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Second Melbourne TeachMeet

I’m off to the second Melbourne TeachMeet this afternoon.  I’ve got a 2 minute presentation spot and I’ll be speaking about scoop.it.

Here’s my presentation, I’m very pleased to say I was able to create it entirely using the iPad although I had to email it to myself as a powerpoint in order to upload it to Slideshare…anyone know if there is a more direct way?

 

 

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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?

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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!

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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!

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Community=Connectedness

I was just trying to catch up on my Google reader which had snuck up to 200+ unread items even though I’d cleared it only on the weekend.  I came upon Jenny Luca’s post on the future of libraries, referencing John Connell’s post which clearly I haven’t worked back to yet.  As always an inciteful, thought-provoking aritcle of particular interest as I am a teacher-librarian too.  From Google reader I went to the comments (five); I don’t always do this but when I’m interested and when there is clearly some discussion going on I do.  A quick flick through the comments revealed 4 people I felt I knew…and then I stopped to think, I haven’t actually met any of these people.  I felt I knew them because of the community I have found myself in – blogs, Google Reader, Twitter – it’s a nice feeling, just needed to share that!

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Two weeks on Twitter

It’s exactly two weeks since I signed up for Twitter – it’s been quite a ride!  After 24 hours I was following 47 and being followed by 38, that’s now up to 179 following and 114 followers.  I’ve done a bit of searching/trawling to find interesting and relevant people to follow and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who follow in return.  There’s been some dodgy ones too, I’ve found myself followed by one or two women who are probably better placed in the late night tv ads!  Needless to say I didn’t follow them back.

It is an interesting notion, this one of following.  Unlike facebook where I felt quite uncomfortable asking people to be my friend (I described it as like being back in the primary school playground), following people feels different.  It’s more like you are expressing your respect for a person by following them, rather than asking for something from them by requesting their friendship.

I think I’m still a listener rather than a talker or a hub.  I’m really enjoying the flow of conversation and I’m getting much more of a sense of individual personalities that somehow don’t come across in blog posts.  Previously I read Dean Groom’s blog and thought he must be one very serious individual, someone to be admired from afar, who only had worthy things to say with no time for frivolity.  From Twitter I’ve discovered that he is a bit of a ****stirrer and very cheeky with it!  I’ve discovered that Sue Waters is human and has real life dramas with toilets and children (previously she was the perfect all-knowing blogger and general tech expert).

I’ve enjoyed participating when people have asked for tweets on local weather conditions or time or just to say hello in presentations they are doing.

So far I’ve only found one person I actually have a direct work relationship with on Twitter so I’m going to have to figure out if and who I want to target to join in.  In finding people to follow I’ve looked for teachers and teacher librarians and people whose bio suggests that their role is something similar to my new one of ICT coach.  Anyone from Australia is a definite pick – at least they are awake at roughly the same time as me; but it’s fun seeing tweets saying Good morning when I’m about to crash.

And of course Twitter was blocked at school.  I’ve had it unblocked but it doesn’t function properly, all the text is too big and the links don’t work.  Before it was unblocked I was helped by @etalbert who suggested using BeTwittered on my iGoogle page, worked a treat so a good tip if you can’t get Twitter unblocked.  Of course, that doesn’t help if someone wants to signup for Twitter as even unblocked, the Twitter site won’t work for this at my school.  Don’t know the answer there, other than people using their home internet to join – hardly the best way to promote a tool for education!

All in all it’s been very positive and I’m looking forward to getting more involved.

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What I did in the holidays

Well it’s back to work and reality tomorrow.  I was offered the positon of Leading Teacher College ICT Coach on the last day of term and told not to speak to anyone about it that afternoon as unsuccessful applicants for that and other positions may not have found out yet, and of course there is the provisional period to get through.  It has all felt a bit unreal – two weeks later and I haven’t actually spoken to anyone I work with about getting the job (did I imagine it??).  No, I’ve had the official email, it’s all real.  As I started with, back to reality tomorrow.

That being said, I have spent much of the holidays furthering my learning journey.  I have spent a lot of time working on the presentation I will be making at the SLAV People and Technology conference on Monday 13 October.  I’m happy with my preparation at this stage, the slides are almost all done and there is very little text on them!  I’ve written extensive notes which will form the basis of what I will say – now I need to pare them back into useful prompts.  I’ve created a wiki which I will invite the conference participants to view and join if they wish.  It will provide links to everything I speak about on the day so hopefully they won’t feel compelled to write notes as I speak!  I always hate that feeling when you are listening to someone speak, that you might miss noting something important!

The presentation is about the Learning with Web 2.0 program my library staff and I completed earlier this year.  Doing the preparation prompted me to revisit some of the Web 2.0 tools that I’d only touched on earlier and that was worthwhile doing.  Google Book search must have been having a blonde moment the first time I checked it out, second time around it looked much more useful.  I’ve started using Google Calendar integrated on my iGoogle page; I played around with a couple of gadgets to integrate Delicious into iGoogle but with only limited success but then I installed the latest Delicious toolbar which incorporates a sidebar which is much more useful than the old two buttons and effectively does what an iGoogle gadget would have done.  I tried again to get excited about second life, but couldn’t manage it. 

Along the way I got continually sidetracked by interesting things popping up in my Google reader.  It is fantastic, the paths you can be lead down and the fascinating thing you can read and view…but time can disappear alarmingly!  I subscribed to several more blogs (the count is now 40, up from 30 a month ago) and joined two Nings. Work Literacy  and OZ/NZ Educators.  Work Literacy  is running a 6 week professional development event which I am participating in:

Sponsored by Work Literacy and the eLearning Guild, from September 29 through November 7, 2008, this network will be THE place for you to learn about Web 2.0 and how social media tools can be used by learning professionals.
The goals of the event are to:

* Introduce you to new tools and methods for work and learning
* Discuss implications of these tools for learning professionals
*Prepare you to participate in DevLearn in new ways as an attendee or as a spectator.

Through the Work Literacy program I have joined LinkedIn which is like Facebook but for professional engagement and networking rather than social.  I haven’t decided how far I’ll go with LinkedIn, on the face of it it seems to be mostly populated with hard core business types rather than educators but as I am learning, it takes effort and persistance and the right approach to build a network.

I’ve continued to participate in the Edna group Blogging corner and their 08 challenge – it’s good to be prompted to explore or reflect and then blog about what you have done.

Probably the most significant thing (to me anyway) is that last night I bit the bullet and joined Twitter.  It was an amazing experience.  After I registered I went to Jane’s eLearning pick of the post on the Top 100 (e)Learning Professionals to follow on Twitter which I’d first read about on Lucacept and followed the process to follow those that I’d heard of elsewhere.  Many of the people’s whose blogs I subscribe to were there so I quickly found about 20 to follow.  What came next was the amazing part.  Within minutes Sue Tapp had direct messaged me as a fellow Melbourne TL and invited me to join the OZ/NZ Educators ning (see above).  Shortly after that Jenny Luca started following me and then Sue Waters tweeted to ask if I’d like her to put out a tweet to her network for people to follow/follow me.  Of course I said yes, please – Sue’s posts on the Edublogger and Mobile Technology in TAFE are a big part of the reason I decided to make the jump.  Then Tom Barrett put out a tweet to his network on my behalf.  Over the next few hours lots of people started following me so I’m following them in return – I’m now following 47 and being followed by 38…wow!  Hope I have something worthwhile to say.

I’m going to finish now because I really want to get this out before I am actually back at work…and the ironing is calling, goddamn domestica!, however I will have more to say on my Twittering soon.

Oh, and by the way, I didn’t spend my whole holidays looking at the computer…in between times I managed to see Wicked (one of Rob Guest’s last performances, very sad that he is no longer with us), go the the Melbourne Show, visit my very frail mother-in-law in hospital, have a lovely day on my own shopping in Richmond, go to the opening night of Mame at the State Theatre (and the after party, thank you to Adam and Esther), celebrate my youngest daughter’s 7th birthday with a party at home for 14 children, make a purple jewelled crown birthday cake for said party, have a couple of lovely bike rides with daughters (7 year old got new bike) and generally have a nice time with my family.  I love Melbourne in spring!

P.S. As I type this I’m listening in to the flash meeting of OZ/NZ educators…things move fast sometimes!!