Better Blended Learning with Moodle

This was the title of my own session and now writing this post I feel it was a good opportunity for me to reflect on the technical and professional learning progress we have made with Moodle over the last four years. As a community we have a lot to be proud of with a vision for digital learning, blended approaches for teacher development and student involvement via the Digital Ambassadors. Moreover, our teachers are being recognised for the knowledge of instructional design and mastery of teaching through Moodle. Each time I attend these types of conferences I am reminded that I am fortunate to work in a supportive environment with dedicated professionals and motivated students.

Digital Literacies

The opening keynote on Friday from Dr Nichole Pinkard really resonated with me. Nichole shared her work with under privileged students, helping them find and express their inner creativity through digital media.

She shared some great examples of how student projects and reminded the us that digital media is not just a catalyst for engagement and creativity, it also amplifies the traditional literacies.

For instance, all video productions should be scripted prior to actual filming (which make interdisciplinary projects with the languages such a natural partnership).

Nichole shared results from her work with the digital youth network (DYN) – a hybrid digital literacy program that uses a blended learning approach combining in school, after school and online contexts. Her work supports the digital literacy certificate we are working on at CDNIS for teachers and is something we can refine for use with students.

I was inspired by her work on the mentoring and parent education structures that underpin the DYN. We’ve made good progress at CDNIS in this area with Moodle mentors, Digital Ambassadors, we now need to work towards a structured after-school program where professionals/parents from various creative industries support students with digital projects.

Apple Pro Apps

Apple Pro Apps Session

Samantha Goh from FatBars demonstrating features of Final Cut Pro X

I literally fell into this workshop while trying to find another session. Run by the folks at FatBars, the focus was on getting started with Final Cut Pro X. A very useful skills session, like most other editors, I’ve had some difficulty adjusting to the changes Apple have made to the FCP interface.

This workshop really provided solid rationale for the update to this powerful video editing tool. I learned that FCP X has been engineered from the ground up to take advantage of currently greater graphics processing power and memory available in machines today.

Furthermore, with the trend towards full digital recording on hard disk and/or memory cards as well as mobile devices, FCP X has been optimised to read the meta data embedded digital recordings and export to mobile friendly formats.

The workshop concluded with an excellent roundtrip to iBooks Author, where an iPad optimised video was exported from FCP X, then ‘dragged and dropped’ into a iBook and finally complemented with a gallery and interactive quiz.

Here are some awesome keyboards shortcuts that when used in combination with the mouse can massively speed up your editing process:

J = play backward
K = pause/stop
L = play forward
I = set the in point of a clip segment
O = set the out point
F = define current clip as favourite
Q = attach selected clip to storyline (cut away)
E = append selected clip to storyline (insert)

Playing with Perplexity

Undoubtedly the closing keynote from Math teacher Dan Meyer stole the show. Dan’s passion for everyday problem-solving and critical thinking is contagious. He really wants his students to think deeply and has made it his personal mission to seek out perplexity from the world around in order to get into the heart and minds of his students.

He opened his digital toolbox and took the audience on an amazing tour of his trusted tools, many of which are familiar to us all. The difference being he paid attention to the small things, like the importance of tagging.

Dan’s mastery of digital media is nothing short of mind blowing; from Keynote to Photoshop to Final Cut Pro he uses them all in an effort to make Math problems magical. I was never very interested in Math at school, but I tell you what, if Dan Meyer was my teacher I know for sure that would have changed.