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Showing posts from 2013

Day 18 of 20 Days to Tech Tastic - PLN

Have you ever had a question about where to go next with a particular student, class or topic?  Have you asked people you worked with and still thought there must be a better way?  Have you tried something that has worked really well with your students and wanted to share that success with others?  

A PLN or Personal Learning Network is great for answers to all of these questions. 

Here's a great youtube video that explains what a PLN is ...

Your challenge today is to begin creating your own PLN.  If you've already started a PLN why not have a go at added a few more useful people to your network or posting something amazing that you've done recently.

If you're a New Zealand educator you might like to start by following these people using Twitter.  Feel free to add your name to the list once you've opened your own Tiwtter account.

We even have our own educator chat via Twitter, why not join in for the next chat ... have a look at the website here. 

There are lots of diffe…

Day 17 of 20 Days to Tech Tastic - Digitstore

Almost through 20 days, hopefully you've found this a helpful resource to get some WOW back into your Technology use.  Please remember to add a comment with how things are going.

We're lucky here in New Zealand to have access to Digistore.  Unfortunately this content isn't avialable to anyone overseas. You might like to try some of these websites if you're overseas or can't yet get access to Digistore...


Today's challenge is to have a look at this great resource if you haven't already and find something you can use in your classroom.  If you've had a good look around why not try sharing something different that you haven't showed your student's before.

There's a wealth of how to information on the Digistore VLN group, pop over and have a look.

You need an education sector login in order to access Digistore.  The Ministry of education contact centre will be able to help you with which form to fill in their details are...

Day 16 of 20 Days to Tech Tastic - Photo Display

So now that you've got all of these great photos taken by you and your students where are you putting them all?

It's great to post one or two photos at once while you're out and about but what if you want to review a whole trip or a photo of every student's artwork?

Your challenge today is to display photos on your blog in a way that you haven't tried before.

Here are a few ideas I've used ... 

Use a simple movie making program like iMovie or Movie Maker to put all your photos together in one movie.  Add the movie to your blog post and ta da! you've got all your photos in one place.

This great little app is really easy for students and teachers to use and can display lots of photos in one great 'PicCollage'.  Here's a tutorial of how to use it on the iPad

Slideshow in Blogger blogs
Why not look at adding a slideshow to the bottom or top or even side bar of your blog with all your students in it.  You could even make your own character…

Day 15 of 20 Days to Tech Tastic - Photography

Time to take some photos!  Your challenge today is to work with children to create better photos.  Try and get a group of children in your class to take better photos.  I've collected a few resources that might help you do that.

Check out these great videos about photography...

Here's a great series of photography tips that can be used by both adults and children.  Lots of great tips to use on this website to improve photo quality.  

Here's another site with basic ides to teach children about photography

Day 14 of 20 Days to Tech Tastic - Geocaching

If you haven't tried it yet Geocaching is a great weekend activity to do with people of all ages. 

Here's a video to explain it quickly...

Here's a Tedx talk from the CEO of Groundspeak basically 'the' geocaching website...

You'll find all the other information you need to start caching here

So your challenge today is to..
1. Create a geocaching account on
2. Find your first cache and log your find with your new account

if you're up for more challenge... 
1. find a travel bug and move it to another cache
2. create and hide your own cache

Have fun! 
Wouldn't it be great to hide a class cache and watch all the visitors that arrive at your cache. 

Please add comments about your geocaching adventures. 

Day 13 of 20 Days to Tech Tastic - Post on the Go

Hopefully you've been inspired at some point this year to setup your own classroom blog and you're happily posting to it via a desktop computers.  One of the really powerful things you can do with a blog is record learning in real time and with the improvements in blogging apps you can now do this from any Android, Windows, or iOS device.  Here are a few of the apps I find useful for posting on the go..

This has to be the best app for getting everything together in one place.  A premium account makes things a lot easier.  You can create notes when you don't have an internet connection and then sync them once you're connected.  I use this app to jot down good ideas for blog posts and link in websites, videos, photos, drawings, mind maps that will go with the post. 

The standard blogger app works really well for making a quick photo and text post.  It's really easy to use and gets things up and onto your blog super quick.  A good one to have on a class …

Day 12 of 20 Days to Tech Tastic - Bookmarking

Just like you would if you're reading a book marking where you're up to online makes it easy to go away and come back when you've got time.

Today's challenge is about looking at the digital resources you currently use and thinking about how you can organise these so they're there when you need them.  It's also a chance to have a look at the digital resources your students use and think about how you could organise them as well.

Social bookmarking has been around for a while, basically it's like sharing what page you're up to in a book with everyone around you.  CommonCraft explains it really well...

Here are a few great bookmarking tools that you might like to try...

- Symbaloo
A place to store all your bookmarks on one page, there's a free personal account and a few different options for education accounts.  It ends up looking like a grid.  Here's a video to explain what it's about...

- Diigo
A basic social bookmarking website.  You can add yo…

Day 11 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic - Digital Citizenship

There are plenty of definitions out there of what it means to be a digital citizen, I'm sure you've seen a few of them before.  Here's the definition of what a digital citizen is from NetSafe here in New Zealand...

A digital citizen is a confident and capable user of ICTuses technologies to participate in educational, cultural, and economic activitiesuses and develops critical thinking skills in cyberspaceis literate in the language, symbols, and texts of digital technologiesis aware of ICT challenges and can manage them effectivelyuses ICT to relate to others in positive, meaningful waysdemonstrates honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of ICTrespects the concepts of privacy and freedom of speech in a digital worldcontributes andactively promotesthe values of digital citizenship Source:

So why would I put Digital Citizenship or Cybersafety into a tech challenge for teachers?
I've lear…

Day 10 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic - Thinking Buddy

Finally have a few spare minutes to get some more up on my blog.  I've been a bit slack on keeping up with this challenge but I promise I will get 20 days worth up sooner or later!

Here's Day 10 ...

A thinking buddy is something that I first heard about from Karen Boyes, I can't actually remember what the name of the course I went to was, but I do remember thinking it was a great idea.  The idea came originally from Adrian RennieI believe.  Anyway a thinking buddy is usually a soft toy in the classroom that is able to 'think' using the Habits of Mind.  Children go to this thinking buddy to help them to use their habits.

Many people have different variations of a thinking buddy or a class mascot or just a few class soft toys.  These don't usually have much to do with technology in your classroom, although I've seen a few that do!  Your challenge today is to think about how you can integrate your thinking buddy or class mascot or whatever toys your class ass…

Day 9 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic - Listening Post

When I planned out the 20 day challenge I grabbed a bunch of differnt ways I'd used tech in my classroom and dumped them into a list.  Listening post was one of these ideas however I think it needs to be extended a bit.  So today's challenge needs to be a little more than just creating a listening post why not have a look at how you use audio throughout the school day both inside and outside your classroom?

I've collected lots of ideas below that I hope will be useful in infusing some tech into the way you use audio in your class....

Listening Post 
I'm sure you've seen the old style rather expensive listening posts, these are great for sharing audio with a small group of students that doesn't disrupt the whole class.  I've also used the Belkin Rockstars in a similar way.  You could use a listening post to:

Listen to journal stories (audio for many is provided by MOE in New Zealand)Listen to stories recorded by other children in the class or school or your bl…

Day 8 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic - Connect

Finally up to date again... here's today's quick challenge :) 

Connecting with others is not only useful in terms of learning but it's exciting.  Learning about and getting to know other people is a rewarding experience and one I've found motivates even the most reluctant students in a classroom.  Today's challenge is to look at how your classroom connects.  How do you share the learning you're doing with the outside world? Not just your student's parents and families but the wider community, country and even further afield.  Think about what you're currently learning, how could you enhance this by connecting with experts? other classrooms? other teachers? ….?

Here are just a few ideas on how you can start to build connections:

Great for getting in touch with other classes and teachers.  There's also the option of participating in a project or two. 

Check out this list of NZ teachers and facilitators on Twitter.  There's also a great lis…

Day 7 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic - Writing

Better late than never :)  here's the next instalment of the challenge... Day 7....

Do you have learners in your classroom that struggle with writing?  I've found when teaching that for students there seems to be something magical about being given a device to write with rather than just their writing book and a pen. 

So the challenge today is to look at your writing programme and to add tech to it if you haven't already or re-visit it and use the SAMR model to think about what level your writing with tech is currently on and how you can change it. 

Here are a few ideas I've come across….

The literacy shed
One of my favourites.  This site has a collection on plenty of videos with ideas for lesson plans to go with them. This resources is definitely worth a look! 

iPad apps 
There are plenty of books out there that have been converted into iPad apps, these would be great starting points for writing.  Some of my favourites are There's a Monster at the End…

Day 6 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic Maths Warm Up

Apologies this post is a few days late... more catch up posts coming soon! 

Day 6 Maths Warm up
Wahoo!  We've made it through the first week of our 20 day tech challenge!  
Today's challenge is all about Maths… We're starting simple by looking at your warm up or headwork or both, basically how you start off your maths lesson using tech.  

In the past I've created a file using IWB software and loaded this onto all the computers in the classroom as soon as the bell rung after morning tea (this is when I did maths) the students new to come straight in and get on with the activities on that file.  

There was a wide range of activities available to them.  Students were responsible for recording which ones they completed each day.  The IWB I had at the time was a Mimio the file is in the folder I created for this challenge on Google Drive.  I've also used similar warmups with ActivInspire they're in the folder as well.  

Of course you could just add a page to your wikispac…

Day 5 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic - Reading To

Day 5 Reading To
A short and sweet post today....everyone loves hearing stories, children especially.  Sitting down and reading a book to a child can't ever be replaced by technology.  However there are a few great apps and websites that can enhance the listening experience.  Today's challenge is about getting more out of reading to your class by using technology.  

Here are a few ideas to help you to do that:

ActivinspireGet a student or students (if you have dual pen capabilities) to record a mind map of the story.  You could pause after each chapter and reflect on what you've learnt about character, setting, problem etc.   This mind map can continue to be added to as you move through the story.  I wouldn't make it a huge thing just a few ideas jotted down after you finished your read to for the day.  At the end of the story you can share this map via your class blog. 

I've done a non-tech version of this where the students used felt pens and paper to record their ow…

Day 4 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic - All in One Place

Day 4 All in One Place
How are you finding the challenge?  Is it useful?  Please add a comment to any of the posts letting me know what's been helpful / not helpful.  

It's really easy with tech especially what you and you students create online to have 10-15 different tools you use regularly and therefore 10-15 different websites to visit with 10-15 different usernames and passwords. Some students find it hard enough remembering where they put their sweatshirt and shoes, there is noway they're going to remember all those different web addresses.  So todays challenge is to get all of those tools into one place.  Like the previous 3 challenges and those to come there are many different ways you could do this I've just listed a few below:

- Free (if you want to make a page public however it will cost $1 to verify it)
- Forum space behind each page
- powerful
- private and/or public spaces

Here are some examples of how I've used Wikispaces before:
Junk to Funk Journ…

Day 3 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic Rewind

Day 3 Rewind
Following on from yesterday, today's challenge looks at being able to rewind student learning. The idea is that without tech rewinding learning is limited to whatever you've written down during a lesson, with tech you can replay everything that was said during the lesson as well as seeing what was written down.  There are plenty of different ways of recording learning so that students can revisit it, I've detailed a few below...

Screen Recorders:
Activinspire has one of these built in, why not try turning it on for part of a lesson.  Maybe you could…. record a brainstorming session? A problem solving session in maths? or perhaps a handwriting lesson?  

Here is a Youtube clip I found that explains how to use this feature in Activinspire.

Other apps that do similar things are:
For Mac...
- Quicktime
Open quicktime and select file then new screen recording.  From there you can select an area of the screen to record.  

For Windows...
-   CamStudio
I hav…

Day 2 of 20 Days to Tech-Tastic - Memories

Day 2

If you would like to follow along with my 20 Days to Tech-Tastic teacher technology challenge click here for more details.

Yesterday we looked at creating morning activities to put the tech in your classroom to good use before the bell goes.  I've added a Flipchart to the 20 Days folder on Google Drive called Beginning of Day. It's one of the Flipcharts I used in a year 2-3 classroom.    

Do you remember what you did when you were at primary school?  I still have a few memories the most vivid ones are those I have photos for there aren't too many photos of me at primary school.  Wouldn't it be great to be able to remember more of what you experienced, how you changed from one year to the next?

Today's challenge is all about creating memories for you and your class. There are hundreds of ways you could do this and I'm not about to list them all.  Here are just a few that I thought would be useful ….

This Ted talk is worth having a look at as well as the acco…

Day 1 of 20 Days to Tech - Tastic - Morning Activities

Day 1

Are you ready to accept the 20 Days to Tech-Tastic technology challenge? If you're keen you can find more details here.

Day 1 is all about setting up morning activities.  Of course these can be both tech and non-tech but we're doing a technology challenge so ... what you can do to get the best out of the technology available in your classroom before the bell goes at 9am?

Here are a few ideas I jotted down for morning routines in your classroom.

When I had my own class I found the time before the first bell to be great for getting tech ready for the day and squeezing in a few little things we just couldn't get done during the day.

I took time to train a few of my early bird students on how to complete each of our morning activity, this meant I was free to continue with other setup around the classroom and it also gave these students a bit of a leadership role.  I kept the tasks really simple and built on them throughout the year.

Todays challenge is to get some activ…

Getting Organised

So going back to work has meant things get a little harder at home especially when it comes to having things organised.  One of the Facebook Mums groups I belong to suggested this website and this challenge especially.  There are a few of us completing it and posting photos of our progress.  I'm not about to post those on here as that's not the purpose of this blog.  However it got me thinking... what a great idea for a challenge for teachers especially beginning teachers and those feeling a little overwhelmed.  Wouldn't it be great to have a list of things to complete over 20 school days to get you back on track.  I'm sure there are a few challenges out there to help with this, I just haven't come across any yet.

It would also be a great way to get teachers into ICT too... perhaps 20 days to integrate tech in your classroom... watch this space I think it might be a good way to get some things humming with the tech our teachers currently have.

I so want to go to ISTE 2014!!!

I've just finished watching the closing keynote for ISTE 2013 and loved it.  What a great inspirational speaker to finish a conference with!

I've heard about the ISTE conferences for some time now but being from NZ getting there is a little more difficult.  However I'm determined to try dam hard to get there next year!!

So why did I love this Keynote?

I can probably sum it up in one sentence
It was real and it challenged me.

What next?
Here's just a few things I thought about during and after watching this....

'Google' classroom - why not have a whole classroom dedicated to that google principal of following passions rather than ticking a box or assessing the kids to death?  Stop waiting around - get together with a few like minded teachers and make things happen, even if it only happens in one or two classes, it's doing something amazing for those one or two classes so just do it.IEP for all, in that Google Classroom why not try an IEP for everyone that'…