1:1 computers in the classroom

On tuesday I was in the city attending a professional learning dayrun by the education department, related to the NSSCF (National Secondary School Computer Fund) grant and the goal of 1:1 computers in classroom for Yrs 9-12.  The keynote speaker was Bruce Dixon and here are some somewhat random notes I took during the session…

 The way we should be aiming to use technology in the 21st century classroom is to CREATE!  Technology as a “medium of expression”.

 What are some of the challenges of a tech rich environment? (responses from audience)

  • Balancing between engagement and academic rigour
  • Re-contextualising good teaching and learning
  • Tech support
  • Human resources
  • Ownership
  • Sustainability
  • Meaningful use
  • Adjustment for teachers
  • Network capacity

Need to understand the difference between engagement and entertainment.  (Engagement is not a dirty word!)  It is important to have critical conversations with all areas of the school community.  The myths and fantasy’s regarding technology (ie fears of internet) distract from the job at hand and need to be dispelled.  Educate staff, parents, community etc. 

It is imperative that staff understand the possibilities, not just emulate what they have seen – must use themselves and understand , to have authenticity, which kids see. (ie only someone who Twitters can decide on its merits – or lack thereof).

What changes in a tech rich environment?  There is a continuum between total transformation and nothing happening, and while the extremes are unlikely, most people’s expectations seem to sit on one end or the other. What can 1:1 achieve?

  • Pedagogical innovation
  • Anytime, anywhere learning
  • Individualised learning
  • Re-imagine curriculum
  • Global collaboration
  • Meaningful use of technology
  • Effective assessment
  • Accountability
  • Increases capacity to innovate

Where, what, when and how we teach must change!!!

 The challenge of re-imagining – How do we become aware of our reality beyond our concepts… and then take time to reflect on what we see.  “Imagination increases with experience.”

Technology in schools allows staff to teach more and administer less. 14-19th centuries was the print era, 20th century the broadcast era – we are now in the collaboration era:-

  • Community generated experience
  • Mixed media
  • Social networking
  • Virtual environments
  • Real world feedback/authentic assessment

Construct – Collaborate – Create!!

The internet challenges traditional approaches to teaching and learning, challenges assumptions about classrooms and teaching, challenges assumptions about knowledge, information and literacy.

You tube example – Video made by 10 year old trying to learn how to make and successfully use a bow drill set to make fire – asking for feedback etc.  Learning as he creates, authentic feedback, not asking for answers, but for constructive criticism.

Technology can Sustain, Supplement and Support learning.

The more powerful the technology the MORE indispensable teachers become.

Interactive Whiteboard Links

Its sometimes frustrating how when you have time to blog, that’s because nothing exciting is happening, so there’s not much to talk about, and vice versa. I have been back from holidays for a week, and it has been incredibly busy – and will continue to be so.

I have 3 ongoing staff workshops to plan for, brand new units for the experiential program to finish writing, and with the changes to the computer grants that were just released, a whole new elearning plan to write.

2 of my PD workshops for staff will be with small teams of teachers working on units of work for the Smartboard. I have just compiled a list of some good resources online to pass along to them, and thought it might be of use to others also, so here it is… Happy Smartboarding!

IWB Resources Online

Marco Torres Workshop

A couple of weeks ago in Melbourne. I was intending to liveblog, but I could not get access that day, so I typed some noted in Word instead. Here are the notes – they are a bit cryptic, as they were taken on the run, but there are some interesting ideas there….

Marco Torres workshop

Opened talking about the hopes for Barrak Obama improving education, and other issues. Marco is involved in workshops, discussions etc about future for education.

“What does learning look like outside of school?” Working on some TV shows in relation to this – directing Mythbusters, Gordon Ramsay etc

Special presidential award for innovation in education.

Leaves project. ‘Quit, complain or innovate’.
So he asked all his network to send him photos of leaves. 4 hours to gather them. When collected, from all over the world, they were especially for the kids. And had more meaning, story behind them etc.

Funding from government for schools to work on solutions for healthcare, sustainable living and education.

Kids working on a program to make iphone apps on how to improve your school.


We need a new story
What does your story need?
Do we perfect the past?
What is an educated person?
What role does creativity play?
How do you support innovation?
What are risks?
How real, connected, meaningful and applicable is the experience?
How does the new digital environment help?

Heads of uni’s saying they need innovate students, “c plus students with big portfolios”. Risk takers. A lot of innovation has happened in schools… google, yahoo, facerbook, cisco etc.

21st century high school design principals.

Are students recipients or producers of information?

21st century skills outcomes
Relevant and applied curriculum
Informative assessments
Social amd emotional connections
Culture of creativity and innovation
24/7 access to tools and resources

Evaluating experiences – ie yelp application on iphone.

Lacking in education – emotion. Can use technology to connect with people. Are schools promoting nurturing environment?

What is your school doing to foster an environment of creativity?

Congress plus app – “I am a better citizen now I have access to something like this”

Why ask kids to memorise things they can have on their iphones? Periodic table, names of senators etc. Ask different questions, More meaningful questions.

Asked students 1 word to describe school “Boring!” What longevity would a business or politician have with this answer? Teachers say kids don’t want to learn – but they love learning – when it is interesting and relevant to them? Ask principals – what are they doing to overcome this serious issue.

Digital storytelling. Power of image – why do teachers discount power of image, when there most powerful memories are things they saw, heard or experienced, not read? He has student create content – must include quality of life in community also. Mississipi river project – 2mths, largest longitudinal study of water quality by high schools kids who had never visited the site. Got schools to test local water, populated google earth with info and photos, wrote to local representative sof the areas with worst pollution etc. real, rich and relevant.

Are students value adding? When they finish work could you look it all up on google?

Albert Einstein “don’t ask questions you can look up”

“never debate someone with an iphone”

“schooling is getting in the way of learning”

Schools are in a race to come second. Don’t want to take enough risks to be leaders.

Alton Brown cooking show – science , maths, history, context, ICT.
Plan show – intro provides context, history etc. if complex idea, they move out of kitchen. Make it fun, scary – engage emotions. Provides additional resources.

Mysthbusters – watching 2 guys learn, not just 2 guys teach. Do they know the answers? Do we care if they fail? They are not experts – they ask questions.


Are we teaching kids to really plan – to follow process from point A to B. be aware of their metacognitive process.

Mind mapping software really important. Introduced to the process in movie production, not at school. Character development, scene development etc.

Got an ex student to log in and take over his computer. Did a brainstorm about what is in a hamburger, divided into categories, meat, bread etc. Initial mindmap is what our brain might look like while thinking, convert it onto a more formal plan. Then talk about chapter, paragraphs, verses, buttons etc. Explains paragraphs beautifully.

Using other output methods than writing – can display knowledge, concept, same fundamental q’s can still be answered. Student could make docu, video, song etc about hamburger.

All about telling a story. The knowledge is discovered along the way. Ask the right questions. Perfect introduction to a 5 paragraph essay.

Product and process. Product is what we are doing, process how we are going to do it.

Kodak zi6 $90 in USA
Audio may not be good enough, but use off camera recorder. Marco likes professional quality recorders as potential for using the video later is high and better to have high production values. Helpful hints – clap spike. Recorder – Tascam DR07 $165 us

Question – How did you start? Did you have to create a culture to allow learning in this style? I find whenever we try and start more student led, higher order thinking skills taks, the kids are floundering – they want to know the answers, take notes etc and not think for themselves…. How to take those first steps?

Demand for skills – lowest is routine manual skills and routine cognitive. Much higher – expert thinking, highest, complex communications. Skills we spend most time trying to perfect are the ones business are least interested in.

Great essay idea – write about what you are passionate about, without mentioning what that is. Then make a video.

How do we move conversations to the purpose of the ‘stuff’, rather than the ‘stuff’ itself? Teachers are already overwhelmed by stuff. They don’t need more stuff, but how to use it, collaborate etc. All of Marco’s examples tug at the heartstrings. Emotion makes it memorable.

Funtwo – music. Canon rock. Example of organic learning, collaboration, online sharing, kids wanting to learn and be challenged.

How do we make sure Learning Leads technology decisions?
How do we empower and encourage?
How do we disempower the naysayers?

We are still struggling to answer the wrong questions. Trying to perfect an old system with new resources.
Adding technology to old ways of thinking wont change anything. We still see teachers as providers of information, students as recipients.


Students go viral

We have seen some great videos about education ‘go viral’ in the last few years.  Most were made by educators, some involved students, but this is one of the most powerful I remember that has been produced entirely by students. Read about the process on Julia Lindsay’s blog and see the fantastic results below.  I wish this could be compulsory viewing for all teachers… actually, I wish everyone who watched it really ‘got it’.  So many good, well intentioned teachers do not understand how we are holding our students back in many ways.  In our schools, we are working so hard just to get Web 2.0 tools accepted (and unblocked!) – that the potential of virtual worlds and high end gaming are so far in our future, and so far beyond the understanding of many teachers, that I sometimes fear we will never get there…

‘Six Degrees of Separation’, Web 2.0 Style…

It’s not often I write a blog post that I think has relevance on both my personal and education blogs, but this morning I wrote the following post:-

I am well aware of the power of Web 2.0 – some of my closest friends were ‘friends’ online for years before I met them (and some of them I’ve still yet to meet face-to-face). I sell my beads online, and I collaborate and network with educators all over the world. But this morning I had an experience that drove home to me just how interconnected the new Global Village can really be.

I received a comment on my last post from Red Rock Creations. She seems to have found my Blog randomly, either browsing through Blogger, or perhaps through the One World, One Heart event – I’m not exactly sure. Having liked the beads I posted here, she has followed the links in my sidebar to my new Artfire store. One of my floral implosion beads has caught her eye, and she has Twittered about the technique. SquareOneBeadsis one of Red Rock Creations many followers on Twitter (she has over 1000) and recognises my work. We have been friends for several years, through our association on 2 Glass Bead Forums. We met f2f in 2007 at the ISGB Gathering. SquareOneBeads lets me know on the forum that someone has Twittered about my beads. That’s the first I knew she used Twitter, so I search for her username and ‘follow’ her, and am then able to find Red Rock Creations on Twitter, ‘follow’ her, and see the original post.

This whole experience has really made my day. I find it incredibly cool how all of my online social networks came together in this way. And there is a lot to learn from this experience, about connectivity, networking, the lack of anonymity online, and the reality that even in the huge realm of the Internet, someone we know may be ‘listening’. So play nice!

While this experience related to my beads, and my personal use of social networking tools, I feel it has relevance for educators also.  We often hear about ‘Digital Natives’ and ‘Digital Immigrants’ (and I have spoken on here before about how those terms frustrate me, as I use the Internet as richly as any ‘Digital Native’) and we often refer to the level of involvement our student have in a digital world.  But teachers may not always be aware of how very rich and interconnected that world can be. 

When we require kids to ‘power down’ when they come to school, we are potentially cutting them of from a wealth of resources and rich experiences that could be invaluable. 

 Of course, on the other hand there is the issue of whether many of our students are actually using the Internet at anywhere near this level.  I find that while students maybe be totally comfortable with technology in all its forms, their use of that technology, on the whole, is quite shallow.  Using Myspace and Wikipedia is not demonstrating an understanding of the power of the tool at their disposal, or any particular skill at using that tool.

As always, our students are individuals, with a range of experiences, skills and knowledge, but I believe it is our responsibility to be aware of the possibilities of Web 2.0, and to guide and educate our students in it’s use, producing responsible digital citizens.

A state of flux…

I’d say it’s hard to believe it’s been 5 months since my last post, except I can believe it.  2008 was an extremely stressful, frustrating and busy year on the education front and keeping my head above water did not allow time for blogging.

On the classroom front, 2009 is off to a much better start. The Year 9 program is going really well, and the students are so far engaged and fairly co-operative.  I am enjoying my classroom teaching, really for the first time since my return at the start of last year. It is great to have that measure of stress reduced substantially, to have joy in the actual teaching, which after all, is what we are all here for.

On the eLearning front, I have yet to determine what 2009 will hold.  A new principal, and some role reshuffling has caused some changes, and I’m not quite sure how they will pan out.  On the plus side, we have been successful on a rather large grant for ICT, on the negative, I am feeling unsure about exactly what my role and responsibilities will be this year. I am trying not to let that insecurity affect my overall positive outlook about the 2009 school year.

One we receive our grant funding, I’m hoping new equipment will mean I will have some exciting elearning developments in the Year 9 program to share.  Our new whiteboards are already proving to be quite a hit with the Year 9’s.

I am told that positive intentions are a powerful thing – so I intend for 2009 to be an exciting, stimulating and rich education experience for both staff and students at my school.

Censorship through ISP

I have been so frustrated lately to be continually blocked from access to valid educational resources online due to restrictions put in place by my school’s ISP.  In particular, it has been frustrating to be blocked from anything vaguely resembling a social networking site, which is restricting me from so many resources and opportunities to network with my fellow edubloggers.  The entire Ning domain is blocked as a dating site, despite the many education sites on Ning (never mind the fact that I would like to build a Ning conmmunity for my students), and this morning I discovered that Twitter has been blocked as well, which was the only remaining site that I was able to access during work hours to network with fellow educators around the world.

It frustrates me to have these decision made for my be technical staff who are not educators, and who make extremely shallow judgements on what is and is not appropriate for education use. 

Hopefully, we will be changing ISP next year, which may allow for separate filters to be used for students and teachers – hopefully it will give me some measure of control of what I choose to use as an educational resource in my own classroom.

The Digital Landscape

Following on from the previous 2 posts, here is the live blog for the 3rd keynote:

Session 3 – Robyn Treyvaud – 21st Century Environments – Digital Citizenship

Need to look at the whole package – not just issues such as cyber bullying.  Need to encourage these environments to become value driven. So many issues occur at home or outside school, but we are expected to deal with them – or may be dealing with results, such as fall in academic results.

Robyn’s delicious – links on digital citizenship.

Using digital tools such as social bookmarking to teach appropriate behaviour and current skills online.

Have the glass half full, not half empty.  We cannot stand in front of students and try and stop them using social networking sites.  Students will react more positively to a message from a teacher they have a connection with, not a guest speaker.  They will get more invested in a message about digital citizenship rather than cyber bullying and other negatives. 

The technology has evolved but the sociology has stayed the same.  To our students, the internet is a place, not a thing.  It’s not virtual, it’s their world. Previous generation online downloaded, current generation upload – web 2.0.  Publishing, creating, commenting etc.

Recommended Frontline program – ‘Growing Up Online’. Good for working with students and parents.

Seems like a good program, but I’d prefer to watch it in my own time and hear the speakers we have come to listen to.  It’s going on for quite awhile….  I wonder what the copyright situation is – Robyn mentioned she owns the full set of programs, but that doesn’t necessarily provide permission to show it to a paying audience at a conference.  Which in a session about good digital citizenship is an interesting point…

We cannot eliminate risks – we can’t make the Internet totally safe (and what do we mean by safe?). Due to this, we must focus on building students resilience to the material they will come into contact with, and providing them with the skills and confidence to navigate the online world safely.

UK report – Byron Report . Review of Children and New Technology.

Article – 10 things I wish parents knew about the Internet (will add all 10 points when the conference notes are published this week).

Pre-teens will lie about their age to join a social networking site.  We need to talk to them about why their is an age limit.  They may not even have the skills to change their own privacy settings etc on the site.

Multitasking makes concentrating hard, even for teens. (They can multitask, but may not be working very efficiently ie 4 times as long to finish the homework while multitasking).

Must train students in critical skills for selecting, judging etc resources. They cannot make sense of wealth of responses to their Google searches – open ended searching biggest time waster  in class.

Recent report suggests that 60% of students talking online are discussing eductaion and their schoolwork.

Student moral compass is not just black and white, right and wrong.  Sometimes they are unsure if their action is wrong, or it depends on the situation, or it’s OK if they don’t get caught. This is where the importance of discussing ethics and digital citizenship comes in. (aside: hard for teachers to model and teach  this, or take moral high ground , when many are behaving unethically online regarding copyright – downloading music etc).

Students need to be educated in the reality relating to common myths about the Internet. Long term affects can occur from online behaviour – students have been expelled, refused acceptance to college, or faced charges for various infringements online.

Great public service announcementon youtube about cyberbullying. Getting kids to design their own viral message would be a good activity.



Talking to kids about cyberbullying – they may say no if asked if they have been bullied, but when you list behaviours, they acknowledge they have happened. Getting them to brainstorm offensive online behaviour can be a good starting point for a discussion. Initially, they don’t necessarily see it as bullying.

 Showed video about the Ryan Halligan case.

Parents worry about predators, but most likely issues will come from peers and ‘friends’.

School Response

A process not an event. Must engage staff, students and parents. Embed it in curriculum. Ongoing.

– snapshot of landscape.  Survey of some kind

– Look at legal implications. Acceptable use policies etc.  Laws are lagging but there are some that can be used if evidence is available.

-communication for parents. Publications and newsletter, but have students take responsibility for delivery.

– curriculum

-policy audits and implement – evaluate.

-student voice – critical!!

-Professional Learning – what do staff need to know, what challenges are they facing, what can they do.

-parent forums and workshops. Look for ‘not negotiable’ (information night etc) events, and use them, or parents will not attend in critical mass. Think outside the square to get them there!!

Topic of Digital Citizenship – glass half full, not all risks and dangers, be internet savvy, be safe, be creative – inspire others to do the same.”How do we become responsible, ethical and resilient Digital Citizens?” Literate, safety conscious, analytical, reflective …

 Cybersafekids – extra resources on CD we received.

Change to Learn, Learn to Change


Bullying That Follows You – No Less Real

Here is my live blog of the 2nd keynote at the cybersafety forum:

Session 2 – Donna Cross

Many risks to students online, cyber bullying one of the main issues. This session will focus on this issue.

Bystanders can also be traumatised and affected. Research shows in face to face bullying the bystanders feel threatened they may be next, which causes them to resist getting involved and making themselves a potential target. Bystander audience in cyber bullying can be much larger.

Kids love cyber space – don’t come in with doom and gloom approach.  Minimising harm, not discouraging use. Keep a positive line, so kids are open to what you are saying.

Australian statistics say 10% of kids have been target of cyberbullying. USA stats suggest 50%.

Research suggests that intervention and support required as soon as kids are in contact with the technology, at whatever age they start.

Important to define the terms in documentation and policies. Be specific – what do we expect them to do and not do in these spaces. Is flaming in a chat or forum cyber bullying, cyber aggression, or just an argument in print.

Example of a student in USA who committed suicide due to cyber bullying.  Was bullied at school first – most victims of cyber bullying are the ones that get bullied face to face also. Although more kids will do cyber bullying than would face to face. He developed a relationship with a girl online, shared personal things. When they eventually met, discovered it was a joke and she had been passing on everything to her friends, his family etc.  Widespread humiliation to much to deal with.  ‘Nuclear attack’.

Defining is hard, as methods of bullying vary. “Location’ varies ie MySpace, Bebo, Facebook etc.  School sat same school tend to go to similar sites – worth doing casual surveys at school to find current venues.

To define terms, must separate behaviour and method.  Cyberbullying is same behaviours as face to face – so your policies will still hold.  Kids will say that they may not be aware that they were being hurtful online, as they can’t see the reaction. Cyberbullying can be ambiguous in the same way teasing can be. Bullying can be direct or by proxy.

While peer support roles can be important, they can cause ‘diffusion of responisibilty’ – if there is a student whose ‘job’ it is to support bullied students, the others don’t need to intervene. Must all be educated to realise individual responsibility.

Traditional definition of bullying –

-aggressive behaviour

-intention to cause harm

-How define repeated behaviour? – online can appear repeatedly, even if behaviour occurred once

-is there a power imbalance? Power in anonymity

Cyberbullying Behaviours –

-Flaming – heated exchange

-Harassing and threatening messages – text wars, ‘griefers’

-Denigration – ‘slam books’, ‘bash sites’


-Outing or Trickery

-Ostracism – knocking off buddy lists

-Posting set up messages/video

 Strategies suggested by student feedback/research

-Bullies look for reaction – don’t react outwardly. even if crumbling inside.

-Mild humour – not enough to cause more reaction, but enough to show you are not strongly affected.

-Someone stepping in and showing support is of a huge benefit. Can be easier to do that in an online situation – less confronting than doing it face to face. Don’t have to make yourself a target.

-students are affected by the realisation of a digital footprint lasting for ever.

School approaches:

-Must address seriously across the board. If you have a program that helps 1/2 the kids being bullied – the other half are worse off.  The behaviour of bullies must be addressed, not just supporting victims. An ineffective approach can push the bullying into covert mode.

-Students involved in negotiating policy (ie mobile phone policy) more successful.

-Lack of empathy is an issue – need to do empathy based work with the bullies

-Must be careful not to label ‘bullies’ as once labelled students more likely to repeat behaviour

-There must be social based punitive consequences ie withdrawal at lunch

-Students who bully must be trained/supported – cant pull sock sup if you don’t know what socks are. Using program like ‘method of shared concern’. The program designer says you must keep the 2 parties apart, but research from students says they must come together as a conclusion – once the bully has apologised and sees the other as a real person, the situation can improve.

-Parent education – most successful way to get them to come to informations sessions was have students run the sessions. Students wnating to attend to get skills from the older studnets presenting, and the parents come with their kids.

-Tips for parents – snippets in newsletter.

-Strong school leadership. Clarity across school about the school sstance on the issue.

-Talk about the issue, but describe what online behaviour should be, not just the negatives.

-Focus on transitional periods ie primary to high school – bullying at highest at this stage.

-Provide online help/reporting option. Be prepared for large spike of cases being reported. Must be able to deal with the responses or they wont continue to use it.

-Be clear about consequences.

-Establish student committee.

-Survey students – where do they go, is there bulying etc. Can be casual ie coloured card technique

-Training about cyberbullying, nettiquette etc must be taught specifically.

-social innoculation – preventative action. ie Role plays, then address issues. Dont role play the bullying behaviour– that reinforces it (the bully will always look better in the role play).  Can use cards to represent the behaviour, and then a small group of students respond together. Use coloured cards – all kids with blue cards get into groups and brainsotmr which places are the bullying hotspots, pink cards get into groups and brainstorm the ways kids bully in the school and yellow cards brainstorm typical responses to bullying in school. Way of surveying the students. After we have the 3 lists collected, get students to pick one thing off their list and write it on their card. Then get together with the other 2 coloured card people, so you have a venue, a behaviour and a response and discuss your ‘story’. Role play the reactions – throw them ‘zigzags’ – they are the bystanders but the victim is their sister etc. Can probide a list of suggestions as to how they might react. After the they have discussed, come up with some solutions etc, shuffle the groups – all the blue kids move.  Do the techniques work in the new venue etc?

-students need a strong sense of school ethos. Clear value system.

-staff professional development is imperative – not just guest speakers  but using website resources etc

-Be aware filters are not the solution – necessary but not good enough.

-Clear rules.Time online, phone usage etc

Differences between cyber and face to face bullying

  • 24/7 – no rest from it, no ‘safe’ space.
  • broadcast repeatedly
  • anonymous – casuses paranoia
  • no authority present in cyber space – no teachers, parents, police.
  • not telling – punitive fears. Boys less likely to tell than girls.
  • Nastiness/disinhibition.

 Teachers can be targets of cyber bullying also and will need support.

 Student summit in October 2008 – www.cyberfriendlystudentsummit.com. Student feedback to go to government etc.

 Pikas method of Shared Concern