Enhancing Workflow on an iPad

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

Digital Literacy and Employment

This morning via Twitter Kevin Honeycutt shared a video excerpt from his soon to be published eBook. The excerpt is titled Digital Literacy and Employment. I spent some time watching it and it held my interest right to the end which is good cos I often can’t concentrate for that length of time.

I think his audience is young adults, teachers and parents. He talks conversationally to young people about the implications of being digital and addresses issues around developing a network that can enhance your career or sink it!

A must watch for anyone learning with young people. To view the video click on the graphic and wait for it to load- I watched it on my iPhone.

Kevin’s keynote at Learning at School was brilliant and I can’t wait for it to be published on EdTalks so I can share it with you. Happy also to update my trophy photo set on Flickr. Hehehe!

Lighting the Kindle Fire

CC licence Brian Sawyer

While at Learning at School CORE Education generously gave me a Kindle Fire to play with for a bit and see what I thought of it for school use. I managed to convince them that I needed to take it home with me to give it a decent run.

So here are my thoughts on the Kindle Fire…


  • On first look- it feels nice. It has a nice to the touch back on it and it’s a good size to hold in one hand. I am not so sure though that, for me that size is right. It was a stretch for me to get my delicate lady hands around it- I’m not sure.
  • As soon as you register the device the books you have already bought on Amazon miraculously appear. I don’t have a Kindle but use the Kindle app on the iPad. I like the sepia type background rather than the black/white background of the ordinary Kindle.
  • When you highlight text in a document it allows you to go straight to Google- I just noticed that the iPad will do the same thing as well as give you a dictionary meaning.
  • I haven’t needed to recharge it yet so I presume the battery lasts a decent amount of time.
  • Once I loaded some music the audio was good and strong and there is a headphone jack.
  • YouTube videos fill the whole screen and play smoothly.
  • As you bring up different books, music, apps or documents they nestle themselves into the OSX ‘cover flow’ look alike menu which is handy if you want to go back to something quickly.
  • It multi-tasks- you can listen to music while you read your book.
  • Once the photos load they look good and will rotate to fill the screen.
  • It’s heavy- in comparison to an ordinary Kindle it is much heavier.
  • Some of the downloaded icons are downright fuzzy- so low resolution that they make my eyes sore.
  • It doesn’t have a camera- even a not so great one like an iPad.
  • It’s not very intuitive- maybe I have been so well trained to the ways of Apple but I found navigating it annoying.
  • As you register the device it gives you a month’s free Premium membership which is useless cos you can’t stream the movies in New Zealand any way. You can watch the trailers which looked to be a good.
  • I wanted to see how it would cope with emailing a pdf to it that I had made. I thought I could just email it to the Kindle that had assigned me an email address but I had to go to the web and authorise the sender (myself) first. I suppose this is good in that you would only get emails from address you pre-approve but in a school setting that could be downright annoying as you would have to individually allow all senders on by one.
  • Once I had the pdf on the Kindle Fire I was disappointed with the reading of it- an ordinary A4 font was too small to read and I had to keep sliding back and forwards across the page to be able to read the text.
  • I tried to play Adobe Flash type games from my class blog and it wouldn’t. It didn’t offer to download a flash player so came to a bit of a dead end on that score.
  • The keyboard is slow to the the touch- I kept waiting for it to catch up.
  • I thought that it might have a USB hole for a camera but as far as I can work out you have to transfer the photos from the camera to your computer with one USB cord and then transfer them to the Kindle with another USB cord. I could soon get sick of that. To get the photos on to the Kindle you drag them into the pictures folder, like you would do onto a USB flash drive.
  • I like to view my photos but to find them you have to work out which of the icons in the cover flow is the Gallery as the Home Menu Bar only has – Newstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps and Web.
  • I could see there was already a movie in the video folder in a .mov format so I added another- I couldn’t find either of them again- I wonder if the video folder only holds downloaded movies which we can’t get in New Zealand.
  • You can’t buy it in the shops yet but you can buy one on Trade Me for $380NZ.
  • I couldn’t find an airplane mode for reading in flight but I assume there must be one- somewhere. I couldn’t find a way to switch the internet off.
  • I couldn’t see any way to lock the screen – it kept on changing aspect on me which I found irritating.
  • From the look of it you can, with one click, deauthorise everything on it which would be handy when passing it on to someone else.
  • Can you download some kind of Flash player so you can play Flash games?
  • I wonder if you can record audio onto it in some way?
  • I wondering about the Terms of Service for books bought from Amazon for educational use. With Apple you are supposed to buy one copy of an app per device. Is it legal to buy one book and have it readable on multiple devices should a school buy a pod of Kindles?

Thanks CORE for the opportunity to test drive the Kindle but I am happy enough to hand it back.

I wonder what other people think of it but in my opinion I would save up and buy something that did more or stick with an ordinary lightweight Kindle that you can read books on and leave it at that.

BTW I made the movie below with Action Movie on the iPad.

What I want my teachers to know about me

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.






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.


Learning at School Presentation

I am excited and a little nervous about presenting a breakout at the Learning at School Conference in Hamilton next week titled ‘Learning New Things in New Ways- developing a Personal Learning Network‘.

The conference is to be held for the first time in Hamilton at the Claudelands Events Centre and I have nearly 50 participants registered for the breakout. As I am heading to the beach for a couple of days pre-conference and I am not giving out a paper handout the resource I am going to link it here so that everyone who visits the blog can have a look as well and may find it useful.

The abstract for the workshop covers…

	•	Developing a Personal Learning Network-
	•	Twitter
	•	Blogging
	•	Using RSS
	•	Google Tools
	•	Delicious Social Bookmarking
	•	Virtual Learning Network
	•	Creative Commons
	•	QR codes
	•	Sharing your learning with others

I apologise if your name is not on my list of kiwi tweeters for participants to follow but the list is not meant to be comprehensive and is meant as a starter for people to begin developing a PLN.

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

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


Share IT

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!

When the physical and the virtual collide

The title of this post was going to be ‘When the real and the virtual collide’ but as I grow in the use of these Web2.0 tools the virtual becomes the real. Just because you haven’t met people before or don’t see them on a daily basis doesn’t mean that the interactions with them aren’t real.

I have just spent the last few days at the New Zealand Learning at School Conference in Rotorua. Unfortunately I missed the Andy Hargreaves keynote as my plane didn’t get in on time but from all accounts he was well received and his content was relevant. I will catch up with his keynote when things settle down a bit.

After quickly meeting up with some of my Twitter/blogger mates I launched into my first breakout session with Tony Ryan. I took a quick screen grab of one of his slides which was an excellent quick resource as to what I need to do to move on some of the sparkly ideas from the conference. I agree- you have to integrate what you want to do smartly or it will get gnawed away at by AsTTle tests, planning for camp, Meet the Teacher meetings ……. I have already moved on a couple of things so all is not lost. Best quote from Tony to me mid breakout session- ‘It’s all right, I can speak louder than your cellphone.’ Note to self- gotta put it on vibrate for next time! Thought of Jamin who last text me mid-keynote in Tauranga last month to ask if I had remembered to switch my cell phone off and to find out where I was sitting!! Congratulations Jamin and Jamie on the birth of your son, Noah. Love to you both.

✩ Next up was a spot of Blue Screen Magic. Like most things- its a lot easier when you have friends to help you.

Jane left instructions for the ‘how to‘ on her blog so all the hard work was done there. Fun techy stuff that you could use with kids. Thanks David, Disa and Jane.

✩ Next up was my workshop on Free Adobe Apps on Line which was done in the heat of the day. Unfortunately participants didn’t have wi-fi access of their own so the session was limited to a show and tell- not as interactive as it might have been. If you want to see the slides in a Google Presentation click here.

✩ I was in awe when Wes Fryer turned up in my next breakout talking about making enriched pdfs embedded in Google Apps for Educators and made into digital portfolios. He live blogged the whole thing which was great. Thanks Wes- that’s never happened to me before!

✩ I had the privilege in attending Wes’ breakout session on Powerful Blended Learning. We used Chatsy as a backchannel which worked well if you had had wifi- which I didn’t!

Repeat after us…. Hyperlinked Writing Is The Most Powerful Form Writing There Is.

If you’re not sure that hyperlinked writing really is the most powerful form of writing try clicking on any of the words- they link to web sites randomly plucked from my recently bookmarked  Delcious bookmarks.

✩ Next was a taster presentation ‘It’s all about Learning’ talking about unpacking the Curriculum and engaging children in meaningful dialogue about what it really means for them as learners. Good stuff. I liked that they had examples of the kids work- all messy and real. They had taken direct quotes from the curriculum and de-constructed it- just like you could de-construct a piece of text in a story you were reading as a shared book. Thanks Lisa and Belinda.

Pam Hook shared her vision with SOLO taxonomy. I have read about the rubrics before and frankly if hadn’t made a lot of sense to me but hearing her talk about it an and seeing videos of children talking about it all made it make sense to me.

✩ The last workshop was a one I aimed at beginners just talking about the sorts of things that I do in my classroom to foster a sense of community and collaboration with my class. During the session we quickly Skyped in with Brian Crosby from Nevada while he had a little classroom release time. I didn’t provide much in the way of a handout for this one but some of the key postings are here on a quickie wiki I made last year to show ERO some of the things we did. If you were in that workshop please ring me, email me or Skype me if you get lost or need some help.

Brian Skypes In You Tube Video

✩ A scary, fun, last thing that finished up the conference was Wes’ keynote. We sort of flashmobbed it with the Collaborative Dance Video that we made last year. Just as Wes was about to start we all leapt up and did our happy dance. Not to be left out Chrissy and a few kids from her class were able to join us via Skype at 6.45am from Bangkok International School. How cool is that. Wes was such a good sport about it all and joined in the fun. I am sure the video of Wes’ keynote will be on line soon but in the meantime here is a short clip of how our beginning bit went recorded on my computer with Skype and Call Recorder. If you are keen to find more look for the Flickr tag #lats09.

Here is Chrissy’s post and video about how it looked at her end. It was great fun for us all to catch up with Chrissy so far away in Bangkok and for her to catch up on our news!

After my heart had stopped racing at the scariness of doing a happy dance in front of all those people I was able to listen to what Wes had to say but again my battery let me down so I wasn’t able to record what he said but I am sure others were able to more eloquently than me any way but the two things that stuck in my head were…

Hyperlinked writing is the most powerful form of writing there is.

He aha te mea nui. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. ( In my own words- What is the most important thing? It is the people- we need to give kids the tools to be able to connect and learn.)

At the end of the day Wes, Glenda, Pesa and I had a great look around Whakarewarewa. What a nice way to end the conference- and I bought a beautiful possum and merino wool jersey for winter for half price when I went shopping on Saturday morning. Bonus!

Tweet of the Day #gr8t

For the month of March, a group of educators and lifelong learners will be picking a “Tweet of the day” and ReTweeting it with a tag: #gr8t
Hopefully, you will join us in doing this too.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to participate:
• To share what you value about twitter.
• To see what others value about twitter.
• To celebrate the power and wisdom of your Personal Learning Network.
• To find interesting people to follow on Twitter.

My choice for what to retweet with #gr8t will be a Tweet that I find interesting, or insightful, or humorous. It might link to something I enjoyed reading, or it might have something profound or even fortune-cookie-like that appeals to me:

external image File?id=d75khsb_353fn9ztxg5_b

There aren’t really any rules to participate: Find a tweet you value, and share it!

For Example, here is a Tweet I’d like to share:
external image File?id=d75khsb_354cwzv39hs_b

And so I retweet it with #gr8t:

Hey- I’ve never been the first in the world to do anything- this might just be a first! The joys of being the first to see the sunrise.

Learning at School Conference Breakout Selections

If you have arrived here from the NZ Educational Gazette. Welcome.

ImageAfter my hectic return to Moturoa classroom at Appleby School following a year’s leave acting as ICT Facilitator I am really looking forward to meeting up again with virtual NZ friends at the Learning at School conference in Rotorua at the end of February. The photo is of my very tidy classroom before it came to be inhabited by a lively group of Year Four and Fives! Click on it to see my Flickr photostream.

A special highlight at the conference will be conversing with US keynote speaker, Wes Fryer– prolific writer, storyteller, podcaster and co-convener of the first free global K-12 OnLine Conference. Making the selection of breakouts is a massive task as there is such a range of wonderful selections to choose from. So after much angst these are my selections

Breakout 1: Digital Pedagogies Presented by Tony Ryan.

Breakout 2: Title A case of the Blues – Screening now (Mac). Presented David Young, Jane Nicholls & Disa McLean.

Breakout 3: Free Adobe Programmes for You and Your Classroom. Presented by me.

Breakout 4: Creating and Managing Digital Portfolios using Adobe Acrobat Presented by me.

Breakout 5: Powerful Blending: Using Web 2.0 to Interact, Create, and Assess Presented by Wes Fryer.

Breakout 6: It’s All About Learning. Presented by Lisa Morresey & Belinda Havill

Breakout 7: How Do We Do It? Presented by me.

That’s plenty to be going on with!

“Did You Know, New Zealand”

I am back home now after an excellent few days away at the L@S conference. I have ideas buzzing around in my head and I need to get them posted before they whither.

Simon Evans hosted a workshop entitled, “Did you Know, New Zealand?” focussing on Karl Fisch’s video and we debating what it meant in a NZ context.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/pMcfrLYDm2U" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Simon used his interactive whiteboard to lead the discussion using DeBono’s hat thinking which was a good way to do it. He recorded the session with our handwritten notes in a slideshare which is best downloaded to read clearly. I was impressed with the technology.

Click here to see and download the presentation.

There was only six of us in the room F2F but more joined us via Skype and with the Cover It Live Blogging Tool. It was a very powerful session I thought on a variety of levels-not only with the way Simon facilitated the discussion, the way we brought in other people via the live blog commenters and Skype but also in the way the people in the room worked together to enhance the presentation.

As you can see from my screen grab it certainly made us keep intensely involved with the number of communication modes- listening, responding, researching, recording, typing, twittering. We really had to concentrate to do all these things at once.

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Well done Simon. It was a ‘high risk’ session that paid off.

Connectivity to burn- for the next half hour!

This morning I woke up early so here I am all on my lonesome with my ‘I’m blogging it” T-shirt and no one else here to suck my bandwidth- YAY.

I wrote this last night after a good night out!!

Today was marred yet again by a lack of connectivity but enriched by the number of new friendships made. I got up real early as the people in the next motel unit did as well!! I thought I would walk down to the Events Centre early but turned back because of the drizzle. Jedd was in the same predicament so we decided to get a taxi. While we were waiting Jedd introduced me to a Richard, a lovely man with a voice like Sir Ken Robinson. Talking of voice Richard is keynoting on Friday so it was nice to be able to chat for a while- I didn’t realise that Richard had done the TUANZ circuit a couple of years back so he knows how things are in NZ.

Getting there nice and early I got my blog posted at the Bloggers’ Cafe before the bandwidth robbers turned up and started sucking my connectivity while they checked their emails. First up was keynote, Julia Atkin, who unfortunately lost me a bit there in the middle but summed up nicely at the end when she asked “What is learning?” and suggested that learning is…

a journey
a growth
constructing and deconstructing
creating and recreating

Learning is organic, dynamic and responsive. Jeremy asked yesterday, “What do we know about learning?”

My first breakout after that was with @suziea – Lessons learnt as a facilitator. Suzie was so generous to us all talking about her role as facilitator in Petone and sharing her wiki frenzy of resources and giving us all a DVD of some of her best used resources- awesome Suzie. Thank you.

On the way back to the main venue from the concert chamber I cadged a lift with a lovely young lady from Insite who gave me a lift- bless her. She later made my day by gifting me this very way cool see through mouse from Insite that lights up in a range of florescent colours. It was a little bling for my little laptop as well.

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

After a quick spot of face-to-face networking it was off to learn how to animate with Powerpoint- OK but half way through the internet came back on and there was a host of catching up to do- hotmail, twitter, email, bloglines etc so I stopped paying attention really.

Next off to Digital Story Telling with Photostory 3- now this was more like it but I wonder if anyone can tell me a way to convert a .wmv file to something that will upload to Podomatic??????

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

During afternoon tea I met up with @tonitones, @sarnee and @heymilly. Next time we need the organisers to put our Twitter personas on our name tags. Maybe we should add our avatars, blog titles and Second Life entities so we know who we are when we bump into Scrumples or Jojash!

After one too many red wines at the after-match function we ended up in a motel room surrounded by CORE- they were swarming. They were all very welcoming and the company convivial but we ended up having a lovely meal at a Thai restaurant before a wander home in the cool of the evening.

Looking forward tomorrow to the homegroup meeting with my cluster leader, 11:15 live blogging with @dragon09 using yesterday’s link to the bling blog, a session on action research which I am really looking forward to knowing more about and the big party in the evening.

Super Tuesday at L@S

Connectivity may be an issue at the Learning At School so this post may never see the light of day. The day started busily with a quick visit to Appleby for an interview with ERO about Professional Learning & Development and life & living at Appleby. The whole stress of an ERO review didn’t affect me at all- it’s a wonder what seven days at a new job can do for a girl!

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

After listing your professional development completed in the last 12 months they asked good questions. I directed them to my Professional Development tab at the top of this blog- that saved me half an hour! Interestingly many of my learning experiences were in collaboration with my ‘connected’ friends who weren’t in close physical proximity.

Then they asked how these experiences had been effective in helping me make important improvements in my classroom teaching?

My big question that I am grappling with was how does using ICT make measurable changes in student achievement. I was heartened by their willingness to vailidate non-mathematical measurements erring more on the wisdom of the pre-school Learning Stories- I have heard great things about Greenwood Kindergarten’s work with this while in the spa last night so I will make arrangements to visit with them on my return to Motueka.

Moving on to Learning At School……

Ten of us from Discover IT Tasman are fortunate enough to come to Rotorua and learn together. I going to record my notes on


and on Thursday at 11:15am I am going to try and do a live blogging session with Simon entitled “ Did you Know, New Zealand?” based on Carl Fisch’s video and how it relates to the New Zealand circumstances. Do join us if you have a minute on Thursday.


OK – off now to find an internet connection and do a little face-to-face networking. You couldn’t get a better job than this! Haven’t got time to make my post look pretty.

Practising for Learning at School

Here is a little something I am playing with so that people who can’t be at Learning at School can join in via a live blogging session. We will have to see how it goes!!!!! Obviously- not well!

Maybe someone can help me- Twitter is down at the moment so I am on my own. I inserted the code from Coveritlive.com and I can see it all happening in the visual edit window of Edublog but when I publish I can see nothing!

I fired off an email to Coveritlive.com and got a prompt reply-

The consensus from edublogs.org users is that they do not allow iframes (that’s how our software appears on your blog) on the sites of their users. This is a very rare issue as globally there are almost no hosts who put this kind of restriction on their users. Many web based software applications are being delivered via iframe and we are hopeful they allow them in the near future. Your feedback to them would likely help the issue.

Here’s what the Edublogs help page says-

I want to embed videos, widgets and more in my posts and sidebar, but the code keeps on getting stripped out, what’s up? Unfortunately, for security reasons, you can’t paste code containing embed, javascript or iframes into your blogs… they’d allow hackers to bring down the site (they did at myspace!) so we need to be extra secure. However, you can click on the yellow ‘A’ button in your editor to embed pretty much any kind of movie and read the instructions in your ‘upload’ area (under your posting area) for how to embed other types of media.

Clay Burrell said that WordPress is the same- at least I now know it’s not just something I’m doing wrong. Clay sent me this link to a discussion about iframes and why they could potentially be bad. Miguel Guhlin and Dennis Richards have it going OK in their attempts. Thanks guys- my network is awesome. I will try it again with Blogger and see how it goes. If it works I can just put a link from this blog to Blogger and go that way. I am impressed with the service from Coveritlive.com’s help desk.

Firefox 2- the next generation

Some time ago I recommended people try Flock as a web browser but Mozilla Firefox has recently released Firefox 2 which has some pretty good features as well and is quicker to load than Flock. Image

Because it is a re-write you won’t get it by just updating the first version of Firefox. You will have to download it but before you do those of us who speak the Queen’s English should click on the ‘Other Systems and Languages’ link just under the green download icon. That will take you to a download for English as it should be written with centre, favourite, theatre, colour etc all spelled correctly.

Again as you first open up the programme it will import all your previous bookmarks, passwords and settings to make the whole process seamless. Being an Apple girl though I nuked the old Firefox icon in the dashboard and put the new one there instead. Don’t know if that was needed but did it all the same!

There are two really great features with the new version…

Firstly it puts links to your Delicious in the top toolbar which you could always do yourself anyway but is now done automatically through an add on.

And it spell-checks by putting a wriggly red line under possible spelling errors just like when you are in Word (plus the right mouse correction suggestions) when you are writing a blog post or comment or anything Web2.0 which is great for child bloggers!!!!

Speaking of who-my class of eight/nine year olds just started blogging with David Warlick’s Blogmeister blogging tool this week and they love it. I am having to check my approval tool often for new posts or comments from children and parents. The children are thrilled that they have their own password and can securely blog from anywhere. It isn’t as visual as Blogger but we are loving how we can all blog at the same time with our own accounts. Thanks Tom and Jody for their encouragement to give it a try.

If you know of any other add-ons or features of the new Firefox could you let me know through the comments.

Parent-Teacher Interviews

For me, parent-teacher interviews have always loomed large over the end of Term One like a large, dark, storm cloud gathering strength. I have always felt that parents expected instant recall of test scores, stories written and conversations held. I always felt nervous about the possible catastrophe lurking as I put my foot in my mouth and say the wrong thing!

Over the last year we have been moving from the more formal teacher-lecture type arrangement to more of a discussion. Children are invited to be the centre of attention and showcase some highlights of their learning throughout the term and set some new goals that parents can have input to.


This model is proving to be very effective- children are taking control and give insights into their thinking and learning that I would never have discovered if I had been doing all the talking myself.

The photo credits go to Kathy Cassidy from her Blogmeister blog. Kathy is a Canadian teacher who teaches Year 1/2 and links with Jody Hayes who teaches in Palmerston North who I met at the Learning at School conference in Rotorua earlier this year, who links with Paul Harrington in Wales that we link with from Appleby. Kathy and I have discussed technical issues of using speakers when Skyping.

ImageOn that subject has anyone got any clever ideas on how to avoid feedback when Skyping when you want the whole class to be in on the conversation. We are fine when we use headphones but it is tricky when the audience is larger?

This photo is of a Skype conversation we had with our link school, Cefn Fforest in Wales late last year. It was podcasted and shared but at the time only one child at a time could really join in as there was a lot of feedback without the headphones on!

Tiny Ted, our geocaching bear



This page is really a tribute to a little friend of ours who is soon to leave us on the second big adventure of his life. He arrived from 13,000 miles away from Cefn Fforest School in the valleys of south Wales through our podcasting friend, Paul Harrington. While in New Zealand he got me into lots of interesting places that I would not have got on my own. He has his own trackable number worn as a dog-tag around his neck which is his own personal web page as well.

He went home with lots of children and had his photo taken in all sorts of places. As I walked him to cockpit of the plane on the way to the Learning At School conference in Rotorua a fellow passenger recognised him- not me!

I told the children today that I was intending to give him to my friend Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach from Virginia, USA, when I meet her at the TUANZ conference on Friday. One of my Year 4 boys actually started to cry (and then tried hard to hide that he was) at the thought of him leaving.

I had under-estimated the power of the connections made through the use of Web2.0 tools- blogging, podcasting and Skype. For this young man his learning had become very personal.

How we link together

This interactive Genealogy of Influence Touchgraph website shows in a clever graphic form how the things we do affect and influence others. It will take a minute to load so be patient. It would be a wonderful tool to show children with a little snippet of knowledge thrown in. Click on one person and the web links change to show who they were influenced by. The kids in my class sometimes think of that as cheating- I call it learning from each other!

I chose the screen capture as it links to our guy, Sir Ernest Rutherford, who first split the atom in 1917. Rutherford was born about ten kilometres from Appleby School. Did you know that? The father of the nuclear age was born in Nelson! Even then he was worried that his discovery might be used for purposes that would not best serve mankind.


I liken it also to the forms of communication we are capable of when using Web2.0 tools. The resolution of the uploaded graphic is not great but if you click on it you get the enlared version and can see in visual form the inter-relatedness of human thought.

P.S. As I had this photo in my Flickr account, Mike Love, the creator of the web site, left a comment on my Flickr photo. How cool is that!!! From his comment you can read more from his blog. To add your own comment click on the picture which will take you to my Flickr photo. That is incredible. I am blown away by the power of RSS.