Head in the Clouds – you must be on the right track

Hi all,

Each year since the mid 1980s I have had a personal project where I  set aside a theme for research and investigation with the aim of producing at least one  article for publication.  For the first decade or so the publications were on Geography and in the last decade they have  gone more into the realm of ICT Integration.  For the past few years I have looked into Communities of Practice, Social Bookmarking Twitter and this year I wanted to write about Cloud Computing.  Also this year I wanted to give some school based examples.  So I sought permission from my Principal to use examples of some of the work we do at my school Loreto Normanhurst.

This  latest  publication,  ACER Editor Dr Stephen Holden titled, “Head in the Clouds –  you must be on the right track”  (Teacher March 2010 pp:34-38). It is an article about using Google Sites in the English faculty and Twitter for a whole school based initiative in Far North Queensland.

Part 1

Since 2004 I have taken a keen interest in the  Horizon Reports.   I have been keeping a summary of the trends and have been progressively compiling a table which is in this post.   Along side with this I have been interested in  using the cloud for teaching and learning for a number of years.  I found it a space where I could do things that did not require too much reliance on school systems to get projects started. So for over a decade I have been working with my Geography classes using aspects of the cloud such  wikis and  a variety of web tools if I could not get my ideas off the ground within the school’s IT system framework.

As a teacher have you had issues with the school network or wanted your students to do work from home rather than only at school?  Well the use of cloud based applications can make your life as a teacher much easier and at the same time enthuse students through the use of emerging learning technologies.

For a number of years now a series of Horizon Reports have been indicating the trends in technological innovations. Though not all these innovations have direct influence on learning technologies a lot of them do.  The technological innovations reviewed are organised into various time periods based on time of adoption.  The time periods cover adoption in less than one year, two to three years and four to five years.  The figure below  outlines a summary of the Horizon reports for the period 2004 to 2010.

Horizon Reports 2004-2010

The use of cloud computing tools help us to “work, learn, communicate and collaborate” and many of the tools mentioned in the Horizon Reports are used by and supported by cloud based resources.  A closer examination of the trends  over the  seven  years of the Horizon reports reveal a number of cloud based web tools such as  social networks, mobile phones, educational gaming, collaborative webs and virtual worlds to name a few. Interestingly, the term Cloud Computing does not appear until the 2009 Horizon Report and it is clearly an implied  with mobile computing for the 2010 Report.

cheers  Martin

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