Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Classroom blogs are revolutionising the way teachers (and schools) communicate with parents, their community, how parents can interact with their childrens' class activities, allowing more people to be involved in their student's learning and discussion.

Room 10 at Pongakawa School recently posted some work on their blog that they were doing using Tony Ryan's thinkers keys. You can imagine their delight when Tony popped into their blog and added a comment.

Parents of students at Te Ranga are regularly visiting the junior class blog even though they are away overseas to keep up with their child's exciting learning developments.

Students themselves who are absent for a variety of reasons (overseas, holiday, illness) are still checking in to see what they are missing and to comment on what is currently being learned.

Often this type of sharing does not occur until the end of term report, parent interviews or the next visit tot he school. Classroom blogs now allow this interaction to occur. Parents and students alike are able to read, feed in comments, stimulate discussion, and keep up with the play.

And the children's community is growing. No longer are they confined to their immediate geographical location. The new neighbourhood i.e. the student's learning community is global. Blogs facilitate this development. Interaction is able to occur between classes and individuals, community groups and experts.

Is there any research out there in this area into the impact of blogs into the school community partnership? Perhaps it would be a worthwhile area for someone interested in an E-fellowship...

Aha you might say - this means that perhaps a negative factor exists as well. And there may well be. I'd love to hear of these. From my own experience, that's why I really like classblogmeister (yep I'll say it again and again Thank you for introducing me to it, Tom and Jody). Classblogmeister allows the teacher to filter all comments.

If you have had any specific feedback or concerns about class blogs and their impact on School home partnerships, I would love to hear them.

These are just some of the wonderful blogs I have come across:


Tony Ryan returned with us from Ulearn on Friday night and facilitated a workshop in "Inspiring Classrooms" the next day. 85 from our cluster - and from our neighbouring areas joined us in this calm but fast paced experience which saw us look at ourselves, our futures, our own goals and our practice. Tony's presentation, his handouts and his support material are up on the cluster wiki.

Check out the Inspiring Classrooms on the cluster wiki at

Comment Needed:

Have you used any of his suggestions already? How has attending this workshop inspired you? What difference has attending made to you or others around you?

It would be great if we could share these reflections and practices. How about telling us your story? You can do this simply by reply in the posting box, adding your name at the bottom of your posting and then clicking on the radio button beside Anonymous, before you click on Publish Post.

How about it?


Hi - Back from holiday, Back from Ulearn, Back from a cluster teacher only day with Tony Ryan last Saturday and on to the next thing ---

I have a presentation to do which focuses on the impact of blogging on home school relationships. I would love to include a range of responses from other teachers, students, parents who use classroom blogs. I know there is a wealth of experiences out there and such a wonderful generosity in sharing and it would be superb to have your thoughts.

Something to comment on? How about...

... What tangible differences has classroom blogging made to the interconnectivity between the home, community and - students - teacher

... What feedback have you/the the school received from your parent community on this involvement?

... What are some of the issues to consider?

--- Any other relevant comments would also be appreciated.

You will get full credit for your comments and if you would like to have participants check out your blog during the session, please send me the addy.

Thank you,

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Implementing IWBs and the Lessons Learnt - Flaxmere and Peterhead Schools

"It's all about relationships" a catch phrase of this conference heard repeatedly in the workshops so far. This is the final workshop for the day and I am interested in seeing how these tools are being used to make a difference to student learning and in this, what impact they are having on teacher practice. I like the way this project began as an inquiry and involved research - about 6 months of it before the decisions were made. The focus for the research was towards their vision for learning. Decisions made and the local licencing trust was approached resulting in funding towards the project for the five schools involved. The schools made a financial commitment too and the trust has been well looked after by the schools, given a high profile, are kept fully informed, receive feedback, and are invited to be involved in the school activities. This has resulted in the trust "roll out" of future funding. A win win situation for all. For more info check out
F2F Discussion time now ... be back soon

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


A team of 16 from our cluster with 10 of us presenting workshops. Not bad for our cluster eh? I am involved in facilitating two workshops this afternoon with an awesome group of people...


ICT Infused Inquiry with Gail Cochrane from National Library. Gail and I will be sharing the work we have done with our Nga tii Roa Learning cluster in defining the what, why and how of inquiry, examining the skills needed and the integration of ICTs, trialing and practicing in the classroom - an excitng journey which has evolved over the last 15years, with the last 3 in our cluster. While Carol isn't able to attend the conference, we have captured her junior school inquiry where she and her Room 3 class transformed the school sandpit. Mark Boyle, DP of Paengaroa School, will be sharing how his school adapted the common features we found in the inquiry process and incorporated them into their own school model, alongsid etheir school logo - The Fantail. Now called "The Fantail Takes Flight" Mark describes at as a journey from stationery to flutter to flight - and still they have the soaring to look forward to...


I am supporting Bruce Lendrem and Bruce Jepsen as we share what we have been doing in leading learning within their schools and within the cluster during the ICTPD contract time.

We have done things differently to many other clusters and it has been good to have this time to reflect on what we have done, where it has led and what we have learnt. We believe our cluster has been really successful. Things like making our Principals the lead teachers from the start, having motivators in a range of areas rather than defining set lead teachers, working with all cluster staff (ancillary, board members etc) and having sessions open to anyone who is interested rather than an exclusive group has all had its rewards. It has certainly been a privilege working with such an awesome and inspired cluster. This will be a good time to celebrate some of those success.

Am in the opening stages of Ulearn. Welcome, Minister's address, 1st keynote.... Have been blogging, pondering thorughout. Yep the concentration seems to be wandering. What do I want to get out of Ulearn? Have a become a newbie junkie? I want to learn new things. Surely in this world of rapid change, this will be easily achievable.

I struggle to get excited by the what I have already done. Watching videos and animations created by children has a limited lustre especially when treated as new exciting learning technologies. Five year olds were doing that four years ago. Web 2.0 tools, flickr, blogs, wiki, two years now.

I want to be challenged. I look forward to learning things that will impact into my practices. What new things will inspire me?

Here I am at Ulearn, still waiting for my head to arrive back from the other side of the world. Hmmm, in the whole 7 weeks we have been away we've had about an hour and ten minutes of rain. Yesterday in a short walk from the hotel to Queen Street fully equipped with a rain jacket etc, I got drenched. The rain bucketed down and it is still pouring on down. See? This is what I do. My mind strays. I am getting here. I think I am still in yesterday...

Yesterday I attended a podcasting workshop run by Jane Nicholls. We created and published a vidcast on podomatic. It was a bit rushed to do it justice so we (Pauline and I) posted our result under an alias. Yep pondered back into my holiday... Since our trip, I am still struggling with ideas about clothing - and the role it has plays in our societies. We began this as our podcasting topic but it became deeper than we had time for. Loved the conversation though Pauline. Thank you. We ended up doing a podcast on toilets and managed a vidcast on "Toilet Travel Tips aka Pissoires of the World".

How do vidcasts published on podomtic any different to videos uploaded to youtube etc.? Is there any differnece anymore? There seems to be a division in our thinking between these types of technologies but I am wondering if this difference has disappeared? Have these two types of technology now become blended, blurred together, merged?
Italy & Shangai

Again I want to post some thoughts captured in my travel notebook, so wil be back in to do this soon.
Eastern Europe

Will be back later and will add details of this trip to my blog


Our Cluster Journey Together Into New Horizons.