Monthly Archives: January 2013

School’s out Friday

Sylvia Martinez shared this video on Twitter this week. It was perfect for this week’s School’s out Friday post. I hope it makes you smile.

School resumes for most teachers here in Australia next week. In my new role, I’ve been back already for the last fortnight. We’re rolling out a new printing solution throughout the school and this week has been occupied with the finite details that need ticking off to ensure all goes smoothly next week. I’ve been consumed with that, and with the thought processes necessary for the new subject I’m teaching this year. I’m knocking out the final details for this semester’s coursework  - it’s called ‘The Language of our Times’ and its focus is on the communication methods we use in today’s world. There’s a real opportunity to create a learning community using new tools and sites. Part of the course will see us looking closely at ‘The Fault in our Stars‘ and how its author John Green is changing up the way authors interact with their audiences. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to do something very different with this course and hopefully I’ll be able to share our learning here.

I’ve plenty to do before next Tuesday still. I hope you’re enjoying the last days of the holiday break if you’re here in Australia. Best of luck with the 2013 school year on your return. :)

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School’s out Friday

This video is one I really must find a way of integrating into some teachable moment this year. I’ve no doubt there will be a myriad of opportunities that will present themselves. Teachable moments aren’t restricted to school – last night I took great delight in responding to my son’s complaints with the ‘First world problem’ retort. I love that look you get when they realise you’ve adopted the language they use, especially when it’s so pertinent to the pettiness of whatever it is they’re going on about!

The link to the video was shared in the Twitter stream coming out from the Google Apps for Education summit (GAFE summit) that was held at MLC in Sydney over the last couple of days. There were some very useful tips shared that you can find by searching #gafesummit on Twitter. The educators who presented have very generously shared their presentations and they can be accessed from this link. Yet another example of the sharing nature of educators who have learning at the forefront of their thinking and want to make sure that others can benefit, even if they weren’t present. I very much appreciate your efforts. :)

I returned to work this week as part of my new role at my school. It was a bit of a shock to the system, but I’m back in the swing of things now and looking forward to a sleep in tomorrow morning. The weather’s looking good, so I’ll be finding some time to relax in the sun. I hope you find some time to do the same. :)

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Five years in….

On a camping holiday in January, 2008, an idea occupied my thinking. Maybe I could start a blog and write about technology and its impact on education? Two weeks at the beach, with no Internet and plenty of thinking time, cemented the idea. I tossed around what I would call it. I told my husband I wanted to intercept things that were happening in the Web and share them with people. He drove off to work later that morning, but rang soon after and said, “What about Lucacept?” I had the name. I just had to start the thing.

Come January 12th 2008, we returned home from our camping holiday and I sat down and created a blog in WordPress. I called it Lucacept – intercepting the Web, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I knew how to hyperlink, but had no clue how to embed content or what I was going to write about. I was nervous, wondering if it would be read and how it might be received. I worried about whether or not my school would be comfortable with me potentially sharing things that happened in my working day. I wondered if I was starting something that might peter out after a few months.

Five years later I’m still at it. My life has changed as a result of this little bit of Web real estate. I’ve written fairly consistently, sometimes about not much of consequence, but other times about things that matter. I’ve shared my personal life and occasionally felt nervous about pressing the publish button. Opportunities have come my way and I’ve traveled extensively presenting my thinking at conferences here in Australia and overseas. My passion for and commitment to my profession is focused – moreso now than at any other time in my 25 years as a Secondary School educator. This year, I’m taking on a new role at my school as Director of ICT and eLearning – a role I can perform thanks to the learning that began in part with the first time I penned a post in this WordPress editor, five years ago today.

Seth Godin refers to those of us who use the Web to transmit ideas as artists. Here’s some of his thinking from one of his latest posts.

I don’t think the shortage of artists has much to do with the innate ability to create or initiate. I think it has to do with believing that it’s possible and acceptable for you to do it. We’ve only had these particular doors open wide for a decade or so, and most people have been brainwashed into believing that their job is to copyedit the world, not to design it.

That used to be your job. It’s not, not anymore. You go first.

 

I never used to think of myself as a creative person, but I do now. And that’s because I’ve chosen to believe that it is possible to initiate change with words and the resultant action that comes from wanting to make those words reality. I don’t know what the next five years hold, but hopefully this little bit of Web real estate will be holding its own. Heck, it may have even gone up in value – time will tell.

Would I still be writing if I had no readership? Probably not. I’m forever grateful to all of you, whoever you may be, who either purposefully read or maybe stumble over this blog. Knowing that what you’re writing has the potential to be read is a motivating force. I hope my words have added a modicum of value to your life. Your presence has certainly added so much more value to mine.

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School’s out Friday

Take a look at Colin Stokes‘ very interesting TEDx talk, where he dissects the movie industry in an amusing, but highly relevant fashion.  His focus is the way male and female roles are depicted and the messages being sent to our children as a result. I found it very interesting and would be keen of finding a way of weaving this into curriculum next year. Media Studies teachers- it might be a good one for you to use.

One thing I found very interesting was his reference to ‘The Bechdel Test’ as a means of identifying gender bias in films. Here’s some info from the Bechdel Test site:

The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. The test was popularized by Alison Bechdel‘s comic Dykes to Watch Out For, in a 1985 strip called The Rule.

Here’s a visual explanation:

I am never going to be able to view a film the same way again.

On a very hot Melbourne afternoon, I’m just about to leave to see Les Miserables. Bechdel test will be applied.

 

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SAMR explained, by Ruben Puentedura no less.

Modification

Modification (Photo credit: ianguest)

Ruben Puentedura, creator of the SAMR model, has shared the above video he created for the Kalmarsunds Gymnasieförbund (a school in Sweden) on his blog. In it he explains his model but also discusses the TPACK model, and an idea he has for how teachers should approach the integration of 21st century skills into their classroom teaching. When you look at that 21st century skills model, couch it in terms of the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum – I’m sure you will see the parallels. I like his approach here – it’s a good way of getting a discussion started with your staff.

Ruben finds ways to generously share his thinking in a way that educators can access and use in their planning. I know that I’ll be referring to this video for my new role this year. The reality for all of us though is that it can’t just be words  - we need to see these ideas echoed in the reality of classroom practice, and moving the many is no easy task. But hey, someone has to do it, right? Might as well be us.

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School’s out Friday

I love this, from ‘The New York Times.’ If you’re a Twitter user, you’ll understand what he means when he says hashtags are like ‘jazzhands’. We all know jazzhands should be used sparingly, and so should hashtags. Be warned, hashtag offenders. #jazzhands may come to haunt you!

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The demise of Netbooks – what are the implications?

I read a post from The Guardian yesterday entitled ‘Sayonara Netbooks: Asus (and the rest) won’t make any more in 2013‘. I know that the iPad has had a profound effect on the computing market and we probably all should have seen this coming. Looking at the stats of US sales presented in the article, I can see why manufacturers have decided to cease production and perhaps put their focus into the tablet market. For schools however, this decision has major implications for those who had chosen to run 1:1 programs with Netbooks as a cheaper option compared to running with full priced PCs or Macs.

At my school, we have netbooks in our K -4 classrooms on a 2:1 basis. Obviously, the demise of Netbooks is going to have implications for the program we are running. While I have already been thinking that tablets are a more user friendly option in Junior classrooms, the management of these devices leaves a lot to be desired. We have a class set of iPads in our Senior School, and Natalie, one of our Library Technicians manages them. It’s no easy task. The recent Volume Licensing agreement that now applies here in Australia has made things easier, but you still need to be adding and synchronising apps across multiple devices and updating apps and the operating system whenever new updates arrive. It’s time consuming and requires someone with a dedicated eye on it. Classroom teachers have enough on their plates and really don’t have time for the management of devices like this. There’s no doubt that tablets are designed as personal devices and not as shared ones.

I’m interested in taking a look at the Microsoft Surface, especially considering the fact that it has a USB and SD card ports. A device that enables easy transfer of whatever has been created on it is a lot easier than the current iPad set up that requires you to use cloud services or to email a finished product to another computing device for access. Looking at it’s price point (Windows 8 Pro will cost $US899 for a version with 64 gigabytes of memory, and $US999 for a 128-gigabyte model. Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/it-pro/business-it/microsoft-surface-with-windows-pro-to-go-on-sale-in-january-20121130-2akts.html#ixzz2GopsYpqd) makes it a very pricey option, coming in close to the price of Macbook Air at $1099.

I don’t think we’ll be needing to be making any decisions until later this year, so I’m hoping to see further developments in the Tablet market that might make them more user friendly both with price points and as a shared device, but I’m not pinning too many hopes on that. Maybe I’m wrong in my assessment of tablets as shared devices being problematic. If there are schools out there finding this an easy process, I’d like to hear from you and find out what you’re doing that might make our management of these devices easier.

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