Road Safety Week

This week is National Road Safety Week. This is a week of events to end devastating road casualties by making communities safer. The week is also run by Brake, the road safety charity of Aotearoa New Zealand to help raise awareness of the terrible carnage on NZ roads. 

As lead teacher of Newmarket School’s Travelwise team, I oversee the weeks activities.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety event student leader coordinator is Stella and with her were 4x other student leaders who offered to plan for and implement one of daily school wide activities.

Over the past fortnight the team met to discuss and finalise details for their activity. Part of this preparation included creating a slide to back map ideas, scheduling and meeting the principal for event approval, broadcasting the week before at our school assembly, and approaching peers and extra adults for support in running activities. 

You can see that there are a lot of events happening to highlight this very important week on our Travelwise calendar.

Safety Hero

Here are some of our statistics for the week.

  • We raised $168.00 for Bright day and had David Seymour our local minister of parliament join us.
  • We had 86 children take part in the Milo mornings as encouragement to walk or scooter to school. We guestimated 60 students to take part from our previous surveys and activities.
  • We counted 46 scooters on our scooter rack, an increase from 9.
  • We had heaps of posters for the Step up for Road Safety Competition because we are keen to win a Big Foot Adventure for our school.
  • We had 21 3D scooters handed in and they were fabulous.

On Friday we have our final activity which is walk or scooter to school and get another free Milo.Over the week lots of fabulous highlights surfaced and I commend the way the student leaders dedicated and carried out their part to ensure the smooth running for the week.

Overall, I believe the Road Safety Events held at Newmarket School raised awareness about being safe on our roads. Even more important was standing back and observing our student leaders plan, work together and create activities that involved the whole school.

Already I have had other students approach to be part of the Travelwise team and the student leaders have asked what the next event is. Tomorrow at our weekly meeting we will evaluate the week and identify areas for improvement as we will definitely run it again next year.


On Friday we gave out 114 Milo. We had 36 scooters lined up on the rack with 18 helmets.

Giving out stickers we noticed the amount of children not wearing a helmet and the number of secondary students jay walking. At our next Travelwise student meeting results will be discussed and evaluated and our next steps identified.


Flat Connections Global Project

IMG_1311 ‘A week in the life.’

The intent of the NZ Curriculum vision (NZC 2007 p.8) is to enable connected learners who can support the well-being of New Zealand, can relate to others, participate and contribute to the world around them. This year Newmarket School students joined the Flat Connections Global project, ‘A week in the Life’. Learners are actively engaged in digital collaborative activities with 143 students and 13 teachers from 6 different countries.

This project helps Newmarket School students enact the NZ Curriculum  vision by enabling global connections in ways that prepare young learners for their future. Students learn to question, investigate and act as global citizens using digital technologies and online learning environments – learning with and from students all over the world.

The students use SOLO Taxonomy as a model to to design the process of their own learning and to inquire into the impact of their actions as citizens on their communities and beyond. The digital literacies required to usefully and purposefully navigate the environment are a strong learning focus in the project.  The information sharing, the creation process and the learning  discussion is made visible to all with students using digital tools like Edmodo, Hapara, Google Apps, Popplet and Voice Thread and others.


Our journey with iPads

2011, we allowed a small trial number of children to bring their mobile devices to school.Our prerequisite was that they must have their cybersafety badge on Superclubsplus and they must have earned their gold star for technical skills.We also had parental permission. We began with 3x children. One had an iPad, one had a laptop, one had a PSP console. I collected the ISP number from their devices. What we found out……The ipad user had a personal iTunes account set up by their parent, however our user was under 13 and stated in the terms of agreement with iTunes, this should not be allowed. In addition they had a personal email address that they used.Therefore they could download apps as they wanted them and did until we intervened.Because the iPad logged on easily to the network, the device was used during break times. They sometimes allowed their friends to use them. The skills developed for the Superclubsplus cybersafety certificate were not adhered to and the student was reminded about the implications of sharing a personal device. 

Lesson: Who has the right to put on a set of apps for an iPad? Is it ours or the parents? If children bring their own, do we demand that they have a school set of apps and not others? Do we have the right to ask this of a personal device? Who is using the device at home? What happens if a parent or older sibling uses the device and communicates to our children as the device owner? What happens if inappropriate apps are loaded onto the device? Should we have times on the wifi where children cannot have access? The laptop, was not as easy to access the wireless. It kept falling off. The PSP console, could see the wireless, but was not easy to hold onto. 

2012, we were snupped and we developed a system of passwords for visitors. But that was not easy, until I had a technical lesson later in the year. After that, I was able to set up visitors with their temporary passcodes. We locked down student access to certain hours. Superclubsplus was going through changes and the children were not as enthusiastic with it. We did not encourage devices to be brought to school, but did not discourage it either. We had one student request access for learning reasons. Her parents had set up her account on a dedicated programme, but often she could not get on because someone else had set up her online account and I could not help her. What about devices that are internet capable that are brought to school. Eg: smart phones with internet accounts and the children take photos of their peers and teachers and upload them to a social media account. We gave each teacher an iPad and found that they added their own iTunes account and then let the children have access to the device. 

Lesson,1)Learning need students accounts need to be set up by the school, not the parent. 2)Ruling about bringing a smart phone to school and used inappropriately during school hours. 3) Any visitors to be added to a temporary account and not to our teacher WIFI. 4) Teachers allowing chn use of a teacher tablet because they wanted to see how children used them. Because I had been through some training as a global online mediator with Superclubsplus, I began reading around the subject of legalities and children accessing the internet. I read widely around this area and attended Nethui where I was exposed to further discussion around legalities. I continued to find my own learning exploding. Twitter was my main source of connection, reading and learning. The more I read the more cautious I became. I also became interested in not just the learning with mobile technology but the implications. One starting to come through is that todays youth are not getting the required amount of sleep. Therefore sleep patterns are being affected. My investigation as an efellow highlighted the importance of collaboration and making connections. I was forced to face the fact that I often hide behind electronic communication and needed to balance that with face to face sharing. So moving out of my comfort zone I presented at a variety events. This included TeachMeet, Ignite Leadership and at our area ESOL cluster.  I also attended educamp and padcamp. I collaborated on a global project with one of our teachers.

2013Back at school, we called back all the teacher iPads and found out how much they had been used. From our findings, not as much as we had hoped. Really most of the apps we identified were from the principal and myself, with a few others from individual teachers. We invested in configurator because children safety was our top priority. We brought in Allanah King to share with us how she used iPads with her students. We identified a set of aps that would be standard on all student ipads. There is still discussion about the relevance of this but we will sort it out as we learn from this experience. From this, teachers were enthusiastic and asked for their iPads back, so we bought a new set for them. Again we will use this year as a learning year. The one rule we gave teachers was that students were not to use their teaching iPad. Just like they must not use their TELA laptop. They were to use this tool as a learning opportunity. Already one error on my part was adding youtube to the student iPad. I was thinking from teacher access. Again terms of agreement state that under 13 must not access youtube. So that will be removed the next time I work with configurator.  

Lesson1) Some websites do strange things with iPads. Eg: we had challenges with reading eggs and skoodle. Wikispaces looks very different. Therefore we are identifying tools that we can use with the children, that are safe but also can be used on the iPad. The terms of agreement in configurator identified ages for the apps to use. This helped immensely. I identified that any app with social media connections was not an appropriate app to add. Our top findings was if an account does not require student email, it was reasonably safe. If an account asked for school verification for a teacher account, then it was reasonably safe. Eg: Myportfolio, kidblog, reading eggs are safe. Accounts not safe, include wikispaces, club penguin, youtube, prezi. They all require permission for 14- 18. There is nothing stated for under. Or it said that educators take ownership and responsibility for the use of these. We have already learnt of the volume of access with our work with Superclubsplus so unless the teacher is on the environment 24/7 -caution is needed. We purchased and distributed apple TV’s to the 6 targeted classes. This was to any remaining classes without a smart board. Smart board classes had a VGA connection purchased for the teacher’s iPad. The initial observation included teachers sharing photos of learning. We hope to see this grow into children sharing their learning.


  1. Ensuring that teachers used appropriate sites with our children legally.
  2. Teachers using appropriate apps with our children and have a purposeful learning intention.
  3. Continue to observe and investigate what other primary schools do in regards to mobile learning. eg: Just because you can does not mean that you should.
  4. Create our policy around the use of devices with children.
  5. Continue with professional development in the use of mobile technology for our teachers.
  6. Continue to learn about online learning spaces.

            Do you use iPads at your school? What learning have you uncovered?

            Hyperconnect using elluminate

            Using elluminate

            Be aware of time difference <a href="

            I had the most interesting experience on the weekend. @CliveSir on twitter called for people who could help answer some elluminate questions. I put my hand up and before I knew it I was asked to be a moderator for

            I was co-moderator for @krivett1 as she presented ‘Literacy in the Digital Age’. @mrsdkrebs was the main moderator and I learnt from watching her.

            I had been a participant several times during elluminate sessions but when the message came via twitter for helpers for rncons3, I agreed to help to see what it would be like and to find out more about the global free conference. Now the conference itself would be another whole blog. This time I just want to focus on the tool because it was one of my personal goals this year to find out more about elluminate.

            Some of the things I learnt about elluminate was:

            How do I set up a poll? I still have to work on that.

            2x Elluminate windows should not be open- so look at the bottom of the screen. This causes echoing. As a moderator- sign on early and set up your profile so that participants can learn more about you. Add a picture. Communicating on line requires a personal touch.

            Always have a map for participants available as it is interesting to see where everyone comes from. It took me a while to figure out how to add a map. One neat idea was having little smiley faces that people could plot onto the map. Get the participants to test that you can be heard. Use the smile to indicate whether you can hear the presenter. Then have participants use chat to inform what the time is, and what the weather is like.

            Have a video start to introduce yourself and then switch it off to save bandwidth.

            As a mediator, I noticed that more tools show up. I have set up my own room and here is the link. Unfortunately you can have a look and if I am not there nothing will be happening.


            When you sign on as a participant to an Elluminate session use your twitter name like @vanschaijik. That little gem took me a while to figure out.

            When presenting- get the audience to add a smiley, or a hand clap to give a sign of participation. The chat can be quite distracting so if you are presenting focus on sharing. The mediator will be interacting with the participants for you.

            Use images and simple phrases- do not use lines of text. Because the audience is hearing only a voice, reading the screen- becomes death by powerpoint. Think of how Lessig presents. Single words and images. I am going to have to redo some presentations. The computer screen can be shared if you want to have a look at some websites, but again band width can be an issue. So upload your presentation to the system and try and have links available on a word document to copy and paste into chat. You can copy and paste URLs onto a working sheet. Hyperlinks and animations do not work.

            Remember to thank the moderators after the event.

            Get on early and test everything before participants arrive and do not leave. When you exit the room you loose all your slides and have to start again. Room settings cannot be saved.

            I have been involved in a few elluminate sessions but tonights by @shellterrell was one of the best. She obviously had presented via Elluminate several times and I learnt heaps from just listening. She spoke about setting 30 goals.

            If you want to read about other moderators experiences with elluminate then have a look at Jo Harts blog.

            She writes about some of the challenges that can be encountered when being a moderator.

            #RSCON3 set up a google doc and had presenters ask questions and Chiew @aClilToClimb proved to be a mine of information. Here is the list of questions and answers that were helpful.

            Chiew took the questions and answers and created this self help document.

            Finally if you want to have a play and create your own space. Then here is the link to create your room with 3 participants and no recording facilities. You can pay for the upgraded version and more participants.