2011 Year in Review
G’Day all, here are some highlights from 2011
2011 has been an especially busy and productive year here at TomMarch.com. I thought I’d take the opportunity that the holidays present to reflect on some of the highpoints and even look ahead a little to 2012.
I’ve had the good fortune to be able to keynote several of the main technology and education conferences in Australia this past year including in Adelaide (CEGSA), Melbourne (ICTEV), Sydney(CEFPI), Brisbane (QSITE) and Perth (WASLA & WASTAA). If you have not been able to attend one of these excellent events and are interested, the crew at the Sydney Exhbition Centre did a great job at capturing my keynote at the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI).
Other in-person work included the ongoing series of workshops I’ve been leading at the Independent Schools Victoria since 2005, the Studies of Asia & ICT workshops Lindy Stirling and I lead across Victoria and the various schools where I’ve spent time this year in QLD, NSW, TAS and VIC. I hope to cross paths with some of you former participants during 2012 sessions.
It’s nice to report that 2011 was a great year for Intellectual Property with the fruition of a long-term effort to license Web-and-Flow templates to the Victorian Department of Education for use in the Ultranet. The eLearning team at the DEECD in Victoria have done a great job blending the two environments and I hope that the effort contributes to student learning and teacher effectiveness in the years to come. Similarly, the most popular link on my site, the ThesisBuilder was also licensed to a private university in the US to support its students ability to quickly formulate a persuasive thesis and essay outline.
Through much of 2010 and all of 2011 I’d been working with the team at Sungard Higher Education to prepare Sungard’s K-12 products for the Australian and global markets. I enjoyed working as an analyst on international curricula and data metrics & reporting for this environment which is suited to large K-12 organisations that seek continuous systemic improvements.
As this contract has concluded, I am interested in consulting with other large educational software providers to help shape their products to support integration of authentic student learning and data analysis that leads to improvements in achievement. Please contact me if you have such an opportunity.
Best tools & environments
Every year I find that a new tool, platform or environment has come along that becomes core to the work that I do. 2011 was no different. Here are three that have taken their place with WordPress, Diigo, Skype, Evernote and YouTube as things I wouldn’t want to live without.
Netvibes – Since Pageflakes got a little too flakey last year, I decided to shift my RSS / widget platform to Netvibes. I introduce Netvibes to participants in any workshop longer than one day and invariably find that once people “get” the benefits of a customised stream of rich feeds and embeds, their use of online resources is never the same. Netvibes gives teachers and students easy access to podcasts, TubeChop clips, Web 2.0 embeds and realtime news feeds on any topic of interest.
ClassBubbles – Described by creator Dan O’Brien as, “an on-line tool used to deliver collaborative learning using the best functionality from blogs, wikis, webquests and Twitter,” ClassBubbles fills in an important missing piece in the 1:1 digital learning classroom. I see ClassBubbles as a tool that allows students to use their own devices in a productive way and for teachers to shift from leader to orchestrator. It’s a perfect platform for WebQuests but also a range of uses. I plan to use it to support and certify students’ and teachers’ ICT skills in the coming years.
Eduplanet – Created by Jeff Colosimo, Eduplanet is a professional social learning platform that is heading in a new and useful direction. Eduplanet combines a very slick social learning environment with rich proprietary content, structured around specific “Institutes” featuring educational leaders such as Bena Kallick and Art Costa. Jeff has been very good about giving me sandbox access to see how I might use Eduplanet to support colleagues in ICTs and student-managed learning. Watch this space!
I’m presently sitting with 240 pages of a draft of my Next Era Ed book (pdf overview) that I hope to have circulating to publishers early in 2012. The book aligns with what’s been my focus for many years: shifting schools away from the 20th Century’s mechanistic mass production approach to one that can accommodate individual’s joy of learning. In short, Next Era Ed clearly establishes where our schools are “broken” and offers a comprehensive, evidence-based model to begin the fix.
Who would have thought it possible so many years ago when I started ozline.com and wrote about our lovely eldest son, that he would now be graduating from Year 12 and getting ready for university. This has been a miracle that many of you will have already experienced, but this is our first time. Here’s a lovely shot from the Farewell Dinner.
It’s always great to hear from you.