Saturday, April 24, 2010

Web 2 Lockout

I am always trying to find an audience for student work and I find it really frustrating that there are so many great web2 publishing sites that kids have to be 13 years old in order to sign up for an account.  I think it would be far better to have a rating system for websites like we find with TV shows (G, PG, M, R). Many kids ignore the rules and lie about their age but I do not encourage kids to to do this. One way around the problem is to create a gmail account for the class such as MrsSmithYear6 at and give students the password. When a teacher signs up using this email address, students can then all access the one account. This week I have tried to collect links to sites that offer free educator accounts or that do not have the 13 years of age policy. Please let me know about others I can add to the list or let me know what you do about the 13 years of age rule.

  Cool Stuff I Learned This Week:

  • My 10 year old daughter showed me how to use an iPhone when we were wasting time in a mobile phone shop at a shopping mall. We don't have an iPhone in our family but she was able to show me how to use just about every function on the device.
  • Diigo, Animoto, Voicethread and Glogster have Educator Accounts. I am hoping other Web2 giants will follow.
  • Screencasting has many classroom uses.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Theme: Disasters Year 5-6

I collected some links on disasters for Stage 3 this week and while on the subject of disaters, I am not sure if you will be conducting NAPLAN tests at your school or not and I am not teaching a class at the moment. If I was, I would be getting my class to do as many past NAPLAN tests and practice tests as possible. Yes, teach to the tests and get back to the real learning once they are over. If you are interested in the sad topic of standardised testing, Gary Stager recommends reading , The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch, a previous education advisor to the Bush Administration and architect of standardised testing. I think it is about time we did some standardised testing of our politicians.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Personal Learning Networks

I have just returned from The ACEC Conference and have some great new ideas. One, advocated by Steve Collis , is to create your own Personal Learning Network as a means of professional development. Yes, he does deserve the title Happy Steve. His happiness infects everyone he meets. He argued that traditional professional development days do not allow for the fact that each school is unique with different people, history and circumstances. The development day also does not allow for needs of individual teachers.  Digital Age PD is about relationships and community and making your learning personal. I have been sending out a newsletter for 8 years now and it has functioned as a personal learning environment rather than a network. I intend to change that. I hope my links this week will give you some ideas for creating your own personal learning network. Before the conference I was not an avid Twitter fan but I have changed my mind. Steve explained that Twitter was like a cocktail party, where you can listen in and participate in conversations that interest you. The penny dropped for me at this moment. I downloaded Tweetdeck and have begun in earnest.