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Moodle Moot NZ 2016

12/09/2016 Leave a comment

I am excited to write about the upcoming Moodle Moot NZX being hosted by HRDNZ and Northtec.

Join us for Moodle Moot NZX 5th-7th October in the ‘Winterless North”

It’s a special year, as HRDNZ celebrate 10 years of being a Moodle Partner (wow!) and we would love you to join us for the best Moodle Moot ever !

New Zealand Moodle Moots are regarded as one of the best in the world. They are always well organised with excellent speakers and workshops, but what sets them apart from other conferences is the friendly atmosphere and support, the feeling of belonging to a community, and high level of participation and sharing by attendees.

This year the Moodle Moot is a celebration of HRDNZ being a Moodle Partner for ten years. To recognise this milestone, everyone attending the event this year will also be entitled to 10% off any of the HRDNZ MoodleBites courses – yay!

This year the Moodle Moot is structured to begin with a community day, followed by two workshop days.

The first community conference day is a great opportunity to meet people and get yourself focused and energised ready for the workshops. Keynote speakers are Scott Hunley talking about The Internet of Things, Justin Hunt (creator of PoodLL) speaking on the Life of a Moodle Developer, and Hazel Owen on Creating meaningful assessment in Moodle. Stuart Mealor will reflect on Moodle over the last ten years, and we’ll also hear from some other great voices across New Zealand.

There will be four workshop streams: teaching, administration, management and developers. This is ensuring there is “something for everyone”. I am contributing a couple of workshops this year so hope to see and hear some of you there. You can switch between streams, and you’ll find me in the teacher and management streams.

 

So a big thank you in advance to NorthTec for hosting venue and all that goes along with that role, and thanks to the HRDNZ team. Do take the opportunity to say a big thank you to our hosts and make some new friends over the three days. I find Moodle friends become friends for life!

Register here.

iMoot 2015

09/04/2015 Leave a comment

If you use Moodle, don’t forget to register for the global online Moodle Conference iMoot15 and “come on a learning journey with us” Thursday 28 May to 1 June 2015 (you should totally check the local times for this) #iMoot15 Everyone Matters.

If you haven’t attended before, you can listen to the Free Moodle podcast where Vinny Stocker is interviewed by Stuart Mealor from HRDNZ.

#MOSOMELT cMOOC

12/03/2015 1 comment

This week I joined MOSOMELT. I meant to join last week (or was it the week before?) but this week a prompt from a colleague reminded me to actually leap in and signup.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about a cMOOC designed by some lovelies at AUT as a professional development strategy that takes on a distributed communities of practice approach. Over 24 weeks MOSOMELT will take us on a journey of Mobile Learning Technologies (with some friendly global experts) designed to develop both our personal eportfolios and pedagogical practice. There is an option for validation by external CMALT accreditation too.

Why? I think this can provide a valid and effective way to offer and receive professional development. Enrolling in a cMOOC with some work colleagues means we have strengthened the likelihood of successful completion as we can motivate each other to stay engaged (a common problem with online only courses). There is also a great community of practice involved, with many members I know and respect for their contributions, so I can imagine this can be a robust course with some excellent opportunities to develop my portfolio, and my practice.

See you there!

Innovative ideas for improving education in developing countries

25/08/2014 Leave a comment

I’ve been a long time supporter of One Laptop Per Child and Sugarlabs, but there are some other quite interesting innovations that I thought some of our readers may be interested in hearing about. I’ve just picked a couple to write about.

Keepod

This idea is based on reusing old computers and giving each child a USB drive with their own computing environment whilst sharing a computer.

It’s an Android based Operating System which allows the student to get the best apps from the marketplace for their education or other uses.

Read the BBC article about Keepod in Nairobi.

Raspberry Pi

The idea behind Raspberry Pi is that you reuse a computer monitor or TV and a keyboard and a mouse to plug into a credit card sized computer (the Raspberry Pi) so that students can explore computing and learn how to program in (quite accessible, easy to learn) languages like Scratch and Python.

The Raspberry Pi is also quite a capable computing device, whether students want to use it for web browsing, writing, or watching videos. You can connect peripherals to make things even more exciting.

The Raspberry Pi website is well set out to make it easy for students to learn how to program their Raspberry Pi and for parents and teachers to support learners.

Aakash tablet and the government of India

Datawind invented the Aakash tablet (also known as UbiSlate) in response to an Indian initiative to develop a low cost computing device, similar to OLPC, intended for college students. The tablet was sold to the Ministry of Human Resource Development in India.

School in the cloud

Sugata Mitra, renowned for his “hole in the wall” experiment, wanted to build a school in the cloud that utilised what he learned in his granny cloud (students are encouraged by a “grandmother” which enables them to learn what they need and motivates them to find what interests them) and SOLE (self organised learning environments) projects (students work in groups, and use the internet to access educational support). His first cloud school opened this year in India.

Do you know of an initiative that our readers might like to hear about? Please feel free to add in the comments.

Sharefest

15/04/2014 Leave a comment

Sharefest is an annual conference held in Hamilton, New Zealand, in September. In it’s seventh year, it aims “to encourage and develop an ongoing community of practice where those engaged in e-activities… can share their innovations and experiences” (http://wordpress.isle.ac.nz/shar-e-fest-2014).

 

Theme: E-learning in practice: How are learning technologies and social media being used effectively to enhance student learning and achievement?

 

Keynote speaker: Professor Jan Herrington 

Keydates:

  • First call for papers:  8 July 2014
  • Conference: 29-30 September 2014

Registration: click on the “register” link and you get sent an email to activate your membership 

Submission: the submission system will go live in early July, so plenty of time for you to prepare!

The old website provides a bit of history and the flavour of the event. 

Manaiakalani

09/04/2014 Leave a comment

Manaiakalani is an elearning and literacy strategy that is being coordinated out of Pt England School but includes a lot of schools in the Tamaki region of Auckland. 

The plan was/is to get one netbook per child (almost like one laptop per child but not quite?) for students from year five through to year thirteen, and to distribute wireless broadband into homes in the community, increasing family engagement in education. The first netbooks distributed run Ubuntu and they use Google apps for managing their work. Software in the build includes GIMP, Scratch and TuxPaint. The newer devices are Chromebooks. 

To see how it all fits together you might want to check out the Tamaki Achievement Pathway website.

 

Hackers

The Manaiakalani Hackers meet at Pt England fortnightly to support the project, along with all the other stakeholders: teachers, students, families, philantrophists, researchers, contributors, and the Manaiakalani Education Trust (hopefully I included most of the stakeholders in my list!). 

Us hackers wrote some design principles way back in the beginning, which we revisit occasionally to see if we are still on the same page. We have indepth honest discussions at our meetings – rowdy, passionate discussions – where lots of points of view were brought to light and thrashed about. We frequently have guests at our meeting and all the given feedback is very useful.

I think the role of the hackers and the Trust are to facilitate the changes necessary, so technology is developed, and solutions tailored to be appropriate to the pedagogy desired.

 

Progress

Wow! Looking back over the last few years since Manaiakalani started, here are some highlights courtesy of http://www.manaiakalani.org/our-story 

  • Tamaki College became New Zealand’s first state secondary school go fully digital in 2012 with all 600+ students with netbooks and has doubled its NCEA level 2 results for Māori and Pasifika in its first digital year making it among the top 60 improving schools in country
  • We have research validated rates of improvement for reading, writing and number across its primary schools that exceed national averages
  • We have developed and tested a software product called the Teacher Dashboard which is now in is the hands of 1m + users in the USA and elsewhere
  • Commercial partners have invented a wireless network that has gets UFB quality wireless into family homes for $4 netbook per month
  • More than 1500 families on an average adult income of $19k are paying off netbooks at $40 deposit and $15 per month over 3 years with an 80%+ payment success
  • Nearly $4m over 4 years has been raised to support this innovation and nearly 30% comes from parents
  • Tamaki year 9 students are sitting internal assessment online (NZQA have announced all exams will be online in 10 years)
  • We are creating a digital teaching academy in 2014 partnering with the University of Auckland.

The success comes down to:

  1. Collaboration across 11 schools where ‘all boats rise on a rising tide’
  2. Parent as investors with support from commerce and philanthropy
  3. Results focus on reading, writing and number with comprehensive research
  4. Shared pedagogy across cluster – Learn, Create and Share
  5. Affordable infrastructure

 

 

OLPC in NZ

09/04/2014 Leave a comment

After years of volunteering for One Laptop Per Child and Sugarlabs (I started mid 2008), it is very exciting to share with you that there are now New Zealand schools using the “One Laptop Per Child” XO laptops in both English and Maori. There are more than two million XO laptops distributed around the world, with over five thousand in the Pacific, and over seven thousand in Australia

A not-for-profit charitable trust, OLPC New Zealand has now been established in New Zealand to “to empower educators to lead and inspire children to learn through innovative use of affordable technology”. 

XO Laptop New Zealand Empowering Kids Learning

The first school to get them is Te Wharekura o Manaia. You can read all about it in the Hauraki Herald.  Based in the Coromandel, this is a bilingual school making the most of the opportunity to have laptops in Te Reo. When I visited this school I met some of the fabulous teachers and students who are using the XO laptops and saw just how much they had discovered in their first weeks.  

With over one hundred laptops now in the hands of kiwi kids, it is a good time for you to step forward if you want to be involved. There are lots of ways you can help, so contact the OLPC New Zealand trust to find out how. 

 

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