Goodbye Gilroy, The College of Knowledge. . .

In 2 weeks I finish up at Gilroy Catholic College after 6 and a bit years to move on and forward into a new position at Emmaus Catholic College as Director of Innovation. I have moved through all the emotions of excitement, sadness and anticipation since applying, interviewing and accepting the position. I thought the best way to reflect on my Gilroy memories was to blog. . . .

 

Educational blogs are always full of “top lists” – so in no particular order here is my top 7 of G-Roy ! 

 

1. Construction training and uniform

I am proud to say I was the FIRST female in our CEO to be trained in VET Construction in 2009. Over the years VET students have always been proud to work on school projects that better their facilities. My favourite competencies are in the concreting units, this is because of the applied mathematic skills the contrast between this type of outdoors/team work and “regular” classwork. Students pictured are all wearing a Gilroy branded high-vis shirt, this replaced a plain clothes and apron uniform. I started this uniform in 2011, students and VET staff wear it with pride.

2. Charity and community work

I have a personal drive to support charities in a means that takes “participation” so that there is a connectedness to the giving, over the years I have organised crazy hair days, shaved a students hair, dyed my own fluro pink, knitted for months on end and my homeroom since 2009 have sponsored a child in Honduras.

3. 1:1 iPad program and E-Learning role

At the end of 2012 I formally took on the role as Leader of E-Learning. Prior to this role I had always been an informal tech support for staff and a driver for innovative PD which I organised and presented. In the role I have been so humbled by the support and trust from fellow teachers and students, they have been so supportive of change – even when it has been challenging and frustrating. I have seen the iPad and 1:1 device program grow stronger, this is all relational to the positive development staff and student skills.

 

 4. TAS spaces

The TAS workshops and classrooms have gone through many renovations and remodeling since I started. I have taken personal ownership of the spaces I use to make them comfortable and inspiring for staff and students.  Applying Dr Suess vinyl quotes, a secondhand couch, comfy chairs, posters, visuals, accessible resources and even sewing machine covers!

 

5. Friendship and community

Sigh, this is the hardest part of starting a new adventure. . .

6. Love of learning

Inspiring a love of learning in my classes and KLA has been most rewarding, to see students talents grow over the years and their skills improve. I have so many amazing photos of all the proud moments of mess, challenge, completion, smiles, fun, these are just some. . .

7. Edmodo

I first started using Edmodo in 2009, by the end of 2010 it became our preferred LMS. I drove its implementation by sharing its success in my classroom and developing good practice with staff. In education many technologies and tools date quickly like fashion. I have seen fads come and go, Edmodo has been a constant. This frequent or fleeting change can a negative impact on technologies perception in schools. I consider the positive impact Edmodo has had on Gilroy an exceptional mark to leave, I had the sense in 2009 to spot a good thing and the tenacity stick with it – with the team at Edmodo supporting all the way!

 






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EdmodoCon 2014 – an international edu-venture !

I am back home, have had a full nights rest and have a pile of marking and cup of espresso awaiting my attention – all is normal post EdmodoCon 2014 !!!

Still feeling totally overwhelmed by the enormity of it all and how far EdmodoCon has come since the first one in 2011.

I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone in the Edmodo office that made EdmodoCon happen – technical staff – arranging the logistics of presentations, files and making me look/sound good live, the marketing team, staff that picked us up of the mornings and made sure we had coffee and breakfast when we arrived, people that organised accommodation and travel, engineers that listened to us chat about our Edmodo experiences. . . you are all amazing, the hospitality and support was wonderful away from home, thank you!!

Was so cool to meet such passionate and talented presenters that had so much to share! – what luck to be a part of the 2014 presenter team!!

. . .AND to everyone that participated in our session, tweeted us and was a part of the backchannel, Jess and I were humbled by the response from you – we feel very lucky to have such supportive teacher friends all over the world!
Looking forward to continuing our journey of learning together!

 

OH, of course, a huge thanks to JESS! – how lucky am I to have met a mate that I learn so much from, one that takes me to amazing places – like out for dumplings and of course, EdmodoCon.

 

Copy of presentation: Edmodo_is_like_an_onion FINAL

Edmodo Blog interview: https://blog.edmodo.com/2014/07/22/meet-monique-dalli-jessica-mccarthy-edmodocon-2014-speakers/

Video archive: https://edmodo.mediacore.tv/media/edmodo-that-unique-ways-to-connect-and-learn-by-mo

 

 

Student techies at Gilroy & VoicEd 2014

TODAY I presented at VoicEd 2014 at Davidson High School with loads of other ahhhhmazing and inspirational educators who are positively moving and shaking practice and processes in their schools and classrooms.

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/JtsMmatIXV

My presentation today was all about sharing and reflecting on the use of students as leaders, when I blogged about it last year I had an idea of WHY I wanted the program to run, and HOW It was going to look, but I REALLY underestimated the positive impact these students would have on our 1:1 program.

In todays presentation I explained HOW the Students Techies function so effectively at Gilroy, WHAT they do and WHY:

  • Students had to apply to become a class techie using a google form: applicants were chosen at the end of last year based on their ability to solve examples of tech problems like “What steps would you go through to fit a Wifi connection issue”
  • All the work they do counts as community service: all the “work” they do contributes to the community service program so they benefit for doing something they love!
  • Students assist on Edmodo: year 7/8 have a “tech-support group” that the Techies (and I) monitor, they respond to questions online, between 9 of them they manage the workload of this WONDERFULLY!
  • They do not miss out on class time: these students are academic, they want to help but not miss out on class time, so the program does not EVER impact on their learning.
  • Visit homerooms twice a week: I found that most technical problems arose overnight when they were trying to do something at home, if students don’t get the help they need on the tech-support page then they have face to face access to the techies of a morning, this is prime time to solve problems before the school day starts!
  • Young leadership role: year 8’s get forgotten as young leaders! We then expect them to step up in year 9/10?! Will eventually run well with Duke of Ed, SRC and captain program.
  • Empowers clever kids in the playground: this program gives them cred! year 7’s chat to them in the play ground (not just in the library!) and they are known as being Techies.
  • THEY LOVE TECHNOLOGY!  they like solving problems, making other students as confident as them and helping out!
  • I can’t possibly solve every technical issue! even as a singular member of a big technical staff we still teach, our allocation and volume of devices prevents us from being accessible to students all the time. Between Edmodo and homeroom visits, these guys have got it sorted!

 

The concept of peer coaching is a no-brainer. I know from experience that students helping students peer-peer in a classroom or school context works. It builds confidence, relationships and in a busy classroom it can ease the demand of teacher centred assistance and keep the pace of a lesson moving forward. Some students even PREFER to have peer assistance. Yeah “there are no silly questions”, however, putting a hand up and a spotlight on yourself to ask a question can feel daunting for some – so if it wasn’t for peer support questions sometimes by shy individuals may never get asked!!

 

The program so far is a HUGE success (because our Techies are brilliant kids of course!), I have taken a few snapshots of our Edmodo group so you can see these guys in action!

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original post found here

Sings *students are doin’ it for themselves!

The concept of peer coaching is a no-brainer. I know from experience that students helping students peer-peer in a classroom or school context works. It builds confidence, relationships and in a busy classroom it can ease the demand of teacher centred assistance and keep the pace of a lesson moving forward. Some students even PREFER to have peer assistance, I know “there are no silly questions”, however, putting a hand up and a spotlight on yourself to ask a question can feel daunting for some – so if it wasn’t for peer support questions sometimes by shy individuals may never get asked!!

Based on all the positive experiences I have had with peer-coaching situations I put forward the idea to “hire” Gilroy Student Techies for 6 month contracts in 2014 to support our iPad program. This sounds all very formal, and the process was in order to be fair! Current year 7’s were asked to “apply” knowing that only EIGHT would be selected based solely on their application. The application was a Google form that outlined simple scenarios that they may encounter as a techie – asking them to respond with solutions of how they would help!

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In planning WHAT the class techies would/should do I was very cautious of them NOT losing out on class time, the students selected are hardworking and would then see this leadership role a negative experience if this was the case. A tough balance between using them efficiently and too much!

In 2014 the year 8 Student Techies will be used at Gilroy in the following manner:

  • One year 8 Techie will be in each year 7 homeroom to solve tech issues at the START of the day so as to minimise their impact on classes (typically a busy time as I have homeroom myself and site Technicians are assisting years 8-12 with laptops)
  • Support staff at the 2014 iPad training day for year 7 students
  • Help demonstrate effective iPad/technology use as a young school leader
  • Assist by being an additional member of the Year 7  Tech- Support Edmodo page to help with online questions

I am really looking forward to this initiative being a part of the reason why our iPad program will see student success – not just for those students that are Techies, but for all the opportunities that the Techies could potentially help in!