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Tim Gander's discussion posts

  • Tim Gander 31 Jul 2014 6:59am () in The real reason children fidget

    Hi Guys, great to hear people are talking about this - my son has ADHD and we have tried lots of different things to help him at school - one thing that has seemed to help him focus is allowing him to release some of that energy by chewing - we have bought quite a few (as he manages to destroy them after a while!) chewable necklaces that he can use, I think the link is here.. http://www.suelarkey.co.nz/Sensory_Shop.php It seems to be helping him sit through an hour long assembly - GoNoodle looks like something that would work as well - so thanks for sharing! 

  • Tim Gander 28 Jul 2014 8:56pm () in Classroom Planning

    I haven't used a hyperlink in the description field, I'm not sure if you can as I think it is a plain text editor?  Perhaps you could try HTML code - <a href="http://www.google.com/">link</a> I didn't see the option to add a URL as Roxy mentioned?

  • Tim Gander 28 Jul 2014 3:26pm () in Classroom Planning

    Hi Louise, I teach in secondary and have been using the calendar to plan and organise my week for the past year or so - it is really great as you can share the lesson plans with the students and if they are away they can catch up with the work at a later date.  I wrote about it on this post http://nzteachnology.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/improve-organisation-with-google.html

    It would be good to see this incorportated into 'google classroom' in the future!

  • Tim Gander 03 Jul 2014 10:20am () in FORUM: New technologies and collaborative processes | An Enabling e-Learning event

    Hi, just as a quick intro as Tessa mentioned me earlier in the forum - My name is Tim Gander and I teach at Gisborne Boys High School on the East Coast of the North Island.  GBHS is a decile 3 school with about 800 students on role, it is a traditional boys school and we are slowly and cautiously adopting a blended e-learning approach with staff and students.  As a school we have been using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) since 2009, and have been using chromebooks in classes for just over a year.  I am an authorised Google Education Trainer and CORE education e-fellow this year, I write on my blog nzteachnology about my journey as an educator and the challenges of implementing e-learning in a traditional environment.

    My original posts which Tessa referred to allowed students to share their opinions about class dynamics and peer interaction through anonymous Google forms, providing immediate and uninhibited feedback for classmates, as a class we could then unpack the associated thoughts and ideas about our group interactions and how we could make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone - and hopefully earn some credits for social responsibility!  


    This year I have been focussing on allowing the students to collaborate and work together on the Google social network ‘Google+’ throughout the entire year.  This has been successful in engaging the students through a mobile platform that they are familiar with, it allows them to tag/mention people and develop a presence online by commenting and ‘+1ing’ comments or posts.  The community is divided up into separate categories, to enable different opportunities for interaction - discussion, lesson feedback, fitness resources and pictures, this infrastructure has been designed to be clear and not overwhelming (an overview of this is on this post).  The students are motivated to use the community as I make it media rich through uploading plenty of pictures of lessons and clips that are relevant to the learning, they also have to demonstrate and reflect on their posts in a separate document that shows the journey of their learning and understanding.  


    So far the overwhelming benefit of using this community was engaging the learners that we don’t often hear the voices of - everyone has those 3 or 4 students who will always be keen to ask and answer questions, and it is often hard to hear the voices of the other learners beyond them, but are the ones who are quiet and seemingly dis-engaged not learning, how do they demonstrate reflective thought if they are not confident in voicing their opinions verbally?  I read some really insightful comments from boys who often seemed like they weren’t really thinking about much - this is an authentic example of the importance of embracing UDL, allowing multiple means of representation and communication.  However, by using an online environment are we potentially opening the door for students to be ‘lurkers’, associating invisibility with a lack of motivation to learn or a lack of self direction, it is hard to guess what people are thinking or doing if you can’t see them - is this ok, or do students need to understand the importance of contributing to a community?  After all it isn’t a community if there are no people involved, and it is very hard to collaborate if you are the only one doing it!

    I think that using a collaborative learning community as a way to meet one of the key issues in using online learning as highlighted by Hannum & Mccombs (2008) by supporting "learner-centered principles and practices (we) are: building ways to meet learner needs for interpersonal relationships and connections"(p.18), the Google+ community enhances these relationships by allowing learners to develop their own connections and online identity as well as supporting the dominant constructivist view that learners are motivated and engaged when they can create their own knowledge (Zepke & Leach, 2010).

    Has anyone else had experience of using a collaborative social network or collaborative activities to add value to learning?

    Hannum, W. H., & Mccombs, B. L. (2008). Enhancing Distance Learning for Today ’ s Youth with Principles, 1084 (1084), 372–381.

    Zepke, N., & Leach, L. (2010, 12). Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Education, 11(3), 167-177. doi: 10.1177/1469787410379680

  • Tim Gander 12 May 2014 7:21am () in Ideas for using GAFE in literacy

    I used an activity with senior (L2 NCEA students) to review some literature by using a Google form embedded in a Google site - with the results posted below.  They worked collaboratively to summarise the reading and then saw the results and used it in another writing project, this process could be used for any age students and it was a great way to summarise sources, or compare opinions.  I wrote about it in more detail on my blog!


  • Tim Gander 08 Mar 2014 8:04pm () in Using ICT in reporting processes

    This is regarding an earlier post about reporting to parents - after some feedback from the ministry it is not a good idea to share NSN numbers online, even if the names are not disclosed and all other data is protected - In light of this I will revert to using the school issued student number, unless anyone has any other ideas of sharing data anonymously and simply - I was trying to avoid sharing individual folders with a tracking document in it with parents, as well as creating a script that would copy data from my online markbook to that document as it was updated?

  • Tim Gander 05 Dec 2013 8:15pm () in Managing admin documents

    Hi Ros, creating an admin account would add another layer of complexity, just change the rights of documents so people can only 'view' or 'comment', you can invite as many people as you like to view or edit the documents.  Your tech admin will be able to set up groups like 'teachers' or 'slt' to make it easier to share with large groups.  Although this would mean that someone would have to have ownership of the folder (but you could share admin rights with as many people as you like), I think it would outweigh the problems of adding another 'admin' account to your existing school accounts.


    Good luck - we have used GAFE at GBHS since 2009, please contact me if you need anymore info!

  • Tim Gander 14 Nov 2013 11:06am () in FORUM: How are you using technologies to both report to parents and encourage them to engage with their students learning?

    I checked with 101 support and it is not available in NZ at this stage, which it a real shame.  I haven't looked for an alternative as I have stuck with email and encouraged students to install the gmail app on devices so they can see messages staight away.  Let me know if you find anything else which works well as I'd be keen to give it a go and see it as a really useful tool.  Thanks, Tim

  • Tim Gander 13 Nov 2013 7:28pm () in Creating email addresses for students - naming conventions at your school?

    We use first name - year started school - last initial

    That way students can be represrented personally and specifically, as well as being identified by the year group they are in, seems to work well and no confusion.

    Eg wiremu13c@gisboyshigh.net or steve10j@gisboyshigh.net

    Hope this helps - tim84g!

  • Tim Gander 10 Oct 2013 5:54pm () in Where to start

    Hi guys - Hapara dashboard is a really good solution as a management tool - although I don't use it myself.  There are tools that you can use which are free and worth trying like gClass folders that can organise and create folders for teachers, I have been using these instead as we don't have the funding for the Hapara solution at this stage.  I think the dashboard you are talking about Merryl is the admin console and is more of an overall management tool for passwords, permissions and network management - different people can be granted different access.  I have used Google apps extensively this year with all my classes and found the experience to be positive - have a read about it on my blog here http://nzteachnology.blogspot.co.nz/ Maybe just start with a class or an activity, I have written about plenty on the blog!!  Cheers, Tim