Thursday, 25 May 2006

Toko Talk

Another work in progress :-)

Toko Talk - our cluster's first published podcast - wahoo!

To subscribe copy the following link into iTunes (on the File menu, click Advanced, click Subscribe to Podcast)

A busy prep afternoon today @ Toko - almost a Teacher Free Zone - kids hard @ work everywhere you look.

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Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Marco School

It was good to be back out at Marco School for the first time this year. Though i don't spend as much time in the ED schools, Richard Barnes has been doing lots. Thnx Richard gr8 job!
We covered lots of things today - learnt how to use Inspiration for brainstorming, mindmapping & planning research; creating Paint/PowerPoint animations; resizing graphics; looking at online resources; checking up on the quality of bandwith - sizzling downloads but uploads? - less than dial-up! - no wonder we can't vc thru skype... Awesome to hear about their Aussie trip to the Gold Coast. Check out Daniel's blog post :-)

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

St Joseph's World Tour

Room 8 students went on a World Tour in Google Earth to view the countries they had been studying in their Carmen Sandiago unit. They were all very excited: "When are we leaving? When are we coming home?!" Very cool - here's a shot from Google Earth of our place :-)
Students in Michael's Room 9 class are busy constructing their Year Book - compiling video & images (their pics enhanced in interesting ways...) into a shared Movie Maker project. Look forward to viewing their final product - a work in progress so far. Other teachers explored online resources (including TKI digistore learning objects) that support their reading & maths programmes. They have created short cuts in folders on the classroom desktop with appropriate resources. Their challenge is to integrate these activities into their classroom programme so that all students have opportunites to use them & feedback to me in my next school visit on how it's all going. A big learning curve for everybody these last couple of days.

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Kidz & Kitez @ Makahu

Today was a day (of many days) when i think i have got the best job in the world! What a perfect day @ Makahu & a great bunch of kids & teachers. Did i go out to Makahu to take pictures & video, make PowerPoints,& update blogs with the kids? No way i went out to make & fly kites - wahoo! We did do all that other ICT stuff too which was cool also... Read about their fun with kites & their school camp in Rotorua on their blogs.
More pics on flickr

Kidz & Kitez on Vimeo

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Wanna have a Learn!

TV3 news last night ran a story about the use of cellphones for learning as trialled by AUT for study notes & downloading video. A student from Trident High, Whakatane had this to say. Imagine if u will a typical teenage country boy - what he had to say was classic :-) It went something like this:
"When you're sitting out in the paddock and you wanna have a learn you just whip out your cellphone..."
Ha Ha - A positive change from the recent media focus on txt bullying & banning cellphones in schools.

Hyperlink Queen

More time with SPS's hyperlink Queen, Penny today especially focussing on interactive maths resources. Tidying up, linking and uploading class hot links pages. Yahoo gr8 work Penny!

There are loads of cool learning resources online. It would be really good to see all these learning objects searchable independently instead of having to scour through separate sites for just the right one. So you could key in say year level, curriculum outcomes & key words & you would be directed to just the right collection of DLOs … maybe there is something like this and I just haven’t found it yet! It would certainly make sure teachers didn't have to spend hours on this & there would be some standardisation of quality & expectation of curricular alignment.
This is just a sample of what you can find online using Google & the key words: interactive maths activities

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

BBC Schools Maths Game Wheel

Interactive Maths Activities
(higher level - good ideas for Methanex?)

Mathematical Interactivities - Puzzles, Games and other Online Educational Resources
check it out 4 source code to create your own activities
Maths games – critically review to make sure that the bang for bucks balance is in favour of learning and not weighed to heavily on edutainment

Primary Resources for Interactive Whiteboards
Loads of interactives for IWB can be used with DataProjectors & kids independent work!!

This site aims to bring collect together and order a range of free resources discovered on the Internet, which can be used for teaching Maths in Primary Schools in the UK.

Teaching Treasures

Of course not forgetting our own DLOs at TKI's Digistore. It is really cool how Maths Online has linked directly into Digistore with a grid that is organised by year level & maths strand to the appropriate DLO - check it out!

Monday, 15 May 2006

Under the Mountain

Brrrrrrrrrr - we have launched into winter in the last couple of days!!! Why would you want to live in Stratford?! Even after living most of my life here i can still look at this mountain & feel the pull - explain? can't really - but if u have lived here u probably know what i mean :-)
Looking at the mountain today & reading Kelvin's SPS newletter with a letter from an ex-pupil really stirs up memories of growing up under the mountain. I am looking forward to the Stratford Primary School Jubilee next year & catching up with some very old friends...
Dominic Sheehan in "Finding Home" captures the feelings of growing up in Stratford so well - this is a great book - look for it in your school library - if it's not there - get it!

"Lumley was the sort of town that was not so small that everyone knew everybody else, but small enough that most people knew a little bit of everything that happened....
Lumley was a town large enough for two primary schools as well as the high school. It had ten pages in the district phone book, a New World supermarket, two roundabouts, a railway overbridge and a gardening shop with its own mini-greenhouse in the rear and a real full-sized wheelbarrow stuck on the facade. It had its own public library, located at the end of a long dark corridor that was cold and echoey and lined with pictures of the city fathers. The library also contained Lumley's only elevator.
It was a town big enough for a municipal swimming pool. And a picture theatre with a winding staircase and red velvet curtains that hung so thick and heavy you wondered how they managed to stay on the rails. In George Mayle Park there was a band rotunda which at Christmas time would be decorated around the edges with dozens of lights. The park was named after a lieutenant colonel from Lumley killed at Gallipoli. A stone memorial arch at the park's entrance commemorated his sacrifice.
In the centre of town was a square-faced clock, which kept perfect time. It was part of the local post office, the largest building in Lumley, which was sided with shiny aluminium and had a flagpole directly outside, placed in the middle of the footpath. No one knew why the builders put a flagpole in everyone's way, but it was such a part of the town that no one seemed to care, and anyway, once you knew it was there you just walked around it.
Lumley was tucked under the shadow of the mountain. No matter where you went in the town, if you looked up, the mountain was there, watching over your shoulder. Around the base of the mountain was a circle of native bush and even in summer the the mountain's peak was capped with a dusting of snow which thickened and spread as winter came. It also had a habit of being shy and more often than not it would play beek-a-boo behind a screen of mist and clouds. Being around the mountain all the time, you tended to forget it was there. But you could always sense its looming presence.
That was the town that came out to greet us as we walked through its wide streets on the first morning of school. The people and the places and the mountain... "

More on Quick Links @ SPS

Today I worked with Penny extending further on the idea of Quick Links pages to direct students to appropriate digital resources. See Penny's page here. (still under construction) We started with the idea that we wanted to direct students and teacher's within Penny's syndicate to resources that supported the current learning intentions in the classroom. They could access these from the desktop in the classroom and by loading the pages to SchoolZone students could also access them from home. These pages could be updated as the learning focuses progressed in the classroom - i.e. the topic study changed, & different learning intentions in the literacy & numeracy programme. I compiled a teachers resource (not comprehensive - there is so much to choose from!) of good starting places to find supporting interactive activities and from these we chose the ones that fitted with the intended learning outcomes & built them into the hot links page. Penny learnt how to make a simple webpage using Word, how to create hyperlinks & then how to upload these pages to School Zone. How To tutorials can be found on Interact. As we worked we thought that this is a process that should be happening as teachers planned their classroom programme.

Friday, 12 May 2006

Artists @ Work

Tahora's artists in residence have been hard at work today creating some wonderful art work using good old Microsoft Paint (pictured above) and ArtRage. You can see more of their work on Flickr. Check out their blogs as well & leave them a comment.

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Smart Boards @ Eltham

Today we had a play with a Smart Board kindly lent by Graham Nelson from Lamberts, New Plymouth. Plz contact him if you would like a demo and trial in your school. Have been hearing a buzz around the place of them possibly infiltrating a number of our schools. They have been around for awhile - why have our cluster schools not picked up on these until now? Are they another fad or fashion? Like any learning resource, (according to my sis who has worked in UK schools where they are ubiquitous) they are only as effective as the teacher who is using them... So if u follow that line of thought a lot of our cluster teachers could do some wonderful things with this new tool :-) Not cheap @ $7000 + a dataprojector another $2K - how much of a bang for bucks in the difference to children's learning could we achieve? Lots of our schools are already using Data Projectors in classrooms - how does the interactiveness of the whiteboard improve on this? Couldn't this be achieved as simply and cheaply as students using a wireless mouse & keyboard to control what was happening on the big screen? Hmmm - need more time to play - a visit to Manaia school with the Eltham team?

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Quick Links

Today i was at SPS working in Fiona's NE class who have just joined the school network. I loaded a few things on her desktop computer - ArtRage & Tux Typing and tried to load KidPix - tho am having real problems with getting this to install & run in the WinXP os (as i have with the other SPS junior classes) - anyone else know how to fix this??? (i think it might be a conflict in the text-to-speech Windows software...) We looked at some of the projects her kids had been doing & wanted to do & played around with some of these programmes.
I set up her access to the Junior reading resource , Digital Learning Objects & showed her how to make a Quick Links webpage.
Being able to create hyperlinks is a pretty easy skill to do with a very powerful result. Every teacher should be doing this! It allows teachers to easily organise access for their students to specific digital resources (i.e. particular websites or learning objects). I used to encourage teachers to find the web resource they wanted their kids to access & then shortcut it to the desktop but i got a slap over the hand from the network manager (again...) because too many desktop shortcuts load up the user profiles & slow down the system.
So How To? A bit like constructing a WebQuest. You don't need any special web editor. Just use Word - write in the learning activities you want kids to access, find the web address (of the site or the learning object or even a resource saved on your own network), copy the address Ctrl C, highlight the text in your QuickLinks file, Ctrl K to open up the hyperlinks box, & copy the address in Ctrl V. Save As a webpage where your students can access. You can make sure that your passwords are remembered so Juniors can just click straight in there. Easy peasy :-)

Talented Toko

Talented Toko on Vimeo

A great opportunity to be at Toko School yesterday and see their Talents & Interests Programme in action. One afternoon a week kids of all ages are involved in their chosen special interest group (something they have a strength, talent or interest in) supported by a team of talented teachers. Get over ICT as a prime motivator! The enthusiasm & engagement i saw at Toko yesterday was all about kids (& teachers) really wanting to do this stuff!!

Monday, 1 May 2006

Podcasting @ Toko

We've been talking about it for a little while and now here are Toko Schools first Podcasts in Beta Version. Not only podcasting but the use of audio and MP3 players (without necessarily publishing to the world...) will be used to support the Oral Language programme - an important focus for our kids at Toko. Today we practised using Garageband to record a signature tune, record & edit vocals. It was great that most of these kids have already a good grasp on creating music with GarageBand - they taught me heaps :-) We then exported to iTunes where we compressed the files - a significant difference in file size! (25mb down to 5ish). Next steps are to include some metadata about the files (oops forgot that today) and to work with Richard and Kelly to help them out with the next step - hosting the podcasts (Toko site or external?) & creating an RSS feed. Lots of things to get started on now that this team have mastered the basics. So these audio files are very raw - lots of room for improvement but a great start :-)
More information about Podcasting can be found earlier in this blog

Makayla & Krystal

Tyler & Samuel

Emily, Sally & Georgia

You will need iTunes to download & listen to these audio files. (Learning point - next time we will convert to mp3 so it is accessible to more people)