Thing 4 : Maps and checking in

So this is new. Instead of my usual blogging on the train on my phone I’m at Adelaide airport, waiting to catch my flight home, using my ipad.
GPS and maps on mobile devices, how could you travel without them these days. From making sure the taxi driver is on the straight and narrow to negotiating an unfamiliar public transport system to locating places of interest…it’s all good.
Geo caching is another fun use for your mobile’s GPS, as are apps like Walk watch and Map my run so you can record how far you’ve walked/cycled/run, where you went and elevation climbed. I hadn’t considered setting up geo caches in the library but it could be part of a special event like book week.
Checking in…hmmm not so much.
It has disturbed me the frequency which some people check in their every movement and report this for all the world to see on Twitter. To the point I know where they live and whether or not they are at home. Now I’m an honest, law-abiding citizen but not everyone is. Just sayin’.


Thing three – email on the move

Having a smart phone has revolutionised the way I manage email. In the past checking email on the weekend involved firing up my laptop which is an unbelievably slow, frustrating process (and if I’d last used it at school the added complication of switching proxies). Now a quick glance at my mobile and I’m up-to-date. I don’t think it means I’m working more in my own time, I only respond if something is urgent; but it does mean I’m on top of things and have to spend less time on email at the start of each work day.
I’ve recently started using Mailbox app – it’s brilliant. With simple swipe gestures I can quickly delete, archive, save to a folder or hide till later. It’s the last feature that makes this app a real time management boost so that you only keep visible emails that you need to deal with now and delegate the others to the time (this evening, next week, a set time etc) when you need to deal with it. As an incentive there is a daily picture which only appears when you have achieved inbox zero – with the later function this is easy to do at least daily. The only downside to Mailbox is that it only works with Gmail at the moment. If I could use it for my Exchange accounts it would be brilliant.
As far as library use of email goes – I’m all for it, and if my school could gets its act together as far as a student email system goes it would be great…in the meantime …
The public library I belong to uses email for reserve notifications and reminders for returning which is great, until you come to rely on it. Recently I copped a sizeable overdue fine (my kids borrow a lot of books) because I returned books late after NOT receiving my email reminder. When I enquired I was informed that the reminders were merely a generous service but the responsibility still lay with me. True, I guess but then it transpired that my email address had mysteriously “dropped” off the system. Hmmm, not real happy with that.




Thing One: Twitter

I’ve been using Twitter since October 2008. Seems like a long time now but at the time I felt like a late-adopter. Earlier in 2008 I’d completed SLAV’s original 23 things course and started this amazing personal/professional learning roller coaster that hasn’t shown signs of slowing yet. At that time Twitter wasn’t part of 23 Things. I know, hard to believe now! But it was definitely growing in use and was being written about regularly in the blogs I was reading voraciously at the time. I wrote about my reluctance to join in and the adventure I had when I finally jumped here and here. Safe to say I’ve been a convert ever since.
I love Twitter for lots of reasons: keeping in touch with colleagues and friends, learning about new resources, finding great stuff to read, sharing resources I’ve found, getting help, keeping up with the latest news, and having a laugh. I’m by no means a prolific twitterer, my 5700 tweets in 4 1/2 years is modest compared to many. I find I go in fits and starts of actually tweeting. That said, I check my twitter feed several times most days. I’m following about 1200 people and I have1600 followers. My Twitter ‘claim to fame’ is that @stephenfry follows me!
I use the Tweetdeck app on Chrome on my laptop although for some reason that doesn’t work on the school network so when I’m there I use the Hootsuite website.
Like Facebook, Twitter really becomes useful and fun on a mobile device, I haven’t found anything better than the native Twitter app on my phone but on my iPad I’ve just started using Twitterific after Osfoora stopped working properly for search and lists. I also use Flipboard, it’s great for #tag searches and the presentation is really nice.
I mostly follow # tags related to conferences and events – they are a great way of finding like-minded people to follow. I’ve only set up one list of my own, to follow emergency management agencies as part of my current job. I follow a few lists, a great way to keep up with a group, especially if you follow a lot of people. On that, whenever someone new follows me I check out their profile and make a decision whether or not to follow back. I almost always follow teachers and librarians or anyone with an interest in ICT. I’ll follow anyone from Melbourne and anyone I know in real life. I never follow back people who protect their updates – I’m not sure why they are on Twitter in the first place.
I have set up a Twitter account for my library. Initially it was just to use to set up a paper.li daily to embed on our website. It also tweets a link to anything we put on our Facebook page. If I was at school this year, developing the library’s social media presence would have been a focus. As it is that will have to wait till next year.
Right now I’m involved in applying to set up a Twitter account for the project I’m working on. That is far more involved than I would have thought necessary and just drives home the difference between this job and working in a school (not that that is necessarily a bad thing).
So that’s me and Twitter – to anyone out there who hasn’t had a go I say just do it, get into the conversation. Don’t think you have to read every tweet – someone likened it to the radio, it’s broadcasting 24/7 but you only listen when you choose and you only listen closely when it really interests you. You’ll learn to express yourself very concisely and you’ll find all kinds of things that you never even knew existed.




23 Mobile Things

I just happened upon the 23 Mobile Things website this afternoon and I’ve quickly decided its just the impetus I need to get back to blogging regularly.
But this won’t be ordinary blogging, this will be mobile blogging. I’ve downloaded the Edublogs app onto my phone, connected my blog and I’m composing this post on it as we speak (so to speak)! In fact I’m very mobile, this is being written as I wait for my train home to arrive.
A quick glance over the scope of 23 Mobile Things shows that there’s lots of stuff I’m already familiar with but I’m really looking forward to looking at these apps and sites with a more reflective eye via the structure of the course and the questions it poses.
Let the fun begin!


Disaster Resilience Education – Educating the Educators

(Cross-posted from Slide2Learn)

I had a great time at the recent Slide2Learn conference in Perth. There were some fabulous keynotes, lots of interesting workshops and the opportunity to meet inspiring educators.

I was there with an ulterior motive, to publicise the project I am working on with Australian Red Cross in conjunction with Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI). The project is about Disaster Resilience Education and aims to develop teacher confidence in the teaching of disaster resilience education and thus develop disaster resilience within primary and secondary school students.

Some background:

The incidence of natural hazards – bushfire, flood, cyclone etc – is on the increase. More people are being affected every year and the cost to the community is growing.

Reports such as the Black Saturday Royal Commission, the Keelty Report and APEC Ministerial Statements have noted the importance of community engagement and education.


Government and Emergency Management Agencies are increasingly aware that assistance cannot be guaranteed in the immediate aftermath of an emergency or even for 24 hours or more after an event. Communities need to be prepared and know how to respond.

Disaster Resilience has a four stage cycle known as PPRR

Prevention – identifying hazards and removing if possible

Preparation – having a fire plan, preparing an emergency kit, making an evacuation plan

Response – responding to the immediate needs of the emergency situation

Recovery – the actions needed to return to normal, whether or not that is the same as before.

Disaster resilience is enabled by the understanding and ability to enact these four stages.

Disaster Resilience Education (DRE)

Educating children is a way of indirectly influencing families and communities – children encourage their family members to act, and they help connect families with communities. Disaster resilience is important for every member of society, regardless of age or physical ability or where they live. Children can change long term behaviour to build more resilient communities, and resilient children will become resilient adults.

To be effective DRE needs to part of the curriculum, not an add-on, not “yet another thing we’re expected to teach”. The project seeks to use the development of the new Australian curriculum as a means to embed the teaching of DRE across curriculum areas and general capabilities. We want teachers to have an understanding of and be able to articulate what DRE is and why it is important

To achieve this firstly we are mapping existing Australian DRE resources to the Australian Curriculum. Many of these resources have been created by Emergency Management Agencies. The report from this exercise will be used to develop pathways for teachers so they can select the best resources to use with their students. We will also provide information to Emergency Management agencies about where their resources fit the curriculum and where there are opportunities for improvement and new development.

Secondly, we will be designing and delivering professional development for teachers to promote the disaster resilience message and to share and explore available resources. Some of this will be in person at various conferences but I also plan to create some online resources and I’d love to work with teachers and students to do so.

Can you help?

Do you know of any conferences, network meetings, or other opportunities where I would be welcome to present? I’d love to hear about them – I am able to travel for this purpose.

Do you have an interest in disasters? Are you and your students looking for a real-life project where you can make a difference? Could you and your students work with me to create resources like videos, games, ebooks to help spread the DRE messages to teachers and students?

Please get in touch!

Reply to this post, send a tweet to @hbailie, email hbailie at redcross.org.au or download the project app http://my.yapp.us/CSJYL7 where you can leave a message under “Share your thoughts”. I’d love to hear from you.


A Personal Web Presence

I’ve been thinking about my Personal Web Presence (PWP) since I had a fabulous day recently at the State Library Victoria. The presenter was Steve Hargadon and the focus on Personal Learning Networks.

Steve has established a ning: Teacher 2.0 – your personal and professional growth

Teacher 2.0 is an independent community for educators to explore their interests and passions, and to build a network of support for educators at all levels. Through this community, with online events, interviews, and workshops, our goal is to have educators help each other become re-energized in their careers and in their contributions to the world.

and through the day we explored personal learning networks (PLN), digital footprints, eportfolios, social media tools and so on. The range of experiences within the room was broad but Steve was skilfully able to make everyone feel that their contribution was valued – there was something for everyone whether a newbie or seasoned pro.

I’m very comfortable with the notion of a PLN and I have cultivated(!) mine to be an incredibly useful and entertaining resource. I hope that other people find me a useful contributor to their PLN too. We talk often about students having digital portfolios, indeed part of a student’s Ultranet Express space is a Learning Portfolio, but I hadn’t previously thought much about an ePortfolio for me. My big takeaway for the day was the need to consolidate my PWP, now! Gathering all my web stuff into one place is not something I’ve explored much or done very thoroughly or diligently. I have tagged my stuff with HeatherBailiePortfolio in Diigo and Delicious but that didn’t extend to presentations I’d uploaded to Slideshare or authorSTREAM and doesn’t provide contact information or a nice organised place to share such things.

Initially I decided to use Google sites because I’ve had some experience with it and use it with my year 10’s for website creation. Back at school I made a start but it was slow and some things weren’t working – embedding network membership badges for one.

On the day another site, Weebly had been mentioned so I thought I’d take a look…Wow!! What an easy, elegant, intuitive, good-looking, comprehensive tool! No going back, it’s an absolute winner…and I’m going to use it with the year 10’s too.

It’s taken a few weeks but I’ve finally got the site to the point where I’m happy to publish it.   I got the extra motivation I needed from participating in the Teacher 2.0 Mightybell experience (which I strongly recommend you check out if you haven’t already).  The librarian in me is determined to have a logical menu and sub-page system; my “not very creative but I like things to look good” side has dithered endlessly over the choice of design and then even more over a header (and I’m still not entirely happy with the way it looks although I like the concept – a mash-up of my home pages of sites I’m a member of); and as a busy teacher and parent there’s always something else I should be doing…

It will, by definition, always be a work in progress but I think I’ve done enough to publish – here it is http://hbailie.weebly.com. I’ve lashed out on a pro site so I can have my own favicon (amongst other things) but I’m still wavering on whether I should commit to my own domain name (hbailie.com and hbailie.net are both available, I’ve checked!).

So I’d love to hear what you think about my site: the design, the header, the menu set-up, the content, the domain name…and what about you, do you have a PWP?


DEECD Innovation Showcase

I attended my second DEECD Innovation Showcase today. As always getting out of school and amongst some interesting people with great ideas has inspired me to communicate.

Sadly, I wasn’t nearly as inspired by what I heard and saw as previously.  Don’t get me wrong, there were some fabulous speakers and many teachers doing wonderful things in their classrooms, although I heard less truly new stuff than previously.  No, it was the audience and the lack of wireless that failed to impress.  I couldn’t believe that everywhere I sat I was the only person in sight using a netbook or laptop.  I never write notes anymore because I know I’ll never look at them again and my handwriting is so slow and messy that even if I did I probably wouldn’t know what I wrote.  There was no public wifi but it still surprised me that there were only a few of us (richielambert, curry08, toze12, merspi, murcha and me) tweeting.

What I did enjoy were the keynotes from Charles Leadbeater and Adrian Camm.  These are people who force us to think about the why and how of what we do and we need these wake up calls.

Seeing what Lynette Barr and Louise Duncan are doing with games and mobile devices has only renewed my resolve to investigate this for my school and it was interesting to hear about how Cam Tingay is using Ning with upper primary students (even though, as Kanga37 pointed out) they are under 13, the minimum age according to the terms of service.

Apart from the lack of wireless, the organisation, facilities and food were all excellent.  And those Dyson Airblade hand-dryers in the restrooms were something else!

Dyson Airblade


DEECD Innovation Showcase 2009

Last year I was able to attend this event in person and it was great – lots of inspiring stuff to hear and see.  I was disappointed recently to realise that this year’s event was already fully booked before I’d even heard about it however a couple of new features allowed me to get over at least some of that disappointment.

This year 6 of the concurrent sessions were available online through Knowledge Bank Online and Elluminate.  People were asked to register prior but I don’t think that actually mattered, some of the attendees had clearly come via twitter links.  Anyway, I did the right thing and registered in advance and was notified by email when the sessions were coming up.

After a small technical hitch (something to do with getting around my school’s firewall) I was in and listening to Anne Mirtschen’s Flat Classroom Walls presentation.  And not just listening, viewing the same slides and videos that the real life attendees were too.  Later I “went” to Jarrod Robinson’s session on Rethinking Homework using SMS with students.

It was a great experience.  I learnt a lot from both presenters, enjoyed the backchannel chat and was able to participate by “putting my hand up” when some audience input was requested.  I did all this while at school and more or less carrying out my regular duties and it didn’t cost me or my school anything.  The only pity was that they did not broadcast the keynote speakers in this way, other than that it was nearly as good as being there.  And if I hadn’t have been able to tune in live, or if I want to check out the other 4 sessions that were broadcast in this way I can listen and view a recording of the Elluminate session.  I think that would detract from the immediacy of being in the live room but it is a great alternative when other commitments intervene.

Using Elluminate to reach a wider audience was an innovation in itself and truly reflected the spirit of the event – I hope we see more of this so that experiencing inspiring presentations is not limited to those who are physically and financially able to attend.

The other new feature is the Educator’s Guide to Innovation Ning which is

…part of action research by the Innovation and Next Practice division and will be available until December 31 2009.

There is a wealth of information around and about innovation including background on the presenters and video from the event.  There have been a range of discussions going on leading up to the showcase and already several blog posts from people reflecting on the day.  The ning will be a fantastic vehicle to maintain and build on the connections established through the showcase – I hope it doesn’t die at the end of the year but is allowed to continue to connect innovative educators.  Check it out!


SLAV Perspectives on Learning V2

Wow, what a great day.  I’m just back from the SLAV conference and I’m feeling newly inspired to blog so I thought the least I should do is write something quickly about why today was so much fun, so inspiring, so invigorating!

1.  Connections

I always love SLAV conferences because I get to catch up with people I have worked with in the past or had other professional dealings with and today was no exception (hi again to Raggsy, Marg, Robyn, Judith, Reina, Anne, Rick and Geoff).  Today was even better because I got to meet, face to face, with some of my Twitter network – hello Tania, John, Jenny and Adrian.

Today I took along the netbook I’ve been given to use and was very excited to find a wifi connection available.  I’ve been checking Twitter in the past when others have been at conferences and have been interested to see their take on what’s happening.  Today I could be one of them.  What a hoot!

2.  Inspiration

Network Literacy:  The ability to create, grow and navigate personal learning networks in safe, ethical and effective ways

Will Richardson is an inspiring speaker. His keynote on Network Literacy was fascinating.  He maintains that publishing is the easy part, it’s what occurs afterwards that matters – the connections, the conversations.  That it is important to find a diverse network; that learning within a network is an ongoing process, not an event.

I love the notion of being “Googled well” – not how well you can conduct a search, but what a searcher finds if they Google your name.  What is worse: finding dodgy pictures of you or finding nothing?  Everyone, especially our young people, needs to understand how important it is that a google search of you locates a digital presence you can be proud of (and you’re not afraid of your nanna or a prospective employer seeing).

I love how he makes his ideas so exciting yet so do-able.  I love how it is firmly grounded in the learning, in the pedagogy, not the tools (although he’s got some great tips on using the tools).  His session on blogs and blogging this afternoon is what sent me here, the moment I got home.  He articulated what I realised I had been thinking – that you need to read blogs before writing one, that you need to write for yourself before blogging with students.  It gives me renewed confidence in the value of the Web 2.0 online course I’ve been developing for our teachers, and has confirmed my recommendation for participants to set up a blog for the purpose of learning and reflection.

Adrian Camm & Leonie Dyason’s session on creating a Virtual Learning Community was equally inspiring.  Adrian’s use of a ning to engage, not only his own physics students, but students from around the state is a terrific idea and it is fabulous how he has got the textbook writers to come on board.  He has helped me crystalise a couple of ideas that I have for the Professional Learning Leaders program I am involved in.  Our project is likely to be based around study skills for our VCE students, a ning might be the answer.

3.  Confirmation

I’m not sure if confirmation is the right word here, or whether it should be affirmation.

Anyway, I just want to touch on why the fact that today left me inspired is such a good feeling.  There seemed to be a number of people in the audience who are scared or can’t see how to find the time to learn new things…I’m so glad I’m not one of them.  I am very happy that most tools and sites mentioned I have heard of, if not actually used.  I am very happy to be inspired to continue exploring and sharing what I find.  I’m happy that the online connected world has allowed me to be better at my job, to find new ways of doing things, to be part of a network.  It feels great to understand that all this is not “more work”, it simply is my work (and quite a bit of my leisure too, but that’s another story).

Another confirmation/affirmation: today a former colleague (who I worked with when I was a first year out) asked me if I’d be interested in travelling to Gippsland to present to their SLAV group.  They want to learn more about Web 2.0 tools and some of the practical applications I’ve found.  Of course I said yes, now to figure out the logistics!