CHHS Maths Dept towards DER – Part 3 Waiting

Well since I wrote my initial posts a lot has changed.

However some things also haven’t changed. There is still a large element of fear (in my faculty and generally) of the introduction of laptops and the impact that this will have in our classrooms.  More often than not this fear is expressed as denial – “I’m not going to use laptops – they won’t help my teaching at all”, or as an excuse “I can’t start teaching with laptops until the department provides all teachers with one”.

While I agree that it certainly would be better if ALL staff had laptops before the students so as to facilitate skills acquisition and good will, it simply is not going to happen.  In fact Dianne Marshall explained the financial reasons at the North Coast ICT conference the other day – it is linked to the financial year spending of DET as the teacher laptops are funded through the state and not the Commonwealth DER project. As educators we NEVER have the perfect environment in which to perform our duties. Sure we should always aim for the best, but have to have coping mechanisms to deal with the actual reality. Simply refusing affects our students far more than attempting in less than perfect circumstances. – End of rant 🙂

The wireless install has been fraught with glitches. Some of the information that has been passed on to our network administrator and the Head of the ICT committee by the contractors is just wrong.  Thank you to the DET online communities and Tweeps for passing me the correct information. We needed to locate our new box approximately 20 metres from the Campus Distributor – and put in the adjustment paperwork prior to install. Conduit was run to enable the two boxes to be connected.  When the IBM guys turned up 3 weeks ago to hook them up, they only had the short leads, then proceeded to spend 3 hours arguing with the network administrator that the new box and the Campus distributor would communicate with each other wirelessly! Needless to say eventually they realised that this was not the case and left….. 3 weeks ago.

On a more positive note, like many schools CHHS had only 2 of 4 building distributors with optic fibre cabling, with one BD (that serves Maths & TAS) a run of over 110m of Cat 5.  However as part of our 7.5 million Capital Works Project the Maths faculty has just taken possession of 2 new classrooms – and the Cat 5 cable that supplied the BD was replaced with Optic Fibre! 🙂  I will post some pictures of our new classrooms later!

A lack of available LAN connections in our staff rooms means that the majority of T1 rollout users have not connected at school (only at home) and subsequently the copies of Windows are now past the 30 day trial – annoying but still functional. It will take considerable time before the teachers at my school are taking responsibility for their own PL in non-school hours, there is still a common opinion that this should all occur 9 – 3 and the amount of upskilling that is required WILL NOT be possible during these hours. I have already dedicated 1 Maths Faculty Meeting to the GeoGeBra introductory course.

But I do agree with Stu Hasic – DER NSW is an awesome accomplishment thus far and it has only just begun.

Twitter in 4 easy steps – creating a PLN

Step 1 – Join.

This doesn’t work at school – Twitter is blocked. You have to join at home. I will explain later how to tweet at school.

Go to http://twitter.com Join – create a username that identifies who you are. Make sure that your profile allows someone to get to know you a bit – e.g. Maths Educator with an interest in technology (or whatever). Don’t protect your tweets, or noone will know to follow you (counter productive for a social network)

Step 2 – Sign in.
Then find people to follow – a good place to start is to follow someone you know is already on Twitter. I am SimonBorgert there is another Maths Teacher SimonJob Once you started following a couple of people look at who they follow or reply to – it gives you other people to follow as well.

Step 3 – Start tweeting.

This is where you say what you are doing in 140 characters or less. BUT for educators this is more about the sharing E.g. “Just found this really cool website http://gooogle.com“. If someone tweets something that you like you can either favorite it – or retweet it (that is where it is rebroadcast to your network). Follow more people. The @SimonBorgert stuff is where someone is replying to a user. Start replying to people that you like what they are saying. Then they will start following you.

Step 4 – To tweet from school. If you already have an IGoogle page there is a Twitter Gadget. Otherwise goto http://tweetree.com/ and sign in with your username and password.

Some Useful Links

http://www.twitterforeducators.com/

http://onlinecollegedegree.org/2009/03/19/100-tips-apps-and-resources-for-teachers-on-twitter/

An interesting compelation of tweet about the DER with suggestions for teachers (back when it was called L4L) from @darcy1968 a DP on the South Coast
http://darcymoore.net/2009/05/31/the-best-of-l4l-advice/

This last link is from @lasic on twitter
http://www.scribd.com/doc/14062777/Twitter-Handbook-for-Teachers

I will put all of this on my blog http://simonborgert.edublogs.org

Enjoy happy tweeting!