A fantastic blog on 21 C education

This is a fantastic graphic and site that i saw on linkedin !

pedagogy graphic

This is the site:http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/03/awesome-graphic-on-21st-century-pedagogy.html

Go check it out !!!


101 uses for a “dead” tablet…or What to do when your network lets you down !

This speaks for itself really.

Can you add to this ?

Frisbee tournament.
Olympic style tablet-put, discuss-put, javelin-put.
Make a suit out of tablets.
Make a table and chairs out of tablets.
Build houses and “inhabit” them with pencil people (if you still know what a pencil is).
Take all the tablets apart and make one, huge super tablet.
Take all the tablets apart and try to put them back together again.
Take all the tablets apart, put the bits in a bag and then shake, before returning the bag to the IT dept.
Kid size checkers.
Who can build the highest tower ?
House of cards building.
Tablet dominos.
Paint them orange and put them in a bowl and pretend that you have broken into a giant’s house and found his doritos. (Can also do this with Mars bars and other sweets).
Cut eye holes out of the tablets and use them as masks.
Use whiteout to paint on a white “page” and then, when it is dry, hand write your work.
Use paper and string from the Geography dept and fashion a mobile to illustrate the water cycle, which can be then hung from the fan.
Stick the tablets together into the shape of a shark and scare k4 during swimming.
Using science equipment and a microwave, shrink several members of the class and a video camera and get them to remake Tron in full.
Prove that 10 kg of tablets will fall from a window at the same speed as 10kg of student

Robbing the Blog bank !

Phew ! This paperless, 1:1 technology stuff is pretty tough going. I am finding that i have to get in to work a little earlier than usual in order to scan the blogs i subscribe to, whip through the online journals i have found, and to check the twitter feeds of the people i’m following, as well as checking my own, updating my IB film facebook and filtering my emails. In this entry i am going to share the best edublogs and blog sites i have found and used, both in getting this paperless project started and in helping me develop my own 21 C teaching skills.

I have just re-read that paragraph and i feel i must apologize. Honestly, i didn’t think and it just came out. It wont happen again. I didn’t mean to admit that i had been coming into work early, but there is no other way to throw myself into this and i don’t think that the paperless journey or the 1:1 move can be done part-time…it’s all or nothing !

That’s not to say that i wake up everyday, spring out of bed like an Olympic gymnast and rocket to work with unblinking zeal. Don’t get me wrong, if i won the lottery in the next five minutes, the blog may carry on but you wouldn’t be seeing me in person, as my security guards wouldn’t let you on my private island. If i’m honest, i’m not sure that i would tell my family either, because then they’d want to visit all of the time. I’m pretty sure i would tell my wife, eventually, and some of my friends, but i definitely wouldn’t tell that guy who lives opposite and cant work out how not to set his car alarm off about four times every night. Anyway, i digress…

In all seriousness, i am feeling motivated and energized to try new things this year…and i guess this is similar to trying to get students to learn. In order to be successful as a learner, (which is very much how i see myself !) you first have to be motivated and in a learning, “open” frame of mind. This has to be a conscious decision and, for my part, the biggest challenge so far has been making myself work in situations where i don’t know all the answers and have tried to “share” power/control/ the navigation of the lesson …with my students. Not an easy task as it requires a pedagogical shift as well as a technological shift and i can see that i am at the start of a road with no foreseeable end.

Also, and very much connected to this, I see this year as a foundation year and an opportunity to learn and get things wrong and to have no fear of failure when it comes to technology…or the blog. (To steal a phrase from someone, if i’m not making mistakes then i’m probably not on the right track !) I think i have to jump in with both feet and discover new swimming strokes. I have to move the walls of my classroom. I have to push myself and my students into situations where they have autonomy.

Of course, the irony is that i still have to make sure that they WRITE EXAMS WITH PENS AND PAPER, or the results will show that they have learned nothing and that i am a terrible teacher !

It is a juggling act between tradition and technology and i think that this time, ( to indulge all you trudging, knock-need and shoe-less through an MA in education ), when the computer fights the classroom, the computer will win* !

Anyway, this apart…here are some really useful educational blogs to follow, dip in and out of and steal from. (That’s the point, right ?) Anyway, don’t think of it as front-lobe looting, think of it as updating your virtual portfolio of 21C skills !





* Computers Meet Classroom: Classroom Wins, Larry Cuban, Stanford University http://sdexter.net/xyz/CompMeets%20Classroom.pdf

The secret of Kim Kardashian’s shoes

Obviously there is a blindingly obvious link between the vertically challenged, publicity addicted, chesticularly blessed “celebrity” and my effective use of technology in the classroom. No, i am not dating Kanye West. No, i have no plans to star in my own range of smellovision perfume commercials. However, I am going to confess to a sudden interest in shoes… platforms to be exact.

Wherever Kim totters, she is supported by an array of unaffordable shoes designed by unpronouncable surnames. Her every dainty jaunt is structured and given balance by the skill and guile of thousands of hours of highly skilled craft…and it was precisely this that made my first week of paperless teaching stop short with a bit of a jolt…To go with the Kardashian metaphor, I realised that i had my brand new dress on, I had done my hair and makeup but, fashion disaster of fashion distasters, i hadn’t anything on my feet ! How would people see me, how would i survive moving from red carpet to red carpet and party to party demonstrating my 1:1 ness….more importantly, what would the fashion critics say ?

I was pleased, perhaps even feeling a little smug. I had set up a dropbox account, a facebook account and had emailed all of my students when a colleague, with vastly more IT experience and a glint in his eye, asked me what platform i was using ?

After a slightly uncomfortable silence ( akin to “you did remember to hide the red paint from your toddler before letting her play on the new carpet…didnt you ?”) and some sounds that nearly resembled words from may part…it became clear that i wasn’t really sure what he was talking about…It also became clear that my drop box and facebook accounts are really nothing more than resource banks or libraries and that i need something that i can use with the students for their day to day personal and group based tasks. In short, i had the dress and the makeup but no shoes, and therefore no way of getting to any of the wild and crazy parties that Ryan Seacrest would be at.

As a way of cobbling, my college suggested evernote and live minutes as a platform. This would enable students to work individually or collaboratively, and as a way of providing us all with access to mark/comment/revise ongoing tasks. As a convert to google docs, i am intrigued with how this will work, and am hoping that the wifi network can cope with a group research and document producing task i am now busily planning ! I guess that this is the testing of the pudding and it will show me if we can go beyond the IT resources and actually do some 21 C collaborative learning…i will let you know how this pans out.

Linked to this idea is an interesting article that i came across which talked about the School of One in NY, which seems to be a type digital platform that works at the moment through the maths curriculum at the school. In short, School of One looks at a digital teaching and learning platform that self-generates according to students learning styles and needs and provides for pedagogical input.


Finally, as a side note, it was a little strange, (but in a good way), to have a student ask me if it was ok for him to use a pen and paper to make notes in my film class last week, as he had forgotten to bring his blackberry to class. It is nice to see that sometimes the students may have the technology or the means but perhaps they aren’t always aware of how best to apply or use it !

This point became even more lucidly clear to me as, in keeping with the challenge of not using pens or paper for a year, i have had to adjust to hiding pens and paper on my desk and to look for other ways of noting down the things i need to do, as well as the important (!) meetings i need to be a part of. I tried google calender, but found that my inbox was soon overflowing with email reminders. Another teacher suggested sticky note, which i tried and couldn’t get on with, but I am pleasead to say that i have found a good fit in the form of Microsoft office note… a program already living quietly under my very own nose. I wonder how many other things there are, that i have already, but that i dont know about or dont use… I am becoming a co-learner as well as a teacher !

GPS for 1:1 ! (Where do you start when you don’t know where you want to go ?)

To steal from Paul Simon, when i arrived in Argentina i didn’t speak the language or hold any currency.I struggled to mime/dance/swear my way from the airport to the school to meet someone who could help me settle into my new life here. The first few months were frustrating and it was only when i was able to start to hear words and grunt and gesture in the correct way, that i began to carve out my own context for living.

I feel a little bit like that at the moment. I have landed with a splat in 1:1sville and, nevermind the lack of language or currency, i don’t even posses any pants !!!!

Thankfully, (to briskly get through this analogy, which i am regretting starting, if i am being honest), i am being fitted for a 1:1 suit and, as luck would have it, i have discovered the equivalent of food and drink to sustain me in the first steps out in this new environment.

Hopefully these links could help, if you find yourself metaphorically naked, penniless and vulnerable in a strange, virtual place ! (Obviously, if you are literally waking up naked in a wheelbarrow,or on a roof or something, these might not actually help that much.)


(a really clear overview of what, how, who, where and why !)


(a month by month blog from a US HS Principal as his school introduced 1:1)


(a link to the One to One Institute (US) and overviews of pedagogic support)


(a buffet of sights and sites for tech-hungry teachers !!!)


(another buffet, if you still have room to chomp down on some super (supper?) sites)

A toothless tiger ?

And we’re off…not with a whimper and not really much of a bang either…but at least there is some movement.

The majority of full-time staff at my school have Samsung net-books, with a Wi-Fi connection,(which can be hard wired into media projectors in most classrooms), to ensure seamless teaching and internet access from room to room.

Sounds simple right ?

Cable issues and the frustratingly small and overly sensitive mouse pad aside,(can a netbook suffer from “small computer syndrome” ?), my year 11 introduction to IB Film didn’t go too badly at all.

Obviously i struggled with locating the correct cables to connect everything and obviously i was very tempted to ditch the whole idea and write out my lesson aims and objectives on the board. But i didn’t. I was lucky enough to involve an IT teacher and a Maths teacher as well as a passing PSE teacher in a spot of cross-curricular ad-hoc planning…or, as the layman might call it, “working out where to plug the correct cable in.”

Having demonstrated my digital immigrant status to a room full of natives, i was pleased to discover that my hard work preparing my first ever prezi paid off in that this format was actually new to some of them ! However, my momentary elation was slapped away when one of my charges showed me a short cut on the dropbox shared folder i had proudly set up for the course…

I am most definitely on a learning curve. Hopefully, by this time next year, i will be moving towards the notion of teacher/coach/facilitator and the class more towards the student centered model that seems to be the ideal !

The content of the lesson was very much reliant on my subject knowledge and prepared clips through youtube and free images selected through prezi. It wasn’t a million gigabytes away from how i would have prepared if i wasn’t under the constraints of not using pen or paper. However, the experience really illustrated to me the need to work with the technology, alongside traditional pedagogical skills and not rely on it as the magic box that would push me towards redundancy. It was also enlightening to see the majority of the students (OK, it was a graveyard shift after lunch) engage with the idea of not using pens and wanting to bring into school any kind of computer/phone on which to type/record notes.

The experience also showed me that, unless you can operate the technology, without drawing attention to the technology in itself (and this depends on the classroom, capacity of the member of staff, server strength, amongst other things…), the device you are trying to teach with, will be nothing more than a substantial paperweight, or a massive sidetrack away from the focus of the lesson.

Looking back on the class, i am pleased with how i managed to take the leap of faith, (which goes against the grain of everything i have hitherto accepted/expected as a teacher) and risk an entire lesson, course introduction and first assessment piece, on technology and a paperless infrastructure that i am discovering a step or three behind my students .

I am interested to see how many will access the shared folder on dropbox, where i have put the course outline and the resources and links to a personal presentation due later in the week.

I am also intrigued to see if any of these natives resort to using a pen and paper…

End of the page….the countdown has started !

I am no digital native but i am fighting to be a legitimate digital immigrant.
Our school is planning on implementing a 1:1 program within the year, and to throw myself into the experience and to try and understand how i need to update my teaching methodology, i am challenging myself to lock away my pens and paper and use nothing more than my pc, blackberry and the internet as resources. What is more, i am determined that my IB Film class will do the same thing !
“Adapt or die”, i guess is my underlying mantra and i am trying to shed the shackles of the 20th C and move towards the 21 C. Collaborative learning, integrated teaching and technology and curricula more aligned with the real world rather than the school world.
I hope that this blog will chart the journey and provide some help for those about to launch themselves into the same river. I will try to provide some links as and when, as well as academic papers/ reading that i come across on the way…
Whether you choose to get in or not, the river will still flow !