Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

Click on "contact", won't you, and wave right back at me?

Filtering by Tag: Internet Radio

Our Student Podcast is now on iTunes

Many of you will be aware of our 'internet radio station' that we've been running for the last year or so. 

You can read in other posts about how we create MP3 files and then upload them to what's called a 'Shoutcast' server on the internet, where they are played as a playlist on repeat for anyone to tune into live. You can listen now live in this fashion - go to http://learn.nbcs.nsw.edu.au and click on the BooralieFM image. You may need to copy the link address, then go to iTunes and click "open url". 

But recently I've figured out how to turn those MP3s into a coherent podcast that is actually visible in iTunes and available for automatic download to your iPod or MP3 player!



This has coincided with a new team of students who have taken on the project and basically run the podcast themselves. I've been steering them, and plugging a couple of gaps, but am trying stand off as far as I possibly can.

They roam the school at various times, attend events, visit classes, visit performances, and then edit the sound and create segments in the podcast using Audacity. 

I'd like to invite you to subscribe, if you're interested. If you go iTunes and search for "BooralieFM" you'll find us.

Or, click here to see the 'feed' of our podcast: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Booraliefm

Subscribe in a reader

I was amazed 5 minutes ago to see we already have 21 subscribers, just because I've mentioned it on Twitter once or twice.

Anyway, to get your podcast up and running, see instructions here: http://www.podcastingnews.com/articles/Make_Podcast_Blogger.html

First I put the MP3s in order and saved them as one big MP3.

To get iTunes to recognise it, look here: http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html 

Beyond Borders - a safe web space to share

I launched Beyond Borders back in 2005. In those I was teaching French and English and had no other responsibilities at the school. My Principal told me about an organisation in Europe called WKTO (standing for Work Together). The WKTO network, limited to Northern Hemisphere, used a special web space to facilitate teams of students from various countries operating in one common language (but not their maternal language).

This sounded great for my French students: a web space for them to share with other students in other places where they could communicate and collaborate.

Beyond-Borders (White)
The leaders at my school got behind the idea and set up the IT infrastructure for me. It's great at my school that new ideas and projects are supported strongly. There aren't hoops to jump through, rather a golden path is built!

The pilot project went well in 2005, and I thought "Hey ANY subject could benefit from this model!"

So I swung into action, creating:

- behaviour agreements for students

- tutorial materials for teachers

- a standardised project structure

Funding from the government via a special language innovations program was very helpful. The standardised project structure I called "Collabor8" and am still really pleased with it. Conceptually it adapts to any age and any subject.

Collaborate (Black)

I also started presenting on the website at conferences. My lovely awards were for Beyond Borders and this opened a lot of doors to get the word out.

We actually have 3,616 users registered now! Projects have run in all kinds of different languages with participants from lots of different countries.

Globe (Colour)  

With everything else I'm trying to do, Beyond Borders is quieter now than it used to be, but it is still very much available. 

One thing I have learnt is that a lot of teachers will say "Yes! I will participate!" but literally only about 5% follow through, no matter how sure they were initially. This has everything to do with how busy they are, and I completely understand. I have, however, started holding back from registering teachers until I am sure they're going to follow through. Actually, I try to put barriers in people's way so I can avoid doing all the administration only to have schools drop out!!

Anyway the catalyst for blogging on this is that I am running full day training on Beyond Borders on September the 16th at my school in Sydney. We'll canvass a wide variety of ideas for using the website, everything hands-on and practical, of course! If you're keen to attend, grab the rego form from http://scil.nsw.edu.au/pd/ and send it in.

If you can't attend but want more information on Beyond Borders and the capabilities of the project infrastructure (which uses Moodle, but that's another story), have a look at this manual:

Download Complete Guide to Collabor8

There are plenty of other courses coming up too!

Actually, if you're interested more generally in Moodle, you'll notice we're running training on the November 2nd. We've had Moodle since 2004 and it is fair to say most our teachers are experts. The guys running this course are the experts of all experts!

Look, while I'm blogging this, let me finish with a little announcement! Our Internet radio station, which I presented on at ELH a few days ago, is now available as a podcast. This morning I had no idea how to set up a podcast. It took me about 60 minutes to find the information and tutorials required and follow them until I got it working. 

If you'd like to subscribe, click on the logo below and then click "Add to iTunes" or whatever other system you want to subscribe with! The show is entirely recorded, edited and produced by students! Edit: gosh I listened to the podcast this arvo on the way home and a number of the sections have been repeated. Far from perfect, but at least the ball is rolling!

(Alternatively, listen directly to our internet radio station by going to iTunes or whatever media player you have, clicking "Open URL" and pasting in:

Anyway, that's it for now! 

ACEC Presentation: Run a School Internet Radio Station

This is my post for a conference presentation at the ACEC conference in Melbourne. There SHOULD be a a video stream you can watch here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/technology-in-education-show

Check here for the timing of the presentation: Wednesday 7th April, 4.40pm Run a School Internet Radio Station UNIVERSAL TIME ZONE CALCULATION

Below you will find a list of actions to take, a link to an 'etherpad' where you can add your own links and other insights, an embedded version of my presentation, a voicethread to comment on, and finally an embedded chat system for use during the session.


Explore the links in this post, text chat with attendees & virtual attendees.

Leave a comment on this blog post giving your perspective or story, or introducing yourself.

Connect with me! Subscribe to my blog using the link in the right margin, or send me a twitter message to @steve_collis, or come visit my school: http://scil.nsw.edu.au/pd/ Also I am running a free online seminar myself in a few days. Please email me at scollis then the @ sign, then nbcs.nsw.edu.au to get an invite.

Click here and add to the resources contributed by others related to this presentation: http://ietherpad.com/audiointeaching

Download 'Audacity' for free from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ and start playing! 

On the broader topic of 'student publishing' check out: www.realaudienceproject.com  - a work in progress, but this is basically a portal to all our student publishing projects... check out the LuLu book publishing project in particular.

Visit http://radio.setnine.com/  and get your own radio station running right now!

Listen to our radio station - open this link in iTunes:

Listen to our FrenchFM youtube channel: http://youtube.com/frenchfm

Also, here is my intro for the conference presentation on our school internet radio station. Most of the presentation will be a practical demonstration - we'll actually put together our own radio content - but I'll start off running through the basic process of setting a station up (which is quite straightforward). Press the RIGHT PLAY BUTTON to advance through the presentation:


I will refer to a VoiceThread - leave a comment to say what you think about this Quad burger!


Here is the live chat system for the presentation. If you tweet, use the hashtag 'acecradio' so the comment is included: 

Steve Collis' Presentations at the Education Revolution in Action Conference

Here are the CoverItLive windows for my presentations, which will allow you to participate, comment, chat with attendees, and me, etc even if you're not at the conference. Note, you can participate before, during, or after the actual live presentation. You might have questions, or your own information to add.

Presentation #2: Run a School Internet Radio Station (2.10pm Tuesday 23rd June AEST (GMT time +10 hours))



Listen to our school radio show by clicking the links at the top left of the HappySteve site (under 'About Steve Collis') - link opens in iTunes / Windows Media Player.

CHAT USING THE WINDOW BELOW: (or send tweets to the window below using hash tag #edrevprof4a

I will invite you to send me mp3 files to put up on our radio station - email them to me at scollis@nbcs.nsw.edu.au (smaller than 1 mb please - short audio no longer than 30 seconds)

Also, here is my intro for the conference presentation on our school internet radio station. Most of the presentation will be a practical demonstration - we'll actually put together our own radio content - but I'll start off running through the basic process of setting a station up (which is quite straightforward). Press the RIGHT PLAY BUTTON to advance through the presentation:

I will refer to a VoiceThread - leave a comment to say what you think about this Quad burger!

Lots of other text-based publishing projects:

With maps showing visitors...
...but that's another story.

Presentation #1: Moodle for Unleashed Learning (12pm Monday 22nd June AEST (GMT time +10 hours))

(For Eastern Australia)

Practical Examples of 3D Virtual Environments for Learning in High School

Eight weeks after our students first entered our 3D virtual world, called 'Booralie', I can now say we have a suite of learning activities to showcase. We use 'Second Life' software to run this environment.

In this video I show a wide range of examples of how students are learning in this space, both in student-directed ways (developing high-order skills such as creativity, collaboration and project-management) but also in structured, teacher-directed ways. 

I show activities we've run that are specific to Maths, Visual Arts, Music, and Languages, but also plenty of activities that are generic and transferable across different subject areas and ages - especially discussion based activities that rely on text chatting.

Every single one of the activities meets my two golden criteria of being low effort (for the teacher) but high impact (for the students). We've avoided the sort of activity whereby you spend hours recreacting the city of Paris or Ancient Rome for the students for one fabulous lesson. Instead we ask 'what are the inbuilt potentials in the rules of this world? Text chat quizzes are a good example. The Poinkey's Pods speed dating discussion tool is another classic. These ideas harness the potentials of the environment for learning with very little prep time.

This video is the culmination of an extraordinarily busy term. It has been the ride of my life, utterly exhilarating. It has been bliss learning new teaching skills.

Picture me in the first few lessons with my Year 8 French class trying to manage them all in the virtual world... figuring out how to get them to the same place on the island, working out what instructions work well and which work poorly. I hit the jackpot when we opened up the disco and I realised that students feel under pressure if just asked to 'chat in French', but will gibber away blissfully while on a virtual dance floor. 

Then there is our virtual radio station, virtual art gallery, the upcoming customisable maths maze, our virtual bookstore, and so on and so on.

I finish in the video remarking that this sort of environment is obviously not the be all and end all. It is simply a teaching tool, or learning space, that deserves inclusion in a teacher's repetoire. Students relate naturally to this sort of virtual environment. They're hyper-engaged by it. Many students spend many hours in similar environments outside school time.

I strongly argue that there doesn't have to be anything light-weight about activities in a virtual world. Activities in a physical classroom can be light-weight, or intense and productive. The same goes for a virtual space.

I welcome comments or questions. Leave a comment on this post or tweet me at www.twitter.com/steve_collis . To hear from me in future - subscribe on the right hand side of this page with your email address, and you'll receive future posts in your inbox.