Thursday, 6 March 2014

Willow Park L2LC Photo Journey

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L2LC Photo Journey, a set on Flickr.
On October 7 we finished our school wide design thinking project about changing the Willow Park L2LC and possibilities. Shortly after that we were evacuated from the school due to the fire. On the return on February 24th our carpet had been removed and our parent volunteer group weeded our non fiction collection. Then we moved it to a new location in the room,  changed the location of the school server to create another student work space and removed the circulation desk to make more space. This is what the space looks like on March 6. We still have a long way to go - we hope to have more whiteboards and more resources for gaming, filming and different space for preforming. We need art - do we ever need art :) but we'll get there!

Friday, 21 February 2014

The New Hub - Virtual Learning Commons

This is the second time I have been lucky enough to design a virtual learning commons (VLC).

The VLC at Chris Akkerman will become the go to place for everything digital in our school. It will be the launching pad for projects, websites, web2.0 tools, tutorials and much more.

The following ideas are my thinking behind each of the sections/pages:

About Us

This page links people to see what is happening at our school and also to get in touch with us. Anyone can leave comments or email us.


There are two links pages. One has Web 2.0 tools that we are using at our school and the other common websites that our students use. I separated them to help our students see the difference between regular websites and those that are web2.0 tools.  


I predict this will be the most used part of the site. Each grade will have access to their page that that can edit themselves (when given the permissions) . Each project page will link directly to work that is being done in an inquiry project in the classroom. This will help organizing digital files and allowing students to gain quick access to their work, success criteria and other digital resources. 


This page will have videos that and documents that have been made to help both teachers and students learn new ways of doing things using the technology in our school.  This will hopefully free up time for the teacher and student by providing extra support away from classroom and time. 


These two pages will be something that we will hopefully experiment with too. The Professional Learning page will serve as a place to list resources and documents that we create and share at PL days. The Staff Meeting page will serve as a memory of staff meetings we have by adding minutes (that could be collaboratively written in Google Drive). Due to some of the sensitive nature of information shared, these pages could be password protected too, especially the Staff Meeting page.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Digital Citizenship in the Learning Commons

This year in our school, we have opened up the world of collaboration and communication to our students. What an exciting time it has been. In 4 short months we have initiated 340+ student Gmail and #GAFE (Google Apps For Education) accounts from grades 3-5. It has been a huge task to get passwords changed, model the log in process and learn how to work in this new collaborative environment. Our students have not used email before at school so we have found this to be a huge learning curve as well.

Being so new and exciting, the introduction to the new student Gmail accounts has been relatively easy. We have found our students (for the most part) are so willing to try it our and experiment with using email. They seem so eager to communicate through email.

This eagerness and willingness to experiment has also brought along a new set of challenges. All of a sudden, some students were feeling a lot 'safer' behind the screen of their computer. With this apparent safety, came a few inappropriate emails that were sent to various students. This lack of sensible choices brought up some excellent opportunities to discuss the appropriate uses for email.

I personally believe some of our students really didn't understand how email works and what the consequences of inappropriate choices might be, for all parties. Through a few hard lessons, and continued discussions, I think we are getting somewhere with learning to use email in a positive way. It really is amazing to see students so excited to communicate with each other in another format.

As a staff we have also begun discussions about the need to including digital citizenship (DC) in our assessment practices. It all projects that happen in our learning commons, aspects of DC will always be woven into the learning and assessment that goes with that learning. We need to teach our students the importance of thinking about our behaviour when working online.

In our learning commons and school we are also promoting being a positive online citizen. After discussing this in our last staff meeting, a colleague, and fellow New Zealander, Richard Wells (@ipadwells on twitter) shared posted some posters that he created and posted on his blog. The post can be found here. He also shares the individual posters here.

The positive wall display in our Learning Commons

Monday, 23 December 2013

Apple Holiday TV Ad - An idea for teachers...

I wrote a post about the power of iMovie a few months back but was not sufficiently articulate. The new ad from apple shows something we could be doing in our classrooms with, of course, additional interaction in questioning, in summarizing, and in provoking discussion.

In the video below a teenage boy makes a Christmas video to surprise his family by showing them how magical the holiday has been. Teachers could (and should) use this idea to show kids how magical their learning has been.