Hi. Well it's been a very busy few weeks for me (I know, what's new about that you ask?). Have spent today presenting the wonders of multimedia to some beginning teachers, despite being one of them myself...oh well, I don't think I upset the apple cart too much! ;o)
Unfortunately it's hard to properly showcase Audacity, Photostory and MovieMaker in 1.5 hours while also giving enough playtime (which I think is super-important in an ICT PD session), but I think it went OK. Hopefully at least one person will go away and try one of them in the classroom. Of course I don't actually use any of them much, seeing as how I have crossed over to Mac, but it's good to know there are some pretty good open source multimedia programs out there. Another message I got from today's discussions was that the Canberra government school system has so many different schools with so many different situations and resources (from a big, top-of-the range school with NO IWBs and NO infrastructure to install them, to a school with up-to-date, quality ICT gear available for all students and staff all of the time). And finally, I was again to hear how hard it is for ALL teachers (not just beginning) to do the great job they're all capable of. If only we all has some more time...
Anyway, I guess it's not worth dwelling on. Because I had another, even more exciting experience this last week. I spent the weekend in Melbourne attending the 5th Annual Interactive Whiteboard Conference, which was an amazing experience and very eye opening! (thanks ACTDET and IWBnet!) I thought I was doing OK with ICT in the classroom, but let me tell you, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface! Luckily I was able to sit in with some truly innovative and high-quality educators. Hopefully some of it will rub off! So here are some of the highlights:
John Short was a very engaging speaker who had the whole group talking and interacting. He has created a heap of really cool powerpoint games based on classics such as "Who wants to be a millionaire" and "Memory". I know, I know, it's not that hard, but who has the time? (apart from John of course!). He has a soon-to-be-opened website which will be launched in October. I will share more details about this soon.
Chris Betcher is a well-known ICT educator with lots of great ideas. Check out his blog. The workshop I attended saw Chris showing us a bunch of really cool stuff. So I thought I'd put it up here (thanks Chris - hope you don't mind me passing it along!)
Phun is just about the coolest thing I have seen in a while! It is a free, 2D physics simulator. YOu just put objects on and apply all sorts of physics concepts, such as force, gravity and friction, to them. There are 40+ videos on youtube by people who have created some fun (or should I say Phun) stuff. Here is one:
Google Sketchup is also a great 3Ddrawing and manipulating tool. A little like a CAD program but from what I can see, much more user-friendly. And it's free. Check it out.
And I'd suggest keeping an eye on Chris's blog. There's bound to be much more eye-popping stuff to come.
Wow, that was tiring. I'm gonna have to come back to it because there's so much more to share!