Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Power of Blogging

The third session in eT@lking from the Australia Series was called the Power of Blogging. As time had been short in organization, I talked about blogging and how effective it was for me and my students.

To my surprise Purti, from India told me via gtalk 2hours before the session that her class was going to listen in as they wanted to start blogging. This was a completely different audience to that intended but what wonderful use of the technolgy. Perhaps some sessions should be just tailored for teachers and their classes.

Again the global participants nearly outnumbered the Australian ones. They came from India, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Australia. The chat was amazing and there was a lot o fsharing of resources, advice and many questions asked. Thanks to those who attended. The next session will be on Wednesday, March 3rd at 8pm, Melbourne Australia time. The guest presenter will be Amanda Marrinan, from NSW, Australia and the topic is “Too Young for Technology?” Amanda presented at the 2009 NECC conference in USA and will tell us how her little ones have connected with other global classrooms through blogging. Please join us.

Listen to the recording on The Power of Blogging.

Here are some of the links that were shared during this session. They came out of the chat room from some of the participants. If I have missed some, please add them as a comment below.

1. The session was based on the experiences with my class blog (I teach ICT to years 7 -12, and accounting, years 11 and 12, so it is actually many classes) and my teacher blog.

2. Great tips, hints, advice and tutorials on blogging with edublogs

3. Resources on cybersafety “The Talent Show” and “The Bulletin Board” (ssedro suggestions) and cybernetrix

4. Sample of an eportfolio

5. Examples of great student blogs

6. Guidelines on blog comments

7. Ssedro suggested the following avatar creation sites: reasonably clever, build your wild self, mr picasso head, doll makers, vokis

8. Some widgets (pieces of code) to add to blogs: clustrmaps, weather pixie, clocks, flag counterrevolver maps etc

Some other great comments:-

Rowan Peter likes blogging for the “accumulation of content/existence’ that occurs on the student’s blog as they graduate from year to year”

eT@lking – Two sessions in!

I am almost too stunned for words! In tonight’s session of eT@lking, the Australia Series, we had people from Germany, Spain, Singapore, India, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Greece, USA. That is 9 countries, representing four continents, a range of educators from primary through to tertiary levels, and on to adults, from government and private schools through to International schools and universities. A mix of religions, cultures and experiences but all dedicated to teaching.

The topic was the Wonderful World of Wikis and here we heard Chrissy Hellier (Teaching Sagittarian) speak about her goal of ‘tearing down the walls’. Evidence tonight that happened before our eyes. What is the impact for education?

Listen to the recording

eT@lking – The Wonderful World of Wikis

As part of the Australia Series, encouraging online PD to be conducted in times friendly to Australia, NZ, Asia etc, Chrissy Hellier will be my guest presenter on Wed night Feb 3rd at 8pm Melbourne time, Australia. (gmt+11). Chrissy will talk about the Wonderful World of Wikis and their use in education, with tips, links and hints on getting the most out of them. Chrissy (Teaching Sagittarian), originally from NZ is a grade 5 teacher, at the International School in Bangkok. She has presentednationally  and internationally. One her favourite web2.0 tools for education is the wiki.

See her blog Teaching Sagittarian If you are online on Wednesday, please join us for a great session with Chrissy. Please use this link to log onto the session or try…

Hope to see you in eT@lking.

Now that this amazing session is finished, here is the recording link for the session.

Global Projects and Student Engagement

A blue moon in Johannesburg!

Towards the end of 2010 I was approached by Walter S. Smith, Helen DeVitt Jones Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction College of Education, Texas Tech Universityvia an email to ascertain whether I was interested in my year 7 or 8 class participating in a global project on the moon -the Moon Project. Always keen to experiment and try out global projects that would improve student learning outcomes and provide problem solving techniques, I agreed. However, to my dismay, I do not teach the younger students this year. Instead, I gave the project to my year 9/10 ICT elective class who will be studying the phases of the moon, working with approximately 16 teachers and 683 students from three states in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, The Bahamas and several states in the U.S.

Last Friday, these students sat a pretest on their knowledge of the moon. Students were all happy to complete the test as it was online, featured many dropdown text boxes for quick answer selection, mutliple choice quesions, requiring a dot clicked in the appropriate radio button and little text was required to be keyed in.

They were then given a parent permission slip explaining the project and the Student Handbook. When students found out that they were going to have to look for the moon each night for 2 1/2 months, I was greeted with opposition from some of the class! Wishing I had not agreed to put them in the project, we started to discuss the moon and its effect on the activities of the human race. Some of the boys are keen fisherman and talked about having to study phases of the moon cycle to determine the best nights to go fishing and catch eg gummy sharks. Some year 11 boys were also in the computer lab and they added to the discussion.

By the end of the lesson, students had agreed to look for the moon over the weekend, complete the charts requiring the time, position and sketching the appearance of the moon and determine the participation after this time.

On Monday, I have those students for a double lesson after recess. Prior to this lesson, I was pleased to learn the following:-

  • four students at varying times before recess, came up to me to say that despite looking for the moon each night they could not see it. (Nor could I!)
  • a parent also approached me and said that they had gone out with their child at 10:30pm and failed to see it.

Wondering how I would get on with my reluctant class, I was amazed to discover that one boy had got up at 3am and 1:30am on two different occasions, found the moon and had completed the worksheets for those nights. To my even greater amazement, one of those year 11 boys also had seen the moon on each of the three nights on his way to milking cows at 3am and 4am. He is willing to complete the worksheets and share what he finds with my 9 and 10 class.

What does this say about the power of global projects?

  • Parents are happy to be involved if they are kept informed and see the project of importance to their child’s education and future employment prospects.
  • Students are willing to study topics that hold their interest and research and document them outside of school hours.
  • a realistic audience, authentic tasks and projects that appeal to students will encourage them to work with the technology that they enjoy using.
  • Age no longer needs to be a barrier to grouping in education.
  • Students will take the project into their own directions eg many asked if they could have a go at taking photographs of the moon.

eT@lking – Let’s Get Started!

In November as part of the VITTA conference, I was fortunate to meet Steve Hargaddon face to face and discuss with him the value of online professional development and its value in connecting educators. The merits of elluminate as an online platform were also discussed. So, when Steve returned to USA, he set up an Australia series and invited other Australians whom he had met to join and consider starting online sessions at times friendly to Australian time zones. After an initial meeting with interested parties in January, both Carole McCulloch, my elluminate coach and I decided to get started. Carole will run a 3 week series on a Monday night at 8:00pm (gmt+10) called Mentoring Mondays and I will trial the eT@lking series.

The first session had three people booked in, so although it was a smallish number, it was a start! To my surprise, when I logged on one hour early, there were four people already in the room. Thinking I had gate crashed the end of someone else’s session, I was relieved to read that the participants were indeed waiting for eT@lking. After uploading the presentation slides, it was time to test out the microphones etc in readiness for the session.

Target audience: Educators or people interested in education from across all sectors in Australia, Asia and other timezone friendly zones

How the session looked:-

  • As the session progressed we had a total of 14 participants.
  • The Australian particpants came Eastern side of Australia,
  • To my surprise these was  one particpant from Germany and another was logged from India. But  Purti from India also had some of her fellow teachers, plus her principal all watching keenly around the screen projection.
  • The full breadth of the education sectors was represented – a teacher of prep (5 year olds) through to other primary and secondary educationalists, TAFE and tertiary levels and online adult education. This gives a glimpse of the power that technology might be for education in connecting all levels.
  • The session was informal with a prepared set of slides on a number of discussion points to encourage discussion and as much interactivity as possible. The triggers and the responses can be seen in the images below.

Listen to the recording





Next week on eT@lking:- The Wonderful World of Wikis with Chrissy Hellier  (Teaching Sagittarian) from International School of Bangkok (See the wiki Wonderful World of Wikispaces being used for the presentation)