Moving forward on Instagram

Instagram Best NineBack in March I blogged about being an Instagram tragic.  I had signed up to Instagram at the end of last year and then the life events were so big I had no time to get going . I had 6 followers in March. Bit sad, but still, I have moved on. I wasn’t totally useless. The time between signing up and March had been spent getting Instagram on my phone and tablet and finding good people to follow so that my feed was positive and inspiring. I certainly did not fail in that and the daily input from Instagram was, and still is, very uplifting and motivating. Today I have 178 followers which is not a bad improvement and is evidence you just have to be there and participate to grow your social media following. Many of my followers are local and I get input from them which has made Adelaide look and sound very different. I have got to know the benefits of my local area so much better. A number of followers are very creative, artistic people and that is something which has a good impact on me, my life and my thinking. Others are design and tech experts and their ideas are worth seeing. A lot of my followers are from overseas and that keeps me in perspective , is good for my languages and allows me to look at things differently. One of the people I follow and who follows me back put up a picture of their best nine  images for 2016. I have chased that down and you can get your best  nine images from 2016bestnine. It is quick and easy. For me the pinks have it. It’s amazing how many of those pictures are pink. I am laughing that unfinished things are more valuable on Instagram than the finished things. I got more likes for my poor unfinished Hallowe’en cat with just its head than I did for the cat itself. I got more likes for the piles of handspun wool than I did for the beanie I actually made with it. That’s the thing. Instagram really is a good way to document the stages of a project . Instagram also values works in progress because it’s a site which supports learning , creativity, process and development of ideas. That is one of the biggest advantages of Instagram. There is a community which will encourage you to develop ideas and get them into practice. I was also pleased to see the picture of when I left my home to go to my first Living Smart SA course at McLaren Vale. Instagram was there appreciating the fact I was doing something new, worthwhile and which centred on learning.  The nine pictures tell me what I  have achieved on Instagram but also give me an opportunity to reflect. There is what you think and what the world thinks. There is you and your interests and then what the world is interested in. Instagram gives you a way of calibrating yourself and your ideas but it also gives you a way of documenting what you value and what you are learning. Will I make changes now based on the best nine? I have to look at all the other pictures I have put up and see if there is something I really value which others don’t. Does that mean I shouldn’t do it? Not at all. If I want to get those sorts of things  noticed then that forms a basis for social media learning.

How to be an Olympian

Olympian

Olympians have a very precise and logical way of becoming that good. The effort counts as much as the success. They use the calibration of competition to hone in on the details of what they need to learn and improve. They use data very effectively to improve performance and they are always looking for feedback. They master content, practice and then look expertly at what they can do to be even better.Their frame of mind is as vital as their mastering of skills.  If they lose by 3/100ths of a second does that mean they are not a gold medallist? On the day they are not. Tomorrow they could be and yesterday they might have been. They are at that gold level. If they came 7th when normally they win does that mean they are washed up? No. It might mean they have reached their peak and need to change sports or activities or it means they are dealing with issues which they need to sort out before they can be a top performer. It might just be a bad day or a bad year. They are on a continuum of learning and improvement. They are very good at getting the context right because they have strong networks and excellent feedback both from technology and their trusted network. ASAP sums it all up in a nutshell:

1. To think logically and analytically;

2. To work well as part of a diverse team;

3. To go beyond coping with change to initiating change;

4. To handle difficult interpersonal situations;

5. To create a personal brand, and

6. To effectively plan and carry out projects

Linda Durnell looks at the 7 Olympic skills on Huffington Post :

1. Unrelenting movement towards the goal
2. Knowledge is only useful when it is incorporated with action
3. Tap into the state of unlimited possibilities
4. Sacrifice
5.Can’t go it alone
6.Nothing lasts forever
7. Everyone has genius

Shane Murphy, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and associate professor of Psychology at Western Connecticut State University, discusses this from a psychology point of view. He has helped Olympians prepare for the games. He believes determination and practice are the keys . “A laser like focus.”

“But determination is also a huge component of success. You have to love what you do in order to put in the roughly 10,000 hours of deliberate practice that Anders Ericsson’s famous research indicates is needed to become an expert. But I think many different types of personalities can become successful Olympians. Certainly we see a wide variety of personality types on the USA Olympic team.”

What it takes to be an Olympian.

Go with a mood board

ubuntu mood boardThis  gomoodboard site is so easy and intuitive and it’s not just for designers. It brings design so easily into anyone’s life or classroom. Mood boards are not new but they are in fashion with designers because they are a really good way to demonstrate skills, effects, ideas and ,yes, mood. Gomoodboard has been created by the freelancer community Crew where you just drag and drop your images. It intuitively arranges them and then, if you don’t like the arrangement, you can customise it yourself. There are some nice templates to choose from. You can  publish the mood board so you can share it with others if you choose.  By default it is private. It is also available for the iPad/iPhone.

If you want a hands on approach and more of a maker mood board you can use the ideas on bustle.

There is a PowerPoint mood board here which a student has created to focus on green.

You can see one of the mood boards I created quickly about what I have done on my Ubuntu 14.04 laptop in the last 3 weeks.

mood boardThat is the thing. A mood board can get your ideas together quickly and effectively. I like how the text comes up as I do a mouse over the comment icon. The site itself is demonstrating sound and interesting design principles.

These mood boards have a wide application but for the classroom let me suggest 10 ideas:

1. Meet and greet in a new home group
2. Language learning – theme, specific grammar, recounting the weekend
3. Impact of learning about – WWII, lizards, solar system, mood boards, quadratic equations
4. Reaction to a novel, film, play
5. Visual poem
6. Exploring an era
7. Exploring an historical event
8. Reacting to climate change
9. Creating a strong point of view about something
10. Exploring and comparing visual styles

Live feedback works

dataAs you can see, four of my students have finished the task I set this morning and they all have another couple of days to finish it.The results will be emailed to me.  We use a paid online learning site for French and the live feedback encourages and motivates them. They love it when I refresh the screen and they can see how much further they are along the way. The site also gives them personal feedback on their iPad or laptop but they like to see it all on the big screen and it works very positively. They will ask me to refresh the screen so they can see. They will ask me to refresh the screen to demonstrate they have finished a task I have set. We have also had some interesting moments where students think they have finished and I show them the data and quite clearly they haven’t, so some of it is about understanding how technology works to process information.  It also means I can see who hasn’t started 10 minutes into the task. We can work out why. I can problem solve issues and approaches. I can also notice that some students like to study what they have to learn before they do it and others like to learn as they go along. Others still like to do a bit of both. Sometimes they help each other or ask really good questions and sometimes they just go silent and focus by themselves. Live feedback on activities has made students aware of how they are using their time and has given them a way into interpreting data. They will now always look at the data and question if it is representing what they are doing. For me I have become even more aware of how students are learning with technology. I don’t just use the paid site. I find other online sites, set the task and get them to take screenshots which they show me or put on their blogs. Not every task suits this live feedback approach but we have done vocab lists, aural comprehensions, sentence structure and contextual language this way. It has improved their linguistic competence and it has improved their linguistic confidence. I have been able to see that some students can hear and interpret sentences and phrases as fast as I can and I have seen my year 10s take on several sentences of complex French and complete the task. As we use the live feedback we are getting open information about how we are learning and what I have been teaching and it deepens both the educational engagement and the responses to learning.

Back to Edmettle

edmettleIt’s taken a while to get my Year 9s up and running with Edmettle this year. They were attached to Twiducate which was also created by Brian Aspinall. Twiducate is the old version. Edmettle is designed to fit in with the values of the Canadian curriculum, but as it happens, it fits in nicely with ours too. With Edmettle you also have an opportunity to involve parents. I am not up to that yet because it has taken me half a year to get the students to accept Edmettle and just use it as we did Twiducate. It’s not annoying. It is a sign they really value the place where they give me online feedback and practise their French sometimes. They, are right to approach a new site with caution and prudence. I respect their judgement in that. Yesterday , though , we got back to Edmettle and they were all happy with it and typed away as they normally do, so today I can move that forward. As a teacher I value it because I can ask them questions about the work we have done, I can ask them for input for something I am trying to decide, we can discuss ideas and trouble shoot and we can practice our French when we want to . I also have the opportunity with Edmettle, as do the students, of endorsing values like  initiative, grit, organisation etc. As a teacher I have found that to be a nice thing. With a site like Edmettle each student has a voice. Each student is heard and each student can be noticed. I have a direct line of contact with all the students in my class. It is safe, it stands alone and it really makes them think of how they will say something because there is a character limit. Same for me. It trains you up for social media and it forces you to be discerning as you write. I knew they had adopted the site yesterday when more of them had put up an avatar. I can go back to this today and work on their bios and how we shall assess the next task. These students love group assessments. I created a rubric which , twice now, they have fine tuned and discussed so that we now have the perfect group assessment sheet for iPads. They own their group assessment now because they were part of developing it and their ideas were all helpful and valid. When you have access to everyone’s ideas, you have access to a broad range of ideas. Guarantees you can achieve well and Edmettle is a great tool for faciliting collaboration. I , too, needed time to get away from Twiducate because it had been so useful for creating a feedback loop for input as as well as practice for me. Time to move on!

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