2009 – The Year That Was

2009 was a huge year of personal learning outside of my classroom and I’d like to recognise that the opportunities that arose over the past 12 months were a direct result of the work I had been doing in my classroom in 2006, 2007 and 2008 (so thanks to all of those talented and amazing students who taught me so well and allowed me to work along-side them).

2009 presented the chance to share what I had been up to with others far removed from my little classroom in a suburb of Sydney. So here’s how it went:

January – saw me travelling throughout the UK on my Premier’s English Scholarship, making and meeting friends and seeing first hand Games Based Learning in classrooms. I was very excited to attend my first Teachmeet (on my birthday) at BETT09, and amazed to catch up f2f with many of my PLN.


February – March: I had the opportunity to present at a number of conferences and Professional Learning workshops at a local, region and state level, sharing how I used web2.0 technologies in my classroom.



April – May: Back with the DET I was involved with the Blog trial and took part in f2f meetings with like-minded educators from around the state to assist in the department developing a blog platform for all DET students and teachers. Began writing a Narrative Unit for the Curriculum Directorate based on a digital game for use with Stage 2 students.

June – July: Travelled to Washington, USA for NECC09 where I took part in many fantastic workshops, tutorials, discussions and events. Met up with some in my US PLN and joined in my first “Web2.0 Smackdown”! Moved on to Barcelona where I nervously presented at my first international conference, and then learnt a great deal at an imagination conference in Vancouver. Whew! A really busy month or so :-}


August – September: Back at school and trialling a wiiMusic project with my class – fun, interesting and many more possibilities to be explored here! Presented again at Sydney University for eLit (Primary English Teachers Association).

October: Headed back to the US to present at a Visual Literacy Conference in Chicago where I showcased the visual literacy aspects and opportunities of web2.0 tools and applications. Had the chance to visit Yellowstone Park whilst travelling – unbelievable :-0


November: Visited Canberra and Parliament House to receive my National Teaching Award for Excellence by a Teacher. An exciting and really proud moment of my career and year!


December: Found out that my joint proposal for a workshop at ISTE 2010 (in Denver Colorado in June 2010) was accepted so can look forward to further travels mid year 2010 already.


So that’s it – a busy year out of my classroom where I have grown as a learner, presenter and person. I’ve been able to see a bigger picture and refine my thinking in many areas, but have been affirmed in many of my deep beliefs about learning, children, and authenticity.

Thanks to the countless people who have shared so much of themselves with me this year – f2f, on twitter, through blogs and conferences. I love learning with such a diverse and supportive group of dedicated professionals.

With 2010 upon us lets take a breath, think peaceful thoughts and then get on with another great year of learning and sharing. We WILL make a difference!

Tesol Seminar


Thank you to a wonderful group of ESL (English as a Second Language) educators who I worked with today. Your interest, questions and positive outlook as you worked towards understanding blogs and how they can be used to enhance learning in classrooms was appreciated and motivating. There was so much I hoped to share with you – many different tools and applications that all have outstanding possibilities for use by you and your students in your classrooms.


Technology as a tool – as a process

Liam mentioned that in deciding on using various technology applications in a classroom, decisions must be made about the quality and the effectiveness of the tool.

As educators, it is our job to decide which tool or application will add the value to a learning activity. Using technology with classes is not a competition to use as many applications as possible, or to use an application just so you can say that you are using it.

We have to keep the learning outcomes in mind, and if a technological tool can add to a students’ understanding, or help them create understandings then there is a place for it in our classrooms.

Starting out

The web can be an overwhelming place for “newbies” (or newcomers). But if you start slowly and spend some RFF time looking at what others are doing, you will be able to quickly gather an idea of the huge amount of wonderful things that other teachers are doing in their classrooms and with their students.

Checking out the blogrolls on blogs is a great way to open up the “blogosphere” and expand your horizons. Each class links out to other classes at the same school, at schools in other parts of the country, and often across the globe.

You will find links to educational sites that you can use, museums to “visit”, on-line news, resources that can be shared, on-line conferences to listen to, and even professional development opportunities through videos and discussions.

Don’t forget to read the comments after each post to see what others are thinking. You might feel comfortable commenting and adding your thoughts to discussions.

Even if you can’t see yourself setting up a blog just yet, I am sure that you will find the time spent “lurking” on blogs will add to your classroom repertoire of teaching/learning activities and strategies.




I promised to come back to Ning, didn’t I?!?

A Ning is a social networking application where a group of people who share a common interest in a topic can set up a group on the internet. If you want to be part of that group you can join the Ning and you will be given a home page and access to all sorts of discussions, forums and opportunities to share ideas or ask for help.

Each person in the Ning has their own home page and you contact people through their page. You can leave messages, share photos, watch videos and participate in shared activities or meetings. How much you participate is up to you.

The two large badges on the right of this post are both Ning groups that I belong to. Click on either and have a look. Make sure you find you way to the Main Page to see what is happening within the group.



Another way to get started is by becoming part of an online project. The beauty of many projects is that someone else is doing the organising and will be able to answer your questions and concerns. You will find that there are people with differing degrees of expertise participating, and that you will be supported and encouraged along the way.

If you find for some reason that the support is not there – you can unengage and move on to something different and better suited to you and your class.

The Department (in NSW) runs Book Raps for all stages over the year, and these raps are beginning to use blogs and wikis to share student work and discussions. A great way to get involved!

Check out the “TESOL SEMINAR PAGE” at the top of this blog for links to other project places.


I will post further information that might add to some of the discussions we had today in another post soon. If you need greater elaboration on anything, please leave a comment here (just click on comments, fill in the required boxes, and hit submit) and I will endeavour to help you out where I can.


Thanks for an exciting morning,


Image: ‘Bill Gates
Image: ‘Steve Jobs

Have A Look At What We’ve Been Up To

The AllStars have been searching through “Oceans of Info”, following a variety of interests, and have now reported their findings.

Their task last term was to “Create Something Extraordinary” about oceans.

First they puzzled and wondered about things that interested them.

Next they spent time reading, researching and learning about their topic.

Then they negotiated a rubric to support them in “creating something extraordinary” using web2.0 tools to present their learning.

After that they experimented with a web2.0 tool they hadn’t used before.


Finally they got down to creating.


You can see most of the presentations as they come up over at the 08AllStars site. 

Oceans of Info 1 a voki and a Toondoo

Oceans of Info 2 a pirate voki

Oceans of Info 3  “Mermaid News” video

Oceans of Info 4 Vokis by a marine biologist and a pirate

Oceans of Info 5 a Voki about the sinking of the HMAS Sydney

Oceans of Info 6 a video about whaling 


Vokis, videos, puppets and comics are some of the ways the students chose to share their information creatively.

I am truly proud and amazed at the wonderful ways that the kids told their stories. I think that the AllStars are ALL stars!

 Image: ‘ooooo!

The Why To of Web2.0

How the Web Transforms Everything

An exciting day spent listening to some of Australia’s premier edubloggers:

plus the blog guru himself – Will Richardson!

A great opportunity for our school group to hear and see first hand how the web is transforming learning and teaching, and to consider why we must embrace and work with web2.0 to keep learning in schools relevant – for our students and for ourselves.







Deep understandings



……….. just a few things on our “to do” list when we are back at school…………

Here is a mind-map I jotted out at the event, a way of sorting the information/thoughts/opinions from the esteemed presenters 🙂