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)

Keeping It Short and Simple.

As the beginning of the final term of the South Australian  school year begins this week I am preparing myself for the inevitible finalizing of the years learning and wrapping up projects for the year.

Over the last few weeks of our break I have again been reflecting on how little I blog. In a attempt to make this valluable form of professional sharing and reflection I am changing tact. After reading a very clear and simple blog post by Tom2Teach Game Based Learning – Angry Birds. In this post Tom successfull conveys the ideas of using the mechanics of Angry Birds to develop simple, curriculum aligned, learning investigations in a variety of Learning areas.

My new paln is to record at the end of the week one way I used technology to provide individualised learning.  To begin with I will be reflecting directly on small events and how curriculum was delivered. I hope to expand this to include information about the tools I am using and how it helps my teaching productivity.


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Amanda Westmont

As an ICT teacher I know the experiences won’t be a problem it will be my time managment and support to sit and write the posts. This is where YOU, my readers can help me. I have begun a Twitter hashtag #BlogBud where your simple reminders and encouragement will help to keep me on track and much appreciated. I am sure once I get this into my routine and I get to a point of regular blogging I will provide sound support to all teachers in technology tools an practical examples for use in the classroom.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Rachael.

Getting Connected

Last week I was privileged enough to attend the CEGSA 2012 conference and Masterclass. This conference was significant to me for  a number of reasons, firstly I made a conscious decision before I arrived that I would make myself get out there and meet people and make connections.

…I need to give some background on myself here. I moved to South Australia in October 2010, from Victoria. Since moving over I have had aspirations to step into a role where I could implement my knowledge and skills in innovative education and technology. Unfortunately, due to some significant differences with procedures and protocols between states I felt my impact had been stifled.

Even with this perception I remained determined. Through my Education Technology network I received word about the CEGSA 2012 conference, here in Adelaide. When I read more about the conference I found out there was to be an additional exclusive Masterclass day as a prelude to the conference proper. The presenter was George Couros @gcouros of “Principal of Change” fame in the Education Technology world. I was approved by my school to attend – even though I’m not employed as a teacher this year.

When I arrived at The Networked Educator Masterclass I felt under-prepared as I still didn’t know who the keynote presenter really was. Upon introduction George gave out his twitter and email contact details and we began connecting. I have been on twitter intermittently for the past few years and I was comfortable there, making comment and asking questions. By the end of the first day I felt I needed to do more to connect.

Still determined to connect with people I walked into the conference on day two and continued the conversation with others in the sign-in queue, and introduce myself. I was making connections! As the days progressed I felt I was comfortable talking, sharing and approaching strangers to chat. This is a significant key to my experiences of the conference as I don’t talk to strangers naturally and comfortably. I can connect online but when I get face-to-face I seem to get tongue-tired and unable to talk naturally. The breakout courses were another significant feature where I could sit with new people and introduce myself and share experiences.

As the conference progressed I made more significant connections with colleagues. My professional network expanded rapidly. I discussed numerous opportunities including trips to both Sydney, to meet with Summer Howarth (EduSum) on Twitter, and ACEC 2012 in Perth to further expand my network, and applying for Google Teacher Certification,  with Steve Knipe (@nipper72) on Twitter These are all priorities of mine as I progress professionally. At this point I must thank Tina Photakis (@tina_p) on Twitter and Michelle Westphalen (@office_michelle) on Twitter for the great conference, drinks and dinner and the best experiences I have had professionally for many years.

All of this reaffirms my passion for Education Technology, Innovative Education. The connections and discussions throughout the conference has sparked my interest in supporting the wonderful organisation that is the CEGSA board, and supporting teachers across this state, country and the world.

The outcome of these most inspirational three days is that I am now back blogging, tweeting and social networking with colleagues and counterparts across the world. I have also managed to act upon several classroom journey’s with social networking which are exciting. I will write about these in future posts  as we are in initial planning stages.

What has been your affirmation? and How has this changed the direction of your career?