Monday, 11 December 2006

Taranaki Wiki

Check it out. Login & add your piece to our Taranaki Story. A great initative from Puke Ariki - finally the communication & knowledge sharing is going both ways!
All the work done by schools with the Our Mountain Project is being shared here. You can already see the work of Tahora School and the archived photos from Eltham Primary School.
It will be really interesting to watch this wiki grow & I would like all our schools to have some part in the building and sharing of knowledge in a 'content area' that we are experts in - Our Place! :-)

Skype into Marco

I had a lovely day with Jen out @ Marco school. Seems really like the first day of summer - a real Sticky Tar Day! Today we troubleshooted a few network things like sharing the printer across all the computers & changing the proxy settings of some computers so they could get onto the Internet. I had a look at the new website the kids make on the Telecom roadshow & will look at it again with Tania when i go out again on Thursday. Just to work thru some finer points & how to add more pages etc. Tania was busy with the shearers out at the farm today so didn't get a chance to see her...
We also - as you can see - set up the vidcam & Skype - Jen had been trying but didn't know about this thing called Proxy Settings. This is often the way in many schools i visit - they have all the great ideas, they get all the gear, they try to get started on something & then it doesn't work. Just a helping hand to see them through :-) Jen would really like to skype in to other rural remote sole charge principals & also have her kids talk to others. Get in touch if you're in our time zone.

Thursday, 7 December 2006

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Burning it Up @ St Joseph's

Carol & I created a little production line today with the kids in Room 5 burning & labeling CDs with their 2006 School Memories to take home. When sending disks home I try to cover all bases by setting up disks so they autorun to a startpage that has links to the work the kids are sharing & to extra installation files (of every age & description) so that whatever operating system they are using at home they will be able to open the files on the disk. Over the years when kids have taken things home so many of them come back saying they can’t play it on their computer so hopefully by setting up the disks like this we will overcome most of these problems (though I bet not all…)

Room 8 have been investigating the history of St Joseph’s and a small group (including my Sophie) have been making models of the school (old & new) using Google Sketch-Up. We exported these to a 2D graphics file so they could be included in the class presentation. There are so many cool tools around I wish I had more time to play with them and really explore their potential.

St Joseph's Old School

St Joseph's New School

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Farewell to a Gr8 Teacher

Year 7's @ Toko prepared to say goodbye to Heather by creating 'Farewell Movies' (Heather I hope u don't read this...) They combined original images (this one made in ArtRage & then Fireworks), old & new photos, video clips of interviews & messages from staff & students, a remembrance walk around the school, all had original soundtracks created in GarageBand. Even a little Flash movie but we had problems converting it to quicktime & couldn't get it into the movie storyboard. In fact it seemed like we had the Tech Gremlin hanging over our heads all day, couldn't download video (well it helps to have the cassette in the camera!), computers freezing, data on computers all over the school to be found, converted, collected, transferred to the apples (not networked). Phew another trip out to Toko on Friday to help finish up!
Heather will need a big box of tissues when she sees these & the awesome cards the Year 8's made too :-)

Monday, 4 December 2006

Learning With TaraNet Teachers

TaraNet teachers got together today to prepare for eTeaching 2007. Thanks heaps to CAM who came up to Stratford for the day. CAM (& Eddie) are my rocks who keep me sane as I work through my role as ePrincipal of the TaraNet eLearning Campus. CAM is an awesome facilitator with years of experience in elearning. She not only helps teachers with the hands on basics of running a VC lesson but also asks the big picture hard questions as well. Something I am hoping she can come back to us in 2007 to do with our new Principals. CAM & Eddie are the glue that holds our learning community together. Their experience as they work with other clusters around the country is invaluable as many of us face similar challenges.
Thanks also to Jo who is doing wonderful things with her kids in LearnNow & Maree eTeacher from Kuranui College, who VCed into us & shared their online learning spaces with us. We really could have done with 2 or 3 days of workshop time as I didn't even get to showcase some of the online tools I thought teachers could look at to support their courses. I think that our staff meetings next year will include some PD element so we are not only looking at how we are going now but also exploring the possibilities.
We spent some time discussing experiences of online teaching & the feedback that students have shared with us throughout the year. It is a challenge to see that many of the areas that cause difficulties for teachers & students are systemic school wide things like timetabling, resourcing & learning support which are things that are often out of the direct control of the individual teacher. So lots of things for me to follow up on with the support of TaraNet Principals. I am looking forward to having more time to spend with the TaraNet cluster next year and not only supporting our eTeachers & students but spending more time in the schools driving elearning in our classrooms. (Well thats the plan!)

Friday, 1 December 2006

Bards Last Blast

Big thanks to O'Donoghue's Irish Bar for hosting our Last Blast - final Wine Not Network of the year & of our 3 year contract. We hope to organise more Wine Not Networks for next year but maybe not in the same format as this last one ;-)
We had a great turnout of teachers from across our cluster schools and we set them up Quiz Nite style with a number of questions about things relevant to our cluster school, events & people of the last three years & ICTPD things in general. It was lots of fun so maybe we could use this as a format for our next BardKidz online game (without the prizes of wine!)
The presentation is way too big & probably not appropriate to share online but here's a sample question: "Who holds the record for the most number of pens stolen from conference? How many pens?"

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Exposure 2006

Thanks Mark for sharing this with us.
Exposure 2006 showcases the work of Digital Media students from Massey University.

RAM (Random Access Memory) is an animation about becoming too reliant and emotionally attached to your personal computer. Caroline Ting : RAM

Monday, 20 November 2006

Bard Kidz!

It's such a buzz to watch our Bard Kidz at play - oops i mean work ;-)
Dr Schmooze Clues is a hit with all the teams who have got involved and awesome to see their engagement and excitement with the game (teachers too) & some of the pictures they are sending in are very interesting. It was a great idea, as it turns out, to use photos to illustrate their answers. You can see a collection of them on our Interact site here or of course head over to Dr Schmooze's site and follow the whole game.
I know now why Matau have not joined the game this time as they are off to Rotorua this week for their school camp. They have been putting little animations on their blogs (using I Can Animate & original soundtracks with GarageBand) - very much beginners but very promising. Some other really cool videos on their blogs too. Go take a look - encourage your students to visit too and leave them some comments.
I watched Eltham Primary School kids working with Amanda & Marisa from Puke Ariki on Friday as they archived old school photos & records for the "Our Mountain" project - what a huge task - look out for their work on the PukeAriki wiki starting up soon.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Smart Kids @ Eltham

Smart Boards for Smart kids - let them tell you themselves. It was good to see kids hands on today - a learning tool as opposed to a teaching tool. Here they are constructing sentences on the site.
Lots of work going into preparing for the end of year school production - an international theme. Kids are creating presentations of images related to different countries. I helped out a bit with that & have been working at capturing moving images through Google Earth and Cam Studio (software that captures in a movie what is happening on your screen). The movies display on the big screen and will zoom into different places on Google Earth & link the various countries scenes of the production. (Well that's the idea anyway :-)
Here's an example:

Where in the world is Eltham? on Vimeo

Sharon continues to make and use WebQuests - with or without internet access. Without - she calls them PageQuests. Her feedback is that kids who have been through these quests have a greater understanding and recall of their learning long after the event. Hhhmmm active engagement probably key here. You can download these WebQuests from Interact.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Great Kids Sites?

Anybody out there want to help out with this one?
I have been asked to help create a list of bookmarked sites for kids to access in the SPS school library on wet lunchtimes - think i have been asked this question each year for the last 3 years & i still haven't got round to it...
You could probably have some interesting conversations about what are appropriate sites for our kids to be accessing at school, or accessing in their 'free time' at school - what even would get through the blocking & filtering of SchoolZone. (I know the ones i blogged about earlier probably wouldn't be) I would just like to know what are your kids playing, where are they going (at school) that our kids might like too? You can head on over to this wiki space & add your links - it would be greatly appreciated :-)


EPIC If you're not using it you should be! For NZ schools - find out what your school username & password is to access these awesome resources. Especially useful for those overwhelmed by Infoglut, infoglitz & infogarbage (thnx Jamie) that is often the result of a general internet search - go here first!

"What is EPIC?

EPIC (Electronic Purchasing In Collaboration) is a venture between New Zealand libraries and the Ministry of Education. EPIC gives schools free access to an unparalleled range of electronic resources from the following database providers:

EPIC is available to all registered New Zealand schools. The Ministry of Education has agreed to fund access for all New Zealand Schools in 2004 until 31 March 2007."

Schmoozing with the Dr!

Yesterday was kick off day for Dr Schmooze’s Clues. It was great to be in Charlaine’s class as they discussed and researched the first couple of clues and then the creative team set to work on constructing the photo answer. A bit of rivalry also between the two Toko teams always adds to the fun. Schools registered are Toko, Stratford, St Joseph’s, Ngaere, Midhirst & Marco. Not all teams started on the first day so I have spent some time this morning getting the SPS teams on board. Once the kids are introduced to the game there should be very minimal teacher input – this is their game they can do it all themselves (email, research & photography). Check out some of the creative pictures that are coming in as answers.

I sat alongside Dr Schmooze as the game begun yesterday & discovered, maybe, why the Dr loves these games so much. Its lots of fun to watch the emails come in & track the progress of the teams involved, to send another clue or answer a team’s question is almost a bit like ‘playing god’ ;-) I helped the Dr plan this game & maybe some extra things we could have done (that we have done in the past) is to create a formal lesson plan with curricula tie-ins etc. Just for teachers to explain why they are doing this & yes this is real learning. I know real learning’s not hard to spot when you see it in action, but some people like the piece of paper planning to go with it….

Any feedback from those involved would be handy in planning the next one 2007.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Telling Our Story

These 8 year olds are reflecting on some of the highlights of their school year. What a great record to look back on over the years. As a parent i would think these were great :-)

Kids at School on Vimeo

My Fantastic Year in Room 5 on Vimeo

Photostory is such an easy, cool tool to use to tell a story.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

How many more sleeps till Santa comes??

Some teachers have already begun asking about Christmas activities. I was going to spend some time checking this out but look what i found in WickEd themes some great ideas to start with.
Lots more ideas turn up on a TKI search.

Thanks Richard @ Toko for this lovely Flash Christmas tree :-)

Still Lining up for Laptops @ SPS

Today I spent some time the Yr 5 -6 syndicate at Stratford Primary School as I followed the laptop pod around to see what was happening in our classrooms.
One class was using the laptops as part of their maths rotation & accessing 'tasks' from the school intranet that had links to relevant digital learning objects. Paul has shared his Maths task file with us here - thnx Paul. This gives an idea of how you can direct students to appropriate learning objects without students having to navigate through TKI's Digistore to find them. To this I would also add specific learning intentions to be clear about what are the purposes of this activity (beyond 'play these games'). Paul's class have also been busy with the new digital camera's - all classes now have their own. They have been exploring the Macro feature & been taking some awesome close-up photos of flowers to support their language programme (poetry writing). I suggested Paul take a look at flickr for sharing their photos with a wider audience.
Another class was publishing stories for their home sample books. I would encourage them to start using the laptops right at the beginning of the writing process: inspiration for generating & organising ideas, wordprocessing for editing & yes blogs for publishing! I spent some time introducing Lee to blogs & if time allows on my next visit will help her set up a classroom blog. I have tried to model this in my own use of blogs & today I created a new blog with some of the writing that Lee had collected over the years and produced in print format - just to showcase how easy & awesome blogging is. "A Collection of Literature" is a companion blog to the SPS Jubilee blog and is "A collection of stories by Stratford Primary School written over recent years. Chosen for their significance to our school, our town & Taranaki. These are extracted from an annual publication "Stratford Primary School A Collection of Literature"

I have been thinking lately if I was starting out using Web 2.0 tools for the first time (knowing what i know now) - what tools would i use? Would it still be blogger? Would it be something else? Would i forgo vimeo & flickr & go straight to Photobucket? (it does photos, video and flash) What would you suggest for a classroom teacher starting out at this point in time?? What would be in the basic toolbox?

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Ka Kite Tahora School

Tahora School Est:1897:1997: Closed 2007
Today was my last visit to Tahora School, not only because this is Term 4, Year 3 (effectively the end of our BardWired contract) but because after 110 years Tahora will soon be closing it's doors for the last time at the end of the year. Another 'backblocks' school bites the dust - bringing to 5 in total just from our cluster over the last 3 years. It is a shame to lose the special character of these schools but i guess a realistic reflection of our rural remote population.
Farewells aside, we had a busy and interesting day at Tahora.
Carolyn will go on from here to teach in other schools - we spent some time exploring a range of software all of which have been blogged before: photostory, artrage, serifdraw, photofiltre, audacity... We looked at optimising images - individually & once they had been put into a document (who needs a powerpoint presentation of 50mb when u can cut it to 3?!) The kids had some help with running music in their powerpoints (freeplay) & were introduced to Alice. They also got back onto their blogs & hopefully they have updated them now and spent some time reading and commenting on the other edblogs.
I would like to do some more with Alice & have been working on getting an after-school programme up & running. But with all the crossing of the Ts & I dotting, school coordination (Term 4 is hopeless) it looks like this will be a starter for Term 1 2007.

Monday, 30 October 2006

Getting to know Whanga

I spent the day with some of the Marco kids at Whangamomona today. They are off to the Telecom Road show next week and are preparing content for the webpage they will be making to promote their district and the Whangamomona Republic Day. We spent some time in the township taking photos. My advise to them was to take lots of photos from lots of perspectives and not to delete anything - well we came back with over 200 photos! So a quick lesson on editing, resizing, compressing & a bit of work in store choosing their best ones to go on their pages. You can find these all on flickr and again on their website when it's published. The children interviewed local identities about events & places of historical significance & recorded the audio using the movie feature on their digital cameras. They learnt lots they didn't know about their own small settlement and I am really looking forward to seeing their finished work. I will be back out there later in the year to help them with the finishing touches to their site. Whangamomona Republic Day is January 20th 2007 - get there if you can.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Sophie's Wots Hot List!

What's hot for my Sophie (10 years old :-)

Just lately it's been emailing penpals found through Kids MC & writing on the bulletin boards at epals.

Favourite stupid site Badger, badger, badger .

On this awful, boring wet day signed up to StarDolls, Disneyland Virtual Magic Kingdom, Club Penguin.

Longstanding member of Runescape, Habbo Hotel & Neopets. She can also be found on America's Army!
Needless to say there's lots of talk about netsafety in our house put into practise today when i helped her tell on someone swearing on the dance floor at Habbo. Also some talk about media marketing strategies as she registers online with forms that ask her millions of questions which she doesn't need to answer.
No wonder she gets bored when she's not on the computer - all these cool games and people to talk to at her fingertips. It's really hard to get her interested in other stuff. Roll on the summer & lets get out of the house!
If the world's population was reduced to 100 it would look like this:

Curriculum Consultation

Many of our schools took Tuesday as a Teacher Only Day to discuss the draft curriculum & feedback to the MOE in the consultation process.
I spent the morning @ Stratford where Bruce was leading discussion. We examined the teaching practises of the industrial age classroom as we experienced it growing up in NZ and discussed what we wanted a Yr8 graduate to look like at SPS - what skills, attitudes & capabilities we felt they needed. These were all generic to the rhetoric that supports the idea of a 'life long learner in the knowledge age' & has been articulated by all our BardWired teachers in 'visioning' workshops before. Pretty much all summed up in the draft curriculum vision - our young people will be...
  • Positive in their own identity
  • Motivated and reliable
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Enterprising
  • Resiliant
  • Able to relate well to others
  • Effective users of communication tools
Lifelong Learners
  • Literate and numerate
  • Critical and creative thinkers
  • Active seekers, users, and creators of knowledge
  • Informed decision makers
Actively Involved
  • Participants in a range of life contexts
  • Contributors to the well-being of NZ - social, economical & environmental
All very worthy attributes ok, but I can't help thinking that what we have criticised industrial age teaching for - moulding our kids to suit society (Another Brick in the Wall) we are still doing but for a different society 'The Knowledge Society'. No country wants to be left behind in our new "Flat World"! I really felt this also as I listened to Jane Gilbert speak at ULearn as well. Somewhere in the equation needs to be some student voice and choice...

Friday, 27 October 2006

Unblock Sites

Am I a sick puppy sitting up at night checking out the sitemeter on my blogspot? Yes probably I am :-) But there are some interesting trends come up as you flick through the sitemeter stats. Quite a few come to the site through google searches & the keyword that keeps coming up again & again is 'unblock sites' and all of them are from all over the USA. Wow heaps of them & just in the last couple of weeks too - all hitting on the "Filtering Frustrations" post. Has the powers that be been tightening the screws more firmly on schools over there - I wonder?
Yes we have our frustrations here in working within a filtered system but at least we don't have to go through layers & layers of admin to get to unblock what we want to use. Tim from School Zone shared a few tricks with me that people have used to get around blocks but i won't publish them here as i bet a lot of those searches are from students wanting to get out of the school system & into the real world!

Ask Dr Schmooze Clooze

The cable guys have been hard at work at Toko School for some time now. Here they are wiring up Richard's office & what a professional job they have been doing too. Everything is tucked & tidied away inside conduit (is that the word?) 4 power outlets to two cat6 outlets x 2 in each classroom throughout the school. Followed soon by the installation of a new SmartNet server. What a great initiative from the MOE for the few schools who have been able to benefit from this so far - hopefully more will too in the near future. Five of our 9 BardWired schools have already been upgraded through this initiative with one more in the pipeline. Thankyou to Douglas, Jonathon & team from the MOE you are doing a great job - keep working on that piece of string ;-) & keep it coming!
Richard has been hard at work devising the next cluster collaborative game due to kick off in Week 5 (6th November) It's called Ask Dr Schmooze and you can check it out on Toko's interact site. Get your kids involved & register now. Registrations from outside the cluster are welcome but you do need to be inside our Time Zone for this one. (maybe limited numbers with priority to cluster schools)
A big week for Toko next week with Camp Week - check out their camp blog to see what they get up to. This is a great way to share what's happening on camp with parents & the school community & afterwards an archived record of the event.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

NZedubloggers Untie!

This little wiki has been sitting around for awhile - haven't blogged it b4 as i thought you were going to push it out there at ULearn (Jedd?) So anyway - blogging & podcasting is starting to gain momentum in NZ since the time i went searching (in vain) in March for some real examples for my TUANZ Web 2.0 presentation. So if you're not listed here (NZ only) then get other there and edit the page!

EPS Reloaded

Work has already started at Eltham Primary School on their new school buildings. Not only are the students documenting this on their blog but they published their first podcast/vlog all about it on podomatic. Yahoo - very exciting. Make sure you visit their blog & podcast & leave them a comment!
Megan & I revisited the long term ICT strategic plan today & it was really satisfying to look at how much has been achieved in the last 2 years. A long way to go but with a MOE assisted network upgrade together with a new block including learning centre - this time next year things will be really pumping along.
Having networked access really makes a difference but Eltham has soldiered on with the resources available knowing now that the light is at the end of the network tunnel sometime soon. Heather just by moving the computer from one side of the room to the other has discovered quite by accident today that she can now access an airport & so can get onto the internet & print. Sharon has created a 'webquest' without using the internet. This sounds interesting & will post this to Interact for sharing.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006


My last term at Stratford will involve some time every week supporting Clarissa in consolidating her expertise in a number of key areas we have covered before but which we need to establish some documented procedures in: Managing SZ users, establishing Cybersafety into learning programmes, exploring some new software... a range of things - still adding to the list. We started with SZ today & the first thing we looked at was keeping SZ honest - speed checks. School Zone reloaded, launched at ULearn, promises faster speeds for the same price - sometime in Term 4. So keep your ISP on their toes & check your speed. We also documented procedures for bulk upload of new users & what features user groups should have enabled - email, web hosting, file drop boxes?
I also spent the morning with Kim going over the ICTPD budget with a fine-tooth comb as we near the end of the 3 year contract. Not an easy task, definately head-ache material - but our forecast so far looks like we'll be right on the last cent - phew - i think!
The scary thing for me was looking at this budget shows my last payday will be at the end of term! I had not really given this too much thought until now - but can't avoid it now. So if you have a holiday job for me and/or 0.4 FTE for 2007 please contact me :-) I now have to get busy with a new CV - watch this space...

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Welcome Robert Swartz

Today I was proud to welcome Robert Swartz to Taranaki for his workshop tomorrow "Infusing Critical & Creative Thinking into Content Instruction" He very kindly put up with an entourage of hungry children as we picked him up from New Plymouth, checked out the workshop venue & had a brief tour of the New Plymouth waterfront. Though my children have never been so polite & well behaved as i saw them today! I did say to Robert that i would photoshop this picture but i photoshopped myself right out of it... Maybe take a better picture tomorrow.
Particulary relevant to this workshop is the work that is going on in schools around the consultation and implementation of the draft NZ curriculum in particular the key competency Thinking. So this to ponder from the draft document:

“Thinking is about using creative, critical, metacognitive, and reflective processes to make sense of and question information, experiences, and ideas. These processes can be applied to research, organisation, and evaluation for all kinds of purposes – developing understanding, making decisions, shaping actions, or constructing knowledge. Intellectual curiosity is at the heart of this competency. Students who have well-developed thinking and problem-solving skills are active seekers, users, and creators of knowledge. They reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions, and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions.”

Spreading the Word!

Graham has asked for some input into his presentation at the K-12 online conference. His key questions "Why is Web 2.0 important for Educators?" & "What have you done to increase Educator awareness of Web 2.0?" within the conference theme 'Overcoming Obstacles'
The responses to these questions are recorded on Podomatic.

Click here to get your own player.

Listen to number 2 first - they are stacked in the wrong order - ooops!
Podcast shownotes ;-) ha ha
NZ edublogs - wiki directory of NZ educators & classroom blogs & podcasts - created by Jedd & contributed to by the rest of us.

Tom Sheehan "The Orchard"
"The benefits of blogging - it is real writing for real people. The children begin to understand that they are connected and belong. Many of them try very hard with their writing to make it as good as possible because they know that people all around the world are reading it - as well as each other. From a personal point of view my own writing has improved greatly over the last 12 months. I'm still a hack but I am improving." (my emphasis)

TUANZ 2006 Web 2.0 Presentation

ED Weblogs
- Barnsey would you like to comment on this post - your perspective on the questions?

Friday, 13 October 2006

Postcards from Makahu

An awesome day with Jenny & the Makahu kids. We went on a photographic tour around the district - the kids had chosen several places of significance that they wanted to 'shoot'. The tunnel, Hopkirks gardens, lakes, waterfalls & hilltop views from their own farms. They had done some work beforehand viewing & discussing landscape photography so with a few ideas, some great locations & lots of borrowed cameras we had a big day out! The children chose their best 3 shots of the day to print and create postcards with that will be judged in their photo competition on Lamb & Calf Day. Jenny is trying out printing on different media so that their work can be displayed on souvenier items (such as coffee cups) Today they have Whangamomona in their lense sights so look out for their work at the Whanga Republic Day early next year. The hospitality and the scenary @ Makahu were superb. You can see some of our pictures on flickr. This would be a relevant and valuable contribution to the PukeAriki "Our Mountain" project. Hopefully the next Makahu blog updates will have more examples of their best work :-)

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Learn by Doing

Learn by Doing Knowledge is Power. Here stands the facade of Eltham Primary School waiting to be resurrected into the new school buildings. An important message and one that remains as Eltham goes through a period of change. This they will be documenting through blog & podcast as it progresses. I called in today to drop off the gratefully lent Mac and to borrow some cameras. Where will this cluster sharing end? It is good that we are sharing our resources in all sorts of ways!

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Back 2 Skl!

Not a lot of hands on school stuff happening for me this week as I was pretty late getting my timetable in but still good to be back in school with the hum of activity all around. I have been working on a couple of proposals for various things hopefully to become reality this term & beyond - for our kids, for our schools & for my own professional pathways... Will blog about those when there is something a bit more firm there.

I have been following up on the progress of our TaraNet elearning students as they head into this final term & the high stakes testing that comes with it. Some mixed and interesting responses from them which will help guide future learning for those that follow in their footsteps.
  • "Everything is going fine with me. We're keeping up with our work and are now managing to actually have class every week! We do most of our work on the moodle website now, which is better than doing it in our books because we actually get results."
    the one VC class per week is not all there is to e-learning the whole learning environment and the interactions happening there are also very important.
  • "... chemistry is a bit harder though because the need to use the lab and i have to sort everything out myself and still havent got to doing either practical and passing yet"
    Point: in-school student support is critical for accessing resources outside of the existing school structure of timetable, people & concrete resources
These couple of responses indicate a larger picture that needs to be addressed in schools when we think of 'personalised' learning (I did hear this catchphrase touted at ULearn...) - there is a lot of support that needs to sit in behind this for students & changes schools need to make to their structures and systems to allow for it. A big ask to move beyond rhetoric to reality.
I have also been looking ahead to preparing our e-teachers for 2007 with this point to ponder for those who may be considering joining our e-learning community: "E-learning is not only a great opportunity for our students but is an awesome professional learning opportunity for our teachers. They can really follow their passions and interests by offering courses that they might not otherwise get to teach in their own school. I am talking here about those types of courses just off the edge of your traditional subject areas - for eg. Environmental studies, biotech, journalism. It is these sorts of classes that I think we need more of in our Virtual Learning Network."

Thursday, 5 October 2006

Thought Sheep

"If everybody thinks the same thing - somebody's not thinking!"
I was reading David's recently pulled post about how uncomfortable he feels to be considered a 'thought leader' and i wanted to comment but found that post has disappeared... Another whip of self-censorship which we all do ;-)
We all need 'thought leaders' someone who opens us up to new ideas, questions our attitudes & beliefs but that shouldn't make us thought sheep. I don't think anyone is innately a thought sheep but have been moulded that way - i think of many of our teachers (being very generalistic here) who as a product of their own schooling, colleges of education & then the dictates of the MOE have become thought sheep to the ideas of others. We are putting such an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills in our students we also need teachers who are critical thinkers. At no time in our education history has this been so important as we develop & implement a new curriculum in our NZ schools.
We are all thought leaders & need to recognise this in ourselves and in others.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Colour My World

A pleasure to work with a group of young women at St Mary's today. Part of a school holiday G & T programme (partly school promotion - why not?!) The learning intention: "To use use visual images, music & expressive language to convey a message within the colour theme." Our tools ArtRage & PhotoStory; our resource flickr (creative commons) and some quick learning bright young minds).
It did take me twice as long to set up as i spent with the girls (setting up users on the network & SZ and loading software etc) but well worth it.
Their work is hosted on Vimeo but you can check it out below too. I know you girls are all reading this blog post as we didn't have time to watch everybody's work so well done you did a great job today :-) Feel free to leave a comment where it says comments.

Introducing Yello on Vimeo

Colour Me Orange on Vimeo

Colour Me Pink on Vimeo

Think Pink on Vimeo

Blue on Vimeo

Born Pink and Black on Vimeo

Around Yellow on Vimeo

White Wonders on Vimeo

Blue on Vimeo

Colour Me Pink on Vimeo

Monday, 2 October 2006

Geek Girl Goes Mad!

This is the mess that is my kitchen table as i try & get organised after ULearn. I have put it off for long enough & now have been trying to get my wireless router working. I know this should be easy but... now i really feel for teachers and schools who have this stuff in front of them & don't know really where to start! The ICT Helpdesk is a good place but uuummm dunno if they do housecalls ;-)

BTW if u hve bn txtg & no answr eml 4 nmbr hve chngd
- another cellphone by the tech. wayside.

Hitch a ride to ULearn06

How does this social software stuff work?? Sometimes it really feels like smoke & mirrors 2 me. I blogged & posted some photos to flickr earlier today ooops yesterday & with daylight saving & a head full of ideas robbing me of sleep am just flicking thru some stuff online and have found this very interesting site HitchHikr - now i sort of have heard of it on a podcast somewhere but never really looked at it till now & still not sure how it works (if you know plz comment) So i come across this page on hitchhikr that has got lots of recent blog posts and flickr photos (the ones i posted earlier) Thnx David Warlick for making us so connected we don't know where we begin or end! I think it is all to do with tags - i used to think rss was the glue that connected us all together but i really am thinking tags are the thing! I am going back to make sure my previous posts are tagged :-)

Sunday, 1 October 2006

ULearn06 Timed Out

Good blogging intentions fell by the wayside as every day i tried to update this is what i got - grrrr. So what was i going to say?...
Yep - a great pre-conference workshop with Richard on the first day sharing our novice expert skills with a keen group of would-be webmasters. Hopefully we didn't send them away with suckier sites than they had before but maybe they have built some more on their skills and confidence. Workshop notes can be found on the ULearn site under presenter's material or you can get it here.

One of the highlights for me was taking a large group of teachers with us, many who had never been to conference before. It was disappointing not to be able to get them into the workshops they really wanted to do as they all filled up so fast but they definately had plenty available to challenge their thinking. Aaron stepped up to the challenge by making the connections between what he heard in Julia Atkins workshop, Adam Lefstein's keynote and study he had previously undertaken. He didn't quite elaborate to me at the time what those connections were but i am sure they were very deep and meaningful and will make a difference to his classroom practise :-)
For me conference is a great time to f2f with all the people i have contact with throughout the year and never get to see & also to tatau tatau e by presenting workshops & lots of informal discussions with colleagues.
You can check out the Bard Wired ULearn06 pics on flickr.

Monday, 25 September 2006

ULearn Today

I've just been in Derek's workshop "Web 2.0 and the School LMS? What's the connection?" A great introduction to 'web 2.0' but though i know all that stuff i just love listening to Derek because he always reminds me 'it's all about the kids!!!' And there are no better kids than our own to illustrate that point. I would just like to know tho how I could get my sons to be more like his daughter and actually do homework as well as all the other stuff they do online - their multitasking abilities don't seem to stretch that far...

Yesterday at the Art Centre coffee shop i had an interesting interlude with this young man as we took each other's photos - again a great reminder that it's all about the kids. Don't forget that this week @ ULearn.

And the final reminder are from our own little helpers @ ULearn Liam and Michael who say check out their cool web sites:

Monday, 18 September 2006

Filtering Frustrations

Well i did know it was going to happening - an upgrade of the School Zone filtering system. I had my opportunity to vote on appropriate school content but logging on today i find i can't get into my 3 most used sites - flickr, blogger & delicious.
You can log onto the Smart Filter database to see how they categorise sites here is the result of my search on some of my favourite sites. Blocked as personal pages - i think we need to look more closely at how we create these filtering categories they don't seem to take into account web 2.0 sites. It's a real tricky question - emerging technologies (such as the many that are now blocked) have huge potential to extend and amplify learning opportunities for our kids (& teachers) yet how do we balance this with providing a safe learning environment (filtered school networks)??
Schools do have the ability to unblock sites but who decides in a school and how do they decide without resorting to the knee-jerk reactions to block (or allow) without fully understanding the benefits & issues around Web 2.0 in the classroom. Some work to be done here :-) In the meantime schools plz unblock blogger & flickr so you can read this blog. (of course i am writing this at home on an unfiltered & fast.... connection)

Sunday, 17 September 2006

Blogging in Beta

You wouldn't notice but i am now blogging in Beta. This is great now i can do things like create categories (labels) in seconds where before it took me hours to work out how to make categories using a bit of code to tag my pages to Delicious and then back to my sidebar - phew - just a click of a button now! In some perverted way i like trying to work out how to do new things on my blog by looking at other people's blogs, searching forums for help, even emailing complete strangers for a piece of code - everything is getting too easy...

Friday, 15 September 2006

TaraNet LMS Decisions???

I visited Waitara High School today to catch up with new Acting Principal Jenny & Lead Teacher Marilyn. My main purpose was to promote e-learning options for Waitara students. I intended to explore the courses available through VLN but unfortunately no internet - SZ has been playing up in Stratford in the last few days as well & connection has been very intermittently slow or non-existant!
We had quite a talk about everything from infrastructure updates (go here to see where your school ranks on the NZ network league table), to ICT strategic plans, funding, SMS, the new Waitara High School website and Learning Management Systems (LMS).
LMS has been the subject of much discussion amongst the TaraNet lead teacher group as many of our schools have decided not to continue with KnowledgeNet & are considering alternatives. As i seem to keep returning to this subject I will post my notes that i have shared with the Lead Teacher group here:
  • Options to consider as Henry suggested are Moodle.
  • Schoodle is hosted Moodle option thru Wintec.
  • MyClasses as an addon feature to the SchoolZone desktop – the Volcanics cluster are currently using this and you can check out what it looks like through Mt Albert Grammars’ site. Telecom has yet to set the NZ pricing.
  • Interact – externally hosted or if you have a SmartNet server (Coastal I think) it is an addon feature to the new SmartNet server software – minimal setup cost $300 I think and no ongoing costs because you build & maintain it yourself. The TaraNet e-Campus has an Interact space though not used by online teachers so not fully utilized…need more PD here! Toko School have also started to use Interact and successfully used it to host the "NZ History Game"
  • Mindspring is based on MicroSoft SharePoint software but I think this is comparatively as expensive as KN.
  • First Class not sure what this costs – it has been used for sometime by Wellington Girls & I believe integrates with your existing server system so you don’t have to add your stuff separately to places on an intranet (Interact will work like this too on your SmartNet server)
  • still exists and is still free to use – the ICTPD national network used to use this before they switched to Interact.
  • Other choices could be online software such as wikis eg

Need to further investigate this to see what Wiki software can be hosted on our own servers?

For those who couldn't get to SchoolTech06 (like me :-) there has been a Wiki space set up to showcase/ share some of what is going on there.
Note there are MOE guidelines coming up soon – I would suggest u defer decision-making about new LMS till this has been released.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Our Mountain Project

At our Lead Teachers Meeting today we invited Amanda Hewlett & Marisa Swanink from Puke Ariki to talk to us about initiatives coming up. I first met Amanda at TUANZ earlier in the year and she was very excited about the possibility of strengthening Puke Ariki community involvement through the use of things like blogs, wikis, podcasting etc. I spent some time with her & Marisa chewing the fat about all this sort of stuff. So it was really great to see them again today with news that a firm project is in place with support from the Community Partnership fund through the NZ Digital Strategy. We were pleased to hear that now building knowledge will not be one way traffic pushed out of Puke Ariki but something that we can all contribute to & participate in. Amanda & Marisa have worked quite a bit with Tahora school - researching & creating stories of the district, also with Richard Barnes at Matau School. Our team were really interested in how they could contribute with projects they had planned to do & Amanda left with quite a few further meetings with our individual schools organised - very productive meeting :-)
So more info - if you would like to be involved here are the notes we were given:

Our Mountain Project
  • Is a project designed to help collect and record historical and environmental material
  • It is aimed at strengthening the links between the various parts of the Taranaki region
  • It is providing a place for individual regions to show the uniqueness of their area
  • It encourages the development of and strengthens the research skills of the students
  • Provides a venue for their research projects to be seen by a wider community of people and therefor opens the possibility of links being formed.
How will it work?
It is a partnership between Puke Ariki and the school or community group.

Puke Ariki staff can help with
  • Planning the unit
  • the developing of students research skills at the Taranaki Research Centre
  • Assisting with the publishing phase; we can work at your school or at Puke Ariki. Having the students in small groups works the best for this.
  • There are 4 iMacbooks with professional multimedia software, scanners, video and digital still cameras available to enable students to present their work in multimedia format
  • technical support
  • site for work to be displayed on the Taranaki Wiki
  • an environmental issue
  • changes in the landscape
  • people stories, family histories
  • historical issues / events
Developing a PodCast
(normally no longer than 2 - 3 minutes - a small audio file that can be accessed through an MP3 player or iPod)
Examples are:
  • an interview with an expert
  • poetry reading
  • a recording of an experience - creative writing
  • this has bee used where two paintings adjacent to each other on a wall have a conversation together; it could be about the painter, the people who have viewed them, their past life, the techniques used to create them
  • radio drama; a rock on the mountain telling its story of being in a lahar
  • a person talking from the past using a photo as a focus
A Photo File
  • A collection of images taken by the students to record an event, place, experience. Some examples are;
  • 7 images of Taranaki taken at the same time each day
  • A collection of images taken from around Taranaki
  • A collection of images taken of people whom the students regard as being important in their community
  • A collection showing a process such as the making of something
  • Recording of geological features
  • Taped interviews
  • News reporter at the scene
  • A compilation of scanned images, maps, diagrams, text, to tell a story
We are open to ideas and would ideally like to meet with teachers to see how this could possibly work for them."
You can contact Amanda at

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Lets Go

'Lets Go' is an iniative at Eltham Primary School to prepare children for school and to involve parents in their children's learning. Year 0 - 1 children are provided with a pack of carefully selected learning resources that they can take home and keep - books, readers, pencil, pad, maths games & information for parents. Parents attend two sessions at school and can take home the 'Lets Go' pack to use with their kids. It has proved so successful that it is being extended into other areas of the school with the Years 2 -3 'Up and Running' programme (& learning pack). If you want to know more about this programme contact Jocelyn. Eltham is unique also in that it follows the Te Whariki curriculum in it's NE class.

More Movies @ EPS

I used to think i would get bored with making movies with kids (I have lost count of movie making days at school) - not even!! What a great day it was. Watching kids in control of their own learning, being creative, innovative, working out problems, working together and getting into it all day long!!! From the time they walk in the door till when they go home in the afternoon - even your most on-to-it classroom i think, could not boast such total involvement from all of the kids all of the time. A great opportunity to work with Sharon, a long standing proponent of Movie Making @ School - such a wealth of experience she has to share - make the most of it EPS.
Some cool new tools on the web for video editing, hosting & sharing. Jumpcut and Eyespot - just upload your video or still pictures, music, record your voice overs and edit it all online. Very cool - there is so much to use on the web for free - all you really need is a browser (and a fast internet connection). gives you all your 'office' type tools plus 1 gb storage. Check it out.

Thursday, 7 September 2006


The PD focus for our leadership workshop today was asTTLe. Thanks to Kelvin & Richard for leading this session :-)
A Point to Ponder for me is the learning conversations we engage in when we work together using this tool as being more powerful than the simple use of the tool itself. That was evident today as the team discussed their experiences within their own schools that had been the result of using asTTLe.
Something about asTTLe that I didn't know about was a part of the programme that links online to a trail of learning resources that were were directly targetted at the next steps learning intentions as identified by the asTTLe results. Very cool.

"What data are we collecting and what has changed in teacher practice and children’s learning as a result of the data collected? and
If it has changed … how do you know?"

Kelvin's notes can be found on Interact (you need your Log On to access or contact Kelvin for a copy)

"Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (He Pūnaha Aromatawai mō te Whakaako me te Ako). It is an educational resource for assessing literacy and numeracy (in both English and Māori) developed for the Ministry of Education by the University of Auckland.

asTTle provides teachers, students, and parents with information about a student's level of achievement, relative to the curriculum achievement outcomes, for levels 2 to 6 and national norms of performance for students in years 4 to 12.

asTTle is a tool that operates in both personal computer (PC) and Mac environments. Teachers can use asTTle to create 40-minute paper and pencil tests designed for their own students' learning needs. Once the tests are scored, the asTTle tool generates interactive graphic reports that allow teachers to analyse student achievement against curriculum levels, curriculum objectives, and population norms. Research and development over 2003–2004 has extended asTTle into years 8–12 and curriculum levels 5–6.

The asTTle CD-ROM is available to New Zealand schools free of charge. The latest version (asTTle V4) of the asTTle CD-ROM can be ordered by completing the order form on this website."

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Paengaroa Regional Meeting

Thankyou Lorraine & team for organising such a worthwhile meeting.

The agenda for the day went like this:
"What is a Learning Community"
"How do we develop it?"
"What are the barriers?" and
"What do we want to sustain?"
This culminated in the development of Action Plans - "Towards Sustainability"

You can read more on Lorraine's blog & pick up files from Centre4

I enjoyed the day because we talked all day long! It was great to have such a focussed exchange of ideas. And the big focus of the day was Sustainability - for many of us third year clusters - sustainability after the contract. Out of all the regional meetings we have hauled ourselves around in the last 3 years i really wish our whole team had been at this one. Our team have started talking about 'sustainability', read Mel's research & floated ideas around since this time last year but we have not actually formalised any 'where-to-next' plans.
I know from having read Mel's work that sustainability is not a carbon copy of the 3 contract years - it is not about continuing on exactly the same (Ha - who can afford to without the funding...). It may not even involve a 'cluster' or the cluster as it previously was.
The key questions for me are "What do we want to sustain?" (& why) & "How are we going to do this?" Things we need to talk about at our next cluster meeting.
OK another key question for me (as it was for other facilitators of 3rd year contracts) was "What am i going to do next year?!"

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Regional Meeting Road Trip

A big trek up to Paengaroa today for the last of our ICTPD regional meetings and so i took the opportunity to detour along the way to catch up with Clare bear at Otewa School. A great little 3 classroom school in a quiet rural valley 10 minutes out or Otorohonga. As with new beginnings it has been tough especially as when she arrived the school office/admin was in her house! But she is really easing into her new role, getting involved in the community and seems to be loving it :-) She has big plans for new computers in the school - if only she could find some money... A lovely new SmartNet server and top class cabling throughout but no computers to hook up to this great new network. Uuuummm think the MOE is missing something out of the equation here.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006


Stratford children playing in the hail storm - my sources tell me this was not the only school where this was going on today :-)

They don't call it the WebChallenge for nothing! The Challenge for this group at SPS (& St Jo's also) has been the need for more time. Our kids are spending so much time on research and developing content for their site which leaves little time to work on building the site. 2 hours a week is just not going to do it well. So one thing to reflect on for next time - they need to work on a topic they have previously studied or have some sound experience and content knowledge of so we can focus on the skills of site building at WebChallenge time. Site building in itself is not a huge technical skill - the learning skills (or attributes) are design, creativity, problem-solving, communication & collaborative skills. A big focus from the beginning has been making sure children respect copyright on the internet in the making of their sites. Here's a link to a list of sites compiled to guide them to some sources online.

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Junior Jaunt - St Georges

St George's was like walking onto the set of Harry Potter - a beatiful school and very unique :-) At Castlecliff we were really looking specifically at the work of Mary Dean and practical ICT examples; at St George's we were looking at their Inquiry Process and thinking skills. Here we saw a range of "innovations" in place consistent across the school and implemented from Day 1 when a student arrives at school. It was really interesting to see their whole school approach that incorporated the Dunn & Dunn model of Learning Styles, David Hyerle's Thinking Maps & Habits of Mind. Their inquiry model is from the PYP Primary Years Programme as they are an International Baccalaureate School. Many schools are now developing their own school models of learning with these types of elements especially so now with the freeing up on the NZ Curriculum. St George's have as well, but within the PYP programme this being for them 'a point of difference'. A bit like (trying not to be too cynical here...) but a learning driven model meets market driven model. It seems to be working really well for them in their school. Thanks Pauline & Ken for being such kind and informative hosts.
More pics on Flickr.

Junior Jaunt - Castlecliff

Last week 20 Bard Wired Junior classroom teachers visited two schools in Wanganui to observe specifically in the Junior school (Y1 -3) examples of: "Effective use of ICT, Inquiry Learning, Thinking Skills and Innovative classroom ideas"
Lots of positive feedback from all teachers involved that now other teachers in our schools are asking "When is the Middle Schools visit?" What we saw in the schools we visited was not rocket science or revolutionary in any way but for some teachers an affirmation of the things they are already doing and for others a wealth of ideas and inspiration. A great opportunity for our busy teachers to take time out to look into other classrooms, reflect on their own practise and to discuss this with colleagues. I think that the schools we visited could return the visit to our cluster schools and gain just as much as we did from the experience.

Our first visit was to Castlecliff School and Mary Dean who was a fantastic host - our group found her to be a dynamic speaker and very knowledgeable about using ICTs in the classroom.
The school is well resourced with a well managed network, at least 4 computers in every classroom and a full suite of computers - so access is no issue here. Mary admits that school-wide itegration of ICTs has slumped since coming out of an ICTPD contract 2 years ago. She is trying to boost this along by using CRT time to work with children from throughout the school & hopefully teachers will take this onboard back in their own classrooms (uuummmm - tried this approach before...) Some food for thought about 'Cluster sustainability' after the contract is ended which we will be discussing @ the Regional Meeting on Friday - i am beginning to get some opinions about this topic but will blog another time on this.

In the Junior Classrooms (lots of pics on Flickr) we saw a lot of use of Digital Photography to support literacy - wordbank pictures, shared writing, writing from experience, visual cues etc. Children's illustrations created in Revelation Natural Art. Letterland software, PM reader software and Clicker were all used in tandem with the literacy programme. Mary uses a Mimeo to record Newsboard each morning (we weren't early enough to see this in action). In this picture you can see the child writing by the Mimeo & it is recorded on the laptop attached - this can be made into a full interactive whiteboard by setting up the data-projector onto the board (not sure how it works - bit like smoke & mirrors to me) We then spent some time in the ICT suite as Mary worked with a group who were creating digital stories in PhotoStory. We had a good look at Clicker which many teachers know only through it's use with our Special Needs children. Mary showed us how she used Clicker to create activities that were relevant to her programme (she has created a huge bank of Clicker resources). She also showed us how to batch file photo's in Irfanview - maybe a bit hard for most of our teachers - who may be best to stick to iPhoto or MS Picture Manager to start with... Photofiltre was another free tool that we looked at.
Stratford Primary have most of this software (not Clicker) installed on the laptop pods & St Joseph's on the library & ICT room computers - check it out! Toko & Eltham you don't need any of this stuff - you've got MACS!! :-)
Just up on BardWired Interact are Mary Dean's PhotoStory resources (learning intentions & instructions) Thanks Mary.

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Apple Envy

i-School 2006 in New Plymouth. What a great time to play with the latest Macs & brush up on some skills. I always come away from iSchool wanting a Mac of my own - the closest I've got so far is the Apple sticker that sits on top of my Toshiba logo on my laptop ;-)
Some of the Bard Wired teachers joined me (though they are PC schools) in Stu Hale's digital photography workshop. Stu walked us through the elements of good photos - people, line, colour, light and the rule of 3rds. We learnt about all the features on our cameras and the need to understand the 2-step shutter, how to choose good cameras for our schools etc. We then spent the rest of the day taking loads of photos & working with them in iPhoto. I went to this workshop deciding that i would take my camera off automatic and use the features of the camera myself - well honestly since then i haven't taken so many good photos - i think my camera is smarter than me!
Some sites that Stu recommended: for comparing digital cameras, and for accessing 'free' photos for ideas & inspiration - and
Big thumbs up for Macs though they may be a little more pricey than PCs - they are definately much easier to work with - you have all these great applications that come for 'free', they all integrate, easy to use and you don't have to navigate miles of file systems to find pictures to work with...
Stu Hale (RED), Doug & Louise (BardWired) iSchool

Monday, 7 August 2006

Challenging History @ St Joseph's

A great opportunity to be involved with the teams from St Joseph's in our NZ History Challenge. It was a bit like being down at the Irish bar on quiz night having these 3 teams working competitively in such close proximity as this pic shows! There was a lot of secretive discussion & the odd student who wanted to trade answers (hey that's not part of the game :-)
What an awesome activity for developing information literacy skills, communication skills & cooperative skills - yep & competitive as well. Students used the Internet to search for key words from the clues given, skimmed & scanned the pages to read around the topic and decide if they really had found the answer to crack the question. (Ctrl F was pretty useful to quickly find key words in a page when they weren't sure if they were on the right track). Questioning skills were also developed as students worked out the best way to ask the other teams questions that could only be answered yes or no and bring them closer to the answer. It was interesting to compare the younger teams (y4 & 5) with the y7 & 8 kids. It wasn't reading skills that separated the two groups (they were all capable readers) but the older students were able to analyse the information and draw inferences from it that helped them in their research - younger students needed a lot more guidance with this.
It was interesting to see how little our children know of our own History - which is why this was such a great topic. None of them had heard of the NZ Wars - we study 'Anzac Day' every year - how often do our kids learn about the NZ Wars? - probably more important in shaping our country.
Well actually having said that, the Taranaki Wars in particular Titokawarau & the Waitara Conflict are the subject of 2 Web Challenge entries from St Josephs. Another teams entry is about Te Maunga Taranaki. I spent some time with the helping them set up the structure of their pages though that is the easy part - the most important part is researching what they want to know and presenting it in an original way so others can learn from it...

More on Smart Boards:
Staff were discussing the possibility of introducing SmartBoards to the school, having visited Manaia and having them demonstrated in the school at our last Lead Teacher workshop here. Funding is a big issue especially when there are other priorities in a school - like the roof leaks & you need sports uniforms. You really have to justify this for such a big ticket item. You really have to be sure that this is an investment that is going to make a difference to our children's learning. Fine if you have a huge wad of EDI cash or have a DigiOps project going, or maybe even are able to tap into the very generous funding that Yarrows Taranaki have been distributing to Taranaki Secondary Schools (i will be investigating this further to see if we can't try & get our Primary Schools onto this) - then you're not competing with other resource needs in the school. I think the jury is still out on this - if you want to read further check out Artichokes comments in my last blog post or read Graham's comments on an earlier BardWired blogspot post.