Friday, 2 October 2009

October 2009 is New Zealand Book Month!

Stop by the wonderful pages on New Zealand History Online, includes lots of interesting links through to stories and features celebrating New Zealand Book Month and why Kiwis love books.

Did you know the first school journal was published in May 1907, "New Zealand schoolchildren were able to read a school book published in their own country for the first time!"
( NZHistory)

Attribution:Image: 'What could I read tonight?'

Some other links you might find useful and fun to explore:

Picture Books, Comics and Graphic Novels A selection of some of the best picture books, comic strips and graphic novels currently available for children aged 10-14.
From Billy Boyd's - The Literacy Adviser Blog (The Arrival by Shaun Tan is delightful).

The "Rare Book Room" site has been constructed as an educational site intended to allow the visitor to examine and read some of the great books of the world.

Inside Google Books is a blog with tips and updates for using Google's book search

ReadPrint Free online books library
for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast.

Wikibooks is a Wikimedia community for creating a free library of educational textbooks that anyone can edit. Wikibooks began on July 10, 2003; since then Wikibooks has grown to include over 38,020 pages in a multitude of textbooks created by volunteers.

Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies This book is a collaborative effort of students from universities in mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the United States all collaborating during the fall of 2007 on a book titled “Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies”

Literary Tweets 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Breathing E-Learning Into The Draft Literacy Progressions

On Friday, over 20 people packed tightly into a room at School Support Services, Tauranga. The goal of the day was reasonably bold but achievable in light of the huge amount of expertise in the group. In short, we spent the day breathing some e-learning into the draft literacy progressions. The end result was an online resource that teachers could use at all levels to support literacy in their school.
We kick started the day by creating a profile of a literate person in the 21st century.

This following clip and reading on "What's so different about multiliteracies?" helped to stimulate our thinking.

What followed was a sharing fest. as everyone collaborated to expand their repertoire of strategies, processes and ideas for using ICT to support literacy programmes. Good old –fashioned sticky notes were then used to match ideas with parts of the draft literacy progressions. We then split into three groups to synthesise the ideas and create an online resource.
Check the resources out for yourself: Please join the wiki if you wish to contribute to this resource.

Feedback from those involved in the day was overwhelming positive with participants being particularly grateful for the opportunity to create a practical resource that could be used straight away.

To learn more about this group and how to be involved please visit my blog: or the groups wiki:

Friday, 21 August 2009

20 Free ICT Resources for the English Classroom

Attribution:Image: 'Wisdom - Seeds of Light'

The Internet is full of free online ICT resources that can be used in English classrooms. These resources are a great way for educators to engage students, increase productivity, and promote learning. Here is a list of 20 free ICT resources to try out with your English class:

Vyew - Vyew is a free online collaboration and web conferencing tool that can be used to share and connect with students, parents, and colleagues. This site tool allows users to present, collaborate, and review information in a real-time setting.

Mikogo - Mikogo features easy-to-use desktop sharing that is a great for assisting and connecting with students, parents, and colleagues.

Wetpaint - Wetpaint offers a free way to create collaborative educational websites. Wetpaint sites can contain forums, blogs, wikis, and social networks.

Yugma - This free web conferencing tools allows you to share your desktop with up to 20 attendees. Yugma is the perfect place for connecting with students online, conferencing with parents, and holding colleague meetings.

Thinkature - Thinkature is an online virtual workspace that allows users to collaborate through instant messaging. This web app offers educators a meeting room, whiteboard, and collaborative environment for adding Internet content, drawing, chatting, and creating cards.

Stixy - This beta site makes it easy to upload and share notes, photos, documents, and lists. Once files are uploaded, users simply invite others in the group to view and edit files online.

Project2Manage - Project2Manage is a free online project manager that allows you to set reminders, post messages, assign tasks, upload files, and collaborate. This application is a great tool to keep your classroom organized and connected online.

DimDim - DimDim offers a free way for English classrooms to connect online. This easy web conferencing app allows you to share live presentations, web pages, and whiteboards.

WriteWith - This web app features group collaboration on writing projects. Through this site, students and educators can upload documents, share tasks, assign tasks, chat, and track actions.

Moodle - Educators looking to move their English classroom online should check out Moodle. This online course management system provides the tools for creating Internet courses and educational websites.

Yuuguu - Yuuguu allows instant screen sharing for web conferencing, remote support, and real-time collaboration. A free account gives users access to five-participant screen sharing.

Bookgoo - This easy-to-use web app allows users to highlight and annotate documents as they would a piece of paper. To use this web app, simply upload your content, edit, and share the finished files privately with others.

ooVoo - ooVoo makes it easy to connect with students, colleagues, and parents using video calls. With this site, educators can also send one-minute video messages, chat six ways, and send up to 5MB files at a time.

WiZiQ - This application allows educators and students to collaborate through virtual classrooms, online tests, and educational content.

Edmodo - Edmodo is a microblogging site created specifically for K-12 classrooms. With this site, educators can share timelines, assignments, grades, files, notifications, calendars, and more.

Postica - The virtual sticky notes provided by Postica offer an easy way to create and share notes, assignments, and files online. This web app can also be used with Twitter and iGoogle.

Phonevite - Phonevite is a popular, award-winning community broadcasting system that can send messages via the phone or social media. With this system, educators can send task reminders, emergency alerts, cancellations, and messages to students.

Wridea - This free web app provides a way to organize, manage, and store ideas to share. Wridea is a great way for students and teachers to brainstorm in a collaborative group.

SimplyBox - SimplyBox is a free content networking web app that offers tools for capturing and collaborating on content in web pages. Captured information can be organized into neat little boxes. The boxes can then be shared with students and colleagues for visual collaboration.

ReviewBasics - This free web allows users to upload documents, images, and videos that can be viewed by a specific group for commenting, annotating, and marking. This is a perfect way to collaborate on assignments, projects, and notes.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes for, site that provides accredited online college information.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Library Week 10th -16th August, 2009

Attribution: Image: 'Kawakawa Memorial Library'

"Library Week is a week-long celebration of libraries and librarianship in New Zealand taking place in libraries all across the country."

Library links you might find useful, please add any recommendations you have in the comments below...

Monday, 29 June 2009

Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter

It has been nearly two years since I first posted about Twitter on ICTinEnglish. It is proving to be a valuable tool to connect me with my personal learning network and it has been interesting following the impact this micro-blogging tool has had on education, global communication and social networking.

All the while though I try to keep in mind audience and how many are actually participating. While one report has found New Zealanders rank number 6 in the world for twitter use in relation to population size this is still only a little over 3% of our total population!

Still a great way to connect with others of similar interest so here's another one for the ICT in English audience: Literary Tweets: 100+ of the Best Authors on Twitter a listing of more than 100 authors active on Twitter compiled by

Monday, 22 June 2009

Exploring team blogging and warnings from the surgeon general!

The ICTinEnglish blog evolved a couple of years ago in response to the increased interest in Web 2.0 and blogging through the ICTinEnglish forum.

The purpose of this blog is to explore team blogging and the possibilities for learning and teaching in New Zealand schools. A number of authors have added value to the blog over time, contributing posts, sharing ideas and experiences about learning through ICT and highlighting projects of interest.

Team blogging can be a useful option if you want to collaborate and share with others online or if you are new to blogging and want to explore options before considering setting up your own. Also if you have questions, add a comment to the blog or post to the list serv as there is a forever growing community of support through the network.

Some recommendations that have come through my RSS and Twitter in the past month...

Free online library for students, teachers, and the classic enthusiast. WARNING — The surgeon general reports that having these many free books at your disposal can be highly addictive.

The "Rare Book Room" site has been constructed as an educational site intended to allow the visitor to examine and read some of the great books of the world.

Educational videos for students available online that have been previewed and catcgorised under English, Sciences and Maths.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Wordle according to Jen Wagner!

Wordle is a nifty wee web tool for creating word clouds that has grown in popularity in the past year. Lots of possibilities for creative use in the classroom as shared here by Jen Wagner.
Follow Jen Wagner on twitter.

Monday, 11 May 2009

'Enhanced English Teacher'

Are you familiar with the Enhanced English Teacher blog? Written by Tara Seale, a 9th grade English teacher. Have enjoyed reading some recent posts see (Sharing the Solitary Self for a Greater Mind) Also a valuable and informative post on Google Apps with Students
You may find this useful if you are considering for your class as Tara explores both the pros and cons.
Do you have any favourite blogs from English teachers you can recommend? Please share in the comments for this post. Or if you are a member of the blog write a short post highlighting key features.

Monday, 6 April 2009

30 Ideas for Inspiring Writing!

Thanks to Mark Warner (via AllanhK) for sharing these strategies for using e-learning to inspire students' writing. Click the image below to view on Google Docs.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

E-fellowships, e-learning and literacy

I am the Head of English Faculty at Auckland Girls' Grammar School and this year I have been lucky enough to be awarded an E-fellowship which is allowing me a little time and support to conduct an inquiry project looking at how online communities and blogs can be used as part of the preparation and formative assessment for Formal Writing (AS90053).

In this proposed inquiry project I am aiming to critically reflect on the practice of formal writing, as a formative task through the use of an online classroom community (the class wiki) which provides students with the topics and related live links to resources for a range of formal writing topics. The formal writing practise will be completed in the context of individual student blogs. The blog will then provide a platform for guided and non-guided collaborative writing, peer and teacher feed-forward and feedback.

I then wish to look at the effects of these practices on the learner, to see the impact this approach has on student participation, engagement and improvement of literacy levels as illustrated in their production of formal writing. I am also hoping to measure how realistic and successful this approach is in comparison to more traditional in class written practice and potentially measuring whether using an environment (that of the online community) that our students feel comfortable in, enhances the development of their literacy levels.
If you are keen to see how this all goes throughout the year, I will be posting my updates and reflections here.

Here's hoping my hunch is right that increased engagement may equate to greater success! You can check out how I used this project last year by following the link
Claire Amos
Auckland Girls' Grammar School

Monday, 9 March 2009

Team 2 Tells Tales

I am Year 3 Teacher at Pt England School in Auckland. I became a lead teacher for the Manaiakalani cluster during 2008 when my team leader went on maternity leave. The hook our project,Team 2 Tells Tales, used for our children was digital story telling.

I selected 5 children in my class, based on their writing and oral language levels, to be in my target group. We followed the literacy cycle you can see below. Typically we started with writing stories. These children then edited their stories with me. We used iMovie to film our stories as the students read them aloud. The movies were then published on our blog. Once on our blog the wider audience were able to view them and leave comments. The children viewed their stories over and over again and reflected on themselves and on the comments they recieved.
Not every story the students wrote was published as a digital story, but they usually had one published each week.
rning is integrated into all subjects in my class. We used some of the children's eLearning work in other curriculum areas (often illustrated in Kid Pix) to create movies with voice overs to post on the blog too. Sometimes we published photos displaying our work in a bubbleshare slideshow using to show the process the students went through.

In 2009 we will continue to use digital story telling as our main hook in our literacy. I hope to use other web2 tools eg. VoiceThread. However I have a new class so that means new children to introduce to this exciting way of learning. We have renamed our blog Room 10 @ Pt England School.
Priscilla Lavakula
Pt England School

Friday, 6 March 2009

Save the Words

Savethewords is a great web2.0 site for good spellers. The words call out to you to pick them, and once you 'adopt' a word you promise to use that word in conversation. A great way for your top spellers to increase their vocabulary and have fun doing it.

Tamaki Writers Group 2008

Tamaki Primary School is a Decile 1a contributing Primary School in East Auckland, New Zealand.
In 2008, we embarked on the Tamaki Primary Writers Group project as part of "Manaiakalani"( Hook From Heaven) , with the aim of extending high standards in literacy across our cluster. The project is firmly based in literacy but the "hook" for the students is an ICT component. This "hook" has involved a lot of frontloading for teachers - having to become competent in the use of many of the technology tools available today. In our case we chose a BLOG as the vehicle to give our students an authentic, world wide audience for their writing. The development of an eLiteracy Cycle has ensured that literacy has always remained at the very heart of the programme and as a result ICT - although the "hook"- does not dominate the programme. The Literacy cycle that was devised at the beginning of the project evolved throughout the whole of 2008 and has changed remarkedly from it's original form.

The 2008 programme provided the perfect opportunity to develop and nurture the literacy skills of a small group of students who had been identified through our school wide assessment (STAR and AsTTle) as the more able readers and writers within our Year 4 to 6 students.
So far the results look good and I am looking forward to watching the continued progress of these students. A HUGE plus to working within the Manaiakalani project is the fact that we have the local Intermediate and College involved - and this means we are able to identify those students who have been a part of the project and build on their skills from year to year.
In 2009 I am working with a group of 5 year olds, all of whom have just started school and are at a very early stage of their learning SO the Blog is taking on a very different look

Visit the Tamaki Primary Blockbusters and see where we are heading this year. There are also links to all the other blogs within our cluster.

Rhonda Kelly
Tamaki Primary School

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Glenbrae School Podcasts

Kia Ora, my name is Joy Paton and I taught a Year 3/4 class at Glenbrae School during 2008.
Glenbrae School is a primary school in Glen Innes, Auckland and has 140 students. We are in the Manaiakalani Cluster.

Last year I was part of this very exciting initiative which involved the convergence of Literacy and 21st Century technologies. We used podcasting as the ICT tool to publish our students' work in literacy. At the start of the year we created a blogsite. Our writing and topic studies were integrated throughout the year. As part of the learning our podcasts took the form of interviews, news broadcasts, movies etc. Every student was involved and created their own podcasts. And every student had their work uploaded onto the blogsite, as I wanted to promote an inclusive learning environment.

Our aims were to: improve student academic performance in literacy; publish student work to wider audiences; promote, challenge and engage students in teaching and learning; and to promote self evaluation and reflection throughout the literacy process. As part of this process, we worked through a Literacy Cycle that includes all of these elements. The Literacy Cycle included Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening.
The blogsite was an absolute success. Students were motivated and engaged. They loved looking at themselves on the blogsite and always looked at ways to improve their own individual performance for the next time. And by the end of last year we had had over 3000 viewers and listeners from around the world visiting. Click here to view a student's sample of their work.
To view more about Glenbrae School, visit the school website.

This year, the blogsite has continued under the new lead teacher, Tilly Thambiran, who has joined the school in 2009. The blogsite has had a new makeover and a new name: Glenbrae School's Brilliant Bloggers

In 2009 I have moved schools and I am now teaching a Year 2 class at Panmure Bridge School, so I am still able to be a lead teacher in the Manaiakalani cluster. I have created a new project with this class and we publish our podcasts on a blog called Creative Voice.

Joy Paton
Panmure Bridge School (2009)

Monday, 2 March 2009

Digital Chocolate – tasty e-treats with Animation Nation

Want to lure your kids into literacy? The attraction of animation is that it brings the age-old skill of storytelling into the 21st century, blending solid literacy skills with a dynamic digital delivery. For our students who live in the 'screen age' and demand a sisomo approach to learning, animation is the perfect tool to develop thinking, technical and literacy skills - as well as sharing knowledge learnt across all curriculum areas in a creative and accessible manner. eLearning lures kids into literacy- and keeps them addicted!

This was the highlight and challenge I faced in 2008 with my Years 5/6 decile one class of predominantly Maori, Pasifika and Afghani students at Panmure Bridge School in Auckland. To promote our oral literacy skills we chose to explore digital storytelling through animation as our platform. And so our Animation Nation project was born as part of the Manaiakalani Cluster EHSAS Initiative. We wanted to create exciting scripts which reflected our learning and speak clearly and expressively in such a way that our stories would hold the interest of our audience. Our animation mini-movies reflected the broad range of language abilities present in the class.

Jo Bogado
Panmure Bridge School
Auckland, NZ

Friday, 27 February 2009

St. Pius X School - Room 6 Creations

St Pius X School is a full Primary school made up of 156 students. In 2008 Room 6 (which is a Yr 7 & 8 class) has been part of the Manaiakalani cluster where we are using eLearning in our Literacy to make a difference in our Decile 1 students. In Room 6 we are focusing on the Writing aspect of Literacy.

We work with a Literacy Cycle which guides us through our writing process. It starts with investigating the genre and continues to evaluating and reflecting on our work.

In Room 6 we use our blog (Room 6 Creations
) as our hook for motivating the students. During 2008 we blogged our writing in various forms such as straight word processing of texts, Movies that had been adapted from the children's writing and basic Photostories that the students put together from their recount writing.

By using the blog as a hook we were able to enhance the students writing by looking at the aspect of Audience and Purpose. The students were able to see through the blog that people World-wide were interested in what they had to say and write. This encouraged the students to think about their audiene and write accordingly.

Before this hook was introduced the students were not aware of their audience or the purpose of the writing other than writing for the teacher. This improved in 2008 and will hopefully continue to progress in 2009.

In 2009 Room 6 Creations is continuing with the project and we are looking forward to seeing our writing continue to progress.

Sarah Gleeson
St Pius X School

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Room 12 and 13 @ Pt England School

I teach a Year 4 class at Pt England School and my digital story telling project is part of the Manaiakalani EHSAS cluster. It's purpose is to raise student literacy achievement through engaging students in digital storytelling, and providing an authentic audience for their work.
I am up and running for my second year, integrating eLearning into literacy. Check out our class blog. The idea is to publish each literacy groups' learning online where they can be seen, and be able to see themselves, and reflect on their work.
Most of our digital stories are animated movies with voice overs. This example was around a group's Learning Intention of being able to identify and discuss and show imagery in poetry.

The Manaiakalani Project is being researched to follow the achievement and engagement of target students. The exciting news is that as well as keeping me motivated, interim findings have shown that last year children made better than expected progress in standardised testing.
Go Manaiakalani!

Juanita Garden
Pt England School

Monday, 23 February 2009

Tamaki College

I am the Graphics teacher at Tamaki College and was given the role of being the EHSAS lead teacher. This was an unusual move as the project is Literacy based! At Tamaki College, I wanted the main hook for our students to be getting their work online for everyone to see.
I started with the main blog, TCTV, where the students filmed aspects of college life, edited it together and uploaded short videos and photographs. I got 3 main groups of students involved from Year 11, 12 and 13 to be the film and editing crews.
The English department then got involved and we were working to our literacy cycle ( as shown) to publish the work they had produced online. We started with 2 blogs, both with Year 9 classes 9RNi and 9TVu.

Gradually over the year, more departments came on board with the project, each with their own blogs, to publish the work of the students to a wider audience. All of these blogs are linked to from the sidebar of the main TCTV blog. By having high profile events published on TCTV to attract the students' attention, the hope is that they will then explore the links to their curriculum blogs on the sidebar!
To include other departments in an initiative which is clearly English focussed, we asked all departments to ensure that as they published student material written explanations were included alongside the digital learning objects. And we ask our students to use formal English when commenting on curriculum based blogs. In this way we are providing the students with authentic opportunities to read and write, in particular.
My goal for 2009 is to continue with the blogs that are already started while including more teachers who want to become involved. I also want to get more student interaction with the site, so they all see what is happening and can leave comments.
One of the good things in 2009 is that one of the Year 9 classes from last year are continuing with the same blog into Year 10. This will enable them to be tracked on a more long term basis to discover the impact this project is having on their English work.
Karen Ferguson
Tamaki College

Friday, 20 February 2009

Year One Q-Tees

As one of the Manaiakalani EHSAS projects at Pt England School 6 five year old children were chosen to participate in a research project. The object was to improve the oral and written Language by motivating the children using an authentic audience. The children participated in the daily oral and written language programme following the Literacy Cycle.
When the children had edited their work they were supported by the teacher to practise reading their work to a high standard. The work was then recorded in iMovie and published in Flickr and on the class website. We found that the children became very keen to publish their work because they loved sharing it with their family and friends. However their best audience was themselves. They would all sit and watch themselves over and over again commenting on their performance. Over a period of months their confidence in front of the camera increased and the reading developed in phrasing and fluency. Their actual writing also developed but the quality depended upon the relevance of the topic to the children. The authentic audience proved to be a very powerful motivation for these small children.
In 2009 the same children are being included in the current work to see what the results will be in the future for their achievement in oral and written language, reading and their confidence to communicate in a range of settings. Their progress can be followed on their new blog, Going Places.

Delwyn Jarman
Project Lead Teacher