Author Archives: murcha

GamesNET 2017

girls best at acmi

Over the last 3 years, our school has been a member of this exciting, cutting edge and innovative project. It is possibly a world first. The project is being sponsored by ACMI – The Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the Victorian Department of Education (DET).

A number of schools across Victoria have been accepted into the program. The students involved come from a mix of city/country and primary/secondary, with a maximum of four students from each school. They are grouped in pairs from their own school but then matched with another pair of students from another school.

making games

At the beginning of the project schools, teachers and parents have to fill in appropriate permission forms. The first formal day involves students and teacher coming to ACMI at Federation Square in Melbourne for a face to face meeting. This allows staff and students to get to know each other face to face, commence work in their small groups and go away feeling confident in the overall requirements of the project. Vincent Trundle, the manager of the project, outlines the tools to be used, the value of learning with games, its impact for the future and covers basic digital citizenship.

screen in zoom.PNG

Unfortunately a number of schools could not be there physically but came in virtually through zoom. Two of the students in my girls’ groups worked in zoom with De De during the small group discussions. One of them competently shared her screen, pulled up her graphics pad and commenced sketching ideas for games sprites. It was though they were in the same room.

zoom online meeting

Students looked at using Scratch for coding the games, whilst teachers formulated the groups of 4 students. Each group has a teacher allocated and a games industry mentor.  One students is a coder, another a leader, another a musical producer and the fourth student is  in charge of the art work.

Initial discussions took place as to the name of the group, the type of game they wanted to create, the characters in the game etc. The tools to be used are:

  1. Google documents for sharing, archiving, collaborating and mapping the learning.
  2. Slack for communicating, connecting and collaborating. There is a chat area for each team and an overall chat for the whole community
  3. Zoom is used for videoconferencing
  4. Email is used only where necessary.

Once back at school, students are expected to use slack to communicate regularly, stating what they have been up to, share questions and general conversations etc. They are asked to meet with their groups, using zoom, at least once a week at a mutually agreeable time (during school or after school). Art work, music and other files are shared on the google documents.

This is an exciting project that embraces so many of the 21st century workforce skills both the present and the future. Effective collaboration is a skill to be taught and this makes a great platform to learn how.

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EduTECH 2017 Library Congress Report

EduTECH conference – Library Congress, Sydney 2017

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EduTECH is the southern hemisphere’s biggest technology conference. In 2017 there were

  • 8760 attendees
  • 253 speakers
  • 200 exhibitors and
  • 8 parallel congresses

It was held in the new Sydney Conference and Convention Centre. I was invited to present for the Library Congress on the topic of Connected Classrooms: Global Classrooms. My presentation can be found on slideshare Connected Classrooms: Global Classrooms Or you can view it below. The online document that was created can be found by clicking here.

welcome to edutech

The 5 Takeaways from chair of Library Congress

  1. Look at how we use our spaces
  2. Challenge our own mindset, change the mindset of our staff
  3. It is ok to fail, you may not have mastered that task just yet.
  4. Collaboration can never be underestimated –
  5. Share the love of the library

Everyone was encouraged to keep the dialogue going after the conference.

the exhibition hall.jpg

As to the actual Library Congress, there were a number of interesting. A summary of those that resonated with me are outlined below.

The first session was “What makes a library great?” with Kim Tairi who spoke of the importance of empathy and user experience. This metaphor is big in NZ in Polynesian practice. Libraries are on a journey, looking at what has gone before and what is the future.

The library at AUT is dynamic, collaborative, noisy, messy, cafes, green screens, studios are all in the one building with the library as part of this space. Many students want quiet learning spaces. They have a level where we can play with design, evaluate and then iterate on a number of levels. Screens to sit down and talk to a service delivery librarian.

Incubator floor has a makerspace – Studio 55 – make, break, hack and make. Peer learning collaboration and is faculty agnostic. Many of uni innovative spaces are within faculties. Artist in residence, programming, framework, community of practice. Give library staff a space to play and learn new skills. Cultural transformation – giving people permission to work differently. People work in co-work spaces, collaborative spaces and prepares our students for the new world of work. Libraries need to reflect society that we are part of.

future library.jpg

To transform need to think about exploring eg indigenous culture – what does it mean to be a multi cultural woman and return to the homeland. Concepts of cultural change – be welcoming, hospitable and get people on board. Develop Empathy, Knowledge and Understanding. There are Issues with new spaces and staff with old mindsets:  It is important to know where you are going, so that you can still understand where you have been. Lyn Hay Designing future-focused school libraries

Online Leading Learning Institute Charles Sturt University

There is a need to rethink the functionality and design of your school library. What should our school library look like? (form). What do you want it to do? (function). How do we communicate what we stand for and what we do (branding) Rethinking school library as an iCentre https:///studentslearn.wordpress.com/about/about-icentres. What are you actually doing to get out there and live on people’s devices.

What is VR and AR?  With Chelsea Wright

VR and AR glasses

They use google card. Apps for VR should be integrated into library – catalogue it, training, procedures for use, storage, maintenance so teachers can access them.

Prepare the library – create user-case scenarios, instructions and promote it. Video See augmented reality in the library- examples of apps being used in our schools AR is good for increased motivation, collaboration, deeper content understandings, useful for teaching abstract topics, face on not side by side on individual computers. However, it can also be distractive technology.

Virtual reality – influences thinking and behavior It will potentially transform childrens’ health, educational and entertainment interactions. Virtual deppelganger – 3rd person controlled by simulation Avatar – first person, controlled by your body movements. Can choose an avatar that is very different to your body. Good apps to try are google earth, VCR Ancient World, HASS Ancient Egypt The Arts

Creating a high tech learning lab in a museum

See Matt Richard’s presentation, read his bio and follow him on twitter

Makey makey, students made an art bot with physical resources and collaboratively made music with garbage instruments

Flying machines programs – Everything students do is in Maori and they are actually creating language as they go. Maori Medium Project Showed a 360 video when looked at on phone, gives a VR experience. Tiltbrush is best VR creation ever.

3D can make worlds in worlds See Sutu eats flies. How can they get their collection into the world to actually get them into scanners so they can play with it and not just look at it. The paperlearning lab on youtube look for Donald  extending object based learning by making it digital. Can house it online at sketchfab?

Hololens – vendor stadium Headset which augments the real – adds the overlay to the real. Choose your own adventure around you. AR is used via gestures. Big headset now, but will soon become smaller glasses.  We have collaborations with schools across country – virtual excursions by beaming in with ghangouts etc See the learning labs and Why this museum lab generation is critical to learning.  Unscripted learning is great – collaboration is the whole theme of today at edutechau.

Jared Cooney Horvath, Co-president, The Science of Learning Group and The Education Neuroscience Initiative

Unless you have a concept for something you cannot see it. A tribe in The Himba do not have the colour blue in their language so interesting to test if they can or cannot see it. We have 27 shades of green and himba have 36. Our concepts our schema our stories drive our perception of the world around us. How can people from other cultures have never used blue, especially when the sky is blue.

The things we take for granted even to the point that the sky is blue is only because we have those concepts. The WHY of mindfulness – knowing all our stories are driving us to recognise stories to recognise what they are doing. It is the way we interact with the world. The more we can understand that we can control our own stories and destinations and change our own stories.

First you must learn the rules so you know how to break them properly. Think outside the box you have to know the box. The suggestion that stories drive our perception of the world is great for librarians.

Librarian panel discussion – books are still popular despite technology and digital media.

Silent room for year 12 studies (or at least the illusion of silence), dedicated zones for being quieter, but the buzz is likeable. Library is only space where students can collaborate as no classrooms are open at lunchtime. Healthy to have downtime, switch off and don’t study all the time.

Maker Movement at Bialikk College Roxanne Ciddor, Head of Educational Resources – library and elearning 3 year old kinder to year 12.

A maker movement can change our concepts of learning. Why in libraries?

A makerspace is a space for creativity, invention and making. It focuses on technology and is a bridge between creators and consumers. Library is where we can mix disciplines. Makerspaces are transliterate and exciting.

Roxanne started with a mixed box of lego purchased on ebay and left them in the waiting room. It was so popular that she then added more equipment and took over a space.  All you need for a makerspace is Blutac, straws and paddle pop sticks.  Not having everything builds resourcefulness. Students need time to play. Then open to coding, coding through a maze, add extra things to it. Until you let them play they will not consider the learning that can be had Use it like a toy, cos it feels like a toy. Took a year for makerspace to get through the play phase – they have played with everything and now have ownership.

Deconstructions: use fax machines, don’t include hammers or mallets (or batteries). Purpose parts and complexities – deconstructed this thing, what does it do, how did it fit in, how can we reconstruct. Remove the batteries and remove the power cords.  Deconstrucion builds that curiousity/methodical approach, playfulness, resourcefulness.

Restrict access to materials – cos kids wanted to just play with that robot. On Monday it will be a maker challenge – eg make a structure out of paddlepops that will hold an app. Tuesdays is coding eg robots, online coding Wednesday is low tech day eg painting, crochet to keep fine motor skills and a knitting pattern is code. Thursday have 3D Thursdays. Students start to plan. Students are getting more exposure to things. Building choice out of a lack of choice. Do keep track – don’t expect school admin to buy in without stats. Get kids to put their pics in the box eg with spheros so know if something is missing who left it out. Breeding responsibility – this is my equipt, what I booked and what I want to use. When students login it starts to give stats to go to admin to get more money. They have mix of age and mix of gender.Do allow students to be teachers, don’t expect them to be adultsStudents are monitors once a term. Give them fluoro vests. Track with dot on their photo. They are giving back, they belong to the community. Agency and responsibility: documentation – get kids to reflect on their learning. Make book = exercise book. Before end of every session, take a photo of what they have been doing and kids write a reflection. Give them starter sentences : eg today I tried this and it did not work. Rolling them over every year.

Reflective and mindfulness: Do make kids cry. Don’t let it be all about the product. Aim is build resilience and persistence to get their best work. Do be organised – lots of tubs and tables.

Final session of conference: Mr Mal Booth – uni librarian at UTS.  University library blog will have presentation.

Questions may be more important than answers. Netflix gives you instant access no longer in real time. What is a book these days? Really only journals or books online. Could learn more from gaming technology. They are a publisher as well – interactive text. Cecilia hefier is a textile artist.

Using multimedia with monographing.  Don’t wait until journal is finished, publish as you go. No longer a container that is published when it is full. Advocacy – help to explain what is open access, led by modelling. Cultural and artistic stimulation – Change.org; github is social coding reddit is questioning  Chris Gaul is an artist doing innovative things for libraries etc

Underground library – Elisa Lee and Adam Hinshaw Air 2014 Video of digital rendering of what underground books like.

Program Manifest 20th century. Live data feed. Zoe Sadokierski explored the nature of the book. Print and digital technology is actually assisting each other. Digital literacy kits – small low technology to prove that digital literacy is part of our world. Introduce students to technologies beyond snapchat and facebook.

closing ceremony

Closing session: Phillip Heath Barker college Darking Bridging the Education Gap

How can we reconcile all people as an Australian nation? Aboriginals were a mysterious group – depicted in the media but never seen.

Why Darkinjung Barker

  • To provide opportunities
  • Celebrate cultural identity
  • To provide support to ensure no-one slips through educational gaps
  • To offer choice
  • To enable a practical, two way reconciliation

They created a school by taking the city school to the place of the aboriginal students. Started a little school to provide choice and identity and bring aboriginal identity into an existing school. It is a partnership between an indigenous land council and one of the most prestigious private schools – Barker College. Started with 28 students just for indigenous children in the area. 1 teacher to 7 students.  It is sponsored by private corporations. One of the children and his mum lived in a car. Yet they deserve best opportunity that we can provide. Still find it hard to find answers. Have a large and growing indigenous population along the coast. The focus is on celebration of every child’s achievement with feedback about how they are going. Some kids were 2 to 4 years behind.

When you have never met an aboriginal person, you never get to care or see the real human stories. Education is part of the key to unlock the future.   Create a school on country – where first language is the school language. Do we dare to let go of the power and authority on the way we run schools and celebrate cultural identity first. Now creating a second school.

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Connected Classrooms: Global Classrooms

This was the theme for my presentation at the EduTECH conference in Sydney on Friday June 10th. It was a presentation given as part of the Library Congress. An online document was given to share resources and links. Following is my presentation, with a focus on stories for libraries.

Mystery Skype with Georgia

selfie good one

Skype in the Classroom is an amazing resource. People across the world actively search for educators to connect with. Many of our mystery skype connections come from people’s requests to me! One such request was from Marina Tarughishvili , a teacher in Georgia. See her blog I was very surprised to see that we could connect in real time as Europe is often beyond our school hours. However, 9am their time, was 3pm our time.

pondering the clues

I was little nervous as I only speak English, and Marina said that her English was poor. My students printed off their names to share in introductions to the webcamera. Other signs included “Please repeat”. “thinking” and some of our questions were printed out. A cricket bat, money, toy koala, Australian flag and some sheep’s wool were ready to show if we worked out each other’s countries before our bell went.

Marina, brought the English teacher her with and their spoken English was clear and the accent relatively easy to understand. We flipped a coin to see who asked the first question. Our questions required a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer but they asked good open ended questions of us eg what is part of our native environment, what is one of our native animals, do we have lots of rain, do we have a desert, what oceans are we near? etc. Eventually they worked out our country. Once our students discovered they were from Europe, they asked if their country started with a ‘G’? Students tried Germany, then Greece but as they had their computers switched on, discovered that Georgia was in Europe – a country they had never heard of.

When we showed our flag to them, they were quick to pull out a mobile phone, use search to locate their flag to show us.

It would be good to connect again to find out more about their country. In the meantime, that will be the student’s next task to create a Sway with multnodal information on Georgia.

The highlights:-

  • being able to make ourselves understood
  • seeing shy students starting to voluntarily come up to the webcamera and ask a question or share something
  • hearing one of my most challenging students ask if we could keep on doing this for the rest of the term!
  • seeing how engaged my class was

An in-classroom interpreter!

Our school was culturally and geographically isolated. However, the cultural isolation is diminishing over the last few years, as many of the large local farms that are owned by corporations employ people from overseas. These different cultures come into Australia via a variety of visas.

The result is that we have a number of students of Philippine, Sri Lankan, African and Thai origins. Some have been Australia for a very short time so that very little English may be spoken. Our Education Department have a language school in Melbourne to help students, such as these, with their understanding and effective speaking of English. As we are 3.5 hours from Melbourne, technology has enabled students to learn English via videoconferencing with the Language School.

However, the tables were turned on a recent Mystery Skype session with a school in Thailand. Questions were asked of each other, that required only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. The students in Thailand worked out we were from  Australia well before we worked out their country. The teacher, Thitaree Chanthawat, stated that her students were shy as English is not their first language. My students are also shy and English is their first language.

As there was time left, we started to show each other  cultural objects – our country flags, money, the time (on our mobile phones) and my students showed some sheep’s wool. One of their students showed a toy buffalo to the webcamera. In amongst the sharing, I asked Rapeeporn (or Cheer as we call her) to come forward and share her native Thai language with the Thai class. It was wonderful to see her immediately become confident, her obvious delight in being able to converse in her native tongue and to hear another language spoken fluently. However, before introducing herself, Rapeeporn, pressed her palms together and bowed to the Thai class. We later learned that this is wai.

If either class did not quite understand the other, then Rapeeporn interpreted. There was discussion about the use of buffalo on their farms. There were similarities – both schools were set in rural settings and small towns. However, there were 40-50 students in their class compared to our class of 22. There were no walls or oceans between us. It was if we were in the same classroom sharing conversations.

When my students were asked to reflect on the class, they stated that one of the highlights was hearing the Thai  language being spoken.

Some teachers ask me how I make the global connections. The teacher from Thailand found me on Skype in the Classroom and requested a Mystery Skype connection with me and my class.

 

Open Night – Open Classrooms

It was ‘Open Night’ at Hawkesdale P12 College . Families with students who are in year 6 are invited to come to our school, experience our friendly and welcoming community, take part in some classes and listen to stories from our students. These stories share what it is like for them to be at our school and it is hoped that the grade 6 students will come to us in year 7 – our first year of formal secondary schooling.

The science lab is converted into a wonderland of experiments, robotics are on display, cupcakes are decorated in the home economics centre, ceramic pots are quickly moulded and in the computer lab there are interactive connections to Russia and South Africa using skype.

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Parents and students were split into two groups. The first group were to play mystery skype with Tatyana Chernova from Moscow, Russia. First, Tatyana gave some clues as to where she lived. She had stacker or Matryoshka dolls to share over the web camera. She then showed us two wooden dolls in traditional costume. One parent immediately identified where Tatyana was from, based on her name!

Video call snapshot 278

The amazing veiws from Tatyana’s home (as seen through the webcameera)

We hung up on the skype call. Tatyana swapped from her home computer to her mobile phone, walked outside and showed us the amazing views from her home. We could see the expansive artificial lake, with the River Moksva to the right, the tall buildings of Moscow centre in the distance and even more fascinating the football stadium where the world cup will be played next year. What  amazing sights to see. Thanks Tatyana! If time permitted, Tatyana was going to share a presentation with us. If the call failed, I would have been able to share this with the group.

belinda rentsch daughter

The second group had a different mystery skype educator – Steve Sherman who was at a Science Fair near Durban, South Africa. He had found a quiet spot with wifi to connect with us. Students asked many questions (only with a yes/no answer) and finally worked out where he was from. He then proceeded to give them some maths brain teasers, by sharing his screen and the prepared slides. Students had to think of  a number between 1 and 63.

Video call snapshot 279

By following a number of slides, stating whether the number could be seen, Steve worked out the number that Layla had thought of. As we applauded Steve, the pictures he took of us started to come through in the skype chat.

dede sister

It was wonderful to work with these two educators and parents were amazed with the connections that are possible. It is easy to take for granted the wonderful outcomes that technology can bring to learning!

group2

Group photo that Steve Sherman took of us from Sth Africa!

Digital Literacy

Tonight, I presented for Eduwebinar in an online session on the topic of Digital Literacy, Skill Development and Curriculum Connections. This is a huge area for discussion, but demonstrates some of the literacies that I think are important.

See the presentation