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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How-to-guide: Upload documents to Google drive

When you start using drive more frequently you will get used to the functionality of the tools with regards to collaboration and sharing.  It will be likely that you will need to start uploading more of your documents to the drive so they are available to you from any device and any location.  As a department we used to use our staff drive based at school to host all of our curriculum documents, but it was difficult to access when not in school, and there were multiple copies of several documents due to older versions and different people editing them.  We now use Google drive to store our curriculum documents and it allows everyone to access them from anywhere as well as collaborate on plans and resources.  This video will guide you through the processes to move your documents to the cloud!  One thing I didn't mention in the video is the fact that some formatting is occasionally lost when converting a word document to Google drive - In my experience tables can look a bit odd, but it's not too hard to clean them up once in the drive.

How-to-guide: Compose, reply, and forward emails

This video goes through some of the simple features of gmail.  Perhaps one of the most important things to note is the use of the Bcc option - you will probably have been sent or forwarded emails from large institutions and you can see all of the email addresses of everyone that has received the email, therefore exposing the confidentiality of the other recipients.  In this case the Bcc option should have been used.  To read more about when to use Bcc have a look at this link.

How-to-guide: Change student password

This short video demonstrates how to change a student password in Google Apps for Education.  You will need your administrator to enable you to change passwords before you have the option to do this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How-to-guide: Create circles and share on google+

This is a quick guide of how to create a google+ circle, and then share to that particular circle.

From there you can look at creating a community and engage with the students through the power of social media, this is brilliant because they can easily access it on their phones and mobile devices.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Life as an e-fellow....

The first e-fellowship experience for me was embodied in a vision of the Sky Tower from half way up Mt. Eden. The 3 day meeting was full of inspiration, innovation and fresh ideas from a wide range of people places, buildings, practices and theory. Day one was kicked off by a meet and greet at the CORE Education HQ, everyone gave a personal introduction and a small talk with the artefacts we brought along - it felt humbling to be in a room with such a vast knowledge base and endless list of experiences. The e-fellow group consisted of 5 secondary educators and 2 from the Primary sector, this was a different ratio from previous years and sparked plenty of interesting conversations and allowed me to realise that despite many of us being at different stages of integration and familiarity of blended e-

Monday, March 17, 2014

What is learning?

Mahanga Beach, Mahia

Part of the work I will be doing this year with my e-fellowship will be about developing student agency in the classroom, especially within the confines of traditional schooling system and the NCEA.  I decided to start at the beginning and look at learning and what it encompasses, although we are teachers and it is our core business it is good to re-visit the theory.  I came across the following quote while I was on school camp last week;

"The most accurate word in western culture to describe what happens in a learning organization …is “metanoia” and it means a shift of mind…For the Greeks, it meant a fundamental shift or change, or more literally transcendence (“meta”- above or beyond, as in “metaphysics”) of mind (“noia,” from the root “nous,” of mind)….To grasp the meaning of “metanoia” is to grasp the deeper meaning of “learning”, for learning also involves a fundamental shift or movement of mind…. Most people’s eyes glaze over if you talk to them about “learning”…. Little wonder-for in everyday use, learning has come

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top blog posts from 2013

This has been the first year I have used a blog as a form of self reflective professional development, overall I have found the experience rewarding and a good way to build a portfolio of work and share it with other educators for feedback.  I have also enjoyed writing about my thoughts on the future of education and where we are heading with things like web semantics and learning analytics.  The most popular things I wrote about this year were;

1) Using Google calendar as a lesson planner

This was really great for my own productivity for the year, and along with integration with i-cal on

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Tu Tane Programme, ChromeBook ease, and the liberation to learn

Here is the link to a post I wrote for CORE Education about the use of Chromebooks with our year 10 students.  The funding was provided by CORE after we successfully applied for a Maori grant to support our learners.  For more information about the grants have a look at this link, and to read the post click on the picture below, or follow this link.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

NCEA with Google Sites-Free Template

This year I used Google sites to enhance the learning opportunities for my senior students.  This was particularly useful at the start of the year as we had minimal devices available for the students to use, and I encouraged the boys to get in the habit of completing the work at home and discussing it in class - much like the flipped learning method.  I found this enabled the students to develop good work habits with regards to working from home.  As the year developed and we had access to chrome books and I set up my own pirate wifi network I used the site to enable students to catch up on work missed through extra-curricular commitments and teenage organisation habits!  

The architecture behind the sites involves a ‘PE Department Landing Page’ which provides a link to all the different courses we run - ‘Level 1 PE’, ‘Level 2 PE’, ‘Junior Health’ and so on.  The landing page also has slideshows and a calendar to communicate with parents.  Have a look at the video to see how it ended up working,  I have also created a Google template that is similar to my NCEA site, this is free to use and the link is here.

I have also started to create an online resource for PE teachers in NZ that will allow us to collaborate and share resources - if you are keen to have a look at the resources and perhaps use some of them in your teaching fill in this form.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Master productivity with 'things' and zero inbox

If your inbox look a bit like the one below (my old yahoo account that I use as a junk mail/signup account now) then it's more than likely that you'll miss the important things that appear in your inbox.

In my opinion Gmail is the superior email client and if you haven't already set one up then you should get onto it and migrate your contacts from your old account and start fresh.

Once you have gmail or an apps account set up then the most important thing is to create and organise your folders into distinct areas - everyone is different and will work out what is best for them-I have "home" for bills, electricity, phone etc  -"school" anything that I might need for future reference from work - "personal" emails from friends that I need to reply to or keep - "admin" account confirmations and details - and a couple of others depending on personal interests.  The folders are where you can

Monday, October 21, 2013

I need your vote - Interface awards 2013!

I was recently selected as a finalist in the Interface Magazine 'Best teaching with ICT' for an activity that I previously shared on this blog.  I used Google Apps in an attempt to modify behaviour in students, praising and encouraging positive examples and working on resolving negative examples.  Lessons were filmed and then peer assessed using the drive and google forms - the use of forms allowed a visual way to summarise the anonymous student feedback - using it as a tool for personal and group reflection.  To read more about the methods I used have a look at this blog post.  To view the entry on the Interface website look here - and most importantly to vote - click here!!!  Thanks for your support! :)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Notes from the Classroom: how Kiwi teachers are engaging students with technology

Today I had the honour of being mentioned in the google blog!  Google wrote about how I was using competition and collaboration to motivate students to improve the quality of their work, as well as produce 'work' in the first place!  Also great to see the great work of +Dorothy Burt and her colleagues at Pt England school - the video clip is really worth watching and makes you feel good about the collaborative aspects that Google Apps for Education allows!  Link to the full post is here.