I've just seen the PLENK Daily and my blog is at the top of the blogroll! Very exciting.
Well today was the Year 12's Formal assembly so I went and watched some presentations and baby photos for a bit. However because so many of our students deciding that the holidays have started two or three days ago, I had very little responsibilities. So I spent the majority of the day exploring all the different web based tools around to see if I could solve one of my problems with managing the volume of material I'm trying to wade through.
What I wanted to do was to achieve electronically what I'm used to doing with pen and paper. With the week 1 reading list for PLENK, I foolishly printed some of the papers of and then USED A PEN (oh the nostalgia) to highlight the parts of the text that I felt were relevant. However, having done this, what I really wanted to do was start collecting all my notes together centrally so I could come up with some sort of summary of my reading for the first week. This meant re-typing all the notes that I'd just printed off the web in the first place!! A little counter-productive (not to mention a waste of paper!) I believe tools like Diigo and Evernote can actually do this. I was quite impressed with diigo although our DER laptops are a bit frustrating in that it's impossible to install any of the helpful little applications and add-ons for IE that would help improve productivity. I hit a road bump this evening when the diigolet (which I could install) decided it didn't like PDF files. The page just kept closing. So i'm no closer to solving the problem YET! There is a way, I've just got to find it.
Anyway, the shear number of utilities available on the web is quite staggering. I compiled a list of the tools I have already found or used here. But my list is short and I know I've barely exposed the tip of the iceberg.
For those not living in NSW, the state government have funded laptops for all Year 9 students for the last two years. I feel that they are are proving to be somewhat of a white elephant at the moment, at least for our school. I feel that Year 9 is too late. Our Year 7's arrive at high school expecting something new, but have more change and uncertainty and more sterile classrooms than they are used to. If hey had the notebooks, we might be able to kick start a new learning journey for them. However, Year 9 are quite jaded and mostly use the laptops for games, iTunes and movies. Or trying to hack their way past the the DET's net-nanny! I have found it very difficult to inspire them, which is why I'm so keen on the PLENK course. I hope that the idea of a PLE will help them see that their education could be a liberating and inspiring activity as opposed to the gaol-sentence that they seem to think it is.