“Did You Know, New Zealand”

I am back home now after an excellent few days away at the L@S conference. I have ideas buzzing around in my head and I need to get them posted before they whither.

Simon Evans hosted a workshop entitled, “Did you Know, New Zealand?” focussing on Karl Fisch’s video and we debating what it meant in a NZ context.

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Simon used his interactive whiteboard to lead the discussion using DeBono’s hat thinking which was a good way to do it. He recorded the session with our handwritten notes in a slideshare which is best downloaded to read clearly. I was impressed with the technology.

Click here to see and download the presentation.

There was only six of us in the room F2F but more joined us via Skype and with the Cover It Live Blogging Tool. It was a very powerful session I thought on a variety of levels-not only with the way Simon facilitated the discussion, the way we brought in other people via the live blog commenters and Skype but also in the way the people in the room worked together to enhance the presentation.

As you can see from my screen grab it certainly made us keep intensely involved with the number of communication modes- listening, responding, researching, recording, typing, twittering. We really had to concentrate to do all these things at once.

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Well done Simon. It was a ‘high risk’ session that paid off.

Personal Learning Networks & New Challenges

For the last six weeks or so I have been interacting with a myriad of educators, superintendents and teachers, in America as an ‘expert voice’ in a Ning administered by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson. The idea is that six ‘expert voices’ from around the globe are asked to contribute their voice and assist in the building of a Personal Learning Network for those educators.

I am most honoured and humbled to be invited into such an austere community and hope that my contributions have proved to be worthwhile. As the first round draws to a close I would hope that some of those connections made can continue from outside of that Ning.

Because our school holidays were on I was able to join in a couple of Elluminate sessions with the cohort. It was great to be able to participate live in rich conversations about harnessing the power of the connections made on the web to create a Personal Learning Network.

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In this introductory video Will talks about how we might build these networks, how they might look, the transformative nature of a PLN and how we might help children navigate their own networks safely, ethically and effectively.

I am so looking forward to facilitating the 14 schools in the Discover IT Tasman ICT cluster throughout 2008 achieve just those sort of connections. In case you haven’t heard via Twitter I have taken leave from Appleby School for 2008 and will work as a roaming ICT facilitator based in Motueka.

What a wonderful opportunity for me learn and make a whole lot of new face to face connections and develop that sort of network with students and teachers so close to home.

Exciting times are ahead.

Making Sweet Music

Today was a slow day on the net- in all sorts of ways. Darren Kuropatwa tweeted about a Muxicall, a fun musical toy he was playing with and invited us to join in to make music in a collaborative Web2.0 sort of way.

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The idea is that each user decides on an instrument- strings, drums or piano and we all get together to play on a large chord grid. You can chat while you are doing it and give each other prompts and maybe orchestrate your contributions. When I first toyed making music there were about eight of use all banging away- a cacophony!

I gave it a rest and came back later when only Assaf and I were playing. It was almost a conversation of music as we communicated only through the keyboard. Magic really.

Have a listen! For those interested I used Audio Hi-jacker to record the audio.

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I quite like it in a soft sort of sweet way!

Adding an enhanced podcast to Blogger

Hey there! I love finding out new things and thought I would share this little gem with you all. Three posts in one day is an all time record for me!

As you may know our main class conduit to our community is our Moturoa Class Blog and Allanah’s Appleby Showcase podcast.

They link to each other but until this evening I have had to convert the .m4a enhanced podcasts made in Garageband to .mp3 audio only files, upload to another Podomatic page that I made just for that purpose, use the Firefox add-on UNPLUG and through a tricky piece of code embed the .mp3 into Blogger. The ‘how to’ on this procedure is on my Bling4yrblog page if you still want to do this.

But tonight, just for fun, I tried to upload the .m4a file to Blogger movie and it worked! Now our enhanced podcasts play right inside our Blogger posts without having to click on an outside link. I didn’t think it would seeing it says they only process AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, Real, and Windows Media. Yay!

I still prefer to view our podcasts within iTunes but I like the visual appeal of viewing as well as listening to our podcasts from within our blog. Click on the screen grab to view how it looks. Kieran will be ever so pleased now he can add another video to his blog.

Moturoa's Web Log: 'The Lost Thing' Podcast

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How has computer use impacted on teaching and learning?

As our Waimea-South ICTPD cluster enters its final phase I thought I would construct a Voicethread to chronicle what we have learnt along the way with responses from all seven schools in our cluster.

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I was really proud of the way my nine and ten year old students at Appleby School articulated what they felt their learning with computers had achieved this year.

I was also pleased that a number of teachers locally and around the globe were able to record their views. It would be great if you were able to add your own comments and grow the resource.

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If you want a ‘how to’ to on using Voicethread go to my Bling4yrblog for help.

Thanks to Chrissy for quicktips on adding Voicethread to Edublogs.

Networking and Learning

I have recovered from last night’s networking marathon. The first learning opportunity came through a Twitter from Jeff Utecht in Shanghai that he wanted to try out WiZiQ– an Elluminate like on-line application. A number of us from all over the globe had a bit of play as we worked out together how the application works and a number of others joined us for a bit while we were playing. Dave Warlick came along to put in his 2cents worth, Will Richardson got a bit webblogged by his lack of audio input!

Jeff archived the session if you are interested but be aware that Jeff is on his own for a bit at the beginning as he waits for us to turn up!

http://74.205.83.178 - authorLIVE Recording
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The second opportunity came through a Skype call from Chris Betcher. He was playing with Skype and seeing how many people could come and join him in a conference call. We got up to nine people from all over the globe- it was a lot of fun as we all had a good laugh and I ended up adding some more great educators to my bloglines and Twitter network. It was 2am NZ time by the we finished and my battery gave out.
It is amazing how these serendipitous opportunities come about and how we can learn from each other by participating from them. I wish I had been working on my computer as I had not yet downloaded Call Recorder for Skype on the TELA laptop so have no audio for you to follow.

Tomorrow I am going to go out and see if I can a T-shirt embroidered to wear to the Edubloggers’ Cafe at Ulearn07. I like Chris’ idea of “I’m Blogging This”! Any other suggestions???

New Tela MacBook

I went to school today to gather up the reins from my wonderful long term reliever and think about what I want to do as next term starts in two weeks. While there I was able to take charge of my new TELA laptop- I took it home then and started customising it and I thought I would list here the things I do so that I can refer to it and not have to think too hard when I buy my new personal laptop with the next version of Apple’s operating system when it comes out in the near future (hopefully). While I was at school I saw them digging the trench to put the Loop cable in- maybe a welcome back present- due 12 weeks ago!

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  1. Try to plug in my wireless mouse but get too scared- last time I tried a little too vigorously with a new laptop it could have cost me $1000+ as a little wire thingee got bent and it was attached to the innards!
  2. Chuck out stuff I don’t want in the dock and add stuff I want to be there. Enjoy watching things fthwat into a puff a smoke!
  3. Let it access my home wireless access. Note that there are now two other wireless networks within cooee!
  4. Do the updates- restart.
  5. Install Firefox2. Increase the font size so I can see text better and set the home page.
  6. Deactivate CAPS LOCK.
  7. Add Delicious Plug-in for Firefox.
  8. Add some often used links to the toolbar- class blog, edublog, bling, podcast, Twitter, Bloglines, Blogmeister, gmail, hotmail, mySkitch
  9. Download and play with video Skype- ring some people and tell them I can see them and they can see me. Think that maybe a video image is maybe not quite such a good idea after all!
  10. Download Skitch- find login and password on iPod and bookmark mySkitch.
  11. Subscribe to our own podcast in iTunes- make a mental note to go to Brightwater School and download the rest of the episodes!
  12. Watch a widescreen DVD-I always enjoy Finding Nemo! Note that Skitch lets you take screen grabs of DVDs.

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Archived Learning2.0 Conference Session

Sheryl is now safely back in Virginia from the Shanghai Learning 2.0 conference and has posted a link to the recorded archive of our Elluminate Session. I really do recommend that you listen to it as the other speakers were spot on with their contributions- well worth listening to again.

To listen to an Elluminate session click on the above link and you will need to give permission to open a Java application, it will check for the latest version and automatically load, wait a bit for it to open, it starts a little scratchy and then Clarence Fisher tells us about how he uses Web2.0 tools in his isolated school in Canada, followed by David Jakes, myself and Chris Betcher.

Elluminate Live! - SHERYL NUSSBAUM-BEACH
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Clarence talks about how a class can be limited with just one teacher and the need to open the classroom doors so that children can learn from each other and other teachers/experts from around the globe.

This slide shows his representation of how a network of links has developed through blogging. Our class blog would be very similar I think. We learn things from friends and from friends of friends.

Do have a look/listen- you will not be disappointed.

Elluminated in Shanghai

This afternoon NZ time I had the privilege to be invited to participate in a discussion at the Learning2.0 conference – Communication, Collaboration, Connection in Shanghai by my good friend Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach.

The event was brought together with Elluminate and a group of distinguished educators from around the globe.

I was accompanied by Clarence Fisher who is a full time teacher in a small school in the backblocks of Canada. I felt close to Clarence as his school is also small and a little isolated but he uses Web2.o tools to communicate and collaborate globally. Then we featured David Jakes who is a technology co-ordinator from the US and my new friend Chris Betcher from Sydney.

Chris and I had worked together the night before the presentation discussing what we might highlight and Chris tried to lend a hand while I struggled with converting a Jing video in swf format to something that would upload as a podcast. BTW I got there in the end by using a little cunning and a lot of persistence! (If you want to embed your podcast directly into Blogger then this video will show you how. video

This is a slide that I captured from Chris’ presentation as it graphically shows how a blog can be the hub of communication and networking with live updates embedded from Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, comments, Clustrmap and other blog links.
Elluminate Live! - SHERYL NUSSBAUM-BEACH
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I will post a link to review the conversation when Sheryl publishes it.

As usual I learnt more from these connections than people learnt from my ramblings.

Time Person of the Year

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Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has invited me to participate in the Learning 2.0 Conference in Shanghai! My contribution will be via Elluminate and will focus on how we use the web to network and learn from experts all around the globe. She writes…

That’s right- the person of the year is “You,” as in YouTube and MySpace, and the World Wide Web. Never before has it been easier to create and collaborate via the Web. Come see examples of how to create a classroom learning ecology where teachers and students learn from each other and content experts from around the world.

To illustrate this I have added to her 21st Century Collaborative wiki. I surprised myself as to the extent and variety of examples of some of the things we have been doing in the last twelve months.

Keeping Ourselves Safe

Every second year the whole school learns more about Keeping Ourselves Safe. The programme is supported by parents, police and a variety of videos as children are helped to understand more about being safe and getting help.

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The Year Five and Six class prepared this animation using the Apple application I Can Animate. The animation script follows closely one of the support videos ‘Home Alone’- what to do if you find yourself arriving home and your parents aren’t home yet. Everyone in the class had some role in the production- script, set,animation, filming or production.

It was a great effort- deserving of a wider audience. It has been published on our podcast page but I thought it was so cool that I would share it with in case you don’t subscribe to our podcast.

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VoiceThread

I have spent the last few days exploring VoiceThread, a newish collaborative tool for recording voice with photos and inviting oral comments from others.

VoiceThread

To support and record my own use of Voicethread I have made a new post on my tech blog Bling4yrblog along with an actual Voicethread. It takes you through step-by-step how to create a VoiceThread. VoicceThread has lots of possibilities and I look forward to using it in my class next term.

Here is my first effort with Voicethread.

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Thank you John Pearce for your expertise in embedding VoiceThread in Edublogs. You are a star.

Of course you are presently reading the blog of one of the biggest clutzes known to man! You need to make sure your Voicethread is public otherwise you will be the only one on the planet that can see it!!!!! Thanks Paul and Steve from Voicethread himself for your feedback.

Second Life and Real Life

There has been quite a discussion in the Blogmeister forums about Imageshowing images of children on class blogs. The debate goes on about whether or not we should post children’s photos. I think it is great that we in NZ aren’t that paranoid as to believe that everyone is a potential child molester stalking class websites for victims but with this Reasonably Clever website you can create your own avatar out of lego and put that on your blog instead. I know a couple of boys in my class that will love a go at this! Here is my creation.

At the same website they combine lego with Comic Life and make clever cartoons. Kids would enjoy that as well.

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Talking of other lives- Scrumples Schnyder, Jojash McMillan and Pippi Ballinger met up on the roof of the Bloggers Cafe in Second Life. I took a screen shot while we were sitting round the campfire chatting. Jojash is really good at it and she teleported me there in a flash and gave me a blogger’s T-Shirt. Over the last few days I have been tweeting a lot with Twitter as well- username AllanahK. Sherryl hinted that Twitter might be a fun thing to try. Another means of communicating with like minded individuals via the internet. I can even tweet through my cell phone and receive tweets via txt like Dave Warlick does!

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And now to real life…

Through Twitter Jason Hando from Macarthur Anglican School in north Sydney put out a call for educators from around the globe to discuss their experiences using Web2.0 tools.The call was taken up by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Jen Wagner and my good self. I was aware I was boxing above my weight but am always up for new learning with others around the globe. These opportunities always present opportunities for me to learn as well as share.

Jason made a wiki to co-ordinate the venture. The concept was a fun one- that of speed dating!!! The idea was that participants would have 15 minutes to speak with each of the experts via Skype and then move on. Sheryl, Jen and Jen’s cat, Mac were on one computer and I had to hold the fort on the other. Scary stuff. I can really recommend you listen to Sheryl and Jen’s podcast which is much more eloquent that mine but here is the link anyway! Allanah’s chat with Sydney teachers.

Skitch- fast and fun image sharing

Now this is really cool. A few days ago I came across the demo version of Skitch. I emailed them and asked for a limited edition download. They emailed me back and said that when my turn came up they would let me know and I could try the demo. Then today Ewan McIntosh had five demos to give away- first in, first served. I was fifth!

Life is not a race to be first finishedI can recommend this really cool Mac Tool. It comes from the same people who made Comic Life so you know how good it will be.

Watch the intro video to see just how cool it is! You can…

  • Snap a website
  • Screenshot an application
  • iSight snap yourself
  • Quickly sketch an idea
  • Tap into your iPhoto Library
  • Re-open images from your Skitch History

Say it…

  • Annotate with circles and gorgeous arrows
  • Add text that always stands out
  • Scribble and jot… it’s automatically smoothed
  • Re-size and crop by simply dragging a corner
  • Drag the file to wherever you like, no need to save
  • Return to what you were doing — in seconds — not minutes!
  • Paste your mySkitch link into any web-page, forum or chat.

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Voki- a talking widget for your blog


This is a cool wee Voki gadget that you can add to your blog that lets you speak when you are too shy to stand in front of the camera or if you’re too poor to have a camera in your computer. For some reason it won’t embed in Edublogs 🙁 so I have to link it my class blog to view- just click on the photo!)

I found this through Welsh blogger Paul Harrington linking to foreign language learning blogger Joe Dale who linked to French learning site of Nodehill Middle School, Newport, Isle of Wight. We are all interconnected on the web. What do you think?

Flixn.com and Second Life

A great find from Jane Nicholls of ICTUCAN podcasting fame.

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I can see lots of uses for this little Web2.0 tool. It reminds me of Bubbleshare except that you use a webcam instead of still images. Flixn.com embeds in Blogger and I am trying here to see if it will embed into Edublogs as well (it doesn’t BTW).

I can’t wait until I get my new computer with a webcam attached. Roll on October, Apple! I will let Jane speak for herself. Click on the photo to see it working.

Jane, Sheryl and I had a play in Second Life today as well. Jane showed me around David Warlick and Will Richardson‘s Office. It was a bit of a cheek really and I virtually blushed when Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach turned up and we introduced ourselves. Image We were impressed when Sheryl flew about the place and started moving the furniture! We tried to have a group photo but the couch was too small and I am not very good at sitting down!

I keep on bumping into things. My avatar is a skinny young thing and my name is Scrumples Schnyder so if you see a skinny young thing with the name Scrumples Schnyder repeatedly bumping into walls do come up and say hello!

I have been a bit scathing of Second Life but it was way much more fun with a guide to give you a few tips on how to open doors & the like and meeting up with a friend as well. I will have a bit more of a play with this one.

Skype call to Rob Waddell in Valencia

Last night we had a bit of a highpoint for our podcasting and Skyping endeavours- through one of our Appleby parents we made contact with Rob Waddell, Olympic gold medalist and now grinder on Team Emirates New Zealand yacht in the America’s Cup challenge in Valencia, Spain. Image

Children had prepared fat questions to ask and we had all gathered back at school at 7pm on Monday night.

In order to overcome the problem of feedback when Skyping to a larger audience I plugged a splitter into the headphone jack and had one pair of headphones in one socket and speakers into the other. Perfect!

To add a little spice to the session TVNZ had got wind of it and were filming in Appleby, NZ while a second crew were filming in Valencia.

Rod proved to be an excellent spokesperson for Team New Zealand and had an easy rapport with the children.

You can view an edited version of the call on our podcasting page.

And to top it all off we made it onto the nationwide TVNZ six o’clock news tonight. How’s that for being globally connected with a rich, real authentic context!