get from it? Well first and foremost it is such a pleasure to see the development and understanding that evolves over the 5 days. There is always a range of ages, experiences, schools, teaching specialties and interest with every group that I train. It never ceases to amaze me how much this course challenges fellow teachers in such a way that they are often feeling pretty uncomfortable and unsure by the end of day 1. I couldn't count how many times I said today, "Don't worry, everyone feels this way, it usually falls into place by Wednesday". But what also pleases me is that we teachers continue to challenge ourselves. We somehow cope with these feelings of inadequacy and unsuredness with a willingness to keep going. I know that by the end of the 5 days we will have 17 fantastic units of work to be shared with others as well as 17 Master Trainers who will go back to their school ready to train another 10 teachers in their school. Isn't life grand.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Working in Ancient Egypt

Every now and then when you get to the end of the day and you ask yourself, what did I achieve today, there is a feeling of quiet satisfaction that you might have actually made a difference. Today was one of those days when I feel like I actually might have made a difference to a fellow teacher's practice. I have been working in the classroom with her for the past two weeks. Her students are working on a Humanities unit and are studying Ancient Egypt. Her original plan was to have the students present their ideas in the traditional project format. You know the one, where they create slabs of text, find pictures on the internet or in a text book and paste it all prettily on a large sheet of cardboard. Not terribly inspiring and somewhat dangerous...I smell slabs of text pasted from the internet in the air.
But a couple of days ago I suggested that perhaps we could come up with another way for the students to gather and present their understandings. And so was born the discoveregypt wiki. Today I sat with her and we worked on developing this new wiki which will see the students work in cooperative groups to gather and present information and ideas around their understandings of Ancient Egypt. I am quietly hopeful that this new idea will ensure a higher level of thinking, of expectation and of collaboration. It's very early days and the students haven't really started working on it yet but over the next 6 weeks or so I hope we will create something that is engaging, valuable and interesting.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blogging letter to parents

This week I have been spending quite a bit of time preparing a class blog and individual blogs for students in Grade 3/4. I have also been trying to get my head around Wordpress. I have avoided it up until now as in the past every time I tried to set something up I would run into problems. But this time I was determined to beat it as I expect that we will be using edublogs, learnerblog, globalteacher and globalstudent for blogging when all Victorian schools sign up for the Ultranet. I'm happy to say I think I'm getting there. But what was very helpful was a link that my colleague Anne Mirtschin sent to me as well as some very helpful twittering from ictguy.
Click on this link to get a very useful pdf tutorial on Edublogs which used Wordpress. The next step was to compose a letter to our parents to explain the process and ensure that they understand and are comfortable with their students entering the blogging world. Here are some examples that budtheteacher has posted to his wiki . Check out all the other samples and ideas that he has. Well worth a few hours exploration.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Global teacher and global student

Over the weekend I have been creating a new blogging site for our students in Grade 3/4. The decision about which site to choose was tricky. I wanted a site that would be safe and educationally sound and easily managed as I would be encouraging young students to blog. I was thinking of 21 classes as it was recommended to me by an American colleague. I investigated it and while it was certainly educationally sound I felt that I was going to take quite a while to work out how to set it all up. Then an Aussie colleague suggested using Global students. This is a research site conducted by the The Victorian Education Channel (DE&T Victoria) and The School Library Association of Victoria. It offers lots of support and connections to other teachers and their students. It also offers a specific blog where teachers can add blog posts to showcase what they are doing with their students.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Talking with the EdtechCrew

A couple of nights ago I had the enormous pleasure of taking part in a podcast created by the EdTech Crew. The 'crew' is composed of an old friend whom I have known for probably the last 10 years. Darrel Branson, or ictguy as he is known in the Web2.0 world is a highly accomplished educator who works with a range of primary and secondary schools in Mildura, a thriving city in northern Victoria. Darrel is one of those quiet, unassuming, wonderful people who is always there to give a helping hand when you just can't work something out. His presence on the web is increasing at an exponential rate and lately I seem to see his name appearing in so many contexts in the online education community . Every week Darrel and his partner in crime Tony Richards from itmadesimple.com produce a very professional yet typically Aussie podcast called EdTechcrew . I say typically Aussie because the 'flavour' is relaxed and conversational which is the type of podcast I enjoy. And professional because there are always follow ups and lots of links and helpful information from each podcast that is produced. Anyway as a guest on their show, I talked about the way we are using wikis at Wedderburn. Although a little nerve wracking initially after a while, it felt like just any other conversation that Darrel and I have had over the years. If you have to make a choice about the number of podcasts you subscribe to then, IMHO, Edtechcrew should be up there in the top 3.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

a new twist on 1001 nights


As I have been preparing for my presentation on using wikis in the classroom tomorrow I am continually amazed by the thinking, creating and imagination that is already present on the web via wikis. For example, The 1001 Tales wiki is a collaboration between schools from Canada, US and Australia. Students are encouraged to write and publish a story of their world. They are also expected to peer review each other's stories .
What a wonderful way to value and recognise the work of young people.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Horizon Project


This Wednesday I am driving to Edenhope (3hrs drive) to present to teachers in the area on ways to use wikis. A cluster wide conference it focuses on ways to use Web2.0 applications in the classroom. Presenters are talking about ways to use blogs, podcasts and global projects. I plan to not only talk about the way we use wikis at Wedderburn but also to showcase some amazing wikis that are being created by students and teachers from all over the world. One in particular which is an outstanding example is The Horizon Project. I have volunteered to be a judge this year. I basically thought what better way to get to know more about the project than to actually be involved in it. Check it out here. Can't wait to get started. http://horizonproject2008.wikispaces.com/Instructions

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Intel Education- a one stop shop for teachers.


In addition to being a teacher at Wedderburn College I am also a Senior Trainer with Intel Education Australia. Recently I had to update my training with Intel and am completing an online Essentials course. This is a new innovation from Intel and is an upgrade to the original face to face course. The original course is five days long and therefore problematic to many schools in that it can be difficult to cover the absence of a teacher for that length of time. It is however a great opportunity for teachers to be able to devote an extended amount of time to creating a unit of work that incorporates higher order thinking and the use of ICT. This new course provides the same level of professional development but with less face to face time. This is done through the use of a dedicated website where the participants can write, upload and share the units of work that they create. Web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis are used in the training. The trainer supports this learning through regular blog posts; encouraging messages posted directly onto the participants website and feedback as the participants works through the course. The participants do two days face to face where they have the opportunity to meet with other members of the group and then over the next 8 weeks they complete their unit of work. All through the course they are encouraged to share and support each other. One of the things that I really enjoy about working with the Intel team is the sense of collaboration and sharing. The website has a wealth of ideas and information for educators to use with other teachers and with their students. And it's all for free. There are many many units of work for teachers to use, many links and ideas around assessment and higher order thinking to name but a few of the sections. Each time I revisit this site (and I do go to it often) I am amazed at what is there and how substantial the website is. It could truly be called a one stop shop for teachers. It's worth a night of exploring to see just what is there.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Back to the blogging

It has been nearly two months since I have posted a message on my blog. This being a space where I post thoughts and ideas about my teaching, I thought it acceptable to take some time from blogging while I took some long service leave to arrange my daughter's wedding. This took place on March 22nd 2008. The experience reminded me about what is important in life. It was a wonderful opportunity to take some very special time to devote all of my energies to my family and in particular my daughter Hannah. It turned out to be the most magical day and we had the most wonderful time.
be But now I'm back at school and back to blogging. The next post willabout teaching and learning as usual.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Digital Portfolios and wikis

I have talked about the versatility of wikis in many of my posts and have often blogged about how we have been using them here at school as a portal for classroom lessons, for digital portfolios, for online projects and for information gathering and collecting.
Last year we trialled having our students in Year 7 & 8 create their digital portfolio using a personal wiki. This has worked really well and this year we are continuing to process with students in Years 7-10.
Now this week we have taken our wiki digital portfolio program one step further by requiring our teachers to create their own wiki as a personal digital portfolio. This is part of their Performance and Development process. This involves teachers reflecting on their professional practice, setting goals for themselves while working in a collaborative and supportive team environment. Our teachers here at Wedderburn College each belong to a P&D team each lead by a leading teacher in the school. Once a term they meet to share with their team their goals for the term and their professional development plans. We thought that this year we would have teachers put these ideas into their own wikifolio which would be structured in the same way as the students are . The sections are Being an Individual, Thinking and Learning, Working in Teams, Contributing to the community and Setting and Achieving Goals.
By having teachers use their wiki as the recording vehicle for their reflections I hope that they will also learn more about the way wikis and other Web 2.0 applications work. It also opens up more possibilities for recording and publishing experiences in the classroom for their P&D reflections. I have my first meeting with my team on Thursday and I am really looking forward to seeing what has been recorded so far.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Another way of learning (and teaching)

One of the things that I find challenging when supporting the development of teachers understandings of ICT and their applications in the classroom is offering simple explanations of what many of the applications are. It's all very well to suggest that a teacher create a blog to get their students to record a project, or create a wiki so that they can collaborate. Harder still is to explain how RSS feeds might be a very effective way to track how students are working on their digital portfolios or why podcasts might be a new way to let parents know about the history of their school community. I constantly have to remind myself that wikis, blogs, RSS, podcasts and many more are for many teachers still techno gobbledy gook and as such, cause angst and feelings of unnecessary inadequacy.
Today via a mailing list, I came across a very cool site called CommonCraft that explains Web 2.0 applications in simple yet entertaining. The appealing thing for me I think is that it uses little props such as drawings and cutouts to visually represent a group of ideas. Very useful for both teachers and students. They are even available for downloading onto the school's local server from Bliptv or YouTube.
Here's one that explains RSS.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Google Docs



I love Google Docs. It's such a simple way to collaborate, store, access documents that I have created for school. Particularly when you are collaborating with another teacher in another school, Google docs is a perfect way to share and collaborate when planning and creating units of work. Today I created some class lists with students email addresses and once complete it was only a matter of sharing with the other teachers who teach these students via an email to let them know that they can access and edit the document whenever they need to.
Even better when checking out Jane's eLearning tip of the day, I've discovered a cool little addon that will work with Firefox and Flock that places my Google Docs in a sidebar. With this bar I can drag and drop files that I have already created and stored on my hard drive into a section of the sidebar and they are automatically loaded into my Google Docs account. How cool is that?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Learning more about blogging

I came across a new and I think very practical blog written by Sue Waters. Sue is already a reknowned blogger who blogs on Mobile Technology in TAFE. I must admit that I come to Sue's Mobile Technology blog as a late comer but I can already see that it is yet another blog that I will continue to subscribe to. I think I'm going to have to start learning how to read in my sleep!
But I digress. Sue now writes two blogs having just begun a new blog for edublogs. Edublogs is James Farmer's well known and acclaimed site for those in education who love to blog. Sue's new blog is one that she is writing for edublogs called The Edublogger. It seems that Sue has already contemplated the challenge of writing two blogs that might easily be read by the same people. So she has decided that "The Edublogger's posts will be “How To” tips and her Mobile Technology in TAFE will "work through topics on using blogs in an educational context."
Already Sue has created posts on How to create Hyperlinks using HTML, How to add a photo to your sidebar, Adding Widgets to your blog and Tips for doing a blog makeover.
For a while now I have been toying with the idea of taking my blog over to edublogs. Mainly I guess because firstly it's created by a fellow Aussie in James Farmer. And secondly because it is specifically designed for educators. Maybe Sue's posts might just provide the impetus to move to a new home...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm back- with a little personal indulgence.


Matt, Anne, Hannah and Kelvin
Originally uploaded by annieb3525
I can't believe that it's actually been about 5 weeks since I blogged. With blogging and working and creating via the internet being so much part of my life for the last couple of years I do find it strange that, to be honest, I really haven't missed it. I think that actually it's done me good to have a good long break. But I am now looking forward to getting back into it.
It will be interesting how the next few months go. We have our daughter, Hannah's wedding coming up the end of March and much of my time over the past few weeks has been spent talking and thinking and making decisions about the wedding. I think that's been the main reason why I have taken a good long break from blogging. Although on holidays I have had something to keep me very busy and I guess that over the next few weeks it will become busier and busier with juggling school and wedding preparations.
So here is a little personal indulgence- with nothing to do with education and web2.0. But I figure that once in a while I can enjoy being Mother of the Bride. Should be fun :)