Monthly Archives: January 2009

My virtual classroom extends – Ping

An exciting virtual classroom and collaborative  project that will start on Monday Feb 9th at our school and in my class. Ajax MckKerral is organsing the project.

Year 7  students  and some grade 6 students from Casterton Secondary College, Heywood and District Secondary College and Hawkesdale P12 College will be involved in a six week online music project, Ping,  

Ping is the result of collaborative project between the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, The Song Room, and Country Education Project. Generous support has been provided by the Helen MacPherson Smith Trust

The project

  • Focus – listening, arranging and organizing sounds
  • Staff and students involved, will create sound stories
  • 5 workshops. MSO (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) will come in for about 4 of these workshops and discuss their instruments, including physics, history etc
  • MSO will record specific requested sounds for student use
  • Completed stories will comprise 5 tracks or more, convert to mp3 file, embed in the blog.

A blog has been set up for use by all staff with students and features

  • Links
  • Posts
  • Discussion forum- for both staff and student use for discussions, problem sharing and solving.

Requirements: Audacity beta version 1.3.7

So before we commence students need to

  • Register
  • Write a post
  • Learn how to make a comment

Work can be taken home and accessed from home.

Software used

·         Emails and usernames for all students

·         Students rmust register on the blog

·         Individual student PC access for elluminate meetings

·         Headsets with headphones and microphones or headphones and desktop microphone

Students will also require sufficient download and server space.

Ajax introduces ping to the staff involved

Ajax introduces ping to the staff involved

 

 

 

My routine has just gone kapoot!!

 Qatari headgear - igal

This morning, I was awoken by my husband shaking me  asking me what time I needed to get up on my first morning back in Australia. (I had already slept in by an hour.) The routine that had been developed over the last week has been broken. 

 5am Prayers from the local mosque would awaken me in Doha, Qatar

5:30am Arise and get organized for the day

7:20am School would start at the Qatar Academy, or 8:00am the flatclassroomconference would commence .

School day, tours or conference sessions filled in the day until 2:20pm (the end of school) or up to 8:00 pm for conference sessions.

My students are again a monoculture compared with the many varied nationalities, creeds and cultures of the last week.

The accents are all the same, except for those of us who went to Qatar and occasionally slip into the Texas or Alberta accent without thinking. I had to listen so intently to the many and varied accents of staff and students to ensure I understood what was said and responded appropriately.

Salim, Anne and students from Oman and Hawkesdale

The dress is entirely Western again – gone are the  thobes , Ghutra and Igal of the Qatari and Arabic men, the abaya and hijab of the Islamicwomen , and the more traditional dress  of the women from Pakistan. Back are the short skirts, singlet tops and shorts, and our school uniform.

Summer was replaced by winter and we then returned to a scorching Australian summer.

Gone is the routine but the girls and I have come home with henna, lifelong memories and the desire to continue to make our classroom flat.

Henna on a Qatari student's hands

Henna on a Qatari student

The student summit and leaders

The student summit and leaders

Doha through the senses

pict0484

Waiting in the departure lounge, Melbourne after months of involvement, preparation and communicaton, three students and I have finally arrived in Doha, Qatar. It has already been an amazing venture and we have only been here for 5 hours or so. We are the earlybirds and hence, enjoying time spent at the Qatar Academy prior to the conference. Let me share some of our experiences through our senses.

I see….
..Kuala Lumpur aiport at night time, where we had to be ferried by a train across the tarmac to the main airport terminal
..The Hawkesdale College contingent asleep on the couches, for a hour or so, during a 5 hour stopover.
..Our first glimpse of Qatar, through the dark of the early morning arrival.
..Queues at the immigration desk to allow us entry to the country.
..Taxi and limousine touts all wanting to take us to the education centre of Qatar
..The beautiful white buildings of Qatar, and the never ending building sites, with numerous cranes rising above the city horizon.
..The magnificent corniche, or water frontage, complete with wooden boats and modern ships
..The massive education complex comprising schools, univerities, accommodation
the inspiring architecture and eye-catching spaciousness of the Qatar academy buildings
..Julie Lindsay’s modern apartment where we had a shower to freshen up after our early arrival (5:30am)
..The magnificent Qatar academy through a guided tour by Julie’s daughter
I hear…
..groans from the girls about having to find passports, boarding passes and having to unpack everything for security at each stopover and reconnection
..louder groans from me on finding that my credit card has been blocked by my bank several hours before we depart Australia
..the warm welcomes of the Qatari people everywhere we have been
..taxi driver trying to find the Edcuation complex and address of Julie
..the student throng of Qatar academy out in the corridors at lunchtime
..the welcoming voices of Qatar academy staff and genuine interest taken in us.
I feel…..
..excited about entering a country that is so different from ours
..even more excited about the days ahead and
..a great sense of pride to be able to bring three students from our school in Australia and to be able to representn our country in this momentous flatclassroom conference.
..jetlag setting in
..rather disgruntled about my credit card (the only one I have) and still trying to sort through the solutions.

qatar-academy

From the Land of Oz to Qatar

Waiting in the departure lounge, Melbourne

Waiting in the departure lounge, Melbourne

After months of involvement, preparation and communications, three students and I have finally arrived in Doha, Qatar. It has already been an amazing venture and we have only been here for 5 hours or so. Let me share some of our experiences through our senses.

I see….

  • Kuala Lumpur aiport at night time, where we had to be ferried by a train across the tarmac to the main airport terminal
  • The Hawkesdale College contingent asleep on the couches, for a hour or so, during a 5 hour stopover.
  • Our first glimpse of Qatar, through the dark of the early morning arrival.
  • Queues at the immigration desk to allow us entry to the country.
  • Taxi and limousine touts all wanting to take us to the education centre of Qatar
  • The beautiful white buildings of Qatar, and the never ending building sites, with numerous cranes rising above the city horizon.
  • The magnificent corniche, or water frontage, complete with wooden boats and modern ships
  • The massive education complex comprising schools, univerities, accommodation
  • the inspiring architecture and eye-catching spaciousness of the Qatar academy buildings
  • Julie Lindsay’s modern apartment  where we had  a shower to freshen up after our early arrival (5:30am)
  • The magnificent Qatar academy through a guided tour by Julie’s daughter

I hear…

  • groans from the girls  about having to find passports, boarding passes and having to unpack everything for security at each stopover and reconnection
  • louder groans from me on finding that my credit card has been blocked by my bank several hours before we depart Australia
  • the warm welcomes of the Qatari people everywhere we have been
  • taxi driver trying to find the Edcuation complex and address of Julie
  • the student throng of Qatar academy out in the corridors at lunchtime
  • the welcoming voices of Qatar academy staff and genuine interest taken in us.

I feel…..

  • excited about entering a country that is so different from ours 
  • even more excited about the days ahead and
  • a great sense of pride to be able to bring three students from our school in Australia and to be able to representn our country in this momentous flatclassroom conference.
  • jetlag setting in
  • rather disgruntled about my credit card (the only one I have) and still trying to sort through the solutions.

My favourite web2.0 tools for 2008

My favourite web2.0 tools 2008

My favourite web2.0 tools 2008

This time last year, I drew up a list of favourite web2.0 tools. It has been interesting to draw up my list for 2008 and compare. (They are not in any order)

2008 2007
1. Blogs using wordpress and globalteacher/student 1. Delicious social bookmarking
2. Skype for videoconferencing/chat 2. Bubblus a mind mapping tool
3. twitter – to extend my personal learning network 3. blogs using wordpress  
4, Voicethread – fantastic educational potential 4. Wikis using wikispaces
5. slideshare – uploading ppt presentations 5. Google docs  sheet, word
6. Igoogle (customizable homepage with google reader, calendar, notes, todo, gchat (, gmail) 6. Skype videoconferencing
7. Google docs (sheet, word, form etc) 7. Voki  talking avatars
8. Delicious (social bookmarking) 8. Podomatic  online storage for podcasts
9. Gchat (google chat, now with video) 9. Teachertube
10. flickr (online photo storage) 10.Surveymonkey for online surveys
11,Facebook  
12, wikis  
13,teachertube  
14. Elluminate live – online meeting room/virtual classroom  
15. wordle – word clouds  
16. nings – social networking  
17. Coveritlive for live blogging  
18. Audacity for podcasting  
19. Toondo – cartoon making  
20.DiscoverE – virtual classroom software  

It can be noted that:-

  1. I have double the number of favourite web.20 tools 12 months later
  2. Twitter is now on my list and has been such a valuable tool for PLNs
  3. Although I still use bubblus, vokis and podomatic they are not used as frequently. Survey monkey has been largely replaced by google forms
  4. Voicethread, slideshare and wordle are increasingly being used.
  5. My students have used the vast majority of these tools as well.

What were your favourite web2.0 tools and how have they changed over the year?

Just been caught by a big phish!

I am yet to write  a post on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly as part of my reflections for 2008. However, I am going to write about the UGLY in this post. As life has been so busy over the past month, my time on twitter has been extremely limited. Imagine my surprise and then horror when I started to get a lot of DMs (direct messages) with the craziest of messages – the first being “Hey, look at this blog with your photo on it” When the link was clicked, it took me to the twitter login where I consequently entered my user name and password. I was then back in twitter!  Strange and so I tried again.

To my absolute horror many more DMs came along and fortunately some good ones, informing me that I was part of a phishing scheme and should change my password immediately. However, it was 12 hours later, that I realised the impact and changed it and many of my twitter friends had by this time got bogus DMs from me. All seems resolved but tweets have been coming in all day, telling others that they are now part of the scheme and to change their password.

Whoever, set up the scam, has chosen a target that can get ‘phished’ very easily as twitter is such a popular PLN.

Twitter have set up a blog post to inform their members on what to do and below are some of the DMs.

phish1