Archive for the ‘eLearning’ Category

ICTEV 2012

Posted: May 26, 2012 in eLearning, Tech, Thought provoking

It’s that time again, ICTEV2012! Here are my presentations.

Software used for video conference : Cisco WebEX –


What a great day, check out #ictev12 on twitter !


Image by Sean MacEntee – Used under Creative Commons Licence.

I’ve been asked a bit recently – ‘So how many iPads do you have at your school?’ or ‘Are you going with iPads?’ Some people look in amazement when the answer is ‘3’ or ‘No’. Even Apple seem to be pushing the point with us. Maybe there is more profit margin in an iPad than a MacBook, maybe I’m a cynic.

The intimation seems to be if your not going iPad your being left behind. Maybe we are, but I’m not so sure. Apple are great at marketing, I’m certainly guilty of lining up for the first iPhone at 6am out the front of the Optus shop, but are we getting caught in the hype?

Before we go too far, the iPad is an excellent device. Apps allow Teachers to integrate technology in a natural way and the learning which can happen is truly rich. Yes, the iPad has a genuine place in education and schools could do much worse. One day all the students at my school may have one. Who knows.

BUT! My point is, as a school with MacBooks we also create rich learning experiences for our students. I’m sure schools with Windows NetBooks or Android Tablets do the same. The iPad is NOT the magic solution as some clever marketers may want us to believe. Teachers who can integrate, see opportunities and make the most of the technology are. Let’s not forget that. People, not the device, are the difference.


Posted: September 26, 2011 in eLearning, Tech

The PVUSD building.

Well here I am in Phoenix, Arizona as part of the ‘In conversation‘ study tour. After three flights and more uncomfortable seats than I’d like to recount we have hit the Arizona Biltmore and had a tour of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Tempe and Scotsdale. Phoenix is a beautiful city, very clean and seemingly well organised and progressive. I’ve never seen so many solar panels before and getting around town was quite easy (although I’m glad I wasn’t driving!). It’s 40 odd degrees but it doesn’t feel overly hot, quite strange really. Everything is big, from my 30cm tall coffee this morning to the Arizona State University which seems like it’s own city. I can’t wait to see more and blog about the next things I learn about.

Our host is Jeff Billings, the Director of ICT for the Paradise Valley Unified Schools District. Amazing place and an amazing man. Jeff is in charge of all things ICT and eLearning for (from memory) 34,000 students across 52 schools and took us to their technology hub including Data Centre, staff and training facility. From what I have seen already the next week or so is going to be incredible. I’m sure I am going to come back with TONS of ideas!!

One of the most painful things about the flight from Sydney to San Francisco, apart from the seat, was the fact that my favourite football team was playing a Preliminary Final, one step away from the Grand Final. There was no way to know how they were going for 14 hours. Hell on earth! We landed and I scrambled to get onto wireless to check the scores. Luckily SFO has good wireless and I could get the scores quickly and find out my team won. From there I had so wait another 5 hours before getting to the Biltmore for access the wireless here. When I heard  Mark Pesce talk about hyperconnectedness I knew I was like this but wasn’t truly aware of how much.

I now have an AT&T mobile but only calls and text. How am I going to survive? An interesting experiment, try turning your phone data capability off for a few days and join me in hyperdisconnectedness….. Thank god for the Biltmore wireless!


Half bit encryption

Posted: August 29, 2011 in eLearning, Thought provoking

Well, day one of the 2011 VITTA conference is done and dusted. It’s a great conference, fantastic venue, if only the wireless network could handle the number of users!

Roger Larson of Pearsons began with a Keynote address. One of his points was that there has been more change in the last 30 years than the last 500 years in education. As with all things these days the rate of change will only get faster, imagine the next 30. Lets get real, imagine the next 30 months. For those of us in Catholic schools the ICON project will undoubtedly play a large role, Ultranet for our DEECD friends. iPads, Android, Cloud, Virtualisation, etc. There are so many projects on the go in our competitive world. Were these things on the radar 30 months ago? Some probably. The iPad wasn’t even launched 30 months ago. The speed of invention is incredible. What will be invented in the next 30 months to revolutionise what we do?

Who knows someone may just invent half bit encryption…..

I hear/read lots of discussions about Generation Y and how they are supposedly ‘different’ to every other human being on the planet. It’s OK to give them free for all access to a plethora of tools because they can handle it. They’re multi taskers right? Has the human race really changed that much in such a short time? I’m starting to wonder. Sure, connectedness is the norm and they take for granted what we think is amazing, but can they really handle all this ‘noise’?

Recently a colleague sent through a link to “Self Control” – apparently it’s all the rage at her son’s university. This little app will block whatever you tell it to for a certain time period. Restart, sleep, whatever you try won’t unlock it. Cool hey? More interesting is that young adults have noticed that they need to be disconnected in order to concentrate. Not permanently but just for a bit. The noise is too much so give me a little space. Wonder how our students would cope with this concept? Maybe we need to give them a helping hand.

But it’s on my phone….

Posted: May 27, 2011 in eLearning, Tech

But Daddy, I can tether to Grandpa's iPhone and bypass your filters....

Had an interesting discussion today with a student who asked about why Facebook was blocked at school.

“Why do you bother?”

Insert standard ‘because we have to’, ‘to keep you on task’ response.

“But it’s on my phone…”

How true. Why do we bother?

It brings me to a recent discussion on a mailing list I read about tethering and iPhones. One student enables ‘Personal Hotspot’ on their iPhone, invites 5 mates and they are facebooking to their heart content. Does blocking get to the real issue? No.

Digital literacy is the key. The time is now. We need to deliver these skills to students as the Information Age swamps us. What could be more important?

Remember Google was named after Googol – a 1 with a hundred  zeros. I’m sure they are nearly there……

ICTEV Presentation Resources

Posted: May 20, 2011 in eLearning, Tech