While at the Asian Art Museum we had the opportunity to visit the 'Water Tower' a solid structure which after climbing the 100+ steps gave us an awesome view of the city of Seattle and the Space Needle.
Our final adventure for Day 3 was a trip to the Asian Art Museum (http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/visitsaam.asp) to complete a Learning Activity (what we had previously learnt on Day 1!). Learning activities require students to move beyond reproducing what they have learned to building knowledge. These learning activities ask students to create or explore information or ideas that are new to them. Students can do this through interpretation, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation. The strongest activities require students to connect information and ideas from two or more academic disciplines.
Our mission was to learn as much as possible about the Asian Art Museum before and during our visit. Upon our return our task was to assemble our knowledge and create a product that demonstrated our learning.
Day 3 – A day of Adventures. Today will probably be a day that I will remember for the rest of my life! First stop was the Microsoft Visitors Centre where I was introduced to the founders of Microsoft, played a quick game of Kinect, and even cemented my thoughts and photo onto the Microsoft photo wall. (See photos below)
Next stop was the Microsoft Home Tour and although I would really like to share my thoughts on this special place located in the depths of the Microsoft Campus I have been sworn to secrecy! (and of course signed that all important non-disclosure form!) What I will say is that from the moment I stepped in the front door I was amazed! This would have to be one of the coolest places I have ever been!! I know that long after I have left Redmond, ‘Grace’ will hold a special place within my heart!
On to the future - Microsoft’s Envisaging Labs. Again words escape me. What a wonderful, technology rich world we live in. The things I saw in this room have blown me away – I only wish that I could have some of these ‘new’ technologies in my class NOW! My Principal should be worried because I will be asking for a wall of interactivity!
With my head spinning with new ideas it was time to shop! I could have spent a few hours in the Microsoft Company shop but I managed to exhibit some self-control and limited myself to 45 minutes! Yes kids I did find you some presents – I only hope that you have behaved yourselves! I cannot wait to wear my GEEK t-shirt! I may just be the coolest chick at hockey training!
Day 2 ended just like it had begun – another practical session filled with easy to apply knowledge that I know I will definitely be able to use on my return back to my school. Baldev and Sonja posed the question “What are the key ingredients to a good professional development session”. You can see our responses on our ‘corkboard’ http://bit.ly/nVVViI. Despite being at times worlds apart common trends were evident among the 50 Innovative Teachers. A professional development session must be practical, relevant and engaging. It should spark enthusiasm and at the end of the session a ‘product’ must be made. It is vital that the leader knows their topic, is adaptable and can read their audience.
We also spent some time discussing the challenges of delivering a PD session – our responses were also collaborated on a ‘corkboard’. http://corkboard.me/AoS2ec3FHG and the common message among the participants of the Institute was that participants of professional development sessions wanted to believe that “what you are telling them is worth their time”!! Combined with a lack of resources, differing expectations and school based restrictions it is no wonder that delivering professional development sessions is often seen as difficult and impossible to administer!
For me this was a great session and has given me an awesome set of guidelines for delivering sessions to staff. I know that I am one of the lucky ones with a solid professional development program and unlimited resources – but I do struggle at times to maintain teacher engagement and teacher expectations are always high! I now feel that I have a set of tools that will help me educate others so that they can also adapt their teaching and learning to be more in line with 21st Century Learners.
How could I forget to write about my adventures to the Microsoft Store!! http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/html/pbPage.Locations/bellevue
I had no idea that such stores even existed until I rounded the corner in the Belleuve Square Mall to be greeted with the familiar red, green, blue and yellow squares! It was really hard not to act too 'geeky' and I stood outside like a true tourist clicking away - amid the stares of the general shoppers - hey I am Australian - we are all a little weird!! So inside the shop I was greeted with a wall of software, a range of never seen before devices (well at least to us Australians!) and a whole heap of people having a great time interacting with the technology!!
While my visit was brief I loved every second - my only question is why don't we have one of these stores in Australia! Microsoft Store beware I will be back - this time to buy some souvenirs!
Day 2 started with a BANG! Dr Baldev Singh presented an enlightening introduction to today’s Technology Tasks! His excitement and passion radiated through the room as he showed funny snips from youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz3lD03a_rE Baldev spoke many home truths, confidently conveying his message that as innovative educators we may find it easy to train one person in our schools but we will find it much harder to train all the teachers and indeed the whole school! He also wisely quoted that “technology might be the answer, but what was the question”!
Then it was on to the technology labs to learn, learn, learn!! We started with Bing Maps (www.bing.com/maps) – a fully interactive piece of technology that could easily be incorporated into many lessons! The Bing Apps easily allow users to calculate distances, map routes and events and you can even see the cost of petrol at certain locations! We then briefly touched on Windows Live Movie Maker (http://explore.live.com/windows-live-movie-maker?os=other) and AutoCollage (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/autocollage/). Then it was on to business creating a Learning Activity using all of these ‘new’ products. My new partner in crime Jan (@janwebb) and I decided to create a cross curricula, multi-media task where students from the UK and Australia collaborate on various tasks with the end product being a digital story about the travels of Dan the Dalmatian. (Drawing from inspiration from our friend Dan @chickensaltash) More details to follow later but the task involves the use of Photosynth, (http://research.microsoft.com/enus/um/cambridge/projects/autocollage/) OneNote, a Wiki, and GreenScreen technology.
Part 2 of Day 1 included an introduction to Learning Activities Student Work (LASW). More information can be found here: http://www.itlresearch.com Learning activities are tasks that students do as part of their academic activities. They are usually assigned by teachers and conducted within the school day, for homework, or as part of a school sponsored project that takes place in the community. Activities are coded according to three different dimensions of 21st century learning; collaboration, knowledge building and use of ICT for learning.
While the principles behind the coding of tasks is beneficial todays task could have been improved with a clearer purpose and a defined conclusion. By the end of the session I was bursting with ideas of how I could change the tasks from a code 1 to a code 4 to make them better!! Coding the tasks was reletaively easy – but at times really depended on your teaching environment and the expectations you have on your students. For me emailing, or typing a document is not using ICT for learning – for other teachers in my group undertaking these tasks were student achievements!
It is always interesting to hear about the different school system in different countries. I know that I live and teach in a world where technology is taken for granted! While every student in our MS has their own devices and technology on the most part is used well, we can always strive to do better! To create new and engaging learning experiences that will help our students to become better citizens and be active participants in the 21st Century. Using technology makes me excited as I am able to see firsthand the educational benefits it has for my students!
Day 1 had finally arrived. It was with great excitement and wonder that I boarded the bus for my first day at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Institute, based at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington. 90,000 people work for Microsoft worldwide with about 40,000 on the main campus in Redmond. While 25 million emails are sent and received each day a staggering 23 million are blocked as spam! Wow I wonder whether my school exchange servers could cope with that demand! What amazed me the most was that Microsoft employees must be thirsty people as they consume 87,000 ‘soda’ cans each day which in turn results in 90,000 recycle bins having to be emptied each week!!
I am sure that every ‘Geek’ dreams of the day when they can say they have visited the home of ‘Computer Technology’… I felt like a kid in a candy store!
Powerful words from Lauren Woodman the General Manager of Partners in Learning opened the Institute and set us on the path for a fun filled week of learning and collaborating.
Microsoft’s underlying philosophy “Every child has the right to an excellent education” and “An excellent teacher is at the heart of an excellent education” are two of the quotes that Lauren shared with us as she congratulated us on our achievements and welcomed us to the Microsoft Community.
Some of Nelson Mandela’s famous words echoed in the minds of the 31 educators who had gathered together to explore exactly how technology can help bring about change in education; “Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world”.
Our first task for the day was to define 21st Century learning and state the characteristics of learners, teachers and the environment. The Partnership for 21st Century skills website - http://www.p21.org/ provided us with a starting point and the rest was left up to us!! My group made some excellent ‘wordles’ www.wordle.org to show our learning and understanding.
After a very long 18+ plane ride - well two actually, one to LAX and then to Seattle I finally arrived in Microsoft territory some hours into the past. It is a bizarre thought that I get to relive a day but then of course loose a day when I travel home! My first real 'Microsoft' experience happened as soon as I jumped into my chauffer driven car! My driver was fiercely proud of his hometown and provided me with a detailed history of Microsoft’s development in the area. Did you know that Microsoft occupies 80% of the town of Redmond? Or that as soon as the company buys a building its logo is branded on the building long before it is inhabited?
With less than 3 hours until the official proceedings were due to begin I hit the shops to find me some American bargains!
7pm saw the official opening of the first Partners in Learning Institute session. 50 educators from 31 countries all gathered together to discuss their opinions on education and ICT and of course explore how the use of technology can aid the learning process!! The excitement in the air was electrifying and the energy and enthusiasm was addictive!!
With the official business over and done with, we were on our way to discovering some of the US history and culture – break dancing!!
As part of the requirements to attend the first Partners in Learning Institute I have had to complete a number of tasks. These task have been no easy feat!! While they have been fun - the beginning of Term 3, coupled with a hectic week has meant that like my students I have left things until the last minute. I am however, happy to report that I was able to submit my tasks by the due date.... just!!
Using the Microsoft program Photosynth create a a 360 degree series of photographs of a place in your school which tells a story about teaching and learning. This could be a classroom, ICT lab, playing fields, garden etc.
My completed 'Synth' was made with some extra help from my Yr 7 students! This is our learning environment - one of my favourite places within the school. It is in this classroom that I deliver my best teaching by allowing students to think, create, collaborate and share their ideas and direct their own learning.
Pre-Work Task 2
Writing a short reflection describing what 21st Century Learning skills are and state how teachers can prepare students for life in the 21st Century. Select an artifact (e.g. picture, collage, video clip, audio clip, article, text etc.) that best captures for you what learning and teaching is in the 21st century. Unlike the teaching and learning of yesteryear, living, teaching and learning in the 21st Century focuses on the individual. Students and teachers now have a wealth of information at their fingertips, so it is vital that students are taught explicitly where to search for solutions, how to sift through the vast amount of content and how to process information. In order to effectively function in this rapidly changing space, students will need to develop skills in thinking critically, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation. Students must be encouraged to discover solutions for their problems and inquire when they are unsure.
As teachers we can prepare our students for 21st Century learning by inspiring and engaging. Teachers themselves must also gain skills in finding and managing resources, publishing on the web, and connecting with colleagues, students and parents, in local and global communities. Teachers must be proficient in these skills in order to model good practices for their students and to help students engage creatively and positively with technology. Teachers must instil a love of learning and discovering in their students so that they are motivated and encouraged to be active participants in the world in which they live.
“Adapting and evolving, teachers digitally empower diverse learners to connect, communicate, collaborate and create in an interactive technology rich environment”
These videos capture what I believe best describes teaching and learning in the 21st Century. The first video focuses on the skills that students believe that they need and the second highlights what eighteen teachers see as vital skills for teachers and learners.
- About Kylie Taig
- Ditch the phone
- eLearning in the Classroom
- Expanding Learning Horizons 2010
- Expanding Learning Horizons 2009
- MAV Conference 2009
- ATiEC 2009
- TeachMeet Melbourne
- Victorian English Teachers Association - Mobile Learning
- Differentiating with the aid of Technology >
- VITTA 2013 >
- Blackboard Leadership Breakfast
- IPSHA - Today's Learners - Our Digital Life
- Know students and how they learn:
- Know the content and how to teach it:
- Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning:
- Create and maintain safe, and supportive learning environments:
- Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning:
- Engage in professional learning and reflection:
- Contribute to the school and professional community:
- My Journey - Microsoft HQ
- ISTE 2012
- Blackboard World 2012
- Positive Education
- Professional Reflection >