A new journey in education

Archive for the ‘conundrum’ Category

My first Project Based Learning adventure – Part 3

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As promised my actual delivered project is in here. Before going into the delivery of the project I did something I have never done before, I had the work the students were originally asked to complete up on the board and I asked them a question: “In three words describe what you think of this” Their answer were as expected, some however realised that they needed to learn the content; they were just bored with the delivery.

Milling Machine Animated Video

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My first Project Based Learning adventure-Part 2

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Before I go any further I wish to make it clear that I am by no means an educational expert or even a teachers teacher. Most traditional teachers leave my classes thinking how did this idiot get a job.

To start where I left off in the last post we actually need to travel back in time a little. I cannot remember the exact time when I first heard the term PBL used to describe project based learning, though I do remember who said it to me. I give much gratz to Dean Groom. He introduced me to PBL sometime last year I think, though it could have been earlier. When I first read a little about PBL my first reaction as a TAS/IA teacher was that’s what we do already. Students learn by doing projects and to some extent that is true. However when you delve deeper in to the structure of true PBL, it is so much more then an end product.

So as I wrote in the previous post, around week 5 holes were appearing in the work and structure assigned to both classes. It was around this time I first approached the approachable Mr Groom about what I could do. Dean immediately replied with a PBL project. At first I left the idea just sit there. Then I saw a tweet by Bianca Hewes, talking about her personal success using Dean’s suggested PBL.

By this stage I was becoming desperate at what I could do in a short time frame for the year 9 class while I was away at the SWSR conference, so I copied the work that had been set into a Google Doc to share again with the ever obliging Dean. Unfortunately for me Dean was also presenting an important Keynote at SWSR, so he was unavailable for the help I needed in the timeframe.

From the conference we now land on Sunday afternoon and my panic at seeing what I was being asked to teach. I decided to stretch my twitter generated friendship to the limit and posted in another Google Doc the basics of the work left with a begging help me please message. As you would expect on a Sunday afternoon everyone is busy with their lives so there was not much action on this front.

So I turned to my friend the Google search. I simply typed in PBL and got all kinds of stuff. The first of which I clicked like one of my students was Wikipedia, though as is the case these days the Wikipedia page had some doubts about it self so I dodged it and went looking for more. So I first ended up here this lead to some free documents to download and read. I clicked further and was soon here plenty to read. Not to keen to sign up to something else I looked at the freebies and stole this page with Evernote for future reading. Then I moved on to the next result in my search, which was full of examples and ideas. I grabbed what I thought I needed, printed off some reading material and quickly tried to grasp the behind scenes of PBL.

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Written by themolisticview

April 5th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

My first Project Based Learning adventure – Part 1

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Before I go into the meat of my first venture in to Project Based Learning, I feel there is a need for some background to my choice.

Firstly my school like many in Western Sydney is a PBL school. Huh! I hear you say, “the school is already a PBL school, what is he on about?” Well this PBL actually means Positive Behaviour for Learning. This type of PBL is intended to focus on student’s behaviour and not actively on their engagement in learning.

Secondly and the real reason for trying this freaky new teaching method called Project Based Learning.

Last year during the ups and downs of the timetabling process, I had a choice of teaching out of faculty for two periods a cycle or taking two periods a cycle of Stage 5 Industrial Technology Metalwork across both years 9 and 10. So I choose wisely and stayed in faculty. The actual teacher of these classes around the same time chose to move to a four-day week. This then made an issue for my HT with the lines of the timetable, either I had to go out of faculty or go from Metalwork practical over each cycle to Metalwork theory.

He chose theory. This choice at the time was intended for me to influence other teachers in my faculty, not just the Metalwork teacher as a “technology leader”. With this choice the HT made it clear that I would only deliver the work set and not impact in anyway on the topics and assessable work set by the class’s teacher. I was more than fine with this, as I had embarked on a new path with my junior IST and Multimedia classes.

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Written by themolisticview

April 5th, 2011 at 11:57 am

Windows 8 is coming in November and we still have XP

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I have been watching the Windows Weekly podcast for nearly 2 years on both generations of Apple Tv. Paul Thurrott and Leo Laporte do an excellent job explaining the news from Microsoft.

On his site and to a degree in this weeks podcast Paul delves into the soon to be released Windows 8 OS. As a prominent Microsoft enthusiast and a journalist Paul is given early access to future releases of Microsoft products. Windows 8 is the latest Microsoft system of which he has access. As can be seen in a post yesterday on The Windows Supersite Windows 8 is very close to a public Beta release with some interesting new features including the “ribbon everywhere”.

This leads to the title of my post, we have to be one of Microsofts largest partners in the Asia-Pacific region if not the world. Our DER laptops had the first official release of Windows 7. Why are we still on XP in the classroom and 2003 for our local server technology?

My place of work is about to install a new Windows server which will be remotely managed. Problem is it will only be Server 2003 which will not support Windows 7 and beyond. Windows XP is over 10 years old! how can that still be in place? Many of the new Microsoft products from Office to Visual Studio and IE 9 are not supported fully or at all on XP, why do we still have it when we have such a partner in Microsoft?

Next year looks like the students will have Windows 8 on their laptops and we as teachers will still have XP in our computer rooms.

If your situation is different to mine I would like to hear about it.

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April 3rd, 2011 at 1:21 am

My take on SWSR

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Firstly I would like to thank the organisers for such a great venue and the WiFi provided. 7MB down was awesome and i’m sure others like my self who do not have such luxuries took advantage of this.

SWSR at ANZ Stadium

SWSR at ANZ Stadium

One of the first things to catch my eye was that my tweets with the #inspire2011 tag were not showing on the big screen. I guess someone has blocked someone, some where along the line.

The four keynote speakers were awesome to say the least this year. For me I wanted to hear Will Richardson. Will was one of the first prominent educationalists I followed on twitter. Having heard both Will and Steve Haragdon speak I was a little miffed. I have friends who live in New York State and in Washington State in the US. When I speak to them they only talk of how bad education is in their local public schools. Repeatedly it is that they have none or limited funding, old technology computing systems which are virtually unusable, and old text books that everyone works from in crowded rooms and so on. Steve and Will spoke like they had full access to modern technology in classrooms, were they could blog, connect to people outside their education system and more to improve what their students were learning.

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Written by themolisticview

April 2nd, 2011 at 3:36 am