School’s out Friday

I’ve seen some Facebook in real life videos before, but this one tickles my funny bone. (Excuse some of the language within it – I try to steer away from videos that contain course language, but a couple of words are contained within this one). It makes you think a bit, doesn’t it? Why are some people comfortable sharing some pretty personal details with an audience of hundreds (sometimes thousands or more!) in an online space like Facebook, but baulk at the idea of revealing any details to people in face to face settings? Interesting facet of human nature, and no doubt one we’ll be analysing more as we see social media become mainstream.

I had a lovely day today at Ringwood Secondary College. They hosted the Vitta Mobile Technologies conference, and it was an opportunity to catch up with Clare Rafferty, Tania Sheko, Jo McLeay, Jenny Ashby and John Pearce. I even got to meet Roland Gesthuizen for the first time, although I’ve ‘known’ him on twitter for quite some time. Lots of talk today about iPads and their use as 1:1 devices, something I’m not sure that I’m sold on. I think that should form the basis of a blog post, given the feedback generated through twitter when I posted that thought this morning.

Time to trundle off to long awaited sleep now. I’m finding the weekends are just too short at the moment. No sooner has it been Friday night and then I find myself confronted with Monday morning!

I hope your weekend lasts an age. Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it.

(And just to make sure you do, take a read of this post, written by a woman who worked in palliative care situations. I bet it makes you think.)

 

School’s out Friday

I saw “I’m reading a book” tweeted by Kim Yeomans yesterday and thought it would make the perfect School’s out Friday post. I sent it to a teacher who was looking for a way to motivate her Exploring English class today and she used it with them. They loved it, and recognised Julian Smith from some of the other 59 videos he has posted to YouTube. My son watched it with me last night and asked if it was a Top 40 song! It’s certainly got appeal.

Just for an extra treat, being the end of the first week back and all, I thought I’d share another video with you. This one was sent to me by my good friend Tania Sheko, and it’s the latest improveverywhere mission. This time it’s an ice skater in New York’s Bryant Park. I walked through Bryant Park last year as they were dismantling this ice rink for the season. It’s a lovely park situated behind the New York Public Library if you ever get the opportunity to visit.

Ahhh…..the end of a busy week. A week that saw our students embrace their new library space, something I’ll try to post about over the weekend. A week that saw my son start high school, a week that saw a new stage of life for him, and me too. All up, exhausting. Time for bed.

Enjoy the weekend ahead. Relax, and drink a glass or two of the good stuff. We all need it. ( I do, anyway!)   🙂

 

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.

School’s out Friday

Tania Sheko, who writes a great blog called Brave New World, tagged me recently to come up with a top ten list. I’ve decided to share with you my ten favourite School’s out Friday videos that I’ve posted over the course of this year. I’m really happy that School’s out Friday has been popular because I enjoy the levity of it all. If we spent all of our time taking ourselves seriously this world would be a very dreary place.

1. OK Go – Here we go again  My very first School’s out Friday post!

2. Frozen Grand Central The improveverywhere crew’s fabulous effort at Grand Central Station.

3.  If Life were a Musical – Hardware Shop. The Chaser’s War on Everything’s musical number in a Bunnings store.

4. The best first dance at a wedding ever. Posted in tribute to Clay Burell who was getting married the next day.

5. What teacher’s make. Slam poet Taylor Mali’s take on teaching.

6. The world of chemistry. Very funny take on how the elements work.

7. Sneezing Panda. My mum loved this – she watched it again and again. 

8. Best game ever. Another effort from the improveverywhere crew.

9. Where the Hell is Matt?  Matt Harding’s 2008 effort that took 14 months to put together.

10. Hamish and Andy – Team Ghosting. The Australian comedy duo and their new sport of ghosting.

So there you have it. Ten of my favourites this 2008 in no particular order.

Enjoy your weekend. If it’s anything like mine you’ll be busy finding novel ways to polish off leftovers!

Powerful Learning Practice – our community forms

Today was the Australian face to face kick off at Toorak College for the International Powerful Learning Practice cohort. Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Will Richardson flew into Australia yesterday to help us kick off what is going to be transformational for many involved. Helping to get this cohort together has occupied me for the last few months. There have been meetings and countless emails and skype calls and chats that have led to seven Australian schools participating. We join a New Zealand team from Core education and nine teams from the United States.

Yes, we were experiencing technical difficulties here. Can you tell??

It was inspiring to see the Australian arm of the cohort come together today. Sometimes it’s hard to visualise something that has been long in the planning. When it happens you are so busy trying to make sure things run smoothly that you miss part of the experience. It felt a little like that today. We had technical hitches that impeded the ustream going out and getting everyone connected was a bit of a chore. I was a little stressed I have to admit, but you know what, these hitches didn’t much matter. What mattered was the fact that we were all there as interested educators, working towards forging links that are going to drive our learning community forward.

The gathering gave me much hope. During our lunch in our school’s Dining Room I looked around and realised that all these people were here because they have a genuine desire to learn what they can do to implement change that will benefit the students they teach.  For some time I’ve been on a bit of a solo trip trying to move people with the thinking I have after a period of immersion. I realised early on that my solo wasn’t going to cut it to get serious change happening. A chorus was more in order. Today I saw a choir who may still be in rehearsal, but practice will make all the difference. Our practice will take place in our dedicated ning environment which is being supported by Sheryl, Will, 21st Century fellows and our community leader Darren Kuropatwa.  

Tania Sheko, who is part of our cohort, has summed up how I think many participants feel about the change we are facing and the learning ahead;

“…..when change freaks me out, I have to remind myself that I also like moving the furniture around. It gets boring sitting and looking at the same view. There are new configurations to be discovered.”

Time to move the furniture I think.

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!