Monday, 12 November 2007

Online presentation Tools

Checkout 12 simple photos of a holiday trip to the snow - very impressive - and it was as much fun as the mood of this little video clip portrays. Easy to use online application from ANIMOTO try it.

Sketching on the internet

At our staff meeting tonight, cluster facilitator Lenva Shearing, showed us some amazing web2 tools. She created her own website to explain some of the thousands of web2 tools out there for schools to utilise. I went home and registered for sketchcast (with my 4 year old on knee) and here is the result. I could see how powerful this could be in the class and over the next few weeks will experiment and comment with this site. Thanks Lenva - you're an inspiration!

Not forgetting my seven year old son... here is his first attempt. Piers has just turned 7 years.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Knowing a Change in Mindset

I have just finished being at a senior management conference over the last two days, in which the highlight was today with Tony Ryan ( - he is an inspirational person, who really affirms that we (as teachers) really do make a difference. His message was that great schools create a neuroscience-based learning environment for their teachers as well as their students. This is effectively done by being respectful of all people, collaboration, and solution-focussed rather than being problem focussed. It really made me think of my own practice as a leader of learning (for both teachers and students) and that change starts with me and spreads (the ripple effect, which he has written a book on).
However, I am compelled to record an entry to my blog to also reflect how far I have come as a learner and the changes in my thinking over the use of ICT in school. Over the lunch break I sat next to a teacher who firmly believed that having a computer lab, as opposed to computers in the classroom was much better so that he could teach the children computer SKILLS. In the recent past I too had the view that we needed to teach children skills (and at each year level you needed to do x, y, z so that by the time they got to the next year level you could just get on with it). How my thinking has changed!!! I couldn't believe how I had once agreed with this!
I now firmly believe that we need to use computers (and other ICTs) in purposeful authentic contexts which are curriculum driven not skill based driven. I know that my class does have a set of computer skills, however these have been taught when they have needed them, not "incase" they need them. I know that by the time they reach the next year level they will not be limited by the skill set "dictated" or restricted by the year level I teach, but in the practical use of ICT from the curriculum driving the use of ICT as a tool and not the reverse.
The discussion about computers in classrooms as opposed to the lab situations was interesting too, the teacher liked the fact that the children could be all doing the same activity and discuss this at a particular time and that he could "control" the situation. I guess it comes down to classroom management and the coaching model that can happen when computers are effectively used and integrated seamlessly into the classroom programme. I also believe it comes down to the vision of ICT use in your school. At my school the ICT vision is: "to improve learner achievement through the connected and creative use of ICTs". Therefore it is the learner in their achievement of the curriculum that is driving the use of ICT not here are the ICTs you will need to know how to use these and this is how...
I found it really interesting to reflect how my teaching philosophy in ICT has changed over the last few years (thankfully from now being on my second ICTPD cluster and these key principals are being firmly embedded). I am really pleased that I can identify my change in mindset and am open to the new thinking of effective use of ICT.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Trial and Error

It's great surfing the web - or inevitably "drowning" - I say this because I only mean to go on for a little while and time passes so quickly!!! I am supposed to be studying for my fourth essay in my PostGrad Dip in Educational Leadership and Management, and yet again are lured to the web! From a previous comment on my last blog I had a comment by Simon and on his blog, I discovered a short clip that he has created. It is a short, thought provoking piece to support the use of web2.0 - I hope you like it. Check out his space at . I call this entry "trial and error" because it is the first time I am attempting to put a video clip on a blog (thanks Louise at for setting high standards).
Here is a clip from Rachel Boyd about blogging with 6 & 7 year olds.

Monday, 11 June 2007

The Contagious ICT Bug

Isn't it truly fantastic? Once people start exploring the web and its magnetism, how this energy bites people and spreads.

At school recently, our ICTPD facilitator took a staff meeting on Web2 and the use of educational wikis and blogs. Since then one of our fantastic teachers has created an amazing blog at . The rest of the staff are all busy now working out how to incorporate them into our classrooms - it's great to now have an expert on staff to help us! We were inspired also by the work of Rachel Boyd in her class blog at .

As a staff we are going to change the way we communicate our daily news messages and have set up a wikispace to facilitate this. Recently I was at a seminar day for local school leaders and the presenter said she would email the chairperson and then get her to email us the resources - problem solved ( I set up a wiki for that too!).

The possiblities are endless - it's just being innovative in our thinking and putting it to use without being hung - up with all the red tape... I don't think for a second our "digital natives" are being as cautious as [us] "digital immigrants" to try web2 sharing.

Get the bug - just do it!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Presenting and Sharing

On Thursday 10 May I presented the concept of Digital Learning Centres at our local ICT PD cluster meeting. Staff members from five local schools attended(approximately 100 people). This presentation I did at the Learning at Schools conference held in Rotorua earlier in the year and at three TUANZ conferences held both last year and this year.
The full handouts for my presentation can be found on my wiki at along with downloads of DLCs that can be used immediately in the classroom programme to support teaching and learning. From the presentation notes you will be able to see how to make your own DLC using PowerPoint as a learning tool.
On Friday 11 May, I went to hear Edward De Bono speak at the Sky City Convention Centre. It was an interesting day, that affirmed teaching thinking is really important, and the earlier you start the better. I have now included my templates for the six thinking hats pages that I use when creating topic based DLCs (accessible via the wiki).

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Digital Learning Centres

An innovative way that I integrate the use of the computer into my classroom programme is through developing digital learning centres (DLCs). These learning centres are produced on a Powerpoint Show platform and can be designed specifically to cater for the learning needs and strengths of children in my class.
When creating a DLC there are three main types/functions:
  • as a maintenance programme from teaching and learning
  • as a portal to new learning
  • as a portal to new learning with guided digital experiences related

This year my school had a visit from the Education Review Office (ERO, 2007) who wrote the following in their report:

"A particular feature of the school is the use of digital learning centres (DLCs) to support learning. These digital resources are designed and created within the school to complement literacy programmes, learning across the curriculum and to support the inquiry learning approaches that are used in all classrooms. They enable students to access on-line teaching resources for reinforcing class work and to explore selected internet sites that provide further opportunities for interactive learning and/or the sourcing of new information for project work."
I was really pleased that ERO acknowledged the use of the computers at my school in this way. Although it is only one way that we integrate ICT into our programmes, it was great to see that they consider it important enough to note in the actual ERO report for the school. I am working on making some of these DLCs available on my wikispace:
I think it is important if we are using sources on the internet, we should collaborate and give back to the net as well.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

The Exploration Begins

Wow... I've finally done it... the leap into the unknown territory... to boldly go where no --- Hold on that sounds familiar!!!

Actually, I've just come off 2 days of presenting and participating in the Tuanz 2007 Education conference and have decided to take my own medicine and walk the talk...

The Web 2.0 interface is new for me... as a digital immigrant, however you have to start somewhere. I've been really inspired today (and yesterday) by Miguel Guhlin and so hopefully I can now get my school (and cluster) inspired too!

Next time I go to a conference, I will be able to proudly put up my hand and to acknowledge that I'm now a blogger! However, the challenge now lies ahead... to actually use this with my class of 5 year olds to perhaps create a wiki now and let the learning conversations begin. I feel very excited and apprehensive to take these first "steps"... but the journey begins...