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Showing posts from May, 2014

1:1 Devices in Schools - A Reflection

My school is currently developing a long term plan in regards to our goals in 21st century learning, as well as investment in devices and infrastructure. Some of the questions of concern that were raised were: what 'packages' do schools offer their students, especially when they are further along the line in regards to BYO.What is the change over time in regards to devices, particularly in schools which dictate the device parents must purchase.Where are devices stored, especially during breaks.In an effort to gage a wider perspective, I created a Google Form and sent it out to my PLN. It was pleasing to open up the survey and find 35 different responses.

The survey was made up of five multiple choice questions including: 
What year levels do you have 1 to 1 devices and what are they?How are your devices funded?What is the time frame on your devices? How long have you banked on them lasting?Where are the devices stored during break times etc ...What has been the biggest hurdle wit…

Cybersafety - What's the Message?

A few years ago when I lived in country Victoria I had the privilege of working with my Koori kids alongside the local police to restore old bikes. The purpose of the exercise was to not only show the students that they could achieve something, but also to build relationships between police and the wider population. It therefore made me sad when funding for the program was pulled, to me I thought that it was a priceless experience to have the police involved in a proactive situation, rather than be lumped into the reactive situation that they are endlessly placed in. However, today when a local officer came to speak to the students I was left thinking that maybe not all attempts at proactive interactions with students are helpful. Sometimes, I believe, using a uniform to add creditials actually compromises the message.
Although I agreed with many of the arguments made, such as the point that the person you are online is the person that you are in real life, nothing is ever 100% safe an…

Learning in a Connected World - Moving Towards a Life of Learning

So far I have discussed connecting with others both off and online. In addition to this, I explored taking owner of our identity online, as well as elaborating on and engaging with the ideas of others. The fifth step in being a connected educator is learning.
Ideas and inspiration can come from many places and like connections, are not always digital or online. Sometimes learning can be as simple as a chat around the photocopier or walking between classes. I have discussed this elsewhere as the incidental 'hidden' professional learning. The reality is, everything in life can offer a point of learning if we are willing to see it that way. For example, an activity that I have done with my students in the past is to reflect upon their classroom and what it says. I have done this in history when considering artefacts, as well as in music when thinking about performance and space.
I would argue though that the digital realm only extends the potential of this learning. One of the best…

Sharing Includes Students Too

This post is a follow up to my presentation at the Melbourne Teachmeet held at the Immigration Museum on the 10th of May. The focus was the question, "are you really connecting if you are not giving back?" This was a topic that I had previously written about in a post of the same name. The one difference was the implications for sharing in the classroom.

Are you really connecting if you are not sharing? from Aaron Davis
I don't know how many times I have heard Edmodo referred to as being 'Facebook for education'. Other than the fact that it simply isn't, the biggest problem I have with this is that so often such spaces are set up as a place for one way communication. Where although the teacher has stepped off the physical space, they have merely stepped into a virtual stage.
Now I understand that as the teacher we have a responsibility to manage such spaces. However, should it be any wonder when there is little traction from students when such spaces only allow …

Getting Smart with eSmart

I recently wrote a post reflecting on the apparent 'failure' of the digital revolution. What came through from both my own reflections and the comments provided by others is that the reason for this supposed failure lies whole-heartedly with leadership. Whether it be at a local school-based level or at a governmental level, there has been a litany of errors. One of issues that often arises with the use of technology in schools are the ramifications for staff and students as their sense of citizenship has evolved to incorporate the digital realm. One organisation set up to allevate such stresses has been the eSmart Schools Program.
The eSmart Schools Program was developed by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, "a national charity with the belief that all children should have a safe and happy childhood without being subjected to any form of violence." One of its main purposes is dealing with threat of cyberbullying and child safety from the ground up. Unlike the reacti…

Take the Power Back - Steps in Taking Ownership of My Online Identity

In my previous posts, I spoke about connecting with people both in person and online. The problem that I found with both of these situations is that connections are often only ever as deep or strong we let them be. If we are unwilling to give back, should it be any surprise that people don't always want to share with us? However, what it took me a little bit of time to realise was that 'giving back' was more than just about ideas and information, it was actually giving a part of you. Taking more ownership over my online identify was therefore my fourth marker to becoming a more connected learner.

A Digital BadgeI had known that the only person I was fooling in trying to hide behind some sort of anonymity was myself. The reality was and is that if someone really wanted to piece together 'who' I was, there were enough crumbs left lying around to guide them. There were two aha moments that led to me taking more control over my online identity. The first moment was in …

Reading, Writing, Responding

The Obligation to Write In my last post I discussed moving from physical connections to those online. The third marker in my journey to becoming a more connected educator was to begin writing my blog 'Reading Writing Responding'.
A little bit like connecting with Twitter, I started writing a blog as a way of understanding by doing. I had explored some of the facets of blogging in relation to the Ultranet, writing reflections and sharing reviews through my own profile, but had never really been completely immersed in the medium.
My intention for the blog was to focus on responding. As I have discussed elsewhere, I feel that responding is often the forgotten element to reading and comprehension. During my Honours year at University, I read a lot about the interpretive nature of reading. One critic that stood out to me was J. Hillis Miller. A member of the Yale School of Deconstruction, the focus of his work was on the subjective act of reading.
One piece of writing that has always s…

Making Connections ... Online

In a previous post 'Connections Start with People' I explored my first step on the journey to becoming a more connected educator, which involved physically connecting with other teachers outside of my usual circles - stepping away from the familiar and embracing the uncanny. The second marker to becoming more a more connected was making these connections online, in particular, through Twitter.
I'm not sure what actually led me to joining Twitter. Maybe my work at ATC21C? A desire to learn something new? A different audience? Frustrations with other social media platforms, such as Facebook? All those years of attending the ICTEV conferences and feeling that I was missing out on the real conversation. Whatever it was, sometime in September of 2011 I signed up.
Initially my focus with Twitter was in understanding it as a medium of communication compared with a blog or a wiki. At the time I had started teaching Multimedia and this included exploring different facets of digital l…

Connections Start with People

In an ongoing conversation about the challenges with being a connected educator, +Alan Thwaites posted the following comment: Not just what you Tweet Aaron, but watching how you use Twitter has been very clarifying for me. I appreciate it mate. — Alan Thwaites (@athwaites) April 6, 2014 Although these were some very nice words, it sometimes misses the full story. Being a connected educator is not something that happens overnight, it is not a case of joining this site or posting that comment. Being connected is much more complicated than that, it is better understood as a journey with everyone a different point on a continuum.
Short of some sort of autobiographical recount reminiscing every event and connection that I have made, I thought that it might be more meaningful to list the five 'markers' that have led to me being a more connected educator. These are not necessarily distinct periods of time and some spread across weeks, if not months, but they are the significant events …