Friday, 31 July 2009

Conversations with Writers


St Mary’s Writer’s Group join a VC through the VLN with other schools and writers Owen Marshall & Sue Orr to discuss ‘Short Story Writing’.

Thanks to Ken Pullar from OtagoNet & his collaborations with the Book Council to bring us regular conversations with a range of NZ authors. They are really great opportunities for our students to tap into a wealth of knowledge & experience. These students spent almost as much time after the VC, together with their teacher discussing the conversation itself. It was very thought provoking for all involved.

Next week’s VC will a discussion about “Encouraging an Individual Approach to Writing” with writers Jennifer Beck, Brian Falkner, and Fleur Beale. Contact Ken to find out more or register your participation.

Friday, 24 July 2009



I like this one – Prezi - another presentation concept altogether & free version too. “Instead of slides, you create a large map, and zoom around to show your ideas.”  Explanation in video below.

You can download your finished presentation so it can be used offline – displays in Flash Player. Can’t find any embedding facility though beyond sharing the link to the page. Here’s my 2 minute play

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

"Role Conflict - the expectation gap"


We had another good “Learning for Leadership” PD session yesterday with our eMentor Sue.

I really like the way Sue facilitated this session – posing questions to us ahead of our session and then guiding our discussion through a round robin of speaking, reflecting & responding to others in the group. One for my facilitation tool kit – thanks for modelling this so well Sue :-)

Underlying the discussion was the idea that the role of ePrincipal is still new & unique that for many in our schools that there are not clear expectations of what this involves. There is no previous point of reference. As we began in our role we were a little unsure ourselves until we developed into the role and as we fostered relationships with others in our clusters and our wider group and as we began to work towards achieving our cluster goals. I think every ePrincipal has a very clear idea in themselves now what their role is and the challenge is now to communicate this to others in our cluster.

Some of us experienced similar conflicts when it came to the expectations of others (& sometimes expectations of ourselves) about what was & was not their role. For a small few this was further complicated as they had other roles in their clusters and home schools (such as running EHSAS contracts, or some teaching duties).

Here are my reflections on my role:

What are all the roles that you currently carry out in your current position?
Consultant & advisor, elearning leader, staff development (eteachers mainly); pastoral care eteachers, students; negotiator & advocate; community spokesperson & liaison; connector & information conduit/filter between schools & the wider sector; researcher, questioner.

Are there any roles which you do not currently carry out but you do feel under some pressure to include them in your current position?  If so, what are they? Hands-on ICTPD with classroom teachers and technical work.
I haven’t got time to be a PD facilitator except for with eteachers, but do work in a consultative role with schools & lead teachers to organize & target PD opportunities – occasionally running workshops but not one-on-one – you can be continually chasing your tail doing that.
I am not ‘the computer person’ but will do some necessary stuff if it helps reduce the barriers to achieving immediate outcomes for what I am currently trying to achieve.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Future of Education

My morning ritual after checking the inbox is to read through my rss feeds to keep up with my professional reading. This one is a MUST READ 

“ There are many startling statements and predictions that can be read in different ways. But one of the most astonishing things is the similarity of many arguments made by McLuhan in 1967 to those still made today, 42 years later:

  • that schools are as outmoded as the mass production model on which they are based; and that forms of “mass customization” promise a radically different educational approach
  • that "the demands, the very nature of this age of new technology and pervasive electric circuitry... will [unavoidably] shape education's future"
  • that “the walls between school and world will continue to blur”
  • that "Future educators will value, not fear, fresh approaches, new solutions."

Are McLuhan's statements prescient, premature, preposterous, or all of the above? What does this say about current predictions? Decide for yourself.”
From the blog of Norm Friesen.


image For another thought provoking read Leigh’s latest post on myths of social media, open education.

  • “So my question is this: What is it REALLY that is causing the teacher disengagement from something so apparently important to the meaning of literacy, teaching and access to learning? Why does it seem that the world's greatest encyclopedia, the most phenomenal video library and the most in depth access to first hand experience is made up by everyone except those wrapped up in the education system?”

Check out the rest of Leigh’s article also Scary School Nightmare video here.

Monday, 20 July 2009

NZ Maths Week Coming Soon

imageA heads up for Maths Week coming up in August. This is a great time to get your kids brushing up on their Maths Skills, at school and at home, with lots of online learning activities & challenges. The official NZ Maths Week site is here. With lots of previous Maths Weeks activities here

Mathletics also opens up their site for free for two weeks around Maths Week – check it out.