Tomorrow evening I’m doing a presentation and discussion to Collaborate for Change ( twitter hashtag #c84c)

I ran a table discussion at the last c84c at BETT last January (you can see the video at the bottom of this blog post) on “How can we encourage teachers to take risks and innovate with technology”. The discussion was great and the whole event was also fantastic bringing together a massive range of people to discuss and present.

The second C84C takes place in Havering, Essex which was a little hard for me to get to, not because I’m one of those Londoners scared of venturing to Essex but because I recently moved to Norway. Fortunately the organisers of C84C agreed to let me run a session virtually which I will be doing via the wonders of blackboard collaborate (formerly Elluminate).  It’s a piece of software that has evolved quite well since I first tried it during my MA 4 years ago or so and is great for teaching. I used it earlier this year for a series of webinars for a group of students I worked with on a leadership programme and got to experiment with it and work out how to make online sessions participatory and interesting. Tomorrow though is a new challenge as I will be presenting and attempting to lead a discussion to a room of people as well as, I hope, some online participants. All being we will have a great discussion but I also want to learn some new tricks for presenting virtually to a room of people and the best way is by doing, which takes me back to the title of this post…

The topic we will be discussing is,

“Is there such a thing as too much innovation?”

The focus will be on looking at why existing innovators innovate, whether there are boundaries or appropriate times to innovate and if we need to plan carefully for innovation or just do it.

Comments are very welcome below but even more welcome if you wish to join us tomorrow – the link to participate online and to replay is https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/launch/meeting.jnlp?sid=2010108&password=M.B282631F6F3D88D3A505A51183E1A4

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Do Teens Use Twitter?

Posted on August 25th, 2011 in thoughts | No Comments »



Common wisdom says teens don’t twitter

Here’s a few articles saying exactly that (in chronological order 2011 to 2009)
http://blog.eloqua.com/why-teens-dont-use-twitter/
http://mashable.com/2010/02/03/teens-dont-tweet-or-blog/
http://techcrunch.com/2009/08/30/why-dont-teens-tweet-we-asked-over-10000-of-them/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jul/13/twitter-teenage-media-habits
http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/teens-dont-tweet-twitters-growth-not-fueled-by-youth/

While it may be the case that the majority of teens don’t tweet judging by today’s trends on Twitter in the UK they certainly have a strong presence.

Twitter trends UK 25th Aug 2011

Twitter trends UK 25th Aug 2011

All the trending items with a red arrow annotated show topics related to GCSE examinations. These UK examinations are typically taken by 16 year olds.

It may be that most teens don’t use twitter, it’s probably true that most people don’t use twitter, but of those that do teens certainly have the power to make their voices heard. Imagine what they could do if they clubbed together – the student voice could become quite powerful!

The Purposed Project has got me writing on my blog again rather than just thinking of things I should get round to writing. I’ve taken part in 3 stages of the project starting with my earlier blog post “Time To Learn”, then a bit more passively with this lovely picture quote mashup created and contributed by @grumbledook (thanks and I was flattered).

Purpos/ed 3x5 - 16th April 2011

I’m now contributing again with a purposed futured interview. I couldn’t help signing up for another one of these “tasks” as they’re interesting, fun, different and make me and I hope others think about some bigger questions for a short while. This task allowed me to perform my first over the phone interview using Audioboo, as instructed, to record and share the audio. I wasn’t sure who to interview when I signed up but in the end went for someone from a faith community, because I thought it may give a different perspective, and someone from the Jewish community, because I feel it’s an integral part of the privileged education path that I have followed and am still following. Judaism has always been a religion that prides scholarship and learning for the sake of learning, in some communities maybe too much over and above the skills required to earn a living! The immigrant history has also meant Jewish communities have always made education of their children a priority in order to have skills and work that could be transferred from country to country. Having known my interviewee, Rabbi Pete Tobias, for some time, I did not expect a religious sermon or historical lecture. I was surprised though to hear opinions and visions that are incredibly similar to many of the participants and I guess the instigators of the purpose/d project. I hope you enjoy it.
Purposedfutured Interview with Rabbi Pete Tobias (mp3)

It was very nice to receive a tweet this morning from Chris Ratcliffe (@chrisrat) to tell me I had been nominated for the Education Blog Awards 2011 in the category, “Teacher Blog of the Year” Twitter Update

Thanks to whoever nominated me, it’s the first time I’ve ever been nominated for anything like this.

I started my blog a few years back when Drew Buddie aka @digitalmaverick told me that the process and progress of the VLE I was developing at school was something that would be really useful to share with others. As time has gone on my posts have diversified a little and I am no longer involved in the VLE I started writing about. But there is plenty more to come and many blog posts that are half writen. Take a look at the contents link to see the archive.

I hope some of my blog posts are useful to other people, like most teachers who blog, I do it to share and reflect, but it is exciting when the stats hit the roof. This has only happened twice to me: once for my guide to Twitter post earlier this year which for a week was clocking 100 visits a day, and once when I published my MA research on “What gets kids on a VLE“.

If you enjoy what you read feel free to click the button below and vote for me or visit https://scholastic.wufoo.com/forms/education-blog-awards-voting/

But if you don’t click don’t feel bad. I’m up against 40 other blogs many of whom I am big fans of, as a whole they are a fantastic compendium of teachers’ experiences and achievements.

Vote for me as Teacher Blog of the Year

Purpos/ed – time to learn

Posted on February 24th, 2011 in thoughts | 17 Comments »



Purposed Badge - text "I added my voice"

This is my 500 words for Purpose/d. Another wonderful project from a group of educators looking to inspire, create debate and eventually change. I’m supposed to read the posts before mine and respond to some of the points. I’ve read some but not all, and I’ll use that as my segway to my 500 words, because I just didn’t have time to read them all. And time is surely the killer for much change and innovation in education. There’s precious time to think, to innovate and be creative, and that goes for teachers and students.


In the UK, when we learn to be teachers, we don’t learn about pedagogical theories beyond a brief look at learning styles. In a 36 week practical based course there just isn’t time. When I did my MA the largest revelation was that all the things I did anyway in the classroom had a theory attached to them. But good teachers don’t always need a theory, they just do it because it works for them or their students, it just seems right to them. And a good teacher knows what makes it right in one situation doesn’t make it right for every teacher or every class.


There’s never enough time in the curriculum for every subject. Recently I’ve seen online campaigns to save PE, RE, ICT and Computing from being removed or marginalised in the UK. Campaigns led by specialist teachers and national subject associations may seem self serving, but they do it because they care. After all remove sports and kids may become unhealthy, remove RE and kids may become intolerant, remove ICT and kids may become unskilled. I can’t disagree with the passion of these teachers who know the ‘Purpose’ and the benefits of what they teach.


I’ve been out of the classroom now for 6 months. People ask me if I miss it and how life is different. There are many differences but the biggest one is not having the guilt on your shoulders because there isn’t enough time to do everything for your students. Teachers learn to live with many kinds of guilt; the guilt of not preparing enough, the guilt of not marking enough, the guilt of ignoring a school policy, the guilt of straying from the scheme of work, the guilt of setting too much homework. What is the ‘Purpose’ of all these things we worry about?


Our education system will improve greatly when teachers can remove the guilt from their shoulders and take pride in their skills and achievements.


I subscribe to the terribly liberal but certainly not revolutionary philosophy that different students and different teachers have different needs. We need different routes, different pathways and different systems open to everyone to enable each learner and each teacher to find their own way. There’s never enough time to teach everything and one, just one, purpose of education must be to give students the skills and the passion to learn and thrive in their own interests in their own time.


What is the overall ‘purpose’ and how do we get there? I don’t know but if we are to find it we need to give teachers the room to innovate, experiment and improve and we need to give students room to innovate, experiment and improve. And on that note I’ll leave you with a video of a discussion I led on this topic at the recent Collabor8 4Change event.

As promised in my earlier blog post “Why Twitter is good for teachers – thanks to…” here is the video and some brief written tips, on Twitter for teachers. This video was part of a longer presentation I gave to an international group of teachers at the World ORT Wingate Seminar 2011 on Digital Content Creation for learning.


www.twitter.com
Twitter is not just a website for celebrity gossip, it’s a constant stream of information from the people you choose to follow. If you choose to follow teachers or people with similar interests to you, you will get a stream of information relevant to your interests.

I follow about 1500 people, most teachers and educators and some with other interests.
Following someone doesn’t mean I agree with them always, in fact I follow some people who have very different opinions to me so I get to hear different perspectives.

Twitter helps me in many ways

1. As a supportive community – people are always williing to give their support or opinions when necessary.
2. As a great source of new websites, resources and ideas – People are always posting links to great new resources, blog posts and personal experiences.
3. As a way of sharing my practice, ideas and blog posts
4. As a personal search engine – if you ask for help – people normally respond with help or ideas – though it’s not instantaneous and you sometimes need to ask a few times.

A good place to start is by signing up, having a look at my twitter profile www.twitter.com/nstone and seeing who I follow and who follows me. If they seem interesting click to follow them, you could even send them a brief message to say hi and to tell them why they look interesting.
You can also look at twitter lists to see who they are following. Users sometimes group people they follow into lists, you can see them on their profile. These lists can be great ways to find interesting people fast.

If you are a new user and scared about privacy you may wish to choose a private account – then only people you give permission to can see your twitter messages. Going public means anyone can see your messages, but it also means anyone can help you and opens your tweets up to a much wider potential audience. If you’re nervous start private and you can always change later, even for a private account, as with any online communication, don’t assume confidentiality of anything you write!

Good luck

This list of Top 10 E-safety tips for parents (and teachers) was originally put together by Marc Shoffren of Clore Shalom school and updated by us both for a session we did together on Limmud conference. I think it’s a great resource as it’s really simple and each point has a web resource. It also treats the internet as a learning opportunity to be embraced rather than a danger to avoided. If you find it useful let us know.

You can download the document here to print or edit Limmud e-safety Top Ten Tips for Parents

Top Ten e-safety Tips for Parents

  • Discover the internet together: www.getsafeonline.org contains advice about firewalls, spyware and antivirus protection as well as how to protect your child.
  • Agree a framework for sensible internet use at home: www.childnet-int.org has some good suggestions for this.
  • Discuss disclosing personal information: www.chatdanger.com is a site for teenagers that gives advice on how to stay safe while chatting online.
  • Explore the issues involved in meeting an e-pal face to face: www.thinkuknow.co.uk has advice for children about this.
  • Teach critical questioning skills when looking at websites: http://web.archive.org/web/20080430094706/www.quick.org.uk/menu.htm has a useful checklist to assess whether a website is likely to be credible. QUICK stands for the Quality Information Checklist. (nb the link takes you to an archive of the site which is otherwise not available)
  • Don’t be too critical of your child’s exploration: It is natural for children to be curious about off-limits material. If they come across inappropriate material use this as an opening to discuss the content with them, and perhaps make rules for this kind of activity. Encourage your children to use child appropriate search engines, such as www.askkids.com.
  • Report illegal material: www.ceop.gov.uk is the website of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre, a police agency tackling child abuse on the internet. It includes a unique facility that enables parents and young people to make reports of actual or attempted abuse on line.
  • Encourage good netiquette: www.transl8it.com is a fun website which translates some of the language used in chatrooms, instant messaging and texting into normal English.
  • Know your child’s net use: Let your child show you which websites that they like visiting and what it is that they do there. Try some of the sites yourself to see what they are experiencing. To explore with them try http://kidsmart.org.uk/
  • Remember the positives: Embrace the internet, it’s a great thing and it’s here to stay. To remind yourself of some of the positives watch the Did You Know presentation, available at http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com/

3 Simple Rules for Kids:

  • Stick with your friends. Have your teens limit their privacy settings to Only Friends. That’ll restrict who sees your kids’ information, including pictures, videos, and applications they use.
  • Keep private information private. When filling out their bios, teens can leave fields blank. There is no need for your teens to post their phone numbers or addresses. These features are optional and aren’t required to create a Facebook account.
  • Don’t let your information get away from you. If your teens haven’t restricted who can share their information, their personal data can end up in the hands of marketers. Also, advise your teens to be on the lookout for personal information requests — like their birthday or music playlist — from third parties. And make sure your teens uncheck the public search results box so people can’t find their Facebook page through a Google search.

I did a presentation last week at the World ORT Wingate Seminar which included a 15 minute piece on why Twitter is a great tool for teachers and educators. I’ll add the video and information in a separate post when it is ready.

One of the old Twitter tricks to show how Twitter is useful is to ask your followers to say hi, where they are from and answer a question. I asked my followers to say hi and tell us a great resource. I wasn’t specific about the resource as I wanted to show the people I was presenting to the range of people and resources out there. As always I was astounded by the replies which I have embedded below.

If you (PC) Hold Ctrl + click on the names you should be able to get directly to each person’s twitter account in a new tab on your browser.





Many thanks to @mrshgm @mr_mclaughlin @bredano @monprof @antheald @mark_dubois @kristianstill @redmenace56 @h1moodle @cbrannon @langwitches @dan_bowen @yvonneosborn @gvibe @carolskyring @islayian @relativism @dwsm for their help.

All are welcome to watch the live stream of the World ORT Wingate Seminar on Digital Content Creation for learning.

You can watch at

http://www.ort.org/asp/page.asp?id=49

Schedule

Monday 10th January

11:00-12:30 Keynote: Digital Media in Education
Jonathan Drori, Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, UK

14:00-15:30 IWB Workshop, “Essential Digital Resources for Your Classroom”
Danny Nicholson, IWB Consultant and Teacher Trainer, UK

15:45-17:15 Particpant Presentations
15:45 – Barbora Pechová – Lauder Schools of Prague ,Czech Republic
16:00 Christine Cook – Lycee ORT Strasbourg, France
16:15 Aliza Weingarten, Nesher Junior High School, Israel
16:30 Rebeca Rochman – CIM-ORT School, Mexico
16:45 Dr. Olga Tuzova – ORT De Gunzburg, St Petersburg, Russia

Tuesday 11th January

09:15-10:45 Flash Animation Workshop
Sadler Johnson, Website Developer, World ORT, UK

11:00-12:30 Participant Presentations
11:00 Jimena Fernanda Castellión & Claudia Ruth Tujschinaider, School 2.0: Real-World Projects in the Virtual Age – ORT High School, Argentina (30mins)
11:30 Nadia Maria Petriccioli – Milan, Italy
11:45 Rani Ben-Zeev, Student Created Content – Western Galilee Maaravi High School, Israel
12:00 Teresa Segalien?, Shifting Teachers’ Role: Constructionism and SmartBoard Workflow Experience – Vilnius Sholom Aleichem Jewish School, Lithuania

14:00-15:30 Enhancing Learning through Good Design
Professor Tom Boyle and Carl Smith, London Metropolitan University, UK

15:45-17:15 Participant Presentations
15:45 Olga Trupp – ORT-“Mishpahteinu”, Kazan, Russia
16:00 Martin Kalenberg, Learning Through the News – ORT University, Uruguay
16:30 Pennit Amarel, Assessment in your Palm – Rogozin Junior B School, Kiryat Ata, Israel
17:00 Dr. Nir Yehuda – Eynot Yarden Comprehensive School, Israel

Wednesday 12th January

09:15-10:45 Collaborative resource banks
Andy Smith, Head of Resources, TSL, Times Educational Supplement

11:00-12:30 Finding Digital Content
Theo Kuechel, Researcher and Consultant, University of Hull, UK

14:00-15:30 Participant Presentations
14:00 Maryna Gezalova –Jewish Gymnasium, ORT “Aleph”, Ukraine
14:15 Philippe Balais – ORT Lyon, France
14:30 Megan Lawless – Geared for Life Program, ORT South Africa
14:45 Dovale Lanir – Anna Frank High School, Sasa, Israel

Thursday 13th January: No streaming – visits to local school and BETT.

Friday 14th January

09:15-10:45 Online Tools for Creating Content (workshop)
Daniel Needlestone, Educational Development Manager, World ORT, UK

As part of my work at World ORT I’m organising a seminar next week which will be attended by 18 teachers from abroad. As part of the seminar we are spending an afternoon at BETT, a large educational technology exhibition with hundreds of exhibitors displaying their wares.

It can be a rather imtimidating place for a newbie and it’s sometimes hard to know what to do when you arrive. I wanted to make the participants a few recommendations to get them on their way. Again it was hard to know where to start so I thought I would get the exhibitors to do the work for me, if they want me to recommend them then they should tell me why I should visit. I created a Google Form here and sent a few messages on twitter asking for exhibitors to fill in the form. A couple of weeks later and I had 25 sets of information which can be viewed in their raw form here.

A quick mail merge and a bit of tidying up later and I’ve  got booklet with all the information in.

You can view and download the booklet here via Google Docs, to download click the link, the file menu and select download.

Or you can download it directly via this link: Please come and visit us at BETT 2011

If you would like an editable version just get in touch.

I hope you find it useful

For some general advice on visiting BETT I recommend this post