Saturday, October 29, 2011

IMPD Introduction Day

At my school we were recently given the opportunity to enrol in an NZQA Visual Arts course delivered by Lifeway College. When I sent the email around school asking for expressions of interest I expected maybe one or two replies. 24 staff ended up enrolling including our class teachers, our principal, both deputy principals, two teacher aides and our network manager!

Today we are attending the first of four full days and two half days. While the sessions will usually be held at our own school, the first one is at Lifeway College. We have the opportunity to mingle with teachers from other schools also enrolled in the course. There are many familiar faces ….

Lifeway College, 95 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden
8:30am - 4:00pm Saturday 29 October 2011

Welcome and introduction by Craig Hansen
There will be the opportunity to have Lifeway College students come to our school and work with teachers and/or students over the next year. Potential here for working with our Digikids as well as some in-class support to work with tools we wouldn’t normally be able to acces.

Photography with Stuart Hale
Tips for buying and using school cameras:

  • Smaller is not good
  • Must be able to override auto mode - programme mode good
  • Get a brand name you recognise that makes good optics
  • Buttons needed - mode dials are easiest, rather than menu, flash off/on button, macro button, zoom lever, perferrably T or TV or fireworks mode to change exposure
  • AA batteries - recharge batteries must say “ready to use” - could be any brand, have spare batteries for each camera
  • Quick chargers half the life of rechargeable batteries - $100 - but only take 15 minutes
  • Not necessarily expensive
  • See before purchasing
  • Lanyards for safety
  • Minimum 2GB memory card - SD cards most common, don’t use camera brand with own proprietary cards
  • Stay with same brands
  • Site - 100 photos that changed the world and - great ideas
  • Turn volume to maximum so kids know when they are taking photos
  • Show the kids the two-stage shutter to get better photos - focus (half shutter) on the element you want to be sharp, move away to take the photo with the background/foreground in the way
  • don’t use flash photography at night

The language of photography

  • The rule of thirds - the camera is not a gun to target what you want in the middle! Try to get points of interest along lines that divide the picture into thirds. The intersections of the nine squares are the most important areas.
  • Often no flash is best but hold steady - often need a tripod or something else that won’t move. No flash and no zoom (use full wide angle) with macro shots.
  • Exposure time - delay to approximately 10 seconds, can use cellophane to change light colour and draw with a torch! Preferably buy a bright torch with adjustable zoom.
  • Zoom - closer is better but can crop in iPhoto easily while maintaining quality of image.
  • 5 Photo stories or 5 frame storytelling - great idea to use in class, concise but powerful stories, many examples available online if you search.
  • Photo books - pay for these for special events, school trips etc - can be accessioned and borrowed from library

Photography challenges (see for ideas):

  • Rule of thirds
  • Two stage shutter
  • No auto - use programme mode
  • Try flash on and flash off with same shot
  • Change point of view for various shots - mouse, possum, giraffe
  • Delicate (simplified background)
  • Alphabet (not man made)
  • Depth of field
  • Into the sun - but only use the view finder

Thinking about Art with Nicol O Shea

  • art seeks to educate, elevate and provoke
  • Shane Cotton tries to educate us about the history of this land
  • Dick Frizzell wants to elevate the everyday visions of NZ into high art
  • Joanna Langford’s magical landscapes remind us that our environment is fragile and on the verge of an ecological collapse

Blogs and other Social Media with David Kinane
Set up an account in Tumblr for use with this course ( Can use own blog if you already have one.


First assignment due 6 December! I'm dreading going to school on Monday - I can only imagine the complaints I'm going to hear about this assignment!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ULearn11 Breakout Presentation

Here is the description of the workshop:
We have been using e-Portfolios with Year 1 to 6 students at Elm Park School since 2007 and shortly afterwards made the decision to use our e-Portfolios as our sole method of reporting to parents. During this presentation we will discuss our ongoing journey to implement e-Portfolios school-wide, our purpose behind the decision to start the journey, the successes and the challenges - warts and all! We’ll have a look at some e-Portfolios examples and share the professional development, resources, equipment and web 2.0 tools that we have found most useful to help us along the way.

We use KnowledgeNET’s Learning Journals at Elm Park School to create our e-Portfolios but this workshop will also be of interest to those using other applications.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ULearn 11 @ Rotorua

Finally I'm here at ULearn again for the first time since 2009. I enthusiastically enrolled the four of us from EPS in the pre-conference workshops held today although the closer it got the more stressed I have become! What seemed like a good idea in Term 2 suddenly seemed a little less attractive when I looked at my long to-do list that isn't getting any shorter these holidays! Now that I'm here the excitement has returned - thinking about all the people I'm going to catch-up with and all the learning opportunities I'm going to be exposed to ....

First up - a full day workshop on questioning with Trevor Bond.

Making a Difference - Keeping it Real

Two types of questions:

Unexpressed (cognitive, hidden part of the process of thinking)
Expressed (communicated)

Questioning is the engine-house of thinking - De Bono

Individually tried a Sudoku for five minutes. What were we thinking?
  • analysis, eliminating - what are the possibilities?
  • could it be ...
  • can it be ...
  • if I put ...
Thinking during this activity involved the process of asking and answering questions.

Smart Schools: Better Thinking and Learning for Every Child by David Perkins (colleague of De Bono). He discusses stages of thinking:
  • tacit (automaticity)
  • aware (making conscious decisions)
  • strategic (planning, thinking ahead)
  • reflective (evaluating)
Thinking is when you talk to yourself and your mouth stays shut - De Bono

Questioning is our most important intellectual tool - Neil Postman

Cognitive skills handout eg synthesising, generalising, investigating etc. All of them involve questioning in some part.

Learning is the process of extending our known to include something that was unknown and effective thinking is the activity that powers learning. Effective thinking is a process of asking and answering questions.