Finishing up the #WLPSict Journey – For Now

On Wednesday (March 27), I completed my four week stint as the #WLPSict integrator.

I left with mixed emotions … sadness at leaving a position which I loved, but also with a great sense of personal vindication. I left knowing that I’d done my best, and that I’d done it well.

The last week gave me the time to finish what I’d started, wrapping up some projects that I’d been preparing students’ for, as well as laying the seeds for ongoing ICT projects which will continue when I’m gone.

Here’s my final #WLPSict wrap for Week 4 …

World Water Day 2013 (Year 2, and some Year 7s)

I’ve already blogged about this here, so I won’t go into too much more detail – except to say that with comments from 10 countries, and 1000+ hits in a week, I’m proud to say that the third anniversary of my ‘first’ global project was a wonderful success. Well done kids! 🙂

Completing the Asia Google Docs Inquiry (Year 5/6)

I spent my last lesson with the Yr 5/6’s helping students finish their Asia presentations, incorporating the information so kindly shared by students and staff at a variety of international schools throughout Asia. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I was unable to obtain copies of the presentations to share online, as I couldn’t work out where the students had saved them! 🙁

If I’d had more time, I’d have used Google Presentations … which would have allowed students to actually collaborate on their presentations AND easily share them online! (I’ll get off my Google Soapbox now …)

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and students at the following schools for the wonderful support for this experimental project:

PuppetPals with Year 3N

I was really pleased with the progress Year 3N (Year 2F, and Year 3C) made with their use of the PuppetPalsHD iPad app.

We used our last lesson in Year 3N to create group PuppetPalsHD presentations on Jungle creatures, tying in with the class theme. With the help of their wonderful classroom teacher, students had planned these presentations, and the final results weren’t too bad. I was able to put a few on the school YouTube channel, and I’ve shared them below.

This little project bore witness to one of the most infuriating moments of my #WLPSict tenure … stay tuned for my upcoming reflections (rant) on (trying to) teach about Creative Commons images.

WordFoto with Year 3C

The Year 3C teacher has exciting plans for using the WordFoto app with her class, and to my great surprise (and pleasure) actually borrowed an iPad, and showed her class how to use it (outside of our ICT time) – a significant leap forward!

So I spent my last lesson with Year 3C roaming the school grounds with a box of iPads and iPods, letting students have a play with the app, and Dropboxing the results. The brief was to create WordFoto partner portraits & school landscapes, so the only one I’m really comfortable sharing is the one they did of me 🙂

 

Year 4 – Getting Excited about Animoto

In my last week, I introduced the Year 4 students to Animoto. While with hindsight I wouldn’t use a ‘whole-school’ account again, I was really pleased to see how popular (and useful) this tool actually is. The Animoto for Education account wasn’t as fully featured as I’d expected; however, it does allow for the creation of student accounts – In fact, I’ll be recommending WLPS teachers to create their own class accounts in future.

Here’s a student created example – using images they took on a recent class excursion to “Sculptures by the Sea”, at Cottlesloe Beach, WA.

And thus ends my stint at #WLPS … for now at least. This is one of remarkably few schools where I have truly felt ‘at home’, and the first where I’ve been able to really share my passion for all things ICT and global education. I hope that this #WLPSict journey marks the beginning of a fruitful long-term relationship over the years to come. Time will tell.

Sharing our World Water Day Reflections with the World #WLPSict

wwd

With the help of our international #globalclassroom PLN, this year’s #WorldWaterDay International LinoIt Project was a huge success!

We’ve had over 820 hits in 3 days (we’re still hoping to hit 1000!), and received comments from around Australia, Spain, Greece, Denmark, South Africa, Trinidad, Canada, Russia, Taiwan, and Argentina! We even hosted an original music video created by high school students in Trinidad.

I’d like to thank the Year 2 students, and their teacher, from West Leederville PS  for ‘hosting’ my third #WorldWaterDay project, and extend my sincere thanks to all the  students and teachers around the world who helped make this project possible.

You can check out our 2013 LinoIt page here, and we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d watch, and leave a comment, on our Year 2 students’ PuppetPal presentations (see video below)!

#WLPSict – Weeks 2 & 3


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Saad Faruque

While the past two weeks have passed by in a blur, I can honestly say that I look forward to my #WLPSict teaching days. I’m starting to build meaningful relationships with the teachers I’m working with, and my students eagerly anticipate my arrival in their classes.

It’s been tough knowing that my initial four weeks are nearly over, yet I’m starting to see some of the rewards of my paced, collaborative approach.

When I walk into my classes, I’m starting to see classroom teachers taking the initiative … actively preparing their students for their ICT time. For example, our Year 3 teachers have encouraged their students to develop story plans for their PuppetPals animations; and have been excitedly brainstorming ways to integrate the app into their Jungle theme.

I’ve learnt a few technical & management lessons the hard way (particularly in the Year 4 class), and have struggled somewhat working with the Year 1 students … but I feel that I’m getting there, slowly.

 

Weeks 2 & 3 looked something like this …

Years 1-3

I’ve introduced an ICT rotations scheme to ease management issues, and ensure easier access to mobile devices. I now take a cart of laptops, and as many iPad 1 & 2s as I can get my hands on (they are in hot demand!). Half the class does Mathletics / Reading Eggs, while I work with the students using the iPads. This has had the side benefit of allowing teachers to ask questions about how to manage their students’ tasks, and monitor their performance.

The Year 1 students in particular will benefit from this long term, for as indicated by one of the teachers, a number of ESL students were unable to keep up with the whole-class activities.


cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Ευτυχία (Jim is Nice)

Two of the Year 2 classes are researching old fashioned toys and games, with a view to creating iMovies and an assembly item. One of the Year 2 teachers is an early adopter of iPads and ICT, and she basically plans the lessons, with my input as needed.

The Year 3s, and the other Year 2 class are continuing to work on PuppetPals. This past week, I introduced these students to the Character and Background import options in the Puppet Pals Directors’ Pass.

I have also showed them how to import / export photos via Dropbox, as we are using iPad 1s (without cameras) and iPad 2s. I have been warned that the use of Dropbox can put pressure on the school’s internet upload/download limits, but I think these skills are too important to ignore. I’ll see how we go 🙂

Next week, the Year 3s will be creating Jungle poetry / information reports using PuppetPals; importing custom backgrounds and characters that they have created in Art. This will be the culmination of several weeks work, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the final results. It seems that taking things slowly has paid dividends … 

Year 4

The technical problems I was having with a whole class Google Doc continued in Week 2 … I won’t be doing that again anytime soon. It seems too many users accessing a document from the same network is a big no-no. I did actually fix the problem last week, but the class had moved on to other things. Fair enough.

In Week 3, we introduced students to WordFoto, and dropboxed their creations – with the intention of printing them off next week. I am hoping to introduce this class to Aurasma, an augmented reality app, next week … not sure yet! I don’t want to overload the teacher…

Years 4/5

Sadly, I’ve only had two opportunities to work with the Year 4/5 class  … due to the Swimming Carnival, and their upcoming class excursion next week. We spent our second session completing their “Sculptures by the Sea” presentations, and exploring options for a future animation project.

These students deserve a special #WLPSict mention for being on the receiving end of Mr Graffin’s rant on effective presentation design in Week 1 … fluorescent colours and overblown animations were NOT on my wish list! lol.

Years 5/6

Last week was the first time my Year 5/6 class had their full allocation of ICT time, after missing out on most of the past two sessions due to catch up science lessons with the Year 6/7 class. We are making progress!

My students have all entered their questions into our Asia Inquiry Google Doc, and we’ve received responses from students and teachers in Cambodia, Nepal, India, Japan and Thailand! The challenge to connect with Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam is still ongoing! So if you happen to know someone in these countries, could you please send them a link? Thanks 🙂

The students are currently working on their project presentations, choosing to present their research using Pages, PowerPoint, or Comic Life.

While my students are very new to ‘learning with the world, not just about it’, I’m actually pretty happy with our attempt to connect with Asia. Yes, we’re barely scratching the surface, but its a positive start. And I’m working in a school environment which is open to these connections … and that’s more than I’d hoped for.

Year 6/7


cc licensed ( BY NC SA )  flickr photo shared by totallyradshow


While we missed last week’s session due to the Swimming Carnival, almost all our students are ready to film their green-screen movies. Did I mention that the green screen kit ARRIVED!!??? (Very excited!).

We’ve spent a total of two lessons on planning and experimentation, and students’ scripts and sound effects are practically ready to go. Unfortunately, it seems I’ve been dragged in as a character in one group’s movie … Not sure if I’ll be able to wiggle out of that one! We’ll be filming and editing over the coming week.

I am hoping to share students’ videos on the school blog / wiki, and invite warm and cool feedback from international viewers (via Google Docs). The idea is that students need to understand that they are creating work for an authentic, global audience – not just their teachers.

Notes – 

In Week 2, I had my first opportunity to meet the student ICT Angels, learning about their roles and responsibilities. They manage the charging of laptops & iPads (when they don’t forget!), and run the school blog. Having seen the blog, I’m looking forward to introducing the ICT Angels to some multimedia creation tools, such as Animoto, VoiceThread, PhotoPeach, etc. All in good time.

A key consideration, which I’ve noted for future reference, is the need to explicitly clarify when students are released for ICT Angel work, i.e. during silent reading time, and on Tuesday afternoons prior to Assembly. Also mentioned was the need for Angels to support teachers’ use of ICT, rather than doing the work for them.

The strict guidelines and rules for the ICT Angel program help to minimise the impact on students’ learning time; and the students’ know that they can be replaced if they don’t fulfill their responsibilities! The application process for these positions is EXTREMELY competitive at this school!

Other things on the agenda have included (finally) starting work on the #WLPSict Staff wiki, and starting to identify apps to remove from the school’s mobile devices. There are literally 120+ apps on the iPod Touches and iPads at the moment, and we need to sort out the mess before we start using Apple Configurator to manage our devices.

As far as I can tell, there’s one week to go. Here’s to a good one 🙂

“Learning with the World, Not Just About It” – A #WLPSict Inquiry


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Stuck in Customs

As some of you will know, I am working with a local school in Perth, Western Australia, as a temporary ICT Integrator.

My Year 5/6 students are researching Asian countries, and I’m hoping to introduce them to global connections through a simple inquiry project.  I’d like to use Skype and Edmodo, but given that this isn’t my own class, I’m keeping things relatively simple (for now at least!).

Over the past week, almost all of my students have contributed some questions to a class Google Doc, which I’m sharing with my PLN around the world. While their questions barely scratch the surface, I hope that this project will start to raise awareness of global perspectives and connections within the school, with a view to forging deeper connections in future.

If you are a teacher or a student living in one of these countries, or you know someone who does, could you help answer my students’ questions?

You can access the public Google Doc here.  Thank you!

  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Vietnam
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Thailand
  • South Korea

Cross posted at The Global Classroom Project

#WLPSict – Week 1 Reflections

 

Last week was a big week, in more ways than one.

I completed my contribution to a major sideline project that I’ve been working on for months (details coming in a month or two), and I started work as a temporary ICT Support teacher at a school in Perth.

I’m working 3 days / week, for 4 weeks, and I’ve been given (mostly) free reign … in a school where the admin actively interested in the use of ICT to connect, communicate, and collaborate beyond classroom walls. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to apply my ICT knowledge and skills locally; and I am hopeful that I can make a positive difference with the teachers and students I’m working with.


cc licensed ( BY )  flickr photo shared by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

So Week 1 was spent something like this:

  • Meeting and getting to know staff (Yrs 1-7). I was relieved to see that this went rather well, and I’m looking forward to developing deeper relationships over the next few weeks
  • Creating and distributing an ICT survey – exploring staff skills, learning interests, and literacy priorities for the term
  • Deciding my ICT /literacy focus for each class
  • Working out school systems for ICT access, which includes iPod Touches, iPads, and MacBooks; and getting to know the ICT Angels (student ICT leaders).

Grades 1-3

As I hadn’t had a chance to talk to teachers prior to my first day, I decided to introduce teachers and students to Puppet Pals, a digital storytelling app. Teachers’ skills and confidence with ICT varies significantly;  however, I found virtually all of them to be very keen to learn and experiment. One of the Year 3 teachers is very skilled in the use of iPads, and gave me some great ideas for using PuppetPals – which I’ll take to my other classes this coming week.

At this time, I’m focussing on using iPads to support literacy – in particular storytelling, oral language, and writing. I’m also taking pains to encourage students to collaboratively problem solve how to use all the features of the app. My point is that there is no need for the teacher to be the expert in the app – so long as they know how to use it to support teaching and learning (i.e. focus on the pedagogy, not the tech).

The level of students’ excitement about Puppet Pals has to been seen to be believed – I was even stopped in the playground by a Year 2 student who’d downloaded the app on his iPod Touch, and was planning his story for next week 🙂

In one of the Year 2 classes, the classroom teacher was extremely surprised to see a little girl, who never talks in class, actively communicating with her partner, and contributing to the audio recording. And to top it off, we found two boys, who normally can’t work together in class, quietly problem-solving in the corner.

On a note for future, audio recording in class can be challenging – when there are lots of students working at once. I had expected this, but will plan for it more carefully when students practice recording more prepared stories later this week.

Grade 4

Students had been learning how to use Mac Pages to record their Science research; however, a string of technical problems led to an interesting experiment with a shared class Google Doc. It works, once students get over the shock at being able to watch each-other type (and deleting other people’s work – sigh). Normally, I’d have set up individual docs – but this was a last minute idea. We’ll see how we go.

Grade 5/6

Students are working on presentations about Asian countries. The teacher freely admits to not knowing much about ICT, but is happy to support my experimentation. After some discussion, the students and I decided that they would present their work using (their choice of) Pages (brochures), PowerPoint, or Comic Life.

We are also working on a Google Doc, where students are sharing 5 questions they’d like to ask someone in their focus Asian country. We should have that finished by next week, when I’ll tweet it out & request responses from my PLN throughout Asia. There are a few challenges (e.g. Laos, Myanmar), but we should (hopefully) be able to get answers for most countries.

Grade 6/7

Students are working on (movie) comic sketches about the Western Australian election, (reluctantly) learning how to write scripts, organise props and characters, etc. My chance remark that we might be able to experiment with green-screening in iMovie was so warmly received that the Deputy Principal (and ICT leader) ordered a green-screen kit off eBay later that afternoon!

After attending @paulfuller75’s presentation at the ECAWA conference in 2011, I can’t wait to get my hands on this kit! I’m going to have a LOT of fun 🙂  Next week, students will be exploring and experimenting with camera angles, and rehearsing their presentations.

 

Ongoing Projects

There are a few things which I’ll be working on – on and off during the next four weeks, and hopefully beyond –

  • Establishing a school ICT wiki for staff
  • Helping the student ICT Angels with the school blog, which I’d like to see become more iPad friendly & include more multimedia.
  • Working with three classroom teachers to help develop class blogs
  • Introduce as many teachers as I can to Google Docs and @edmodo, although more many this will be a long term goal.

We’ll see how we go.