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Full Australian Curriculum v8.0 Assessment Grid

The Australian Curriculum Assessment Grid (unofficial) is now available for v8.0 of the ACARA Australian Curriculum. This is an assessment grid in the form of an Excel spreadsheet with all Australian Curriculum content descriptions and elaborations. You can use it to mark your students. The new v8.0 curriculum now has 12403 elaborations (up by 315 from v7.5). These come from 3250 content descriptions in 28 subjects from Foundation to Year 10. Thank you for all of your interest in the previous version. There was well over 1000 likes and shares on Facebook, which is overwhelming. It was also overwhelming for our little aussieED website which went down multiple times. It couldn't handle getting 8000 hits in a few days, especially with the large file download. I've added the project to SourceForge as a result. Click below to be taken to the download page.

Download Australian Curriculum Assessment Grid

The new version, as well as being for the latest version of the national curriculum (v8.0), has some extra features.

Features

Add up to 35 students for assessment purposes.13

 

Double click cells to mark students14

Mark multiple students and outcomes with a simple select and click interface.2

Available marks: “little understanding”, “some understanding”, “full understanding” and “no data”.3

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Display controls include full width, 100% zoom, distraction-free full screen interface, regular Excel view mode and a scroll bar for zooming.4

Filter by subjects, years (F-12), strands, content descriptions, elaborations and more.7

Extra Information + Disclaimer

When you first open the file, security warning may show. Click Enable Editing and Enable Content buttons to begin. If you don't do this, the macros cannot run. This will mean that the marking interface and buttons will not work. Other functions such as filtering and colours will still work. There are no malicious scripts in the macros. I coded them myself.11

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The spreadsheet has been tested with Windows 7 and Windows 10 running Microsoft Excel 2010 and 2013. It should work with Mac OS X running Excel for Mac but I haven't been able to test it yet. As always, backup often. If you choose to use this to hold your students' assessment data, backup in multiple places to a physical storage device and to the cloud or server in a different physical location. Also, I'm a teacher, not a programmer. I make no guarantees for anything! Use your professional judgment as to how or whether to use this assessment tool. You are given the option of selecting from three levels of understanding for each elaboration. You know that's only part of the assessment story. Teachers from NSW and some other states will not be able to use this tool. NSW teachers do not use the ACARA curriculum. I would like to create a similar tool for the current NSW BOSTES curriculums but it will take some time. The Subjects are at various stages of implementation. Check the ACARA Australian Curriculum website for the most recent changes. This spreadsheet does not include the general capabilities. A future version might if there is interest. All data here is ported from the ACARA spreadsheet downloads page. This was made possible because ACARA had the foresight to make available their curriculum as structured data. Thank you, ACARA. Please, take note BOSTES!

Download Australian Curriculum Assessment Grid

This file is licensed as Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) You are free to: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms. Under the following terms: Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. © Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2010 to present, unless otherwise indicated. This material was downloaded from the Australian Curriculum website (accessed 14/11/2015) and was modified. The material is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Version updates are tracked on the Curriculum version history page of the Australian Curriculum website. ACARA does not endorse any product that uses the Australian Curriculum or make any representations as to the quality of such products. Any product that uses material published on this website should not be taken to be affiliated with ACARA or have the sponsorship or approval of ACARA. It is up to each person to make their own assessment of the product, taking into account matters including, but not limited to, the version number and the degree to which the materials align with the content descriptions (where relevant). Where there is a claim of alignment, it is important to check that the materials align with the content descriptions (endorsed by all education Ministers), not the elaborations (examples provided by ACARA). You can also download the old 7.5 version.

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Full Australian Curriculum v7.5 Assessment Grid

Attachments:
Download this file (aus_curric_flat_grid.xlsm)aus_curric_flat_grid.xlsm[The Australian Curriculum F-10 Flat UI Assessment Grid (unofficial)]8021 kB

This version is now out of date.

See Full Australian Curriculum v8.0 Assessment Grid for the latest version.

 


Did you know that the Australian Curriculum has 12088 elaborations? These come from 3284 content descriptions in 27 subjects from Foundation to Year 10.

And now it’s all in a beautiful little spreadsheet with a lovely flat UI that you can use to assess your students.

  • Add up to 70 student names to the worksheet.
  • Hover over cells with your mouse to read full content descriptions and elaborations.
  • Filter by subject, year, content descriptions, elaborations, electives and more.
  • Each time you double click a cell you give a student a different evaluation for the elaboration. There are four available marks: “no data”, “little understanding”, “some understanding”, and “full understanding”.
  • Select any area with your mouse and set them all to your chosen mark with a single click using the buttons at the top. This allows you to set your full class to any mark for one or more elaborations and then make individual changes.

This Excel file includes macros so you'll need to enable editing and allow macros when you open it. The macros are required for the double clicking, selection marking and hovering tooltips.

This was made possible because ACARA had the foresight to make available their curriculum as structured data (here). Thank you, ACARA. Please, take note BOSTES!

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Like rain on a tin roof, or helping students to find flow at a keyboard

 

This is a bit of a response to Brett’s article on Voice Typing in Google Docs. Brett's a great speaker and I can see why voice typing would work for him. I've found it much less useful for constructing documents. It’s also a response to my own little epiphany about the way I and most of my students compose with their computers. I've been looking to improve our practice and I've come to understand and teach it as separating composing and reviewing.

There are two general modes of writing† (not including the thinking). These are composing and revising. You can call them writing and editing. Or constructing and styling. Or doing and reviewing (I like the rhyming of this one). It seems we work best if we only work in one mode and not both. Multitasking be damned.

I've been teaching my students to type. There are several aspects to this including learning the muscle memory and techniques of touch typing. This is only part of the battle.

The other big part of typing, and writing more generally, is getting the words out. I can type pretty fast but ask me to write a report or a blog post and watch me start to disintegrate. I was finding that writing by hand was working better for me because there’s less chance to stop and delete what you’ve done. I’m more likely to get into a flow and stay there. But then, I don’t handwrite very well and it means I have to type it up again after I write it. I know many classrooms still work this way; students write drafts by hand and publish them with a computer. In the past, I've compared students drafting stories by hand against them drafting with a word processor. Their handwriting has generally been much faster.

A class of year 3 students and I were discussing this separation of composition and revision. We made some rules for when we’re in compose mode.

No:

  • touching the word processor’s bells and whistles (styling and layout)
  • backspacing
  • asking about spelling, just spell it somehow
  • talking
  • judging what you type
  • typing gibberish.

And, it was brilliant! I set a timer and it was like rain on a tin roof for 10 minutes. The students were so proud of their efforts and they had something that might not be their best work but it was something that could be proofread, edited and improved. We changed modes, pretending to push our pretend switches, and begun to read our work, use the spell checker, edit and improve.

Personally, this is something I've been thinking on for a long time but never applied to my own work until now. Applying it to writing this post, I have over 500 words that have taken me about 15 minutes to write and a whole lot less anguish than usual. It might not be my best work but I’ve hopefully been able to “hit the ball over the net,” as Michel Thomas used to say.

As for my students, my next step will be to continue their practise, record some simple data and check for evidence of improvement. I anecdotally think that this is one of the most challenging hurdles in school for a vast amount of students (to varying degrees). A small but deliberate approach of helping students to separate these two modes could have a strong effect on students’ writing output and overall learning.

† Because I said so.

  

This article was also posted at aussieed.com

Image Requim for a keyboard by Eelco (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Innovative students and community support made Digital Sparks Expo a huge success

Digital Sparks is a student technology design challenge and expo for public school students in regional northern NSW. 150 students took part in almost 50 teams. They spent months designing and building a project to respond to a need that they had identified in their community.

The kids had a great day showcasing their fabulous designs to the public. There were hands on activities for everyone including augmented reality, the Robogals, a virtual reality rollercoaster, RoboCup robots and more. Digital Sparks has legs and I'm pretty sure it will only grow from here.

A humungous thank you must go to my principal Wendy Cheek for partnering with me on this project. She is an incredible asset to our students and community! Big thank yous as well to the teachers who took part in the day; you went above and beyond to get your students over the line! Many thanks also to The University of Newcastle, led by the magnanimous Bruce Cheek, and Microsoft's human magnet Lawrence Crumpton (the kids loved you!), for supporting young people in our community. To Robogals, UoN's Engineering team, and Laura Chaffey and Nathan MacGregor, thank you so much for giving the kids awesome, engaging activities!

The day was also featured in the Newcastle Herald.

New Lambton South Public students Oscar Cox, Jonathan Allen and Montarnna Nash.
Photo by Ryan Osland © 2015 Fairfax Media
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RAPID Design - a straightforward design thinking framework for students and teachers

During the last few months, my school’s principal and I organised a design and innovation challenge for public school students from our local region. It’s called Digital Sparks and the student showcase will be held on the 20th October in Newcastle. To date, about 180 students, well over 50 teams, have submitted design reports, which is a fantastic indicator of young people’s readiness to innovate.

As well as giving students the opportunity to design digital innovations and showcase them to the community, Digital Sparks aims to give teachers and students the tools and knowledge to take part in design thinking. As part of this, I've been running some small professional development sessions on RAPID Design. I created RAPID Design to be a relatively straightforward design thinking framework for teachers and students. There are several fantastic resources on design thinking available for free online but in trying to use them in a school context I found them pretty challenging to navigate. I felt there was a need for something that was more suited to student learning and more accessible for teachers.

RAPID Design is shared with a creative commons license (see page 5 of the e-book). It’s free for teachers to share and adapt. You can download the e-book as a pdf with included resources or follow along as a collection of blog posts with resources to download. I have also included an introduction below.

RAPID Design is a constant work in progress and currently in beta mode. Your feedback is indispensible in making improvements so that it might be a valuable resource for teachers and students. If you use RAPID Design, please send me your experiences, comments, bug reports or questions.

RAPID Design

Download RAPID Design v0.91b

RAPID Design is a framework to help you move rapidly from a problem to a workable solution. It aims to give students and teachers access to design thinking tools while avoiding some of the challenging jargon that is part of more corporate design thinking frameworks.

RAPID stands for
Reveal → Alternatives → Prototype → Iterate → Develop

It is a relatively fast and simple way to design something with (or without) technology.

RAPID Design consists of 5 phases with 3 short activities in each phase.

Reveal

1RevealWhat is the point of design? At its most basic, it is to create a solution to a problem. So, where do we find problems worth solving?

We must reveal them!

In fact, as we walk in the shoes of others, we might find that problems will start to reveal themselves!

Context

We are going to decide on an issue or situation that we’re passionate about! We will learn as much as we can about it by researching and talking to people. We'll be walking in the shoes of others.

Download

We've researched our context but how do we share what we know as a team? It’s easier to work with ideas, themes and concepts when we can touch them. Let’s “download” what we know onto paper!

Challenge

We’re going to flip our problems into a challenge question that will guide our whole design project.

Learn more about the Reveal phase

Alternatives

2AlternativesWe’re going to brainstorm lots of ideas to answer our challenge question. We'll bundle the best ones together in new ways and use our eagle eye to find the most innovate yet achievable idea to work on.

Brainstorm

Now that we have a challenge questions as our goal, we need to come up with a solution to answer it. In fact, many alternative solutions. We are going to brainstorm as many different ideas as possible. Big, wild, far-out ideas!

Combine

We have lots of different ideas. Let’s see if there are any connections. Sometimes, two okay ideas can combine together to make one great idea!

Eagle Eye

It’s time to engage our own “eagle eye” in some critical and forward thinking. The aim is to consider our time and resources and decide what idea to take forward while leaving the rest on the drawing board.

Learn more about the Alternatives phase

Prototype

3PrototypeWe’re going to draw a storyboard of how users will interact with our innovation. Then we'll build a physical model of it or sketch its user interface.

Storyboard

Create a storyboard of what your innovation will do. Show how people will interact with it or how it will interact with the environment.

Model

Create a model of your device. It doesn't have to “work” but to allow someone to roleplay the steps of using it. Use whatever bits and pieces are available: pens, pencils, paper, cardboard, straws, tape, etc.

Wireframe

If your innovation is only on a screen, such as a website or mobile app, draw sketches of the pages that will be shown to the user. This part of user interface design is called wireframing.

Learn more about the Prototype phase

Iterate

4IterateLet’s test our model on users and get their feedback. We’ll keep on integrating improvements into our design based on continual feedback.

Test

We’re going to get them to use our prototype while we observe and ask them questions. This feedback will become very useful in improving our innovative design. Let’s decide what questions we will ask.

Feedback

We will ask testers to give us feedback by answering our prepared questions and giving general comments and opinions.

Improve

Let’s look at our testing and the feedback we got. What went well? What didn't? What changes are we going to make to our prototype?

Learn more about the Iterate Phase

Develop

5DevelopWe'll plan our resources and decide on a timeline. We’re going to access tutorials and information to help us learn and start making!

Plan

We’re going to create a plan to define each team member’s roles and work out the resources we'll be needing to complete our project.

Learn

It doesn't matter how old you are or how much experience you have, there’s always more to learn! It’s time to decide what the team needs to learn to be able to develop this project.

Timeline

Let’s make sure we know the important dates for our projects. We'll work out times to meet and follow the progress of our development.

Learn more about the Develop phase

Download

Download RAPID Design v0.91b

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Digital Sparks: Student Technology Design Challenge & Expo

This is essentially part of my Google Teacher Academy moonshot in action...

Digital Sparks logoDigital Sparks is a regional student technology design challenge and showcase. It is being offered to primary and secondary students within the PSNSW Tamworth region** (Hunter, New England, North Coast, etc.). Public school students from year 3 to year 8 will be eligible.

Students will work throughout terms 3 and 4 to design and create technologies that can meet a need for people or the environment. They can work individually or in groups of up to 4. Designs may include websites, software, robots, mobile devices or any other forms of technological platforms. Students will be able to work in their own time or lunch times (or class time at the school’s prerogative).

The challenge will require students to use design thinking to

  • explore possible solutions to a problem or need of people or the environment
  • decide on the most practical solution and,
  • develop and construct it.

A design thinking framework (currently being developed) will be supplied as a set of activities that can be worked through by teachers and students. Students will have a variety of options for how to demonstrate and share the development of their technology in term 3.

An exhibition day for the most successful and innovative students’ projects will take place on 20th October in the Great Hall at the University of Newcastle, in partnership with the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle. It will include local industry experts to judge the event. A successful event will encourage young people to get involved in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and foster collaboration and partnerships between primary and high school students and teachers, local industries and the community.

Teachers will have the opportunity to collaborate and engage in professional development around science & technologies and design thinking. Whether you’re a seasoned technologist or a relative newbie, please encourage your students to take part - the aim is to encourage young people and teachers to engage with new paradigms and plenty of resources will be provided to help you along!

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Seriously, coding needs to start early

My question is to the Prime Minister. In light of the Education Minister's answer, will the Prime Minister commit to ensuring that coding is taught in every primary school in Australia; to ensure our children have the skills for the jobs of the future economy?

Let's just understand exactly what the Leader of the Opposition has asked. He says that he wants primary school kids to be taught coding so that they can get the jobs of the future. Does he want to send them all out to work at the age of eleven? Is that what he wants to do? Is that what he wants to do? I mean, Seriously? Seriously? Seriously?

So there you have it.

Computers are ubiquitous. That means they're everywhere, Mr Prime Minister. And yet, so few of us know how to operate them well let alone how to instruct them or create with them. We live in an environment blended between the physical and the digital and yet we aren't prepared to teach our young people how to live their lives as empowered digital citizens.

To extend the Prime Minister's argument, are we teaching students to read and write from kindergarten so that we can send them out to work as journalists at the age of eleven? Are we teaching them mathematics so that we can have eleven year old astrophysicists?

I mean, seriously.

Countries like the United Kingdom are leading the way in teaching computational thinking. Their relatively new curriculum teaches students computational thinking skills from the earliest years. Estonia as well. Many US states now teach programming from the beginning of schooling.

Australia has a Technologies subject as part of the national curriculum ready to go. The Technologies subject is awaiting final endorsement but has come under significant pressure from the national curriculum review and the state of NSW in particular. The subject incorporates coding but also focuses on design thinking and systems thinking in a very big way. If we want to raise a country of innovative leaders in the modern world, the Technologies subject is a very necessary step in the right direction.

In future weeks, I would like to write some blog posts on exactly why coding, and more accurately, computational thinking is necessary from the earliest years of schooling.

As always, my opinions are my own and not my employer's.

So, what do you think? Should all students be taught coding in primary school? Is it all about the jobs or something else?

This post appeared first on aussieed.com

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The impact of learning space design on student outcomes

Clever Classrooms: Summary report of the HEAD ProjectA very interesting research report has come out of the University of Salford, UK, that reveals the impact of learning space design on student outcomes. This won’t come as a shock to any teacher but the physical characteristics that had the most impact might. The HEAD (Holistic Evidence and Design) Project divided the design factors into naturalness, individualisation and stimulation. The full report is a fabulous and practical read; 52 pages full of photos, diagrams, oversized text and charts. For the cheat sheet, head straight for pages 42-43, “Checkpoints for Teachers”. Here’s something for you: a full half of the impact of school design on learning came down to naturalness. That’s primarily light, temperature and air quality. Individualisation only impacted a quarter. Differences in the learning environments accounted for 16% of the variation in learning progress. From the study,

Or to make this more tangible, it is estimated that the impact of moving an ‘average’ child from the least effective to the most effective space would be around 1.3 sub-levels, a big impact when pupils typically make 2 sub-levels progress a year.

Download the full report or see the official announcement. I'll start implementing positive changes to my classroom by focusing first on naturalness. My room has air conditioning, so temperature is usually comfortable (or is it that just for me?). I often keep the blinds closed, partly by force of habit from when we had a dull old projector and partly because I'm most comfortable in a darkened cave. Air quality is also an issue in my room (methane!). Simple steps such as turning off the air conditioner and opening the windows could make a significant impact for students and the environment. Do you find anything in this report that you could change in your own learning environments?

 

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The Digital Tattoo - Think Before You Ink

This article was first published by Education Technology Solutions.

covertattooA hundred smelly students are huddled together in the hall, the younger ones terrified, the older ones bored, as an angry senior constable paces past the few brazen enough to raise their hands to the question, “Who here’s on Facebook?”.

He points his finger at freckled Tommy. “How old are you, son?”

“11”, replies Tommy.

“You’re a liar!” The police officer repeats this charade ad nauseum as those with their hands up try to pull them down without raising his ire. “You’re not thirteen. You had to say you were thirteen when you signed up to Facebook. You’re a liar. You’re breaking the laaaw!”

Another half hour of graphic stories pass by sprinkled with a dash of sensible online practise. The bell rings, the kids head to lunch, the senior constable shakes the principals hand, and the teachers tick off the box labelled cybersafety on their programs. Job well done. The kids are safe.

Except they are not. Lessons in fear are quickly forgotten. The students that feel threatened shift into survival mode and the learning stops. Those that do not, either think they know better or have learnt little more than a plan for abstinence from the internet. Principals, teachers and police are seeing more issues happening online than ever before, and the numbers tell us that what we are doing is not working.

Your local neighbourhood is probably quite safe. The online world is one giant neighbourhood, except you live next door to everyone. The best and worst of society are only a few clicks away and while a young person might be hanging out in parts of the online community that resemble Disneyland, a simple Google search can see them end up in the digital equivalent of the seediest parts of Las Vegas or worse.

So, it is little wonder that fear for our children’s wellbeing is where we have started. This may be the most pressing matter in education today. But as educators, it is high time we moved the conversation forward beyond a paradigm of fear and avoidance. Current solutions to the ‘problem’ of the internet are to create more rules and policies, ban students for poor behaviour, and block access to any parts of the internet that are not mandated, while doing little to support children in the bulk of their online time outside of school.

Continue reading on the ETS blog…

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US = THEM

I saw this on a T-shirt once.

And yet, it’s the most profound thing I’ve ever read.

If our students learn little else from us, we have done them (and every one of us) a service for life.

Them = Us

Us = Them

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Resources for research in education

After a great #aussieED chat on Research in education on the 8th March, some very helpful people shared resources about (you guessed it!) research in education. Here they are.

Blog Post on Valuable Feedback

Provided by Paul Thomson

The article gives a practical approach to giving valuable feedback. At the bottom of the blog post there is a link to the more “in-depth” view of feedback by Hattie & Timperley, 2007 called The Power of Feedback.

Appendix Material from my MA TESOL dissertation

Provided by Vipula Sharma

We probably all deal with students in our classes for whom English is not the first language; this may raise awareness and be of some help to content teachers.

Inquiring into Design Thinking

Provided by Steve Mouldey

So many educators starting to use Design Thinking as a pedagogical approach but so little research done into its effectiveness. My research this year aims to investigate the differences in Teacher and Student experiences of Design Thinking. Is it doing what teachers hope it is doing?

Research: Active Learning More Important than Flipping the Classroom

Provided by Kati Varela

Because it’s super short to read (despite the title already giving out the core of the content…).

AIS Funded Programs

The AIS Education Research Project provides opportunities for independent schools to undertake, access and utilise education research in their practice.

AITSL Research Archives

See also the AITSL Research repository.

Teaching the Aussie Way

Provided by Cathy Woods

It is a paper.li created by a competent and practising Australian teacher. Mrs. BMW knows what we need.

Edutopia

Provided by Brian Host

Edutopia is one of my first stops when I am looking for current research into practice. Heaps of great ideas and quality articles.

Brain Rules (related to the book)

Provided by Kati Varela

Well, knowing about the brain is the basis of knowing about how to best teach and learn.

Directory of Open Access Journals

Provided by Asbjørn Skovsende

Research conducted globally

Provided by Chris Ramsden

Not sure this is the sort of thing you are after.If not please ignore. Cheers, Chris. See also Leaps towards Learning: The Journey of an Innovative Methodology in Education.

Leadership Courage

Provided by Liz

Discuss the importance of creating a culture where educators feel confident to take risks.

Review of educational research journal

Provided by Daniel Quin

High quality research journal dedicated to education. It’s a review of a topic rather than just one study. Very research focussed. May not be useful due to paywall?

Eva Hartell’s doctoral thesis

Provided by Eva Hartell

Gives insights into the necessities and complexities regarding teachers’ assessment practices and the importance of increased affordance for teachers to embed formative assessment.

Greg Ashman’s blog – Filling the pail

Provided by Rob McTaggart

I met Greg Ashman at researchED before his presentation on “cognitive load theory”. He’s embedded in educational research and his ideas can challenge the orthodoxy. A great bloke, too!

Bad Education: Debunking Myths In Education

Provided by Charlotte Pezaro

Goes through “myths” of teaching & research supporting/contradicting. Good methodological breakdowns. Some chaps better than others!

EduResearch Matters

Provided by Rob McTaggart

A voice for Australian educational researchers by the Australian Association for Research in Education.

Thank you for sharing these!! I realise we don’t yet have a comprehensive list so if you have any more resources to add, please leave a comment below or catch me on Twitter!

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A school of ghosts

An idea can never be good. Neither can it be bad.

By its very nature, an idea is only potential. Until, and only if, it becomes manifest can it be critiqued.

But how does an idea become manifest?

First it must become words. Be it an utterance, the dance of a pencil across paper or an ostinato of taps on a keyboard, an idea is at once shared and recorded. It can begin to take shape. Bre Pettis’ Cult of Done manifestoputs it so beautifully with step 12, “If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.”

But how does this ghost take corporeal form? How does it start to reach its true potential? That’s right, with action.Your action.

So, what have we been doing in schools in regards to ideas? Let me tell you, we haven’t been encouraging students to hoist them to their true potential. For the most part, we like our students to write. Usually about our ideas or someone else’s. Sometimes about their own. We like our students to take their ideas and turn them into ghosts.

And that is how they stay.

It is for this reason that I am so attracted to two related and intertwined movements in modern education: the maker movement and authentic learning.

The maker movement encourages students to get their hands dirty. Sometimes literally. If you have an idea, you don’t spend too long on the thinking or the ghosting. You get to the making. This is where the action is. You make a lot of prototypes. It’s very tactile. It’s concrete. Tangible. Make it first. Use it. Think. Then make it better. Rinse and repeat.

Authentic learning starts with what’s real. Its roots are always there. Even if you stray into the land of ideas and sharing and recording them it’s just not authentic until you’ve done something real with it – real change.

I love ideas. Possibly more than anything else, I love watching them rise from the spring of limitlessness. But I’ve only learnt in the last year or so that I have to catch them and share them before they disappear again. For me, depression is the sense that I cannot help them become more. Freedom comes when I’m creating and changing.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” If you’re not taking action, you can never fail forward to success.

Are our students spending their days learning how to turn ideas into reality? Are they actually practising this most important of skills?

Or are our schools filled with the silence of a million ghosts; ideas that never had the chance to be more?

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aussieED gets a makeover

You might have noticed the aussieED website has been given a makeover. There’s a lot of changes and it’s not all cosmetic. So let’s take a look at what’s new!

The Homepage

One of the big goals for aussieED is to engage with as many educators as possible, including all of the teachers who aren’t on Twitter (which, let’s face it, would be most of us). Our homepage now links to the rest of the website and includes latest blog posts and other content. A few glances at the homepage will let you know what aussieED is about and what the latest content is. I’m hopeful this helps everyone to engage more with the aussieED community.

Twitter Wall

If you’re an educator on Twitter, it’s likely you espouse the benefits of Twitter to your colleagues just as we do. The #aussieED Twitter feed and Sunday night Twitter chat will always be the bread and butter of aussieED and so we want to help more teachers get on to Twitter. For this, we have the #aussieED Twitter wall. Using TwineSocial, the wall gives an overview of tweets on the aussieED hashtag. Unfortunately, it’s only updated once every 24 hours. I’ve shown it to a few teachers who’ve said,”Oh, so this is what aussieED is!”.

Blog

We still have the blog. It’s what brings people to the website and we hope we can continue to have fantastic guest bloggers share their magic with us!

The latest blog posts continue to be at the top of any page but related and random posts will pop up here and there so you can catch things you’re interested in.

Meet the Innovators

I’m always blown away by Brett’s ability to connect with awesome people and Meet the Innovators is such a fantastic way to bring these people and their fresh thinking to everybody. I felt like this great project needed more of a spotlight and I hope the website does that to some extent.

aussieEDcast

The aussieEDcast is shiny-new and already Nick, Kimberley and Brett have shared some fantastic conversations via podcast with the likes of Tom Barrett, Mark Weston (@shiftparadigm) and Doug Robertson (The Weird Teacher)! I’m excited to see where they can take it next!

Events

This is one of those small side projects that come out of your own frustrations. I’m always wondering what conferences are happening and when. Most of the time, I can’t afford the time or money to go but at least I’d like to keep track of them and engage with what’s happening via Twitter. The Events Calendar displays education conferences that are happening across Australia. You can view them on a Google Map, a monthly calendar or an agenda list. We’ve also added some student events to the mix and I hope there’s more of these to come. Student events like Young ICT Explorers really add to authentic learning in primary and secondary schooling and can be milestone events in students’ lives. The more that teachers have access to upcoming events, the better!

The Rest

We still have all of the same content including a Storify for just about every #aussieED chat we’ve ever had. As well as that, you’ll find it’s a bit nicer to comment on the site. If you have a gravatar set up (eg. through a WordPress account), your avatar will turn up alongside your comment. It’s all a bit more personal. :) There are also links to our Google+ Page and YouTube channel. If you use those networks, you might like to follow us there as well.

For the most part, the new website is about helping to connect a community of people that want to learn from each other. If it goes some way towards that, then it was worth it.

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A free daybook

In the spirit of getting things done, I’m sharing with you a daybook for term 1, 2015. It’s big – definitely for the person that likes to be able to plan out their day and have ample room to record information.
If people are interested, I’ll be happy to make more for the remainder of the year. Please give feedback on how it can be improved.Instructions:
1. Download the PDF file below.
2. Open it.
3. On the front page, add your name, class and further information to the available fields or leave them blank.
4. Print the document double-sided with “actual size” selected in your PDF viewer.
5. Bind the daybook. A clear plastic cover and coloured card for the back page works well.
6. Tie one, two or three ribbons (longer than the book) to the binding to use as bookmarks.
aussieed_daybook_2015_term_1.pdf

Download File

If you would prefer to make your own from scratch, check out the Philofaxy website where I sourced a lot of the templates from:
Happy new school year everyone!
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Wobbly Bass - My First Attempt at some Audiotool music

Composing music has never been more accessible than now with a swath of desktop and online Digital Audio Workstations (DWA's). Most people could never afford to access the shear amount of tools any way other than virtually, including synthesisers, drum machines and effects pedals.

This is my first attempt at using an online DWA. In this case, I went with Audiotool. After taking a look at what was on offer - and there is a lot, I decided it was the best for me. I think it will transfer very well to the classroom.

This clip is an attempt to make that dubstep wobbly bass sound along with a drum track. Be nice ;)

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NaNoWriMo - Each year gets better

How good is NaNoWriMo Young Writers' Program?! If you missed it, NaNoWriMo is an event where entrants are challenged to write a 50 000 word novel over the course of November. The Young Writer's Program (YWP) is an adaptation of NaNoWriMo where students from all over the world write their own novels, aiming for a word count goal that they negotiate with their teacher. Each year, I've been progressively more astute in organising it and those students involved have taken it and run with it.

This year is going off with more than 30 of my year 5 and 6 students writing thousands of words each already. All of them are writing and editing in Google Docs with teachers and parents able to support their editing process in the same document. The students are very supportive of each other, answering each other's questions and providing inspiration in the wee hours online using edmodo. I've supplied a form for students to record their word count (whenever they remember) which turns into a chart. The thick blue line is for a generic 8000 word goal.

Word counts chart for the 12th November 2014

Next year I'd like to support students more before, during and after their writing month. I plan to encourage more local schools to take part and collaborate with local and international schools on connected writing lessons. Hopefully GAFE will be available by our department of education so that we can connect with other classes using Google Hangouts. I'd love to get children's book authors involved so that they can teach some lessons and provide activities as well as allow our students to ask them questions to help with their novels. 

If you are interested in being part of this next year, connecting with our class or helping as an author, please leave a comment or track me down on Twitter. And even if you don't, at least give NaNoWriMo a go next year. Did you know that all of our young authors will get to edit and then publish their books? They will actually be given two paperbacks of their own book by CreateSpace! Imagine how proud these students will be to give a copy of their book to the school library or their grandparents while announcing, "I wrote my own novel!"

This post also appeared on the #aussieED blog

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