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Friday, May 30, 2008


Buzzword is a piece of open source software that I shared with a friend on twitter earlier this week. I am pleased I did as he has answered my questions about the difference between Buzzword and google docs. As I have so much shared and used on there already I had been wondering about the value of changing to buzzword but Chris has summed it up really well here on his blog.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Seamless technology in ICT education - a train bound for glory

Toni Twiss (a 2008 efellow) has some useful tools for mobile phones in classrooms on her blog site. She also makes some valid comments regarding technology use in education, backed up by studies from Jamie McKenzie and further tools from the blog of Wes Fryer.
Reading Toni's blog also served to remind of the amazing power of twitter to collaborate and innovate - educators from across a huge range of backgrounds geographically and demographically are supporting each other and linking learners as well, through technology. Toni sums it up nicely here -
I guess what I am trying to say is - YAY other people think like me and it makes me feel like I am barking up the right tree. Social networks being used by educators to keep each other believe that we are barking up the right tree is what will maintain the drive forward to integrate technology seamlessly rather than the visit to the computer room approach to ICT in education.
A further reminder of this today is that my first messages today were from several former students - all coincidentally via bebo but they could have just as easily been facebook or email - proving that once these connections are made the learning does not stop with the classroom, or for that matter the school. Go the learning with flexible spaces and timetables - the lifelong authentic learning.

As Wes Fryer says "A digital learning REVOLUTION is underway. Are you on the train, getting on the train, helping drive the train, or sabotaging the rail line by attempting to blow up bridges along the train’s route?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

elearning exchange

I will be doing a brief demo of Marvin software at this event. Contact Rochelle Jensen or myself if you are keen to attend.
Gmail - thanks -

Monday, May 19, 2008

Educational blogs

Thanks to Allanahk for her posting about this newsletter - the particularly practical aspects of Computers in the Classroom especially useful (modified from Terry Freedman - Computers in Classrooms)
The lesson forms part of a unit which forms part of a scheme of work. There is a good starter activity, one that gets the pupils settled down and in the right frame of mind to do the work the teacher has planned for them.

•The teacher spends time at the start sharing the intended learning outcomes of the lesson and how this lesson fits in with the preceding and following lessons. I was impressed with a recent conversation with a 5 year old who could tell me not just what he had learned in class today - but how it fitted in to the big picture, and how their current theme will lead in to the next! This made his learning so relevant for him.

•Learners are given open-ended tasks. (Even lessons designed to impart a set of skills can still be more interesting than “drill & practice”).

•A range of resources are provided for learners, enabling the teacher to give quality guidance, ie not confined to explaining how to save the document! Resources include “how to” guides and posters, on-screen help and each other.

•Ample time is allowed for reflection and goal setting, thereby allowing it to be somewhat more useful than the POLO model: Print Out and Log Off. This is an essential part of the lesson, used to check what learning has taken place, consolidate learning, and prepare learners for the next stage (goal setting). In fact, a lesson might have two or three plenaries rather than just one at the end.

•The purpose of any homework is to consolidate and extend the learners’ understanding of the work they have been doing in class.

•Learners are allowed sufficient time on the computers, the teacher helping individuals and small groups.

•Work is set at an appropriate standard, taking into account prior learning and attainment, expectations of their age group in terms of national standards and key competencies.

•Open questioning/inquiry learning – and assessment for learning techniques are in evidence.

•Range of material provides for differentiation (higher attainers and children with special educational needs) and personalised learning.

•The teacher is aware of individual needs, e.g. individual education plans – and makes use of the assessment and other data.

•Not all work takes place at the computer: there is ample opportunity for discussion and reflection. What is important is not the use of technology per se, but the appropriate use of technology.

•Learners respect the equipment and the room e.g. they do not leave discarded print-outs on the floor.

•Learners are confident enough to try out things which may not have been demonstrated or introduced: they ask help from each other or look at the posters and manuals available.

•Learners ask questions that the teacher is unable to answer.
  • Learners are obviously more self-motivated than teacher motivated; their learning or progress is not teacher-dependent

Friday, May 16, 2008

Birthday in Vietnam

Just got some pics from Jan (thanks for that) that proves I did celebrate becoming another year older. Does it still count if you are on the other side of the world to the one you were born in?
Anyway it was a wonderful experience and now that I am finally getting a bit of time for reflection and going over videos and photos it is good to remember some of the many highlights of our trip. I am using mapness to put together an online sharing diary of the journey - it will take some time but at least I have made a start. Mapness allows you to add images, points on the map, and videos - at this stage only ones you have previously loaded on you tube but that's all good for now.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Query about Social Networking

In response to a query from a colleague this morning as to what we 'boomers' can use Social Networking for. The list is endless and limited only by how far we want to take it I guess. In the course of a day there are numerous reasons to network. Communicating with educators and technology enthusiasts (not that these are at all mutually exclusive) is a great way to enhance one's own use of technology by finding out new ways of using it to be creative and innovative in the classroom and in our own use of web tools. One of the most important aspects I see here is that we are modelling responsible behaviours of these tools for students and showing ourselves as lifelong learners. Maybe I am trying to rationalise my addiction to twitter and facebook and ... but I love the fact that in any given moment I can be interacting with like minded people all over the globe e.g. this morning on twitter I have met a teacher in Regina, Saskatchewan who has a great blog site, and have been looking at the blog challenge a group of students are competing in. All of this is innovative and outward looking which is what learners need to be if they are to continue to make sense of the world. Take a look at the research and community sharing Diigo here.

Friday, May 9, 2008


This is a great site based in Florida that has podcasts about things Marine and Oceanic. Not only that it is interesting and well constructed, it is definitely time I got podcasting about... something. Seems like every time I start recording something the phone rings or someone comes to the door, or a real noisy car goes past - enough with the excuses!
Blog on blogging from Al Upton of mini-legends fame - a sequence of steps for class blogging - if Al's year 3 class (8 and 9 yr olds) can do it - we can all do it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Educational jargon generator

Don't forget to check out the new Knight School website, to watch Jane and the Dragon on Wednesdays TV2 at 4.30 - and to get your competition entries in!!!!!!!!

Well hey, look what I just found - how easy it is to digress while working online. My friend Joshy from Melbourne sent me a great stash of open source apps that I am flicking through for usability and in the meantime I somehow came across this Educational Jargon Generator, I am thinking there may be some occasions on which it could come in quite handy!
While working today I have been using what I think for some of us is a huge, but widely underutilised resource - podcasts. I am avidly back in French language learning mode thanks to the motivation of My Happy Planet (see previous blog posting) and have been relistening to the great 'Learn French by Podcast' and Daily podcasts in French - both thanks to itunes. This is another reminder to me of what the web has to offer - free learning!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Creativity - isolated no longer with online publishing; this wiki from Miguel Guhlin supports many of the discussions I have been having recently with colleagues from a range of curriculum and educational backgrounds.
In particular the example of the home school students who created and uploaded a movie to YouTube illustrates the power of publishing and the motivation of being able to express ourselves to a wider audience. No doubt the YouTube banning debate will go in educational circles for some time but I see it as a distinct disadvantage to be denying learners access to free and powerful tools of communication. The essence of this argument is that learners need to be encouraged and assisted to be responsible for how and when they use the tools that are available. To develop competent lifelong learners this is an essential ingredient in enabling them to make the transition between learning environments - home vs school and independent vs dependent.
Keynote in San Antonio includes notes and a podcast from Dr Don Knezek's keynote address at ICTT 2007 that supports the idea of collegial conversations using ICT.