Where does the year go? With the end of our Australian school nigh it is time for the Edublogs Awards. Many people argue against awards for a variety of reasons but these awards are special as they are organic, nominated and voted for by the general public, highlight those who are doing some wonderful things both in and for, education and give us a wonderful resource bank of trends, thinking and learning. There are no prizes attached but the fact that blogs, resources and other online tools are nominated brings to the attention of us all those that have a special place in the lives and education of many.
In the school holidays, I love to go through the many nominations and see which resources will be of relevance and interest to me. There are new blogs to peruse, apps to try and online tools to experiment with.
It was with some surprise that I noticed my name had been added to the edblogs twitter list for “life time achievement’ awards. Whoever nominated me, I wish to thank you very sincerely. It makes much of the risk taking, the high evergy intake and time taken worthwhile. It also shows the value of the PLN and its wonderful place and role in pushing learning in innovative directions.
However, I was really surprised to read a tweet by my valued friend and colleague, Julie Lindsay asking people to consider voting for this blog as it had been nominated for the Best Teacher Blog. I had no idea that it was on the list until that tweet.
Again it is such an honour to be nominated and although I will not actively persue on a public scale, if you do vote for me, I thank you so much, not only for the vote but for being a special part of my life!
If you should wish to vote for any of those nominated across the globe, please goto the Edublogs Awards site and ‘get lost’ looking at all the onderful nominations. Click on the like button and follow the prompts.
Others that are special to me include:-
The Eddies awards are current for 2013. These awards highlight the great work of educators and enable further connections, provide resources and new things to read and apps to try.
It was with great surprise that I noticed that I had been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award. I have no idea who my nominator is but wish to sincerely thank them and all the people who have voted for me so far. If you would like to vote in these awards, goto the Awards site. If you don’t wish to be involved in the voting process, take note of the categories, research the nominations, explore further and return again to the award nominees page these become a rich learning resource.
If you would care to vote for me, please go to the Lifetime Achievement page, register for lislty and tick my nomination. However there are many, many worthy nominees for the same award many of whom are my personal heroes.
May I also suggest voting for HLW World Skypers group in the Best Use of Social Networking and the Global Classroom Project for the best use of wikis in education (as I am also an active member of both of these)
Congratulations to all who were nominated and to all of you who keep pioneering in the exciting world of technology and networking.
As part of my Innovator of the Month Award, I shall be writing about some of the innovative projects that I am involved in. Please note that the current netgened project is work in progress, so keep checking out the wiki to see how it transforms. (The above wordle summarizes this post in a word cloud.)
The Flat Classroom Projects were founded by Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis. There a variety of different projects, aimed at all school year levels . These projects are great to get involved in, especially as many educators prefer to join in existing and established global projects where :-
- The pressure of organizing is on the shoulders of experienced technology users and project managers.
- Risk taking is shared in a caring environment.
- A global network of educators, with similar interests and passions, can be tapped into and extended/maintained beyond the project itself.
- The Flat Classroom projects come with an amazing support base and a history of more than 5 years of learning and sharing collaboratively. Previous projects can still be explored and researched. There is a comprehensive teachers guide.
- There is full support from weekly online meetings to boot camps, keynote speakers, student project managers, teacher mentors, a social networking site for teachers and for students/teachers.
- There are expert advisors from across the globe for students and experienced expert teacher mentors for new teachers and much, much more
- Any issues and challenges that do arise especially when students, different cultures, religions and ideologies are involved are worked through with the teacher cohort. There is no feelings of blame if netiquette rules are breached, just teachable moments that are shared and solved collaboratively.
- Allowances for differing time zones and school years etc with some projects being offered several times per year.
The netgened project is aimed at senior students. Following is what it looks like from the student point of view:-
- Students socialize on the Flat Classroom Projects ning with teachers and expert advisors. They get to know each other, (especially their own team members) and enter into conversations.
- Each class or student is asked to prepare a handshake to introduce themselves. This could include details about their school, culture, passions, interest in the project etc.
- Students are grouped in teams, preferably in interest groups on one element of the latest Horizon Report and one of the netgened norms as outlined in Dan Tapscott’s book Grown Up Digital. Each team has up to 5 members mixed across the schools involved. They no longer work within their clqssroom but beyond into the amazing flattened classroom that technology enables.
- Each mixed group of students researches their topic and summarizes their findings on a wiki page eg Game Based Learning
- There are student project managers for each group.
- They then individually create a movie or multimedia product that portrays their topic. This movie must include an outsourced clip from a student in another school or country. The student requests go up on the wiki and the video clips uploaded to the ning page, for students to grab and add to their movie. The final movie is added to the wiki. This movie is then judged by a panel of global judges and the winners are announced in a special webinar with all encouraged to attend.
- It finally concludes with a student summit. Each student individually presents and summarizes their learning in a Blackboard Collaborate webinar, which is publicized globally and interested students and educators are invited to attend and participate in these summits. They are recorded and recording links are added to the wiki. This aspect pushes students well beyond their comfort zones, but gives them a real sense of achievement when they have completed it.
From the teacher point of view
- Teachers are required to attend weekly online meetings and if they cannot attend, are asked to listen to the recording.
- Bootcamps are held on a number of the online tools that are used, so that teachers can feel comfortable with these tools and learn how to use them effectively. They are recorded and links can be found on the wiki.
- The workflow schedule is found on the wiki and trello is also being used for workflows, prompts and scheduling reminders.
- Teachers add their students to a team grid on a google document, ensuring that students are spread across schools and countries.
- Teachers are on virtual duty to ensure that students are working in an educational setting
- Teachers are encouraged to be expert advisors and look after a student group(s).
- A google group is used for updates, questions, queries etc amongst the teachers involved.
- The steep learning curve required for successful use of tools by both teachers and students
- Using different assessment criteria – now working with concepts of collaboration, connections, multi-media etc
- Students who do not follow appropriate netiquette and digital citizenship protocols
- Time zones
- Holidays, festivals, extra curricular activites – especially when many countries and schools are involved. (Every effort is made to accommodate everyone)
The tools used include: a ning, wiki, google groups, trello for workflow schedules, timebridge (for planning online meetings that will suit the majority), diigo for bookmarking, twitter, movie making software, powerpoint for student presentations in summits, blackboard collaborate for online meetings, student summits; skype for classes that may wish to videoconference each other etc and more
What do students learn?
- To use technological tools innovatively for connecting, collaborating, creating and celebrating on a global basis. These skills will be necessary in the work force that is increasingly globalized.
- Netiquetts and digital citizenship
- Plaguraism, copyright and creative commons
- The use of hypertext language and other digital literacies
- They explore the impact of the latest technologies for education, their classrooms and global communities. The website that is built collaboratively contains knowledge, resources , case studies, experiences and summaries for interested educators
- They become aware of other cultures, religions, expectations and global experiences
- They work in an environment alongside teachers, experts, other students and global community members
- Real time commitments and work schedules
- They establish a learning network of their own which can be taken beyond the project.
- Students and teachers are given the opportunity to attend a Flat Classroom Conference every second year and a Flat Classroom workshop on the alternate year. These have been held in Dohar, Qatar, Mumbai, India and Beijing, China.
Have you been involved in the netgened project or other Flat Classroom projects? What have I missed? What else do you need to know. Please email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and they shall be answered.
(Read more from the Flat Classroom book by Julie and Vicki)
To my delight I have been named Innovator of the month at Innovate Here for DEECD (our Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. This is a new initiative and is dedicated to discovering, connecting and helping others to get started with new and innovative ideas/practices for learning both within and beyond the classroom.
This set me thinking about
- the nature and meaning of innovation
- why innovation is so important especially in education
- why might I be considered innovative.
For me innovation can be seen as
- The creation of a new invention, product or process or
- Using existing products/processes in new and different ways to create a more effective and/or efficient way of doing things
This would place me in the second category as my passion is to use tehnology and new emerging tools to empower learning for students. Teaching in a small rural prep to year 12 school, Hawkesdale P12 College, means that students tend to be geographically and culturally isolated. However the use of technology means that our students and staff can be at the centre of the globe, learning from and with others both synchronously and asynchronously.
This means that learning spaces are changing significantly from the traditional classroom space. They are moving from physical to virtual, from local to global, from class based to community based and becoming available 24/7. The networking capabilities that web2.0 tools enable connection, collaboration and the ability to create products that can be global in nature.
As needs arise it is necessary to experiment with online tools that can address that need. Over the past five years, I have been fortunate to establish a fantastic network. With a supportivenetwork it is possible to work together as a collective brain to push innovation further, push the tools beyond the boundaries and experiment with students on best learning practise. There have been so many amazing projects that my classes have been involved in but below are some that we are working on this year. They include:-
- Lunch with an author – lunchtime classes between students who are passionate about writing with an author from New York, Christopher Herz who is passionate about encouraging the young to write.
- Blending classes that consist of my ICT classes with Lorraine Leo’s class in Boston, USA, with interested parents and community members eg a university professor from Japan who is involved with global Scratch projects
- Using moodle for forums, discussions and created movies with a group of university students from Japan who are learning English as part of the university degree
- the K-2 Building Bridges project which is a trial project for the Flat Classroom projects, 2012 connecting young classes and creating collaborative projects. Can we do it with pre-school and the early years?
- Learning about different cultures with a class from Malaysia
Further posts will give greater detail to these projects. What do you see as innovation especially in relation to education? Who do you see as being innovative? What innovative projects have you been involved in? But most importantly, what questions do you have of me? Please email your questions to me, this month, at
and your questions will be formally answered and shared via blog posts and the InnovateHere website.
Having just survived a couple of busy and challenging weeks, it was with some amazement but also pride and humility, that twitter alerted me to the fact that my work has been nominated for the edublogs awards under the following categories. Before you look at those categories I wish to sincerely thank the colleagues who have nominated me. It really made my day to hear on twitter of the nominations. If you would like to, please vote for the following but also check out the other wonderful nominations and consider them as well. These nominations offer a treasure trove of wonderful online work by global colleagues.
- Best Open PD/conference – Tech Talk Tuesdays
- Best Teacher Blog – On an eJourney with Generation Y
- And perhaps the most precious and special of all – Lifetime Achievement nomination (especially when you read the list of amazing people nominated)
- Best Open PD/conference – The Australia Series – of which Tech Talk Tuesdays is a component
Thank you in advance for your support, the amazing network that I am part of and for any of you who may wish to vote for any of the above. Congratulations to all nominees!
I am proud to be shortlisted for two Edublogs Awards and so is one of my student bloggers. If you have time and enjoy our work, we would love you to vote for us. Here is the link to go to and the title of the blog or webinar is beside it.
- Best Student Blog – dhugsy
- Best Teacher Blog – On an e-Journey with Generation Y
- Best Educational Webinar Series – Tech Talk Tuesdays
Thanks, this means a lot!
It was with great delight that I read first of the nominations for my teacher blog and the weekly webinar series that I co-ordinate – Tech Talk Tuesdays. It is wonderful to think that people acknowledge that this work is of value and ensures its continuation.
Thank you to
- to all who nominated either of these sites
- the Virtual Web Conference Centre through Innovations and Next Practise who sponsor Tech Talk Tuesdays
- to you my readers, supporters and the fantastic participants who attend Tech Talk Tuesdays
- Edublogs for making these opportunities possible
It was with even greater delight that I read both had been shortlisted for this year’s Edublogs Awards 2010. However, the greatest joy was discovering that myyear 11 IT student, Dhugsy had also been shortlisted. All the best Dhugsy – your work is fantastic!
If you have time and if you enjoy our work, please vote for us by going to the following links.
- Best Student Blog – dhugsy
- Best Teacher Blog – On an e-Journey with Generation Y
- Best Educational Webinar Series – Tech Talk Tuesdays