Caroline's PLN Journey

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Fear of Public Speaking


Today after school we had a staff meeting. Nothing unusual about that except that I was asked to give a presentation to the staff about the PLN I have taken part in. OMG. I am not a teacher and not comfortable speaking in front of anyone let alone my peers. Not that there is anything scary about my peers, they are all really nice people actually. I tried not to think about it too much before hand to avoid the anxiety getting out of control and pulling out of the presentation. That would have been a shame because I gained so much from my PLN and would recommend it to everyone.

I was not expected to do this on my own. Rachel and Julie from our library also took part in the program so we discussed what each of us would talk about. I would give an overview of what we did and they would pick out the tools and topics that interested them to discuss.

I prepared a Power Point (yep, I know, boring) with the weekly tasks highlighting what I found the most interesting each week then showed everyone my blog and the Week 12 Digital Story Prezi (much more interesting than Power Point). I had prepared notes for all of the points I wanted to make but unfortunately I was so nervous I missed a few things I really wanted to say. I felt I stumbled and shook through the whole thing but I am pretty sure it was not as bad as I imagined it was.

The funny thing is I found it a lot of fun even though I was so nervous, crazy hey!

You Tube has many videos on overcoming the fear of public speaking and I have found one that I think is amusing. He looks like he is reading every word from his notes and not doing a particularly good job but worth watching anyway.

Microsoft Access 2007


I have been in Melbourne for 3 days last week doing a training course in Microsoft Access 2007. I have wanted to use a database for not only inventory of chemicals and equipment but also a place where science teachers can search for all available resources in each topic we teach. I have read Access books tried on my own in the past but have never been able to get past the design stage.

I applied for a ES Professional Learning Grant earlier this year and received enough money to attend the 3 days in Melbourne. It was really hard work and 5 of the other 6 attendees knew enough about the program to be doing level 2 instead of the level 1 that we were doing. I made the teacher work hard to teach me, I need to be shown many times before it sinks into my head.

My sister came to Melbourne with me and shopped for 3 days. Huh. I had about 1/2 hour shopping time total.

Anyhow, I feel much more confident about building my database and one of the other people in the course works in the local area and is keen to help me as he does not have a project of his own to work on. Bonus. He was one of the clever ones.

So here is a video of what I am dealing with.

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Naming Day


It has been ages since I have added to this blog even though I promised myself to keep blogging each week. I have been really busy, as everyone has, and it really doesn’t take long to jot down a few thoughts and find a picture or You Tube video to add for interest.

As you probably know from previous posts I have been using Old Clunky for ages but now I have a lovely new laptop to use all to myself. I have put quite a lot of thought in to coming up with a name for it and was at a loss for ages until I was having problems printing. Our technician fixed the problem and printed a test page, at the top of the page was the code CARACER which is CAR for Caroline and ACER for the name of the laptop. Car Racer. Racing Car. My favourite car is a Mini Cooper. Cooper. We now have a name for my laptop.


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The New Laptop


I have had a fun day today. I have spent every spare moment trying to set up my new laptop just the way I want it.

  • I have played around with Outlook and love the way it works.
  • I have saved all of my Favourites from Old Clunky to Diigo so I can find them on my laptop.
  • My OneNote notebooks are now on my network drive (I thought they already were but obviously not).
  • Deleted all of my documents and photos etc from Old Clunky after transferring to my network drive.
  • Installed some programs such as Google Earth and iTunes (for iTunes U).
  • Played around with the backgrounds and gadgets on Windows 7.

New laptop needs a name. I will put some thought in to it and write a new post with the outcome.

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Old Clunky Update


For the last year or so I have had a love/hate relationship with the 10 year old desktop that I have been using in the science office here at school. It has been VERY frustrating at times coping with the obvious limitations but it was all I had to use so I was grateful for it regardless.

Today I have been given a new notebook to use, just for me, I don’t have to share it with anyone!!! I am sooooooo happy! It has Windows 7 which I am not familiar with so I have been learning all about it (slowly) this afternoon.

As much as Old Clunky was a pain to use and look at (fuzzy screen), I had it set up so I could click around fairly quickly and painlessly. Now I have to set everything up all over again. It could take some time. I wonder if the science teachers will understand if I have more important things to do than get their classroom pracs ready for them? Probably not.

The timing was incredible. I finished the PLN yesterday and I get the new laptop today.

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Week 12 – Digital story (27/7 – 2/8)


It is the last week, how sad! I have really enjoyed the course. I have gathered so much information, new skills and have gained the courage to have a go at everything- what is the worst that can happen!!!

I would like to thank Judith for all of her help and support while taking us through this fabulous program. Thanks also to all of the other learning contacts I have made over the last 12 weeks. Hopefully it will contiue.

Here is a Prezi of a few of the things I now have in my bag of tricks:

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Week 11 – Presentation tools 2 (20/7 – 26/7)


I have had a look at slideshare and found a few presentations that I thought may be of use to the science teachers. Here is one on Animal Classification that could be used in our Year 7 classes at the moment. I found one that I liked better the first time I looked at slideshare but of course I could not find now that I am ready to write my blog post!!

Now about Google Lit Trips (sorry no link, Old Clunky not cooperating, don’t ask). I have not been able to look at the site at school but I think I have a bit of an idea what it is all about. I suffer from a limited imagination so I have been trying to work out how we can use it in science. So far I have a vague idea about archaeological digs and discovering fossils in different regions of the world. I will have a chat with some of the teachers and I am sure we will come up with some fabulous ideas.

I have had a look at Prezi and it looks like fun. I have sat through many a ‘death by powerpoint’ over the last few years so anything to make a presentation more fun would be adventagous. I am inclined to get a little dizzy though….. This is another tool to pass on to the teachers.

Weblist looks like it will be handy to gather resources for each science topic we do and share with teachers. I have been wondering what would be the best way to do this and Weblist could be ideal. I often come across different bits and pieces and don’t always get around to sharing them so further investigation into Weblist is on my list.

Livebinders looks great too. Well of course, now I have to look at them both and make a decision (not one of my strong points, decision making).

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Week 10 – Gaming for learning (13/7 – 19/7)


After watching Jane McGonigal’s video it  became very clear I have no idea how huge the gaming scene really is. I have heard of the games she mentioned and knew they were popular but the statistics she quoted were incredible.

Students at our school are often in trouble for playing games in the computer room when they shouldn’t be. Maybe we should be looking at the issue a bit differently? All teachers should watch Jane’s video I think.

Games to help the students learn what they need to know in a fun but educational way would be fantastic. I can see myself researching games for each science topic we do and encouraging the teachers to use them. Research on the internet is tough with Old Clunky (10 year old desktop computer that I have access to) and a dodgy internet connection.

Of course there is the problem of limited access to computer rooms, internet connections that drop out regularly, staff that would prefer to stay in their comfort zone, etc.

Looking forward to the Ultranet? I hope it works.

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Week 9 – What comes first, pedagogy or technology? (22/6 – 28/6)


Here is the link to my wordle for this weeks tasks. I have tried to put the image into my post but after many attempts all I can mange is the link. How do I save the image in wordle??? I downloaded jing and could not find the embed code for the screenshot. Anyway, the links is there and that is a good start!

To begin with, I loved the Horizon Report. I read it with excitement and wondered how we will be incorporating these new teaching practices in our classrooms in the future. The Queensland newsletter talks about students using iPhones in the classroom and even though most students have a mobile I wonder if all of them do, let alone an iPhone. That could cause issues if there are a couple of students without one. One of my science teachers assures me that EVERY student has a mobile though. As for cloud computing, you need a reliable Internet connection for that!!!!

After the first 8 weeks of our PLN I am looking forward to using my new found skills and knowledge to encourage teachers to also use them in the classroom. Realistically I know that even though I am excited about web 2.0 tools I will have to take it a bit more slowly with the staff and work out how to make it valuable in the classroom. We are getting a trolley of notebooks for our block next term to share between 4 science rooms and 3 maths rooms so that should help tremendously. If I can encourage a few teachers to use just one new tool then I will be pleased. I know our staff are busy and it is difficult to incorporate something new into what they already know works well. By the way, I think I am the luckiest lab tech in the state to be able to work with the  science teachers at my school.

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Week 8 – Presentation tools 1 (15/6 – 21/6)


I am a big fan of Photo Story 3 and have made a few little vidoes using the program, Picasa is also good for this type of application. Animoto looks just as good. I suppose you have to look at them all and work out which one suits you the best. I think it would be wonderful to have the students taking photos of their classroom activities and making a presentation video to share with other classes.

Glogster is just like scrapbooking!!!!! I can’t wait to try this at home for my personal stuff. Getting back to the reason we are all here though is using Glogster at school. My first thought is to get rid of the ALWAYS messy poster paper trolley (it is a full time job keeping it tidy, I give up) and just using Glogster for posters on the computer. The posters in the room are colourful and the students like having their work displayed but maybe there is a way to compromise. I know I would much prefer to make a Glogster rather than a poster, maybe they would too.

I am continually amazed by all of the new web 2.0 tools we are being shown in this PLN. Voice Thread would have to be one of the most fun applications so far. This could be used for any science topic in all year levels. I will take it to our next science meeting rather than just emailing the link out this time!

I have looked at both Wikispaces and PBWorks for my own personal wiki. I liked the look and feel of Wikispaces but it did not give me the privacy I was looking for with my group of friends. PBWorks was the one I went with but the concept of collaborating on the web was too much for my technophobic friends so it fell in a heap. I am sure the students are much more adventurous. Great way to build a classroom activity.

Issuu looks like reading a catalogue online (not that I have done much of that before…). I am positive there is a way to use it in the classroom.

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