Thursday, 31 March 2011

Mount SPA – ICTPD workshops

Here are the presentations used in today’s workshops. Please feel free to give me feedback or comments in the comments box below this blog posting. Hope you find it interesting digging a bit deeper into some of these things – let me know how you go with this and add me to your skype contacts :-)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Cracking Adobe Connect

Finally i have worked out how to enable my students to be more active participants in our Adobe classroom without having to promote them with permissions that will allow them to ‘accidentally’ muck around with layouts & settings etc.

The secret is to assign individuals enhanced rights to only certain areas within the Adobe classroom – these can be turned on or off at any time – but need to be applied each time you come to class. Now they can write on the whiteboards, notes and upload files etc

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Global Connections – Join the Roof of the World Tour!

NZ schools are warmly welcomed to participate with their students in this ‘ANZAC’ connection with the the people of the Himalayas and celebrating the work of Sir Edmund Hillary's Himalayan Trust during their 50 Year Anniversary.

Visit their website to join or contact Maggie. 


Roof of the World Tour Spreading laughter and fun… sharing cultures, sparking imagination : 20 April- 20 May

Come and visit the Himalayas with us as we travel to 25 schools, teach juggling and theatre skills and learn about life in the highest mountains in the world. Ask us questions and watch our site for updates on the adventure.
Our group are a performing troupe, 2 Aussies and 2 Kiwis, performing for 25 schools in the Himalayas in April and May this year. We have been invited to provide performances in physical theatre and comedy as part of the 50 year celebrations of Sir Edmund Hillary's Himalayan Trust. While we tour we will also be finding out a lot about Hillary's legacy, the history of the country and a range of other lessons. We will be posting quizzes, hosting a forum and providing lesson plans and teaching resources free to use. We are keen to enable as many NZ schools to participate.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

VLN Primary Kicking Off for 2011

Things are ready to roll with the VLN Primary online classes for 2011. We are starting with confirmed classes this school term of Te Reo, Japanese, French, German & Astronomy. In the wings, to be confirmed and starting from next term will be Spanish, more Japanese & Te Reo classes, Gaelic & Electronics.

It is great to be continuing with a small but solid base of schools who collaborated last year and to welcome a growing number of schools to the VLN Primary community. I have been running Taster Classes the last couple of days (and on request for anyone interested in learning more). We have had quite a number of students from schools as diverse as Thorndon in the heart of Wellington city, to Kaingaroa a school in a lovely and remote Chatham Islands fishing settlement and smalls schools in the hill country of Eastern Taranaki.

Taster classes are designed to familiarise students with the online learning environment and iron out any technical problems schools may encounter when they connect, before they come into our scheduled classes. Students learn about the technology and they also learn how to communicate & interact with others in a way that is quite different from face to face classrooms. These classes allow schools to get an inside look into how online classrooms work before they decide to make a commitment to participate.

One of the students said ‘This is so cool, I can’t wait to start my class!’ Though i responded with a reality hit back to say, ‘Yes i hope you feel like this every week till you complete your class.’ I don’t want students and schools to be instantly hit by the WOW – novelty factor but understand this is an ongoing  commitment to learning. Even so, i was also thinking ‘Me too!’ Looking forward to teaching my class on Friday!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Christchurch Schools – Where is the vision?

“Re-locatable classrooms may be put onto sports grounds to house more than 10,000 pupils whose schools are closed”

I continue to be disappointed by the lack of vision our Ministry of Education has in responding to the needs of Christchurch school children – both immediate and long term.

What is this huge preoccupation with bricks & mortar as the necessary foundation of schooling for our children? Why should we be relocating buildings to create overcrowded schools when learning centres can be (and are being) set up within the community? Why should you be encouraging teachers from around the country to offer relief assistance when eteachers around the country are willing and able to take on more students into their classes and provide new classes? 

As the Christchurch Council bravely starts to espouse a vision of a very different city rising from the rubble how is a vision being developed for education? Where is the creativity in changing ideas and approaches to meet the learning needs of our students?

Quakeboarding: Photo by Alicia Krueger
Quakeboarding: Photo by Alicia Krueger

The VLN Community is well positioned with the networks, people and expertise to help make a difference now and into the future for so many of these affected students but this requires some higher level thinking on behalf of the MoE and strategic planning and support.

Here is the VLN Community response:

“The VLN Community is working now to increase capacity in all our existing online classes as well as exploring how new classes and online learning support can be put in place to take more of our displaced students. There are a number of teachers who have indicated their willingness to support these students with keeping up with their learning, some who are even willing to do this in their own time. With some increased staffing from the MoE there is quite a pool of experienced eteachers that can come online and offer learning opportunities for these kids. The VLN Community can give professional support for teachers who want to connect with their students online by assisting them with accessing and using online tools available to them through the MoE.”