Monday, March 31, 2014

Google vs MS Office 365

My school is going to roll out Office 365 in the near future, so when I saw the webinar E-Learning Conversations: Where Pedagogy and Technology Collide. A conversation with Adrian Francis about Office 365 and Google Apps (Blake Seufert & Mike Reading) (27 March 2014) hosted by Teachers Training International I was keen to go along and find out if Office was ready to supply what I needed for my students. As I understand it, "Office 365" is a rebranding of sorts for LiveOffice, utilising the SkyDrive (now called OneDrive).

Teachers Training puts on a great webinar. There were plenty of teachers in attendance, with NZ teachers being predominant, though there were teachers from around the world. About 22 teachers joined me in the Google Doc for some collaboration, confirming Google as the gold standard for collaborative work (even the MS guy stated that Google leads the pack when it comes to collaboration, and that MS is always trying to "catch up"). Please feel free to utilise the doc in your school's discussions.

A webinar is a fantastic form for PD, with live video on G+ via Youtube, live questions in the sidebar, and a collaborative doc all running at the same time - amazing! I recommend Teachers Training Intl' as a resource. If you are not following them already, you definitely should. When the resources are posted later, I will update this post to include them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

uLearn13 - In Summary

Good morning from Hamilton! I'm sitting in the auditorium at the Claudlands Events Centre in beautiful downtown Hamilton, waiting for the welcome/keynote speaker Ken Shelton to begin. People are flowing in steadily - it's going to be packed!

Ken's main message is that we have to be the agents of change. Change doesn't need to be huge or a lot. You can create huge transformation with just a small thing. He also believes that kids should publish, publish, publish! in all forms. you can see my notes (and many other great links) here.

My first breakout this morning is Googlefest. Here is my slideshow.


well, actually it's a few days later! just got too busy with all these ideas and great things going on around me, and meeting heaps of other teachers! after the keynote, i went to googlefest.

firstly, googlefest was quite scary - when we filled in the google form for the 'fest, i purposefully put my name in the middle of the list. after fighting my way to the venue with my trusty umbrella, scared to death i was going to fly away like mary poppins, but unlike her cool, collected self, be deposited into the river, i arrived wet and bedraggled, only to go on first! i was so nervous, i kept waiting for them to tell me to shut up, that my 5 minutes were done, but no! apparently i only went on for 4 minutes, even though it felt like forever. now i really know how my students feel. it was really interesting to see how different subject teachers were using google apps. so interesting that i forgot to tweet after a bit! i didn't even manage to take any notes on this session, because it went by so quickly. i meant to go back and top them up, but to my utter surprise, my name was drawn for the new chromebook! (it has a delete key - yay!) i'm still not quite over the shock of winning something! i haven't seen the picture that was taken after - probably unpublished as i stood there with my mouth hanging open looking like a dork.

i spent wednesday afternoon doing some shopping, and was so tired i totally forgot about the tweetmeet for dinner, and i was dying for mexican food to boot!

thursday started amazingly well, with ken shelton's google docs workshop. this was a fantastic workshop (and i'm stealing nathaniel's tweet idea - all credit to @nlouwrens!)

here is the list of things we did. this one is my complete set of notes so those things make sense. so many tricks and tips to make a teacher's life easier. seriously - my life this year could have been a LOT easier! from file names to searching within a document to creative commons - heaps of time savers. the citations tools made me so very jealous - thinking about all those hours (in high school) i spent in the library with our librarian's old upright typewriter, retyping the same page over and over to get the footnotes formatted correctly, and my students need only press a button! they are so lucky to have such phenomenal tools available to them, and all FREE. for goodness sake, do yourself a favour and follow ken at @k_shelton. he is one smart cookie, and not too hard on the eyes, either.

thursday afternoon i gave my own workshop on reading and qr codes that some of you will remember from NZATE in july. i added the qr code at the end so that my delegates could quickly save the resources. yet another purpose for qr codes.

thursday night was the dinner, and the theme was "all that glitters." i made a quick stop at the $2 shop for some glittery thingies (after a quick google of "dinner theme").

the primary teachers, as usual, put us secondary slo-mos to shame. they were decked out in amazing dresses, glittery suits & ties, and one memorable tutu! much dancing was had. however, us more sedate folks, @kaiakowilson and i, had a great time with our other seatmates (and what a yummy meal).

SOME of us had an early night, as friday was still a big day. i'm ashamed to say that i missed out on my first workshop, because although i arrived early in order to meet with some of the vendors in the exhibition room, i got caught up with eTV. it turns out that our school subscribes to eTV, and it's a great resource: you can view and edit anything off nz television - and you can request stuff from them too! i had a look at how many teachers from my school were using this resource i had heard very precious little about: a grand total of 0 teachers had used it in the last school year. seeing as how we had no PD at all on this, i spent quite some time at that booth learning about how to use the resources, and this will indeed be very helpful to me and my department, if the school continues to subscribe, and not cancel on the basis that no one is using it. many apologies to +Claire Amos - i had really been looking forward to your workshop, and thanks for the links on core-ed.

friday afternoon i gave my second presentation: text study in the digital age:

i have just discovered that you can add audio to slideshare, so will think about doing that! we had a lot of fun in this session, and the group put together their own inquiry-based presentation, though they were as loathe to present it as students are! you can view it here.

after the session, i immediately headed on the long drive home to napier, happy to see my husband and daughter again in time for dinner. and no, i didn't eat all the donuts on the drive home :)

don't forget, you can access the materials from all keynotes/presenters at the core-ed site here. and you can pick up links to collaborative notes, photos, and all kinds of goodness at #ulearn13.

as always, ulearn has re-energized me for term 4. next year's conference is in rotorua - a great venue. hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Doodle 4 Google 2013 Chosen Selection

Well done to all the Year 9 students at NBHS who participated in the school's Doodle 4 Google competition for 2013. The theme was "If I were an explorer, I would..." We had three classes participate this year, then all three classes voted on which 4 to send to the national comp. (We kept two choices back as "teacher's pick.")

Here are the winning doodles in no particular order (whoops, slideshare shrunk the titles a bit):

Best of luck, boys!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Doodle 4 Google 2013

Hello students. Please view the slideshow below.

Then go to the voting form and fill in the numbers for your top 4 choices.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

NCEA 3.9 - Close reading (new standard)

my year 13s have just completed this new standard, and i am keen to see their results! it has been a long, hard experience, seeing as the standard is brand new and we had to break new ground as we went.

we have spent the last two terms building up to this standard. in a nutshell, for the standard (3.9B), they have to close read two extracts by the same director. we spent term 1 viewing two films (Django Unchained and Reservoir Dogs) by my chosen director, and composing our 3.4 (writing) around those films with The Quentin Tarantino Magazine, which is full of reviews, analyses, storyboards, and fanfic. i think the boys thought i was nuts, but i'm so chuffed with the end product that i'm going to send it in for external moderation to see how we did.

in the process of preparing for 3.4, i modelled a close reading and had them do one of their own on one of our practice films. ("what? no credits?") this term, we viewed our actual film study, and they had to view yet another film on their own. this created a lot of conversation comparing and contrasting style and substance between films, some of which i had to admit to not having yet seen. (i encouraged them to watch Deathproof, which features kiwi Zoe Bell in a main role.)

for the assignment, i made them complete two separate analyses of their extracts. first they had to cut the film themselves and submit the extracts to me. then they had to capture the stills to storyboard the extracts, analysing each frame. finally, they had to prepare their final analysis, which was due friday in the form of an oral presentation outline and slideshow, to also work towards credit in 3.5. some chose to write a straight report, which was fine, but too late to be part of their 3.4 package.

boy, did they whinge all year about all the internal due dates that weren't "for credits!" but in the end, i think we've come up with some pretty solid close reading at a high level.

in the middle of all this, i was called away to the usa due to a death in the family. some might think this would be a problem, but no - this is the 21st century! they were quite used to communicating with me online, submitting work for feedback via google docs, etc, so it was easy enough to keep the assignment going while i was away for 2 weeks (NB: i do not recommend working up till flight time, running around like a looney for 2 weeks, then heading straight into work after your return flight. i am knackered!). of course, the mice thought they could have a play while the cat was away - boys will be boys, after all - but no! upon the first deadline, when those samples didn't hit my inbox, they all got a personal snappy email reminding them that any final assignment resulting in NA which had not been received for the two internal feedback due dates would not be considered for resubmission. that got them working, i'll tell you!

in the end, i'm pretty pleased with the work that has been submitted, and am looking forward with pleasure to their presentations early next term. it's been quite the learning experience for all of us, and i think we've done a damn fine job. well done, boys, well done.

New Laptops - An Update

well, after 5 long years of lobbying for more resources at school, we have      

finally received a set of new laptops on a nifty, purpose-built trolley! it's taken this long to work through the "red tape" since my last post, but i have used them this last week, and the kids are pretty rapt. i was "lucky" enough to be away on an emergency overseas trip when they arrived, so i missed all the teething problems!

unfortunately, no one was interested in getting a set of chromebooks, even though it would have meant we could have bought several classrooms worth for what we spent on a single set, but beggars cannot be choosers. and there's also something about looking a gift horse in the mouth...

the only drawback was that at the oh-so-excited announcement to our department that they were coming, some people were not nearly as excited, but you can't please all the people all the time, right?

in short, this trolley represents, to me, 7 years of forcing kids to use substandard equipment so that i could demonstrate need. 5 years of going to meetings, begging senior management and the BoT personally, struggling to complete multi-media projects (no word processing for my students!) without the resources required, making enemies (because i don't tolerate bullshit well) out of those who should have been helping our school be a leader in edtech. i guess that's a pretty heavy burden for one set to carry, even in a nifty trolley. and the movement for wireless is still ongoing.

that aside, i am very pleased that we can ease the incredible stress on minimal resources. my students have just completed the new standard, 3.9, using them, and we will be using them for three weeks next term as well with our clockwork orange collaborative presos. but those are other posts. in the meantime: HOORAY!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

NZATE 2013 Presentation "Enhancing Literacy Through QR Codes"

This year I was encouraged to submit a presentation on the work I did last year with my Year 9 class. You may remember we did a pretty big 3 parter last year as a big project, including book trailers and QR Codes. The presentation will be in two parts, with part 1 disseminating the results of the project (how we did it; results) and part 2 teaching how to make QR codes, and if time, how to make a little video in Powerpoint.

So, to provide resources, here are, in no particular order, but starting with the Prezi:


This Prezi!
Youtube trailers
Google Docs (for forms)
Assignment Sheet
Marking Schedule
Mrs Faulkner Wikispaces Year 9 (sound banks here)
Creative Commons Search
My Blog reflections (the post before and after refer to it as well)
QR Stuff (to make codes)
Quickmark QR Reader  (to read codes on your computer)
QR Code Sample  (to practice using your QR Reader)