Thoughts, comments, reflections and other bits and pieces from the Learning at School Conference in Rotorua.
Just a couple of sentences about what you brought back, what it means for your school / you and how you are / will use it for the betterment of your students.

Click the link below to go directly to the Principal's review:
Tim L (Myross Bush)
Kevin (Makarewa)
Andrew (Winton)
Allan (Waihopai)

Tim L (Myross Bush)
Breakout 1 - Responding to Change - Tony Ryan - The PDF that Sarah has attached on this summarises his talk well. The interactive discussion breaks with partners and reflecting on your own 'wellness' made it an enjoyable breakout!

- Breakout 2 - Dr Stuart Middleton - School looks good but is it engaging?? I enjoyed listening to this keynote and the follow up discussion was interesting. He basically went back through his presentation and posed further questions to the group - why do we have a system like we have?

1. What's happening to systems like ours? - 'swine flu' stats
2. Changing student population - ethnicity / language
3. Disengagement - physical - out the door / virtual - dreaming of something else / unintended - wrong conference?!?
4. Challenges - purpose - readiness - language - sectors/structures - being honest in our discourse

Why is change so hard? -

  • Promoters of change
  • Social / economic conditions
  • Technology
  • Laws and regulations
  • Community - conservative view

Resistors to change - Our own...

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Aspirations - is there a gap between (partic. Principals) rhetoric and practical action or how far we are actually willing to go!
  • Disposition

Promotion through the Arts!

A good idea can only be beaten by a better idea - don't turn up with no idea

Support the idea with facts!

Readiness - when would we know when a student is ready:
- to start school?
- to start secondary school?
- to undertake tertiary study?
- to enter employment?

How do we cope with a situation in which students have more language skills than we have but in different languages?

Are we able to let sectors go and base our organisation of the system on the needs of learners?

Breakout 3 & 4 - Derek Wenmoth - director of elearning for CORE ed is an interesting guy. He spends some of this time discussing/blogging/thinking/organising forums for bringing together ideas and people about where IT and education are going. Go to the ' TOP TEN TRENDS FOR 2010' for the latest!

Breakout 5 - The LMS Gateway to learning and assessment -Mark Treadwell (developer of KnowledgeNet LMS) seems to have the ear of MOE people and is one of the leaders in driving the link between school, home and the LMS capabilities. Check out his websites 'TEACHERS @ WORK' and 'THE EMERGENT 21st CENTURY TEACHER'

Breakout 6 - Friday - Creative Commons Workshop - Dave Young - ictucan!

Kevin (Makarewa)

Breakout 1 - Bringing your Vision to Life - Sue Williams – Core Ed
A developing a vision is the easy part, bringing it to life can be the hard part.
  • staff must actively teach it on a regular basis.
  • Need to communicate vision regularly
  • via newsletters, websites, blogs etc
  • have symbols that are used to communicate our vision
  • all classes to have a wall display about the vision and values
  • integrate it into our learning - e.g. kids making a big book for shared reading
  • Giving children time to reflect on the vision, values & key competencies.
  • Use ICT to make the vision come alive
Things we could do at school:
For us at school we need to develop spaces in our rooms where the vision, values and key competencies can be displayed.
Introduce a school wide reflection time.
Classes to present items at assembly that relate to certain parts of our vision, values & key competencies

Breakout 2- Engaging your Community with Digital Stories - Naketa Ferguson
This was a practical session showing how you can use kidpixs to tell stories with small children. This could be a excellent way for children to share their writing via class blogs.

Breakout 3 Building a School Based Curriculum: How to use SOLO Taxonomy to develop 'The Key Competencies' – Julie Mills / Pam Hook

The presentation was based on developing the Key competencies using the 5 levels of the SOLO Taxonomy. They used the 5 steps of SOLO to help the children derive steps to monitor their own learning progress.I can see that the SOLO method may be useful, but feel that it would drive everything you do within the school if you used it. There would have to be a lot of teaching to get the system going and the whole thing can fall over if a key person left
Key Competencies example using SOLO

Breakout 4 - How to make create and deliver a memorable presentation - Tara Fagan / Sharon Carson
How to prepare and present information on power point and how to present it in an appropriate way. It talked about slide techniques based on 'Zen Style' -

Breakout 5 Use of Audio in Junior Classrooms - Lisa McDonough
Unfortunately Lisa could do what she planned due to limited internet connection. She took us through a lot of different applications that could be integrated into classroom learning.
Animoto - a slideshow software to help present images. Can allow you to put a music sound track on.
Fodey - a newspaper
into a newspaper format.
Voki - Allows children to create avatars and get it to speak. Could be used to tell stories, give instructions or as a translator.
Breakout 6 - Bubblemation - Dave Kinane -
This session used SAM animation which is a free download to produce animations. SAM can be downloaded from Tufts. We use a

Wall Wisher - great site for posting wonderings / reflective comments etc. You can post a photo / clip and students and use it as an assessment tool. Very easy to set up and use.

Andrew (Winton)
Breakout 1
‘Cloud Computing’ via Google Apps-free to NZ schools
· Multiple Users working simultaneously
· Surveys
· Great for stats data gathering
· Parent surveys

Google sites
· Create own webpages/class pages
Google video
· Can store up to 10 gig
Great tool for students to work on 'projects' at home and school. Could link to ePortfolios
· Record video/screenshots
Action as a result-students now using google docs to work on topics at home. Teachers now entering achievement data on google doc.

Commoncraft videos

Great wee videos to explain concepts such as Cloud Computing or RSS feeds
Digistore update
This has been recently updated with a new interface. easy navigation for teachers. Very useful for Science and Social Science in particular.

Software for learning


E portfolios
· Recording learning in digital formats
· Wikis
· Videos
Action as a result-Senior school will trial eportfolios via classroom blogs.

Nine in 90
I have the DVD and will make copies available to schools. This has details of 9 greta classroom applications i.e green screen moviemaking, digital storytelling.

iLife applications
· iMovie
· iDVD

digital storytelling
· Garageband
o Podcasting
· iPhoto
o digital photography

Cloud Computing
- flicker storm - keeping multiple images on one page
- voice thread- 'threads are loaded around the picture

Allan Mitchell (Waihopai)
I got great benefit from being immersed in a technology environment and surrounded in a language that I am unaccostumed and unfamiliar.
The breakout sessions challenghed my thinking and understandings. I was thrilled with the impassioned presentations of area like ICT / Inquiry in a new entrant classroom; an argument that one frequently encounters.
The indepth background of a school TV station and how to implement was of great benefit for me to implement on the back of our radio station.
The key notes provided background and rigor to debate around clusters, staffrooms, BOT tables and educational banter to fortify our understandings and knowledge around ICT, Inquiry and sound educational pedagodgy.
It allowed all participating schools and principals to bond for the benefit of the clusters three years together. We could all hear the same message, build a cluster picture and work together as a cohesive unit in our planning and understanding.