Ruminating on educating

Damien Morgan – items of interest from the world of education

Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Student Wishlist

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As part of my school’s move to 1-to-1 computing, we polled the students from Yr 6 to Yr 12 about their technology use at  home and at school.

The final question asked them to suggest other aspects of technology which could be of use to them. The Wordle here is a summary of their answers. No surprises in guessing the most popular response!

Wordle: Student Wishlist

Written by Damien Morgan

March 15, 2011 at 11:17 am

Scott McLeod

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I could well be the last educator with an interest in technology to discover the writing of Scott McLeod, an Associate Professor in the Educational Administration program at Iowa State University. He has a blog at The Huffington Post which is always interesting.

My attention was drawn by a tweet from Steven W Anderson @web20classroom referring to Scott’s article titled ‘If We Were Really Serious About Educational Technology‘.

His personal blog is called Dangerously Irrelevant.

Written by Damien Morgan

November 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

Technology used on the Canberra trip

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While on the trip I write about below, I kept a daily blog primarily to keep parents informed of where we were and what we were doing. You can see the result here.

This was the first time I had tried to do this (actually it was the second time I had tried, but my previous experience two years previously had died on day one due to technology restrictions), and I was really surprised and pleased with the response from parents and grandparents (and an aunty).

To make it all work, I used the following bits and pieces:

  • an Acer Extensa laptop computer
  • a Sony Cybershot digital camera
  • Blogger
  • Word
  • Picasa
  • Fireworks
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Telstra pre-paid mobile broadband

On almost every occasion everything worked perfectly.

I would be interested in hearing about other hardware/software used successfully (or not) by readers when they have been away from home for a similar experience.

Written by Damien Morgan

December 14, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Interactive Whiteboards and the end of EQ magazine

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After 15 years of publishing educational material of the highest standard, EQA magazine is to close. The Curriculum Corporation (Australia) who publish EQ have said, “With the advent of a National Curriculum in 2011 the time has come to close the pages of EQ Australia in print format”. I still don’t understand why.

However, the website will apparently remain, and a couple of articles from each edition are available for free download. EQ Australia

The current issue, the second-to-last, has a terrific article by Penny Ryder titled “An Interactive Whiteboard…What Next?” In this piece, Panny presents ten very straightforward things to do with an IWB for a teacher who is new to this technology – and there are plenty of them about!

An excellent piece – thanks Penny! You can read her blog here.

Written by Damien Morgan

November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Posted in PLN/PLE, technology

Using Google

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I attended a Windows 7 launch a few days ago. Unfortunately, the Microsoft presenter had been called back to Sydney, so we made do with the local guy who “had seen the presentation a couple of times”. Hmm,  a bad start -obviously we are less important than Sydney folk. I was less then blown away. I was initially, and still am I suppose, curious as to Microsoft’s choice of name for this system update. Mac System 7 (specifically 7.1) was a ground-breaking and excitiong piece of software released 18 years ago. Sitting , as I was at a breakfast table, along with invited others from various industries, we decided to amuse ourselves by counting the references to Vista (two, and neither were positive, in a half-hour. Many references to XP, however). But what we should have counted were what appeared to be Microsoft’s catch-ups.

At the risk of sounding a little bit pathetic, Windows 7 appeared to be more about catching up to the Macintosh system 10.x and, of all things, Google.

And that got me thinking about (a) just what was available through Google, and (b) why a software megalith would be concerned about competing with a free website.

Question (b) is probably easier to answer. My guess is that it’s about power and control. ‘You have paid for our package, so why go anywhere else? Stay with us. We’ll look after you [imagine a big warm smile]’.

The first question is answered at Online Colleges. I don’t know how complete this list is, but why would you go anywhere else (please don’t take that literally – my point is that there is much to make use of at Google)

100+ Google Tricks That Will Save You Time In School

Written by Damien Morgan

November 2, 2009 at 7:13 am

cLc showcase

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I spent yesterday at a  cLc (connected Learning community) showcase in Toowoomba. A number of schools in my diocese have been trialling a LMS by Uniservity, a UK based company.

Those schools had the opportunity to present to each other, and to other interested schools, how they have used the cLc over the past few months – or in the case of one school over the previous six days.

My overall impression of the cLc is quite positive, and what the presenter from Uniservity showed is coming in the next generation of the environment is quite impressive, and as he implied more ‘Facebook’ than the current 10-year-old look.

Students and teachers are provided with a ‘safe’ environment within which to build webpages, blogs, contribute to wikis and forums, and so on. The direct communication, which hopefully does not replace actual spoken conversations, between teachers and students, students and students, and parents and teachers is a great facility. Each aspect of the cLc could be done in another way, but the beauty of the LMS is that it all happens in one place.

It seems as though each school in the showcase had gone about implementing the cLc in very different ways. At one primary school it was very child driven. They had shown the students the capabilities and basically asked, “What do you want to do with it?” The students had replied with a shared blog covering many aspects of their school life. Another school had taken a very top-down approach, having all teachers’ programming available for ‘transparency’ as we were told.

One of the best ideas concerning implementation/roll-out was to ensure that all teachers had their homepage in place and many resources available before students gained access. It not only meant that everybody was up and going from the very beginning, but that all teachers had a sense of authority about what they were doing. Many schools reported that the ability of students and parents to access class materials from home was a very powerful attribute.

The experience of the ‘newest’ school was interesting. Teachers, some with no experience of blogs or wikis, were able to produce homepages and include content including forums (fora?), quizzes, and shard learning spaces in just a day.

It seems to me that primary aged children would be more excited about producing their own homepage, whereas older students quite possibly have one or two (or more) of them happening already. The value, and starting point, for them would be in class-based discussion forums and the development of learning portfolios.

We had many questions answered, and were left with plenty of things to think about over the next few months before we are included in the rollout.

I would be interested to hear from any schools where LMSs are in place. What are you using? What are the benefits and problems? How did you manage rollout? How ahs interest and involvement been maintained?

Written by Damien Morgan

October 13, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Using iPods in the classroom (cont)

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This interesting site gives some very practical uses of iPods in classrooms – especially with regard to using them to track development in students’ reading. The teacher stores children’s recorded reading using iTunes, and collecting these as a playlist within the Audiobooks section. Very clever. This certainly expands the idea of running records, as each entry is separate and date stamped, but all are stored in the one list.

iPod literacy

From Colin Harris (@digitalnative) on Twitter:

@jdeyenberg Some uses of iPods in the literacy classroom athttp://ipodliteracy.com5:09 PM Sep 26th from Tweetie in reply to jdeyenberg

Then, a couple of hours later, this tweet from Tom Barrett (@tombarrett)

For those teachers at #aisitic09 What happens when you give a class of 8 year old children an iPod touch each?http://is.gd/3LVKV

20 minutes ago from TweetDeck

Take a look at the way these 8 year old English children have taken to using iPod Touches:

http://www.l4l.co.uk/?p=835

Make sure you scroll down to the video file – something of an eye-opener.

Written by Damien Morgan

September 29, 2009 at 11:22 am