By Simon McKenzie
Well, as hard as I’ve tried, I couldn’t put it off any longer. The summer holidays are almost gone and I’ve been awfully slack on the blogging front. This post is in fact being composed on a flight to South Australia; my wife and I are heading to Australia’s premier wine growing district, the Barossa Valley, for a short break. Surprisingly however, this will not be a post about my favourite wine or winery. (In case you’re wondering, it’s “The Beauty” from the Barossa’s Hentley Farm.)
In an earlier post from December entitled “The New Mind Set and My First Adventure with Haiku Deck” I wrote about my growing love affair with the iPad presentation app. Since then I’ve been appointed as one of the company’s international “Gurus.” (Can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of telling people that.) Creating a deck is simple but the end product is anything but; it’s an elegant, I would even say lyrical way to “set your story free.” The images are high quality and the challenge of using only limited text demands that you think deeply about exactly what you want to say. Yes, I am doing my best to promote the app itself but I also have to give a huge shout out to Catherine Carr and the team at Haiku Deck for their excellent, personalised support.
Finally, I can shift the focus to my purpose in writing today. I’ve recently revised, updated and indeed transformed the deck which I embedded in my earlier post. At that time it was a half-formed idea which Haiku Deck has now enabled me to fully realise. The deck is still entitled “The New Mindset” and it will be the basis of a Professional Development session that I will be delivering to a group of high school teachers on January 24.
The well-known TED Talk “Bring on the Learning Revolution” by Sir Ken Robinson will the stimulus for those who attend the session. Robinson believes whole-heartedly that schools all over the world are failing to provide the necessary opportunities for students to explore their natural creative talents. We are indeed following a linear narrative which is based upon the outdated imperative to produce standardised, assembly line university students. For Robinson, one of the greatest needs is for teachers to disenthrall themselves; to break away from old practices. In every school there are teachers who continue to teach in the same old way because “that’s how it’s always been done.” If you’re not amongst the nearly 4 million people who have seen Robinson’s inspiring talk, just click on the link. Trust me, it’s well worth 17 minutes of your time!
Now, I love the school where I currently teach; after all, I’ve spent 17 years there, which represents more than half of my teaching career. But, for the past 2 or 3 years I’ve suspected that the school has been suffering from what I might call a malaise. Up until recently, I believed the problem was that many of my colleagues lacked the skill set required to teach in a school which has a 1:1 program of Apple laptops. I was wrong; what my school needs is a new mindset; teachers need to be disenthralled. There needs to be a fundamental shift; an acceptance that education and learning can and must be transformed. I can give my colleagues the skill set required to teach in 2013 and beyond but the new mindset must come first; disenthrallment is a personal and professional undertaking, a commitment to change.
I’m pleased to say that in just a few days “The New Mindset” deck has been viewed over a thousand times. I accept that’s not exactly “Gangnam Style” but it’s surely good numbers for an educational piece. One of the newer features in Haiku Deck is the ability to attach presentation notes to a deck which can then be downloaded as a PDF file. As much as I’d love to do a national tour delivering my presentation, I have to teach for a living! The notes can counterbalance the minimalist nature of Haiku Deck. (Did I mention that I’m a Guru?) “The New Mindset” is embedded below if you should wish to view it. However, if you download it and print the PDF you could easily present it at your own school. To download the deck, follow this link:
The deck is designated public because I believe absolutely in its message; feel free to share the link with members of your own PLN. I know that with the help of my tweeps and blog readers I can send that download counter spinning. I trust you find it a worthwhile and even provocative presentation and as always I would welcome your comments.
Haiku Deck is the best application for creating presentations on iPad
Oh, and Haiku Deck is free, why not download and explore it now.