Sunday, 15 February 2009

Digital Storytelling Books

I came across this application while reading through several blogs and wikis this weekend. I jumped over to the site and created this quick little sample book. The great thing is that they have an educator side to their site and gives educators discounts off printing out these books in hardcopy. The educator link is .

| View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

I couldn't work out how to embed the code into a post on my own. Then I saw on their site that you can automatically post it to your blog - so that is the step I have done. To write the post I simply just wrote what I wanted to say in the comments box and like magic it has automatically appeared on my site. I have gone in to add this last paragraph and labels for the post. I hope you have a play with and enjoy using it too!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Te Reo Maori Resource for every NZ class

In New Zealand one of our official languages is Te Reo, the language of our indigenous Maori people. As a classroom teacher not fluent in Te Reo but passionate about trying to incorporate Te Reo in the classroom I have made this digital learning centre to help the children (and teachers) of New Zealand learn and feel confident with learning basic Te Reo.

I would recommend that you print out the PDF version in colour and laminate - each week focus on a specific page until you feel confident. Have a good play and click on lots of things to listen and imitate the pronunciation. When the ERO (Education Review Office) visited my previous school in 2007 they commented to me that all workplaces especially NZ government departments and hospitals would benefit from learning basic Te Reo in this format. For several years I had pondered about sharing this with the Ministry of Education to "sell" but never got around to it! So because I'm so sure that I've made an excellent resource that works and that EVERY classroom in New Zealand should have a copy I'm giving it to the blogosphere FREE from my wikispace by clicking here.


Perhaps the MoE would consider sending me and my staff to the ULearn09 conference in Christchurch as koha for a resource that they didn't have the insight to create for all NZ children and teachers. In return I'd be prepare to do a presentation. Wouldn't that be wonderful! The whole staff could have professional development on the latest pedagogy and NZ curriculum. I'm sure that would be quite a reasonable cost associated for such a wonderful, much needed resource.

original photo: Maori Marae by Carmelo Aquilina found at:

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Techie-Breakie I - Reflection

Yesterday I took my first "Techie-Breakie" workshop for teachers. On my twitter the other day I got asked what one is; it simply is a short workshop/meeting before school to highlight ways in which the staff can use their laptops, class computers and web2.0 applications effectively.

I have planned to take these workshops weekly, running between 8.00-8.30am, however this first one went close to the school bell (which wasn't ideal, as teachers really should aim to be in their classes around 8.30am to ensure they are ready for the daily lessons ahead and building relationships with the children and parents that have arrived early at school).

The purpose of the first session was about using blogs because this year I have started three blogs for our three teams at school to share with the wider learning community successes and events of each team. The idea is that one class per week will be responsible for making a post of what they are learning in their class, or highlight an event. I am hoping that when staff see the power that an authentic audience has for student learning and how relatively easy it is to make a post, then they may feel encouraged to start their own individual class blogs. So a very brief post was made as an example to show the staff how to make a post.

I felt that I was well prepared, having made a wikipage of instructions and simple step by step handouts. It took a lot longer than expected as staff had not responded to an earlier email that was sent asking them to be a contributor/author to their team blog, along with a follow-up email that I had sent inviting them to come to the Techie-Breakie and to view the wikipage first. So the first session was spent mostly with setting up all the staff present with their Google Account, along with accepting their contributor/author invite for their team blog and then watching a demonstration of how I made the previous post and inserting an image.

How do I feel about this? Well I was actually quite pleased and went away from the session believing it was a success. It is only optional for staff to come to these workshops and out of 17 classrooms there were 11 teachers present, along with 2 student teachers, the other DP and our Principal; so 15 in total. I had a projector set up with my laptop so staff could see what steps to take, and a staff member who hadn't set up her accounts did it on my laptop for everyone to see, while I "coached" everyone else. I was able to go up to the screen and point out where they should be typing and working alongside staff that needed extra help. This was great for me, as a good coach should always be hands-off in my mind and the staff member should be doing! After the workshop was over, I made a follow-up email inviting all staff to go through the steps of what we did in the session by making a Google account, and accepting their invitation for the team blogs. I also encouraged the staff members present to go back and help our colleagues that did not come to coach them through this process.

The best warm fuzzy I got was when our assistant principal for the junior team later in the day made her first post to her team's blog. She inserted images all by herself and I coached her through using the Edit Html tabs to cut and paste the image to the correct position on the blog. I was really proud of her because she made a post with several images and text. I hope she now feels more confident using this feature and now she will be able to coach, lead and encourage the other staff in her team.

Where to next? Well my goal this term is for all teachers to make a post to their team blogs using simply text and images of an event in their classroom. From here I would like to introduce how to insert videos, slideshows, voicethread and moving images (like bubbleshare). At one of the next full staff meetings I need to recap internet safety with the staff and our responsibility to not break copyright by the correct attribution of sources.

photo credit: Beautiful Tools by Geishaboy500

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Techie- Breakie Number I - All about blogs

This mornig I have had my fist workshop with staff on how to set up a blogger account.
We are looking at how to add an image.Here is the image I have inserted
Here is my son and me at a school event.