Sunday, December 30, 2007

New year, new job, new challenges

it is the last day of 2007, and I cannot wait for 2008. Can't wait for 29th January actually. My life as a Cluster Educator is over, and I am very sad to leave it. I have loved every minute of this role; loved meeting so many new and exciting people, appreciated the support network we had established, thrived on being able to have the luxury of time to continue and advance my learning, loved having the opportunities to spend time with so many class room teachers and students from Prep through to year 10.
These are the flowers my management team gave me at our last meeting for the year. They were lovely. I wish the Templestowe cluster schools all the best for the future, although clusters as we know it no longer exist. it is a shame, after four years, the relationships were built and change was happening .. Oh well.

I am taking on a new role ... Year 9 Learning Faciilitar at Ivanhoe Grammar School. They have introduced an innovative out-of-class learning program for their year 9 students. It is quite amazing ... It involves an Inquiry based learning project operating from LaTrobe University, an Urban Systems experience at their St Stephens campus, an online collaborative project with schools in New Zealand and a "journey" fully planned and organised by the students. But don't worry you can follow my jouney from the new blog i have established. And when I get settled and organised anyone who is interested can come and have a look at what we are doing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

MySpace TheirSpace ..... a practice

This is a presentation I did for the parents and staff at Templestowe Heights Primary after working with Robyn Treyvaud from Cybersafe Kids. I have uploaded it as a trial run to see if if would work. Next I will do my "Dinosaur to Avatar" one, (see post below)

(Still waiting for it to be uploaded to Teachertube .... hhhmm a bit slow on the Mac ! Will pop back later today and add video)

I need to re-do it with music as obviously when i present it I TALK my way through it. Maybe after I do my PD day on GarageBAnd on Thursday I can put it to some original music rather than doing something illegal ! This presentation is based on the work of research of Robyn Treyvaud in her paper "Young people's use of the internet and related technologies" Seminar Series July 2007. Hopefully I will be working with Robyn to further cyber education throughout schools and the community.

Anyway off to Andersons Creek Primary School today .. apparently they have an excellent ICT program throughout the school, then helping Temp. Heights organise a Scope and Sequence and to integrate ICT into their programs for 2008.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What a week ....

It must be almost December, there is so much happening all of a sudden. This week is full of exciting things in my cluster, and for me. Today (Tuesday ) I went to the VITTA conference There was a range of interesting people speaking, I was just one of huge number of presenters... actually i felt quite strange a "humanities and Legal Studies " teacher presenting at the Information Teachers Annual conference !!

After lunch I was fortunate to attend a session by Professor Stephen Heppell on "Building the revolution - starting at your own school" I must admit my ignorance ( I have been so busy writing job applications lately I hadn't done my homework and checked out who he was !) He was fabulous. Entertaining, humble, inspiring and so articulate about "how schooling and learning SHOULD be,, my only question is WHy isn't he talking to our Educational Leaders.... ???

I loved his 5 Things to try now

1. Get the KIDS to run a staff development day on what they think the teachers need to learn ( How kool is that !!)
2. Give kids a pre-paidmobile and let them TEXT in ideas, complaints, suggestions ... he went as far as to say let that replace the school council ( WHOAHHH )
3. Set up a learning research project for examle " how does sound and music change our learning"
4. Knock down some walls - Give the kids 5 sticky labels each, ( and staff in a different colour) and get them to choose a wall. How quickly you will discover where all the Bullies hang out !
5. Give the kids a STOP watch, get them to press stop when packing up and moving around the school and START when actualy working. (great way to prove the need for longer lessons to get through some deeper learning.

He also has a Phone Blog .... takes a picture and adds text and zaps it direct from the phone . Another idea i am definitely going to try. Imagine the instant publication of student observations, recordings, excursions.... loved it.

My session was called " From Dinosaur to Avatar - You can too" I discussed my journey from only ever using a data projector two years ago to what i do now. I think i got TWO party bookings ! Ballarat Grammar and maybe one other.
As soon as i adjust the timing on my slides with video clips, I will save it as a Podcast and put it on my blog.... i may even get some more party bookings

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To Peter and the gang at OLSH

Today I was invited to speak to a group of teachers at OLSH in Bentleigh. We had a great session, talked about Differentiating Curriculum and of course the conversation came around to Blogging and the use of MYSPACE in the classroom. I am hoping that they will log on and take a look at this blog, of course I recommended Jo's and I also suggested they have a look at Colin Turners' year 7 English Blog . I have DARED them to be a bit adventerous and leave a comment.

Let's see how many do. It would be great for a few to comment on the year 7's too. We do get so excited when someone takes the time to leave a comment.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Spreading the word..

I was invited to The Lakes P- 9, last week to chat to the staff about PODCASTING, Blogging and the usual "technology" stuff. I was quite nervous at first when I noticed how young they were. I made an assumption that they were the Facebook generation, and that I may have had nothing new to tell them. But I was quite wrong. I forget that so many teachers are so busy now just keeping up with their lessons, and VELS and reporting that they don't often have the time to play, read, experiment and learn like I do. The session went very well.

So well in fact that the Prep teachers immediately started a Prep Blog . I am so proud of them, and chuffed, that it was as a result of my talk. Feel free to have a look, and please leave them a comment if you do.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Change of name ... 'cause it is all over !!

I am thinking i will have to change the name of my Blog, now that i am an Ex- Cluster Educator !!. Yes, the government has had a change of mind, change of direction and we all lose our jobs in December , all 256 of us. Some Educators are upset and ranting about not being valued, after the contributions they made and so on, others are acknowledging how lucky we were to have such a great job but we knew it had a limited life span.

i feel very fortunate to have had this job for two years, I relish the time I have had, the opportunites that i were able to take, the experiences and incredible things I have learned. Visiting so many other schools and classrooms, meeting a huge number of people, working with teachers in Prep right through to VCE, establishing an incredible network of people. The knowledge and skills that I take with me now into whatever I do for the next few years is priceless. I only hope that I manage to get a position that allows me to continue to share it with other teachers and students.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The beauty of a blog

One of the best things about a blog is the fact that like a website, you can store information here and then you know where you put it, unlike a filing cabinet or even the filing system on my macbook , always a mess. So I have come across many new things lately and decided to store them here for easy keeping.
it is a bit of a "have you seen" .... segment
Have you seen the Top 100 tools for learning website. How many are you familiar with?

I am often asked about how I download and save Youtube videos into my ilife as above. I used to use a great program called Cosmopod , however this is Mac specific, and I have had trouble with it lately, so try this site 100 It is free and so far, works fine. You can choose whether to save videos as Mov files or Macs, AVI for Windows, MP4 for ipods or 3GP for phones.

If you are into making movies and concerned about copyright and the kids with their music, here are some sites that provide free music and sound affects (thanks to Michelle at Coburg Senior High for these)
free play music
for free sounds
partners in rhyme