Monthly Archives: March 2009

3000 plus hits and still going! What is the big change in education?

Over 3000 hits!   Thanks for reading and responding!

Today I had a university student studying to be a teacher visit me to discuss what the big change in education is ( my opinion)! Big question for an assignment, but my answer was immediate, it’s technology and how we as teachers will know and use what is available to improve student learning and engagement in our rapidly changing world.

We looked at Lucacept, CONNECT, the 2009 Horizon Report and Working Together 2 Make A Difference. Amazed! 

I’m not quite as excited as the fellow in the video, but it did make me laugh!Cheers Nina

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Are you connected? I am! DEECD CONNECT

This morning Jenny Luca suggested I look at DEECD CONNECT to look at Web 2.0 applications. Well, what a fantastic website it is. Loads of resources, explanations and ‘how to…s’) and just what I need! For Example: The SLAV Connect provides a link to, an online brainstorming tool-I’m already thinking of the ways I can use this tool. There are teacher resources, for example, how to create a wiki with links and great examples of created wikis. Check out the Prep Mansfield wiki. This has got me thinking! Too much to explain everything connected to this site, but my advice is visit and connect.


‘Teaching and learning are changing. Web 2.0 applications such as blogs, wikis, podcasting and other tools can give students the opportunity to communicate, collaborate and share their learning in an online environment with an ease never before possible. There is enormous potential for education. How will you respond? 

It is not just about increased use of technology but HOW the technologies are used … an idea illustrated in the video Shake it Up, based on Karl Fisch’s original presentation.’ Follow links and watch – if you haven’t got time, make time!


‘As we increasingly move toward an environment of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to know, memorize, or recall information, and more important for them to be able to find, sort, analyse, share, discuss, critique, and create information. They need to move from being simply knowledgeable to being knowledge-able.’

From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environments, Posted January 7th, 2009 by Michael Wesch

I’ve had some e-mails asking about how I make Guided Reading groups. I’m still working on this post but it will be up soon.

Cheers Nina 

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Global Students, International Mindedness, What the ‘ning’ is that?

Today reaffirmed why I love teaching and why this generation of children are special.

My preps (1st year of school in Australia- 5 year olds) joined a year 5/6 grade (11-12 year old students) to look at the ‘ning’, Working Together 2 Make A Difference. They are now familiar with ‘nings’ and their relationships with older students is developing. I must also say it was a pleasure to watch these older students pair up with a younger student and help them to understand. They’re already making a difference! We are a learning community.

Why are we involved? Last year Jenny Luca sent information to me about a ‘ning’, Working Together 2 Make A Difference and I sent the link to my colleagues. At that stage, I didn’t even know what a ‘ning’ was! This year, I started becoming active in the ‘ning’ and to my surprise I found another staff member from my school had joined. We didn’t really get to know each other last year, different areas of the school and teaching very different year levels. Well, now we’ve connected through the ‘ning’ and are collaborating on a joint project.  

We’re supporting the Daraja Academy, which is a new school in Kenya for girls who wouldn’t have secondary education without this school. We showed the ‘ning’ and explained what it was about to our students. Africa was introduced through the ‘real life’ experience of my colleague growing up in and going to school in Africa. Her treasures were shown and explained to the children. The students were silent and totally engaged! Then we showed a video about the school. You could have heard a pin drop.

Back in our classroom my students talked about their discoveries. As part of our Inquiry we have been inquiring into, what is a school? , what is a class? what is the same and different about students in our class? and how does a school work? This project is about taking their thinking about these questions further and developing their sense of being a ‘global student’.


Their discoveries are listed below as said by my students: They may be 5 years old but they connected and ‘got it’!



-care for people

-our school and the Africa school, not the same

-different schools

-different people

-talk differently

-nice people from a different country

-different chairs- we have chairs and they have stools

-some houses are made of wood and some are made of brick

-mud bricks

-we all live in different countries

-beds-they live at school like Madeleine

-wasn’t much trees –not like here

-not a lot of money

-our buildings are nicer-African school didn’t have carpet-it has concrete

-no play area

-speak differently

-different colour skin

-no cars

-different hair and eyes

-be nice to people

-different food

-we’re all different but go to school

-schools look different in the world


Our next step is to Skype- conference, Mark Lukach a teacher in America involved in this project into our classroom to talk to our students about the school and their needs. Once the children know the needs of the Daraja Academy we can brainstorm ideas about how we can show support. It will be up to our students to decide how we help, as this project is teacher introduced but student driven. One thing I know for sure is our students want to make a difference!

Please watch the video below and visit Working Together 2 Make A Difference.



Cheers Nina


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Professional Development – not shameless self promotion.

I’ve spoken to Jenny Luca and asked if I can take part of her post on Professional Development – not shameless self promotion and add to it. I’ve written several posts on ‘why I blog?’, as it seems to be a hot question. The reactions of colleagues are varied, some very positive and others, well…!

I have received an enormous amount of professional development this year, self generated and cost free.  How I explain this to the VIT is another question but what has made this possible, is a mentor, a colleague (from another school) who is happy to take me on and develop me professionally with commitment and patience.  Mentoring, coaching, sharing, whatever you want to call it, is a powerful way to develop us all professionally. My blog is about professional sharing! It’s also an authentic way for me to apply my new skills.

Web 2 and ICT applications  is new territory for me, but having read the 2009 Horizon Report K-12 Edition, I know that I’m equipping myself for classroom teaching changes during the next five years.

Excerpt:  Jenny Luca & link to full post.

‘Are you like me? Is your head swimming with everything that is now possible in our world as a result of the Web and the ease of transfer of information? We are so connected in today’s world. I can get onto Twitter and make connections with educators around the world and share ideas – I can find out what’s new and add my two cents worth to the conversations taking place. I read feeds coming to me in my Google Reader and am in awe of educators who are willing to share their knowledge to empower others. I am thankful to software developers who are willing to provide open source products that are making our lives easier to manage and our classrooms more interesting. I feel like I am in a constant state of professional development and what has it cost me? Time and an internet connection. What has it cost my school? Nothing this year – I haven’t been to one PD session and yet I feel like my knowledge attainment has been exponential.  How will this benefit my school? Plenty. I have knowledge and am willing and eager to find ways to share it – writing this blog is one of vehicles I am using (just hope some are reading!). 

I’ve been mulling this around the last 24hrs after reading Liz Davis’ post where she reflected on how she wondered if alerting people to her blog posts via twitter was an act of shameless self promotion. The post resonated with me because I’ve shared these thoughts – is what I’m doing a way of grandstanding? Look at what I know- nah nah na nah na! I’ve talked it over with friends who aren’t a part of this network and they tell me they are learning from what I am writing so I feel like what I’m offering is worthwhile and not self serving. I think people who are blogging about educational technology should be giving themselves a bit of a pat on the back – what I’m finding from my reading and conversations is on mass Professional Development for free!’

Thanks Jenny for being an inspiring educator. We’ve had many conversations about knowledge hoarders and sharers. VIT World Teacher 2008 you certainly are!

Cheers Nina

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Maths- It’s Cool! Representing numbers 5-10.

Just a quick post! My students had a great time today displaying what they know about numbers 5 to 10. They worked in pairs, were given a number and used an assortment of items to represent their number. They could use stickers, various stamps, feathers, draw various counters, trace and write their number. The photos below clearly show their understanding. It was an industrious session.




 Cheers Nina

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Interactive Writing- A Powerful Strategy: Our first go!

It’s wonderful to see Prep students (first year of formal education in Australia) work cooperatively in groups to produce a piece of writing within the first few weeks of school. They may not know all their sounds, but with an alphabet chart/pictures for reference and whatever prior knowledge they bring, writing skills are quickly developed and extended. This is a powerful teaching strategy.

Each child has their own colored texta and writes their name down the side of the sheet making it easy to see a child’s progress. Generally, I have groups of 4/5 students selected randomly. At the beginning of the year the sentence is provided after class discussion and is related to a shared experience e.g. I am at school. Teaching children to prompt each other without giving the answer is taught during Interactive Writing. By the end of Term 1 the compilation of a writing piece is totally formulated by the group.

I’m Excited!

Our sentence today is: I am going to the fair. These students have been at school for a total of 18 days and look what they can do!









It’s wonderful to see young children confidently being ‘risk takers’ with their learning. Listening to their group discussions was fantastic. Young children are naturally supportive of each other. They are in a win-win situation, nothing to loose but all to gain! …or something like that.

Cheers Nina


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Kickyoutube: Easy download solution for YouTube- Once again thanks to Jenny Luca!

A Problem Solved!

One of my colleagues was disappointed that the utube videos she had selected to show staff could not be shown at school. Once again Jenny Luca gave me the solution, she said visit my blog and read the post Kickyoutube. Yes, there is a solution so please read this extract from Jenny’s post.

Extract: Jenny LucaLucacept

‘One of the best ways to start converting colleagues to the wonders of the Web is to introduce them to the vast array of content on YouTube that is suitable for education purposes. If you work in a school with a slow connection then you will be familiar with the circular loading indicator that can stay like that for what seems an eternity. Not conducive to good classroom practice unfortunately. By the time it loads your kids are in their next class!

Solution.  Download the video from YouTube using a conversion tool. I’ve spoken of keepvid before which has been my preferred option. This has involved me going to the keepvid site and copying and pasting the YouTube url once I’m there.

Better solution.  Alec Couras, ably assisted by Melanie Gibb, alerted me on Twitter to kickyoutube. It is quite simply the easiest method I’ve seen yet to download a video to a different format. All you need to do is delete the ‘au.’  (or www.) in the url and type the word ‘kick’ in front of the word ‘youtube’  and then press enter.  Kickyoutube is enabled and you are presented with a toolbar with differing options for file conversion.  You select your preferred option and press go and your download begins. Dead simple. There are even options for conversions for the iPhone and PSP as well as the garden variety options.  Some options may not be available at the time and they will not be highlighted if that is the case.

Richard Byrne, who writes at Free Technology for Teachers, (and just quietly Richard, you are a blogging dynamo! Do you ever sleep?) has posted recently about YouTube’s new initiative with downloads. Here’s what he reported;

YouTube is introducing a download option on some videos. I haven’t seen any official announcements from YouTube, but there are some videos on YouTube that now have a small download link located just below play menu.   

This is an even easier option, but like Richard says, it’s not available for all videos at the moment. All you need to do is click on the download link and a file download to MPEG 4 format begins.

It will be nice to return to school with some new and very easy options for downloads from YouTube to share with my colleagues. We may not even need to do this with some changes that are afoot. We are moving from a 2mg internet connection to  20mg and I can’t wait to see what a difference that is going to make for our school and our connectivity. I’m expecting great things! ‘

What is TeacherTube?

I also found out about Teachertube. I’ve joined today and what a fantastic resource it is … and free. So take a look- great videos and resources for all age students.


Cheers Nina


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