Archive for June, 2009

Great expectations

As I wait with baited breath to receive my new laptop courtesy of the NSW DET, an invigorating post by Melissa Giddins has got me planning how to introduce change to my faculty. Only where Melissa as Head Teacher has the authority to set the pace of change in her faculty (laptops used in some way every lesson for the first few weeks, then moving to every second lesson on average – I love it!), as a rank-and-file classroom teacher I can only lobby for such change.

My major strategy will be resource sharing at our faculty meetings – a new teaching idea each fortnight, starting with using features of Word to annotate texts (using formatting, comment, track changes etc.) and moving through to more time consuming activities such as making a digital story.  Luckily the teachers in my faculty are all quite excited about the arrival of the laptops, though some will need more tech (and moral!) support than others.

Download my handout on using comments in Word

Download my handout on tracking changes in Word

During these meetings I’ll also be able to model some key pieces of software starting with Audacity (for making podcasts), Adobe Premier Elements (for movie making – most staff are familiar with MovieMaker…), and taking a look at where to find things in Word 2007 (most still working on 97-03 versions).

Another important strategy is to share work samples from my own classes and discuss what worked, and what didn’t work.  For teachers to feel confident in explaining a task or activity to student, I think they have to have a picture in their mind’s eye of what the product will look like.

All very ‘lead a horse to water…’, I know.  So far though, so good – I’ve been doing this kind of thing (without the software modelling) all this year, and the mood in the faculty is feeling far more positive these days.

But…what could people a bit higher up than me initiate that may bring about change more rapidly?  How about:

  • Head Teachers set high expectations for their faculty – laptops to be used in some way every lesson for the first few weeks, then moving to every second lesson on average, sounds good to me
  • Paper based ‘Daily Notices’ and ‘Staff Bulletins’ be sent electronically – ensures that teachers check email daily/weekly to retrieve these
  • Form a Technology Leadership team, with representatives from each faculty, to meet regularly to share ideas/resources and take ideas back to the faculty level
  • Add links to resources for teaching with laptops to school intranet homepage (e.g. TaLe, Curriculum Support)

I’m sure there’s loads more.  What can you think of, or what have you been doing already, in whatever role you are in at your school?



Triple J Hottest 100 Of All Time

Just voted in the Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time. Some tough decisions were made. I’ve listed my choices in this post as well as the full shortlist of 25:

1. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
2. Rage Against the Machine – Killing In The Name
3. Pixies, The – Where is my Mind?
4. Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life
5. Mountain Goats, The – This Year
6. The Grates – Burn Bridges
7. The Shins – New Slang
8. Kimya Dawson – I Like Giants
9. Björk – Hyperballad
10. PJ Harvey – Good Fortune

11. Metallica – One
12. Guns N’ Roses – Estranged
13. Pulp – Common People
14. R.E.M. – Be Mine
15. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
16. Spoon – The Way We Get By
17. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Under the Bridge
18. Green Day – Longview
19. Pearl Jam – Go
20. Silverchair – Israel’s Son
21. Smashing Pumpkins, The – Today
22. John Denver – Leaving on a Jet Plane
23. Simple Minds – Don’t You (forget About Me)
24. Blind Melon – No Rain
25. Fleetwood Mac – Dreams

The list isn’t strictly ranked, other than the top 10 being the ones I submitted to the Hottest 100, and number one is not accident. Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit will absolutely, undoubtedly, be the number one song in this countdown. Unless enough smartarses vote for Joy Division 😉


Clay Shirky on Twitter and the internet #TED

A message that many of us are becoming increasingly familiar with, but which is expressed so elegantly in this TED Talk by Clay Shirky: How cellphones, Twitter and Facebook can make history.

Clay explains how the 20th cebtury media landscape – made up of the printing press, telegraph and telephone, recorded media suach as photos and movies, and broadcast media such as radio and television – is slipping away.   The media landscape that we knew, where professionals broadcast messages to amateurs, is changing in a world where media is ‘global, social, ubiquitous and cheap’.   By using the internet to form groups as well as support conversation,  former audiences are increasingly full participants.

With some great examples of how the internet is used (and restrained), this 17 minute talk is well worth watching and sharing: