Saturday, October 27, 2007

Interwrite Makeover Video Contest

The kids from Point England School have done it again. They are in the running for the Interwrite Makeover Video Contest.  Click on the link and go and give them a vote, their video is awesome!

Interwrite Makeover Video Contest

"Kia ora from Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. We thought that all the movies uploaded so far were really cool so we decided to have a go. The song we used for our movie is a parody of “Stop, drop and roll” which is a song originally performed by talented NZ hip hop artists ‘Mareko’ and the ‘Deceptikonz’.

This movie is a collaborative effort by the Senior school team starring a group of 9-10 year olds and our very own rap star in the making: Mr Palmer. Our school uses ‘ICT’ or ‘e-learning’ to help raise student achievement as well as to celebrate our learning.

Senior School Team
Pt England School
Auckland, NZ"

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Kids @ Conference in Dunedin

Today was a great day. We have been running a Kids Conference in Dunedin over the last two days. 100 students from all around Otago come to the Otago University College of Education to take part in a two day conference. These students sign up for four different workshops ranging from Google Sketchup, animations, movie making, podcasting, digital photography, microscopic investigations and green screening. It is a fantastic two days with students buzzing with enthusiasm.
But this is the reason why it was so special for me. My students ran a workshop on podcasting. They were the only students to run a workshop in the entire conference. The greatest thing about this is that these students are not the gifted and talented ones, they weren't chosen for their confidence. However, they stepped up and ran the workshop and did an amazing job. This once again shows the value in a podcasting programme. These students had language difficulties ranging from a speech impediment, lack of confidence and lack of volume. This was not an issue though, as they have been practicing using their voice for the last two terms and know how to speak to an audience. These workshops have shown that the skills these students learnt through podcasting are transferred to speaking in front of an audience.

In this image above two of my students are instructing the three teachers who came to their workshop.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Podcasting with Kid Pix

itunes pic
Today I spent some time playing with Kid Pix. I have being saying for a while now that KidPix is a great software for producing podcasts quickly and easily with junior children.  Today I used this creative programme to produce a podcast on how to produce a podcast with KidPix :)

Pop over to my podcast page to take a look at this simple explanation. Here is another way to play with student voice in the classroom that is within reach of most teachers with any level of technical ability.

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Inspirational Teacher Meme

Simon has tagged me for the Inspirational Teacher Meme, so I thought I would play along.


1. You are to copy the rules at the start of your post.

2. You are write, in 150 words or less the story of ‘Your Inspirational Teacher’ from your school days.

3. Name and link 4 other bloggers and leave them a comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

4. Tag your post ‘myinspiration’

Mr Pulley, my inspiration 

noddy_big_ears.jpgMr Pulley was my high school geography teacher. To me he looked like 'Big Ears' off of the show 'Noddy and Big Ears'. He was a towering man with white hair and a white beard. To me he seemed ancient. He always wore shorts and long socks with his pens tucked into his socks. He carried a box with him and it always contained magic. Mr Pulley had nicknames for all the students in his class and he 'knew' us. Which is a lot to say for a secondary teacher.  The magic of Mr Pulley though, was that he shared himself with us. He didn't just tell us about geography, he showed us his home movies of trips to foreign places. He told us stories of people and places and land masses and adventures. Everything I learned was through his story telling and it was powerful.  What I learned from Mr Pulley is that relationships are vital to learning. He is my inspiration because he showed me how to value my students and how to share my own stories with them. Thank you Mr Pulley.

I tag the following people:

Allanah K

Paul H

Greg C

Sue W

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oodles of Google

I have just watched the K12 Online presentation by Sharon Betts entitled Oodles of Googles. This presentation is a series of short videos outlining the options Google gives you for using the web for writing and storing your documents. I had heard of Google docs, spreadsheets and presentations but I hadn't heard of Google page creator. This page creator lets you build webpages and then hosts them for you. They are very basic. If you haven't had time to have a look at all the cool new tools Google has been bringing out, these simple videos from K12 Online are a good start. Just subscribe to the conference through itunes and the conference will come to you!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Information Revolution

This video from the Kansas State University does a good job at looking at the changing pace of the Internet and the way we interact with Information.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Congratulations to Rachel and crew

Congratulations to Rachel and class from Nelson for winning first prize in the class category of the TVNZ Webchallenge Competition !!

You can have a look at their website here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Inventing the New Boundaries - David Warlick

I have just finished viewing the pre-conference Keynote for K12 Online presented by David Warlick. This is a well presented video with enough to keep you interested for the full 45 minutes.

David said something that got me thinking though. He mentioned the 'digital divide', and I started to think about what that meant. A few years ago, that meant the divide between the people who had computers and those who didn't. Then more recently it meant the divide between the people who could access information and those who couldn't. However now, David points out, the divide is between those people who are connected to a network or community through their digital media and those who aren't. It's not about the equipment anymore, it's about the people. This was demonstrated beautifully by my 10 year old daughter who decided to walk in at that moment. She looked at the screen and saw David's smiling face talking away to me. She crept into the room because she expected David to be talking to me live through the computer and expected David to be able to see her. She waved and smiled at the computer until I told her it was a video. It was not too long ago that the thought of communicating with someone through the computer in that manner was the stuff of science fiction novels. Now my ten year old thinks it is the only way to connect with people. What are we doing in our classrooms about this digital divide? Are we teaching our children how to connect safely across the internet?

David also said that today's students "know how to play the information but they don't know how to work it." That's where we come in. My children all know how to pick up any technological instrument and play with it, but it is our job as educators to show them how to work the technology and the information and the connected networks for their own unpredictable future.

I have subscribed to the conference through iTunes so all of the workshops should be downloaded to my computer without my having to go to any effort (I love podcasting). Here is the link K12 Online Conference 2007

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

NZ Blogger's Cafe

NZ Blogger's Cafe
Originally uploaded by *** ICT U Can!
This post is as a result of my thinking after reading:
Bump on the blog
Tim Holt - Preaching to the ... You Know

Ulearn 07 was a very different conference for me. I have taken some time to try and figure out why. This is the 7th ICT/Educational conference I have attended in the last 3 years. What made the difference? I thought it might be that I presented more workshops than I attended and therefore I was intellectually drained. But that wasn't it, as I would hold this conference up as the best so far. Then it came to me. After attending so many conferences I have made many connections, I know a lot of people. I stop and pass the time of day with them and discuss what powerful learning they have engaged in, but it is somewhat superficial. This year at Ulearn 07 with the Blogger's Cafe, I made some strong connections. Meeting people who I have virtually known for the past year at least was remarkable. It was as though we had a foundation to build a community on. It is interesting, I have read about how the internet can help extend real friendships, with the Blogger's Cafe, I found that F2F can help extend virtual friendships. It was a privilege to spend the time with these talented NZ (and Scottish) bloggers, and I rushed back from each session to the cafe to continue with the discussions.

There has been discussion in the blogosphere about whether or not these Blogger's Cafes are a good thing.
Almost to a person, the best part of the conference really had nothing to do with the conference itself, but rather was the blog cafe. All of the bloggers talking to other bloggers. Sort of an incestuous feeding frenzy of writers not discussing the conference, but discussing themselves.

Nice blog Bob. Thanks Larry. Nice Blog. That’s quite a big widget you have there Bob. Why thank you.
The argument saying that the bloggers are removing themselves from the rest of the conference, forming a select group and spending all their time promoting themselves. I can understand these comments, but I will argue vehemently that we did not remove ourselves from the rest of conference, but that our participation in the Blogger's Cafe added a whole new dimension to the conference. It is also argued that it is near impossible to find the 'secret handshake' for this select group. I know for a fact that during our time at the conference there were many people who came up to the Blogger's Cafe to find out about blogging, and there were many people willing to share their time and expertise. For the current bloggers it was a treat to meet other bloggers, however the Blogger's cafe definitely served two functions. As I said before, our cafe was for both 'blooming' bloggers and 'budding' bloggers.
The bigger picture here, is of course, wondering how to get more members in the club. Is there some point that the dissemination of knowledge becomes so large that it becomes counterproductive?
This quote from Tim Holt is the position I was wrestling with in my post Troubled. I was so concerned about the sheer expanse of the Web community I was worried about it overwhelming me. My fault is that I'm an overachiever and if there is a blog out there then I must read it! But finding balance is important in all areas of our lives and this is just another moment in life for me to practice this skill :)

This conference and issue has raised more questions for me than answers, especially about the quality and functionality of virtual relationships. After attending ULearn 07 this year I now know the value of my online community and my virtual friends.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reflections from day one at Ulearn

Well, I hate to say it ... but I have been too busy to blog! What! How can that be? The reason is I am having a great time meeting people F2F!

The highlight for me of this conference has been meeting the minds in my aggregator. I have sat at the blogger's cafe with Chrissy, Simon, Rachel, Allanah, Ewan and Jarmin. Even though I really enjoy the community of friends I have on line, it was great to put a face to the blog. It was also great to meeting Ewan F2F after he has traversed the globe to join us here in the southern hemisphere.

Ulearn has so far been an exemplary conference. I began my Ulearn experience running a full day pre-conference workshop on podcasting. In my workshop was someone who looked familiar. It turned out to be Simon from Educating the Dragon. I haven't met Simon f2f before however have read his blog. It was a great experience. The day went well and we had a room full of new podcasters by the end of the day.

The next day the conference started with a bang with an inspirational keynote from Ewan McIntosh. Ewan gave us an entertaining overview of the issues we are facing in technology and education today. One thing he said that resonated with me was the concept of 'digital holiday makers'. As an ICT Facilitator I have come across those teachers who seem to excitedly grab hold of the ideas I am presenting in a workshop with a hiss and a roar. The problem is when I go to visit the next term the said teacher has finished with the idea and has returned to the previous way of teaching. The new learning has not embedded or changed pedagogy. This type of teacher is a 'digital holiday maker'. They take a holiday into implementing a new idea or technology and then return back to their normal classrooms or 'homes'. The teachers who really excite me are the ones who grab an idea, just one, and embed it into their practice. Then through reflection identify why that idea is valuable for the students.

Off to do more learning now. Will report back later.