Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Video Blog

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Just playing again - there is so much cool stuff out on the web & it all works together so well. I thought Vimeo was the place for video but if i want it in my blog am trying out Video Egg. Thanks Jedd for telling us all about it on your blog. That is the power of 'web 2.0', all these cool interactive, web based tools - they just connect everything (& all of us) all together!
Thanks to St Josephs for the video "Sharing, Caring & Daring."

Oh for an even faster Internet connection...

Principals' Leading

We had a good meeting and workshop day today with cluster Principals. We meet once a term to go over nuts and bolts of management of the PD contract & to share a PD focus. Though not all could attend it was a valuable PD session - I think in the main because it was facilitated by our own Principals for our own group. Some topics and issues directly relevant to our own schools and educational leadership. Thank you Kelvin & Rae for sharing your expertise & experiences. Just some notes from today:

Rae – Feedback on Principal’s PD:

A week in Wellington. Very rigorous, long days. 6 Principals involved as well as facilitators some are Principals who have been through this PD themselves. Recommend for experienced Principals not beginning Principals because it is so challenging. You apply for this PD, keep applying if you are interested and don’t get selected the first time. A range of strategies and focuses that ‘unpack’ what it is to be a Principal. Things such as role plays, presentations, group & individual activities, psychometric tests, input from school community (BOT, parents, teachers), debriefs from PD Facilitators. Completed with a report back, an Individual PD plan and when approved access to further funding to follow up on PD. Short period of ongoing support from Facilitators. Rae found this, though challenging, to be an affirming process. Kelvin supported this by saying this Principals’ PD programme has become more sought after as it has changed from being Principals’ assessment to a developmental model.

LeadSpace has a resource section on Principal Professional Development

Look out for Principals' PD in the NZ Gazette.

Rae also briefly discussed having attended a recent Catholic Principals’ Conference – look out for a new programme called ‘Literature for Life’ along similar lines to ‘Seasons for Growth’ – which focuses on values, support for children dealing with difficult times (grief, change, loss) & implemented through the English Curriculum.

Kelvin shared - Professional Learning Communities, Educational Leadership (from Best Evidence Synthesis), TXT bullying, SPS Literacy Initiative.

Shared readings: What is a Professional Learning Community? Useful to guide us in our own schools and in a sense this is what we are developing through our own cluster. Further resources can be found here - http://www.ncsl.org.uk/networked/networked-research.cfm

“Putting Education Back into Educational Leadership” Professor Viviane Robinson – a summary adapted from BES – (email Rachel for a hard copy – can’t find it on the web J)

Discussed the Ministry of Education Report on Text Bullying & how we can address this in our own schools.
Kelvin also discussed the Literacy Initiative at SPS, as although addressing specific needs, is proving to be a good model for creating a learning community within their school – a model that is based on teacher reflection (literacy logs), teacher conversations and based on analysis of evidence based data focussing on school wide improvement.

Re-inventing the Wheel

"The biggest impact will be to change the point of view that education is something we can and should deliver. Education comes from learning, not teaching. The worlds best teachers are not repositories of knowledge, but skilled navigators who lead young minds to discovery and understanding. Learning is about reinventing the wheel, and may all children have the opportunity to do so”

Nicholas Negroponte: Digital Visionary

Warmest regards from the desk of.....

Chris Allott McPhee (CAM)
Photo Source

I just liked this quote on the bottom of CAMs emails - it makes me think though of this concept of 'reinventing the wheel'. I have always thought of reinventing the wheel as something you shouldn't have to do all the time if it works well why fix it someone has already done it before - lets just save ourselves a lot of time & effort and use what is already there. I guess this is true, for me, in the every day sense of doing 'stuff' especially administrative stuff. But from a learners viewpoint i guess it essential to reinvent the wheel in order to be able to construct your own understandings & if you didn't have this opportunity you would lose the ability to be creative and come up with new & different ideas.

Sunday, 26 March 2006

Words to Note!

Emma Price - NZ's Brainiest Kid 2006
Words of advice to other children (TV One News)
"Don't let teachers tell you to put your hand down in class."

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

TUANZ Wanganui

Well i usually write about things after the event - but this has been such an event just getting prepared! But i am prepared now (sort of) though very last minute.
Here is my presentation - you may be accessing it during my workshop or maybe afterwards as you explore a bit further.
Check out also TUANZ on Centre4.


I see from the previous comment that yes it does work :-) Apologies for sound quality i am not a sound engineer but these files are definitely comprehensible. I just used my LifeDrive PalmPilot to record Marc as he spoke, flicked it onto my laptop, cut it into manageable sized pieces with Audacity, loaded it onto my own site & linked to my blog. So here is Parts 2 & 3 of Marc Prensky's presentation "Engage Me or Enrage Me" If you were at Rotorua you can log into the Intranet site and download the slides that go with this.

Part Two

Part Three

Yes Graham i did get permission from Marc to do this. Though my catch phrase can sometimes be "Don't ask for permission. Ask for forgiveness." I am not usually that irresponsible ;-)
I had the opportunity to chat with Marc at Rotorua and challenge him with my thoughts that maybe it was a bit of a generalisation to consider our kids to be Digital Natives when a lot of the students i have worked with are just as techologically illiterate as their adult counterparts. 'Of course' he agreed with me but i guess you couldn't create such a talking point or catch phrase as 'Digital Native, Digital Immigrant' now is, without polarising the issue into black & white. The discussion led to a few jokes amongst our team about extending that definition to include the 'Digital Dinosaurs' and the 'Digital Dead' :-) It was good to talk to Marc from the point of view of a parent (see his new book "Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning!") as i talked about my teenage boys obsession with America's Army. We agreed that it was probably being used as a big recruiting tool for the US Army but not to worry noone was going to come down to NZ & take my boys away if they get too good at the game. We also talked about my 9 year old daughters expeditions into multiplayer gaming & virtual worlds (Runescape & HabboHotel) - but they have 13 year old age limits set on them. His advice for parents: "Never read the Parental Information page!" But keep talking to your kids, watch them, join them, & do other things too. Yep, all good common sense stuff.
www.marcprensky.com www.gamesparentsteachers.com
Thank you Marc.

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Prensky Podcast Test

Part One

I guess this works - though you will need i-Tunes to play it as i compressed it to a m4a file. Feedback?

Tuesday, 7 March 2006


I had meant to update the blog with my Learning@School experience/s. Yes i still mean to (it just takes time - but in the meantime you might want to check out Richard's diary notes (yes - plagiarising Richard - again...) and for another slant Artichoke's viewpoint (Guess u had to be there to follow this one ;-) Coming up when i have edited the audio will be a podcast of Marc Prensky's keynote "Engage me or Enrage Me" Here is one great practical classroom idea we liked that we can take back & use simply & easily. IT integration? well i used a digital camera to take the photo :-) ( this idea comes from a lovely little cafe - does great breakfasts)

Monday, 6 March 2006

TaraNet Hui

Now i have just a little bit of time up my sleeve i have picked up .2 FTE with the TaraNet schools cluster. TaraNet is a group of 'rural' secondary schools: Stratford, Opunake, Inglewood, Waverley, Waitara, Coastal College & a recent addition St Mary's Diocesan Girls School. I have been previously involved with TaraNet since it's inception in 2002 when i was teaching at Opunake High School. They have just exited their ICTPD contract but are continuing to work together to provide distance learning opportunities for their students. So that's where i fit in as 'e-Principal' of the TaraNet Virtual Campus. My role has been to coordinate enrolments and timetables, within the schools, within TaraNet and through the national network (VLN - Virtual Learning Network) and to look out for the needs of our students and on-line teachers. This is definately 'dancing on the shifting carpet' and there is quite some firming up to do with protocols & guidelines within our cluster and nationally but at this point we have been flat out setting up enrolments & timetable and expecting that everything will fall into place. Now is the time to really start looking at the bigger picture - new clusters and schools have joined the VLN and our own TaraNet enrolments have jumped from 4 students last year to over 40 this year!! All students have had their first video-conference with their teachers (they are timetabled one a week) and courses seem to be well underway. We had a cluster hui at Stratford last week with all our students and most of the on-line teachers and school VC coordinators participating. It was great to put a face to all these kids who had previously been enrolments on my spreadsheet... The main message we were trying to get through to all involved was Communication, Communication, Communication. This seems to have been the biggest issue so far. A good measure of flexibility, patience & a sense of humour are also important pre-requisites especially at the start of the year as timetables & enrolments can be all over the place. My next important task is to work with TaraNet principals to make sure the Virtual Campus is well supported - it is hard for these teachers and students who have really put themselves out on a limb to take up distance learning. We need to be behind them every step of the way.

Our students VCed with OtagoNet students to find out more about what they were in for this year :-) Our's were a shy bunch so we had to seed the 'right' questions in there - but i think they gained a good insight into what VC learning would be like. Teachers also had the opportunity to talk to Lynda Walsh-Pascoe an OtagoNet online teacher & past e-fellow. She was awesome - very down to earth, covered all the important stuff and put herself out there for our continued support. Thanks Phil for helping organise the venue & Rob for helping me get organised and for covering the technical aspects (not my strong point) I hope that when i get some more time (.2 FTE - hah!) maybe next term i will be able to sit in on a few VC lessons with our kids.

Sunday, 5 March 2006

2Simple St Josephs

Carol's Yr 3 kids spent some time teaching me about some new software that they have been learning to use for digital story telling. 2 simple by far! 2Create a Story. Well i was the typical big person browing the pdf help sheets trying to work out how to import photos. Clickety, click, click, click - the little people beat me hands down working out that problem :-) Apart from being really easy for kids to use (maybe not adults who like to read instructions...) it exports to swf file. Very cool. So now i have worked out how to put flash on the blog. Here is their story about Beach Ed.

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Flash Test

Yahoo - it worked! Yp it would be good to have Flash working straight off your blog page huh? I have been puzzling over this and trying all sorts of things since the last blog comment. So if you just can't work it out - find someone who can. I searched the blogosphere and found Lawrie.Thanks Lawrie for your help :-)