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.