Looking back…

At the end of 2013, I read a post from Steve Brophy where he reflected on the year that was. Just the other day I read his 2014 reflection of the year that was. I’m thinking a reflection on the two years just gone is warranted seeing that I never got one posted last year!

In 2014, Steve took on a position similar to mine (Director of ICT and eLearning), and his summation of the experience echoes strongly how I felt in my first year. To go from being Head of Library and English teacher, to someone who has overarching responsibility for managing the school’s infrastructure and directions the school would be taking with platforms and devices, was a huge leap. Just getting my head around the language of the area I was now working in was challenging. Everything is an acronym, and you look pretty darn silly when you’re in meetings with vendors negotiating contracts if you don’t have a handle on an acronym. I’m not ashamed to admit there were occasions when I’d nod knowledgeably then retreat to my computer after a meeting to play catch-up with Google.

2013 saw the introduction of a new Learning Management System (Schoolbox) and 2014 saw the introduction of Google Apps for Education and Hapara Teacher Dashboard across our school. We also introduced Chromebooks and Nexus 7 devices in our Junior School as part of this move. These were huge undertakings requiring staff buy in for success. I’ve had to work out ways to communicate effectively to help staff understand systems and have tried very hard to offer professional development opportunities and well as support in online environments. I’ve found the following an effective way to explain new features quite effective when you’re starved of face to face contact with the whole staff cohort. Make a quick screencast using Screencast-o-matic, upload to Google Drive, embed in LMS and share via email.

I’ve continued to teach a class while taking on this role, and introduced a new elective called ‘Language of our Times’ focused on communication in today’s world. This meant creating new curriculum and shifting my pedagogy into methodology such as Project Based Learning – all in the midst of learning how to manage the network and introduce new systems! While it’s been challenging, it’s also been incredibly exciting. The students have loved the class and I’ve loved teaching them. True to form (for me, anyway) I’ve changed each unit from year to year, based on what the students need and responding to shifts on the Internet. Keeping a foot in the classroom keeps you grounded and enables you to model effective use of the systems you’ve introduced. Credibility with staff matters  – the old adage ‘Practice what you Preach’ really does hold weight.

Suffice to say, the last two years have seen me on an exponential learning curve, one that required a huge investment of time and took me away from blogging on a regular basis. It’s something I have mixed feelings about; there have been many times when I felt that I had something worthy of sharing, but the energy levels were low at the end of long days. I really do feel the need to reinvigorate this space – I’m hopeful that 2015 will see me post on a more regular basis.

What has really sustained my appetite for learning over the last two years has been the opportunities I’ve had to keynote at various conferences across the country. I derive energy from these experiences. Putting a keynote together sharpens my thinking and the interactions with conference participants really helps me remain committed to sharing what I know. What fascinates me right now is what the future holds and what this might require of us as educators. What are the learning environments we need to create to help our students navigate a very different world of work? What are the skills we need to teach effectively in new environments and what will school look like 15 years from now? My reading focuses on thinking around this  – I can be pretty interesting at conferences and pretty boring at dinner parties!

Looking forward…

What will 2015 bring? Consolidation at school level – no new platforms to introduce, but a focus on how to best use ICT to personalise learning experiences for students. In my view, we have the platforms we need – moving through the technology adoption cycle to appeal to the early and late majority is where the work lies.

I’ll continue reading and maintaining my Twitter presence - it’s by far the quickest way to share and the connections formed in that network are my go to place when I get discouraged at school level that change isn’t happening quickly enough. Communicating with like minds feeds my soul.

It’s my greatest hope that I will find time to invest in this space and share my thoughts and perhaps some insight into the work I’m doing at school level. Let’s see what happens when the pace increases – perhaps short bursts of content are what I need to aim for. Long reflective posts take time!

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School’s out Friday

Here’s a big wake up call…

If you think you’re up with the times and know the kinds of things the students you teach are interested in, but you can’t recognise anybody or relate to anything in this YouTube Rewind 2014 video, then I’m afraid you are seriously deluding yourself.

I’m not saying that what is represented here reflects the lifestyle and viewing habits of every teenager, or that what they are watching is necessarily high brow culture, but this compendium of what has ‘made it’ on YouTube this year is something that I’m guessing a large proportion of your students could relate to. And maybe, just maybe, there’s some merit in understanding their culture and being able to converse with them about the things that pique their interest.

If you want to know more, visit the YouTube clip and click on ‘Show more’. You will find links to all of the featured YouTubers. Dang it, why don’t I just make it easy for you and paste the list in here:

Action Movie Kid https://youtube.com/theActionMovieKid
Aichi Ono https://youtube.com/SpinboyAichi0307
Amanda Steele https://youtube.com/MakeupbyMandy24
AmazingPhil https://youtube.com/AmazingPhil
Andy Raconte https://youtube.com/AndyRaconte
Anil B https://youtube.com/WaRTeKGaminG
Ape Crime https://youtube.com/ApeCrimeReloaded
Apollos Hester http://youtu.be/X7ymriMhoj0
Barely Political https://youtube.com/barelypolitical
Bart Baker https://youtube.com/BartBaKer
Bethany Mota https://youtube.com/Macbarbie07
Big Bird https://youtube.com/SesameStreet
Bilingirl https://youtube.com/cyoshida1231
Brett Nichols https://youtube.com/BrettNicholsOfficial
Brittani Louise Taylor: https://www.youtube.com/BrittaniLouis…
Carrie Fletcher https://youtube.com/ItsWayPastMyBedTime
Chris Hardwick https://youtube.com/Nerdist/
Colin Furze https://youtube.com/colinfurze
Conan O’Brien https://youtube.com/teamcoco
Conchita Wurst https://youtube.com/ConchitaWurst
Connor Franta https://youtube.com/ConnorFranta
Corridor Digital https://youtube.com/CorridorDigital
Cyprien https://youtube.com/MonsieurDream
daaruum https://youtube.com/daaruum
danisnotonfire https://youtube.com/danisnotonfire
Devil Baby https://youtube.com/devilsduenyc
Dodie Clark https://youtube.com/doddleoddle
Ella Caney-Willis https://youtube.com/EllaSaysHiya
Enjoy Phoenix https://youtube.com/EnjoyPhoenix
Epic Rap Battles https://youtube.com/ERB
Evan Edinger https://youtube.com/naveregnide
fouseyTUBE https://youtube.com/fouseyTUBE
Freddie W https://youtube.com/freddiew
Gabriel Valenciano https://youtube.com/iamgabvalenciano
Gal Volinez http://goo.gl/zPKRNo
Grace Helbig https://youtube.com/graciehinabox
Hajime https://youtube.com/0214mex
Hannah Hart https://youtube.com/MyHarto
Heart https://youtube.com/ThatsHeart
Hello Denizen https://youtube.com/HelloDenizen
Hikakin https://youtube.com/HIKAKIN
HolaSoyGerman https://youtube.com/HolaSoyGerman
How It Should Have Ended https://youtube.com/HISHEdotcom
IISuperwomanII https://youtube.com/IISuperwomanII
iJustine https://youtube.com/ijustine
Ingrid Nilsen https://youtube.com/missglamorazzi
iTakahashi https://youtube.com/iTakahashikun
JennXPenn https://youtube.com/jennxpenn.
Jenna Marbles https://youtube.com/JennaMarbles
Jimmy Kimmel https://youtube.com/JimmyKimmelLive
John Oliver https://youtube.com/LastWeekTonight
Kacy Catanzaro http://youtu.be/XfZFuw7a13E
Kid President http://goo.gl/D9e40D
Kingsley https://youtube.com/ItsKingsleyBitch
Kosuke https://youtube.com/user/pazudoraya
Kurt Hugo Schneider https://youtube.com/KurtHugoSchneider
Le Floid https://youtube.com/LeFloid
Luke Cutforth https://youtube.com/LukeIsNotSexy
Mamiruton https://youtube.com/TheMaxMurai
Manako (Q’ulle) http://goo.gl/EtLTpW
MasuoTV https://youtube.com/MasuoTV
Matt Bittner http://youtu.be/8UoJ-34Ssa0
Max Murai https://youtube.com/TheMaxMurai
Michelle Phan https://youtube.com/MichellePhan
Mika Shindate https://youtube.com/shindatemika
Niki Albon https://youtube.com/NikiNSammy
PDS https://youtube.com/PDSKabushikiGaisha
Pentatonix https://youtube.com/PTXofficial
PewDiePie https://youtube.com/PewDiePie
PrankvsPrank https://youtube.com/PrankvsPrank
Raphael Gomes https://youtube.com/ItsRaphaBlueBerry
Rhett & Link https://youtube.com/RhettandLink
Rosanna Pansino https://youtube.com/RosannaPansino
Sadie Miller https://youtube.com/amillerfull
Sam Tsui https://youtube.com/TheSamTsui
Sami Slimani https://youtube.com/HerrTutorial
Sammy Albon https://youtube.com/NikiNSammy
Sasaki Asahi https://youtube.com/sasakiasahi
Seikin https://youtube.com/SeikinTV
Sione Vaka Kelepi https://youtube.com/sionemaraschino
Sir Fedora https://www.youtube.com/SirFedora
SkyDoesMinecraft https://youtube.com/SkyDoesMinecraft
Smosh https://youtube.com/smosh
Stephen Colbert https://youtube.com/comedycentral
Steve Kardynal https://youtube.com/SteveKardynal
Stuart Edge https://youtube.com/stuartedge
The Fine Bros https://youtube.com/TheFineBros
The Gregory Brothers https://youtube.com/schmoyoho
The Slow Mo Guys https://youtube.com/theslowmoguys
Troye Sivan https://youtube.com/TroyeSivan18
Tyler Oakley https://youtube.com/tyleroakley
VlogBrothers https://youtube.com/vlogbrothers
Vsauce2 https://youtube.com/Vsauce2
Vsauce3 https://youtube.com/Vsauce3
WORLD ORDER https://youtube.com/crnaviofficial

Now there’s a bit of homework for the holidays. Enjoy!

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School’s out Friday

I haven’t featured a flash mob in quite awhile for a School’s out Friday post, so time for some unbridled joy that comes from indulging in your groove thing. Well, the next best thing really – watching people indulging in their groove thing!

Having spent time at the Piazza San Marco in recent months, I’m not sure how this flash mob managed to clear the space necessary to get their performance happening. How they assembled a mass of people for this in a place like Venice and where they might have practised beforehand, well, that’s mind boggling too. According to Venezia Today (once Google Translate helped me decipher language!), it was a fiftieth birthday gift from a special lady to her partner. Interesting gift, and quite possibly, a pricey one too!

If I had any energy, I’d be up for getting my groove thing happening, but alas, end of year exhaustion has well and truly set in. Time to head to bed to reclaim energy levels. Enjoy your weekend – get your groove thing happening if an opportunity presents itself. :)

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PechaKucha in the Yr 9 classroom

My presentation about PechaKucha in the Yr 9 classroom for Teach Tech Play Episode 6.

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VATE State Conference 2014

My presentation for the VATE State Conference, held today at Deakin University.

 

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School’s out Friday

I’m currently in the throes of trying to pack as much as I possibly can into my ‘Language of our Times’ class in the final weeks of term. We were looking at viral videos recently (and at its essence, what are the qualities of a video that makes it move to viral status) and have returned to this in the last two days, prompted by what I’ve viewed on mainstream television and what has run past my Twitter stream.

The Qantas ad, above, caught my attention while I was making inroads on correction. It led me away from the correction pretty quickly, enticed as I was with the soundtrack and storylines that were unfolding in front of me. A two minute slot in primetime must cost a fair whack, but the 300,000+ views it has racked up on YouTube in 8 days is quite possibly paying dividends for the Qantas brand.

We followed this up today with two Christmas ads coming out of the UK. The first was the John Lewis ad below that has racked up a more than impressive 14 million+ views on YouTube in 8 days. And yes, I’m betting John Lewis sees this as an investment that has paid off.

The second is the Christmas ad from Sainsbury’s, a UK Supermarket chain. It was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion and is inspired by real events from 100 years ago. I dare you to watch it and not tear up.

It was released two days ago and has racked up 4 million+ views to date. I’m figuring this is one with shareability written all over it. Check back in six days and I’m betting it’s running rings over the John Lewis ad.

What these ads have enabled is some great discussion around what makes an effective marketing campaign in a world where YouTube rules and mainstream media is becoming less relevant in the lives of the everyday citizen. A good discussion to have and one that I think my students have benefited from. If I find them all leading marketing campaigns in future years I’ll know I’ve done a good job. ;)

I’ll be grabbing some shut eye this weekend and gearing up for a busy few weeks as the year comes to an end. Rest up folks and enjoy some down time. :)

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School’s out Friday

OK Go – you remember them. The guys who made that video on the treadmills. You know, the one where you were expecting one of them to fall flat on their face, but remarkably they stayed upright and performed some amazing moves that had us all transfixed.

Well, here they are again, in another feat of visual mastery. According to this Billboard post, the video was filmed in a single take using drones with mounted cameras but it took 50 to 60 run throughs to get it right. Another interesting fact – it was paid for by Honda who supplied the seated Segways the band members are sitting on. Now wouldn’t you love one of those to scoot around in?

Clever, huh? Create a video that has viral appeal, thus reducing your marketing costs, and then get Honda to pay for it. Use that as an example in your next Business Studies class and forget the textbook that probably is laden with examples that hold little relevance in today’s digitally driven world.

And if you’ve never seen their original 2009 video, well here it is. Enjoy it, and the weekend ahead. I’m sure you deserve a break.  :)

 

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