Using Apple Teacher as a PL tool
Using this as a starting point we have more scope to use our face to face time to clarify their understanding and to workshop application of skills which is far more effective and beneficial. We also set up a question board where staff can post questions/ideas any time and we can all respond and help build understanding that way. It empowers those a little further ahead in their explorations to help their peers and also provides a mechanism for staff to see and interact with what others are doing and to receive support in a timely manner.
There is the option to take a quiz at the end of a unit to gain badges, but at this stage the resource themselves are the real gold! For future reference the quizzes require participants to apply what they know across a series of 5 questions per topic. Once you have completed 8 topics in iPad or Mac (it's the same qualification) you are awarded the Apple Teacher Badge and the Swift Units become available.
When integrating technology sharing the why matters more than the how
Working with colleagues is a large part of my role. Upskilling their digital capcity and opening their minds to new uses of technoogy connected to meaningful tasks, assessment and all things education is rad fun. Especially when you see them take a risk, produce something wonderful and watch a new world of possibilities open to them.
Like KI. KI asked me to help her make a podcast for her Senior English students. She has seen podcasts on Youtube and wanted to make some for her learners. So we met along with some of her collegues and I taught her how to do it very early one morning before school. We spend an hour and a half establishing what she wanted to make and with what content. this led to learning how to record the screen using Quick Time Pro and present info in Keynote - both a which were new tools for all team members. But I forgot to cover something very important at this point- why she was doing this and this becomes important down the track.
KI went away and produced her first podcast - she scripted it, recorded it, gathered poems, visual imagery even clips and put them into this podcast. It was a solid 30 minute immersion into her wonderufl understanding. And it was good. She spoke with such clarity, real passion and connected even a poetry-phobe like myself to reading and understanding poetry. I felt priveleged to be able to listen to my learned colleague speak and to hear the passion in her voice. I got to learn something more that I usually would on my tram into the city. Her podcasts will only continue to improve as her understanding of the program does and now I know I can sit with her and show her some more tricks. However the students did not get this same opportunity because I forgot to clarify the why with her.
And why does the why matter? This is why.
KI got it. She knew the power in the podcast being accessible at point of need, targetted to multiple learning styles. She put the onus on students to autonomously front load their learning prior to turning up to class, understood that so much more can be gathered from listening to information that supports the work that occurs in class. She nailed it when she said that copying and handing out the script defeated the purpose. Not that her collegues were being deliberately malicious. They were present for the learning session but did not understand the why and power of what KI had created.
So what now? Continue working with KI to keep producing and refining her podcasts, using feedback from students and peers to help this. And to work with her collegues and students to help them understand the why behind these podcasts and the other skills they will gain by moving their learning styles to be more like KI.
They will know why they are taking risks and growing immesely in doing so as they have an excellent role model in KI.
What to do when you find yourself with some space and time to get organised
probing into why we have a LMS and developing with the school community an understanding of our LMS
Dedicating an hour a fortnight to learning with my peers all over Australia
I'm new to MOOC's - Massive Open Online Courses. The thought of working at my pace through a series of videos, tasks that are shared with global education communities and building on the ideas of unknown peers does sound appealing. But I was wondering how I would go making the commitment to really drive my own learning. Yet when I thought about it it is often what I ask my students to do, so what better way to walk in their shoes then to try it myself!
As I near the end of this MOOC https://csermoocs.appspot.com/nextsteps/ focussing on the Digital Technologies Curriculum in Years 7 & 8, I thought it may be timely to make a list of the things that helped me get through the course and take from it what I needed. See below for this list.
4. I found sharing one thing I had learned in the fortnight with a buddy held me accountable - whether it was sharing a resource, having a quick chat about an idea or commenting on a MOOC particpants idea/activity made me feel more connected.
When 3 teachers get together and start looking at framing and developing a new week long immersive task connected to digital media it's exciting. We throw around ideas, build a concept and essential question and generally leave over- stimulated and with a unit that if it came to fruition would probably be a year long full time endeavour!
So when we started down this track a colleague noted and important step - lets invite the students to join us as planners. So we did. We visited all Year 7 and 8 classes and called for students who were either keen to have a say on what and how we learn in the case of the Year 7's and what they liked and wanted to improve on in the case of the Year 8's. The Year 8's had just completed a task connected to Social Media and the Year 7's were about to start.
Our 4 Years 7's and 5 Year 8's turned up and we were blown away! Their ideas were articulate and sophisticated, they knew what they wanted to know, where they felt they had gaps and wanted to know what was possible from us. To hear a student ask "Can I really make an App, like my own App?" and to watch them get excited when you reply yes is exciting for all of us. To discover their are adults, and girls who are gamers is eye opening for them - and this surprised me too. Questions like "Can we build a real game" and " It would be good if we could talk with real people who work in the field" and statements such as "It would be good to have to share our work with someone who can give us real feedback" and "I want my friends to be able to pick what we make, but still have to get better at something - so they can't pick making a poster! My sister in Grade 4 can code and I want to!" were particularly resonant.
The best part was when they gave us such an important insight into what its like to be a teenager using social media when one student suggested " We don't want to feel bad for using social media, we just want to use it well" And thus our focus question and program outline was born - from the minds of 9, 13 - 14 students!
We took a risk, they tok a risk and we now have an amazing starting point. Stay tuned to see how the unit develops.
I had the idea that I could have a series of communications with the students in their learning space on brown paper, introducing my plants, allowing them to name them and then inviting them to build them a home. So I placed up the first banner and 2 days later I went to check on it.
Winning! We had names. So up went the next poster naming the succulents inviting them to join me the following week to build them a home - the plan being to get onto Pinterest and to find a skill or two to hack and to get started making. In theory it was so simple and I was hoping the unique brown paper conversations would draw some attention. This was the turnout to my first session.
You could call it a fail. It was. But this is not a bad thing. Upon reflection these students have no idea who I am, what I planned to do and even if this is something they would be interested in. I misread my audience and neglected to bring them along through actual interaction, rapport and sharing what is possible. It was too soon to try something as obscure and enigmatic with students who may not be used to taking risks like this, being provoked like this. And I'm glad I got to experience this. Just like when I ask my students, my colleagues to take a risk and try something new it's good to be reminded how it feels when it does not work and to take stock of what needs to change next time - what I need to change next time. Because there will be a next time.
What this means moving into a new role, in a new school with new staff and students to get to know is that to embody this my relationships could look like this;
Trust through giving myself to others, acknowledging my gaps and trusting staff will help me grow and trusting in my own capacity as I navigate new experiences. Forgiveness of myself as I make mistakes and to making a process of change. Integrity as I establish relationships and integrate into a well established, experienced staff who bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding to what they do. Hope through action rather than relying on optimism and compassion as I start to work with people in an area that may be uncomfortable or not of interest to them. One way to establish this compassion is to look for and explore the skills and experiences of those I work with.