School’s out Friday

Happy New Year! This was the 8.30 pm round of Fireworks from Sydney Harbour. There will be another spectacular show in both Sydney and Melbourne at 12.00am  to launch 2011.

While we wait, enjoy this one. : )

2011. Wow. The end of a year always puts me in a speculative mood. Have I achieved all I wanted to? What was a hit and what was a miss in 2010? Most importantly, how have my family and friends travelled throughout the year? Lots to ponder, but not much to regret I’m pleased to say. Let’s hope 2011 is kind to us all.

I seem to be in a blogging hiatus at the moment. I think of things to write about, but am finding it hard to commit the time to penning ideas down. It is holidays after all, and I think it’s OK to have a rest from the keyboard for a moment or two. I do have a post in draft form and hope to get it up in a day or two. By that time it will be old news, but I’m determined to get it posted regardless!

Do have a Happy New Year. Stay cool my friends in Australia, and stay warm my friends in other parts of the globe. Enjoy the start of 2011. : )

School’s out Friday

It’s actually Christmas morning here (1.36am to be precise!), but it’s still Friday in parts of the world so I’m feeling justified, if not a little bit crazy, for getting School’s out Friday out at this time. This is North Point Community Church’s iBand, playing Christmas tunes using iPads and iPhones. Just imagine if a group of kids could do something like this for a school music concert. There’s another thing to dwell on for the 2011 school year! Thanks Allanah for sending me this link tonight. You saved me a lot time searching for something. : )

Christmas Eve party is over, dishes are done, presents are wrapped. Time for bed methinks!

Merry Christmas to you all, loyal readers, whoever you are. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season. : )

School’s out Friday

This ‘Digital Story of the Nativity‘ just had to be the pick for School’s out Friday this week. It came to me from a tweet from Dean Groom, and it does make you think how things would be played out if Mary and Joseph were hunting for accomodation and the three Kings were sourcing gifts today. Well worth watching in my opinion.

Can’t write any more. I’m off on the hunt for a mouse in my house. Just what I need!

*Back – mouse successfully escorted from the premises, but not before me saying, “Where did it go?” and my son replying, “It’s on your foot.” And that’s exactly where it was! I don’t think I’ve moved quite so quickly all year – could be a new land speed record.

Enjoy the weekend. The last before the Christmas onslaught. Good luck with the shopping. : )

Meet Cartoon James

The other week, I received an email from James, the brother of a student from my school. James contacted me because his sister Kate had given him some advice about what he needed to do if he wanted to pursue his passion, cartooning. Kate is a student at my school, and she’d told James he needed to use the Internet to get his ideas out there. (I think she was inspired by my words as she’d just been involved with the Creative Communication camp we’d run at school.)  The upshot of Kate’s advice was that James started a blog. Here was what he wrote in his first post;

This blog started when my big sister said to me, “James, you are an awesome cartoonist, if you want to be big to have to make yourself big and that is to get yourself out there!” I then realised that the internet is now the tool to get the world to know you-who you are and what you can do. So I started this blog show everyone my cartoons and to encourage you to always follow your dreams- I know, big cliche there but it’s true. If you end up having a job that you absolutly hate, then you are going to live life wasting everyday and being unhappy. BUT if you do something you love you will feel good about yourself and that you’ve lived life to the max! So here I am, talking to you about what I love, what I do and what I want to become. Hope this inspires you to go for what you love, to always try your hardest and be your best.

When I received James’ email I took a look at his blog and was impressed with his obvious passion and desire to succeed. He’d created the above YouTube video but it was there as a link and not embedded. I  realised he needed a bit of help understanding the basics of blogging. I offered to help, and spent some time with James the following weekend helping him understand how you hyperlink, how you embed videos and images, how you select a theme that is in keeping with your site’s intentions and how you embed widgets in the sidebar. James’ blog now looks a lot better, and hopefully he has some skills that will hold him in good stead as he pursues his dreams by launching himself into online spaces.

Hopefully, James will continue to be inspired, discover other amateur cartoonists and forge links that help him on the path he wants to follow. What I found really interesting about my interaction with James was that he had to find a teacher outside of his own school to help him. I’m impressed that he found my gmail address and sent the email off, but once again, I’m concerned that there are not enough teachers in our schools with this kind of skill set who can help young people propel their ideas via the Web.

Hopefully you’ll take some time to visit James’ blog and leave a comment to encourage a young man on his way to a future he is helping to create.

School’s out Friday

I don’t know how I missed this one. It’s another improveverywhere MP3 experiment mission filmed in October. On this occasion, improveverywhere agents downloaded the same MP3 file and played it at the same time, all following the instructions outlined in the recording. The results are great to watch. I really must get involved in a Melbourne based improveverywhere type mission someday. If one is on your radar, let me know!

My son had his graduation ceremony from Primary School tonight. Where did those years go? It seems like just a short time ago he was having his photo taken on his first day of Prep. Next year, High School. I must be getting on! (As an aside, how did these events evolve in Australian society? When I left Primary School, there was nothing like this!)

A couple more days of school for me next week and then it’s school holidays. I am very much looking forward to some downtime. We’ve spent the year in a temporary library and have been immersed in planning for a new library due to open at the start of the 2011 school year. Two ‘E’s apply to this experience – excitement and exhaustion. Right now, it’s the latter of the two that have taken over. I am definitely in need of revitalisation!

Hope the weekend holds something special in store for you. Enjoy it. : )

Google eBooks – game changer?

Watch this and you decide. Is this the game changer in the eBook market? I suspect it just might be. It looks like their apps for the iphone/ipad are only available in the US at this stage. There’s nothing about releasing to a wider market on the pages I was reading. Here’s the message I came across;

The latest Google eBooks are not available for sale in your location, yet…

Google is working with publishers around the world to let you buy the latest ebooks from top authors. In the meantime, you can still browse millions of free and public domain Google eBooks and read them effortlessly across your devices.

Take a read of their eBooks pages and see what they’re offering for yourself. Interesting times we are living in…

Edublog Awards – Thank you

Yes, it’s Edublogs awards time again, and I am very thankful to readers of this blog who have gone to the effort of nominating it for Best Teacher Blog and Best Librarian/Library Blog. It’s very humbling to be in the company of truly excellent educators who do a wonderful job of sharing their learning with others.

Just to be nominated is reward enough for me. Recognition from your peers is the best kind. There are some who want to win, and John T. Spencer has written a very honest and interesting post explaining why he does. I watched the Twitter stream when the awards were announced and noticed  a bit of sniping amongst some who had a thing or two to say about the awards. I’m really not interested in getting involved in banter like that. As far as I am concerned, yes, it could be construed as a bit of back slapping in what is a not exactly huge edublogosphere, but why not? Why not give recognition to people who spend their ‘down time’ learning and being transparent about it? Why not give recognition to a profession that traditionally does not provide external rewards to people who go the extra mile? Why not give recognition so that others can discover the wonderful voices out there who do are doing so much to make our profession responsive to change?

Not everyone who is making a difference has been nominated. Someone once said to me it was a shame that the loudest voices are the ones that are always heard first. My advice is this; pay attention when you can to the voices out there, both large and small. They all matter, especially when it comes to making our education systems better for the students we teach.

Visit the Edublogs awards site and discover some new voices. Read them, leave comments, become part of the conversation. You never know, it may spark you on to start writing too.

Voting closes on December 14th. Congratulations to everyone and thank you to Edublogs for going to the effort of running the awards.

School’s out Friday

Thanks to Rhonda Powling for tweeting out the link to A Creative Commons Christmas Carol. Those of us trying to impress on others the importance of using a Creative Commons Share Alike licence will be singing along to the chorus. Watch for featured performances  Scotty Iseri of, Matthew Latkiewicz of, Lawrence Lessig, Leo Laporte, Cory Doctorow, Dick DeBartolo, Zadi Diaz, Kevin Kelly, and Mark Frauenfelder.

My reports are finished, exams are marked, no correction to be done. I’ll be living the life this weekend!

Enjoy what comes your way this weekend. : )



Edublog Awards 2010 – my nominations

Nominations for the Edublog awards close tomorrow, so I thought I better get my act into gear and nominate some of the wonderful people out there who make learning happen for me. Not only for me, but  for countless others out there who find that the best professional development they receive these days comes from the people who are willing to be transparent about their thinking, and willing to share the resources they find that make them better at what they do.

It’s not easy. There are far too many great blogs, tweeters, and resource sharing sites out there, but I’ll give it a go. There are a ton more that deserve mentioning- wish I had the time to name them all.

Best individual blogJohn Connell: The Blog.   John always make me think. Especially when he’s fired up about something. I’ve been reading John for as long as I’ve been involved in the edublogosphere, and his quality posts that appear on a consistent basis, are one of my always go to places on the web.
Best individual tweeterAlec Couras.   Whenever I see a tweet from Alec appear in my Twitter stream, I take pause to read it. Alec shares some wonderful links, as well as giving us insight into the way he goes about his work, and how he lives his life.
Best new blogLiv to Dance. OK. I teach Liv, so I’ll be up front and admit bias. But I love Liv’s enthusiasm and how she’s working at building audience as she writes about dancing, her passion.

Best student blogStyle Rookie I don’t know if this qualifies as a student blog, but I’m guessing it does. Tavi is still at school, is blogging about what she loves, and making a reasonable dent in the universe while doing it. She impresses me, and she impresses my students also.
Best resource sharing blogPhil Bradley’s weblog. Phil finds the new stuff that’s out there and lets us all know if it’s worth looking at. If Phil thinks it’s good, then I’m sure to be checking it out.

Best teacher blogBrave New World.  Tania Sheko’s blog is well worth reading. Sometimes resource sharing, sometimes reflections on the need for change in education, and always how she is trying to make this happen. Quality writing too.
Best librarian / library blogBright Ideas I just love what SLAV and Judith Way are doing for Australian Teacher-Librarians, and Librarians the world over. Bright ideas is a place where Teacher Librarians can post what they’re doing in their own schools. It a vehicle for many who don’t have a web presence to get their great work out there for all to see and learn from.  It’s also a great resource sharing blog.
Best school administrator blogDarcy Moore’s Blog. Darcy is a Deputy Principal in New South Wales, and he pushes my thinking. I love that a Deputy Principal sees the value in blogging and wants to be part of the change process. Darcy is one of our great role models who the NSW Department of Education better hang onto!
Best educational podcastEd Tech Crew. Tony and Darrell do a great job of interviewing people who are exploring new ways of doing things. They share some great resources along the way too.

Best educational use of a social network –  Instructional Rounds – Best Teacher practice – The E5 Model PLN.  Nina Davis and Jenni Byass have set this up to support their teacher professional leave project, but along the way they’ve managed to attract school administrators and teachers from many parts of the world. Updated regularly and a supportive environment.
Lifetime achievementBill Ferriter. I’ve been to the United States twice this year and unfortunately did not get to meet Bill. His blog ‘The Tempered Radical’, is that really nice blend of a teacher modeling really good classroom practice, ideas for using new technologies for meaningful learning, and gutsy posts that get to the heart of current issues facing educators the world over. Bill is @plugusin on Twitter, and to me, he’s a real human being, sharing what matters. I don’t know how long Bill’s been at it, but he gets my vote anyway.

Voting ends Tuesday 14th of December.