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Ways of Working

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G'day. My name is Chris Betcher and I'm going to take you through my presentation for K12 Online 2009, Ways of Working The basic concept of this presentation is to take a real live event and learn how we could apply technology to that event, how we could draw in all sorts of technological resources, to make this a richer, more relevant experience for the students. So I'm current,y standing on a piece of coastline here between Tamarama Beach which is just down there and Bondi Beach which is just over that hill. And every year, the local council here runs this exhibition called Sculpture by the Sea in fact, this is the 13th year it's run, and there are literally hundreds of artworks, like this one, that have been set up along the coastline here, and this draws thousands and thousands of people to come and look at it, including lots of school groups. and the question I'm going to throw out to you in the presentation is, how could you leverage those events using technology, to make the study of those things back on the classroom richer and more relevant? So my teacher gave this research project and I'd really like to find out the latest information, not just whatever is in the school library or on some webpage. Surely there has to be some way to find the latest thinking on this topic? So, one of my pet peeves is when I see students doing "research" tasks that their notion of research is that they go to Google, they type in a word, they go to the first page, or the first link, that comes up, they go to that page and look at it, and that's "research", and of course, we all know it's not. So here's a couple of strategies about how you can use to get kids to broaden out what it is when they go researching for something, and what that actually means. So lets's start with the obvious. Here's a Google Search and our topic is Sculpture by the Sea but of course, I'll keep reminding you that you can apply this to ANY topic. Sculpture by the Sea is the topic here, so I've done the search and it comes up with these results, and predictable, the very first thing is the official Sculpture by the Sea website and it's a pretty good website. You've also got links to Wikipedia, you've got some news articles, you've got a bunch of Photos, probably from Flickr, and, it's a pretty good set of results. And if all you did was go and look at those pages you'd probably get some insight into what this exhibition was all about. Hopefully, it can go deeper than that. Before we look at at it, look, this is the official website, and official websites are always really good if you can find it, so if you're studying a national park, or if you're looking at a bridge, or a building, or a person, If you can find the official website to support it, that's not a bad starting point. One of the good things they've done with this exhibition this year is to connect it to the web so this chalk painting on the ground here has details for linking to the Scuplture by the Sea website. In fact, once you go to the Sculpture by the Sea website, it links you through to all sorts of other things, like their Flickr stream, information about all the artists, photos of all the artworks, information, background information, a link to the Twitter stream, so in fact, by promoting the event through things like the Web on mobile devices, and everyone is walking around here now with phones, iPhones and all sorts of mobile devices, they're in fact opening up a whole other world of information for people as they look at the actual artworks. which is a really interesting development. It's interesting to see what people are writing about the topic, so this particular art exhibition runs for 2 weeks It gets a lot of press in that 2 week period, there's a lot of news articles coming out, this is a great way to track them using a news tracking service, like, I'm using Google News here, and you simply put in your search terms up here, so "sculpture by the sea bondi" and every time a news service publishes an article that matches that search criteria, it will appear in this list. So, you don't have to go hop around to every single newspaper, and try and find articles, you can actually bring them to you this way. There's also of course things like Google Blog Search of the half million people that go through this exhibition in the 2 week period that it's on, many of them go home and write about it, in a blog, and express some sort of opinion or thought about it. and then people come in and comment about that, so quite aside from what the official journalists and news services are saying about about the exhibition, the blog feeds will kind of give you more of an idea about peoples' opinions and their feelings about what they're seeing, rather than the newsy aspects of it. So blogs are a really god place to try and get that sort of alternative opinion on what real people are actually thinking about a particular issue. So the blog search is pretty good for that. and you can see if you click on some of these links here, so this takes you off to, OK, so here's a blog, Sydney Meanderings, by someone in Sydney, and I can scroll down a little bit, they've taken some photos, they've written a little bit about their reflections, and people have left some comments on it, So, not a bad way to sort of expand your viewpoint. Technorati, similar kind of service from Technorati, you can do that kind of thing there. Even Twitter. Here's the official Sculpture by the Sea Twiitter acount, and they're putting out little updates, to let you know what's going on. If you're doing doing a topic which is actually current enough that it produces a Twitter feed as this one does, not a bad idea to subscribe to that and then check it daily so your students can actually see what sort of information is coming out from the, in this case, the exhibition itself. The other interesting thing you can use Twitter for is, many things have an official hashtag, so for Scuplture by the Sea exhibition, it's #sxsbondi and you can subscribe, or serach this hastag, and then you'll see every Tweet that come through from anything that anybody says on Twitter about this particular topic. And you can see here there are links here that take you out to photographs and articles and things, This is kind of the new aggregator. There's also, out of the half million people that go through the exhibition, many of them have cameras, and they are shooting, dozens, hundreds of photos as they walk around. Many of those photos end up on Flickr, so it's not unusual after a 2 week exhibition, or some sort of big event that there be hundreds or thousands of photos on Flickr about that event and a simple search, scuplturebythesea, everyone's uploads, puts you in touch with those photos and you can go and browse through what other people have taken photos of. Here's a map, from Google's mapping service, and I've just a search on Sculpture by the Sea found this piece of coastline, and here it is, here's Tamarama Beach, Bondi Beach is just up here, and you can actually see the pathway around the rocks here where the exhibition takes place. For us here in Australia, before we take our kids to this exhibition, this is the sort of thing I'd be doing, would be looking at it in advance and saying "kids, here's where we'll be walking", and here's where we'll be going, give them the lay of the land, and you can apply this to any topic. There's a bunch of things that you might think about to try and broaden out this research idea and get kids to start thinking about multiple perspectives before they really get too much further down the track. OK, that's all well and good. So there's a bunch of websites that produce content regularly about a topic What's inconvenient about that is if you have to go and check all those websites regularly to see if there's been any changes, and that's where RSS comes in. So here's a good strategy, that students can use very easily, t try and build their own news services around topics that interest them. So, let's just take a look at this one for example. Here's the Google Blog page and if you look on the side over here, it says Blog Alerts, Atom, RSS. Wherever you see the word RSS, that's a feed. It simpley means that anytime something is added to this page, this feed will know about it so here's what you do. Let me just jump over here for one minute and tell you this is Netvibes, and Netvibes is a free web service that lets you pull RSS feeds into one place. So let's just go back over to Google Blog Search. and to this RSS link and I'll show you what we do with it. On the RSS link, I'm going to right-click, and say Copy Link Location, on Windows it's probably going to say Copy Shortcut... Copy Link Location. So I'll just copy where that link is pointing to. And then I'm going to go back to Netvibes and up here in the side here, at the moment there's nothing on this page, it's empty, If I say Add Content, and what i want to do is Add a Feed, so I'll click the Add a Feed link and in this box here, I'm simply going to Paste. And it pastes in this little piece of codey looking stuff, you don't even have to understand what it means, you just say Add Feed click it, and it goes and finds that here is the Google Blog Search for Sculpture by the Sea and I'll say Add. and boom, there it is. There is the last however many blog things that have ever been written about Sculpture by the Sea. Now, let's try a different one, let's go over here to the Google News Search, so this is the feed of news articles being written about Sculpture by the Sea, and again, somewhere on this page you might have to look for it, I'm going to scroll down the bottom because I know it's right down here, it says RSS. And again, right click, Copy Link Location flip back over to Netvibes, and I'm going to Add a Feed, I'm going to paste, there. and add the feed. And boom, there you go, there is the Sculpture by the Sea Google News Feed. Let's say Add, and now it's in there, and there is the latest news articles about Sculpture by the Sea. Now, you can do this for anything... If you go back here and look at, say, Twitter,here's the Sculpture by the Sea Twitter feed, and of course, it says RSS Feed. Right click it, Copy Link Location, go back over to Netvibes, your aggregator, say Add a Feed, paste that in, and say Add Feed and there it is, here is the Twitter feed for Sculpture by the Sea. Add that, and there's the last few Tweets. Now it's getting a bit messy here, so I'm going to drag these around a bit, I'm going to drag this one over to there and I might take this one and drag that over to there, and rearrange my page I'm starting to assemble my very own "newspaper", if you like, and the only topic in this newspaper is Sculpture by the Sea, so I don't need to go and check all of these individual services every day, they come to me. Now, I could continue building this, but let me show you one I prepared earlier, so Sculpture by the Sea, here's one I made earlier, let me just close this up, so on this page, here's the Google Blog Search, here is the last recent things that people have written about it in blogs. Here's the News Search down the bottom here. Here's... Flickr, here's a Flickr feed, and any photos that have been tagged sxsbondi, so here's the photos. Here's photos that have been tagged sculpturebythesea, I actually grabbed both feeds, just in case I missed something in one of them, because you don't know what people tag stuff with. Here's the Twitter Search for sxsbondi. and here's the Twitter feed for sculpturebythesea You can go out and grab anything that has an RSS feed, pull it into this aggregator, and turn it into a news feed service that's a newspaper, telling you nothing but what you're interested in hearing. There's heaps of really fantastic stuff on the Internet, but sometimes it's really hard to find exactly what you want, the perfect thing to help kids learn better That's a really good question Stuart, and lots of teachers ask it, What sorts of things can teachers do outside the realm of "the usual stuff"? Here's a whole bunch of suggestions... One of the things we probably don't make enough use of in schools in these things, mobile phones. As you wander around an exhibit like this, this becomes the device by which you can capture pictures, capture video, it's got a GPS that can tell you where you were, you can geotag photos with their location It's got voice recorders in it, you can walk up and interview people, and you can take all of that media back to school and use it for some sort of digital storytelling. And whether is a sort of a phone like that which is just a Nokia, it's nothing terribly special, or whether you've got one of these fancy iPhone things, Or eve if you simply just got something like a Flip video camera, which is, you know, a couple of hundred bucks, these are not expensive devices, and the interesting thing about these types of things is that most of your kids already carry them. When you take kids out into the physical environment to actually experience something, and they take their phones with them, there's a couple of ways you might make the experience richer. For a start, most phones have cameras and more and more phones now have GPS devices, so for example, on the day I went to see Sculpture by the Sea, here are the photos that I took down here, but because the phone is smart enough to know where it is when it took the photos, when I come back in and drop them into Flickr, it geolocates them. So it say, well, when you were standing right here, there are the three photos you took at that point, and when you moved down the beach a bit and took some photos from there, there's that photo. So you can start to actually drop images onto their actual location, where they were when they were taken. It really opens up some interesting possibilities for field trips and excursions, and when you take kids out into the real world. As another example, here's a little iPhone app called RunKeeper and this is this run here is by my friend @mrrobbo from Victoria in Australia, and mrrobbo is a PE teacher, he likes to go for a run to stay healthy, and as he's gone for a run around the local town, it's actually tracked his progress, because he's got his phone in his pocket, talking to the satellites, and every so often, he's taken a photo, and so you can see as I mouse over these things, just click on that there it opens up and shows you the photo that was taken at that point in time. And I think that opens up some really interesting possibilities for taking kids out into the real world and getting them to not only document what they saw, but where they were when they saw it. Are you capitalising on the fact that your kids are carrying around video cameras, still cameras, GPSes, mobile phones, web browsers, voice recorders, all of those tools in this one little thing, t take back and use to build media and resoucres and create stuff around what you've seen on the day. So after you've collected some digital media, the photos. videos, sound recordings here's three ideas on how you might like to present them in interesting ways. This is Voicethread. Voicethread lets you take those photos and upload them to the Voicethread servers and then leave a comment. <This was actually my favourite sculpture believe it or not...> and then the important thing about this other people can come in and also leave comments, so if I click on some of these, <my favourite exhibit at sculpture by the sea because no only were these flags vibrant and colourful...> you can hear other people's comments, of course, they don't have to be voice, you can also get comments that are text. and people can even leave annotations on photographs. It's a nice way of crowdsourcing some opinion about different images and getting people's feedback on them. The other one you might like to look at is Animoto, which is an interesting way of presenting slides, and if I click the play button, you'll see that it likea slide show but it puts it to music and it animates it and makes it far more interesting to look at than your traditional PowerPoint slides. The other wonderful tool for telling stories and exploring verbal and visual literacy is Comic Life, and Comic life is a great tool. Kids love using this, it's very easy to make cartoon, comic stories like this, and build stories around the pictures. Really easy to use. Here's a blank page, simply choose a grid that you like and drag it onto the page* and over here in the images you find that image you want and drag it into the box, and there it goes, just like that. I might just readjust that a little bit, and your other one in here, drag another one in there, and you go through and you tell your story. Might like to drag a little speech bubble there and make them say something, like so. Really easy to use. A lot of fun. Great for telling stories. And while you've got all those lovely photos you've taken, what about taking a sequence of photos, left to right, overlapping slightly and turning them into a panorama? So you get like a wide angle photo. Really easy to do. A program like Calico on the Mac, or Autostitch on Windows, let me just show you how this works. If you just simply select the photos that you've taken that overlap, open them up and then hit the, in Calico's case, hit the Align button, it will go and figure out where the overlaps are and turn them into one long photogtaph. So here's an interesting idea, at least on the iPhone if you've got one of these, and it will probably become far more common on many more devices, but this is an augmented reality app, and I know it's going to really difficult for you to see that, but you point it at the artwork, and up on the screen pops up all the information about that artwork, and then you point it over at the other artwork, and you tap it and it tells you about that artwork. If we could maybe gets kids building those datasets, what a powerful school project that might be! One particularly useful tool you can use in all sorts of subject areas is Google Forms. So often students want to conduct a survey, they want to get opinions about something, they want to collect some data and then do something with it. Google Forms is a really simple way to do this. So, here for example is a few questions that have been designed up, and you can see if I click on any of these put that into edit mode you can see all sorts of options here, you get different types of choices, you can have text that people type in, or multiple choice or checkboxes or lists or scales or grids, there's all different question types, so you design up your questionnaire and then it displays like this once people start adding their data in so people fill in the form, and I should probably just show you the form, there it is that's what the form itself looks like, you can add these beautiful themes to it, make it all look kind of pretty,, but when people fill it in, it goes into this spreadsheet. So it's a really nice collection mechanism to get everything in one place. Once it's in one place, if you wanted to manipulate it somehow you can either do it in here, or you can in fact export that out as say and Excel or OpenOffice document, and then manipulate it in a standalone spreadsheet if you wanted to do that sort of thing. But it's a nice way of sort of collecting data and then analysing it, the analyse stage is actually helpful because there's also this form here called summary format, which, you can see,it will actually draw the graphs and create all the analysis of the data for you, so very very useful tool in a classroom situation. And just one thing I will mention before I go is that with the new Google Forms, so just recently been updated,it has conditional branching so very useful, Here for example, is an example of that. The first question says "Did you visit the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition?" If you say "yes" and continue, you get one set of questions for people who have attended, if I just step back and I said "no" to that question, you get a different set of questions. So you've now got conditional branching, so you can design some quite sophisticated survey forms. And while surveys are a great way to ask the outside world for their opinion, and their thoughts about what's going on in your classroom,you can also use tools like Skype to videoconference and bring people really into your classroom, to talk to the kids, to bring in experts on particular topics, or have them collaborate with schools in other areas.Skype's really easy to use and it really opens the window to the world and allows you to bring other people in and share in the learning Have a look at this example... <Hi Jeff it's Chris, how you doing?><I'm doing well, nice to see you again Chris!> <Good, mate have got just 5 seconds? I just need to ask your advice on something> <I', wondering if perhaps you could even come into my class and talk to my kids sometime next week?><Sure that would be great!><Awesome, that'd be fantastic!> So that's bringing the real world into the classroom, but what about taking the classroom into other places that maybe aren't so real? I'm wandering around the University of Western Australia's Art and Design Competition, they hold this every month and people come in here and design virtual sculptures. So I guess it's not unlike te concept of Sculpture by the Sea, and wandering around looking at real sculptures axcept these all exist in the virtual world. Now Second Life's not a fantastically safe place to bring kids, and I wouldn't do it, I don't think you're allowed to do it, but the Teen Grid is certainy somewhere where you could go, and there's also Quest Atlantis, and there's a number of other virtual worlds where kids cam go safely and what a great ideas to hold a virtual sculpture exhibition and get the kids to actually design some of these sculptures. Now, how do you do that? Well, I'm certainly not an expert at Second Life, but let me give you a quick example of how you might build something so we're going to flip over here to a different place... So here I am in the University of Western Australia's 3D Art and Design sandbox, this is just an area that they've set aside that they allow other people to make stuff in Normally to build in Second Life you need your own piece of land, but here you can just come and play on somebody else's. So, I'm going to rightclick on the ground here and say Create and this box pops up and you'll see it has all these little shapes here called Primitives or "Prims", and if I click on one of them, like I'll click this cube for example, then click on the ground over here, it will create a cube, and its got the red, green and blue arrows and they represent the 3 dimensions, so I can drag this shape around in 3 dimensional space, I can slide it along that axis, or slide it along that axis. I can do things like hold down the Shift key, and now when I drag it actually duplicates that shape. I can select more than one shape at a time by simply dragging a marquee across both objects, like so, and now if I was to do it again, holding down the Shift key and drag I will be creating multiple objects, so you can see that this is kind of the basis of starting to form a sculpture, if I hold down the option key, and zoom in on that, I can move around it from different angles, and you can see that's the basic idea. You create these shapes called primitives and then you can manipulate them, you can chop into them, stack them on top of each other, move them around, and just basically turn them into objects, and that's pretty much how everything in Second Life is built, but there's no reason that kids couldn't use this technique to build things like sculptures for example, or whatever else, so if you're doing a topic that lends itself to creating stuff, here's a way that I might use the virtual world to extend the sort of stuff I'm doing in the real world. Of course it doesn't have to be a sculpture exhibition, it can be any kind of exhibition you can use for this type of project. It could be outside of your school, if could be inside of your school. The point is that you've got this event were stuff is happening, you've got the ability now to capture that stuff and document it and pull it into you, and research it, use feeds, and push out creative content based on the sorts of stuff that's happening in your kids' real worlds.

Video Details

Duration: 23 minutes and 34 seconds
Year: 2009
Country: Australia
Language: English
Producer: Chris Betcher
Director: Chris Betcher
Views: 504
Posted by: k12online on Nov 29, 2009

This presentation explore a range of ideas that teachers could use to make a real-world task richer and more meaningful for their students. Using a large public art event as the focus, it looks at a number of ideas for enriching student learning with technology that could be modified and applied to nearly any context.

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