Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ewan McIntosh

I was at a great course yesterday by Ewan McIntosh. Unfortunately I had to leave early to finish my last Learning Conference. Sorry about that Ewan. Fortunately my work mates were there and they told me about Ewan's challenge to us at the end of the course - To blog about something that will take up 100hrs of your time, apart from teaching.

Well that ones easy for me, I've just signed up for my first marathon (Auckland-31st October 2010). That's at the most 10 weeks away and doesn't give me a long time to train. Oh well better not to think too much about it and just get on with the training. Given I'll need to do a good 750k's training at an estimated 6 to 8 mins a k that's a good 100hrs on my feet. There done it.

But what's even harder for me is to start blogging again. Ironically by last blog was posted one year previously, on the exact date of my 1st half marathon (Huntley half- 23rd May 2010). Which means I haven't blogged for nearly 15 months. I suppose you could say I've got better things to do. Which brings me to my point, blogging takes time, a lot of time, especially if you're like me, hate writing and prefer to be doing. So what's the point and why do Educators insist students and their teachers blog. The obvious benefits of reflecting on your own practice and learning goes without saying. But what's wrong with personal internal reflection? I know what you are saying, it's about sharing and I have lots to share but who want's to listen? that's what I need to know? because if no ones going to listen then why should I bother wasting my time?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Let's Fight it Together

If you haven't done so already I highly recommend you show this cyber bullying clip to your students. You can watch it on line from or order a DVD, free to all schools in NZ.

With the proliferation of netbooks, tablets, ipods and phones in our schools these days and the increasing access to social networks and online learning environments it's really important we keep our students net savvy and safe.

As a syndicate we're working through a 'Conflict' unit at the moment helping students identify, try to understand and resolve conflict situations. It's heart wrenching to see how much students have been affected by regular bullying in the past, so it's really important we teach them how to cope with cyber bullying now, before it's to late.

The movie gets the principal across very well


The DVD has follow up interviews and you can find an interactive game on the site too which reinforces the message.

I also recommend the old youtube classics

Cyberbullying - Talent Show

and Think Before You Post

which are also guaranteed to make your students think.


Mywebspiration beta is now open for new registrations again.

Inspiration online with the ability to collaborate with up to 7 contributors, what more can I say than HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Is this the Iphone killer?

If there was anything that could get me back blogging again then it had to be something that I think can change the mobile landscape like the IPhone had done last year.

I have blogged about the IPhone before and about the first Google phone (the G1) and was at one time even tempted to purchase an IPhone, that was until the Vodafone pricing just didn't make it appealing.

Now, I think that I have been a little hard on Vodafone as I will try and explain. I am a regular user of their forum and I have been given the impression that they were kind of held to ransom by Apple and told what they could and couldn't do and this had a knock on effect on what they could offer the public. This is just part of the locked down approach that Apple have had towards all their recent products and something that Vodafone themselves were guilty of a few years back with their live site, which was a typical walled garden.

Well Vodafone have had a rethink and realise that future revenue growth is going to come from data and so they don't want some other company (read that as Apple) determining what they can or can't do. So what do you do about it? You make your own branded phone based upon an open operating system and take on the opposition where you decide all the profit margins. Well here it is the Vodafone branded HTC Magic!

My guess is it will undercut the IPhone and be offered with better data plans. Vodafone have been involved with the whole process, even down to having the standard virtual keyboard being specifically designed and coded to their requirement so that customers get a good experience. This phone will not only give the Iphone competition, but will give the Android  (originally developed by Google) operating system some kudos, which it desperately needs after the slightly bad press it received with the first Google phone, the G1. In my opinion this one was rushed onto the market too quickly and did more damage than good to the whole Google effort.

This phone will also have a big impact on the mobile landscape as well and it could change forever. 
Windows mobile is in decline (a bit like Vista) and in my opinion was never going to be a great mobile operating system.  Look at what it is based upon, it's like trying to fit an elephant into a matchbox. 
Symbian UIQ (the touch screen version) is officially dead and I think that Symbian itself has been left to sink or swim by Nokia when they suddenly released into the open source market place. By the way they have a foot in the Android camp as well so I don't think they will care what happens to it. 
Then there is the new Operating System (OS) from Palm (the Palm Pre), which I feel is too little, too late and the Blackberry, both of which are very small players.

This of course then leaves only Apple and Android. One is a locked down OS and one that is completely free and Open and can be developed by anybody.That is why I feel the release of this phone (the HTC Magic) is so important and was a result of Apple trying to dictate what a large mobile company could or couldn't do with their product. It may have worked with AT&T in America, but with Vodafone I think they just woke up a sleeping giant!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lesson 10

Lesson 10 - The hardest Lesson to Learn is...

I was tempted to tell you this first before I started my lessons but I left it until last because I didn't want to upset you. But I'm afraid now is the time I to have to tell you. Not that you probably haven't figured it out for yourself already. But when you enter the Web2;0 World of 1:1 Computing your productivity and perceived ability as a teacher will go backwards. You will not be as productive with your new tools as you where with the old tools and your confidence in your own teaching ability will have taken a bit of a knock this term but trust me it's just a phase.

This quote from Seth Godin’s book “Tribes” resonates well with me and reflects how you and your students are probably feeling right now:

The first rule the music business failed to understand is that, at least at first, the new thing is rarely as good as the old thing was. If you need the alternative to be better than the status quo from the very start, you’ll never begin. Soon enough, the new thing will be better than the old thing. But if you wait until then, it’s going to be too late. Feel free to wax nostalgic about the old thing, but don’t fool yourself into believing that it’s going to be here forever. It won’t. (93)

There is no time like the present to change and if you leave it too long it will be too late so you might as well just bite the bullet and go for it.

Just remember

You're never too old to learn.

The more you know the more you realise what you don't know

You get out what you put in.

So go back over those lessons I've taught you this term. Feel free to be nostalgic about how you use to teach but except, has the music industry has had to do to survive that the landscape has changed.

Lesson 9

Lesson 9-Students Live in the Present not the Past

Students are not like you and I. They do not hold onto files for years and years to come, just in case they may need them again. They live for the moment, complete tasks for a purpose, then seek out the next new learning experience. Consequently once they have finished a task and emailed it to you, they delete their work - well before you've seen it, checked it and given them feedback. (sounds like a good lost homework excuse to me). Sometimes they don't even check you've received it.

Which is why you need to remind them
i) not to delete work until it's been checked/revised and printed out (if they need a paper copy).

ii) to make their work public and hyperlink it or embed it into Elgg (if they are working in the web environment).

or iii) even better still, get them to work directly on Elgg (if appropriate)and save their work regularly.

I'm a great believer in completing tasks for a need and understand exactly where the students are coming from. However because I hate the fact that often the only audience for your work in an e-porrtfoli is the e-portfolio itself, I didn't put a big enough emphasis on students saving their work last year (especially a copy of their final draft/production). However, it made me realise we need to this year, because if we don't remind them the students just won't do it and it's such a shame not to have a record of their work.

So remind them quick before they delete their work at the end of the term. Next term will be too late it will already be gone.

Next - Lesson 10 - The Hardest Lesson to Learn is...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lesson 8

Lesson 8-Spam Filters Don't Care

Not that I've get anything against spam filters. In fact without them I dare to say the world as we know it would crumble. Well the computer world anyway.

But really Watchdog (our email spam filter) doesn't care that your lesson is only 45 minutes long and that you and your 25 students are desperately waiting for your googledocs email confirmation to be released from its inbox, so that you can all verify your accounts and get on with the lesson.

It doesn't care that you only have an hour to confirm your account. It doesn't care that if you don't confirm it within an hour you have to go through he whole registration process again.

It doesn't care that this is the third time little Johny has tried to set up a googledocs account because he doesn't know his from his It doesn't care that both you and little Johny are getting rather frustrated now because you can't understand why the email verification that was sent last night isn't working.

Which brings me to my next point. If you plan on using googledocs or any other web 2:0 application to that point, it pays to set up the application the lesson/day before. Over morning tea or lunch is a good option as it will give you time to iron out any problems you have with individual student accounts before the lesson starts.

Remember we are teaching primary school children and you won't believe the problems you can have registering for what seems like an every day run of the mill web2:0 program.

Pre warned is pre armed.

Next-Lesson 9-Students Live in the Present not the Past