Looking back on a year with @adobevoice

In March 2015, I wrote about an iPad digital storytelling app that was beginning to have a transformational impact on my teaching practice. At the time of writing, I wasn’t aware just how big an impact it was going to have on my Early Childhood colleagues’ practice as well. Over the course of the year, our teachers and students in PP, Year 2, and Year 3 used Adobe Voice extensively, across a range of learning areas.

I love Adobe Voice for its simplicity, and especially how it makes it so easy to find Creative Commons / Public Domain images and backing soundtracks. Our students love it because of its ease of use, especially in pairs (they take it in turns to record a slide). I wrote extensively about our pedagogical approach and suggested teaching strategies in March, and on The iPad Creative Challenge wiki, so I won’t rehash those comments here.

Here are some of our Adobe Voice highlights of 2015: 

Celebrations – Year 2 (Student Blogging Challenge)

Keep Australia Beautiful – Year 3, Persuasive Writing

 Time – Year 3 Maths

 

“Thank You Mr Faulkner” – Year 3 English (Narrative Retell)

Teaching Time with iMovie!

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One of the highlights of 2015 was watching one of my colleagues starting to take big risks with her integration of ICT. In Term 3, I was taken aback by her suggestion that we should teach her students how to use iMovie in Maths, creating movies documenting students’ learning about time.

We worked together to teach students how to storyboard and script their presentations, and gave them some basic instruction in the use of iMovie. The students spent several weeks filming and editing their projects, and some were actively experimenting with the more advanced features of iMovie. We were so impressed with the results that we invited our Acting Principal in for a special screening, and shared the videos with parents on Open Night.

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Bringing Geography to Life with Google Maps & Skitch

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There are times where a chance remark can lead to amazing learning outcomes. The use of Google Maps and Skitch in Year 2 and 3 Geography was one of those occasions …

A conversation about mapping skills led to a suggestion that we take a risk, and see if we could integrate Google Maps (which I know and love) and Skitch (which I’d never used with students) into my colleagues’ Geography unit. We soon had four excited teachers, and some incredibly excited students, learning about “bird’s eye view”, “street view”, voice navigation, and labelling maps with Skitch.

We gave a brief demonstration of how to use Google Maps (looking up our school), and then let students play – looking for their homes and local neighbourhoods. They loved the Voice Search feature, although some soon realised they didn’t actually know their home address … ! Others were a little frustrated that Google apparently didn’t understand them! We also encouraged them to explore Google Street View, and the photos that people upload to Google Maps and Earth.

We then asked students to take screenshots of the map, and gave them a basic introduction to the Skitch annotation tools. In Year 2, students annotated maps of their homes and neighbourhoods. In Year 3, students explored, and annotated photos of the natural and built environments in Papua New Guinea. These are some of the results! (Note: some slight edits / cropping to remove street names).

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Exploring Papua New Guinea

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Next Steps

We were blown away by how quickly our young students learned how to use Google Maps and Skitch, and just how powerful a tool it can be for teaching Geography concepts. We will definitely use it more extensively in the coming school year, possibly in Maths (directions), Science, and Geography.

Please share how you use Google Maps and Skitch in your classes in the comments below!

Experimenting with Popplet in Year 3 Science

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For those who have never heard of Popplet, it is a nifty brainstorming / concept mapping iPad app. While covering a Year 3 science class last year, I asked my students to have a go at using it to describe characteristics of living and non living things. These are some screenshots of the results.

I know this is barely scratching the surface of Popplet’s potential, and it is on my list for exploring further this year. If you use Popplet, or know of some great Early Childhood examples, would you mind leaving a link in the comments? I’d love to show my colleagues. Thanks 🙂
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Teaching, Learning, and Publishing with the @BookCreatorApp!

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Last year, working in a new ICT coaching role, I was determined to introduce our Early Childhood teachers to just a handful of creative iPad apps which they could use across a range of learning areas. We started with Adobe Voice, moving on to Pic Collage, Skitch (in Year 3), and Book Creator.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Book Creator – it is an integral part of my new iPad Creative Challenge workshop, which I took to ISTE 2015. I am also lucky enough to be a Book Creator Ambassador, helping to inform its future development.

Over the course of the year, we experimented with the different features of the Book Creator app at a variety of year levels. In Year 1, we used it at the start of the year for Online Safety activities, where students drew pictures of safe online behaviours, and made audio recordings of their learning. I blogged about this in April 2015. As the year progressed, our students and teachers learned how to import photos and videos, how to draw their own illustrations, and make use of the brand new comic book formats!

In Year 1 (Term 4), students worked in pairs to create a Book Creator page showcasing their favourite season, typing a sentence about why they liked it. They uploaded their creations as PDFs to Dropbox, renaming the files with their names for easy identification (and adding their first name to the page). Their teachers then printed them off for classroom display.

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In Year 2, students used the latest (comic strip) version of Book Creator to share their learning with BeeBots. They imported photos, videos, and made (some rather entertaining) audio recordings. I am planning to write another post on this, so I’ll only share a few pictures and one video here!

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In Year 3, one of our best, although somewhat time consuming activities, was a writing project, where students retold a fable and drew the illustrations in Book Creator. It took a little longer than we’d expected, and not everyone finished; however, I think the results are well worth sharing! Click on the links to download as PDF.

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The unlucky penny Maggie

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Looking Ahead

2015 was very much an experimental year for our Early Childhood teachers and students. Now that most of our students are familiar with the use of Book Creator, I am confident that they will continue to surprise us with their creative works and book publishing in the coming year!

If you’d like to learn more about how to use Book Creator, please see The iPad Creative Challenge wikispace.

Adventures with @PicCollage in Early Childhood

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At #slide2learn 2014 in Sydney, an early childhood educator pulled me aside and said that my early childhood teachers would just “love” PicCollage. Unfortunately, I can’t remember who you were; however, I am truly indebted to you. …

Without question, PicCollage was the ‘breakthrough’ app for our early years educators. It was the first app they felt confident using independently, and it featured prominently on many classroom blogs over the course of the year!

In Year 1 Geography, the students were tasked with identifying features in their natural and built environment around the school, using PicCollage to record their findings.

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As part of the Student Blogging Challenge, as an introduction to PicCollage, our students were asked to photograph & share their favourite parts of their school. We had students visiting the Art Room, Chapel, Library, Oval, and more. We taught them how to take photos, and the bare basics of PicCollage – with an expectation that they work it out for themselves. They did so with gusto, discovering features of the app that I hadn’t realised existed.

Later in the year, the Year 2 teacher decided to integrate PicCollage into her poetry unit. We taught the students how to use Google Image Search by License to find Public Domain images, and they created amazing PicCollage Haikus for the Open Night displays. They looked fabulous!

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Thoughts and Recommendations

PicCollage, or the ad-free version PicCollage for Kids, is a simple, yet powerful iPad app which can be integrated into almost any learning area. Students can use it to document their learning, and once you’ve taught them how to share their collages (via AirDrop / Dropbox / Google Drive), they can be very easily printed for classroom display, or posted to your classroom blog. I’d especially recommend PicCollage for teachers starting out with iPads / mobile devices.

2015: A Long and Winding Road

2015 was a memorable year, of highs and lows. It was a year of experimentation, exploring possibilities, and learning how to be a coach and change leader. I learned a lot, made plenty of mistakes, and am starting to feel more positive about my future.

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ISTE – Building connections and relationships to last a lifetime

 2015 was the year:

  • I travelled to the United States of America for the ISTE 2015 conference, where I gave three presentations, and met so many wonderful friends and educators from all over the globe.Among renegades, boundary pushers, innovators … I felt at home. ISTE has to be one of the greatest highlights of my professional career so far.
  • I was recognised as an ISTE Emerging Leader, an award I am forever grateful for. Ironically, being only the fifth or sixth Australian to be recognised by ISTE has a significant disadvantage – in that most Australian teachers and school leaders I meet (who aren’t on social media) have absolutely no idea what ISTE is, and what this award stands for.
  • I graduated from Notre Dame University with my Postgraduate Certificate in Religious Education, bringing to an end 1.5 years of part-time postgraduate study.
  • Later in the year, I completed the requirements for my “Accreditation to Teach Religious Education”, which will enable me to continue teaching in the Catholic Education system.
  • In October, after nearly seven years, I became a fully registered teacher in Western Australia. Those currently going through the registration process in line with the Australian Teacher Standards will know just how much work goes into this!
  • I started to explore new learning opportunities in maker education, robotics, and STEM.
  • I learned a great deal about leading change within a school community. Perhaps the most important lesson being that teachers learn in a variety of different ways.

 

What’s been happening with #ipsict?

My new role this year was to work as an ICT integrator / coach, to support teachers’ professional learning with ICT and digital technologies. It was at times exhilarating, surprising, tumultuous, and challenging. Looking back, I see a lot to celebrate, and an opportunity to learn from my mistakes.

Introducing Digital Technologies & the Makerspace

We began exploring new avenues for engaging girls in ICT and digital technologies, with a particular emphasis on coding and robotics. The more I throw at my girls, the more they come back and surprise me.

  • This year, we introduced (i.e. took a deep breath and played with) BeeBots and introductory coding apps in Early Childhood; and started to explore the deeper possibilities of Scratch in upper primary. I was blown away by my students’ enthusiasm, problem solving, collaboration, and learning. One of my more memorable moments was sitting down with a Year 5 girl and basically asking “how on Earth did you do that in Scratch?”
  • The librarian and I started building our makerspace in our library, catching the attention of local university education researchers and the Catholic Education Office of WA. We have big plans for next year – watch this space!
  • I established our Digital Captains leadership positions, working with two Year 6 ‘digital leaders’ to test new robots, lesson ideas, and share our makerspace concept with the community at our Open Night – where they performed a robot fashion show! These two amazing students grew so much over the course of the year, and I look forward to following their progress as they enter high school next year. I have big plans for our next group of Digital Captains – next year will be interesting!

Establishing a new LEGO Robotics Program

In the Term 3 school holidays, I met the Engineering Outreach Coordinator at Curtin University, who roped me into judging the WA FIRST LEGO League Tournament, and generously loaned us two LEGO NXT robots.

In Term 4, we established a lunchtime robotics club with a group of Year 5 students, and applied for – and WON a FIRST Australia / Google robotics grant to set up our own robotics program. Next year, we will be taking at least one team of Year 6 students to compete in the FIRST Lego League competition! This has meant that my role will be evolving next year, as I will be leading the development of our new LEGO robotics extension program.

Looking Forward to 2016

2015 was, in many respects, a challenging year. Yet, I believe we have set a strong foundation for what is to come. As a school community, we’re moving forward … even if it is along a long and winding road.

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Establishing a Student Digital Leaders Program

At the start of the 2015 school year, I began working with two wonderful Year 6 students, who were appointed as our inaugural Digital Captains. Every week, for almost 9 months, we met for 30-40 minutes on Thursday mornings.

We didn’t have a formal structure per se, but over time, the girls helped define their role – learning how to blog; road-testing our new technologies (MakeyMakey and the Dash robot); and creating their amazing robot fashion show for our Open Night in Term 3. Towards the end of the year, they played a key role in running our lunchtime makerspace sessions, helping introduce our younger students to our emerging collection of robots!

In 2016, we will have four Digital Captains, voted for by their peers and teachers from a group of some 30(!) candidates! The program will definitely evolve next year, as I’d like the girls’ role to be more visible within the school, including presenting at school assemblies, and participating in robotics/ICT competitions. They will, no doubt, be involved in our makerspace program – where I am hoping to collaborate with our school librarian to run coding and design challenges.

In closing, I’d like to sincerely thank our inaugural Digital Captains for their patience, commitment, and sheer creativity. Girls; you helped pioneer what it means to be a Digital Captain at IPS. While there were many things I didn’t have time to teach you, we were able to achieve a lot together. Our school will be a richer place for your contribution. I wish you all the best in your future schooling, and look forward to seeing what you create with ICT in future years!

Using my image without attribution is NOT ok!

As an ICT integrator and teacher, I place a strong emphasis on teaching my students and colleagues about why and how we attribute online images and creative works. I also take the time to teach them how to find Creative Commons and Public Domain works we have permission to use in our projects, so long as we provide the relevant attribution.

As a professional educator and presenter, I endeavour to model best practice with image attribution in my teaching and presentations, sometimes with surprising results – see a post on this topic from 2013. I’m trying to set an example, but I know I’m not perfect. I didn’t always attribute images properly, especially in my early years.

Today; however, I discovered why image attribution is so important. 

This picture, taken off Twitter, and cropped to avoid publicly identifying the presenter, contains two unattributed images, of which I happen to know the creators.

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The first image, featuring a quote by Sarah Breathnach happens to be mine.

I can’t claim one of the most deeply meaningful quotes I’ve ever found, but I can claim the image. Made in Canva, it was uploaded and prominently featured on my organisation’s website from October 2014 – around July 2015.

This happens to be the original, which was not published under a Creative Commons license. .

The second image, of children holding up the globe, is by a Global Classroom Project guest blogger, published on our blog here in January 2013. Looking at the copyright statement on the creator’s professional blog, this image is technically copyright.

Neither of these images can be sourced through Google Advanced Image Search (usage rights), or through Creative Commons search engines. In fact, there are better CC/PD alternatives that could have been used instead.

Why is this an issue?

I have two major issues with the use of these images.

Firstly, my image was used (and modified) without permission, either implied or requested. Under normal circumstances, if asked, I would have agreed for this image to be reproduced under a Creative Commons – Attribution – Non Commercial license.

Secondly, the image was used in what can be technically described as a commercial presentation held in Australia, organised by an overseas presenter, and requiring payment from attendees. Whether the presenter was paid for this event is not the point. I am not comfortable with other people using my work for these kinds of events, particularly when they use it without permission.

Using my images without permission or attribution is NOT ok. 

I’m sharing this post in the hope that other people will learn from my experience. Perhaps the presenter in question might read it, and reconsider how he selects and attributes images in future presentations.

No hard feelings mate, but if you’d like to use my images in future, please ask. Or at the very least, give them a meaningful attribution.

Thank you.