I have been thinking about and scouring the net for ‘best’ models of trying to get teachers to use Moodle for some time. I have tried a few things myself with mixed success until the most obvious thing hit me.
There are gigabytes of info on ‘growing gap between the teachers and students in using technology’. And what do we mostly do? We get ‘experts’ (adults) and fellow teachers teaching the newbies, reluctant or otherwise. Yet the biggest resource and pool of experts sits right in front of our nose – our students!
This is an attempt to organise many thoughts after spending an amazing weekend with a number of passionate and wise ‘ed-tech’ people at and after the SICTAS symposium in Sydney last weekend.
It may have been an ‘echo chamber’ a little at times but…it felt wonderful. The gathering was passionate, informed, engaging, motivating and hopefully fruitful when our recommendations come to the top echelons of public service in Canberra. A big public thank you goes to people at Education.au for pulling it all together.
“Keep It Simple S…..” Do you know the last word usually stated here?
While the leftover pizza from Twizza (Twitter & pizza) is cooling nicely in the school fridge, I can’t thank enough to all the people who came and/or “tweeted-in” to our gathering this afternoon. An informal meeting of a few teachers turned out to be a wonderfully relaxed, very positive and productive introduction to Twitter for many of my colleagues at the school.
The place was like the United Nations of Twitter – we got tweet-ins from around Australia, Europe, UK, USA, a ‘real’ visitor from New Zealand, even a person from Czech Republic who has used my 2 Minute Moodles with her teachers happened to be in town and dropped by. As Tim Hunt, software developer from the UK working at Moodle HQ here in Perth, walked in I said: “Here is an example of the power of Twitter – I am seeing this person for the first time in my life yet he walks in as an old friend.”
A large number of real, human connections were made in the space of just a couple of hours (even Sue Waters’ funny looking tweets could not stop all that 🙂 ) Once again, the 70:20:10 principle I have touched on many times in my writing, was so obvious and wonderful to watch during the event as my colleagues helped each other, handbook and laptop in hand, to have a crack at Twitter (thank you Simon, you are a bloody legend!).
We got about ten new teacher signups, polished a few bottles of wine, had about four family-sized pizzas and shared some great conversations. Best of all, we have experienced a number of those “a-ha!” moments that make Twitter, educational technology and the whole behemoth of education go – human ideas, creativity and willingness to learn. If we did not have these we are in the wrong business, sending the wrong messages to our students. Thinking and learning is vital, just “Keep It Simple SMART“.
It is amazing what a change of the last word can achieve.
Before I go and digest that last slice of pizza, I would like to offer you a free copy of “Twitter handbook for teachers” created for this event (hence the name). This was a well received document, why not share…
Below the document, you will find the Twitter names of my teaching colleagues who have just signed up with Twitter – feel free to follow and share the serendipity of Twitter with them, they will appreciate it.
As a coordinator of a senior school course called Career & Enterprise at our school I have decided to take a different tack on the often over-worked career exploration, life and work balance, resume writing, job finding and similar themes of the course in the past. This year the focus is on ICT and the way it has been changing our social and professional lives. The course aims to be innovative (eg. major projects are set in the community, students running ed-tech workshops for interested staff) and looks to sometimes challenge a few ‘sacred cows’ of mainstream schooling (eg. teachers and students will often switch roles). For brevity and those interested, here is the link to the syllabus.
‘That sounds interesting’ you may say but that ‘interesting’ bit could be like the (oft misused) Chinese proverb. Why? I am taking a big gamble here – and I need your help.
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.