AudioBoo & QR Codes in the Classroom

Compiled for BPS teachers after discussions at today’s staff development day, this short guide to AudioBoo & QR codes in the Classroom might be helpful to others. If you have any questions, please ask! (And if you think I’ve missed a great resource, please let me know in the comments).

AUDIOBOO IN EDUCATION

audioboo

  • AudioBoo (http://audioboo.fm) is a free tool for creating 3 minute voice recordings (short podcasts) which are then shared online, usually via a class account.
  • To create recordings in class, you need to download AudioBoo for iPhone OR AudioBoo 2 for iPhone, NOT for iPad. (Sorry for the confusion!)
  • This app/tool has huge potential for educational use (see examples listed below), and is a great way of sharing students’ writing / learning with parents using QR codes attached to student work.
  • After struggling to remember how to create Audioboo QR codes during the session, I finally found out how, with the help of @karlyb in the USA. It’s simple, but you will need to log in to the desktop version of Audioboo to download and print the codes:

audioboo

audioboo2

EDUCATIONAL APPLICATIONS – AUDIOBOO

 

QR CODES – SOME RESOURCES TO EXPLORE

The best tool for creating your own QR Codes is Kawya (desktop) – http://qrcode.kaywa.com/dashboard/ (just create static codes – free), and there are several great apps for scanning codes on mobile devices.

I am a big fan of the QRafter app, the Pro version of which enables you to create QR codes on your phone/iPad. The links below contain some fantastic examples of how teachers are using them in classrooms around the world.

 

Scootle 101 – Resources for the Australian Curriculum

On Monday, I had the opportunity to present about Scootle, and the Scootle Community at a local school’s staff development day. As a follow up to the session, I’m sharing my slides, and links to some useful resources for teachers interested in exploring further.

Scootle 101

What does it offer?

  • Scootle is helping enable teachers to integrate digital technologies into their curriculum, assist in the discovery and creation of Australian curriculum resources, and provides a stepping stone for building professional networks beyond the school community.
  • Search for Australian Curriculum Resources by strand, year group, key words, topic, and Australian curriculum indicators.
  • Access Copyright free resources, photos, videos, units of work, and digital learning objects for all learning areas, good for literacy, numeracy, history.

  • Learning objects can be used on IWB, some will play on iPad (HTML5 objects).

  • Can share resources and learning objects with students/staff using PIN codes, or PDF export of Learning Paths (recommended option).

  • Scootle Community network is a great stepping stone professional learning network for Australian teachers.

Learning Paths

  • A learning path allows you to create folders around concepts, topics or learning area. You can classify resources or paths into folders. We created a learning path focusing on Measurement in Maths for F-2 students. The PIN is LCRFEQ.

  • PIN codes are found when you click on the Edit tab of Learning Paths

Notes for Local Teachers

  • Access via the BPS school network is best done on teacher computers or personal iPads. Sadly the Scootle app doesn’t work on the local WiFi network. 
  • Staff can access scootle.edu.au via the DET Portal in the iPad Safari browser, but the inability to access Flash content is quite irritating.

Downloadable Resources / Web Links

Thank you to Jan Clarke, of AISWA, who kindly shared some of the following resources.

Returning to #RSCON4 – A Journey Continues

RSCON4 map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday night, I returned to where it all began, presenting at the fourth Reform Symposium eConference. Considering my global journey started with attending #RSCON11, and presenting for the very first time at #RSCON3, this was a very special occasion, and I was truly taken aback by the response and interest in my session.

With 35 attendees from 6 continents, this is a presentation I will remember for some time to come 🙂 Thankyou to everyone who attended, and thank you to all those wonderful people who’ve sent me feedback on the session. It is greatly appreciated.

Returning to Where it All Began: #RSCON4 (Oct 11-13)

Reform Symposium

Next weekend will be a special moment on my teaching journey, when I present at the Reform Symposium eConference, the online conference which kick-started my global journey over two and a half years ago.

In 2011, I was a troubled first year relief (substitute) teacher who’d been going through all kinds of first-year hell, just starting to explore the potential of online connections as a professional learning resource. I was experimenting with Twitter, building this blog, and writing about Personal Learning Networks. With the quiet assistance of my dear friend @clivesir, I found myself sharing my learning and experiences at a global conference for the very first time …

2013 Reform Symposium E-Conference (RSCON)

Now, I’m returning to where it all began, presenting “Working in the Global Classroom – A Teacher’s Journey“, on Saturday Oct 1 (13:00 GMT) at #RSCON4. This is on the weekend in the Americas and Europe, so I hope you’ll drop in and say hi 🙂

You can find out the exact time, and details on the other (amazing) #RSCON4 sessions, using the official schedule here.

Reform Symposium eConference #4 – October 2013

Teachers now have access to free quality professional development via current online technologies. Experience this live with thousands of educators from around the globe by attending the 4th annual Reform Symposium Online Conference, RSCON, which takes place October 11th to 13th in conjunction with Connected Educator Month. Attend this free online conference from anywhere that has Internet access.

View the schedule online here.

Look forward to being inspired by the following:

  • Plenaries- Sugata Mitra, 2013 Ted prize winner and instigator of the Hole-in-the Wall experiment and Salome Thomas-EL, Principal EL of the Dr. Oz Show.

  • Steve Bingham, electric violinist, and Laura Oldham, the Book Supplier, will play live.

  • 3 Panel discussions featuring Dr. Alec Couros, Ozge Karaoglu, Nicholas Provenzano, Jackie Gerstein, Steven Anderson, Silvia Tolisano, Joe Dale, Tom Whitby, Pam Moran, Lisa Dabbs, Erin Klein, and Tom Murray.

  • 100+ sessions. Topics include genius hour, the flipped classroom, global projects, mobile learning, game based learning, web 2.0 tools, integrating iPads, e-portfolios, and more. The activities meet Common Core objectives and cover all subjects and age groups.

  • Nominate an educator to receive an EdInspire Award. Takes 5 minutes.

  • Keynotes include Angela Maiers (US), Mark Moran (US), Steve Wheeler (UK), Chuck Sandy (Japan), Rafael Parente (Brazil), John Spencer (US), Chris Lehmann (US), Sue Waters (Australia), Jose Vilson (US), Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto (Japan), Mark Barnes (US), Josh Stumpenhorst (US), Nicky Hockly (Sp), German Doin (Argentina), and 13 year-old humanitarian Mallory Fundora (founder of Project Yesu)

Connect with over 10,000 educators from 100+ countries and receive conference updates via the FutureofEducation.com community,  Twitter (@RSCON4), Facebook, or Pinterest.

 

Meeting My “First Year Self”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with a group of student teachers and a few new relief (substitute / casual) teachers, and been given ample opportunity to reflect on my early career experiences. I still have vivid (painful) memories of my student teaching practical experiences, and remember how I graduated from university in 2008 with high hopes and a completely unrealistic sense of my readiness to teach.

It is hard for my current colleagues to believe that the eccentric relief teacher that they see now was the epitome of the ‘angry young man’ just a few short years ago. Nevertheless, it’s true. It took me years to accept that my university had not properly prepared me for the profession, and that teaching was a much harder, more savage profession than I’d ever imagined.

This is my fifth year ‘on the road’, although I’m only just entering my fourth year of teaching (in terms of days worked). I’ve yet to have a class of my own, despite spending three months in a school (an unpleasant story with unexpectedly positive outcomes). It has been an interesting journey, but despite all the setbacks and disappointments, I’m actually a better person for it. And besides, with most graduates quitting within three years, I’m one of the survivors.

I’ve come a long way

I am a different person, a different teacher than I was just a few short years ago.

It has taken me over four years to feel competent, to feel like that I actually know what I’m doing. Yes, I make my mistakes, but I’m making fewer of them … Yes, I still struggle to manage some classes, but I have a better classroom management toolkit and approach to help me get through the difficult situations. And perhaps most importantly, with an extensive national and international education network, I no longer feel angry, isolated, and alone.

So, as I reflect on my pre-service and early career teaching experiences, I found myself mentally composing the advice I wish I’d been given all those years ago. For those of you about to graduate your teacher training, and those starting out in our profession, this is for you.

 

First Year Teaching is Hell Hard.

 
cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by wakingphotolife:

Please don’t enter this profession with rose coloured glasses. Please don’t expect to easily get a teaching position in a good school, in a good class. Don’t expect to be the perfect, well organised competent classroom teacher from Day One …

Teaching is not an easy profession, and your first year will be, to put it mildly, hard slog. It is a matter of survival, resilience, and perseverance. The meetings, the dealings with parents (who can be difficult), the planning, the extracurricular activities, the classroom management challenges … and the list goes on.

It is easy to be disillusioned, isolated, and alone as a new teacher, particularly when you’re a relief teacher or new graduate in a ‘horror’ class. Research shows that virtually all new teachers go through a process of survival, disillusionment, and rejuvenation, although some people take longer to go through a phase than others.

Image via http://www.weac.org/professional_resources/new_teacher_resources/beg_handbook/phases.aspx

(Image source:  http://www.weac.org/professional_resources/new_teacher_resources/beg_handbook/phases.aspx. BTW, I highly recommend the Survival Guide at this link)

As a relief teacher, I didn’t have the support network that most new teachers have when they’re posted to a school. I was lucky that I had a few schools which were willing to forgive my horrific management mistakes, and give me the teaching experience I so desperately needed.

I am indebted to those relief coordinators who gave me a chance to learn and improve, who didn’t ‘spit me out’ after one or two days in their school. I went through some very traumatic experiences, yet I was one of the luckier ones, as I wasn’t stuck in a horrible class or supportive school for my first year of teaching.

It isn’t really possible to adequately prepare for the challenges of first year teaching, but there are some strategies and resources you can access to help ease the transition.

 

Develop your PLN / support network BEFORE you graduate from your teacher training course!



cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Alec Couros

If I could go back in time and change one thing about my university teacher training, I would have started building my online support network as a first year teacher. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest teacher trainers should provide some information about online education networks and support communities as part of the first year teacher curriculum and graduate teacher programmes, as this would make a significant difference for many early career teachers.

My online support network has helped make me the teacher I am today. From providing emotional support behind the scenes through some of the most traumatic episodes of my career, to giving me the empowering chance to present at my first online conference, and to the ongoing collaboration that I contribute to, my online network has stood by me, and helped me grow over the past few years.

And remember, if you’re employed in a school community, don’t forget to develop your local support network as well. You’re not expected to know everything (although we often think we should), and don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues (teacher next door) for help and advice. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, as you can’t survive in this profession if you try to go it alone. You’re working to create a learning community in your classroom and school, so don’t be afraid to practice what you preach!

 

Engage in State/Union Graduate Teacher Professional Development opportunities. 

In Western Australia, I was lucky enough to be one of the few relief teachers to progress through the Education Department’s teacher induction programme. It is called different things in different states (see here for details) and different countries, but early career mentoring and professional development programmes are truly invaluable. You’d be truly mad not to participate if you’re eligible, and I was certainly glad I did so.

 

Try and maintain your health

This is vitally important, and something that I probably should have paid more attention to in my first few years. Eating healthily, aiming for regular exercise, and maintaining an outdoor hobby are critical to surviving first year teaching.

I must confess that while I became a skilled ballroom dancer during this time (it was my only social outlet), ignoring chronic stress-related health problems saw me end up in hospital. I know for a fact that I wasn’t the only first year teacher who went through this experience, and I can only stress that setting some time aside to look after yourself, however hard, is critical when you’re starting out in this very stressful, and time-consuming profession.

 

Document the Journey

As you progress in your career, there will be times where you will want to look back, and see how you thought and acted in your early years. In fact, I’m doing that now …

A private journal or blog is an essential medium for first year teachers. Believe it or not, it really, really helps to just take a moment to write down what you are doing, how you are feeling, and what you’re planning to work on. In my first year, I took a few hours each school holidays to sit and write, and what I wrote makes for interesting, if admittedly painful, reading.

In more recent years, this blog has replaced my journal, although I have always maintained a separation between the raw emotion of the journals & the more professional tone I use here. I’m not sure I could have publicly blogged my first year experiences, although I do know, and greatly respect those teachers who do so.

Keep hold of your dreams, passions, and reasons for entering teaching.

Each person comes into teaching for different reasons, and there will be times in your early career where you’d will be wondering if it is all worth it, whether you’re actually achieving anything, or making a difference.

Don’t let go of your dreams, find something to cling on to – through the good and the bad. If you’re lucky enough to discover a passion for something, hold on to it with both hands. Having a sense of purpose and direction makes a huge difference when you’re going through the rough times, and will help you stay in what is, at the end of the day, a wonderful profession.

Remember, you’re never alone. And you ARE making a difference.

 

Enjoy the ride

First year teaching will be a challenge, but it is just the beginning of what we hope will turn out to be an amazing journey. As I enter my fourth year of teaching, the painful memories and traumatic experiences have faded, replaced by the triumphs, successes, and positive learning experiences of the past two years.

They say “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, and that seems to have defined my teaching journey. For all the highs and lows, I’m a better person, and a better teacher. I’m looking forward to an exciting future in my chosen profession, and can’t wait to discover where it will take me.

Yes, I may not have (yet) had my own class, or a school to truly call home. Yet, I’m a teacher, and I’m proud of it.

All that remains is to wish my student-teacher and first year colleagues ‘good luck’ for your future. You have the potential to become great teachers, and I look forward to working with you in the years to come. Welcome to teaching.

 

#iEARN13 Workshop & Presentations

 

I am still coming to terms with the fact that I travelled halfway around the world to share my social media journey and experiences with The Global Classroom Project at #iEARN13.

Qatar was the venue for my first (three!) international presentations, including my first Global Classroom Workshop, and the launch of my first iEARN project.

Here they are, with links to explore further if you wish.

Connecting Globally via Twitter and the #globalclassroom Chats (Workshop)

I still can’t believe that nearly 50 people attended this workshop, which was live translated from English into Arabic. It seemed to make quite an impact, judging by the frequent informal sessions I held with new iEARN twitter teachers over the days which followed!

It was a pleasure to present in front of the @iEARNAustralia management team, who now have a much better understanding of what I’ve been trying to do with our organisation’s Twitter account.

This workshop was also the first time I experimented with a bilingual “Find Someone Who” activity as a brief 5 minute introduction to the ‘essence’ of Twitter – short, rapid fire conversations with global partners around a range of issues.

A huge thank you goes to @rawyashatila in Lebanon, who generously translated the document into Arabic! 🙂

Workshop Notes

Workshop Handout & (Crowd Sourced) Twitter Tips

@mgraffin Twitter Workshop
Via @FrisoDoornhof

 

Social Media Panel Contribution

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One of the unexpected surprises of the iEARN Conference was the invitation to contribute to the Social Media Panel Keynote, created by Khitham Al-Utaibi (@khitamah) and Rebecca Hodges (@ProfHodges).

Presenting alongside 3 academics, and one of the most globally aware high school students I’ve ever met (@AndrewNasser), was quite an experience. We had around 450 people in the audience, and I received some very positive feedback on my contribution. I suspect I went over my time allocation slightly, but I think this tweet sums it up nicely:

 

Building the Global Classroom: A Substitute Teacher’s Twitter Journey from Michael

iEARN Travelling Scrapbook Project Launch

This turned out to be one of the more productive sessions of the conference, where I took the opportunity to share the story of the #globalclassroom travelling scrapbook project, and discuss plans for an iEARN version.

I took away some hastily scribbled notes / suggestions, and a list of potential partners. I’m hoping to get this project running by September 2013, and will have to try and sort out the planning / organisation approach over the next week or so.

#iEARN13 Takeaways (#RoadtoDoha Part 5)

IMG_9991
Qatari Cultural Performance

It is hard to believe that nearly two weeks have passed since this amazing event, as its implications are still sinking in.

For now, here are some of my major takeaway from #iEARN13.

1) The People

A sign of a good conference is its impact on professional practice. The sign of an extraordinary conference is the quality of the professional relationships forged with educators from one’s own country, and around the world.

The #iearn13 conference was an opportunity to meet teachers from all over the world, some I already knew, and others I met for the very first time on the #roadtodoha. Meeting David Potter @iEARNUSA and Michael-Ann @cerniglia, who I’ve literally known for years,  as well as the iEARN Twitteratti from the Netherlands and Pakistan, were true highlights of the trip.

I was also lucky enough to meet, and spend time with Julie Lindsay (from Flat Classroom), one of the two ladies who helped inspire The Global Classroom Project.

And then there were the people I connected with at the conference … From Australia, Mali, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Italy,India, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, Jordan, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Listening to their stories was a fascinating, thought provoking experience which transcended cultural and national borders.

Meeting @cerniglia
Meeting @cerniglia – roughly halfway between the USA and Australia
The Pakistan iEARN Twitterati - including @FSKamal, @hsaeed92, @SidrahN,   and @BilalZKhan
The Pakistan iEARN Twitterati – including @FSKamal, @hsaeed92, @SidrahN, and @BilalZKhan
The iEARN Australia delegation @ Cultural Night
The iEARN Australia delegation @ Cultural Night

2) Realising I have a future in iEARN, and a role to play within it.

The primary reason for my attending the conference was to learn about the philosophy, community, and people which make up iEARN. As a relief teacher, I was struggling to make a connection with the organisation, as I couldn’t engage in the projects and opportunities it offers. But, this conference helped to change that – in a very positive way.

Walking away from #iearn13 with new friends, new ideas, and three international presentations to add to my resume was the culmination of months of planning. It was a huge risk, but it appears to have paid off.

I can see myself having a positive future in this organisation, and potentially a long-term role in helping iEARN grow and evolve over its next 25 years. While I’ll freely admit to still searching for a school where I can make a difference here at home, I’m excited about exploring new global opportunities with iEARN.

"The Spider", Qatar National Convention Centre
“The Spider”, Qatar National Convention Centre
An apt reminder of why I travelled the #roadtodoha
An apt reminder of why I travelled the #roadtodoha

 

Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom (#CONSTAWA33 Keynote)

Last weekend, I presented the Dinner Keynote at the Science Teachers’ of Western Australia conference, exploring the topic: Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom: Exploring the Possibilities. 

Our Challenge: Engaging Students in Science

As a primary school teacher & global education specialist, being asked to present to secondary science teachers was an interesting experience 🙂

The central theme of the presentation focussed on the use of technology to enable teachers and students Engage, Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate in secondary Science – via connections with external organisations, experts, and science educators around Australia, and around the world.

Building Bridges with REAL Science

My most memorable science teachers were those who were passionate about their subject, and who went out of their way to CONNECT their students to REAL science. As was posited to me on the night, these connections should, and indeed MUST begin, in the primary school classroom, but I was interested in exploring the possibilities at the secondary level.

You DON”T have to be an Expert (when you’re part of a community)

I was also very keen to point out that teachers don’t have to be ICT experts to engage & connect their students in Science. The keys to success lie in keeping an open mind, and and being willing to learn and collaborate with colleagues and experts beyond your classroom walls through engaging in online communities, such as the Scootle Community and Twitter.

I finished up by sharing a crowd-sourced Google Doc, containing links and ideas for Secondary Science teachers interested in exploring the possibilities of ICT and global connections in their teaching. You can access (and contribute) to that document via the short link: http://bit.ly/CONSTAWA2013.

 

Post Conference Reflections

I was rather pleased with the reception I received at the CONSTAWA Conference. It was rather challenging to walk into an unfamiliar conference audience, but the feedback was very positive.

I’ve learnt a great deal through the experience … not just about how much work and preparation goes into these kind of presentations, but how I can personally integrate ICT and global connections into my own Science teaching in the future. The connections I’ve made … the lessons I’ve learned … will help me a great deal when I eventually find my own space and own classroom – one day.

Thank you to the long list of teachers, scientists, and experts who helped make this presentation possible. I am indebted to you – for your support … and inspiring example of what is possible when you ‘explore the possibilities’ of Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom.

The Story of an Image

In preparing for my Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom presentation at the Science Teachers’ of Western Australia Conference this weekend, I’ve learnt some valuable lessons about global connections, crafting powerful presentations, and about connecting science to the real world.

But perhaps the greatest lesson has arisen from my endeavours to model the appropriate (legal) use of images in educational presentations …

This is the story of an image, and there’s quite a story to tell ..

Image:  Jordi Rios. Reproduced with permission

I first came across this image through Twitter, where it appeared on the Facebook page of a prominent Science communicator in the USA. With the intention of using this quote and image in my presentation, I contacted the owner of the site – only to discover that he didn’t own the image!

With his kind assistance, I traced the imaged to the 500px site, where you can view the original version.

What followed was fascinating …

After leaving a comment on the site, I received an email from the artist in Spain, who was quite surprised to hear from me – for several reasons!

Firstly, he had no idea his image was being used in the above form, and secondly he wasn’t particularly happy that the image didn’t (and still doesn’t) attribute him as the artist!

With the help of Google Translate, and several emails later, Jordi kindly gave me permission to reproduce the image (and quote) for educational use.

But, this whole experience has left me with an important lesson about images on the Internet  Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have a right to take it and use it. I’ve also learnt that that asking for permission can have some unintended, unexpected consequences. But I’m glad I did.

“The View Over the Hill” (#Slide2Learn Reflections)

Slide via @learnexchange

Last week, the #Slide2Learn Conference hit Western Australia for the first time. Normally, teacher-run ICT / mobile learning conferences such as these pass us by, but I’m really grateful that this one didn’t!

Sometimes you get a quote which just defines a conference, and this one from Ben Beaton (@learnexchange), sums it up nicely:

#slide2learn was an opportunity for early adopters,  ICT leaders, and keen life-long learners to help each-other stand on top of the hill, looking towards and planning for a future where concepts of ‘mobile learning’ and ’21st century skills” are obsolete, and just called “learning”.

Like many others at the conference, we believe that ICT and mobile devices are tools which can, and should be invisibly integrated into the teaching and learning process. We’re not interested in promoting the “next great revolutionary device” … we’re interested in promoting and supporting LEARNING through technology.

We came together with different skills, perspectives, and philosophies – but #slide2learn gave us the chance to connect, and make our voices heard – as we move towards the top of the hill … together.

Skype Keynote by @achurches

Through #slide2learn, I was able to:

  • Build & develop my professional networks through meetings and conversations with so many wonderful teachers, including many online collaborators I was meeting f2f for the very first time.
  • Meet the amazing @TonyVincent (thank you for being so welcoming)
  • Discover the language and resources to define my philosophy of teaching and learning … I learnt a great deal about “Challenge Based Learning” from the Apple rep. and @janeinjava.
  • Develop my skills and professional knowledge in relation to iPad VPP management, Augmented Reality, and use of iPads in Early Childhood.
  • Learn some valuable presentation skills from the Keynote presenters – most of whom I’d already met on Twitter 🙂
  • Launch the #WApln twitter hashtag (more info coming), and commence discussions with @JASONDARGENT and others about a TEDx ED Perth event in 2014.
  • Fit into a community of teachers who share my ideas, goals, and dreams for the seamless, and ultimately invisible integration of iOS devices into teaching and learning.
On a personal note, I am extremely grateful for @LouCimetta, who gave me the push I needed to come to #slide2learn. Lou, your support and advice is always greatly appreciated, and I hope to work more closely with you over the years to come.

 

Augmented Reality with @kmacc1 and @deanscanlon

 

Congratulations go to the AMAZING #slide2learn team, who pulled off an incredibly rich, diverse, and valuable learning experience.

You did such a great job that I will seriously consider flying over East for the next conference 🙂

via @KerryMuste

 

Congratulations also go to @KerryMuste and @AmieMeyer4, two amazing fellow West Australian teachers who presented at #slide2learn. 

@KerryMuste, #globalclassroom teacher presenting @ #slide2learn

 

And thanks to all those wonderful people that I was able to meet f2f for the first time … there are too many to list, but you know who you are.

Thank you for the conversations … I’ll see you online 🙂