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Tony Cruttenden

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    I am currently Director of ICT at Melbourne Girls Grammar. All our girls from Year 5 upwards have their own notebook computer which they can connect to our network from every classroom in the school (we got rid of the last "lab" two years ago). All the machines used by the girls are PIII or faster. and we partner with Toshiba and Fujitsu. We run Novell 6.1, have 18 nodes and can connect a maximum of 1500 users at one time. We have a 10Mbs internet connection. <br><br>My current projects for 2004 are: to overhaul our website which if you check it out I'm sure you will agree needs it! Secondly to set up a portal - I have the hardware and will be setting up a pilot with the Novell software around mid year. Thirdly we are constructing a Science Futures Centre and I am project managing the IT and Comms infrastructure.<br><br>I'm sure you are aware that it was in Melbourne that the whole "laptop" thing started. This is the third major independent school in Melbourne in which I have directed learning technology programmes. In 1999/2000- I took some time out to set up the learning technology programme at the International School of Toulouse which is where I met Richard Jones-Nerzic and also John Simkin who are regular contributers to this Forum.<br><br>If anyone wants to ask anything about notebook computers, constructionist learning theory, network design in schools, school portals, professional development please drop me an email. <br><br>

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  1. I think we need three categories. One for greatest lyrics, one for greatest score and one for the people who write both. It is interesting that most of the people you list were in fact partnerships. My nominations would include:Simon & Garfunkel, The Bee Gees, Phil Collins, Mark Knoffler and Pink Floyd. Just to be different!
  2. Richard Jones-Nerzic toting a Colt .45! That is only slightly less scary than when you tote a Telecaster. But if that is a Confederate uniform Richard shouldn't you have had a .44 to be hysterically accurate?
  3. Well, at least my comments seem to have livened up the debate on this theme. Yes, I teach in a technology rich school, but only after years of frustration in the state system of seeing what was possible but never being given the opportunity to achieve it. I backed my belief in the power of learning technology as the way of the future, by putting my career on the line and going out and competing for jobs in private enterprise. It was the independent schools who were the pioneers in learning technology and who drove things forward in those early days. We took the risks, and they were very big risks when the future of your job and the future of the school depends on it. Ten years on we have created such a ground swell that our State Labour Govt can no longer ignore it. In 2004 the Govt provided notebooks for teachers and there are several State Secondary Schools that have notebook programmes. I doubt very much that if our independent schools had not driven this initiative so successfully the Govt would have poured the funds into ICT in State education that it has. Our model has had a significant influence around the world. The Governor of Maine has just given every upper primary student a Mac Powerbook (I think it was 40,000 units). I was quite serious when I said that you have to change the curriculum, I do understand the constraints of the UK National Curriculum. In my view it is the very opposite of what is required for the successful use of learning technology in a constructionist environment because it actually prevents the technology being used to its full potential. So until the curriculum is fixed the Govt is just wasting time pouring money into ICT in schools. Software does not deliver content very effectively, it is in applied processes that it excels as a learning tool. The points raised by Maggie are all the same as I heard when conducting workshops in London last January. In NSW where they have similar curriculum restraints to the UK, ICT in schools has not taken off either. However, in Victoria, Queensland and WA where there is a very school based curriculum design, that is where learning technology is flourishing. I hope at least the UK can move to an IB style of curriculum in the not too distant future as it offers far more flexibility for the use of learning technology (refer to the International School of Toulouse for examples). We have also had an impact on the shape of the curriculum and the review that has just taken place. Our new curriculum is moving away from content towards processing and problem solving, it will mandate time for in-depth studies and learning for understanding and give schools even more say in customising programmes for the needs of their particular clients within the Standards Framework. All of which is most exciting for schools who espouse the constructionist use of learning technology. I don’t know if this forum is really the place to provide the type of advice Brinn is looking for but I’ll give a few examples. Firstly, none of us have enough time which is why we use “just in time learning” for our staff and our students. As Graham rightly says we don’t send people on courses because they are a waste of time and money. What we do is to use that money to employ our own in-house ICT Curriculum people. These are not IT specialists. They are a new breed of educational professional who are going to be in great demand in the next few years. They work one to one with classroom teachers in designing the ICT scaffolding for their units of work right across the curriculum. They can team teach with the subject teacher, or they can just be there in the class to make sure everything works. All our staff with expertise in certain areas of software are acknowledged and are encouraged to share it with others, usually one to one at lunch times or after school or in so called spare periods. Most of this happens within faculties. We do not have any what I would call IT Specialist and I agree with Graham that these are the last people to turn to for help in most instances. This is deliberate policy as we totally integrate ICT through the curriculum. I think Brinn said he was a English teacher so I’ll give a couple of examples of how I have set up my ICT courses in this respect with the English Dept. Firstly I read all the curriculum documentation for every subject. I meet with the Heads of Dept to discuss their ICT focus in their courses for the semester, and only then do I design my ICT courses. In Year 9 English this year the students study advertising and TV Commercials, so in my Year 9 Multi-Media Studies we relate everything to actually constructing a TV Commercial. So the kids write their scripts, storyboard the project, act and direct. They shoot the footage on Sony miniDV cameras, learn about sound engineering and lighting. They load the footage into their notebooks through the USB connection and edit it using Ulead Media Studio 7, into a coherent finished product, adding voice overs and backing music as required. Meantime the “English” content is looked after by the English teacher who does not need to know movie making software etc because the kids very quickly become the experts to which the teacher can refer if need be. Also I rarely do any direct teaching, just a bit at the start to get them going and then it is all individual help as required because they are all doing their own thing at their own speed. In the coming semester the Yr 10 English classes are focussing on Poetry. So my web design course is focusing on constructing pages in Dreamweaver MX for publishing poetry. There will be text and images but also .wav files of poetry reading and mpeg video clips of interviews with local poets. Thus the ICT team supports all subjects across the curriculum and the focus is on learning not on ICT. Projects like these more than satisfy any boxes that have to be ticked re ICT skills. I know some people will say you can only do this because of the technology you have available to the students, but anyone with access to a PC can adopt a similar approach but on a lesser scale in any classroom, it is the approach to using the technology that is important, not the technology. If anyone would like to further discuss this approach with me I think via email would be the way to go. There is also a possibility that I will be in the UK for BETT2005 and to take some more workshops in schools. But now I need some sleep as I have to get up at 4am to watch Euro 2004 live and Wimbledon is live all night as well so everyone will be totally wrecked for the next 2 weeks!
  4. Step one - get a curriculum that is process based rather than content based Step two - give every student a notebook computer Step three - put open ended, constructionist software on every computer (refer to Seymour Papert at MIT), an example of this software is MicroWorlds, Reasonable, Inspiration, Textease, Cabri, Paint Shop Pro, Media Studio and Dreamweaver (all our kids have all these on their notebooks). You will note that none of these are Microsoft products!!! Step four - change the way you teach - adopt a constructionist pedagogy appropriate to the technology, the software and the curriculum. The benefits are that you will soon have students who can: analyse, discuss, model, hypothesise, criticise, design, research, measure, synthesise, compose, construct, test, use software as a thinking tool, who are problem solvers and for whom using technology is a natural life skill. How to achieve this? Migrate to Melbourne, Australia.
  5. As someone who has been using on-line reporting since 1996 I firmly believe it has considerable benefits for overworked time constrained teachers. There are many versions commercially available so my advice is not to spend time writing another one. They only really become cost effective when your school has a secure portal that allows teachers to post reports from the comfort of their own homes. Teachers do not like staying back at school late at night entering reports onto the school network If you feel you must develop this tool then here are a couple of things I have found useful. To make on-line comment banks really precise for each student they have to be very extensive and then teachers waste so much time in selecting the most appropriate ones it would have been quicker to write it themselves. I have my own comment bank developed over a number of years and to my own classification and tailored to the 400 characters allowed so I just copy and paste it into the box on the php page and its done. Set it up to add the names from the class lists automatically and get it to check the gender so it changes all the he/she automatically. Cheers Tony
  6. Well Matt, I note you have not responded to my last post. So was it too easy or too hard for your ambitious bunch of scholars?
  7. Easy Try this site: http://immigration.museum.vic.gov.au/educa...c=yes&ID=560046
  8. Hi David I'm glad to hear things are going really well in the D&T Dept at IST. You just need to do two things to improve it: 1. Get rid of those Macs and get some real computers. 2. Do something about that beard! Seriously I need to source some research on girls and D&T. Can you point me in the right direction? Goodonya Mate. Keep up the good work.
  9. Its the quality of what people have to contribute that matters not gender. There are gender differences in the way technology is studies and employed. I have taught in co-ed, all boys and currently in an all girls school. Girls do have different learning styles to boys. Great! It makes the world of teaching so much more interesting and challenging. Girls particularly have to see the relevance to them in the technology to really become enthused about it - hence the popularity of chat lines. There is an issue with falling female numbers in the ICT professions. In Australia there is a participation rate of 27% for females. With the way the industry is performing at the moment maybe the females are the smart ones for getting out! Back in 2002 I helped arrange the Keynote Speaker for the "Alliance of Girl's Schools" Conference. Here is the link to Gary Stager's paper: http://www.stager.org/articles/girlsandtechnology.html I think you will find it quite provocative. It takes you to Gary's own site where you will find a huge amount of learning technology related material on many topics. So if you have not heard of Gary Stager .............its time you did. Plus it has a lot of really cool curriculum ideas for Micro Worlds software - all our girls have this programme on their notebook computers and they love it! In the interests of brevity and to show that I do take on board what females post on this topic I shall now shut-up.
  10. There is no doubt Graham, that as you rightly indicate the Uni of Melb has some very interesting initiatives and they are well worth exploring. My schools sends a large cohort of students there each year and we have a close relationship with the university. An increasing amount of e-learning is taking place in the undergraduate courses, and that to me is the paradox. Our students experience a technologically rich learning environment through their secondary education and can then learn in the environment you describe as an undergraduate, but to make the succesful transfer between these environments they still must complete hand written assessment. This provides the only excuse some teachers, who resist the use of learning technologies, need in order to justify their position.
  11. David Faure's comments on the situation in secondary education are absolutely spot on. Like David I teach every day in a technology rich environment. Every teacher has a notebook provided free by the school. Every student from Year 5 up has their own notebook computer. I have a ratio of 2 network connections per student. We have a huge programme of professional development for which the Principal makes ample funding and time available. I employ an in-house learning technology consultant to work with the teachers in planning programmes and lessons and to provide in-class support when required. Every notebook computer has over 30 software applications on board most of which are carefully selected for their open ended constructionist design. Our network is totally reliable and fast, our internet connection is 10Mbs, the in-house tech support is provided by a team of 5 who cover from 8am to 6pm weekdays. Our turn around for notebooks is out by 4pm and returned by 9am next day and is running a 100% record for more than a year now. We have dozens of projectors, scanners, digital cameras and digital video cameras. Our curriculum is very flexible and allows for a lot of school based and teacher based autonomy and does not suffer the constraints felt by teachers in other countries which clearly limit the total integration of ICT across the curriculum. My point in mentioning this is to illustrate that every possible excuse/reason/impediment that could be laid at the door of a school for a teacher not to embrace learning technologies has been removed. Now, can I ask you to guess the most frequent reason given for not using this wealth of technological riches to enhance learning? Yes, you guessed it............... they refuse to use the technology because they have to teach their students to handwrite essays/answers because the university entrance exams demand it. In my view the universities need to take a good look at what schools are doing and start supporting schools in the use of learning technologies not making it harder for them. Schools have invested too much in terms of money and time to allow the universities to cling to 19th Century modes of assessment. Changing assessment to provide the option for students to be assessed in the genre in which they have been learning - or is their preferred style, would be a very good start. Issues like security and plagiarism are not obstacles, there are management and technical solutions available. Another suggestion would be to include some learning technology pedagogy in teacher education courses as a compulsory element. It is very hard to find NQTs with the skills needed to teach in a notebook computer classroom. Recently I had a very disturbing illustration of a student teacher being marked down by their supervisor on a lesson they took in a notebook computer class. Clearly the university supervisor had not the slightest idea about the pedagogy of the notebook classroom or constructionist techniques which the student employed most successfully. So, come on Unis, get with the programme. Those of us in schools need you to help us drive this change.
  12. Hi Jonsey To give you an idea for my 10Mbs connection we pay 5cents Australian per gig download (no upload fee at all) for the first 120gig per month and then 4c per gig thereafter. We can have about 1000 users on line concurrently and have never exceeded this 120/month (well only once, till we blocked mp3 downloads, instant popularity!!!) You need to watch the holidays when usage is minimal as we pay for the 120 used or not, so for 3 months of the year we pay for 360gig we don't use!!!! For this reason and because our use is expanding I am negotiating an unlimited download per month at 4cents/gig Good luck with France Telecom 1A$ = 0.60Euros Cheers Tony
  13. Oh dear me, a discussion on electronic whiteboards. Have we not been here before - with the abacus, the slide rule, the mechanical calculator - oh and don't forget those "teaching machines" circa 1967 with their rolls of paper, the programmable calculator, nay the PC and even, dare I say the laptop computer! I will try anything that will be of benefit the learning of the kids in my class. If teachers want to totally ignore the preferred learning styles of the majority of the kids in their classes and stay with chalk and talk they will make themselves unemployable in a very short time from now. Some people just are not going to change because it threatens their power base in the school to do so - its not about technology, its not about pedagogy, its not about time or inset - its about power politics in the school. I note that at least one other person has heard of Mimio Boards - if you have bought anything else then I'm sorry but you have been conned by the sales rep again! You have to check them out before you throw any more money away. Yes it's time to move on from PowerPoint, which is just one more example of how we have let ourselves as educators be conned into using a product (along with most of the MS Office suite) that was designed for the business community not for education. Sure, as we teachers are a resourceful bunch we have adapted it - very innovatively in many cases. Instead get your kids to make digital video clips with imovie, movie maker, or any of a dozen cheap programmes - even Real Player files made interactively with Mimio Board software and put these on your school intranet/portal.
  14. G'day Nick I have used a variety of leasing options over the last 10 years to resource notebook programmes. I have leased large - about a million quids worth at the moment (900 machines for staff and students in Melbourne) to medium scale, about 250 machines for staff and students, and quite recently have helped arrange a small programme of about 70 machines just for staff at a school in Surrey, England. I have arranged leases under British, French and Australian financial systems. One thing is for sure you need to do a lot of careful research and depending on the economic climate (the cost of money to your school as well) you may be better of buying them and onselling them at the end of your life cycle - although that can cost you money as you don't know what the economic climate will be in three years time so be wary of this. I would recommend you go through a major supplier and reseller who has a variety of finance companies you can talk to. You should roll everything you can into a three year operational lease which should include hand back at the end of the programme. Get them to specify in writing what constitutes fair wear and tear (Toshiba will do this for you) The Computer The Bag A three year extended warranty (hence the three year operational lease) Three years insurance (with specified excess payments) Delivery and on-site training The level of service that you require ( my broken machines are picked up by courier from school at 4pm and returned fixed by 9am the next morning - I know this will be hard to do in the UK as I have just tried to negotiate this unsuccessfuly with Toshiba UK for the school I am advising - the best Tosh could do was a 5 day turn around - which in my view is totally unacceptable and they need to get their act together) So, ask for a pool of spare machines say 3, on an order of 40, to be held at the school I also get training for my own technicians thrown in and look at the other value added stuff they have to offer. Tosh and Fujitsu sponsor teachers from my school at national and international conferences. I do not recommend lease to buy - been there, done that! There is usually a residual cost which depends on market value at the 3 year point and can be a nasty sting in the tail. For sixth formers who have 2 years of school to go who want to have a laptop that will see them through Uni as well - I would negotiate a bulk purchase deal with your reseller that gives them the same level of support/warranty/insurance etc while they are at the school which just cuts out when they leave (deleting all the school software of course) Finally - I get all the big players bidding for my business each year so I get to road test all the main brands and we take them apart on the bench etc - but every year it comes down to a three way decision between IBM, Tosh & Fujitsu. IBM is a great machine but they don't seem to understand what schools need and their support is not as good as the competition - but they are working on it. We always put support first in choosing our machine and that would be my advice to anyone seeking to commence a programme. I have a full time coordinator of the notebook programme (the paper work is huge) and a ratio of 1 technician per 300 machines, which is barely enough. If you would like to discuss management strategies for your programme, everything from laptop pedagogy and inset to software trouble shooting and building images you can drop me an email anytime. Cheers Tony
  15. I am Director of ICT at Melbourne Girls Grammar. All our girls from Year 5 upwards have their own notebook computer which they can connect to our network from every classroom in the school (we got rid of the last "lab" two years ago). All the machines used by the girls are PIII or faster. and we partner with Toshiba and Fujitsu. We run Novell 6.1 on most of our 14 servers, have 18 nodes, we can connect a maximum of 1500 users at one time. We have a 10Mbs internet connection which is a dream in the classroom. My current projects for 2004 are: to project manage the redesign of our website; to set up a portal - I have the hardware and will be setting up a pilot with the Novell software around mid year; thirdly we are constructing a Science Futures Centre and I am project managing the IT and Comms infrastructure which will had another two nodes for 600 users. I'm sure you are aware that it was in Melbourne that the whole "laptop" thing started. This is the third major independent school in Melbourne in which I have directed learning technology programmes. In 1999/2000- I took some time out to set up the learning technology programme at the International School of Toulouse which is where I met Richard Jones-Nerzic and also John Simkin who are regular contributers to this Forum. If anyone wants to ask anything about notebook computers, constructionist learning theory, network design in schools, school portals, professional development etc etc please drop me an email. If I don't know the answer I can probably point you to someone who does.
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