Gazump. A situation in which the price for real estate or land is raised to a higher price than what was previously verbally agreed upon.* (1)
This week I lost half of my job. The half I formally started this year and was promised to go for another year, the half that gave me a chance to begin to wisen up on ICT, how to ‘infect’ people with enthusiasm for the impact and potential of ICT, the half that gave birth to Moodle and so many other valuable things at our school that have made an impact on the entire school community. Like many of my colleagues working for the same employer (largest in our State…have a guess), I was asked at the start of this job to come up with ways to better engage teachers and students with ICT in ways that are relevant and specific to the context of our school. A number of wonderful colleagues and myself worked hard to do just that this year, only to be…
Here is a transcript of a recent argument with my lovely wife. It’s not verbatim but pretty close:
M: ‘Computers are such time wasters!’
T: ‘Don’t say that, it’s a silly thing to say’
M: ‘BUT THEY ARE! Look, this thing froze up just trying to upload a photo so instead of spending half an hour walking in the sun I spent it in front of the stupid computer screen. It robbed me of my precious half an hour.’
T: ‘But you can’t just bag computers, they have their uses too – I for one enjoy them a lot and have learnt enormously from them over the last few years – you don’t seem to? You see them as stupid, useless and time wasting but there are so many things they can do’
M: ‘All I am saying is that you can so easily waste time with computers. You know, a screen freeze here, a link there and on it goes so before you know it you spend hours in front of the screen.’
T: ‘Well, growing and mowing grass is a waste of time too, TV is a waste of time…everything can be waste of time if you think about it. Computers are no different – you can waste time with them.’ Continue reading Listen before you talk→
Ever since I stumbled upon the 11 Things that make a difference by Bryn Jones and Chris Betcher a few months ago, I have often marveled at their uncanny assessment of critical criteria needed for successful ‘meshing’ of teaching with ICT. Within our ICT working group we often talk about and check our school’s progress against these 11 criteria. Yet we can’t help the feeling we need to add another one.
The staff at our school are currently completing (what looks like) a survey on the current level of their ICT skills, obstacles and aspirations. The ‘survey’ is in fact a fairly simple database activity in Moodle, designed to kill several birds with one stone – we get more than just a snapshot of where we are at and what we need. Through this simple, easily searchable database, people can quickly see who in the school has the skill(s and attitude) they (may) need, sometimes literally on the spot, just-in-time, where there is neither chance or time to attend some PD but simply problem-solve and learn from it. Staff can update their entries, comment, thank each other, inquire and so on in a way true to the 70:20:10 principle underpinning our ICT-related PD efforts this year. It is working really well but I might describe it in more detail in another post – back to the ‘12th thing’.
Even after a cursory analysis, something clearly stands out from the data from approximately 75% of staff so far – lack of time they have to ‘play with’ ICT, improve their skills and consider the improvements to their practice ICT can/could have. In the data, I can see (in)direct references to the other 11 Things but “(lack of) time to learn and work on/with ICT” comes through really strongly and makes a strong case to be the 12th Thing. Surprised? Not me.
Before starting to work as a part-time technology integrator at our school this year, the principal asked me to come up with one ‘thing’, one key strategy for staff and students to ICT to improve their teaching and learning. After seeing the flexibility, robustness and ‘organic’ nature of Moodle the choice was pretty simple to make.
The video, shown here in two separate clips, is not so much about the technical features of Moodle but about people using it. I am forever indebted to our wonderful network administrator Russell Clarke, my colleagues from Moodle champions to Moodle beginners, and the students, who have taken to it so well (well, a healthy majority of them at least). Without them, none of the things shown in the clip would happen.
The focus of the first clip (9:58 min) is on the ways different, mostly standard features of Moodle have been used by various teachers and students at our school. If you can’t see this video (Part 1) please click here.
The second clip (5:43 min) shows the positive and in some cases very significant changes the establishment of Moodle has brought to our school in terms of using ICT to improve our core business – teaching and learning while modelling, establishing and maintaining healthy human relationships. If you can’t see the clip (Part 2) please click here.
I end this post with an anecdote from a teacher at our school. Over the last couple of weeks of holidays, my colleague Kim Bebbington built a fantastic course on Australian History, now shared by four other Year 8 classes. The course includes an assignment, due in week 3 of the upcoming term.
Deliberately or not, Kim left the course open to students to enrol and look at as he was building it. Imagine his (pleasant) surprise when he received a fully completed assignment (due in week 3) by one of the students in his class two days before the start of term.
But as wonderful and useful as Moodle has been, it is the people who are making the difference. It is not the technology itself – it is what we do with it.
If you are a ‘moodling’ teacher yourself, looking into it, or a person responsible for getting (particularly) teachers up to speed with Moodle and ICT in general I would love to hear from you – there is much to share and learn from each other.
This week, my colleagues in the eBCC ICT working group and I organised and ran the first ICT Expo at our school. The expo had 16 ‘stands’ over a handful of classrooms and a large central area. As pictures often tell what words can’t quickly describe, have a look below at the short clip from the event (if problems, use a link to the video on TeacherTube).
Here is more about the occasion pictured in the video…
This week, I created and presented a brief video to recognise the achievements of our staff members in integrating ICT into their classroom practice. The video received a very warm reception among our staff and I thought I would share it in the spirit of collegiality.