Global Teacher - WEB 3.0 Community and Research Project

Archive for the 'Jess McCulloch' Category


My Other Me

Posted by Jess on 9th June 2008

Second Life is a virtual world. You download the software to your lap top and then you can enter this world. When you do, your avatar represents you. An avatar is a digital representation of yourself. When you select this avatar you have to give it a name. I named my avatar Mazarine Rhode. I have just spent an hour or so changing Mazarine’s look from this:

to this:

Of course she looks nothing like me (I have blonde hair and wear red glasses!) but that’s part of the fun of it. You can change all sorts of details of your avatar - the size and shape of any body part, how far or narrow set the eyes are, skin colour, freckles, height, weight etc. I must prefer Mazarine’s new look! I hadn’t spent much time playing around with appearance until now. Now I’m ready to party!

A few weeks ago I went into Second Life with a few other teachers from the OZ/NZ Educators network. It was a session for newbies like me. We spent the time on the island of Jokaydia. I took a quick video so you can see a very little bit of what Second Life looks like - in an art gallery! I recorded this with SMART Recorder and the quality isn’t great, but it will give you a bit of an idea if you are interested!

I never thought I’d be really interested in this sort of thing. I’m not into computer games at all, and so I didn’t think I’d like it. But, it’s great fun, and there is heaps of potential for education and business! People are making real money in Second Life doing all sorts of things. Lots of conferences on all themes are held in Second Life. Just search ’second life conferences’ in Google and there will be a whole bunch listed.

I am hoping to spend some more time in SL and start thinking about using virtual worlds for language learning. I’m a member of the Second Classroom Ning, a social network for educators interested in students using virtual worlds. I’ll keep you updated…

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Posted in Avatars, Jess McCulloch | 1 Comment »

The ePlanks Podcast - on a cyberwave near you!

Posted by Jess on 18th May 2008

This is a cross-post with technoLOTEapril 21 001

The ePlanks podcast is up and running! We have 4 episodes all ready to go for your listening pleasure. ePlanks is a project that I (Jess McCulloch) am working on with Anne Mirtschin. We are trying to lay the ePlanks of the virtual classroom and a Web 2.0 school. We’ve been a bit busy lately with my little iPod and it’s voice recorder -which has become my favourite piece of technology lately!

Episode 1 - We talk to Virginia as she begins her journey as a blogger. We ask her what she thinks of the whole Web 2.0 thing. She’s feeling a bit left behind, but that’s ok - never fear, Jess and Anne are here!

Episode 2 - We found Sandy Phillips from the Victorian Department of Education’s Education Channel and so we sat her down and asked her how Global Teacher got started, which is the blogging campus we have set up many of our students and teachers with for their blogs.

Episode 3 - We (myself, Anne and our greatly treasured librarian, Faye) had a little chat amongst ourselves in the car about blogging as we drove back to Hawkesdale from Melbourne. melbtohdalemap2

We chatted about how we started, some fears and just jumping in and trying it.

Episode 4 - As part of our ePlanks project, Anne and I decided to go and visit Coburg Senior High School, who are not just talking the talk of a 21st century school, but also walking the walk. You will have to listen in for more details of this pretty amazing school.

We are planning many more episodes for ePlanks, so keep an ear open - we are on the cyberwaves!

Click on the player here to listen to our episodes, go straight to our podomatic site, or you can subscribe through iTunes.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Blogging, Jess McCulloch, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Laying the ePlanks of a Web 2.0 School

Posted by Jess on 17th May 2008

This is a cross-post with technoLOTE

eplankssmall Anne Mirtschin and I were lucky enough to this year be granted Teacher Professional Leave to develop a project we have called ‘ePlanks - Laying the Foundations of a Web 2.0 School.’ Our aim with this project is to get as many staff using various Web 2.0 tools (such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks and social bookmarking sites) as possible to extend their teaching in a way that suits them.

We have outlined several stages that we think would be important when encouraging staff to jump into the Web 2.0 world. Our eplanks are:

Plank 1 - Understanding what the Web 2.0 World is / means and why you would use it
Plank 2 - CyberSafety
Plank 3 - Digital Media and Copyright
Plank 4 - Creating Your Own Online Space / Creating Online Student Spaces - Blogs and Wikis
Plank 5 - Adding Your Voice / Adding Student Voices- Podcasting
Plank 6 - Joining Networks and Making Connections
Plank 7 - No Walls on this Classroom - mLearning

Plank 8 - Keeping the Learning Going - Web 2.0 PD for Busy Teachers

You can find more details about these steps on the ePlanks wiki.

As part of this project we went to see Will Richardson speak at the SLAV conference on Monday 12th May. Will is a world-renowned leader in the field of Web 2.0 in schools and it was great to hear him speak. The main message I took away from his session was that Web 2.0 is not about the tools, it is about the powerful connections that can be made with those tools. These connections then lead to really powerful learning experiences for our students. These connections can make it possible for you to bring someone into your classroom who knows more about what you are trying to teach than you do - whoever they are and whatever age they are. Comments left on a blog can lead to further conversation and the discovery of more information about what you are trying to teach for example.

Here are the points Anne noted from what Will Richardson said:

  • Students have so many different ways of connecting and learning outside school
  • The more we block (online websites), the less safe we leave our kids
  • We can be so ’scared’ that we do not allow them to do anything.
  • Schools need to prepare students to be ‘googled’ and ‘googled well’
  • Social networking is not all bad. It can be extremely positive. Meg Cabot is a good role model for a fine example of use of myspace.
  • Clarence Fisher does not moderate but teaches students what to do in particular contexts.
  • Students need to learn on demand - they will not be trained or retrained once out in the workforce but they will need to do it independently
  • It is important that we teach students how to use and create hypertexted environments.
  • Students need to build connections to links and need to be  ‘findable’ in order to collaborate
  • Connection is the real power - it gives an authentic audience. Students need to connect with people in many different ways.
  • Need to change personal learning practise and prepare them for the future.
  • Teachers are more important than ever before -
  • Students need teachers as
  • role models
  • for guidance
  • support
  • wisdom
  • their personal experience

    These are all really important points for us to remember as we progress with our project. I especially like that it has been pointed out that teachers are more important than ever before. Hopefully this will motivate some teachers to take a few more risks and at least get up to their knees in the river/ocean that is the world of Web 2.0.

    Look out for plenty more posts about laying the ePlanks - and the ePlanks podcast!

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  • Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Jess McCulloch, Web 2.0 | No Comments »

    Borrowing Children’s Voices

    Posted by Jess on 28th February 2008

    As part of the Voices of the World project run by Sharon Tonner in Scotland, we have to complete a different task every month that focuses on using the kids voices. This month I got Grade 2/3 to lend me their voices to say numbers in English and Chinese. Here is the result:

    I got all the kids to write a number and decorate it. I then took photos of their fabulous artwork. While they were working, I took my iPod with it’s voice recorder attached around the room and got each student to say a number in English or Chinese. I put it all together in Photostory 3, which is a free download from the internet. I had to adjust the timing of the images so that it matched up with the audio which took a bit of fiddling, but that was all.

    To see numbers presentations from other classes around the world, go to the Voices of the World wiki and click on February’s Task.

    Posted in Chinese, Global Projects, Jess McCulloch | 3 Comments »