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Our Cluster Share 3 September 2012

On Monday 3 September, teachers from our Rotorua Lakes Cluster schools, met for a joint staff meeting after school at Rotorua Lakes High School.

As our focus this year is to see the integration of e_technologies in our classrooms, we thought it was about time we got our teachers to share what they were using to reinforce and motivate learning with their students.

Speakers and Applications

  Dr Angela Sharples from RLHS shared the site, www.brainpop.com.  Brainpop is an animatedDr Andrea Sharples site which covers much of the curriculum at a range of levels.  It includes videos, puzzles, quizzes and facilitated question answering service.  There is a cost for a school although some content is free.

About: http://www.brainpop.com/about/about/

Example: How cameras work - http://www.brainpop.com/technology/scienceandindustry/cameras/

Free stuff:

Brainpop freestuff

Comes as a phone/ipad app.


Jenny Hartigan from RLHS shared Quizletclustershare 2 Quizlet is a site that allows you to enter your own content and then create games, quizzes and flash cards to help learn it.

About: http://quizlet.com/features/

Example: http://quizlet.com/13648715/chemical-symbols-flash-cards/

Comes as a phone/ipad app


Rose Henry Rose Henry from Whangamarino Primary, shared the site http://pizap.com/, a photo editing site.  She demonstrated how she could add a character from one photo, e.g. Jonah Lomu., and add hime to another photo, such as a school sports game.  She used these new mashed images created by students, to stimulate creative writing.

Help: http://pizap.com/help.php


 Miriata Oranje from Whangamarino Primary introduced Tagxedo Wordle and Tagxedo, two sites that “turn words - famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes - into visually stunning word clouds.”

Miriata uses these word clouds to stimulate writing at all levels, right from new entrants.  They can provide a vocabulary pool that can support the writer.




Annemarie Hyde talked about the use of Blogger at Mokoia Intermediate.  The school is concentrating on writing this year, and is supporting teachers to use class blogs.  Several teachers have blogging as their teacher inquiry.  Annemarie showcased the blog from Puarenga 4  -                   http://mokoiaint-mrsbocock.blogspot.co.nz/     Mokoia Magic             

- to show how students were excited by seeing readers leave comments and appear on their cluster maps. Besides the class page, each student has their own page to post writing and video.

Annemarie then talked about Twitter as a professional learning tool.  Twitter She uses it to connect to other teachers in New Zealand and around the world.  It can be used like texting, for finding out news and for professional learning anywhere and anytime.



Shaun English from RLHS shared a tool for downloading Youtube videos so that they are available when teachers need them. Shaun

“I recommend using Firefox to download and save video. Fast video download for Firefox can be found here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fast-video-download-with-searc/. Open this up in Firefox and it should install for you by clicking on the ‘+add to Firefox’.

My other choice is http://www.flashvideodownloader.org/. There is an addin for Firefox, Opera and IE. Again, I only use the Firefox one.    This one downloads any flash files including videos and games.

Internet explorer has its own problems with video download. After trying it this is not bad: www.ant.com/video-downloader/internet-explorer but it does have a toolbar that gets added on.

Google Chrome has made downloading Youtube videos difficult - they  actually block video downloaders addins from downloading from Youtube. Why wouldn't they? They do own youtube.

Note: If you are installing programmes or addons on to your computer please be conscious of what you are installing.  With fast video downloader for Firefox addon,  (the first link above) it is added to Firefox as soon as you click the addon button.  Then you have to restart Firefox.

On restarting Firefox FVD opens a page and asks you to install another programme.  You do not need to do this.”

Ann Eastcott showed us two applications.     Ann and Spelling City                                                                  The first is http://www.spellingcity.com/. It allows you toadd your own vocabulary lists then applies them to a range of activities to assist learning and make it more fun. Printable worksheets are included.

Ann ended the session with http://www.diigo.com/,  a site for bookmarking and curating material from the web using tags, highlighting and stickies.  It’s one of the tools worth looking at rather than using bookmarks on your email or browser.