Green lighting – do we give kids permission?

Last Friday, after watching Kevin Allocca’s video about why some videos go viral, I had a discussion with my class that went something like this.

If there is one thing you take from this class this year, it is this. Don’t wait for someone to green light something that you want to do. If you’re passionate about something, if you have an idea, if you want to pursue an interest, don’t wait for permission. We live in a world where you can start something if you have the wherewithal and desire to follow it through. Your parents might not like me saying this, but I’m not convinced that the only path to success is waiting for the credentials you get from a University education. I’m pretty sure that employers are going to be looking for people who have demonstrated that they think outside the square and know how to go about making things happen. You don’t need a green light – you can start now.

In fact, thinking on it, it was a bit of a short lecture rather than a discussion. It was the end of the lesson and they were wanting to head out to recess…  but, they did listen intently, and maybe they did take it in.

I hope so, because I think it’s advice worth taking.

(And below is Kevin’s video, where he talks about green lighting at the end of his TED talk.)

 

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TER Podcast – my interview from Edutech 2014

After my Edutech presentation in Brisbane in June I was interviewed by Corinne Campbell for the Teachers’ Education Review (TER) Podcast. It was posted on their site last week and I spent some time listening to me sound quite knowledgeable about topics related to digital citizenship, the importance of our students understanding what curation means in today’s world and the approaches we are taking at my school with our LMS (Learning Management System) and Google Apps.

Part of the interview was spent discussing the importance of schools committing funds to infrastructure to support whole school technology initiatives. Corrine remarked in the commentary after my interview that she’d never really heard people discussing this in depth. This is a conversation that needs to be had at every school looking to make large scale change with technology initiatives to support learning. Without a robust network supporting the introduction of web based LMS’ and cloud based technologies like Google Apps you have no hope of seeing adoption become widespread. Teachers need reliable infrastructure to ensure everything ‘just works’, and school administrations need to provide funding and staff to make this happen.

Thanks to Corinne and Cameron for posting the podcast on the TER site. To hear my interview, go to 40min 19sec in when it begins. The entire podcast is worth a listen, with timecodes listed below.

Timecodes:

00:00 – Opening

01:19 – Intro

10:13 – Off Campus with Dan Haesler

19:12 – Education in the News

37:09 – AITSL’s Teacher Feature

40:19 – Main Feature, Interview with Jenny Luca & discussion about technology in education

01:09:43 – Mystery Educator Competition

01:10:54 – Announcements

01:12:27 – Quote and Signoff

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No regrets

Matthew O’Reilly’s TED talk makes me ponder as I sit in an apartment in London after another day treading the pavements abroad.

My husband and I planned this overseas trip that is almost coming to an end always with our children front and centre. We wanted them to have opportunities to see other cultures, to live as others live, to gain an understanding of world history and our place in it. There’s little doubt it’s done that, and so much more.

My fondest memories are of the time we have spent as a family. Not just the happy and tranquil moments, but the times when we’ve been squabbling on the streets as we find ourselves aimlessly lost, or the times when we walk through yet another subway station and hit another infernal passage of stairs. The best times have been when my children have put their arms around my shoulder and waist and walked with me down cobbled streets sharing the moment.

I always worry that I work too hard, or commit too much time to others and not the ones closest to me. This trip has been special. I’ve taken myself away from everything that is a distraction and committed to family. I don’t think I’ll be living a life with regrets.

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School’s out Friday

I’m laying odds that the people at Head Office of IKEA in Sweden are looking very closely at their Singapore division and wondering what kind of Christmas bonus they can offer them this year. The ‘BookBook’ video, uploaded to YouTube by IKEA Singapore, has racked up over 10 million views in a week  – a pretty clever marketing ploy by anyone’s standards. Send up your product in a parody of an Apple ad and watch it go viral. Just what I need for impetus for my ‘Language of our Times’ class next term, when we begin our Project Based Learning task exploring ‘What makes an idea go viral?’

Speaking of Apple, their latest video, ‘Perspective’, shown at their Keynote launch this week, is another signature Apple piece appealing to their tribe of followers.  Take a look.

Over 600,000 views in three days. Another good one for my students to analyse.

I’m currently in Munich, where I’ve spent the last three days after visiting Italy for a week. In my last post I spoke of my poor footwear choices leading to some pretty difficult days limping through the streets of Florence and Venice. I’m pleased to report Munich has been much kinder on my feet. It’s a very flat terrain here, and we’ve slowed down our pace out of sheer necessity. We were exhausted after the heady pace of four cities in 7 days – Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice. Today, after reading some travel blogs about the best footwear for traipsing through Europe, I purchased some Geox walking shoes that I’m hoping will see me right through the next few days in Frankfurt and Bad Kreuznach and then onto Paris and  London in the coming weeks.

I will try to write here about some of our experiences – we’ve had an amazing time already. Yesterday we visited Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site and that experience deserves a post of its own. I’ve read so much about the Holocaust, but nothing really prepares you for walking the grounds and listening to a guide take you through the experiences of the people who were subjected to that cruel fate. It’s an experience everyone should have – as I walked through, it struck me that it is something that could feature as a Google Tour – that way students all over the world could have that experience and hopefully understand why the International Memorial there has the words, ‘Never again’ written in six languages.

Our hectic pace continues tomorrow, My husband and son are off the Bayern Munich vs Stuttgart game in the afternoon, then we board a train for Frankfurt in the evening, arriving there close to midnight and hoping that the accommodation I’ve booked doesn’t fall through!

I hope your weekend sees you finding time to relax and take in some sun. Enjoy whatever comes your way. :)

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Why shoe choice matters…

I’ve travelled a lot over the past six years, so you think I’d be well prepared in terms of footwear choices for long days of walking around big cities.

Not this time.

Six days in (two of which were confined to the inside of airports and plane interiors) and my feet are letting me down. More to the point, my choice of footwear is letting me down. Rome and Florence, you’ve made a mess of me, and it’s just the start of a month of travel through Europe and London.

I’d post a picture of my feet, but quite honestly, I don’t want to scare you. There are abrasions and potential blisters forming in multiple locations. Yesterday, in a moment of sheer desperation in Pisa, I purchased a pair of sandals similar to Birkenstocks but obviously nowhere near their quality because they’ve just added to the pain. Not only that, they are what I’d classify as beyond ugly.

Did I pack my tried and tested walking shoes that have stood the test of the Great Wall of China and a previous trip to Italy?

No, of course I didn’t. More. fool. me.

Am I taking notice of the gorgeous sights as I limp through the streets of Florence?

No. My eyes gravitate down, looking enviously at the feet of travellers who seem to be gliding through the streets, propelled forward on the soles of shoes that cushion heels and don’t issue shards of pain with every footfall.

Heading to Venice tomorrow. Wish me luck. No doubt I’ll be looking for the perfect shoe, not the Murano glass. Unless of course, some glassblower on the island of Murano has perfected a glass slipper that can guarantee blister free travel through Europe. Then I’d be interested.

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School’s out Friday

Over the past few years our Toorak College School Prefects have been presenting at School Assembly about adherence to uniform requirements. This year’s presentation was a stand out. You’ve gotta love it when the Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl (Tilly and Sarah) take some creative licence to Iggy Azelea’s ‘Fancy’ and deliver a message about school uniform that had every students’ attention. It had mine too. I love it when I see these girls demonstrate their talent and creativity in such an entertaining fashion. I love it even more that the school has posted it on our YouTube channel and it’s had over 1400 views to date. Watch and share it around. :)

Highlight of my week: Having Rolfe Kolbe from Newington College visit me on Wednesday at school so we could finally meet face to face and chew the fat. You were a breath of fresh air Rolfe; talking to a like mind always injects me with the energy I need to forge on.

Second highlight of my week: A group of students from my class who performed their Spoken Word poem today.

Blew. my. mind.

Hoping to film these next week when all groups share them publicly at the Book Week Poetry Slam event we are holding at school and then share them here.  The commitment to the task the groups are demonstrating has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had this year.

Lowlight of the week: Being sick with a shocking head cold Monday and Tuesday.

Second lowlight of the week: Hearing news of the rumbling Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland that remains poised to erupt according to news sources. If it does, it’s likely that air travel to Europe will be off limits. Given that my family and I are due to board a plane to Europe a week or so from now, I’m feeling pretty edgy about this.

Ah well, you take life as it comes. What will be, will be. I do know that tomorrow will be 21 glorious degrees here in Melbourne. Blue skies and warm rays always make me smile. Have a great weekend. May the sun shine on you. :)

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School’s out Friday

You know, there’s a strong likelihood that his has featured here as a School’s out Friday video before, but I’m too tired to search the annals and check. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I think it’s worthy of a laugh or two. I could make a video like this about VGA cables, but that’s a long story…let’s just say change is challenging.

It’s been a tough old week. I’ve had to say goodbye to my dear dog, Bella, She wasn’t always my dog, but the last six years she spent with me and my family were special. She was very much loved. She was a kind soul, gentle and loving. She smiled, genuine smiles that greeted me when I came home from work. Our home feels empty without her in it. I know we will adjust, but right now, my heart aches.

The weather bodes well for Melbourne tomorrow after weeks of bitter cold. I will sit in my backyard, soak up the warming sun rays and remember Bella. Faithful friends remain with you, never forgotten. Find some sun, wherever you are, and appreciate the things that matter.

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