Apr 11

Recently the visual/spatial learner in me is enjoying the life of a visual blogger using tumblr. Knewd is experimental tumblog aggregates memorable digital breadcrumbs I come across in cyberspace - this is my way of both sharing and archiving bitz i already knewd in a rather naked and open manner.

20080511-Jrqkjnka65Hb9Pw2B36Cr1Ftas

Tumblr the easiest way to get content on the web I’ve come across. Organising, valuing and automating the metadata/content produced via the traditional inquiry based learning process is still for me currently the most exciting area of ICTs in education.

20080511-Fpww27Iugiit15Kfggt2Bypury

Very quickly we are seeing metadata becoming hyper-connected content and the ability of users to quickly see this metadata in context. This picture is a snippet from the archive of my scrapbook from the last few months.

20080511-Q15Hwpx5Nu41Xsk57K46U55N75

I also use Tumblr here to aggregate my web2.0 wanderings - this automated process of organising, valuing and automating the metadata I produce via the traditional inquiry based learning process is for me currently the most exciting area of ICTs in education. The select and organise aspects of inquiry based learning are facilitated by the process of tumblogging even more when you add.

As @dswaters pointed out at the recent ECAWA unconference I am not the most social creature online these days! I do engage with some discussions on email lists and a little bit more lately on Twitter but in general this year I have not really been joining in the dialogue of the blogosphere as much. I have been considering the reasons behind this, and think it is simply that I am so busy with the new job, but most of all I think it’s because if I am going to engage with a discussion I feel I need to really immerse myself in the discussion to have my contributions be of any use.

CommentThis general demeanour leaves me missing out on a fantastic project is going on in the edublogosphere called the 31 day comment challenge. I would love to be part of it but instead I am just going to write about how cool it is instead :-). Sue Waters makes some valuable points here about the fact “that commenting on blogs is a crucial aspect of blogging conversations for achieving the greatest learning,” and this is put in context by an insightful reference to Derek Wenmoth’s diagram The Four C’s of Participation in Online Communities. Maybe I’ll be up for the next one.

My voluntary work on building the new ECAWA website and exciting Community Bookmarking project has taken up more time than expected. This will be an interesting project to watch unfold - currently we are still taking votes to see which social bookmarking tool we will use. The reception at the ECAWA unconference - thanks guys - was a positive one so I hope the wider community sees the value in tapping into and aggregating our collective intelligence.

technorati , , , , ,

   , , ,

Jan 23

In 2008 I have chosen to take up a new position with NextByte - a company I have long admired for it’s professionalism and technology support from a curriculum based perspective.

As Education Manager WA I continue my dedication to helping teachers and administrators find the most solutions for integrating ICTs into classrooms. This role will allow me to develop solutions specific to the needs of schools and learners. Also I will be able continue to provide professional development support to teachers/administrators in a similar manner to that I provided during the SLICT Project in 2007.

On the jobI continue to be passionate that ICT use in schools is/should be accessible to all 21C students and teachers. As an educator I have grown to believe we really do involve with the “digital natives” (Prensky 2004) and allow them the opportunity to move beyond a “rip-mix-burn” ideology to one where they “grip-fix-turn” (Flintoff 2006) this digital information into effective communication. This comes with experience, skills in self-expression and using online technologies with sound critical thinking to help solve the complex issues of our times. Specifically I remain interested in the ways effective integration of ICT into the curriculum can engage and enhance the school experience of the digital natives in our classrooms. At the core of this is the ability of students to communicate, are links to the experience of connectivism the have online at home, but with curriculum focus and sound critical literacy. This is also the heart of Rudd’s education revolution policy.
I look forward to working with OSX on an Intel Mac, as proof of the concept that Windows, Linux and OSX can peacefully co-exist simultaneously on the same machine with speed and ease of use - I believe that in the hands of adept educators this set-up has the potential to save schools money and put some really powerful cross-platform tools into the hands of students. I point this out as Macs are often discounted, but it never ceases to amaze me how simply and quickly staff and students use the iLife suite to communicate their ideas expressively across all learning areas. Music, text, video, sound, and online collaboration at their fingertips - all of these mediums of delivery are centred around communication.

To personally continue my lifelong learning via connectivism, along with my passion for web2.0 and Macs, I will continue to maintain a presence in the conversation online.

   ,

Dec 14

OpenAcademicI am impressed with the way OpenAcademic unifies powerful social-software technologies - the learner centred experience of Elgg, the community functionality of Drupal and Moodle’s course management + a Media Wiki. Refreshingly though, openacademic.org isn’t just buzz - it is actually happening. Coincidently, listening to a webcast the other day, some North American educators were discussing the prospect of a tool that unified various education focussed open-source social software technologies; I realised later they were talking about OpenAcademic. This discussion on EdTechTalk about ePortfolios in schools was of particular interest. It totally changed my understanding of what an ePortfolio should and could be.

I firmly believe the future of the ePortfolio as a concept is central to a future system-wide SOE (Standard Operating Environment) based on a social-software system (hopefully flexible and open-source) such as is mooted at openacademic.org. Perhaps beginning at the end of the decade? We teachers are currently attempting work with unsuited technologies, trying to achieve e protfolios we know have advantages for students, parents and teachers alike. What we really need are collaborative social-software systems hosted on the Internet in relatively open yet still safe and secure networked environment. WordPressIn the real-world, I accept this is some way off as an SOE, but still similar systems are within reach at the moment - a hosted version of Moodle, or as a simple content management system, WordPress for example: take the interface for the writing (blogging) system which is simple in form - *the emphasis with social software tools is on student produced content, and collaboration* - not WordArt - if I may just highlight an odd primary school example that some of my esteemed colleagues see using ICTs as meaning. MoodleIn keeping with the focus on learning content and collaboration, the filing system and presentation online is automated - these two large stumbling blocks are removed to allow the building of effective ePortfolios. In fact even the Moodle and WordPress interfaces are simpler than those of offline business/office tools we currently contort to fit educational needs such as Word, PowerPoint and Publisher.

In terms of the efficacy of ePortfolios as a ‘reporting’ mechanism in a K-7 setting there is definitely potential for a social-software e portfolio to be of great use. The time-saving aspect of a system utilising Elgg, Moodle, MediaWiki, Drupal or WordPress will appeal to Drupalteachers; for example they can easily be set-up to categorise writing and multimedia into Learning Area archives - for planning, reflection, negotiation, debate and again *collaboration* with teachers, cohorts and even external input (eg. schools overseas). In terms of assessment tasks, and avoiding the paper chase, they would are automatically archived to the database and saved as learning snapshots (writing, video, music, art, Kahhotz etc) because the students (with assistance) will have selected the appropriate learning area assessment “tag” for their work. Drafts can be saved and not displayed until publish is clicked. Teachers can moderate all collaboration via their in-box by clicking on approve, edit or delete when comments or completed tasks are published. An interesting discussion in the webcast above was the North American New Hampshire District model; ePortfolios documenting the learning journey and assessment linked to competency modules (our outcomes), and the association of projects and matching those with competencies (our Elgglevels). It would be awesome to have the Curriculum Framework integrated into such a system here. I’ve noticed Math is rarely included in the discussion on ePortfolios for obvious reasons - but for example, in a Primary School setting a screenshot could be taken of a score achieved in Year 3 Math Measurement at http://rainforestmaths.com/ for example - students could then blog (write/type) about their understanding in relation to the score displayed in the screenshot. Acheivement certificates from Mathletics could also be used. Maybe online maths syllabus tasks will in time become part of a social-software based SOE ePortfolio.MediaWiki

Possibly the greatest benefit of a such a social-software ePortfolio system is it’s usage for the duration of a student’s school life. Samples of learning difficulties could be recognised and collated by means of URI’s. Social-software e portfolios will have the bonus of ownership too - students will take pride in their work and be impressed by it’s volume and searchability for future reference. Different teachers over the time of a child’s growth, from Year 3-7 for example, could easily refer to the yearly archives to gauge the development of understanding, expression, past themes covered, etc.

[Cross-posted] This post was initially a response to an email by Peter Trimble to the eChalk email list.

   , , , , ,

Sep 26

What will these digital natives get up to next! This is a good lesson on the importance of logging out of websites for digital learners of all ages (via BBC):

Pink FigaroJack Neal’s parents only discovered their son’s successful bid when they received a message from eBay about the Barbie pink Nissan Figaro.

Rachael Neal, 36, said her son was quite good at using the computer.

Link to BBC article.

   ,

Close
E-mail It