Presentation tomorrow!

For those of you who’ve been reading, you’ll be aware that tomorrow I will be presenting at the SLAV conference in Melbourne. Susan Bentley, the Elibrarian who I work with, is presenting with me. It’s a big deal for me, largely because I am charged with the task of switching on a group of teachers and teacher-librarians to the idea that adopting a Web 2.0 approach to their teaching and school library practice is a vital thing to be doing. It’s also an opportunity to be inspired once again by the words of Will Richardson and see the effect his words can have on the participants. I’ve said many times before, one of the turning points in my adoption (transformation!?) came when I attended a 5 hour workshop run by Will at the Expanding Learning Horizons conference in August last year. Hopefully we’ll see him have that same effect tomorrow.

I made a PowerPoint for the presentation and have spent a considerable amount of time putting it together. I’ve been inspired by the words of Garr Reynolds in his presentation to Google staff and will be interested to see if his philosophy plays out for the audience I’m addressing. Susan and I presented this to our staff on Thursday and got a good reception so all should be well. The other exciting, but complicating thing, has been that I scored an invite to SlideRocket after I posted a plea on their blog when I realised they had sent out 500 invites and I didn’t get one. This is a presentation tool that allows you to do some pretty cool things with your slides and your presentations are stored online. When I imported the PowerPoint into SlideRocket I had problems with text overlays on my slides – it ‘s taken me ages to figure out how to address this and I’ve still got problems with my text not transferring over when I cache the presentation. Looks like I’ll be hard at it tonight trying to sort this one out. The great thing is that you can cache your presentation to your hard drive in an offline feature they offer. I’m doing this to avoid loading problems I may have tomorrow if the bandwith is not so good. Of course, you can’t expect things to go smoothly.   Ever.   I’d really like to use it as it’s a great example of the new tools becoming available, and how you can get things happening for yourself in this world if you are active and ask questions. If need be I’ll just revert to the original Powerpoint – no need worrying – just gotta go with the flow!    

My other charge is to ustream the presentation. I have a channel and am taking a video camera and tripod so that I can get it out to the world. Another great example of how to use these tools to best effect.  You can watch it on ustream at 11.30 tomorrow here. I, of course, will be delivering the presentation so won’t be able to participate in the chat room but I hope some of you do. I’d be interested in getting some feedback so please post a comment to let me know what you thought- I’m tough, can handle criticism, so let fly! (doesn’t mean I won’t be curling up in a foetal position tomorrow night if all goes wrong – you may never hear from me again!!)

I’ll be uploading the presentation to Slideshare and will post a link to it once I’ve got the thing sorted – hope it doesn’t take all night.

Dean Groom has written a good post today in response to the Web 2.0 conference that took place this week in Sydney. Read it. He articulates well the frustration felt by many who have made the shift and are trying to convince others of the need for change. We can’t give up  -we need to be the evangelists leading the flock!! 

How to deliver a great presentation – Garr Reynolds can and maybe me too!

I’m presenting at the SLAV conference about Web 2.0 on Monday May 12th at the Telstra Dome. Will Richardson is delivering the keynote address so it’s a bit of a big deal. My head is quite literally spinning with what it is I need to say to try and turn a few people on to the potential of Web 2.0 tools for learning. Tony Richards, from IT made simple, is going to help me out by ustreaming my presentation. Tune in and see whether or not I can deliver the goods. I’ll post the link closer to the date. Tony’s helped me out again by posting this YouTube video on his blog, Learning – Thinking -Playing. This is Garr Reynolds, who writes a blog called Presentation Zen, talking to Google staff about how to deliver an effective presentation. It’s long -72 minutes- but totally worth watching!

I’m watching. I’m learning. Just need to deliver!   

 

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!! 

Twitter made simple (or is it?)

This is all over the Web at the moment and plenty of people in the blogging world were heads up to it four days ago when Lee Lefever posted it on his Common Craft site and YouTube. One of the ways they found about it was from the topic of the video; twitter. Twitter is a means of social networking. You answer the question, ‘What are you doing?’, in 140 characters or less including spaces. You follow people in your network and are privy to both the mundane and useful answers to that question. I’m following people in the edublogging/education world and look at twitter throughout the day to see if there’s anything happening that I should make myself aware of.

I have to admit to having a few problems with Twitter. (I know – plenty of you out there are devotees and love it). Most of these relate to the need to achieve the right balance in our lives. I get worried about the addictive nature of feeling like you need to know everything instantaneously. I keep reading Will Richardson and his love of Twitter is obvious – he uses it as the supreme networking tool and it obviously has its advantages for someone whose working life is this Web 2.0 world. I’m a wife, mother of two relatively young children, hold down a full-time job managing a library as well as teaching English, try to keep a house in order and maintain connections with my extended family and friends. To top it off now I’m writing this blog in my spare time! Just discovering Twitter has further complicated the work/life balance I was already struggling to navigate. I know – I can already hear you out there saying, ‘No-one is twisting your arm to do this. If you don’t want to, just don’t look at it.’ And if you’re saying this you’re absolutely right. It’s up to me to find the balance I need to be comfortable doing what I’m doing without letting anything (or more importantly, anyone) drop off my radar. I almost feel like it’s the wrong time for me to be immersing myself in this world- eight years down the track and my kids would be pretty much self-sufficient (maybe!).  Can’t really do much about this now – I feel like I’m in deep and actually am loving learning again. I don’t feel stale when it comes to my working life and am excited about what education can (will?) look like in the future.

Wow. That was a fairly indulgent piece of self analysis. I don’t blame you if you switched off halfway through, but if you didn’t, thanks for listening. Needed to get that one off my chest.        

   

Information overload – get a Google reader!

I’m constantly amazed by the changes I have seen in myself over the last two and a bit years. They’re not physical (not to say that I’ve been unaffected by the ravages of time!), but more attitudinal. As I’ve become more familiar with technology, I’ve noticed a shift in my reading habits. I’m a Teacher- Librarian and English teacher, and have a deep love of the written word. I love eloquent, simple language that can evoke feeling and move me in some way. I love being so completely immersed in a novel that it transcends all else and I can do nothing but turn the pages. I love sharing the reading experience with my students. But I’ve noticed a change in my reading habits.

As I’ve developed my interest in what is possible with the Web, my love affair with the novel has waned. Maybe it’s just that I’m reading the wrong books, but I’m finding it more difficult to become engaged and commit the time needed to complete a novel. Two years ago I felt overwhelmed by the wealth of information flooding from the Web; today, not so much. I think this is because the type of reading I am doing has changed.  An essential part of my reading today is via my Google Reader. Here I access the latest feeds from people who write blogs that are of interest to me. Most of these are people involved in education from various corners of the world. These people are filtering the information overload that is the Web for me,  and I, in turn, am doing my bit by writing this blog and adding to the filtering process. By being part of this community I am helping to manage my own professional development and hopefully am assisting other people with theirs.  

What’s led me to this moment of introspection is a post from Will Richardson. He refers to an article in the Christian Science Monitor by Thomas Washington, a School Librarian. He discusses student reading habits and the perception that students dislike reading and have an aversion to it. He speculates that it is not an aversion, but rather a reaction to the information overload that is our modern world. He says, “For them, and now maybe for me, moving on to something else is an adaptive tactic for negotiating the jungle that is our information-besotted culture of verbiage.”

As much as I recognise a shift in my reading habits, I hope that I never tire of the pleasure that comes from total immersion in a story that moves me in some way. A large part of my job is to encourage students to read for their own enjoyment. I’m pleased to say that at my school there is a strong reading culture and we have many readers accessing our fiction collection, along with our biography/autobiographies and high interest non-fiction. One book of late that has had that special immersion factor is Meg Rosoff’s ‘What I Was’. I can’t tell you what it is about – it’s one of those novels that you spoil if you reveal too much. Meg’s novels are always interesting with unexpected plot twists and turns. Give it a go.   

Passing it on – the power of the Web

Will Richardson has posted this video called ‘How it all ends’ on his site. He found it at Chris Lehmann’s site. It’s a Science teacher’s attempt to explain the debate surrounding global warming and what we should be doing about it. Another example of the power of YouTube to enable us ordinary joes to gain a voice and be heard. The message here is clear – pass it on. Your science teachers could find this a valuable teaching tool when addressing Global Warming issues.

Flip Video – just what we need

Once again I need to refer to Will Richardson! He showed us Flip Video cameras at the ELH conference and explained how they made it easy to upload your movies with the USB that ‘flips’ out the side of the camera. And they’re ultra cheap at $150.00 U.S. for 60mins of recording time. I budgeted for them for our Library but have just read a comment on elearnspace saying that they are not available outside of the U.S. I can’t imagine why not. We have been doing a lot of work with digital storytelling and they would make it much easier for our students to create their own content. Hopefully we’ll be able to find a way to source them. If anyone knows anything about their availabilty in Australia I’d appreciate some info. 

Flip video

Thanks fellow bloggers!

Last night I wrote my first post. Well, I thought, that will fade into obscurity until I tell someone they should have a look at this newfangled thing I’m doing. Wasn’t I suprised (and very excited I might add) to see comments  from Alec Couras   and Judy O’Connell this morning. Thanks for taking the time to notice – it means a lot to a novice.

I was reading a column by Kate Holden in Melbourne’s Age newspaper and a metaphor she included prompted me to think of the blogging community;

“Conversation irrigates us, and makes us flow in new directions.”

This is certainly true when I think about the blogs I have been reading and the new directions their words have been leading me to . My interest in this was really sparked last  August when I attended a five hour workshop run by Will Richardson.  In a small group session at the Expanding Learning Horizons conference he took us through dozens of Web 2.0 applications and made us think how we could apply them to our educational settings. One of the applications he showed us was Jing, a fantasic screen capture device that is free from Techsmith. I’ve used it to capture images that I want to use in presentations and I’ve been thrilled with the results.

Jing

You can capture any part of the screen you like and can crop the image. Tools are provided to enable you to highlight, write on your screen capture in a text box and frame sections that you’d like your audience to note. Your captured image can be hosted on screencast.com. I have yet to use this facility.  I’ve found this to be an invaluable tool and would recommend that you give it a go.