BYOD Traveling

The Travellers Device
When previously I have travelled it was the guide book, the phrase book, the fantastic Lonely Planet tomb and maybe a travel journal that weighed down my bags, but now the game has changed, as the smart phone now rolls all of these into one and adds features that previously were unfathomable.

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Google Translate is your own C3P0
Ok, you need Wifi or cellular, but you can pre set a whole lot of useful phrases and they will be available off line. Type your sentence, choose your to and from language and bada-bing you have the translation.
Additionally click one button and you have an audio file that bypasses tricky pronunciations and click another button and the translation goes full screen and is an easily read flash card.

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Airline Apps – Mine is AirNZ mPass
It gives me up to date access to all my details, air-points, flight schedules, seating plan and even gives me a screen sized QR Code for quick check ins. Too Easy, cloud based and sign in protected.

Contact with the rest of the world
It was the postcard, then the collect call, next came the smoke filled cyber cafe and in my last experience it was the laptop at Starbucks. Now the options for connectivity make conversing globally only limited by time zone and Wifi; Skype, FaceTime, Snap Chat, Viber, WhatsApp and more. Then there is the travel blog that replaces the journal and is shareable with all you choose. If you don’t want to blog in words, just share the experience in a tweet, Facebook post or flick the image out to friends and family with Instagram.

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Where to go and what to see
I got off the plane in Wellington this past summer, downloaded the bus timetable app using the airport’s wifi and then using my phones GPS and map app I was able to make it to my hotel without the need to ask for directions at a fraction of the price of the Airport Bus.
Ok, this was my home country, but it is the same in all cities in the world and might just take a bit more planning and patience in a place where English is not the mother tongue.
The where to go is so simple with your phones map and if you start walking the wrong way you will see it quickly on the map due to the GPS and when you want to get somewhere it will give you several options as well as time estimates.

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Lonely Planet… Maybe not.
My Lonely Planet China is the most read and annotated book that I own, but although I will pack it when we move to China again it will be used as a trip planner, not as the travel bible that is was always at the top of my bag. Through reading travel blogs and using Apps like TripAdvisor I am able to find the travel tips and best places to visit at the click of a button. Additionally, they are updated daily, so recommendations tend to be more up to date than a 12 year old guide book – that restaurant it recommends could have changed hands 20 times since publication.

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Keeping up with the news.
My last stint overseas was in a place where English was not spoken and there was not an English Newspaper to be found. Now I can keep up with the news at the click of an app.

Need a book to read?
I prefer the feel of an actual book in my hands, love the tatty travel paperback and there are expat book exchanges that spring up around the world. But it is handy that I have a score of books stored on my phone, many more in the cloud and I can buy and download any book I desire with a quick contact to amazon or the iBook store.

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I could go on with more examples of how a well planned device pre trip will benefit you and my opinion after a good pair of shoes and a sturdy bag the smart phone is now the travellers most important item. I guess the only two things to remember is to pack your charger and turn of data roaming unless you want a surprise when you return home.

Video Scribe – an amazing visual presentation tool.

Here is a short play that I have had with a new app called Video Scribe.  It came from watching a blog entry by Mark Anderson (@ICT_Evangelist) about effectively using 1 iPad in a classroom. I am a big fan of the RSA Animate videos and this App allows me to create something similar to them.

  • It took me 20 minutes to create
  • Saved it to Camera Roll
  • Opened in iMovie
  • Audio over the top – Sorry about the cold
  • Upload to YouTube/Vimeo

…now imagine how a student could use it as a tool to add to their presentation? To share their learning journey? To explain a process? As a visual recipe book? As a… well, imagination is the only barrier!

A Year in Retrospect – Beginning a New Tradition.

It seems strange to me to be reflecting on my year, as it only half over, but as I am heading to an International School in China next term it kind of is the end of a school year for me. So here is a retrospective look at the highs of my past year and I hope that as this blog progresses and ages with me I will add a reflection of the year each year.  I suppose that I will follow this up soon with some direction and goals that I want for myself for the 2013/14 school year.

Classroom Blog

interface awardIn the middle of last year I put my class blog (www.mrdyerhfs.blogspot.com) forward for the Interface Awards and made the Top five for Best Class blog – Not a bad accomplishment for a little school in rural New Zealand.  At this time we also connected with other classes within New Zealand and globaly, which showed me the true power of the classroom blog.

Blogging as a Professional

I began this blog, and it has been a fantastic journal, sounding board, reflective outlet and place to connect and share. I implore each of you to try it, public or private and you will see the wealth that the professional blog offers.

Twitter

I connected, I followed, I dived in, I was inspired. Twitter has kept me going this past year with connections and inspiration. It has connected with…

  1. Projects like the Travelling Rhinos of Karen Stadler (@ICT_Intergrator).
  2. I gave creating something a go and hooked in some friends to create the #NZSchoolTimeLapse. I have not been able to cary on with it since through a school production and trying to finish this term to hand over my class, but other awesome teachers have taken it over, part two has already been created and part three is in the creation at the moment!
  3. Global PLN – too many to add here and I would hate to miss one out.
  4. NZTweeps – You all are a daily inspiration!

iDevices

A year ago I got hold of a iPhone 3, then received an iPad for the class and then at Christmas got the iPhone 4 (Still behind the game, but love it).  Apple_gray_logoThese iDevices have changed the game, I know that other devices like Andriod can as well, but it has been an Apple learning curve for me. As long as I keep SAMR in the back of my head I know that only good can come from their use. Additionally with the rise in Augmented Reality and Code Apps like Cargobot there is so many amazing possibilities from these devices that are yet to be discovered. If you want to know about Augmented Reality and Cargobot you have to check out the website of Brad Waid and Drew Minock –  Two Guys and Some iPads – as they are Grade 3 teachers who are sharing their practice with the world and it is truly inspirational!
(@TechBradWaid & @TechMinock)

PC out – MAC in

I have slowly weened myself of the PC and jumped to Mac with the purchase of a sexy MacBook Air.  I’m in love! That is all there is to say about that!

Central Otago Teachers visit to Auckland Schools

Wow… nothing is more inspirational than seeing experts in action and clever designs for both curriculum and buildings in real life.  Two days of whirlwind touring to Stonefields, Summerlands, Albany Senior College & Point England where we got to hear from inspirational educators like Andrew Churches (Read his blog Educational Origami) and quiz Mark Osborne about the awesomeness of Albany Senior College (Google it) then see Manaiakalani in action with Point England and hear from the amazing Dorothy Burt about their journey – their senior students presentation inspired me to do better and look at education in a different way.

EduCamp

I have been lucky to make it to three EduCamps in the past year and have made lasting friendships along the way and been inspired beyond measure. If have not been to one yet then you need to, they are everywhere, just google and you will have a great morning of connection and inspiration!

Tek Rush 2012

Taking a half dozen students to this kids conference was so inspirational and sadly I will not see the second as I will have already left the country.Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 12.16.11 PM  Click the link if you want to find out more, but think about some of the coolest conferences that you have been to with interactive workshops, keynote speakers and cool prizes and goodie bags then aim it at IT passionate kids who are Year 5 or Year 7 and you have TekRush.  The kids that I took last year still wear the T-shirts as badge of honor and I was stopped in the street last week by a kid who was in my trick photography workshop, she thanked me and introduced me to her parents – i.e. it made a lasting memory!

ICOT 2013

newlogoTo name a few highlights would be -Edward DeBono, Lane Clark, Ewan McIntosh, Simon Breakspear and Guy Claxton, but then you have to add in all of the long lost and new found friends and colleagues that I got to spend time with and learn with face to face.

Crack the Egg – Some simple Avatars to jazz up your social media account

With a social media account I believe that there needs to be a bit of thought taken into the way it is presented; firstly with the biography and secondlyhuevo with the image you have chosen. The bio is where you get to say a bit about yourself and interests, but the image serves the purpose of proving you are real and, in my opinion, shows you are interested in the game of Social Media.

With the image in mind, using the Egg or silhouette is just a bit lazy and many will block or refuse to follow an egg, but many like myself do not wish to use a portrait of themselves as their image, so the next option is to create an Avatar or an image that represents you.  There are many Avatar creators out there, but here are some of my favorites.

Bobble Shop (iOS App for iPad and iPhone)

It is just over $4 but a fantastic App and one of the most diverse Avatar creators as you can make almost anyone.

DukelyerClay Yourself

This is an online Avatar Creator and really easy for younger students. Not as many options, but you are able to get some resemblance and very popular if your are a fan of Wallace & Gromit.  It does leave you with the logo at the bottom of the image, but you could always crop it out if you do not like it.

Clay Yourself

Dopple Me

This is another online option that was shared with me by @MrKempNZ.  It has a fantastic range of design choices and saving options, but you do need to register (costs nothing and have not received any SPAM or junk mail from the website).  The signing in does make it a bit more difficult to use independantly with younger students.

DoppelMe

Adding a filter to a Self Portrait

There are hundreds of camera apps out there and most are free. Take a photo of yourself and add a filter and it’s you, but not you. An instant Avatar of yourself.

filter

Other Options

There are others that are fantastic and others that are not so fantastic.  Many of my favourites no longer exist (Create your own Simpson character or

Screen Shot from Face Your Manga

Screen Shot from Face Your Manga

Wimp Yourself) or other average ones require giving away email details to places am unsure of.  Just remember that if you create one and you do not want to sign up so you can download the image you can always use the Snipping Tool of Windows 7 or Command Shift 4 on a Mac to screen capture your creation.

 

It just brings me back to a playground insult from my childhood…

“Don’t be an Egg!”

Twitter is my Staffroom – but what is written in my Rule Book?

Last night I was wondering how I have developed a twitter PLN or PPLN (Powerful Personal Learning Network – refined by Bill Powersof about photo (1)1000 people and I think that it comes down simply to inspiration, connection, friendship and respect.

On the wekend I had followed another educator as their bio looked interesting and their twitter feed included some people that I interact with, she responded a few hours later with a message to myself and three others saying “Thanks for the follow @_____, @_______ and @_______”, to which one person replied ‘Your Welcome’ and I replied with a comment on something that she had been working on and a very interesting Hashtag that she had included in her Bio – there was no reply.  I found this interaction very interesting as it was not really an interaction, just a comment of thanks and a connotation that I should be grateful that I follow her. It has happened a few times in my twitter career and if they had just simply let me follow them without follow-back all would be good , but the thanks for the follow with no follow-back interaction has really made me reflect on how I view twitter.

So here it goes…

Twitter is my virtual Staffroom – I enter for professional development and I enter for friendship.  Like the a real school staff room, when you leave the conversation stops, but sometimes they carry over to the photocopier or cafe down the road.  This analogy helps me to comprehend that when I want to enter the staffroom I just click the App and when I don’t want to I do not click the app.  Sometimes I get sent a message from a friend or send a message to a friend and this is the photocopier chat.

I follow Educators – they do not need to follow me back and if you are an educator and you follow me, I will follow you.

Education is Global and Twitter is Global – I love the idea of having friends and colleagues over the globe as well as right here in New Zealand. While prepping on a Monday morning I enjoy watching the #LadyGeeks present via YouTube in a Google hangout projected onto the IWB.  Many a lunchtime I have chewed my sandwich and been inspired while partaking in different edchats like #TLAP – Teach Like a Pirate  or #CaEdChat. They are live, but the previous evening in the USA due to time difference.Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 6.21.25 PM
In the evening my friends in Asia and Australia are in the mid afternoon and it is the morning for my friends in Europe. In my morning it is the evening for my friends in North America and when I am awake it is awake time for my friends in New Zealand. I can connect and interact at any time and have formed friendships globally. Southern California is now on my travel bucket list as there is a Mexican meal waiting for me.

I will reply – It may take me a little while and it may be a reply in the way of a favourite or a retweet, but I will reply.

I do Unfollow – to me it is those sacred four words of ‘Inspiration, Connection, Friendship and Respect’ that come into consideration when following or un-following. If you inspire me with your tweets and retweets and challenge me to do better or rethink my practice I will follow you intently. If you connect with me or I connect with you I will follow you. But, I unfollow instantly if you tweet mean and I unfollow if you bulk send me your blog postings – send them once each time you blog or twice if it is a goodie, but do not set your computer to push all blog posts every 6-12 hours as I do not follow you to be on a mailing list. Additionally, if I follow you and find you many weeks or months later in my following list and can not remember why I followed you and we have not connected then I will probably unfollow.

If I can help I will – if you know me, if I know you or if we have never met, I will assist you if I can.  That to me is the power of twitter.  If I know the answer to your problem or know who does know the solution I will assist and I know that the majority of us here do so as well.

I never Tweet what I would not want my employer or Nana to read – OK, sounds simple and many of us use the tagline ‘These tweets do not photorepresent the…” but if you write it, it is there, and if you can not justify why you wrote something then should you have written it?

I need to make sure I switch off – I tweet from my phone and use the twitter app. I only use Tweetdeck or the such for following hashtags or twitter chats and that is only sometimes. So, as my phone is in my pocket I am connected.  The magic fix is turn of cellular data and disconnect from wifi and instantly my smartphone is what we used to have… a cell phone.

 

If there is a problem, Twitter will solve it – The power of a great PLN

If Twitter for Educators needed a new catch phrase it need only call upon Vanilla Ice  and DJ Earthquakes 1991 anthem Ice Ice Baby, run to line 17 and there it is…

If there is a problem, Yo I’ll solve it.

After school yesterday I was faced with a novice Mac user question  (I have a lot of these at the moment). I googled the question and received too many leads, most were to paid sites, some were free downloads and many were to tutorials or forums; all were probably good leads and would have answered my question, but not the fast fix that I was after as I was trying to work to a tight timeframe.

So I tweeted the question and “Bada Bing” I had several different options that solved my problem, but one came up multiple times – Quicktime. So I downloaded Quicktime, installed it,  watched a youtube tutorial that explained what I wanted to do and I moved onto the next task on my to do list.

It was a perfect illustration of why I use twitter, why I follow the people that I follow and why I communicate and collaborate with those people.  The Tweeps that I refer to as my PLN have a wealth of knowledge and are so keen to help where they can.  By building a relationship with them they become more than just names on a list, they become colleagues and friends and when they have a problem or I have a problem we help each other if we can.

So if you are thinking about your PLN and about some Tweeps who are awesome helpers, collaborators and willing to share an idea or thought then you need to have a follow of Stephen (@PalmyTeacher), Allanah (@AllanahK), Vivian (@ChezVivian), Juliet (@Juliete_Revell), Julien (@Julienlesueur), Paddy (@Spongepaddy), Rebekah (@ndbekah) and Luke (@Novalightning). These 8 people who I think of as friends,live all around the world and have never met, are just too awesome and I truly apprieciate them and the time that they gave me yesterday when I was stuck.

So I dedicate the clip below to them as thanks 🙂

Collaboration on the fly – #NZSchoolTimelapse

Yesterday morning, with only 30 minutes before the bell went I had some students playing, and we all know that kids learn through play, on the iLapse app. A few days previous Stephen’s (@PalmyTeacher) class had time lapsed with some letters the proverbial phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” and over the holidays a collection of teachers collaborated on the #NZTimeLapse project; we never talked and it was all co-ordinated through twitter and a Google Doc.Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 10.45.42 AM

So I sent out a tweet, sent my class off around the school to time lapse busses arriving, classes beginning and waited. Then the messages came in, a Google document to coordinate was requested and the project began.

As I post there are classes around the country, and even some distance learners through the correspondence school, trying to capture moments of their school day. Stephen’s class have already created the opening title sequence and there are already a couple of clips completed and ready to be edited together.

If this works, and I am sure that it will, there is already talk of future collaborations – pass the story, pick a path stories, retelling of stories or plays where each school takes a scene and performs it in a style of their choosing  (Much like the Star Wars Uncut project).  The big learning here is the process and connections of schools and teachers – who knows what will happen when we allow the students to take over.