Wednesday, 21 December 2011

My presentation at Abbotsleigh #teachmeet #tmsydney #tmxmas

Education as a gift.

This was my 7 minute presentation at Abbotsleigh Teachmeet #tmxmas in November 2011. The theme was a celebration of learning as a teachmeet Christmas. Therefore, I thought it would be nice to ask Santa to "skype" in- using imovie to capture his thoughts- this video format didn't work too well with Powerpoint presenting at a PC school. The presentation went well and everyone loved Santa and their gifts!  I wasn't able to upload to the #tmwikispace or slideshare as the file was so large - 250mb with pics and photos. I did convert the file to WMV to allow it to play on my PC laptop in the hope of a screencaputure, however it was still too big. Many hours and trialling different ways to bring this presentation together, I ended up with an "old fashioned" way to record using the video on my iphone just taping off the computer!  Funny I know..but at least that is a job done!  So, finally Malyn and Megan I can submit my presentation-phew!

Ps-> sound quality from Santa Skyping in a little poor so may need to listen carefully :) I am so glad it is completed!  MANY lessons learnt!

Keeping the conversation going,
Jeannette James

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sharing ways to utilize Twitter at events (on a bigscreen!)

Displaying a Twitter Wall

A great support to any presentation, unconference or workshop is the use of a screen to share the backchannel.  A backchannel is real time (often online) conversations, that work alongside the presenters spoken word. It is a very useful tool in many ways.

Importance of a backchannel:

  • allows the audience to interact with the presenter
  • allows the audience to interact with each other! Therefore enhancing the whole experience.
  • gives the more reserved audience participant "a voice"
  • can be documented with various tools such as Tweetdoc and saved as PDF file (see my previous posts for examples of #ravoties tweetdoc Click here for Tweetdoc 1 (2 is on blogpost Food for educational geeksfirst ever Hills #tmsydney Click here to read Tweetdoc and the more recent Live International #teachmeet. Click here.
  • allows others to join the conversation if not physically present and share ideas/thoughts/resources
  • a way to keep up to date/in contact with your profession
  • a learning tool
  • Feedback is useful to presenters evaluation and reflection
  • encourages those not on twitter to view how exciting it is to be engaged with information and others in the audience ...and beyond!
My favourite backchanneling tools are the use of a Twitter hastag (as can be seen on the above tweetdocs) and  Today's meet.   More on Today's meet another time.   A backchannel presented as a  Twitter wall also gains interests, gives a bit of "wow" factor and allows those not on Twitter to read what others are Tweeting out.

Here are some wonderful tools to display a twitter backchannel on IWB/SMART screen or similiar:  (also called a Twitter Wall)

  1. Twitterfountain               First, as I find it most user friendly with many variations in settings.                      Free. Can add your images as background. Fancy. Impact.
  2. Wallofsilver                    Next in line as favourite.  Free.
  3. Visibletweets     
  4. Walloftweets                   Haven't used this one.
  5. Twitterfall    
  6. Anothertweetonthewall   Unsure if you can customize this one but quick, easy and free.
  7. Tweetfeed                       Need to create account. Simple display allows you to focus on text.

Like most tools, take a look and experiment with each,  to see what one works for you and your given situation.  Some of the animations, colours or themes of the tweet displays can either be distracting or not functional eg swirls, flashing, dropping letter by letter.  See what works for you.
Any other hints/suggestions/tips? Please share :)

Have fun!
Jeannette James

@wjputt :  Web20forschoolleaders thoughts on a Twitter client

Please join in via a comment interaction. Let everyone know what works for you. Any other ideas or thoughts?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Live meeting: International #teachmeet webinar

18th December, 2011

Enhancing your own professional development 
via Global Collaboration.

                                       Amazing photo of  Guernsey, Channel Islands  by Kyle.wood


Last night on Twitter I stumbled across the  #itdi chat and was unsure what the acronym stood for so I asked... It stands for International teacher development institute. This caught my interest immediately.  I believe as educators, we are all responsible for our own learning and continuing to adapt our pedagogy to suit our students and to prepare them for THEIR future world, not ours. I believe schools must encourage a culture of educators supporting their own PD - more of "helping teachers help themselves".  As educators we are professionally responsible and morally bound to provide the best learning environment we can for our students.

Following the hashtag on twitter, I discovered it was the backchannel for a LIVE webinar that was currently concluding, however a new one for #teachmeet was about to start. I followed the links and tried to join the live meeting. This didn't work on my Mac, so I tried on my work HP probook and BINGO! I was able to install Microsoft Live meeting and join in!. Click here for more info.

This online LIVE meeting (webinar) was amazing!  I had the laptop open viewing the international presenters on screen and listening to their presentations (slides were also progressing in background- Click here for the teachmeet international wikispace ) and the Mac assisted my tweeting of the event on #teachmeet hashtag. Listening to the perspectives, insights and learning experiences from educators all around the world was very special. Here is a list of the presenters. They represented countries ranging from South Africa, Croatia, Greece, Indonesia, Switzerland, Wales, Belgium, Spain, England, Romania and India.
Cherry is an English teacher from India who was very helpful with the twitter backchannel.

Tweet doc of last night so you can have a squiz!   
Squiz is Australian slang for take a look/have a glance/be inquisitive.

Recently I was apart of the Connected classrooms #ccglobal Christmas-around-the-world initiative, where we sent QR codes (this is the generator I use)  to schools around the world sharing our countries Christmas traditions and experiences. Amazingly, one of the educators I had connected with last week Vicky Loras @vickyloras was also a presenter last night- truly a small world. So easy to connect these days which is the beauty of online learning. Link to our Glogster here and QR code below.


This is a terrific capture of the international teachmeet by Bart (see his contact below)

The event was hosted ever so well by Arjana Blazic from Croatia @abfromz and Bart Verswijvel @bartverswijvel from Belgium. Well done guys!

And another Slideshare overview by @sonjalr

Link to the International teachmeet wikispace with further handy links -> Click here.

Over and out. Keep smiling!
Jeannette James

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Looking towards 2012

Taken by @7mrsjames using colour splash iphone app

I am very excited about 2012.  A fresh new year, after a summer/Christmas holiday break to recoup and reflect.  Distance is a positive force at times.  The ability to remove oneself from the action and reflect of what is working well, what needs to progress as well as what needs to change. Thus is the beauty of the "holidays".  To get off the merry go round and reflect. Recharge and renew. See my earlier post on Holidays: a chance to refresh and recharge Click here.

Some thoughts I am still mulling over:

-Assessments. Tracking student learning. Effective feedback to students and parents.
Some of my classes engaged in PLP (personal learning projects) where they choose their own design situation/problem, researched and choose their own method of presentation.  This occurred over a 12 week Design and Technology course of only 3 lessons a fortnight.  One a practical cooking class. So therefore, time was limited.  More reflection on this process in a future post. School based standardised assessments were allocated for Drama and Religion.

-Facilitating student learning.
I believe there needs to be teacher guidance in skills necessary to effectively learn. Students are still conditioned to teacher directed learning. My Year 9 class in particular found it very difficult and challenging at first to become more responsible for their own learning. They felt more comfortable with teacher directed learning. 

-The vast majority of amazing resources available for student learning. 
This is where the holidays are handy. Checking out what resources to share with students, learning new tools and understanding which resources are effective for student learning in a given unit. Realizing the old adage "Do a little well, rather than much poorly".  Or do we introduce, share and explore as much as we can with each other, as what suits one may not suit another?

-Surface learning.
At times, there seems to be so much content to "cover" in programs.  Is this giving learning justice? Or is it necessary in order for students to explore certain paths in greater depth?

-Finding more time with students to think, develop character, be mindful.
Always wishing for education to provide more of a balance between academic focus and the support and development of the whole person.

The above five areas are my reflection focus over the next few weeks.  Of course, these reflections are ongoing.  I always hope and plan for improvements in my own facilitating/teaching and learning.
The future is full of hope, trials and collaboration.  I am contented and excited!

Onwards and upwards.
Keeping the conversation alive,
Jeannette James