I had a very fruitful visit out to Derrimut Heath Primary School on Friday afternoon in south western Melbourne suburbia where I was lucky enough to meet one of the most passionate and switched on primary elearning advocates in Victoria, Georgina Pazzi. I was able to visit her school and talk interactive whiteboards, elearning pedagogy, digital school culture - she certainly demonstrated to me the power of effective vision and planning in getting a primary school embedding technology into their everyday learning. When I arrived, brand new iMacs were being rolled put across the school and for me, it was a real insight to see how another coordinator was managing the change process. Another bonus was the fact Georgina, along with Lauren O'Grady, was a consultant to the Victorian education department in their appraisal of their IWB school trials and had some unique insights to add to our experiences back here at my school. Thanks, Georgina - it was extremely valuable to be your guest for the afternoon.
Back at school, I was all lined up then to deliver Workshop No.2 in our series on Interactive Whiteboard use at our school. These workshops were designed to manage the number of requests from schools wanting to "have a look" at our IWB program. As my boss pointed out to today's attendees, we are not presenting ourselves as experts but our experiences in introducing this relatively new technology (by Australian standards) still might be valuable for others contemplating the possibilities. I read today that Brett Moller attended the recent IWB conference on the Gold Coast and still remains unconvinced by the technology. While I should head over and make a more pointed response over in the comments on his blog, I wonder what he would have made of my presentation which was an expanded version of my CEGSA workshop iwb 2.0. Now I know how some people feel about those who just chuck 2.0 on the end of something and proclaim it as new and groundbreaking - but as I was exploring the combination of the Interactive Whiteboard and Web 2.0, I couldn't think of a neater way to tie the whole idea together. So today, I led a group of about twenty educators through useful tools and sites that harnessed the power of reasd/write but possessed qualities suitable for whole class or small group situations and on the large display of the IWB. I tried to also look at the interactivity angle and it could be argued that much of what I covered could be easily leveraged using a data projector on its own. As Al Upton said to me at CEGSA, the iwb 2.0 concept is quite subversive, get the people in under the guise of IWB and then hit 'em with the Web 2 stuff. And as James said in his keynote on Thursday that as well as it being about learning, it is just as much about the tools as well. The tools enable us to do things in new and innovative ways.
I started by exploring del.icio.us - still the best entry point for any educator keen to dip their toes in the Web 2.0 pool, in my opinion. The networking, the "looking over the shoulder" of others, easy access to the ever increasing digital options for educators all seemed to appeal to today's participants. I worked through photosharing, visual search engines, online applications and visual literacy possibilities - all here on a handy pdf if you're interested. The hard part is building in some interaction and hands on opportunity for adults when there is only the one IWB in the room. If we had our planned wireless up and running and our new laptops ready, then I could have had teachers setting up, tagging and saving and playing as we went.
Yes, Brett, if you're reading, I realise my prior two sentences sort of prove your point.
But, the IWB is a useful tool where more useful tools can be accessed and used for the purpose of learning.