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  • This is a great post about personalising learning.  A quote:

    Personalized Learning requires that teachers should:

    1) Know their students: Teachers should know their students ' interests, know their learning styles, and know their ability levels.

    In Personalized Learning, the teacher needs to be personable to the students. Teachers who already do this will be prepared for that shift; teachers that do not have this knowledge may not see the value in the technology. In order to "leverage student interests, one must first know the interests of their students and know how to act on it.

    2) Know their pedagogy and content: Teachers should be able to implement multiple paths to knowledge- having a variety of ways to help a diverse group of students learn rigorous standards. This means having more than one resource or activity to teach a lesson and meet a goal or objective. This means teachers should be able to differentiate instruction, find all opportunities for remediation to help struggling learners, and understand how to provide enrichment to challenge the advanced student.

    Simply giving a teacher an iPad will not guarantee this level of expertise.

    3) Manage student learning: As teachers will now have classrooms where multiple activities may be occurring at the same time, this requires a level of classroom management, data keeping, and use of a variety of assessments. Not to stereotype, but elementary school teachers are more familiar with managing a classroom with lots of movement and activities going on- those teachers who rely on lecture only may need additional resources and support, as well as seeing other teachers in their subject and grade level who have this level of flexibility.

    4) Access available resources
    These can be tremendous challenges if teachers work alone. There is no need for teachers to reinvent the wheel. A teacher should not have multiple preps for a single class period.

    As Mathew suggested in his presentation, teachers should beg, borrow, and steal the great lessons whenever possible.

    In this regard, district and schools will have to provide curriculum support and ensure that all teachers have the resources to focus on student learning.

    The US seems to treat this stuff like it is a revelation, but we do need to keep reminding ourselves the obvious as well.  Teachers knowledge of:

    • Their kids
    • Their content
    • Their stuff (pedagogy)

    are all equally important if we are going to positively impact learning.  After all the most important technology in the classroom is the teacher.  Without effective teaching technoligies are just an expensive way to run an average (or worse) programme; and without effective skills (by the kids and the teacher) UFB is just more crap faster.

    My 2c worth .....

  • Yesterday James Rea and Jacqui Innes presented a dynamic webinar on e-Portfolios in the classroom at Russell Street School. This is a school that has a culture of learning,  focused on growing e-learning capability. 

    During the webinar, both James and Jacqui cleverly maneuvered the presentation, so that participants were able to ask questions about the e-Portfolio processes, platforms, pitfalls and more. In summary:


    The purpose for electronic portfolios has been clear from the onset, to:

    • document capability and achievement and articulate the process of learning
    • communicate in real time - amongst peers, teachers, parents
    • encourage student choice and student voice with dynamic artifacts
    • be used during student led conferences with parents

    Students are encouraged to reflect more deeply by:

    • using reflective thinking tools and strategies – as a disposition for learning
    • goal setting, co-constructed rubrics and success criteria for learning, commenting
    • modeling appropriate behaviors online
    • meeting regularly with blog buddies/learning partners for peer review

    What does this look like?

    James and Jacqui demonstrated how the e-portfolios have been created in Edublogs and explained how iGoogle is used (as a sort of dashboard) to monitor feeds. Within the Edublogs space, alternative forms of sharing artifacts is encouraged - such as images, video, text. These are set up to be safe, open and collaborative, where comments are set to ‘moderate’ to manage unwanted spam.

    Copyright and digital citizenship practices are made clear and adhered to – where students are encouraged to draw their own images or email producers and artists asking for permission to use (which is nearly always given by the copyright owners). Clever use of the tools such as tagging, means that children’s names in class blogs, can be used specifically, in student-led conferences.

    Barriers and benefits

    The benefits to learning 'out way' the barriers (storage space. data caps, finances, time to manage and monitor). These include:

    • students becoming aware of themselves and others as learners
    • developing competencies and digital citizenship
    • anytime, anywhere – not just 9 to 3 education
    • being part of a wider community online – where a variety of people contributing to the learning
    • on-going and comparable progress of learning

    This is sustained through well planned, deliberate strategies to support teachers with the e-Portfolio process. This aligns well with the aspirational statements in e-Learning Planning Framework about assessment that reads,  


    TEACHER CAPABILITY: Technologies are assimilated as part of evidence-based inquiry, providing ubiquitous access to learning, to engage wh#nau/family and connect to wider networks.

    IMPACT: Students use technologies appropriately, in a continuous cycle, to support the way they set their learning goals, manage life-long portfolios and work towards becoming self-regulated learners.


    For more detailed information, view the presentation embedded below or watch the webinar recording.




    For support documentation, go to /file/tagged/118255/ZS1wb3J0Zm9saW9z

  • I’m a 4th-year Maths teacher from Middleton Grange School in Christchurch. I’m particularly passionate about using ICT effectively and innovatively in mathematics.

    UNESCO logo

    CMA logoIn November 2011, the Canterbury Mathematical Association and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO sponsored me to attend the 10thAsia-Europe Classroom Network Conference in Dundalk, Ireland. 

    I presented my proposal for a collaborative project called “Maths In Our World”. The project involves students from various countries around Asia and Europe researching their culture and preparing online presentations, then solving Maths problems whose context is based on some aspect of their culture. In this way students from each country learn about each other’s culture at the same time as building their mathematical problem-solving skills.

    Conference delegates


    The conference consisted primarily of two parts: the planning of the projects, and professional development workshops for using ICT in the classroom. The main thing I took away from the conference was the experts’ focus on student creativity and collaboration through ICT, rather than just using ICT tools to continue doing things the way I used to do them.

    Asia-Europe ClassroomNet

    When I participated in the conference I felt like my whole perception of what ICT can do for my students was flipped on its head! Of course this way of looking at ICT makes perfect sense, and given the nature of this professional learning community this is probably not news to you, but it radically changed the way I teach and the possibilities I saw for ICT. 

    I’m still trying to work out the best ways to do all this in Mathematics, but at least I feel like my eyes are open now. I’m trying (in between everything else… you know what it’s like!) to maintain a blog [Stephenmath: A Math's Teacher's ICT Journey] to reflect on this journey and hopefully help other teachers who have similar misconceptions of ICT… I know I was not alone in my earlier perceptions!

    I should note that I significantly changed the nature of the Maths In Our World project during the week of the conference, to make it more creative and collaborative in line with what I was learning that week… it was originally quite dry and prescribed in terms of what the students needed to do, but I quickly realised it could be done better!

    I would love to hear your thoughts on my journey and if it resembles your own.

    • How prevalent in the teaching community are my misconceptions?
    • How can we support colleagues to “see the light” with ICT, without increasing their already-ridiculous workload?

    I’m just starting to tackle these questions, so I’m very keen for your input!

    Many thanks to our guest blogger: Stephen McConnachie, Middleton Grange School, Christchurch.

  • On Friday, I was lucky enough to be part of the iTeam and Tauranga Moana cluster conference, where Mike Scadden (who has a particular interest in brain compatible learning), was the opening keynote speaker. Mike talked about the brain function of our students, how they respond to everyday life situations and implications for education.


    Mike Scadden also made links to how subject areas are prioritized and how often/much they are taught in schools. Statistics were similar to the following and look particularly scary for the Arts and Science.

    Subject Graph

    Yesterday I found a blog post, Experts Call for Teaching Educators Brain Science advocating similar ideas that,  "For the most part, teachers are not exposed systemically in a way that allows them to understand things like brain plasticity," with a call for more formal teacher training is in this area.


    So, how can teachers understand more about how students' brains work, how they respond best to learning and ideas on how to design learning opportunities to best meet these needs? Some thoughts are shared in the older (ICT PD newsletters) links below.


    Anyone else have anything to share?



    27 March 2009 - Investigative series 1: Brain week

    10 April 2009 - Investigative series 2: Myths about the brain 

    24 April 2009 - Investigative series 3: Teacher intervention in instructional design 

    8 May 2009 - Investigative series 4: Brain based learning theory 

    22 May 2009 - Investigative series 5: Influence of digital media on the brain

  • Talofa lava. I'm interested in sharing approaches, tools, resources that we see supporting our Pasifika students and that enhance O le Vāfealoa’i - Strong and Respectful Relationships. For example, there are a number of resources (songs, artefacts, film etc) in Digistore that you might be using and can share ideas around ways students are responding. What are you finding really successful?



  • Hi there, my first post under VLN please excuse any mistakes I might make!

    I teach Art, Music and ICT at a Decile 1 Intermediate School in the Far North. For this year I am also one of two ELTs at our school. I am keen to get into e-learning to a greater level than previously, at this stage in my classes, hopefully eventually further within our school.

    For Term 2 I plan to teach my students how to make their own comic strips. Different to last year I want to have all work web based, meaning no work book, no pens or pencils (at least not dictated by me!). I have got a general idea of how I will structure my sessions, I also blog and have run a wiki previously, but I need some advice in how I go about setting this unit up in the web.

    Our school has a student homes for each student, but I don't want to be tied to school to do my marking etc. So I am looking for a way to put a site up for free which will have my topic and background info, the brief for this term etc. I plan to include links/video clips to relevant sites and activities. I also need a space, well a lot of spaces, for my student to post their work - I teach approx. 200 students. Ideally this would be grouped into classes, with each student having their own private folder (meaning they and I can access it only).

    To complicate matters further, I would like to be notified of work students have posted as completed, and ideally, a student could only move on to the next activitiy once I had checked their submitted work and given the ok.

    I'm not asking for much, am I? lol Any advice would be immensely appreciated!!!!!! Many thanks in advance, Monika

  • Cross posted from my Edublog   http://allanahk.edublogs.org/

    We engage with our children through blogging throughout the year and I wondered if, in the spirit of collaboration, we might come together to share some of our favourite posts that we have published during the year.  Some teachers just picked the one post that was most memorable for them and some teachers asked their students which posts most resonated with them.

    I also thought the resource may then be useful for others as they look forward to 2012 to see what others have been blogging about in other parts of the country.


    As well as promoting the concept to our Link Learning Cluster I tweeted the link a couple of times to spread the word.

    My next step was to think of a place to put the pages and web links. A year and a half ago my preference would have been to make a wiki but this year I have really appreciated the ease of use and clean-ness of using a Google site. I often find Wikispaces tricky and things don’t sometimes turn out how you want them to when I am using a wiki.

    At first I promoted the idea of people editing the Google site themselves and adding their own images and links but at the busy report writing time of the year people didn’t seem so keen on that idea so I just asked them to email or tweet me the links and I would do the rest.

    I made a two column table on the Google site to keep the formatting even and had to add an extra column as the number of posts grew. Now it doesn’t look so pretty when viewed on my iPad or MacBook Air but no matter.

    As people sent me the link I took a screen grab of the post ( Shift + Command + 4 on my Mac ) and then hyperlinked the image and the URL web address.

    This post is probably over long but I am writing it in Evernote on my iPad on a flight back from Auckland after having been evacuated from the Nelson floods. Contrary to public opinion I cannot hold back flood waters so attended a Sustainability Forum up north for a couple of days instead. Now I look forward to spending a few days slushing away the mud at home.

    You are welcome to tweet or email me your links from your own class blog and I can add them to the resource. 



  • At the end of Educampakl I asked the question do geeks learn differently? I thought this would be an excellent topic to explore for the Virtual Learning Network's November e-learningchallenge to answer the question:

    "What kinds of skills/knowledge/attitudes do teachers – and students – need if we are going to use technology effectively?

    Geeks multitask
    A geek will think nothing of sending you an instant message even if you happen to be sitting next to them. Non-geeks find it a bit weird or downright rude for someone to whip out their device in the middle of an important meeting or conversation and start checking their twitter feeds. However geeks think their conversations partners shouldn't be limited to the people in the room.

    Geeks have imaginary friends
    Whether on facebook, bulletin boards, twitter or blogs geeks think nothing of spending the day interacting with people they've never met. In fact if you ask a geek who their best friends are they are more likely to give you twitter handles as names. The bonus of imaginary friends is that geeks always have people on hand to help them with their learning not to mention free tour guides sprinkled across the globe.

    Geeks take risks

    Geek might be chic but being early adopters of anything can also make you might unpopular. Gallielo had trouble getting invites to cocktail parties after declaring the world was round. Likewise geeks tend to engage in stuff like blogging which some people think is weird.

    Geeks are curious
    Geeks love to play with new gadgets and the internet is fill of all these clicky links that take you to different people and places. Because of this curiosity geeks don't need large content-filled lectures just in time learning suits our needs far better.

    Geeks love to share
    Whether by blog, tweet or facebook update geeks love to tell the world what we are reading, writing and thinking about. Geeks are content creators rather than just consumers.

    Geeks are superb information navigators
    Contrary to popular opinion geeks don't necessarily spend much more time on screen than non-geeks. But they work smarter when they are online. They'll have RSS feeds, twitter PLNs which means that they don't find relevant information, the information finds them.

    Geeks come together for collaboration rather than content
    Those big fancy conferences with important people are all fine and dandy but what geeks really come together for is the connection with others. Chances are a geek will have googled you and read your twitter feed before you've met. But this means the quality of our interaction is better when we do meet face to face.

    So there you have it. Geeks aren't that different from normal people. Think of them as a Facebook Friend you haven't met.


  • Last week, in response to the leadership wero or 30 day challenge, Warren Hall posted a commentary about the desirablity of looking at new teaching applicants that display dispositions of how to use technologies effectively for teaching and learning. Or, in other words, someone who has the ability to have strong pedagogical understanding and knowledge of how e-learning tools can benefit learning - rather than thinking of someone who might have great ICT skills.


    Suzie's blog post, Using ICT tools to reflect on your own teaching about teachers as reflective practioners in is also invaluable in this discussion.


    A wee while back I wrote about similar ideas - in regards, to what makes a 21st Century teacher and thought some of might be a relevant to the contributions in November 30 day challenges.


    21st Century education defines a teacher as someone moving away from the "dispenser of information" to someone who is the "orchestrator of learning and helping students turn information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom." Our roles are changing from traditional sage on the stage to sage and guide on the side. 


    So what characteristics does the 21st Century teacher need? Doug Johnson in his Blue Skunk blog post on the 21st Century teacher asks, Are the new skills needed by teachers to use technology effectively “technology” skills or “teaching” skills? One response to this, is the Contemporary Teacher Skills Checklist from Tom March, who drafted a list of 21st Century skills continuum with references to web based and pedagogical skills. 


    Andrew Churches summarised Eight habits of highly effective 21st century teachers in both the New Zealand Interface Magazine and his Educational Origami as:
    1. Adapting
    2. Being visionary
    3. Collaborating
    4. Taking risks
    5. Learning
    6. Communicating
    7. Modelling behaviour
    8. Leading

    Churches writes that a 21st Century educator is one who is highly adaptive to change and is able to visualise what their students need to be successful 21st Century citizens. They know how to use new technologies and tools to help enable this to happen.


    They need to be effective and accessible communicators while modeling and using appropriate tools for collaboration. They need to be brave to take risks with their learners and in-turn trust their students as co-constructors of learning.


    A 21st Century teacher must also be a life-long learner themselves, staying current with learning theory and effective pedagogy. They need to model those characterstics deemed as the 21st Century skill set and lead by example. 

    To view the full post, go to http://bit.ly/uML1kB

  • This post from Anne Davis of Edublog Insights is probably one of the most commented post on the subject of the use of blogging in education with 215 comments at the time of writing ( how's that's for engagement with an audience ).


    I quote from her page:


    "Blogging is educationally sound for teaching students because:

    • Blogs provide a space for sharing opinions and learning in order to grow communities of discourse and knowledge — a space where students and teachers can learn from each other.
    • Blogs help learners to see knowledge as interconnected as opposed to a set of discrete facts.
    • Blogs can give students a totally new perspective on the meaning of voice. As students explore their own learning and thinking and their distinctive voices emerge. Student voices are essential to the conversations we need to have about learning.
    • Blogs foster ownership and choice. They help lead us away from students trying to find what the teacher wants in terms of an answer.
    • The worldwide audience provides recognition for students that can be quite profound. Students feel more compelled to write when they believe many others may read and respond. It gives them motivation to excel. Students need to be taught skills to foster a contributing audience on their blog.
    • The archive feature of blogging records ongoing learning. It facilitates reflection and evaluation. One student told me that he could easily find his thoughts on a matter and he could see how his thinking had changed and why.
    • The opportunity for collective and collaborative learning is enormous. Students have the opportunity to read their classmates blogs and those of others. This is not possible in a regular classroom setting.
    • Blogging provides the possibility of connecting with experts on the topic students are writing.
    • The interactive nature of blogging creates enthusiasm for writing and communication.
    • Blogging engages students in conversation and learning.
    • Blogging encourages global conversations about learning–conversations not previously possible in our classrooms.
    • Blogging provides the opportunity for our students to learn to write for life-long learning.
    • Blogging affords us the opportunity to teach responsible public writing. Students can learn about the power of the published word and the responsibilities involved with public writing."

    Tongue out heart 

    What do you think?

    Is there anything missing? 

    If you want to find out more why not treat yourself to some online professional development