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The ADE institute 2014

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to put forward an application to be part of the Apple Distinguished Educator Global 20th Anniversary Institute to be held in San Diego, California from 12 July to 19 July 2014. The application involved sharing the types of environment and pedagogy where technology was being used to personalise the learning journey for students. At Holy Cross College, this is embedded in everything we do as we have the privilege and opportunity of being a one-to-one iPad college.

Arriving in San Diego on 12 July, I was first invited to register, meet and network with some of the other institute attendees from thirty-seven countries around the world. In total there were approximately 367 attendees including only three teaching representatives from WA. Attendees ranged from Early Childhood educators through to University lecturers and District Directors.

The formal Institute began on the Monday and did not fail to disappoint with its keynote speaker, E.O. Wilson; a biologist, theorist and author of the Life on Earth series on the iBooks store. His keynote was inspirational and his work continues by inspiring young scientists through the sharing of his interactive texts. E.O.Wilson worked alongside Drew Berry, a highly acclaimed biomedical animator whose work is highlighted in the Life on Earth series. Drew presented the second inspiring keynote presentation and shared his work with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. He specifically shared the work he had created for an art exhibition in Melbourne entitled White Night Melbourne. The work of these high profile scientists was to show the theme for the week for the Apple Distinguished Educators, which was the theme of CITIZEN SCIENTISTS.

The next few days consisted of a number of field trips around the San Diego area including Cuyamaca Park, San Dieguito Lagoon, Torrey Lines and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Throughout the Keynotes, workshops and on site locations we were introduced to a variety of learning experiences enhanced by the use of mobile technologies.

There were a number of opportunities to network with other educators throughout the world both informally and formally. Without a doubt, this was the highlight of the trip; hearing stories and seeing work undertaken in classrooms of some of the most remarkable and outstanding educators from every corner of the globe. The inspiration and gathering of minds focused on determining the future of the journey for education and the authentic sharing of ideas for experimental and challenge based learning opportunities were mind-blowing.

In sharing what we do here at Holy Cross College with these educators, there was a realisation of how far ahead we are in our journey in developing a school of the future. Our job now is to continue to share what we do here in order to inspire others and to celebrate the innovative and committed staff we have in pushing the boundaries of what education looks like for a digital generation and ways we can continue to improve for the benefit of the students in our care. IMG_9419-1.JPG

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The Gift of Reflection

Setting goals has always been at the forefront of what I do as the teacher in the class. Providing opportunities for students to look at where they are and to identify one thing they could do better, moving them forward in small steps has always proven to be a great system for making progress.

Failure is the first step towards success. I was surprised today when asking students to provide me with one quote that means something to them, that many chose to talk about how they embrace failure. This is refreshing to know that students are aware that they can change the course of their learning at any time and that they learn something through failure.

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Reflection on Survey Data

Hmmm, where do I start?  I don’t like data.  It doesn’t ever get to the real answer that’s needed and I don’t think that this data provided any real solid answers for me in my professional learning.

I understand the need for reflection and absolutely love to have the opportunity to look in the rear-view mirror; but it has to be purposeful and provide me with useful feedback that can really determine what my needs are and the needs of the students in my class.

Even without survey data, most teachers would safely be able to say what level they are working at and where they need to reassess their impact on the learning environment and situation. Being spread over numerous learning areas has been very difficult and that there have been many missed opportunities due to being time poor.  Working across numerous learning areas is not dissimilar to what may happen in a primary classroom; however, in a primary classroom, the teacher would be in one space and working with the same students for every learning area.  This premise cannot be applied in a secondary school setting unless there is a valid discussion about the needs of the students in a transition phase and a real commitment to running a program that meets their and their teacher’s needs.

At present, I feel a struggle between quantity and quality as a teacher and that I only have ‘moments’ where I have the opportunity to bring my true passion for teaching and my real excellence as a teacher/collaborator/innovator/networker/learner to the fore. Evidence tells us that multi-tasking in general is difficult and that consistency is key to providing a safe environment for learning. I feel for the students in how they progress in their learning swapping from one learning area to another. I have first hand experience of this myself now as both teacher and learner.

Creative and Critical Thinking


I really love using the Thinker’s Keys with the students to get them outside of their ‘usual’ idea mapping and generation.

Tony cleverly uses colour to separate the keys into CREATIVE thinking or CRITICAL thinking.  This allows the students to easily distinguish and begin to categorise their thinking.

The app is very easy to use and allows space for the students to input their own information and to add as they go.  This is an excellent app to use for any of those CHALLENGE BASED LEARNING topics.

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Getting Ready

Term 2 is now over and I’m finally able to get myself into a headspace and ready for the upcoming 20th Anniversary Global ADE Conference. I’m so excited about the opportunities that will be presented for networking with other ADEs from around the world. I am very ready for a new challenge and can’t wait to be inspired and build on my knowledge and experiences to date. I am really interested in getting ideas about how one-to-one technology is being used to support the learning experiences of junior school students. My hope for 2015 is to move back to junior school after four years in the high school environment. I really miss the junior school students even though I’ve appreciated the insights of the high school classroom.

English Viewing Activity

So we began by analysing different parts of children’s animations thinking about the codes and conventions outlined in Ben Beaton’s TED lesson.

We watched several sections of animation in order to complete our organiser.

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On completion, students analysed their information in a cross classifications chart.

We moved on to thinking about static images

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The students used their understanding of codes and conventions in sending messages to their audience. They then worked as a team to plan using imindmap to create a story focused on plot, character, conflict, theme and setting. They then used iMovie trailer function to develop and create a number of images based on their story plan.

From this plan, they then each took one image and used a variety of apps to create a movie poster for their film that focused on character, font choice and placement, colour, etc. The following is one of the posters that was created using iPhoto and Phonto.

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Being Unique

Have a point of view that is completely unique. Be a change that is distinctive. How can you harness distinctiveness? What makes you distinctive?
Daniel Goldman – Emotional Intelligence

What facilitate’s change? What’s the leverage point where people jump on board?
Who do you stand with?
How well do you know the values of the people you serve?
What are they filtering their decisions through?

Brand yourself in a way that you frame what you want to say with the focus that people want.

Pit crew analogy – situational blindness
Who can lend you authority? Who supports your brand?

How do you make education addictive?

How do you challenge the status quo?
Focus on ways that challenge conventions.
What’s an event people can participate in?

A day in the life of a student – go pro