Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Girl on a mission... Trying to recruit people for the first #edchatNZ twitter chat

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who needs the glass half full when it could be overflowing?

There is nothing like school holidays! Time to sleep in, to work to my own schedule. But best of all, time to load up on the inspiration and motivation needed to see myself through another term. I have been fortunate enough to attend the Google Apps for Education summit this holiday. I thought I would share some of the great tips and tricks from the summit.

Have you heard of the YouTube TestTube? These are Beta apps of YouTube tools that you may opt in to test. My favourites? Adding captions to videos or setting questions in videos before the viewer can continue! In a BYOT (bring your own technology) school such as mine, I am always trying to find new ways incorporate the use of students' smart devices in a way that genuinely enhances learning. One of the easiest ways to use both Android and Apple devices is by getting the kids to make videos; high production ones that summarise a project, or short ones where they attempt to explain a difficult test questions in a visual way. We then upload videos to my YouTube channel, I can edit them with relevant questions or captions and set them for homework. The kids love watching themselves over and over so I am really just capitalising on a bit of their vanity.

I do a lot of on line professional development. But don't take my word for it. Google offers a range of on-line courses such as becoming Google Apps Certified, becoming a Google Apps Certified Trainer or doing a Google Power Searcher course. If you want a challenge, there is always the Google Teacher Academy. Only a few people from all over the world is selected to go. Those people are selected based on a few questions in an on-line form and a one minute video. I have started experimenting with video making for this very reason. Here is my trial video, I have a long way to go though...

Of course it doesn't end there. Did you know that Google has launched a Course Builder? Or that you can build your own on-line field trip using Google maps? To be quite honest, there are too many amazing things that teachers are getting up to with Google to share here. I recommend that you head to the Google Apps for Education Summit page an look at the resource page for yourself! Of course you could always just follow along on twitter with the Google Apps for Education Summit hash tag, #GAFEsummit.

Although those are all great resources, the one thing that makes events like this worthwhile is the inspiration. For example, @markwagner who shared the great idea to post his university work on-line for feedback before asking his supervisors. Great idea right? I might not be a Ph.D student yet, but maybe you are interested in my social media for education report or maybe my proposal for e-learning professional development implementation?

Seems like Google not only has amazing, free, on line tools and resources, but they have amazing people too! I hope our governments learn from Google. Amazing results require amazing people. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The 3 "C"s of e-Learning Pedagogy

Teachers and Pedagogy go (or should go), hand in hand. I know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of teachers on twitter and the blogosphere who expertly use ICT as part of their pedagogy, allowing students deeper and wider understanding than what would ever have been achievable without technology. Those are the teachers we should be talking to about implementing ICT in our schools because they understand that ICT should not substitute traditional methods of teaching, it should be integrated in teaching in such a way that student learning is improved. We should be teaching our students to be innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial.

As a self proclaimed learning junkie, a university e-learning paper I recently completed took me through some of the factors that influence e-learning in education. The emphasis, across the board seems to be that the lack of ICT uptake in schools is largely based on a need to shift the pedagogy. I bet the teachers on twitter would have guessed that anyway  ICT integration is not students who do research using their smart device. ICT integration is where students do the research, share it, analyse it, critique it, collaborate in critiquing, and then produce a new product using the research. If you want a classroom where students critique, collaborate and create, a shift to the student centred classroom is necessary.

The question then becomes, how do we support our colleagues to make a shift towards the collaborative, critiquing  creating classroom?