An Open Letter to Apple


Dear Apple,

As you know, I am very fond of you. We’ve been through alot together over the years. We’ve grown together. So I want you to know that what I say, I say out of love.

OK, here we go…

You’ve completely missed the boat!

Continue reading

Posted in Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Publishing, Remix, Sharing, Visual Literacy | 5 Comments

Free Kindle eBook

I’m proud to be sharing out my first Kindle eBook for free this week. Over 10,000 readers of the original pdf from the edtech site. I hope it may offer some insights to those interested.Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 9.37.26 AM
Go here to get your copy. (Caveat: Kindle Direct Publishing only allows for 5 days of free posting every 3 months)


Are You Interested in Becoming a Published Bestseller?

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Redefining SAMR?

OK, let’s go out on a limb here.

SAMR. We know it. We love it. But have we thought about it? I mean really thought about it? It is doubtlessly a fantastic tool for reflecting on how we integrate technology into the classroom but it also suggests something else.

SAMR?We humans can often be all about hierarchies. We want to see what the top (mistakenly best?) looks like so we can achieve it. A wonderful part of our nature and I wouldn’t change this if I could, but, if I’m not mistaken, (and I would love to hear your thoughts on this) the SAMR model apparently screams at us that Redefinition, doing things in new ways, is what we should be after in our practice.

I’m not sold on this. Why?

John Nash revised Adam Smith and changed economics forever. This was because of a new intellectual approach to an economic theory not because he felt it needed new interaction with digital technology. Why must things be redefined to be made better? Art galleries are now online. The Google Art Project redefines them and this is a good thing. We have greater access but it is not the same as actually going there. The pieces themselves, the point of the art, is in no way enhanced by this redefinition of the galleries in which they are housed and displayed. Is this wrong? Do they need to be redefined? What of student creations produced in the same manner? Is this end no longer a valid outcome if it cannot be redefined?

All I am really saying is that we should never lose sight of the fact that we need to consider the whys of what we are doing in our practice before we get too swept up in the hows.

I love SAMR but do not think we should accept the implications embedded within it blindly.

Or maybe I’m wrong? What do you think? Is the image below correct? Let’s talk about it!

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 3.25.53 PM

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Keynote for Digital Story Telling

This post could as easily be titled, The Best Tool on Your Mac.

There is so much about Keynote that can be used in innovative ways for not only communicating but introducing virtually ALL of the fundamentals of computing to younger students it needs to re-imagined. More on that here but…

In terms of digital story telling, I have created a page to house all of the videos I recently created as a YouTube playlist and as the basis for an online course. The videos introduce vector graphic creation, digital story telling, the tools necessary to take it deeper, animations and the use of multiple slides to take the process further than Apple ever intended!

It also contains a classroom resource and a link to a workshop session on the same subject along with more session pages (many still under construction) covering an entire conference with Mac/iOS, Google for Edu, Coding and MakerSpace/Design Thinking strands.

Oh yes, there is also a free udemy Crash Course in Keynote available here. It is full of great stuff but was a first attempt at using the platform so please, do review it, but do be kind as this is a free resource.


I hope you find all of this useful.

Feel free to share it around!

Are You Interested in Becoming a Published Bestseller?

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Educational Material Development

If you’ve been here before you know this blog is dedicated to creating and sharing. I have recently been asked about materials development and “what I do.”

Well, I’m a teacher at the core of it all. I do what I hope we all do. I share.

As such, I’ve always been an educational material developer. I started, as many of us do, drawing, cutting, pasting and building as a kindergarten teacher where I was largely unable to share what I produced for/with my students with other teachers. With the increasing prevalence of the internet, however, I now almost feel guilty if I don’t share actionable ideas and resources with my growing professional learning network (PLN).

So yes, back to materials. I am a BIG sharer so I have complied a number of some of the most popular (likely translating to most useful) shares here. There have been a number of resources over the years. From MYP Technology:

To supporting students with the transition to the MYP Technology Programme through the PYP Exhibition:


To sites created for and collaboratively with participants to continue the learning long after the events themselves have ended:

There have been student created sites I cannot share here because of a school’s policy. Please see the video below for a full treatment of one comprehensive unit in which students used design thinking and flat classroom practices in concert with the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Students Standards (NETS) as rubric points.

Other sites have been created for students to develop understandings and share:

And, of course, supporting students with the PYP Exhibition from a technology standpoint:

Not all of it is my own. This is a fundamental point. We need to impart to students the facts of living in a connectivist world:

  • We need to share what we do
  • We need to share what other people produce (curate)
  • We need to become valuable nodes in the networks of other people

A perfect example would be this Design Cycle, based on the Tokyo Yamanote line, shared with me and generously given consent to share with the world.

This is a screenshot of the overall design (below). This link takes you to the full thing with each section elaborated larger.

Design Cycle Suzanne Kitto
But I a most proud of my educational technology site This was started as a personal repository as I completed a post-graduate certificate course in educational technology. It has grown since. Often I make a page as part of my note-taking process when attending workshops. Free for all and a great resource to share around.

I have included my Apple Distinguished Educator application video here for the sake of comprehensivity. It is a great program to get into if you are so inclined.

If you like any/all of this feel free to contact me as I deliver keynotes and workshops and am available as an educational technology consultant and affiliated with DEEP Learning as a Cooperative Team Leader.

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Posted in Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, IB, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Project Based Learning, Publishing, PYP, Remix, Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Professional EdTech Development

If there is a group I need to talk to about this, this must be it.

I’ve joined up with DEEP Learning to deliver edtech conferences. We are always looking for collaborators. Schools looking to host events, school liaisons wanting to be part of organising something meaningful and/or talented individuals who want to share best practice as presenters. It is hard work but I can tell you after our recent Bangkok event at NIST, it really is rewarding.

Please check out the new look of the website and consider joining us for an event or sending some deserving staff. I hope to hear some feedback from this. I really believe this is the sort of cooperative effort that can bring people together and help us all up our games.

I am sharing some information (copied and pasted from a LinkedIn post) about the upcoming event at Nexus IS, Malaysia (May 8-10).

Come and check us out! We’re better together.

Our students are worth it. Every ounce of effort. All year long.

There is a chance to learn from some of the best educational technology practitioners in SE Asia happening May 8-10 at Nexus International School, Malaysia. Google celebrities and high-end presenters Suan Yeo and Jay Atwood will be presenting sessions in the unique Discovery/DEEP Dive two-punch combination format (more here). So will around 20 other in-class, full-time teachers with content ranging from video creation for higher learning to creative commons/citation to robotics and technology in environmental studies!

So are you the kind of teacher who wants to innovate right to the very last day? Grab an Early Bird ticket here and join us or grab a handful of colleagues and take advantage of group rates.

Takeaway Projects are put in place to ensure optimal learning. We help you develop something to take back to your school, ready to implement.

20-minute Discovery Sessions in the morning allow you to learn something new and enable you to make informed choices about which afternoon sessions best suit your unique environment.

50-minute DEEP Dives after lunch allow you to gain further insight and take your learning to a deeper level.

The whole conference from the Google Apps for education pre-conference with sessions also managed by student leaders to the Takeaway Projects and format has been devised to give participants maximum control over their learning. Check out the website for more information and testimonials. Hope to see you there. There is still so much time left to raise the bar for the students in your care.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Are You Interested in Becoming a Published Bestseller?

Posted in Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Personalise your Google+ Banner

It’s easier than you might think to polish up your G+ “face.” I’ve used Keynote but anything in landscape would work the same. In the image below you can see how I’ve used about 40% of the whole slide height. The black box indicates the size of the screenshot I took. You then just upload it and crop it.

Voila! The new you.
Note: The clearer the images you use the clearer your banner.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 12.05.34 PM

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How Do We Improve PD for Teachers?

This should be a ridiculous question.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 11.42.34 PMI mean, we’re teachers! Right? If there is anything we are supposed to know about it’s well, teaching and learning. So then why are so many conferences and workshops less than completely satisfying? And how can we change this?

Let’s do something obvious. Let’s approach a PD from the perspective of a class. Which it is.

Let’s look at:

  1. Engaging student interest through differentiation
  2. Using backwards planning (or beginning with the end in mind)
  3. Starting with a provocation & allowing for ownership through choice
  4. Incorporating both formative and summative tasks
  5. Offer support throughout the learning process

DEEP Learning ConferencesWe know it works for student so let’s put it to work for us. DISCLAIMER: From this point onwards I will be describing a DEEP Learning conference style. Still very pertinent to you but I DO hope you will look at the website.

1. Engaging Student Interest Through Differentiation
From the outset we focus on making learning relevant. Different people have different needs. A common framework for a DEEP Learning conference is the three-pronged approach. Our strands:

  • iTeach #GAFE Nov8 - 4Google Apps for Education
  • Apple technologies for education
  • An open-ended pedagogical strand (which may or may not have a technology connection)

You can start thinking about what you might like to attend from the workshops on offer before you arrive. You can even start devising your own personal program through Sched, the online app we use to help you organise your personal program online and/or through your phone.

2. Using Backwards Planning (or beginning with the end in mind)
We want everyone to have a meaningful experience. What better way to ensure this than by setting up a takeaway project? This should be something that you create and can bring back to your school community, teachers, classes, and/or students. Your assigned group leader will be able to check for understanding and essentially “assess” that learning was complete through the development, to some stage, of a usable product. You can also think of it as just another way we are working  to help you stay focused as well.

3. Starting with a Provocation & Allowing for Ownership Through Choice
The next level of personalisation comes from the ability to further fine tune your experience based on the morning discovery sessions. During these 20 minute sessions workshop leaders introduce, demonstrate, and share their topics. These involve examples, demonstrations, direct classroom connections and challenges that allow participants to make informed decisions about which workshops to attend in the afternoon.

The afternoon DEEP sessions (50 minutes each)
If we consider our morning introduction as “discovery” then the afternoon workshops are the chance to engage, experience and participate in an inquiry-based challenge. Workshop leaders act as a facilitators for the participant-led challenges. Depending on the type of workshop you should expect a maximum of 10 minutes direct instruction as a group before embarking on your challenge.

These DEEP sessions are fuelled by “Challenges” to accomplish.  The challenges are introduced and facilitated by the presenters. The challenges could turn into the creation of your takeaway project.

4. Incorporating both Formative and Summative tasks
The focus on challenges (formative tasks) serves two main purposes. It keeps participants actively engaged and putting skills to work in every session they attend and these can be incorporated into the takeaway project (summative task) as they see fit.

5. Offer Support Throughout the Learning Process
The DEEP Learning DifferenceWorkshop leaders check-in throughout sessions. Group leaders follow up at appointed times. You have a short exit interview before receiving your certificate at the end to share your progress.

Sound familiar? If it sounds like your classroom it should. Good PD should be about modelling and following good teaching practice.

We are eager to hear from you about the possibility of:

  • Running an event for your school
  • Holding an event hosted by your school
  • Creating an event specifically tailored to your school’s unique environment
  • Consulting about how to improve systems and structures for more effectively managing the technology environment at your school

See the DEEP Learning website for more information and contact details.

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Copyright, Fair Usage & Our Obligation as Educators

Respect is one of life’s fundamental virtues. It means accepting the views of others. It can be hard when we think we know better. As educators we do our best to instill this virtue in our students. As an individual it is an area I must admittedly continue to develop.

As an educational technology specialist I want as deep a digital footprint as possible. I want to be found so share as a matter of course to manage this important part of my public life. Often when faced with contradictory opinions that impact on my ability to do so I admittedly become a little agitated. I always feel that, from an informed perspective, any rational person in the digital-age would understand. Not, perhaps, very respectful.

I am learning though. In my new role as the director of technology at “technology curious” school I am daily faced with the opportunity to develop this skill further. A perfect case in point would be at the recent coffee morning I was asked to run to inform interested parents about my new role and the use of technology at the school in general. After my incredibly engaging and informative (bias alert) presentation I performed a little scene to drive home my point about digital footprint management and respecting the rights of others.

Parent Address 1 ELCI asked the Principal to play along and take a camera to the back of the hall. I asked if any of the parents objected to the backs of their heads being published on the internet. (None did.) I then asked for a photograph of myself posing as the presenter and shared my thoughts (above) about digital footprint management and self-promotion. Everyone shook their head in agreement. Great, right?

But then came the real lesson (along with evidence of my very own growth as a respecter of ideals other than my own). I then told everyone that, had I asked for the photo to be taken with a different slide presented, say, one of a photograph of a child or one of a child’s graphic representations of their project work, it would not have been usable if I wished to protect the school’s belief in absolute privacy on both of these fronts.

Now, some further elaboration of my own thoughts, beefed up by citation to the thoughts of others.

As many have pointed out copyright is largely an outmoded legal concept created before the proliferation of the Internet. Organized forward-thinkers, like those at Creative Commons, have started the ball rolling on a freer version of some rights reserved as a response to this fact. The idea being that non -commercial use of material (one would hope especially for educational purposes) in the world of the digital open-source movement would better serve, well, basically everyone. With big companies liked Wired magazine getting on board the movement appears to be gaining momentum.

Our Obligation as Educators
We have a responsibility as educators to teach respect for copyright in the classroom, as outlined in the International Society for Technology in Education‘s NETS for Educators. Modeling is perhaps one of the most effective and purposeful methods by which we can teach anything. As such, however, I believe it is important that it starts with the school NETS for administrators. Policy needs to be in place outlining expectations in order for consistent, meaningful application. Many schools currently take no stand on the issue leaving it largely up to the classroom teacher but schools have the responsibility for setting the scene.

Fair Use
This is where most of us end up. We must decide for ourselves just how far we go in obtaining permission to use other people’s work. If I use a Van Halen song in an Animoto slide show for my class and put it on YouTube am I a criminal? I think not. If I sell tickets to a viewing of work from my classrooms over the years, using nothing else and make a profit I have probably crossed a line, easily provable should I get caught. Sell copies of DVD’s used and who wouldn’t find for the record company?

To borrow authority I will now defer to Stanford University Libraries’ Copyright and Fair Use Center site dealing with copyright and fair usage which states, “Fair use is a copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. For example, if you wish to criticize a novelist, you should have the freedom to quote a portion of the novelists work without asking permission. Absent this freedom, copyright owners could stifle any negative comments about their work.”

Case in Point
Having studied the importance of urban green spaces in Social Studies and formal writing in Literacy lessons recently it seemed a natural outcome to marry these new understandings (from the former) with our developing skills (from the latter) in order to embed the use of digital technology through the use of an MS Publisher template to produce pamphlets promoting the parks designed by these small groups of sixth graders. We further had to learn how to print them double-sided within the page margins not to lose any of the design aesthetic or obscure important information. Students then converted their edited work to PDF format for publication on their blogs. We turned the whole thing into a contest to see which park the rest of the elementary school would choose to have built in Chiba where the school resides.

The whole thing about copyright comes in to play here. I gave the students carte blanche. There was no mention of copyright infringement or citation made prior to the creation of these promotional materials. The students made beautiful brochures and we are set for our contest. Now, I could leave it here, dust off my hands and cry, “Fair usage!” After all, no money was made or lost. No one was defamed and, even when I try to publish the the lot with an explanation on the school website for promotional purposes, I dare say no one will ever be the wiser. What a lost opportunity that would be. I have plans for the students to now go back and make a list of references for their work to reinforce the notion of how important it is to do so whenever planning on using other people’s work from the outset.

Don’t blame the students. It’s my job to see that they ask these questions. Truth be told this whole citation after the fact lesson came out of necessity. My plan for the pamphlets was to use Creative Commons but the site has been out of service for some time now! Hey, I’m a teacher… I thrive on innovation and work-arounds. On the plus side, I have to say that when I shared my online free book, The Sharing Tree, inspired by Shel Silverstein’s The Giving TreeI was taken to task for my own copyright infringement. Another teachable moment put to good use and a rewarding discussion had. The details I will leave to your imagination.

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Rethinking Google+

google+-logoI have to admit it. I was a little reluctant about Google+ at first. I did my due diligence with Twitter and had some good traffic going through my websites, blog, YouTube Channel and slideshare.

Felt I had the whole PLN/digital footprint thing going well enough. After all, I need some time offline, right?

But I see now that I need the Google+. It has things the others don’t. Circles, for one. I can divvy up who I share what with in the same platform/account. There are tonnes of great communities to join with events like the new Google Educators Group (GEG) for central Bangkok (and more being made as I type!).

And, you can see how much traffic you are producing which is not an obvious functionality in Twitter.

Final word.. If you are in the game you should add this to your connectivist corral.

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