RSCON 4

2013 Reform Symposium E-Conference (RSCON)
Around the World in Nearly 80 days


This Saturday I will be presenting at #RSCON4. The date and time of my session is Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:00 PM (Pacific/Auckland). However you can access the site and locate when this is in your time zone. I will have just returned to Auckland after having presented #TeachMeetNZ at the National ICT conference #Ulearn in Hamilton.

I recently returned to New Zealand on the 2nd of October after having been away for 77 days. In that time I travelled on 15 Flights, 44 trains, countless hours on buses and in cars visiting 13 Countries on 3 Continents and meeting  28 amazing educators educators and visited  18 learning institutions and schools and attended some face 2 face professional development. I kept in contact with my colleagues via Instagram, Twitter and email. I also kept a blog and an off line journal and took over 4,500 photos.
My presentation will focus on my TeachNZ13 Sabbatical, which allowed me to establish connections with educators around the world. Schools in Europe and then in Asia were visited and different learning environments observed. The educators who allowed access to their domain were educators who have had a history of sharing professional practice and some use Technology in Transformative Ways.
The Flat Classroom conference in Hawaii
The brand new Billunds School near Legoland in Denmark
School Design from an educator in Roskilde Denmark
Jyvaskula the Educational Centre of Finland
The Goldau School Project in Switzerland
The Hole in the Wall, the Granny Skype project and now the school in the cloud in Delhi, India
The Slideshare Headquarters in Delhi.
The Confucius Mandarin Language Programme in Shanghai, China
A nursery and an elementary school that are beginning to learn English in Osaka, Japan
The annual Google Apps for Education Summit in Seoul, Korea and a visit with a school running 1:1 iPads with Grades 3 & 4 children.
Take away from this session some ideas that could be used in your own schools, details for where you can read more about the different projects and make connections with the educators involved.

I look forward to you joining me virtually as I share my Face2face journey of my round the world experience.
I created a copy of my presentation in video format.

Flat Classroom Conference 2013


On Tuesday 23rd of July I finally met Julie Lindsay at Kapiolani park. I had come especially to Hawaii to attend the Flat Classroom Conference 2013 held at Punahou School.
The theme for the conference was ‘Thinking globally but acting local = glocalisation. The challenge was to create a pitch, work collaboratively to come up with a video product that is embedded on our team’s wiki page.
We were provided with the opportunity of visiting the Omidyar Kindergarten and First Grade Neighbourhood part of the school for ages 4- 6 years olds. I was blown away by the design of the rooms and by the amount of equipment each class had access to. As can be expected, the children were not in school but teachers were around preparing for the new year. I since found out that Pierre Omidyeawas a past pupil of Puhanou School. Omidyea was the founder of ebay. Other past pupils to note include Barack Obama and Nainoa Thompson. There are many others and many past students have gone on to be leaders in a variety of fields.
The Flat Classroom conference was a lot of fun and was more than what I expected. There were 9 countries represented and 40 schools from around the world. We were given the opportunity of working with educators on a global project. I was part of team 2 and we called ourselves Heat 2 Heart Team.
First of all we needed to develop a pitch for a global project. Then we presented this to the students and they gave us feedback. Students did the same thing and presented back to the teachers for feedback. After that we created a visual presentation of our pitch and embed this onto our wiki.
We began with 8 teacher teams but by the end of the second day it was down to just our team. So we had the opportunity of developing a video. There were 6x members on our team and this included Anitawho was an expert at video editing using imovie, Bill who had some really great ideas, Ryan who kept the memories by taking heaps of photos and movies, Hui-Mei who was an expert with podcasting and quickly whipped up our audios and myself with strengths in wikis. In and out we also had Maria who provided some administrative angles and Kumu Tai, who joined us later and gave us the Hawaiian perspective. We were encouraged not to rely on google because this was still blocked in many countries. So using google docs, google presentations etc had to be adapted. Therefore we used slideshare and wikis. Padlet and etherpad was a little clunky on the ipad.
On the final day, the students’ presentations were stunning. I felt proud of our team that we completed our product but the work of the students really blew me away. They had some great ideas. The theme coming strongly from the students was their awareness about sustainability. Remaining students created a sharing of their cultures and this was a lot of fun to watch.
I took away from the conference the idea that we can create some stunning global projects but working together is the real gift of global projects.
I enjoyed my group immensely and by the end I wished I had booked some extra time to stay in Hawaii. I have created an #fclive group on Google for my team to keep in contact and I hope that we do carry through meeting up together and even doing something together online.
I also was able to meet other teachers such as Vicky Davies,  Teresa Allen and Frank Guttler who came in as part of the Flat Classroom Team. All are stunning global educators too. I also met Emily McCarren who was coordinating the event for Punahou School. Other interesting people I met was Kumu Tai and Kumu Malia. Both celebrate the Hawaiian language and culture at Punahou School.
In Punahou school they collected rain water in bioswales for watering their beautiful gardens. They provide the children with the chance of growing their own food gardens, classrooms used photovoltaic solar panels to collect energy for lighting and the use of skylights was evident. I didn’t see paper used as much as how we use paper and one of the teachers said that most stuff is created digitally. The mountain behind the school is known as U’uonamoa and blocked the rivers. Legends share that when the Hala Tree was pulled up a new spring appeared.
The Flat Classroom conference ran over three days and each day there was a lot of educator learning. The best part was making connections and collaborating with a group of passionate educators and seeing what happens when we all work together.

Ignite- Hyperconnectivity

 
Talofa lava and greetings to everyone
I am here to share with you my learning on Hyperconnectivity.
This journey began with my learning for efellows 2011.
Efelllows are a group of educators who have been selected nationally by CORE Education. The CORE Education eFellowship Awards recognise innovative e-learning practice by New Zealand teachers.
In 2013 I have won a TEACHNZ sabbatical to continue my investigation. I am using this opportunity to meet global educators face to face.
So Hyperconnectivity. Mark Pesce says that it is access to inconceivable amounts of information. Hyperconnectivity provides a platform for a breadth of situational awareness beyond even the wildest imaginings of MI6. I have added- it is about being tethered.
Our children are born with a digital footprint. Even before birth there is online evidence as their proud parents upload their foetal images to social networking sites such as Facebook. Currently New Zealand has more mobile devices than population.
The social web allows access to inconceivable amounts of information. Early users generally put it all out there. From pictures, to videos to personal information. Currently the greatest uptake of use of social media is the over 35 year olds.
All this technology is like a tidal wave. It isnt coming. It is here now. To counter this wave, we must take the same technology as our children, use the same tools as our children. Some of our learning lies in the network not in opposition to it.
Last year we used SuperClubsPLUS, an online social networking tool for children to bring together a group of schools. We hyperconnected on line and we connected face to face in real time.
This year we connected globally via the BBC World Assembly.
When we come together and share, whanaungatanga happens. Connecting globally can extend our sharing in a positive way. As a school we are more conscious about not limiting what we are doing to within our 4 walls.
Last year as a staff we trialed Myportfolio. The greatest benefit with Myportfolio is sharing our teaching and learning practice. Myportfolio allows us to make hyper-connections and to work hyper-collaboratively.  This year we have added the Virtual Learning Network to our list of teacher tools.
The efellows award allowed me time to step back and look at what I was doing with e-learning. The award provided access to experts in the form of presenting my message and in the form of social media. I was able to take time to visit other educators and to hear what they said about Hyperconnectivity.
The award also gave me the opportunity to ask and explore some challenging questions. One was If I could see myself in the mirror- would I like what I see? Another question was with all the Hyperconnectivity that is taking place in our childrens lives, what are they giving up?
Being hyperconnected is an important part of life for many of our children. Many are permanently tethered with their own device. Tethering also gives the concept of helicopter parenting. For example with the use of Hyperconnectivity children can be tracked using GPS systems. We can track not just where they go physically but where they go online. Tracking also can be cyberstalking. How many of us as do this right now using instagram or twitter?
Hyperconnectivity gives us global connections and opportunities for global collaboration and sharing. But it also give us opportunities to trace and track. This is not just limited to us but anyone with a connection.
What about the space between the hyper nodes. Ulises Mejiasmakes reference to the space between the nodes and if this is ignored it is like a fish ignoring the water that it swims in. The space is what supports the nodes.
As an envro school we can make analogies to ignoring the space because we know that the environment is what supports us living.
As educators we must be aware of the tools that are being used. Find out and understand the legalities around working with children online.  At the same time allow and create learning opportunities that do not always need wifi connections, tracking or testing.
As part of our curriculum and policies do include activities that might not be benchmarked but yet create other connections and collaborations.
Include staff activities that are fun. Yes include Hyperconnectivity’ tools but as much as possible emphasis a balance that learning is fun. Connecting and collaborating also includes face to face experiences. –eg: I make reference here to Ignite sessions.
We as much, as our children, also need the space where we can be totally ourselves and not be connected. The value of silence is obvious to us. Just as being hyperconnected is to our children.
These are the people who have greatly influenced my thinking about Hyperconnectivity. Mark Pesce who introduced me to the term Hyperconnectivity, Steve Wheeler who I have been following on twitter for over a year. Ulises Mejias  who helped clarify the space between the nodes.
Larry Cuban who asks the hard questions regarding technology and education and questions the expense in dollars and in time.
Sherry Turkle and Pam Hook who just keep asking the hard questions.
To finish with…. Hyperconnectivity and the space between the nodes
Social software can positively impact pedagogy by inculcating a desire to reconnect to the world as a whole, not just the social parts that exist online- Ulises Mejias
You can hyperconnect with me online or make connections with me face to face.
I would appreciate further discussion around this topic.



Our school app

One of the strengths of SOLO taxonomy is being able to identify where I am with my learning and what my next steps are. @arti_choke. often reminds me to think about the process and not the finished product. When using ICT I often get caught up with the tools I use and focus on the finished product.  However reflecting on the process of my journey is important for abstract thinking.

So this time I choose to reflect on my process of building a school app for smart phones.
My learning journey with app building began last year when I followed up a Telstracleartweet about giving away free passes to Armageddon.
Through that tweet I managed to acquire two passes to a days event.
Before arriving at the venue, I searched for Armageddon on the app store and found their app for the event. Armageddon was magic and the app was really easy to use. The app enabled me to locate 
Ant Sang and also Zaboo and Vork from  the web series, The Guild.
That small act of kindness from Telstraclear launched me into an amazing journey that I am still on with app creating.
When I downloaded the app, I noticed that it was hosted by guidebookBeing of a curious nature, I downloaded guidebook and started playing. I was excited to play in a new area of technology. As I played I noticed the limitations.

The first limitation was that the app was free to a certain level and then if you wanted more features like having a tweet feed, you would have to pay considerable extra, and even more for unlimited downloads. At the same time the positives was being able to see what the app should look like. I liked the tidy structure that guidebook provided.
About the same time on twitter @Allanahkdrew my attention to ibuildapp Again I played and developed our school app. Yet again was hindered and this time by the registration fee. But I will come back to that later.
So where to next. By absolute accident I revisited my personal wikipage links page for different online environments that I register for. I noticed that widgetboxhad updated its tools and had a place for mobile app creation.
The positive addition with widget box was the free trial for two weeks that I was allowed. I could download and test the app over a variety of devices. Because of my previous experience with apps, I built the app in a day using the knowledge that I had already garnered.
My principalsaw the relevance of what I was doing and her excitement spurred me on when she asked some of our teachers to trial the app. I had great feedback for the app in particular from @oprubyslippers, @ginnynz01 and  @tashjaz .
So again I shuffled and fine-tuned the app and passed on the trial to other teachers in our school.
With our principal’s excitement and encouragement, I also created some useful tools for our teachers to use with their smart phones but more about that in a future post.
I then tried to have the app hosted free but the provider was not as advanced thinking in this area. Therefore I will not mention them again.
So where are we up to.
Unfortunately I can get the phone widget working on my wikispace but am unable to have it working correctly from our website. The html language is not quite correct and I am unable to rectify the problem. However using another pathway, the app link is up. It is clumsy but it is up.  So the app is live from our front page. You can download it here.
Our school app has been trialed on an android and an iPOD. The trials have been successful. The only negative with using the current builder is that this app cannot be read by an iPAD. However the developers are working on this limitation. Another limitation is that our logo cannot be seen on the androids. A further limitation is that the outline when downloaded is black only and that the social media tools are not in colour. The final limitation is the ongoing monthly cost to host the app. But the research I carried out over the three providers that I trialed all involved a monthly fee.
I will target a group of parents to give me community feedback and have started targeting our business partners to help us send the app out free to our community.
Retuning to ibuildapp. I love the idea of selling a school app and making money for the PTA but we do not charge for our school website so for this app I am reluctant to charge for information that is already out there. It also brings home to me that I am using my school laptop and iPHONE to build and trial the app and therefore what I build and trial belongs to my school.
At the same time extended abstract thinking using SOLO taxonomy enables me to understand that my next steps will be in creating code for building a learning app. The app that I have developed is an aggregation of sites. It is web based and requires the internet to drive the information. So the app is really our website in mobile form. 
Initially the app was built to give our community access to what we are doing and up to date information on happenings. But already I can see how our school app can be used to engage our community in what we are doing. One clear idea coming through is having access to real time survey.

Overall I think that building a school app was interesting and exciting because I learnt about the limitations of using a smart phone developers template. I also learnt what the school app should include but most of all I learnt about making connections and receiving feedback from my colleagues and using this feedback to develop a better product. I also found out that I already have some skills to begin developing my own app code and that I want to learn more about the process of being an app developer   so that I may support our learners as we move into this area of creating.
If you want to know more, have some suggestions for me or would like to support us in this area, please feel free to comment, twitter me @vanschaijik or our principal @newmarketschool or email me.