Friday, November 2, 2012

A great find...

Hey guys

Thought I'd just let you all know of a great resource that I stumbled upon months ago via Twitter (@tesResources), however only just required a use for it... is a collection of free resources, submitted by teachers all over the world. Over 500,000 resources are available, with the ability to search by keyword which then splits the matching resources in subject areas and school groupings. By the way, the TES are the crew behind The Times Educational Supplement in the UK. (I'm presuming that the TES is somewhat similar to the 'Learn' section in Melbourne's Herald Sun)

My use came out of the need for my Year 10 Wellbeing class where they will be required to discuss what it means to be the "perfect" male or female according to the stereotypes that currently exist in society via the media.

Within seconds, I had 303 resources at my fingertips, some useful for this particular, some not at all. I eventually settled on this one..Human Outline

Anyway, the resources also appear in Google searches so you can also search via Google :)

Anyway that's my "short & sweet" post for the time being.

Until next time...May the Tech Be With You

Jimmy V

UPDATE 10:10am 02/11/12 (AEST)
Just did a quick search of Twitter and noticed that the TES crew have around a dozen Twitter names based around different subject areas and different sectors of education!

Full list (I think) below:

  • tes Resources - Resources across all subject areas  
  • The tes - News and views from the editorial team from The Times Educational Supplement in the UK
  • tes New Teachers - Resources/Support/Advice for new (and "old") teachers
  • tes English - English resources from the site
  • tes Ed Tech - Tips and Tools for Good ICT practice
  • tes Maths - Maths resources from the site
  • tes FE Focus - Links and discussion from the TES Further Ed team
  • tes Science - Science resources from the site
  • tes Primary - Primary geared resources from the site
  • tes Special Needs - Resources for Special Needs teachers from the site

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#TMGeelong & Web-based Audience Response Systems

Hey guys and welcome to another post from May the Tech Be With You!

On Saturday 20th October, I had the privilege of conducting the first presentation at the first TeachMeet Geelong. This presentation was held at Western Heights College (Vines Rd Campus) and organised by @MarkOMeara. The video can be seen after the brief explanation of what audience response systems are, how they work and how I use them in my classroom.

What are Audience Response Systems?

Audience response systems allow groups of people to provide an opinion on a topic or an answer to a question. Traditionally they required dedicated remotes, receivers and software, however its now much more accessible for all on the Web.

How do ARS work?

Traditionally, they required each person in the audience to have a remote that connects to a receiver, which in turn is connected to a database. Presenters would display a question to which the audience members would respond and the results would be displayed on the screen.

With the Web-based systems, all you need to do is set a question, topic prior to your class, ensure your students have access to a mobile device (whether it be a PC, laptop, iPad or web-enabled mobile phone).  They require the students to open a dedicated URL which will take them to the question/topic and they can then respond to the question or topic. The results are then displayed on the screen automatically in real time.

Benefits of ARS

  • Engaging for students
  • Automatic/instant feedback
  • Reports generated for each quiz
  • Multiple Choice quizzes can be automatically corrected
  • Cross Platform compatibility
  • Can inform our practice as teachers

Examples of ARS

Differences between Poll Everywhere & Socrative

·         Poll Everywhere
o   More appealing to younger student audience
o   Larger range of response types – not just web based
·         Socrative
o   More appealing to an older student audience
o   Better reporting package under the “free” account
§  Multiple choice responses are automatically created
o   Bulk importing of questions/answers

A slight warning
As with any new tool or tech, you will know that there can be downsides or conversations that you may need to have with your students. One such downside, with both of the tools that we have seen is that there is no filtering of the open ended response questions. They will simply come up on screen regardless of whether the student response is irrelevant or inappropriate.

Depending on the age of the students that you use this with will depend on the conversation that you have in relation to appropriate & responsible behaviour.

My use of ARS in the classroom...

Depending on the group that I have, I use either Socrative or Poll Everywhere. For my Year 9's I use Poll Everywhere, while with my senior students I use Socrative. I just find the interfaces appeal to their respective  audiences.

I have used both to do the following:

  • find out from each of my students a range of information including how they feel their learning is tracking, what progress they have made, whether they understand particular concepts, opinions on different topics...the list is endless
  • inform my practice using this information - if a number of students feel they weren't able to grasp a concept then usually we spend a bit of time at the start of the next lesson recapping
  • test my students as learning is taking place (formative assessment) as well as at the end of a unit (summative assessment)
I also feel that with these tools that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface with the amount of data that I have collected from them...

If you have any suggestions or uses of ARS, feel free to comment below!

The video!

Ok, so its nothing's only my second "formal" presentation on ICT, and the first to those outside of my "home" school setting. It's fairly safe to say that I know that I have a fair way to go with regards to my presentation in the comments below please.

The video can be seen after the jump courtesy of Mark O'Meara. I wouldn't normally present in shorts however it was quite a warm day in Geelong not to mention a Saturday!

The next post will be coming soon...and will be a reflection on #TMGeelong.

As always...May the Tech Be With You!

Jimmy V

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The first presentation is always the hardest...

UPDATED 19/10/12: In terms of my feelings towards the presentation prior to and after the presentation, they were mixed. Beforehand, I'd found out that a number of members of the College's Leadership team were going to be in attendance and I was nervous. Was my presentation going to be good enough for them? Am I going to stuff this up? Not only did I have that to contend with, but with staff signing up to their own snapshot sessions, I was a little nervous about some of the clientele (some had lower ICT skills than I had hoped for) that we were catering for. @_TarrynKennedy assured me that we'd be fine. In the end, I'd decided that there was no point worrying about either points and that I should get on with it. And I did.

As for after, a sense of relief hit me and I was glad that it was over and done with. 7 or 8 tools delivered to a subset of staff within 25 or so minutes. Not bad...maybe I should do this more often...and in saying that, I'm now presenting at #TMMelb/Geelong about Web-based Audience Response Systems on the 20 October. A write-up will go up  in a few days when I get a chance to catch my breath around the notion of the Web-based ARS.

EARLIER: Hello there and welcome back to May the Tech Be With You!

I know it's been a while but I think now is the best time to come back with the return from term break and with something to actually write about.

I finally conducted my first ICT presentation to colleagues at my school on the topic of Web 2.0 tools but more on that later...

For those that don't know, the school I work at is moving to a 1 to 1 notebook/laptop program next year. As part of this massive (for some) transition, school leadership decided that we needed a professional learning day for staff.

The day had the standard professional learning day outline...
  • Leadership presented the vision behind the program, and the itinerary for the day  
  • The keynote, Alberto Rizzo, spoke for an hour on some challenges in moving to a 1:1 program & the TPCK model
    • The one thing that I found I could take from his talk was Explore. Create. Share. Good advice for staff who may be a little worried about integrating more ICT in the classroom.
  • We were then talked to about what Professional Learning and the journey that the College has taken in the past few years in developing a professional learning culture.
  • Staff then went into an hour long snapshot session of their choice...17 were on offer!
I had the privilege of co-presenting with @_TarrynKennedy. She covered SAMR (the model that allows teachers to gauge what they are doing with tasks, activities and assessment in their classroom...follow up post on this coming soon) while I covered some Web 2.0 tools that could be used to Modify or Redefine classroom interactions with students in a 1 to 1 environment.

I simply like to explore the options I have available to me in order to engage my students. 

To see the my half of the Prezi, simply follow the link...

From now to the end of the year, I'll be posting once a week on the tools listed in the presentation. 10 (or so) weeks, 10 posts. Hopefully that satisfies your thirst for tech!

Leave your comments about the presentation below :)

Disclaimer: In no way, shape or form, am I claiming to be an expert on SAMR nor that I am an expert teacher in a 1 to 1 classroom (even though I teach in them more than 60% of the time), nor to be an expert in any of the uses of the tools mentioned in the presentation. I also have no commercial affiliation with any of the companies listed.

As always

May the Tech Be With You

Jimmy V

Friday, July 13, 2012

Current News, Events & Issues with QR codes? An experiment...

Well the last couple of days have had me pondering how informed are today's youth are with regards to current news, events & isuues in not only their local communities, but their state, country and globally as well. Holidays do that sometimes...allow us to ponder questions we may not normally have time for when teaching, writing reports, communicating with parents and colleagues, etc etc etc.

Anyways...last term, I remember mentioning to my homeroom something that I had seen on the evening news broadcast the night before; I think it might have been something to do with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the UK to be completely honest but this in itself is irrelevant.

Surprisingly, of the students who responded...none of them had really any idea what I was talking about...this struck fear in me, as how can we expect our kids to invoke change and better world for the generations to come if they have no idea of what's going on around them. Now before I get the comments stating the contrary: 

I know that not all kids are ignorant like this, but if do not engage them in the news or current events/issues or promote that they should further investigate what they read, see and hear, then they may not develop the research and synthesis skills they need to survive out in the world.

For the uninitiated, what is a QR code?

A QR (Quick Response) code is basically a graphics-based link to some place on the web. They can be used to link to any valid URL. More recent uses include the ability to join a network (on Android devices), purchase items from iTunes, initiate Skype calls and download files.
Example: The QR code for this website is above

How do I input that into my mobile browser?

Using a QR code reader (an app installed on their mobile devices), you simply point their mobile device's camera at the QR code and let it do the rest...

What happens is that the QR app installed on the phone will scan the code, translate it into text and then redirect the user to the intended URL or aforementioned function.

So the plan...

What: To give my Year 10 homeroom a worldly knowledge that they may not get from any of their other classes and to help develop their investigation & synthesis of current news, events and issues.

How: Using a QR code generator like QR Stuff, and a QR code reader (suggestions in the comments please), create a range of different QR codes for my classroom that cover a range of issues, both locally and abroad, to see whether the students start investigating and understanding, even if only on a basic level. Hopefully by the end of the experiment, they will come out with a more "worldly" knowledge...The hope is that in the long run, we can discuss current events and issues as a class and that a general interest in current news & events is born.

Feel free to suggest current news, events and issues that you might think appropriate for a Year 10 homeroom.

When: Term 3 and ongoing

So that's the plan...feel free to send the feedback my way

As always...May the Tech Be With You

Jimmy V

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 introduction & plan...

So here is the second ICT tool post on here...apologies for the delay in getting to this point....

For this post, I'd like to explain Aurasma, an Augmented Reality (AR) application for iOS & Android devices. There are a number of other AR apps out there on the App Store/Marketplace however Aurasma seems to be the most popular. Now for the time being, I'll post the plan and hopefully get some feedback from you all...and once it happens, I'll write up a short evaluation, detailing what went right, what went wrong, what could have been done differently or better and some overall thoughts.


See some of the other applications for AR that are currently out there at the moment....after the jump as always....JUMP!

PS >> Aurasma was recently discussed at video just yet however a brief blog post from the great guys at TED..again after the jump....JUMP!

First of all, Augmented Reality...what is it?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect view of a physical, real world environment whose elements are augmented by a computer generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data. (Mashable)

Aurasma is an app that facilitates these features and allows you to create & share Auras. Auras can be images or videos captured from your Photo Library, or they can be Aurasma animations, that can be overlayed on any object.

The way the app works is that when Aurasma detects an object that has had an Aura created for it, it displays/plays the overlay. Another feature is that Aurasma can be used to display/play an overlay at a particular location...these are called Location Auras; these are auras that are only activated

The beauty of Aurasma is that it is FREE and they do offer the option of signing up to their Partner Program which is also FREE and allows you a lot more freedom with the application...more on this part when I get my  head into it...

Example: See how Marvel Comics has recently implemented AR into their comics....JUMP!

So the plan:

What: I would to use Aurasma to help teach my Year 8 students about the Cartesian Plane and reading co-ordinates from a map in a bit of a more visual and engaging way.

How does Aurasma help this I hear you ask? Well giving the students a map of the school and an iPad, the idea is to have them go on an "Aura hunt" that would require them to gather the clues left by each aura at the various locations around the school to solve a riddle, question or conundrum. The other side to the plan is to not only have myself present clues (as an aura) to the students but their other teachers and other known personalities in the school community.

Feel free to suggest riddles, questions or conundrums for the students to solve...

How: Using Aurasma on my iPhone, create a number of overlays for the students to find using their AR devices. Then get the students to find the auras & gather the clues to solve the riddle, question or conundrum.

When: late T3 - early T4

So that's the plan...feel free to send the feedback my way

As always...May the Tech Be With You

Jimmy V

Thursday, July 5, 2012

#VicCS4HS Pre-Post

So as I do most days, I receive an email from the Edulists. Yesterday was something different invitation to an event that I couldn't refuse...#CS4HS

Many of you are probably thinking what does the acronym stand for...

Well to the uninitiated...we're talking about the Computer Science for High Schools event, organised by VCAA, Monash University & The University of Melbourne. From what I can gather, this is a Google-sponsored initiative to get Computer Science subjects and Computational Thinking into secondary classrooms. This is the 2nd year that this is being held at The University of Melbourne.

While it is open to a limited number of people, I would like to open the discussion to all of you and will be doing so in the following ways:

  • Between now and next week, please fill out the survey which can be found after the jump....JUMP
    • Even if you are not a Victorian or Australian educator, please contribute to the discussion...your own part of the world may have this discussion regarding introducing Computer Science very soon (other states of Australia, with the looming introduction of the National Curriculum, I'm primarily looking at you!)
  • On the 11th & 12th of July (next week), I'll be tweeting...if that is acceptable...with the hashtag #VicCS4HS. 
I'm excited as a young educator to be able to make a contribution to the discussion. Seeing some of the names on the list of attendees, it will be a little daunting but I will pull through...I'm sure.

In the meantime, I am currently in the process of planning a number of posts, looking at ICT tools...I know this is meant to be a tech blog and I'll admit I've been a tad distracted so for that I apologise, but appreciate that you've stuck by the blog! 

In the last 5 weeks, the blog has received almost 500 pageviews, my Twitter feed has grown from 60-odd followers to almost 300 and I'm connecting with more and more educators & organisations every day! So thanks for the support, stick in there, happy holidays and finally....

May The Tech Be With You

Jimmy V

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#TMMelb @ Quantum Victoria Pt I & Pt II

First of all, I'll thank the Twitter folk, who introduced me to #TMMelb. I'm pretty sure it was one of @JudithWay, @adriancamm or @ccoffa but don't quote me on that one. But thanks to those who promoted it on Twitter as if it wasn't on there I wouldn't have heard/seen/known about it. Basically #TMMelb is a volunteer organisation of teachers from Melbourne and greater Victoria who come together once a term (or so) and present 2 or 7 minute snapshots, on any topic, pedagogy, ICT tool or technology that can be utilised in the classroom.

Getting there on Saturday was exciting as I'd never been to "the facility" before, and didn't know much either, but it certainly sounded exciting. Quantum Victoria is a facility, associated with La Trobe University (proud alumni here), that aims to engage students in science and maths by looking at real world problems.

Upon getting there around 1:55, it wasn't long until some familiar faces and Twitter names began appearing before my eyes. For those that I had met before, it was good to catch up and discuss what we were hoping to see during the course of the arvo, and for the Twitterers that I had only met their avatars, it was great to finally put a name and voice to the Twitter name. Yes, Ziad (@ramblingteacher), Brette (@brettelockyerand Celia (@ccoffa) I'm talking about you guys!

As we shuffled into the mini-lecture theatre, the excitement started to grow...or was that just the sweets (generously provided) starting to get to us? 

So where to begin the the start I suppose:
  • @adriancamm introduced and gave a brief overview (before his tour later on) of the drive behind QuantumVic and let those who were new to the TeachMeet format know how the afternoon would progress.
  • @melcashen gave the audience an interesting insight into her travels to Rwanda
    • She spoke of the teachers striving to make their communities a better place through education and the incredible hardship experienced 
    • One of my tweets during her talk I think summed it up my thoughts (and those of everyone in the room):
        • @melcashen #TMMelb‬ courageous teachers working with very few resources in Rwanda yet most of us complain when WiFi isn't working
      • @brettelockyer caused the audience a bit of a welcome stir...and admittedly it was something I certainly didn't expect when coming to TeachMeet. I commend her on her courage and enthusiasm with regards to her recount/fable/allegory regarding laptop trolleys, teachers, and the procedures around these.
      • Ziad Baroudi (@ramblingteacher) & Steven Francis (@notontwitter) then gave a great tour through some of the Scratch resources that they use in their Maths classes @ Avila College.
        • I'm looking forward to using some of these in the very near future and will provide updates when I have some stories to tell!
    Unfortunately that's all for this afternoon...reports are calling!

    And I'm back, now where was I...
    • @taniatorikova gave us a rundown of how she has utilised Facebook groups/pages to her advantage in her classes
      • Having already investigated & seen how this can be done, it was great to see how it had been implemented and managed by a peer
    • @handsdown showed everybody how they could implement a Green Screen - $14.95 from Spotlight (if anyone's interested)
      • If I ever moved to a school that didn't have a Green Room (MacKillop has a green room and functional recording booth), this would be awesome! I wouldn't have to buy that expensive ChromaKey paint! #winning!
    • @adriancamm made my day when he talked about how Portal/Portal 2 could be implemented into the classroom to give students a "real" look at physics at work....
      • I'm now investigating this for our science faculty
      •'s now got me back playing Portal...bad time of year to start up again but ah well
    • @elearnjones demonstrated the power of Evernote, a powerful cloud file sharing tool that allows you to access your documents on any device...very cool way to having students submit work continuously
      • Looking forward to implementing this at some stage in the near future...again I'll keep you updated!
    • @judithway promoted the @readerscup and spoke of it's value to students today (sorry for the original omission!)
    • @mr_lo_nigro was going to talk about Streaming Software on the iPad, but then decided to change over to the Super Mario Level Editor and how it has engaged his kids
      • Teaching a Video Gaming class last year and about to embark on the process again next semester, it's looking like a very handy tool!
    • @adriancamm was a busy bloke on Saturday, as he then showed us around Quantum Victoria...and may I say...everyone was impressed.
      • They have a number of programs tailored to a range of ages/year levels that cover topics in maths and science that we would never ever think to get across to our students.
      • The drive behind the facility is to empower students with the ability to think about real world problems and design a solution using the available technologies.
      • You'll have to check it out because they have some really cool programs over there that are accessible to a lot of kids. Most of them facilitated by some cool tech like 3D printers, unmanned drones and producing different applications for Xbox 360 Kinect & PS3's.
    It was an awesome couple of hours, and well done to all the presenters. I'm hoping to run a PD session at my school in a similar format, as I think it's a great idea. 2 & 7 minutes isn't long enough for people to be overloaded with information, nor is it long enough to get bored! But it is long enough to spark questions and a drive to implement some of these tools into my own curriculum

    Video highlights of the day can be seen after the jump...

    Until next time...
    May the Tech Be With You

    Jimmy V

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    App Building 101: From Taking Baby Steps to Graduating Primary School...

    So it's been a crazy couple of weeks, with VCE units wrapping up & starting back up again, exams, working on reports and a hospital visit to top it off. Apologies in not getting a post out sooner...but we move on. Hopefully someone will still be reading this blog...

    As I've mentioned earlier, ICTEV2012 was a watershed moment. I'd been looking at creating an app for a few of my classes, and when selecting the possible workshops that I would visit, @mrrobbo's (thanks once again!) stood out as it sounded like it would provide me a way of doing this. What can I say, the medium was provided! No coding is required either which is awesome if you want to create iOS apps and don't have a Mac.

    This post is going to be talking about the process involved in creating my first (web) app via iBuildApp. There are a number of other app builders out there but for the moment we'll focus on this one.

    My first Web App was the 8 Maroon App. When I showed the students what it could do, they were genuinely excited that they were going to be able to access College event dates, important subject dates, as well as contact myself and another of their teachers, @_tarrynkennedy directly from the App.

    I've since decided to buy myself an Apple Developers Licence so that I can build Native Apps...and rebuilt the Web App as a Native will hopefully go live after the holidays and I'll let you all know when it's in the App Store.

    For those who have been scared to make the leap to using Apps, my recommendation would definitely be to go with Web Apps first, and if you then need the additional functionality, and want to spend $99/year then head over to the Apple website and join the Developers program. Find the app below in the iPhone simulator.

    Using iBuildApp to build a Web App felt like I was taking baby steps into the App Development world. I was able to create a working app within about a half hour! Buying the Apple Developers Licence to start building Native Apps felt like graduating primary school. I do plan on learning to write Xcode and Objective C to write my own iDevice apps (once I get a Mac), but for the time being, iBuildApp will do...hopefully I won't take 6 years to graduate to writing my own Native Apps.

    May the Tech Be With You

    Jimmy V

    How to build your first app in an hour (or less)

    Before you start, you'll obviously need an idea for an app. Whether it be as content delivery alternative, an organisational app or a way for your students to email photos of their work to you, you need the idea first.

    1. Go to the iBuildApp website, and sign up. Doesn't seem that hard yet...right?
    2. When you click Create App, you're given three options:
      • Native Apps (iPhone/Android)
        • Create apps that can be downloaded from the Apple & Android App Stores for iPod/iPhone and Android phones. These apps do not require an data connection to run BUT do require an Apple Developer Licence (iPod/iPhone) or being registered with the Android Maps API (Android phones only). Note that Android tablets aren't supported at this stage.
      • Native iPad
        • Create apps for the iPad that can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. These require an Apple Developer Licence.
      • Web Apps
        • Create apps that can be viewed on any mobile device, irrespective of platform. You can release your apps for free without the need to sign up to any Developer Program.
    3. Select 'Web Apps' and click 'Continue'.

      Don't make the mistake (like I did) of developing a Native App when I intended on making a Web App, so make sure you select the correct option!
    4. Select the TEMPLATE of your choice, and click 'Use It'. You can create your own templates or use one of the custom templates available in the Template Marketplace.
    5. Give your App a name & click 'Create'
    6. Then follow the prompts to fill your App with content.
      • Edit Background: Choose the background image for your App (you can use your own one)
      • Edit Logo Image: Choose the logo image for your App (you need to have your own logo...otherwise you're stuck with the default one from the template)
      • Edit Text: Choose the text that will appear at the top of your App
      • Manage Navigation: Choose the buttons & menu tabs from the template that will be used. You can edit the text descriptions, as well as the button images.
      • Manage Content: This is where you place all the content in your App. It's all pretty self-explanatory and allows you a massive range of options. Note that some functions aren't available to Web Apps, such as taking photos or videos, adding events to the calendar and local notifications.
    7. Once you've populated your App, click 'Complete'. A warning may come up stating that you haven't got enough content in there, but if you've populated it to your hearts content, click 'Continue As Is'.
    8. It's up to you whether you use 24hr time format...
    9. Fill out the details and get yourself a logo (it's pretty easy to find a Creative Commons logo on Google Images...)
    10. You'll then be given the opportunity to distribute your App. Not only are you given the URL, but you're also given a QR code, the HTML code to embed the App into your existing website,as well as  the option to share via Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google+, etc, etc...
    Congratulations you've just completed building your first Web App. I might write a post later in the future about Native Apps...

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    The Chalkie & The Tech

    Hello again! So soon for my next post you say?

    Thought I would do some promotion for an inspirational and great colleague of mine, @_TarrynKennedy, has been in the blog-o-sphere for a while now and most of you will know her, either personally or via the Twittersphere. She posts about a variety of topics such as education, technology in education, creative work she does with her classes, as well as some inspirational imagery.

    FYI her blog, The Chalkie and The Tech has recently moved from WordPress over to The Chalkie and The Tech can now be found at

    Check it out & follow her on Twitter :)

    May The Tech Be With You!

    Jimmy V

    #ICTEV12 (Extended Version) Pt III

    Before I start Pt III, I'd like to thank all of the presenters & peers (not just the ones mentioned) from #ICTEV12 for the inspiration and re-invigoration that you brought to not only myself but everyone present last Saturday. My head has been buzzing like a bee hive ever since; thoughts have swirled around & collided in a way that might resemble a collision on a NASCAR track - one of those really awesome ones where one car starts a concertina of collisions that are really cool to look at.

    Anyways, sorry for the delay in getting this 3rd (and final) post about #ICTEV12. Been a really hectic week at school since the Conference...I'm sure I'm not the only person in this boat.

    So tonight I'm going to be exploring the concepts, ideas and tech looked at in @MarkOMeara, @MarkPleasance & @mrrobbo's presentations.
    • @MarkOMeara's "Present to Connect"  can be seen after the jump (
      • Pretext: I heavily use PPT's and Prezi's (predominantly the earlier) to deliver theory to my VCE IT students. Over the past 2 years, I have found that after a while my students have gotten bored with these.
      • Ok, so you've now seen the videos...Design, Construct, Deliver. Three things that need to be done well to connect with our students.
      • So I went into Mark's session thinking "I'm hoping this guy can give me some tips on improving my presentations". Within a few minutes, I had already pinpointed some areas that I fail to focus on with regards to my presentations.
      • While I might Design & Construct my presentations, and spend a few hours (at times) doing this, I rarely spend enough time thinking about the Delivery. Not to mention the over-Construction of my  presenations. Time to reduce the amount of text, and include high quality images in my presentations.
      • I think with the amount of text I place in my presentations, I've used it as a safety barrier in my classes as a means for content delivery. In the next few months (once things quieten down), I'm going to work on transforming all of my existing presentations to appeal and better engage my students. I'll keep you all updated...
    • @MarkPleasance's "Who is the Expert?"
      • Mark went through his school's MacBook Expert Program, which promotes student involvement in troubleshooting basic ICT issues in the classroom.
      • The MBE model that Mark presented covered recruitment, training & the students' role within Sacred Heart, in regards to ICT. I'd love to think that at some point in the next couple of years, (prior to moving to 1:1) we could begin to model our own program similar to Mark's at MacKillop.
    • @mrrobbo's "I'm just a Teacher & I've made an App
      • You can see Jarrod's presentation after the jump...
      • Jarrod's a PE teacher in Boort, VIC and has used a range of online App Builders, such as iBuildApp, BuzzTouch among others, to create apps for his students and peers. He demonstrated how easy it was to create these apps with no programming knowledge required!
      • Only the week previous, @_TarrynKennedy and myself were talking about creating apps for our mutual classes. Since Jarrod's presentation, we've started thinking about all sorts of apps for a number of different purposes at MacK.
      • We'll keep you updated with some of the apps that we come up with in the next few weeks/months and I'll present a few of these app builder tools in their own little snapshot posts over the next few weeks as well.
    Keep inspiring, stay sane & enjoy yourselves...May The Tech Be With You

    Jimmy V

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    #ICTEV12 (Extended Version) Part II

    Ok so admittedly, having never been to the ICTEV Conference and not knowing what to expect, as well as being a little run down, I wasn't looking forward to going. Waking up early (on a weekend no less) & driving into Melbourne Grammar on a wet and rainy Melbourne certainly wasn't helping.

    Got there, registered my attendance & mingled with old & current collegues, as well as some new friends. Got my seat next to @_tarrynkennedy in the Assembly Hall, and was waiting for the keynote speaker, Alan November (@globalearner). Not being familiar with any of Alan's work, nor having had time during the week to read up on any of his work, I had no idea what to expect. Within two to three minutes, I think I could have listened to him all day.

    As he was speaking, I tweeted my thoughts and some quotes from his keynote:
    • "We need to get rid of the word 'technology' because 'technology' isn't the end game. Information & communication is"
    • "Children see technology through a different perspective than we do"
      • These quotes begged to ask myself the question, "Why do I ask students to put their devices away?"
    • "Everything in Alan November's life seems to be an accident..." - @jimmygunner
      • Alan told a number of "accidental" stories that influenced his view of education and this led into a discussion about the need to shift control in the classroom.
    • "We need to break the boundaries of space, time, information & relationships to break the current idea of schooling" - 
      • Alan's ideas of shifting control from the teacher to the students in the sense that "children need to help other children in the classroom" was a breath of fresh air.
      • I've always liked the idea of this but never been brave enough to do it....listening to the great man speak has given me the inspiration to allow this shift in pedagogy.
    • "Most people do not publish student work for the world to see"
    • "The boundary of the calendar is that at the start of every year we start over...Why?"
    • "Students need to take responsibility for the quality of their work"
      • I think that if more students did this, we'd have better outcomes for a number of our students.
      • The question now lies..."How do we make them take more responsibility for their work?"
      • Interestingly enough, a colleague of mine @digital_lingua has been drumming his ideas for self-evaluation of student work to improve quality of their work all year...maybe he and @globalearner have been in kahootz for a while...or maybe its just a coincidence...
    • "Continue to grade the regurgitation. If its creative, dont grade" - @_tarrynkennedy
    EDUCATIONAL TOOL (via @globalearner):
    MathTrain.TV - Alan demonstrated a way of helping shift control from the teacher to the students. MathTrain is a website that has had a number of basic maths tutorials created BY students FOR students on a number of different maths topics. It was created by a teacher in the US to enable his students to help each other when they have difficulty with maths problems at home. I'm planning on introducing this site to my students this week so I'll keep you updated with feedback from the kids.

    It was a great address that I feel was well received. Comments about @globallearner's talk welcome below...

    So onto @MarkPleasance's "Who is the Expert?" session & @MarkOMeara's Present to Connect...but that's in the next post...

    Until next time...May the Tech Be With You

    Jimmy V

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    #ICTEV2012 @MelbourneGrammar Pt I

    So yesterday I went to Melbourne Grammar (first time, and impressed) for the 2012 ICTEV Conference (also a first for me, & quite impressed.

    Some of the tips & tools will get posts later on, after I've looked at them in closer detail but thanks to all presenters at #ICTEV12 for the inspiration, excitement and insight that they gave to all of us on the day.

    Highlights for the day (in no particular order):

    • Alan November's keynote to start the day about accidental happenings in education that influenced him as an educator, and breaking some of the conventional boundaries that we currently have in education
      • I think everyone would agree that they could have heard him talk all day
    • Jarrod Robinson's (@mrrobbo) session on building your own apps for your classroom
    • Mark O'Meara's (@markomeara) session on how to build presentations that engage our students, not bore them to death
    • Mark Pleasance's (@MarkPleasance) session on making students the tech experts (MacBook Experts) in his school
    Unsurprisingly, met up with old & current colleagues, as well as new friends, of whom we shared our opinions on a number of ICT topics, and good discussion was had. The buzz around the place was truly inspirational!

    True Story
    Over the past few weeks, @_TarrynKennedy & myself have been talking about making an app to create our own iPod/iPhone/iPad apps to help manage our mutual class, 8 Maroon.

    Thanks to @mrrobbo's session yesterday, this morning, I woke up and decided to create an app for myself and @_tarrynkennedy's classes where we could set homework tasks that could be accessed by students. Within a half hour, and after some very quick troubleshooting from @mrrobbo, myself and @_TarrynKennedy had a functional test app.

    The ideas since have kept flowing this arvo and it'g going to be an exciting next few months for the both of us in regards to App Development

    If you want to check out the app, feel free to do so at It's not much but it's a start :)

    Feel free to add your views of #ICTEV12 below

    May the Tech Be With You

    Jimmy V

    The first post is always the hardest...

    So here I am blogging on a cold Sunday afternoon in Melbourne, Australia finally getting into this Edu-Tech-Blogging craze.

    Yesterday, I went to the #ICTEV12 conference in Melbourne Grammar, and have come out inspired to do my thing, share resources and make the education of the next generation better through the use of different pedagogies & ICT tools.

    Ok so who I am...I'm Jimmy V. A twenty-something, 2nd year educator from one suburb in the outer west of Melbourne, teaching at a Catholic Secondary School in another suburb of the outer west. My subject areas currently are Junior Maths, Intermediate IT, Intermediate Personal Development & VCE IT. I'm passionate about tech in the classroom, and making life easier for teachers wanting good ideas for using tech.

    You can follow me on Twitter at be mindful that it isn't always "Edu-Tech" tweets that appear there, there's the occasional #qanda tweets on a Monday night and the even more occasional footy or random tweet.

    Thanks to @_TarrynKennedy for recommending I get into the "Edu-Tech-Blogging" thing & thanks to the awesome people at #ICTEV12 that inspired me to keep working hard to bring tech effectively into the classroom. I'll be talking about #ICTEV12 and the buzz generated in my next post.

    My aim will be to post at least twice or three times a week, sharing these resources, ideas and ramblings with you all. Feel free to compliment, criticise or comment on any post as it is welcome. If you have any ideas that you

    May The Tech Be With You...

    Jimmy V