Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Times they are a-changing.....

A positive sign that times are a-changing.....

One of the latest Education Gazette vacancies for the Nelson region:
(I get these via email; subscribed last year when I was seeking new refuge - still get them now even though very happy - NO am NOT seeking a new job! - I'm just nosey!)

Nelson Intermediate

Scale A Y7–8 permanent position. Commence term 1, 2008. Current
roll 378. We seek a motivated and enthusiastic teacher to join
our vibrant school.

Applications close 14 September. Applications can only be
downloaded from www.nis.wikispaces.com

Fabulous... a school using a wikispaces in addition and as an extension of a school website - and using it to host job application info for download....
who says we need tech geeks to do all that stuff for us!

Wikis are just so useful and empowering!

Well done Hugh and team @ Nelson Intermediate!

(Hugh is NIS' new Principal this year - I was fortunate to have worked with him for two years at Mapua School - I KNOW he has and will make fabulous changes)

Monday, 27 August 2007

Action Research, Reflection and our ICT Cluster

Currently the Time4Reflection Online Seminar is on in New Zealand.

This seminar supports New Zealand schools currently involved in an ICT Cluster with the data collection and review process.
The goal is to assist clusters to undertake review processes with their schools and with all stakeholders as part of the ICT PD contract. The seminar is also designed to help clusters develop evidence based practices which show shifts and progress, and can be used to inform:
  • current teacher practice
  • future implications for delivery
  • development of ongoing action plans
  • milestone reporting to MoE of the benefits of the programme

The seminar will mentor clusters in reflective practice through provision of:

  • workshops, podcasts, vodcasts, notes
  • thought leader discussions
  • effective practice examples
  • resources available for use by the clusters

Our ICT Cluster, Nelson City Schools, consists of nine city and rural schools; eight of which are primary and one which is an intermediate. We are in the first year of a three year professional development contract with the Ministry of Education.

Last week I interviewed our Cluster's Director (and also my school Principal), Paul Potaka, and made a podcast on the action research process, reflection and development our ICT cluster has/is undergoing.

Paul's contribution to the Time4Reflection Seminar is embedded below in podcast form... Sorry but I cannot locate the process diagrams that he references but it is still a very interesting interview in which you can see the journey our cluster has been on
.... oh, and you can also hear me struggling to produce my best "teacher voice" even though I have a cold!!!

Monday, 20 August 2007

Lost in translation...

Google Translate is a handy tool to use, (it can translate an entire web address if you enter the URL) although of course it's not perfect.

I just have to wonder how much gets lost in translation!

This post references my 'Why Let Students Blog' presentation (which is thankfully currently undergoing a 2.0 remix - the more I see it the more I dislike it!)
.... cue Google translate and you get this (French to English) which most of you will actually be able to read!

Here is the translated text:

The need to write is a curiosity of knowing what one will find. (Alain)

Just in time for the school re-entry, I discover this video of Rachel Boyd who enumerates the reasons for which the pupils would owe bloguer (T-Notes: Why let students blog?). I particularly retain the reference to convince my pupils of the utility of the school blogists, knowing that the image has a considerable teaching impact. In this time of total communications, the word of a professor, very factitious that it appears in the class, unfortunately lost of its gloss.

One will reproach the video for missing glare, just as the stepping of certain ideas. A criticism received well by its author who works with a version 2.0. While waiting, and always to exploit the force of the image, here a translation of the evoked reasons (click on the image for an enlarging):

The post and the comment supporting it (translated version below) makes me wonder has the message been lost in translation??

I do not know why I remain perplexed vis-a-vis the enumeration of all the these “advantages”.

If I arrived with that to convince Profs to leave the pupils bloguer (or webber!!! , because one can rempla├žer the blog by the clavardage, the email, the creation of Web pages, the exercise of the wiki, etc), it seems to me that they would accomodate the whole politely, but they would remain about it there. The Web has been there for more than 13 years, and the school does nothing but consume it.

The problem, these are not the advantages that one withdraws to be in a state of training (it does not matter what one learns), but the fact that the school is not perhaps any more the place where really significant trainings make…

Where are the pupils who, a few years ago, bloguaient like, for example, the small carnetiers of the Duty?

The school blogist? BOF… it is worthwhile right if one removes the “school” word i.e all that is attached to a ridiculous evaluation/tri measurement/.

At this beginning of re-entry, I do not have too the heart with the rejoicing.

By Gilles G. Jobin August 19, 2007 12:41 PM

I left MY comment (twice actually - DUH!) on the site seeking clarification and stating my actual intentions:

Hi there,

You have written an interesting post. However, it is a little hard for me to completely understand as I have had to use a translation tool to assist me.

You are right that I am working on a version 2.0... am I correct in thinking that you do not like the way the images have the colour reduced?

I have never been happy with my choice of text for the presentation as it is hard to read. My initial thoughts were to tone down the colour in the images so as not to detract from the message.

I would be interested in your opinion.

The argument is not for blogging to replace teachers, nor good teaching.... rather to allow students the opportunity to share their thoughts, opinions and more with an authentic, world-wide audience.

Kind regards,
Rachel Boyd, New Zealand

But one has to wonder.... will THIS message also be lost in translation from English to French??

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Slideshows will never be the same again...

I was delighted to come across this gem of a site this morning in my del.icio.us network and haven't stopped playing with it since!

Animoto.com is a fabulous new site that allows you to make a slideshow like you've never seen before! (actually like a slideshow on steroids!)

Using Animoto you can make your own 30 sec 'photo video' (or movie trailer for your pictures) for free - just upload up to 15 of your own pics (or tell animoto where to find them on the Internet: ie Facebook etc.) and then either choose their music or upload your own! (There is also the option to pay to create longer videos with more images.)

The great thing is that animoto is automatic and it customises the video to your chosen music. You just choose and upload the photos and then choose some provided music or upload your own (ensuring it doesn't breach copyright!) Every video made on animoto is different and you can even choose to remix your video to create a slightly different show as well.

Check out these two animoto photo videos (original and remixed version) embedded below of Kia Ora Kiwi's adventures down south in Invercargill and Riverton, New Zealand. Kia Ora Kiwi is an established member of our class and is destined for international travel shortly.

If you're a keen spotter, you may even see NZ famous mayor Tim Shadbolt, a real (and not so real) tuatara and even the bike from 'The World's Fastest Indian' as seen at the Southland Museum.



Now that I have finished playing and have finally got to read my feeds, I've discovered Ewan and Paul H have also been enjoying having a play!

PS- Music is 'Flash60' from Freeplay Music

Thursday, 16 August 2007

AHHHH Teacher Tube!!

Hmmmm... I suspected something was wrong with Teacher Tube yesterday when my class and I attempted to watch 2 videos from Teacher Tube yesterday... and they weren't there or wouldn't play!!

Today I logged on and to my absolute horror was greeted with this cheery message:

It certainly makes you think about the longevity and importance we place on these sites to store our "digital stuff"!

For me personally, this month and a half of missing Teacher Tube videos, spells disaster not only for the videos/presentations I've uploaded, but also for the numerous videos I may have embedded from the site during the past month and a half.

Now I guess it's a matter of checking through and ensuring all videos play.... and then encouraging people (like David) to re-upload their videos so we can all enjoy them!

My Teacher Tube Lament:

Dear Teacher Tube,
I am distraught over the loss of all these videos and presentations uploaded over the past month and a half; and exhausted at the thought of having to check through all my recent video uploads and embeds

... BUT...
I DO still feel that you are an amazing free resource for the professional development for educators; and so I will forgive you (just this once!)
Kind regards,
Rachel :)

On a lighter note, check out this presentation (embedded below) by lmacdonald that actually does work ;) It looks to be a good conversation starter.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A NZ Bloggers' Cafe!

Jane Nicholls is amazing!

I am so excited that NZ is to have its very own Bloggers' Cafe at the Ulearn07 Conference in October. There were some whispers early in July from Jane that she was keen to assist in organising it, and after some fantastic feedback, she's gone and done it!

The below is from Jane's blog: ICT U CAN:

Hey all you NZ edubloggers out there, want to put a face to the blog? The NZ Bloggers Cafe is happening this year at ULearn 07. Come along and engage with other bloggers in some lively debate about life, the universe and everything. This would also be a great place for 'budding bloggers' to come and learn some tips and tricks from 'blooming bloggers'. The cafe will be open during morning tea and lunch breaks so come along and join in the discussions. The venue will be advertised in the conference handbook and I am told there will be some aromatic coffee available!

Well I WON'T be coming for the coffee (I can't stand the stuff!).... but I WILL be coming for the fantastic conversations and to meet in person so many NZ edubloggers I 'know' through their blogs and even some new faces!

Can you tell I've got my macbook back?

I've just gone back through my last 2 posts and plugged in what seems to be at least 20 hyperlinks as well as formatting etc!

I have been without my MacBook for the past week (it has been at 'the doctors' having very minor work) and although I was able to borrow a white macbook from work (my saving grace) it only had Safari as a browser.

After nearly a week I have now come to the conclusion that Safari is simply rubbish when it comes to blogging! - No handy toolbar to add formatting like colour, bold, italics etc and no hyperlink button! Plus it's a pain when editing in Wikispaces.
I have wished for Firefox SOOOOO many times over the past week except I don't have administrator privileges to install it on the school computer- I just had to "deal" with Safari. I will definitely be asking for Firefox to be installed on the mac pod/cow of laptops at school.

But now my MacBook is back and I am once again happy with everything in its rightful place and Firefox as my browser....
makes me realise all over again how much I love Firefox! :)

So as Lee LeFever would typically say in a Commoncraft presentation:
Firefox ..... yeah!!!

(NB: strangely these 'trademarks' of the Commoncraft Show were left out of the latest presentation: Social Bookmarking in Plain English.... want to complain about the lack of boos and yeahs or make a compliment?? - click here and comment like I did!)

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Social Bookmarking in Plain English

Well the Commoncraft folks have done it again!!!

Hot off the Press and from the brilliant Lee LeFever that brought us RSS in Plain English, Wikis in Plain English and Social Networking in Plain English comes....

Social Bookmarking in Plain English!

This video focuses on using one of my favorite tools: Del.icio.us!

Enjoy with the embedded video above or by clicking here.

Also see my del.icio.us links in the sidebar and feel free to add me to your network so we can begin to be 'social' together ;)

A Random Meme

Tagged Four times!!

So I’ve been tagged by Jane Nicholls, Graham Wegner, Rachel from Bard Wired and Gabriela for the 8 random facts meme. I guess I'd better answer!

First, the Rules:
1) Post these rules before you give your facts
2) List 8 random facts about yourself
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

Hmmm so here we go....
I've been thinking about this one and have decided to give you the extended/interesting version (!)
Read on if you dare...

~ Random Facts about Rachel Boyd ~

1) I am an only child but I was always well socialised, plus I spent my final 3 years of school as a boarder at Nelson College for Girls.

2) I was born in Australia (to Kiwi parents) and lived there (in Sydney) for the first 14 years of my life. Consequently I hold dual citizenship: Australian & NZ.

3) One of my most secret passions is drag racing - I have even been awarded with a "Fastest Female" trophy (!). My husband and I are huge 'car enthusiasts' and we have a "small" collection of classic and modern Mazda Rotaries (the oldest being made in 1969)

4) One of my finest moments as a child was dressing up as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and bellowing "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!" to the teachers while pointing at them with my wand. Even though I had two working parents as a youngster Mum still went out of her way to make costumes with me. I was also famous for having fabulous themed birthday parties which Mum and I brainstormed and planned intricately when I was 10 - 14.

5) My husband, Lewis, and I have been together since I was 16!! (We only got married in January last year)

6) When I was 15 I painfully built my own website with Geocities using HTML coding (I had too much spare time in the school holidays) - I remember finding the site 6 years ago and showing it to my ICT lecturer at Teachers' College but can no longer find it since Yahoo has bought out Geocities out :(

7) Originally "Rachel Anne Shirley" my middle name was taken from the most famous Shirley worldwide - Anne of Green Gables. Also, I grew up as a baby wearing a lot of yellow as my gender (by choice) was a kept as a surprise for my parents.

8) Previous talents in my life to date have included playing the recorder, the clarinet (yes I played in a band!), performing in Stage Challenges and being a dance teacher of children and adults.

So now I tag:
  • Fiona Grant - Virtual North
  • Simon - Educating the Dragon
  • Melanie Holtsman: Once Upon a Teacher
  • Chrissy - Teaching Sagittarian
  • Lyn Ross - Catch the Wave
  • Paul Wilkinson - 24 Learning
  • Lynne Crowe - Rambling Reflections
  • Mark C - 21st Century Skills