Friday, 12 March 2021

Making the user pay

 The recent developments of cycleways in Lower Hutt are producing the predictable backlash from the local motorists, On 11 March 2021 Victor Ward of Lower Hutt wrote a letter to the Dominion Post arguing that cyclists should have to pay the cost of constructing cyclepaths.

I wrote a letter which was not published but then irony of that sort is seldom appreciated in mass madia. Here, however, is my letter as a blog post.

Victor Ward raises the principle of user pays to fund cycleways. This is an idea which is worthy of further consideration. Victor Ward will be aware of other groups of road users, principally pedestrians, who use the footpath, which is as expensive as a cycleway to construct and maintain. These pedestrians, like cyclists, do not pay for their use of the footpath. Isn’t it about time we explored how they could contribute? At the same time, we would want to include the other users of footpaths, wheelchair users, scooter riders and infants in prams and pushchairs. Then there are mountain-bike trails and bush walks, where mountain-bikers and trampers are using council funded facilities for free.

While a levy on wheels and tyres would cover wheeled users, taxing footwear has difficulties, as some pedestrians walk barefoot, while most motorists wear shoes and are already paying for the roads. Nevertheless, some means of enforcing user pays across all transport users is only fair to the long suffering motorist.

There are good responses in the DomPost of 12th March. Read those too 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Stimulating interest in Literature through video

Contributed by Simon Evans
For the last twelve months there has been a small project on Youtube called Bookfighters. Five friends from around the world challenged one another to read a different book each week and share their thoughts on the same youtube channel. What resulted from this was a series of discussions around shared text.

My own response to this project was to create a youtube playlist of my own entitled ‘Book Corner’ where a variety of individuals shared their thoughts on a recent book they have enjoyed.

The same questions were asked of each participant and they are available for download.

Do you think could work with your class? 

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Photographing Student Writing, Creative Commons and EduCampNZ

Image:Some rights reserved by TilarX

Over the last two weeks there have been two main threads of discussion:

David Schaumann shared and idea for Photographing Student Writing.

Just thought I'd share a spontaneous moment where ICT fitted nicely into
teaching today. My level three English class were writing paragraphs
based around a close analysis of a scene from their film study. I was
thinking about how to manage feedback, then remembered the Ipod in my

Chose three students, photographed finished paragraph, emailed it to
myself, then brought it up on the data projector to provide feedback.

Quality was reasonable, feedback was really meaningful and students now
have the possibility of immediate publication as a motivator to provide
more polished work.

The other thread was around Copyright and Creative Commons.

Also Karen Melhuish wrote a post about Educamp, with Wellington hosting their first EduCampWelly on Saturday 21st May. Check out the wiki to see what went down!

If you are interested in connecting and sharing ideas/experiences about using ICTs to enhance learning, the EduCampNZ series of events might be for you. The Educamp ‘unconference’ concept has snowballed from one event last year, to four in 2011. Be part of the movement!

There are four unconferences being held around New Zealand in the next few months (at the moment only the North Island - unless someone keen wants to get the ball rolling down South.

"EducampNZ is a user-generated 'unconference' focused on e-learning and education.We're all about growing our learning, networking, and, of course, having fun! Everyone is invited to participate in some way..."

Monday, 28 March 2011

Google Docs Discussions, Google Apps Webinars and many upcoming events...

In this issue:

  • New Google Docs Discussion Feature
  • Google Apps Webinars
  • Upcoming Events

Google Docs Discussion Feature The other week Google announced an enhancement to the Google Docs commenting system. The enhancement is being called "discussions." Discussions will allow document collaborators to have threaded conversations in the margins of a document. By including the @ symbol before a collaborator's name you can reply directly to that person. Another option in discussions is the option to be notified via email of replies to your comments in Google Docs. Right now discussions in Google Docs are only available for new documents. If you created a document prior to yesterday midday, it won't have the discussion feature enabled.

Watch the video to learn more about Google Docs discussions.

Google Apps for Education Professional Development Webinars

A new round of Google Apps for Education Professional Development Webinars is on offer. These provide fabulous free PD for staff.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Introduction to Apps Scripts

This webinar will cover a high level overview of Google Apps Scripts with basic example demonstrations. One of the advantages of Apps Script is that it lets you customize Google Apps to fit your organization needs.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Introduction to Google Docs
Explore Google Docs and learn how this suite of services can be utilized for productivity, communication and collaboration in the classroom. This webinar will also include a tour of the
Linkrecent updates, classroom management strategies and a "Top 10" tips.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Taking advantage of templates in Google Apps

Learn how to harness the power of templates in both Google Docs and Sites. Organize your institution's standard forms and documents through your domain's template gallery.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Introduction to Google Calendar
This webinar will focus on using Google Calendar in the classroom.


You can also access archived webinars in our Google Apps for Education Resource Center.

Other Upcoming Events

NZATE/IFTE Conference

18-21 April

University of Auckland

This is the annual English conference this year, so start thinking internationally. Check out the conference site here.

Emerging Leaders Symposium

28-29th April 2011

Albany Senior High, Auckland

Did you know?

• 10,000 of New Zealand's 50,000 teachers are nearing retirement age.

• 50% of newly-qualified teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years.

We need to foster emerging leaders in education. We need to give them a voice and support them to develop a vision for the future of education, because soon that future will be in their hands. To this end, a group of emerging leaders have convened a two-day symposium in Auckland on 28th and 29th April 2011. Emerging leaders are invited to attend this 'unconference' to prepare a vision for the future of education in New Zealand-Aotearoa. This vision will be presented to Karen Sewell on the second day of the symposium.

What can you do?

• Spread the word. Print the attached flier and distribute it.

• Send people to the website
• Join our Facebook page

• Seek out emerging leaders in education. We need people who can look beyond what is, to see what might be.


Saturday 6th August,
Epsom Girls Grammar School, Auckland

If you are new to the un-conference format, read about last year's event: EduCamp is based on a user generated 'unconference' where the focus is on e-learning and education, sharing ideas we've discovered and learning from each other. Everyone is invited to participate in some way. The purpose of EduCamp is to both learn and contribute. No real agenda is set and it will be up to participants to determine the focus for the sessions, grow their learning, network and have fun! More including video Check out the EduCampAKL wiki.


21st May, 2011

Wellington College

Just wanted to announce EduCampWelly is taking place on May 21st, here in what will then probably be bleak and yet bracing Wellington.

To quote the blurb:
"EducampNZ is a user-generated 'unconference' focused on e-learning and education.We're all about growing our learning, networking, and, of course, having fun! Everyone is invited to participate in some way..." The organisers are keen to have individuals from across the NZ primary, ECE, secondary, tertiary sector involved - as well as those from the MOE and beyond. Teachers, administrators, geeks and non-geeks are all welcome. It's about having some input, sharing ideas and listening to others who are all about making education, learning and our place on the planet better.

The venue is Wellington College - a big thank you to them for their generosity and wifi.There is no fee for attending.
There is no food or drink provided, but one of Wellington's friendliest wine establishments is nearby, as well as a limited assortment of cafes and golden arched eateries.

If you attend, you're responsible for contributing, challenging and considering.
If you don't attend, you won't get to see the historic glory that is the Basin Reserve. Direct all questions, thoughts, and ideas to the wiki.

Monday, 14 March 2011

ICTs and diversity, ideas for using Flip cameras and more!

In this issue:
• ICTs and Diversity
• Using Flip Cameras in the Classroom
• Christchurch Support Wiki
• NZATE/IFTE Conference Reminder

ICTs and Diversity
Phil inspired an interesting discussion about ICTs and Diversity when he made a request for idea for an upcoming article. Click here to check out the archives. Some highlights include:

From Suzie Vesper: There is a MoE project that could be of interest to you in relation to meeting the diverse needs of learners. We have set up a trial virtual school to support ESOL students from around the country. Students are put forward by their own schools and then become part of our online school working with virtual teachers and having access to course work in Moodle, live lessons in Adobe Connect, documents and eportfolios in Google Apps (including Teacher Dashboard) and collaborative, social spaces in ELGG. We are also bringing in other existing online tools such as Voicethread, Raz Kids and Study Ladder. Our focus is on how we can help support students using ICTs that have limited access to specialist teachers within their own schools. There are two of us that are eTeachers for the trial programme and it should be a very interesting year!

And from Fiona Grant: Some interesting considerations in Tiakiwai and Tiakiwai (link below) that emphasise the importance of context and relevance to the learner and their experience in selection and design of learning experiences, teachers knowing the learner and awareness of how our (the teacher's) cultural and social understandings impact on how we use and integrate ICTs.

A Literature Review focused on Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and e-Learning in the Context of Te Reo Maori and Kaupapa Maori Education. Tiakiwai and Tiakiwai (2010)

Similar to Liz, we have also used the ELP Honeycomb to develop some shared principles identified as being key components of effective teaching for Pasifika learners (synthesised from Pasifika Education Plan, Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling BES...) and similar with the Maori Potential Approach from Kahikitia to explore these ideas in this
eStory on Software for Learning.

Using Flip cameras in the classroom
A request came from Kerri Jopp for siigestions and ideas about using flip cameras in the class room. Two sites were recommended: a google doc with Many Ways to use Flips - contributed to by teachers around the globe and Kelly Faulkner shared a post from her blog. You might also like to check out the Google presentation 43 Interesting Ways to Use Your Pocket Video Camera in the Classroom

Christchurch Earthquake
As large numbers of Christchurch schools re-open this week, a reminder about the wiki set up by Marielle Lange where you can either offer help to those schools or seek help if you are in one of those schools. To date there are quite a few offers of help at the wiki where teachers may offer or request specific help – this could also include secondary. There is one page for "I can help" and another one for "I Need Help".

NZATE/IFTE Conference Reminder
This is the annual English conference this year, so start thinking internationally. Check out the conference site here.
Please note - The IFTE/NZATE "Much Ado About English" conference organising committee is happy to extend the early bird deadline for Christchurch schools/teachers until 15th March to allow more time for Christchurch schools and teachers to process their registrations in light of the Christchurch earthquake.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Sites for creating comics and a new home for Ulearn11!

In this issue:
• Sites for creating comics
• New location for Ulearn 11

Sites for creating comics
Moira made a request for good sites for creating comics. This resulted in a flurry of recommendations, including; Kerpoof, Toondo, readwritethink interactive comic, superactioncomicmaker and makebeliefscomix
Suzie Vesper shared the following links: Comic Life is an excellent software application for creating comics. You can get information about this on the Software for Learning website I've also put together an educator's guide to Comic Life available here. You can also search Software for Learning for comics and it brings up three options.

Or you can also check Jaqui Sharp’s comic links on Delicious.

ULEARN11 is ON in the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua
From the Ulearn website: CORE Education is working hard to ensure Ulearn11 will continue as normal this year. We want to continue the momentum of past conferences ensuring that those strong networks created over the last 6 years of Ulearn Conferences continue.
Start planning your attendance. Check out all the details here.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Christchurch Earthquake, Facebook, Blogger and more

In this issue:
• Christchurch Earthquake
• Using Facebook
• Blogger
• NZATE/IFTE Conference Reminder

Christchurch Earthquake
Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by Tuesday’s devastating earthquake and particularly to our fellow teachers from Christchurch who will, once again, play an incredibly important role as young people and their families try to achieve a sense of normality in the coming months - Kia Kaha! Make sure you check out one of the 101 English Blogs, the Motivating Ms M. post on Natural Disasters. Inspired by this momentous event, the post looks at ways we can encourage empathy in our students through writing activities. Make sure you check out the post and share your thoughts and ideas.

There have been several offers of help from teachers around the country to our colleagues in Christchurch. On literacy online, Marielle let the community know about this wiki where teachers may offer or request specific help – this could also include secondary. There is one page for "I can help" and another one for "I Need Help".

You can also join the Rise Up Christchurch Facebook page here.

Using Facebook
Simon Evans added a few more resources for teachers using Facebook with their students. Forgot the Facebook discussion on Software for Learning, Facebook in Education and Facebook/cybersafety on Educating the Dragon blog.

In response to an earlier blog discussion, Allanah provided some support for using blogger with this step by step what to do.

NZATE/IFTE Conference Reminder
Early bird registrations for the April IFTE Conference close in a week on 1 day international English teachers’ conference is a very reasonable $400. There is no annual English conference this year, so start thinking internationally.

Please note - The IFTE/NZATE "Much Ado About English" conference organising committee is happy to extend the early bird deadline for Christchurch schools/teachers until 15th March to allow more time for Christchurch schools and teachers to process their registrations in light of the Christchurch earthquake.