Thursday, 31 July 2008

Patea First VC Class

  I visited Patea Area School again on Monday this week. Kathryn has taken over the role of VC Coordinator so I spent some time with her discussing her new role, looking at how to use the VLN, and using the VC gear.
We practised by VCing into Carolyn (ePrincipal, FarNet) who has just got her VC online in her home office. Carolyn is nearly an hour from her closest school and is also an eTeacher - having VC access from home is a huge enabler for her to be more effective in her job. It was great to take control of the far end camera and have a nosey around Carolyn's office and zoom in on a beautiful view down a bush clad hill to the beach below. The best of both worlds - the world at your fingertips & the beach 5 minutes away :-)
Discussion with Carolyn gave Kathryn many insights into what were some of the issues our students faced as elearners and how we could best support them back in their home schools.

Patea students engaged in their first VC lesson today as 5 students are participating in a Beginners German class, along with students from St Mary's, Opunake & Stratford. Their first VC went really well, with lots of emails buzzing back to me about the experience.image
Courtesy of phutran on Flickr

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Promoting TaraNet to Year 8s

Many of our schools have had their Open Days for prospective Year 8s.
I attended an evening at Stratford High where my own daughter will be going next year. I talked to parents about what TaraNet was all about, how our students can now have a wider range of curricula choices as good as if not better than any of the city schools. I also talked about some of the elearning opportunities for students aside from VC distance learning.


Principal, Warren Purdy, writes about the Open Evening on his new blog.
Great to see Warren using a blog to communicate with our wider school community.

Waitara - Virtually There

With another storm predicted today I thought it best to stay closer to home. My two meetings scheduled at Waitara went just as well via VC without having to dodge any falling trees. In some ways i think a VC meeting can be more productive than a f2f meeting - you have a clear purpose, are more focused with less distractions, and a limited amount of time within which to cover your discussion.

There is lots of storm footage on YouTube - this one is cool not only as it made the National News but is the basis for a Viral Marketing version - where a Jeep follows along behind the car going over top of the fallen tree...(need to visit the site to see it) 
Whats interesting about the YouTube videos of the storms also is that there is lots of conversation going on in the comments sections underneath the video as people relate their personal accounts - communities of interest - when & where it suits :-) This is definitely something we should be sharing with our students.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Jing It

Have just begun using Jing (thanks Hamish for showing me this) to take my screen shots & in this case to do screen recordings. What a handy dandy little tool this is. So simple to use, can upload straight to screencast or save as a file.

ePrincipals are preparing to spend the day tomorrow inside Adobe Connect Meeting room getting our DEANZ conference presentation organised so this little tutorial is for Jan who is setting up our meeting. Hope it will play ;-) Click on the pic to play or download from here.


Monday, 21 July 2008

Heads up on the eLearning Landscape

I was at Inglewood today presenting an overview to staff on what's happening in the eLearning Landscape. There is so much going on to talk about in a short session and overwhelming i'm sure for those who are hearing some of this stuff for the first time. A message I tried to get across to teachers was not to get hung up on learning how to 'do' all of this technology stuff themselves but to be aware of what was out there and how they can enable their students to use this in their learning. This means things like - accessing appropriate resources, curriculum design and teaching strategies. Teachers sit on a wide continuum of capability & confidence in educational technology and its unrealistic that all should be able to become IT whizzes - there is just not enough time and also that's not what its all about. Its about equipping our students with the skills for learning in the 21st Century which means a change in shifting 19th Century teacher mindsets. Many of our students are quite confident & capable technology users, this is where the teacher/student roles change and teachers need to let go & let students take the lead in the classroom. I like this section from Hargreaves Educational Imaginary which talks about the roles of teachers & students. This point about teachers roles hit home to me yesterday when during our workshop session one teacher asked 'Well what do we do? What do teachers do?' If we don't need to learn all this ourselves but our students do... I guess this comes from teachers who have always mastered their 'subject' matter before they teach it to their students. Now its not just content knowledge - trying to fill a students head with all the important stuff thats going to be in the exam, but skills & processes are really important too.


These presentations can be downloaded from as there are a few links embedded in them. The following are the two videos we watched.

Shift Happens

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us