Life is not a race to be first finished

This is an attempt to record some of my musings about learning and teaching.

Archive for the 'Learning' Category

Let’s Booktrack

Posted by Allanah King on 14th August 2014

If you were anywhere near Twitter over the weekend you would have seen the tweets in a tsunami like wave pouring from the #edchatnz conference held at Hobsonville Point in Auckland. I kept an eye on the Twitter #edchatnz hashtag stream while I was working and the learning session that particularly interested me was that by Craig Wilson sharing the features of Booktrack.

I have had Booktrack Classroom Reader as an iPad app for ages after seeing an interview on the television some years ago when the app first got publicity!

In a nutshell Booktrack layers an ambient soundtrack over a text so that you listen to it as you read and the soundtrack keeps track with the pace of your reading. I remember back to the first book I read – the Selfish Giant. In the book a door opens and I heard that sound of a door opening in the text at exactly the right moment. I was impressed that the sound track matched the reading experience.

I Googled it and found this segment from Seven Sharp more recently in March 2014.

Seven Sharp

I asked participants at the conference via Twitter if someone could Skype me into Craig’s session but no one was able to. Craig, however, picked up on my tweet and offered to show me more via Skype in the following week. This was a perfect solution to finding out more about Booktrack and fill in the gaps of my knowledge of its uses and features- from the expert and just in time for an advanced Google Apps workshop I am leading in a couple of weeks.

The first point to be aware of is the difference between Booktrack Classroom and Book Track Studio and the Booktrack mobile apps.

Booktrack Classroom is for education with a school sign up and the books are for general consumption and safe for students to read and view. A teacher creates an account- adds students who can log in with a password which the teacher can change. This is a fabulous feature as you can make your own version of Single Sign On and have fewer passwords to remember. Craig also suggested making a parent account so parents can log in to read the works that children in the class have made. Books created in Booktrack Classroom cannot be linked to or generally shared without a log in- a walled garden. You don’t have to have made a Booktrack account to read the bookshelf books.

With Booktrack Studio books can be shared via a URL and the content could potentially contain more open content. There is the ability to flag inappropriate material which is a another great feature.

The Booktrack Android and iPad apps are both readers only. If you want to create your own soundtrack you need to do so on a laptop or Chromebook.

As well as the web app I like that it is also a Chrome app linked to your Google Account. Here are the links to all the different ways you can access Booktrack. You can’t say they are limiting access!!

When you first open the app you can read books that others have written as exemplars and just plain engaging books to read. But the creative side of me loves that I can write my own text and create my own soundtrack and publish it to the bookshelf for others to read.

Here is a sample book, The Farmer, the Rooster and the Jewel, that I put together. The workflow that I used was to have a student write a narrative in Google Docs- proof read, get feedback and improve it. I then copied the text into Booktrack and highlighted the text where I want the sounds to be placed. I can then layer from a zillion music, ambient or sound affects to add to the text. When done I publish.

Booktrack Example

I like this process for students as you have to read, re-read and make knowledgeable choices about which sound track or effect best fits with the text. I like also that readers can rate the book and see how many reads they have had.

Booktrack were also able to supply some research that shows how reading with Booktrack promotes reading and improves readability of texts.

Here are few video tutorials of the creation process

Very motivating.

I extend a big thank you to Booktrack and Craig who so willingly and passionately shared the process with me so I can on share it with others.

Posted in Blended eLearning, Digital Literacy, How To, Learning, Mobile Learning, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Spell Write

Posted by Allanah King on 1st November 2013

I was visiting a school recently and as I was leaving I spoke with the office manager/teacher aide who was individually testing a child on his Spell Write spelling list.

She would say the word, say it again in context and say the word again

This was great as it showed me that the teacher was trying to differentiate the learning for individual students to find out what they knew individually rather than testing groups of learners when many of them were maybe not ready for it or had already moved on.

What has always concerned me though was the time it takes to individually test children in this sort of way.

When teaching, to overcome this issue I made a recordings of myself administering the test using Garageband or Audacity on a PC. I then put those tracks into an iTunes playlist and put it on my iPod Nano or iPad.

I also made a template like this for children to record their words so they would know where they were up to.

This worked really well as the children could play the track at a pace that suited them and rewind words if they wanted to for clarification or if I was going too fast.

With permission from NZCER, the publishers of Spell Write, I share with you the audio of me reading Essential List One to give you the idea. It would take no more time for you to record yourself doing  this once for your whole class as it would to do it once for one child. And then you never have to do it again. I have the other audio tracks and list templates I am happy to share with you if you let me know.

I also linked to Spelling City website or iPad app on my the sidebar of our class blog so children could play games and test themselves on lists based on the Spell Write lists.

Here is the Spell Write List One words but I link to the rest as well so all children have access. You are welcome and encouraged to link to my other lists as well if you wish.

http://www.spellingcity.com/view-spelling-list.html?listId=1914661

I found that doing these things meant that children could move at a pace and level that suited them- with some children making much accelerated progress.

Here are the links to the individual lists in Spelling City…

What do you do to differentiate the learning of the essential spelling words?

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 9.55.03 PM

Posted in iOS, Learning, Literacy | 8 Comments »

Enhancing Workflow on an iPad

Posted by Allanah King on 17th May 2013

At the end of last term I was asked to lead a couple of presentations for the Learning at School Conference Roadshow run by CORE Education here in Nelson. It was the first time such an event had been held in the provinces and was really well supported by locals and from those further afield as well.

The presentation that I had not done before was Enhancing Workflow with an iPad- combining apps to share the learning. Here it is below.

 

I didn’t want to just spend the time just talking to the teachers at the workshop I wanted them to talk to each other- to share the learning that they already knew and become teachers themselves. And to have a base level of knowing how to work their iPad to do basic things before we went on to more advanced learning.

I went down to the local supermarket beforehand and bought a package of the now famous iPad cleaners as prizes and made up a bingo board for each person.

The deal was that people had to walk around the room and find someone who could show them how to do the tasks on the bingo board, that person showed them, then they had to do the task themselves. Then they could initial the bingo board. When they had five squares initialled in a row they yelled ‘Allanah’ and got a prize!

I was surprised the number of people who carried on just as eagerly after they had got a prize because they wanted to learn more. Eventually I felt I had to stop people so we could move on to the more advanced learning but I felt the whole session went really well because it was an energiser as well as a great learning opportunity.

iPad Bingo Chart- click on it to go to the Google Doc

To make it easy for you to personalise and make the resource your own I have made the bingo form into a Google Doc that you can copy and make your own with your own email address and the like.

The activity with all the links to the pdf tutorials and activities can be viewed and downloaded from the presentation above. It is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike which means you are welcome to mash-up and repurpose the presentation but please acknowledge the source.

The activity was very well received with participants coming to me later saying how much they enjoyed the opportunity to move and talk and share rather than being talked to for the entire presentation.

You may like to try the same sort of thing when you next share your learning with others.

I later repeated the presentation at the BYOD Conference run by Learning NetworkNZ at Albany Senior High School in the holidays.

iPad Bingo at BYOD Conference at Albany Senior High School

Posted in Blended eLearning, How To, iOS, Learning, LearningatSchool, Mobile Learning | 2 Comments »

What’s On Your Horizon?

Posted by Allanah King on 31st October 2012

I have been asked to share some elearning trends that I see happening over the next couple of years. I took my ideas from the Horizon Reports of 2011 and 2012 which I have had the privilege of supporting. I have some video and audio to support my thinking around this but you sort of need to be there to see it so I have hyperlinked the resources in this Slideshare so the learning can be rewindable and available to everyone, not just for those in the room! @kevinhoneycutt

 

Posted in Future Focussed, ICT Facilitator, Learning, Mobile Learning | 2 Comments »

Modern Learning Environment

Posted by Allanah King on 30th October 2012

I have the privilege to be asked to share some of my thinking around Modern Learning Environments in Auckland this week. The day was hosted by TTS and held at Sorento. Here is my presentation so participants can click on the links and easily find the resources that I am sharing. As always I think of other things I need to add after I have published something but as my mate, Kevin Honeycutt says, ‘Don’t wait to be good at something before you do it’. Here is my something!

All of my favourite apps that I use in my classroom or see the potential of are on my initial iPad set up site for people new to iPads who want to know where to start.

https://sites.google.com/site/initialipadsetup/home

I add to it all the time as I come across new things and occasionally ditch things as something better comes along. My most used apps are those where we get to create things, to make things and learn things.

All of the links in the presentation below should work too to take you straight to the app link in iTunes.

There were some strange participants at the conference!

Posted in Apple Distinguished Educator, ICT Facilitator, iOS, Learning | 1 Comment »

Chirp!

Posted by Allanah King on 22nd August 2012

This is a test post with a work in progress to see if my idea works.

It does! This is Chirp! Chirp! is like an audio QR Code. By having the free Chirp iPhone/iPad app open you can beam images, notes and URL’s by sound waves. I recorded the sound file produced when I made this note with Divshare so you can practice.

It is real easy to use to beam photos between iPads when you haven’t got email set up on them. Kids will love it!

Here is the sound file again as a link that can be played with out Flash. You will still need another device to receive the Chirp.

So what you have to do is download Chirp! Have it open and listen to the chirp. The first person to write what I chirped in the comments gets a surprise present.

The Chirp team have plans for an Android app but aren’t quite there yet!

Posted in How To, Humour, Learning, QR Codes | 6 Comments »

Leadership Google Presentation

Posted by Allanah King on 9th August 2012

Today I was so proud of the team as we worked collaboratively across the 36 schools in the cluster to research and add our notes to a shared Google Doc, record our learnings and share publicly what we had done.

I had pre-made the Google presentation with a hyperlink to a leadership resource on each slide. I had also randomly placed people’s names on each slide so people had to move to work together with one another.

Our internet zinged along as we were at Salisbury School which is on the Loop UFB.

I loved it how people just knew what to do and got on and did it. Some taking screen grabs and uploading them, some writing notes, some making an iMovie and uploading it to YouTube and embedding it in the presentation.

All in a thirty five minute time span. Impressive.

We have come a long way since we started this venture.

Posted in ICT Facilitator, Learning | 2 Comments »

TED-Ed

Posted by Allanah King on 29th April 2012

You have probably all watch a TED video or two over the years and they make excellent watching. TED have recently add TED-Ed to their arsenal. The idea is that you can any use TED or YouTube video via a hyperlink and add some questions around it, link some further readings or resources and add a big question to construct a personalised lesson.

I thought I would give it a whirl to see if it was easy enough and worth recommending. I decided to use a video I had made in 2006 outlining how my class operated at that time. The video had been on Teacher Tube and has had over 70 downloads so some people obviously liked it but no one seems to use Teacher Tube any more.

Here is my first quick TED-Ed lesson.

TED-Ed is in beta but still worth a look. You can either look at the TED-ED lessons that others have made or, better still, make your own lessons and link them to your learning space.

Posted in Blogging, How To, ICT Facilitator, Learning, Literacy | 1 Comment »

My School Day

Posted by Allanah King on 20th April 2012

I would like to share my school day with teachers from Barbara Reid‘s ICTPD Cluster  in Hamilton in the holidays.

I nade a couple of Keynote presentations and uploaded them to Slideshare so I could share them more widely and all the hyperlinks would work when viewed. I had to cull them a bit to fit them in under the 10MB upload file size.

The first is focussing on the junior school, the second on seniors. For the Junior presentation I also used the blogs of Sherryn Lines and Cherryl Eden to help illustrate. Thanks team.

Our Junior Classroom Day

View more presentations from allanahk
And here is how I do my senior school day.

Posted in Digital Literacy, How To, ICT Facilitator, Learning, New Zealand | 1 Comment »

Transforming proof reading with an iPad

Posted by Allanah King on 15th February 2012

As you may know the Link Learning ICT Cluster has loaned me an iPad to use with my teaching, to download apps that may be useful for learning and to recommend to teachers the apps that prove themselves to be powerful learning tools.

There is only the one iPad in the school and it is only there on the one day a week that I teach so, as you can imagine, it’s a pretty scarce commodity that’s much used when it is at school. I try to have it in children’s hands as much as possible by pairing children up, allowing the children to use my iPhone and iPod Touch and trying to make sure each child gets some iPad time each day when I am teaching.

Yesterday children were finishing off and proof reading a ‘beginning of the school year’ story.

Here’s a little original idea I had – I don’t get many of those so I thought I had better share it pretty quick.

I will call the child in this story Smilie cos he didn’t want to be named! Smilie told me that he written his story and that he had finished proof reading it. I loved the story- it made me laugh out loud and with Smilie’s permission I read it to the class. I took a photo of a Smilie’s draft writing with the iPad 2 camera and put it up on the ordinary whiteboard with the data projector. I called the class together and together we looked at what we might do to edit the text.

Then I switched the data projector off, leaving just the editing. We then looked at patterns with the things we edited and saw that Smilie need to work on identifying spelling errors in words that he really does know, to make sure the full stops are in the right place and put capitals after all the full stops.

I could have probably done this activity without the iPad just using a digital camera and a heap of cords but the joy of using the iPad is that it can happen in the wink of an eye, as the need arises.

As a corollary to this activity I am preparing an after school workshop tomorrow on creative iPad apps so set to work turning Smilie’s story into a book with the Scribblepress app on the iPad.

As Kevin Honeycutt did at Learning at School I decided to buy a hard cover copy of the illustrated test run of the app. The Scribblepress people were very helpful via Twitter when I got stuck at one stage and to clarify things they sent me a pdf of the story. Here it is with the story by Smilie and the drawings and photos by me!

The hardcover book should arrive in 5-7 days- I can’t wait! Click on the book cover  or this link to see how it looks a real book!

My New Teacher

Posted in iOS, Learning, Mobile Learning | 14 Comments »

How I made the Google Slide Show

Posted by Allanah King on 1st February 2012

People have wondered how I made the Google Presentation ‘Five Things My Teacher Needs to Know About Me‘ for my class. So I thought I would share how I did it here.

I just made a Google presentation under my own account- then I made a slide for each student.

I made sure it was open for everyone to edit without a log in.

Then put a link to that presentation on the blog so the children would know where to find it.

Children then went to the blog, clicked on the link, found their slide and filled it in. I believe that twenty people can edit a Google presentation at one time so as many children as there are computers can work on editing.

When everyone has done editing I then close it off by making it so no one can edit it so no cherub could wreck it and write stuff in the holidays that I didn’t know of.

I then put the html embed code on the blog so it would play there.

If all that seems a bit tricky then I have made a three minute tutorial on how to do it.

At Learning at School Kevin Honeycutt suggested that we make learning rewindable- here I have done just that.

If you get stuck you can rewind, pause or stop the video while you practice.

Make it full screen by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of the video if you want a better view.

 

Posted in Blogging, Collaboration, How To, Learning | 4 Comments »

What I want my teachers to know about me

Posted by Allanah King on 28th January 2012

At the end of last year I asked my Year Four students to record their thoughts on an open Google Presentation

What were the five things that they wanted their new teacher in Year Five to know about them.

Here is the link to our blog with the embedded Google Presentation.

Have a flick through- the kids wrote some fun stuff.

All well and good. I was reading the class blog of new Twitter follower Hineata Blair from Hamilton East School this morning and was thrilled to see that she is intending to use that sort of idea with her class this year. She asked us what were the five things that you would like your teacher to know about you. I wanted to support what she has done for her children by leaving a comment so I wrote my answers as an adult learner to the people who might teach me in a classroom or lecture theatre.

This is what I wrote…

I want my teachers to know that….

  • I want to be inspired to want to learn what they want to teach me.
  • I want them to understand that I might not learn in the same way that they did when they went to school.
  • I want them to know that I want to be connected to other learners, not just the ones in my classroom.
  • I want them to know that I can show my learning in ways that aren’t writing and drawing a poster.
  • I want them to give me time to play, learn and share things that I want to learn about.
How would YOU answer?

Maybe this could be a meme. I am going to tag some people to write what their five things would be. As you write your answers could you share your thoughts in the comments or write your own post on your blog and link it back to this post. Try tagging five other people to do the same and we can see how big this post can get.

@HineataBlair

@AnneKenn

@taratj

@jaminlietze

@traintheteacher

Please just leap in and add your thoughts about the way that YOU like to learn and tag others to do the same.

Here is how I constructed the lesson.

 

Posted in ICT Facilitator, Learning, LearningatSchool, Twitter | 24 Comments »

Education Review Article

Posted by Allanah King on 23rd November 2011

A while ago NZ Education Review asked me to write an article for them sharing the path I took to change my practice over the last few years using ICT.

They published it in digital form today with Issuu which I quite like because it looks like a book to read and you can zoom in and turn the pages, just like the real thing.

The whole publication makes good reading- my article is on page 21/22. Click on the image to take you to the web book.

They even added a QR code to the article like I asked them too.

 

Posted in Apple Distinguished Educator, Blogging, Collaboration, Home School Partnership, ICT Facilitator, Learning, Personal | 3 Comments »

iPad Sharing #4 Apps to support children with very special needs

Posted by Allanah King on 19th November 2011

Yesterday I had the privilege to meet a group of people, mainly mothers of young children with neuro-developmental delays who were helping their children communicate with iPads. I was inspired by their interest and by the innovative ways they were using their iPads.

The session was lead by Bianca and her young son, Kaiden, made an appearance via video. This video shows the progress that Kaiden has made in three months since he got his iPad. Awesome.

Kaiden has had his iPad for 3 months. Here is how far he has come! I had been trying for nearly a year to teach him to use his pointing finger and it took about 6 weeks with the iPad – AMAZING! The apps he is using are…. Peekaboo Barn, Peekaboo Ocean, Baby Touch, Sparkabilities 2, Choiceboard Maker (now upgraded and called Choiceboard Creator).

For those new to my blog all of my posts that share my learning with iPads can be found under the iOS tab by clicking here.

Also take a moment to watch this inspirational video of how Bianca, Kaiden and his physiotherapist work together using the iPad as a motivator. Well done Kaiden.

Bianca listed the apps she uses with Kaiden on a piece of paper. To make it easier for people to find those apps I am basically re-creating them here with hyperlinks to make the accessing of them easier.

In most browsers when you click on the link it will ask you if want to open iTunes- you say yes and it takes you directly to iTunes where you can download the app.

There is a great Facebook page called Babies with iPads which has a thriving community of people sharing apps and posting videos of their progress using apps to support learning. And this one Apps for Children with Special Needs has lots of apps demos which are great to look at to see if an app is right for your child before deciding whether to spend money on buying it.

Apps for Communicating between Home and School

Each child has an iPad that is theirs. We can capitalise on the communication between parents, whanau, school, teacher aides, teachers but writing (and emailing) quick Notes from the Notes app telling of progress.

Use the camera for stills or video to capture those wonderful moments when breakthroughs are made- share with parents who aren’t able to be there.

Simple Touch- Cause and Effect Apps

To teach swiping, pointing, anticipating movement, press and hold.

Peekaboo Barn ($2.59) but there is a lite free versionhttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/peekaboo-barn/id300590611?mt=8
Peekaboo Wild ($2.59) this is an iPhone version- it can be annoying if your child keeps accidentally making the app small size but you can cover the (x1) with a post it notehttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/peekaboo-wild/id335736484?mt=8
Peekabo Vehicles (free)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/peekaboo-vehicles-hd/id452966023?mt=8
Alphababy- $1.29) add your own photos (there is a free version too)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/alphababy/id321916100?mt=8
Baby Touch- (4.19) this is the link to the paid version but there is a free lite version as well.http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/sound-touch/id348094440?mt=8
Look Baby- free- there is a paid version as wellhttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/look-baby!/id325952583?mt=8
Baby Finger- freehttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/baby-finger-hd/id407552495?mt=8 
Talk Tom- free- there’s a whole series of these talking apps- good to pay for it so that the ads don’t keep on getting in the wayhttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/talking-tom-cat/id377194688?mt=8

Here is a video of young Alexander meeting with The Talking Dinosaur

Peekaboo HD (free)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/peekaboo-hd/id418475159?mt=8
Baby Play Face (free)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app//id430847304?mt=8
Christmas Baby Rattle ($2.59) there is a free version toohttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/christmas-baby-rattle/id408766341?mt=8

Slightly more complex apps but not too tricky

Peekaboo Ocean- (2.59) there is a lite versionhttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/peekaboo-ocean/id432050885?mt=8 
Polly Poodle’s Noisy Book ($1.29)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/polly-poodles-noisy-book/id422587929?mt=8
Wheels on the bushttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/wheels-on-the-bus/id303076295?mt=8
Sparkabilities ($6.49)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/sparkabilities-babies-2-for/id372882805?mt=8

Telling Stories

These can be powerful to record stories around what you did together and to remember and play back and share special moments.

Storykit- is free. Delete their example stories and build your ownhttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/storykit/id329374595?mt=8
Sonic Pics ($4.19) I have linked to the paid version but there is a free lite version that only lets you record three photos. Record a voiceover over your photos and make a little movie.http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/sonicpics/id345295488?mt=8 
Book Creator for iPad ($9.99) In a future update they are going to add the ability to record your voice as well.http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/book-creator-for-ipad/id442378070?mt=8
iBooks- like a digital bookshelf to put the books you have made in Book Creatorhttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/ibooks/id364709193?mt=8

Communication Apps

Choosing the right one for your child may be a bit of a mission but looking at previews and demos on the app developer’s website and YouTube maybe useful.

TapSpeak Choice ($199.99) This one is expensive but it’s what Bianca chose that seemed to be the best choice for Kaiden

http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/tapspeak-choice-for-ipad/id408507581?mt=8

Choiceboard Creator (free) make your own menu of choices from photos downloaded off the internet or take your won photoshttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/choiceboard-creator/id453988580?mt=8
iComm (free)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/icomm/id351726761?mt=8
Talkboard ($20.99)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/talkboard/id416436888?mt=8
Tap to Talkhttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/taptotalk/id367083194?mt=8
My Choice Board ($13.99) May suit some people but not the one that Bianca chose for Kaidenhttp://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/my-choice-board/id384435705?mt=8
Yes No (free)http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/answers-yesno-free/id474384124?mt=8

Thank you Bianca for sharing a snapshot of your journey with Kaiden with us. I hope this post will be useful for others with pre-schoolers and children with special needs using their iPad to play and learn.

Posted in Apple Distinguished Educator, Home School Partnership, iOS, Learning, Mobile Learning | 1 Comment »

Pecha Kucha ULearn11

Posted by Allanah King on 23rd October 2011

My laptop made it onto the big stage at the Pecha Kucha at ULearn11. Jeannette Murphy stepped up with five minutes notice and did a stunning Pecha Kucha that she pulled down from her  Slideshare. account. She needed a device to read her notes from and my laptop did the trick. With Jeaneete’s permission I re-create her Pecha Kucha here.

This pecha kucha presentation is based on student achievement and what I believe to be six positive aspects of e-Learning. The images that I am about to share are in fact visual representations as symbols of one word that I have strongly associated with each aspect. Let’s get started with this chain of paper dolls. My word for positive aspect one of e-Learning is CONNECT. What we want for our young people is that they be connected, become effective users of I.T tools and have the ability to relate well with others. e-Learners at Putauaki have connected with so many people locally, nationally and globally. Being CONNECTed in a sense, also promotes communication and equality for anyone… anytime and anywhere.

Mandala is the sanskrit word for circle and represents the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism. A group of 12 things is called a duodecad so this is a duodecad hand mandala.My word for positive aspect two of e-Learning is COLLABORATE. To collaborate is to work together to achieve a common goal and encourage interaction in a multitude of ways. It is about being active in a range of contexts. Last year e-Learners at Putauaki participated in the global One Day on Earth project that involved sharing planned activities on the 10.10.10 with people all over the world. We are now planning to complete 11 science and technology challenges for the 11.11.11.

 

Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline originating from ancient India. This is the balasana or child pose and represents the foetal position – a relaxation stance.My word for positive aspect three of e-Learning is FLEXIBILITY. This means having the ability to adapt to a new situation or change and being resilient. About a month ago a group of e-Learners took up the challenge as teachers of digital photography and Powerpoint for students at Thornton Primary. The same group who work with PCs, will this week learn 3D and animation using iMacs at the Tech Pa, TeWhareWananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane. Two of them have also been selected to present pechakucha style at the Mini GATE symposium for REAP next month.

 

Pascallis a confectionery company once owned by Cadbury, now owned by Kraft Foods and there is one New Zealand factory in Dunedin. Jet plane lollies made by Pascall are my Kiwi Kid favourite. I am not sure if that ‘desire’ has something to do with the shape or range of colours and/or whether it’s because I have the option to chew off the wings or the cockpit first. My word for positive aspect four of e-Learning is CHOICE. Including choice encourages intrinsic motivation, ownership of work and promotes student-centred learning. e-Learners at Putauaki really like it that choice is about being given the option to present using an array of e-learning mediums that can easily be combined.

 

The tōtara tree is a native that grows around 30 metres taking 100 years to do so and is noted for its root system and great girth of trunk. The Pouakani tree, near Pureora is over 35 metres tall, nearly 4 metres in trunk diameter and the largest living.There is a saying in Maori “Kuahinga he totaraitewaonui a Tane” meaning ‘a totara has fallen in the forest of Tane’ The totara is like a strong, proud warrior so for one of them to fall is indeed a great tragedy. The saying is similar to the whakatauki or proverb that is etched in my father’s headstone. My word for positive aspect five of e-Learning is INTEGRATE. Integration addresses different learning styles and supports an inquiry approach to thinking and learning. Integration is part and parcel of an e-Learning classroom.

The dandelion is a perennial, herbaceous plant, considered a weed and is used to treat liver problems. The dandelion leaves adds flavour to salads, sandwiches and teas.My word for positive aspect five of e-Learning is CREATE. If creation is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, then we want our young people to be creatively resourceful, innovative,enterprising and entrepreneurial.

Conclusively I believe that…“It is not that we can meet the e-learning outcomes of technology, it is more the thinking and learning behind the technologies as students…

1. Connect

2. Collaborate

3. have Flexibility

4. are given Choice

5. can Integrate and…

6 also Create…

To go beyond what can be done in the classroom environment that is so important.

Thanks Jeanette. Your Pecha Kucha was inspirational.

Posted in Learning | 4 Comments »

Home School Partnership #1 – Homework

Posted by Allanah King on 4th August 2011

One of the major goals for our cluster over the next year is to foster home school partnerships and I have been being doing a good bit of thinking about how we might approach this.

Tonight on Twitter there was a conversation around Ian Lillico’s homework grid concept and  Claire Buist asked if I had any good examples of how I use Ian’s ideas.

I started off by writing a Google Doc that I was going to share with Claire but thought it might be better as a blog post. So here it is…
I used to do the traditional ‘fill in the gaps’ homework but became a convert to the Lillico homework grid idea which lets children create together with their parents at a pace that suits them. Those who want to spend hours following up on a project can. Those who aren’t so keen need not go into it in as much depth. It allows freedom and creativity to thrive.

Once you ‘get’ the concept of co-constructing homework you can easily adapt it to suit your situation.

Here is a blog post I wrote last year about what I do.

http://allanahk.edublogs.org/2010/02/17/homework/

Ian Lillico’s website can be found http://www.boysforward.com.au/

I also shared some of our homework philosophy in my last year’s K12 On Line Conference Keynote

http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=606

First of all we start with a brainstorm around the ideas of things we could do based around a theme.

1. This is a brainstorm about the sorts of things we could do for Home Work

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2007/03/homework.html

2. One of the things we decided on was tidying our bedrooms. The kids took before and after photos.

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2009/05/homework.html

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2009/05/homework-bedrooms.html

3. We had a music week

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2007/10/music-homework.html

This led to Miriam sharing her incredible voice with us. Would never have happened if our homework was confined to ‘filling the gaps’ stuff!

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2007/11/miriam-shares-her-voice.html

5. This is our physical activity brainstorm.

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2007/05/our-physical-homework.html

6. Reading

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2007/03/reading-homework.html

7. ICT

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2007/03/ict-homework.html

One of the tasks was to send an MMS

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2007/03/ict-homework_26.html

And to share a Google Doc/presentation with me

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2010/05/google-docs-for-homework.html

8. Making

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2010/05/making-homework.html

9. In this one I was sick at home but podcasted what we had to do for homework.

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2007/06/homework-task-podcast.html

10. Here is what the homework grids looks like for us

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2009/03/homework.html

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2010/03/reading-homework.html

11. Here is some feedback about what people feel about the homework. If parents left a comment then the kids didn’t have to do the homework next week! A good number left a comment!!!!

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2009/06/questionaut.html

12. Kids loved doing their homework and even took it away on fishing trips!! Overdoing it slightly!!

http://moturoa.blogspot.com/2009/12/fishing-trip.html

13. And not particularly to do with the homework grid but the children used the side bar of the blog to get their spelling lists and individual spelling practice through Spelling City and used our Basic Facts wiki to learn their basic facts with downloads and hyperlinks to worksheets and Digital Learning Objects for their level of attainment.

http://basicfacts.wikispaces.com/

 

Posted in Home School Partnership, ICT Facilitator, K12 Online, Learning | 3 Comments »

Virtual Learning Network Resource

Posted by Allanah King on 12th July 2011

A couple of weeks ago I made a resource to support our Lead Teachers as we begin exploring the Virtual Learning Network Resource for kiwi teachers to connect and collaborate.

The VLN is a social learning community where teachers, learners, school leaders and facilitators connect, join virtual programmes/projects, share experiences, and develop new ways to support learning through ICTs.

Please use this VLN help site to help you find your way through the VLN and get the most out of the possibilities that it offers. The beginning video is useful in realising why this sort of learning is beneficial. If there is anything you would like me to add please let me know in the comments.

Screen shot 2011-07-11 at 8.28.27 PM

Posted in Collaboration, How To, ICT Facilitator, Learning, New Zealand | No Comments »

My reflection on using RSS to learn and develop a Personal Learning Network

Posted by Allanah King on 16th May 2011

Here is my reflection on our journey to use RSS to communicate and learn from one another.

Context
Our Nelson Link Learning Cluster is a group of thirty-five schools wide spread from Hira to Wakefield to Riwaka in the Nelson basin. As you can see we are geographically spread so opportunities for group meetings are precious and costly. We are a primary school cluster with one Intermediate School, one residential school for girls with special learning needs, one specialised special needs school, rural, urban, contributing and full primary. It can take an hour and half to drive from one school to another!

We are loosely based around The Loop collaboration of schools working on fibre ultra-fast broadband but not exclusively so.

Cluster Goal
Our goal is to encourage teachers to share e-learning best practice, encouraging reflection and sharing.

Goal: Ensuring collegial support by encouraging teachers and schools to develop reflective practices to reflect on and share their e-learning experiences.

Intentions- why did we do this?

  • To bring the cluster teachers together to share practice and see what other teachers are doing with their blogs
  • For teachers to personalise their professional development by reading the thoughts of educational leaders directly
  • To interact with educational leaders directly by contributing to conversation in comments.
  • For Principals to be aware of what teachers on their staff are publishing on their school blogs in the school name.
  • For Principals to encourage and participate in the publishing of their teachers
  • For Principals to personalise their professional development by reading what other principals and thought leaders are sharing on line

Interventions- What we did
The cluster facilitator had attended Learning at School in Rotorua some years ago and attended a workshop run by David Warlick on using RSS as a means to personalising your online reading experience.

http://allanahk.edublogs.org/2007/03/02/learning-at-school-in-rotorua/

As part of our Lead Teacher Day programme at the end of last year (2010) we had had an attempt to set up a Google Reader RSS feed but it was not as successful as we had hoped because we are such a large group of nearly forty people and not all of us could connect to the internet at the same time so many of were not able to set up and populate their RSS feed.

http://linklearning.wikispaces.com/Lead+Teacher+Nov+2010

We thought that having an RSS feed was an important way to help us move toward fulfilling our cluster goal of share e-learning best practice so we tried again in 2011 with the venue’s new wireless internet solution and we were all able to be on line at the same time. A screencast video tutorial could give some assistance to those who found the process tricky.

As a resource we used a handout by Sylvia Tolasino and the facilitator was able to share her personal RSS and how to add a READER and SUBSCRIBE bookmark to participants’ web browser toolbars. For some even being able to view their browser toolbar was a challenge.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/879523/Public%20Link%20Learning%20Cluster/RSS-Feed%20Google%20copy.pdf

We started by facilitating a workshop on Getting Good with Google where teachers were able to create a Google account if they did not already have one.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QySdG49d4zUTNb8wHmsdyzO1FsAkrYiF7EU-bDX7Ai0/edit?hl=en&authkey=CPLDjr0K#

Many teachers over the past six months had already created a Google Account so it made sense to use Google Reader for their RSS feed as Bloglines was, at that stage, in decline, and some schools already have Google Apps.

We had previously recorded our cluster blogs on our wiki so teachers were able to retrieve their colleagues’ blogs from the database.

http://linklearning.wikispaces.com/Contacts

Teachers were then able to choose which blogs to subscribe to with their Google Reader. People were then encouraged to comment, encourage and learn from other’s blogs found through their RSS Reader. The aim is to reprise the concept each following cluster workshop so that we can share our challenges and new learning.

We repeated this session with Principals at their next cluster meeting. Principals looked at the activity from the differing perspective of knowing what is happening in their school and to learn from reading the blogs of other New Zealand principals and educational leaders.

The facilitator wrote a blog post with links to NZ blogging principals and invited others through her Twitter network and blog to add any principals that she had missed. Principals could then easily see the hyperlinks to the blogs of others.

http://allanahk.edublogs.org/2011/03/28/developing-an-rss-feed-for-principals/

Challenges
Teachers and Principals were able to create an RSS feed. Some later asked for more individual assistance to make sure that they ‘got it’. This was appreciated as it showed that they could see the usefulness and purpose of having an RSS feed.

Some, although they created an RSS feed at the workshop, have not followed through to use and add to their RSS in their own time quoting a lack of time or focus on other things.

Lead Teachers are still getting to grips with the practice themselves and many are not yet ready to share their new learning with others on their staff.

Impact on students/teachers/whanau
Some lead teachers have really taken the practice on board and are successfully forming partnerships with other teachers and their classes through their class blogs. Teachers have reflected how cool it was to have their peers comment and give feedback on their blogs.

The teachers who are regularly checking their RSS feeds are learning what others are doing in their classes and are beginning to open their class to others.

Next Steps

  • We need to revisit using RSS at future Lead Teacher days to ensure that the practice becomes more embedded.
  • We need to encourage people to, once they have read their new content, to move out of their RSS reader to converse and give feedback to the authors on a more regular basis
  • We need to encourage and support Lead Teachers to share the use of RSS with their team back at school so that it becomes a regular way to share their practice and personalise their professional development.

Reflective interviews with Cluster personnel

  • Sandra Rolls: Tasman Bay Christian School

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyukDpfhwz4 2 minutes: 41 sec

  • Charles Newton: Cluster Consultant


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8c6asqr_YI 9 minutes: 34 sec


  • Cheryl Eden: Richmond Primary School



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfknbwo6x7M 3 minutes: 41 sec


Posted in Collaboration, How To, ICT Facilitator, Learning, LearningatSchool | 4 Comments »

eLearnings: Implementing a National Strategy for ICT

Posted by Allanah King on 9th March 2011

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.

http://www.core-ed.org/elearnings

Posted in Learning, LearningatSchool | 2 Comments »

Share IT

Posted by Allanah King on 22nd February 2011

photo-5As the terrible tragedy of the earthquake unfolded today in Christchurch I am at Learning at School conference in Rotorua. I was asked to do an EdTalk. Here is the transcript of what I wanted to say….

I am Allanah King. I am a teacher and an ICT facilitator for the Link Learning ICT cluster in Nelson.

I want to encourage you to share your practice and the learning events that happen in your classroom.

I taught for twenty years in my own classroom with my class of thirty children. My world was corralled by my classroom walls. I rarely got out of my teaching space and the children and parents of that group of thirty children were the beginning and end of my world. Sad I know!

We did some fabulous school work. I put that work on the walls of my classroom and it went home at the end of the term and at most it would have been seen by 40 to 100 people. Now and again another teacher or parent would walk through my class and give us some feedback and encouragement but this was rare and random.

I would sometimes look up from my classroom activity and gaze at the cars going down the highway near school and wonder what was happening in the outside world.

In 2005 I went to a course with Mark Treadwell and he put a photo on the internet really quickly and told me that he had used Blogger to do it. I nodded knowingly and then went home and Googled the word Blogger and worked out how to put my own photos on the internet.

I first started a family blog, then a classroom blog and was encouraged by the feedback of others in my own school and local schools.

The isolation of my classroom was being chipped away.

I felt a connection with others outside my school and I started learning from them and then with them. With other teachers in jobs like mine with similar frustrations and joys- just like mine.

After some encouragement I started an Education Blog. Now- as well as sharing what I was doing in the classroom I began to share my professional thinking. I could share the things I had learnt, I could reflect on my own progress as a learner. I record the professional development opportunities I had been given. I could model the things that I want the children in my class to be- confident, connected, actively involved, life long learners.

I believe we, as teachers, have what Dean Shareski from Canada calls a ‘moral imperative’ to share our practice with others.

If you go on a course to learn something thing new it is cost effective to share it with others. An average day long course costs a small fortune- reliever, cost of salary and course fees. If teachers go to a conference or course for even one day and do not share their experiences and new learning then they have wasted thousands of tax payers dollars.

We owe it to the people around us to share our practice, our experiences, our teaching.

In my classroom I have found that children really ‘get’ a concept if they are given the opportunity to teach it to others. The same applies to teachers when they share. By sharing my classroom and professional learning I have put aside the time to reflect and make my new learning stick.

When you share your learning by taking the time to put it on line you acquire the self discipline and presence of mind to frame your thoughts in a more coherent, sensible way- clarifying and defining your own perspective.

Learning from other teachers is most powerful. We can learn from each other and with each other.

If you share what you do you develop a network of people that will support you even when things go wrong.

You can and should learn from your mistakes and what might work for one person or class may not work for another.

What better way to share and connect with others than in an online space like a blog. With a blog you can reach people from all around the country and make connections with people who can support you and who can learn with you.

We are better together than we are on our own, when we share our lives and learning.

Unfortunately I found that my reading of the transcript was pretty lame and I had to wing it. You will have to wait and see what a dog’s breakfast I made of the talk.

Thanks @Jedd and @JaneNicholls

OK- for better or worse- here it is!

Posted in Learning, LearningatSchool | 3 Comments »