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!

iPad Sharing #1

IMG_1405Did I tell you I love my job? At the end of last year at a cluster governance meeting Charles Newton asked me, “Did I have an iPad yet?” I have an iPhone, iBook, iPod Touch, iPhone and some iPods but no iPad.

What was a girl to do but get herself an iPad. Or better still have work get me an iPad. Over the holidays I set about getting one and booking it up! I bought a robust cover for it from Trade Me cos it’s going to get a goodly amount of handing about over the year.

Over the holidays I put a decent amount of down time getting to know it and scouring my Personal Learning Network for excellent apps for teachers and children. Then we product tested it with family visitors over January.

Early in the new year two schools in my patch did a spot of heavy investing in iPads and I helped them deploy the iPads. I thought our learning may be of interest to others about to do a similar thing so here goes…

  • There is a discussion as to whether it is worthwhile buying screen protectors. One school is leasing the iPads and chose not to have screen protectors thus saving $400. The other school has bought theirs and put covers on. Only time will tell how the ‘naked’ iPads will fare. I will report back in three years time.
  • iPads are meant to be single user devices and you have to think carefully of how you might manage that in a classroom situation. We thought about how to individualise the iPads so that students could tell them apart by putting different stickers on them and making each homepage image different. Maybe next time I would suggest if you were going to buy skins or covers for them that you buy as many different colours of them as possible so students can remember which one they were using. They all look the same and a lot of the work or content you have created on them would be stored on each machine separately and different covers would help children tell which is which if they were going to come back to it at a later stage.
  • We physically had to take the iPads around the school to hook them up to the different wireless networks. A task done once to safe initial frustration of not being able to get on the internet.
  • Warren Hall wrote an interesting post on the CORE blog about the purchase of apps on multiple devices. It is problematic to buy apps legally for use in schools with multiple iPads. I hope a practical solution is sorted out soon.
  • At home with my iPad I made a new email address just for the iPad because I didn’t want it synching with my personal emails. That is something we will sort out a bit later. If you want to get a document or screengrab onto another device email is an easy way to do it. I wonder what other people do for this- will one email address cover all of the iPads? A question for Learning at School workshop presenters next week.
  • To take a screen grab- press the home button first and then the power together takes a screen grab and puts it in the photo library.
  • To save a photo from the internet press and hold. It saves it to your photo album where it can be accessed by other applications like Photogene and Sonic Pics.
  • To add a web-page on the home screen. Go to the page, tap arrow out icon and select where to add the bookmark.

So here are some of my all time favourite apps for the iPads… so far at least.

  • Sonic Pics– $4:19 Buy the paid version. It’s worth it. Digital storytelling at its easiest- exports as email, YouTube or direct transfer via URL
  • World Maths Day 2011– free- practice before and after the day and go live when the week is on.
  • Puppet Pals– free but you can buy extra scenes and characters. Last week we used the app to practise our mihi. You manipulate characters and record voiceovers. Kids love it. It doesn’t export unfortunately but its creators are working on that feature. To export I just videoed the scene.
  • Talking Tom Cat– free but you can buy extra characters. Tom is really cute and he repeats everything you say. Great for encouraging talking. You can save what he says as a movie for export.
  • Animalia– $5:29 Like the book except the pages don’t get all torn and ripped.
  • PopOut! The Story of Peter Rabbit– $5:29 faithful interactive recreation of Beatrix Potter’s story.
  • Running Records– $2:59 Save yourself hours of mucking about with a calculator- it does the running record calulations for you in seconds.
  • Photogene $4:19 iPhoto like photo editing app- my fav editor. I know the iPad hasn’t got a camera but you can get photos on to the iPad when you synch it with your computer or by buying a USB adapter dongle.
  • Toy Story– free great graphics- comes with a simple game.
  • iBooks– free You can save pdfs from your computer directly to iBooks. really handy feature as well as view books to read.
  • Crazy Copy– free. Just like the old game of Simon Says where you copy sound patterns
  • Draw Board– free Just the thing for it you are missing your old blackboard.

That will do for the time being but there are lots more to share and more to come I am sure.

Apple Distinguished Educator

Over the Christmas school holidays I had put a considerable amount of time into thinking about and applying to be an Apple Distinguished Educator. Tonight that effort paid off with an email of acceptance into the programme. I am humbled by the calibre of those who applied and missed out and of those that applied and were accepted. Kia kaha. Kia manawanui.

I am also humbled by the number of congratulatory tweets I got after I did my happy dance on Twitter. What a hoot. I was top trending topic on Twitter there for a moment. I never knew there was such a thing. You learn something new every single day.

Screen shot 2011-02-16 at 12.59.41 AM

Here is there press release for the programme…

“The Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Program began in 1994, when Apple identified key educators from around the globe who were emerging as leaders in the field of educational technology. Today, after 15 years, this community now consists of over 1,500 educators worldwide who utilise technology to impact how we educate students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Apple is pleased to welcome me as one of the 40 newly selected members for the ADE Class of 2011 in Australia and New Zealand. Learn more about this group of innovative educators online at

Practically it means that we go to Sydney in April for four days of networking and training for the Apple Institute in Newport. What an adventure that will be.

Here is my video that I made as part of the application.

ADE Application

Horizon Report

I was astounded last week to be invited to serve on the 2011 Horizon Report: K12 Edition Advisory Board.

As you may know, the Horizon Project Advisory Boards provide vision and stimulus to the Horizon Project, New Media Consortium’s annual effort to identify and describe the key emerging technologies that will be influential for teaching, learning, and creative expression in tertiary education over the next five years. They consider for the report on adoption timelines, and to rank their potential impacts on the practices of museum education and digitally mediated interpretation. The consortium’s Horizon Reports are regarded worldwide as the most timely and authoritative sources of information on new and emerging technologies available to education anywhere.

Lake Rotoiti

You can read more about the project and read previous reports here.

I am in awe that they would ask me to contribute. I am the only Kiwi on the Board so feel the weight of responsibility for 4 million kiwis on my shoulders. I will do my best to be up to the task and hope that my contributions are valuable.

I wonder if they would like my Lake Rotoiti photo for the front cover 🙂

Starting a You Tube Video at a specific point

I was chatting to Warren Hall last night and wanted to show him our old Austin A40 from a family video that I had put on YouTube over Christmas but it was seven minutes into it. He very cleverly showed me how to do it. So easy and it’s something I thought would be tricky. You probably know how to do it already but I certainly didn’t. I am putting it here so I can recall it if I forget. And it’s good to share new learning 😉

Screen shot 2011-02-13 at 12.51.25 AM

So to get a You Tube video to start at a specific point you play it to where you want it to stop, pause it and see how far into the video it is and then tag #t= on to the end of the URL along with the time in minutes and seconds like in the screen grab and hey presto.
Give it a try- it’s very handy!