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TER Podcast – my interview from Edutech 2014

Lucacept - Jenny Luca - 26 October, 2014 - 22:07

After my Edutech presentation in Brisbane in June I was interviewed by Corinne Campbell for the Teachers’ Education Review (TER) Podcast. It was posted on their site last week and I spent some time listening to me sound quite knowledgeable about topics related to digital citizenship, the importance of our students understanding what curation means in today’s world and the approaches we are taking at my school with our LMS (Learning Management System) and Google Apps.


Part of the interview was spent discussing the importance of schools committing funds to infrastructure to support whole school technology initiatives. Corrine remarked in the commentary after my interview that she’d never really heard people discussing this in depth. This is a conversation that needs to be had at every school looking to make large scale change with technology initiatives to support learning. Without a robust network supporting the introduction of web based LMS’ and cloud based technologies like Google Apps you have no hope of seeing adoption become widespread. Teachers need reliable infrastructure to ensure everything ‘just works’, and school administrations need to provide funding and staff to make this happen.

Thanks to Corinne and Cameron for posting the podcast on the TER site. To hear my interview, go to 40min 19sec in when it begins. The entire podcast is worth a listen, with timecodes listed below.


00:00 – Opening

01:19 – Intro

10:13 – Off Campus with Dan Haesler

19:12 – Education in the News

37:09 – AITSL’s Teacher Feature

40:19 – Main Feature, Interview with Jenny Luca & discussion about technology in education

01:09:43 – Mystery Educator Competition

01:10:54 – Announcements

01:12:27 – Quote and Signoff

Categories: Planet

Do kids always need to be “challenged” in subjects they don’t care about?

The Principal of Change George Couros - 26 October, 2014 - 03:10

Something reminded me of this story from my teaching career so I am just writing to process my thoughts…please forgive my rambling.

In my first couple years in my education career, I was teaching a high school math course that was based on simply the basic of math.  It was for students who needed a math credit to graduate, but weren’t taking something like calculus or a higher level of math.  To be honest, many of the students in the class either struggled with school, or didn’t see it as relevant.

One of my students (we will call her Lisa) was in the course, not because she wasn’t able to do calculus, but she simply needed the math credit to graduate.  Her attendance in class was terrible, and for the first few weeks, I was on her case about attending.  We would have tests, she would show up, knock it out of the park, and I wouldn’t see her again until one or two days before a test, and she would simply repeat the process. Show up, ace the exam, and leave.

On one of these days, I asked to speak to her and I told her that I knew she was good at the class so I really wanted to challenge her thinking and do some higher level work so that she would be compelled to attend.  Lisa told me that she really had no interest in attending, even if I “challenged” her, and she just needed the math credit to graduate.  Then I told her that she needs to attend or she could get in serious trouble, and she asked me “why?”, to which I replied, “it’s the rule”. Probably the dumbest answer I could give.

We talked, and eventually she convinced me that really, she didn’t need to attend.  She was working on something else that she actually cared about that had nothing to do with math. She would show up for any assessments, prove that she met the objectives of the course, and then go off to do what she was excited about and saw as relevant to her life and goals.  She ended up with the worst attendance and the best mark. Go figure.

A few questions this raises for me…

Why would we keep a kid in a class where they totally understand the objectives and have no interest in going further?  Do we need to “challenge” kids in areas they don’t really care about in the first place?

What purpose is school serving this student if she is just jumping through hoops to get a degree?

Has school changed enough that this wouldn’t happen in the first place?

Would I have done anything differently now?

What do you think?

Categories: Planet

Connected Classrooms with Skype

At 9am  Friday 31st October, the inaugual #skype2learn twitter chat will take place in Melbourne, Australia (gmt+11) time. This will be 6pm Eastern Standard or 3pm Pacific, USA on Thursday October 30th. See timeanddate for your day and time.

It takes place on the last day of the official Connected Educator Month and the theme will be “Connected Classrooms with Skype”. The hashtag will be #skype2learn. Skype has been a long term favourite of mine as it is free, user friendly and people across the globe are able to use it readily. The twitter chat will use some of the following questions over the hour of dedicated conversations:-

  1. Please introduce yourself, where you are from and what your interest is in education
  2. Why do you use skype for connecting?
  3. How have you used skype for learning?
  4. Share your favourite stories and learning outcomes
  5. Where do you find connections?
  6. What tips do you have for those who are new to using skype?

If this is your first experience with pariticpating in a twitter chat, see How to participate in a twitter chat

What other questions could we explore with each other. Please join us and learn of the power of videoconferencing and skype in the classroom.

Below is the scribd poster for this session


Categories: Planet

Helpful Google Search Modifiers Poster [Link]

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 25 October, 2014 - 01:30
Helpful Google Search Modifiers Poster Google Downloads for educators

Here’s a handy handout that you can use as you teach Google search modifiers. It is amazing how many don’t know how to search. (See my Search Engine Math video for how I teach this.)

Link: Get the PDF

Google modifiers handout

The post Helpful Google Search Modifiers Poster [Link] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

What is a blog? [Video]

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 24 October, 2014 - 22:13
So many teachers are teaching blogging. I thought it would be helpful to see how I teach blogging to my students. Here’s my in-flip video.

Listen to the Every Classroom Matters interview with Jon Bergmann, flipped classroom pioneer if you don’t know about the in-flip method.

You’ll also see starting at minute 7 how I teach my students to begin blogging using our private Ning and a glimpse into the Ning. You’ll see the initial skills I teach students. (Titling, embedding, and writing style.)

Essential Questions:

  • What is a blog?
  • Why are blogs important?
  • How will we blog?
  • How should blog headlines be written?
  • What type of voice and language do you use in a blog post?
  • What is one way to use elements on the web in your blog post?

For blog readers who own a copy of Reinventing Writing — consult Chapter 8 (p 127) for details on how to teach blogging and microblogging.

On a technical note, I had a few issues with volume levels on slide 2 and 3 and near the end, so you’ll need to turn up the volume there. I’ll have to re-record but haven’t had a chance yet.

The post What is a blog? [Video] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

Sovling technical issues on a global scale!

Skype for initial call then keeping contact open

There is a saying that “if your product is good, the market will come to you!” The same saying can be applied to a person who has a strong online presence. If you are interested in global connections, have a strong profile, blog, share what you are doing and push it out there, others will find you and seek connections with you.

I was delighted to get an email from a university lecturer, Mariko Eguchi, in Japan who is working on global competencies with a number of countries including USA, Taiwan and Russia but was seeking interested secondary teachers in Australia. I immediately responded and said yes I would be interested as Mariko offers linkups via both skype and polycom. We get lots of skype contacts but global polycom users are more difficult to find. The visuals can be clearer with dedicated videoconferencing equipment so I was keen to try our school equipment with Asia.

Year 12 dress up day

Yesterday we used skype to initially connect, and used as a backchannel while we tried dialling each other over polycom. Year 8 girls happened to be in the room as were some year 12 students. It was their final day of school and they had come dressed up! Always a great opportunity to show off their costumes if it is on a global scale!

I could ring Mariko using polycom but she could not ring me. It was decided to test the connection with the school that she wants us collaborate with this Friday.

Skype opens our learning spaces

Polycom videoconference was next

Testing is essential and to ensure we covered all possible potential complications, I booked a room for us to meet  through our Education Department just in case. Mariko then used skype chat to tell me that I cannot ring her on her mobile unit when outside the university, I have to ring her! We then tested the room connection immediately through the booked room number, but although Mariko could see me, she appeared as a blue box to me and also to her.

Resolving Mariko’s lack of video

Mariko is back on video

Gary Schultz, a virtual learning officer with our Education Department was messaged. He came into the room virtually and immediately to try and resolve the problem. As there was still no solution, the central office digital support technician was contacted who also immediately looked at the back end to find all was well on the Australian side. It was suggested that Mariko’s camera was not working. She contacted her technician who was on site. She came in immediately and resolved the problem. The actual linkup takes place tomorrow so fingers crossed all goes well.

How fortunate were we to have almost immediate virtual and face to face help and that technicians from 2 countries could work together and resolve the problems.

Categories: Planet

Sensor Sense

ICTMAGIC ScoopIt - 24 October, 2014 - 09:27

A great Android app which shows you the many readouts of the sensors on your device. Use them in science, geography and more.

See it on Scoop.it, via ICTmagic
Categories: International News


ICTMAGIC ScoopIt - 24 October, 2014 - 09:18

Combine online video, questions and real time assessment with this superb site.

See it on Scoop.it, via ICTmagic
Categories: International News


ICTMAGIC ScoopIt - 24 October, 2014 - 09:04

Make 3D animated cartoon videos with computer generated audio via apps, PC and Mac downloads. Free for the basics, but payment is needed to unlock additional features/characters.

See it on Scoop.it, via ICTmagic
Categories: International News

“Visibility Creates Accountability”

The Principal of Change George Couros - 24 October, 2014 - 06:48

Often when I am doing workshops on social media in education, I start off the day asking how many people are on Twitter in the room.  More and more hands are going up in education, and people are starting to see it.

Without any prompting or even teaching how to use Twitter, throughout the day, I ask if people signed up during the day and usually several hands go up.

So why is that?

I think a lot of it has to do with the beginning of the day and seeing how many other educators are using Twitter and raising their hands.  Those hands create both a pressure and curiosity in educators that they want to check it out for themselves.  As I discussed this yesterday in my workshop, one of the participants summarized it up in a single tweet:

Visibility creates accountability #TLDSBLearns pic.twitter.com/N0zV60X0iB

— Jelynne Sornberger (@JelynneS) October 22, 2014

I loved that thought. So simple yet so powerful.

The more we start showing what is happening in classrooms, and the more visible it becomes, the more I hope it sparks that feeling of both pressure and curiosity in educators to keep pushing themselves to embrace improving their practice.

Categories: Planet


ICTMAGIC ScoopIt - 24 October, 2014 - 02:50

An amazing maths Apple, Windows Phone and (soon) Android app which works out equations by taking a photo of them.

See it on Scoop.it, via ICTmagic
Categories: International News

Instructions and Removing Ambiguity

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 24 October, 2014 - 01:03

Recently I found the following image on Facebook. I plan to use it with my students this semester as a starting off point for conversation.

This is a perfect description of someone dealing with ambiguous instructions. Context and assumptions come into play as does words that mean different things to different people. To some people “put some spaghetti on the stove” implies a multi-step process that results in cooked spaghetti. Or failing that at least spaghetti that is cooking when the wife gets home. To someone not used to cooking the obvious request is the literal one shown in this picture.

This brings to mind the old programming joke about the need for a “do what I mean” instruction that many of us have wished for from time to time.

When we ask people to do things we have a certain level of expectation that ambiguity and missing steps will be handled by the person we are talking to. Things like shared experience, known training, and common vocabulary and idiom are a big help here. Computers don’t (yet?) have much of this. We have to be very clear about what we want them to do.

BTW one of my friends, I have some geeky friends, suggested on my Facebook posting “Depends on if those were primitive operations or if it was a method call with anticipated output of cooked spaghetti.” A good point which also suggests that the method call could be better named to more clearly indicate what was happening in the method.

All in all I am hoping for an interesting classroom discussion around this image.

Categories: Planet

Minecraft and Common Core Literacy Project: Givercraft starts Nov 17 [Link]

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 23 October, 2014 - 22:07
Minecraft and Common Core Literacy Project: Givercraft starts Nov 17 GiverCraft Weebly
October 21, 2014

Minecraft and Common Core Literacy Standards meld in one free project for kids grades 6-12: Givercraft.

Click to visit the Givercraft website

Dr. Lee Graham of University of Alaska Southeast is at it again. Her masters students combine the Giver and Minecraft to create a powerful 2 week experience called Givercraft starting November 17, 2014. Enroll your class in this free project now! What a great experience with gaming and literature to use around the holidays. The site makes a powerful claim about Minecraft that I also believe:

Minecraft brings elements of integration, technology and extreme engagement into the classroom. Students will challenge themselves, take their projects further and demonstrate their knowledge of learning through this project-based course.

Givercraft combines Minecraft and literacy standards in a free project for kids grades 6-12. Sign up while there’s still room!

Who is sponsoring this project?

Dr. Graham’s EDET 698 is designing and running a project for students using what they’ve learned in the course! (Intergenerational learning at its best.)

Author’s Note: All college education technology classes can do this sort of thing. See see yesterday’s K12 online presentation by Verena Roberts about how intergenerational learning works. We should all be collaborating and connecting with REAL students and learn together. Learn how in  Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds (I coauthored this book.) Dr. Graham’s model of teaching is a powerful example of intergenerational learning in action.

Givercraft Overview

This 2-week unit will:

  1. Meet new Alaska Literacy Standards or the Common Core Literacy Standards • grades 6th-12th
  2. Let students expand on the book with their own thoughts and ideas
  3. Encourage students to collaborate and explore
  4. Provide teachers with a planned guide for integrating technology
  5. Let teachers explore gamification in a safe, guided environment on a private MinecraftEDU server provided through UAS

Sign up now

Last year my classes collaborated with Dr. Graham’s for Gamifi-Ed. In short, Lee and her students ROCK. Dr. Graham shares her philosophy of innovation in this Every Classroom Matters episode.

The post Minecraft and Common Core Literacy Project: Givercraft starts Nov 17 [Link] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

Global Seasons

There was a time when I thought all the world enjoyed 4 seasons!

Being a member of several global skype groups means that there are always lots of interesting interactive conversations over the 24 hours of the day. The weather and associated seasons of the year is always a popular post for conversation. As we, in southern Australia enter spring, other countries move into autumn (or fall as some call it). Others only have two seasosn – wet and dry.

Janet Barnstable created a “Seasons” padlet wall for people across the globe to share their current season, tell us about it and share what it looks like in a photo or picture.

Here is my contribution to Janet’s padlet wall, sharing spring time on the farm in south eastern Australia.

Spring is always a busy time on the farm with many young animals being born. It is lambing time and we usually rear a number of pet lambs. Either their mothers died or simply left them. We also feed poddy calves. The chooks lay lots of eggs and we set eggs under a clucky chook hoping to get lots of chickens. The days get longer and warmer and the garden blossoms and blooms. The paddocks are a wonderful shade of green. I love spring best of all!

Which season do you like best and what season is it now for where you live?

Categories: Planet

Schools are still important

Bluyonder Greg Whitby - 23 October, 2014 - 06:56

Jack Jeffries is a Year 10 student at Parramatta Marist High.  I invited him to write a guest blog as we don’t hear student voice enough when it comes to mapping the future of education.  His thoughts follow…

Six months ago I spoke at the International Conference for Teaching and Learning with Technology in Singapore (ICTLT). It was a great honour to attend as a Year 10 student of Parramatta Marist High.

I’ve been lucky over the past four years to experience innovative schooling through project-based learning. Aside from the emphasis on teamwork, I’ve been able to use technology to make connections via the web. PBL has been incredible for me – I can communicate with anyone, research anything and learn more effectively.

Learning this way has helped me form strong views on technology in education and it was this that led to the opportunity to participate in a student panel discussion in Singapore.

Despite speaking in front of more than 1000 people (which I is pretty daunting for most people), the discussion was exciting and the responses were varied, thoughtful and interesting. Singapore, being number one in education, meant that the use of technology and other aspects that make up the future of education where already well in play, and the students that joined my peers and I at the panel knew their stuff. The questions varied, from the pros of technological learning, in its usefulness and its role in communication, to the negatives, such as cyber bullying. Overall, even in considering the differences of everyone’s responses, a general consensus was reached – technology is opening up exciting opportunities for learning.

Where do I see education with all the tools available to us as learners? Over the past few years, I have seen the great potential in these tools and they have to be harnessed to give students an incredibly versatile, effective and worthwhile education. It’s not that we will be prepared for the future but it invites students to continue to learn and experience at an incredible rate inside school, outside school and continuing after school.

The potential of learning is open to anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy allows thousands upon thousands of kids to learn in an interesting, simple and engaging way – for free. How can schools compete? In all honesty, you can take the internet in general; it allows for instant access to any content in the world, with everything from video tutorials to diagrams to forums on every topic under the sun. Students literally have the world at their fingertips – our keyboards can take us anywhere. When did schools turn from a key to the world to a barricade from it?

I believe schools are still important and for good reason. They are the connection between our tools, the bridge looking out upon the expanse of our education. Schools are needed – they just have to change. Maybe it’s time for open learning, where students could harness the power of technology to communicate, discover and develop their understanding and their awe of the world at equal rates and harness the power of school to discuss and consult with peers and teachers.

As I said at the conference in Singapore, this is the time to harness technology so we can utilise the time spent at school for the most efficient and effective as well as exciting education possible.


Categories: Planet

K12 Online: Networked Intergenerational Learning #gamifi-ed #k12online [Video]

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 23 October, 2014 - 03:04
Verena Roberts does a masterful job of telling the story of powerful intergenerational learning through her K12 online Conference presentation: #Gamifi-ED Networked Intergenerational Learning. Can ninth graders and masters students in college have a symbiotic mutually beneficial learning network? Yes! Here’s how.

Take time to watch this and all of the other incredible K12 Online Video Presentations. It is a wonderful conference with so many resources!


The post K12 Online: Networked Intergenerational Learning #gamifi-ed #k12online [Video] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

Student Portfolios in the Cloud | thepluggedinportable

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 22 October, 2014 - 12:06


  • One teacher describes her journey after her school decided to use Google Drive to host student portfolios. They began to piece together the steps necessary for this to be successful for all stakeholders: students, teachers, and parents/guardians. Including parents and guardians in the loop seemed more like an emerging trend. This is how they created and shared student portfolios using Google Drive.
    Student and teacher permissions are set to allow both viewing and editing of content in the folders, while parents and guardians are given viewing permissions. Also, parents and guardians DO NOT need to create a Google account simply to view contents of their child’s portfolio folder. - Rhondda Powling

Tags: student, portfolios, cloud, classroom activities

by: Rhondda Powling

Categories: International News

Picking Good Variable Names

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 22 October, 2014 - 02:13

Actually picking any sort of name is important in programming but we can focus on variable names for a bit. The CS Teaching Tips team tweets and posts a lot of great suggestions. Today they send out a tip about variable names.

Avoid using x and y as variable names to prevent students from confusing variable assignments with mathematical expressions.

I’ve been working on my variable naming for demos and sample code this semester. The x and y confusion is part of it. It’s tough because I learned in an era where short, even one character, names were the rule not the exception. Memory was expensive and long identifiers took up room in memory. Plus there was a certain amount of laziness on many people’s part. Well at least on mine. None of this is true anymore. Well that part about needing to save room with short variable names is no longer true.

Loop control variables in FORTRAN were almost always I, J, K, L, M, and N back in the 1970s. Variable names that started in those letters were automatically integers and so this was easy. Old habits die hard and I still tend to use those variables for FOR loops. I’m trying to get away from that in class.

I find that using “index” as a loop control variable, especially when the loop is iterating through a string or an array, makes things a bit more clear to students. It also helps reinforce the idea that variable names should have meaning. It’s hard to tell students, “yes I am using x, y, and I but you should all use meaningful names.” and be taken seriously. Using meaningful variable names in demos may take a little bit of extra effort but in the long run I think everyone is better off when teachers model the practice they try to teach.

There are lots more teaching tips at http://csteachingtips.org/ and you can also see tips from there on the side bar of this blog if you read it in a web browser. Follow @CSTeachingTips on Twitter too!

Categories: Planet

Universal Design (UDL) in Online Spaces with @BethRitterGuth

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 21 October, 2014 - 22:11

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) helps us design learning to reach every student. Today’s guest, college professor Beth Ritter-Guth teaches us about using UDL in online learning spaces. Whether you’re flipping your classroom, blending learning, or teaching online, every teacher can learn from Beth’s techniques to reach every learner.

Beth Ritter-Guth became interested in Universal Design for its potential to increase student success.  She believes if everyone uses UDL in online education then all students will succeed, regardless of ability labels.  Dr. Ritter-Guth is an award-winning professor  at Union College in New Jersey. Listen to this episode of Every Classroom Matters to find out how this award winning professor uses UDL to increase student learning.

Listen to Beth Ritter-Guth discuss increasing student e-learning success with UDL 

Listen on iTunes 5/20/2014 episode

Add @BethRitterGuth to your PLN

Dr. Ritter-Guth’s work with UDL is recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education, America Online, Wired Magazine, and USA Today. She has received the 2013 Claes Nobel prize, the 2013 Campus Technology Innovation Award, and the 2008 National Association of Independent Schools, Faculty of the Future Award.  She has presented at the NJEdge Conference, the Florida Educational Technology Conference, ISTE, and the Campus Technology Conference in Boston, MA, among many other presentations.  Beth Ritter-Guth – Show Notes #76 – Universal Design in Online Spaces

Dr. Ritter-Guth says video with transcription is an example of UDL at work in online learning.  (She tells us how she does it.) Designing lessons to be accessed by all students, despite disability labels, increases student success rates.  She uses UDL in assessments, saying not all assessments need be tests or final papers.  She uses virtual worlds so students can design spaces based on the literature.  Because they are designing in 3D, students read literature deeply.

She suggests teachers find tools tied to the standards and your objectives for the course.  Tools should never take over lessons. The literature content should be the focus.  Dr. Ritter-Guth uses gaming to teach literature and find commercial games offer as much storyline as text-based stories.  She finds students are more engaged when using games to learn and hopes to collect data about using UDL to format online courses and student success rates.

In one of her classes, Beth teaches her students using a post-apocalyptic virtual world with her college students called Fall Out 3.

UDL resources: The National Center for Universal Design.

Thank you Dr. Ritter-Guth for teaching us all so much about UDL!

Every Classroom Matters is a bi-weekly Radio Show by Vicki Davis on BAM Radio network with best practices for busy teachers.  Subscribe.

Show notes prepared by  Lisa Durff, Production Coordinator for Every Classroom Matters.

Need help listening to the show?

If you’re clicking “Play” on the BAM Radio Site, this often works best in Internet explorer. Or subscribe in a podcatcher. If you need help, use this tutorial.


The post Universal Design (UDL) in Online Spaces with @BethRitterGuth appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

Constructive alignment tool – SOLO Taxonomy — HookED

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 21 October, 2014 - 15:17


  • Useful tool for generating constructive alignment statements - dean groom

Tags: solo, taxonomy, Learning, generator, constructive, alignment

by: dean groom

Categories: International News
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