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 reflections...at 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
      • Plus...it'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...http://youtu.be/4gf_wqYGOoo

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

    Jimmy V


    1. WOW, a wonderful summary and great to see how many things resonated with you and you can immediately transfer to your own teaching. Teachmeets are about garnering enthusiasm from like minded professionals and it appears it worked for you! Yeah !
      Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, as that is what it is also what it is about.
      I reflected after a previous teachmeet and noted that we see so many wonderful positives and you have just shown that in action!

      See you on Twitter and at the next TM .

    2. Great to read another account of the TeachMeet. While I was unable to attend (I'm one of the ones who'd love to see this kind of get-together happen during the week rather than on the weekend) I feel that between the live stream on the day, this account and that of @taniatorikova on her blog: Brave New World, I've actually been part of "it". Thanks so much!!