Archive for May, 2011

Well have you ever been on your home phone when your mobile rings. This is what happens with Skype also at my place. Family and frieds quite often ring when I am on the house phone or visa versa. Skype has been the life saver for us living away from home. We live in Singapore and most days have a chat to family from one part of our lives. I have small childern which are very engaged with the process of Skype and often talk of Skyping someone. At school all staff machines are fitted with Skype but don’t have the webcam, so really it is a matter of staff organising their own devices for them to use these. I know that there must be loads of use for these but I really haven’t got around to it. A one stage I was dead set keen on getting this organised to Skype with my old school but it nver worked out that way. Timetabling and time differences just meant it wasn’t going to happen.

As to Twitter and FB, well I love Facebook because I am happy to blend my personal life and work as both relate to art. I follow a lot of groups on FB which are usually local galleries and artists. This is a great way to keep track of events and announcements from these people.

I attended a conference last year where one of the presenters basically convinced me to join Twitter just to follow Mashable because that it where he learnt most of his new stuff. So I did and I follow about 50 different people and places. I try to check it about once a week but usually find it is not as engaging as FB due to the short text and minimal visuals.

What I need is something that collects all my FB, Twitter, and RSS feeds into one single timeline feed. Any thoughts?


PLN here we come!

Posted: May 12, 2011 in PLN
Tags: , ,

Well here I am creating another blog. Blogs are like wild flowers I hear, popping up everywhere. A lot of these are made by well intentioned people and within 3 posts, are never used again. Like virtual plastic bottles. 

I am the Curriculum Leader of Visual Arts & Photographic and Digital Media at the Australian International School Singapore. I have really enjoyed my journey to be a regular user of Web tools and community based learning. I first started using them in the mid 90’s when I first started teaching as teaching aids but never really thought I would be at the level of use and familiarity that I am with them today. Having a great resourced school and a community that supports new developments is vital in embracing these tools. Of course a department of staff that is willing to go on these journeys with me is first and utmost the reason I am where I am today. I personally enjoy learning about new sites and ways to utilise old tools that can be found on the net. In our assessment tasks I always try to embed one or two ways for students to work through an assessment task or use a tool for developing ideas, frameworks, or share ideas. As part of our staff development a Intel course is offered by one of the staff at the school and I thought that was great. It was an opportunity to embed those 21 century skills into units of work without looking like a try hard.

At this point in my knowledge of tools, I have come to a comfortable level of use with wiki’s, blog, forums, online presentation tools, text to voice programs, and concept mapping applications. I feel at the moment, I would be quietly content with what I am doing, but have an underlying desire to grow further in a wider field. I am investigating how to use Secondlife in classroom practice. Now I have overcome all the issues with getting it actually running in the school classrooms I am now off looking for locations that would be useful. This would probably be where I would say I am focusing most of my energy.

As to my learning networks, I have a few that I use. DeviantArt, ARARTE (Art teachers in the Asia region), I have a school blog which I post things to for the students, and I have wiki’s that I use with the students to develop broad understands on topics that we are studying. Mostly, I use word of mouth and conferences to develop new skills. I am pretty much at a level with my teaching that I like to read articles to stimulate new directions and I discuss these with the other teachers for discussion of the usefulness of these ideas. I follow a lot of stuff on Twitter and Facebook to see what is happening in the world that we can get to here in Singapore. I use RSS feeds extensively on other blogs that have information that I like about art and photography. One that I particularly like is “Lost at E-Minor” which is a great general, but up to date design and arts website which I receive as emails. One of the big discussion lists that I follow but don’t really contribute to is the Online Curriculum Centre discussion list for the IBO. This is full of very experienced teachers who offer advice and clarification.

I am a regular presenter at the ICT sessions at the school and often present techniques that I am using to other schools when we are having meetings for subject networks, or I allow other schools to come and work shadow me in daily teaching to learn about how I apply what I do to classroom practice. I would like to find someone in my field who is doing  something similar to me so I can exchange techniques, but at this point I haven’t come across someone who is geographically close enough for me to do this.  I think I would really like to develop clearer goals as to what I am trying to do with the teaching and how it can directly influence students higher order thinking to create a much greater strength of concept in their artworks.

I know there is more to write but I might leave it at that for this one.