Sunday, 27 May 2007

Time 4 Online Conference

Time 4 Online Conference kicks off tomorrow & I encourage you all to get along & involve yourself in someway over the next couple of weeks. My presentation is finally completed as usual done at the 11th hour :-)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Flickifying Art History @ Waitara

I spent some time with Ceri our VC Art History teacher at Waitara High School today. I had a mission before i went that i just had to hook her into using Flickr with her eLearning class. Mission accomplished i think - will have to go back in a couple of weeks and see how they are going. Ceri was very enthusiastic about how she could use this - the ability to collect favourites, annote areas of images, describe & discuss them with her students. A virtual tour through Italy possibly as i showed her how to geotag photos with the Arena Chapel in Padua - she's going away now to find out the address so she can pin it down to the exact street location :-) Though Ceri would not have done this on her own as the flickr sign up process via Yahoo ID was a mission in itself for your average teacher. So my being there really got her through the hard part - the rest will be fun :-)

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

IWB - Decisions Decisions

It seems now it's not a case of should we get an IWB, but which sort of IWB (Interwrite, SmartBoard, Promeathean). Do you go the whole hog and get a board or start with a tablet or both? Where should we put them in the school? Lighthouse teachers throughout the school or a syndicate (faculty) focus?
I was impressed at this Demo (Sitech Interwrite) at SPS today. Mainly because teachers were tuned into it - its was great to see them with their tongues hanging out rather than with their eyes glazing over and rolling back in their heads :-) So what better place to start - teachers with a positive mindset - you won't get anywhere without that, whatever technology you put in their classrooms.
Another great thing about this Demo was the whole pedagogical approach - every opportunity was used to involve teachers in real learning examples across the curricula & at various year levels. Sitech offer free on going PD support after the installation of their IWBs with a focus on learning & teaching not just technical. Tools & features are very similar to any other IWB though i was impressed also with what i thought was a superior capability of converting anyones chicken scrawl writing to text. It will be interesting to follow the progress of our teachers with IWB & see if they can really make a difference or will this be another expensive weapon in a 'chalk & talk' arsenal.

Media Team Prepares 4 the Jubilee

Media Team

Today we got the whole Media Team together to prepare for SPS Jubilee coming up on Queen's Birthday weekend. It was great to have kids working together tuakana/teina - we should make more opportunities to do this in our schools. They have begun preparing Decade presentations using our flickr photos. Though i can't work out why for some photos we can't download our own pictures & just end up with an empty image - spaceball.gif - this is really annoying. We have all the photos on our own server but its easier to find them from flickr. They also learnt how to optimise their images, upload them to flickr and to make a blog entry too. Over Jubilee Weekend we plan to be uploading pics, audio & short video clips as we go so those who can't be with us can be part of the celebrations - it would be great to get some comments from ex-pupils on the Jubilee Blogspot.

Thursday, 17 May 2007


I've been waiting for this one & finally MIT has opened it up to the rest of us :-) Cool!

Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web. Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design.

I wish I had my own class to play with this. Find out more about Scratch here.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

When Web 1.0 Meets Web 2.0

Another thing thats been taking a huugggeeee amount of my time is the redevelopment of our website. It is still a traditional Web 1.0 site in it's purpose, design, structure & hosting but throughout the site elements of Web 2.0 have been utilized. These definitely make it more dynamic & I think interesting. It also opens up the potential for greater interaction with the school community and beyond through these cool little tools - depending on how they are managed by the school... Examples are the photogallery (a flickr site), integrated into our Information Centre page, and the Sitemeter, Geovisitor & Measle Maps you can see on our front page. I won't make any links here to those things - please go and visit our site and explore them for yourself :-) Another cool thing coming up on the site will be the links into the classroom sites made on protopage. I was totally blown away when i checked back into Room 1's site - a great benchmark for our other classrooms - check it out.
These are just a few tools that we can use to Connect, Communicate, Create & Collaborate through our school website. If you want to read more about Web 2.0 Harnessing the Potential for schools please read my article (any feedback welcome :-)

Monday, 14 May 2007

Jubilee Junkie

Every spare minute of my time (and lots of minutes that aren't spare) have been spent in preparing for our school jubilee. It's been really interesting to be given lots of old school photos from people in our community, scanning them & loading them to our Jubilee flickr site. Memories have been shared on our Jubilee blogspot. All of these will become our "Digital Time Capsule" (Thanks Kelvin :-) - the 21st Century version of burying old newspapers to be dug up 50 years later. Our Time Capsule will be easily accessible for anyone with an internet connection for a long time to come. I have begun to pull together a Jubilee Media team of students from Stratford Primary School & Stratford High School to document the events of Jubilee weekend, taking lots of pictures, short video & audio to be shared in our Time Capsule. This team will also prepare the multimedia presentations that will be on display, along with presentations from SPS classes, throughout the Jubilee. Presentations no longer need to be PowerPoints. With Flash Slideshow Maker you can easily put together presentations and display as a flash movie. Here's an example. Another tool i found was Flash Flipping Book which i used to display a very old handwritten book which really needed to be displayed in it's original book format. (Not sure if this one runs all the way through properly as it is hosted on the School Zone network & it wouldn't upload some supporting files)

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Playing with Meez

We've had lots of fun over the weekend making Meez avatars. Here is one i created of my daughter begging for a new cellphone.
And here is the one she made of me:

Blog This!

Friday, 11 May 2007

Pitt Protopage

The kids at Pitt Island School have been playing with Protopage to make their own webpages today. By the time i had made this little movie tutorial they had worked out how to use it - Easy Peasy. They are just starting out but check into their website to see what they are up to :-)

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Cybersafe Kids

A popular visitor in Room 5 today at St Joseph's - the next in a generation of kids born in the 21st Century. These 21st C. kids have already been coming to school for the last two years and what are we doing to meet their needs for now & in the future?

“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for she was born in a different time”

One thing we can do, and should continually return to, at home and at school, is keeping our kids safe in the online world which is more and more a part of their daily lives. They need to be socially responsible citizens of the virtual worlds they inhabit and what better place to practice than in the safe environment of school. I have been working with students and teachers at St Joseph's in discussing the issues around Cybersafety. There are some great resources for teachers, families & kids online. Here is the Cybersafety links I gathered & published on the St Joseph's School website.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

TaraNet Teachers

We had our first Virtual Campus staff meeting for 2007 today. Online teachers & school VC coordinators met to chew the fat on how our distance learning VC classes are going. Everyone present was very positive that students were making progress in their classes and that although there are unique challenges in teaching a class, that is based in sometimes several locations, that with a positive attitude (including a sense of humour), lots of patience and flexibility and good communication between the schools, learning online can be successful. Discussion focussed around some of the occasional but annoying technical difficulties & the support we had available to deal with it. Little tricks to encourage students to participate more fully in online discussion (& its not just shyness but time lag on the VC that makes the 'flow' of an lesson difficult). There are lots of Minties in the post to Forest View students in Chris's class for their increased participation in VC sessions :-) More PD is available to our online teachers in using their online site to support their classes - teachers just need to call me & fix a time.

While we were having our VC Inglewood took the opportunity to have a photo opportunity during a 'real VC'. Here i am pretending to teach a class with a couple of Inglewood students - the photos were taken at their end for their school prospectus. Good to see VC learning being promoted in our schools.

Around Te Maunga

A lovely morning for a drive to Opunake. I spent the morning with Mark M. looking at the Wonders of Web 2.0 and discussing how some of these tools could be used by students & teachers to share some of the great things they are doing at school. There is so many cool tools now & all with embedding html so you can put it into any pages - your own webpages, blogspot or protopage. Where do you start in bringing your school on board?
KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) - one tool, one main purpose, one teacher in each faculty that knows what they're doing.... for a start.
Oh and not forgetting get around those *&#^% school filters!
(If you can't see the slideshow above click here)