Clearing the Head

Lately I’ve been on a fitness kick. Partly because I was feeling rotten and partly because both my parents died of Heart Attack’s in their very early 60’s. Dad had his first at my age and had to be medically retired at 49! So when we got a Fitness Challenge flyer via fax at work I jumped at the opportunity.

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As part of my fitness routine I have taken up Cycling. I regularly ride from my place to Shoal Bay (though sometimes I get sidetracked) and back. It’s about a 15km round trip, and is perfect for clearing the head. The issue now is where to go next as it is time to up the anty. Do I keep going past Shoal Bay to Fingal Bay, or do I head in the other direction and ride to Soldiers Point?

Either way, an opportunity to clear the head and get fit is a wonderful thing. Is it working? Well I’ve lost 20kg in 14 weeks so I think it is. Mind you I’ve had to cut out a lot of “garbage” from my diet as well. The big question now is how will it affect me at work for 2009? I’m feeling good and positive at the moment so lets see how we go. The next step is the Goal Setting for next year. Lets see where that leads too.

2008, The year that was…..

Wow, there’s 9 days left of 2008! I have been reflecting on many things in the last few days, and now its my blog’s turn, and therefore I am looking at the year that was from my blogging perspective, and also in part on a personal level.

Not too long ago I stopped blogging and removed the content from my blog. I see now that was probably a knee-jerk response to some things that were going on in other parts of my life. Luckily I backed up, or exported, the content so I will be able to put it back, clean it up and move on. Now all I have to do is remember where i have put that backup…. It could be on a Server at work, or on one of my External HDD’s. That’s a job for the next few weeks, find and restore.

I’ll start with 2008 on a personal level, as that has affected the many other areas of my life. On a family level 2008 has been a Roller Coaster. These happenings ranged from uplifting experiences, rumors, various other untruth’s, to one of the most devastating things that a Parent can try to grasp. I would like to go into some of these in more detail, but for my families sake i will refrain. Those of you that are close to me will understand, and to some of you I owe my greatest thanks. You have helped me through some very tough times, and some of you still are helping.

On a work level we have had an interesting year. There has still been fallout from events of 2007, and some rebuilding taking place. We have implemented some new technology at work, which has been well received. Our Junior School have been preparing for Class Blogs in 2009 and we have been running some PD with them in preparation. Some of our students, and one very special girl in particular, have been assisting with our staff PD. It is fantastic when the invisible barriers between Teacher and Student are broken down and learning can happen in both directions.

If I was to look at the goals I set at the start of this year my first thought is disappointment. But then when I look in reality at what the year has presented to us that was unexpected, and what we have actually achieved, i can look back and feel happy. We have made progress in many areas, and especially in areas of personal health and what we need to do to be able to continue. For myself and some of my colleagues we have had to take a step back from time to time. But it’s better to do that, than totally collapse in a heap and be unable to go on.

To my “partner in crime” I say a special thank you. We have both had good times and bad, but without your support I fear I would be at a total loss. I also think we would be chasing rainbows, as what is really important is what we can achieve, not what we never could.

To all my readers, thanks for sharing 2008 with me. I lok forward to 2009 with anticipation. We’ll fill you in on our Goal Setting and see what the year ahead holds.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a safe and prosperous Holiday Season.

Cheers,

TFT.

So why should he blog?

Well we are finally starting to break through and drum up some interest in this new technology!! 2 of our Senior School Teachers have asked about setting up blogs for use with their classes. This all seems a bit surreal at present as LG and I have been pushing the message for so long, but I do also feel the excitement as things are starting to happen. We have our Junior (k-4) classes about to start using blogs as well.

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One of our Senior School teachers who has an “Australian History” class has started a blog to use with his students. After spending a fair bit of time working on the content and doing a fantastic page heirachy so its really well laid out he asked:

So tell me again why I am using a blog and not just putting it on our School Portal?

I’ve responded with my initial thoughts, becomes a living thing rather than just static content, allows Collaboration etc, but thought I’d throw it out to you all for comment.

What are your thoughts and responses to his question?

One year on… and still learning

Having just celebrated the First Birthday of Teacher Friendly Tech, I decided to have a read over “the year that was.”

Not sure whether that was a good thing or not. But through the haze of what has happened, the important things shone out, and will continue to do so. The main one being Passion for our Students’ learning.

We seemed to come back from ELH-2007 fired up and wanting to change the world, well our little slice of it in Paradise that is. We have managed to take small steps since then, but nothing like we envisioned during our catch up sessions at the end of each day. It’s amazing how things can happen that send ripples through the whole College, and affect us all in ways we wouldn’t have thought. These ripples started whilst we were away at Lorne, we got to see the bits and pieces that filtered out to us through email. Lets just say 2007/2008 has been a interesting time.

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So now ELH-2008 is over. Again we were well represented there. We had 2 of our Heads of School’s – Junior and Senior, our ICT Learning Coordinator K-12, our K-6 Curriculum Coordinator, a Stage 2 Teacher looking for the next step, and myself. It would have been fantastic to have our Principal and Head of Middle School there as well, but we intend to pass on the things that we brought away.

Now for the challenge. It’s been a few days since our return. A bit of time to unravel all those thoughts and see what directions we should take. Now for the lessons learned:

  • We are meeting tomorrow to debrief and decide how we as a group are going to present this to the College
  • This should include some form of SWOT as to where we are now, and of course where we want to take our Students.
  • Then we need to look at what needs to be done to get there
  • Many ideas were thrown around at Lorne. These include:

    1. Laptops for Middle School, incl. what type of Form Factor to use for them?
    2. Laptops for Senior School.
    3. Voluntary of Compulsory Laptop programs?
    4. How to promote integration?
    5. How do we get “the time” that we need?
  • What staffing changes need to be made to achieve our goals?
  • The need to develop and promote Positive Professional Development for staff, make it specific to our Campus, and the Infrastructure and Technology that is in place.
  • Inclusion of our School Admin System into the bigger picture. PC School is a wide ranging application that we are using about 10% of at present. We need to make staff aware of its power, and how it will streamline things if used appropriately.
  • Can we implement an Intermediate LMS until we get Scholaris? Will this just confuse the issue?
  • Internet Filtering (one of my all time gripes) and its place, or not, in Education. How do we get around this issue, and what levels should get what access?

As you can see this list could go on and on. These are only my thoughts, what will be added when we all get together? I’ll have my Tablet at the ready, and will no doubt be scribbling Diagram’s and taking notes. Lets see what we end up with……

Happy 1st Birthday TFT

Wow, its been 1 year since I started Teacher Friendly Tech! Time has certainly flown.

Although things have been quiet on the Blogging front lately, I am currently at ELH where it all began, and yes I have collected many thougts these past few days so be prepared. Keep your eye out here or at Paradise Unplugged.

Thank you to all my readers for your comments and suggestions. It has been great getting TFT off the ground.

The Challenge Accepted

So I stagger out of Bed and grab a T Shirt, walk out to make the first Coffee of the Day. In th hall I pass No 2 Son, who reads my T Shirt and says “I bet you’re not.”

Of course I was wearing my ‘ol faithful, and as he set the Challenge…..this is the post.

Challenge accepted....

Conference Season

Well this is the start of a hectic few weeks of Conferences.

Today I travel to Surfers Paradise (I know but someone has to do it) to attend the PC School Conference, the IT and Admin Conference for our School Administration package.

Then on the 30th a group of us travel to Lorne for the Expanding Learning Horizon’s Conference. Which means its coming up to 12 Months of Teacher Friendly Tech!!

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Pity though as I was looking forward to attending the Mini Muster in Brisbane, but I’ll be at the wrong end of the Country… Probably not a bad thing as the Mini isn’t quite ready:

I’m not really complaining though :-p

Cheers,

Andrew

Let the thoughts flow…..

It has been a while…. There have been many reasons for my lack of writing, both personal and professional, but that yearning is returning.

We are in the process of completing our Round 2 application for the National Secondary School Computer Fund. We’ve crunched the numbers and have calculated that we will be offered 41 Computers. Now all we need to do is work out where they will all go, and how to connect them in to our existing network, and the list goes on.

So do we:

  • Laptops or Desktops?
  • Build new Labs (a 20 & 21, 2x 15’s and an 11 etc.) in our existing 4 GLA classrooms?
  • Wireless of Copper LAN?
  • How does our existing Infrastructure fit?
  • Professional Development, how do we squeeze this in?

Add to this our plans for going full steam ahead in our 1:1 rollout for Stage 3 in Middle School for 2009.

It becomes very obvious that we’ve got a lot to think through.

Some form of Speed comes to those who wait

Previously I have spoken of our struggles with a lack of Internet speed and throughput. This has made it very difficult for our Teachers to plan lessons that use the web in any of its forms.

Well today was our first day of actually having some speed. Compared to what some of you would have, are be able to get , this has been a huge step forward for us. Rural Australia really does struggle with a lack of Infrastructure, and this makes it particularly difficult for us "Educators" and we have to be thankful for these little increases that we get. 

Here is the original test:

Pre-E1  

And today’s results:

Speed Test 2day

Check out the tests above, thanks to http://speedtest.net, and maybe let me know how it compares to what you are getting.