Unit Seven, the final hurdle

The future of learning.

Where to from here??

Well I finally finished this course, and the last task wasn’t as difficult as I had assumed. Here is my Animoto reflection about my experiences.

Here is the link and hopefully it will embed here:

Make your own slideshow with music at Animoto.

I also created a screen cast on how to download YouTube videos if anyone is interested, just click here.

I had a wonderful time completing this course and it has been of great value to me in my role as the social media “Fat Controller” here at Sovereign Hill. The extra knowledge with Blog posting has been tremendously important, as well as the many new tools I have played with. Screencasting will be my new tool to help my colleagues with their ICT problems, as they can now pause and rewind my instructions. But that is just one example of my new skills and knowledge. More importantly I am now connected to a large group of like minded people who can help each other with any gaps in our knowledge. I expect my expertise in this field to grow exponentially over the next few years. Thank you VicPLN.


Unit six reflection: Citizenship

Online Citizenship

My views are similar for citizenship when offline or online. Don’t do or say anything that will embarrass me or anyone I know. Unfortunately in both worlds, I can make mistakes. Most people think these mistakes are worse online as you can never erase them. I think it’s the same for the offline (real) world as well. Someone always knows you stuffed up, and if one person knows your secret, anyone can know. Of course this problem is magnified in the digital universe, as secrets can be shared much quicker. I have discovered this with having two Twitter handles, a work and a personal, both controlled through Tweetdeck. In the early days I was unaware that tweets I made about sensitive issues (usually political), were being repeated through my work Twitter handle. Luckily with Twitter, news gets old real quick, so once I figured out the settings, my small mistakes disappeared. But I know they’re there.

As far as being a citizen online, I try to keep my profile pretty small. I don’t comment much on facebook, my privacy settings are screwed right down, so much so that it’s been a challenge I have set for students to actually find me. To date I am winning. Lately I have been a bit more relaxed and have shared some humorous stuff, but usually it’s just birthday notices etc. I don’t usually get involved in social movements, and am not convinced they make much of a difference. I observe a lot of political rubbish spouted over social media that doesn’t seem to amount to any real action. More ‘clicktivists’ that ‘activists’. I communicate with my adult children but through the inbox so we can talk privately, that’s about all the personal communication I do. At work I run our Twitter handle, blog and e-news, so I probably communicate more on a professional level than social. As a professional I try to keep it very business, as it not only reflects my professionalism, but the reputation of my colleagues. That is always in the back of my mind, and most of what I send out is vetted by the whole team before publishing.  E-mail is huge, and runs my life sometimes.

“Adult” children

Track down a person under 18 you say, “I’m bloody 50!” say I. My children and I communicate, usually when we want something from each other. Physical labour from them, or money from me. What I would say is that communicating online with your children is fraught with frightening possibilities. Yes it is the easiest way to communicate with them, but sometimes there is far too much information for a parent to be exposed to. Absolutely Terrifying stuff.

So as far as attitudes to privacy online, I have observed huge differences between my kids. There seems to be a huge difference between all of them (I have seven), and I can’t seem to formulate a theory on either gender or age as far as their attitudes go. Our oldest daughter is extremely (Yuck!) open about her life online, but the eldest boy is paranoid about his online profile. Our youngest daughter (21), lives her life online, but in a much more moderate way. We hardly see any embarrassing photos or comments from her, but she seems to communicate with all her friends through digital media. Our youngest son has a partner who shares her thoughts and photos of the Grandkids through facebook (we like that), but their private lives are private. Do they have separate personas? Not that I can see, it’s just that some of them are more careful about how much of their persona is shared online.

What platforms do they use? Their phones are always in their hands, facebook is used, instagram too. They all have computers at home, but I think the portability of the phone is making these obsolete, well for communicating anyway.

The effective learner


An effective learner, is someone who wants to know how the world works. Inquisitiveness is a crucial element in my mind if we want students to engage with their learning. This curiousness needs to be fostered by teachers, and hopefully encouraged in their classrooms. Students should be encouraged to explore aspects of their studies that interest them. Online sources are fantastic for this. The Hyperlinks on Wikipedia for example mean you can head off in completely unexpected directions. For example; while reading the latest Dan Brown novel, he comments that the four horses above St Marks Basilica in Venice, which were stolen from Constantinople, were also stolen by Napoleon and placed atop the Arc De

Arc de triomphe du carousel

Arc de triomphe du carousel

Triomphe. This confused me as I have visited Paris and was pretty sure the Arc De Triomphe was never completed by Napoleon. A quick visit to Google and Wikipedia confirmed that Napoleon never finished his monument, and then a search of the four horses of St Marks confirmed that they were placed on an Arc De Triomphe in Paris during Napoleons time??? Now I know there are two Arc De Triomphes, and I have seen both. One is in the Place Du Carousel (Completed by Napoleon), and one (The famous one), is at the end of the Champs Elysee. This I know because I spent some more time locating each one with Google Maps. I now have a new trivia question to annoy people with.


Arc de Triomphe du Etoile

Arc de Triomphe du Etoile

Now the above example didn’t need much determination, but I could have spent a lot longer researching the monuments if I didn’t get the answer to my question so quickly. The ease of researching online now has meant that we don’t persist as long as we sometime should. I could have stopped after confirming the big Arc De Triomphe wasn’t completed by Napoleon and therefore he couldn’t have topped it off with giant horse statues. This is where an effective learner goes the extra mile, sometimes fruitlessly, to gain a better understanding of the information thay have received.


With this determination, an effective learner can expand their knowledge. Maybe we don’t need to know there are two monuments in Paris with similar names, but the ability to grow our base knowledge can be a very handy tool to have. Memory fails us sometimes, but with software like Evernote and Dropbox we can keep that information compartmentalised, organised and available to us at a moment’s notice. Now we can expand our library of known facts to a greater degree than we could ever do in our minds, or am I only talking about me?


If you have no passion for any activity or subject, it is nearly impossible to be an effective learner. Inquisitiveness and determination will take you so far, but passion is required if the learner is truly immersed in a subject. Without this thirst or passion for learning, we will eventually lose interest and find something more to our liking to do.


These two go together a little bit, and we can probably throw determination in there too. I must say I have found this Unit one of the most difficult and it has taken all my resilience and determination to find a spark of passion which might ignite my inquisitive nature and lead to the growth of my knowledge and experience of this task.

Well there’s me, all wrapped up in a nut shell. (Help! Help! I’m stuck in a nutshell!) sorry about that 😛

Unit 5: Refine the web, evaluating search results & tagging.

Task 1

I decided to search for information about the Eureka rebellion, but thinking like a student who wants the easiest way to do it, I gave the search engines very little information.

Search term: Eureka

Google: If the student is watching the screen as they type, they will see options to go straight to the Eureka stockade or rebellion. If they type looking at the keyboard and hit enter before looking up, they’re on their own. In this case they will get this information:

Only one out of first six items are about Eureka rebellion, and that is Wikipedia. Then you finally get a link to a government site on history of Eureka.

Search term would seem good enough for people who don’t realise that there is a whole suburb of Ballarat called Eureka, and many businesses have Eureka in their names. Also an American television series called Eureka, which comes up as top search item.

Strangely enough, there was no mention of Archimedes and his “Eureka moment” until middle of page 2.

Duck Duck Go: Much better for younger/struggling students, it asks specific questions about what meaning you want for the search term. Then you can go to it, for example Historical. You then have the option of choosing which Historical meaning you want, and you can then navigate to the particular subject you are looking for. This gives a much better structure for guiding students in their searches. The privacy policy is nice, but I have no real problem with keeping my search history. In fact I think it makes life a little easier in the long run

Bing: I found this very similar to Google, in fact I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a challenge from either of them on copyright. It must be someone else’s idea. Bing has the same (similar) features to google, but you have to know how to use them. The same problem occurred when I typed in Eureka, it’s more likely to get you info on skydeck or a business than anything else you’re looking for.

InstaGrok: Hmmm, this one was totally useless for my search. It gave no options for any information outside the USA. I now know that Eureka is a town outside Sutters mill and the US television series. Continue reading

Unit 4: Assessing an online tool

History Pin

Ok, after much procrastination I tried a couple of online tools. The first one that took my eye was MyHistro, an online tool for creating timelines, which I assume would have been great… if it let me sign up. Very annoying, and if I don’t have the patience, I think my students wouldn’t have any more. So I tried History Pin. I would describe it as a cross between Pinterest, Google maps and any of the timeline tools. It allows you to pin media (Photos, Films etc) to points on a map and give them a date on a timeline. In this way, if you move the timeline, the image of whatever you have pinned to the map will appear when you move past the time you have given to the pin. It will also disappear if you move the timeline backwards to a date previous to the one you have used.

header for History Pin

header for History Pin

I was able to sign up for this service using my google plus account, which when I think about it means I didn’t get asked all those terms questions. That could come back to bite me one day. I only foresee a problem if personal information is placed on the map. For example, the address of a student.

I could use this to help students connect with their local community and it’s history. As you can see from my History Pin I have marked the

My Local Pub

My Local Pub

location of my local, so I always know where it is, and when it was opened. But students could use it to locate historical or significant buildings or locations in their community, and then encourage them to further research these items, so they can update the information for each pin. I think it could fit into the Redefinition level of the SAMR model, as you could use this to link into social media. The students could add links to blogs about their school/community and use it to compare with students from other communities.

As far as age restrictions go, I copied this straight from their terms and conditions:
Registered Users must be 16 or over, or if they are under 16, have their parent’s or guardian’s consent to use the Services.
Schools and other organisations responsible for children under the age of 16 using the Services, must either:
do so through an account registered by a teacher or other responsible adult who accepts responsibility for all actions or inactions undertaken by users in their name. In this instance, it is the school’s or organisation’s responsibility to obtain parental or guardian consent for such children at its discretion and where the school or organisation deems it appropriate; or
if children under the age of 16 are opening accounts in their own names, the school or organisation must ensure that the individuals comply with the obligations to obtain parent’s or guardian’s permission as set out in this clause.
So as long as the teacher keeps control of the blog and you have parental permission you should be able to use this site.
As far as privacy goes, the students and teacher should be careful about details put on the site as they will be open to all users of the site and probably the wider internet community too.

Unit 3 Networking

A reflection

I found this unit particularly interesting as I have recently taken over our twitter account. I have been Facebooking for about six years, as it was the best way to communicate with younger Uni colleagues. It was particularly handy for nailing down people to tasks, as they knew there was a paper trail that led back to them.

I found it difficult to use social media such as Facebook in my school teaching, as the attitude to these ideas was extremely negative. The bad publicity and hysteria generated by the media has been detrimental to school attitudes on this matter. It seems it’s ok to let the kids walk out of the school at the end of the day, and walk home, but god forbid we teach them how to handle themselves in an online environment. This attitude needs to change if we are to ever truly achieve the benefits that communicating with students and colleagues could bring.

Now that I am working in an environment that embraces social media and its possibilities, I have found that this is an extremely efficient way to share ideas and resources, which has benefited everyone in my team. I only scan Twitter about three times a day, but by utilising Tweetdeck I can quickly find all the posts that are relevant to my needs, such as #vicpln and mentions of Sovereign Hill. Although my boss seems to be sorry I added that particular column to his Tweetdeck page. You need to filter out some of the more random tweets and search for the ‘nuggets’ of wisdom hidden in between (sorry for the gratuitous gold mention).

I haven’t been following vicpln on Facebook for long enough to find it useful yet, and I still get the posts on Edmodo so that doesn’t worry me too much. But Facebook works in the same way as Twitter, it requires a mental filter, and sometimes a clean out if some of your ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ start to dribble too much, a bit like this reflection.

Sorry ’bout dat.

PLN 2013 face to face

We are playing around at SLV with the |PLN, so there might be some funny stuff here.

Here is a video that I am embedding.

Ok another one.

This wasn’t the only thing I learnt during the day, but it will probably be the one thing I will have to reign in after a week or so.

Ok thats enough Petey, big smacks if you don’t get back to work!

Household Arts of the 1850s: A personal experience part 3.

What a fantastic experience!!

Sovereign Hill Education Blog

The Woman of the Hill part 3.

Our intrepid volunteer, Jenni Fithall, has completed her three days and two nights living in one of the cottages at Sovereign Hill Outdoor Museum.  During her stay approximately 3800 visitors, including about 1500 school children  came to Sovereign Hill. Many of these visitors and children visited Jenni in her cottage, so apart from living as a woman of the 1850s, Jenni also had to contend with a multitude of questions, photo opportunities and a constant stream of people walking through her little two room cottage.

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