Documentation Using Technology

“Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children do, and then, if you have understood well, perhaps teaching will be different from before.” 

– Loris Malaguzzi

Inspired by the work of Reggio Emilia, UWCSEA East infant teachers have been exploring documentation to make learning and thinking visible. The role of the teacher in this process is to observe the students carefully, look for those significant moments, and capture images/videos together with examples of student voice.

This documentation is brought to their teaching teams so they can interpret it, explore options for next steps for the students involved, and make connections to the curriculum where relevant.

My colleague Dave Caleb and I had the opportunity to present to the infant teachers about ways technology can help support the documentation process. As you can imagine, technology is a natural fit for this sort of process, so we had lots to share.

Our presentation is below. We would love to hear your ideas about ways technology can enhance the documentation process. Leave us a comment!

(Cross posted at GreaTechxpectations)

Coaching for Digital Literacy

Coaching for Digital LiteracyA little over a year ago, I collaborated with a group of international school teachers in the technology coaching field to create a multi-touch book called Coaching for Digital Literacy. See the blurb below:

Coaching for Digital Literacy is an emerging field where educators are supported in developing their pedagogy around learning with digital tools. This book is a collaborative effort by experienced Digital Literacy Coaches in international schools that will serve as an invaluable resource for those already in a similar role as well as people who are considering this field.

Filled with practical suggestions and case studies, this book aims to arm Digital Literacy Coaches with proven skills and techniques to support learners.

It was wonderful to be a part of this process, together with Andrew McCarthy, Clint Hamada, Jeff Plaman and Louise Phinney, and I’m very pleased to be able to share it with you.

Camera+ makes photos on 3GS iPhone look great!

I know that I have mentioned Camera+ before as a great app for photos on your iPhone, but I feel I need to provide some before and after examples to really show the functionality of this amazing app.

I use Camera+ to edit any photo I want to post online now – the quality of the images far exceeds the capability of my trusty old 3GS iPhone. I know a picture tells a thousand words, so here are a couple of before & after shots for comparison:

Camera+ makes photos on 3GS iPhone look great!

I know that I have mentioned Camera+ before as a great app for photos on your iPhone, but I feel I need to provide some before and after examples to really show the functionality of this amazing app.

I use Camera+ to edit any photo I want to post online now – the quality of the images far exceeds the capability of my trusty old 3GS iPhone. I know a picture tells a thousand words, so here are a couple of before & after shots for comparison:

5 Top Tools for Tech & Travel

I am currently in Shepparton, Victoria, eagerly awaiting the start of the Slide2Learn conference tomorrow morning.

During my trip, I have been thinking about how much I rely on technology for my travel plans, and how much of a challenge it would be for me to go somewhere without it.

Here is a list of the technology I used to get from my door to the hotel in Shepparton.

1. My trusty iPhone – this is fast becoming my most crucial piece of technology. I seldom go anywhere without it. It is so much more than just a phone, with apps like these:

tripit
I used the fabulous (and free) Tripit to input all my travel arrangements – from flights, to rental cars and hotel confirmations. I didn’t print the majority of these documents. Generally speaking, I just held up the phone to show the relevant information. Easy as pie.

dropbox

Dropbox stored my passport details, entrance tickets to the conference, and other information that is essential to have close at hand, no matter where you are.

pocket first aid
Pocket First Aid & CPR
has my medical insurance details, should any tragic circumstances ensue (I have my fingers crossed they won’t!), as well as first aid information that might help in an emergency.

Angry Birds & Sudoku – my current diversions, are entertainment in my pocket.

IMG_0443

hipstaHipstamatic helps me create moody, artistic photographs that I can share with friends and family (reaching a level of sophistication well beyond the realms of my normal creativity!) – the photo to the right was taken using Hipstamatic, and is the view from the Olivehouse Restaurant, where I had a delicious lunch today.

Just Light Flashlight – my torch in the night

xe
XE Currency
– calculating exchange rates at the touch of a button is always a useful tool when overseas.

Facebook & Tweetdeck for keeping in touch with friends and family, near and far.

2. GPS – Without which, I would have quite literally, been lost. Traveling in an unfamiliar location is tricky at the best of times, and using the sat-nav to get to my destination took all of the worry out of my drive from Melbourne to Shepparton.

3. My iPod Touch – by no means a superfluous piece of technology when one already has an iPhone! I consider myself pretty handy with technology these days, yet for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to make the radio in my rental car go. I needed to make sure I didn’t run out of battery on my phone, and a 2 hour trip goes by ever-so-slowly without a little music to sing to… cue the iPod Touch! It sat happily on the dash, belting out my Glee favourites as we moseyed along the Victorian countryside.

4. My (aging) Macbook Pro – Although I realise this is beginning to sound like an advertisement for all things Apple, it was not my intention! The fact of the matter is they make good products! What the Macbook Pro lacks in portability, it makes up for in ease of use – particularly for blogging on the go. It is always quick and easy to connect to wireless networks too.

skype5. Skype – It would be remiss of me not to mention Skype as a travel tool, as I use it so frequently. I said goodnight to my kids tonight, saw the artwork my daughter had made, chatted to my husband, and made my son laugh. All for free (internet connection notwithstanding).

Technology I made use of at Changi Airport included a DIY immigration, where your thumb is scanned and matched against records in your Green Card. At the Melbourne end, NZ and Australian passport holders could use a fast track service in which you scan your passport (provided it has a microchip in it) and beat the queues at immigration. Thumbs up to these 2 leading airports!

Of course Bump is going to be useful tomorrow – especially at a conference about mobile learning!

I am sure I have forgotten some crucial tools here. What are your tech travel must-haves? I am keen to expand my repertoire…!

Peace of Mind = $3.99

post-surgeryMy 2 year old son had an accident yesterday. He fell off his bike and split the bridge of his nose clean open. 8 stitches later, he is just fine, but as I’m sure you know, head wounds bleed pretty badly – so when my husband and our live-in nanny Raquel came in from the playground with Griffin covered in blood, there was a moment where time stood still.

I knew I had to keep everyone (including my four-year-old daughter) calm, and knew Griffin would need to go to A & E, but even so, I found myself dazed and forgetful. I went to the kitchen to get some ice, but once I got there, I forgot what it was I needed and had to retrace my steps. I couldn’t remember where I put the phone I was using only minutes earlier.

I guess I was in a bit of shock, which is probably understandable. My husband and Raquel had both done first aid training in the last 6 months, but they were equally dazed by the event. Luckily for us, we were able to get to a hospital quickly, and everything turned out fine, but it made me wonder – what if it were something more serious?

First aid & CPRThen, thanks to a tip off by @teachernz, I read this article, about a man trapped in the rubble of Haiti’s earthquake, who used information in an app called Pocket First Aid & CPR to help save his life. It seems to me, that $3.99 is a small price to pay for peace of mind, so I have downloaded the app (though if you want a free version, iFirst Aid Lite is another alternative).

Now I know that while my husband and I are at work, Raquel has access to our iPod Touch, which will have up-to-date information that will help ensure that even if she isn’t sure what to do in the event of an accident, she has a mobile device to get specific information and videos from, straight away. Pocket First Aid & CPR even has a space for medical profiles that you can fill in for each member of the family, with information such as blood type, allergies, birth date, insurance details and weight. How great is that?

Even in my dazed state, my iPhone was one item I did remember to bring with me to the emergency room, and it proved extremely handy. Griffin watched his favourite movie, Cars, which helped calm him down. When he was being stitched up, I was able to text message and/or email friends and family, to let them know what was going on.

So take my advice: keep your phones charged, and think about downloading a first aid app yourself!

Peace of Mind = $3.99

post-surgeryMy 2 year old son had an accident yesterday. He fell off his bike and split the bridge of his nose clean open. 8 stitches later, he is just fine, but as I’m sure you know, head wounds bleed pretty badly – so when my husband and our live-in nanny Raquel came in from the playground with Griffin covered in blood, there was a moment where time stood still.

I knew I had to keep everyone (including my four-year-old daughter) calm, and knew Griffin would need to go to A & E, but even so, I found myself dazed and forgetful. I went to the kitchen to get some ice, but once I got there, I forgot what it was I needed and had to retrace my steps. I couldn’t remember where I put the phone I was using only minutes earlier.

I guess I was in a bit of shock, which is probably understandable. My husband and Raquel had both done first aid training in the last 6 months, but they were equally dazed by the event. Luckily for us, we were able to get to a hospital quickly, and everything turned out fine, but it made me wonder – what if it were something more serious?

First aid & CPRThen, thanks to a tip off by @teachernz, I read this article, about a man trapped in the rubble of Haiti’s earthquake, who used information in an app called Pocket First Aid & CPR to help save his life. It seems to me, that $3.99 is a small price to pay for peace of mind, so I have downloaded the app (though if you want a free version, iFirst Aid Lite is another alternative).

Now I know that while my husband and I are at work, Raquel has access to our iPod Touch, which will have up-to-date information that will help ensure that even if she isn’t sure what to do in the event of an accident, she has a mobile device to get specific information and videos from, straight away. Pocket First Aid & CPR even has a space for medical profiles that you can fill in for each member of the family, with information such as blood type, allergies, birth date, insurance details and weight. How great is that?

Even in my dazed state, my iPhone was one item I did remember to bring with me to the emergency room, and it proved extremely handy. Griffin watched his favourite movie, Cars, which helped calm him down. When he was being stitched up, I was able to text message and/or email friends and family, to let them know what was going on.

So take my advice: keep your phones charged, and think about downloading a first aid app yourself!

iPhone/iPod Touch Wired Wednesday

As so many teachers came back from the Christmas holiday with a new iPhone/iPod Touch, I decided to make the first Wired Wednesday for 2010 focused on apps.

CIMG3025 (Medium)

We had a great turn out, and there was a real buzz in the lab as people talked over each other to share their favourite apps. I found it amusing that although we had a bunch of more than 10 educators, the apps that received the most attention were the games! Here are the apps that made the rounds…

Singapore

SG_Buses
SG BusesFree – All the info you need on the Singapore Bus System

Carpark_@_SG
Carpark @ SGFree – Find parking rates & parking locations in Singapore

Laylio
Laylio Free – an app which allows you to listen to Singapore radio stations (I love that the name of the app is how some people pronounce radio here!)

Travel

tripit
Trip it Free – Organize your flights and travel plans with this handy app.

Kids

tozzle
Tozzle $1.99 – An easy app which helps develop touchpad skills. My 2 year-old loves it. There’s also a free version – Tozzle Lite.

facegoo
Facegoo
$0.99 – Photo app that lets you manipulate photos in funny ways. There is also a free version available.

shapes
Toddler Teaser ShapesFree – Simple app which helps kids recognise shapes.

Build_a_Word
Build-a-Word$1.99 – For those fans of Word World, an app which gets children to grab letters to build words. There is also a lite version available.

Preschool_adventure
Preschool Adventure$0.99 – This is a good-value app for preschoolers. There are puzzles about numbers, colours, shapes, body, matching and sounds. A little something for everyone.

Games

Topple
Topple
Free – My 4-year-old’s favourite app of the moment. Stack the blocks and try not to let them topple over. See also Topple 2 Plus+ (free) and Topple 2 ($0.99).

NFSU
Need For Speed Undercover$4.99 – A car racing game that is apparently deserving of its price tag!

eggs_away
Eggs awayFree – Keep your egg balanced by tilting your device.

Trace
Trace Free – app where you have to get your little stick-figure person to the other side using gravity and any lines you make.

Bubblewrap
BubblewrapFree – Enjoy popping bubblewrap as a kid? Relive your childhood with this app!

Waterslide_extreme
Waterslide ExtremeFree – Slide down a giant waterslide in this addictive app.

Unblock_me_free
Unblock Me FreeFree – Slide the blocks of wood around to free the red block.

Cooking_dash
Cooking Dash$2.99 – Manage your restaurant by making sure people are at tables, have what they ordered etc. A Cooking Dash Lite version is available, and there also appear to be other in a similar theme: check out Dinner Dash and Wedding Dash, if you feel so inclined.

Cooking_mama_lite
Cooking Mama LiteFree – This app had us all in stitches. You cook different food, and literally do things like melt the butter in the frying pan or chop onions by moving your device around (as you would if you were cooking), to complete a meal.

Monkey_Swing
Monkey SwingFree – Swing from tree to tree to get your monkey through the jungle.

CIMG3026 (Medium)

CIMG3030 (Medium)

iPhone/iPod Touch Wired Wednesday

As so many teachers came back from the Christmas holiday with a new iPhone/iPod Touch, I decided to make the first Wired Wednesday for 2010 focused on apps.

CIMG3025 (Medium)

We had a great turn out, and there was a real buzz in the lab as people talked over each other to share their favourite apps. I found it amusing that although we had a bunch of more than 10 educators, the apps that received the most attention were the games! Here are the apps that made the rounds…

Singapore

SG_Buses
SG BusesFree – All the info you need on the Singapore Bus System

Carpark_@_SG
Carpark @ SGFree – Find parking rates & parking locations in Singapore

Laylio
Laylio Free – an app which allows you to listen to Singapore radio stations (I love that the name of the app is how some people pronounce radio here!)

Travel

tripit
Trip it Free – Organize your flights and travel plans with this handy app.

Kids

tozzle
Tozzle $1.99 – An easy app which helps develop touchpad skills. My 2 year-old loves it. There’s also a free version – Tozzle Lite.

facegoo
Facegoo
$0.99 – Photo app that lets you manipulate photos in funny ways. There is also a free version available.

shapes
Toddler Teaser ShapesFree – Simple app which helps kids recognise shapes.

Build_a_Word
Build-a-Word$1.99 – For those fans of Word World, an app which gets children to grab letters to build words. There is also a lite version available.

Preschool_adventure
Preschool Adventure$0.99 – This is a good-value app for preschoolers. There are puzzles about numbers, colours, shapes, body, matching and sounds. A little something for everyone.

Games

Topple
Topple
Free – My 4-year-old’s favourite app of the moment. Stack the blocks and try not to let them topple over. See also Topple 2 Plus+ (free) and Topple 2 ($0.99).

NFSU
Need For Speed Undercover$4.99 – A car racing game that is apparently deserving of its price tag!

eggs_away
Eggs awayFree – Keep your egg balanced by tilting your device.

Trace
Trace Free – app where you have to get your little stick-figure person to the other side using gravity and any lines you make.

Bubblewrap
BubblewrapFree – Enjoy popping bubblewrap as a kid? Relive your childhood with this app!

Waterslide_extreme
Waterslide ExtremeFree – Slide down a giant waterslide in this addictive app.

Unblock_me_free
Unblock Me FreeFree – Slide the blocks of wood around to free the red block.

Cooking_dash
Cooking Dash$2.99 – Manage your restaurant by making sure people are at tables, have what they ordered etc. A Cooking Dash Lite version is available, and there also appear to be other in a similar theme: check out Dinner Dash and Wedding Dash, if you feel so inclined.

Cooking_mama_lite
Cooking Mama LiteFree – This app had us all in stitches. You cook different food, and literally do things like melt the butter in the frying pan or chop onions by moving your device around (as you would if you were cooking), to complete a meal.

Monkey_Swing
Monkey SwingFree – Swing from tree to tree to get your monkey through the jungle.

CIMG3026 (Medium)

CIMG3030 (Medium)

Digital Thank Yous

It was my daughter’s 4th birthday a couple of weeks ago, and of course she was spoiled rotten by friends and family.

IMG_6430

Of course in this busy life we all lead, finding time to write thank you letters is a tricky business. Cue technology!

First up we hopped onto Facebook and created video messages of thanks. If you have a webcam it should be remarkably straightforward. Just go to ‘compose message’, click on the video button and record!

The quality isn’t brilliant, but the ease of use definitely makes up for that (image below)

For those not on Facebook, we used the Voice Memos app on the iPhone to record a very simple message of thanks.

Voice memos

Clicking on the red circle starts and stops recording, and then you can email the mp4 file wherever you want.

Check out a sample thank you below!

I promise you, this took hardly any time at all, and I know the people who received their digital thank yous absolutely loved them!