Blogging serious for your health – join Twittercise!

I’ve been talking a lot recently about trying to get balance in my life – kinda feel like things are a bit out of control and I need to work smarter not harder (favourite saying of my husband!!) This is looming larger as I face the prospect of the start of term two tomorrow and all that that will bring with it. We have our Project Global Cooling concert on Saturday the 19th of April and this is going to mean full on commitment for the next two weeks along with parent teacher nights and the expectations of my job. To top it all off I read Will Richardson’s latest post that referred to a New York Times article (In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop) about bloggers who have suffered heart attacks and died recently. It seems that the pressure of posting regularly and pipping other bloggers at the post may have contributed to the deaths of two prominent bloggers in the technology arena. These are bloggers who get paid per post. I don’t get a cent yet feel some of that pressure. I have to admit this is self inflicted as I set myself the onerous task of trying to write a post a day this year- sometimes I do think I am my own worst enemy.

I’m about to set myself another onerous target and announce it publicly here. All this blogging has led to a sedentary state of affairs and all that comes with it. I used to be an avid exerciser (are you getting any clues about me yet- my obsessive compulsive addiction to things- I’m learning things about myself as I write!!) I used to be proud of my biceps and triceps but no more. Something needs to be done. I have an impressive set of weights in my back room but haven’t been near them in months. Time for change. Tomorrow sees a new lifestyle that marries with my networked life. I’m introducing Twittercise and encourage you to join me, particularly if you live in Australia or have a complimentary time zone. I’m going to tweet on Twitter when I’m starting my Twittercise session and hope it may prompt some of you to get out of your seats and do a bit of good old fashioned exercise. It may be walking the dog, doing sit ups, or pumping weights. Whatever works for you. We have to recognise that the sedentary online lifestyle is doing our health no good. Balance is very important and a healthy body and lifestyle contribute to this (as well as the regular blog post!). Hope to see some of you readers joining me. I’m jennyluca on Twitter – look for the tweets – probably around 7.00 – 7.30 Melbourne time all going well. Our new approach to our networked life starts tomorrow!! 

Skype to the rescue.

Launch day for Project Global Cooling.

Was I nervous?

Yes.

Did I fear a breakdown of Technology?

Yes.  

Was all the worry warranted?

No!

Pleased to report all was successful. Bill Farren’s video ‘Did you ever wonder?‘ set the scene and got our student’s thinking. Our Skype calls worked, a bit of break up but nothing drastic. Chris, a teacher from Lindsea’s school Skyped in as well on a webcam – the kids loved seeing him – you could see they were impressed with what was happening. Clay Burell joined us along with Patrick from his school. Lindsea then joined us with a webcam and you could sense the instant recognition from our students – they connected with her Skyping from her bedroom. Some students asked questions – Lindsea could see them thanks to my fantastic AV guy who went out of his way today to make all of this work. Thought we might be losing them towards the end but was surprised by the interest coming my way from the kids who can’t make our follow up meeting tomorrow. 

Left today feeling energised and positive about tomorrow. Can’t wait to see where the meeting will take us. Our kids were expressing their frustration today with adults who talk about making changes to improve sustainability but then nothing happens. Today we’ve given them an opportunity to make change – I hope they rise to the challenge. 

Just finished listening to and participating in the backchannel of Jeff Utecht’s SOS podcast (even if I couldn’t figure out how to change my Ustream number to my name, despite another listener trying to help me. I am still new to all this stuff!).  Really interesting discussion about how we connect. Recommend that you listen to the podcast when he posts it. 

Project Global Cooling here we come (and I’m on YouTube!)

Tomorrow we launch Project Global Cooling with our students. This has come about as a result of this blog and having the ability to make connections with Clay Burell and Lindsea of Project Global Cooling. We have a very short time frame when it comes to the goal of staging a concert on April 19th. You never know, our students may very well pull it off – the energy and drive of young people can be quite awe inspiring when it kicks in. Hopefully the project’s goal of raising awareness about issues regarding sustainability and the future of our planet will resonate with our student population and we will be able to maintain global connections and build on the start we have made.

Tomorrow we are going to have a Skype conference call with Lindsea and Patrick (and maybe Clay??) from Project Global Cooling. Patrick is a student in Seoul and Lindsea ia 16 and at school in Hawaii. This call is scheduled to take place during our launch and how powerful is it going to be having students motivate students to get involved. I know the students at my school and am pretty sure they are going to want to run with this. I hope so anyway. I’ll keep you posted as to how we go.

Today we had a practice run with Lindsea via Skype in our Lecture Theatre to see how it all would go. It was great – hope we have no technical hitches tomorrow. Lindsea, nextgen specimen that she is, recorded the run through and posted it on YouTube. Never thought I’d see the day that I would be featured in a YouTube post. It’s pretty exciting from my perspective but it’s a given that it’s never going to gain viral video status! (Check out my Picasso look at the end of the video – very becoming!)

Looking forward to tomorrow and what it may bring. 

SOS Podcast – make sure you tune in next week.

SOS 

I’ve just finished listening to Jeff Utecht’s SOS podcast. You can access it Thursday nights at 7.00pm Shanghai time. (10.00pm Australian time) It’s kind of nice to hear the voices to the names you’ve been reading. I came in late but gained something out of their conversation about shifting teachers with new technology. It’s a great vehicle for transferring knowledge. Next week’s topic of discussion is ‘How to Connect’ and Kim Cofino is going to be joining Jeff.

Some good things happened today. We made a start in our planning to join Project Global Cooling and are hoping to have Lindsea join us via Skype for our launch. It’s going to be a bit of work but what great work it will be – the kind of empowering work that energises you and doesn’t deflate you.  Remind me I wrote this in a few weeks time!

 The other good thing was that I introduced a group of students to VoiceThread today. I’ve been hearing about it a lot and thought I better check it out. According to the VoiceThread site, this is what a VoiceThread is;

“A VoiceThread is an online media album that can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in 5 different ways – using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam) – and share them with anyone they wish. A VoiceThread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world.”

This is a class I take just once a week where I introduce them to new web tools. We looked at some examples and they then had a go at creating one. They really liked the idea that you can draw in the image you are talking about and they could suggest classroom uses for Voicethread. It was the kind of conversation you wish other teachers were listening to. Here was a group of students who could see uses for it in Science, Art, Humanities etc. I’m going to use it with my Year 7 class – I’m going to get them to upload a photo of themself as a young child and have their family members record their memories of that moment. Should be a good test of how it works.  VoiceThread have just launched a new web-based collaborative network called Ed.VoiceThread. They promote it as being simple, powerful and safe. Check out the blog on their site and watch their explanatory VoiceThread – it looks good. This community is specifically designed for K-12 educators and students. I’m going to talk to the Elibrarian I work with about subscribing our school tomorrow. This should help our teachers feel comfortable about using it as a learning tool.