Tag Archives: connected classrooms

EduTECH 2017 Library Congress Report

EduTECH conference – Library Congress, Sydney 2017

conference centre.jpg

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.

young people today.jpg









“That’s weird! We live in their future!”

I woke up this morning to read a skype in education message from a teacher in the USA looking urgently for a class to ‘mystery skype’ with. Knowing that our time zones rarely work, I nearly declined, but checked out the suggested times for connection and ‘hey presto’, I could say that I could find a class to connect for them to connect with.


Students love to connect with the USA as many of the TV shows that they love to watch come from America, many of our fast foods are from there etc etc However, I had to find some students as I thought I was not timetabled with a class. Three year 9 girls gladly came out of their maths class and some of my year 11 IT students took part.


The notice was late as Brian, the lecturer suddenly thought “Why teach his pre-service teachers about the use of skype in the classroom, why not actually do it!” and so we did.

group of girls and Bellinghamr

Here is what it looked like:

  1. We introduced ourselves individually to each other.
  2. Next, we played mystery skype. It was easy for us to work out they were from the USA, but then quite difficult to work out exactly where. After several clues, we finally worked it out.
  3. On the US part, the pre-service teachers used their mobile devices – phones, tablets etc to finally work out exactly where we were from (after some clues).
  4. Times of each country were shared, then the date and day of the week we were in. As soon as the girls heard they were still in Wed afternoon at 4:00pm, they responded with “That is weird, we live in their future!”
  5. The US teachers asked what the girls thought made a good teacher. Some of the responses were ‘a sense of humour’, allow students to follow passion projects, take into account different student learning styles, they want to have fun with their learning etc.


Student reaction: They had fun, enjoyed learning with them and sharing their knowledge and particularly liked working with older students”

#skype2learn twitter chat – the archive

Questions for the first chat

Questions for the first chat

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first twitter chat for #skype2learn. Special thanks to Bevery Ladd who co-modarted the chat and to the Master Skype teachers for their active involvement.

Participants stayed up late at night (including Siberia and England) or tweeted early before they went to bed (eg Livingstone, a teacher from Havilla Childrens Centre in the biggest slum in Africa, Kenya). There were many conversations, some fantastic resources shared, ideas for using skype for innovative learning and many new connections to make. The chat has been archived at storify Connected Classrooms with #skype2learn

The questions can be found here. question 2 “Why do you use skype?” has some powerful answers. Make sure you look at them.

A Glimpse into “A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator”

It started as a normal, fairly mundane school day………

Well connected teachers will  find there are many ways to learn, share and teach, teachable moments arise constantly and interruptions to normal routines may become the norm. Yesterday was one such day, when normal classes were planned and a relaxing night at home anticipated, but….

World Museum Scratch Day Saturday, May 18th

Year 8 students are participating in  the Squares, Circles and Triangles project for the World Museum Project to celebrate World Scratch day. Students take photos of shapes in the real world and add them as a sprite to Scratch, highlighting the shape first and then sharing the whole picture. See an online animated sample.

Circles-Storage  tanks for firewood

Circles-Storage tanks for firewood

However, this project is quite challenging and as I am not confident with the programming elements, we had to impulsively skype my wonderful online colleague – Lorraine Leo from Boston, USA to help us in our dilemmas. My laptop webcam shared the screens of students with Lorraine so that she could see what the student was doing, speak to them and help them solve their problems. The lesson time was not long enough. So a sample student project was emailed to Lorraine for further investigation in consultation with Yoshiro Miyata, the creator from Japan.

Lorraine from USA  (in laptop) virtually teaches Amy how to solve her problem with Scratch

Lorraine from USA (in laptop) virtually teaches Amy how to solve her problem with Scratch

Brendah from Sth Africa shared her lesson on learning cell references in MS Excel with grade her 2s with the HLW Skypers Group in the chat area of skype. Joe McNulty of Pennsylvania USA, joined our conversation. Within 6 hours he had shared a google document containing more mystery picture challenges that his year 7/8 students had created for Brendah’s young students. It was on impulse that I decided to use these tasks with my year 3/4 ICT class after lunch. Students were highly engaged colouring in reference cells to reveal the mystery pic. They discovered a house, faces, a flag, a rainbow etc if they followed instructions carefully.

A rainbow in progress

A rainbow in progress

Images of Brendah’s and my students working on the tasks were emailed to Joe who then shared them with his students, resulting in them being even more motivated in creating further tasks. Joe has now put some of these up on his google site.

Home at last!

Enjoying the last remnants of my evening meal, I noticed a message in my HLW Skypers Group popup seeking people to ‘jump’ in and join a hangout with Reinhard  Marx and a class from Germany. The students were about to share their learning about “German Islands and the drinking water situation”.

The group skype request from Reinhard

The group skype request from Reinhard

I joined the hangout on my laptop as our desktop computer has been playing up and fully expected to be ejected from it due to my poor bandwidth. Surprisingly I was able to stay in but not able to use my video, nor see the screen sharing from Germany, but….. I could hear and speak to them. In the hangout were Endang from Western Java, Indonesia and Linlin from Taiwan. With me being from Australia, the foreign participants all came from islands – some small, some large and learnt about islands in Germany.

where islanders get their water from

Islands of Germany water

Students from Germany had prepared Powerpoint slides. Reinhard shared his screen with us via the Ghangout. Groups came forward and spoke to the slides and their pictures in clear English. Linlin and I then spoke about the importance of water, issues where we live and how we conserve it.

A small group shares with us

A small group shares with us

Next, a skype message came from Endang to see whether I could help her Indonesian students speak English to a native speaker. Two students introduced themselves to me, answered my many questions and then asked me questions. The chat in skype helped ensure that we understood each other reasonably well!

English speaking girl

An ordinary day turned into a very exciting one in an amazing global classroom! How was your day?

What?!? “That’s not healthy!”

A couple of weeks ago I joined a group in skype. This group is made up of a number of teachers from across the globe. Interesting conversations flow amongst the group. These include the sharing of online sites, culture, experiences etc.  The great advantages of having the group is that members will just ask “Is anyone about?” and if someone is they will skype into a global classroom and talk to students for 5 to 10 mins or more.

Tonight, just prior to our evening meal, which we call tea (rather than dinner), a skype message came up from Kathryn “Is anyone about?” I replied saying I have 10 mins before tea. Within seconds I was videoconferenced into an Austrian classroom and spoke to some capable English speaking students.

One of the first questions was: “What tea are you drinking?” When I responded that it was my evening meal, the reaction was one of astonishment. When questioned further I explained that we were having baked chicken, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato with broccoli/carrots/cauliflower, the reaction was:- “Oh that is not healthy!”

That comment astonished me. This is our way of life. We eat our main meal in the evening as most of us work in the daytime or attend school. I had never even thought of it being unhealthy. We often eat a sandwich for lunch. The Austrian students then told me that lunch is their main meal consisting of four or five courses! Below is one of the pics that I  sent through skpye once I had dished up our tea! (It nearly burnt due to my longer conversations with Austria!) However, it was tasty.

Why I am I posting this? I had assumed that European and American cultures were very similar, if not the same, as ours but now realise that there are differences. There is so much to learn from each other, no matter what country we live in, whether we speak the same language or not. From Kathryn came the following comment “thank you Anne, we heard a lot of new things again, thank you”.

Technology allows us to learn NOW from each other! Skype is an amazing tool that can instantly connect people together.

It has been decided to form a group for students  to connect and share conversations. Permission forms have been sent home to parents to allow senior students to take part in this trial project. One of my goals in teaching is for my students to develop a learning network. This will make an interesting start. I wonder what they will discover about each other!

Tech Talk Tuesdays/eT@Lking – This week’s sessions

Tech Talk Tuesdays:- Within, across, beyond : using technology to connect kids and realise a vision

Tuesday, May 17th, 4 to 5pm, Melbourne, Australia time (gmt+10)

Topic: Within, across, beyond : using technology to connect kids and realise a vision!

About the session:This session will focus on the following:-

  • Connecting the kids within the school using  a wordpress multi blog  site and buddypress,
  • Connecting kids across schools through inter-school discussions
  • Using videoconferencing
  • Connecting kids beyond schools to our virtual experts, a team of online historians, scientists, graphic designers and engineers who help our students in their learning.

Dr Rob Sbaglia and  Simone Uren will share their exciting connections within and beyond the classroom walls.
About the  presenters:-
Dr Rob Sbaglia is the ICT co-ordinator at Castlemaine Nth Primary School, in Australia, and team teaches grades 5 and 6. Prior to this, Rob has been an ultranet coach, a research  scientist and a secondary teacher. He has a particular interest in connecting students beyond the classroom.
Simone is the literacy co-ordinator at the same school and holds a leadership position within the school, where she team teaches grades 5 and 6.  Mrs Uren has a particular interest in the application of ICT in literacy.

Here is thelink to the recording of this sesson.

eT@lking: The Google Teacher Academy in Sydney

When: Wednesday 18th May 8-9pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+10)

About the session: Listen to Tony Richards, Roland Gesthuizen, Chris Betcher, Andrew Williamson and others as they share their experiences at the recent Google Academy in Sydney. Come and join in the conversations and consider  how google and its apps can be used in education.

Here is the link to the recording