You use Youtube? so you’re cool?

Working with a group of teachers the other day, I was inspired to reflect upon just how much things have changed in just 6 months!

Of course the workshop was about Web 2.0, and we had some attendees who were at the ‘big toe in the water’ stage, as well as Bob, Martin and super enthusiastic Deputy Principal John. What a great school to have such a passion to move on through Web 2.0. Bob at McAuley runs a blog to support their ‘Focus on Learning’ project (which is about Web 2.0) and which will represent money well invested by the State in this school! Bob has joined me on FaceBook, and we had some interesting discussions after the workshop about the value (or otherwise) of Facebook for teachers. The answer? Not much value right now, but we will keep our eye on it 🙂

Bob & Martin, along with some teachers from a number of our other schools, are also involved in a Learnscope project – once again around the use of Web 2.0. My young geek friend Melinda says:

The focus in this project is to acquire sound evidence on which to base future organisational decisions about communication and networking processes.

This will be done through investigating the use of web 2.0 tools:

  1. to support VET teachers and students as learners
  2. to facilitate workplace communication about VET teaching and learning issues
  3. in supporting industry and TAFE networking opportunities.

What’s different then you ask? Well, not just the fact that it has become ‘mainstream’ to undertake specific projects to investigate and integrate the best possible use of Web 2.0, but that through Web 2.0 we can reclaima teachers prime role of mentoring, nurturing, modelling or even teaching! students with technology that is online, intuitive, and embedded into the framework of learning and teaching.

The difference now is the existence of Web 2.0 as a framework for social networking and social communication; and Web 2.0 as a state-of-the art technology that is more and more intuitive rather being an ‘add-on’ to the core business of learning.

I’ve hear someone at work say a few weeks ago: “Web 2.0 is out there – we don’t need to do anything special to incorporate it into learning.”

Oh dear! – of course those of us ‘on the road’ and working with teachers know that the story is very different. . and that we are lucky to have so many projects to help people make the transition to Web 2.0 learning and teaching!!!!

So what WAS so different yesterday?

Not the workshop, but what happened afterwards. The staff attending the workshop didn’t all just pack their bags and run. A bunch of us gathered around and watched some videos that Bob has collected in his EventHorizon VodPod!! Were you doing that 6 months ago? A year ago?

We watched the amazing TED talk about Photosynth. We topped it off with some comedy! before driving home on a cold winter’s afternoon.

The Horizon Project – they’re at it again!

I want to thank Julie Lindsay, Vicki Davis and others involved in the Horizon Project for once again showing us the exciting benefits of a global e-learning experience. Aren’t these students just awesome?

Like the award-winning Flat Classroom Project (2006), this new project involves students, this time 60 students in five countries, working together to look into the future of education based upon the Horizon Project Report 2007 Edition by the New Media Consortium and Educause (pdf).

The key trends identified in the Horizon Report which will be explored by the students are:

This project (using Wikispaces, Delicious, Slideshare, Ning, Twitter, Meebo, YouTube and many other online tools) is a ‘trip to the future’ where students will envision, create, and discuss what this future will look like withothers around the world. Through their work on the wiki, the students will be researching and experiencing web 2.0 enabled learning in a global community.

Student work will be assessed against three criteria related to the objectives of the Horizon Project.

  • To understand, analyze and evaluate the trends highlighted in the Horizon Report 2007based on key ideas and areas of impact.
  • To create a project wiki page that details this investigation and synthesis of the material.
  • To use Web 2.0 tools to facilitate collaboration as well as creation.

The comprehensive rubric is worth reading. They also made use of ISTE technology standards NETS.S (revised) for ‘What students should know and be able to do to learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly digital world’.Explore the Horizon Project, the Teachers’s Page and the Students Page.

The students come from USA, Austria, Bangladesh, Australia and China.

I have been invited to join the group as a member of the Expert Review Panel, supporting and reviewing the section on Social Networking. I expect to learn a great deal from these wonderful educators!

Vicki Davis, from Camilla, Georgia, has a beaut introduction to The Horizon Project available at Ning.

Julie Lindsay, from Dhaka, Bangladesh, (who is an aussie) has put a nice introduction to the project on Youtube. Horizon Project Introduction.

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Why teachers blog…

Lots of reasons why teachers blog ………. or should blog.

But this post from a “youngish teacher in the second year of teaching” says it all for me!

Take a look and……

  • See what you can do with GLIFFY
  • Share your thoughts and push thinking forward
  • Network in a global community.

Click on this image from Gliffy, and see what you think.


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.

Student opinions on Social Networking

As a followup from my last post on MySpace, I recommend a visit to Vicki Davis – Edublog Award winner for Best Wiki with her Flat Classroom Project wiki. Vicki leads in Web 2.0 thinking.

On her Westwood School Wiki you will find a comprehensive virtual survey of her 9th and 10th grade classes on MySpace and social networking. If you haven’t got a list of your own for discussions with your students, Vicki’s list provides a great starting point.

Vicki’s Westwood Wikispace was listed as December’s Space of the Month by Wikispaces.

Catch Vicki at Del.ici.ous as brightideasguru, or on her Cool Cat Teacher blog.

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The Wow Factor – Edublog Awards

Stranger things have happened ……but this morning I was delighted to discover that my fellow bloggers had voted me in as the winner in the Edublog Awards for 2006!

What an outstanding bit of WoW!

Cool Christmas present! 🙂

Of course, I am just a lucky one! amongst so many wonderful colleagues in the blogosphere who have been providing inspiration and support to us all as we dig deeper into the digital possibilities around us.

So …….

…. to all the wonderful bloggers who won in their category, were nominated for a category, or who took part in the voting.

Most important of all – there are many many good educators who are introducing blogging into their classrooms or libraries. You are all…

The International Edublog Awards

The Edublog Awards

This years nominations have poured in from edubloggers worldwide – and the results, as I’m sure you will agree, are pretty outstanding. My condolences to the many, many high quality nominations who didn’t make this year’s finals: there were plenty of worthy contenders who would have been equally at home here representing the best that the edublogosphere has to offer. Please do enjoy checking out this years finalists, recommending them to colleagues and above all – voting!

Much to my surprise, I find I have been nominated for the category

Best Library/Librarian Blog 2006

I hope I get some votes 🙂

Read through all the categories, and participate in the voting. The blogosphere is full of very talented and committed edubloggers, and there are some fabulous blogs listed this year!

Keep an eye on the Edublog webpage for profiles and other award updates.

You might also enjoy looking at last year’s awards. I did because I wasn’t blogging then!

Its just an “Interactive Whiteboard”!

I've had some experience with interactive whiteboards both in the classroom and for professional development. I know that there are plenty of teachers who are taking this technology 'on board' (excuse the pun) and finding very good uses when working with students. Many more teachers are still hankering for a 'piece of the action'.

Nice – but not enough. I have had reservations about the whole 'enthusiasm' thing. It is great to have good technologies to work with. I know the benefits. But lets keep the whiteboards in perspective. It is critical that we do not take Whiteboards as THE solution for providing engaging technology learning experiences for students. It's as if the Whiteboard is THE solution. Big sigh of relief – we are keeping up with new technologies!!

In my view it was just one bump on the rollercoaster ride of our teaching and learning journey. I don't want to dampen the enthusiasm, but I do want it kept in perspective.

So it was great to read the post from New Zealander Leigh Blackall, where he picked up the long reflective piece from Australian educator Graham Wegner . As Leigh says, the graphic sums it up – for me too! But better still, read the whole of Graham's reflection here. Graham is responsible for IWB implementation at his school, but as he explains, he is not a blind advocate.

Getting Social – Creating an effective adoption strategy

For local blog learners, this post from Ewan McIntosh is worth a look:

If you have a suggestion or success story of implementing social software (blogs, wikis, podcasts) in your area or institution please do share it on the wiki.

Check out the wiki – but better still, add to your regular reading list. If you need information on issues, approaches, ideas, or changing directions and opportunities with social software, and you want to know what the leaders in the field are doing – you can't do better than the Scots on this one!

I've also had some conversations with teacher librarians in recent days about MySpace and Bebo, and what they are saying to their students who are spending time on these social spaces at school. Questions are asked about 'what' students are doing, and with whom they are interacting. One reply was 'I have been to a lot of schools and I like to stay in touch with my friends'.

" In school, though, in a classroom there is far less choice as to whom you connect to, so groups perhaps reflect more diverse types of person. But is it education's job to wade in here and try to help students better decide how they use their social space, what information to share, how to use it to learn?"

Read the rest of Ewan's comment here.