Nelson Cluster ICT Day

Today I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in in the Nelson Cluster ICT day.

It was just the thing I needed to reinforce my commitment to eLearning for my children. Also in attendance were some of NZ’s eLearning shining stars. Dorothy Burt kicked things off with her keynote outlining Point England’s eLearning Journey. Dorothy comprehensively hyperlinked her keynote with links to highlights of the learning experiences at Point England. She continues to be my podcasting inspiration.

As usual in these sorts of situations I found it difficult to connect to the internet and the battery on my MBP seems to drain as soon as I power up so I had to just listen to what Dorothy was sharing. Not a bad thing, I hear you say. But I found that writing/tapping as I listen helps me to remember and ‘get’ the message. Without access to recording my learning as it was happening I know that I missed some stuff I should have got- that’s why these sorts of back channels are so good. We should encourage our children to be able to do whatever it takes to ‘get’ our message. This thought reminded me of one of Lisa Parisi’s recent postings– doing what it takes to learn and remember in our own way- to move, to mash-up, to make.

Next I attended an I Can Animate workshop with Mike Foster from Nelson Intermediate. I got some good tips particularly to buy Resene Wham paint for a green screen backdrop. I thought I had taken a photo of his set up but it looks like a didn’t. I think a class visit might be on the cards before I have a go an constructing one for myself.

My mate, Jason, from Sitech called in to my class while he was here so that I could return the IWB he lent me for the term. Image Having the use of an IWB has been a wonderful, engaging opportunity for my class and I and we will sadly miss it as we go back to having to share our one data projector with the rest of the school. Jason did however give me another gadget to play with for a bit- a wireless tablet. Wacom has given me tablet but I have used it exclusively at home. I will give the kids more of a go with the wireless tablet I think because it won’t be so tied to the computer via the USB like the Wacom is.

I also got a look at this new straight out of the box workstation with a 37inch monitor all ready to hook up to your laptop. I thought it was a great way to bring the big screen to the classroom. I could see how we could put that to good use as well.

I then had the opportunity to share some of my own eLearning journey. Many of the links I used are on my wiki.

The conference finished off with a final keynote from Derek Wenmoth. In it he shared his wealth of knowledge and thoughts about the future for us all. Dorothy, Derek, Suzie Vesper and I had a very stimulating conversation about Derek’s latest posting, Without data, you’re just another person with opinion. As I get the last say ‘cos this is my blog- I think that the direction that NZ’s new government is taking to stir up the press to publish school league tables is NOT a positive move although I do believe that we should be rigorous in assessing the value added learning that children attain while in our care.

Derek is off to the UK tomorrow. Ka kī atu a au kia hoki ora atu a ia ki te kāinga.

Adobe Educational Leadership

My life seems to be a whirl of late which could be a good thing or could be a bad thing. In case you missed it- Adobe have asked me to join Brenda Frisk and Colin Gover from Auckland to be Adobe Educational Leaders and last week I went to Sydney for a couple of days to find out more about what was involved.

Adobe Educational Leaders Sydney June 2008
I thought I had better get my thoughts about our Adobe meet-up recorded while they are still fresh-ish in my mind. We spent a good deal of time learning about the Adobe family of products. Adobe gave us the entire Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection which was pretty jolly generous if you ask me. I don’t think any one person could know everything about all of the products that are in the package but Soundbooth, Photoshop and Visual Creator are the ones that I would like to focus on. The thing that I like about Soundbooth is the graphical way you can edit annoying sounds that you can see on an audio track- great for podcasting when the bell goes in the middle of a great sound byte. The draw of learning more about Photoshop is obvious and I have a project in mind already. And Visual Communicator is a video editing software that I know that Colin uses for television editing in schools.

Another great outcome of the meet was that Wacom gave us each a Intuos3 tablet to use when we are playing and presenting. It took me a bit of brain exertion to work out that it was not just one enormous track pad and once I was over that I was surprised at how great it was in speeding up my workflow and how much easier it is to use a pen rather than a mouse to move about the screen. I have a friend who is a really good artist and can’t wait to let her play with it and see how she goes.

They also gave us some insider information about the sorts of things that Adobe does and plans for the future which are really exciting. We got to talk to some of the people like Paul Burnett who is a Worldwide Evangelist for Adobe! What a great job title! Just for fun he showed us his Adobe Air app Melissa that he made. Turn the sound down and Melissa sits on your desktop and lip-synchs with you when you talk- aren’t these people so clever. Melissa reminded me a little of Marvin but without all the tricky input code- give her a try- she’s very clever.

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

The two days flew by and I was very fortunate to be able to extend my time in Sydney with a quick visit with my cousin and fly home on Sunday which was an added bonus. We only had the one day but we managed a wander round the Opera House and Botanical Gardens.

Be Funky Cartooniser

Funky Ways to Express Yourself - Befunky - Cartoonizer
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

I strolled across this little beauty this afternoon- this Be Funky cartooniser makes an outline from your photo and then you colour it and add some cartoon like text- great for a bit of fun or to make an interesting avatar for a Voicethread or for those who are not allowed to put their direct images on the internet.

Here I am in Sydney by the bridge. BTW this is my first post written with the aid of my new Wacom INTUOS 3 tablet that Wacom gave me to play with while I was at the Adobe Summit. I am quickly getting the feel of it and I think it is speeding up my workflow.