Monday, December 20, 2010

Snapshots of Learning

Developing Digistore Learning Paths

A focus of the Digi Advisor roll this year has been the further development of the snapshots for the Software for Learning website. While the snapshots are intended as a taster to the software and digital content – an indication of how one teacher has recognised the potential to support learning, we also wanted to make explicit the links to e-learning and effective pedagogy and explore how the snapshots might be utilised by leaders to support professional learning.

Initially we reviewed the format of the snapshot to align with the teaching as inquiry cycle. While this provided us with consistency in both the format and framework for publication, the intention was to improve their potential as a catalyst for thinking and dialogue within our professional learning communities.  We considered the qualities of professional communities that promote teacher and student learning (Teacher Professional Learning and Development:BES. p.203) and have increasingly integrated the new snapshots into our online support and face-to-face facilitation to reinforce these.

As an e-learning facilitator I have also used the snapshots with our e-learning cluster to explore how teachers in other schools are integrating e-learning and the implications for teaching and learning. Additionally the links to the teaching as inquiry cycle  provide a useful framework for teachers to inquire into their practice. The cycle provides common points of reference in relation to effective pedagogy and teacher actions. This can be useful to support dialogue as teachers in a professional community also have diverse learners and consequently may have identified different professional learning outcomes from those of their colleagues.

Snapshots in the new format are continuing to be edited for the website and we would like to acknowledge and thank the teachers who have shared their teaching and their students' learning. Their collaboration on this project is both valued and appreciated. While the snapshots are accessible from the Software for Learning home page, links to the new snapshots have been saved as a group in the Software for Learning Delicious. Browse each of the snapshots using the arrow on the top right of the Delicious navigation bar. Teachers are invited to share their snapshots of learning, visit the wiki for details.

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Celebrating 50 Years of Teacher Education

Howls of laughter today working with a teacher who is also a past T-Group buddy from our days at the Hamilton Teachers’ College.  Waikato's  Faculty of Education have been celebrating 50 years of teacher education and all our original photos have been posted on the Hamilton City Libraries website, Kete Hamilton. We hadn't seen our T-Group photo since it was taken way back when!

"The library is promoting digital storytelling to create a digital library of arts, cultural and heritage resources to help create a digital knowledge basket of Hamilton memories for future generations to enjoy and everyone is invited to join the fun..."

...and we did have some fun today, testing our memories and sharing stories from our student days. If you attended Waikato's School of Education (formerly the Hamilton Teachers’ College) search the archives from the Kete Hamilton website  for student teachers as far back as 1960...I found mine...a chocolate fish if you can identify me ;-) Click photo to zoom.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Many thanks to Gerard and his students for inviting me to tag along last week on their Geocaching session at the Auckland Domain. Lots of learning and laughs, plus it was great to see Gerard's programme in action with the students.
Find out more about Geocaching and the Key Competencies on Software for Learning.

View on Flickr 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Crowd-sourcing... might not work for everyone however crowd-sourcing, in the form of a 'Smackdown' has provided lots of learning and fun collaborations for us over the past couple of months. Back in June this year Dorothy, Rocky and I attended edubloggercon, an all-day unconference held before ISTE 2010. I was also on a bit of a recce for EduCampNZ where we included a Smackdown as a quick and effective way of connecting with people and ideas. Starting the day with this type of activity can be quite important for an un-conference, where the programme is developed on the day and there may be participants who are attending for the first time. We set up a Wallwisher and everyone was invited to contribute before, during and after EduCampNZ.

This can be quite important for an un-conference, where the programme is developed on the day. 

I was excited when Dorothy came up with the idea to try this out at uLearn10 this year even more so when I found out the theme was Apple Tools...a "sMACdown!"

Get the flash player here:

The standard rules applied and this time Dorothy also created a GoogleSite and invited other Mac enthusiasts to contribute their tips to kick-off. A Wallwisher was posted for participants to add their tips and it was great to see how many were also added by people not attending the conference. We also tapped into Twitter using the conference hash tag #ulearn10 and #sMACdown

The Smackdown concept has worked for us in both an un-conference and traditional conference setting and we have been able to adapt to suit the context and purpose. From the feedback received it also seems to have worked well for the 'crowd' who at the end of the day are the reason why these types of collaborations are valuable.

If you participated or contributed...many thanks! The 'what the who and the how' can be accessed from the sMACdown Google site along with everyone's contributions.

If you are planning a Smackdown please share it with us...the crowd will be ready and waiting!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Can Digistore contribute to sustaining e-learning in your school?

Get the flash player here:

In a recent Interface article David Kinane makes valuable recommendations for school leaders to consider if they are to develop sustainable e-learning models for their schools.

David specifically refers to the impact of teacher turnover and subsequent loss of knowledge suggesting that "ICT knowledge and skills should be actively collected and accumulated not randomly swapped."

"...good skill sets and a wealth of IP just walk out of the door" (David Kinane)

We have been exploring the possibilities within Digistore to create collaborative learning spaces. These include functions that can enable schools to develop and share resources and strategies both in and across schools. Using their school's current Digistore school login, teachers can develop Learning Paths that can also be shared publicly. The single sign in for educators (coming soon*) will also enable teachers to share resources between their school and their individual Digistore account. Consequently when a teacher leaves a school resources that have been developed are not lost to either the school or the individual teacher.

Harnessing tools for collaboration and sharing can also provide valuable opportunities for educators when planning and reflecting on their practice. This includes opportunities to model effective e-learning integration and develop sustainable procedures within schools that can lessen the impact of staff turn over.

These functions in Digistore include:
Learning Paths
A collection or sequence of learning content interwoven with teacher comments and descriptions. Learning Paths can be created and shared between schools, and publicly. This functionality enables educators to develop resources collaboratively and share within and across schools. Read more about Learning Paths on the Digistore wiki.
(see the Digistore User Guide, p.30)

Star Rating and Comments
Share knowledge on the value of Digistore content in relation to the New Zealand Curriculum. Rating content and sharing comments will support others to identify and select digital content more effectively. This will enable a collaborative understanding of the pedagogical value of content to grow both in and across schools.
Add your own tags to content to improve searches and highlight specific keywords and phrases relevant for use across the curriculum.
(see the Digistore User Guide, p.24-28)

*Watch the Digistore website and subscribe to the Diginews for updates on single sign in

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Learning, Links and Laughs @ EduCampNZ

"Go with the flow, follow your passion, take responsibility for your own learning"...three tips from as we headed into our e-Learning un-conference, EduCampNZ, on Saturday 24th July.

Hosted at Summerland School in West Auckland, over 70 inspirational educators participated and contributed to a day of learning, links and laughs. We kicked EduCampNZ off with SpeedGeeking. Using TwitterTime each participant had 140 seconds to introduce themselves and share what is currently on their radar.

We also introduced a Smackdown to EduCampNZ this year after Dorothy, Rocky and I had participated in similar sessions at the ISTE conference last month. Both these sessions provided opportunities to connect with others and identify similar interests to pursue throughout the day.

'Everything EduCampNZ' can be explored from our wiki including a shared Google Doc with links and contributions from participants, The Smackdown WallWisher, #EducampNZ Twitter stream and photos.

We would also appreciate your suggestions and feedback to assist the organisation of future un-conference events. We are excited that educators in other regions are exploring the possibilities of running similar events and your recommendations would be valued. Feedback can be posted on the wiki.

I want to again acknowledge the generosity of all participants... from the staff and students of Summerland Primary, to the educators who contributed especially those that travelled from beyond West Auckland... Arohanui.

The following video is my attempt to capture some of the EduCampNZ highlights! Because it was shot on July 24, 2010 I have also submitted it to Life In A Day, a project documenting a single day on earth.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Artefacts of Assination & Tweet Preservation*

At ISTE10 I targetted a number of breakouts focussing on the use of primary sources. Fascinating to spend time exploring "the raw materials of history" and considering potential to guide students towards higher-order thinking.
Identified a number of resources and strategies with possibilities to support the effective use of digital content relevant to the development of Digistore. Rocky and I will share further on the Digistore wiki in the coming months.
Until then here are a few primary source taonga (treasures) worthwhile exploring. Most of these sites also include useful guidelines for teaching with primary sources:
  • The Library of Congress: A variety of useful resources for teachers. I have highlighted and saved to my Delicious Links with descriptions.
  • DocsTeach an educational tool from the US National Archives Experience that includes support for using primary source documents.
  • NASA eClips short, relevant educational video segments.
  • C-SPAN Classroom Free primary source materials covering government proceedings and public affairs programming.
  • Digital Vaults: Explore the US National Archives collection, using the media rich version of this site browse through hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips. Register and create your own collection of records, create pathway challenges, posters and films to share. Also see example Creating Student Sleuths: Primary Source Investigation
  • World Digital Library Home primary materials from countries and cultures around the world in multilingual format.
What are primary sources? Check out these two extremes...

Artefacts of Assassination and Tweet Preservation*

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Math Snacks...yum!

We had a great conversation with some of the Math Snacks team on Wednesday, Debbie Michels and Milos Savic. Math Snacks are short animations and mini–games, each presenting a mathematical concept and designed to help learners "get it".

Each snack can be used and integrated much the same way as we use Digistore content and can be saved on mobile devices (from iTunesU) for students to revisit. They are also supported by both student and teacher guides, available for download.

Debbie shared examples of student outcomes from the use of Math Snacks and very kindly agreed to an on the spot, impromptu, reflection on the benefits of integrating Math Snacks in combination with other relevant digital content and learning experiences. The following was filmed on my iPhone in a very busy open space @ ISTE 2010 (~3:30min). Debbie makes useful connections to the key messages about when digital content is most effective.

Debbie on the purpose of Mathsnacks..."can students develop enough of a conceptual understanding to give greater meaning to their learning?"

Day in Denver

Took a few hours to engage my "travelling mindset" on Thursday, after 5 valuable days of ISTE10 conversations, challenges and new ideas. We were lucky enough to be guided by a home grown Denverite. He must have told his stories many times over in the past however his first hand historical knowledge of the area and its people added much depth and colour to the experience.

"Can't you's easy...if you consider things from another point of view" (DB Boulevard)
Get the flash player here:

Monday, June 28, 2010

"Dream big and be brave..."

The title of this post comes from The Third Teacher, referenced today at the ISTE Leadership Symposium: Innovation--Design for Learning. I valued the conversations and time to explore the connect between design principles and our values and beliefs about effective teaching and its impact on student learning.

I love to dream and I want to be brave. Yes... this has definitely contributed to my thinking, and...I need to explore these ideas further through the links below and supporting similar conversations.

One strategy that I will certainly follow up on is to add a photo to the Learning Space Blog. This is smart...if we see a space or environment that resonates with us we are invited to email a photo to to contribute. the meantime sharing my ISTE10 photo set on flickr.

Get the flash player here:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

EducampNZ Recce

Participating at EduBloggercon2010 this morning was in part a reconnaissance (recce) for ideas to share at EducampNZ.

Enjoyed the "Smackdown" speed demos session where participants are invited to take a couple of minutes only to share a cool Web 2.0 tool. Thinking this could work well for EducampNZ as ideas are shared quickly and very little preparation time is needed.

Shared links from this afternoon's smackdown, with my notes, on Delicious .
For more links and resources search #EBC10 in Twitter

Thanks to participants for sharing and organiser Steve Hargadon ...excellent kick off to ISTE10

Kiwi Educators Heart Wikispaces

As a warm up to ISTE10 had organised to meet up with Adam Frey & James Byers co-founders of Wikispaces at EduboggerCon2010 this morning. We simply wanted to say thanks and share briefly some of the innovative ways Wikispaces have been used by Kiwi educators.
Very excited to hear from them that Wikispaces editing is undergoing a major rebuild and will include many new and updated features ironing out those little glitches ;-) James shared a few of these today (see Rocky's blog for more details)

An invitation to all Wikispaces users - please let them know if you have feedback, need support or notice any glitches or anomalies - or 'coz we know kiwis heart wikispaces

Monday, May 24, 2010

Digistore's Golden Egg

Since the release of Digistore v2.0 we have been exploring, what Rocky refers to as Digistore's Golden Egg....learning paths.

I have created and shared two learning paths below to support He Reo Kōmanawa one of a group of resources for teachers of te reo Māori. Using the He Reo Komanawa teaching and learning framework and the key messages about effective use of digital content these learning paths are for teachers and include strategies and links to further resources. They could also be copied and re-purposed for students.

These learning paths support specific steps in the He Reo Komanawa framework. However the design and selection of digital content from both Digistore and other sources, is guided by the kinds of teaching approaches that promote student learning (NZC, 2007; MToA, 2008). The intention is that they might also support further thinking around developing learning paths in other learning areas.

While the learning context is te reo Maori, the thinking around the selection and integration of the digital content in relation to the key messages about effective use of digital content could be applied to other learning areas.

The next step is to hopefully collaborate with teacher/s to trial these. Let me know if that might be you or if you are interested in developing learning paths to support a current focus in any learning area.

More support for learning paths and examples from other learning areas can be accessed from the Digistore wiki or please contact us directly.

Click the links below to view these learning paths in Digistore

Developed to support steps 1 and 2 of the framework for using He Reo Komanawa, viewing of image and pre-reading discussion. Initial viewing of the image provides students with both visual information and stimulus for participation.

Developed to support steps 6, 7 and 8 of the framework for using He Reo Komanawa, group mind mapping of discussion points and opportunities for inquiry.

Whakanuia Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

Te Mahi Kai
A collection of images reflecting theme Te Mahi Kai - The Language of Food. Includes tools to support students to analyse photographs.

A collection of images of primary source Maori artefacts for comparison and exploration.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Re-thinking Digistore: new opportunities to create collaborative, interactive learning spaces for your students.

Accessing learning through the Read/Write Web has changed teaching and learning for many of us. The freedom and flexibility to organise and access content for a specific purpose is having a significant impact on teaching approaches and learning design. With the launch of Digistore 2.0 we have been considering how some of the new functions might operate with existing online environments and tools. While we have been hyperlinking and embedding Digistore content successfully for some time using social bookmarking, Moodle, wikis and blogs... we need to start thinking differently about how we organise and access digital content?

An exciting new feature of Digistore 2.0 is the ability to create Learning Paths, a collection or sequence of learning content interwoven with teacher comments and descriptions that can be created for a particular audience eg: Students, Teachers, parents or as a personal collection. View a Learning Path that has been created and shared on Digistore

Does our use of Digistore content change when we can select, organise and then share from within Digistore itself?

Questions we might consider at the planning and design stage:
  • When is creating a Learning Path vs linking or embedding digital content a more effective option?
  • What are the benefits to the learning process?
  • How can I re-purpose content and what are the possible opportunities for shared learning?
  • How do my decisions reflect the key messages about when digital content is most effective?
  • Will this save time?
Read more about Learning Paths on the Digistore wiki

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Digistore... 'from catalog to community'*

On the coat tails of Rocky's recent post The New and Improved Digistore, we have been enjoying exploring the possibilities and receiving the feedback as Digistore evolves from a "catalog to a community."*
Selecting Digital Content

Features such as the learning paths and tagging, plus tools for users to rate and comment, mean that the boundaries for use of Digistore content can be pushed. While content is easier to search and find using the advanced search features, browse topics and filters the potential for teachers and students to recommend content, reflects the concept of 'community' verses 'catalog'.

Because content can be now categorised by the community the possibilities for users to share and explore strategies for selection and integration has increased. Key messages that support the effective use of digital content remain a priority and are explored further through the development of the Digistore wiki. This wiki will include examples of how digital content has been embedded into existing programmes of learning and links to other relevant digital content and learning experiences. Like Digistore, it will continue to evolve as we develop our capacity to effectively integrate digital resources to improve learning outcomes.

We have also posted resources, strategies and links from our breakouts at the Learning@School Conference. The content was designed to scaffold dialogue and understanding as we explored the key messages that support the effective use of digital content.

We hope that the ideas and strategies can be used and adapted by school leaders and cluster facilitators to reflect the needs of learners in your schools.

* Concept shared by CORE Education Ltd 2009 for Software for Learning