Monthly Archives: June 2011

Exciting times!

At the end of a school term when things are usually winding down and slowing up, I find myself busier than ever, in the throes of two wonderful projects!

Firstly – the awesome, amazing and all-consuming iPad! This week our Grade 6 teachers took delivery of their iPads and this marked the beginning of our official iPad Project.  We are now faced with the intricate and interesting task of mapping our curriculum to the amazing array of applications (apps) available from the Apple App Store.  We have a huge task ahead of us, but having already done a little of the leg work myself, I have found that it is fun and most definitely addictive!  Once you start, it’s very difficult to stop.  There is so much available, one could work on it for days on end.  However, since we are a team of 7 who will be working on this, each looking at a different learning area, it will be a lot easier and as the saying goes: “Many hands make light work!”  Our first planning session is scheduled for next week.

Secondly, after a great meeting with Arthur Preston (co-creator of the EdTechConf mentioned in an earlier post) yesterday afternoon, it can now be confirmed that our school will be hosting a conference of our own, under the EdTechConf umbrella!  We are so excited about this new partnership and the fact that we will be hosting our own conference.  We have bought totally into the grass-roots concept of the EdTechConf, conceived by Arthur Preston and Tim Keller, and hope to add our own unique spin.  The dates will be announced shortly, once a few minor matters are confirmed.

So, added to the fact that I will also be attending the ICT in the Classroom Conference in Johannesburg in the first week of the holidays, as well as an Apple workshop in the second week of the holidays, my plate is pretty full at the moment.   Am I complaining?  Not a chance!

Update – the long awaited iPad has arrived!

Not long after my previous post, I got a call from my boss.  “Come to my office – I have something for you.”  I just knew it was my iPad, so I bustled over to her office (this involved a 2 minute drive by car, as we are on different campuses), and took delivery of my beautiful “baby”!

Only thing is, you can’t do anything with an iPad before setting up an iTunes account and downloading some apps, so guess what I’ll be doing this afternoon? BIG GRIN!! 😀

iPad-mania strikes!

I am patiently (okay, maybe not so patiently) waiting for my iPad 2 to arrive!  It is on order because apparently the 3G/wi-fi version is as scarce as chicken’s teeth in South Africa, and as luck would have it, that’s the one I want.  So, I just have to hurry up and wait for it to arrive… ho-hum… twiddling my thumbs!!

In the mean time, I am trying to read as much as possible about these beautiful devices.  I am totally new to Apple products, have never used a Mac and so I am totally clueless in this department.  This, however, does not mean that I am not excited about the imminent arrival of my device and what it holds in store for me – and the children at my school.  We are hoping to run an iPad trial in the very near future.  There are many hurdles and obstacles in our way, the main one being the financial implications of such a venture, but I am adamant that when we do, my lack of Apple/Mac product knowledge will no longer be an impediment!  So, in order to learn, I am following blogs and reading up on all things iPad and as I go along, I am creating a list of useful links to share with anyone who reads my blog. (I’ve also convinced my husband to let me use his cell phone upgrade and now I’m investigating the iPhone 4!)

See my growing list of iPad links here.

Here is a close-up of the beauty that is  iPad 2:

One is NEVER too old to learn

In the past few weeks I have learnt more than I am sure I learnt in my four years of college – way back when!  When I took on the task of finding a class overseas to collaborate with, I certainly did not have the faintest idea of what it would mean for me.  It has been the steepest learning curve I have ever experienced, and I have to be honest and add that I felt some trepidation at times, but boy, have I loved every minute of it!

I’ve learnt how to Skype – and all the ramifications that go with projecting the session onto a screen for all to see (setting up the webcam, data projector, sound tests, speakers etc.), I’ve learnt how to create a Posterous blog for all the project photos, and I’ve learnt how to add things to the project wiki that I was not sure of before.  Today I discovered a website with clocks to show the different time zones.  I’ve embedded them into the wiki and the Posterous blog and they look really smart!

Just shows, you are never too old to learn.  I am a life-long learner and I am definitely enjoying my learning more now than when I was at school, so it is my mission to expose the children here at my school to as many new experiences as possible – and technology is just the way to do that!

 

This week the world seemed a little smaller!

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, we crossed the miles between Cape Town, South Africa and Michigan, USA, with ease.  By using Skype our Grade 6’s communicated with new-found 6th Grade friends from Madison Middle School in Adrian, Michigan.  In two Skype sessions, we connected and chatted, comparing our different schools and asked questions about life in America vs. life in South Africa.  Our children asked the most interesting questions and got to answer questions from the other side of the Atlantic too.  Their children were very interested in our school uniforms and they asked us whether we liked them and felt comfortable in them.  They were particularly interested in the shoes we wear to school! This is learning in real time and surely how our children should be learning in the 21st Century? 

What fun it was – and somehow the world did not seem to be such a big place after all!

      

Look here for updates on our Skype Project!

I’ve created a Posterous blog just for this project – take a look here: http://kstadler.posterous.com/

We’re Skyping with the 6th Graders from Madison Middle School in Michigan!

Exciting things are happening in our lab this week! As the title explains, we will be Skyping with 6th Graders from Madison Middle School on Wednesday and Thursday this week.  We are excited about this because it will be the first time we have Skyped with anyone!  This wonderful event is a direct spin-off of our Grade 6 Stories project, as the 6th Grade Social Studies teacher from Madison Middle School, Jill Brandeberry, found our stories Wiki and contacted me with the idea of doing a small project together.  Due to the timing – end of the school year in the US and assessment time on our end, we have just done a very small project together, in the hope that we can build on our new-found friendships in the future!

What we are busy with is a comparison of our schools and Grade 6 in our respective countries.  We have a wiki going in which we are placing all our information as well as questions which we will try to address during our Skype sessions.  Please take a look at our Wiki – Let Us Compare!

Keep watching this space for more updates!

We’re Skyping with Madison Middle School in Michigan!

Exciting things are happening in our lab this week! As the title explains, we will be Skyping with 6th Graders from Madison Middle School on Wednesday and Thursday this coming week.  We are excited about this because it will be the first time we have Skyped with anyone!  This wonderful event is a direct spin-off of our Grade 6 Stories project, as the 6th Grade Social Studies teacher from Madison Middle School, Jill Brandeberry, found our stories Wiki and contacted me with the idea of doing a small project together.  Due to the timing – end of the school year in the US and assessment time on our end, we have just done a very small project together, in the hope that we can build on our new-found friendships in the future!

What we are busy with is a comparison of our schools and Grade 6 in our respective countries.  We have a wiki going in which we are placing all our information as well as questions which we will try to address during our Skype sessions.  Please take a look at our Wiki – Let Us Compare!

Keep watching this space for more updates!