Monday, 8 April 2013

Paperless is Possible

Download a .pdf version here

mtec2013 workshop presentation – by Craig Bentley

A lecture/demonstration session covering a range of applied eLearning techniques featured in the modern tech savvy classroom. The session is designed to give actual working examples (both successful and failed) of tools used in creating diverse modes of delivery and assessment. From creative use of video, cloud technologies, Web 2.0 to BYOD & social media. Designed for teachers wanting dynamic solutions to portfolio style, project based teaching, this session will feature techniques used from introductory units through to VET Music Production.

Feedback/collaborative padlet:

During this session you’ll hear/see a lot of information gathered from resources developed most specifically over the past 5 years. If you’re after an answer or a single application that will make your classroom paperless you’re about to be disappointed. You may however find some useful tools or approaches to 21st century learning. I encourage you to chip away at whatever it is you’re trying to achieve in your classroom.

Important people.

Jason Ohler – digital story telling

Yong Zhao – global education researcher

Craig Rispin

Richard Olsen – ideas lab @richardolsen

Stephen Heppell


1.      CLOUD – (a great classroom intermediary for file sharing)
-          Google drive for Google docs/google forms
-          YouTube and Teacher Tube
-          Skydrive

2.      Microsoft SHAREPOINTpowerful solution for document storing/sharing, blogging, meetings, to do’s. Clunky interface, requires management and moderation of group members.

3.      OneNote (and Evernote) Comprehensive organisational workbook.

4.      LMS (Learning Management Systems) – Schoology or Edmodo

5.      Cameras & video

-          Flipped classroom – can be fun but has many steps involved in it
-          Video for assessment and journaling
6.      BYOD – empowering learning


Where do I begin?
If in the simplest sense you are wondering what technology you could incorporate into your teaching, look to what you might already use.
Try and target technologies that may help alleviate time consuming classroom practices. For me, video, OneNote, Outlook and Padlet have made significant advances to time saving.
Or, just start with
Find your tribe – blog, conference, teach meets, twitter, PD, team teach
Make yourself known – find people in your organisation that support or inspire you.
Work in teams – it’s galvanising, inspires creativity and innovation.

The Answer    

-          Model digital, 21st Century approaches to creativity, innovation, entrepreneurialism and collaboration
-          Re-think student thinking
-          Embrace your innovations and be a trailblazer to your class
-          Collaborate, innovate and share


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

From strength to strength - embracing self achievement.

I just penned this thank you letter to +David Ridgeway after I achieved a life goal on the weekend. Breaking 80 strokes in an 18 hole round of golf is a big deal for most (only 1% of all golfers achieve this). I'm chuffed with my efforts and feel a great satisfaction in how I applied myself to the task. Not only through learning the physical techniques and skills of the game, but on taking a holistic approach to the outcome.

I found David after downloading a golf improvement app from iTunes. The intial approach contained in the (App) program worked - but I wanted something more specific. I contacted David and he recommended we undertake 3 Skype session of hypnosis and EFT. It was intense at the time but the results were more than immediate. My golf scores have been on the improve ever since.

Visit David's website and book a consultation - if you're open (minded) to the idea of hypnosis, you'll gain an enormous amount from working with him.

My letter reads.....

I firstly want to encourage anyone who has the slightest inclination to investigate David’s approaches to do so – immediately. He has ben a pleasure to work with and shown great interest in the success he’s been able to facilitate for me.

I had always struggled with self-analysis and criticism of my achievements as a musician and a golfer but was open to the prospect of hypnosis after seeing what it did for my wife using hypno-birthing. I found through the iTunes App store and am so glad I undertook a short 3 session program with him. David has helped me unlock a greater enjoyment of my pursuits and to draw success through my successes. Without any golf coaching, I meditated my way (with David) to lowering my handicap by 5 strokes in 4 months. After 18 years of golf coaching, custom clubs and countless hours on the range, I achieved my ultimate goal of breaking 80 shots in a competition round with David’s techniques.

I have no hesitation in recommending David Ridgeway as a life coach to anyone who is open and interested in achieving self improvement through practical and achievable techniques - it has been a very empowering experience.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Tight policies help to fight the establishment.

I'm a little annoyed at discovering that my school will go to BYOD type policy in 2013. The death of illegal mobile phones in the learning environment breaks another key layer to the student/teacher discipline divide. The 'no mobile phone' policy generated some great moments in my classroom. Hearing a phone buzz with a message or a rogue ringtone created an excellent classroom test of honesty. It also created some great laughs when awkwardly, students had to take ownership of the transgression. Policies such as these guard against theft and the difficulty of students misplacing or losing their devices and putting the school community right into the thick of supporting the search for said device. It makes sense that these devices are are left in lockers and bags - it just does.

It also makes sense because I've known for some time that smart phone devices offer excellent augmentation to the kit of tools learners can provide themselves. Short term auditory recall - audio record the class introduction. Generated some excellent 'chalk & talk' whiteboard action - quick, take a photo. Running an extra help session or lunchtime activity - put it into your organiser. Using some flip vids tagged up with QR codes pasted on the walls - scan and watch whilst looking at your work. Smart devices help create strategies for individuals.

But those in control are about to take the steam out of some key learning moments. There's nothing better than having something to stand up for. An opinion or approach that can appear innovative and against the established norm. I've been a mobile phone rebel for a while now and am mourning that my justifiable rage against the establishment is about to become normalised. My 'coolness' is about to be critically undermined. My pleas for independent thought and an innovative approach that show a determined governance of your own destiny in a digital world left behind by the institutions that seek to control teenage populations is being ripped out from underneath me. What cause can I fight for now? What will I stand for when I appear to be just another cog in the system that seeks to make conformists of us all?

I'm shattered!

But I'll get over it. Bring on the chaos and let's make it work BIG!

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Spoon Feeding dilemma

A fair proportion of my teaching is based around students' recognising their learning strengths and then exploring that approach. This focus is underpinned through having them incorporate their preferred mode of learning into the basic research of the projects they undertake and development of a plan that focusses their approach. Planning and research takes many forms - interview, video/article collection, dot form writings etc. I then ask students to give a great detail of thought and detail to their reflective process and involve deeper questions about what took place and how their approach does/doesn't work for them. In all of my teaching, I seem to expect that each group of students' will have encountered this type of approach. I teach Music Technology (from yr 8 -12) and don't get an abundance of time through the 10 day timetable. Time and time again, I find myself challenging students to break the mould of expecting the answers. So many of them wait for the reassuring guidance of that safety net to emerge. Work samples seem to result in direct replication or copying and I'm OK with that as a starting point but unless it becomes vital to the process, I'm not giving you the answer.

As a teacher, withdrawal from the process of information transference seems like a treacherous path to take as we all want to demonstrate our expertise. Reassurance that my knowledge and approach are relevant and valuable can be very affirming (who doesn't like a captive audience). The dilemma is - is catering to the wants and needs of my students good for their learning or just good for my ego and their results? I like assessment when the results show success, and feel particularly proud of my ability to transfer my brilliance. The assessment of learning, risk taking, creative thinking, planning, execution and reflection of the project and the individual seems like a more relevant approach, for a 21st Century learner.

In the described model, I feel increasingly removed from assessment because the learning processes seem so much more in tact. In fact, when recently asked by a student when the exam was going to be, I was so absorbed in what was taking place in class that I couldn't foresee any benefit in an examination. I asked the boy if he'd rather interact with the projects or be tested? He hadn't really considered it would be any other way although the 'cool' subjects don't have exams. This is again a difficult area for teachers - does the inclusion of an exam legitimise the content, and subject for that matter, or does it really assess the learning? What if I don't include an exam, am I a lazy teacher? Will the school's curriculum leaders frown upon me and the subject? It can be difficult to stand up to this pressure.

Thirdly, what's with the lack of collaboration? I enjoy the process of students contributing to a collaborative aspect within everything we do. There is real strength in making connections within the classroom and to leave something for the next group. What's our legacy, and what's our footprint? A sample of how I do this is wallwisher. Tips, documents and videos on the techniques and approaches that students explore become foundations for planning, sharing with peers and for sending out to the wider community. There's nothing more surprising when someone from outside the class makes a contribution and nothing more shocking than the looks on faces when I suggest we should share our wall with another school. Such looks of shock from many when they realise that we're curating readily available resources and reposting them to others. Why would we do that? We can't help them, they're not at our school! Reflecting upon this, I became sympathetic to their position as I couldn't identify any models for collaboration from within my organisation, not inter faculty, and not from management (Maybe they're all too busy on Facebook).

The more I teach for individual differences, multiple intelligences, diversity, curiosity, passion and creativity (thanks Yong Zhao), the stronger I feel about reforming our model of education and in the least, the model within my classroom.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Is this a 'flip' video or a how to?

So what's your view on this vid? Is it a 'flipped' classroom vid or is it a 'how to'. Alternatively, you might think it's both.
My approach for these vids is to focus on the approach, not on where to click and in what order. The video assumes background knowledge of the software and the approach being discussed.

I make the video available through local intranet and QR codes on the walls in the classroom. That way, student's can watch or save links on their portable devices as well.

You might wish to leave a comment on this one.

EdTech Bugle - My

Sunday, 21 October 2012