theMolisticView

A new journey in education

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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 http://pbl-online.org/ this lead to some free documents to download and read. I clicked further and was soon here http://www.bie.org/ plenty to read. Not to keen to sign up to something else I looked at the freebies and stole this page with Evernote http://www.bie.org/about/what_is_pbl for future reading. Then I moved on to the next result in my search http://web.mac.com/khoneycuttessdack/PBL_Lessons/Project-Based_Learning.html, 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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April 5th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Fireworks for DER NSW

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Shortly before term 1 holidays, I was asked if I could come up with a presentation concept for a conference coming later in the year. I racked my brain throughout the day, trying to workout what would be the technology basis for the presentation, I went home and still couldn’t narrow down on a concept which I thought would capture both teacher’s via the conference and then their students when the took the idea back to their school’s.

The next day back at school and it was time for one of my favourite classes, Year 12 Multimedia. During the lesson I noticed one of the less motivated students, still trying to piece together her design in PhotoShop. I went asked her, ‘what is the problem, you’ve been working on this for over 10 weeks’. Her answer was not as surprising as it may read given her interest, and class attendance during the course, ‘I am not confident in making the web site from scratch with only images and no starting code’. My short answer was for her to continue in PhotoShop with her design, so it was ready for the start of term 2.

At home later that night, I was going through an external hard drive and stumbled across a folder of videos from Lynda.com [When you purchase the Adobe software, a bonus on registering your product was a months free subscription to www.lynda.com]. I saw the folder named CS4_Fireworks, and it dawned on me, ‘hey theres a video in there of exporting a web page from an image mock-up’.

I opened the folder and started filtering through the videos, soon I came across the three which were of my memories. A quick search of http://www.adobe.com/devnet/ and there was more information about using Fireworks for producing web pages.

Now I have to profess, I only use three Adobe applications regularly. They are 1. PhotoShop 2. Acrobat Pro Extended 3. Flash. I rarely use any other products from the CS suite of apps.

Soon after I was having troubles organising Blogs and Wiki’s for my other classes, at the same time there was a lot of chat on my PLN through Twitter regarding the new BlogED Blog tool. I was soon allowed to look at a live example of a BlogED. I had a quick look through the code using my browsers tools. It was a fairly simple layout, wouldn’t be to hard to reproduce in a Multimedia Stage 5 lesson.

I then thought about this a little further, and quickly came to thinking this would be an excellent idea, but instead of going the normal route of PhotoShop > Dreamweaver, use Fireworks. I got to planning a 5 week schedule and thought this would make an excellent presentation at a conference.

Then I got to thinking how would I back this up at a conference and remove the hassle that normally takes place with electronic files. Set up a Wiki.

The Wiki, fireworksfordernsw.pbworks.com was born. Over a week I made documents to back up template files I have made plus several screen casts to help new comers to Fireworks to design and publish web pages easily. Now this Wiki is not a place for me just to share templates with everyone else, it is to try and build a community around the use of Fireworks, especially on DERvices. You don’t have to sign up the Wiki is accessible to all visitors.

To my amazement Fireworks for DER NSW Wiki even shows up in Google Alerts as the image below demonstrates.

So please all join in and make this a true community!

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April 17th, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Where to start??

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With the DER laptops only a couple of days away I started poking around the Internet looking for anything that might be helpful or stimulate. I came across PLN’s. Personal/Professional Learning Networks. Blog’s as far as the eye could see, total information overload. When I came back to it all the next day I started here with a series of videos with Will Richardson…

The Future

Personal Learning Networks

Followed by…

The more I looked around there more information there was, like this…

The world wide use of Moodle.  This video was made for the first Slovenian Moodle Moot (www.moodle.si).

Then I found some Australian content…

I think it’s fair to say we are starting from the outside barrier in-relation to 1 on 1 laptop classroom education and the the learning curve will be steep.

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July 3rd, 2009 at 11:23 am