Friday, 25 March 2011

Take it from the top

After a recent discussion about finding information in the mountain of Google. I learnt how to do an Advanced Google Search and taught it to my students (see a copy here), luckily it also tied in well with our reading learning intention which was finding key words and phrases. About five of them got <10 results which was amazing, but still everyone got below 5000 results, which meant they were more likely to be relevant websites. Next time I want to introduce WonderWheel search which I believe will help my students focus their questioning as well as developing good key phrases.

Additional responsibilities seem to bring additional PD days away from the classroom, and with a sick day included my presence was not very strong in the classroom the last two weeks. I missed my students but found that their self management had gone haywire and behavior issues were rife. I had to put very structured routines in place, and get back to some early term one basics. I now see that although some students are ready, most of them need more scaffolding and modeling in order to develop their self management. I have used this opportunity to share more of my planning with them on our wiki, they can see their activities for the whole week, along with explanations of their tasks. I have gained inspiration from fellow e-learning teachers, and being part of a PLN with like minded teachers helps challenge and extend my own teaching practice.

This week along with my principal, I attended a PD for Principals using web2.0. It was fantastic to see so many schools leaders who are willing to lead change. It turned out I am more well known by my Twitter username (MrWoodnz) than I realized, branding really does work. It was hosted by the principal of Summerland School who is enthusiastic about elearning. On a classroom walkthrough it was evident that the school had a culture of e-learning that was inspired and modeled from the top. I am hoping to get some photos to add to this blog as they had specially design mobile and flexible furniture that suited the spaces of e-learning very well, including being bright, comfortable and fun. All available from local suppliers too.

My principal was overwhelmed by some of the content, but completely sold on how they used wiki's for their Board of Trustees. I am proud to say he created his first wiki for our BoT, and is excited about taking on this new challenge. I particularly liked the way Summerland School used Google Docs within the management structure, from managing relievers to shared planning.

Along with David Kinane who is giving us PD on e-learning, I am leading our syndicate teachers on a e-learning journey. I am very proud of the progress the teachers have made and their growing enthusiasm is exciting to see. They all created their first wikis and even reflected on our e-learning wiki using Vocaroo. So my reflection for that part of the day will be audio below.