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Thursday, December 18, 2008

2 minute moodle man

Tomaz Lasic has created this blog with some great tips and tutorials for moodlers.
Along another track - this website has great flash tutorials.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Judson's video job application

I had to link this one here because it is an amazing stop motion job application video.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to download you tube

This is a link that I expect to find really useful 

Youtube one of Biggest and Best video files sharing website which has giant collection of videos library. You can spend hours on YouTube while surfing thru your favorite videos. The only problem with YouTube is unavailability of Videos in various format like dvd, mp3, mp4, flv, mov etc. for downloading.

In case if you need to convert YouTube video in any of above format then first you need to download that YouTube video then using any YouTube video converting tool convert it into desired format. Does this sounds tedious and time consuming task, If yes the use lets you to directly download YouTube video in your favorite fomate. CatchYouTube is a web service which converts YouTube video online in dvd,flv,mp3,mp4,mov,wav,3gp format and lets you todownload that video.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Games for learning

This website from Scotland has some great ideas and tools for gaming in education.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sumo paint

This is a way cool tool - Sumo paint image editor, go play!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Talking to the world

I am just listening to students talk person to person with someone in Antarctica - this was set up for the classes by my Australian friend Chris.  He has also shared his teacher podcast workshop here and I am about to work through that as I have still not published an actual podcast and that is one of my major goals for 11ESP students to do next year. Chris has also recommended the mac tool Audio Hijack which I will be adding as the clarity of this recording is very impressive, as are Chris's hosting skills!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Web 2.0 tools

A great collection of links to web 2.0 tools as well as ideas for their use in the classroom, thanks to yet another amazing educator for making this collection available to us.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tag the world

A great blog post from Techcrunch that has reminded me once again of the value of tags - I try to do these pretty thoroughly but in the process of uploading a whole pile of pics to flickr I have been remiss.  A good wet day activity will be for me to go back and add tags and descriptions to these hundreds of photos.  An example of the value is that I recently received a comment from a Penwarden relation I had never heard of, when I tagged an old photograph of my dad's grandfather.  Another example was when I uploaded some of my mum's old school photos and a family of one of her classmates contacted me to say that was the first photo they had ever seen of their dad (who is now deceased) when he was young.  Connections like that are so exciting. 

15 Best freeware apps for Mac

Thanks to @guykawasaki for this link - when my new macbook pro arrives I'll be hooking up to most of these!  Meanwhile I have had a great weekend adding photos (once I upgraded my account) in flickr, twittering and skyping with a bunch of great educators around the world including my awesome friend Margit in Hawaii who is still really a kiwi girl at heart.  Today I am heading for Rotorua to attend a Digital Technology Guidelines meeting - prelude to next week's two day symposium, then tomorrow 1pm NZ time I am skyping in to a PD session in Buffalo with Mike Fisher, Angela Stockman and some other cool folks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Flickr and other useful tools

Here is a link to another friend's wonderful collection of resources for educators - thanks HeyMilly for these awesome links - we love flickr too!

Newseum and teacher tech links

A great resource from a twitter friend

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Photo editing
clipped from
Welcome to
Splashup, formerly Fauxto, is a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With all the features professionals use and novices want, it's easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once. Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photosharing sites, and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress.
Photo sharing services all work the same in Splashup, including Splashup itself. Edit your images easily, from anywhere.
 blog it

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Connecting across continents

This is becoming a growing theme for educators and the presentation Kim Cofino has put together here is well worth watching.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Purangi estuary, Cooks Beach

I love this photo my son Malcolm took of a dinghy in the Purangi Estuary. It has a lovely feel to it, with a hint of nostalgia - possibly because when we were children, and when my children were children - we spent a lot of time here, some beautiful family fun times where the kids played and splashed and everyone was there for the sole purpose of enjoying each other's company. Well I say lets have more of those times and lets use our digital tools to take the opportunity to share them globablly. I have just added a comment in the form of a haiku to a twitter friend's class voicethread. That has reminded of some ways I could encourage my own students creative writing - I have decided this week will be voicethread week for Year 10's creative writing -provided we can access computers.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Visit to weta

Winning students visit weta

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pic of unconference

Here we are in the Limes Room at our first unconference - go ULearn 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Edutopia the story of movies

A wonderful site with some great project ideas and learning tools

Suzie's web 2.0 tools page

Great selection of tools for educators here - thanks Suzie Vesper for this one.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


If I had this much fun I'm pretty sure my students will too - going to try it out on them tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kathy Schrock's useful web2.0 tools list

This list for educators is pretty comprehensive and makes a useful starting point for educators wanting to work with web 2.0 tools for a range of teaching and learning situations.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Today I discovered Wikiversity and this cool film making resource - I am going to explore further and see what else I can find - why invent something else when it is already here!
Also here's a link to our TEK (the educated kiwi) moodle site which I am hoping to add some more resources and activities too - SOON!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Onion Maps Offer 3D Tourist Maps of World’s Most Popular Cities from Digital Inspiration

Two great articles from EdWeekly

There are two blogs here that are both worthy of reading
“MUST read EdWeek article by Alfie Kohn - It not about the teaching-it about the learning!”2:16 pm - Comment“Teachers helping teachers integrate technology into their classrooms -

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Creating a product

Today I am working on a flowgram of step by step instructions for learners to create their own multi-media product. I have decided to go with flowgram because I realise that I enjoy having the audio aspect to instructions for anything I am doing, so this must be the case for lots of my students as well. It involves time, and quite a bit of nervousness so I am hopeful there will be a payoff in student engagement - fingers crossed that they all get into it like the 11 year old student here!
I am convinced that because they will be creating something rather than being expected to soak up more fabricated 'learning' there will be a bit of a buzz. Speaking of buzz, it was great today to collaborate with Allanah King on a buzzword document I had created as part of these instructions.
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

The joy of creation

Confined to the house with bad bugs for the best part of a week hasn't been all bad. It has given me the opportunity now that I am beginning to get some energy back - to play with some great new toys. One of these is 8tracks where I have spent the day alternating with Flowgrams to make my own music mixes. It's the best fun I've had home alone in a long time home and is a great lesson in how awesome it is to be the creator of your own product. This takes me to the point I was going to make - educators need to focus more on our students as creators to make their learning satisfying and authentic - and now my wireless keyboard is running out of battery, that proves how much I've been doing here today...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lisa's notes

I enjoyed reading these - Lisa Huff's eduplan wiki notes on what 21st Century Learning 'is not'.  I would like to add to this too - I am absolutely 100% positive that it is also NOT about what is in student's exercise books. This brings me to thinking about the definition of an exercise book - all suggestions and contributions to this discussion are welcome (particularly in light of the fact that my competence as a teacher it now seems could be judged on what is in my students' exercise books - I would have thought it was what was going in their brains that mattered)!
Let's start with this one as an example - any thoughts?
"A booklet for students, containing either problems and exercises or blank pages for writing answers"  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

From the LibraryTechNZ website

12 Tools That Will Soon Go the Way of Fax and CDs

From Stephen Abram's blog

A list devised while discussing how the "information behaviours" of Generation Millennium differs from those of previous generations, and what that means for the tools they (and the rest of us -- they outnumber even the boomers) will and won't be using in the future. Out of the research on this has come a list of tools, technologies and other artifacts that will probably disappear within the next generation, just as Fax essentially disappeared less than 20 years after it first became popular, and just as CDs, which are disappearing even faster.
1. Hard Drives
2. "Wall of Text" Reports & Documents
3. "Best Practices"
4. Email and Groupware
5. Corporate Websites
6. Corporate Intranets
7. Corporate Libraries and Purchased Content
8. Cell Phones
9. Classrooms
10. Meetings
11. Job Titles
12. Offices

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Text the mob

Thanks to Allanah for this suggestion - Text the mob - as a tool for our upcoming unconference at uLearn, text the mob looks like a great way to include mlearning tools as a way of engaging an audience, making a presentation more interactive. I am hoping some of my students will give it a try in their presentations.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Articles about NZ Identity

Kevin Robert's Black Beauty article from the NZ Listener
Tim Watkin's 'Forever Young' - also from the NZ Listener - these articles are for research for the Year 13 Media class but also of interest as a background to understanding our 'New Zealand identity'

Monday, August 11, 2008

Best Olympic Site

Today I found what (I think so far) is the best collection of Olympic activities and links for teachers
Here it is - at Shambles, loving it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Web 2.0 Ideas for Olympic Games lessons and activities

Photo of Omanu Beach taken with my Nokia 6121 in panorama mode yesterday - 7 Aug, 2008

Thanks to @murcha for this great set of Olympic activities and lessons using web 2.0 tools. I plan to put some in to action this week and post some of the results from my students here when time allows. Meanwhile it has been great seeing our rowers in action, and a special highlight for me was seeing 'our' yachtsman (who is still a schoolboy) walking into the stadium during the opening ceremony. Go Peter Burling!!!
Really happy to have found this site too which offers some free, alternative ways to view the Olympics - enjoy!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Circle of the wise

Just reread Vicki Davis' Cool cat teacher blog post about 'Circle of the wise' and am thinking in some ways this is a good way to approach teaching in a classroom environment. Several things that have occurred or evolved this week within the range of students I am involved with are worth discussing here. Firstly I have very limited access to ICT so am trying to be increasingly inventive in ways of using mobile devices. Losing my cellphone early in the week and having to then find a reasonably priced replacement was another challenge - not having the means or inclination to spend a small fortune on 3G iphone was also part of the consideration so in the end I stuck with Nokia as I have had no problems with reliability or of Vodafone's service. So I got this (see left) and am about to embark on learning the foibles of the phone, my students have enjoyed taking pics of themselves and putting themselves and their friends as wallpaper for that class time so now it's my turn! The small phone is the one my friend Toni Twiss is using as her test phones for her efellows research.  Thanks to Toni reading this blog yesterday I now have the correct photo, and a whole lot more info about the good things my phone can do - panorama photos ROCK!
Some other noteworthy events this week were:
1. A group of students completed a submission for the FairGo Ad Awards - focus was to create their own political party. 30 seconds is not long in which to get your message across and creating a 30 second advertisement can be more demanding than creating a 30 minute media product so I was very impressed with their approach and their tenacity in completing and submitting this product on time!

2. Another group of students were not engaging with the novel - S.E. Hinton's 'The Outsiders' so they have been assigned the task of creating audio recordings for the rest of the class to listen to. Ah ha, they are now READING the novel in a group. Challenge here was that we had nothing we could record digitally on to so a voice recorder has been ordered and thanks to PB Tech should arrive at school this week. If it is successful we intend to purchase a few more. Meanwhile, the cassette tape they have recorded on to date seems positively clunky!
3. The third thing I want to reflect on from this week at school is the enthusiasm of senior students to be involved in activities that engage with the real word but that can still gain recognition in terms of the dreaded 'credit system.' Two opportunities for this have been our possible involvement with Seeka in Te Puke, where the students will meet to plan and produce a Health and Safety Induction video - and a student who will liaise with our Principal's secretary to produce material for the school magazine.
Was great to finish the week on such a high with these students who now see their opportunities for the rest of this semester as being a lot more exciting, and all helps to enthuse others - our circle of the wise widens.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Plick

NBC's best pictures of the year is a new favourite for me at MyPlick,
but there are a lot of other great presentations there. I plan to use this site for presentations from now on - hopefully it will work with Sliderocket, my other new favourite tool for presentations. Although Sliderocket is currently in Beta and by invitation only it is shaping up for me as really cool - especially with the ability to upload existing Powerpoint files.
Meanwhile, back in school my Year 13 media students have been having some fun with Animoto - Elise showed her presentation to us the day after I introduced the class to it. This just proves that students will do 'work' at home if we make it fun enough - she had even read some of the tips!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Comics as texts

Teaching with comics resources from thinkfinity arrived (via my friend Miguel Guhlin) at a very opportune time. Having ordered a supply of graphic novels through our National Library service, I had been wondering about some ways to use these for more than purely a source of recreational reading to encourage reluctant readers into texts.

Another very useful resource about Powerpoint and how to is here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

'We think' sums it all up nicely

This animation by Charles Leadbeater sums up a lot about web 2.0 and how students can operate in real world situations today.
I intend to show it as a lesson starter for classes to encourage them to see themselves as powerful learners.

Now playing: Radio New Zealand - Belfast Touring Poets Group
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Moodle morning

A team of teachers and associates braved the cold and surrendered part of their teaching recess on Wednesday to join in what turned out to be a very collegial and productive experience. Several Mount Maunganui College teachers were joined by Jan from Trident at Whakatane, Richard from the Katikati Matamata ICT PD cluster, Mel Gibb from Tauranga Boys College and Amy Wilson from Bay of Plenty Polytech - along with some of our children and Mel's new (boxer dog) baby Millie. The best part of the day was that we all enjoyed helping each other in an extremely supportive learning environment.
To me this was a classic example of the way classrooms/learning environments should be structured. What do you want to achieve? What steps could you take to achieve this? Who can help you? Why are you doing this (purpose/audience)? Where do you plan to publish/create/post it? When do you plan to complete it - are there steps in your timeline?
For those who came with a specific purpose in mind they were happy to have achieved those goals, for others - once they had explored some of the possibilities of establishing a moodle class or metacourse - they were back to some solid thinking and planning before we take the next steps.
Clearly it is essential to know what we want our learners to gain from an experience before we set it up - it is essential that we are not continuing to follow the time honored tradition of busy work that merely keeps learners occupied. If ICT is to be integrated successfully into learning we must constantly keep asking ourselves why we are using a particular tool and how will it help learners gain what they need, and to remember that the needs are extremely broad and varied - maintain the no size fits all approach.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Maungatapu Winners

These great kids are the age group winners in the Jane and the Dragon animation competition - well done, they created three great animations. Their creations are a reflection of a huge amount of effort and some wonderful team work, not to mention the support of their teacher Vicki Coe. It was great to meet them and view their prizewinning products today, and to be able to show them Marvin software which now has them enthused about creating more animated stories next term.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Words of wisdom

Footnotes: As a teacher… from David Truss's blog

Thanks for sharing these thoughts David - I know I will be referring back to them regularly for reassurance when I am 'back in the classroom' next term. It is helpful to have like minded colleagues supporting this approach to teaching and learning, it is not always easy when you feel you are on your own with this one, and hard to imagine with the technology we now have at hand that so many continue to act as if they can continue to teach AND ASSESS in their time honoured traditional ways.

I guess you could say that at times I too have ‘acted my way into a new way of thinking’. My actions as a learner influenced my actions as a teacher, as these footnotes suggest.

¹ As a teacher, I don’t take any marks off for something coming in late. It is my job to make sure that students demonstrate their learning and meet the learning outcomes during the year. All time lines within the year are arbitrary (and usually teacher determined) and not a requirement worthy of penalty. Exceptions may be made where either Personal Planning or Goal Setting are part of the outcomes.

² As a teacher, I am very vocal about students needing to speak up and ask questions. “Don’t be a Marshmallow!” was a saying that I took from my Grade 10 English teacher Mr. La Point who used it to symbolize placid students sitting in his class and choosing not to speak up. At first being called Marshmallows in my class was funny, but soon students would catch on that they were not meeting expectations when they were being Marshmallows!

³ As a teacher my response to ‘how long does this assignment need to be?’ has always been, “It needs to be as long as it needs to be.” Students hate this answer, but after a while they get it. In a nutshell: I’ve read three brilliant sentences that have said more than three long-winded paragraphs.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Alannah at Tauranga

Here's Allanah in her workshop at Bethlehem campus in Tauranga. Allanah talked about her journey into ICT and demonstrated some wonderful examples of podcasting. One of the exciting features of Allanah's work are the national and international connections and discoveries she, her students and fellow teachers are making through their use of ICT.

Allanah also talked about how she uses other great Web 2.0 tools to enhance her own and her students' learning experiences. She has found, like many of us that twitter has been an awesome tool for making contacts and learning about ICT in education. Andrew Churches and I were both pleased to be still on Allanah's twitter list after hearing about her regular ruthless culls to keep followers (and followees I guess) to a minimum.

For my part I was lucky to have a great group of people attend our small but useful workshop on Marvin. Bellevue, Pongakawa, Matamata Intermediate, Otumoetai Primary, St Joseph's and Bethlehem schools were all represented so I will be hoping to hear from them about the great ways their students are using Marvin in the near future. Big thanks to Richard van Dijk for his support with the technical and teaching side of things for our group too - Matamata and Katikati are fortunate to have him as their ICT facilitator.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Marvin blogs and ideas

Thanks Allanah for sharing these with me on skype this morning - Sandra Roll's blog has some great ideas her class came up with for using Marvin
Having fun showing the kids the new MARVIN programme. They have come up with all sorts of great ideas of how we can use it.
  1. Could be put on kids blogs to introduce them. e.g. Hi, my name is John!
  2. Could do short 'film' about ourselves using the avatars.
  3. Could have avatars read our stories to the little kids at assembly
  4. If you lost your voice you could type and your avatar could do the talking.
  5. Instead of having published work on paper, we could publish using our avatar or avatars as the narrator.
  6. We could use the avatars to do our speeches. Would save getting nervous and embarrassed.
  7. We could put our presentations on youTube.
  8. The avatars could be 'tour guides' on our blogs.
  9. Mrs Rolls could set up the MARVIN avatars to teach the whole day. No more relievers!
  10. We could use avatars to do plays.
  11. We can use them to teach the younger kids about topics such as science, writing, bike safety or computer use.
  12. Could set up avatar to call out spelling words.
  13. Can make our own 'movies' to show that we understand a topic, e.g. statistics or Spanish!
Don't kids have brilliant ideas!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

26 Learning Games to change the world

These learning games were posted by David Warlick who also has a great blog himself, one that I look to regularly for inspiration. 26 Learning games to change the world - let's use them.

Great blog by one of our oft overlooked stakeholders - a student! 5 qualities of a great teacher, worth reading, revisiting, and remembering often.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Things you really need to learn

This post on Stephen's blog by Stephen Downes is interesting and I'm sure many of you will agree with the sentiments here. The six things he discusses include:
1. How to predict consequences
2. How to read
3. How to distinguish truth from fiction
4. How to empathise
5. How to be creative
6. How to communicate clearly
Sounds simple enough here but the reasons and explanations he provides, along with links to back up materials and readings all sound pretty straight up and valid. I am looking forward to sharing some of these ideas with my students when I'm back in school in a few weeks.

Several blogs I have read recently, including Garr Reynold's excellent 'Presentation Zen' have encouraged me to further my offline reading so today I plan to hunt down and purchase the following - Brain Rules by John Medina, The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam and Winging It by Keith Spicer.

Found a great slideshow on Web 2.0 - very clear and concise, and I'm sure will help me to explain some things to some people.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

elearning exchange Tauranga

Bay Central, Tauranga June 11
Thanks to Rochelle Jensen for organising this valuable ICT get-together for teachers in our region. Over 20 teachers from at least 13 different schools attended and it was a really positive, productive session. Dave Merton, Technical Manager from CORE was there and able to answer some of our more technical queries and to encourage teachers to enter students in the MADE awards (entries due 22/09/08).
Rochelle introduced the workshop with a discussion of the technology triangle which asked us to think about and place ourselves on it in regards to resources, skills and curriculum - interesting range of responses.
Jamin Lietze from Bethlehem presented a range of ideas that he uses in his class blog including student links and portfolios; Jamin also has his own professional blog here.
My presentation was based on Marvin software - a taster 'demo' rather than a workshop. There will be a workshop for this on June 20th at our Bethlehem mini-conference for the cluster group, and another full workshop scheduled for pre-conference at uLearn in October that Dave Ballard will be running.
The main outcome of our workshop yesterday was to establish an ongoing link between teachers so that we can exchange ideas and visits when needed on a less formal basis that will help to provide ICT PD between teachers when and as needed. Rochelle has already established a regional list-serve for online communication so educators need to email her to subscribe.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

YouTube - family1

YouTube - family1

Monday June 9 Mills Reef Winery Tauranga

The Way Forward Seminar presented by edTech

This included presentations by Douglas Harre from Ministry of Education who talked emphatically about the need for strong infrastructures in education to support teachers and learners with technology. He urged us to contact our political representatives to lobby for a fibre loop (such as KAREN) for our region. Another point of interest was his reference to the use of open source software and the saving that could be made there by schools having their own funding rather than the blanket payment currently made for software tools throughout the country. He stressed that it is not the tools but the pedagogical, collaborative approach available through technology and in particular web 2.0 tools, that will make the most difference to learners.

Hugh Nettar who was a previous MINTS scholar, now working for edTech offered a really interesting presentation and his messages were similar to those of Douglas. He talked about the availability and the changing nature of the way/s we receive and synthesise information and how this affects our approach to teaching and learning. Hugh referred to three 'pillars' of learning for today as 'co-constructivism, multiple intelligences and the taxonomies of learning' and then demonstrated how these were addressed in the ultranet Learning Management system he is involved with the development of.

Further presentations were of a more technical nature but all referred to the crucial factor of infrastructure in order to provide 'customer satisfaction' that is value added - way beyond the 'phase 1 fix and break' stage most schools in New Zealand are continuing to operate at. It was reiterated clearly that fibre loops are essential for high speed communication between schools, and that this is needed for teaching and learning to be collaborative and creative.

The vision for 21st Century learning put forward by Jonathon Beveridge (equico) was that
"Any student, teacher or administrator can do anything, anytime, anywhere they need to do it."
What is needed to achieve this is a team in the organisation that develops a clear vision; this vision is outlined in terms of priorities and budget and is carried out through best practice systems.

The seminar was well attended by teachers, school leaders and IT people from as far as Hamilton; it was another excellent opportunity to network and connect with like minded educators.

Friday, June 6, 2008

In Print - interface mag

Here is the first of our 2-minute guide series (what you see here is an extract - for the rest you will have to get your hands on the latest edition of 'interface')
Website for interface is here - you can check it out online, or order your own - there are so many ICT for learning ideas in here opening your first issue can be a bit mind boggling.
In a skype discussion this morning with a 'twitter' friend we have arranged to meet next week and have our first ustream.
This will be fun and we are hoping it is something we can introduce to learners as another useful collaboration tool. Look out for Richard and I next Friday on ustream.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The twitter blog

The twitter blog has some great ideas and thoughts about using twitter. Twitter for librarians blog is a useful one, and the twitter short short story writing competition is great. In the last few days while creating a few animoto presentations (that all need a bit of modification) and uploading them to youtube, I have been researching teacher mentoring as PD. It is interesting that one of Vicki Davis's recent blog posts on Cool Cat Teacher refers to this specifically regarding social networking.and calls it Viral Professional Development. This is a pretty exciting discussion and I am looking forward to taking part in it via Vicki's voicethread and panel discussion soon.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Buzzword is a piece of open source software that I shared with a friend on twitter earlier this week. I am pleased I did as he has answered my questions about the difference between Buzzword and google docs. As I have so much shared and used on there already I had been wondering about the value of changing to buzzword but Chris has summed it up really well here on his blog.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Seamless technology in ICT education - a train bound for glory

Toni Twiss (a 2008 efellow) has some useful tools for mobile phones in classrooms on her blog site. She also makes some valid comments regarding technology use in education, backed up by studies from Jamie McKenzie and further tools from the blog of Wes Fryer.
Reading Toni's blog also served to remind of the amazing power of twitter to collaborate and innovate - educators from across a huge range of backgrounds geographically and demographically are supporting each other and linking learners as well, through technology. Toni sums it up nicely here -
I guess what I am trying to say is - YAY other people think like me and it makes me feel like I am barking up the right tree. Social networks being used by educators to keep each other believe that we are barking up the right tree is what will maintain the drive forward to integrate technology seamlessly rather than the visit to the computer room approach to ICT in education.
A further reminder of this today is that my first messages today were from several former students - all coincidentally via bebo but they could have just as easily been facebook or email - proving that once these connections are made the learning does not stop with the classroom, or for that matter the school. Go the learning with flexible spaces and timetables - the lifelong authentic learning.

As Wes Fryer says "A digital learning REVOLUTION is underway. Are you on the train, getting on the train, helping drive the train, or sabotaging the rail line by attempting to blow up bridges along the train’s route?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

elearning exchange

I will be doing a brief demo of Marvin software at this event. Contact Rochelle Jensen or myself if you are keen to attend.
Gmail - thanks -

Monday, May 19, 2008

Educational blogs

Thanks to Allanahk for her posting about this newsletter - the particularly practical aspects of Computers in the Classroom especially useful (modified from Terry Freedman - Computers in Classrooms)
The lesson forms part of a unit which forms part of a scheme of work. There is a good starter activity, one that gets the pupils settled down and in the right frame of mind to do the work the teacher has planned for them.

•The teacher spends time at the start sharing the intended learning outcomes of the lesson and how this lesson fits in with the preceding and following lessons. I was impressed with a recent conversation with a 5 year old who could tell me not just what he had learned in class today - but how it fitted in to the big picture, and how their current theme will lead in to the next! This made his learning so relevant for him.

•Learners are given open-ended tasks. (Even lessons designed to impart a set of skills can still be more interesting than “drill & practice”).

•A range of resources are provided for learners, enabling the teacher to give quality guidance, ie not confined to explaining how to save the document! Resources include “how to” guides and posters, on-screen help and each other.

•Ample time is allowed for reflection and goal setting, thereby allowing it to be somewhat more useful than the POLO model: Print Out and Log Off. This is an essential part of the lesson, used to check what learning has taken place, consolidate learning, and prepare learners for the next stage (goal setting). In fact, a lesson might have two or three plenaries rather than just one at the end.

•The purpose of any homework is to consolidate and extend the learners’ understanding of the work they have been doing in class.

•Learners are allowed sufficient time on the computers, the teacher helping individuals and small groups.

•Work is set at an appropriate standard, taking into account prior learning and attainment, expectations of their age group in terms of national standards and key competencies.

•Open questioning/inquiry learning – and assessment for learning techniques are in evidence.

•Range of material provides for differentiation (higher attainers and children with special educational needs) and personalised learning.

•The teacher is aware of individual needs, e.g. individual education plans – and makes use of the assessment and other data.

•Not all work takes place at the computer: there is ample opportunity for discussion and reflection. What is important is not the use of technology per se, but the appropriate use of technology.

•Learners respect the equipment and the room e.g. they do not leave discarded print-outs on the floor.

•Learners are confident enough to try out things which may not have been demonstrated or introduced: they ask help from each other or look at the posters and manuals available.

•Learners ask questions that the teacher is unable to answer.
  • Learners are obviously more self-motivated than teacher motivated; their learning or progress is not teacher-dependent

Friday, May 16, 2008

Birthday in Vietnam

Just got some pics from Jan (thanks for that) that proves I did celebrate becoming another year older. Does it still count if you are on the other side of the world to the one you were born in?
Anyway it was a wonderful experience and now that I am finally getting a bit of time for reflection and going over videos and photos it is good to remember some of the many highlights of our trip. I am using mapness to put together an online sharing diary of the journey - it will take some time but at least I have made a start. Mapness allows you to add images, points on the map, and videos - at this stage only ones you have previously loaded on you tube but that's all good for now.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Query about Social Networking

In response to a query from a colleague this morning as to what we 'boomers' can use Social Networking for. The list is endless and limited only by how far we want to take it I guess. In the course of a day there are numerous reasons to network. Communicating with educators and technology enthusiasts (not that these are at all mutually exclusive) is a great way to enhance one's own use of technology by finding out new ways of using it to be creative and innovative in the classroom and in our own use of web tools. One of the most important aspects I see here is that we are modelling responsible behaviours of these tools for students and showing ourselves as lifelong learners. Maybe I am trying to rationalise my addiction to twitter and facebook and ... but I love the fact that in any given moment I can be interacting with like minded people all over the globe e.g. this morning on twitter I have met a teacher in Regina, Saskatchewan who has a great blog site, and have been looking at the blog challenge a group of students are competing in. All of this is innovative and outward looking which is what learners need to be if they are to continue to make sense of the world. Take a look at the research and community sharing Diigo here.

Friday, May 9, 2008


This is a great site based in Florida that has podcasts about things Marine and Oceanic. Not only that it is interesting and well constructed, it is definitely time I got podcasting about... something. Seems like every time I start recording something the phone rings or someone comes to the door, or a real noisy car goes past - enough with the excuses!
Blog on blogging from Al Upton of mini-legends fame - a sequence of steps for class blogging - if Al's year 3 class (8 and 9 yr olds) can do it - we can all do it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Educational jargon generator

Don't forget to check out the new Knight School website, to watch Jane and the Dragon on Wednesdays TV2 at 4.30 - and to get your competition entries in!!!!!!!!

Well hey, look what I just found - how easy it is to digress while working online. My friend Joshy from Melbourne sent me a great stash of open source apps that I am flicking through for usability and in the meantime I somehow came across this Educational Jargon Generator, I am thinking there may be some occasions on which it could come in quite handy!
While working today I have been using what I think for some of us is a huge, but widely underutilised resource - podcasts. I am avidly back in French language learning mode thanks to the motivation of My Happy Planet (see previous blog posting) and have been relistening to the great 'Learn French by Podcast' and Daily podcasts in French - both thanks to itunes. This is another reminder to me of what the web has to offer - free learning!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Creativity - isolated no longer with online publishing; this wiki from Miguel Guhlin supports many of the discussions I have been having recently with colleagues from a range of curriculum and educational backgrounds.
In particular the example of the home school students who created and uploaded a movie to YouTube illustrates the power of publishing and the motivation of being able to express ourselves to a wider audience. No doubt the YouTube banning debate will go in educational circles for some time but I see it as a distinct disadvantage to be denying learners access to free and powerful tools of communication. The essence of this argument is that learners need to be encouraged and assisted to be responsible for how and when they use the tools that are available. To develop competent lifelong learners this is an essential ingredient in enabling them to make the transition between learning environments - home vs school and independent vs dependent.
Keynote in San Antonio includes notes and a podcast from Dr Don Knezek's keynote address at ICTT 2007 that supports the idea of collegial conversations using ICT.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


It has been a very fast few weeks since our return from Vietnam but I have been lucky to have the opportunity to be involved in some great IT workshops and training since then. In the course of this I have been discovering some great new Web 2.0 apps that I am trying to find time to experiment with. Hopefully some of you will find some of these tools useful. Other great open source tools I have been using this week include Gimp, Irfanview and Audacity - awesome tools that take little time to learn but offer some very powerful options for presentations. We have been using them in conjunction with the Marvin presentations we were putting together this week in our training.
And now, back to work on Knight School pages ready for the website revamp next week.

Mutapic is an online picture generator. It is a great free tool you can use to rapidly create original art - GO PLAY I SAY!!!

My Happy Planet

Thanks to interface for some more great IT and elearning ideas. edtech ad in the latest edition for 'The way forward' seminars also looks interesting - look for the seminar nearest you here.

Learn a Language. Make Friends. Have Fun
MyHappyPlanet is an online community for people who are passionate about learning languages. With MyHappyPlanet, you can practice speaking with a native speaker, learn more about other cultures, and make friends with people anywhere in the world.  |  
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PicArtia and Movavi

Create your Photo Mosaic Online
Easily turn your pictures into impressive photo mosaic posters.  |  
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Online Video Converter
Movavi Online is a free online web service that lets you download videos from YouTube, Google and other video-sharing sites and save them to your iPhone, iPod, cellphone, and popular video formats: AVI, MPEG, MOV, FLV, MP4, 3GP. With Movavi Online, you can also convert videos already on your computer. There’s no charge for the service, and you don’t need to download any software.  |  
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hanoi street corner


This is to remind me that the traffic here is NOT insane
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Live Mesh and Educational Origami

Great site for educators about use of technologies - Learning, education, approaches, digital and traditional -thanks Miguel Guhlin for this one.
Excited post by Sarahintampa about trialling Live Mesh from Microsoft, she is running a competition to see who her gets her five invites so have put one in and will find out midnight Tuesday (Sarah Perez's time). I am keen to see how this compares with Google Documents for usability and functionality. Meanwhile I'm going to sign in for myself and see how far I get on the Tech Preview.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Keeping up

Wow, things get away so quickly - a week has gone at home already and only half (if that) what I planned to get done. Changing laptops for a faster one has been worthwhile although time consuming in the fact of having to reload and reorganise programmes and photographs. I am sure there must be an easier way to manage all this. Google documents has certainly saved me a lot of strife in terms of keeping and managing documents and folders - I see the Microsoft version of this is Mesh but I don't have time to change over to that to check it out, would be good to get some feedback from users to see how Mesh is going.
I have been working mainly on follow up material from recent meetings at Weta Workshop with Martin Baynton, and CORE education - organising changes and updates for our Knight School workshop. We will be adding a Jane play, new teacher material, new competitions and a membership section - this will enable members to recieve a Jane and the Dragon poster as well as updates to the website for events and competitions.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Here we are again

Been a bit of a delay with postings due to change of laptop and venues and trying to keep up with too many things at once. Enjoying the positive working environment at CORE education this week, listening to some great ICT and elearning approaches and ideas, and exploring ways to continue development of the Knight School website. Ulearn registrations and calls for papers are now open so have registered for conference and am starting to develop planning for a workshop that will cover use of ICT tools for Digital Storytelling, using the Jane and the Dragon (Knight School) website for examples.
Link here to Reasons why students should blog....
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thursday at conference

Today was mainly focused on group project presentations. I spent hours trying to get the Marvin part of ours working, and then when it came to present it didn’t run successfully through the av gear they had which was quite disappointing. There was a wide range of material presented but the benefit of the field trip and the group project is that we had worked together as an international group to create a resource we could all use. For each of us it can easily be modified for whatever country and class level we use it with. I can see this as being a really useful form of PD for teachers back home, to come up with a resource within a limited timeframe that meets a specified brief and encourages students to use ICT.

Lunchtime in Hemispheres there was a ‘kiwi’ table – I figured they might be up to something, and as it turned out I was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a cake – ensuring that everybody in the restaurant knew what day it was! Later in the day the team also gave me a lovely lacquer tray and a card.

Cyclos collected us from the hotel and rode all the way to the museum of History, it was an awesome venue – the courtyard was set with beautiful decorations and hung with lanterns; photos of that don’t do it justice. Nathan Kerr won the NZ individual poster contest - this is great because he is the youngest of our group and has a great future in education ahead of him. He will attend the international conference later this year in Bangkok. Both he and David Olsen were in groups that collected awards for their projects too so very exciting for the kiwi contingent. As well as that, two of the group I had worked won their country's individual awards - Danis from Canada with a web 2.0 presentation for a science lesson, and our colleague from Indonesia - Mamuona.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday, last day of conference

I felt like i was in ANTM last night - the room service delivered a black box with Microsoft on and a model cyclo inside - the card reads "Get ready for a scenic cyclo ride tomorrow evening and experience the sights & sounds of the beautiful city of Hanoi."
Yesterday was the hard bit, having to present our posters to 3 judges. We spoke for 6 minutes about our work/project and then they had 2 minutes for questions - waiting for them was the worst part, it was really ok once you got talking. Tonight at the banquet and awards dinner there will be one winning presentation per country announced. The winners of the group resource project will also be announced. Today the groups find out whether or not their project will be presented to the conference - only 2 groups out of every 4 are selected on the basis of the synopsis which had to be submitted by 5pm yesterday.

Wednesday at conference

The photograph on the left is just one example of many scooters that deliver huge loads in incredible traffic conditions, so far I have only seen one lose even a little bit of its load - they have got to be very skilled drivers here!

It has been a very productive - even though slightly stressful - day at conference here today in Hanoi. Firstly Sheldon from UNESCO gave a wonderful presentation, his point about the need to encourage trainee teachers in the use of ICT was particularly salient. UNESCO appear to have a very constructive approach to getting ICT into education, as his other direct hit was that the managers need to appreciate the value of ICT in education before the facilitators work in this area can be truly valued.
Our group project on old and new communities "Changing Worlds" is progressing well, it was great to meet up with our group and record their dialogue in four different native languages of each member of our group this afternoon.
The poster presentation 'competition' was actually much more enjoyable than I had imagined, a chance to showcase our work in a very positive way. The posters are interesting because of the huge diversity and the amazing innovations teachers are making in their approaches to teaching and learning strategies - all possible through the use of ICT.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday in Hanoi

Walking from the Volga to the Victory hotel we were stunned at the abundance of fresh flowers on the vendors bikes and baskets. Amazing roses with perfect heads in the hundred, a lot of this is for the shrines that everyone has in their homes – they are kept beautifully with fresh fruit and flowers at all times. Was amazing to see at the public shrines the money being given to their idols/gods – sometimes just flying around in the wind – from people who have so little. This clearly illustrates the extent of peoples' religious beliefs here.
Kathy and I spent a full day on the sightseeing tour yesterday which was a really good way to see the city - covered so much in a day that you wouldn't do on your own in a week. That included a 'banquet' style lunch with deep fried tofu in tomato, chicken curry, spring rolls, big plate of shrimps and entry tickets to all the sites. As Kathy said at the end of the day “I am shrined out”. Our tour guide Hoai was a real cracker. Places included the Museum of Literature, Museum of Ethnology, several significant pagodas Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and homes; and the Water Puppets. Am taking lots of photos and putting captions on so I don't forget things. Museum of Ethnology was a favourite, I particularly loved the work of Georges Condominas – favourite quote “pour moi, l’ethnologie c’est un genre de vie”. The exhibition is called “Nous avons mange la foret”.

Saturday, April 5, 2008