When the physical and the virtual collide

The title of this post was going to be ‘When the real and the virtual collide’ but as I grow in the use of these Web2.0 tools the virtual becomes the real. Just because you haven’t met people before or don’t see them on a daily basis doesn’t mean that the interactions with them aren’t real.

I have just spent the last few days at the New Zealand Learning at School Conference in Rotorua. Unfortunately I missed the Andy Hargreaves keynote as my plane didn’t get in on time but from all accounts he was well received and his content was relevant. I will catch up with his keynote when things settle down a bit.

After quickly meeting up with some of my Twitter/blogger mates I launched into my first breakout session with Tony Ryan. I took a quick screen grab of one of his slides which was an excellent quick resource as to what I need to do to move on some of the sparkly ideas from the conference. I agree- you have to integrate what you want to do smartly or it will get gnawed away at by AsTTle tests, planning for camp, Meet the Teacher meetings ……. I have already moved on a couple of things so all is not lost. Best quote from Tony to me mid breakout session- ‘It’s all right, I can speak louder than your cellphone.’ Note to self- gotta put it on vibrate for next time! Thought of Jamin who last text me mid-keynote in Tauranga last month to ask if I had remembered to switch my cell phone off and to find out where I was sitting!! Congratulations Jamin and Jamie on the birth of your son, Noah. Love to you both.

✩ Next up was a spot of Blue Screen Magic. Like most things- its a lot easier when you have friends to help you.

Jane left instructions for the ‘how to‘ on her blog so all the hard work was done there. Fun techy stuff that you could use with kids. Thanks David, Disa and Jane.

✩ Next up was my workshop on Free Adobe Apps on Line which was done in the heat of the day. Unfortunately participants didn’t have wi-fi access of their own so the session was limited to a show and tell- not as interactive as it might have been. If you want to see the slides in a Google Presentation click here.

✩ I was in awe when Wes Fryer turned up in my next breakout talking about making enriched pdfs embedded in Google Apps for Educators and made into digital portfolios. He live blogged the whole thing which was great. Thanks Wes- that’s never happened to me before!

✩ I had the privilege in attending Wes’ breakout session on Powerful Blended Learning. We used Chatsy as a backchannel which worked well if you had had wifi- which I didn’t!

Repeat after us…. Hyperlinked Writing Is The Most Powerful Form Writing There Is.

If you’re not sure that hyperlinked writing really is the most powerful form of writing try clicking on any of the words- they link to web sites randomly plucked from my recently bookmarked  Delcious bookmarks.

✩ Next was a taster presentation ‘It’s all about Learning’ talking about unpacking the Curriculum and engaging children in meaningful dialogue about what it really means for them as learners. Good stuff. I liked that they had examples of the kids work- all messy and real. They had taken direct quotes from the curriculum and de-constructed it- just like you could de-construct a piece of text in a story you were reading as a shared book. Thanks Lisa and Belinda.

Pam Hook shared her vision with SOLO taxonomy. I have read about the rubrics before and frankly if hadn’t made a lot of sense to me but hearing her talk about it an and seeing videos of children talking about it all made it make sense to me.

✩ The last workshop was a one I aimed at beginners just talking about the sorts of things that I do in my classroom to foster a sense of community and collaboration with my class. During the session we quickly Skyped in with Brian Crosby from Nevada while he had a little classroom release time. I didn’t provide much in the way of a handout for this one but some of the key postings are here on a quickie wiki I made last year to show ERO some of the things we did. If you were in that workshop please ring me, email me or Skype me if you get lost or need some help.

Brian Skypes In You Tube Video

✩ A scary, fun, last thing that finished up the conference was Wes’ keynote. We sort of flashmobbed it with the Collaborative Dance Video that we made last year. Just as Wes was about to start we all leapt up and did our happy dance. Not to be left out Chrissy and a few kids from her class were able to join us via Skype at 6.45am from Bangkok International School. How cool is that. Wes was such a good sport about it all and joined in the fun. I am sure the video of Wes’ keynote will be on line soon but in the meantime here is a short clip of how our beginning bit went recorded on my computer with Skype and Call Recorder. If you are keen to find more look for the Flickr tag #lats09.

Here is Chrissy’s post and video about how it looked at her end. It was great fun for us all to catch up with Chrissy so far away in Bangkok and for her to catch up on our news!

After my heart had stopped racing at the scariness of doing a happy dance in front of all those people I was able to listen to what Wes had to say but again my battery let me down so I wasn’t able to record what he said but I am sure others were able to more eloquently than me any way but the two things that stuck in my head were…

Hyperlinked writing is the most powerful form of writing there is.

He aha te mea nui. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. ( In my own words- What is the most important thing? It is the people- we need to give kids the tools to be able to connect and learn.)

At the end of the day Wes, Glenda, Pesa and I had a great look around Whakarewarewa. What a nice way to end the conference- and I bought a beautiful possum and merino wool jersey for winter for half price when I went shopping on Saturday morning. Bonus!

What is a blog?

I am the Bloggers Cafe at L@S and John (sorry John but I can’t remember what your real name is now) asked what’s a blog?- This photo shows fellow blogger Lorraine Watchorn showing him and this blog post will help show the power of it- just like Mark Treadwell did for me a couple of years ago. All done in the seven minutes before the next workshop.

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Practising for Learning at School

Here is a little something I am playing with so that people who can’t be at Learning at School can join in via a live blogging session. We will have to see how it goes!!!!! Obviously- not well!

Maybe someone can help me- Twitter is down at the moment so I am on my own. I inserted the code from Coveritlive.com and I can see it all happening in the visual edit window of Edublog but when I publish I can see nothing!

I fired off an email to Coveritlive.com and got a prompt reply-

The consensus from edublogs.org users is that they do not allow iframes (that’s how our software appears on your blog) on the sites of their users. This is a very rare issue as globally there are almost no hosts who put this kind of restriction on their users. Many web based software applications are being delivered via iframe and we are hopeful they allow them in the near future. Your feedback to them would likely help the issue.

Here’s what the Edublogs help page says-

I want to embed videos, widgets and more in my posts and sidebar, but the code keeps on getting stripped out, what’s up? Unfortunately, for security reasons, you can’t paste code containing embed, javascript or iframes into your blogs… they’d allow hackers to bring down the site (they did at myspace!) so we need to be extra secure. However, you can click on the yellow ‘A’ button in your editor to embed pretty much any kind of movie and read the instructions in your ‘upload’ area (under your posting area) for how to embed other types of media.

Clay Burrell said that WordPress is the same- at least I now know it’s not just something I’m doing wrong. Clay sent me this link to a discussion about iframes and why they could potentially be bad. Miguel Guhlin and Dennis Richards have it going OK in their attempts. Thanks guys- my network is awesome. I will try it again with Blogger and see how it goes. If it works I can just put a link from this blog to Blogger and go that way. I am impressed with the service from Coveritlive.com’s help desk.