Autonomous schools- outed

Finally the curtain has been raised on the NSW Govs. intentions over autonomous schools- as the initiative now comes out of the trial phase and into implementation late April.

While Public school principals have endorsed a NSW government plan to give them much greater autonomy to control staffing, finances and maintenance at a local level- inevitably the NSW Teachers Fed is sceptical of the intentions. After years of sitting on local school P&C meetings and hearing the frustrations of the staffing formulas vented – its got to be a welcome move- If properly implemented and supported.  Continue reading

Posted in Autonomous schools, Communities, education, Public schools, schooling | Leave a comment

The Decisive moment

The demise of Kodak is a telling story for the digital age. The once near monopoly held by the company has been shattered by its failure to see the potential in its own invention. In its death throws the company is now hoping to cash in on a number of patents on digital photography. Meanwhile digital photography itself is about to enter another dimension. From Digital Photography 2.0 – digital cameras, to DP 3.0 – (mobile phone/HD ) , to DP 4.0 light field photography. The about to be released  Lytros cameras  herald a significant revolution in photography. These cameras are based on the science of ‘light field’ photography -using new sensors which are capable of capturing far more data than conventional cameras (ie light intensity, colour density, directional vectors). Continue reading

Posted in creativity, innovation, Photography, predictions | 1 Comment

Copyright winds of warning

The arrest of Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom (self titled)- is the latest hint of the voracity of the US copyright agencies in protecting their IP. Now wait for them to cross the ditch and who will be the next victim in Australia (after iiNET)? The issue of cloud storage in relation to IP and copyright is ongoing- but the media seem more concerned with the security issues and potential loss of data rather than copyright. The growth of cloud storage services over the past year (just Google ‘file sharing’)- has been one of the IT success stories- but the range of providers is emblematic of the intentions underlying their business models: to make a quick buck or provide a genuine systemic & integrated IT service.  The Googles/Microsoft/Apples maybe fall into this later category while there are a hundreds of small third party providers, giving ‘dump’ access to anyone and anything. So while we wait for the next move from the US studio custodians- we should also be more guarded about what is happening in our own schools re: file sharing. Continue reading

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The real barrier to IT adoption

In response to Dan Haesler’s piece For today’s learners , it just clicks.SMH Nov 14( Yes, NSW schools now have access to great learning technologies thanks in large part to the National DER initiative and our State Connected Classrooms Program. I believe most teachers are willing adopters of technologies, but let’s not portray them (esp those more seasoned ones) as luddites – turning their backs on the technologies. Rather I’d argue that its the assessment system that is the real barrier confronting our adoption of C21 learning in classrooms. I’ll always remember a senior science teacher commenting; “I’m not against the technologies, but after successfully teaching HSC students for 25 years- I can’t risk deviating from my existing practise- for something which may not work.” Free our schools of outdated modes of assessment, and students and teachers will readily embrace learning strategies that align not just to the curriculum content but new and appropriate ways of assessing them.

Posted in access, digital natives, schooling, Teacher | 1 Comment

Returning to the blog

After a year feeling too uninspired to keep contributing to the existing blog, this is a fresh start. Having recently left NSW DEC to enjoy some time off and become a house dad, I’ve realised how much I miss contributing to the education space either through work or this blog. I’ve always ensured what is published on the blog was independent of work, and now there is no conflict of interest- another reason to re-engage. Doing domestic things over the past few months has been rewarding (talking twenty years of neglect there), but something has been wanting- an outlet for at least my own writing (not to presume a flurry of conversations anytime soon). So goodbye-Blog de Blog (that was a red wine moment) after four years and lets see how ‘View from the outside‘ works-for me and hopefully a few other past followers.


Posted in blogging, Blogs | Tagged | 2 Comments

UGC or not to UGC?

What is the future for learning resource production?  Up until recently media resource production demanded specialised skills both technical and in learning design. However a number of factors have changed which have led to the increasing ‘democratisation’ of resource production . Firstly teachers and students now have access to a large pool of both enterprise and 3rd party authoring applications, secondly sharing of these resources is facilitated by the use  of  learning management systems such as Moodle, better network connectivity, Web 2 tools such as blogs, wikis and file sharing tools such as Edmodo, Dropbox or Sugarsync .  Peer to peer resource  production is a central plank of C21 learning- and as a system we must  acknowledge this, and better accommodate for an  increasing shift away from centralised resource production-linear networks.  P2P also acknowledges the power of such networks and student content creation and sharing.  Teachers  have always leant towards creating  or shaping their own materials (a premise of learning object design), and now they have the opportunity to match the more formal production facilities; having access to authoring, storage and sharing systems. UGC often provides better currency, relevance and context to learning resources. Sitting with my own kids this weekend and seeing the topics they are studying,  I searched for information/resources online, only to find their own teachers notes/resources  (online), were more relevant than even those produced by the relevant education authorities.  So let’s place our efforts into facilitating teacher resource production (TRG)- I suspect systemic support for this effort might be better placed.

Continue reading

Posted in creativity, open content, UGC | 1 Comment

More on Yammer (2)

With NSW DET Yammer now with over 5 000 users and growing, its now far outpaced more established collaborative tools in DET. After 17 months of Yammer use Deloitte, have hit paydirt with its deployment, as CIO peter Williams declares: “Generally being a firm of accountants we measure it based on how many dollars we get back and the answer is: a sh!tload.” Innovation program generates 400% return on investment per annum for technologies they’ve developed in-house.

Deloitte now have over 250 communities, and its obviously a big part of the culture which is working for the company. One of the interesting things Deloitte have found is how different groups use it- and express a community identity through its use,  from professional knowledge sharing to personal  affiliations.  One fascinating observation is they  have virtually 0% staff turnover of those that are frequent users of the Deloitte internal social media tool, Yammer.  

The take up of Yammer in  DET is now highly impressive; it’s a very sticky tool and when people use it I suspect they tend to keep using it. But the growth rate its time to do some analysis on where its all heading:  what is the purpose of Yammer – to create a Knowledge platform?  And what is the purpose of the various communities and their relationship to each other and the DET network?

Posted in Communities, CoPs, innovation, knowledge, Leadership | 2 Comments