I don’t often rave about apps but this one is definitely ‘rave-able’! Craig posted yesterday about using this app in his classroom so I thought I’d download it and show it to my class today. Well – talk about excited! They got together with buddies and scripted some quick maths videos.



I found a ‘relatively’ quiet place for them to do the recording and left them to it. Half the class has had a go already and the rest will have a go tomorrow. They really enjoyed working like this and reckon they won’t forget their demos when it comes time to use them during maths lessons.

Here are four of the videos they created.




Ulearn – A Tale of Two Halves (aka TCE-1 vs TCE5)

Over the next while I’ll be blogging about my thoughts and reflections from Ulearn11 but I thought I’d start with a good old ‘compare and contrast’ post.

Way back in 2006 I attended my first Ulearn. I was the only teacher there from my school and didn’t really know a lot of other people who were there – there were some from our cluster but that’s all. My boss had thought it would be a great idea for me to attend and get a hold of some new/innovative ideas to bring back to school. Now that wasn’t a bad idea – but it also wasn’t so great. While I loved the challenges of the various breakouts that I attended, I didn’t enjoy anything else. I was extremely isolated and because I didn’t really know other people, I had no one to talk with about the new things I was learning. I didn’t even go to the dinner because I couldn’t bear being alone in the crowd.

Teleport to the present and it’s a whole different story!

Twitter went public in 2006, I first heard about at Learning@Schools in 2007, and finally joined up March 13, 2008. L@S07 was different because I went with 7 others from school – we had lots to talk about and it was refreshing experience. L@S09 was a smaller group of people from school – but I also had my twitter PLN. Ulearn09 saw 2 of us attending from school; Ulearn10 I attended ‘alone’ and now I have  just finished attending Ulearn11 (‘alone’).

The contrast between Ulearn06 and Ulearn11 couldn’t be greater. I am a naturally gregarious person (all my friends will LOL at that comment) but the feeling of isolation was terrible at 06. There are an increasing number of us who attend Ulearn/L@TS on our own – and often self-funded. We go because it’s the best PD out there (thanks CORE). We go because we get to spend several days socializing in RL with our Twitter friends – Twitter has become our lifeline – especially for those of us who are isolated in our schools – or even in small/rural/one teacher schools.

For many of us that first face-to-face connection seals the bond of friendship – we move from virtual colleagues to RL colleagues. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

(I’ve taken the liberty of coining a new acronym – TCE = Twitter Common Era!)

(Acronym definitions: PLN=Personal/Professional Learning Network or community (PLC); RL=Real Life; PD=Professional Development; L@S=Learning At School)

Who pays the price of war?

In conversation with a friend a day or two ago, I was reminded of a series of plaques I first saw quite some time ago on the Wellington Waterfront. They commemorate the arrival of 732 Polish children by ship on their way to Pahiatua to experience a different kind of life to one they had become accustomed to during the war. I remember standing reading their story with tears running down my face.

It made me stop and think about the price of war – who actually pays for it? For these 732 children it was momentous and advantageous – to move from an area that had been ravaged by war to one that was untouched. And many of these children stayed here in NZ and became citizens.

I think about my dad who enlisted in the RAF before the declaration of war, even though he worked in a protected industry. He was ~20 at the time. The next 10 years of his life was spent at war and taking part in the clean up in Europe after the war. By the time he mustered out of the RAF he was in his 30s. His next move was to emigrate to NZ under an assisted package deal for ex-servicemen. He was 40 when I was born. I never ever saw my dad as anything but old. War stole his youth, his 20s – that time when we get to experiment with life and figure out who we really are. I only knew my dad for 30 years – war stole him from me – today we’d say he was suffering from a combination of delayed PTSD & Alzheimer’s.

And let’s not forget the millions of innocent people who have died over the years simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or were from a culture that was perceived as being wrong or ‘dirty’, or who ascribed to a religious belief contrary to the beliefs of those in power.

War is a dirty business. Some would say it’s necessary. Maybe I’m too naive – but I wish people were better at debating and negotiating and compromise and listening and accepting. Maybe then we could live in harmony.

Music makes the world go round

During term time I don’t spend a lot of time listening to music – when I get home I savor the peace and quiet and don’t turn it on. However, come holidays, I enjoy listening to favorites both old and new. One of my students sent me an email today with a couple of youtube links in it. I really loved this one:


I was immediately reminded of another piece of music – this one classical which I recall fascinating me when I was younger.

I wonder what amazing ways today’s kids will find to create new music.

CORE eFellowship 2012

CORE education have announced the deadline for their 2012 eFellowship awards. As a 2011 eFellow I’d like to encourage innovative educators to think about apply for this award.

The CORE Education eFellowship Awards recognise innovative e-learning practice by New Zealand teachers. The Fellowship celebrates teaching excellence in an eLearning context and aims to raise public and educational community awareness of the benefits of eLearning. Once inducted into the fellowship, fellows will provide ongoing, community-focused leadership in the field. In any one year up to 6 new fellows may be selected for the CORE Education eFellowship Induction Programme.

I’ve really enjoyed my time this year – getting to meet others, from different sectors of education, who are doing different things to what I’m doing – we’ve all learned a lot from each other.

As 2011 draws to an end, I’m aware that I’m going to miss our masterclass times together, but I’m excited at my growth this year and for my continuing e-Learning journey. I’ve been working on my poster for showing at the CORE stand at Ulearn2011 and my research wiki. This journey doesn’t really have a destination – it’s ever-changing and evolving – which makes the journey even more exciting.

This is my current draft of my poster – for a non-arty person I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed and have had to learn a whole new set of skills using GIMP to produce this poster. My initial idea was quickly thrown away and I’ve toyed with a few ideas before settling down to produce this.

You’ll notice the QR code – we’re all going to have QR codes on our posters – I think I’ll put this poster up at school and see if anyone there asks me what it is.