Digital Literacy

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In my role as a Digital Learning Facilitator, I am asked by teachers to support them in various ways; in the planning stages, in class tech support or for small lesson sessions. I love doing all of those and am excited when a teacher steps into a discomfort zone to try something new. Along the way, I try and encourage students (and teachers) to think of audience and  copyright when creating. Two of my favourite websites are Pixabay and  Pexels  which enable students to use copyright free images. I also encourage students to create their own images.

What I didn’t consider was that I was actually walking down the path of teaching digital literacy and that I still had quite a ways to go until I read this great article.

https://www.literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-daily/2016/02/03/knowing-the-difference-between-digital-skills-and-digital-literacies-and-teaching-both 

Time for me to add to my skill set and promote more digital literacy.

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Peace Crane Project – A Great Project for School Libraries

This is the third year I have been involved in the Peace Crane Project but the first year at my new school.

Our school Teacher Librarian was happy for it to be run in the library and for the last couple of weeks students have been busy making peace cranes to send to Ms Kurashige (@mjurashige) and the students at Mid Pacific Institute in Hawaii, USA. I am so grateful that they were willing to spend their lunchtimes creating these beautiful cranes. Some students learned a new skill while others were willing to share theirs.

Happy Peace Day for Monday and I hope you will consider joining us next year.

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St Thomas More Year 6 Students making Cranes and Hearts

Mrs Meyer and the Year 6 students participating in the Peace Crane Project for the International Day of Peace, 2015. Thank you Mrs Meyer for supporting this great project.

Cranes 4 Peace

The International Day of Peace is nearly here for 2015. Once again St Thomas More students are involved and are sending cranes and hearts to Elkanah House. Thank you, Mrs Stadler!

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Why I won’t be defined by a product.

Every day I’m blown away by the amazing educators out in our schools. I learn so much from them and try to emulate them in my own way. I find inspiration and hope from my PLN, most of whom belong to the twitter sphere. They put their students first and work hard to engage and stimulate them to achieve their best and in doing so often learn something themselves.

What I don’t understand is how a product has been given the power to decide only certain people can be called distinguished educators. I refuse to believe in this and will do my best to support all my distinguished educators who are doing amazing things with their students regardless of the products they are using.  

This is not denigrating any educator who belongs to such programs because they are doing great things but I’m not sure it’s a good direction for education.

TeachMeet Returns

  

Thanks to the generosity of committed educators in Margaret River, TeachMeet returned to our town last week. We are so fortunate that our teachers are willing to share their passions by volunteering to present.

We heard 

  • How Google Classroom has transformed a year 6 classroom enabling access and collaboration.
  • How Bee Bots can be used effectively in literacy and math in the Early Childhood classroom
  • How Class Dojo is an effective behavioural management tool
  • How to become a global classroom using the Global Peace Crane Project
  • The amazing resources available in iTunesU and iBooks

We were also extremely fortunate to have Mr Craig Kemp, the Head of ICT and Learning Innovation at Avondale Grammar in Singapore, Skype in and encourage us to form a global Professional Network and make global classroom connections for our students. You can find Craig at http://www.mekempnz.com or on Twitter @mrkempnz 

If you haven’t experienced a TeachMeet yet, I encourage you to find one near you. I would also encourage you to take the plunge and present. TeachMeets are full of people wanting to learn and sharing your passions make them even more useful and relevant. 

Nice work, Margaret River!  

“Our Deepest Fear is that we are Powerful Beyond Measure”

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“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
‘A Return To Love’ (1992) by Marianne Williamson
The authorship is often credited to Nelson Mandela but I think I have referenced it properly.

This passage was in our school planner for week one and is one of my favourite pieces of writing. It reminds me that by being the best I can be I am merely using the gifts and talents given to me and that I have a responsibility to share them. In my role of ICT Integrator, I am asking my colleagues to try new things that might be a little scary. I hope that I can light the way for them so they feel confident to try new things.

Are you a lighthouse that shines the way for others and guides them safely along the way?
I encourage you to share your light today. What can you do that will encourage others to be a little braver?

Engagement is the Key. Making school fun.

Michael Fullan

It’s wonderful and exciting how separate actions can lead to one destination. I have been reading Stratosphere by Michael Fullan in preparation for my new role this year as an ICT integrator and I am finding lots to think about as you can see by my yellow sticky notes popping out.
At the beginning, Michael states four criteria for integrating technology and pedagogy.
(i) irresistibly engaging for students and teachers
(ii) elegantly efficient and easy to use
(iii) technologically ubiquitous
(iv) steeped in real life problem solving

I’m really engaged by problem based learning and found Lee Crockett’s Solution Fluency a great way to structure a unit of work incorporating technology and literacy. I believe this unit covered three of the four criteria. The initial scenario is outlined below.

scenario
The students understood this was a hypothetical situation but in reality it gave them a great vehicle for finding out what was great about our school and celebrating it with their peers and parents. They were incredibly engaged and came up with great promotional videos after weeks of organising, structuring ,capturing the right shots and interviewing. I was uplifted by their efforts and believe that the Solution Fluency backbone made it successful.

working on promos

I was reminded of this project when reading this Integrating Education Technology post by Michael Boykin this morning and the statement that technology could be used by students to ‘show what they know’ which is one of my favourite mantras for Ed Tech.

Oh and as I have taken up the #bloggermore2015 challenge I have also tried to improve my blog post by adding some power words in the hope that it will improve my writing after reading Jon Morrow’s post. See more here.

Stepping up and Stepping Out – Comfort Zones are not Learning Zones

I am responding to a challenge by Simon McKenzie (@connectedtchr) to blog more in 2015. I want to blog more because I find it requires me to stop and think, reflect and/or celebrate. So, thank you Simon for putting out the challenge.
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Blog post 1/26
In reflecting on 2014 I have one thing I’d like to share.
1. Stepping out of your comfort zone is worth it.
Ok, so stepping out of your comfort zone is scary! Really scary! But in a weird kind of way it gets to be a little addictive because like the quotes say, it is where magic, life, adventure and new experiences start.
One experience that got my heart racing this year was applying for an amazing job in the city that meant I had to up skill big time but was too good an opportunity to miss. Although I was shortlisted I wasn’t successful but I learned so much just going through the process. I think the most important thing I learned was that I didn’t have to do it on my own. I asked colleagues and friends to help me get there and they did. I was fortunate to start in a new position around the same time at a high school. This year stepping out of my comfort zone is going to be a way of life as I work with the staff to integrate IT into the curriculum but I won’t try to do it on my own. I will be asking for help.
So maybe you can step a little out of your comfort zone too, knowing you don’t have to be alone when you do. Good luck, it will be worth it.

Middle School TeachMeet in Vasse.

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Feedback after the initial TeachMeet in Margaret River in August led to the idea of organising Middle School Event. Garry, who had been a presenter of the Big History Project, volunteered to host a meet at his school,Cape Naturaliste College in Vasse.
So, the hunt was on for presenters that could give a middle school perspective.
Fortunately, Cape Naturaliste College SOSE department provided three presenters and the Maths department added one.
Marie demonstrated how the comic creation website Pixton could be used to engage students in Year 9 Modern History and synthesize information they have read. Her students created really interesting comics on the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand.
Mandy found a creative way to link hashtag creation to history lesson in Year 9 and 10. Students had to read information and create a hashtag that summarised the information. They then had to discuss why they had chosen that particular hashtag. A great way to engage students who are already using hashtags in social media websites like Tumblr.
Ben’s Sustain-a-Build project involved research, collaborative work with peer mentoring and creative design to create 3D models of a sustainable town. TED Talks of other students around the world doing similar projects inspired the kids.Benefits of this project were the engagement of students who enjoyed creating models and the collaborative work that needed to be done to finish the project. I particularly liked the separation of roles into designer, architect and landscaper. As my husband is a Town Planner I might have liked the designer role to be called Town Planner :). Ben also mentioned how nice it was to be able to display the final works for the rest of the school community to view.
Gareth from the Maths department gave us his experiences as a first time HOLA (Head of Learning Area). He found the benefit of the role was the advocacy role for his department and taking a lead in curriculum but managing a budget and resources was a challenge. Ben also stated that as a HOLA, flexibility was important as every day brought new things.

We were also treated to presentations from two independent schools in the region, Yallingup Steiner School and Cornerstone Christian College.

Konrad, the Principal of Yallingup Steiner School introduced some of us to the core ideals behind Steiner Education. I know that I was interested in their Cape to Cape Walk Program where the students from 9 years old on, walk sections of the Cape to Cape track. This links in beautifully with science, geography, local Noongar history and art to name a few.
Bob from Cornerstone Christian College outlined how Middle School is organised at his school and stressed that authentic relationships with the students is the key to a successful middle school program. Middle school teachers were usually only middle school teachers. I was also interested in their integrated projects.

I couldn’t resist the temptation to speak about the benefits of Twitter for developing a PLN and for accessing great professional development. However, at this meet I was representing my new school, MacKillop Catholic College.

Thanks again to the teachers  who attended in such a busy term and to Garry for organising a great meet and providing yummy food as well.
I believe TeachMeets are here to stay!

TeachMeet 2 – A Montessori Experience

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Our second TeachMeet in Margaret River was hosted magnificently by Margaret River Montessori School. We were treated to presentations by two of staff members, Jan and Lee-Anne. These presentations introduced us to some core principles in Montessori education but were not exclusive. I know we all learned something we could use in our own classes. Helen from Margaret River Primary school entertained us with the app, AutoRap and suggested we give class instructions in a novel new way. Nicole from St Thomas More CPS, gave us a brief look into Genius Projects. I know for a fact how fabulous they have been in her Year 7 class. Our principal, Marty, outlined how the peer forum we call the Breakfast Club is helping support staff with curriculum and classroom management ideas and I gave a quick pitch for Twitter as a PLN tool.
All in all it was a fun afternoon get together with some new faces and new ideas. If you haven’t been to a TeachMeet yet, see if there is one near you. Western Australian educators can look here
Next, the TeachMeet at Cape Naturaliste College in Vasse on the 25th November. Our first Middle school event.