Times are changing

Adrian Camm (formerly of Mooroopna Secondary College) and featured here on Bright Ideas in February has created an inspiring animoto video:


(If the embedded video is taking too long to load, click this link to access the animoto instead.)

Focussing on the way the Powerful Learning Practice program has impacted on learning and teaching at Mooroopna Secondary College, Adrian is now in a new position as Head of Mathematics at McGuire College.

Although not all of us can be a part of the PLP, the animoto is useful in identifying how some schools have changed with the times, and unfortunately, some have not.

PLP @ Mooroopna Secondary College

Mooroopna Secondary College teacher librarian, Leading Teacher and eLearning Coordinator Leonie Dyason is part of Will Richardson’s PLP project. PLP is Powerful Learning Practice, an international program developed by Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in the US. Mooroopna Secondary College was fortunate to be nominated to  receive sponsorship from the State Library of Victoria and the School Library Association of Victoria (following the Victorian School Libraries Learning with Web 2.0 program) to have a team involved in the PLP program. 

Leonie explains how she organised her team once Mooroopna had been accepted into the project. ‘Our Assistant Principals were both very supportive.  I then selected my team of 5.  I wanted some young teachers with me, some risk takers, and not necessarily all Web 2.0 savvy.’

Leonie says, ‘Our team members consisted of Adrian who is a Physics & Maths Teacher (he did the SLAV Web 2.0 program last year with our library team), Deanne, who is an Indonesian and English Teacher and who is Daily Organiser this year. Kirsten is a Science & Maths Teacher as well as being the Maths/Science Leading Teacher. She is also an INTEL master trainer. Katie is a SOSE & English teacher and me, a teacher librarian.’

Leonie explains, ‘All four regularly attend my eLearning Cafe where I have been teaching Web 2.0 and Internet skills for 3 years now as part of my Leading Teacher role of eLearning Coordinator.  Adrian often presents here too – he started with podcasting.’

Leonie's elearning cafe

Leonie's eLearning Cafe

She continues, ‘We have all achieved different things so far, but mostly it is great teacher training – a good boost knowing you are on the right track, and good to be alerted to new stuff via the PLP before it becomes mainstream.  We have learnt lots of skills, looked at the new digital blooms, better ways to connect students not only to the school, but also to the world. We have learnt lots and lots.  Some of the examples of what we have achieved are:

  • I have set up the PD blog that can be anywhere anytime learning for teachers – to keep them ahead hopefully, but at least abreast of what their students are doing out of school hours.  It will alert them to the eCafe topics, and have other incidental learning on the sidebars.  I have also set up the usual literature blog with the English staff, however I intend to grow that to be reviews on everything – a writing I have done spasmodically or verbally all my career, but now it is there with others adding their reviews and everything tagged for the staff and students to use as sorting for genre, etc.  I have a link on the Library Website on our intranet to both these blogs.
  • Adrian has set up his wiki/NING for the Year 12 Physics students in the state – much more ambitious than me – and has on board textbook writers and professors from all over.
  •  Deanne has set up the skeleton for a cultural assignment in a wiki.  She has set it up to be a collaborative piece.  Her demo to the staff started at least 3 wikis that night.
  •  Katie and Kirsten are still experimenting with what they will use as their platform, however Katie is going to do the VCE novels and have RSS on the site to alert students to, and Kirsten is going to do something with podcasts and biology.’

Physics teacher Adrian Camm explains about his Web 2.0 developments. ‘I have created a virtual learning community (VLC) for Unit 3 & 4 Physics that will link all students across Victoria to experienced educators, members of the Australian Institute of Physics and textbook authors from both Nelson and Heinemann publishers. It will provide students with tremendous learning opportunities anytime, anywhere. Students (and educators if they wish to be a part) will have access to a password-protected learning environment, where they can ask for help with questions, chat about careers in physics and have concepts explained to them in great detail. The best part is it’s free!’

Adrian's Virtual Learning Community

Adrian's Virtual Learning Community

Adrian continues, ‘If you and your students are interested in joining, click this link  and fill out the invitation located on the left-hand side of the page. Follow all of the instructions and within 24 hours, you will have access to the Physics Ning.’

Adrian continues, ‘Why should you and your students be a part of the VLC?

  • By using a 21st century context students will see relevance
  • By removing geographic boundaries. Brings the world into the classroom
  • Takes students out into the world
  • Creates opportunities for students to interact with each other, with teachers and with knowledgeable adults in an authentic learning environment with authentic learning experiences.

Leonie Dyason says, ‘At the start of this school year we had three professional learning days, and our PLP had a 1.5 hour slot to talk about PLP.  Adrian, Deanne and myself presented our projects to the staff as outlined above.  We also presented on a blog of Web 2.0 skills for MSC staff’s professional learning which we will probably all contribute to directly or indirectly.  We launched this to the staff on the second day and asked them to go off and use the blog and go to one of the links there “CogDogRoo” from Alan Levine and learn 2 things.  We have 17 Australian hits so far, so someone besides me is visiting it!’

Congratulations to Leonie, Adrian, Deanne, Katie and Kirsten on an absolutely brilliant job; you are an inspiration! Thanks also for taking the time to share your knowledge.

Working Together 2 Make a Difference Program

Jenny Luca, the Head of Information Services at Toorak College in Mt. Eliza is part of an inspiring project that aims to change lives for the better.  Jenny writes, ‘Angela and Laura Stockman from New York State and I are working together to make a difference. We have created a ning site to encourage people to join us to collaborate to raise funds for worthy causes in the lead up to the festive season. Here is a link to a blog post I wrote about it.

Working together 2 make a difference

Working together 2 make a difference

‘We would love to see Australian educators join the ning site and help their students to see the difference that can be made when we pool our efforts and set out to do something good for others. Angela sent out the message below to people in her network in the United States. It explains the project and its motivation very well so I thought I would replicate it here. I hope you will consider showing this to your staff and joining the effort.’

Angela Stockman writes, ‘Last year my daughter Laura began an online service project called Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference.  Her premise was to promote service work by doing small things to make a difference throughout the year in her community. Blogging about them was her way of encouraging others to join her. To date, nearly forty thousand people have visited her blog, and hundreds of individuals, schools, and teachers have supported her work and begun their own projects as well. We’ve learned that blogging inspires our eleven year old to give back to her own community while forming safe and rewarding relationships online. We’ve also learned that the web is a powerful place for kids to do authentic and meaningful work when they are monitored by responsible adults.

25 days to make a difference

25 days to make a difference

‘This year, Laura is joining forces with Victorian teacher librarian Jenny Luca to launch a global effort. Jenny is a member of an international PLP community led by Will Richardson  and Sheryl Nussbaum Beach.  Jenny approached Laura last year and asked her to Skype into her Melbourne classroom so that her students could collaborate with Laura. Our friendship has grown from here.

Working Together 2 Make a Difference is an online community administered by Jenny and myself. Teachers and students from all over the world are invited to join this space and share what they are doing to make a difference in their own communities. Doing so will enable teachers and kids to network with others around the globe, support each other’s service efforts, and witness what happens when everyone works together “to make a difference.” Those who join will have tremendous opportunity to teach their students about internet safety, powerful ways to use the web, how a ning works, and what it means to make a difference locally and globally.

‘Please consider inviting your teachers and students to join us, and invite anyone else who might be interested in doing so. Feel free to contact me for more information or with any questions that you might have! Thanks. Angela.’