Monday, December 10, 2007

Contribute "Your Stories"

The Auckland Region of Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand was launched last Thursday at the Auckland Museum by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the author, historian Margaret McClure.
I have highlighted Te Ara previously, however this is truly a valuable resource for teachers as well as students.
Along with the latest regional entry there are now opportunities for you and your students to contribute to Te Ara through "Your Stories" and Te Ara on Flickr.

Learning is not a 'spectator sport'

If you have a personal account or story related to any of the subjects in Te Ara, it can be submitted to consider for inclusion. Also readers are invited to post their favourite regional images to Flickr: Te Ara
Including the new Te Ara blog, these additions provide opportunities for students to participate and add to the story of New Zealand through the encyclopedia and growing community contributions.

Because Te Ara has been specifically designed as a web based encyclopedia it benefits from the digital experience with the inclusion of quality images and multimedia resources that can be accessed quickly by teachers to support and add value to learning.

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage

As well as Te Ara the Ministry have a number of well resourced sites that all schools should be accessing from the ANZAC Guide to NZHistory. A list of the sites and links can be accessed online here and are well worth exploring and including in your LMS.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunnybrae Normal School Room 12 Hand Messages

Challenged by the original "Hand Messages" video, to show their message to the world, Room 12 at Sunnybrae Normal School created their own hand messages video and have shared it on their classroom blog. Click here to visit their blog, watch and comment...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Learning, Teaching, Leading:Best Evidence Synthesis for School-wide Improvement.

We were privileged to attend a preview of the BES for School-wide Improvement last Friday at the Faculty of Education. Thanks to the work of authors Professor Viviane Robinson, Dr Margie Hohepa & Claire Lloyd, Professor Helen Timperley, Aaron Wilson and Heather Barrar, Dr Graeme Aitken and Dr Claire Sinnema.

As introduced by Viviane Robinson, simply put the challenge is... "How to teach diverse students in the same class?" The variance in achievement scores for New Zealand as reported OECD (2001) Knowledge and skills for life reflects the challenge for New Zealand education in terms of providing high quality and high equity outcomes for diverse learners.

Some key messages from the BES preview included...
The synthesis is not a collation of evidence but rather it explores a range of evidence and explains why some strategies seem to work better than others. It is also focussed on both cultural and social outcomes and explains the evidence about what works for diverse learners, through a range of outcomes. As knowledge building is iterative so too is the synthesis, which will be redone. The IBES is not directly to do with best practice but rather a resource for best practice. As such it is recommended that it is referenced and contextualized within individual schools. Professional judgment is still needed along with professional inquiry - asking questions about the relationship between teaching and student outcomes. As such the quality should not be judged by competing claims but rather the validity of the claim (Viviane Robinson).

Key findings from Dr Graeme Aitken and Dr Claire Sinnema in Social Sciences explored what we need to know about promoting student learning and highlighted what they had learnt about what it means to be evidence informed as teachers. Attitudes towards evidence should include an inquiry stance, an openness to ideas from all sources rather than being bound by context ( because a strategy might be successful in one context doesn't mean it will be in another). They also identified four 'causal mechanisms' that teachers can use to inform their inquiry into the relationships between teaching and learning;
  • Making connections to students' lives
  • Aligning experience to important outcomes
  • Developing and sustaining a learning community
  • Designing learning expeiences that interest learners
Also the work by Helen Timperley, Aaron Wilson & Heather Barrar on "What We Need to Know About Promoting Teacher Learning" was very relevant in terms of my work and the outcomes for the ICT PD cluster programme of professional learning for teachers. As well as sharing their "teacher inquiry and knowlege -building cycle to promote valued student outcomes" (will be included in the BES ) they also highlighted the following as effective contexts for promoting teacher learning.
  • Time and frequency
  • External expertise
  • Prevailing discourses are challenged
  • Not necessarily school based
  • Participation in community of practice
  • Active School Leadership
Thanks again to the team for sharing so much of their work with us. Not sure when the exact publication date is however the BES publications can be downloaded from here

Publications Download Link for BES (Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Te Ara Auckland Region Goes Live! is New Zealand’s award-winning online encyclopedia. A work in progress, it is packed with stories, sights and sounds. So far there are almost 350 entries with over 12,000 resources - photos, cartoons, film clips, graphs and interactive devices.

Te Ara will ultimately be a complete encyclopedia of New Zealand. Three themes have been finished - ‘The New Zealanders’, ‘Earth, Sea and Sky’, and ‘The Bush’.

Nine of an eventual 22 regional entries for the highly successful ‘Places’ theme have been completed. The latest focuses on Auckland and explores the history, land forms, people and events that have shaped our largest city.

‘Auckland’ goes live on Thursday 6 December. Teachers are invited to attend the following presentation.

Where: Auditorium, Auckland War Memorial Museum
When: 4.00pm – 4.45pm, Thursday 6 December

The presentation will highlight the many classroom uses for Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Steve Watters, an historian at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, will also guide teachers through, the online resource that instantly brings New Zealand history to life. Rich and vibrant, is New Zealand’s foremost site for accessing online information about New Zealand history.

Updated daily via ‘Today in History’ this living resource showcases themes in New Zealand history based on three broad categories:
• Culture and society
• Politics and government
• War and society

Steve will talk you through the many features of highlighting the ‘Classroom’ and ‘Hands on History’ sections which provide practical resource material, classroom ideas, and activities for teachers and historians alike.

Seats are limited.
Please RSVP:

Catherine Hobbs, Communications,, 04-496-6176

Sunday, November 4, 2007

uLearn Presenters Materials

I have had some requests about resources from the uLearn conference last month so have posted links here for you. If you attended and have any other recommendations please email through to me and I will post on the cluster wiki page.

Keynotes and presenters material from uLearn 07 can be downloaded here.
To access these you will need to be logged in and have registered to attend the conference. If you did not attend and want to access these resources contact me or ask someone from your school who was at the conference.

Ewan McIntosh Keynote
A video of Ewan's opening Keynote from the conference, including presentation slides, is available for public viewing here.

Helen Baxter - Link to Helen's Mind Map from her Keynote

Derek Wenmoth challenged us to participate in what he called the "conference backchat"... discussions and responses to the conference themes. Here are some posts in response to the conference that have challenged my thinking.

From Tangled up in Purple -
"Thinking about the spaces we exist in"

From Educating the Dragon
- Comment and opinion in response to Ewan's Keynote
Ewan’s message rocks

Ewan’s message rocks- Are you sure about that?

From Ewan McIntosh's Blog - A link to uLearn Posts

...and some fun stuff.
Cup stacking world record (referenced in Ewan's Keynote)

Tripod on Gaming

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cluster Share - Northcote Intermediate

Thanks to Northcote Intermediate for hosting our final cluster share for 2007 last Tuesday. We have had five Cluster Shares and have found them very effective in supporting the programme of professional learning for teachers throughout the year.

Planning Cluster Shares, hosted at each of the 5 cluster schools year, over the 4 terms has enabled regular face2face contact at a cluster level while additionally supporting individual school activities, the cluster's online community and teacher inquiry.

Opportunities for teachers to learn from each other and also reflect on their own learning have also been a feature of the regular cluster share programme. We are making a few changes for 2008 as we continue to focus on opportunities to learn collaboratively and develop leadership capacity.
Links to:
Cluster Share Resources
Cluster Share Photos

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cluster Spotlight 4

The programme for our final Cluster Share for 2007 hosted by Northcote Intermediate is now available on the Cluster Wiki. Please check out the times and confirm your attendance with your Lead Teacher by Thursday. Teachers will be sharing more of their Teacher Inquiry feedback and we will explore examples of how individual inquires will be organsied for you to access online at the end of the year.

View the programme here

This week's Cluster Spotlights feature:

Room 3 "...a class of five year olds at Northcote Primary School and their teacher Helen Rennie-Younger." Room3 is using their blog to share their learning with an audience of family and friends both in New Zealand and overseas. Check the archived posts from Term 2 and follow their explorations into the water cycle. Also scroll the side bar of the blog to view some of the exciting learning and school activities from throughout the year.

View the Room3 blog here

Hamish Betts and his Year 2 class at Sunnybrae Normal have posted a video that can be viewed on our PhotoFUN Cluster blog. They have used a website called Teacher Tube to host their video, which can also be a useful resource if you are looking for videos to support your programme.

I have also categorised many of my video links in that you may also find a good start if you are looking for examples to use to clarify, explain or promote discussion in your classroom...and some will just make you's a classic...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

uLearn07 Reflections

For me the conference was primarily about people. My previous 2 posts reflect this…making connections, professional dialogue and learning from each other (including our students).

Additionally some highlights over the three days included:

Ewans McIntosh’s Keynote: Set the tone for the conference, raising even more questions for me and importantly highlighting the importance of being open-minded.

As educational leaders we must continue to take notice of the impact emerging technologies are having on the way our students live and learn and question how this will inform and change our practice.

“Without that lead in the leading edge, then we risk floundering in a bunch of cool stuff but without a sense of direction and the robustness of our convictions and research to know we're doing the right thing.” (McIntosh, 2007)

Ewan’s Keynote will be available through the uLearn website.

Rosemary Hipkins:
What can the key competencies contribute to assessment for learning?

Rosemary’s presentation challenged us to question how both the key competencies and assessment for learning can “contribute to making traditional models of teaching and learning more effective” and consider the role eLearning strategies may play in this transformation. Rosemary explored what Key Competencies and assessment for learning might have in common and supported this with some very enlightened examples of how ICTs can support assessment (backed up with the research). Some key messages:
  • Don't rush to assess. There are implications but we don't know enough about the impact yet.
  • Look for synergies and connections (means rethinking how we involve students in learning) eg: Key Competencies focus on building dispositions for life long learning & Assessment for Learning, where the learner is monitoring their own learning.
  • Adding values questions to assessment: Why is it important to think about more than one piece of evidence? This is a challenge as many traditional assessments measure knowledge gains and sometimes the ability to apply this, not the appropriate use of knowledge in meaningful tasks.
  • Assessment is not something we add to the end of learning: Assessment is an inquiry…what does it mean to know? (Delandshere, 2002)
Rosemary’s presentation can be downloaded from the uLearn07 website – recommended.

Apple iWork ‘08 Suite including: Keynote, Pages and Numbers
We were provided with an overview of the suite that now includes Numbers a new spreadsheet application. If you are using MacOS I highly recommend iWork as it integrates with the other packages in iLife. I have been using it for a couple of years now and have found it has sped up my workflow considerably and also through my work with schools have already experienced its potential to add value. There are some great new features including masking and animations and what I saw of Numbers it definitely has potential as a tool for both teachers and students. The MoE will also be funding sessions to support schools updating to iWork ’08.

Sunnybrae Normal - Central North Shore Cluster
More Photos Here

Cluster Spotlight 3

This week's cluster spotlight features examples of how students are connecting with family and friends, sharing their learning online at Milford School.

Gordana Stanojevic's ESOL class is using their blog to connect with many international readers. Gordana often receives requests from parents of students residing overseas and was previously only using email. The blog enables students to participate and make links with an authentic audience. The blog also includes a translator, time zone clock and cluster map identifying where in the world readers are located.
Robyn Keen's Year 5-6 class have also been using podcasts to share their learning with family and community. Students have learned how to prepare and record podcasts as well as construct and respond to an interview with their peers.

Friday, October 5, 2007

F2F is Great!

LinkHave been enjoying meeting all the people I have been connecting with online and catching up with old friends...F2F is great! More Photos on Flickr.

Right: John and I worked together for 6years in IT, now he's at Toshiba.
Below: The Bloggers Cafe. Click the image to view individual blogs (Thanks Jane)
Also see Rachel's ABC of Bloggers

Finally caught up with Rachel too (Thanks Jamin and Jane)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

K.U.T.E at uLearn Today!

A huge thank you to all the students and teachers that made K.U.T.E. such a success today. Our goal was to bring student voice to the uLearn conference and as I wandered around the school presentations today the confidence and pride displayed by students sharing their learning and knowledge with teachers was most evident. Participating schools included Summerland Primary, Pt England, Cornwall Park, Baverstock Oaks, Kristin School and MarinaView. Check out the Summerland website for more pics!

Many thanks as well to the ACES committee and the conference organsiers for supporting KUTE at uLearn this year.

uLearn07 PreConfernece Workshop - eXe

Jocelyn and I were learners yesterday attending a pre-conference workshop exploring eXe, an eLearning XHTML editor. The official description...
" an authoring environment to assist teachers and academics in the design, development and publishing of web-based learning and teaching materials without the need to become proficient in HTML or complicated web-publishing applications."

What I liked about eXe is its a free download, easy to use and intuitive, can be accessed offline and while designed for teachers could also be used by students. I had collected some resources around a theme of perseverance including txt, video, images etc and was able to start planning and creating a learning object that I could use to support my teaching as well as have the students access independently. The finished LO can be shared CD, USB etc in a browser and can also be added to a school network or intranet. I could also see LOs being shared amongst teachers too.
The development team were really helpful and have great online support including live chat through their website. eXe is worth exploring if you are interested in developing your own teaching resources.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cluster Spotlight 2

In this week's cluster spotlight we look at Sunnybrae Normal School's EnviroSchool Blog.
The blog is a team blog set up by Jenni Keeley's Year 1 class to support their Enviro Schools Journey. They have teamed up with teacher Penny Krone and students from Verran School who are their enviro-mentors.

The blog is being used to record their progress and also as a place for the students to reflect and support each other. The comments feature of the blog is being utilised by students to respond to questions and offer advice and suggestions as they explore and learn through the school's enviro journey. The blog will also assist Sunnynrae as they work towards their Enviroschools Awards - Bronze.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

uLearn 07

We have over 30 teachers from The Central North Shore Cluster attending uLearn 07 in Auckland.
Some of you, who have been reading and contributing to blogs, may be interested in the
Bloggers Cafe thanks to an initiative by Jane Nicholls. The concept of the bloggers cafe is to most importantly make some F2F connections with NZ bloggers, learn something new and engage in some real time conversation...there will actually be coffee too!

Also the the spotlight for
Breakout 1 is Kids Using Technology in Education (KUTE), an annual event organised by The Auckland Computers in Education Society (ACES). This is a highly interactive breakout where you will have the opportunity to talk directly with students from a number of Auckland schools who will be demonstrating, sharing and answering questions about their learning through a variety of ICT supported experiences.

Breakouts are now available on the uLearn website. Recommend you make your selections as soon as you can this week.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cluster Spotlight 1

As part of my weekly Cluster Update email that I send out to you on a Monday morning I will be including a feature spot on a school or classroom in the cluster. I am in the privileged position of spending most days in your schools experiencing, first hand, your learning adventures. While we are able to share these at cluster events and our Cluster Wiki there is so much new learning to celebrate I thought this would be a good place to bring these gems to your attention. I also encourage you to email these teachers if you have any questions.

Learning Support Class Takapuna Primary
You may have attended Jane's session at the Cluster Share last week.
Jane has been developing her classroom blog since attending the Learning@School Conference in February and has some excellent recommendations which she has posted on our cluster wiki, worth viewing if you thinking about using a blog with your class.

Jane's Classroom Blog

Also... want to whip up a quick movie for your blog?...try Animoto. Upload photos, select some music and Animoto does the rest.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cluster Share - Takapuna Teacher Inquiry

As a cluster, we thank the teachers from Takapuna Primary today, who shared their learning with us in a variety of contexts. I am sure you will agree that the attention to detail in both the preparation and organisation was much appreciated by the teachers who attended.
I saw many examples of teachers demonstrating an increased understanding of how eLearning strategies are identified and used to support the learning purpose. Also the valuable tips and advice for managing ICT in the classroom, as a result of your teacher inquiry, will be beneficial especially when teachers are exploring new opportunities for ICT integration.
As promised the resource pages can be accessed from the Cluster Share wiki page as well as the short presentation that Margaret shared with us at the beginning, a copy of the original "Did You Know?" video on Shift Happens.
This video has been the source of much debate since it was posted by Karl Fisch. I would also recommend you read this post by Tom Hoffman Did You Know? I WANT TO BELIEVE, which also includes comment from Karl. There is also an updated version of the video based on more recent data that can also be viewed online here.
The intention of Karl Fisch was..."never meant to be "scholarly" or "authoritative." It was meant to highlight some of the changes that were/are happening, and give my staff an idea of the trends that I saw and what that might mean for our students. I still think the presentation does a decent job of that. (Also, keep in mind that the original presentation starts with 8 slides about my school, which I think changes the tone from the version that starts with the China and India stuff)." (Fisch, 2007)
I believe that it is important for us, as New Zealand teachers, to consider and discuss how these trends relate to New Zealand and their relevance, or not, to our students and their learning.
If you have any questions please email the Takapuna teachers or contact me.
Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Student Voice at uLearn07

Kids Using Technology in Education (KUTE) is an annual event organised by The Auckland Computers in Education Society (ACES). On a Saturday morning every October, students congregate in a central Auckland school hall to share their learning through ICT with their school community. This year KUTE will be held onsite at Sky City during uLearn07. This is a highly interactive breakout where conference attendees will have the opportunity to talk directly with students from a number of Auckland schools who will be demonstrating, sharing and answering questions about their learning through a variety of ICT supported experiences. These include Game Making, Animation, Photo Editing, Blogs, ComicLife, Podcasting, TV Broadcasting, Inquiry Learning and also how students are effectively utilising an LMS to support their learning. Participating schools include Summerland Primary, Marina View Primary, Kristin School, Pt England School, Cornwall Park Primary and Baverstock Oaks School. Read more about KUTE and other ACES events on their website.

As one of the committee members for ACES I am very excited about bringing KUTE to ULearn07 as the conference theme is “Personalising Learning in A Digital World”. Because student voice puts the student at the centre as active participants in their learning it is considered to be at the heart of personalising learning, so it seemed a good idea to include a breakout with student voice. We will be set up for Breakout 1 and conference attendees will be free to visit each of the schools where students will be demonstrating their learning through a variety of eLearning models. Children will be expecting lots of interesting questions and are very excited about this opportunity to share their learning with you and contribute to such a large education conference.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Learning through socially networked media...Part 2

After reading the LearnOnline blog for a while it was good to meet the author Leigh Blackall and his partner Sunshine last week when Leigh spoke to a group of educators in Auckland. Leigh has been researching and developing models for learning through socially networked media... from free and open source software, de-schooling, and networked learning and explored and challenged these concepts in the context of New Zealand education and the widening use of the Internet, social web and 3D virtual worlds in schools.

Just that morning I had read a thought provoking post by Sheryl on progressive education that included a clip from the 1940s where I seemed to be hearing the same questions and conversations we are having today (recommended reading). A clear message from Leigh was the importance of us as educators taking control of our networks,rather than letting others make these decisions for us and blocking sites verses facilitating and modelling socially responsible strategies for using web based environments... this took me back to Stuart Hale's keynote at the Kapiti-Otaki Cluster conference last month when he said "the server is there to serve us".

I have also become aware lately that some of us didn't realise Wikipedia is " written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world" and consequently is viewed by some as 'not a reliable resource for use with students'. An idea from Leigh which I think might be worth pursuing as an authentic learning context, is to use wikipedia to connect with experts. For example... if students were to author an entry in wikipedia with the teacher facilitating a connection with a local expert or associated organisation that can then work collaboratively with students to develop the validity of the the words of Konrad Glogowski...

"I do not want to create a community or a social network for my students. Instead, I want to create the conditions necessary for the right kind of environment to emerge. Building an environment for the students is likely to result in failure: environments and communities need to be build with the students, with their full participation, through their work and their interactions with and about texts."

If you are interested in accessing more of Leigh's recommended blogs and resources he has kindly set up a delicious tag here

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sometimes a video speaks louder...

Working with some facilitators the other day and was asked where I source video clips I sometimes use for presentations and workshops. If I find them online I usually download and save the source in Delicious.

The wonderful Wes Fryer must have EBP (Extra Blog Perception) as he has generously posted and categorised a list of videos he uses on his wiki Moving at the Speed of Creativity...great stuff, I particularly liked "The Internet has Crashed"...thanks Wes.

Also my Delicious video links are online here. I have categorised these under themes eg: tutorials, comments, stories etc.

Another great place to start sourcing online video is from TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) which brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). These videos from TED are great discussion starters and have also been collated on YouTube as the TEDtalks Director's picks.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Student Voice

Thanks to Will Richardson (via an email from Artichoke) for this one...

...Voice Thread - Basically a Web 2.0 tool that allows you to capture numerous voice responses to a single digital image and then post to your blog or website. What I like is that as an author I can post this and invite other (registered users) to also respond to the image and to what has been recorded by adding their own voice. Also it can enable many voices to be heard in response to the same photo...almost like hearing the individual thoughts of a group, aloud, as they simultaneously respond to an image.

Apart from its potential as a collaborative online tool that anyone can access Will considers that Voice Thread could take us past..."creating and publishing" and "enable the conversations and connections that occur around the content, where the most potential for learning lies."

...and in an email from Artichoke..."It is like being able to scribble in the margins of an image...Voice Thread takes everything that I reckon is shallow in podcasting and liberates it...And why do I think podcasting is shallow use of technology? If we continue to focus on the changes in technology rather than the changes in teaching and learning we simply use technology to “recreate education as it is.” What is so profoundly innovative about recording voice and sharing it?"

....fair question...and one that we should easily be able to defend...if not to others at least ourselves and our students whenever we utilise technology to support learning. I know there are some innovative examples of the impact podcasting has had on student learning and I believe if you delve deeper you will find it has not been driven by the technology but rather in response to the learning purpose and through facilitating experiences that both challenge and support students to think, reflect and make new connections both virtually and F2F.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Meme: 8 Random Facts

I can't escape...tagged by Rachel and Jocelyn

First, the Rules:
* Post these rules before you give your facts
* List 8 random facts about yourself
* At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
* Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

1. I am the eldest of 4 girls.
2. I am a first generation New Zealander on my father's side and a 21st generation on my mothers.
3. I spent 8 weeks working on the kill floor of a deer abattoir one holidays good money when you're a student...but never again!
4. 'Return of the Jedi' is my favourite Star Wars movie, LOTR is my favourite all time movie.
5. I did not change my surname when I got married.
6. I am reading Thomas Friedman's, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, interesting, but I enjoyed HP better.
7. I am far to attached too my Mac.
8. My favourite drink is a martini made with Bombay Sapphire

I tag:

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Second Life

With the rain thundering down and HP & the Deathly Hallows read, I thought it was as good a time as any to spend exploring Second Life.
I didn’t want to spend too much time wandering around and I'm not one for reading manuals so did a quick search on keywords ‘education’ and ‘kiwi’ to see if I could locate some like minded people.

First up I met the organiser of a group of kiwi educators (NMIT Garden of Learning on EDUisland) who invited me to their weekly get together. This was time well spent with Arwena Starburst the group’s organiser and some other Kiwi educators exploring what is possible in Second Life. Amongst other things I did learn how to create an object. Challenging, with the whole 3D thing going on, but with the patience and help of Arwena and Isa I succeeded. Here we all are sitting on the finished product (that’s me in the middle…Irihipeti Kayo)

My biggest challenge was landing in a dignified fashion after flying. Some wonderful people in the ISTEisland(International Society for Technology in Education ) to the rescue there too. I had discovered that to right click on the mouse I needed to use the Apple Key not the Ctrl as usual, and after chatting with Clare and KJ I can now land without falling flat on my face!...thanks for the wings too Clare.

Also spent some time with some other ISTE people starting to explore ‘voice’ which I am told is only new and active in a few places in Second Life…very much like participating in a Skype conference call …setting some protocols up always helps and a headset and microphone will be essential.

So all up I found the whole experience fun however I would recommend seeking out groups such as ISTE island and EduIsland ll, will save time as they are all very helpful and have many organised events especially geared towards education and eLearning.
As result of this first Second Life adventure I can imagine some interesting and exciting possibilities for education. If you are in Second Life, and see me say hello…I am Irihipeti Kayo.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cluster Share - Milford Teacher Inquiry

"Often in our classrooms we get so busy planning for and managing the lessons we do with our students that we don’t allow ourselves time to reflect...Taking the time to reflect critically on the things we are doing in our classrooms is perhaps the most effective thing we can do to ensure that what we are doing is having the desired outcomes, and is changing our practice in the ways we want it to" (Wenmoth, 2007).

Cluster Share Milford 2007

Our third Cluster Share this year was hosted by Milford School. Teachers shared, through a selection of classroom-based breakouts, the eLearning inquiries they have been exploring this year. These included a variety of ways they have been utilising ICTs to support student learning along with challenges and recommendations. This was a new format for our Cluster Shares and provided opportunities for all teachers to participate through questioning and contributions as we hoped the sessions would develop as a professional conversation rather than a 'sit and git'.

An important step in our teacher inquiry process is to reflect and teachers have found their participation has also provided them with opportunities and time to think critically about about what is happening in their classroom.

A big thank you to the Milford teachers who have also posted their resources on the cluster wiki including their contact details for cluster teachers who need to follow up from the breakouts they attended.
Click here for the wiki page.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Learning through socially networked media.

I have been following some interesting discussions around rethinking school and education (Artichoke, Sheryl on the Techlearning Blog, Christopher D. Sessums). Also the recent response to the Software Licensing for schools, whether you agree or not, I believe is more about rethinking school than an issue of access to software.

Another NZ blogger who has been tackling some of these issues is Leigh Blackall. Leigh will be speaking in Auckland on Wednesday 15 August at the Epsom Campus. Leigh has been researching and developing models for learning through socially networked media. Ranging in topics from free and open source software, de-schooling, and networked learning he will be exploring and challenging these concepts in the context of New Zealand education and the widening use of the Internet, social web and 3D virtual worlds in schools.

This will be an excellent opportunity for educators to begin exploring the possibilities for learning in ways that are different and potentially more relevant and responsive to today's educational environments and perhaps those in the future.

This event is organised by The Auckland Computers in Education Society (ACES) and is free to members (Register as an individual - $25 or as a school/organisation - $75). To find out more details and to register visit the ACES website.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Putting an end to 'scooping' and 'smushing'.

Our cluster was engaged and challenged on Saturday with the support of Jamie McKenzie. We tackled the issue of topical research vs authentic research, supported by powerful learning. Jamie presented us with some thoughtful and practical strategies we can utilise as teachers including some valuable examples of how to manage the impact of ICT and the burgeoning amount of information available especially through the web. To contextualise this we started by reading Jamie’s article “Putting an End to Topical Research”.

Strategies that we have been exploring this year as a cluster were confirmed, in particular, identifying and accessing quality online resources to support learning for students vs random Google searches. I know I have posted on this topic before but access to these resources starts with us as teachers. How we select and manage access to them, for our students, is crucial and knowing where to find them the first step. eResources for NZ Schools.

We were also challenged to better understand how we could support students to move past understanding and knowing to what Jamie describes as ‘synthesis’…the ability to link knowledge and ideas to create new understandings. If you missed any of the online resources we accessed with Jamie yesterday, I have posted links on the cluster wiki.

On a more geeky note…I had recently been recommended a new online tool, Google Notebook by Suzie at the Otaki-Kapiti Cluster Conference. As we explored the use of electronic text and search engines on Saturday I was able to put Google Notebook to some use. When downloaded it can be accessed from your browser. As you are reading and highlighting, key ideas and information can simple be added to your Google Notebook where they are saved along with the source. Notes are saved automatically and can be accessed at any time in a separate tab or window…who said I needed MS Word on my Mac ;-)
Click screen shots below for a closer look.

Finally a salute to Jennie and the staff at Sunnybrae Normal for hosting us on the day. No mean feat to set up for 80 teachers on the web and wireless too. Special thanks to Stephen and Cathy for all their hard work ensuring all technical bases were covered.

“…students need to be able to read between the lines, infer meaning, draw conclusions from disparate clues and avoid the traps of presumptive intelligence, bias and predisposition.”(Jamie McKenzie, 2004)

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Thanks to Nixit for posting this online tool...has possibilities.

"WikiMindMap is a tool to browse easily and efficiently in Wiki content, inspired by the mindmap technique. Wiki pages in large public wiki's, such as wikipedia, have become rich and complex documents. Thus, it is not always straight forward to find the information you are really looking for. This tool aims to support users to get a good structured and easy understandable overview of the topic you are looking for."

Will quickly suggest and display related topics and keywords for discussion/questioning or as a starting point for further research/exploration.

More visual search engines here

...screen shot results of a search on New Zealand.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Girls, Games and Graphics - Free Event

The New Zealand Game Developers Association is running a free two day event in Auckland from Friday 13-Saturday 14th July to help inform and encourage young women about careers in interactive media in a non threatening environment.

The last event run a couple of years ago was very successful, drawing in 150 attendees. This year there is a great speaker lineup which includes a number of strong male and female role models. Although the event is skewed slightly towards females, it is completely open for males and all age groups to attend (the last event had a 50/50 mix).

The event is free of charge and registration is essential. To view the programme and register your interest see the online registration and programme.