Monday, October 26, 2009

Enough said

Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery County, Md. "Possession of portable pager on public school property. In this section the following words have the meanings indicated: 'Portable pager' means any device carried, worn, or transported by an individual to receive or communicate messages. 'Public school property' means the grounds of any public school. "Except as provided ..., an individual may not possess a portable pager on public school property. This section does not apply to: handicapped students using portable pagers for medical reasons; law enforcement officers; visitors on public school property for an authorized program, meeting, or function; faculty or staff members employed by a county board; members of any volunteer fire department, ambulance company, or rescue squad, who are designated to possess a portable pager on public school property by the chief of the volunteer fire department, ambulance company, or rescue squad, and the school principal; and students whose portable pagers are contained in vehicles that are on public school property and are not found to be connected with criminal activity.

Shades of grey ??? The policy as outlined by the students ???

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Googlewave don’t believe the hype?

Google have many of us waiting to find out what wave is and what it might mean for us. Having had a bit of a read around the place and not having an invite myself I became interested. Rather than add yet another review the connections I looked at showed something new and powerful The you tube example is a realtime dialogue with translation. Below this in the iframe is Daniel Tenners take on what Google wave is and isn't for the full page is found here. Personally I think this is going to be big for collaboration and that connectivity is going to be the big delivery point for personal learning in online connected real time environment like google docs etherpad and google wave.

Ride the wave if you have trouble reading the frame below Daniels website is only a click away

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Looking for acceptable use with head in sand

I was at the Ulearn conference recently where several learners were talking about having a voice, being heard and saying what you think. In these times of change; debate and honesty are needed because the present reality is not the preferred future (the outcome of these debates will determine our direction into the unknown.)
In one workshop, on edupunk a discussion was raised suggesting that because of the danger of pornography and misuse students should not be allowed to have mobile devices in the learning environment. I found myself getting agitated while listening to someone outlining the issue who seemed incredibly reticent to allow mobile devices within the school system due to this risk. Mobile devices are ubiquitous and they are becoming “T H E  M A J O R  P E R S O N A L” connectivity mechanism.
There is much talk about schooling becoming irrelevant and while I think this is far from the case I would like to argue here that these risks may gain traction in an education system that doesn’t accept its role has changed and that an approach to internet safety must embrace change from within; utilising an ecological approach.

image image

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Engage or lose relevance

On a weekday 6 hours is the average time spent in school 18 are spent in the outside world. Sure there is the little matter of sleep and eating but the figure above speaks for itself. When we consider that access to learning technologies is probably greater outside of the school we have a curriculum of self direction. The options for good and bad, sustainable and unsustainable, moral and immoral, positive and negative, creative and consumerist are boundless outside of school. Students are learning more than ever outside of our gates. Our separation of the technological means used in the two environments is an untenable position in the long term and I propose - in the here and now. In waiting to be prepared we may lose our opportunity be part of the ecological development.

The Youth/Teens ie our Students have A participatory culture.

This participatory culture is “a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support
for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what
is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.A participatory culture is also
one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection
with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have
created). Forms of participatory culture include:
Affiliations — memberships, formal and informal, in online communities centered
around various forms of media, such as Friendster, Facebook, message boards,
metagaming, game clans, or MySpace).
Expressions — producing new creative forms, such as digital sampling, skinning and
modding, fan videomaking, fan fiction writing, zines, mash-ups).
Collaborative Problem-solving — working together in teams, formal and informal,
to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (such as through Wikipedia, alternative
reality gaming, spoiling).
Circulations — Shaping the flow of media (such as podcasting, blogging).”  taken from the confronting the challenges
report from the Mc Aurthur Foundation

Confronting the Challenges
of Participatory Culture:
Media Education for the
21st Century


The same report suggests the following and reading it helps me think what our preferred future might be:

“Rather than dealing with each technology in isolation, we would do better to take an ecological
, thinking about the interrelationship among all of these different communication
technologies, the cultural communities that grow up around them, and the activities they support.”

My Beliefs are that given the cultural communities that exist for young people are so connected they have the potential to bypass and ignore a formal education system.

Our steps towards a preferable future

  • Engage with students in the creation of an AUP that focuses on a vision for digital citizenry
  • Understand and explore what kids are doing in the 21st century
  • Help learners to learn from each other and from wider connections
  • Develop utility and understanding of the contribution points for connected mobile devices
  • Allow students to develop and explore suitable ethics and use
  • Provide faster cheaper safer (ie filtered but not stifled ) connectivity for mobile devices in our school
  • Learn ourselves
  • Accept new curriculum
  • Take risks (“the best way to predict the future is to make it”)

What this does not mean

This does not mean that learners can have whatever content they like on their phones etc but rather that we understand we will maximise both learning and shared values through adopting acceptable use based on

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What Kids Are Doing - check 1 -

Kids are sophisticated media producers....

if we let them
if we let them share with each other
if we give them an audience

How do we lift their level even higher?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reality Check - Digital Story

We had a look at digital stories and how to make them with students at Southwell School. No matter what, it is important to hand over the learning to the students. Well ... here are some results. No success criteria in this first attempt was laid out but we talked about copyright, tone, static images etc. The students were self motivated by the chance to work in the digital environment and to apply learning to this media genre and format.

There is some strong story telling and visual language with the voice coming through in the Siberia story strongly. We would love some feedback and a quick comment would be appreciated by the students.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Google docs Ulearn

Some Ideas for Google apps integration and use of Google docs. These simple tools are so connected and so online that they are changing the way we work play and collaborate (or me any way ;—)  ).  You are able to edit and add to the slides below. There is a lot more to add to the story so please have a go and I will be able to reflect on how this can grow from a simple start. Connectivity is King, Queen, Matai and Keli’i

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's now and it's social if we let it

Missed the start of DK from mediasnackers workshop and came into with history of social interaction on the internet and then the Mobile/social learning onslaught.
Why are phones unwanted in schools? I am thinking especially camera in our school environment.
What about Kindy? See the 1 year old below

DK had an interesting digital story created by people writing on a4 and holding up their message and taking a picture
of it with the writer in the frame. .

My similar ideas for content

  • What are the issues in our school?
  • What helps you learn?
  • I learn best when
  • The book character was
  • How does bullying effect people
  • How does encouragement help you
  • Also single frame digital story telling could come from these cameras
  • sustainability messages
  • Safety messages
  • Poems
  • Emotional responses
  • Love more in comments below What do you think?

Milton Keynes youth service created the message below

This is simple but effective somehow knowing that the word was someone's makes it more powerful.

The second most popular reason youth use the web is Learning.
From the web makes me feel … This site collects and reflects on the results gathered from one ok DK's web interaction points.


I really liked this reflection on twitter


“Twitter not about contacting people about finding out about stuff”

DK was talking alot about the way things just are. You can use hash tags as a stream of information in twitter so why wouldn't you? it just is.
Very pragmatic I thought lets look at reality and what we can use around us. Simple tools and social networks.

As a 44 year old the infographic below made me feel so good I had won a competition that doesn't exist.
What do the baby boomers do in social media?



Link to Media Snackers is found above. DK is very open and inviting
jumps straight to honorary kiwi status in my book.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

IT takes some planning

Colin Warner & Lynn Davie

Glen Waverly college, Victoria Dept Ed


Asked to consider where our schools are on this

Elements that may effect development

Vision, Professional Learning, Ownership, Res & Org, Action Plan, Review

No vision = confusion
No PL = anxiety
No ownership = gradual change
No Res and org = frustration
No Action plan = inconsistency
No Review = unknown impact

What Stephen Heppell said learners thought made them feel good about the process

making something
having an audience

I liked Colin talking about making sure teachers see a big variety of
practise examples. Also this is a nice simple view of what we need to be doing as a process.


Would have liked to have seen more student’s voice in this  workshop
and perhaps a look into the learning that was the result of the process.

Software for Learning


Fiona Grant based in School support services Auckland

Rochelle Jensen Waikato University


Rochelle described the software for learning site as  a

One stop shop for teachers looking to select software for learning.”

Hot NEWS from workshop

A new search engine is in development and usernames will be individualised and transferable so they can transfer from one school to another. CWA are to make it possible for learning management systems to authenticate so users will not have to enter passwords. This will make these alot more popular in my eyes.

My ideas from the workshop

  • Give one team member a role to locate suitable objects for a unit
  • Revisit that object as a whole class and in groups
  • Use the object for different perspectives each time
  • Introduce the estories form the wiki to your whole staff or syndicate groups
  • Well suited to social action and applying knowledge

The wikispace refers to the pedagogy behind this. This brings this closer to schools and looks ate their use in the classroom.
These stories are a good place to start for integration of learning objects into meaningful deep learning experiences.

The unit can already be started before the learning object is used. What happens when students think and apply past experiences to new situations. For example students who has looked at how dyed water is drawn into a plant. This is applied to the river context.

This can be watched at
was some great language of learning


Thoughts on what makes digital digital objects effective presented were
I’ll be back to




Thanks Rochelle and Fiona for providing examples of best practice in use of digistore.