#edchatnz and principal challenge!

Thursday 3 July, one day till end of time and has been a fabulous #edchatnz session. So cool having so many educators so enthusiastic just before the end of term.

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If you don’t know what it is have a look, get involved and get excited!! You can connect thru the Twitter hashtag #edchatnz, following @edchatnz, following the founder @MissDtheTeacher, blog – http://www.edchatnz.blogspot.co.nz/, and Google +.

Challenge stated with this Twitter conversation:


Really like this idea as leaders have such an influence over how the rest of the school acts, develops and flows.

And have just remembered that there were already two of four SMT (the DPs) on Twitter and actually I encouraged two that are acting to get on. But they are all pretty quiet. How can I encourage them to engage in Twitter and build their own PLN?

Now, how can I hook my principal in? Maybe find out what she is really interested in at the moment to do with education, the school?

Got any ideas to help me lead change? Please leave your idea or tweet me!


Byte Me! New tech / computer club at school

All of this year I have been wanting to start a computer club at school. I teach at an all girls’ school and feel that it is important that there is a space for those girls who are computer geeks! Or at least interested in learning more about everything digital.

So, I finally got around to making a poster and advertising it. Had the first session last week where about 15 girls turned up (plus a few more who emailed as they couldn’t make it). This session was a brainstorm session of ideas of what they wanted to do in the club, names for the club (they come up with Byte Me -which I think is great! Our Moodle site at school is called WGC4me) and how they could contribute to the club. They had heaps of ideas from websites, making games, programming, to guest speakers they would like to get in.

I thought it would be a good idea to start with something interesting but reasonably basic, so the next session is going to be creating a website with HTML. Now the cool thing with this is that as we are a Google Apps school, not only can you use Google Drive to host websites, there is also an app in the Chrome Store called Neutron Drive, where you can edit your html files and save and your site which is updated straight away! You can also share these files with others!

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You can easily change the URL that Google Drive creates at the moment but there are some work arounds I found searching on Google. However, with just getting students started I think this is going to be really cool, straight away they can have a site that they can share with others!

I am also using Neutron Drive to create and host the Byte Me website. It is going to be very basic to start with as I want the development of it to be a collaborative project that students in the club take on. Exciting!

So, what do you think? Any comments?

Also, are you a woman in the IT / digital industry that would be keen to be a guest speaker? Are you someone who could run a session in something?



Creating a positive ‘Geek Girl’ environment

Great post by Merrin Macleod on The Geek Girl Survival Guide. Useful for me personally but also useful for me in helping me to get started on creating an environment at school (planning on starting a computer / coding club) that will be supportive and encouraging in prompting ‘geeky’ things for girls.

Have you started a club? Have any pointers for me?

My Goals for 2014

Goal 1: integration of student BYOD devices into learning activities in Year 9 Health with student choice of what, when and how to support their own learning.
This has started well and isn’t too stressful as only have one health lesson a week! And nearly every student has their own device and we have enough laptops in PE to be able to cover those that don’t or might forget. The one issue that I have come across so far is students on tablets, particularly iPads and them not working so well with Google Apps.

Goal 2: to work closely with HFT to consolidate the Level 2 Digital Technology programme with the aim to increase student numbers at L2 and strive to be given a L1 DT course in 2015.
Working well with new assistant HOD so far!

Goal 3: learn Python so can teach effectively and engage students in this learning area.
Starting this soon by doing the Canterbury University COCS121 paper! Will be a busy semester!

Cyber PD: TeachMeetNZ, Google Hangout, PENZ

A wee while ago Tim Gander asked me if I would be interested in being part of a TeachMeetNZ for physical educators. I had heard of TeachMeetNZ but had never made the time to sit down and watch one live and the idea of presenting something in a short time frame appealed.

The theme was ‘Innovation in PE for 2014’ and being a reader of Tim’s blog (NZ TEACHnology) I straight away thought that something to do with Google Apps would be cool, so decided on a Google Apps script called Doctopus that I have been using this year.

On the actual day, just before the hangout (NZ TeachMeets are conducted using Google Hangouts) I was getting quite excited and nervous! As this wasn’t quite a ‘normal’ TeachMeet as one of the participants (Julia Breen) was at the PENZ Learning Conference in Auckland, so there was a room of people watching the hangout as well.

We started at 3.30pm on the dot. I was the third to present (after Aaron Mead) and probably went a bit over time. It was a bit odd not being able to see the people I was talking to and this threw me a bit. However, the technology worked fine, presentation went well and I was buzzing afterwards.

I was buzzing about the experience for the rest of the day. How cool to be in Wellington and be presenting alongside others from around the country (Paraparaumu, Gisborne and Auckland) and streaming live to who knows how many via Google Hangouts and YouTube (Google hangouts can be steamed live through Youtube as well). The Youtube recording is also on the TeachMeetNZ wiki.

Twitter was also very activity during the hangout – #TeachMeetNZ & #PENZ.

As I mentioned my presentation was about Doctopus, which is a script that automates functions within Google Apps. I first found out about Doctopus from Stephanie Thompson at EducampWLG in May, who uses it and others scripts with her students.

I had been stressing out about how I was going to explain Doctopus in a few minutes until the night before when I did a Google search and found this post – Let Doctopus unleash the power of Google Docs. Thanks to the power of Twitter I asked and got the okay from JR Ginex-Orinion to use parts of his Google presentation. I think it is a good visual representation of something that isn’t easy to explain without actually running the script and seeing it in action.

So, it you use Google Apps and want a easier way to manage documents with students, have a crack at using Doctopus. Also, have a look into the other scripts that are available to help you with your management of Google folders, and documents – Top 10 Google Apps Scripts for Education. Google+ Communities – gClassFoldersApps Scripts for Education – Builders and Users.

On the TeachMeetNZ PENZ page you will find the YouTube recording as well as links to all presentations.  Here is mine presentation, the last slide has a few links to videos and ‘how to sites’ for Doctopus.

Here is the Google Hangout link.

Thanks to Tim for the invite and to Sonja van Schaijik (@vanschaijik) who organises and coordinates the TeachMeetNZ sessions. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in either a TeachMeet or Google Hangout, I would highly recommend it. It was great to be part of something new (ish), learning focused, technology based and exciting.

Content Curation Tools

Awhile ago I was asked to do a presentation for our schools Wine & Pedagogy pd sessions. These session were set up as an informal way for staff to share cool things with other staff. We have had some great sessions this year, including the first student presentation to staff.

I thought it would be useful to run people through what content curation is and why they might like to use a tool. So, below is my presentation. I have just work through different tools that I have used and there are some examples of how teachers in school have used some as well.

More thoughts from the Moodlebites for Course Designers

Using WordPress (20 June)

Awhile ago I thought I would start looking at writing a blog but discovered I’m not a blogger. However, recently I have discovered Rebelmouse – https://www.rebelmouse.com/SchuKnight/ and that someone decided to follow the WordPress blog that I started in the last school holidays following the NZ Moodlemoot.

And now with the regular reminders about adding blog entries here I thought I would revisit WordPress. I do really like the UI and the layout in WordPress, plus you can easily follow other peoples blogs as well.

So, I am kind of blogging but it will be very intermittent I think. I am far more activie on Twitter and now with Rebelmouse I can gather everything in one place – which I think is pretty cool and handy.

Course Designers (9 June)

Wow! A lot to get through during the first week! Head full! Especially after having the iMoot not so long ago. Liked learning about roles and being able to add to different activities for students. Would like to spend more time looking at the philosophy and pedagogy behind Moodle and think about ways to implement with my classes at school. Would be really cool. Also had DP send link to this yesterday…http://www.lurfilms.com/work.php?vid_id=74  …would love to get something set up along these lines at school!!