July 23rd, 2008
Day 2 was another great day. Participants showed a lot of virtual participation – the chat room as usual ran hot and people came from Canada, USA, Pakistan, England and other countries. This shows the power of web2.0, when a Victorian based conference in Australia can attract such a broad audience and gives an indication of where education with students could lead. Virtual classrooms or flat classroom floors are coming closer to reality and reinforces the notion by Steve Hargadon that web2.0 is the future of education.
Steve Hargadon had put out a notification email to all classroom20 members and many joined in at various times of the day. Twitter notifications also drew some particpants and the live blog drew some participants. The first session involved Jason Callaghan Manager of KnowledgeBank: Next Generation, and focused on investigating how to “create a cyber safe space and single portal of teaching and learning content to showcase new and emerging technologies supported by Department policy and process”.
He discussed some interesting developments and websites, including youtube for the very young a site developed by a father with youngsters. The dept are looking at developing something safe like this for students. (Personally, I think this is sorely needed as students love making digital stories and wish to embed them in their blogs or wikis but although our www.abc.net.au allows the young to house their videos there, they cannot grab any code for embedding.)
Feedback was sought on the gaps between gaps and work needed to populate web2.0 policy in the classrooms. Need for safety of students was emphasised throughout. Tasteach’s students were listening to the session and spoke on how they love blogging. It was great to hear the student voice.
Second session for the day was presented by Chris Bigum on “Why has the web now got a number? – or coming to terms with the read/write web, knowledge production in schools and learning to deal with technologies that develop exponentially.” His links and discussion can be found on the knowledge bank confence wiki.
The third session was a great practical one. We heard from teachers and educators who are using various web2.0 tools. Tamara Carpenter spoke of her use of blogging (and isnt it great when people like Tamara blog and can share with others in her workplace the great benefits it can reap). Jenny Ashby spoke about podcasting with her students with some great tips, advice and ideas. The 3 p’s for podasting were plan, produce and publish. She then went onto discuss the 10 steps to podcasting success. You can see Jenny’s school site.
Clare Rafferty from Ringwood Secondary College and one of her students spoke about cyber safety in the classroom. This was another great segment and wonderful to hear from the students. They outlined safe use and features of myspace and facebook. Practical suggestions for stopping cyberbullying were put forward and the big message was “once you have it out there, you can never get it back and you lose control over it”.
Finally Chris Sutton who runs a virtual office spoke on a subject dear to my heart on thinking about virtual schools. She uses elluminate (eLearnAustralia) and kept reminding us to think outside the square and our normal classroom walls. Online software allows us to get speaker online and we no longer need to bring them into our school. Virtual classrooms and schools are a very real possibility.
Concluding remarks – Congratulations to the organisers, presenters and participants on a fantastic conference. May there be many more of them!