Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Quick Catch Up

Well I'm back, I'm here, it's late and I should be in bed as I have work tomorrow. Both of my blogs have been a bit neglected as I have been trapped in the marvellous world of report writing!! Tonight I finished them all - yay me! Tomorrow I'll give them one final read through/proof read and then on Thursday I'll hand them over to my AP to read.

I am presenting 2 breakouts at our cluster conference in January - this is something that has come about since I last blogged. Very exciting and kind of scary - here I am hoping to sound really intelligent and supposedly inspire other teachers (or at the very least send them away with one useful idea and without having bored them to sleep!!). One is about Quest Atlantis and the other is about using digital technologies to provide children with a world wide audience. Any tips, ideas, links or suggestions for that second one will be gratefully received.

Used the COWs (computers on wheels)with my class today. We had a lovely time working with the Digital Learning Objects from TKI Digistore and working on our Quest Atlantis tasks. Then at close to lunchtime the computers decided they'd run out of go juice - fair enough, no worries there, just plug them back in to charge over lunch. Just one problem... old 1970s classroom blocks, with old 1970s wiring, plug in a unit containing lots of computers to charge up all at once and ...opps! There goes the fuse. So I couldn't charge the computers over lunch and had to rethink my plans for the afternoon. I guess a side issue of using modern technology in our classes is that some of the not so modern technology can't keep up with it, and who is going to foot the bill for upgrading everything? An interesting point to ponder. I had several disappointed kids this afternoon as the deal had been if their partner was logged in to QA before lunch then they could switch and be the one logged in after lunch. Apparently this has happened to others, so at least I know it wasn't just my room.

Other than that, not alot to add at the moment - of course it's late and I'm brain dead. So I guess I'll sign off for now. With reports done I'll have my brain back and will make sure I post with greater regularity. Actually I could do an entire post on the work my kids have done in preparation for QA - I have been amazed at the level of motivation.
Anyway, bed calls. Nite all.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

The week that was...

Well, it’s been a week since ULearn and I have to say my head is still full to overflowing with ideas, inspiration, challenges…you name it. I have been to all sorts of conferences and various PD over the years, but I don’t know that I have ever felt as inspired as I have by ULearn 07 . Maybe I was just in the right headspace at the right time, or maybe there was more to it then that – who knows. All I know is that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and that it has really challenged me to think about the way I do things. Not necessarily to make sweeping changes, as some of what I heard only affirmed what I was already doing, more to make me think, be reflective, be critical about why and how I do things.
If nothing else, through following links and ideas I have gained through ULearn 07, I have connected with other like-minded NZ educators through their blogs and through Twitter . I’d never heard of Twitter before the conference, but in true “me” fashion, of course I had to go and find out what it was. A little addictive I must say, although it is neat to be able to share a thought when I have it, get feedback from others and give feedback on their thoughts as well.
I have started to put in a place a few little and doable things from ULearn , and already this first week back has been one of the smoothest of the year. The kids have been very busy, very engaged and the quality of thought and depth of discussion from my 8 and 9 year olds has been amazing.
I have begun the online PD for QuestAtlantis , which I was introduced to at ULearn . The great thing is that our AP and another member of staff are doing it as well. One of the things I really like about QuestAtlantis is that it contains the “academic rigour” mentioned by Tony Ryan , as well as being motivating and engaging for the children. They get to connect with other children across the globe as a feature of QuestAtlantis as well.
I am keen to start blogging with my class. I have been keeping a personal blog since April and of course have just begun this one. I have to be able to present it to school in a way that shows I am considering privacy and security for the children. This is important to me as well, what I am battling with is how to ensure my kiddies are kept safe, while allowing the opportunity for them to connect with that wider, possibly global, audience. I could make our blog password access only, but would this narrow the audience? It’s an interesting dilemma – thoughts anyone?
We got a new toy this week too – a projector, again I am now considering ways that I can use this within the classroom without it becoming simply a glorified OHP. We had a little play the other day and used it to view a video about reading created by a class in the USA, we also created a collaborative mind map using Inspiration.
My kids also found out that no; they hadn’t placed in the Net Guide Web Challenge . They were a little disappointed, but when I told them that there were almost 3000 entries they cheered up a little. I have to say the standard of the winning classes and teams were absolutely amazing – some of the best I’ve seen in the last 5 years. Congratulations to all the finalists – you have done a fantastic job.
Well, this post is really quite long so I’ll stop for now. I have more to dissect re ULearn ,but will do that as a separate post or two.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Hello world!

Ok, so here I am with yet another home in cyberspace - my digital footprints must be creating quite a pathway around the web by now. I have to say, it IS very entertaining to Google myself and see what turns up - LOL!! (I love Google!). But seriously though, this is my first posting on this blog and in fact the creation of this blog came about as a result of my 3 days spent attending the ULearn conference here in Auckland. I had a head full of stuff - I had been provoked, challenged, inspired, amazed - heck one keynote speaker actually had me with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat! (But we'll go into that at another time as I really need to go to sleep soon). I had come home at the end of each of the first 2 days and unloaded some of my thinking onto/into (you choose - it's after midnight and my brain is sludge!!) my other blog, just to clear my head of some of the "noise" and allow myself to get to sleep. It was while doing this that it occurred to me that what I really needed to do was start a second blog for all my "teachery stuff" as I described it. My other blog is really more for my family happenings and scrapbooking moments. What I needed was a place to think, a place where I could verbalise my thinking, store my links and maybe, just maybe, get feedback from others to help clarify, modify, extend, reinforce or challenge my thinking. When I saw some of the blogging be done by NZ educators I was just so impressed and dare I say it a little in awe. I thought, "I can't do the teacher blog thing - these guys sound like they know what they're doing!!" However, my motto this year has been "Do something that scares you!" and taking on board what Tony Ryan had to share, well I am not going to engage in any negative self talk/red light thinking. So here it is, the birth of my second blog. This is my thinking space but you are welcome to come and add your ideas to mine, to challenge, disagree, make suggestions - whatever. So hello world...let's see where this foot print will take me.