Weekly reflection: Wevideo – Google Apps

Part of the Chromebook For Education 101 was to use the google app, Wevideo, to create a presentation about what what I know about Chromebooks so far.  TWevideo is an online video editing tool.  Users can sign up to a free account or serval paid versions.  There are  useful tips videos as you go and you can use a template or create your own video from scratch.  You can add video, images and text to slides.  Simple to use follow.

How can I use this in the class?

The best feature of this video maker is that users can collaborate on a shared project. Collaboration is a cornerstone of 21st century teaching .  Learners not only work together to create an artefact but they are given an opportunity to participate as equal partners in their education and the education of others.  This app has endless possibilities and the biggest draw card it that it can be used by learners to be creative in a range of ways.  One student may start a movie and then another student adds on to the video and so forth.  Or, students can be working on slides at the same time – redrafting/improving and editing as they go and making changes based on the work of others.  Also, this gives learners an opportunity to work together from multiple locations.  This app can remove the physical barrier of location and offer more mobility.  Very excited about giving this ago.


Weekly Reflection: Sharing the role as teacher

The first day of school went by in a blur of new school uniforms & bags; fresh haircuts, smiling & enthusiastic faces; excited students; relieved parents; iPads; apps; no apps; iPads with faulty batteries; Tv’s; wireless; welcome powhiri; staff meetings; buckets; lollipops; gasps of amazement at our ‘new’ look classroom and ‘we have big bouncy balls to play with in class’ reactions … and much more.

Overall, my biggest impression of the day was how ready to learn my students were and enthusiastic they were to start their 1:1 digital journey.  I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the cultural knowledge, yes – knowledge of the intricate workings of technological platforms such as iPads, that my learners bought to class.  An example of this was a Year 7 student that became the expert as she modelled to the class how to delete and organise the jumble of apps – home and school – that all students had.  I took a back seat and watched his young lady stand in front of her peers and model how to move and organise apps.  Without prompting from me, she peered at the screens of her ‘students’ iPads and offered reassurance and further assistance.  She confidently walked around the assembled group completing one to one guidance and answered other app/iPad related questions.  This snapshot resonated with me as I was reminded that learners are ready to learn but are also capable and ready to teach and share what they know.  I was further reminded of the importance to the learner of creating opportunities such as this as I overhead this exchange between said year 7 student and a student from another class,

“Guess what the teacher let me do?  I used my iPad and the Tv to teach the class how to delete apps and make folders and move apps .  It was neat….”

An important element of an effective learning environment is the sharing of knowledge and providing learners with opportunities to share.  Likewise, the shift from teacher driven instruction to a collaborative approach where the learners can be the ‘teacher’.  Finally, these experiences of student experts enable my learners to have their knowledge validated and accredited.  Go the student expert!  


A New Look Classroom Layout: flash back to January 

Towards the end of 2013, myself and two other teachers at my school visited Leamington Primary School. The focus of our visit was to observe a 1:1 iPad class in action, in anticipation of our own 1:1 iPad journey for 2014.

Observing the spectacular classroom teacher was awesome but what really inspired me for 2014 was how the teacher had created a learning space.  In place of individual student desks were kidney tables – at various heights, rectangle tables, swivel chairs, shared working areas, large cushions, swiss balls, kneeling tables, tote trays, students sitting on the floor and cocooned in a corner amongst cushions and bean bags.

Whoa, I thought I want one of these!  My class of 2013 was a traditional 1 desk per student set up with limited floor space – due to the quantity of desks, 28 in total.  After this visit to Leamington, I decided a modern learning environment was for me.

New Year: New Space

I jumped into setting my class up with vigour over the Christmas break.  It was a blur of scribbled layouts, hours spent pouring over Pinterest, reading articles and scouring the school for furniture in the hope of repurposing.

image (12)


After making the decision to vito individual desks, I was compounded by the question, “where will they put their stuff?”. I stumbled upon the spectacular idea of BUCKETS – thanks to a wonderful teacher named Judy.  On the first day, I added a lollipop, a ‘I PICK’ bookmark, a piece of card for a name tag and first day notices.  They are great because my learners can take what they need with them as they move around the class.  I see these being used to also carry their iPads around in the safe manner.



image (9)In class we have 2 kidney tables – for student work shops – and 2 rectangle tables for individual or group work.  The two rectangle tables are pushed against the walls to create space for gathering areas.  I see this tables being moved as the needs of our learners and space changes.


3 flip-top desks have been repurposed as ‘learning booths’. A chance for students to work independently from their peers or to work together.

A small collection of bean bags, cushions & swiss balls. A bench is pushed against the wall to the create a ‘kneeling’ bench or a bench seat.image (10)

I repurposed camp chair. I intended for this to be my teacher chair – however my thinking has changed to an inclusive approach that no one (teacher included) has an individual piece of furniture. Share and share alike is our new motto.

image (11)

The majority of furniture, tables and bookshelves are pushed against the walls and the outside parameter of the classroom.  I attempted to create as much open space as possible to allow for flexibility – lying on the floor, seating in small groups on the floor, grouping cushions or bean bags, and a whole class gathering space.   A new addition the week before school started was a flat screen TV for the projection of student work.  We now have 2 possible presenting arenas, the TV and the whiteboard & projector.


I started with a teacher desk pushed against the wall in the ‘teacher corner’ – a few book shelves and a lockable storage cupboard.  In another part of the school there was talk of ‘losing teacher desks’.  The more I visited my class, the more I revelled in the idea of losing the teacher desk.


In short, I had a vision of the class as an organic space that could and must change as our learning needs, choices and activities change.  My own work space and how I choose to work was flexible and organic as well.  Sometimes, I enjoy sitting on the floor with a group, other times it is important for me to be in amongst the learning and ordered chaos to remain with it and at times I require an area separate from the class to work one on one. So, I move around as I need.  Finally, and if not the most important reason, I have challenged my class to lose their desks and to inhabit a bucket that they are required to take with them if needed, to make conscious decisions about where they would like to work and with who and to acknowledge and share our learning spaces.  A little ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ if I had my own desk.  A final note – I also have a bucket 😉

Finally, I was inspired my the work and experiences of Anne Kenneally and if I was to flip my classroom layout at the start of the year I would definitely apply her approach of doing this collaboratively.  I decided to add a feature of this approach into the class on Day 3.  As a whole class, we discussed how we wanted our class to be, what it should look like and what we might like to add.  It was cool to hear the contributions of the class and their reasons for their choices.  As a class we decided we needed a ‘man cave’ which we renamed a ‘class cave’ and more cushions.  Hence the addition of a beach tent.  Depending on who is seating in it; it is a ‘man cave’ or the ‘cave’.

I am confident our space will change and as the term and year progresses. I am going to hold a World Cafe, as the term progresses, to find out how our learning space is working and what changes the students require to meet their needs.

Weekly Reflection: Google App: Loupe

Finally back on track with my Introduction to ChromeBooks for Education 101.  This activity gave me an opportunity to ‘try out’ some awesome Google Apps for Education.  For this module, I tried a Google app and completed a review of the app.  Here is my review of the Loupe App.

The Loupe App is an online picture collage maker.  The app allows you to upload images from a range of sources; Facebook, Google+, Dropbox, Drive, Flickr & your desktop.  This app has a few unique features.  You can use 100’s of images in your collage &, the most exciting feature for me, you can make a collage in a variety of shapes and in text.  A bunch of awesomeness!  There is a free version, with the ability to download a low resolution copy of your image with a Loupe Logo and a Pro version  (paid) with the ability to download higher resolution copies and logo free copies.  There are a range of built in shapes and the function to create your own shapes.

How could this be used in a classroom?

I could see this be used by learners to create visual images of evidence of learning; identity posters; & to add to online presentations.

Take it or leave it?

I would definitely provide this app to my learners.  It provides learners with another opportunity to create an example of their learning.  It is free and the images can be downloaded.  I look forward to using this app with my learners.

Below is my ‘try’ – takes a few minutes tops to create.


On to the next phases of the course!

Weekly Reflection: Google Chrome Books

My ICT team leader made the announcement that it is quite possible that we will start 2014 with 2 Google Chrome Books per class.  So, ever the adventurer, I was very happy to see the Chromebook Course 101 group and discussion on the VLN.  Of course, I have registered and just spent the last 20 minutes completing the first activity:

Visit the YouTube channel for the Chromebook Classroom. Select one video based upon your interest, watch the video, and then prepare a short summary of your thoughts on the video and how it might apply to your classroom.. Share the video and your summary at the next staff meeting or in the teacher lounge at your school. (NETS-Teacher Standards: 1d, 3a, 3c, 5d)

My youtube clip

My summary:

Socrative is a web based tool available on any device that has a web browser – ipad, ipod, tablet, PC, laptop etc – that allows educators to interact with, hold discussions and make assessments of their learners.  Educators are given a Room that learners can access and complete quizzes, surveys, and games in real time.  Teachers can view assessment data and observe student progress (responses to quizzes for example) as they happen.  Best part: a quiz can be turned into a game that students can watch as the responses come in.

In my class?

I can see potentially using this for weekly quizzes – gather data for a statistics modelling session or gaining student feedback on a lesson, book, topic study etc.  I am also keen to use this as part of my flexible learning programs – more on those later when I get to the how.

Click here to access the Socrative home page and to register or find out more.

Mission: Activity 1 — completed.

The Chromebook 101 is self paced and not all time consuming.  I must admit I was pretty mute on what Chromebooks are and how they work so I am looking forward to completing the course.  Outcome for me: to know more than I did when I started and I am happy to report I am well on the way to knowing a bit more about the Chromebook.  Activity 2 here I come!

Weekly reflection: categories – what are these?

Categories.  Yes, it is clear I am new to blogging.  I have just discovered the ‘uncategorised’ category.  But, after using the ever helpful word press help section and this great article, I now have a better understanding of what these are and how I can use them.  I love the idea of the categories being the table of content and the tabs being the index.  I am sure I will use this to explain my reasoning to my learners.  

What does this mean for my teaching?

Well, it is clear I need to show my learners how to use these in their own blogs.  They are great to organise content – I can envision my learner’s blogs being some what like their bursting 1B5’s of yesteryear – full of awesome ‘stuff’ that must be categorised so I can make sense of it, the world can make sense of it and THEY can make sense of it.  More importantly, to make the sharing of their artefacts (all that good stuff) accessible, the content must be easily and clearly organised.  So, something else to consider as I start to develop a template for their student blogs/portfolios.

I have seen some really creative and organised student blogs and would love to hear from any teachers with tips about what has worked well in their own student blogs/portfolios.


Weekly Reflection: word press

I have spent  a few hours undertaking a small (while quite big actually!) bit of self directed professional development: Blogging and my own e portfolio.  First, the blogging.  After endless article and blog post reading devouring the intellectually informed opinions of more savvy ICT users; I have decided to create my own wordpress site to document my journey as a Provisonally Registered Teacher.  Welcome to the creative world of Blogging.

Second, e portfolio: similarly these two go hand and hand and part of my journey as a new teacher is embracing the encompassing push of ICT in the education sphere.   Continue reading