Sunday, 6 January 2013

Module 10 - Final Reflection

When Web2 first emerged, the big talk was a future where we would no longer have dependency on the desktop. Technologies like AJAX were promising a future where you could do photo editing, wordprocessing, video-editing and presentations all in the cloud. Could the day come when we no longer need Microsoft Word, Powerpoint etc?. Will we ever find the same functions in the cloud in a package that is powerful enough that people walk away from their deskop equivalent?

Well I have been "cloud only" for the last 5 months. In fact I have done this entire course on a $250 Chromebook using the Google Apps suite and a collection of free apps that are accessable via my Google account. I have had to be "cloud only" because I have been trialling a $250 Chromebook that has no deskop applications. (It does but lets keep this post simple). All the productivity is via the web. In fact these last two modules have been completed whilst being a passenger in a car driving from Townsville to Brisbane. I tethered my Chromebook to my iPhone for an internet connection. (Thanks to Bernie and Yasmin for doing their share of the driving...).

This is great news for classrooms. It means we can place a very cheap device in the hands of students and because they all have a Google Apps account, they have access to a massive suite of productivity tools.

With 300 Chromebooks going to 11 of our schools, I thought I would make this project (The Web 2 course) a discovery of how Chromebooks can be best used in classrooms. My aim during the 10 modules was to discover alternative apps so that teachers could take what they learn and use the same applications for their students.  I wanted to avoid the situation where teachers were bcoming familiar with apps that were not available to students under 13 or required students self-registering via the web. Instead, I looked for alternatives where there were no age restrictions in the acceptable use policy and access was via one's existing Google Apps account.

This blog documents that journey. It needs to be seen in conjunction with two other resources:

  1. The Townsville version of the Web 2 course.
    This simply advises our teachers of options for each module that they can use with students under 13 and without the need for students to share  their ersonal details online. 
  2. The Chromebook User guide. This was designed for the teachers in Townsville diocese using Chromebooks with their students in 2013... 

How it pans out is yet to be seen. What was heartening was the discovery that Chromebooks were the best selling devices on Amazon during December 2012. They outsold Apple and Windws 8 tablets. See here for more.

Good luck to you all. I hope you enjoy the course as much as I have and I hope you meet the challenge of using these tools in your classrooms to transform the way students learn.


Module 9 - Social Networking

Social Networking is a great area of interest for students but you are reminded that the diocese has a policy that prevents the use of Facebook and other ‘open’ systems between teacher and student. Please see this page for our position and you may wish to review our policy on ‘open’ vs ‘closed’ systems. 

We want teachers to do the Web2 course with the intention of using the skills with their classes. To that end, teachers are encouraged to expore the following as part of this module:

  1. Scootle
  2. Favosaurus
  3. Clipular
This is how the Australian Government has chosen to catalogue and distribute resources for the Australian Curriculum. Up till now, Townsville teachers have used school based subscriptions to Scootle managed by school librarians. Teachers could self register via a school specific URL.

Now we are asking users to acess Scootle via Catholic Network Australia (CNA). To do this you have to go to the CNA portal, then "Education Services", then "CNA Teacher Resources". That takes you to the screen below and you have to click on Scootle.

Here are links to how to guides/videos that may help you set up Google sites that distribute Scootle resources for your class.

Which of these social & professional networking tools could enhance learning, both in my classroom and beyond it, and how?

This booklet explores a range of strategies teachers can use in social, collaborative and co-operative learning settings to enhance student learning. It has been written specifically for the Townsville schools exploring the use of Chromebooks but the activities apply equally to staff and students with other devices.