Thursday, 24 February 2005

Learning the Matau Way

Learning the Matau Way
Originally uploaded by rache65.

There have been more photos on my blog lately thanks to my day at Matau! Blogs are developing as an important part of the Matau writing programme and the next step has been adding pictures. Apples are taking over at Matau - Richard has just picked up a...really, new grunty one?? Apple that is and I can't remember its name so a lot more work is being done in the Mac environment. Flickr is what we used for adding photos to blogs though it took us ages to work out how to get many blogs onto one Flickr account. I have been converted from using Picassa's Hello & set up a Flickr also. You can visit the Matau kids blogs from here.

Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Stratford Primary School

Te Maunga Taranaki
Originally uploaded by rache65.

Jen's class is starting a topic study on Maunga Taranaki & will be off on camp to Konini Lodge soon. With the tools available (Paint & PowerPoint) the kids created a collaborative picture (visual mind map ;-) of what they know about our mountain. They worked together in the 3 seat way (the only way when you've got one computer) and created an animated powerpoint as they built their picture in paint. I provided the background & they did the rest.
Have spent some time with Penny discussing network & server issues & concerns - develop a way forward - where to now - thanks to Andrew Scott from Computerland for coming & giving us a second opinion.

Also caught up with Aaron to see where he is at in general - discussed Infolink, logged on to Interact and checked out some online resources to support his planning & preparation. Would like some time in my next school visit to model activities in the classroom (again the 3 seat one computer syndrome oops i mean model) I wish laptops grew on trees!

Saturday, 19 February 2005

Infolink Saturday

Infolink Saturday
Originally uploaded by rache65.

Infolink kicked off on the Friday night while we were still on our way home. A tired but enthusiastic - Rachel, Megan & Elise joined the group to begin the Infolink course. It was great to see our teachers working together from across our schools - a lot of talk, a few laughs and lovely lunch as always - thanks Sharon. Teachers in the Infolink course can access supporting material from the Interact site. The first 2 days were an overview of the Information Literacy process and then looked in more focus at brainstorming, mind mapping and finding Key Concepts. For most teachers this is what they do already and some struggled with the idea that they were looking for something new. The big idea about Infolink is that it sets out a coherent structure and process for action learning. Children will be able to learn the how of learning as well as the what. Well that's my simplified idea so far I know that there is more than this. Will keep you posted as we progress.

Friday, 18 February 2005

Learning@School Rotorua

A good 3 days in Rotorua! It's always great to go away with the team :-)It was also good to catch up with others like Carl Bishop, DP over Taupo way now and also Wendy who has recently left us. The conference fare was the usual mix - very much appreciated by members of our team who had not 'been there and done that' yet so need to look for the opportunity to bring new people along whenever we go to these things. For me I felt a bit of a tour guide (and I guess you need those too) so am looking forward to ULearn in Auckland where hopefully they might be pitching at my level more. I had the opportunity to link in again with other Facilitators and will be meeting up with them again early next term at Rocky's grannies bach at Taupo - a chance for Facilitators only to chew the fat & talk about our professional lives & futures??! We had a couple of presentations - one was from the cluster team - me, Kim, Richard & Carol talking about the first year of the contract - advice for beginners; and another was me sharing the resources I used for Parent's Internet Safety workshops - "Keeping up with our Kids Online" It was disappointing not to have the numbers we hoped for but still the time spent preparing together was a valuable reflective exercise. Feedback on the keynotes - Daltons - I, amongst many others, didn't see it through. It was singularly unimpressive & poorly delivered. Regurgitated & repeated from years ago (Carl had heard it 2 years ago & could tell me minute by minute what they were going to say next!) they read from sheaves of paper & presented schools at work in ways we are already well familiar with and practised in. I missed Hipkin's keynote but feedback from others was that it was very general and therefore not too useful either. Lisa-Jane O'Connor was a good keynote presenter - she was challenging, had a wonderful style and told the story of her school's learning community. At her school each child plans their own learning pathways based LOs from the curriculum document, children and the community are active in the management of the school. She talked about the 4 Power model which determines the framework of what they do: Resources, Information, Decision-Making & Relationships. She talked about 'walking the talk' - "Are we the people we want our children to be?"

Friday, 11 February 2005


Things have been pretty hectic in the organising department. Though I don’t like hanging around in my office I really need to at the moment! Have been liaising with TUANZ about their New Plymouth ed conference. Finally we know who is presenting – which means more office work – Kim & I are presenting together, I am doing one on my own, Richard Barnes is doing a Matau presentation & Penny will be teaming up with Simon from Puke Ariki. So there is lots of cluster involvement this year & we hope to take a large team of participants. The Infolink class list is nearly finalised – just a couple of people to come up with their documentation – all the planning is done so that is a relief to get that out of the way. I will be attending all sessions though not doing the paper so I can get a really good idea about what our teachers are doing and how best I can offer classroom support. There will be 26 teachers in total doing the paper. The arrangements for Rotorua are pretty much finalised now – we have gone over our cluster presentation as a team and that was really good to start to tie it all together. We have organised how our tag team presentation is going to work, got all the slides in order (of sorts) just need some more pictures from around our schools, team members to finalise their notes for what they want to say & get some video footage of principals, teachers, kids talking about the cluster. Oh yeah & we need to buy some lollies, wine & cheese. The Interact site is slowly starting to take shape again after my recent accidental demolition of it! I was only trying to reorganise it but made a bit of a mess. Any cluster member can access this online area by clicking on the link to the left and adding themselves as a new user– contact me for an access code first. There are still contract documents to be loaded and I am doing that in the process of organising the files on my laptop (way too many of them!) Have spent some time this week working with our new Digiops Community Technician Bruce Telfar. We have been trying to work out his timetable based on the minimum hours offered to him in the Digiops application – that needs to include time for study & travel also. Phew we are still tweaking it.

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Tahora & Marco Schools

It was good to visit two of our new schools earlier in the week. It’s a long round trip so spent the Monday night at Kerry & Des Turners at Tahora. For me personally it was great to be back there after many years absence!
Carolyn (principal at Tahora) has been on the ICT PD journey herself before joining us. She was part of one of the original clusters in Waitakere and has done Infolink, Learning & ICTs & 3 Doors. She has a constructivist philosophy on teaching & learning and will be a valuable member of our cluster who hopefully will share some of her wisdom & experience with the rest of our team. We looked at Tahora schools Internet safety procedures and ICT plan. We checked out ICT Learning Experiences, Share It, English Online & Interact.
With Shaun we talked a lot about the ICT PD contract and the opportunities involved. They are well resourced with computers in the classroom having recently setup a netpod of recycled computers. We talked about preparing to build a school/community web site on my next visit back. The kids will start gathering content – photos & text and when I come back I will help them plan & build the structure & hopefully upload some pages.
There are very strong communities supporting these schools and I had the opportunity to speak to BOT chairs at each school. I gave them a big picture overview of what ICT PD contracts were all about and talked about some of the things we had done in the 1st year of the contract and what was planned for this year. We discussed the commitment schools make to the project in the form of PD budget allocation & I highlighted the possible implications for BOTs coming from increased expectations, use of ICT in the classroom & pressure on resources. Both BOTs were fully supportive of the aims of the cluster & were pleased to be involved.
Broadband seems to be running OK but differently than in town – we could quickly & easily download quite large files but web pages were loading in a jumpy disjointed sort of fashion and I couldn’t get any Flash Interactives to run (BBC Science Clips) properly. We should look at this again – high speed should allow you to run any interactive easily – a good test would be to set up a couple of web cams and try and communicate between the schools. Both schools were concerned that this year they should be maximising their use of the Internet in learning to see if they are really going to get their money’s worth. $150 a month is very expensive for a small school.

Tuesday, 1 February 2005

Eltham Primary

Great to be back & to catch up with everyone around the cluster. Have been busy planning ahead for Learning@School, sorting out Infolink enrolments & the Teacher Only Day - Phew lots to do & busy out in schools too!
Very interesting to be involved with Eltham on their PD Day - Zeroing In On Quality Teaching. Chris Harwood is researching Curriculum Integration (CI) in partnership with Opunake and Eltham Primary School. There will be a lot that Eltham will be able to share with the rest of us in this exciting new project - schedule a couple of Wine Not Networks @ Eltham!

It is really positive to return to Eltham & see so much progress being made on the Infrastructure & the learning & teaching with ICTs - It just goes to show you that it won't happen overnight but it will happen! There are 10 Apple desktops all working (most things are) in the IT room and all the classes now have their own network log on. 5 new iBook G4s have been purchased along with a COWs to trial. Kimberly's PC Pod is also up & running in her classroom. And everyone is busy using them! Lots of kids around school with cameras now that Elise is on the job :-) and they will be used more and more for 'autophotography' & 'photoelicitation' Some of the tools of Chris's research.

On my three days here i have spent much of the time in the IT room. Yesterday I worked with Heather & Sue to help them reintroduce their classes to using the Apple desktops. A major focus was learning how to log on, open applications and save their work. For littlies this was still probably quite a big learning step. But little and often and it will be second nature to them. Need some suitable software for the Junior School - Image Blender (instead of KidPix) & Kidspiration would be good. Media Blender would also be good across the school. It would be great if Software companies provided Facilitators with free full versions of all software so we could model its use in classes (& get lots of cool stuff on our computers!)

Working with Kimberly and her kids using Keynote for presentations. Tomorrow i try & help Bernadette sort out the management & uploading of the web pages - hopefully with more success than i had last time. Will also be spending time with Megan reviewing IT & Cybersafety Policies, Strategies & Action Plans. Not to forget time spent working with possible computer mentors (?) Brushing them up on network, file management, internet, applications skills. But as usual i know that they are going to be able to teach me more than i could ever teach them :-)