1

Twitter rocks!

I know plenty of people have said it before, and plenty more will say it later…but Twitter rocks!  I have had two experiences recently that only confirm what a powerful tool Twitter really is.

The first happened last week.  I have been working on the new ning (I’ve written about the 2009 ning here and here) for next year’s year 12 cohort (we’re launching it to them during their early commencement program next week). 

As I had done with the original ning I applied via the Ning Help to have the ads removed as the ning is for purely educational purposes.  Last time it happened fairly quickly but I had been waiting several weeks with no movement of the ads. 

I have been struggling to use Twitter this term as our school internet provider has been quite erratic – even thought twitter is on the school “white list” I still get the red screen of death more often than not.  I think I’ve written here before that the iGoogle gadget BeTwittered still works even where Twitter is blocked but I don’t find it so useful or immediate as my usual Twitter client Twhirl.  Anyway, I happened to be making the effort to engage with Twitter last Friday and saw a tweet from Ning Advocacy so I replied:

ningtweet

A few minutes later I had this reply:ningreply

And not 10 minutes later the ads were gone!

The second great experience was today.  I have been helping out in a program for disengaged year 10 boys.  They are planning, constructing and planting a vegetable garden for the school.  The aim of the program is to keep these boys at school into year 11 and the VCAL program. 

My part has been to set up a blog where they can post their reflections on the project and put up their photos. 

blog

Today was the first opportunity we’d had to have them actually log on and write a post and all five of them wrote an introductory post about themself.  They also had a think about what should and shouldn’t be written on the blog and together we came up with some blogging guidelines (with help from Kim Cofino and ISB’s blogging guidelines).  They renamed the blog “The Mill Park Boys Outdoors” – I’d called it (boringly!) The Garden Project, I knew it would be changed!  When I got back to my desk I put out a couple of tweets asking for feedback.

garden

I was absolutely thrilled with the response and I can’t wait to catch up with the boys and get them to check it out for themselves.  I’m sure they will have new motivation to use the blog now that they know they have a real audience.

So thanks to all the lovely people who have responded (Roger, Shelley, Christian, Diane, Kate and Renai).  If you are interested in what our boys are up to visit The Mill Park Boys Outside and please, leave a comment!

2

I’ve done it again!

I’m a bad blogger.  My only excuse this time is that I’m near the end of six weeks leave. We just got home yesterday from a three week road trip through NSW and Queensland. I spent the two weeks before the holiday catching up on domestica and packing, and the six weeks of term 3 that I was actually at work were so crazily busy that some things (like this blog) simply got forgotten. No, not forgotten, ignored like a nagging toothache – you know you should attend to it, you know you’ll feel better if you do, but…

This will change!

My priorities/goals/challenges for term four are (in no particular order):

  1. Blog more regularly about the miriad aspects of my role as ICT coach – the projects, the challenges, the successes and the failures.
  2. Be a better online participant – I want to add to the conversation instead of simply nodding my head when I agree, or muttering under my breath when I don’t.
  3. Get started on my presentation for the VITTA conference.  Get over the fact that I put in the submission in a moment of excitement and didn’t really expect to be accepted…this will be fun! (Yes it will, yes it will, yes it will…)
  4. Get mentally prepared to be working at 110 percent as of next Monday morning when school returns.  I am not going to allow myself to be so over-whelmed by all that needs doing that I resort to doing very little (if I say this often enough hopefully I will believe it!).
  5. Get more involved in the PLP program ning.
  6. Prepare, promote and present a lively and engaging program for Brekky Bytes and Afternoon (i.c.) Tea for term four.
  7. Work with CPT teams to encourage more participation by teachers in the year 12 study skills ning.  There is no doubt that the successful subject groups have the most contribution from teachers.  I have to work out how I can guide the non-participants to make their own discovery of how useful this form of communication can be.
  8. Set up the new ning for the class of 2010.  Work with the early commencement planning team to ensure that all our current year 11 students register on the ning before the end of early commencement week.  Work with teachers to ensure that all early commencement resources are available on the ning.

I’m sure there are many more but I am resolved to do everything as efficiently as possible (see point 4), so I won’t dally over publishing this.  Love to hear your tips and advice for achieving any or all of the above!

1

Where have I been?

I can’t believe that it has been over two months since I posted here. I’ve had lots of good intentions but it has all come to nought! At the end of last term I jotted down some plans for term 3 and in my head I was going to blog about that list, if nothing else it would give me something tangible to work toward/abide by…but life of course got in the way.
About 3 weeks ago I started on a new journey with the Powerful Learning Practice Netbook Trial cohort. It’s a fabulous opportunity, not least because my school is not part of the official DEECD netbook trial (we’re doing our own, funded by our school/parents) – we are very lucky to be included! As part of that I’ve joined the ning and have been following conversations and trying to keep up with acitivities.  Last week Sheryl put out a challenge for members to post a forum discussion or write a blog post.  Last Sunday morning I woke ridiculously early and had a couple of pre-dawn hours to ponder (read panic!) all that I have on my plate at the moment and in particular the crazy week that was in front of me.  It seemed logical to post a discussion around that angst – here it is:

I’m sure I’m not the only person to be feeling overwhelmed at the moment. It’s not just to do with the PLP program – right now I’m:
• leading a Teacher Professional Leave team application process (due August 11)
• part of an AGQTP Professional Learning Leaders Program (presentation due September 11)
• preparing a 23 things type program for teachers on behalf of our curriculum focus group
• managing a year 12 study skills ning, running an uphill battle to get more teachers involved and active
• evaluating our teacher’s IWB use and preparing PD
• running a library for 900 senior students
• supporting our netbook trial teachers
• part of a network of local schools investigating elearning (another AGQTP funded project).

Last week I had meetings after school on four nights and ran a “Brekky bytes” pd session on Friday. There are meetings after school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week; I have a 7.45am meeting on Tuesday and the first Elluminate session from 8pm that day. I’m at pd for the Professional Learning Leaders Program all day Thursday and Friday.
And of course there’s my family, including two primary aged daughters who need help with their homework, reading listened to, being read to, played with, driven to and from activities, clean clothes and healthy food on the table, and a husband who thinks I spend too much time on the computer.
I’m a “yes” person; I never say no automatically; I’m open to new ideas and I see possibilities not problems. People who say they don’t have time for technology frustrate me, I don’t understand how teachers have time to “not” engage with 21st century tools – they aren’t “more” work, they “are” our work.
But, I’m sure I’m not the only person to be feeling overwhelmed at the moment…
Does anyone have any magic recipes for feeling in control, or any secret weapons, or any advice at all?

So this kind of sums up where I am right now, and why I haven’t been writing here nearly as much as I would like.  I have had some lovely responses on the ning and it has been a lesson for me in trusting in the community – everyone wishes each other well and if you ask, you get good advice.

By the way, I got throught the week outlined above without too many scars.  The children are still happy and well-fed and they made it to their various activities.  The two days at the Professional Learning Leaders Program has left me more confident about our progress and writing this has given me a welcome break from writing the TPL application.  But I’m still very open to advice and suggestions and I’d particularly like a magic formula to give me 30 hours in a day and 8 days a week (5 days work, 3 day weekends) – what do you think?

7

My new blog

I’ve just set up a new blog to use as a resource and communication tool with teachers at my school as part of my role as College ICT Coach.  It’s going to be private, this is not an advertisement and you won’t find a link to it here.  I want to be able to reassure the more fearful that they won’t be airing their inexperience in too public a forum.

However, I did want to share my first post, so here it is:

Short, sharp and to the point

That’s how I plan to present my regular 30 minute ICT PD sessions.  There will be Brekky Bytes (8-8.30am, come at 7.45 for coffee and toast) and Afternoon (i.c.) Tea (3.30-4pm) rotating between campuses.  In any four week period there should be one morning and one afternoon presentation at each campus.

These sessions will generally cover only one topic, tool or resource.  Hopefully you will walk away with one new skill or an idea that you can immediately find a use for.  Hopefully you will consolidate your learning by passing on this new thing to a colleague who couldn’t attend.  Learn, do, teach – that’s my motto!

So what do you want to know about?  What do you want to learn to do?  How can I help you integrate ICT in your classroom?  Let me know, leave a comment here, email or come and have a chat – I’m listening.

What do you think?