2014: “As one door closes, another opens” …

CC-BY-NC Michael Graffin

CC-BY-NC Michael Graffin

 

The 2014 school year did not start particularly well.

As a result of State Government funding cuts to education, and other unrelated factors, I experienced my worst start to the relief teaching year since I graduated six years ago. In addition, I’d returned to postgraduate study, and was struggling to cope with my overly ambitious academic workload. Suffice to say the first half of 2014 was not a pleasant time.

It is ironic then, that I am now glad that my relief phone stopped ringing … as it led to my applying for, and winning an ICT teaching position at a top private girls school in June. I had no idea that I would find myself working for an administration who share my philosophy and vision for the use of ICT to support students’ learning, and who genuinely model pastoral care for their staff. After many years working in an often uncaring, indifferent Government education system (there was a lot I couldn’t share in this post), I have no desire to go back.

2014 was the year:

  • I keynoted the inaugural #OZeLive online conference, which will return in February 2015
  • I returned to postgraduate study at Notre Dame University, with excellent academic results (despite an overwhelming start).
  • I travelled to Sydney, Australia for two amazing conferences – Flat Connections and #Slide2Learn 2014, meeting many wonderful Twitter friends for the first time.
  • My global education work was featured in Neville Bruce’s TEDx Perth presentation on ‘Education for World Futures’.
  • I started working at my new school, one which I am proud to call home for another year.
  • I received the incredible news that I will be presenting two group poster sessions, and an iPad workshop at the #ISTE15 conference in Philadelphia, USA.

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As one door closes, another opens …

In 2014, I’ve finally started my transition out of relief teaching, after five and half years on the road. It has been a mostly positive journey, but the time has come to leave it behind. While I probably stayed in that role for too long (it took a high emotional toll), I am grateful for the opportunity which now presents itself. I’m about to start my first ‘long term’ part-time contract in a Catholic school; a school where I finally feel free to learn, grow, innovate, and push the boundaries of what is possible with ICT.  

Challenging Students to Respect Copyright

Many students, and many teachers, are unaware of, or not completely informed about how copyright law works online, and most have never heard of Creative Commons or Public Domain media. Yet, these concepts are critical to developing understandings of digital citizenship, and form part of the ICT General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum.

As part of my classroom program, I designed this presentation to clarify some of the key issues, and developed a reference list for PD/CC sites suitable for use in middle to upper primary. Creative Commons and copyright awareness is one of my ICT priorities for 2015.


Copyright is Messy: An Introduction to Creative Commons – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Other Teaching Resources

These infographics are quite handy for explaining the difference, and I have personally used the Creative Commons one in upper primary classes.

Source – http://www.gcflearnfree.org/blogbasics/6.2

 

Infographic: "Creative Commons - What does it mean?" (by Martin Missfeldt / Bildersuche.org).

Infographic: “Creative Commons – What does it mean?” (by Martin Missfeldt / Bildersuche.org).

 

Examples of Student Solutions to Copyright Challenges

Faced with the challenge of respecting copyright in their work, two groups of Year 4 students excelled themselves in thinking outside the box, creating their own images for their iMovie book trailers. For some other excellent copyright friendly iMovie examples, please see my recent post “Lessons learn working with iMovie in Upper Primary“.

Looking back: International #DotDay 2014

International Dot Day was the first ‘global project’ my PrePrimary and Year 1 students participated in for 2014, prior to the arrival of “Travelling Teddy” in Term 4. #DotDay was a fantastic, simple little project, and I’m proud to share my students’ dots with the world – even thought it is somewhat later than I’d planned!

Shaping ICT Policy and Future Practice

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Since joining my school just six months ago, I have been working on a number of projects alongside my ICT teaching and integration role, including:

  • Collaborating with the CEO ICT team to complete the technical set up Google Apps for Education, and planning for staff professional development and student use in 2015.
  • Providing feedback on the design and content of our new school website
  • Revising the school’s Strategic Plan, ICT Policy and Internet Access Agreements, with an explicit emphasis on modelling positive digital citizenship, publishing student work online, and promoting global connections and perspectives.
  • Developing a Digital Technologies / ICT Scope and Sequence for K-6 (very much a work in progress)
  • Researching and negotiating the Policy Framework for the development of classroom blogging across the school in 2015, and advising Admin on the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of various blogging platforms.
  • Planning for the creation of a small-scale Student Digital Leaders program from early 2015.

What have I learnt?

I consider myself fortunate to have a supportive, open-minded Administration, who are extremely keen to build our school’s digital presence into the future. I am extremely mindful of the fact that I am helping to collaboratively shape the future direction and practices of a school community, and endeavour to provide clear, explicit feedback and research-based recommendations to guide decision making and practices – with the long-term goal of bringing about sustainable, lasting change.

Helping negotiate ICT plans and policies has been a challenging learning experience, and 2015 will likely be a very busy and interesting year as I will be working alongside my colleagues to help translate these ideas into their classroom practice. Implementing change may not be easy, but it certainly won’t be boring!