e-learning

New morning, new directions

Morning, day 2, #3

I’m excited to be moving into a new school, and new areas of responsibility this year. After eleven very fulfilling and rewarding years at my previous school as Director of Learning and Curriculum my new role is Deputy Principal (Secondary) in a very different school and context. There’ll be lots to learn, and and lots of changes.

One constant I’m grateful for, is that I’ll continue to be teaching a class. I’ll have a Year 9 English class this year and am looking forward to working with Middle School students again. I’m sure I’m going to miss some of the interactions and conversations I’ve had with my Literature students in recent times. Working with able, motivated, articulate students on texts I’ve loved like Mrs Dalloway, Antony and Cleopatra, and Adrienne Rich last year, has been a real privilege I’ll cherish forever.

But, having the opportunity to work with students who are at that critical time in their lives, grappling with who they are, who they want to be, and what their place is to be in the world, is exciting. And, having the opportunity to try to ‘light that fire’ in students about English is something I’ve always liked about working with students in Years 9 and 10.

Another thing that wont change is that I’ll be intensely interested in the education technology, and how that supports the learning journey. My new school is a mixed environment, an Outlook teaching platform, with OneDrive for students and iPads as well. In the senior years there’s a BYOD program. It’s a hybrid kind of approach that I think will be interesting to work in, after a long time working with the (increasingly improving) MS Office, Exchange, and Windows notebook approach. I’ve really liked the change in direction Microsoft has taken in recent years, opening up the tools in multiple platforms and, of course, the continuing development of OneNote with the shared notebooks for teachers and students: still be the best learning tool I’ve seen. One tool I’ve never really worked with is the Chromebooks, even though I’ve been a gmail user, and Google Drive user personally for a long time. I also like their new approach to Photos. I want to keep my eye on how that educational technology is developing as I take on the new role and new tools for 2016.

I’m certainly looking forward to it, and will continue to post here periodically about the successes, failures, challenges and achievements of it all. For all those teachers starting to set up for the year ahead, I hope it’s a great one for you and your students.

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Amazing Stories #324

I’m not a huge fan of the new Apple News app, and I don’t expect that Nine News is going to break new ground in education news I’d value. But, even by those un-lofty standards the article below that appeared tonight was a new low. This was the article in full! (More behind the paywall?) Note, both the assumptions are flawed: the view of  current school as kids in rows AND the radical future, ie Wifi.

Startling revelations.

  

A new organisational architecture to support blended learning

A new organisational architecture to support blended learning Saint Stephens college, QLD

This session was about how one school is moving to blended learning approaches, and the shifts in teaching and structures required to make that happen.

They focused on the changed role of the teacher and the new ‘architecture’ needed. This approach is a team based one, and the Principal questioned the importance of the teacher in the future.

The session explored the role of the 21c teacher in pretty familiar ways really. They explained their approach to blended learning, the teacher guiding the students through understanding and checking for understanding.

They talked of a KnowledgeWorks article: 7 future roles for educators including ‘data steward’ and ‘micro-credentialing analysts!

They are working on a data dashboard with Independent Schools Qld.

They also appointed a learning coach, targeted using data and said that the roles were definitely increasing.

Interestingly, their students were required to enrol in a MOOC.

They also talked about their LMS, their development of a robust network as the bedrock for the journey and their choice of BrightSpace.

it was interesting to hear about the way they gradually moved the conversation towards blended learning and responding to the Netflix generation, evidenced in weekend and after hours ‘when they want to learn.

They argued for the self-paced benefits of blended approaches.

so, their stages were:

– Infrastructure

– LMS

– Blended approaches

The last one can make teachers uncomfortable but you can do the first two without making any change at all.

They talked about data, and moving to predictive data, along with a data dashboard to look at results, particularly achieved results against ability. (NAPLAN vs English and Maths results)

Finally, they made a good case for their Academic Advisor program, which they’re expanding, partly based on the parent feedback.

‘If you build it they may not come, but if you don’t …’

Finally, they talked a little about physical architecture, their LOTE building, the Team Projects Area, the Arts and Applied Technology Precinct, I-Centre and ‘Science in Action’ building.

They see a future with fewer teachers and less classroom time.

They talked about the School of One in the USA

it was a good session presented by a passionate team.

Below: three slides from the presentationIMG_9413 IMG_9414

IMG_9416

Leveraging Office 365 and OneNote

We started this term with a staff learning day that was primarily technology focused, It began with a keynote by Travis Smith from Microsoft Australia who talked a lot about the benefits of pen-based technologies. I was interested to see him using OneNote as a  presentation tool; something I hadn’t seen before. It looked a bit like a simplified version of Prezi.

Afterwards, teachers could choose sessions on Office 365, OneNote, pen-based feedback, followed by a range of other options. I gave a session on Office Mix, and teachers could immediately see some of the potential there for adding value to PowerPoint in ‘flipping’ the classroom. I also gave a session on OneNote, and it was nice to see some teachers who had never used the tool, get started with their very first Notebook. I can’t wait to see the reaction when we roll out OneNote Classroom Notebooks later on in the year.

And, on OneNote, which has gradually become my one-ring-to-rule-them-all teaching and learning tool, sometimes it’s good to be reminded about some of the connectivity built into OneNote and other aspects of Office. Like meeting notes, explained below:

Code like a girl

So, in the interest of diverse opinion, in respect to the last post, I post this video of girl coders from the recent Apple WWDC Conference. I’m all for empowering girls to be what they want to be, and love the advice here: ‘don’t give up, just because it’s dominated by men’.

BTW: I still don’t think compulsory coding is a good idea! These kids all really wanted to make things happen.

Microsoft Sway

amadeus

So, it’s only January 3rd but it’s too hot to go outside so I am having a look at some new online tools, trying to figure out the best way to work with my students in Year 12 Literature this year.

I’ll certainly continue to make OneNote the basis of the notes, and am looking forward to the new OneNote Notebook Creator and the possibilities of Office 365 which we’re introducing this year, but will I continue to use Schoology and what else could I be bringing to the classroom?

One new tool I saw is Microsoft Sway, which claims to be a bit of a cross between PowerPoint and other tools like Prezi (Prezi makes me a little dizzy!)

Still in development, I played around with using Sway to introduce the task conditions for the first text, Amadeus by Peter Shaffer. It allows you to create a ‘storyline’ of images, text and share that via a weblink which is scrollable and looks pretty good. More features are coming.

You can see the result HERE (I don’t think you can embed it yet) Looks pretty interesting. Here’s the promotional video from Microsoft: