Everyone can publish!

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Recently I ran a staff workshop on BookCreator and the possibilities it has in the classroom. I was lucky enough to attend the iPad K-5 conference at UWCSEA in Singapore where I attended a workshop by Jane Ross, a Digital Literacy coach at Jakarta Intercultural School. In the workshop she talked about her own experiences using BookCreator and iBooks to help students publish their work and it really inspired me.

I see so many possibilities with Apps such as BookCreator and iBooks Author, motivating students to create content and even the possibility of publishing their work to share with the world. One of my targets this year is going to be to try and inspire students at my school to create their own books and maybe even publish them!

I first wanted to experience the process for myself and luckily enough I have actually just submitted and had approved my first ever book published to the iBooks Store! I am part of a big family (6 brothers and sisters) and I am an uncle to 9 nieces and nephews. Back in 2012 I wrote a short story for very young children and asked a very talented friend of my sisters’ to create some illustrations for me, I wanted to create the book to give to all my nieces and nephews.

Once it was eventually ready, I only managed to print a few copies and never managed to give it away as a present. After what was a magnificent experience at the iPadK5 conference and having the opportunity to meet and speak to so many inspiring teachers and educational technology experts I was determined to put into place some of the ideas learnt at the conference.

The whole process only took a few hours, I already had all the text and illustrations so all I had to do was use BookCreator to make the layout of the book. Creating an account to offer books for Free on Itunes Connect is very easy and the whole process is very well laid out and explained. Once my book was submitted, it took about 24hrs for it to be approved.

Imagine the possibilities you open up to students; from a school or family environment, you can motivate and engage them by offering them a larger audience. Publishing is not always necessary, creating content and using Apps like BookCreator to motivate students to compile learning journals or reflect on their work is such a powerful tool.

The Snake in My House, is a simple example of how technology can open up possibilities that did not exist before and how everyone can really become a publisher! Please download the book and share with your children, family, friends and colleagues. I hope this post will motivate you to inspire your students and show them the possibilities that exist!

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SOCIAL MEDIA – EDTECH

I have had a twitter account for some years but have only recently started using it again. I have found it to be such a valuable tool! So, if you are a teacher and have never used twitter before, you are probably asking yourself:

WHY SHOULD YOU USE TWITTER?

*Well first of all, as in any job, I believe you should always aim to stay up to date and twitter does a great job connecting you with educators all over the world. It is incredible how easy it is to find and follow people who are online sharing best practices.

*Second, in twitter you will meet and network with teachers, this will open incredible doors and will present you and your class with different learning opportunities. Collaboration between classes is something which I am trying out at the moment with my class and I feel it is such an incredible opportunity for my students and their learning. Giving them the opportunity to connect with other students from all over the world and share their learning and different perspectives. This will definitely help them in their future learning.

*Sharing of resources, as I mentioned before, educators on twitter are constantly sharing resources and ideas. What better place to start looking for resources? It is also a great community and once you have networked it is a great place to ask for help.

Well, these are only a few reasons why you should join twitter. I know a lot of people are sceptical about using social media and I completely understand where they are coming from. As teachers we have 100 and 1 things to do…marking to get through….observation lessons to prepare…homework to set…lessons to plan and god knows what else. I do not use twitter at school during my day to day mainly because when I am in school I do not stop. But at home, I do think it’s a great tool for the reasons I mentioned above!

So, give it a go and you can follow me at @Mr_ODonovan    🙂

Setting Up A Class Blog

Setting up a class blog

There seems to be a lot of contrasting opinions on whether blogs have any use in the classroom. I must say that I find them a useful and powerful tool, if by having a class blog you can engage your students and encourage them to take an active role in running it then you are encouraging reflective learners. I looked into the 100WC where children are encouraged to write as a challenge…and think that by having a class blog ideas like this could better be started up in class.

I have decided to setup a class blog for my class and the children are extremely excited, I already have about 8 volunteers to help run the blog.

Keeping a journal of all the work we do in class is just one of the reasons to have a class blog, it also helps the children reflect on their learning and take an active role by posting what they have been doing in class and commenting on each others work, which is something they always enjoy.

I am looking forward to launching it and slowly letting the students run it for themselves!

Here is an excellent infographic: 10 REASONS TO BLOG!

Why Blog?

Why Blog?

I have decided to start my own blog. When I was fresh out of university I had a website which I ran for a few years where I showcased some of the multimedia work I was doing and I really enjoyed documenting all my work.

I then changed careers and went from working back to studying and then starting my new career in teaching. It has been a great experience so far, with its ups and downs but definitely worth it. Now that I work with children I can’t think of a better job, although it is highly demanding and extremely exhausting and a continuos uphill battle…I still love it!

I started at an International school in Spain, where I had my first experience and taught KS3 ICT and Design Technology. From there I got a teaching post in a unique place in the world, the Seychelles. I moved with my then girlfriend and we both worked in the only International school on the Island. I was working across Key Stages teaching ICT/Computing from year 3 all the way to the Cambridge IGCSE ICT course in years 10 and 11. Working with students from different ages and levels has given me invaluable experience as a teacher. My girlfriend who that summer became my wife was working as an Early Childhood teacher and we both had an amazing 2 years in a small school but with excellent students.

After two years in the Seychelles we were ready to move on and were looking to grow professionally. This lead us to move all the way to Malaysia to work in an international school in Kuala Lumpur. I am now working as a primary school classroom teacher in KS2 and my wife is a classroom teacher in KS1, it has been hard work adapting to our new surroundings but it has been a rewarding experience so far.

The differences between the two schools is huge. We now work in an apple school with a 1-1 iPad program from Year 3 and a dedicated EdTech department that looks after technology in school. I have always loved technology, studying a degree in Digital Media Development from Brighton University, and the opportunity to work in a school where technology is so important makes me excited for the future!

So, back to the main question – Why Blog? Well I have been a part of the ‘online’ educators community for a while now….reading amazing posts from amazing teachers all over the world. Following people who share ideas and create discussions online and now that I work in a school that supports its teachers and where opportunities exist to develop, I would also like to document and share my work with others.