May 7, 2014
by rcrellin
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Mathematica, computer-based math and the new era of STEM with Conrad Wolfram

Conrad Wolfram Session: Free 27 May 2:30-3:30 at Bastow

Mathematica is a powerful global computation system that can handle all the various aspects of technical computing–and beyond–in a coherent and unified way.  It is industry standard software used in the sciences, engineering, commerce, computer science and software development.

Conrad Wolfram, physicist, mathematician, businessman and technologist is Director of Strategic Development and European Co-Founder/CEO of the Wolfram group of companies. Conrad is also the world’s leading advocate for a fundamental shift of maths education to become computer-based, arguing that this is the key way to address issues in global maths education and move forward.

His widely acknowledged 2010 TED talk  laid out the rationale and roadmap for this rethink and the same year he founded computerbasedmath.org (CBM) to drive implementation of the change.  The movement is now a worldwide force in re-developing STEM curriculum and in February 2013 it was announced that Estonia would be the first partner country.

 

Wolfram Research and Mathematica Software

The Wolfram Group specializes in pushing boundaries at the intersection of computation, maths and knowledge, including making Mathematica software, the Wolfram Alpha knowledge engine (powering knowledge answers for Apple’s Siri), the Computable Document Format (CDF) standard, the newly announced Wolfram Language and forthcoming Wolfram Cloud.

Since 2011, Mathematica has been available to all Victorian DEECD secondary students and teachers via the eduSTAR image.

The importance of math to jobs, society and thinking has increased exponentially over the last few decades. Meanwhile, maths education globally has slipped backwards. Why has this chasm opened up? Computers are the key to addressing this challenge effectively – when computers do the calculating, people can work on harder questions, try more concepts, and play with a multitude of new ideas.

Conrad Wolfram will discuss his major project to build a completely new curriculum in mathematics with computer-based computation at its heart – covering the rationale for the change, how it’s being manifested and how Victoria is well placed to be at the forefront.

Who should attend Conrad Wolfram’s Session? 

Anyone with an interest in mathematics education, in particular, school leaders, teachers and teacher educators, system representatives, policy makers and education researchers should attend. This is a unique opportunity to hear from one of the leading global thinkers in mathematics education and technology here in Melbourne.

Session Details and Registration:

  • May 27, 2.30pm – 3.30pm
  • BASTOW 603-615 Queensberry Street North Melbourne
  • Register here  PLEASE NOTE: This is a free event. When you register and get to the payment section just choose credit card or invoice payment and it will progress through to a zero invoice and not require any payment.
  • A number of regional venues will also be linking to the presentation via Polycom video-conferencing.
  • Contact Peter Maggs maggs.peter.j@edumail.vic.gov.au for further information or polycom details.

OTHER MATH TED TALKS

Check out this collection of videos – 8 Math talks to blow your mind. Mathematics gets down to work in these talks, breathing life and logic into everyday problems. Prepare for math puzzlers both solved and unsolvable, and even some still waiting for solutions.

Support for schools using Mathematica

A range of resources are available to teachers on FUSE and the Digital Learning Showcase.  The Wolfram Mathematica website also has a great range of free online tutorials and support materials for teachers.   In 2013 schools from all over Victoria received Mathematica professional learning via Polycom Video conferencing.

Using Mathematica in the Classroom:

Print version: Conrad Wolfram Session

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March 12, 2014
by rcrellin
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Opening Learning to Parents

Anne Mirtschin is our guest blogger this week

network

Technology opens up many doors, flattens classroom walls and enables involvement in learning in innovative ways, many of which are now only being pioneered. Distance, time, cost and effort are no longer barriers to the ability to attend classes, meetings and special events. Connecting, collaborating and communicating can take place anywhere and anytime as long as there is internet access.

Tools such as Blackboard Collaborate, skype and MS Lync; and high definition videoconferencing equipment eg Polycom mean that parents, teachers and students can attend meetings, lessons and professional development sessions provided there is access to the internet using either a mobile device or fixed hardware. Following are some of the ways that technology could be or have already been used to connect parents virtually.

Online Meetings:

Committee meetings –There is no longer a need to meet in a central location, participants can attend the meeting virtually from the comfort of their home and work place, by logging in to a virtual meeting room using Blackboard Collaborate, via a link provided by the moderator.  Alternatively, if Polycom equipment is available at a local school, parents can dial into the room and be part of a meeting via a large monitor, webcamera and microphone.  An app is now available for mobile devices to provide access to both Polycom and Blackboard Collaborate. Both types of virtual meetings can be recorded for members who can attend.

Parent Information Evenings – Hawkesdale P12 College trialled online nightly parent information meetings over a 4 week period. The first evening was held physically in the school library. Students and parents were stepped through the basics of virtual meeting rooms using the student netbooks.  One hour meetings were scheduled over a 5 week period. Parents were either emailed a link to the room or accessed it from the school blog, logged on from home, with their child supporting them and participated in a planned webinar with the chat feature being used for questions, feedback etc. A sample agenda:-

  1. Ice breaker (6 mins)
  2. From our Principal (7 mins)
  3. Assistant Principal (7 mins)
  4. Online exploration: Ms Murnane Literacy co-ordinator (7 mins)
  5. An e-guest from Darwin – Rachel Neale (7 mins)
  6. From the classroom – Mrs Gow   (Science/maths teacher) (7 mins)
  7. Mr Poynton (humanities teacher) – Education Week  (7 mins)
  8. Question time and student sharing (7 mins)

These webinars were recorded for interested parents who could not attend. Read more at Techno Parents (http://murcha.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/techno-parents-in-elluminate-transforming-educational-communities/)

Online school assembliesScott Duncan, is an innovative ICT teacher at a new school in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs. His school shares the site with the local secondary college and has limited access to the  gymnasium. This led to the introduction of broadcasting and recording of their school assemblies using web conferencing and Blackboard Collaborate. Classes, teachers and parents login and participate. Read more at Online Assemblies (http://mrduncan.global2.vic.edu.au/2012/09/10/online-assemblies/)

Global Student Summits

Parents have been invited to virtually join online global student summits with students presenting and sharing their learning across different countries. They are able to listen, ask questions in the chat and provide feedback to the student learning that is being shared. They become one of the classroom members.

eSchool Council Meetings

School Council Members from Hawkesdale P12 College and Apollo Bay College met virtually using Polycom videoconferencing equipment, to discuss the value and nature of using videoconferencing for learning.

Further ideas: There are so many ways in which technology can connect parents to learning. Further possibilities include bringing in expert speakers, virtual art exhibitions, online book character parades, book clubs, other special classroom activities, parent teacher interviews etc

What suggestions do you have? How have you used virtual meeting/classroom software or hardware to connect parents with learning?

 

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February 26, 2014
by rcrellin
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iPad Orchestra at Boneo Primary School

Our guest student bloggers this week: Liam, James, Riley, Macoy, Zali, Finn, Seth, Tom , Brigitte, Harry, Stacey, Poppie, Ella, Meg and Samantha.

Thanks to Sally Walsh for pulling it all together.

We have a fabulous school concert band with lots of excellent musicians. Many of our musicians are also very interested in technology, particularly mobile devices. One day our teacher played her iPad by blowing into the microphone using the Ocarina app. Our clarinet and flute teachers played too. It looked like a lot of fun, so- the Boneo PS iPad Orchestra was born! At present we have 20 members in our i-Orchestra. There are lots of music apps for iPad. We already had Garage Band and were looking for instrument apps that matched the instruments we play in our concert band. We researched lots of apps and came up with the following list to use.

Garage Band: Turns your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses.

Real Piano: A full 88-key piano app that brings you realistic grand piano sound, smoothly moving and zooming, customizable key labels, and professional tuning & transposition functionalities.

Woodwind instrumentSS: A music application packed with 12 different woodwind instruments such as the flute and the clarinet.

Viola: Play Viola on iPhone, options are smooth performance or bowed and pizzicato sound

Ocarina 2 Blow into your phone, play the notes, feel the magic as Ocarina 2 responds to your breath, touch and movement. Turn your phone into an ancient flute-like instrument.

Drum Kit: is the fastest and most realistic drum app in the App Store. It blends in cymbal sounds like a real kit, a feature that isn’t available on any other drum app.

How it works:  Each group plays their own part together – keyboard players, then guitarists, flautists, etc using the apps we chose. Then we try to play two groups together, adding parts until we are all performing together.  When we first started we had problems because we couldn’t hear what other people were playing, but then we bought mini hamburger speakers to each iPad. That solved the problem.

Opportunity to collaborate:

Would you like your class to collaborate with ours for music lessons? Join in the fun at Boneo PS online. All you will need is a data projector or IWB and a computer. Lessons are at different times of the week, covering all primary grades and lots of different activities. No experience in either music or technology necessary!

Contact Sally Walsh:  walsh.sally.j@edumail.vic.gov.au

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December 4, 2013
by rcrellin
2 Comments

Virtual, blended and flipped classrooms

The 2013 Trends in Online Learning – Virtual, Blended and Flipped Classrooms (USA) report outlines the effectiveness and impact of technology in a variety of learning modes and provides an insight into future applications of technology enabling student learning and engagement.  Key findings include:

  • Administrators are widening their scope regarding the value of online classes to include learning opportunities for administrators, teachers and other support staff in addition to students.
  • Virtual, blended and flipped learning teachers are using more digital content with their students than other teachers.
  • Online learning teachers see significant value in the role of digital tools and resources to improve student success as well as their own personal productivity.
  • Parents who have taken an online class for their own work or job training have high expectations for their child’s school to provide similar learning opportunities.
  • Students are increasingly seeing online learning as a gateway to a new education paradigm where they are in control of the learning process.

What’s happening in Victoria?

Flipped Learning

  • The 2013 Trends in Online Learning describes flipped learning as students watch videos of lectures or read content as homework, and class time is spent on project-based learning and personalised remediation.
    ‘The sign of a great student centred activity is that all students are actively discussing the concept in their own words – Verso definitely hit the mark here.   As a teacher being able to see each student’s original post and comments also offers a visibility of their learning – you can almost watch it happen!’  Steve Seddon
  • Steve Seddon from Noble Park Secondary College has been using online video to engage students as well as make more effective use of classroom and homework time. He has recently trialled Verso – a web based app that creates opportunity for student collaboration and discussion around a stimulus question, video, images, files or websites.  Read Steve’s blog post for more information.
  • Find resources for flipped learning in this FUSE package.

Virtual Learning

  • Virtual learning allows students to connect, interact, share and learn with others outside of their classroom and school using virtual conferencing tools such as Polycom, Blackboard Collaborate, Microsoft Lync and Skype. Virtual learning can be  synchronous  where all students log in at the one time in a virtual classroom, or it may be asynchronous and involve students accessing recordings of a session to access in their own time.
  • Find out more – Virtual conferencing, Connecting to learn – for students and teachers and the Vic Virtual Learning Project.

Blended Learning

 

 

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December 3, 2013
by rcrellin
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Different ways to blog

Blogs were traditionally personal websites or web pages on where individuals could record opinions, link to other sites etc. on a regular basis.  Today however, the blogging platform is used in many different ways and provide a great online space to share resources and collaborate with other teachers or students.  Here are some examples of ways blogs are being used on Global2:

  • Drug Education@CEPS: Annie Sleeman and Liz Dunmall, have created a resource sharing blog in relation to Drug Education. They have used the categories really well so resources can be found and also have a page for planning documents. A great way to keep and organise all those great resources you come across.
  • The Specialist teachers at KCPS wanted to create stronger connections between home and school so they set up a Global2 blog. The blog has allowed them to explore how they can further engaged students in reflective practice and to provide students access to learning for revision or extension.
  • Traralgon College have a range of blogs including their staff pedagogy blog to provide resources and support for staff as well as subject based blogs for students, see Year 11 Health and Human Development and Year 10 Bootcamp.
  • Blogs can be used for whole school learning area spaces. For example, Balwyn Primary School have a Health and Physcial Education blog which outlines what is happening in the school while providing a space for students to provide feedback.  Also Altona P-9 Food Technology blog is a space to outline projects across the school and display student work.
  • If you are looking for inspiration the Edublog Awards space has heaps of examples.

Edublogs user guide and teacher challenges – Have you seen the online modules and support from Edublogs? They have some great tutorials that are easy to follow and can help beginners right through to high end users:

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September 11, 2013
by rcrellin
1 Comment

Health & Physical Education ICT Conference

Guest blogger: Rob Malpeli

Peak Phys Ed organised and hosted a Health & Physical Education ICT Conference on Thursday 22nd August at the Manningham Function Centre (Doncaster) Over 100 delegates from Swan Hill to Stawell representing all education sectors engaged in an amazing day with educational leaders, practitioners and DEECD representatives.

Rob Malpeli & Amanda Telford, who formed Peak Phys Ed had been planning this conference for over 9 months and have surveyed teachers as to what they wanted in the ever growing area of eLearning and ICT. As a consequence they were able to tailor electives to suit teacher requests and needs, of which the top 4 were:

  • an ability to use ICT to facilitate personalised learning
  • “hands-on” practice with educational programs that encourage learning
  • more than a collection of apps, and more about ICT teaching strategies
  • Within the SAMR Model, examples of how ICT can assist task design and redesign

Some links from the day:

What tools were being shared?

  • Mobile devices are great for PE especially for filming fundamental motor skills and video analysis. Presenters and particpants shared ideas and common apps such as Coach’s Eye and ubersense.
  • Develop your own survey or quiz to quickly assess your students knowledge and understanding of the topics you are teaching or as a revision. Two popular tools were: testmoz and socrative
  • QR codes provide an easy and interesting way to provide webpages and URLs to students via tablets or phones. Generate your own QR code

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July 25, 2013
by rcrellin
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Minecraft for Learning at Doveton College

Link to Doveton College Minecraft Blog

Guest Blogger – Gene Geoffrey

Doveton College runs a program titled Doveton Live Minecraft which currently involved 20 grade 5 students a term working in a students as teachers program. Each session we run has explicit goals and at no time do students get “free play” using the software. Our term course is designed around building co-operative team work.  At the start of each class students set and re define goals before moving into Minecraft making sure every student has a task and is participating. At the end of each class the students reflect on the team’s outcomes and efforts.  The current project is to devise a language and skills to teach Grade 3 students to use Minecraft.  We are now in the second term of this programs.

Next year it is our intention to roll out a Minecraft Inquiry based project across the G4-6 teams (180 students).  The project as we are discussing at the moment will involve students exploring a problem they devise and using Minecraft as a tool in the answer.

We are also planning to run a test experience for a vertically integrated group of students from G4 to Y9 which will hopefully involve a project with students from schools in Sydney, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand and PNG.

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