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?"