IT management at Earthweb has come up with a list of open source tools which can be used to replace commonly known ones. Why? Sometimes you have to work cross platform and it’s good to have software which will work on all OS so you are not changing what you do all the time from one OS to the next. Secondly, if you use Ubuntu or another Linux OS you are not always sure which application to use for the ones you know through Windows or Apple. Thirdly, open source software is free and evens out the playing field. This link gives you 50 applications to try our but also points you to other links which are specifically designed to collate IT materials for educators.
I have appreciated the fact ACARA has put all of its curriculum materials online and has consulted widely with stakeholders to ensure its website is functional and workable. I remember at one stage ,when it was all being developed , it was with a sense of celebration that we actually had managed to find the current version of the document we were looking for! Yes, it had been a team effort at a faculty meeting I was chairing and it was the preservice teacher who won that challenge. Since then it is has worked more effectively because a number of the curriculum areas are now settled. I really like the notion of general competencies because in a national curriculum we ought to be looking at things which are common to us all and all learning areas and developing those basic blocks of knowledge. We do want students to be literate, socialised, digitally competent, aware they live on a globally connected planet and that diversity is our strength and so forth. Having this material so easily accessible online is helping us to create common ground and because ACARA comes on Facebook and Twitter it is easy for us to engage with them and know what they are currently doing. That kind of information is important. Teachers need to know that this is real and happening or there is always the tendency to slide off into a local bubble. ACARA is encouraging us to think digitally and nationally by being present online. Sharing and consulting is setting a good example and will ensure we do have consistency across states. It isn’t that easy because it requires a different perspective and constant input. Technology allows the drip feeding to occur! It also means we can address issues more effectively. ACARA is very approachable because it is visible and not some vague organisation somewhere thousands of kilometres away. There is also an ACARA iPad app and that has been a very useful addition to the ACARA digital tools and presence.
Image: Interbrand rankings
Even though I believe teaching/ education is not just vocational training and it is truly about lifting people up and bringing them out so they can build a successful life of their own, I have always believed it important to keep an eye on what the world looks like. These days it is about brands, companies and predictions. I am bringing you some top 10s. The picture ,left, shows you the top global brands this year. The Interbrand web page itself shows the top 100.
This year’s Top 10 companies are:
- Wal-Mart Stores
- Hon-Hai Precision Industry
- Compass Group
- Agricultural Bank of China
- ISS A/S
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
There is an interesting article on seeklearning which looks at the jobs which are in demand in Australia in 2015 and they are in the areas of
Lastly the NEWDAILY discusses what they think will be the jobs in demand in the next 10 years in Australia and the rationale behind the thinking and projections :
Top tertiary qualified jobs in 2025
1. Registered nurses
2. Advertising and sales managers
3. Software and applications programmers
5. CEO and Managing Directors
6. Secondary school teachers
7. Primary school teachers
8. Private tutors and teachers
9. Contract program and project administrators
10. General managers
Top vocational and trade jobs
1. Aged & Disabled Carers
2. Child Carers
4. Nursing Support & Personal Care Workers
5. Construction Managers
6. Real Estate Sales Agents
7. Welfare Support Workers
8. Metal Fitters & Machinists
10. Education Aides
Image : Online Etymology Dictionary
To round off the list, you need to look at the jobs which we are asking of anyone who migrates to Australia. You can look at hem on the Migration Occupations In Demand List.
The SOLO taxonomy , first described by John Biggs and Kevin Collis in Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO Taxonomy (New York: Academic Press, 1982 )may be an older form of assessment rubric but that does not mean it is irrelevant. Some things stand the test of time. New Zealand schools seem to be using it still because it can demystify easily what is being achieved in terms of learning outcomes. Current assessment rubrics and assessment criteria can be complex and even though they can identify performance standards and achievements , they can also confuse and corrupt thinking so the assessor is no longer sure what they are talking about. I have been in that situation myself as a teacher. You look at the assessment criteria which can be long lists of long sentences and then you look at the work. You can discuss it with others and, because it is language based, it can then become a discussion on meaning , semantics and interpretation. In the end you are no further along the path to knowing how you should assess that piece of work. I have also been in the situation where assessment criteria are so vague you are not sure how to award the mmm…ok or the mmm,yes, well or the mmm, that looks pretty good to me. SOLO keeps it simple. You can use those rubrics to work out whether the understanding and ingestion of knowledge has occurred and then whether it has been moved forward by the learner. As John Biggs says on his site:
SOLO can be used not only in assessment, but in designing the curriculum in terms of the learning outcomes intended, which is helpful in implementing constructive alignment. SOLO can also explain why those who use low complexity arguments in political or marital disputes usually win – in the short term. But in politics that’s all you need.
Image:Myross bush school
Solo is how you keep the picture straight when you feel you are trying to process other ways of assessing work , learning or you are mapping out learning tasks and units and you have lost clarity. It would also be a good way to discuss assessment with parents because it is a clearer model than others . Starting with SOLO would clarify issues before you move on to more complex discussions. It is not just that, though. SOLO is a quick way of noticing whether someone is on the learning continuum or not. Can they use a smartphone? Do they know how to use iMovie? You can quickly work out whether you or anyone else needs help in learning.
1. They challenge me!
2. They make me achieve
3. They make me rethink
4. They are fun
5. They make me grow
Image : Presto Plans Blog
Currently , I have moved away from the education challenges and am doing Buzzfeed’s Spring Cleaning Challenge. In Adelaide it has to be the Autumn Cleaning Challenge and not a bad time to do it. You get one room a day. It takes 10 days and you are given instructions and tips. It is quick. It makes a difference and I loved dusting with socks on my hands for today’s challenge.
The education ones I have done have made me really think about what I am doing. They have kept me very focussed but the biggest impact they have had on me is to remind me that I am the one who can make a difference. I can do things which change my day, others , what I am doing. I have done the #30goals (@30GoalsEDU) #gratitudechallenge and most recently the #pcps_teach challenge about the impact of Twitter on me professionally. There are all sorts of challenges you can find on the internet or Twitter – fitness challenges, health challenges, photo challenges, February challenges. Each day you have something to do. The longest are a month. My cleaning one is for 10 days. In 10 days I shall have changed myself and my home. That’s why I like challenges. They make a difference.