The L@S Conference is on in Rotorua from 24 – 26 February. It is attended by teachers from schools who are, or have been involved in ICT professional development clusters. This is nearly every school in New Zealand. I’ve been going to this conference every year since 2002 and I always really enjoy it. The number of delegates has increased each year and will be 1200 this year. One of the reasons I enjoy it is because I feel a real sense of belonging. It’s nice to be together with people who do a similar job. And of course the keynote speakers and the choice of workshops are excellent.
There are 7 breakouts. I’m presenting 2 workshops ‘A Key to Brain Power – Developing Habits of Mind in the Classroom’ (Breakout 2) and ‘Developing a Thinking Toolbox’ (Breakout 4)
The workshops I’m attending are:
Breakout 1:Getting Tricky with Wikis (Lenva Shearing)
Breakout 3: Digital Pedagogies (Tony Ryan)
Breakout 5: Learning to Question to Wonder to Learn (Jamie McKenzie)
Breakout 6: Inspiring creative, energetic and enterprising students (Gina Revill & Anne-Marie Kite)
Breakout 7: Umajin in the Classroom (Nat Free & Russell Brebner)
I’m rapt to have the opportunity to nominate a blog for The 2008 Edublog Awards. As an ICT Facilitator, my job is to work with teachers and provide professional learning in ICTs and teaching & learning. So I’m often asked to help set up blogs and to show teachers how to use widgets and other web 2.0 tools. It’s a big help to have a good blog to share … one which contains lots of neat ideas to really engage learners. Stephen Baker’s class blog is my favourite for this – so when it came to nominating a blog for the awards, the choice was easy!
Zoho Creator is one of the ‘Zoho Work Online’ applications and it really is fantastic! It’s an online data base and form creator and is so useful for easy data collection. If you need to collect any sort of information from your principals and teachers, why not walk the talk by using the Internet and online resources to do this? Zoho Creator has many uses and the extra bonus is that teachers are developing ICT confidence and skills at the same time.
Recently, in preparation for a cluster trip to Palmerston North, I added a trip registration form to the eBest ICT cluster website for the teachers who were going to add their details. I alerted the ICT Lead Teachers to this form by email. The first photo shows the form and the second is a part of the spreadsheet of collected data. I then exported it into Excel. It worked perfectly and saved me a lot of time. And no, I didn’t lose anything! Click on the graphics for a bigger view.
Zoho Creator is easy to use and free. (It has been so far!) You simply drag and drop the fields you require from the selection (see below) and add your questions or choices. The result looks really professional and has many uses for principals, teachers and students. Try it out.
I’ve been travelling around a bit lately. First came the Nelson ICTPD Conference, then last week I spent 2 days in Palmerston North with 22 school leaders from the eBest ICT Cluster. Today I was in Tauranga at the Bay of Plenty ICT Clusters home group meeting. In fact the last six years has been like this for me – lots of meetings, conferences and workshops. Lots of professional development and learning. Lots of new ideas and skills. Change has been constant, necessary and stimulating. Why do some teachers resist it? There are times I’ve gone from student (with the Internet as my teacher), to teacher in a matter of days. Perhaps other ICT Facilitators can relate to this.
ICT Clusters have had an impact on New Zealand education. They can take a lot (if not all) of the credit for the education renaissance that has has happened during the last six years. And in true Kiwi style, while we all have a vision and goals, there is no ‘how to ‘, ‘what to’, or ‘when to’ blueprint provided. And yet we make a real difference – talking to a teacher who hasn’t been in an ICT cluster will prove that.
I’ve been with the eBest ICT Cluster in Whakatane, New Zealand for four months now. Our main cluster goal for 2008 is to develop a thinking programme for each school that reflects the needs of the 21st century learner. Each term we have a whole day ‘Leaders Think Tank’ and an ‘ICT Lead Teachers Workshop’. This year we are looking at a variety of thinking strategies and ways to implement them in daily classroom practice.
The eBest ICT Cluster website is our sharing and collaborating environment and contributes to our development as a learning community. Here, teachers share their planning and resources and the files reflect the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Thinkers keys and Habits of Mind in their teaching practice.
The website URL is www.ebest.co.nz
You don’t need to be a member to use the site and the resources are available for everyone to download free. If you find the resources useful, please add a short post to the eBest Blog. I’d love to hear what you think of the website.