Nelson Cluster ICT Day

Today I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in in the Nelson Cluster ICT day.

It was just the thing I needed to reinforce my commitment to eLearning for my children. Also in attendance were some of NZ’s eLearning shining stars. Dorothy Burt kicked things off with her keynote outlining Point England’s eLearning Journey. Dorothy comprehensively hyperlinked her keynote with links to highlights of the learning experiences at Point England. She continues to be my podcasting inspiration.

As usual in these sorts of situations I found it difficult to connect to the internet and the battery on my MBP seems to drain as soon as I power up so I had to just listen to what Dorothy was sharing. Not a bad thing, I hear you say. But I found that writing/tapping as I listen helps me to remember and ‘get’ the message. Without access to recording my learning as it was happening I know that I missed some stuff I should have got- that’s why these sorts of back channels are so good. We should encourage our children to be able to do whatever it takes to ‘get’ our message. This thought reminded me of one of Lisa Parisi’s recent postings– doing what it takes to learn and remember in our own way- to move, to mash-up, to make.

Next I attended an I Can Animate workshop with Mike Foster from Nelson Intermediate. I got some good tips particularly to buy Resene Wham paint for a green screen backdrop. I thought I had taken a photo of his set up but it looks like a didn’t. I think a class visit might be on the cards before I have a go an constructing one for myself.

My mate, Jason, from Sitech called in to my class while he was here so that I could return the IWB he lent me for the term. Image Having the use of an IWB has been a wonderful, engaging opportunity for my class and I and we will sadly miss it as we go back to having to share our one data projector with the rest of the school. Jason did however give me another gadget to play with for a bit- a wireless tablet. Wacom has given me tablet but I have used it exclusively at home. I will give the kids more of a go with the wireless tablet I think because it won’t be so tied to the computer via the USB like the Wacom is.

I also got a look at this new straight out of the box workstation with a 37inch monitor all ready to hook up to your laptop. I thought it was a great way to bring the big screen to the classroom. I could see how we could put that to good use as well.

I then had the opportunity to share some of my own eLearning journey. Many of the links I used are on my wiki.

The conference finished off with a final keynote from Derek Wenmoth. In it he shared his wealth of knowledge and thoughts about the future for us all. Dorothy, Derek, Suzie Vesper and I had a very stimulating conversation about Derek’s latest posting, Without data, you’re just another person with opinion. As I get the last say ‘cos this is my blog- I think that the direction that NZ’s new government is taking to stir up the press to publish school league tables is NOT a positive move although I do believe that we should be rigorous in assessing the value added learning that children attain while in our care.

Derek is off to the UK tomorrow. Ka kī atu a au kia hoki ora atu a ia ki te kāinga.

Sunday Six

This is the first school holiday in a couple of years where I have had nothing to do  and I am relishing the early nights and late rising to bank a reserve of sleep that I can draw on when school starts again- yeah right!

As you can well imagine I have spent a fair amount of trolling the internet, twittering and exploring. Here are a couple of holidays finds that are worth more than a save to my delicious.

1. Ten YouTube URL Tricks– I often see embedded YouTube videos on class blogs and wonder if teachers realise how few clicks away from porn they think they are! With these easy tips you can disable the search box and links to related videos and more.

2. My Delicious– I have spent some time tidying up my on line bookmarks and putting them into tag bundles. @AngeNZ asked for a look through and I thought others may like a peek as well.

3. iPhoto09 Faces and Books. ImageI have just taught my iPhoto how to recognise photos of people and made a Photo Book of my recent overseas travels. That was so fun and the book of 68 pages ($122NZ) will be delivered in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait as I have seen the quality and professional look of iPhoto Books before but never actually made one. I could have printed it to pdf but thought I would push the boat out and have the hardcover book professionally printed.

4. Through Twitter links I have joined in on a couple of UStream professional development sessions in Canada and somewhere else. It doesn’t seem important really as to where the sessions were but thanks to Chris Harbeck for the invite to join in.

5. Drop Box– Drop Box is a handy Mac only tool- a bit like your own personal server to dump stuff onto between computers. You just install it on the computers that you want to be able to access your files on- in my case my home laptop and my TELA school laptop and it just sits in your top toolbar and you drop stuff in it to collect it from another computer. By recommending the tool to others I get a little extra storage but 3GB will suit me fine for the free version. Great for when a file is too big for an email and you can’t be bothered finding your flash drive.

6. Styks is a cross platform Pivot type animation free download in beta. Nice and easy for kids to handle- definitely in my 2009ToDoList.