October-spring is here

 
October is usually a crazy busy month for me.


It is my mum and dad’s birthday. In addition it is my youngest son’s birthday and also my birthday.


This October I have probably taken on far too much but because I have been in the world of education for 30 years, I know that sometimes it just gets like that and helps with the sprint to the end of the year for our New Zealand summer holidays. Plus it is the learning that ignites my education fire and I find it exciting and stimulating. I am passionate about teachers and their learning too. To help give you a bit of an overview, here is what my October looks like for me, without those important four family dates and all the practises in between.


Dates
Title
Links
30 Sept
Minecraft Hangout
Google Hangout
1st Oct
Launching CENZ
Webinaire
4th Oct
TeachMeetNZ google Hangout
Google Hangout
9 Oct
Present Ulearn with Wendy
Presentation
10 Oct
Present Ulearn with Ginnie
Presentation
TBC
Eduignite Citizenship
Presentation
20 Oct
Complete my chapter on educator
Blog Post
28 Oct
TeachMeetNZ /TMsydney
Google Hangout
31st Oct
EdbookNZ
Publish a book


I am also aiming to complete my Flat Connections Global Educator Certificate with Julie Lindsay. Already I have learnt that I do not give enough opportunities for my teams to get to know each other with a handshake. I have immediately remedied that by setting up a padlet for my #TeachMeetNZ project.

In addition set up systems to support our RTLB with the next roll out of iPads for their teaching and learning with students. Currently I am reading around minecraft as I believe we need to explore this programme further.

Sometimes I am asked why do I take on the extra outside of my school life, however those of you in my PLN who read this, you will fully understand when I say all the extra benefits me, my learning and therefore benefits my school. How else do I know how to help our teachers create videos, help them with reflective blog posts, help them with their inquiries and presentations and know who to ask for help or call in to skype with our children and share their expertise. Ultimately this helps them  This is because I am right in the middle of it all.


PS: I aim to visit Eden Gardens too these holidays and I hope to get my garden planted for the summer.

The tool for the job.

I have an interest in boys writing and have been fascinated by some of the stories our children write around Minecraft.
I was first introduced to Minecraft a few years back in 2010 via Natasha Walden @MissNWalden a teacher at our school. She told me that this game, Minecraft, was taking the gaming world by storm. However I had no idea what she was talking about except to feel quite scared when we were in Minecraft. Then nighttime arrived and I was not ready in and for this Minecraft world. I now realise we had entered Survival Mode.
So I learnt there was a difference between Survival Mode and Creative Mode. Survival Mode has the monsters come out at night and Creative Mode is when you can fly around and see the world that you have made. I think that if I had seen Creative Mode I might have been persuaded to take part. Natasha is one of those teachers that drags me along in her online gaming world. Through her I had seen the inside of WOW and Minecraft before they were even spoken about in lay education circles.
Fast forward to 2013 and I watched my nephew create cheat videos to access pathways on his server. He showed me a Minecraft map that he had created and has had a massive download. Normally a quiet and shy fellow, his eyes lit up passionately as he explained what he was doing and why. But again I was not quite ready with my understanding. I was still a lurker and observer.
Then Shaun Wood @mrwoodnz presented on TeachMeetNZ and I was intrigued again with the Minecraft World.
I started to learn about servers, and about the Minecraft Edu version. I began asking questions about the logistics of bringing Minecraft into our school. I spoke with our technical people about setting up our own server. This year however I have been consumed with Google Apps for Education as we established our domain name, learnt how to use GAFE at school, set up the architecture for teacher use and learnt how to set up and use Hapara. This is still a time consuming journey. So Minecraft sat in the back and simmered.
As is with all fabulous professional learning, I spotted this #educampminecraft event via twitter. This year when Annemarie Hyde put the call out to attend I could not resist finding out more of what other educators in New Zealand were doing with Minecraft.
So on Friday night, straight after school I drove down to Rotorua and joined several other educators for #educampminecraft at Mokoia Intermediate School.
You can find out more about the event here on the educamp wiki.
Annemarie created a collaborative presentation using Google slides and different people added their ideas before the day http://bit.ly/1r7vnXQ
During the day, Monika Kern kept the conversation broadcasting to the rest of New Zealand via twitter and challenged us to complete a blog post about our experience of the day. By doing this I can grab a digital badge for my portfolio. I am always open to a challenge and this keeps me motivated to reflect on what I learn.
I contributed by creating a twitter list of all the teachers talking about Minecraft in New Zealand and that can be accessed here.
Here is a folder that I created and added photos that I took during the day.
Straight after the event Reid Walker created a Google+ Community for teachers using Minecraft group and that can be accessed here.
During the day it was particularly powerful to have some students there sharing their expertise with Minecraft. How often do we see students at education events? So I thought this was forward thinking of the organisers.
However I do think that the students would have probably run the session in a totally different way. I loved the way they showcased their work.
I loved how Kassey Downward  had her students share their learning and then guided us in ours. I learnt about griefing, when you destroy creations. One student said to me that is what I was doing when I left clicked the mouse and had great fun pulling down buildings that others had created. She said, “In Minecraft we practise citizenship and do not destroy other people’s creations.”
She taught me how to right click and put the blocks back. However I probably had already created quite a bit of havoc. We got to hear too from Natalie Dodd and her students about how they used Minecraft. 
My learning from all this is to go down the Minecraft Edu pathway because of time. According to Shaun who came in via skype and shared how he had set up a server, a lot of time and technical know how is required to set up a server for the children. You can read more about this on the slides.
I had my questions answered and more. I saw how Steven Katene mapped using Minecraft against SOLOtaxonomy. I say how his students crafted their Minecraft planning using Inspiration. I saw how they shared their creations with family via hidden youtube URL. His school has a 1:1 ipad programme. I can’t wait to have further dialogue with this amazing educator.
I had gone to Rotorua specifically to find out how to set up a server and the logistics in running Minecraft at our school. There would be legalities involved in hosting a server separate from Minecraft Edu where children take part and learn. In addition, the space would require adult supervision because our children are under the age of 14. I still observe what happens in Skoodle and know from experience that the most active online time for our children is straight after school. Some can work quite late at night. Yes we can lock it down to certain hours but also know from experience is that the children will move to other social media sites to communicate with their friends when we lock down their sites. I had been mulling over the idea of buying our own space because I initially thought the Edu licence seemed quite expensive and I am always looking for a cheaper way of doing things. However because we are dealing with student safety Minecraft Edu would be the preferred option. 
Another idea that I found out is that Minecraft requires a hard drive therefore striking our chrome books out. I don’t know why I had not thought about that. I thought Minecraft was an online game and did not realise that we would need plugins to download.
https://minecraft.net/store A singe computer licence costs $33.16 and this can be downloaded. 
The Minecraft Edu Version costs $22.15NZ per single licence and a single server licence is $50.45 NZ. However with the Microsoft school’s agreement deal I wonder if this would change because of the recent takeover.  At Newmarket School, we would require 1x server licence and $22.15 x each senior syndicate student and a netbook per student. So that cuts out what I had planned for the senior team because our senior classes have chrome books and Minecraft cannot go on a chrome book.
I also see that there is also an iPad  licence that costs $8.99. However this does not work with the Edu version. I have not yet investigated if this can be bought on the VPP store. But think that this could be an answer for us. I need to speak more to Steve about this and I have heaps more questions for him. Michael Fawcett confirmed that the pocket versions could talk together. So the Androids can talk to the iPads.
Our middle school use ipad and netbooks so at this stage they are the best place to put in a copy of  Minecraft. My recommendation to school would be to purchase 30 iPad licences and aim Minecraft for the middle school. But I would only do that if a teacher is willing to take the time to trial it with her class as part of teaching and learning. Like with everything on the iPad, Minecraft would go have to go through Configurator. Because we do not have 1:1 devices we would have the challenges of saving games and a shared central location of creations to deal with.
So where to for us.


When I think ahead for us as a school I recall the weekend conversation I had with Annemarie regarding the tool for the job. As a school we are conscious about sinking too much money into one platform as things change so quickly.  The ideal tool for Minecraft appears to be a netbook, with a mouse. To make full use of the collaborative and community aspect we would require a server licence and individual licences for the students involved. We would need someone to set it up and have a teacher dedicated to be an online moderator.  The alternative is to have it set up on the ipads but like with everything on an iPad, there are challenges for sharing because of the ages of our children and because they do not have 1:1 ipads.
If someone can talk me through a workaround, I would love to discuss this more. I am @vanschaijik on twitter.


Teachers at Newmarket School, if you have any further ideas, do let me know. My thinking around Minecraft for learning is how absolutely fabulous. We all know that learning is a social activity and what better way can we hook in our children with learning then with connecting, collaborating, creating and sharing in a community environment using a space that they love and several already know so well.


Reid, you were looking for a further challenge after completing your Code challenges. How about if we go in together as educators into the Minecraft world and create something for our own learning. Maybe we could create our ideal school. I would put my hand up for that.


Annemarie, Monika, Kassey, Steve thanks heaps for organising an amazing day of learning for us. Unfortunately I have come away with more questions that fortunately I can ask on the new Minecraft community.
To find out more about Mincraft in New Zealand Schools, Visit the site created.To find out more about #educampminecraft, Visit the slides created.

To find out more about education licences, Visit the Minecraft Edu Wiki space.
The big news of the weekend was that  Minecraft has just been sold to Microsoft. Delving a little into the Minecraft history brings up two names.

Markus Persson @NotchAlexej Creator of Minecraft. @jeb_ Lead developer for Minecraft



Connected Educator



The Connected Educator at Newmarket School.
Very soon Dr Wendy Kofoed and myself are presenting at Ulearn14. Our presentation centres around our teachers. The title of our presentation is ‘Before collaboration teachers need to make connections.’ Do join us at Ulearn. We are Breakout Four A on 09 Oct 2014 at 13.45-14.15. This post has developed as part of my teacher inquiry around ‘Connected Educators at Newmarket School.’
In our school’s revised strategic plan, one of our guiding principles is Whangaungatanga or connectedness. As Wendy and staff have been working at crafting our strategic plan I have been revisiting my own understanding of whangaungatanga. For me as an efellow that is about my understanding of hyperconnectivity which is all about the relationships we build and how we build them. The Samoan word for connectedness is Va Fealofani and in Maori it is Whanaungatanga.
So some of my own questions include:
·                What does a Connected Educator at Newmarket School look like?
·                What tools do they use and why?
·                How do they share what they are learning?
As I have been thinking and reflecting on connectedness Wendy has been looking at the big picture. Her own inquiry centres around ‘Challenging Learning Design.’ I look forward to her sharing her own inquiry.
At Newmarket one concept we have is whakatauki which is sharing our stories. On our boundaries and dotted within our school we have Harakeke growing. In the springtime when the Harakeke flowers we have Tui come and drink the nectar. So I begin my post with the following proverb and have changed the word kōmako for Tui because we do not have bellbirds.
Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei whea te Tui e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau;
He aha te mea nui o te Ao?
Māku e kī atu
he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
If the heart of the harakeke was removed,
Where would the Tui sing?
If I was asked,
What is the most important thing in the world”?
I would say
It is people, it is people, it is people
If I frame this post around the current three school values I am already confident about our presentation focus. Our three values are whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga.
I use these concepts and their definition to frame my current thinking around Connected Educators.
What is a Connected Educator at Newmarket School?
Whanaungatanga – Connectedness
Being connected requires learners to develop a secure sense of their own identity and agency to think and work towards where their potential might lie.
Newmarket School is already a strong learning community that collaboratively constructs knowledge to form a foundation for learning. In order to achieve this we aim for all our teachers to be connected educators. A Connected educator at Newmarket School understands the concept of whanaungatanga. They are someone who focuses on building relationships with each other, our community and our children.
A connected educator at Newmarket School knows how to use the managed online tools to find people and how to connect with them. They think carefully about the dynamics of interactions. They actively use Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google+, LinkedIn, and other media tools to make connections and to build their own personal learning network. Because we are in New Zealand a connected educator at Newmarket School’s learning kete includes some New Zealand managed tools such as Pond, Virtual Learning Network, Myportfolio and the School Google+ community to find other New Zealand educators and to actively connect with them and build learning relationships.

What tools do they use and why?
Manaakitanga  – Generosity of spirit
Developing the ability to walk in others’ shoes which includes seeing issues from others’ perspectives and thinking carefully about the dynamics of interactions.
A connected educator at Newmarket school knows how to use and take the tools from their kete to move their practice forward. They know how to get the learning needed to improve the craft of teaching. A connected educator at Newmarket School knows how to use Google Apps for Education to crowdsource and share ideas. They are participants in online learning communities that can be found on the Virtual Learning Network and via Google Apps for Education. They take part in twitter chats such as #edchatnz to connect nationally with other New Zealand educators. They know which chats connect them with educators globally. They use a wiki, blog and or google sites as a sandbox to test their learning with online tools and show what has been learnt. They attend online New Zealand webinar such as the Virtual Learning Network monthly sessions. They curate their own learning using Pond and make connections with other New Zealand educators to share what has been found and learnt online. They know how to bring back what they have found and learnt online and share it with their school community via a reflective educator blog. Personal learning is transparent, visible and accessible by all.

How do they share what they are learning?

Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship
Ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness of actions in environments both local and distant.
A connected educator at Newmarket school knows how to build their community of practise that has active participants like guest speakers and where everyone co constructs knowledge. A great example of this is #TeachMeetNZ that takes place each term.  They know how to reflects on what they have learnt and make this available for all via a blog, Google Doc, wiki and or a site.  

I began this post with a whakatauki and I end with a whakatauki.
·                Ka rongo, ka wareware
·                Ka kite, ka mahara
·                Engari, mā te mahi ka mōhio.
·                I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, but through doing, I know.
Overall a connected educator at Newmarket School knows how to grow as a professional and to empower each other and their students to build their own personal learning networks to learn using the technologies that are available. Much is learnt from each other, with each other, and with the children that they teach.

As an update, a few hours after writing this, I revisited some of the education terms that have been popular in recent times. I realised that I have been doing the same thing and that is highlighting a key education term. What the originators have done is take a key word and added a descriptor to it to make it sound different. However the key word it self is fine if we view it through an extended abstract lens. Those of you who are SOLO Taxonomy educators will know what I am talking about. I created a visual to better describe what I mean.
So returning to Connected Educator and the whole point of this blog post, I finish with ‘ A Connected Educator at Newmarket School is a Newmarket School Educator.’ 

(When I write I create a rubric from Pam Hook’s site using the SOLO Taxonomy Rubric Creator. 
I use SOLO Taxonomy to frame my thinking and clarify the direction of my inquiry by asking clearer questions. Here is my Connected Educator rubric.)




Juväskylä- Centre of Finnish Education

Friday 16th of August 2013
My goodness, what an absolutely amazing day I have had today visiting Finnish Schools.
What did I learn, the way the educators work collaboratively with each other and across schools. I learnt how independent the children are and I saw how they usually found their own way to school by bike, walking or bus. I heard about WILMA that is a Finnish Educational Internet Portal. Parents receive information on matters concerning their child’s education through this Internet portal. At the start of the year students’ guardians receive their own pupil-specific user ID for Wilma.
I visited Jyvaskyla, which is about 3 hours North of Finland. I spent a night there so that I could have a whole day of visiting schools.
How did this all come about. Last year I had the privilege of attending a talk by Pasi Sahlberg. I had already heard and read about the amazing Finnish education system and by then I had received a TeachNZ sabbatical for education.
I asked Pasi if it was ok to connect me with some educators which he promptly did.
With my principal’s blessings I began making connections.
Online I started watching out for Finnish Educators and because I follow Pasi I began to observe who he was speaking to and who was responding.
So via twitter I made connnections with Timo Ilomäki (@Ilotimo) who began broadcasting for me.
Then I added Finland to my places of visit.
As my time in Helsinki grew closer I made contact with Timo who suggested if I made the trip to Jyvaskyla from Helsinki he would make school contacts for me.  So I did. 
Once I researched the location of Jyvaskyla I learnt that it lay in the heart of the lake district therefore I added an extra day on to do some sight seeing and a lake cruise. I was hoping to have a lake swim.

Arriving in Jyvaskyla was an adventure in itself. Teachers you will be pleased to know I found my way without using a simm card on my ipad. I even relearnt to follow a paper map and make F2F contact by asking people for directions and sometimes using sign language to be understood. For example I had a haircut in Jyvaskula and was able to get a cut and blow wave and pay for it communicating as best as I could in single word Finnish and a lot of laughter.
My hotel was a self-service hotel know as Omena Hotel in Vapaudenkatu. No reception, no booking in, no people to greet me on arrival. All codes and cameras.
I went for a long walk to the lake and around a little bit and decide to take a lakeside cruise the next day. However other plans were for me as I woke to a day of rain and wind. So I took the opportunity of visiting the Jyvaskyla City library where I met the Director of libraries for the region.
Her name was Seija Laitnen- Kuisma and she informed me that there were 14 branches of library in the area with 3 mobile library units. The libraries in the region serviced 80% of residents. Each resident took out an average of 18 books per year and visited their local library 10 time. She also explained that their website was visited 20x per annum per head of population. From data gathered people who used library Internet services also had Internet at home. People who did not have Internet at home did not necessarily use the Internet at the library.
The libraries experience 2,000 visits per day.
Now for the library education information and generally schools do not have a school library or if they do school libraries house generally small collections. The schools are encouraged to use the local libraries and they do. The libraries offer a library certificate that the children can work for depending on their reading level and the criteria involved. Yes children from as young as 7 years old right up to young adults earn their awards. I was shown around the library and two areas jumped out at me. The library caters for the language learners in their communities offering books, and translated pamphlets into several community languages. The library also offers e-learning training and the most popular courses include Facebook and how to book travel online. The courses run almost weekly and the 16 places are generally booked out.
Having been a teacher with library responsibilities I was grateful for the time and patience shown me with all my questions.
After visiting the library I venture out into the poring rain and visited the local Town Church known as Seurakunta. The church has 100,000 members and is the largest parish in the Jyvaskyla region.
 
From there I made my way to the Craft Museum of Finland or Suomen Käsityön Museowhere I visited the area where the National Costumes of Finland are housed. I only wished that I could purchase a doll from the area as I have been collecting dolls in national costumes for ever. The museum had hands on areas where I could make and create a sampler using tools and resources readily available.
I loved seeing the felt handmade boots and see the tools made from deer antlers.
Later on I had a wonder around the Forum mall and saw similar items for purchase as we have in New Zealand and some very different items too. However room in my suitcase is an ongoing challenge.
Near the hotel I found a Finnish hairdresser who agreed to give me a haircut. Something I desperately needed. On par with New Zealand similar prices. Lampka did a great job and in addition gave me an amazing head massage and hopefully this will last me until I see my own hairdresser again.
I picked up a local salad with bread and returned to my room for dinner and a little communication catch up.
School Visits the following day
Timo picked me up early the following day. I heard how when he was at elementary school that he had the same teacher for six years but that was slowly changing. Sometimes the students have the same teacher for about three years. The school we visited had a kindergarten area attached. I was struck at how many bikes I saw. We arrived as the last of the children were arriving for the morning on their bikes.
Our first stop was to meet their school principal, Pasi. The school did not yet have WIFI but they were working on it and currently the elementary school internet system was controlled by a central ICT company. Pasi said that their school had about 10 % migrant population with mostly Russian immigrants and a few from other countries. He explained that schools were self managing but more and more there was a movement towards central governing. I found out that each class had two standalone machines and a school lab for other ICT work.
Next we visited a class of 9 year old children where I was placed in front of the 9 year old children and they asked me questions about New Zealand.
Some questions included what were our national sport, animals, and temperature and about the school I worked at. When I told them that in Auckland the temperature was as low as 14C in the winter, they repeatedly asked if that was minus or plus. When I explained that our winters were not cold enough to freeze water and that I loved to play hockey, I could see confusion but did not make the connection that hockey to them was ice hockey. I only realised after when I visited a high school with a strong Ice Hockey Team. When I got home I followed my twitter friends and some shared that in winter it was -20C. I cannot even begin to imagine the temperature being that cold.
I explained about how small Newmarket School was and how fascinated I found that many children in Finland rode to school independently from a young age. I told them about New Zealand children taking their own lunch to school, how many of our children are driven to school and the hours of schooling. They were surprised at how little break time we had. They wanted to know how many languages were taught in primary school and did the children get much homework. I also said how different I found their houses because they had no eaves. The children wanted to know if we had a kindergarten on our school site and if we had a playground. I told them that soon we would loose more playground as our school was increasing in size and how lucky they were to have such a large playing area. What struck me about the discussion was how engaged the children were in my conversation even though I was answering their questions in English and their teacher was translating for me and for them.
The next school involved a trip to Muurame to the Upper secondary school where I finally met Aki Puustinen @apuustin Headmaster of Muurame High School. Aki helps facilitate #finnedchat and is easily found on twitter sharing his knowledge of entrepreneurship, etc and you can read his leadership blog at  Leadership Think Tank blog.
 
Aki, myself and Timo my twitter buddies.

Aki showed me his school and what struck me was how different the staff room was in comparison to ours in New Zealand. The staff room were made up of two areas. One was for eating and the other was where teachers worked and had their own personal shared space.

The school had stand-alone machines but the hard drives were in the cloud. Another idea included a space for teachers to hang their coats and exchange outside shoes for inside shoes. 
This school leader shared how each staff member had an ipad and their environmental goal was to reduce the use of paper in their school. Each Grade 1 and 2students were given a school owned ipad for the duration of their time at the school. Teachers were encouraged to use double sides when photocopying. Parents were invited to information evenings about 4x time per year. Aki said that teacher use of Facebook has been an amazing resource to develop collegiality and sharing between teachers both within school and across schools. He said that when they had staff meetings student representatives joined in teachers staff meetings but left if personal information was discussed. There were few migrant students in the school but they did have some exchange students.
                                                                                  
Muurame school had won their sustainability certificate and Aki explained the process for accreditation via the OKKA foundation. He showed me how all teachers learning is transparent and how the areas of targeted learning are placed publicly and teachers add their name when they have undertaken a course, or professional learning and date it. I saw this idea again further on in my journey but using google Docs so the information was always live.
Wandering around the school I saw my first glimpse of clustering of desks and an experimental area. The learning space had different seating to what was in the classes including beanbags, a circular feel and a space for creative discussion.
I thought at how minimalistic the classes look with wall displays compared to our classes I had recently left in New Zealand but am aware that this is the first week back for the Finnish new school year. In New Zealand we are more than half way through the year and our classes take on the busy look.
Timo took me back to his school Voionmaan High school with 540 students with a focus on sports achievement where we had traditional Finnish porridge for lunch and I joined the queues with students and teachers to receive my hot lunch. The porridge was surprisingly good and was sweetened with a fruit syrup.

 

Teachers pay a daily minimal lunch fee but the children eat free.
Timo showed me his office space and it looks similar to mine with equipment and machines operating. I asked about the student Management system and he showed me WILMA on the inside. This is a central funded management system that tracks students timetables, attendance, is like a messaging system with their teachers, parents and each other, but is not a portfolio. Other online tools are used such as blogger and drop box and sky drive. Timo said as a parent he is able to see how his own son is doing at school and how WILMA is a great tool for home school communication. Here is the link if you want to read more about WILMA.
As a user, you can ask the office personal to show you your overall information and WILMA allows the user to identify gaps in their learning and to target their next learning goals.
Timo showed me the Voionmaa school facebook page and explained how wonderful it was for home school communication and to engage with the wider school community. He showed me that their school Facebook page had the biggest group of users with currently 1645 likes. Even when students left, how they still followed the pages and gave feedback and likes on the different events. One popular section was mini videos of past students sharing their career choice. Timo discussed with me how they have a closed teachers group for their school and teachers are communicating their inquiry on the closed Facebook section and giving and receiving feedback from their colleagues.
In the classes I noted that the teachers desks were always situated to the side of the front of the room. I saw rows of desks and some classes beginning to have grouping happening. However sometimes this changed as the school was cleaned for the day and often chairs and tables were returned to rows.
All students had lockers for keeping their books and sports equipment.
The next school I was taken too was a ‘normal’ school near the University of Normaaliloulu. The school took many teachers who were training and worked with them. I met Hannah a colleague of Timo’s who explained how closely all the schools in the area worked together. She also explained how her classes worked and that she had the same group of students for 6 years. The first two years involve regular face to face classes and as they become older the contact became less and less. The students were expected to plan their own next steps and when they met with her they had their WILMA profiles up-to-date which always speeded up the process of discussion.
One neat idea that I heard about was similar to what I saw in Timo’s school. This was the call back of past students to present to current students about their career choice or discussion about the best pathways to take and which courses to plan for and get credits in.
Another idea I picked up was that different schools had different strengths and sometimes students enrolled in a different school to fulfil their credits. EG; If they wanted to take French and there was no French, then during French period they attended a different school.
Timo picked me up and took me to meet Ari who was the national President of Finnish Principals Federation. I had a quick look around his school and then was taken back to catch my train for Helsinki.
In all a lot to take in and reflect on.
The good stuff, children being independent, respectful of each other and the environment.
Having the same teacher for more than two years in a row. Testing of students did not begin until the children had been at school for several years. I saw some inquiry and some creating. I noticed the second teachers working in class alongside the classroom teacher at the primary school level. I had a chance to see a little of WILMA their student management system and the best of all was meeting Finnish educators face to face and hearing their learning journeys.
I just missed meeting @Timdwalk.

Denmark

My learning for Denmark included loosing my luggage at the airport after arriving from London. The other learning is lining up in queues. The kronnen was about a quarter in New Zealand money. EG: arriving starving, I grabbed a Macdonald Salad at 66 KK or about $15.00NZ.
I managed to purchase a telia data simm for 3 KB at 99KK. I bought this at a communications shop near the central train station. This was cheaper than the same price for 1 KB at the airport.
 Again I used my ipad to navigate a new city easily. The first day out looking for a simm, I discovered that my hotel was in walking distance from the train station but on arrival the previous day in the centre, I felt disorientated and took a taxi. DOH
I stayed at the Best Western Hotel for the first two nights and waited for my luggage. Luckily it arrived the following day. My room was really hot and fortunately I had a top level room with a balcony so opened the windows as soon as I arrived.
My two education goals was meeting a Danish teacher via twitter contact and finding my way up to Billunds to visit the brand new international school. In addition I wanted to reach my family in Kerteminde near the sea and to visit the place of my grandfathers birth, Tved near Kolding. In all I achieved three goals and missed Tved.
In Copenhagen, I took the Panoramic City Tour so that I could visit Langelinie, the little mermaid and in addition I took a canal tour. Both I did on the first day as part of the Copenhagen City Pass. In addition I also visited Tivoli and climbed to the top of the Round Tower.
Via the Internet I located Nyborg the closest city to Kristmende and took the train there. The trip was just under two hours. My cousin met me at the station and we drove up to her place in Kristmende near the sea. I spent three glorious nights with her and her husband and it was good to take a break and not think about my schedule and organising the next sections.
My cousin took me swimming in the sea and I was astounded at how warm the ocean was. We spent ages swimming and I loved it so much I really did not want to leave the water.
The second night it was her birthday and we woke on the day to see the neighbours with Danish flags flying and I found out it was a tradition when celebrating birthdays. I thought that this was a great tradition.
I met her husband’s brother and wife who are both deaf and was fascinated to learn how an iphone changed their lives. They showed me all that they did and loved facetime for communicating with their children and grandchildren.
My cousin’s husband introduced me to two Danish traditions. Schnapps and salted fish. For my first lunch I had a small glass of schnapps and slept the whole afternoon. My cousin took me to visit the Viking Burial site in Ladbury. The second day I declined drinking schapps because I had too much to see and could not afford to be sleeping.
The following day my cousin took me to the Danish doctor because I had picked up a cough which I suspected as asthma flaring up with staying in hotel’s air-conditioning then we visited Funen Village in Odense where I was able to experience a village during the time of Hans Christian Anderson. Wee watched the play of the swineherd and the princess and the pea performed by local children. Odense is also the village where this famous Danish author comes from. My cousin took me to visit his house. All were amazing experiences. On my final day, I was driven back to Nyborg where I caught the train to Billens.
Once in Billens, I caught the bus to Vejle and got off at Legoland. From Legoland I caught a taxi to my hotel. Once registered I returned to Legoland via the free shuttle and spent the afternoon and evening exploring this amazing little city of Lego. I ate dinner there before retuning to my hotel for the night.
The next day, I visited Billunds international school and will write more about that experience in its own post.
Because the school was near the bus station, I walked back to the station and reversed my trip back to Copenhagen.  This time I stayed in the hotel Phoenix Copenhagen which was most luxurious but again really hot. But all this no air-conditioning helped my asthma tremendously because the coughing stopped. I went out for dinner in Nyhavn, ate mussels and broke the bank. They were the small tender black mussels.
The following day, I awoke to a message the Lene would meet me therefore the one day I should have been up early I slept in. Because I had travelled north via train, taking the train to Roskilde was a breeze and I discovered if I stood between carriages for the 30 minute trip, I could save money. I took the train to Roskilde and visited Domkirke the church where all the Danish Kings are buried. It is a UNESCO heritage site.
I met Lene and we had a two-hour discussion about education. It was so exciting to meet a like-minded educator and to learn some new ideas. She showed me photos of the schools that she has worked in and I got some great ideas for our school. Afterwards her family dropped me off to the Viking Museum and I spent a couple of hours wondering and exploring past skills and tradition. The feeling of connection with peoples of past is amazing. I could really see why my grandfather had such a connection to Samoa. Thatching rooves, sailing ships, physical labour to produce products. What a wonderful experience. How do I share those feelings? On the way back to my hotel I found a supermarket and bought some fresh food for dinner and lunch the next day.
Denmark, not knowing the language was not a problem. I had an interesting final evening on the bank of Nyhavn where I spoke to a Slovakian lady using translate. It was wonderful not to have a barrier for conversation. We had a great conversation.
The following day, I caught the train from Osterport to the airport and had no problems.
My learning in Denmark:
-Use the trains as they can be booked in English at the station.
-Line up for everything and don’t forget to get a queue ticket. Learnt that lesson after lining up for 30 minutes only to not have a ticket and having to start again.
-Check that nothing is left behind after leaving my jacket and plane pillow on the bus to Billens.
-Find out if there is a bus shuttle to the airport. Again identify the area of accommodation and locate the train stations.
Some of the neat snippets I took away from Denmark are bikes everywhere, recycling of cans and plastic and the public are encouraged to recycle, fierce pride in their viking history, commitment to sustaining their language.

So do you have any interesting travel memories?