Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In Memory of Dean Clark

My colleague and friend Dean passed away tragically in a car accident a week ago. We pushed some serious boundaries to what people thought was possible in a new school. He'd give me the tools and I would go - that trust allowed me to develop rapidly as an educator and provided some of the best teaching moments of my career to date.

You always want leadership that inspires and drives you - Dean did both and in spades. Often earning the nicknames of the energizers, there wasn't a lot that would stop us. I'll start with a video I filmed with Dean for my 2015 Lead Teacher Application. 

In it we discuss the mapping of the digital technologies curriculum. The passion Dean had for the junior primary, primary years was clearly evident. There was no surprise that he won the Principal position at Playford Primary the following year.

And why not add a snippet of some football passion - Dean would surely approve!

The following video snippet was filmed in 2013. Dean is just out of shot but you'll know its him at about the half way point (1min 40) - trust me. We were invited to discuss our feedback on the Scootle Community and got sidetracked into discussing technology and its integration. 

That passion to say it how it is and leave it all on the table was something to really admire.

Assembly speech as Acting Principal at the unveiling of the Mark Oliphant College Indigenous Mural in August 2015.

10 day return trip to England - right before the launch of a new school! January 2011
Always happy to laugh and get on with it - we didn't stop for 10 days straight and then back to work to open a new school over the course of 2011 - video filmed in January.

In a few short years Dean was presenting at conferences like ULearn in 2013 (he pushed me to put in a submission and what an awesome experience/trip that turned out to be!)

Ulearn October 2013

Ulearn October 2013

This photo is from a 2014 presentation at our Make Learning Better Conference
In 2018 I couldn't have been more proud to give something back to someone that helped launch my journey in education by providing a platform for Playford Primary to enter the VEX Robotics Tournament this year. 

Dean stopped by the tournament in August and couldn't have been prouder of his students and staff. It is almost as if we had come full circle, as I look back to when he and Lynne visited for my first go at robotics back in 2011 with MOC.
2018 - Playford Primary enters the VEX Robotics Competition
2011 - Mark Oliphant College enters the First LEGO League

When it was time for me to spread my wings and move onto the next chapter of my career I will always appreciate the support and encouragement Dean provided at that time.

To Margaret, his children Rebekah, Thomas and Holly and the entire Clark family my sincerest condolences. Dean Clark, a true educator, mentor and leader. Rest in Peace my friend.

Apple Sydney visit in 2011

Before drones were a thing - May 2011!

Ulearn 2010 - October

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Q&A Reflection - Listen to Max

"It becomes a part of your life" - Max, 2014

That's what a good project does - it impacts you so heavily that it becomes a part of your life, a bookmark that you can always go back to and think about.

I know personally I had very few of these 'bookmark' moments in high school and when I decided to become a teacher, it drove me to make sure my students didn't suffer the same fate.

The 2014 Q&A project involved students studying two topics in History - the Freedom Rides of the 60's and the Civil Rights Movement. Students had to prepare a debate and film the event live in front of an audience and online via Youtube Live Stream.

I'm in the process of finishing cutting up the rest of the reflection videos but I would really encourage you to check out Max's thoughts.  

If you listen all the way through you'll hear Max talk about thinking he thought the event was 'not as important as other things we could have done'. When I heard this I froze! Letting him continue, Max wanted to use the live stream as a springboard for bigger! He mentioned publishing a book or a documentary - awesome ideas that reinforced why I love PBL so much. It drives innovation from both the teacher and what the student thinks is possible in a school.

Open the door to your students and they'll impress.  Projects such as this require time & meticulous planning, the sacrifice of 'some content' (face it you won't be able to cover every single piece of 'curriculum content' mandated when your running a 12 week project) and courage, lots of courage.

The website: https://sites.google.com/a/moc.sa.edu.au/q-a-year-10/ will host all the finished videos (also available on Youtube).

Talk soon,


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Macbreak Weekly - Episode 451 - Opinion on LA times Article discussion

It's about the curriculum not the device! Before you read my opinion piece take 2 minutes to watch the video below and if you wish the article the accompanies it.

Macbreak Weekly - Episode 451

What are the main points to take away from this? As I've always told my colleagues, regardless of the device, the development of an engaging curriculum will ultimately trump anything your students are using.

One clear example of this is from 'low tech' High Tech High who largely have students work with materials that might be considered 'low tech' (don't worry they also laser cut, 3D print etc!) - overall it is the curriculum design and delivery that gets the students excited and passionate about learning.

As we embark on our own 1:1 iPad adventure (nearly half our students already use them), we too need to consider what curriculum content we deliver to the students.  As a student of the Haese and Haese textbooks I never expected an interactive video to jump out of the pages, or a audio snippet to suddenly start playing. 

As a teacher in 2015 I would expect the content my students use on their iPads to be engaging beyond just text and static images - otherwise - please lets not spend $$$'s and just stick with books that don't need charging.

At MOC I'm pretty excited about how we will go about creating the next wave of curriculum content for our middle to senior years students (the early and primary years have been using iPads for 5 years now and have some great content already going!).  My role this term is around the computer science curriculum and it's development across the school. Reflecting on how we deliver CS and looking at how we can improve will only make us better teachers and give every student at MOC an opportunity to pursue that area of learning full time past high school.

You only have a few short minutes before the 'wow' factor of the actual physical device subsides and the student says, 'Ok, now show me what we are learning today'. At that point your curriculum content, delivery and person is what is going to get the most out of that student, not the device.

My next few blogs will likely explore my iBook creation and how I'm going about designing curriculum content that utilises the device to it's fullest.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Apple Distinguished Educator 2015

Got my Apple Distinguished Educator application in! What a blast reflecting on the last few years.  I went with a different style to many of the other videos. It was pretty interesting checking out my original Google Certified Teacher Academy video. Lots of work has been done over the last four years and this year looks no different.

- More Google! - Classrooms is something I'm loving
- iBook Publishing
- iTunesU development
- Arduino and more

This is another one of those posts to keep me honest to do a biiiiggg update of posts on here in the future!! Won't find out if I've got in until at least June.

Here is my original GCT video:


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Google Apps - Urgent Reminder for ICT Admins!

Lots of blogs to write so little time! I thought this one was quite important to get out as we had our first (and hopefully last) negative experience with Google Apps for Education.

The story will serve well as a warning not only on the setup of your Google Apps Education account at school but also the training of staff on what 'ownership' means in a Google Document.

Let me start by staying - NO cloud based product is perfect and although some claim to be better than others, the end user is the one that controls just how 'safe' your data is.

So the backstory goes:

- Staff member starts documents which were edited by others in the team (pretty normal and great use of something like Google Docs)

- Staff member leaves - account is deleted, along with documents the person owned.

Now here is where the problem lay. ICT rightfully assumed that everyone was backing up data or at least aware of potential loses when accounts are 'purged'. The other problem lay on the ICT backend on how deleted Google Accounts were being treated - and this is where you really need to pay attention if you have Google Apps at your site!

ICT Admin were using the setting 'Delete active and suspended Google Apps users not found in LDAP'.

This has now been changed so it reads as below, 'Suspend Google Apps users not found in LDAP, instead of deleting them': 

Your ICT tech who manages the account will not have to worry about 'space' as Google Accounts are stored with Google but this simple change will save a lot of pain in retrieving deleted accounts in the future.

It now means that if someone from our school leaves, and has Google Documents we need for curriculum etc, a simple press of a button can transfer all those documents to anyone else.

Understanding who 'owns' a Google Document is fairly simple - the person that creates the document is the owner.  Owners can share the document to anyone.

So there you go, check how you are managing Google App accounts and make sure they are being 'suspended' and not deleted.

Like I said at the start of this short post, hopefully the first and last negative of a product that has been widely used at our site.



P.S - Regardless of whatever cloud system you use, backup to at least one off site location.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Year 10 Project Based Learning

Not a blog as such but more of a placeholder to remind and motivate me on what my next few blogs will focus around.

I think I've mentioned it a few times at how difficult keeping a blog can be when you have the usual pressures of teaching.  My Year 10 students recently presented work in our Presentation of Learning night.

The night is a celebration of work from Reception to Year 12.  I'll start this blog of with a few videos and then do a complete write up by the holidays end! (Promise)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Annotating your Professional Development

This is a quick post linking my recent video on professional development annotation through the TRB SA Online website.

Please note that as you add entries they must have been done during your current period of registration (3 year period).

I have a number of blogs planned this year, the next one being my time at Google Sydney HQ.