Opera mini worth singing about

Wow! I have to say, the claims about Opera Mini – are – pretty genuine! At last, I can browse/jump around websites as fast on my iPhone as I do on my main computer. Plus it has lots of extra features and nice navigation options!  Should be very cool on the iPad.

I have added Opera to my bottom navigation bar – bye bye Safari!

If you haven’t already downloaded the App – race on over to the App store and grab your new browser experience.

Hanging with a twitter friend

One of the joyous things about attending conferences these days is the opportunity to connect face-to-face with friends from your professional network.

Today I presented a session at Tech-Savvy Leadership and Learning, at the University of Wollongong. More on this later. But for now, here is Darcy Moore, tweeting on his iPhone  as @darcy1968.  Wonderful!

We’re listening to the Forum questions at the end of the day.

Darcy Moore

Music to my ears!

Travel guides on your iPod, music, movies, podcasts, e-books, language programs ….. so many things to carry on our iPods.

BUT if only I had this sort of fun-techno tool to learn my music theory back in my youth!

I love my iPod/s and so I was particularly interested to read about iTheory, from Duke University.

iTheory is a beginning music theory ear-training program for the iPod which allows on-the-go users to practice interval recognition, scale recognition, chord recognition, and perfect pitch. This program is a complex network of over 600 interactive text notes with links to over 200 audio clips. All iPods with the Notes feature – 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation iPods, as well as the iPod mini and iPod nano – are able to use iTheory.

Grab more information and instructions from iTheory and download iTheory Notes and iTheory Sounds. “ya gotta love it”

iTheory

Dr Who – and handheld technology

I had reason to visit my friendly general practitioner (doctor) recently, and as usual we had a bit of ‘IT talk’ as part of the consultation. A multi-talented man, Dr W. writes software-programs for medical practitioners. Proud owner of a new Apple Mac at home, his latest project is putting case notes/diagnoses/treatment tutorials onto handheld devices, that trainee doctors will be able to consult as they learn on the rounds.

This put me in mind of the post from CIO blogger Ben Worthen, who wrote about mobile devices in the corporate work environment.

I have partnered with a new site http://www.urFlick.com that will soon launch to provide training material and instructional videos for our industry to people’s mobile devices.
We already allow our sales team to view inventory, place orders, check customer credit and history via their Blackberries. Next is to utilize urFlick.com and have our communication and sales pitches hand delivered to their device.

When I’m in this conversation/reading space, I am frustrated that we haven’t moved more quickly in education (in Australia) to explore just what we could be doing with handheld devices with our students.

Perhaps iPhones in education will push the agenda for us – eventually!

Ben Worthen thinks the iPhone is the single most important thing to happen to CIOs this year, and asks

if the work and the personal parts of your lives are no longer separate why should the devices that you use in those roles be?

I agree. Yes, I know you will tell me that podcasting has had a big push – but somehow this seems just one (almost gimicky) part of an overall need to refocus how we use our technology tools. But that’s a teacher thing. I have a sneaking suspicion that what kids really want is a pocket-sized combo gadget, and teachers had better start pushing the boundaries of our thinking.

In December 2006 FutureLab released a new Handbook , Learning with Handheld Technologies. The Handbook tells us that pedagogical approaches and teaching styles must accommodate a more autonomous learner role for good use of handheld devices. The trouble is the use of handheld technologies in the classroom may present difficulties for those teachers who do not fully understand their potential in a learning and teaching context.

We have much to learn in this area.

Getting back the start of this post…. TV shows like Doctor Who are expected to be available for download later this year after the BBC Trust gave initial approval to the BBC’s on-demand plans. Under the proposals, viewers will be able to watch popular programmes online or download them to a home computer up to a week after they are broadcast.

Happy Australia Day – Aus Mac Ed

We have celebrated Australia Day, 29 January, in style. Google Australia did us proud!

The same aussie day was chosen for launch post of the Aus Mac Ed group blog.

Paul writes:

As promised I’ve been working on a multi-user blog for Australian educators using Macs and iPods (and iPhones). The goal of AusMacEd is to bring our vibrant discussions about the huge potential of Apple based solutions in Australian education out onto the internet in a pro-active and web2.0 manner.

ausmaced.jpg Nice one Paul! :-)

Come on over, and join the conversation.

Of course, that’s not all there is!Digital Chalkie mascot

Australia Day also saw the news that Edublogs Award Nominee DIGITAL CHALKIE will continue in 2007.

If you aren’t familiar with Digital Chalkie, drop over and read a little about its success and enjoy the interesting contributions in this group blog.

Apple Conference – Day 3

Actually I’m exhausted, though not much wiser for three days of conference-going. Day three had its moments – good ones actually. I’ll share some with you!

Great Leadership Workshop led by Westley Field from MLC, Sydney and Keith Anderson, PLC Perth. Thanks for keeping the focus on blended learning, not just e-learning and technology. Both schools have a strong strong link to deep thinking coupled with creativity.

Westley shared Frank Crowther’s ‘Strategic Foundations’ with us as an enabling mechanism for transformation. These are made up of:

School vision – clear, shared and meaningful
Distributed Leadership
Success – promoted
Step-by-step – taking people on the journey

We heard about the PLC approach to strong, blended differentiation.
We heard about an MLC approach to building communication and community. A step-by-step approach has allowed them to reach significant milestons ……and desired outcomes.

Martin Levins of The Armidale School followed with a strongly focussed session where the key message for me was “creativity is the next literacy” (echoing Marco’s message). (Martin has emailed me to let me know that this quote is derived from that insightful and humorous presentation of (Sir) Ken Robinson at the TED conference in Monterey, CA. I highly recommend catching up with the TED talks, if you haven’t checked them out previously.

As Martin says:

Learning is the focus, not ICT
Give laptops to all your teachers, and expect creative work in return from some
Be a progenitor of dialogue
Leaders need to champion good work
Employ good, people-oriented staff

Best response to the teacher who says “I don’t like change!” :

Well, if you don’t like change, you’ll like ‘irrelevant’ even less!

Apple Conference – Day 2 Rocks

Led off by Greg Whitby, we had several sessions today that genuinely gave us the opportunity to review and reflect, and find some future directions. After asking some hard questions, we were fortunate to have some indepth case-studies, from different parts of Australia, showing how some successes were achieved.

Leadership is about asking intelligent questions. One of the most important questions to consider is  what niche schools have in the life our students. The issue is relevancy. Students, as we know from the inspirational presentations of Marco, are finding new ways about going about the learning process. Even in our mainstream schools with mainstream curriculum, students are embracing Web 2.0. So in looking at the future of schooling we can make good use of School 2.0 planning and ideas to challenge and reshape our focus.

We can run with Greg’s framework:

Enhancing student learning outcomes by individualising and integrating learning “learning with each other”

Leading

  • Building leadership teams and fostering innovation
  • Demonstrating new ways of learning and modelling good practice.

Supporting

  • Investing in the appropriate tools for learning
  • Making schools more inclusive – new models.

Growing

  • Investing in individual professional growth and learning
  • Opening the school to the world – the world to the classroom, e.g. learning community’s projects.

Good day for collaborative thinking and learning! for leaders!