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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?

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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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What have I been doing?

I’ve really dropped off regularly writing for this blog but it hasn’t been deliberate, more the product of a busy life.

I’ve been keeping up (more or less) with Twitter. I go in fits and starts, having extended conversations with a few people over the course of an hour or so, then nothing for a few days. I check in at least a few times each day and am continuing to enjoy the banter – really love the connectedness, even when I’m just observing.

I’ve bought a couple of new toys – my very first iPod, a 16Gb nano and an FM transmitter/charger so I can use it in the car. I downloaded iTunes a couple of months ago, mostly for podcasts, and started loading my CD collection about a month ago. That was a bit erratic, I must say – many of my cd’s loaded without any dramas but more than a few (10-15 out of 120+) make iTunes completely freeze up and it won’t work again until I reboot the computer. Very frustrating, and even more so as no-one I’ve spoken to has ever had the same problem. At first I thought it was something to do with older cd’s but then one from only a couple of years ago did the same thing so who knows?

One of the joys of having the iPod and car kit has been listening to the audio files from the K12 online conference. They are mostly around 20 minutes long so are perfect for my drive to or from work. I know I’m missing out a bit by not having the visual component but I am getting a lot out of what I am hearing and lets face it, if I wasn’t listening while driving to work I wouldn’t get to hear/see them at all. I’m determined that next year I will make the effort to be listening/viewing during the conference period so I can get involved with the live events.

I’m thinking about buying a netbook for various reasons. I’ve used an ASUS eeepc briefly and thought it was pretty natty, but yesterday on twitter and today during the OZNZ Educators meeting the MSI Wind was highly recommended to me by Allison and Dean. I’ll do some further investigating, but it looks like this is a good choice. If the kids are going to have their DS’s I think I definitely need a netbook for our trip to Vietnam – wonder what the wireless availibility will be like?

I’ve been playing with lots of new toys and tools. I’ve installed Skype and had one conversation. I bought my own usb headphone/microphone and have now participated verbally (no camera yet) in the OZNZ Educators meeting. I’ve made a screencast for teachers at my school showing them how they can access our intranet from home and didn’t die of shame or embarrassment when I heard my recorded voice (thought it sounded ok actually). I used Microsoft Community Clips rather than Jing for a smaller file size and more common file type – the picture is not particularly clear but I think it does well enough to get the message across.

I’ve been keeping up with the many blogs I subscribe to through Google reader on my iGoogle page. It’s amazing how quickly the posts stack up. One moment I’m congratulating myself for getting the list to zero and the next thing there’s 20, 50, 100 new posts. I think it’s a big part of why I haven’t been posting myself, I’m too busy reading what all you clever other people have to say and figuring that you say it so much better than I would!

Mostly what I’ve been doing over the past few days (and particularly right now) is avoiding doing any preparation for the presentation I have to do next Friday on blogs and wikis. It’s for a curriculum day at my school so an audience of people I know which is nice…but doesn’t mean I shouldn’t prepare.

Before I finish I just have to play the proud mum and mention my gorgeous girls and the fabulous job they did as flowergirls yesterday. It was the first part of R & H’s wedding celebrations, which will continue in Vietnam in a month, and we’ll be there!

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#4 RSS Feeds and Feedreaders

I had a vague idea about RSS and feedreaders before this week’s activity so it was good to finally get round to finding out for sure.  I went with Googlereader because for some reason I couldn’t access Bloglines even though someone else at my school could do so.

It was all pretty straight forward.  I was surprised, and somewhat relieved, not to have to create a gmail account to set it up – how many email accounts can one girl have! 

I’ve subscribed to 6 school and library related blogs including: Lucacept; The Hub; Learning Gems; Hey Jude; Bluyonder by Greg Whitby, the keynote speaker at last Friday’s innovation showcase, and weblogg-ed by the guru himself, Will Richardson.

I can already see the value of the feedreader for myself.  Previously I had subscribed the The Hub by email and 9 times out of 10 I didn’t bother following the link to read the new post because at the time I was just trying to get through the emails.  Now I can go to Google reader at when I know I’ve got time to do some reading and it makes it very quick and easy to see what I’ve got to choose from.

I’m not sure yet about further applications…?