Monday, October 1, 2012

Technology in 2012

Summary of technology used this year:

As you can tell from my last 2 posts, it hasn't been a banner year. I have tried, within the limitations I have, to utilise as much tech as I can, but the students themselves have so little access, that of the time they spend trying to create a project, I spend twice as much time having to create/upload/download/convert their work that it's a major turn-off. We have had very little access this year, including a 2 week period where one teacher booked our only resource for four weeks straight for word processing, and another closed their lab for an entire term so the THREE students who put together the yearbook could have the whole lab.

Ok, enough whinging.

This year, my year 13 students have utilised Prezi (for the first time for them - so proud!) to present their oral presentations. they did a great job! what wasn't great: my laptop not connecting to the data projector, the network going down during their presentation time (several days in a row, and several times in a period) and the load-time for any embedded audio/visuals.

My year 12 students have created a film study google doc for the tv mini-series they studied. This involved me having to watch several hours out of class to rip stills for them to use to illustrate their points, which was fine by me as long as they were using them. I found using google docs for collaborative work better than a wiki, because they can all create in one place at the same time.

My year 9 students have created a film wiki. They didn't enjoy this as much because 1) they couldn't access the film shorts on youtube while working on their pages, 2) only one person per group could post at one time, and 3) they couldn't upload anything to the wiki themselves; they had to wait for me to do it. What was really cool was that we were able to ask Simon Pegg questions!

My year 10 students worked with Fakebook again this year. This will be the last time I use Fakebook in class. The site requires a number of steps to be done in a certain order before the page can be saved (and edited), and they struggled greatly with this, constantly losing their pages and having to start from scratch. The student who persevered won a coveted twinkie.

Right now, my Year 9s are working on a project that our Librarian and I collaborated on. They are creating book trailers for their chosen texts. Once completed, I have to upload them to google docs myself, then email them the link so they can create a QR Code. The code is then printed for 1) the cover of the library book and 2) a space in the library that the Librarian has prepared. We decided to do this project to increase literacy, always an issue in a boys' school, and to present to the BoT what students can do when they have access.

I've also had the boys prepare a 30-60 second speeches where they state what they expected to be doing in high school (technology-wise) and how those expections have been met. I'm going to edit these speeches into one video.

When the tasks are complete (had hoped this would be done by the end of the term, but it takes me 15 minutes on our network to upload each trailer to youtube, sigh), the Librarian and I are going to request to be on the agenda at a BoT meeting and have a 2-part presentation: 1) this great project, and 2) what's really going on at our school tech-wise and a plan for what can be done about it.

And that pretty much sums up this year.


  1. Appreciate the honesty and transparency in this post. You are echoing something that so many feel, yet it doesn't look like it can be better tomorrow.
    In my opinion, with Nexus7 tablets at $199 and the tight google docs integrations, outfitting every child in a class of 25 for $5,000 seems beyond reasonable. Many schools allocate more than the $200 necessary to each kid for technology anyway. Put it in their hands.

  2. So nothing much has changed since I've left then.

    Interesting as we (Work) are working with two local schools on introducing school wide wireless networks to allow students access the network and their school email addresses / shared drives / there personal files from their own laptops and smart phones within 2years.

    For a school that likes to boast about their technology they are quickly getting left behind because of what I believe is one person not wanting to move with the times because it will bring a bigger work load.


  3. no, andrew, nothing has changed, only become more entrenched. your last comment is dead bang.

  4. hi michael. i'm torn on the idea of tablets. i have one of my own, and being limited to one task at a time is a problem for me, at least in this subject. however, our HOD has put in the budget for 15 netbooks for next year. we'll see. then, of course, i'll have to fight all the teachers who find them "imperative" for word processing.