@vanschaijik Reflection

Thanks to @chasingalyx @boonman who tagged me.

I want to keep the connections going and make more connections. So maybe a blogging meme will work.” Reid Walker @ReidHns1
If you get included in the blogging meme: copy/paste the questions and instructions into your own blog then fill out your own answers. Share on twitter tagging 5 friends.


1. How did you attend the #Edchatnz Conference? (Face 2 Face, followed online or didn’t)
I was there in person and online and had the privilege of being part of the organising committee.
We planned the #edchatnz conference in 18 weeks totally digitally.
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2. How many others attended from your school or organisation?
I had two others attending from @newmarket school and they were Anna Speir @MissSpeir  and Renee Hogg @MissRHogg.













3.How many #Edchatnz challenges did you complete?

I achieved 10 of them and that is another blog post. I made it a point of talking to lots from preservice because I was so happy that they could join us. In addition I was the vehicle for Dr Cheryl Doig’s virtual session.
She and I practised the session virtually until she was comfortable with using the tools. On the day she ran her session through me virtually using virtual tools.
4. Who are 3 people that you connected with and what did you learn from them?
@arti_choke  @BridgetCasse @mattynicoll It was just fabulous to catch up with SOLO taxonomy educators who’s work I have read and who inspire me to shift deeper in my thinking and practice.
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I also connected with @beechEdesignz who shared about design thinking and with @fFreemansbayScho who shared her principal’s journey into school design.


5. What session are you gutted that you missed?
I would have liked to see some of the coding and 3d printing session and the gaming. But generally, I am happy with what I attended. I did miss out of getting my image lazer printer.
6. Who is one person that you would like to have taken to Edchatnz and what key thing would they have learned?
I would liked to have brought @ginnynz01 but due to circumstances that was not possible. However because she is now on twitter I know she was following virtually.
7. Is there a person you didn’t get to meet/chat with (F2F/online) that you wished you had? Why
I love science and missed meeting and hearing Nanogirl  @medickinson.
I love photos as memories. So I will say I missed out on a photo opportunity with my TeachMeetNZ team. The TeachMeetNZ teachers have put in a lot of effort and time to share their teacher stories and it would have been great to have that as a memory.  I also would have liked a #grelfie with Pam Hook aka @arti_choke. She is my eduhero.
8. What is the next book you are going to read and why?
I want to read SOLO Taxonomy in Physical Education written by Nicola Richards and Pam Hook. I want to see how SOLO is used in PE.
9. What is one thing you plan to do to continue the Education Revolution you learnt about at #EdchatNZ?

I will continue on my journey of learning more about how I can support  ‘The greatest source of variance that can make a difference to student learning–the teacher and how they share their learning.’ My principal Dr Wendy Kofoed @newmarketschool and I will be sharing this at Ulearn so do join us in our session. Breakout Four A on Thursday 09 Oct 2014 at 13:45 to 14:15.

10. Will you take a risk and hand your students a blank canvas?
I am willing to take a risk and handing our teachers a blank canvas and coaching them as they take the risk with our students.


Who do will I tag with this meme:
Having been involved with a meme before and knowing how it works, I am tagging
Anna Speir @MissSpeir   
Renee Hogg @MissRHogg
Terry Beech @beechEdesignz
Bridget Casse @BridgetCasse


I am adding one more task to this meme. Using my SOLO taxonomy lens I know that this meme is at relational level because we are making connections with each other. However to push my meme to extended abstract I need to make my meme visible in a sharing way. So I have added mine to the #edchatnz Listly and I challenge anyone reading and who are tagged in the meme to do the same.

TeachMeetNZ Interface

Titled: Where Teachers Meet
TMNZ.png
(Educators involved in TeachMeetNZ in 2013)
This post is an update of that article.


In 2013, I launched TeachMeetNZ as part of my TeachNZ Sabbatical. A TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting (in the style of an unconference) for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology. TeachMeet originated with three Scottish educators – Ewan McIntosh, David Noble and John Johnston. Currently all over the world there are hundreds of TeachMeets that take place regularly in a variety of venues. As Ewan Macintosh commented, TeachMeet was never about technology 100%, it was about the Teach first of all, and the tech was instrumental to achieving what we wanted to achieve pedagogically and never the other way around.” Ewan Macintosh.
This article will describe how I developed TeachMeetNZ, the process of the on-line organised collaboration using Google Hangout, the relevance to teaching and conclude with future development for TeachMeetNZ.


TeachMeetNZ
I developed TeachMeetNZ after two years of research, investigation, then the trialling of a variety of online products, with Google Hangout being selected as the preferred platform.  
A small team of willing educators agreed to join with me to learn how to use Google Hangout as a way of presenting, demonstrating good practise, sharing and celebrating teaching with technology. Each term, a group of inspirational New Zealand educators develop and deliver a series of presentations. These sessions are live streamed, and are attended virtually by educators from around New Zealand and globaIly. In addition a TeachMeetNZ wiki was  developed for participants to communicate and share their presentations with a virtual audience.


Collaboration and participation
TeachMeetNZ is about New Zealand teachers connecting online. They collaborate and problem solve using online tools. These educators support and mentor each other before and during the practise Google Hangout sessions. To take part, teachers prepare 12 slides that auto cue every 15 seconds so their presentation is three minutes long. The slides are hosted on Google Presentation or Slideshare and must be live before the session. We learnt that the most viewed YouTube clips are just under three minutes long so this is the preferred length. A three minute video is created of their presentation and may become a resource for use at a later time.
After the live event, discussion usually follows via twitter using the hashtag #TeachMeetNZ. Many teachers go on to blog a reflection of their session, and they can embed the YouTube clip into their blog.  A TeachMeetNZ presenters badge is awarded to those educators who present on TeachMeetNZ..  Participants and viewers willingly give feedback and regularly give their time to support and help others.


Relevance to teaching
Online spaces are useful for portfolio development and fostering interaction and collaboration. Google Hangout is a tool that can be used to collate and present resources, to support community interaction and contributions, and as a platform for personal expression. Google Hangout is an ideal tool for teachers combined with a YouTube account.


From creating and hosting TeachMeetNZ sessions I have learnt that teachers appreciate recognition and acknowledgement for what they do. Hosting TeachmeetNZ has pushed my knowledge of making connections with ideas and with people. Hosting the sessions has encouraged me to give better feedback to teachers who take part. The sessions have allowed me to be more focussed on my feedback with teachers and not to rush this important process. After each session I play the clip back and reflect on how I can carry out the task better next time. I make notes and begin with these notes at the next session. I have also learnt to go through the presentations before the live streaming so that I can better prepare my questions. I do this by asking for presentations to be live before the session and I usually run practise sessions for people new to using Google Hangout.


Where to next?
In the future I plan to host more discussion sessions with panels of educators. Last year I had an educator host a specialist session based on PE and this year I have planned to include similar sessions.  In addition I have planned to have single themed discussions and to have educators and practitioners who can contribute to themes at a deeper level. Some of the feedback that I have had from participants is that they enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas in greater depth. A session, that I hosted at the Festival of Education in Auckland, featured a group of inspirational educators who shared and discussed their passions both online and with a live audience.


The TeachMeetNZ site has grown rapidly and I have now become the site’s curator. Currently the site contains nearly thirty nano presentations. This number increases each term as teachers share and celebrate their learning on TeachMeetNZ. Global visitors and viewers can watch the presentations in their own time and place.


For my own learning.
The SOLO Taxonomy practitioner in me realises that my current sessions take me back to being multistructural in my thinking.  In order to achieve depth in what I do online I need to continue to take a leadership role in other online communities. As frightening as this sounds I think that my first goal is to move from participating and running TeachMeetNZ sessions in online communities to being involved at administration level with online global projects. I would also like to continue with mentoring and developing others to host sessions. The popularity of the digital badge concept may also mean that I further develop this system for levels of participation.  


If you have been a presenter or have watched a session on TeachMeetNZ, please add your comments below.


For further information
Visit the wiki
#TeachMeetNZ on twitter


Teacher from Newmarket School
Auckland New Zealand

30 years ago

St Joseph’s School Papanui 1984

St Joseph’s School Papanui 1984

Class of Standard 1 & 2 – Thanks to Brendan who had the photo.

I set up a Google Doc and through my teacher Facebook page, a few past students had added me. I asked for some memories and some wrote about events I had forgotten so thanks to my children from 30 years ago who helped with some my highlights.

In December of 1983 I graduated from Christchurch Teachers College and won a position as a first year teacher in St Josephs of Papanui for 1984. The school was a state integrated school that was a full primary school. We had four nuns teaching still at that time.  I had a class of 32 standard 1 & 2 children.


I was not a permanent staff member so I spent that year applying for a permanent position. 18 months later I finally won one at a different school after 45 rejection slips.

The first day the children arrived I felt really grown up and the feeling of having 32 faces looking up at you awaiting instructions was unbelievable.


Each morning I would send the children running around the block for fitness. As in I would send them out the gate and around the block, unsupervised. At that time, the school was boarded by large paddocks on one side.


The first time I attended full school mass with my class  I bribed the children to sit quietly at church with mini moro bars. The principal said they were the best behaved class in the school and what amazing skills I had as a young teacher. Later on I attended their first Holy Communion and cried with pride. I had such huge emotion.


Each Friday a class would organise school assemblies and how stressed I was when it was our turn but my class always made me proud. In those days we had three terms. The school left me until the final week so I could watch and learn how the other classes did assembly.


When a child was sick, I would think, I hope they are ok. If they were sick for four or more days I would go after school on Friday and visit them at home. I learnt about home school communication from that. The parents used to be overawed by the teacher visiting at home.


Even at that time I was a bit of a geek and can remember the excitement when our priest bought a video player. Once a fortnight, I would send someone over to borrow the machine and we would watch movies from the video shop or the children bought the videos in from home. Later on I discovered that the National Library had children’s’ videos too so I borrowed those as well as the celluloid films. I was technical even then and had my film projector’s license.


Each fortnight I would walk the children down and visit our local library because ours was so awful. Then once a month during my beginning teacher release I would take four children in my car to visit the National Library  and choose a class set of books. I went by myself and was unsupervised.

At that time I knew all the parents by first name because I had the children come and tell me their parent’s name. I kept a handwritten class list. There were no databases at that time only small white cards that were stored in the principal’s office. We needed permission to access the children’s’ personal data. I kept an assessment book, and laboriously cut away the name section so that I would reuse the following pages without having to rewrite the whole class list. Soon after they printed assessment books and you just needed to write in the names. I was first in to buy them out of my own money. The positive was I could keep all the receipts and claim part of the money back on tax as part of work expenses.


As a training teacher I made all my own maths games and was proud of the hand coloured snakes and ladders, chess boards and other games created and then covered with contact. For cardboard I gathered empty cereal boxes by distributing house points for these valuable items. We did not have a laminator. The children also bought in bottle tops and small stones for counting.The children also bought in empty icecream containers. I was really lucky because one mum had access to the local pub and bought me heaps of beer bottle tops. Another worked in an old peoples home and would bring me the giant margarine containers. They were fabulous for storage. This was before Payless Plastic or the Warehouse days. Instead of stickers I had a set of self inking stamps. They were the most expensive teaching tools that I bought. I hung curtain wire across my room and hung the children’s work from that. For reading group boxes the children bought in empty wine casks and I covered these with coloured contact. They were really valuable and worth many house points.


I had a giant homework chart on the wall and laboriously hand ruled the lines. I would stamp the children’s notebook each day and mark it on the chart. The children were eager for the weekly prizes that they were hardly away sick. One parent said how much that meant to them because I had a big class. That one stamp told them that I was paying daily attention to their child.


I began the class with 32 children but lost some as the inspector was looming because  I was supposed to have 25. My year was also the year that they began beginning teacher release. Basically the teacher came in and worked alongside me during reading. This was when she did turn up and was not taken elsewhere as a reliever.


I had one Maori student. Before he had me, he had a reputation with the teachers. He was a good student for me. I think it was because I am Samoan and we made a connection. I  took a real interest in him. I remember several Saturdays driving out to Loburn to watch him compete in motocross competitions. His dad told me it was the first time a teacher had ever taken an interest in him. He would tell me all about his bike and when he was racing. He was fabulous at reading because before my year he spent many hours in the principal’s office. He learnt to read her notes upside down.


I had another student who led the haka and was amazing at creating story books. She would write pages and pages of stories and illustrate them beautifully.  I was often invited to barbecues with her parents and grandparents. Her grandmother made bottled asparagus. They lived not far from me. This same student reminded me of the time I cut the top of my finger with the guillotine. I remember the principal coming back with me to look for the top and packing it in ice for the journey to the hospital. I was really lucky as it was only flesh that was cut. The top eventually grew back after a long time. Nowadays there is no way a guillotine would be allowed in our classrooms.


Another student lived on the outskirts of the city and I visited his house. It was surrounded by farmland and remembered a huge place with lots of bedrooms. I think this was after I had left school. Christchurch in that time still had a lot of farmland surrounding the city.


In each class you always have the diligent and conscientious students. I had one who made contact with me years later. He was the first student to do so.  He said I had made such an impression on him. He is now a chemist. I felt so proud. I love teaching science and I can remember magnifying glass activities but I don’t think I taught much science in that early time.


I had another child who always drew in black. I learnt later that there was a reason for that. We never know what our children bring to school.


One student’s mum used to clean my classroom.  She would help me in my room while mum was working. There was no after school care in those days.


Another student was really quiet but an amazing singing voice. She was diabetic and needed to prick her finger daily. I had to learn to deal with that and was totally unprepared . I was careful about bringing treats to school. I always bought fruit for her.


One student remembers story time on cushions and making three dimensional pictures with regard to the believing in yourself series of books, I remember reading to the children everyday and stopping the story when it was extra exciting like half way through a chapter. In those days it was the Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary series.  Another student remembers me reading ‘ The Silver Sword’ and how much of an impression it made on him.  I remember trying so hard not to cry as I read that story.


Another student reminded me about awarding Bic Pen with rubbers on the end. The children had to pass a handwriting test to get from pencil to pen. I vaguely remember the pens. They were the first pens with erasers and were expensive on a teacher’s budget. The children had beautiful handwriting in those days. It was part of the curriculum.


This same student remembers the certificates I gave out such as a super BEE haviour award and a Seal of approval there was a bee and seal on the certificates.


One incident involved the boys being given the strap by the principal and I stood by and watched corporal punishment being administered.  Corporal punishment was not outlawed until 1989. I would have been horrified but felt helpless.


My first three way discussion involved one child who bit another child in anger. I learnt later that this was not the first incident but that was before we recorded behaviour.


Some crazy incidents happened like a child getting lice and popping them in her maths book. I had to send her home because live lice meant it needed dealing with immediately. Now we just send a note to every child in the class about an outbreak.

I had another student suddenly throwing up all over her desk and having to clean it up myself. Now we would go to another space and the caretaker would deal with the mess.


At the end of the year I was given the most amazing homemade gifts such as jam, or fruit or homemade biscuits, chocolates. In those days everything seemed homemade. Now when I am given gifts it is usually a voucher or bought chocolates. Even now I still feel strange when parents and children buy me gifts as I think there is no need because I already have been gifted the child for the year. (But I still say thank you 🙂


The building was old and the block of classes  had a wooden verandah running alongside them. The desks were the old wooden lift up jobs with wooden chairs. The walls were high as in really high. I bought plants to lift the depressive atmosphere and blue paint. To brighten the walls, I dyed rolls of wallpaper and hung those up. I bought a staple gun to help with the job and there was no display boards. So it was staples straight into wood. I bought a piece of carpet for sitting on because I wanted a shared mat space. My class had the desks grouped but many of the other classes still had the rows and the mat space was only for the littlies.


I had goldfish and when they died as they regularly did, I would bring in more from a local pond. The first time the  inspector visited he asked the children how long the fish had been there. The inspector would come and check my work once a term. At the end of the year I remember the feeling of elation. I had finally passed and was a real teacher. I no longer had to worry about having my planning checked over. That did not last long as at my next school, our principal checked our planning every term.


As much as possible I would take the children out for softball and games on the playing fields. I allowed bullrush which involved a lot of school jerseys being pulled. This game was outlawed later in the school.


Each Friday after lunch I would take my class down to buddy classes with another young teacher. Her name was Jacinta and this activity allowed me to learn how  to play the guitar by playing with her.  She taught me how to transpose and how to play the guitar by ear.


I was heavily involved in church activities so this was another way of getting to know my parents. In addition I was the staff representative on the parent teacher association.


1984 was the one of the first years for beginning teacher release, but I often did not get it as my release teacher was used elsewhere. I had her for one hour a day spread out over the week. Eventually I was paid back a week all at once because I became very ill.


As a beginning teacher I  coached a school softball team and coordinated their inter school games. Transportation was taken care of by asking the children whose parent could take a car load down to the game. Again I had no supervision and this was all before the time of Rams reports.

I also took junior school choir. The school went up to intermediate level. The following year I took whole school choir.


I formed very close friendships with teachers from the junior area. I do not remember having a team leader but did have a mentor teacher. I probably learnt more from the young teachers around me and in our way we would share resources. I cannot remember team meetings but do remember staff meetings filled with smoke as most teachers smoked.


One nun would gather a $1.00 from us each week and go down to the TAB to place a bet on the horses. By the end of the year we had won enough money to go out for dinner. I look back now and think $40.00 over a year would have bought a decent meal.


We had to pay morning tea money each term and took rosters to be the one who took the cash and go to the supermarket to buy all the biscuits.


Planning was more like a weekly timetable. Except for reading when we would list the stories read. Reporting to families happened twice a year and these were hand-written on school ordered commercial reports. I created a lined copy to help me write my own class ones neatly. No errors were allowed and any sign of correcting fluid would ensure a complete report rewrite.

I think it was only in reading that the children were grouped. I was one of the few teachers who carried out running records in the middle school. Maths and writing was taught whole class. Grouping in maths was just beginning. My children learnt their basic facts and spelling words every night.


The term overviews were my long term plan. I think I was the only one who created a term’s overview in the middle school. The other teachers said that it was because I was still such a young teacher. As for team planning, that did not happen until four years later. Remember all this was written down in a specially ruled way and placed into a planning folder. Later they published special teachers books for this very task. I remember using unlined paper backed by ruled like paper as a guide. Unfortunately I have only recently thrown all that old paper out. I would have been good to bring out and do a comparison for today.


Other memories include using the brand new school photocopier. We had a limited number of pages we could photocopy. I wrote out all my song charts and poetry charts by hand. I used an overhead projector to hand make all my big books. I had to mix my paints and dye. I was allowed a limited supply of crayons. I was allowed limited supplies of art paper.  Most work was done on the chalkboard so I was always covered in chalk dust. To make pretty titles I would soak the chalk overnight in water. Once they had dried I used these ‘special’ chalk to make titles and borders.

I did not have a computer until 4 years later when we won one. Everything I made, I made by hand.


I have all my class photos. But this class was my first. They helped shape me and helped build my confidence. I remember when I had to correct a child’s behaviour I would be in tears. I loved teaching in St Josephs and loved the Catholic system. Most of my time of thirty years has been in a state integrated school. It has only been the last 7 years that I moved across to the state system.


Over time I have noticed a decline in children’s handwriting skills, scissor cutting skills, and independence. I have noticed an increase in empathy and creative thinking. But that might be because we have a different focus in education. I could also be reminiscing on what it was like back then.


So what about you? Have you been teaching as long as me or even longer. What memories can you share about your first class? What were you doing 30 years ago? Were you even born? If this is your first year, then write about it because later on it does get hazy.

The Magic of 11.

Late last year, I was tagged in a blogging meme by my online friend and TeachMeetINL mentor @arjana. She was one educator I did not get to meet face to face on my trip because between us we could not align our stars. But Arjana next time it will happen. Either you come to me or I come to you. I also liked the way she gave me feedback via twitter on my blogging meme.


I have been procrastinating writing and have been doing everything else to avoid updating my reflections. Her tweet was the jumpstart I required.

So I completed the set task and it took me three days to craft as I was away with a mini ipad to write with. I created a draft using notes and played with the idea in between swimming, sleeping and snorkelling.

As soon as I returned to my chrome, I added links and finalised my first post for 2014.

But I still cannot figure why because I posted the entry on our New Years day yet it states that the post happened on New Year’s eve.


11 has been a re-ocurring number for me in 2013 so I laughed at the unusual number. I had spent 11 weeks on a TeachNZ sabbatical and when I trawled a collaborative initiative that was part of my sabbatical output for last year, I identified 11 bloggers who had reflected on their contribution to the TeachMeetNZ project. I did not find it easy nominating virtual friends as who do I chose because I already read so many interesting blogs. For my part, I deviated from Arjana and focussed on New Zealand educators only and from that chose the ones who had reflected on TeachMeetNZ. I have been following the hashtag #bloggingmeme with interest and was excited to read @helenoftroy01 contribution by creating a Blogging Meme Doc to track the blog entries and to avoid a double up or more of being tagged. My initial chart using inspiration pales in comparison.


Those of you who read this and are New Zealand educators, what Helen has also done nicely for me is identify some of you who I will be shoulder tapping for our next TeachMeetNZ virtual session. So be ready. You will end up with a digital badge for your portfolio and a cut 3 minute video to embed on your site.


The Blogging Meme Doc has also been a motivation for me to comment on blogs that  people have written. In some ways I do feel responsible for setting the beast loose on the New Zealand tweachers. I am one of those lurkers who have been reading but not commenting as much as I could be.


If you are tagged in twitter, I would like to read about you and may I suggest being like @MFaaeaSemeatu and used her Blogging Meme as a motivation to encourage new bloggers to get started. I also liked the way Manu used google+ so combined two social medias to spread her meme. She tagged her nominated bloggers via google+ and also via twitter.


Anne spread her #magic and responded so fast with her Blogging Meme post like within the same day. From my other nominated bloggers I  have 4 who have completed the task after a few days and I will be honest and say ‘Great job’ as it took me all week from when I was tagged.

I have watched @1MvdS in her patient, gentle, persuasive way gently coaxing her Blogging Meme group into writing by giving regular updates on who had completed the task and come on the rest of you.

I enjoyed reading @MsBeenz entry and learning a little more about her and have @Allanahk remind us that this is not the first round that we have had something like this happen.

So no great pressure @hanna_fale @SwanwickC @digitallearnin @phpnz @EmmaWinder25 @emmerw @nzteachnology @hunch_box . We are supposed to be on holiday. I like the way some of you have literally disappeared from twitter but I know it will not be for long.

Anyone else reading this, if you want me to come and read your post and practice giving a comment, do tag me.

Where to next:
I stumbed on this via @FabMomBlog twitter and have made 31 my new challenge number. Don’t worry I will not be tagging anyone to join me but it you want to do let me know. In March 2014 my goal is to write daily. Like Manu, I will tag you to come and give me feedback.

My learning from all this: the 4x C’s
As my SOLOtaxonomy mentors @arti_choke and @ginnynz01  regularly remind me, reflect on the process and don’t just celebrate the product.
  • Stop procrastinating and just get on with the task. I have made better connections with New Zealand educators because part of the meme asks for 11 facts about you.
  • Something as simple as this can generate collaboration like the Blogging Meme doc.
  • We can use other social media in the task and not just twitter to celebrate the product.
  • What meme could I create to encourage blogging?  What ideas do you have?

How to embed a tweet? Thanks to @SchuKnight who willingly shared this little gem.


How to change the date on blogger to reflect current time? Thanks to @annekenn for this other little gem.

Ulearn13


On Thursday the 10th of October, I presented at Ulearn13 conference my TeachMeetNZ project that has evolved extensively since the beginning of the year. TeachMeetNZ is the culmination of my investigation into Hyperconnectivity when I realised that in order to shift my learning I needed to create a site for educators to come together and share. This year I launched TeachMeetNZ as part of my TeachNZ Sabbatical. 
This TeachMeetNZ presentation time was especially interesting because I had with me 5x virtual presenters who shared their own inquiries. The event was live streamed from the front of the TeachMeetNZ wikispace in front of a live audience.


I must thank Becky @BeckyHare26 and the Ulearn13 Tech Team who ensured that I had all the support I asked for and needed to run a successful live Hangout.
Each TeachMeetNZ presenter shared something unique to them that was important to their learning and highlighted for me how important it is to have a vehicle for sharing of teachers’ inquiry.
If you want to see their inquiries and reflections then you can hear and see their video and their slides on TeachMeetNZ_Ulearn13.

Because TeachMeetNZ is all about sharing of learning I have added my slides for viewing from my Slideshare site.
TeachMeet 3 Ulearn13 from Ulimasao Van Schaijik

One highlight for Ulearn13 was meeting Mark Pesce @mpesce who has influenced my efellowship learning around Hyperconnectivity.
As I reflect on my efellow’s project of Hyperconnectivity I realise that I have created a site for teachers to share their inquiry and have already curated 15 teacher inquiries. So do visit TeachMeetNZ.
Mark guided my thinking in that what happens between the nodes of connectivity is what influences the connections and to pay attention to what cannot be seen. 
From this third TeachMeetNZ I must acknowledge Chris Dillon who has clarified my thinking about having digital badges and ensuring that the badge clicks back to evidence of learning. I had begun the process of awarding a badge but had not thought about ensuring they link back to evidence.
From Chris Swanwich, I have realised that if I focus on teacher inquiry, as part of TeachMeetNZ New Zealand Educators will have a rich source of resources to refer to when they undertake their own inquiry. 
From Hanna Fale I take away that the Learning Environment is conducive to children’s learning and it is the educator who frames that environment with their own understanding of learning. So I continue to frame TeachMeetNZ environment to cater for the evolving demand.
From Tim Gander, I have already framed the next step of TeachMeetNZ when we undertake a PE Google+ discussion using TeachMeetNZ as the site to pull it together.
From Melanie Matthews, I am reminded to continue framing my learning using SOLO taxonomy as SOLO pushes my own thinking to deeper levels. If I stretch my thinking then everyone I work with is also challenged in their own thinking.
So where to next?
I am running another TeachMeetNZ in November and hope that you can join us virtually as again we share teachers learning and reflecting on practice.
If you would like to be part of a future TeachMeetNZ hangout to share your learning, please contact me, alternatively you can put your name down on the wiki.
What you get out of sharing on TeachMeetNZ is a 
  • The opportunity to meet and make connections with other stunning educators.
  • Digital Badge for your portfolio with a link to evidence of presenting on TeachMeetNZ. 
  • A wiki page that you will have embedded your slides into
  • A 3 minute video clip of your presentation
  • A photo of you in the hangout 
  • The chance to present to a global audience.
I also have ideas of discussion for targeted areas of interests that have been seeded by Tim and Marnel. Both these stunning educators have presented on TeachMeetNZ and have recently been awarded an efellowship for 2014.
In addition I have some invited Global Educators who have agreed to hangout with me with invited New Zealand Educators. That is coming up soon.
To make the wiki even stronger in Teacher inquiry, you can add a comment to the teachers pages or follow the discussion on twitter using #TeachMeetNZ.
So do you have an inquiry that you would like to share with a greater audience? It can be an investigation that you are undertaking in your classroom.

Our school app

One of the strengths of SOLO taxonomy is being able to identify where I am with my learning and what my next steps are. @arti_choke. often reminds me to think about the process and not the finished product. When using ICT I often get caught up with the tools I use and focus on the finished product.  However reflecting on the process of my journey is important for abstract thinking.

So this time I choose to reflect on my process of building a school app for smart phones.
My learning journey with app building began last year when I followed up a Telstracleartweet about giving away free passes to Armageddon.
Through that tweet I managed to acquire two passes to a days event.
Before arriving at the venue, I searched for Armageddon on the app store and found their app for the event. Armageddon was magic and the app was really easy to use. The app enabled me to locate 
Ant Sang and also Zaboo and Vork from  the web series, The Guild.
That small act of kindness from Telstraclear launched me into an amazing journey that I am still on with app creating.
When I downloaded the app, I noticed that it was hosted by guidebookBeing of a curious nature, I downloaded guidebook and started playing. I was excited to play in a new area of technology. As I played I noticed the limitations.

The first limitation was that the app was free to a certain level and then if you wanted more features like having a tweet feed, you would have to pay considerable extra, and even more for unlimited downloads. At the same time the positives was being able to see what the app should look like. I liked the tidy structure that guidebook provided.
About the same time on twitter @Allanahkdrew my attention to ibuildapp Again I played and developed our school app. Yet again was hindered and this time by the registration fee. But I will come back to that later.
So where to next. By absolute accident I revisited my personal wikipage links page for different online environments that I register for. I noticed that widgetboxhad updated its tools and had a place for mobile app creation.
The positive addition with widget box was the free trial for two weeks that I was allowed. I could download and test the app over a variety of devices. Because of my previous experience with apps, I built the app in a day using the knowledge that I had already garnered.
My principalsaw the relevance of what I was doing and her excitement spurred me on when she asked some of our teachers to trial the app. I had great feedback for the app in particular from @oprubyslippers, @ginnynz01 and  @tashjaz .
So again I shuffled and fine-tuned the app and passed on the trial to other teachers in our school.
With our principal’s excitement and encouragement, I also created some useful tools for our teachers to use with their smart phones but more about that in a future post.
I then tried to have the app hosted free but the provider was not as advanced thinking in this area. Therefore I will not mention them again.
So where are we up to.
Unfortunately I can get the phone widget working on my wikispace but am unable to have it working correctly from our website. The html language is not quite correct and I am unable to rectify the problem. However using another pathway, the app link is up. It is clumsy but it is up.  So the app is live from our front page. You can download it here.
Our school app has been trialed on an android and an iPOD. The trials have been successful. The only negative with using the current builder is that this app cannot be read by an iPAD. However the developers are working on this limitation. Another limitation is that our logo cannot be seen on the androids. A further limitation is that the outline when downloaded is black only and that the social media tools are not in colour. The final limitation is the ongoing monthly cost to host the app. But the research I carried out over the three providers that I trialed all involved a monthly fee.
I will target a group of parents to give me community feedback and have started targeting our business partners to help us send the app out free to our community.
Retuning to ibuildapp. I love the idea of selling a school app and making money for the PTA but we do not charge for our school website so for this app I am reluctant to charge for information that is already out there. It also brings home to me that I am using my school laptop and iPHONE to build and trial the app and therefore what I build and trial belongs to my school.
At the same time extended abstract thinking using SOLO taxonomy enables me to understand that my next steps will be in creating code for building a learning app. The app that I have developed is an aggregation of sites. It is web based and requires the internet to drive the information. So the app is really our website in mobile form. 
Initially the app was built to give our community access to what we are doing and up to date information on happenings. But already I can see how our school app can be used to engage our community in what we are doing. One clear idea coming through is having access to real time survey.

Overall I think that building a school app was interesting and exciting because I learnt about the limitations of using a smart phone developers template. I also learnt what the school app should include but most of all I learnt about making connections and receiving feedback from my colleagues and using this feedback to develop a better product. I also found out that I already have some skills to begin developing my own app code and that I want to learn more about the process of being an app developer   so that I may support our learners as we move into this area of creating.
If you want to know more, have some suggestions for me or would like to support us in this area, please feel free to comment, twitter me @vanschaijik or our principal @newmarketschool or email me.

My Twitter History


http://twopcharts.com I have been investigating my twitter history and came up with some interesting memories.
My first tweet was sent on 25 Oct 2008. Therefore I have been using twitter for 1,136 days.
The first account I followed was @nzcurriculum. I do not remember why I chose them first. The first account to follow me back was @CherylDoig and it was through her that I began to build up my followers. So far I have not quite broken sending 1000 tweets but I know I have read more than that as I regularly pop on to follow the breadcrumbs of other educators.
When I first began using twitter just over 3 years ago, I was number 16,581893 user. My stats say that I have been on Twitter for 55.07% of its existence. I began by following television stars like @Oprah and also a few preachers as I was interested in how they used this medium to communicate with their followers. I used to follow a few singers. I won’t name them here but you know who I mean. I soon became irritated by the hogging of communication. So now I dump twitters who hog the timeline. Every so often I have a clean out and find out who is not using twitter regularly and they get filed. Sometimes I check out who is following me and usually look for ‘julia’ type profiles that do not fit my educator profile.
I do not know who introduced me to twitter, but I think it was at the time of @BarackObama and his presidential campaign. So it might have been the hype around his use. I witnessed his campaign using twitter and from then on I was hooked. Barack introduced me to the concept of real time technology as I watched the twitter timeline and the live video streaming of his win.

For the first year using twitter was a lonely existence on the ground and yet really exciting up in the twitter cloud. I did not find discussing my use easy, as other educators around me were not ready for this social medium. But what I now find is that I have made some great connection. One of these was hooking up with the efellows. The list of 2011 efellows twitters can be viewed here on https://twitter.com/#!/dragonsinger57/core-efellows-2011.

Great excitement happened when our principal took her initial twitter steps @newmarketschool. The URL had been booked for over a year and then last year she began to follow and then start post and respond to posts. However the greatest enjoyment I have had this year was when three of our teachers began to use twitter. @oprubyslippers, @MissNWalden and @Kyliegeddes.

At this stage I use twitter to amplify some of the exciting learning that happens at Newmarket School. I do this by retweeting and adding users who I know will retweet the message. Every so often I might use it for advertising or to share a link.
But it is the following of breadcrumbs that I enjoy the most. I have learnt so much using twitter and my wikispace http://www.ulimasao.wikispaces.com is the evidence of what I learn.

Where to next, I really need to sort out my list and I will use @justadandak idea of sorting his followers into lists. I already have one list of Pacific Islanders on twitter and I set that up in the early days. What I find is that some of my favourite tweetchers are being buried in the online noise. I hardly see @arti_choke anymore unless I really go searching for her. I am getting better at using @ and # to amplify my tweets. I use my tweets for microblogging and when I am ready, I write a blog entry.

So share with me your twitter history so that I may make links with my own learning about my twitter history.

Keeping track.


One of the changes in my thinking that has taken place over the past few weeks is about online work. I have so many learning sites that it is a challenge to keep track of them all.

One way I do this is to create a list using my wikispace. I do have a delicious account for keeping track of websites however my online spaces have a different purpose. I have two different personas. One persona is as a teacher and online school administrator and the other persona is for personal learning. Sometimes my spaces merge between the two personalities and sometimes I feel that they need to be kept separate. I also want a third online personality for keeping my digital photos and videos tidy and out of my computer. I am struggling not to create another space.

So here is one way I have chosen to show my learning self and that is using http://flavors.me/ulimasao.

I place this link onto twitter. Initially, I added my personal youtube video space and picassa photo folders. However when I was checking out information, I realized that the sites chosen did not match my twitter persona. So I adapted and merged my teacher sites with my personal blog. Even that does not feel correct as I have been channeling our teachers learning onto our school youtube account. A few of the videos are not ones I have created.

The second change in thinking is regarding online writing. Initially I wrote for an audience and was hesitant about publishing. But realize that writing for myself is a more powerful tool This came about with myportfolio work with teachers who do not want anyone reading their work or seeing what they have been doing. I teased them and said good luck getting anyone coming to read your work. Because I know that unless teachers live on social broadcasting sites like twitter or blogger how are they ever going to channel traffic to read their work.

I use blogger and myportfolio for my reflections. Personally I enjoy myportfolio as this is my teacher self shining through. At the same time I like using blogger because the site looks better.

When I reflect using SOLO Taxonomy I know that making connections is relational thinking. Therefore I think my blog writing often sits at relational thinking because I use my writing to make connections with my own learning. In order to shift my writing to extended abstract I need to shift to the next level and give feedback on other peoples writing. So in relation to what I have been doing this term with teachers my next steps include encouraging them to blog about their learning and give them written feedback on what they are doing. I also can write about my new learning.

Thinking maps

http://www.mapthemind.com/aboutus/bio/hyerle.html
I was remembering the work of David Hyerle when I was a Diploma of TESOL student with Sue Gray. I had read his previous work on Thinking Maps: Tools for Learning so was researching further ideas he might have that would help me further my understanding of HOT maps. David is the developer of the Thinking Maps model. I really like the way that the Hot team have taken the Thinking maps and levelled them against SOLO taxonomy. Now when I look at a thinking map, I can see how to make modifications in order to raise the level of cognition and even how to have children help me when we co-construct our success criteria rubrics. Further on in researching I found this little gem of a website that takes some of David’s ideas and has a variety of maps that can be used some of the thinking process. For example: for compare and contrast. http://www.educationoasis.com/curriculum/graphic_organizers.htm
Then taking what I am learning with SOLO from the HOT team, I have applied all this to help me construct my learning intentions for each of my own maps. I know that these will evolve as I put into practise some of these ideas. I am creating a mapping resource that can be taken and easily modified for teaching and learning. I discovered this little tool in Power Point that has enabled me to quickly create some thinking maps.
My next step is to modify the assessment rubrics from the HOT team to fit my current unit of work.