Monthly Archives: December 2006

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Some people have had difficulties in leaving comments on my blog lately so I thought I'd investigate. Tonight I wanted to respond to two comments left today so using a borrowed laptop from school, I posted the first comment without any problems, adding my details in the required fields. Then when I went to the second comment, I noticed that my blog was telling me I was already logged in with an option to change user. After the comment was rejected the first time, I thought I'd try the option. Clicking on that link however was useless, taking me to an Error page.

I figured that maybe the problem lies in how Firefox uses my Private Data. So after a bit of trial and error, I went to Tools, then Clear Private Data, ticked the Cookies and Cache options and then Clear Private Data Now button. I navigated back to the blog and success - the comment field boxes were clear ready to use.
Failing that, click Back, then copy your comment, dump it in an e-mail and I'll drop it in myself. E-mail address over in the right hand sidebar under Feeds & Links. Hope this helps.


I had a bit of a promo yesterday for the Edublog Awards and the blogs I'd submitted for nomination getting on the shortlists. I was really chuffed that writers I really value have been given some recognition - that part's much more important than who wins or loses. But there's an ironic twist to this little story...

I'm not a terribly organised person - my boss would call me a "gunna" - I'm gunna do this and I'm gonna do that. So, after sending the noms in on the late afternoon of the deadline, I resolved that I was "gunna" go and get my votes in while it was front and centre in my brain. Stephen is right - quite a few TechLearning K-12 nominations there but my choices were trying to highlight gems away from the mainstream. Off I went to the Official Website (sorry for the breach, D'Arcy) and started logging my votes via the handy Survey Monkey tool. I got down to the Best Teacher blog and clicked on the link to cast my vote for Doug and I noticed something weird. At the bottom of the list was my blog - what the ...? Something was up. At first, I thought it was one of those displaying the logged in name thing on a website which shows you how little I really know about technology anyway. Then I thought there's been a typo, Josie's inserted this accidentally while cut'n'pasting because I was one of the people who sent nominations in (my blog address was on the bottom of the e-mail) so I emailed her and said as much.

This afternoon after my Sunday morning golf round, I checked my e-mail and it turns there was a mistake. The mistake however was that someone (or someones) did actually nominate my blog but Josie had accidentally left it off the main page of the site. So now I'm feeling a bit strange - part of me wants to write here "Don't waste your vote, vote for Borderland" but that could be a bit insulting to those who did put my name forward. (And I can tell you it wasn't me - self promotion was something that hasn't been that successful in my life.) But another part is quite pleased to have the recognition - that's enough to leave me a happy little edublogger. And if you don't want to vote for this blog, at least fill out my little survey in the sidebar!


Adelaide's only daily newspaper, the Advertiser, has run a number of articles this week with an emphasis on the negative impact of social networking sites.
Dec. 4 - Kids keep online threats secret from parents
plus the Editorial.
Dec. 5 - Parents warned against child Net risks
What seemed to feature prominently was the apparent powerlessness of parents in being able to track their child's online activities. I'm pretty sure that there are a lot of teachers and politicians feeling pretty much the same way.

Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith, in an emailed statement to The Advertiser, said an anti-bullying coalition, formed in July last year between government, Catholic and independent schools, would meet in January to discuss a state campaign to alert parents about cyber bullying.

She said the Government released an information package on cyber bullying to schools in July, 2004.

Wow, that's really dealing with the here and now. The thing that probably amazed me the most was that cyber-bullying, vilification of teenagers and other technology enabled issues is only just getting some column space and mainstream media attention now. Sure the technology makes this sort of behaviour easier and more viral in nature but it worries me that blogs, social networking sites, SMS, video sharing sites and so on are being identified as the problem. It seems to infer the incredulous assumption that if you got rid of or clamped down on these web-based or mobile phone-based technologies, then all of the bullying, the anti-social behaviour, the risk-taking and the low self esteem will fade into irrelevance.

As my retiring deputy said to me, "I don't live in the same world as my students anymore. It's moving too fast for me to keep up. I can't relate to their experiences."

I would say that the majority of teachers fall into that category. Unless, they willingly go online and explore the web and become familiar with the students' tools of choice (as many edubloggers do) then how are they to teach strategies and offer advice to their students? If their online experience is restricted to the Allowed Categories of the filter, then how could they be familiar with Social Networking and all it can entail. Yet that's who parents turn to for solutions and who politicians saddle with the responsibility. Education, a slow moving conservative institution, is charged with keeping pace with the exponential changes and offer methods and strategies to help our students avoid the pitfalls and to deal with the consequences of online life.

While on the subject of online fear, the website (I won't dignify it with a link) got a run in the local rag as well.  I had to shake my head whilst in conversation with some other local school educators who basically said that they don't discuss anything like this in their classroom because they feared making the kids aware of a site like this would attract them to it. I think they are missing the point - the teachers will be the last to know, not the students! I actually wish that people wouldn't get so hot and bothered over sites like this that are nothing more an advertising fueled site that thrives on its own notoriety. I would hope that my next position in education isn't go to depend on a review from

Lastly, on the topic of local papers and very closely related to the topic at hand, my photo and thoughts featured in an article in the Independent Weekly out today titled "Web technology leaves SA schools behind". There's no link yet to the article but the reporter, David Sly, interviewed me by phone on where I think education is relation to Web 2.0 in this state. Mike Seyfang is also featured in the article and was responsible for pushing David my way for my views. Funny how there is still a buzz in seeing my own words and photo in a very old medium, the newspaper. 


I moaned about these awards last year but this year I thought that I'd shut up and nominate the sort of edublogs I think are deserving of recognition regardless of whether their readership is widespread or not. And because I nominated some close to home (i.e . Aussie and Kiwi blogs) I wasn't too confident that others would share my view and that the North American edublogosphere numbers would wash them away. But I was pleasantly wrong!

The ironic rub is that the familiar names I chose (and I'll get to who they are shortly) probably would prefer to avoid the spotlight and certainly aren't online for personal promotion. I wanted diversity of ideas and opinions to have a place in these awards - and also the fact that most of my nominations have commented on my blog, chatted with me on skype or selflessly pushed relevant resources my way without any strings attached means the wider world needs to read, be challenged and then vote for them.

So who popped up that I had personally nominated?

Best Group Blog

Digital Chalkie - a bunch of Western Australian educators podcasting and blogging offering an open forum space as an alternative to the locked down mailing lists and LMS based forums that seem to pass for e-learning educator portals. By the way, a chalkie is Australian slang for teacher, an image that is sadly not out of date.

Best Individual Blog

Alexander Hayes - it is no shock to anyone who reads here that I am a big fan of Alex Hayes and it is great to see his blog mentioned here amongst some of the big names of the edublogosphere. A Stephen Downes' description of one of Alex's posts sums him up well - authentic. He's a doer in a field of thinkers and speakers - no disrespect to the other nominees - and he challenges like no other person I have crossed paths on the web (with the exception of Leigh Blackall and my next nomination). A mLearning advocate of the highest degree, he is creative and impossible to pigeonhole. You need to put aside several hours and explore his blog and then branch off to his many other spaces on the web.

Best Newcomer

Artichoke - Arti is hardly a newcomer, the blog archives date back to 2004 but 2006 saw this gender-elusive NZ blogger's influence really spread. Everything posted is designed make the reader think, even though I'm convinced the writing is not designed with an audience in mind. And every post gathers a loyal band of commenters keen to put their twist on Arti's words. Go read - be enthralled or appalled.

Best Librarian Blog

HeyJude - fellow Aussie and library guru who is one the fastest learners that I've come across online. Deserves the recognition because Aussie teacher-librarians dabbling in Web 2.0 is a very rare thing.

Best Teacher Blog

Borderland - anyone who attracts DI trolls and phonics fanatics to his blog to dispute his musings and thoughts must be viewed as someone of influence to be countered. Doug writes of his failings as much as his triumphs and is the most honest edublogger in my Bloglines account (IMHO). He shouldn't be but is probably surprised by the attention.

Vote now.

One of the exciting initiatives we are implementing next year is getting laptops to all teachers so they can all plug in and use the ACTIVboards around the school, among other things. It will be really exciting to have a whole staff that can have that quality access to a laptop that the current IWB users currently enjoy. I know that I feel really lost without my laptop which is currently out of action with a new motherboard on back order, but that's another story! So I'm shopping via our usual suppliers for laptops that are good quality, have decent features and a 3 year warranty for this purpose and I'm getting frustrated. Why?

The title of this post is a hint - nearly every laptop on the market (particularly in the A$1200 - A$1500 range) is a widescreen model. That's a frustration because as soon as you hook up a widescreen model laptop to a data projector, things get complicated in terms having the projector output match the screen of the laptop. Earlier, this year, we purchased some great Acer Travelmate 4202 LMi's that were ideal for projector use as they had a 15" regular dimension screen. (1024 x 768 pixels)  Plug 'em in, turn 'em on and they were great. No messing around for the teacher and therefore more use within the classroom. But sadly, this is a discontinued model and  everything is WXGA or widescreen XGA or SXGA and it adds another layer of complexity for educators, some of whom have never taken ownership of a mobile computing device before. I had a play with my deputy's personal Toshiba widescreen  notebook to see if I could easily get common displays via screen and projector but either I'm not terribly bright or it's not possible. If I can't do it easily, what chance have our technologically challenged teachers got? I'm sure that the wider screen is driven by the DVD capabilities and maybe some of the newer games on the market but it is something that is proving hard to avoid.

I'll keep looking - but this is one initiative that is pretty exciting and poses the interesting question - what outcomes could be reasonably be expected in terms of student learning from this idea?

Photo credit:  Image: 'stillness'

I haven't been spending much time writing on this blog lately because I've been writing end of year reports (what a way to suck the time out of your weekend/s) and I've been tending to the garden of my oft-neglected specialist blog, Activboarding (Four posts since November 27).  I've long given up on the notion that it belongs to any sort of group; it's mine and although it doesn't do the same sort of tortured soul searching that goes on here occasionally, it does have some useful stuff. Especially if you are interested in Interactive Whiteboards. If you're not, then kindly ignore this post.