Category Archives: Uncategorized

Remembrance Day 2017

red poppy

Whilst in London last week, it was noticeable that red poppies were being sold in a number of places around Banstead – just outside the supermarkets and other places. They are to be worn on Remembrance Day. In Australia, we also buy red poppies to wear as a tribute to those who have fought in World War I. The red poppies were among the first to flower in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium in the First World War. In soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we have a minute’s silence in Australia to remember those who fought in World War I. As part of this commemoration, many schools hold a ceremony with readings, national anthem and laying of wreaths at war memorials. Our school held a service today at the Hawkesdale Reflection Space as 11th November is on a Saturday this year. The nostalgic poem, In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow  was recited by one of the students, together with a number of readings, the singing of our national anthem and laying of wreaths at the centopath by students, shire and community members.
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Amazing Outcomes from Global PLNs

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One of my special online colleagues, Sebastian Panakal is an educational entrepreneur from Kerala, India, and a tireless worker  who is passionate about his people, their education and their economic future. On many, many occasions he has spoken to students, staff and parents from my school in Australia, using Skype to connect. In turn I have been able to reciprocate and connect with schools, classes, community members etc in Kerala.

Technology enables us to connect in ways never thought previously possible. It’s innovative use is just starting to impact on global education. The ability to learn from others in any country, any time and a variety of ways can help those in lesser developed countries improve their education and expand their learning/knowledge. Nelson Mandela said:

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”.

Last week, Sebastian connected me (over Skype) to Mr Ravindran, of Kerala, India. Initially, I spoke briefly to Sebastian who then introduced me to a retired female Principal who is learning to teach online under Sebastian’s tutelage.

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Next, Mr Ravindran was introduced and he spoke of ways that he may be able to help me and other members of our global network, when visiting India. He spoke of his Commerce degree and background which was of high interest to me as that is my academic background and the area that I teach in. I spoke briefly of what I do but it was only when I had hung up that I realised the importance of this friendly gentleman.

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He is an important community member and his business card reads as follows:-

U. P. Ravandran, M Commerce,  a member of the Prime Minister’s 25 circles (Interaction with the Prime Minister, Indian Defence, Indian Railways, Schwachh Barath Mission, Anti-Corruption, Legal Cell, Women Protection, Consumer Protection, etc).

He has direct access to the Prime Minister’s office to report on what goes on locally here in Kerala. This helps the PM’s office localize and customise their work in Kerala.

Sebastian has a wonderful vision – a project to employ one million people as English Language Coaches – each one teaching one program. Those who are fluent in the language will help those who are not, using Skype for educational purposes, accepting an honorarium, if given.

Sebastian has contact with senior citizens who are eager to use their time productively, empowering people who need a mentor in language learning. Read more at the EldersSole. The idea has been work in progress for two year. See Language Learning Circles   and Speak English for Money. This project is about to be launched to help the people of Kerala learn English. Mr Ravindran is supporting this project.

It would be fabulous if the people of Kerala could offer to teach their native language to others across the world. People in advanced countries could be willing to pay for native speakers to teach them. Courses could be setup, including advanced or basic tourist conversational courses, cultural and heritage lessons. Tools like Skype can used for direct interacting and learning. There are  many options available (and many that have not even been thought of) that innovative entrepreneurs like Sebastian (with a fabulous global professional network) and supportive mentors like Mr Ravindran will be able to use, to advance the learning and financial opportunities for the people of India.

All the best in this innovative adventure in global connection and learning!

The Global Virtual Classroom Project

Although, I had heard much about the Global Virtual Classroom Project, (GVC Project), which was founded by Janet Barnstable, my classes have not been involved before due to the nature of our school years. The original projects spanned 6  months but as schools in Australia enjoyed their long 5 week summer break and then started a new school year, it was impossible for me to have a consistent class that could complete the project.

However, a mini-project was introduced this year and this was more manageable for the school calendar. It did span across semester 1 and 2, and my ICT elective students changed over this time, but we were able to participate due to the willingness of our partner school and teacher Yunchai Chen, Wunshan Senior High School,Kaohsiung, Taiwan to condense the project to fit in with the first term of our semester 2.

What I liked about the project:

  • strong support from the leadership team of Janet Barnstable USA and Lakshmi Srinivas of India.
  • being partnered with a school in a similar time zone. We could actually communicate virtually in real time using skype
  • Yunchai Chen had been part of the project before and was therefore experienced.
  • the tools used were user friendly and free
  • the project was flexible to fit in with specific needs
  • students in Taiwan and Australia could choose their own global topic. They chose Oceans
  • an awards process to acknowledge work completed

Both countries are islands. As we live 25 minutes drive to the closest ocean and seas, and as our beaches are beautiful, students felt comfortable with the topic and had some basic knowledge. As the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s big tourist destinations, Warrnambool’s Logan beach is a nursery for the Great Southern Whales and Port Fairy is a nearby quaint village (which started out as a whalers station), the students had plenty of scope for ideas.

The tools used:-

  • email for teacher correspondence
  • edmodo for sharing of conversations, files and other needs (student and teacher use)
  • google sites – was chosen by Yunchai and me to display the student outcomes
  • skype for synchronous virtual connections
  • Windows MovieMaker to produce the videos – my student choice

The time frame was tight – approximately 6 weeks, but this gave students a sense of real time pressures that they may face in the work place. Three students produced videos – Tim’s was on Ocean Life in SE Australia; Port Fairy, Bethany’s favourite beach and Sophie chose to produce a movie on the Great Ocean Road.

To the delight of the students, a silver award certificate was granted for the collaborative Oceans project. Our certificate can be seen below.

silver award gvc301 Silver Award Australia

Imagina Books – VR/AR for learning

human body

Imaginer Books on Kickstarter

Virtual reality and Augmented Reality are of high interest to me, but I  am still a little uncertain as to  they can be used in the classroom. I have purchased a VR headset recently. I can place my iPhone into the headset, watch 360 degree videos and use “google card” apps to take virtual tours. But….. is AR just a fleeting gimmick or how can learning be enriched with this technology.

I received an email last week from Hisham Hosni of Livit Studios who, like many of us, firmly believes that education is the most important aspect of a child’s life. Their vision at Livit Studios is to use Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in delivering a better and more enjoyable educational experience for our children. Apple has officially supported AR on IOS, so that the iPhone and iPads are AR-Ready.

This week, their Kickstarter campaign was launched at Imagina Books  The Human Body Augmented Reality Book certainly shows how AR/VR can make learning richer.  It can be read on both android and IOS devices. The real value of VR and AR now comes to life as students can see exactly how parts of our human body work, not just through static images but through living, vibrant 3D views, where they can take a virtual tour of human organs and body parts. The book and app  display the actual beating of the heart making  for  deeper understanding how the heart actually looks and works.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit their website,  see the press kit and some pictures and videos showcasing the product at Imagina Books Press Kit. There is also a Facebook page and  a Twitter account.  This would make a great gift for my grandchildren!

Let’s hope there are many more products like this to aid in learning using VR/AR technology.

Tel Aviv Virtual PD

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The use of technology tools allows us to connect with others in ways that would not normally be possible. I live on a farm, in a relatively remote part of Victoria. The distance, cost and effort of attending professional development prevents me from attending many professional development programs that may be readily accessible by my peers and also prevents me from presenting and sharing my work.

However, tools like skype, ghangouts, zoom, blackboard collaborate etc break down those barriers. One of my colleagues, Hili Zavaro who I recently met on twitter, invited me to present to teachers in Tel Aviv, Israel for a short time on “what the teachers can do to open their lessons to the world through global projects”?

It is interesting that the teachers from a variety of schools and year levels were meeting on a Sunday at 6pm my time and Sunday morning for them. A recent  presentation given at EduTECH was shortened  and a link to the document that was set up for ISTE 2017 was given so they could get some ideas on where to find people/classes to connect with, hashtags to follow on twitter etc.

We used skype to connect. I was in my warm winter clothes, they were dressed in cool summer clothers. After playing a brief “mystery skype” so the teachers could work out where I was from, I shared my screen and the presentation. Time was given for questions – one of which was “how do I use twitter for global connections?”. At the close of the session, I clicked the + button on skype, sent through the powerpoint presentation and the photos I had taken when I clicked the + button on skype and chose ‘take a picture’.

This did take 30 minutes but was a rather amazing experience for me, as in the past Tel Aviv has featured strongly on our news as being and area of conflict etc, yet here I am presenting to them as though there were no walls, barriers or oceans between us.

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Technology Tools, Apps and Software- Hacked

The last session I attended at Hack Education on the day prior to the official start of  ISTE 2017 was simply called Technology Tools.  As I am always looking for new tools and ways to use existing tools, I chose to attend this fast paced session. Below are a list of the tools that were suggested. Participants were asked to share some of their favourite tools and some of the new tools they were using. My notes follow:

Evernote, breathey (free listening on soundcloud), text expander

Google classroom

Post it plus for exit slips, brainstorming etc

Buncee – animated presentations

Loom – screen casting

Iphone clips for very short videos – can add a lot of things

https://studio.stupeflix.com/en/

mysimpleshow – storyboarding and steps students through to movie making. Telling stories – whiteboard writing. Generate script and it makes it into a writing movie.

Autodraw is a google product. Draw and it guesses what you are drawing.

MS Sway – multi media, easy to use, effective presenations, newletters etc

Answergarden – brainstorming, relfections, existing knowledge etc

Mentimeter – interactive presentations

Peekapack – social and learning platform, character building

tagxedo               – visual data dropitto.me (is now gone)

soundtrap – Make music online web based, can collaborate

recap app is free, a question and answer platform

wriQ – google addon When put essay into it, it will find the spelling mistakes. To grade essays, research papers etc Pull document up, goto screencastify can give oral feedback rather than writing comments. Google has voice comment.

ISTE blog post – 9 edtech tools to help with essay writing.

Noredink – For better writing – personalized. Free version. No one student will get the same problem as another student.

Some kids translate their work into another language, then translate it back again and it is different enough not to look like plagiarism.

Scavenger hunt- 5 egs of sentences that were plagiarized and they had to pick them out on a topic they were interested in. Kids had to pick out the basics of plagiarism.

Macintosh dictation – used with google docs.

Seesaw.me Student portfolio builder – have 6 blocks which can be picture, video. Can save all their work for the year. If tag animal, it can appear in student’s own folder plus the animals folder.

Chatterpix– Make your pictures talk – add a mouth, do a vocal and pic ends up talking  Parents can get notifications from it.

Google forms– surveys

Bucket feeling – how do you get to fill each other buckets – setup google form, fill Ryan’s bucket and form goes out so each teacher fills in each other teachers forms. Steve is a PE teacher who teaches the whole student. Done with 22 teachers. Everybody feels underappreciated.

Business start by saying why you did well. Digital breakouts are good as the locks and the boxes in common breakout edu  it is hard work

Digital breakout – less time to create one of your own. Google that term – it will take you to the breakouts. Have a digital lock to enter the codes rather than have a lock and key. Don’t have to buy all the locks. App for breakout lock http://www.breakoutedu.com/digital/

Do a digital breakout together with the students. Can solve breakouts over time.

Stations – middle school science – sorting activity with 3 columns.

Review is done by digital breakout rather than test.

 

 

Makerspace – ISTE Unplugged Notes

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These are my notes from the second session that I attended at Hack Education on the day prior to the official start of  ISTE 2017 The topic for discussion was Maker Spaces.

Teachers shared their thoughts on what a maker space looked like. A maker space is like a Tinkerlab. Makerspace in the library may be tactile. Storage and organization are the key. One teacher talked with students to see what  they wanted to learn and do – maker space grew out of there.

Genius Hour

  • The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching & Learning by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandoval
  • Amazing things can happen if….
  • What do you want to learn and do

Growth Mindset

China calls STEM the Maker Education Movement. It is public, being promoted in schools in China and supported by the government.

How do I better integrate into the  the idea into curriculum?

  • It takes time, starts small with teachers that are interested, autonomy, PTA helps by giving money
  • Meet with teachers and plan together to support the standards. It is not stand alone, you work together
  • Come organically from teachers
  • How do I get teachers on board?
    • Started as a STEM school
    • Have teachers do hands on learning themselves so they are comfortable with the materials in the space
    • Shark Tank pitch to staff
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Another school has developed a Eureka lab – @sfisher_mb

  • Design thinking
  • Clean space VS. dirty space
  • Organization and storage are key

Tech lab was turned into Maker Space. It became Geek Space where all the kids who do not play sport hang out.

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After school and before school dropins. Incorporate design thinking into school. Redeveloped computer lab and now use some of the school theatre. There are two spaces:

  • Clean space: scissors glue guns etc
  • Dirty space: more like sawdust, 3D printers, embroidery/sewing machines, vinyl cutter, arts and crafts recyclables, computer driven drill bit – 2D design on computer than cut out on machine.

Libraries have been removed in some states.

One school started with maker spaces with a couple of teachers but has now grown exponentially. Converted computer lab into STEAM teaching space – bought educational toys – speros, ozebots. Got teachers to play with it. PTA gave money for innovation grants – $100 each. Teachers had to buy some things eg makey makey. Meet with teachers look at the standards, create design briefs and add on to what you are doing.

Kids are afraid of failure so won’t have a go.

Fun toys in a Makerspace

  • Robots
  • Ozobots
  • 3D printers
  • Spheros
  • Makey makey
  • Bee- Bots

Low Tech items for the makerspace

  • Recyclables
  • Task cards (pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers)

3d print a fidget spinner

Tool used for reflective piece:

  • wevideo
  • Flipgrid – used to show their creations and reflections.
  • Google slides- students take pictures and discuss what worked well
  • Regular blog posts

Use Saturdays to allow students and families into schools and makerspaces.  That is HUGE and big buying power.

Slide deck of makerspace projects in the curriculum (from conference presentation last week, with Cranbrook School, in MI)

Mobile makerspace?