Reflections on semester 1

This semester has been one of the busiest that I can remember, and my weekly blogging reflections were non-existent. Some of the most amazing experiences of my teaching career have been experienced in the first semester of 2009. However, the following attempts to summarise what my students and I  were involved in, reflecting on the highlights  and the challenges etc


  • Netgened project – this was the biggest project that I have ever been involved in and as such, was the most exciting. It was part of the flatclassroom project suite, but it involved Don Tapscott the prizewinning author and the 8 characteristics of netgenners mashed with the Horizon Project 2009. It involved the most exciting and challenging web2.0 tools, including nings, wikis, blogs, google groups, elluminate and finally a virtual awards ceremony in reaction grid in sim city.  This is an amazing project and the learning outcomes are huge.  See report This project was undertaken by my year 11 IT and volunteer students from 9/10 IT elective group.
  • Flatclassroom and digiteen projects Year 9/10 IT elective students participated in these projects during the second term. The digiteen project is a little less time consuming than the flatclassroom project and so, is a good one to get students involved initially. They still network socially on a ning and put their findings and research onto the wiki but the final product is flexible and chosen by teachers/students to suit individual classes.
  • Ping – another fabulous but intense project. Gave me a glimpse of true 21st centure learning. From this project, I am experimenting with the use of virtual classroom software eg elluminate and discoverE in all my classes including VCE (year 12 subjects).
  • On Africa – a wiki studying various countries of Sth Africa, set up by USA school in conjunction with African schools. My year 8 students were the sounding board.
  • Video Introduction to Communities – students in year 8 produced movies on their community to share with other global communities
  • Cross Culture Blogging


First experiences –

  • participating in the virtual awards ceremony in a reaction grid of Sim City for the netgened project
  • using the screen share option of the updated Skype (great new application)
  • using elluminate with students – a glimpse into a 21st century classroom of the future
  • working on a shared collaborative project blog with three other schools
  • using twitter with my classes, mainly to get advice and resources immediately for my students

Uses of online tools

  • skype used for my students to listen to keynote speaker for flatclassroom project from Doha, Qatar; 15 min spot segment for me to present to SPERA conference in Adelaide, with Phil Brown, CEP; (I used the new screen sharing application to show photos of our uses for videoconferencing); to link with Govinda Pravy in Nepal where he told us about the poverty experienced by his school.
  • elluminate used for Ping project and experimenting with in my  normal classrooms
  • discoverE used to work with Claret school in Phillipines
  • xtranormal is a great animated video creating online tool
  • lovelycharts for great diagram creation including flowcharts
  • twitter (see above)
  • superclubsPLUS has been a ‘hit’ with the primary school sector.
  • google apps including word, sheet, igoogle (for organization), forms etc have been used in my senior classes

PD Sessions

  • using elluminate – a face to face session run for the SW SLAV members (State Library Association Victoria)
  • Using students as peer to peer mentors to teach Camperdown and Portland students how to blog


  • blogging has not continued as I hoped that it would. My heavy involvement in Ping, meant that students tended to blog on the collaborative blog and not so much on their individual blogs. I only see year 8 for one lesson a week, which gives me little opportunity to use their blogs. Other subject areas are still not using blogging as much as I would like. This may be due to a lack of access for their classes. 1:1 access is becoming almost a necessity.
  • The cross culture blogging was not successful like it was last year. I was late getting my student blog addresses due to the difference in school terms across the globe. Although my students wrote the required posts initially and commented on students from Korea and USA, only a few got responses back.

Goals for semester 2, 2009

  • Partner up a VCE (year 12 students) studying mandarin Chinese with a Chinese student in Malaysia
  • Work further with skype and videoconferencing with some new schools in Malaysia and Singapore
  • Toying with the idea of using buddies with my secondary students and grade 5 students from Singapore
  •  Put my VCE accounting subjects online for my year 11 and 12 studentsin a wiki using instructional digital videos where possible.

One response to “Reflections on semester 1

  1. Sounds terrific and amazingly busy.

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