Last week we hosted an exciting event here in Nelson- a CORE Education Breakfast. The Loop Regional Support programme NEN extension group sponsored the breakfast with DK as our invited guest speaker. To my knowledge this hadn’t happened before. As our regional cluster comes to an end the sense of urgency of getting our messages adopted seems even more acute and DK sharing his thoughts about using social media and developing a personal learning network fits well with our cluster goals.
DK shared his insights with graphical examples and plenty of good humour. A couple of things resonated with me in particular.
The first being that of ‘desire paths’. I hadn’t heard of that concept before. But I like the notion. We get where we need to be in the best way we can. That desire path takes us where we want to go rather than where others might like us to. We do what we need to to get the job done and sometimes designers who think they know best for us- don’t.
Photo by Kate Pugh
Aim for goals not instructions. I tend to hand hold when I am helping people with their ICT. People are generally grateful for that and maybe it is time as the cluster draws to a close to pull back a little and let people work it out for themselves more (resilience). I still have some problem with that though cos I think back to my own experiences when I started blogging. I didn’t know anyone else who was doing it, had no idea where to go to find out really apart from Yahoo! And I didn’t know what questions to ask a web search engine any way. I spent hours, days, weeks trying to get it sorted. If I hadn’t been so determined I would have given up as the whole thing was so new to me. If I can help cut out some of the struggle then maybe that’s a good thing. What do you think?
DK also suggested that it was the metacognition around blogging that was the best thing about doing it. The thinking about it was the most important thing. I know that for me there are many posts that never see the light of day. I craft them in my head, write them up and the moment passes and I don’t actually publish them. The reflection involved in blogging helps me sort stuff out in my head.
Your blog will be successful if it is an intersection not a destination. My class blog has now over 94,000 views over time. How did we get there? We got there because people go to the blog to be taken to other places like other web services that we need like our maths wiki, or our Google Apps Log in or whatever. I hadn’t thought of it like that but DK is right. The hyperlinks on this blog and my class blog will take you to other interesting places and hopefully encourage you to return to find more interesting links with new posts or looking through the categories.
Would you say your blog is an intersection or a destination?
Over the weekend I had the privilege of attending the Apple Distinguished Educators first ever New Zealand official get together in Auckland. Apart from getting to know one another better the main thrust for the event was to make a video potentially for iTunes U. We were put in to three groups of five with a Final Cut Pro expert on hand for when we got stuck and got on with it. It was a little like Masterchef with a final countdown for 4pm on Saturday afternoon. Almost two solid days of work for a 90 second video! The end result was pretty good though.
I am happy to say I have a couple of things in iTunes U already owing to my involvement in the K12 OnLine Conference over the last couple of years.
While we were there we were privileged to also hear from Rhonda Kite, the CEO of Kiwa Media. I was impressed, very impressed with her vision, passion and skills. We have such talented New Zealanders here.
It is Kiwa Media that have developed the Hairy Maclary and Wonky Donkey apps that I already had. Previously I had just had the apps auto play but now realise there is more to it than that. On my return to school on Monday we had a look at the Hairy Maclary book being signed as it was read. My class were impressed as they could sort of see what was being read at the same time as listening and reading. Then we had a go at adding our own narration. Fortunately the I had a parent willing to help and an empty classroom next door because I left my iRig noise cancelling microphone at home.
When I got home I used Reflectionapp to mirror my iPad onto my laptop and used Quicktime to record the screen and Vimeo to post to the web.
Today I was so proud of the team as we worked collaboratively across the 36 schools in the cluster to research and add our notes to a shared Google Doc, record our learnings and share publicly what we had done.
I had pre-made the Google presentation with a hyperlink to a leadership resource on each slide. I had also randomly placed people’s names on each slide so people had to move to work together with one another.
Our internet zinged along as we were at Salisbury School which is on the Loop UFB.
I loved it how people just knew what to do and got on and did it. Some taking screen grabs and uploading them, some writing notes, some making an iMovie and uploading it to YouTube and embedding it in the presentation.
All in a thirty five minute time span. Impressive.
We have come a long way since we started this venture.
This post was totally conceived, constructed, edited and posted entirely without the aid of a laptop or desktop computer in any way.
For me it has been a bit of a learning curve with its inspiration coming from my attendance at the Slide2Learn conference and the acquisition of my very own white 64GB iPad that I shouted my self because I had been a good little worker!
One of the workshops at the conference presented by Jenny Jongste was on using iMovie on the iPad. I had never really gone in to making movies on the iPad before and now think I have enough skills to share my learning with others.
On the plane on the way home I started a movie trailer but, although fun, was a bit limiting in the way of timing so I decided to make a longer 2 minute movie instead.
Once you have uploaded the video to Vimeo scroll down a little to get the menu bar pretend to email the video to yourself to get the URL then copy it to your web browser.
From there you can easily see the embed code to put into your blog.
Note the clever things I used in this post…..
* Edublogs app for blogging
* The Vimeo app for uploading the finished video to the web.
* The Skitch app for making the screen grab of how to get the Vimeo URL.
* Inserting hyperlinks
* Uploading an image to Edublogs and inserting it where it needed to go.
* Grabbing the URL from the App Store on an iPad- you have to go to the app page, click on Tell a Friend and email the link to yourself using your iPad email account. When it arrives click and hold on View Item and you will be able to copy the URL. I bet you didn’t know that trick before. Hat tip to Rick Connors.
Daniel Edwards suggested that you search for the app using the Chrome browser for iPad and copying the URL that way but sometimes just searching on the web for an app can be time consuming.
Of course I have never done this before so we will have to see what happens when I click publish.
At first we did the activity with numbers and counters putting the correct number of petals around the number.
The more eagle-eyed of you might notice that the photo I quickly took on my iPad has actually nine petals around the flower!!!!! Part of the problem was that we didn’t know where we started to count from! The issue was over come when we did it on the iPad because we knew where to start counting from.
After we had mastered it with actual things we extended the activity by drawing in SketchTime ($2:59NZ) on the iPad. I recently bought ReflectionApp for $14.99US so that I can wirelessly mirror my iPad onto my laptop. I then used Quicktime to record the laptop screen the give you a short tutorial on how we did it.
Over the last few weeks I have been playing multiple games of Draw Something with people in Hamilton, Sydney, London and Norway. I think the free app has some possibilities for classroom use as well.
The idea is that you get a choice of three words to draw for your playing buddy. You pick one to draw and your buddy has to guess what it is that you were trying to draw. They will have twelve letter tiles to construct the word from.
You can then make a comment to encourage your playing buddy.
Then they get to draw something and you have to guess what it was. In a classroom I can see it as a language, collaborative opportunity to come up with ideas for how to represent words and then draw them.
I wanted to show you how it works so I used the ten minute free trial of Reflection.app to mirror my iPad onto my MacBook Air running Lion. I then used Quicktime to do a screen recording of it in full screen. I trimmed the ends of the screen-recording and added a track from Freeplay Music.
I then uploaded it to Vimeo to share and embed on my blog. Play it full screen to see how clever we are. Thank you Barbara Reid for being my unwitting guinea pig.
You have probably all watch a TED video or two over the years and they make excellent watching. TED have recently add TED-Ed to their arsenal. The idea is that you can any use TED or YouTube video via a hyperlink and add some questions around it, link some further readings or resources and add a big question to construct a personalised lesson.
I thought I would give it a whirl to see if it was easy enough and worth recommending. I decided to use a video I had made in 2006 outlining how my class operated at that time. The video had been on Teacher Tube and has had over 70 downloads so some people obviously liked it but no one seems to use Teacher Tube any more.
I would like to share my school day with teachers from Barbara Reid‘s ICTPD Cluster in Hamilton in the holidays.
I nade a couple of Keynote presentations and uploaded them to Slideshare so I could share them more widely and all the hyperlinks would work when viewed. I had to cull them a bit to fit them in under the 10MB upload file size.
The first is focussing on the junior school, the second on seniors. For the Junior presentation I also used the blogs of Sherryn Lines and Cherryl Eden to help illustrate. Thanks team.
I received an email this morning which lead me to write a blog post to illicite some responses from people as to how they promote their class blog and get some interactions and conversations happening through it.
“My kids are very eager to share their learning with others and link up with other schools. In your experience with class blogs, how were you able to promote your blogs with other schools and countries?”
Firstly I would post regular updates on our own blog so that people have something new to read, or look or listen to at on their next visit.
To promote our class blog firstly I made connections with others teachers who blog.
Find like a ‘gym buddy’ – another teacher or class who is keen to link up and learn with you.
To do that I would read their blogs and leave comments for them on their blog. I would maybe do this first as just a teacher and see if they post regularly and are keen for some kind of dialogue. You don’t want to waste your time leaving feedback on a blog that isn’t being updated and monitored.
I would definitely join Twitter and make connections and learn that way. Once on Twitter you can link to your blog and add the hashtag #comments4kids and other teachers/classes may make connections for you.
And I would put links on the side bar of the class blog to the other blogs that you regularly converse with. Not too many because you could loose track but your favourite ones that post and comment often.
Quadblogging is another cool concept- David Mitchell on Twitter has initiated a project where four classes get together and take turn about being the centre of attention and leaving of comments. The web site links classes together globally but we have just done it informally with a couple of nearby schools with good success and enthusiasm in the participating classes.
The idea of sending out a travel toy like Kirsten McGhie does in her class is also a great idea to spread news of your blog around. Here is Kirsten’s EdTalk video about here travel toy.
Generally just think of fun ways to engage children with your blog- make it interactive and interesting. Write posts that incite interest and conversation- leave things open ended.
Lastly I would make sure that every piece of paper that goes out from your class has the blog address on it so the parent / whanau community know where on the web you are. I would also make sure that your blog is linked from the school web site so that visitors cruising the web can easily find you.
What suggestions do you have for promoting your class blog that you can add to help Katie?
I am presenting a workshop for teachers in my area on how an iPad can transform learning. I made a good chunk of the presentation on the iPad using Keynote. I decided to activate iCloud for Keynote so I have it on my phone and Mac Book Air as well.
I put it here as I spent a lot of time making it and its good to share
My featured apps are hyperlinked so you can delve more deeply should you wish.
As you may know the Link Learning ICT Cluster has loaned me an iPad to use with my teaching, to download apps that may be useful for learning and to recommend to teachers the apps that prove themselves to be powerful learning tools.
There is only the one iPad in the school and it is only there on the one day a week that I teach so, as you can imagine, it’s a pretty scarce commodity that’s much used when it is at school. I try to have it in children’s hands as much as possible by pairing children up, allowing the children to use my iPhone and iPod Touch and trying to make sure each child gets some iPad time each day when I am teaching.
Yesterday children were finishing off and proof reading a ‘beginning of the school year’ story.
Here’s a little original idea I had – I don’t get many of those so I thought I had better share it pretty quick.
I will call the child in this story Smilie cos he didn’t want to be named! Smilie told me that he written his story and that he had finished proof reading it. I loved the story- it made me laugh out loud and with Smilie’s permission I read it to the class. I took a photo of a Smilie’s draft writing with the iPad 2 camera and put it up on the ordinary whiteboard with the data projector. I called the class together and together we looked at what we might do to edit the text.
Then I switched the data projector off, leaving just the editing. We then looked at patterns with the things we edited and saw that Smilie need to work on identifying spelling errors in words that he really does know, to make sure the full stops are in the right place and put capitals after all the full stops.
I could have probably done this activity without the iPad just using a digital camera and a heap of cords but the joy of using the iPad is that it can happen in the wink of an eye, as the need arises.
As a corollary to this activity I am preparing an after school workshop tomorrow on creative iPad apps so set to work turning Smilie’s story into a book with the Scribblepress app on the iPad.
As Kevin Honeycutt did at Learning at School I decided to buy a hard cover copy of the illustrated test run of the app. The Scribblepress people were very helpful via Twitter when I got stuck at one stage and to clarify things they sent me a pdf of the story. Here it is with the story by Smilie and the drawings and photos by me!
The hardcover book should arrive in 5-7 days- I can’t wait! Click on the book cover or this link to see how it looks a real book!
This morning via Twitter Kevin Honeycutt shared a video excerpt from his soon to be published eBook. The excerpt is titled Digital Literacy and Employment. I spent some time watching it and it held my interest right to the end which is good cos I often can’t concentrate for that length of time.
I think his audience is young adults, teachers and parents. He talks conversationally to young people about the implications of being digital and addresses issues around developing a network that can enhance your career or sink it!
A must watch for anyone learning with young people. To view the video click on the graphic and wait for it to load- I watched it on my iPhone.
While at Learning at School CORE Education generously gave me a Kindle Fire to play with for a bit and see what I thought of it for school use. I managed to convince them that I needed to take it home with me to give it a decent run.
So here are my thoughts on the Kindle Fire…
On first look- it feels nice. It has a nice to the touch back on it and it’s a good size to hold in one hand. I am not so sure though that, for me that size is right. It was a stretch for me to get my delicate lady hands around it- I’m not sure.
As soon as you register the device the books you have already bought on Amazon miraculously appear. I don’t have a Kindle but use the Kindle app on the iPad. I like the sepia type background rather than the black/white background of the ordinary Kindle.
When you highlight text in a document it allows you to go straight to Google- I just noticed that the iPad will do the same thing as well as give you a dictionary meaning.
I haven’t needed to recharge it yet so I presume the battery lasts a decent amount of time.
Once I loaded some music the audio was good and strong and there is a headphone jack.
YouTube videos fill the whole screen and play smoothly.
As you bring up different books, music, apps or documents they nestle themselves into the OSX ‘cover flow’ look alike menu which is handy if you want to go back to something quickly.
It multi-tasks- you can listen to music while you read your book.
Once the photos load they look good and will rotate to fill the screen.
It’s heavy- in comparison to an ordinary Kindle it is much heavier.
Some of the downloaded icons are downright fuzzy- so low resolution that they make my eyes sore.
It doesn’t have a camera- even a not so great one like an iPad.
It’s not very intuitive- maybe I have been so well trained to the ways of Apple but I found navigating it annoying.
As you register the device it gives you a month’s free Premium membership which is useless cos you can’t stream the movies in New Zealand any way. You can watch the trailers which looked to be a good.
I wanted to see how it would cope with emailing a pdf to it that I had made. I thought I could just email it to the Kindle that had assigned me an email address but I had to go to the web and authorise the sender (myself) first. I suppose this is good in that you would only get emails from address you pre-approve but in a school setting that could be downright annoying as you would have to individually allow all senders on by one.
Once I had the pdf on the Kindle Fire I was disappointed with the reading of it- an ordinary A4 font was too small to read and I had to keep sliding back and forwards across the page to be able to read the text.
I tried to play Adobe Flash type games from my class blog and it wouldn’t. It didn’t offer to download a flash player so came to a bit of a dead end on that score.
The keyboard is slow to the the touch- I kept waiting for it to catch up.
I thought that it might have a USB hole for a camera but as far as I can work out you have to transfer the photos from the camera to your computer with one USB cord and then transfer them to the Kindle with another USB cord. I could soon get sick of that. To get the photos on to the Kindle you drag them into the pictures folder, like you would do onto a USB flash drive.
I like to view my photos but to find them you have to work out which of the icons in the cover flow is the Gallery as the Home Menu Bar only has – Newstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps and Web.
I could see there was already a movie in the video folder in a .mov format so I added another- I couldn’t find either of them again- I wonder if the video folder only holds downloaded movies which we can’t get in New Zealand.
You can’t buy it in the shops yet but you can buy one on Trade Me for $380NZ.
I couldn’t find an airplane mode for reading in flight but I assume there must be one- somewhere. I couldn’t find a way to switch the internet off.
I couldn’t see any way to lock the screen – it kept on changing aspect on me which I found irritating.
From the look of it you can, with one click, deauthorise everything on it which would be handy when passing it on to someone else.
Can you download some kind of Flash player so you can play Flash games?
I wonder if you can record audio onto it in some way?
I wondering about the Terms of Service for books bought from Amazon for educational use. With Apple you are supposed to buy one copy of an app per device. Is it legal to buy one book and have it readable on multiple devices should a school buy a pod of Kindles?
Thanks CORE for the opportunity to test drive the Kindle but I am happy enough to hand it back.
I wonder what other people think of it but in my opinion I would save up and buy something that did more or stick with an ordinary lightweight Kindle that you can read books on and leave it at that.
I just made a Google presentation under my own account- then I made a slide for each student.
I made sure it was open for everyone to edit without a log in.
Then put a link to that presentation on the blog so the children would know where to find it.
Children then went to the blog, clicked on the link, found their slide and filled it in. I believe that twenty people can edit a Google presentation at one time so as many children as there are computers can work on editing.
When everyone has done editing I then close it off by making it so no one can edit it so no cherub could wreck it and write stuff in the holidays that I didn’t know of.
I then put the html embed code on the blog so it would play there.
If all that seems a bit tricky then I have made a three minute tutorial on how to do it.
At Learning at School Kevin Honeycutt suggested that we make learning rewindable- here I have done just that.
If you get stuck you can rewind, pause or stop the video while you practice.
Make it full screen by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of the video if you want a better view.
Have a flick through- the kids wrote some fun stuff.
All well and good. I was reading the class blog of new Twitter follower Hineata Blair from Hamilton East School this morning and was thrilled to see that she is intending to use that sort of idea with her class this year. She asked us what were the five things that you would like your teacher to know about you. I wanted to support what she has done for her children by leaving a comment so I wrote my answers as an adult learner to the people who might teach me in a classroom or lecture theatre.
This is what I wrote…
I want my teachers to know that….
I want to be inspired to want to learn what they want to teach me.
I want them to understand that I might not learn in the same way that they did when they went to school.
I want them to know that I want to be connected to other learners, not just the ones in my classroom.
I want them to know that I can show my learning in ways that aren’t writing and drawing a poster.
I want them to give me time to play, learn and share things that I want to learn about.
How would YOU answer?
Maybe this could be a meme. I am going to tag some people to write what their five things would be. As you write your answers could you share your thoughts in the comments or write your own post on your blog and link it back to this post. Try tagging five other people to do the same and we can see how big this post can get.
The conference is to be held for the first time in Hamilton at the Claudelands Events Centre and I have nearly 50 participants registered for the breakout. As I am heading to the beach for a couple of days pre-conference and I am not giving out a paper handout the resource I am going to link it here so that everyone who visits the blog can have a look as well and may find it useful.
The abstract for the workshop covers…
• Developing a Personal Learning Network-
• Using RSS
• Google Tools
• Delicious Social Bookmarking
• Virtual Learning Network
• Creative Commons
• QR codes
• Sharing your learning with others
I apologise if your name is not on my list of kiwi tweeters for participants to follow but the list is not meant to be comprehensive and is meant as a starter for people to begin developing a PLN.
We engage with our children through blogging throughout the year and I wondered if, in the spirit of collaboration, we might come together to share some of our favourite posts that we have published during the year. Some teachers just picked the one post that was most memorable for them and some teachers asked their students which posts most resonated with them.
I also thought the resource may then be useful for others as they look forward to 2012 to see what others have been blogging about in other parts of the country.
My next step was to think of a place to put the pages and web links. A year and a half ago my preference would have been to make a wiki but this year I have really appreciated the ease of use and cleaness of using a Google site. I often find Wikispaces tricky and things don’t sometimes turn out how you want them to when I am using a wiki.
At first I promoted the idea of people editing the Google site themselves and adding their own images and links but at the busy report writing time of the year people didn’t seem so keen on that idea so I just asked them to email or tweet me the links and I would do the rest.
I made a two column table on the Google site to keep the formatting even and had to add an extra column as the number of posts grew. Now it doesn’t look so pretty when viewed on my iPad but no matter.
As people sent me the link I took a screen grab of the post ( Shift + Command + 4 on my Mac ) and then hyperlinked the image and the URL web address.
This post is probably over long but I am writing it in Evernote on my iPad on a flight back from Auckland after having been evacuated from the Nelson floods. Contrary to public opinion I cannot hold back flood waters so attended a Sustainability Forum up north for a couple of days instead. Now I look forward to spending a few days slushing away the mud at home.
You are welcome to tweet or email me your links from your own blog before the new year and I can add them to the resource.
Over the last couple of weeks the K12 OnLine Conference has been churning out free, online video and audio workshops. Some time ago I was invited to prepare a presentation in the Sandbox Play chapter of the conference.
All of the presentations are available for download in iTunesU which is a good way to view them.
I feel I have a pretty good handle on QR Codes now and the concept is new to many so I thought sharing with others about what I have learnt along the way would make an interesting presentation. My presentation was a audio-visual recap of the QR Code blog posts of last term.
The video is 9 minutes long. You can download the original from Dropbox if you wish.
I made it as an enhanced podcast in Garageband because I can make Garageband hum way better than iMovie. It played perfectly on my computer but in one of life’s little mysteries it refused to upload properly and the audio and graphics were out of synch. I tried exporting it in a heap of ways and uploading to Zamzar, YouTube, and Vimeo but all I achieved was an email from Telecom telling me I was exceeding my monthly broadband allowance. I whined about it on Twitter and Julia came through with the idea of trying to convert the video using http://www.online-convert.com/. The conversion and re-upload to Vimeo worked so here it is in all its glory.
If you have a clever smartphone, iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad give QR codes a whirl. My class love them and they are really easy to create and share.
I would love to know how you get on. How are you using QR codes?