Digital Artistry Careers Ahead

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I watched XMen Future (or whatever it’s called) in 3D last night. It’s only the second time I’ve watched a 3D movie – I don’t get out much – it was amazing. I have always pooh-poohed 3D. No more. Gone are the majority of gimmicks of things flying out the screen which tend to be annoying. However, for me, the sense of human movement on the screen was superb, sometimes even tender (Jeff at CNET disagrees with me, but what does he know?). There’s a bit where Wolverine hit someone with a frying pan that was a bit lame but mostly I was really impressed.

Anyway, that is not the point of the post. The film has a rubbish extra bit afterwards, so I watched the credits. I was struck by how many digital artists there are: dozens and then some more. So, I just looked it up on IMDB and there are more than 500 (I stopped counting when I got to 500) visual effects people credited. More than 500! Now, I am aware that visual effects and digital artists are not the same role, but still. So, if you’re faced with a student wondering what career to choose, or saying they want to create computer graphics for a living, encourage them. Every time. Tell them there is a future for them. Tell them it is in reach and worth pursuing.

Image credit

(How) should we tackle pornography in schools

Disclaimer: all opinion in this post, and indeed all my posts, is nothing whatsoever to do with my employers, past, present or future. It is, however, safe to read at work (SFW).

Source: http://bit.ly/1tP8U19

Hardcore pornography is readily accessible by anyone with an internet device. Pornography has been one of the catalysts of the Internet and web content. Check out this infographic published last year showing USA stats on porn. And a more balanced examination of such stats from the BBC, as well as this article exploring research about the harm that porn can do, which includes an analogy of porn to alcohol, saying that for some it’s a problem and for others it’s a pleasure. [NB: schools do educate about alcohol]

So, should we be doing anything in school about pornography? And, if so, what should we be doing? I have been discussing this question with colleagues and the answer is not clear. It’s not an easy subject to talk about. Imagine the potential outrage as students hurry home to discover what all the fuss was about? Those not exposed to such material may venture to satisfy their curiosity and the school will ultimately have led them there. Unacceptable, right? So what might we be able to do about this without leading our cohorts to the content we are advising them to avoid?

Should we do anything at all? This New Statesman article argues that there are ten more important sex education issues to deal with than porn:

  1. Where and how to get contraception
  2. How to use that contraception
  3. Consent
  4. Basic anatomy
  5. How to put it in
  6. ‘When a man and a woman don’t love each other very much…’
  7. Sex positions
  8. Orgasms
  9. The Morning After Pill and Abortion
  10. The sexual double standard

You may agree with them or not. Although it is just an opinion piece, it is prioritising the importance of practical facts, sort of. A young persons (mans? womans? boys? girls? childrens?) relationship to pornography is a complex one, and there will undoubtedly be many people better qualified and experienced than me to explain this in more detail. I find that it is not dissimilar to the body image issue which I often feel lacks sufficient complexity when presented to young people because it never explains how you – and I and them and us and we – are in the game. The impact of media-distorted body image (both self and others) is so entwined in our thoughts that effectively disentangling ourselves from admiring the beautiful (desired?), and superficially judging the occupant as an object, is much harder than it seems. Brangelina are the perfect couple, aren’t they? In an attempt to do this without doing it, I teach a unit of work called ‘Digital Media Decoding’ whereby the pupils use graphics packages to alter photographs. But, might it be necessary for schools simply not to get involved? Maybe this stuff is so wrapped up in the double binds of life that each of us must unravel these for ourselves; is it not this that defines who we are? Bob Dylan, discussing songwriting, says:

First of all, there’s two kinds of thoughts in your mind: there’s good thoughts and evil thoughts. Both come through your mind. Some people are more loaded down with one than another. Nevertheless, they come through. Source: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/05/21/bob-dylan-songwriters-on-songwriting-interview/

So, how can we dictate, or even determine, how thoughts (and the potentially distorted thoughts that an individual may have after subjecting themselves to pornographic material) might manifest in the intimate relationships our children are having or will have? Will these thoughts change actions? Will the absence of hands gently finding each other in streamed online media actually mean our young people will not work this tenderness out for themselves? Do we really think that they will not understand that our/their media-distorted expectations are irrelevant, and that the physical embodiment of connection between two people is so much more valuable, more beautiful, than what they watched online? Will there be a Generation XXX?

Well I’m not certain about what to do, but my research on the matter led me to this video which is the best thing I have seen so far (NB: if you know of anything suitable, please get in touch?). The video is a TEDx talk by Ran Gavrieli from Israel: ‘Why I stopped watching porn’. I recommend you watch this young(ish) man explain his experience. He is earnest and humorous and sensitive.

Finally, should you have any interesting ideas about this matter, please feel free to comment or contact me privately via the usual channels [daibarnes at gmail dot com].

Jigsaw24 Apple iPad Conference December 2013

Today I went to Prior Park College in Bath to attend the Jigsaw24 Apple Conference. They do iPads rather than tablets. And have some pretty cool ideas, offer schools excellent support, do great insurance that covers the gap when pupils don’t pay and sell iPad at the lowest cost I have seen. They genuinely seem to be a friendly and effective bunch of people. We have a contract with them, but I am not sure exactly what for as I write – they deal with our ICT Services Department.

It was few in number but interesting. There was no hashtag. These are just my notes lifted from evernote and edited a little. Please forgive the lack of detail in places and haphazard formatting. My thought on the matters arising will come later following an enlightening walk and a coffee with this lovely man I met there (but cannot remember his name; burning moment of shame) and I need to think about it all a bit more.

Source: http://eyedzard.deviantart.com/art/Need-To-Think-Outside-The-Box-202783112 (labelled for re-use on search)

Source: http://eyedzard.deviantart.com/art/Need-To-Think-Outside-The-Box-202783112 (labelled for re-use on search)

Lara Havord

  • Education manager, apple UK (now a team of 6 people – only 6??).
  • iPad can ignite hunger for learning.
  • Apple committed and passionate about education.
  • All about the teaching and learning and the good learning outcomes.
  • Lara ran (still runs??) Regional Training Centres.
  • They are there to provide advice and support to any school that wants it.
  • Close link to schools.
  • Always happy to talk.
  • Use resellers like jigsaw but can contact directly.
  • All about individuals. Learners. Solve problems. Create.
  • Apple Distinguished Educator programme.
  • Research. Looking at impact of tech in schools.
  • Apple.com uk site has evidence on it. (? https://www.apple.com/uk/education/)
  • Hull uni report on research in Scottish schools.
  • And Longfield iPad research report listed by NAACE.
  • ItunesU. Fantastic free resource. Rich store of material created by top educators in the globe.
  • iBooks Author.
  • Referencd SAMR & TPACK.
  • Free apps now include gband and iMovie.
  • But iCloud is the online access winner.
  • Apple TV. AirPlay.
  • Accessibility. Tools and features.
  • Why iPad in education? Lists apps listed above more or less. 95000+ educational apps.
  • But, identify key apps to realise your educational vision.
  • However, education collections exist to help you browse edu apps. iWork stuff.
  • Really about what you do with them and who supports you. RTCs. Apple Professional Development ADP. Resellers.
  • Encouraged to make the most of our apple technology. Get fee training from RTC. Consider ADP.
  • It is all about excellent teaching and learning.

Film. Apple promo for education. ContacT: havord.lara@apple.com

Mike and Paul

  • Flagship trainers. ADEs.
  • Certified APD specialists.Importance of vision and plan course in the apple catalogue.
  • SLT course.
  • Looking for transformational activities going on in case studies? In the evidence?
  • The course looks at how we are going to reach goals, what the goals are and how we might adapt existing plans.
  • Planning how to present those ideas to key stakeholders. Staff. Governors. Parents.

The plan:

  • The goal/aim is the third stage. Recommend 1-2-1 deployment. Evidence supports this.First stage. Where to start. (Class sets, cited as the most difficult way to use iPads in school – oh dear). Often felt to be deemed successful mainly because of novelty shiny value – everyone’s excited. There will be struggle. Mike and Paul are here to support us.The second stage can be hard. Difficult second album analogy overused.Discussion points:
  • Deployment model. Nigel (teacher presenting later) has done this. Splitting them into smaller groups might be better.
  • Technical support demands for class sets that aren’t there for 1-2-1.
  • Esafety.
  • Digital leaders. Staff – cascade existing skills. Largely experiential collaborative learning process. Access on personal basis and in school preferably before using in school.
  • Apps. Paid? Which ones and why? Training plan targeting specific departments and apps.
  • Road ahead vision. Strategy. Tablets around for a while. We can/should plan their use.

Paul

  • Course provides opportunities to get hands on devices.
  • ItunesU. Looks like nice content for classics dept on there.
  • Also interesting resources on iPad in classroom. Subscribed to a couple.

Sarah Paddock. Teacher.

  • On twitter.
  • From prior Park Prep school. Trial for two months. 1-2-1.
  • Made sure infrastructure was good allowing movement between rooms etc.
  • Meraki with MDMA and light speed through jigsaw.
  • VPP.
  • Card free apple IDs for pupils and staff.
  • Apps made via requests.
  • Student workflow solution achieved via google apps.
  • Padagogy wheel mapped to blooms.
  • Pupil, teacher and parent surveys before and after trial.
  • Parent and pupil meeting before and after.
  • Updates throughout the trial.
  • Staff twilight training once a week. Including troubleshooting.
  • Pupil digital leaders meet once a week.

Ian Barker. Latin teacher

  • On twitter.
  • Socrative. Loves it for vocab testing.Digital leaders presenting. Helps with dyslexia because of changing text size. Mind maps like popplet. Apps: book creator. Send to iBooks. Showed his books. Signed contract beforehand. No games 12+. Teacher can look at iPad any time. Pic collage. Next DL. Y7. 2 month trial. Very happy at first. Teaching same material in a different way. Socrative again. Latin. Maths.Explain everything in art. Book creator. Complete topics quicker. Own pace. Prep fun.
  • The trial has been more successful than they had hoped. Jigsaw were a great support. Buying iPads for all staff in Jan 2014. And then think about pupils for next academic year.
  • Questions about Google Drive.sharing folders for each class with subjects in them. Student shares work with teacher which triggers email and prompts marking.Showbie for sharing. Edmodo do as well. Or paid for solutions that give access to network drives on iPads.

Notes from lunch

  • BYOD issues because range of devices meant that intimidation for teachers. Not knowing how to get things going/working. Not same apps etc.
  • Casper MDM. Great means of authentication. Meraki free but bought by Cisco for cloud security tools. MDM might not be sustained.
  • Parental purchase. Parents expect usage of device.
  • iOS7 seems to create issues with lag when streaming video. Jigsaw said this had never happened on previous OS.
  • Also an issue with Apple TVs requiring schools to group these dynamically via Bonjour so you only see those in immediate vicinity.

Lightspeed Systems

  • Est. 1999. In Europe since 2005. Protecting over one million students in UK.
  • Work with all the big players from technical side.
  • Three solutions make up mobile learning essentials…
  • Manage devices
  • Keep safe on internet on school owned devices at home
  • Collaborate with MyBigCampus

Selling points:

  • Commitment to education
  • Educational rich features
  • Comprehensive reporting
  • Focus on mobility, 1:1 or class sets
  • Easy admin, delegate admin down to classroom level.

Mobile device management:

  • Hierarchical design. Delegate admin to teachers in classroom to open or close access to resources, e.g. Turn off cameras.

My Big Campus

  • Learning platform. VLE but new generation.
  • Social networking approach. shared storage. Device apps for access. Public resources, once used on MBC, is categorised and made available through their search engine. Build community of users. Teachers can communicate on EduTalk feature. Linked with web filtering solution so that web access used on site applies. Teacher uses a resource and it’s auto unblocked on school network. Filter works at home as well. Policies granular. Redirects YouTube and Google to education versions. Strict safe search enforced, images blocked are blocked on websites as well. Lockouts for repeat offenders. Email notifications triggered. Overrides is a soft block e.g. Nudity in art will auto trigger reauthentication. Web zones controls what students do on internet in your classroom. White and black list sites possible.
  • Video. Samuel Lister Academy. On youtube.

Paul and Mike again

  • Accessibility features on iPad. Lots of great things for Progress Centre.
  • iBooks. Text book store. Hands on usage of all related features.

 

Nigel. Teacher.

  • Learning spaces. iPad trolley. Vision tables (flat projection). Idea paint on walls.
  • Showed iPad as chopping board video.
  • Class set in music.
  • Learning. Looking at other schools. Trial. Change perceptions.
  • Students. Enjoyed collaboration with google drive and calendar. Independence to get unstuck through web. Find info in seconds when I want it. No incidents of theft or damage, staff embraced project.
  • BYOD mainly web based research. Parental concerns around device liability. Teachers did not use them regularly. Not as well liked as iPads.
  • Geography stand out subject. More academic progress made compared to control group and Geography used the iPads the most.
  • Giving parents iPad options. iPad mini. Ipad2 and iPad air. Bought for FSM pupils.
  • Change team. Group of staff tasked with making his happen. Help to launch to parents and helping to develop pedagogy across subject areas. SAMR model wheel.
  • Video. Book as new technology.

Tablets 4 Schools 2013 Twitter notes on Storify

I didn’t attend this event. I was lucky enough to receive a personal invite but had already committed myself to another tablet event (much smaller scale) with a company called Jigsaw24 who have some innovative ideas on how to roll out iPad in schools. On the train home I read through the tweets and found Tony Parkin had impartially documented the gist of what was presented. I was going to write up the notes (they’re in my notebook) but time is against me, so here is a storify of the key tweets. All are worth reading from beginning to end, but it is long so I’ll say goodbye here… comments at the bottom should you feel the need!

PS: remember to click *Read next page* link at bottom of storify embed.


 

ETRU logo

EdTechRoundUp Hanging Out Again

Do you remember ETRU? It was a weekly podcast I co-hosted with Doug Belshaw and others. We *ceased trading* two years ago because the conversations had, at that point, run dry.

ETRU logo

But it’s back! Should you want to get involved in this community (on Google Plus) then please do request an invite. The conversation is all about education technology and the usual suspects participants are UK educators (teachers of all sectors and independent consultants). We have met twice so far, the output of which is stored on YouTube.

First introductory meeting (20/10/13):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekFjkCXA8s0

And yesterday (02/11/13) to discuss the transition of ICT to Computing in the UK:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyoq6H0YWMk

The agenda is driven by those that attend. Anyone is welcome to contribute or just watch/listen to the conversation. Google Hangouts are limited to 15 participants, so first come is first served. For me, the reason I do this is so I know I have somewhere I can ask questions, reflect on practice, hear other peoples thoughts and learn from their experience. The people who attend are all tweeters and all lovely people. Bonza! What’s not to like?