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Friday, 29 October 2010

iNet online conference on digital literacy

The iNet (International Networking for Educational Transformation) online conference for education professionals in all countries will commence next Monday 1 November at 12.01am (* UK time). The topic for this eight-day conference is ‘digital literacy’.

This interactive conference will feature, in addition to a range of excellent papers and multimedia presentations from around the world, online discussion boards that will be open 24/7. There are also two ‘question and answer’ ‘hotseats’ - the first hosted by Professor Yong Zhao and the second by Mr John Davitt. 

To participate in this internet e-vent, which is provided by iNet at no cost, please register online at: http://www.cybertext.net.au/inet2010educator.php

*The conference website address will be emailed to all registrants a few hours before the conference commences on Monday. No passwords or user names will be required.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Debra Brydon if you have any queries about this conference or suggestions for future online conferences. * Late contributions may be considered for possible publication if they arrive via email by Sunday 31 October.

Best wishes,
Debra Brydon
iNet online conference manager
Email: brydon@cybertext.net.au
Skype: brydon.d
Mobile: Int. + 61 413 009988
Hotseat ‘question and answer’ sessions
Professor Yong Zhao 9.00–10.00am (GMT) Wednesday 3 November 2010
Read Prof. Zhao's think piece — Technology and the virtual world are the new reality
View Prof. Zhao's presentation — Schools as Global Enterprises: Cultivating Global Competence
John Davitt 2.00–4.00pm (GMT) Thursday 4 November 2010
Read John Davitt's think piece — Playing 'Difference Bingo'


1.    Literacy for all
Byron M. Lawson Jr. St Mark's School of Texas, Dallas, Texas, USA

2.    Computers meet classroom, classroom wins
Jim Fanning, Tideway School., East Sussex, England, United Kingdom

3.    Playing 'Difference Bingo'
John Davitt, United Kingdom

4.    Digital literacy and 21st century learning
Gail Bousaleh, Global English Teaching Pty Ltd & Hunter Community College, New South Wales, Australia

5.    You can teach a dog new tricks (they just don't have to be too tricky!)
Gina Blackberry and Debbie Koh, Griffith University & St Aidan's Girls School, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

6.    Digital literacy: what skills do teachers and students require?
Riaz Ahmed, Aga Khan School, Garden, Karachi, Pakistan

7.    'We are of the internet'
Anne Mirtschin, Hawkesdale P-12 College, Hawkesdale, Victoria, Australia

8.    Using new technology to transform learning
Sadia Khan, Aga Khan School, Garden , Karachi, Pakistan

9.    Assessing 21st century skills with digital portfolios
Ralph Jasparro & Joseph Maruszczak, Rhode Island, USA

10.    Becoming digitally literate
Jillian Dellit, J & J Dellit and Associates, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

11.    Digital literacy: key questions
Jill E. Margerison, Queensland, Australia

12.    Intelligent and safe use of new learning technologies
Kiran Fareed, Aga Khan School, Garden, Karachi, Pakistan

13.    Digital literacy: a reality at our doorstep
Nivedita Shori, Corliss Public School, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

14.    Digital literacy and 21st century learning
Gail Dyer, Belmore South Public School, New South Wales, Australia

15.    Encouraging the intelligent and safe use of new technologies
Akhter un Nisa, Aga Khan School, Garden, Karachi, Pakistan

16.    Technologically supported learning: what some children think
Henry Gray, Leanyer School, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

17.    Developing the use of new technology to transform learning
Mirza Hadi Ali Baig, Aga Khan School, Garden, Karachi, Pakistan

18.    New technology: bridging the rural-urban educational divide
Sembuya Serunjogi Hakim, Baitiredi, Northern Cape Province, South Africa

Videos and stimulus resources
1.    Digital literacy: some provocation questions
Anna Craft, University of Exeter, Exeter, England, United Kingdom

2.    Digital literacy and trust: a provocative think piece
Margo Greenwood and Claire Craft, University of Exeter, Exeter, England, United Kingdom

3.    Digital literacy: what's real? A provocative question
Margo Greenwood and Claire Craft, University of Exeter, Exeter, England, United Kingdom

4.    Empowering learners and learning through ICT
Students, Aga Khan School, Garden, Karachi, Pakistan

Slide presentations

1.    Digital literacy — How to build it in teachers through professional development
Jason Cooper

2.    Technology and transformative learning in the 21st century
Daithí Ó Murchú, Scoil An Cheathrair Álainn – Ladyswell National School, Dublin, Ireland

Poster display
1.    Evidence-based physical guidelines for wise use of computers by children
Leon Straker, Pete Johnson, Jack Dennerlein & Robin Burgess-Limerick, Australia and USA

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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Using the Melbourne Cup to talk careers

Events like the Melbourne Cup provide a great opportunity to launch discussions in Australian classrooms.

One focus you could take is careers. Here are some suggestions for classroom resources already available at Australia's best career information service for school students: myfuture.edu.au

What does it take to be a jockey?
There’s a great short  video made as part of the myfuture video comp last year:

How do you get to be a jockey?

Love to work with horses? Why not become a stablehand?

Where would the Melbourne Cup be without an event manager?

Where would the Melbourne Cup be without trend-setting fashion? Be a fashion designer.

Where would sporting events be without gardeners?


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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

So you're thinking about e-text books? 2011 may be too soon... in Australia anyway

Many teachers and librarians have told me their principal has asked them to investigate the possibility of using e-text books in 2011.

Now, we've been trying to get our heads around at least a couple of stumbling blocks and now at least one more has cropped up.

The 2 issues we've been trying to get our heads (previous posts) around have been

  • which device to buy?
  • what format for the e-books? (very much determined by the device)

and the 3rd one: how do we lend e-books either as library books or text books?

Currently many libraries are resorting to lending the device, in the absence of affordable schemes  that facilitate the lending of the e-books themselves. It seems there are schemes (like Overdrive) available if you are willing to put all your eggs in one basket, and cut your cloth to what they can provide. - mixed metaphors I know, but the end result is that you are severely limited in your purchase to what they can provide, not what you want to buy.

Now a 4th obstacle has come up:
geographic restrictions on sale of e-books by publishers. It is yet another illustration that publishers do not "get" the requirements of the e-book market.
An Australian friend has until yesterday been able to buy e-books for her Sony reader through Waterstones UK. Yesterday she was notified by them that they are no longer allowed to sell e-books outside the UK and Ireland.

I have been used to encountering this problem with buying books through Amazon, but had not realised the extent of it until now.

In the course of my investigations this morning I have come across a useful site. Three posts have caught my eye:

The upshot of it all, is that, considering where we are in the school/academic year in Australia, if you were thinking of bringing e-text books in at the beginning of 2011, there are probably just too many imponderables, too many unresolved issues.

If you've made a decision on the device, then that probably determines the format of the e-books you will purchase, then you are only part way through finding a solution.
The main question then becomes one of whether you can get the text books you want as e-books. If you are talking English novels and your students read a number of the "classics", including Shakespearian plays, then you can probably get some of them free through the Gutenberg Project Magic Catalog, but that is not going to help in major areas.

I'm sorry to sound like a Jonah, and I'd love to be proved wrong, but I think 2011 is just too early.

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Friday, 22 October 2010

Really ubiquitous technology

As I travelled in to work yesterday on the bus, smugly reading on my Kindle, I was struck by how many of my fellow passengers were displaying tell tale signs of iPod connectivity - thin white cables leading from a pocket to earbuds. A couple had their volume turned up quite loud so the rest of us on the bus could hear the crackle without being able to actually hear them. Others were texting on iPhones.

As I came home in the afternoon, again on the bus, again reading on my Kindle, I noticed that the girl standing in the aisle immediately in front of my seat had her Kindle3 in hand.I was tempted to start up a conversation about the differences between Kindle 2, which is what I have, and Kindle3. But then she was shuffled further into the bus as more passengers got on.

Then the woman sitting next to me got a call on her iPhone, and then a video call. She began talking loudly, complaining she couldn't hear what the person at the other end was saying (she didn't have earbuds in) because of the noise of the bus. She began waving madly at the small screen and making kitchy noises to a child on the screen who seemed to be making similar noises back to her.

The man standing immediately to my left got 3 phone calls during our 15 minute bus ride. He carried his mobile in a pouch on his belt, so we all got the benefit of the alarm-clock like sound of his phone ringing, as he took a moment or two to get it to his ear. He then talked extremely loudly to get his voice above the cacophony of the bus passengers. Meanwhile the lady on my right continued to give advice to the person on the other end of her phone about childcare and responsibility.

The joys of bus travel where we have no inhibitions about sharing our world with our fellow passengers. I didn't get a lot of reading done.

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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

2010 Top Tools - which are blocked on your site?

Yesterday I posted about Jane Hart's Top 100 Tools for Learning 2010 list.

I've seen several comments elsewhere on other blogs, including one by someone who said that he has realised he needs to re-think his opinions of Twitter, given that it has survived the usual web 2.0 "discard" so well.

Another comment that I saw was one that said that it was one thing to list the tools, quite another thing to access them from his school.

So which of the top 12 can't you get to? I know for example that many education deployments in Australia block access to Google Docs, YouTube, and Facebook.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Top tools - nothing much has changed!

Jane Hart has compiled her Top 100 Tools for Learning 2010 list.

With Twitter coming out on top for the second year in a row, the list (well the top 10 or so) looks as if nothing much has changed. Some new tools have emerged, but they are all relatively low on the list so far. There's been a bit of a shuffle in the top 10 and Facebook, Prezi, and Drop Box have made quite big gains.

Jane has some good sub-lists such as the 2010 Best in Breed List which categorises tools according to what they actually do, so if you are looking for something for a particular task, then this will be useful.

You might also like to look at the 2011 list which has quite a few new additions. One of the useful features of this list is that each is linked to an explanatory page on the site. Yoy can contribute to the compilation of the 2011 list.

Try the slide share on the site: this describes each of the top 100.

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Friday, 15 October 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

One of the foci for today's Blog Action Day is Water over-consumption in industrialised countries.

That means us here in Australia!
Being an island we tend to assume we are isolated form some of the world's problems, but our water management has an important effect on the rest of the world's ecology, whether it is just the way we use/waste our money in creating solutions to water shortages, or whether it is because we buy products that require heavy water usage for their production.

Here are some of the pointers that the organisers of BAD2010 have sent me.

Water over-consumption in industrialized countries:
While the developing world faces a water crisis, those in industrialized countries consume far more than their fair share.

• Food Footprint:
It takes 24 litres of water to produce one hamburger. That means it would take over 19.9 billion litres of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe. 
• Technology Footprint:
The shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a litre of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with over 80 million active iPhones in the world, that's 40 million litres to charge those alone.
• Fashion Footprint:
That cotton t-shirt you're wearing right now took 1,514 litres of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 litres.
• Bottled Water Footprint:
The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled. 

 Water and the environment:
The disregard for water resources in industrialized countries impacts more than humans – it causes environmental devastation.

• Waste Overflow:
Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water sources. This not only negatively impacts the environment but also harms the health of surrounding communities.
• Polluted Oceans:
Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year. 
• Uninhabitable Rivers:
Today, 40% of America's rivers and 46% of America's lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life. 

 Water solutions:

The good news is that there are great organizations working on solutions and new tools that empower people to do their part to address the water crisis.

• Building Wells:
Organizations like Water.org and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world.
• Technology for Good:
Do you want to measure how much water it took to make your favorite foods? There's an app for that.
• Conservation Starts at Home:
The average person uses 465 litres of water per day. Find out how much you use.
• Keeping Rivers Clean:
We can all take small steps to help keep pollution out of our rivers and streams, like correctly disposing of household wastes. 
• Drop the Bottle:
Communities around the world are taking steps to reduce water bottle waste by eliminating bottled water.

Australian Classroom Resources

  • Mission H2O game: there are 8 online games here at SaveWater. The focus is to discover water saving tips for every room in the house. You can submit your highest score for prizes.
  • Yarra Valley Water has a range of online educational materials
  • 17-23 October is National Water Week in Australia. Visit the site for resources, water conservation tips, educational activities, and conservation tips.
  • Yarra Valley Water has been conducting a short film competition leading up to national Water Week. The 2010 winners will be announced on 18 October and you can see the 2009 winners here.

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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Be Aware - Blog Action Day is tomorrow

The focus for BAD 2010, tomorrow 15 October, is water.

Here in the driest state in the driest continent, we are very conscious of water restrictions and the fear of not having enough, but there is probably still quite a lot we could still be doing.

Water and sanitation are fundamental human rights. Everyone should have sufficient, affordable, physically accessible, safe and acceptable water for personal and domestic uses.

Water-borne diseases are responsible for 80 per cent of illnesses and deaths in the developing world, killing a child every eight seconds.

The human body is about 70 per cent water. Water lost through bodily functions needs to be replaced within a couple of days. Diarrhoeal diseases increase the rate of water loss causing the deaths of many babies. A simple mixture of sugar and salts, Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT), reduces infant deaths

If you are looking for resources why not try edna's Global Education website? There are a large number of teaching activities available on the site.

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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Get into the action on 15 October

15th October is Blog Action Day worldwide and this year we are thinking about water.

Here are some messages to think about:

  • Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Unclean drinking water can incubate some pretty scary diseases, like E. coli, salmonella, cholera and hepatitis A. Given that bouquet of bacteria, it's no surprise that water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.
  • More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.
  • Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water. They do this while carrying cisterns weighing around 40 pounds when filled in order to gather water that, in many cases, is still polluted. Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.
  • It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger. That 6.3 gallons covers everything from watering the wheat for the bun and providing water for the cow to cooking the patty and baking the bun. And that's just one meal! It would take over 184 billion gallons of water to make just one hamburger for every person in the United States.

Water riches, water poverty

The top five biggest average daily users of water are the U.S., Australia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico - all five of these use well over 300 litres daily. The countries where water poverty is the worst and water usage is the lowest are Mozambique, Rwanda, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Uganda - these five use 15 litres or less daily. While some parts of our water footprint, including how much corporations and agriculture use or waste water, are not under our control, we can find simple ways to cut our daily water use, and even save money.

Average national water footprint per capita (m3/cap/yr). Green means that the nations's water footprint is equal to or smaller than the global average. Countries with red have a water footprint beyond the global average. Period: 1997-2001.

Check some more resources here.

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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Free iPad App from ESA

Pirate treasure hunt: eight challenges

Join forces with Pirate Jack. He needs your help to solve eight problems and find the hidden treasure. Use the map to work your way through the obstacles one by one and in the right order. Apply your maths and literacy skills to make sure you collect the correct item before tackling the next obstacle. For example, you’ll need to order a set of words from coldest to hottest to find a lantern before you can explore a dark cave. Use different strategies to solve the clues, and you’ll find the booty. This learning object is one in a series of three objects.

Key learning objectives:

- Students analyse problems by using a range of strategies, including interpreting clues, intuition, and trial and error.
- Students solve problems by using literacy and numeracy skills.

Educational value:

- Provides opportunities for students to solve problems using their literacy and numeracy skills within the context of a pirate treasure map.
- Encourages the use of trial and error to discover the correct sequence of problem solving.
- Includes a variety of problem types which focus on, for example, spelling, shapes, visual cues, word knowledge, addition of numbers and time.

More information and link

Developed from a Learning Object developed for The Learning Federation


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Friday, 1 October 2010

New OzProject- Delhi 2010

The Commonwealth Games have been held every 4 years since 1930 except during World War 2.  They have changed a lot over the years. Only single competition games were featured until team sports were introduced in 1998.
There are currently 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and 71 teams participate in the Games.

A new project has been created by the OzProjects team to celebrate the 2010 Commonwealth Games which will be held in Delhi, India from October 3-14.

This project for middle primary to lower secondary students provides a range of activities and resources centred around the Games.

Activities include links to information about the host city (Delhi) and country (India) and participating countries and the sports which will be played.  There are several online puzzles and quizzes suitable for use on an interactive whiteboard.

Students can learn about the mascot for the 2010 games and create a talking mascot for the 2014 games which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Delhi 2010 project is available at http://www.ozprojects.edu.au/course/view.php?id=161 .

The OzProjects team can provide teachers and students with assistance to get started.  Please email ozprojects@edna.edu.au

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