Author: Concetta Gotlieb

My Journey – Concetta Gotlieb

The Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre is a place unlike any other in the world.  It is a place whose sole purpose is to fully realise the talents of young people by using technology to augment excellent pedagogy.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work in a collaborative, imaginative workplace that reaches for the stars and beyond.  I have worked with hundreds of teachers, students and experts and together we have seen ourselves transformed.  Together we have made ourselves competent, civically aware and capable of leading change.  The technologies we have explored have empowered us to...

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Spotlight #9: Social Networking

It’s an exciting time to be teaching.  Better understand the possibilities of using social media in your learning environment. Use of social media by teachers: Department staff can now access policy and guidelines that set out how they should use social media for professional and personal use. Whilst the Social media & technology guide for staff on the intranet outlines the department’s policy and guidelines for staff engaging in conversations on social media networks, teachers can also gain practical teaching strategies and resources to support their own and their students’ learning by attending the courses now on offer through...

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Spotlight #6: Student Workshops @ MacICT

As a way of supporting teachers in their own professional learning and pursuit of effective use of technology in the classroom MacICT is able to provide student workshops at the Centre. Such workshops are designed collaboratively by the class teacher and MacICT staff with a focus on tailoring the day to meet the students’ needs within the curriculum context and ICT area nominated by the class teacher.  It is envisaged that such workshops will support the class teacher in linking their own learning from professional development courses to the application of that learning to the classroom. Whilst workshop activities...

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Operation Innovate

Operation Innovate challenges teachers and students K-12 from all KLAs to attempt one or more ‘missions’ to integrate technology in their classroom in creative ways.  ‘Operation Innovate’ is a great way to extend teachers knowledge of quality teaching and technology integration within a flexible, supportive community-based professional learning environment. The project gives teachers the opportunity to mix and match technology, pedagogy and content in a way that will support the achievement of learning outcomes for their students.  The project has a focus on students as creative producers with their learning supported by various technologies including blogs, wikis, Edmodo and...

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Professor Bei Lok Hu

Students from Mosman High School successfully facilitate another academic expert.  These students facilitated the sharing of students as VC producers skills as well as a quality dialogue in the area of physics.  Congratulations to Mosman High School, particularly to Peta, Jess, Max, Rex and Maggie Dendy their teacher. Professor Bei-Lok Hu received his PhD in theorectical physics from Princeton University in 1972 under the late Professor John A Wheeler.  Professor Hu’s research in the 70s was on quantum field theory in curved space-time.  Quantum field theory explains how fundamental particles such as photons and electrons behave and interact.  It...

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Choose your own adventure

The teachers at MacICT love it when we have students and teachers visit.  In the past students have visited the centre and created amazing digital works including: Choose your own adventure stories Creating digital films Design e-learning activities to share Designing games Creating podcasts and audio Utilising robots Collaborating and sharing online and… using pretty much any exciting technology you can think of. Usually we like to work with the teacher to plan an activity that is an extension of the curriculum they are working on in the classroom.  It could be taking the book the students are reading...

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Social networking with students

Safe online behaviour is a key priority for all schools in 2011.  Students and teachers who gain experience in using social networking tools in a productive and appropriate manner are better prepared for 21st Century teaching and learning.  In terms of working with students Edmodo is a great place to start.  Edmodo is similar to Facebook but better suited to education, with clever privacy controls and interface make it perfect for learning.   It provides a very easy to use interface with no real learning curve.  It also provides the ability to share media, eliminating the need for virus...

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Linking game design to the curriculum

When students are put in the role of designers rather than mere consumers of their technology, it provides an authentic context for effective learning using a constructivist approach that promotes inquiry learning through deconstructing, designing and building games. Through the process of designing and building, students take on the role of a game designer.  Allowsing them to combine their prior knowledge as game players with understandings of good game design. Conceptual risk taking is rewarded and meaningful connections are made with relevant learning from other subject areas. The teachers we have worked with in the area of game design have really...

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Professor Anthony Leggett

2011 @ Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre has started with a bang! Professor Jason Twamley from Macquarie University coordinated a rare opportunity for Stage 5 and 6 Maths and Physics students and teachers to hear Sir Anthony Leggett, Nobel Laureate, speak about his work and interests in physics. Grade 10 students from Mosman High School, facilitated a video conference (VC) using the Connected Classroom.  These students from Mosman are part of a special program called Beyond Visible that is focused on new and emerging science including; nano-technology, quantum physics and astronomy.  Part of their assessment is that the students run a video conference demonstrating their understanding...

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Effective Integration of ICT – Teacher Reflection Caringbah High School

Image via Wikipedia There were a range of new technologies that we used during the process of this project. From LAMS and Edmodo to Freemind and video. However, LAMs and Edmodo were the 2 real ‘changers’ for us. Edmodo has introduced the openess of blogging into the ‘classroom’ resulting in 2 new groups being created for both my Year 11 classes that we have used to share information and questions while preparing for exams and to continue through until their HSC. This is a practice that I intend to keep using in many ways but specifically I will be introducing blog-discussion groups for seniors. In the past ,we have used the traditional ‘read this and we’ll discuss this tomorrow’ technique to encourage student thought-processes but with this well-received blogging platform I am introducing a more responsive technique of read through and write up some of your thoughts and respond to others. My students have responded extremely positively to this platform – far more positively than others suggested, and the introduction of this written component with the freedom of a ‘blog’ I am will develop their understanding further. The introduction of LAMs has, to me, resulted in a huge improvement in my students understanding of outcomes. I intend to introduce a LAMs session in each class I teach eventually to get this message across, in addition to developing LAMs programs...

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Problem Based Learning – An Instructional Model and its Constructivist Framework

Image via Wikipedia Savery and Duffy in their 2001 paper Understanding is in our interactions with the environment. Cognitive conflict or puzzlement is the stimulus for learning and determines the organisation and nature of what is learned. Knowledge evolves through social negotiation and through the evaluation of the viability of individual understandings How to design for understanding: Anchor all learning activities to a larger task or problem Support the learner in developing ownership for the overall problem or task Design an authentic task Design the task and the learning environment to reflect the complexity of the environment they should be able to function in at the end of learning Give the learner ownership of the process used to develop a solution Design the learning environment to support and challenge the learner’s thinking Encourage testing ideas against alternative views and alternative contexts Provide opportunity for and support reflection on both the content learned and the learning process Read the full article:...

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21st Century Skill Development

Image via Wikipedia When I work with students on the ‘Students as Learning Designers’ project we work together on a continuum of participation.  Sometime the students creating things that just ask each other questions at other times they might ask each other to add a new piece of information to a wiki as a part of a collaborative activity.  I believe this exponentially increases the students skills in areas that are of interest or benefit to them.  For example a student my learn how to ask another student how to do something by being asked by another student to join in creating a wiki. The article below from teachstreet summarises some of the elements of being a good online teacher including: Being knowledge Writing processes Asking and giving feedback Setting deadlines Being an ‘architect’ Facilitation Sense of humour Technical know how Aren’t these the types of skills that prepare students for knowledge work and life in general?  Aren’t these the skills we want for students. Hargreaves in Cultures of Teaching and Educational Change talks about the complexity of encouraging collaboration amongst teachers.  He says that teachers may ‘perform brilliantly in some areas of collaborative work and poorly in others.  Great team problem-solvers may be poor emotional supporters.  Teachers who may be excellent in nuturing junior colleagues, may flinch when having to face conflicts with equals or superiors.  It is impossible to...

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Interactive Video with Google and The Arcade Fire – The Wilderness Downtown

Image by nikko russano* via Flickr The Wilderness Downtown an interactive video by the Arcade Fire and Google is why we are teaching kids to develop interactive things.  Because they WILL be designers of interaction in the future.  This beautiful music video incorporates: Me as a character in the video – using a very beautiful google maps Me doing things in character in the video – drawing a postcard to my younger self based on the feelings invoked by them film The computer and me drawing together – this is a perfect example of distributed cognition Innovative use of my screen space – multiple windows opening, creating a certain feel and tension Collaboration and community  – the postcards we sent will be used in live shows Check it out and get a glimpse into the near future. Related articles by Zemanta “The Wilderness Downtown” Chrome Experiment Featuring Arcade Fire ( Street View and The Wilderness Downtown...

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A few videos on augmented reality

“… there are those who use blogs, wireless handheld devices, and podcasting not because these technologies address a specific instructional need or solve a challenging pedagogical problem, but simply because these tools exist and are currently in vogue.” (Sanders) However it is possible that just by using the technology we are forming a chain from very minimal impact to a fundamental shift in what we are able to achieve. For example if you look at the google googles video of their visual search function it might seem a little pedestrian. However the interlocking pieces of the puzzle such as the ability to access a database using something other than text, the ability to view database information in a natural context may provide affordances.  As Kerawalla talks about in her experience of using technology in the science classroom. ‘It also affords the demonstration of spatial relationships and the interactions of elements within a 3D space (e.g. Shelton and Hedley2003) whilst providing the potential for seamless interaction between the real and virtual worlds (e.g. Billinghurst 2003; Shelton 2003).  Examples of this type of augmented reality can be seen here in the form of an augmented smartboard and below with the drumkit. This is interesting in terms of Sanders article where he states that a possible distopian view of technology as taking us away from the real contact.  ‘Tomorrow’s students might be...

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from HCI to HCR (Human Computer Relations)

Fernandez, De Lera, Valverde and Almirall four user experience writers at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Spain provided me with a small but highly relevant insight into the way we need to be thinking about designing for interaction. They talk about the fact that other sectors that use technology such as gaming and entertainment design for emotion but that sometimes the education sector or e-learning neglects this area.  They also indicate some best practice for affective design: Apply the notion to all area of design Intro interfaces that are based on natural movement and expression Focus on senses Incorporate play Incorporate the internet into objects Clearly articulate values such as ‘collaboration Use an interdisciplinary approach Innovate – artificial intelligence might change they way we respond to computers Collect as use affective data by creating surveys and providing visual data – continuously improve the ways that you gather data Fernandez, C., de Lera, E., Valverde, L., Almirall, M. & Villarejo, L. (2010). Changing the way we think: fromHCI to HCR (Human Computer Relations). In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2010 (pp. 542-545). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved...

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Image via Wikipedia Students enter school multi-literate, they probably always have.  A colleague of mine was discussing her son and the fact that at 7 years old her son was able to search for youtube videos to help him solve problems in games.  Very young children are creating multimodal interactive texts such as those on Ben10 and are able to share these with their friends via email.  Highschool students may be creating sophisticated places for sharing such as ‘pages’ that are designed to rally their friends around an idea whether it is ‘sleeping in’ or ‘fighting for equality’.  They are conceptual thinkers and designers that use technical fluency to manipulate their social worlds. Wyatt-Smith and Kimber distinguish the elements of this type of multimodal literacy as being either: Using existing knowledge texts or materials Create and share new knowledge texts or materials However if we look at the example of kids creating Ben10 games or facebook pages there is a higher level socially constructed element that requires a different skill set, that links these two elements.  It is about building environments and activities for participation and interaction.  It requires new literacies that ‘almost all involved social skills developed through collaboration and networking.’ (Jenkins, 06)  This is the part that we are still developing understandings around.  Student participation and socially negotiated design for, sharing, remixing and responding to.  This element...

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Rubric for assessing student created learning

Camden Haven_rich_taskstudent_rubric Image by Jordanhill School D&T Dept via Flickr The students at Camden Haven have just created a rubric to support their design process.  This rubric is a remarkable thing for a group of Year 7’s to have produced. It includes concepts such as: Giving effective feedback to groups on sequences Creating a well organized mindmap of their information Providing information that was in their own words and included a bibliography Creating a sequence that addressed their key question fully Was at a student level while still giving a challenge Connects all the elements of the sequence Is easy to read, uncomplicated and provides interesting information Is colourful and has fun links to go on I am so proud of them for coming up with this list, I think it shows that they are beginning to understand some relatively complex concepts of learning and teaching.  I think that the next difficulty the students will come up with is that it is hard to identify what is a fun link, what is effective feedback and what does a great example of all the elements being connected look like.  That is where teachers might use something like annotated work samples to help them work out what is excellent and what still needs more work. This assessment website by Education Services Australia provides many examples of annotated worksamples.  Do you think...

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Lesson plans for connecting the dots.

Asking student to come up with the big question or the big idea is really about helping them understand the link between outcomes and activities or assessments.  Linking these big ideas to activities and concepts can be difficult to work out at first.  The slideshow below is designed to support teachers to help students understand the link between outcomes, teaching and checking for understanding. It might be useful to work through an example like this to work out exactly what it looks like when you have designed something that teaches effectively.  Or you could use a work sample eg a learning design the student has made up and ask them to identify the bits of the sequence: That explain what you will be able to understand or do by the end of the sequence That tell or show something That allow the learner to show you what they understand Please comment and add your ideas for helping students understand the learning process?  We will be using these ideas with students in the next few weeks and I’ll share those that the students enjoyed. Related articles by Zemanta Catering to Diverse Learning Modalities ( Mac ict game_design_2010_overview ( MacICT Local Eco Study Project 2010 ( Bee-Bots at MacICT: Project overview 2010...

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Action learning approach

Jill Forster spoke at the Northern Sydney Region Conference this morning.  Although I couldn’t attend the day I did receive a copy of her notes including her paper Quality teaching for gifted learners: An action research approach to professional learning, (Forster J, 2006, Australian Journal of Gifted Education, 15(2), 32-42) Her emphasis on building learning communities through action research is a fantastic approach.  One that elavates teachers and students and helps achieve better outcomes for all students.  A lofty ideal and something that we strive for at the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre.  This paper provides some useful reminders of...

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PLEASE NOTE: MacICT was closed in 2016. This website remains as a record of the research conducted and courses run during its operation.