Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Educamp Rotovegas 22 February 2014

On Saturday 22 February I attended Educamp Rotovegas at Mokoia Intermediate in Rotorua.

If you haven't been to an Educamp before, this is what they are all about:

A bunch of teachers converge on a school on a Saturday, at no cost to anyone, and they share their knowledge.  It is based on the unconference format - this means that it is not based on a rigid format and timetable where you have to be in a certain workshop at a certain time.  We start the day with a smackdown, which means anyone who wants to make a two minute presentation about something that excites them, adds it to a Google Doc and speaks to it.  This is the link to the Google Doc.  We also put some post-its on the wall with things we are able to share and things we want to know about on it.  As a result of these post-its, we break into groups during the afternoon to discuss specific topics.

Coders are today's rockstars  -  @mrs_hyde (I'm using Twitter handles here to say who was presenting) spoke about coding being an important skill to introduce to our learners.  Coding teachesWhat most schools don't teach is a video with a lot of those people who have been involved in founding and developing those icon ICT companies, such as Microsoft and Twitter and the like, talking about what coding will help learners with.  One that I can recommend you start with is Scratch, based on the Logo program we tinkered as kids with back in the 80s.  It's been redesigned with avatars and an exciting new "lego" building code.  You link the coding blocks together like "lego" to build games and stories or whatever.
learners about thinking. 

Kidsedchatnz  -  @Juliet_Revell spoke about Kidsedchatnz.  This happens at 2 o'clock each Thursday afternoon on Twitter.  Participating children/classes will need a Twitter account.  The topics are predetermined by a group of teachers at the beginning of each term so that the children can come somewhat prepared.  The list of topics can be found at the Kidsedchatnz blog.  To participate, contact @PalmyTeacher to register your class.

Tweetdeck  -  @mrs_hyde loves Twitter.  She calls it the best PLD, her online staffroom.  And I have to agree.  I've met so many amazing teachers through Twitter (and consequently Educamps) and been exposed to so many ideas for the classroom and ICT than I would have been by any other means.  But Twitter is a fast moving tool.  So @Mrs_Hyde introduced us to Tweetdeck is a tool so that can be personalised so you can see all the streams of your different interests, e.g. you can have one stream showing tweets automatically updating, another with notifications, another with a particular interest you have such as teachers from New Zealand.  I've been using it since when I'm on my computer and it makes things so much easier to follow when you get notifications.

TeachMeetNZ  - presented by @1MvdS for @vanschaijik (who is the person to contact for help on this), TeachMeetNZ is a virtual presentation place for teachers to share what is happening in their classroom.  It's presented as a nano slide presentation of a total of three minutes (or 15 seconds per slide).  The next presentations will be screened on Saturday 22 March during the Festival of Education.  @

#edchatNZ  -  @MissDtheteacher spoke to this topic.  #edchatNZ was developed so other Kiwi teachers (or interested parties) could find your NZ education related chat; so NZ educators can share their educational knowledge.  Once a fortnight on Thursday night we have a topic and a big discussion on Twitter.  Every comment during the discussion needs to have the #edchatNZ hash tag attached to stay visible in the feed and to allow others who couldn't/didn't participate an opportunity to dip in.  It is a great way to share, discuss, collaborate, innovate, debate.... I know because I have participated.

Blogs in specialist classes  - presented by @mrs_hyde, who this year has become a food technology teacher.  She has decided to use a blog to provide support to students, get feedback from students, support other teachers and present information about the specialist subject.

Snapchat - presented by @mrs_hyde, she talked about how great this app on your smart phone is for connecting with the young ones who will no longer communicate with you by text message, tweeting, Facebook or email - so ideal for parents.  Pictures and videos only last 10 seconds and can only be sent to people with the Snapchat app.  This does have issues as a result, mainly the potential for this app to be used as a tool to cyber bully.  Consequently it is important to push being a good cyber citizen.

EdShelf  -  presented by @AnneSturgess, Edshelf is a discovery engine of websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and electronic products for teaching and learning.  It can be used to collate a collection of apps you use for a particular purpose.  So you can end up with a board of the apps for inquiry learning for example.  You can also print out QR codes.

Minecraft - presented by @mrs_hyde and @kasseylee11, who set up a Minecraft server at their school, it has improved student engagement, and has created literacy and numeracy learning opportunities - one class created an entire city described in a book and made movies to bring to life the end of the book.  Later in the day we had a Minecraft workshop and @kasseylee11 showed us the resources she had gotten off a website called Teachers Pay Teachers with Minecraft ideas for teachers and challenges for students.  It was my first attempt at Minecraft and I was rather pathetic.  All I achieved was digging holes, destroying trees and killing pigs!!

Explain Everything - presented by @steve_katene, Explain Everything is a unique interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool  used by over 900.000 students and educators. 

Gamification - presented by @BeLchick1, from the perspective of a mother as well as a teacher, what does gamification do for student engagement?

Google Docs - presented by @mrehu, he talked about how Google Docs are great for collaboration.  He explained how his school used Google Docs like e-hui, keeping all people informed and able to contribute regardless of who you are on staff.

Apps4Inquiry - presented @jkellow, Apps4Inquiry has apps that support inquiry-based learning for students.  This page looks at Android and iPad apps which are useful in planning an inquiry.  The apps on this site are free (when last looked) unless stated otherwise. Any prices are in NZ$ and were correct when the website was set up.  Resources4Inquiry was also highlighted with all the steps of the inquiry heading up useful web tools and apps for each stage.

Daily 5 - presented by @CaroBush who is a leading light in the world of Daily 5 in New Zealand.  Just quietly, she did not teach guided reading last year as such after reading The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks), and all the children in the class went up 2 year levels, and those children below the standard met the standard.  Caro simply let the kids read what they wanted.  This is a link to Caro's Prezi about Daily 5.

Storify - presented by @mrs_hyde, Storify can gather all the goodness and notes from Twitter about a topic/conference/meeting and storify it.  It is free to use and can be embedded into a blog.  Below is my first attempt at Storifying!!

Quadblogging Aotearoa - presented by @barbs1, she talked about how lots of classes have blogs, but struggle to find an audience.  There is an international group of Quadbloggers, but schools in New Quadblogging Aotearoa organisation for our own school terms.  And some teachers got together and set it up under the Virtual Learning Network umbrella.  Any class can join and the team will group together four classes to communicate and blog with each other.
Zealand really needed their own

VLN - The Virtual Learning Network is one stop help desk, by NZ teachrs for NZ teachrs, to find help and ask questions and discuss.  It is an interactive resource provided by the Ministry of Education for all New Zealand educators.

Snapguide -  presented by @leighhynes, Snapguide makes a set of instructions using text, photos and videos to embed in your blog, wiki or other learning management systems.  It gives a set of instructions to students to do something.  There are five slides in a Snapguide.  You can add text, photos and videos.  It is best for giving simple instructions and can be created from any device.  Here is a Snapguidefor making a Snapguide!!

Bookmarking - presented by @leighhynes, Leigh explained how she organises her bookmarking in Google Drive.  She invited people to make a copy (not to alter her original) and create their own. ' Go to Leigh's Google Drive to see it in action.

3-D Printing - @onemouse brought along his 3-D printer and demonstrated this amazing machine during the afternoon.  I have to say I was originally sceptical about 3-D printing, especially after Maurice Williamson's hysterical rantings about printing plastic guns that will get through airport security.  I also really had no idea about how this technology really worked.  I had visualised ink on paper.  But as you can see from the photos I took below, it doesn't involve paper at all.  This baby was printing using plastic!!!

Hemmingway App - presented by @onemouse, Hemmingway App is an app that helps a writer improve their writing by highlighting sections of the text that may need reworking.

 @gigakidsnz  -  Brian Jennings in Napier has created @gigakidsnz, an learning resource for Y3-8 for anyone in NZ.  Great if you have got Dashboard so each kid can have their own email address, they have their own avatar, and it is like a game, and you can print out with a 3D printer.  It talks about your town and what is in your town.  If you can fit it into a context to make it work for you.


IUgo  -  presented by myself (@melulater) and @pennstaro, iUgo comes from Essential Resources and is an online planning tool with absolutely everything from the New Zealand Curriculum.  It does long term plans, unit plans, weekly plans and daily plans and you can link them all to each other.  You can get a month free to evaluate it, then the twelve month subscription kicks in.  You can join as an individual and be the only one to have access unless you give someone else your password, or your team or school can join and have shared access to each other's planning. 
Google Summit - @allanahk talked about the upcoming Google Summit towards the end of April at Albany.  The details are in the picture below and go to this link for more information.

Flick - @allanahk talked about how Flick can work on any platform and you can move a video and pictures from any device easily.  As the website says: It’s hassle free! Place photos, notes, documents and contacts onto your Flicktop and flick to any other device running the app. The built-in Flicktop provides a safe layer where files are easily transferred with a simple flick gesture. Once the file lands on your Flicktop you can then decide whether to save or delete it.

Chrome Apps - there is a Google App called Video Not.es that will allow you to play and pause and write notes about a You Tube clip and save it all in your Google Drive.  To download this app, and it has to be installed to use, click here.  Here is the blurb from the site:
Have you ever been struggling to take notes while watching videos? Not anymore!
VideoNotes, developed by UniShared (www.unishared.com), currently supports Youtube and Coursera videos and works best for the last versions of Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari.
It enables you to:
- Watch videos and take notes at the same time, on the same screen
- Keep the same shortcuts to play/pause your video while writing notes
- Automatically synchronize your notes and video. Just click on a line of your notes to jump to the related part of the video.
Everything is automatically stored in your Google Drive, to access them everywhere.

EduCampNZ Community set up in Google+ - EduCampNZ now has a community on Google+ where you can go hang out and you can get to it from this link.  There is a getting started link to be able to explore many of the wonderful ways Google+ can be used.

Edmodo  - presented by @CaroBush, Edmodo is like Facebook for kids.  The kids don't need an email account, as it is all set up by the teacher.  They can log in with an unique code and can invite their parents.  You, as the controller, can lock it.  You can decide who sees what in it. 

ConnectED and Eduignite  - ConnectED is based in Hamilton and is a large cluster of schools within Hamilton and from the wider Waikato, but now Rotorua and Taupo are beginning their own cluster.  Its goals are as follows: To foster and establish a wide community of practice further developing a culture of improving learning environments for the region's students. To facilitate ICT initiatives that create regional capacity and are aligned with the expressed needs of the community. For educators within the region to feel more connected with each other.
Eduignite comes under the Emerging Leaders NZ umbrella.  This is the blurb:
What is ignite? Ignite is an event in over 100 cities worldwide. At the events Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes.
The rules:
  • Drinks and nibbles are always provided, and anyone is welcome
  • Attendance at your first Ignite evening is ‘no strings attached’
  • Attendance at your second Ignite Evening requires you to do one of two things: i) bring a friend, or ii) present an Ignite talk.
All EduIgnite sessions are 6:00pm for a 6:30pm start.

And that was a very full on day at Mokoia Intermediate, but I found out about a lot of new things, found out more about stuff I knew little about, filled in some missing gaps on things I knew a bit more about, and caught up with some wonderful educators from all over.  Thanks @mrs_hyde for being a great host.

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