Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Learning to Podcast in Our after School PD Session

Our after school PD sessions kicked off again today and I have decided to do a few weeks of unplanned sessions where people can pop in and cover what they need to.
This proved interesting today when Carol, our Food Technology / Catering and Hospitality teacher came and we ended up doing podcasting.

She wanted an interactive way that students can be involved in the recipe process.
So the original plan is that Carol will make a podcast of the ingredients, using Garage Band, so the students have to listen to the instructions. With it being in podcast from, they can listen as many times as they need to. She will then embed this on her site, via Sound Cloud, where she will combine it with a Google form where the students have to fill in the method.
Carol then plans to move on to the students doing the whole process them selves.

We had a lot of fun today, recording the voice tracks, putting in jingles and adding illustrations of the recipes.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Climbing the SAMR Ladder

We have been involved in an interesting activity at school recently where we have been looking at what we are doing in our teaching practice regarding online learning. Part of that assessment process involved looking at the activities that we are doing and where they fit onto the different levels on the SAMR ladder.
Here is what I thought that I could put on each stage of this ladder. This table is part of the from that the school gave us to fill in. We had to put our input into the last column.

Evidence (Link)
Technology acts as direct tool substitute, with no functional change.
Examples may include; digital copy of notes/handbooks.
All of the instructions and resources are stored online rather than on paper.
Everything that I used to give the students on photocopied handouts is now on the site for them to reference.
Technology acts as direct tool substitute, with functional improvement.
Examples may include; use of google forms for pre/post tests etc. Use of go animate/glogster/  collaboration using Teacher Dashboard.
Use of gafe products for various collaborative/group activities. These activities have been enhanced by being able to collaborate with each other online and by getting quick teacher feedback.
Technology allows for significant task redesign.
Examples may include;
animated tasks/use of google maps/video.
Level 1 layout exercise - analysing each others work in a Google Plus community. The students upload their design work to the community and allow others to comment on it. They take the comments of others to structure the analysis of their own work.
Technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable.
Examples may include; cross curricular/virtual tours/Google+.
Level 1 online course - mooc style - no classroom input at all.
I have made an online module to test the validity of a totally online course so the students access it and complete it in their own time.

This was a really interesting activity to do and it made me really think about the activities that I have designed for the students to work through. I need to get more of the DVC work up into the redefinition area, as this is also a golden opportunity to get the work into the extended abstract of the SOLO progression which will get the students to extend their thinking and get outside of that box. We still need to produce work on paper as those key drawing skills are vital to design work, but how can I get them to produce the other work we get to do in innovative and interesting ways so it inspires them in the course rather than is a chore.

This is a great link from GettingSmart for an interactive SAMR ladder.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Students as the Teachers

Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that my knowledge of using all the Googly stuff gets stuck into my head much more as I have to show others how to do it. I have also found that the action of making the how to screen casts, where I have to be really clear about the process, has been really beneficial to me in my own clarity and understanding.
This term, I decided to try this out on my Level 1 class and get them to make a "how to" instruction set about something they had just learned.
We have been learning how to render a few different surfaces, like wood and plastic.

They had a practice through the process of a couple of the techniques, then they had to decide which one they were going to use as their example of a teaching how to.
I made them a quick example to show them how I wanted them to set it out using a Google slide show. This was also a good time to show them the new crop feature in Google slides, which they were delighted with.
I didn't put any written instructions on my example, so we had a class discussion about what possibilities they could put on each slide to explain the process to someone who didn't know what to do. Their growing experience with these class discussions meant that they quickly came up with some good ideas as a class, without too much fuss.

I feel it was a useful exercise for the students. One of their internal assessments is how they render their designs within a project (AS91066 -  Use rendering techniques to communicate the form of design ideas), so they need lots of practice with the techniques. If they can get the steps firmly in their head by teaching someone else, then they can concentrate on improving their techniques through practice.

Saying of the lesson through all this has been :-
Practice makes better...

Here are their how to's....

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blended Learning and the effects on a Secondary Timetable

As part of my blended learning research this year, I am interested to know what kind of effect this type of learning has on the timetable and planning in a secondary school context.
I have interviewed Mr Harris, Deputy Principal at Tamaki College, in charge of timetabling. I sent him the questions a couple of weeks ago so he knew what I was going to ask him.

These are the questions that we covered ( along with a few extras along the way ).

  • What do you see as the main issues with the timetable as it stands at the moment?
  • How do these issues affect the planning  of a whole school timetable?
  • What is your understanding of blended learning?
  • Have you seen blended learning in action at any other school?
  • Were there any timetable considerations with what you have seen?
  • When the wireless in the community is up and running, and nearly all students will therefore have internet access at home,  do you see more of an opportunity for blended learning to have an impact on timetable planning?
  • What do you see as the main stumbling blocks / sticky areas with a blended learning model with regards to timetable planning?
  • There are definitions of types of blended learning here - Link
  • Do any of these models make timetable planning easier? ( bearing in mind, we still have to cater for trades, junior school and intermediates, who need a more traditional model ).
  • I see DVC as blended due the the different types of activities that we have to do, both online and on paper.
  • Do you see all subjects in the school like this or are some more able to be totally digital and others not?
  • How does this affect the planning of a timetable to cater for these differences?
  • This link here is to a totally online Level 1 course that I am trialling this year.
  • Link to Site
  • I am trialing it with a group of Year 10 students.
  • If there were more online course opportunities like this, how do you see this affecting the timetable?
  • What are the positive and negative affects that this could have?
  • Do you ever see a time when the students determine the timetable for themselves, going to see teachers when they need to for specific skills and content and for discussion time during a course where most of the “facts / content” is online?
  • Do you think that this approach is too “mature” for our younger students?
  • How do you see that a secondary timetable is going to have to evolve to keep up with the changes in how content is being taught?

What the main points were :-

  • What, where, when and who ?
  • What is going to be best for the students and the way that they learn?
  • How much change can happen while the end assessment is still as it stands with NCEA and we have to prepare students for that reality?
  • Being prepared for a future where we don't know what it will be like, as things are always changing. Wireless in the community will be a bog step in this change, as our expectations of the students ability to work outside of school hours will be different.
  • Being OPEN to change and being able to adapt and cater for what the students needs.
  • Teachers work at different rates, styles and times so we need to expect and cater for students in the same way.
  • Will students come in for those skill sessions that they need, and have a more flexible timetable at other times? What will that flexible arrangement look like?
  • Yes, he does see a time when students are dictating the timetable, but when that will be is unclear in the present state of things.
  • As more students come through from primary and intermediate having gone through this style of teaching, their ability to cope with a more open time table will improve, so the "maturity" factor will not be relevant any more.
  • Each subject has different requirements, and topics within a subject has too, so a one size fits everything will not be the way to go, but a flexible approach will be necessary.

Here is the recording of the interview ( please excuse the small chat at the start !! The main section starts about 50s in... )

Friday, May 2, 2014

Google for Education

After listening to all the training options available at the GAFE Summit NZ this week, I decided to make a start.
I went through the basic exams yesterday, and have completed the level 1 certificate.
I have now made a start working my way through the first Level 2 set (about Docs and Drive) and am aiming towards the Google Educator exams.
Link to the Google for Eduction site here.
Great resource site from the GAFE Summit here.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Be More Dog...

This week I have had a great time at the GAFE Summit NZ North Island.
The summit was a two day event this time round, so there was lots of choice of great things to go and listen to.

We kicked off with a keynote from Suan Yeo.
Here are my highlights from his keynote speech :-
  • A lot of the content on the net is repurposed and re-imaged - how can you make the content say what you want it to say.
  • Start with why.
  • Do schools kill creativity.
  • Children are born inquisitive.
  • Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
  • Shift from students as consumers to students as creators.
  • The sign up rate for MOOCS is HUGE.
  • MOOC like reading the newspaper.
  • You pick what you want to learn when you want to learn it.
  • Ask questions that can’t be Googled..
  • Flip the teacher - get the students to lead the class for the day.
  • Plan for the last mile not the first
  • Let technology do the hard work.
  • Computational thinking - problem solving - the steps are important not so much the answer.
  • Internet Explorer - the best browser for downloading a better browser ( !!! )
Then the sessions started and it was all on, finding the rooms and settling down to 8 sessions of Googly learning.

Here are my highlights of the two days :-
The sessions were hands on / having a go so my notes are short and bullet point style.

Playlists - Curating YouTube with Jim Sill

This was a great, useful session where I learned lots of really good stuff that I can apply and share.

  • You need an account for a playlist on YouTube.
  • When you subscribe to stuff it teaches google what to recommend.
  • You can click on these to stop them being shown - the three dots - but you can't get rid of recommended ones so use your personal account for the silly stuff, then it won’t show up on your work account for google to recommend from it.
  • Deleting the search history will delete all the things that guide the recommendations too.

Watch on full screen - you loose all the controls.
Large player - pushes all the other on screen stuff out of view - you can still use all the controls.

Safety Mode :-
  • Down the bottom - it says safety mode - gets rid of comments from the screen.
  • Limits recommended videos to a certain type of rating. - links to what you are watching.
  • You can push safety mode out to all chrome books on the control panel.
  • for example - Sesame street video - all the recommendations are of the same TV rating of the show you are watching.

Subscription - you can set it up to email you when new ones are added - but the normal setting will just include it on your feed when you log in.

You can set the video up to play from a certain spot - this changes the url link to accommodate this setting.

Add to - playlist.
You can share playlists across users / sign ins
Add to playlist or start a new playlist.
  • Public - anyone can find it
  • Unlisted - need the link can’t be searched for
  • Private - is private

There is a button that says remove duplicates - useful
When you play one from a playlist - it will continue on and play the rest in a loop.
You can drag and drop the order that they are in.
The share option on the playlist shares the whole playlist, not just one of the videos.

Embed code - embeds the whole playlist.

It does not show recommended videos at the end , it automatically goes onto the next one then shows a curly arrow to refresh.

  • Click on enable privacy enhanced mode to embed the playlist on a site.

Hover over the vid in the playlist, for lots more options.
  • Can edit start and end times - trim up the front and back of video - doesn’t effect the vid on the web, just what appears in your playlist.
  • Can add notes / instructions
  • On the upload button you can record straight from the web cam.
  • You can record instructions in the playlist and mix it into required trimmed videos.

Get students to snip and edit up playlists to show their understanding of a topic.

  • Use the filter drop down to guide searching.
  • Use a comma and add playlist to a search - you will only get playlists on that topic.

How to Make your Google Site not look like a Google Site with Ken Shelton

The main starting points are :-

  • navigational structure
  • page layout
  • look and feel - colour, typeface etc..

Get to your content in no more than 2 clicks.
  • Why? get to important info quickly.
  • The more clicks the faster the user experience declines.

Web pages are set up in tables.
This creates a frame for the content - you usually don’t see this frame.

1200 px is a fairly good standard browser size for the width of your site.

Have the tabs as category titles so this makes it more obvious there are drop downs under them. People will then find it natural to go to the drop downs to use them.

  • Layout - Keep it simple, keep it clean.
  • Page layout based on the content.

What colour is your personality?
Colour - emotion, temperature, symbolise.

Create an account in colour lovers to save your colour schemes in.

Take photos of products that have colours that inspire… use photoshop or pixlr to get the hex codes and create a colour palette.

Serif / san serif
serif - print
san serif - web  as there is more space

Do not use Comic san!!!

Tab titles - use a serif font as there is less space

Google Art Project with Jim Sill

I didn't take many notes here at all as I was too busy playing, but these links are well worth a visit as the Google Art Project is AWESOME. The 1giga pixel photographs are AMAZING, you can get SO close to the paintings, you can see the canvas structure and individual brush strokes.
Being able to take tours and walks around galleries all round the world is an opportunity not to be missed. You can loose a LOT of time browsing though this project.

Collaboration - Concept, Power and Magic with Julie Lindsay

You can’t expect students to collaborate if teachers don't model it

  • Synchronous - in real time
  • Asynchronous - out of time, the glue that holds collaboration together across all sorts of groups.

Cooperation + Contribution = Collaboration

  • Contribute is the one that sometimes gets lost in the mix
  • + co creation - what are you going to do together?

It is not always about you and your work, it is about the final thing that you are working on together.

How are we supporting collaboration online?

Potential for miscommunication

  • Can you use tools other than google docs for collaborative learning, to build on the comfort level issues of working only through online methods - skype?, chat?, forum?

poll everywhere - free account takes first 40 answers

Google Docs - The Ultimate Workflow and Applications Suite with Ken Shelton

What can you do in 2 steps that used to take 7?
Have drive in grid view and colour the folders for instant recognition.
Thumbnails of files.

Autosave is every three to seven seconds

Develop an efficient naming protocol for documents.
Name, class, title - these become searchable terms.

Put a header on the doc and  use #name, class, title - this is then searchable too

Create searchable identifiers

My Session doc - contains lots of great pointers for using the research tool in Google docs.

I have learned LOADS of great stuff over the 2 days and the plan now is to start breaking it down and working out how I can use it and how I can share it with others.

Lots to do !!!

But, we all need to :-


Embrace the experience!
Grab the frisbee!!