Friday, December 08, 2006

Getting Geographical

The latest podcast from The Virtual Staffroom is a must for all geographers. In Episode 6: A Bird's Eye View Chris Betcher interviews Luc Zwartjes from Belgium. Luc teaches geography and also technology for teachers. He uses geographical information systems (GIS) with his students and explains some of the fascinating possibilities. Interesting insights about the difference between the way kids and adults relate to technology, and hence learn.

Chris has added some relevant links as well, including a very interesting opportunity for schools to obtain two free licences to Google Earth Pro.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

PEEL Summit 2006

As an annual celebration of teaching and learning innovation through PEEL, the Summit is growing in strength each year. More power to Cathy Smith of Parramatta Diocese, the driving force behind this.

Six presentations over two streams saw workshops on metacognition, Web 2.0, promoting purposeful learning, slowmation, group facilitation and our own favourite ;) the interactive whiteboard. Martin, Anthony and I updated our presentation from earlier in the year to share what we are up to. All the Summit presentations are available at the PEEL Sharepoint site via Staffnet.

One of the professional development links I referred to in our presentation was The Smartboard Lessons Podcast. Canadian educators Ben Hazzard and Joan Badger present this engaging program and web site which always has lots to offer in the way of technology for learning with or without interactive whiteboards. I got a thrill to hear I was mentioned in Lesson 50 this week, as my difficulty with downloading some files had created a small flurry of email with the presenters over the last week. Joan and Ben even put Blacktown on the Google map.

Coincidentally, Ben used a continuum strategy in his latest Notebook lesson on male body image. This strategy was also demonstrated as a PEEL learning strategy at the Summit.

Comments from others who attended the PEEL Summit would be good!

Keeping In Touch with Technology

On Tuesday 5th December we had a training day with Belinda Metcalf of Intouch. It was a day where we were extended in our knowledge about Powerpoint, Photo Story and Excel for developing engaging lesson content – backed up by many examples from the Teachers Intouch Lesson Portal which we have subscribed to as well. PBB staff check My School from Staffnet for details.

We also had a good introduction to Producer, the free Powerpoint add on which none of us had used before. Bobby, of course, had had a play with it for a couple of days after downloading, and was pretty proficient by the time he got to the session. I’d be more jealous of his quick uptake if he wasn’t quite so generous with helping the rest of us.

Looking forward to having more time to explore Producer. For those unfamiliar, it lets you make a product – web based when published – which can combine video, images, slides, audio and html. Looking at an example or two is probably the best way to get it. Explorer is needed to view these.

Newsflash from Northhampton University is a bit dry, but gives a flavour of what you could do with this. It is fast, even for a newsflash, but there is a pause button.

Earthquakes is from the Microsoft site. This is a student production and much more engaging.

Interpreting Visual Texts uses far too few pictures, given its subject matter, but has excellent information and uses the crafty idea of an avatar to replace the flesh and blood narrator. This is Australian from the Association of Independent Schools.

Comments from other participants welcome!