2007 Top Five Photographs in Review

Inspired by Ewan McIntosh’s top five photo review I thought I would give it go myself.

My first is of Tiny Ted the small geocache bear sent to us from Paul Harrington in Wales. I staged this photo down at Nelson’s Tahunanui Beach- so typical of the NZ summer. Paul and Tiny Ted were the springboard from which we forged links between our classes. Children could so relate to him and he became an integral part of our day. We miss him as he is now with April Chamberlain in USA.

Tahunanui Beach on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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My second photo is of Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and I as she visited Nelson for the TUANZ conference. I am indebted to Sheryl for her friendship, openness and how she took me under wing to mentor my entrance in to the Web2.0 educators’ learning network.

Sheryl and Allanah on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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My third photo was one I shared with Sheryl as Queen Elizabeth visited the College of William and Mary where Sheryl works. The photo tells the story of how I met Her Majesty when she visited Nelson when I was a ten year old. Sheryl posted it to her Flickr account and invited people to share in my 50th birthday celebrations. That photo garnered 36 global comments. Click on it to see the story in note form. I was in awe and it showed me the power of networking.

Happy B-Day Allanah King and The Queen on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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My fourth is of a group of children in my class collaborating on a wiki and learning together oblivious of the camera- the way learning in the 21st century should be.

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My fifth is a photo taken by Jane Nicholls at ULearn07 with a group of New Zealand edubloggers and Ewan himself. It was a great learning experience when virtual friends became real life ones. Click on the photo to see who’s who!

NZ Blogger's Cafe on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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My last is one of Mum and I taken recently. Mum and I have been through a difficult time with her diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease but I still appreciate the time we still manage to have together.

Copy of 071109_Farewell_Spit 030
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I know I can’t count well. Happy New Year to one and all.

Ewan’s ULearn Keynote

Good to listen to again. Fun, entertaining and informative. I love that accent.

Zentation.com Presentation -
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We thin sliced a lot at Ulearn- skimmed across a heap of new tools and techniques. I hope that some of that expensive, great learning has ‘stuck’.

I was so busy Twittering and connecting during Ewan’s keynote that it is good to re-visit it in the comfort of home and reflect. Click on the photo to take you to the video.

The link I put here before needed a username and password but this new link is a Google Video so it is free to view. Thanks Ewan- an open educator and blogger.

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It reminds of the purpose of using Web2.0 tools- to connect and to collaborate.

These last two weeks I have started back teaching at school and using Jane’s thinking moving classrooms activities and beginning a new collaboration with our friends in Binghamton, New York via Voicethread.

Our Web2.0 connections through our Moturoa class blog hopefully illustrate some of the reasons why we do what we do…

  • Audience- our blog is heading for 12,000 hits. We have an audience. Most of our posts have comments- we are having conversations among ourselves and with others around the globe.
  • Creativity unleashed- our class podcast opens our children to express themselves in new and creative ways.
  • Web2.0 allows differentiated learning- lots of small levels for children to gauge their progress. We have just begun the Lexia reading programme at school-children love the way they can see themselves move through the levels as they master reading skills.
  • Authenticated learning gives a real context in which children can thrive.
  • It’s not about the tech it’s about the teach.

Talking of gaming Derek Wenmouth showed us this little gem.
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Tony Ryan’s Keynote

Tony Ryan

Photo by Ewan McIntosh

Tony Ryan‘s keynote had a profound affect on me during the ULearn conference in Auckland and he would be pleased to know that it has resulted in action on my return to school.

Red light thinking- green light thinking- developing resilience and self-worth- the need to de-stress on more of a daily basis. I am getting stronger every day.

I am a good person and I am a good teacher. Say it often enough to overcome the doubt.

I am patiently waiting for ULearn to post a video of his keynote to share! I want to re-listen and re-affirm.

Bloggers’ Cafe

NZ Blogger's Cafe on Flickr - Photo Sharing!The highlight for me of the whole conference was the Bloggers’ Cafe. Jane first promoted the idea and gosh it was successful.

We even had our T-shirts printed to celebrate the event. I’m not sure that Ewan thought that we were the full quid actually with our virtual toys and T-shirts and ribald Twittering and Skyping!

Jane’s photo of us all (minus a couple) is really useful as it gives links to people’s blogs- to see the links just click on the photo to get taken to the Flickr pages and hover over people with your mouse to see the person’s name and their blog. These people are all in my Bloglines and in my mind and now in my heart.

We made friendships through our kindred spirits- no digital holidaymakers here! These people are all passionate about what they do and the way they do it. Ewan Macintosh from Scotland fitted in so well with the group and we all quickly adopted him as one of our own.

I’m loving this Ulearn07

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ULearn07 so far has been all new adventures, buzz and networking with friends old and new and meeting up with people who I have only got to know through their blogs. I think it is Will Richardson who says that F2F conferences let him meet the person that goes with the mind. Altogether too true. I know how some of these people think and some of the things that are going on in their lives without ever having met them before. A few people have come up to me and said that I have helped them in some way on their learning journey and that is very gratifying for me- I am honoured. Ewan hinted that F2F conferences arent as needed as they might be but I love it that you can engage with the movers and shakers of this exciting new world directly. Not withstanding that comment but I am still looking forward to the K12 on line conference next week.

I had great expectations of Ulearn and have been looking forward to it throughout my 14 weeks LWOP.

Now to put it all together while its still fresh. I have been frustrated with not being able to check my mail, Twitter or read through my Bloglines for two whole days. I was bereft so have paid extra for internet access to my hotel room so I can do what I need to do.

These days on of non-ibiquitous internet have brought to to a sharp realisation of mylove of being connected. I kept Twittering into the vacuum via cellphone but didnt set it to receive tweets via phone as my American friends were keeping me awake at night and I needed to have my cellphone on at all times to allow myself to be reachable.

ULearn started with a powhiri welcome from local Maori.

 ULearn Maori Powhiri

We bloggers Jane, Chrissy, Simon and Rachel sat three rows from the front Twittering and Skype chatting our way through our Minister of Education, Steve Mahareys opening address. We wanted to do a Mexican wave when Derek mentioned the Bloggers Cafe but kiwi reserve held us back. Steve says some good things about NZ education and I think he is doing a good job- there you are- you now know my political allegiances!

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Then came to the highlight of the day- Ewan McIntoshs keynote. I had the privilege of meeting Ewan yesterday and he is a very decent bloke with an easy sense of humour, a wonderful Scottish accent and some new ideas to challenge us. That notion of our private space and public space was something I had only thought about briefly but brought home as we bloggers changed from open Twittering to Skype chat as we wanted to communicate more personal reflections on speakers as they spoke- we understood intuitively the limitations and nature of each tool! That is until peoples batteries started dying.

I totally agree with the reasons why we do what we do- that sense of audience, participation and engagement so obvious in even the youngest children- and adults!

Half way through Ewans presentation Jo McLeay from Australia Skyped me and was interested in having a listen so she was able to participate- I gave her access to my notes that I was jotting as I was listening- Ewan later hinted that he had read them also- I should have been more complete but they were only meant to be touchstones to my memory and I would like to listen to Chrissys audio replay at a later date.

After the presentation I had to race away across town to Sara Taylors workshop on Developing Visual Literacy and how to use Keynote08 to bluescreen photos and KidPix. Awesome stuff and so simple- she had really prepared well and gave us all a resource CD to take away. What a great start to the conference workshop rounds.
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Next was another cross town trek to Janes workshop- Thinking, Moving Collaborative classroom. What fun energisers to encourage us to move, to think and collaborate. Reminded me of Sir Ken Richardsons TED talk- having to move to think. Hey now I can juggle with scarves- the kids in my class will be impressed. I want more of these sorts of activities- we do our energisers in the classroom but I need more ones that have that collaborative edge to them. Any more links to that sort of thing would be much appreciated if you know of any????? During afternoon tea Polycom sponsored the drinks and had a couple of giveaways to hand out. Rachel had been listening intently to the speech making and got a prize for paying attention and I talked my way to receiving a Polycom Communicator for Skype high fidelity, hands free Skype calls without an echo. They probably didnt realise but they have given their rewards to a couple of people who will really be able to use them well and get the most out out of the tool! A bit like when I won my Apple laptop in a radio competition- when I was at Advanced Communications Royden said then that it had gone to a good home! Thanks Polycom. Who will be the first to try it out when I go on line??? PS- it doesn’t work on my Mac 🙁

I was able to introduce Ewan to the Waimea South ICT cluster which was an added bonus before we all headed out to the Viaduct Basin for a delicious meal and an evening of laughter and camaraderie.

A big day out!

Networking and Learning

I have recovered from last night’s networking marathon. The first learning opportunity came through a Twitter from Jeff Utecht in Shanghai that he wanted to try out WiZiQ– an Elluminate like on-line application. A number of us from all over the globe had a bit of play as we worked out together how the application works and a number of others joined us for a bit while we were playing. Dave Warlick came along to put in his 2cents worth, Will Richardson got a bit webblogged by his lack of audio input!

Jeff archived the session if you are interested but be aware that Jeff is on his own for a bit at the beginning as he waits for us to turn up! - authorLIVE Recording
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The second opportunity came through a Skype call from Chris Betcher. He was playing with Skype and seeing how many people could come and join him in a conference call. We got up to nine people from all over the globe- it was a lot of fun as we all had a good laugh and I ended up adding some more great educators to my bloglines and Twitter network. It was 2am NZ time by the we finished and my battery gave out.
It is amazing how these serendipitous opportunities come about and how we can learn from each other by participating from them. I wish I had been working on my computer as I had not yet downloaded Call Recorder for Skype on the TELA laptop so have no audio for you to follow.

Tomorrow I am going to go out and see if I can a T-shirt embroidered to wear to the Edubloggers’ Cafe at Ulearn07. I like Chris’ idea of “I’m Blogging This”! Any other suggestions???


OK- here is my latest find Jottit– a so simple way to gain yourself your own little quick web space for note taking. First of all you create a page- then you change the URL to one you like- customise the colour scheme and font- create another page that links to the first and away you go. It is a bit like Webotes but with this you can decide how you want to work- anyone can write to it, only selected people can add or just you!

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I intend to use it to write my notes about my ULearn Workshops that I attend.

  1. Developing Visual Literacy with Sara Taylor
  2. Moving, Thinking, Collaborative Classroom with Jane Nicholls
  3. Web 2.0 Intelligence with Tony Ryan
  4. Using a Virtual World in the Classroom with Jacira Meyerink and Nikki Hanks
  5. Bling4yrblog- me
  6. Global Podcasting- me
  7. What are we learning- inquiring minds want to know- Karyn Gray

Bloggers Afternoon at Brightwater School

Today I was invited to trial my presentation for ULearn07 on adding Bling to your Blog with a group of teachers at Brightwater School. It was good to be able to give the blog a bit of an airing and see if it stood up to local scrutiny and decide how it might best work for the real thing. I have thought a few more ideas for how I might best share what I have learnt. I started off with a quick run down of the features that you could add to your blog and gave examples by showing the blog posts and then we settled down for an hour of intense concentration using the blog to add the things that individuals wanted and I wandered around lending a hand if people got stuck. People helped each other as well so I wasn’t too rushed so that was good.

Working wirelessly on the Loop with internet access as fast as the world has to offer was a real bonus and I downloaded a 14MB Firefox install in seven seconds- that was impressive!


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Now I am looking forward to Dorothy Burt‘s presentation tomorrow on Pedagogy and Podcasting- I think I will have a go at a little live blogging from the event so watch this space!

Also you may be interested in the Professional Development that I have had this year so far that I have added to this blog in the top menu bar.

ULearn Presentations

I got notification today of the venues and times for my ULearn hands-on interactive workshops in Auckland in October and thought I would publish it here because I wrote the abstract so long ago I have forgotten what I had said we would do…

*** ICT U Can!

1. Adding a little bling to your blog

Blogging is an excellent way to communicate with your community and make connections around the globe.

We will take a quick look at a few different blogging solutions and then focus on using Blogger as a tool.

We will look at ways to make it as safe and secure as possible, and then get into some fun stuff to add to your blog to brighten it up to make it a resource centre for your class and community.

Best suited to those who already have a blog and want to give it a little bling!

Sky Apple Marlborough Room 1

Breakout Round 5

Limited to 25 participants

2. Getting connected globally with podcasting

In this hands-on session we will have a quick look at a variety of types of podcast, audio, enhanced and video; and different genre of podcasting- scripted, interviews, Skype, video etc.

Then we will look at how to put a podcast together with Garageband, followed by how to have it hosted on line and subscribe-able in iTunes.

One of the great things about podcasting is the way we can use it to connect personally with others in your community and around the globe.

PC users are welcome but learning with Garageband is an Apple application which is difficult to mimic on a PC.

Sky Apple Marlborough Room 1

Breakout Round 6

Limited to 25 participants

Looking at the timetable my two presentations totally conflict with Ewan’s– damn it! Viewing of everyone’s presentations goes live next week and selection in September- if it was anything like last year you need to get in quick to get the sessions you want as there are 1400 registrations this year!


I have spent the last few days exploring VoiceThread, a newish collaborative tool for recording voice with photos and inviting oral comments from others.


To support and record my own use of Voicethread I have made a new post on my tech blog Bling4yrblog along with an actual Voicethread. It takes you through step-by-step how to create a VoiceThread. VoicceThread has lots of possibilities and I look forward to using it in my class next term.

Here is my first effort with Voicethread.

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Thank you John Pearce for your expertise in embedding VoiceThread in Edublogs. You are a star.

Of course you are presently reading the blog of one of the biggest clutzes known to man! You need to make sure your Voicethread is public otherwise you will be the only one on the planet that can see it!!!!! Thanks Paul and Steve from Voicethread himself for your feedback.

Vimeo- Free Video Hosting for Your Blog

This is turning into a tech tips blog as I haven’t had any child contact now for five weeks. I have been left to reading blogs and sourcing Web2.0 tools to use at a later date and preparing for my presentations at ULearn07. After initially liking Teacher Tube I have gone off it big time because of all the grief it has caused me in the way of browser crashing so I have been off exploring a Dave Warlick recommendation. Dave is a regular contributer to his Blogmeisterblog forum helping us sort out problems and responding to requests.
Join Vimeo

Vimeo is quite cool as you can decide who gets to see your video. This is what it looks like in my class Moturoa blog. Elliott and I made this video virtually in the school holidays. Elliott is ten years old and just got a new camera. He had learnt how to make animation at school but didn’t have Quicktime Pro so he mailed me the photos and I put it together and emailed it back.

NZ Bloggers Cafe at ULearn

Way to go Jane. From the deep south Jane has organised a NZ bloggers meet up at ULearn07 in Auckland in October. Now I am looking forward to the event even more. I will be really fired up by then to get started with all the new learning and collaborative projects that I have had time to ‘play’ while I am on leave. Just this morning I was chatting with April Chamberlain from Alabama and setting up a collaboration for next term. April is giving a presentation at the K12 On Line Conference. How cool is that!!

 Jane says….

 “Come along and engage with other bloggers in some lively debate about life, the universe and everything. This would also be a great place for ‘budding bloggers’ to come and learn some tips and tricks from ‘blooming bloggers’. The cafe will be open during morning tea and lunch breaks so come along and join in the discussions. The venue will be advertised in the conference handbook and I am told there will be some aromatic coffee available!

We will need people to help man the cafe during these break times, the idea for the cafe is twofold. The first is so that we can all get together and meet in person the minds we have been reading. The second is to be of help to other bloggers just starting out and who would like some tips and tricks. If you would like to help, please leave me a comment.

I would like to kick the cafe off with a targetted discussion during lunch on the first day of conference. There has already been a suggestion of looking at the issues raised in the Karl Fisch presentations, if you have a topic you think would be a great one to get us started please also leave a comment.

I look forward to meeting my aggregator in person, there are some great bloggers in NZ and I’m sure there are some I haven’t discovered yet.”


I just got this email in from ULearn07 organising committee. I really lashed out this year and volunteered to facilitate a couple of sessions and was accepted for both.

The ULearn07 Conference programme committee are pleased to inform you that your workshop/presentations entitled “Getting connected globally with podcasting” and “Adding bling to your blog” have been accepted.

Details such as room and breakout allocations will be available on the Ulearn website under the presenters tab www.ulearn.org.nz within the next two weeks.

I am looking forward to flying up to Auckland in the school holidays (3-5 October) with other members of our Waimea-South ICT cluster to the conference at the Skytower and hearing Ewan McIntosh keynoting F2F. It will be a shame that I won’t be getting paid to be there though. I am the taking ten weeks of Term Three as leave without pay to care for my mum who has just last week been diagnosed as having Parkinson’s Disease. As I am not getting paid for the pupil contact time I am also not getting paid for the non-pupil contact time! Mum is booked to be our cluster mascot at the conference but we will have to see how it goes. We spent this morning having ultra-sound and ECG scans at the hospital. Again where would we be without the use of technology- we were lucky enough to get the brand new ultra-sound machine that played Star Wars like lazar sounds as it captured frames! Mum was unimpressed- I thought it was very cool!

Being the  digital native that Marc Prensky thinks I’m not the internet has been a vast pool of information about Parkinson’s Disease, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatments. Knowing what we are up against is better than not knowing- and ‘just in time’ learning is what was needed.

With ten weeks to craft my presentations I am sure they will be just fab (Paul Harrington). Looking forward to networking with y’all (David Warlick) if you can make it.

Embedding audio in your Blogger blog

Download Cross Country Podcast

First of all this only really works if you convert your enhanced podcasts or audio files to .mp3 files which is fine if you are OK with only listening to audio but I prefer to look and listen but there you go. Blogger is working on embedding video from within Blogger which is really cool as well.

To make the files in the first place you can use Garageband, Audacity, Audio Hijacker, Skype’s Call Recorder or whatever.

You then need to have your files hosted somewhere on line like File Den or Ripway or your own website I suppose.

Get the file location URL that will look a little like this…

Now copy and paste this into your new post surrounded by the code in red.

<embed src=”http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/7/2/1233706/COUNTRY.mp3″ autostart=”false” loop=”false” controls=”console” height=”62″ width=”144″></embed>