Category Archives: Technology

Pop Cultural Learnings through Film

The Australian History Curriculum rightly considers students learning about their pop cultural heritage an important thing. Recently I have been thinking about this, particularly when my 1980s and 90s movie references are unknown to my Year 10 students. So I asked my Facebook friends which movies do they believe a young person should watch before their teens. I will endeavour to show my almost 12 year old daughter as many of these that she has not seen before her 13th birthday next July. This will help prepare her for important things like recognising movie quotes from 30 somethings.

Movies recommended that she has seen.

Princess Bride – We are actually going to be in a play inspired by this movie next month.

The NeverEnding Story – We first showed this to her when she was about 8, she was a little scared but enjoyed it.

Labyrinth – Love the work of Jim Henson

Dark Crystal – More of the above

My Girl – This movie made me cry when I first saw it.

Ella Enchanted – I love me a good Fractured Fairytale.

Frozen – I keep being asked if I want to build a snowman.

Sister Act – We enjoy a good musical film around here

Sound of Music – See above comment

The Wizard of Oz – This is an excellent Film. Oz the Great and Powerful is an interesting “Prequel”

Pixar collection – She has seen all of these feature films, most in the cinemas since Finding Nemo.

Classic Disney Animated – We have watched over half of the Disney Animated feature films too.

Movies recommended that she still needs to see

The Nightmare before Christmas – We watched this about dawn at my bucks party, I would like to watch it again.

Little Women – I thought this was ok for a film where I was not the target demographic when I saw this back in the mid 1990’s

Star Wars – I plan to show her the original trilogy, not Episodes 1-3. If you think I must show her all six let me know why.

E.T. – One of my favourites as a child, have been meaning to get to this one for years.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit – Re-watched this a few years ago and loved it, she is now ready to learn.

Mighty Ducks – An excellent underdog story

Pride and Prejudice – Not sure if the 2005 Film or 1995 Mini Series let me know which you think.

Princess Mononoke – Just one of the Hayao Miyazaki films my brother recommended for her. He has made some amazing films, if you have never seen any of them check out Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro

Annie – Saw this when I was young, remember it being good so will have to show her.

Sabrina –  One I thought about watching in my teens, but will try to check out now.

Movies recommended that I have decided my wife and I won’t show her until she is older

Scott Pilgrim vs the World – Just a little much sexuality for now.

The Life of Brian – This I think is for a more mature audience than 12. Perhaps 14 or 15.

If there are some more that should be here please let me know in the comments.

Edit 3rd September. Annie has now been watched, and she auditioning for a role in the Adelaide Youth Theatre production.


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Blogs I Read

Yesterday SA Teachers Conference asked about educational blogs.

This got me thinking, what blogs do I read? Where do I get my new teaching ideas? Have I shared them with my WordPress readers?

The most common way I read blogs is through my WordPress reader. In no particular order they are

Learn IT by Shane Pilkie, I started following Shane on Twitter earlier this year because he used to work with our year 8 coordinator and she kept raving about him. His blog looks at technology integration from a Top End perspective.

Spavell by Mark Sparvell, I first met Mark 5 years ago as part of his leadership in an environmental values education  project. He is a leader in using  ICT in education in South Australia and is now working for Principals Australia on their Palnet Program.

Heyjude by Judy O’Connell, I first learnt about Judy from the OZTL_Net email list about 7 years ago where she regularly gave wise answers to the questions raised. She is one of Australia’s leading Teacher Librarians, and is now working at Charles Sturt University.

Ackygirl by Amanda Rablin, I first met Amanda at ACEC2010 where she was on of the most prolific tweeters and often commenting on the tweets of Twitter friends of mine. She writes about technology and education and has been involved both as a teacher and in district offices of education.

Teleportation – Are we there yet by Vicki Newton, I met Vicki at the CEGSA conference this year where she had some interesting things to say about Cyber-Safety. She also blogs about iPads and Social Networks from her school in Adelaide

James Herring’s Weekly Blog by James Herring, James was one of my lecturers when I was doing my Masters of Teacher Librarianship at Charles Sturt University. He blogs each week about both a library/education issue and a visual/cultural issue.

On an e-Journy with Generation Y by Anne Mirtschin, I have been following Anne on twitter for a year or more now and her thoughts on technology and schools were worth adding to my regular reading.

Danhaesler by Dan Haesler,  I have been following Dan on twitter since before ACEC2010, he is a teacher and leader in wellbeing in schools who also writes for the Sydney Morning Herald.

While not strictly teaching blogs two other WordPress blogs that do support my teaching are:

Prakkypedia by Michelle Prak an Adelaide based social media consultant who I met at TEDxAdelaide, her insights into social media have helped to further develop my own practice.

Philosophically Disturbed by Madeline Lum an “Industrial Chemist” from Western Australia who blogs about chemistry and science communications.

I also regularly read

The Principal of Change by George Couros, The keynote and workshops that George presented at the CEGSA conference this year made me really think about online practices and leadership, and reinvigorated this blog. His blog looks at these issues and more.

Stephen’s Lighthouse by Stephen Abram, I had the opportunity to meet Stephen, a leader in library studies in North America, at the Australian School Library Association Conference in Adelaide in 2007. His focus is not specifically on school libraries, but many of his thoughts about the future of libraries apply to schools.

Life is not a race to be finished first by Allanah King, Allanah is a teacher and technology leader from NewZealand who I have heared on a number of podcasts, and hope to meet at a conference one day.

The Blue Skunk Blog by Doug Johnson, I first read Doug’s work when I started my MEd TL back in 2005 and have been reading his thoughts on the use of ICT ever since. He is an expert in ICT in schools and libraries.

Butterfly Effect by Danni Miller and her team at Enlighten Education is about helping parents and girls manage social issues girls deal with in their teens, useful for any teachers of adolescent girls.

Apophenia by danah boyd from Microsoft Research looks at issues of network and community for young people.

Teacher Technologies by Selena Woodward is all about sharing teaching resources. I have met Selena on a number of occasions through CEGSA and find her insights to be helpful.

The Podcast Edpod from ABC Radio National is also an excellent source about educational thinking.

I also find lots of useful blog posts while reading the twitter feeds of the above blog authors, as well as other  twitter users to follow.

I am always looking for more sources so please share your favourite blogs in the comments below.

David Folland


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Supporting Tech Reluctant Teachers

Last week a  Mr Deith a primary teacher I follow posted about his thoughts on 1:1 iPads

I responded with one of my key thoughts about educational technology.

Dr Catherine Hart an educational researcher and teacher shared her view that Bring Your Own Device systems are preferable to a school supplied 1:1 system. This lead to a conversation about some of the challenges of 1:1 and BYOD systems.

I got to thinking about the support for using technology, especially from teachers who are themselves reluctant users of technology. How can we help teachers prepare to give the support our students need? Especially if there are a dozen different systems and devices that a class are using. (Android and iOS tablets, Mac and Windows laptops, some with MS office others without)

I have had some ideas, while I am not an expert and have not used all of these ideas with tech reluctant teachers I think they are things I will try with teachers who I am supporting and mentoring in future.

1. It is just a tool – Remind them computer technology (tablet, mobile, laptop or desktop) are just tools for assisting learning, like a pen and paper or a book.

2. Demonstrate – Showing a teacher what is possible with technology and how it is done can be a good way to help them think about doing it themselves. This might be making a short video, recording a podcast or even just producing a powerpoint that is an effective reflection of learning.

3. Admit you don’t know everything – I have had some teachers who have thought there was just too much to learn. When I admitted that I was still learning new things about technology and showed them some of the ways I learnt new things it made them more relaxed about not knowing all the answers. This works with some students too.

4. Pair them with tech strong students – Some students are highly capable with technology, having the tech reluctant teachers work with them can help the teacher become a life long learner and the student become a teacher.

5. Give them time – this is often a challenge for schools but giving teachers time to play with a tool or method of creation will enable them to become more confident in their ability to learn other tools.

These are five that came to mind for me. Are there any techniques that you think will help?

David Folland

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The Power of Tweet

I presented my Social Networks for Teachers presentation on Tuesday. It went well with lots of good questions asked. One of the participants was a new Agricultural Studies teacher who asked “Are there any Ag teachers on twitter?”

I didn’t know the answer to this question so I did what all connected twitter users do when they don’t know an answer, I posted it as a tweet. I was unsure if any of my followers (as diverse as they are) would know Ag teachers so I added some tags to the tweet to spread it further. The tags I used had been shared with me earlier in the day by SA Teachers Conference. The tags along with the other resources on the OzTeachersPLN site are useful for teachers thinking about using Twitter.

The message traveled further than I expected with over a dozen retweets.

The sharing enabled us to connect with 5 Agricultural Educators in 3 states in less than an hour. This impressed our teacher so much she has now joined twitter, so welcome @black_katt_83 

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The Lordfolland Daily

I have just created a account to collect the key articles from my teaching and science tweeps. You can check it out if you want.

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Great moments in SEMT

I was home today looking after my wife and son and had both a great disappointment and a wonderful opportunity. This afternoon, just before 3pm local time the NASA Curiosity Rover carrying the Mars Science Laboratory landed on Mars.
Being home with Mr3 I was able to watch with him and share with him some of my excitement in this great achievement of Science, Engineering, Maths and Technology (SEMT). He was amazed when I told him that the photos came all the way from another planet. He also commented that he has a shadow too (as seen in the second photo).
My disappointment was not being at school where I may have had the chance (after overriding filters on the NASA live stream) of showing up to 100 13 year olds this great moment. The flexible nature of our year eight teaching space and program would have made this a distinct possibility. I hope that other teachers were able to use this moment to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers to head down the path that will see some of them following in the wheel prints of Curiosity. This landing may be the biggest moment of SEMT footage this year (with millions of views, tweets and status updates) but I hope I will get the chance to use future events like this to inspire some students.

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Khan Academy

I like Khan Academy, I think that it is good collection of videos and an excellent tools for students to develop their procedural maths problem solving skills. I do not however think that it can be at present a complete Maths Education. There are some students who do not learn effectively from lecture presentations (even ones they can control the pass of). There is also a need to develop skills in application of these maths skills to real life problems. As a teacher I find the ability to track student progress in their skill development useful and mush more insightful than just setting an end of topic test. 

I presented recently on Khan Academy at the CEGSA Conference. If you want to see more about it check out my Slide share

Fell free to ask questions about Khan or my presentation in the Comments.

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