School’s out Friday

It’s very apt that I use a video referencing a pet, considering the angst of the last 24hrs. Once again, a pet issue has occupied my time. Not the cat this time. No, it was the dog (again!) She wandered off sometime last afternoon and we located her this morning at the local pound. In the midst of this I attended the SLAV 50th Anniversary Dinner in Melbourne last night, and then this morning found my way back to the city again to look at new furnishing options for our now in construction school library. No rest for the wicked!

There’s been plenty I’ve wanted to blog about this week but I haven’t been able to get to this space.  I thought I’d share a few links with you of some of the things that passed my way that might prove of interest.

Google Instant shows results as you type, and it will be coming to your desktop when you conduct a search using Google in the coming months.

Rhonda Powling shared ‘Digital Footprints – your new first impression‘ via her vodpod account.

Future of Screen Technology makes some interesting projections about what may be; stretchable screens, transparent screens and e-ink displays.

Tech Heavyweights set to move music to the cloud is an article from New Scientist written by Macgregor Campbell. He writes;

“The extra bandwith and data transmission speeds of next-generation (4G) mobile networks mean it could soon be possible to listen to music streaming straight from the internet anywhere where there’s reception…”

He goes onto to query whether anyone would bother purchasing from sites like iTunes if this becomes standard practice. Interesting, and worth reading.

So much passes by me in a week, it’s hard to find time to share all the good stuff. This weak attempt might help those of you who aren’t plugged into Twitter and rely on people like me to keep you informed.

Have a great weekend. End of term fast approaching Aussie Educators!!

Enjoy. : )

Wordle – Rhonda and Dennis are on the bus!

I’ve been catching up on some reading tonight. My Google Reader has been sadly neglected of late – too many things to do and not enough hours in the day. I haven’t read The Shifted Librarian for awhile and was thrilled to see Rhonda Powling’s post about Wordle featured in it’s entirity on Jenny’s blog. Good for you Rhonda. Great to see an Aussie Teacher-Librarian blogger getting attention. Wordle is a neat application that allows you to paste text in and it will create a tag cloud formation with the most used words appearing larger than others. No thinking required, but great effect. It has a lot of potential for display purposes and to generate class discusssion about word choice. It would be a fun activity to insert the text of a well known peom and see if your students were able to piece together which poem it is and how it should appear in regular text format. 

Dennis Harter discovered Wordle this week. He put out a tweet (on Twitter for those of you wondering what on earth I’m referring too!) asking if he was late in catching up with this app. I very kindly replied that yes, he was! He wrote about this exchange in his first post for U Tech tips and recounted it with good humour. The focus of his post was, you guessed it, Wordle, and he included one he had created using Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech. It looked brilliant – the kind of thing you’d want to laminate and use in your library or classroom.

I’m sure you’re wondering why it is that I haven’t got an example here of the kind of thing you can do using Wordle. Well, that is because, for some unknown reason, I can’t get Wordle to work. I paste in the text of Robert Kennedy’s speech after the assassination of Dr. King, and it keeps telling me there is ‘no plugin available to view this content’. I have the latest version of Java installed, and can’t understand why what looks to be the easiest application available on the Web will not work for me!

If you’re reading this and have an answer to my dilemma, please leave a comment and put me out of my Wordleless misery! Yes Dennis, I may have known about Wordle before you jumped on the bus, but I’m still waiting at the stop!

Sheryl’s visiting Australia (and Toorak College!)

If you’ve been following this blog you’ll have some inkling that I’ve been helping Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Will Richardson set up an Australian arm of their Powerful Learning Practice initiative. This group is going to be global in scale including schools from the United States, New Zealand and Australia. I’ve been working at getting schools here in Australia to join this initiative and am pleased to report that we have schools from New South Wales and Victoria across all sectors; Independant, Catholic and Govt. Schools.

Some of the people leading these school teams include those writing blogs. Dean Groom, Judy O’Connell, Frances Manning, Rhonda Powling and Tania Sheko. Three of those names are Teacher-Librarians. Great to see them at the helm of change in their schools.  It’s going to be very exciting leading our schools through what we all hope is going to be something transformational for our colleagues who are taking the leap with us. I first started reading about Powerful Learning Practice in December of last year. I could see that it had the potential to shift my school and it’s teachers towards an understanding of the power of these technologies to reach out and make a difference to the learning environment for our students. We start the program on Sept. 8th. Our United States participants will be having a fact to face meeting at Freidricksburg Acadamy and we’ll be joining them via ustream. I’m excited to see that there are names I am already familiar with from our United States and New Zealand participants. Elizabeth Helfant, Alex Ragone, Lenva Shearing and  Jane Nicholls.

What is really exciting for me is that tomorrow I am finally getting the opportunity to meet Sheryl. She’s in Melbourne to keynote at the Expanding Learning Horizons conference being held in Lorne. She’s visiting my school tomorrow to present to the staff here about 21st Century learning and Learning communities.  I hope the people I work with realise the status Sheryl occupies in the Educational Technology sector and pay heed to the message she delivers. I’m sure her visit is going to make an impact; I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with Sheryl and get to know her during our Skype chats. It’s going to be wonderful meeting her face to face at last!