Excellence at ISTE 2010

Several intrepid educators have travelled across to Denver, Colorado  from various parts of Australia to attend one of the world’s leading conferences for learning and teaching with technology.

The conference  “Exploring Excellence” hosted by the International Society for Technology in Education is of a scale and variety that is never experienced here in Australia. Amazingly this conference gets underway a good day before the official launch.

Edubloggercon2010 was (as always) a totally crowd-sourced “unconference” event – built in the lead up to Saturday on a wiki, then finally voted upon and organized at the start of the day for the full day’s of busy activities. A list of of the shared link. My completely favourite fun session is always the Web 2.0 smack down of new media tools. Check them out and what others are saying.  We could really enjoy doing this for even longer than an hour – it’s just fabulous to get recommendations from practitioners. Overall,  it is amazing to see such grassroots activity resulting in such quality information.

Thanks to Scott Merrik for hosting a lovely evening at his brother’s home. So nice to spend time with Virtual Worlds educators, and to experience a little of Denver home life. I remember the first time I met Scott in ISTE island a few years back – and for his welcoming patience to a ‘newbie’ SecondLifer. 

The Opening Keynote on Sunday evening  by Jean-François Rischard of the World Bank  was a little disappointing – but the shared camaraderie of the crowd at the Bloggers Cafe certainly made up for this in spades. Nuts were shared, jokes were cracked, pictures were snapped, and Twitter humor abounded!

It’s my second trip to an ISTE international conference. It promises to be yet another inspirational conference.  I met one wonderful teacher – three years in the profession, three conferences at which she presented, and engaged in amazing innovation at her school. What an inspiration!

Technology innovation is everywhere! Already we have heard from schools that are integrating iTouch devices and now iPads into their overall curriculum delivery. This is very different to Australian schools who are stumped by network issues. Perhaps more of us should be at conferences like this to bump innovation along by disseminating crowd-sourced solutions to similar problems. This is where a personal learning network comes into it’s own. Someone can always help provide ideas and solutions.

I’m looking forward to learning more, interacting with old friends and new, and being excited about the future of learning. The program ‘at a glance’ gives a peep into the possibilities at ISTE2010.

If you dropped into my session on Monday, here is my presentation for review.

Virtual sanity online?

British children are spending more than 20 hours a week online, most of it at social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo, and are in effect being “raised online”, according to research from the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Read the Guardian’s Warning to parents over children ‘being raised online’ for more information about the report and the recommendations for government intervention.

I stopped to think. What are global educators doing then? Uhmmm ….. spending rather a lot of time online as well. We have a lot of commentary about various online tools, and the pros and cons for teachers. The blogosphere is full of it.

In my case I can confess to spending a huge amount of time in Second Life this last Easter break catching up with Australian and international colleagues, talking about professional learning issues that are central to our daily work.

St Joseph’s College has a professional base on the island of Jokaydia, and our Convention centre is something of a conversation hub for newbies and experienced Second Life educators alike. This spills over to Heyjude Hall – a space created for the same purpose when I was working with the Catholic Education Office last year.

The collaboration takes the cake for ingenuity and flexibility in Second Life. The boundaries are unlimited, and don’t require special skype conferences, ustreamTV events or flashmeeting setups. Just drop in, and see who’s around! We’re very lucky to have such a creative space as Jokaydia to gather – not affiliated with any particular insitution, and therefore a gathering place for many organisations and individuals alike. You are welcome to visit the Island of jokaydia where you can engage in videos and podcasts, slideshows, virtual books, drums and balloon rides. Visit http://slurl.com/secondlife/jokaydia/113/150/23

During the weekend some of us gathered on Jokaydia I near Heyjude Hall (SLURL) and talked with Al Upton about the Mini Legends. Australians and international educators made up the group.Reports and blog posts have been running hot over the Department of Education Order for Closure of Al’s mini-Legends blogs – one of the best global grass-roots initiatives around. It is embarrassing to have such things happening in Australia. We must all lend our support to Al who is as dedicated and as energetic as any teacher I know.

Join us at TALO’s sypmposium online “Learning in the 21st century” on May 2nd, either physically or virtually, and listen to Al Upton, and discuss these issues in more depth.

Last evening saw me again talking with some colleagues at St Joseph’s Convention Centre on Jokaydia II (SLURL). We soon teleported to talk ‘conferences’ and content for presentations.

Here are the three muskateers – from the left, Tempest Nitely (Melanie Hughes, AIS); Slammed Aaybe (ICT co-ordinator, Marist High School) and Heyjude Jenns (me!) talking with Lernys Reino (Fernando Santamaria) Universidad de León, Spain, as Lernys prepared for his conference presentation on “Introduction to Second Life and possibilities for education”. Learnys asked us to line up for a photo shoot. Nice one.

I first met Learnys at the Edublog awards last year – on Jokaydia of course!

Be yourself – stand out with edutagger

Remember when Del.ici.ous and other social bookmarking sites were new….. and hardly anybody knew what they were let alone used them? Remember when we discovered Digg?

Well here’s your chance to see something else new with great potential, which is designed specially for K-12 teachers. Edutagger is in its early days (not much there yet) so will depend on us, the online educators of the world, to build up its capacity to store and promote the best resources we can find and share with each other. Think Delicious tagging + Digg and you’ll have an understanding of what it might do.

Blending the use of categories and tags, Edutagger it is an online organisational space for sharing and pooling our resources. Could this be the breakthrough that we have all been looking for?

I recommend that you take a look, create an account, and add some links. Before you know it we could build a critically useful collection for us all.

Edutagger still sports Google ads – like other online tools before it, Edutagger relies on this to get started. Don’t let that stop you exploring and contributing to Edutagger.

For me the other great thing is that this product is made by an aussie, who works in one of our schools in Melbourne, Australia. Email chatting with Edutagger’s creator today I discovered that he was a wee bit busy preparing a video presentation for parents! Nice touch..someone who ‘gets’ education!

Our busy life never stops does it? So let’s share the load and ‘be happy’!

Photo: Be yourself

Update: Information provided by email by Mark Schuman, from his school in Melbourne. Mark supports and trains staff in the use of e-Learning technologies and has become known as “Mr Moodle” – his name is around the Moodle forums a fair bit. Thanks to Stephen Downes for ‘picking me up’ on not providing information about Mark (blame late-night blogging!). Stephen provides a profile and some comments about the tool.

Will Richardson and the Why 2 of Web 2.0


You’ll excuse me if I get excited by the news that Will Richardson is going to be here in Australia later this year to share his professional wisdom with us all.

Thanks to Sybasigns, who run some excellent professional learning seminars for us here insyba.jpg Australia, Will will be presenting two seminars: Brisbane 7th May and Sydney 9th May.

For more information and to register visit The Why 2 of Web 2.0: How it transforms everything!

Join their online seminar Ning The Why 2 of Web 2.0!

If you like, grab a copy of the 4 page flyer The Why 2 of Web 2.0 right here!

Oh, and I am thrilled to be sharing both events with Will, by participating in the seminar along with my friend and colleague Westley Field from MLC school in Sydney. I’m also really looking forward to meeting and listening to Christine MacKenzie from Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne.

If you’re a blogger – you’ve got to come along to a seminar! One spare bed at my place for a Sydney visitor 🙂

  • Playing with text widgets in wordpress

    Sue Waters has been having fun getting ideas on widgets and helping bloggers using edublogs via the new blog The Edublogger.

    I have used WordPress.com as my preferred blogging platform, though I also use blogger from time to time. But for classroom use, I have always preferred to use edublogs.org (another wordpress system), because of its various options for use at schools for students, teachers, or for whole campus.

    I’ve provided all sorts of support to people with blogging over the last two years, and so have learnt a few tips and tricks along the way.

    Sue has asked us to share these with the edublogs community, via our own blogs. So here is one that I used for my super(woman) friend Danni Miller at her blog The Butterfly Effect – an inspiration to girls and women here in Australia. Danni’s blog was nominated for Best New Blog in 2007. I’ve been honoured to provide consultant support to this fabulous dynamo and advocate for girls and women!

    Danni particularly wanted to be able to promote her various ideas and resources to her readers. Of course Vodpod took care of her video recommendations. Library Thing was the ideal choice for her book recommendations.

    Here’s the code that I used to display a random selection of books from her Library Thing Book Collection as it appears on her blog The Butterfly Effect. This is placed into a text box in your widget tools and can be used in WordPress or Edublogs. I have substituted words in square brackets to indicate where you will need to insert your own links or LibraryThing profile name.

    <a href=”//www. [insert the rest of your LibraryThing URL (don’t put http:)]“><img src=”http://[for an image you would like to show permanently to promote your collection insert the rest of the image URL]“>
    <a href=”http://www.[insert the rest of your LibraryThingURL]“>
    <img src=”http://www.librarything.com/gwidget/widget.php?view=
    [the name of your LibraryThing profile]

    Clicking on either the image or the random selection of books being displayed will take your readers directly to your Library Thing account.


    Oh, and if you need consultant support in your organisation or school for introducing, establishing or using blogging I just might be able to help you out too! 🙂

    Students 2.0 – fantastic initiative!

    I hope you’ll find it as exciting as I do. This new initiative from Clay (thanks for sharing the Delicious ranking success with us in Twitter) has the potential to create fairly seismic effects, over time, in the edublogosphere – by elevating student edubloggers!

    The students ask us to

    Check out this post by Clay Burell, the teacher who sponsored our collaborative, world-wide project, for ideas on how to spread the word.

    Students 2.0 looks like being the first of its kind! Grand stuff indeed….. and the site design is just fabulous. Go visit!

    Administered, designed, edited, and written by a global mix of students of varying ages, interests, voices, and points of view, Students 2.0 will feature content written by both staff writers and guest contributors. From Hawaii and Washington, from St. Louis and Chicago, from Vermont, New York, Scotland, Korea, and other points on the globe, these writings will be united in one central aspect: quality student writing, full-voiced and engaging, about education.
    The moment for a student-centered edublogosphere has come. The staff at Students 2.0 invite their adult partners in education to treat their posts as they treat all others: as serious writing, as invitations to their readers to listen, reflect, agree, disagree, extend ideas – and above all, to create new possibilities, understandings, and insights in education.

    Find free images online – my list!

    Images are an important part of the creative side of any teacher’s work.

    We need to make use of good image sources that are good, free, and easy to search through. The trick is to know what sources to recommend to students.

    It’s not just about copyright – its about being practical, and showing students the wonderful world of possibilities beyond Google images or taking anything they find that is not actually in the public domain – a vital point as more students and teachers move into online environments of blogs, wikis and more. Including images with postings enriches the experience for the reader and can also help to illustrate or support the writer’s viewpoint.

    So adapting the Search Engine Journal collection of 10 Places to Find Free Image, here’s a bit of a list of ones I like.

    FlickrCCmy top favourite – and Australian too. This tool searches Creative Commons images from Flickr – no need to use the Flickr advanced search option (though you can do that too). What I love about it is the way it displays a large selection in one view, and the way it randomly chooses a different word to display images each time you visit. That has thrown up some real favourites for me too. FlickrCC lets you edit images right away – though I don’t make use of that function. Flickr itself is free, though you will have to register if you want to upload and edit your own images.

    Catch something really amazing – watch the world in action at FlickrVision! Here you will see the images as they are being uploaded to Flickr – superimposed on a map of the world (classic view) or a rotating globe (3D view).

    Others worth a try:

    1. Bigfoto.com offers pictures from around the world, including America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Pacific.
    2. Clip Art for foreign/second language instruction. Basic but still valuable.
    3. EveryStockPhoto is a search engine for creative commons photos, located in Vancouver, BC. They aim to be a community for designers, developers, photographers and other media publishers who want better, easier access to license-specific media on the web. This is a single integrated search, allowing users to bookmark their photos with private and public tags, and increasingly we will be offering advanced searching options, rating systems and other tools.
    4. FreeDigitalPhotos.net has over 2000 free images that you can use in commercial and noncommercial work. You are not allowed to sell, redistribute, or claim these images as your own. You can browse by category or search for exactly what you need.
    5. FreeMediaGoo.com has a large collection of images, audio, textures, and other visual mediums that you can use for free with some restrictions. You do not even have to credit the images. The site also features some amazing digital images if you are looking for something different.
    6. FreeFoto.com says it is the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet (link back and attribution required).
    7. FreePhotosBank.com allows users to have non-exclusive, non-transferable license to images. You can search for photos, see which photos are the most popular, and which ones have the highest ratings or the most downloads.
    8. Fotogenika.net has photos for free download for personal, educational, and nonprofit use. The site is well organized, and it includes categories such as architecture, animals, people, and textures.
    9. The Geo-Images Project attempts to make images (mostly photographs) that are useful in teaching geography more widely available. Navigate via map points on the globe, and capture images around common themes. Love the one on transport! and community is cool too!
    10. MorgueFile.com offers stock photographs in high resolution digital. With over 55,000 images, divided into several categories, they are sure to have something you can use. The thumbnails are small, but your search results display quickly, and the photos are of top quality. (The term “morgue file” is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues flats. Although the term has been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers as well The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits. This is the world wide web’s morgue file)
    11. Pics4Learning collection is intended to provide copyright friendly images for use by students and teachers in an educational setting. Lesson plans also included.
    12. Stock Exchange offers high quality images taken around the world by amateur photographers. If you have an interest in photography, you can even submit your own pictures. There are various searching options and over 100,000 images. The photographers establish the terms, so read the fine print, but most pictures can be reused immediately.
    13. TurboPhoto provides free stock images from 10 categories all of which are in the public domain.
    14. UVic’s Language Teaching Library consists of about 3000 images useful in the teaching of basic vocabulary in a variety of languages. Its purpose is to provide a set of those graphics most basic and useful for low-level language-teaching, and at the same time, to make them as easily searchable as possible. Transparent an matte images included.
    15. Riya – Visual Search provides royalty free images. Riya contains images of People and objects. Each of these also contain subcategories.
    16. Wikipedia: Public domain image sources – though in this case you will need to check the copyright.
    17. Yotophoto is now indexing well over a quarter million Creative Commons, Public Domain, GNU FDL, and various other ‘copyleft’ images.

    For a full Photography Toolbox you shouldn’t go past Mashable’s 90+ Online Photography Tools and Resources.

    If you have other reliable favourites, I would be glad to add them to this list.

    Photo: Are you ready?
  • 21st century literacy specialist!

    I always love reading what Kim Cofino has to say at her blog Always Learning or in her Twitter posts as mscofino…which are regular, and packed with questions and ideas. But what I really love is the concept behind her role at the International School Bangkok in Thailand.

    Kim explains:

    I am the 21st Century Literacy Specialist at the International School Bangkok in Thailand. This position combines my past experiences as a technology facilitator with the wealth of resources available in the library. ISB is actively seeking to build a Learning Hub that successfully blends the traditional role of a library with the requirements of the 21st century global student. My role is to bridge that gap. As the 21st Century Literacy Specialist, my work is focused on helping core subject teachers utilize web 2.0 technologies in the classroom, to create a global and collaborative approach to learning. I enjoy working with my colleagues to design authentic and engaging international projects incorporating social networking, blogs, wikis, and podcasts, and whatever comes next!

    Kim’s been telling us all day on Twitter how she has been finishing off the long haul of working on her conference presentation wiki Developing the Global Student: Practical Ways to Infuse 21st Century Literacy Skills in Your Classroom.

    Naturally when she finally posted the link I had to take a look.

    I think you should take a look too! 🙂

    You should also take a look at Kim’s post The Slideshow must go on where she tells you a little about the conferences that these materials have been prepared for.

  • Soaring high above the clouds

    Amongst all the great bloggers who work tirelessly to share good information and provide inspiration – there are some who help us soar high in the clouds by the specialist nature of their collaborative conversation.

    I like the information that Larry Ferlazzo brings to the conversation with his focus on Teaching ELL, ESL and EFL.

    I’m also proud to announce the ‘arrival’ of a local colleague, Danni Miller, with her focus on a “new, powerful conversation on body image, self esteem and outcomes for girls” at The Butterfly Effect.

    Do you have a specialist read that you would like to share?
    I’d like to list them in this post.

    Karen Janowski’s Teaching Every Student blog focuses on assisting students with disabilities.

    Photo credit: Kites and Clouds
  • CEC (NSW) Forum, 2007

    Another year, another CEC Forum 😉 How time flies!

    Nevertheless many educators gathered together on the first day of the school holidays to attend the ICT Forum organised by the Catholic Education Commission NSW.

    As promised my presentation for the session, introducing the concept of social bookmarking, is provided below.

    A detailed list of links are provided for you at my ‘social bookmarking’ TAG at Del.icio.us Heyjude.

    You may like to use this delicious_setup.pdf from David Warlick to help yourself or your colleagues set up a Del.icio.us account.

    For a detailed presentation that covers all the key aspects of managing and using your Del.icio.us account I highly recommend the one below put together by Michael Sauers.

    Just start your viewing after the TechSupport page.