Developing an RSS Feed for Principals

At our last week’s Principal’s meeting for our cluster we facilitated a workshop on developing an RSS feed using Google Reader specifically focussed on the the sorts of things that we thought principals might be interested in. We will develop this more over time but I thought it might be useful to list the blogs that we suggested we added to our reader. At the workshop we used a Google Doc but they click more easily from a blog post.

If I missed anyone that you think should be in my list please let me know and I will add them.

Our best reads…. Teachers in our cluster who edublogphoto-4 Tracy Prout – Tasman Bay Christian School Allanah King- Me! Cherryl Eden – Richmond Primary Kellie McRobert – Nayland Primary Sandra Rolls – Tasman Bay Christian School

Kiwi Blogging Leaders and Principals Derek Wenmoth, CORE Core Education Blog Greg Carroll, Outram, Dunedin Andrew Churches, Kirsten College, Auckland John Dorman, St Paul’s, Nelson Bruce Hammonds Regan Orr- Principal of Koputaroa School, Horowhenua Rob Clarke Luke Sumich- Summerlands, Auckland Marama Stewart, Pukeokahu School, Taihape Dane Robertson, Tauranga Mike Anderson, Waimari, Christchurch Danny Nicholls, St Patricks Stuart Armistead, Stanley Ave, Te Aroha Matt Skilton, Muritai School, Wellington Carolyn Stuart, Tawa Int Cheryl Doig, Christchurch Steven Soutar, Awapuni, Palmerston North.

Blogs that may interest you- leadership etc. Chris Betcher- ICT leader- Sydney Tony Ryan- Learning Consultant- Australia Ewan McIntosh- Ed Leader- Scotland Michael Smith, USA

Podcasts Better still search iTunes for Edtalks and subscribe to these educational video podcasts and view them at your leisure.

News Stuff- Newspaper link with a focus on education Look for the RSS icon for ‘News & Hot Topics’ and ‘Professional Learning Articles’. Look for the RSS icon for ‘Latest News’.

And Charles added that all principals should be following and commenting on the blogs of their classes and also shared some of the blogs in his RSS…

Education news and commentary… UK digest for “leaders and managers of educational ICT” Amercian Irish education digest big ideas….not just about education the George Lucas Educational Foundation a collaboratively written blog dedicated to conversation and commentary about the intertwined worlds of digital technology, new media, and education. University Council for Educational Administration Texas

Interesting individuals……… has great links to collections of websites – teacher Bill Ferriter’s hard hitting comments Lisa Nielsen is an innovative educator in New York City Jeff Thomas a Director of Technology at a private middle school. Scott McLeod (currently on sabbatical in NZ)

Since I posted this on Sunday people have added further suggestions via the comments or Twitter so here they are…. Ministry RSS for educational leaders NZCER Seth Godin, ideas and marketing Connected Principals- a collective principals’ blog Scroll down to find Principal Blogs to subscribe to List of leadership blogs from Scott McLeod Fraser Speirs, Cedars School of Excellence, Scotland Where CEO’s come to grow

Key Competencies and Web Tools

Since the end of last year I have been looking for an easy to use, collaborative mind mapping tool. Over the weekend I think I may have found one. Popplet lets you easily intuitively create Popplets, change their colours, text size, and links. I am having a bit of trouble with the collaborative side of things as my invites don’t seem to be getting through. I like it over some others that I have tried that are too hard to navigate and it does embed nicely elsewhere.

When you are looged in you can number the Popplets and out it into Presentation Mode and get a Prezi like experience without the seasick feeling.

You can export it as a pdf or jpeg which is also handy.

The task I was trying to do is link the Key Competencies to web tools that may support them but I am finding that lots of web tools fit across all the Key competencies and my mind map is looking a bit crowded.

Here’s a link to the actual Popplet and it as a pdf as at 28 March 2011.

Photo Competition Plagiarism

SunsetThe cluster is sponsoring a photo competition. It is all very exciting and we have had a two well attended after school resource sharing workshops on photography, time given to it at the Lead Teacher Day and Principals’ Morning so we are all set to go.

So we are starting to get a few entries. Last week I got emailed a stunning photo from one of my Year Four girls so she could enter the competition. I was suspicious that she hadn’t actually taken the photo because I didn’t recognise the skyline as being local.  Firstly I asked her where she took the photo and didn’t get a reply. I was even more suspicious.Screen shot 2011-03-27 at 11.57.06 AM

Fortunately Warren and Charles were about with a little advice on where to go to check out whether a photo has been used elsewhere on the net. was the site that was recommended. I uploaded the photo and was pleased (dismayed) to find that the photo was indeed borrowed.

I’m OK with children enhancing their photos with any tools they have on hand- iPhoto, Photoshop etc but just want the taking and enhancing be done by the child. In fact enhancing photos to improve them is to be encouraged.

Using the Tineye site won’t help with children entering photos taken by others in the family but will definitely help with photos taken from the internet.

This will be the basis of an interesting discussion in class on my next teaching day.

Getting Good With Google

A couple of weeks ago Tony Ryan spent some afternoons with us and encouraged us to invest some time in learning how to search the internet efficiently to save time in the long run. To support our Lead Teachers I made this resource that started its life as a Google Doc….. No point printing it out because then none of the links will work!!!!!

and other good ways to search the web

A lot of these ideas have come from this 100+ Google help page.

1. First of all we looked at some good tips for searching with Google

1.1 Alter the kind of search that Google does by changing your default to ‘safe search’.

1.2 Put speech marks around words if you want an exact match; eg when you Google Allanah King you get 5,360,000 hits. When you Google “Allanah King” you get 4,710 hits.

1.3 If you want page results from New Zealand make sure you select them from the left hand tool bar.

1.4 Use Google Advanced Search to search for a particular file format like a pdf or a ppt.

1.5 Use Wonderwheel to help clarify your search and refine with keywords and concepts.

1.6 Use Timeline to find out the timeline of when things happened through the decades – or to find articles from a particular month.

1.7 Use Google Squared to find out facts and figures about sets of things like ‘planets’.

1.8 Make sure Google Instant is on so that you Google can help you search intuitively and quickly. Use the arrow keys to skim down the search results and Enter to select. You can select Instant On in you Google search preferences.

1.9 To get results from a particular source enter Japan tsunami will return pages about the Japanese tsunami but only from CNN news sources. Works with country codes as well eg earthquakes site:nz will give you NZ earthquake sites.

1.10 Some common search queries are as a screen grab below

2. Then we will look at some other great search engines

2.1 A great search engine is Delicious. You can choose whose online bookmarks you search through- these, yours, your networks or the look for the tags. A lot of the filtering has been done for you.

2.2 Google You Tube Search Engine

Use the Search Options to refine your search,14288/

2.3 One of my favourites is Qwiki– it cleverly reads you the search query with visuals to support it. Here is my blog post about it.

2.4 Another interesting one is Twurdy which attempts to give you an idea of the reading level of the search results. Great for a primary school.

You can also do a similar thing inside Advanced Search.

2.5 The next a visual Boolean Search engine, Boolify, that would help children             understand the concept of Boolean Searches.

Here is Andrew Churches handout on Boolean searches that might help clarify how Boolean searches work.

2.6 Next is QuinturaForKids– a search engine aimed at kids. It gives a word cloud which would help children refine their searches.

2.7 The next is Wolfram Alpha where you can find out all sorts of mathematical and data facts.

2.8 Very oddly is Spezify which searches for things in a text and pictorial sort of way. Try it to check out your own digital footprint. Here I tried it on my own name and came up with a heap of results from recently and way back.

2.9 Twitter searches

2.10 And lastly for the moment are some image search engines that you search for creative commons images that are free for you to us rather than stealing other people’s work from Google Images.

2.10.1- Pics4Learning

2.10.2- MorgueFile

2.10.3 Tag Galaxy-

3. And then we look at some other clever things that Google can do.

3.1 Google Translate and listen to many foreign languages.

3.2 Newspaper Map A Google mashup that translate many global newspapers.

3.3 Google Calendar

3.4 Google RSS Reader

3.5 Google Maps

3.6 Google Docs

3.7 Google Mail

3.8 Google Labs Things that might grow into big things. Google’s 20% time.

4. And we all did little quiz to see how good you are at doing efficient searches on the internet. Crunchies and Turkish Delight then followed.

Our Searching Practice Quiz

What have I missed that you would add to this workshop on making good searches?

eLearnings: Implementing a National Strategy for ICT

ELearningsSome time ago Derek Wenmoth asked me to contribute my thoughts to a book he was compiling to archive the impact and implementation of the national ICT in education strategy in New Zealand 1998-2010.

I was, at the same time, honoured that he would think of me and overwhelmed by the task ahead. Derek wanted a teacher’s perspective on the changes over the last ten years in ICT in NZ.

My contribution reads a little like a CV in that in chronologically delves into my journey with ICT over the last decade.

My teaching has changed immensely since I began this journey. Only six years ago- a huge amount of time in the life of a New Entrant but a dot in time for someone who has been teaching as long as I have.

I really am an ordinary teacher doing pretty ordinary things but I tend to share them through my blogs and on line spaces so people know about what I do in class. ICT has afforded me many opportunities that I would never have dreamed about before and now I know couldn’t teach well without access to my Personal Learning Network of friends and colleagues, some of whom I have never met.

Contents include:

Designing the Vision:
Policy perspectives on the development of the national Strategies for ICTs, 1998-2010.
Securing the Foundations:
Perspectives on the development of a technical ICT infrastructure for centres and schools.
Building Teacher Capability:
Sector and teacher perspectives on teacher learning and professional development.
Developing Digital Content and Digital Communities:
Perspectives on learning ‘online’, the Virtual Learning Network and building online communities of practice.
Improving Student Learning and Engagement:
Research and case studies on student learning in ICT contexts: elearning for literacy, languages, enquiry, and engaging local communities.
The Future – Trends, Challenges and Opportunities

The book is reasonably priced at NZ$19:90. You may like to get yourself a copy.