Sunday, 25 March 2007

Silent Reading 2.0

When I first read this post on Mark Ahlness' blog it struck me as an odd idea... silent reading 2.0.

Mark came up with an idea to revamp silent reading in his secondary classroom. He used his SSR time to get his kids reading BLOGS instead of books! Blogs written by kids... for kids! This was not a time for students to be "creating" or commenting on blogs, rather a time purely for reading them.

When I actually think about it, it's easy to see how my own personal reading habits have changed over the past months. I still consult "books" to get ideas for my teaching and units etc, but when was the last time I actually read a physical book?!! I believe I now read more than ever, but it's a different kind of reading, a kind that is constantly up to date and written by ordinary people.

This quote from Mark's blog also struck me... could this be the future for our kids?

"By the time they grow up, I bet their reading preferences will be worlds away from where they and I are now. My hunch is it will not be cuddling up with a chapter book."

Perhaps before then we'll need more computers in our classrooms!
Do you think we'll ever find cuddling up to our computer in bed to read as comforting as cuddling up to a good book?

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Comment away!!!

Thank you so much to those of you who have started making comments on my blog!

For a while now I have seen that you have been reading and no one has been brave enough to start leaving comments.

It's great to have that interactive part of the blog going through
commenting, I really appreciate your ideas and responses to my postings and I enjoy meeting people with similar interests.... so don't be shy!

Kind regards, Rachel :)

Monday, 19 March 2007

Is your mac hot??

Does your mac (specifically macbook) get really hot with use??

Mine certainly does... actually to the point of lightly burning my skin if I am using it on my lap wearing shorts etc.

Recently I downloaded smc Fan Control. It is a tiny but great free programme that lets you increase the minimum fan speed to make your mac book run cooler. It works like a charm and within minutes the mac is running cooler and no longer is a danger to me.

Recently I have also added this application to my start up list so that it automatically loads when I start my computer. I am finding that setting the fan control to "higher RPM" is proving beneficial too.

Smc Fan Control now just runs seamlessly in the background and displays a reading of the temp and rpm that the fans are running at.

Sorry macbook... you're not so hot anymore :)

Off to ischool!

Well I certainly am getting my fair share of ICT PD this year!

It seems I have just got back from Learning@School and the Nelson TUANZ Conference only to be out again (for 2days) at ischool in Nelson (not that I am complaining!).

I have been really looking forwards to these two days at ischool as they are specifically Apple based and I can get to work really using my apple to its full potential.

I have chosen a one day course on Kidpix in the Classroom and one on creating digital movies and portfolios. Jane from Nelson Central is going to the podcasting one tomorrow which I normally would have gone to except I already have done a 1 and a half hour workshop with Kirsten Beggs when I was at Learning @School.

Anyway, REALLY excited about ischool tomorrow and Wednesday... I have always wanted to go to one of these courses, but haven't been lucky enough to be allowed to go until now!

I am looking forwards to taking all my ideas back into the classroom and planning lots of interesting and rich things for my students to do. Nicky, my 3rd year teacher trainee finishes her teaching this Friday and then we have only one week left of school until the holidays. At least I will have a bit of time to hatch my plan...

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Are you blogging this???

Only web 2.0 and blogging could have it's own song!

And only some geek out there could ever think of scripting, editing, performing, videoing and uploading such a video to You Tube.

I really like this video made by user daweedrex. See if you can see how many web 2.0 tools you can recognise in the video. I've also included the lyrics to the song below!

Here's the song:

My picture is flickring around technorati.
And I just discovered I am such a newb, I'm on YouTube

Are you blogging this?
Delicious myspace then tell me with meebo
Drop my feed into bloglines, I'm so web 2.0

Are you blogging this?
Blogger blummy skobee ditto seekum suckingfish
Auctionmapper frappr zoomr feedwhip blish
Rollyo seekum previewseek swicki wink
Flickr scanr talkr cheapr soonr kitchen sink

All Ourmedia's confusing me
Maybe I need to read a Wikipedia entryAre you blogging this?
Google froogle blogger SketchUp calculator talk
Code news catalogs academic search
Finance images video alerts
Mobile SMS picasa translate search

How can I EVER get bored now.....

StumbleUpon is fantastic!

How can I ever get bored now when I have a few minutes to rove the net! Forget about "googling" the web and thinking up keywords to search for!

When I signed up to StumbleUpon (free, quick and easy) I simply considered a whole lot of options/topics and checked those that best applied and interested me.

I also downloaded the add-on for Firefox and now have a tiny button underneath my navigation toolbar that will transport me to a random site that suits my preferences and interests.

So, now whenever I have a few minutes to browse, I'll be surfing through this, seeing what interesting things come my way... I'll post the good ones to my

Saturday, 10 March 2007

I love this.....

10 Ways to a Killer Blog

I stumbled upon this interesting Slideshare presentation today by user yizmo. It is actually 15 ways to a "killer blog" not 10!!
It was used at a business seminar/conference in 2006 apparently. Has great cartoons and some important points to note about blogging.
This one, however, struck me....

It is true that edublogging requires a bit of the old passion and authority.

Passion to maintain your blog even when the going gets tough and stressful at work.
Authority to make your views known to the world and to make controversial points at times.

You can view the rest of the slideshow below. Enjoy :)

UPDATE: Cartoons used in the above Slideshow are from Gaping Void (thanks Graham for that link). There are some really witty ones if you wade through the crude and odd ones :)
The other Blogging cartoons that I LOVE come from We Blog Cartoons.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

TUANZ Audioconference

Yesterday from 4-5 an audio conference was held on Elluminate for presenters at the TUANZ 2007 conference.

The US keynote speakers Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Miguel Guhlin hosted an online discussion about technology issues facing New Zealand teachers. That was where my disasters began...

Firstly I couldn't join the conference
on time due to a syndicate meeting... so I raced back at 4:30 to participate... and then my school laptop decided to have a complete paddy and pack up several times! I was able to hear a lot of the conference but could not speak at all, the pages on the screen refused to load, yet I was able to hear the audio. During one time I was able to use the chatboard section to participate but this was short lived!

My favourite part (ie the most embarrassing part) was when Sheryl tried to involve me in the audio and I wasn't able to speak!!!! There were two incredibly long pauses while they waited for me to take the mike... however I couldn't even get the screen to load correctly let alone press the onscreen button to be able to talk.

This leads me to one point............ should have
used the trusty APPLE - my Black Macbook is my new best friend!! [Although it isn't yet connected to the school network as it is my personal computer] I am going to send my Toshiba on a holiday to the computer doctor soon!

Luckily the conversation was recorded so I have since caught up on what I missed :)

You can watch/listen to the conversation/screencast here.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Just for Chrys - how to make links to older posts

What a wonderful comment I received today on my "test dummy blog" that I used to demo for my Learning @ School presentation on blogging.

Hello Rachel!
My name is Chrys and I was most fortunate to attend a course run by you recently at the Learning@School conference in Rotorua.
I am most interested, after viewing your Mapua log, as to how you go about making all your older posts as links, (not in the archive section) but on the front page. I would also like to know if I am able to contact you for help or tips!
Kindest regards,

Chrys has made an amazing start to her cl
ass' blog at Reporoa Primary (sorry won't give out that web link until I check it is ok with their school policy etc)

Here's the easy answer:

For my L@S presentation I wanted people to be able to quickly see at a glance a selection of different posts that we had made last year on the Room One blog. I can't expect people to sift through nearly 100 posts just to find the dynamite ones!

In the Posting Section>under Edit posts (when logged into Blogger) you will see all of your posts listed separately like in the photo below. If you want to link to just ONE of those posts for whatever reason click on VIEW next to the post. You can then copy the link in the browser and hyperlink it in another part of your blog. This will bring up only that post on the page.
It may be useful if you have an older post, for example "About Us" that you want people to be able to look at throughout the year. This might be great if you put a hyperlink in the sidebar of your blog!


My other secret is that parents aren't often "computer literate" and have no idea that in a blog pages get archived quite regulary unless you opt otherwise. I find that often parents think that only what is on the main page of the blog!!

Under Settings>Formatting you'll see a section called Show. It is here that you get to specify how many blog posts will appear on the front page. For the purposes of showing our Room One Mapua blog I changed this so it would show 20 posts. You may like to choose only 10 or 15 for your blog however.

Hope this helps, happy blogging and many thanks for your comment Chrys!

Please post any questions you may have as a comment below :)

A new look for my blog

Well this morning when I had a little time on my hands I finally transfered this blog over to the new blogger. I was reluctant to do this before now as I had customised my blog so much and couldn't be bothered going through and putting back in all my 'added extras' like my Clustr Map, Clock, hit counter, delicious tags and more.

But now it is done! I also had fun playing around with my template colours. Here's pics of my work in progress:

My OLD blog look: dreary and boring I think!

This is what my blog looked like when I chose a new pre-made template:

(no I'm not going to post a pic! you can look around for yourself!)