My Google 20% Story

I have begun reflecting upon the books that I have been reading and this book is a great inspiration to my teaching practices; “The Google Story” by David A. Vise. You can read my reflections about this book here.

The Google Story

I have proven when education embraces some of the lessons learnt by Brin and Page into the life lessons being taught across the world that there is greater success and innovation. Every teacher can start this by simply asking the students about their creative ideas and providing the Google innovation “20% time” to develop and incubate these ideas.

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Minecraft-ing the Curriculum

With more and more focus on standardised testing and data collection in education teachers are looking for solutions that satisfy the curriculum and the governing education department’s requirements of assessment data.

The timeless question for many teachers in the classroom today is: How can I keep my students motivated to learn and participate? And there are a vast number of resources to answer this timeless question, but my answer is always to make it feel like it isn’t learning and the students are engaged and demonstrate a whole lot more than the curriculum outcomes that you have set for the lesson.

Minecraft

 

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From Learning to Exploring

With only a week before school returns for 2015, I am beginning to consolidate my ideas into planning for the new school year. As the Digital Technologies Teacher K-7 (plus a year 11/12 course) I am keen to continually innovate and push the boundaries. I have a new leader in the STEM curriculum area, whom I believe will be supportive of innovation, and a very supportive Principal who has given me license to push towards innovation and making a difference in my field, but to always reflect and evaluate upon the implications.

When I plan for the new Australian Curriculum – Digital Technology I know there will be many challenges and a very steep learning curve to navigate. I took the opportunity to begin some coding with some students at the end of last year during the Hour Of Code, which was received well by some students, so I believe they are up for the challenge and change. My big idea for the year is to allow more freedom to the students in what they will explore and learn. I want them to take more responsibility for their learning and the direction of their work. I know some students will run with this and thrive in the new learning format and space that is being provided, and others will need guidance and modelling every step of the way. This is an effect of the education system we traditionally impose on our students.

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Hour of Code 2014

This year I have signed Ocean View College up to participate in the Hour of Code. I have put together this presentation with the support of some University of Adelaide resources. If you would like to use them please do so with acknowledgement of the authors.

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Workflow is Everything

Since moving to Google Apps For Education I have found myself continually satisfied with how the tools interact and the collaborative nature of them to comment and support students whilst they are working on their task. The tools I use and how I effectively use them to manage my work flow are:

Google Apps for Education

Google Apps for Education

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Digital Leaders Project

On the mid year school holidays I was a part of the wonderful CEGSA Conference in Adelaide. As a committee member this year and seeing all of the organisation falling into place was a wonderful experience for me. Personally I was involved in getting “The Ed Tech Crew” Podcast team to attend and broadcast many interviews with presenters and delegates.

Often when we attend such large conferences as delegates we are excited about the possibilities. We return to the classroom invigorated and inspired to make change and implement all for the wonderful ideas we have been presented with. Unfortunately although, all too often we keep up the “new and shiny ideas” for the short term but resort back to tradition and our old habits.

This year, one of the key note presentations was by Nick Jackson (Online Educational Designer at University of South Australia). His presentation on the Digital Leaders Project he initiated at his previous school in the UK.

This, like many presentations, lit a spark in the hearts and minds of several delegates, and at the end of the presentation Nick invited everyone to contact him for more information if they are interested.

Days later, as I trawled through my local hang-out place – Twitter, I noticed a conversation involving some delegates and Nick (@largerama) about an upcoming hangout. I got myself involved and began my journey.

Since then I have participated in the hangouts to discuss the porgress and projects of school’s programs. I have also had Nick visit our College to support me in my launch process. We discussed several ideas and after discussing with the students their interests I found the common thread for most was Minecraft. When this was offered to the students as an alternative lunchtime activity Minecraft Monday’s was born. Since this there has been a core group of students who attend each week with several coming intermittently. These students range from year 4-7 at the moment.

Minecraft

Minecraft

What I have observed from these students is that they are always working to improve through self monitoring, motivating and encouragement of all players. The students are working together to achieve a goal and share knowledge. Since this I decided to persue an offer to host a Minecraft camp at our College. This camp provides players the opportunity to paritcipate in a community of Minecraft players from within our College and beyond.  They will be explosed to curriculum learnign without even knowing.

My hopes as a result of hosting this camp is that the Minecrafters at Ocean View College are able to begin usign their time to develop and demonstrate digital resources using Minecraft to teachers. As this goal develops I will present the idea of participating as a Digital Leader at the ACEC2014 National Conference in October next year.

For more information about the Digital Leaders Project you can contact me through the messages below or watch the Google Hangouts at the links below.

Oz Digital Leaders Hangout 1 – 23 July 2013

Oz Digital Leaders Hangout 2 – 13 August 2013

Oz Digital Leaders Hangout 3 – 27 August 2013 with Michael French

Oz Digital Leaders Hangout 4 – 3 September 2013

Oz Digital Leaders Hangout 5 – 22 October 2013 with Amber Wurst (Year 9 Digital Leader Participant)