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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

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Heading to Hanoi

Well, still packing and organising presentation materials but today's the day/night actually. Off to Hanoi for the Microsoft Innovative Teachers' conference. Leave Tauranga airport at 7.50, travel to Auckland then Singapore and reach Hanoi about midday tomorrow. Very exciting. Hoping I can continue to update this blog in order to keep a brief travel and conference diary with some images as we go. Looking forward to some great art and cultural experiences which will include the field trip which is part of conference.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Education for sustainable development

This is something I feel we could all get into and even if we do it in a really small way, as teachers we affect a lot of other people. In Hanoi next week the field trips that participants are going to be involved in all revolve around this concept in some way. It will be awesome if every single one of the MINTS teachers at that conference take back a small part of this to their own lives, to their schools and ultimately to their communities. I know that this cultural experience I am about to head into is going to be great, and probably more life changing than I can imagine. Apologies to my scrabulous friends if I happen to forget them for a few days - i accept your forgiveness in advance! :)