ERO and NZQA in SURVIVOR challenge

Word on the street says, I mean the briefest of mentions by RadioNZ,  that the Education Review Office and Qualifications Authority are to merge in a major culling of the Education Sector. Jobs in both departments will be lost in the shuffle.

It would be remiss of me to not mention the opportunity to take a ‘SURVIVOR- Education’ stance to it. Where two equally matched teams battle it out over paperwork shuffling, cheek-blowing, head-shaking and under-the-breath muttering challenges. Each week members of the team would pick someone to be voted out by the viewing masses.

Perhaps I’m letting this thing run away with me.

On a more serious note, I am a little unclear as to what the merger will look like.

“ERO reviews schools and early childhood education services, and publishes national reports on current education practice.”


“NZQA ensures that New Zealand qualifications are valued as credible and robust both nationally and internationally.”

Two completely different roles to the layman looking in. But then, who am I to say?I assume that greater minds than mine have grappled with that question...right?

Breakfast v Pies... part 3

Providing a proper breakfast for students of decile 1-4 schools is an expensive business. However, our most vunerable children need a good start to their academic day if they are to stand a chance of succeeding.

$11 million does sound like a lot of money and it appears that KidsCan CEO agrees.
"We believe that we can provide food for all New Zealand children in decile 1 to decile 4 primary and intermediate schools for an additional $2.5 million annually on top of what we already receive from sponsors and the Ministry of Social Development," she said.
Although Anne Tolley is pointing to schools who are already using their higher operational budgets to provide meals there is still much to do.
I take Annette King’s point about large companies to contributing more. All of us need to get behind such an initiative. Perhaps a matched funding arrangement will encourage companies and individuals to support this deprived generation.

If KidsCan says they they can then my vote is with them. They already have a proven track record in this area and if something is working well lets not reinvent the wheel. Besides, if they can’t then a name change may be in order.. Perhaps Lofty could suggest “KidserIthinkSo”.

Other reading:
Breakfast v Pie... part 2
Healthy Kids, Healthy Education

Moodle Moot NZ11

Tuesday 26th-Thursday 28th of July, 2011
Unitec, Ackland

Moodle Moot is a confence held annually to support educators in using Moodle. Offering delegates an opportunity to share their experiences, support one another and here direct from key developers of the VLE.

TENZ 2011

Dunedin from 26-28th July 2011

TENZ is a professional network which has been set up to promote and support Technology Education in New Zealand. During the conference visits will be arranged to a variety of local industries and we’ll hear from those who have been involved in the production of cutting edge technology. 

Useful links:

Adobe Connect training for NZ Teachers

Adobe Connect for Beginners

Wednesday 1st June 3.30 pm

  • Learn the basics of using Adobe Connect for online learning.
  • In this workshop you will learn how to:
  • Set up a meeting room,
  • Manage communication,
  • Add and manipulate resources.

This workshop is for teachers interested in using Adobe Connect for their online classes and for eteachers who are just starting out with Adobe.

Adobe Connect for eTeachers

Wednesday 29th June 3.30 pm

Strategies and tips for making the most of your Adobe Connect room for interactive learning. This workshop is for teachers who have some prior experience in Adobe. We will share examples of activities and Adobe features that will make your online lessons more interactive for your students. This is also a ‘show & tell’ for teachers to share their teaching & learning strategies with one another. Please bring specific questions and/or examples.

Workshops are hosted & supported by Adobe Connect Development, VLN Primary and VPLD groups.

  • Kymm McPhaill (Adobe Connect Development) 
  • Rachel Roberts (VLN Primary, VPLD)

Using Youtube in the classroom

Engaging the class, the parents and the wider community has been the place for websites and blogs for sometime. Youtube, Teachertube or schooltube can be the place for supporting videos.
Youtube has added a number of new annotations and features which allow greater flexibility in the use of video. One teacher below has put these to great effect to have students show their thinking in Maths.

Breakfast v Pies... again

Emotions run high when faced with ‘pie-eating’ school kids and with the Red Cross potentially pulling out of Shannon school and their ‘breakfast club’ it is a real possibility that old habits will return.

And return they will if further intervention is not forthcoming. However, the provision of breakfast meets the immediate need but goes little towards addressing the underlying cause.

Parental choice and budget management issues often lead students to needing support through schools to address their basic needs.

Yet I feel we’ve had this discussion before and perhaps we can go around the roundabout one more time.

Pies= cheap food.
Fruit, cereal, milk and toast = expensive

The immediate ‘hungry tum’ needs to be addressed for many parents and the shifting mind-set toward the long term implications are just that, long-term and way, way into the future.

“Perhaps we can address this issue later, when we have a little more money available and a little more time” but the reality is oyu blink and your kids are grown, habits are formed and ‘traditions’ passed on… including eating pies on the way to school.

It nice to identify the issue but WHAT ARE WE GOING DO!!!!?

Mango session is upon us.

'Mango' is codename for the latest update to the Windows Phone 7. Possibly one of the worst kept secrets in Techi-dom.

Microsoft believes that it will hold 20 per cent of the Kiwi smartphone market within three years.

That is quite a claim made by Microsoft. But it seems that there is deal, previously buried deep within ‘techi-dom’ that Microsoft and Nokia have come to some deal to see the WindowsPhone7 software present on future generation phones.

The question for educators lies in the impact this will have on mobile learning.
Previous studies involving iphones and ipads and android equivalents has let to profile raising and funding support for schools and communities.

I just wonder who it is that we need to talk to in order to have a LG/Telecom/ Widows7 trial and research into its potential for secondary and primary students engagement?

Suggestions in the comments please….

Ultra-fast Broadband is set to save NZ Education

According to Steve Joyce says “ultra fast broadband to schools will transform the education system by enhancing the way teachers teach and children learn”

"Over the next five years, 97 per cent of schools will receive ultra fast fibre enabling speeds of 100 Mbps plus. The remaining 3 per cent of schools, which are in the most remote locations, will receive a high speed wireless or satellite connection - a tender process for broadband provision to these schools will get underway next month. No schools will miss out."

This sounds monumentally transformative and within 5 years all these schools will be ‘wired’ as Anne Tolley calls it.

I begin to wonder about the hardware in school that students have access to. How many classrooms have a significant number of computers. How many does it take to qualify as ‘significant’. One-to-one laptops is great in theory but the expense associated and the current nature of curriculum delivery means it is far from necessary.

  • How many machines do you think is sufficient for a classroom?
  • Are we going to dicuss the relative merits of a MAC when compared with the initial outlay?
  • Can someone input here a explain the nature of government subsidy and school resourcing that will mean that hardware provision in school will support the UFB initiative in the given timeframe?

Shame on me, shame on you

The 2011 year is set for a bumper crop, we’re not talking apples or kiwifruit but rather the continuing rise is cases of child abuse.

TVOne obtained some shocking figures, including:

  • 3596 new active child abuse cases
  • 2521 open cases from last year
  • 124,921 notifications of abuse to CYF

These figures stand alone to condemn New Zealand of neglecting its children. There may be argument for the increase number due to a more observant public but still it is most disappointing. There needs to be another call for families to LOVE their children.

Are our children so unloved by those charged by their own biology to care for them? What are the factors within the different areas of society that leads to such abuse?

There is no silver bullet that is going to solve this issue overnight but it would be encouraging to see some positive change reflected in the statistics. 

VPLD - Pae Pae sessions

"Hot Seating"

3.30 to 4.30 pm

Online Professional Development

hosted in either Adobe Connect or Elluminate

Date Presenter Topic
Wednesday 22 June Karen Melhuish - eLearning Consultant, Core Education Practical eLearning Strategies & Ideas
Tuesday 12 July Ross Alexander  - Core Education ICT PD/ eLearning Capability Framework
Wednesday 24 August Rochelle Jensen - Digi-Advisor, Waikato University Digistore - Learning Pathways
Wednesday 21 September Jill Hammonds
- ICTPD National Facilitator, Core Education
Learning as Inquiry
Wednesday 26 October Fiona White
- Mediation Matters
Open talking: Open communication
Wednesday 23 November Christina Ward - Manager Online Communities, Core Education Teaching as Inquiry
Please join the VPLD group for more information and to register your attendance.

First Emerging Leaders' Ignite Evening

Albany Senior High School
6th July
Drinks and nibbles provided

What is ignite? Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes. It's fast; it's furious; it's fun.

Three things for you to do:

  • Register here to secure your place.
  • Tweet, Share or Email this post.
  • Visit Ignite to learn more about the talks.

Child Protection Training Programme adds new dates

  • South Auckland – 18-22 July
  • Central Auckland 25-27 July
  • North Shore 7-11 November
New Zealand is one of the only OECD countries that does not have mandatory child protection training for people working with children. Many of the key people in NZ working with children have not had sufficient training in knowing how to identify suspected child abuse and act confidently. Professional training in child protection WILL make you more effective in keeping children safe

Teacher Chellenge supported by Edublogs

This is the 1st post in the “30 days to using the best of the web’s free tools for educators” series.
The first for the Challenges involves Wallwisher:

Wallwisher is a Web 2.0 free online tool where anyone can build a “wall”.
Discussing a new idea? Taking notes? Giving feedback? Voicing opinion? Wishing a happy birthday?

Your students can then go onto the internet and stick post-it notes electronically onto your wall. The notes can include linked pictures, You Tube videos, PowerPoints, PDF documents, Excel Spreadsheets, or web page links.

In this activity you will:
1. Learn how to create an online noticeboard and check out ideas for using Wallwisher with your students
2. Learn how students can add to your notice board
3. Learn how to embed your notice board in your blog or learning platform
4. Complete one or more of the challenge activities

For further challenges check out the ‘Teacher Challenge’ blog.

Have you read 0.4?

This is probably the best read for Y5 + out there at the moment and I need your help...

Thanks one and all.

Classroom 2.0 Live event tomorrow

Classroom 2.0 is a free, community-supported network. You can signup  but due to spammers each application needs to be approved. Sign up today to get access to the Live event on Saturday.

 “Power of Projects”
 featuring Jen Wagner
Saturday, May 21st
12pm Eastern (GMT-5)

Jen will share ways teachers can have their students participate in collaborate projects and why this is an essential learning activity for student success.

If you're new to the Classroom 2.0 LIVE!  show you might want to spend a few minutes viewing the screencast on the homepage to learn how we use Elluminate and navigate the site.
Each show begins at 12pm Eastern (GMT-5) and may be accessed in Elluminate directly using the following Classroom 2.0 LIVE! link.

KidsCan: ‘In Our Own Backyard’

“The causes of poverty can be debated but there is almost universal agreement on the value of education. Children who grasp the power of learning have the power to change their future.” KidsCan

KidsCan has been running programmes to support students in decile 1 schools for quite some time now. Working with 201 partner schools across New Zealand KidsCan has provided raincoats, shoes and food. They hope to meet the physical and nutritional needs of disadvantaged New Zealand children to assist them in reaching their full potential in life.

Thier vision is of a New Zealand where less fortunate children have an opportunity to make a positive contribution to society.

With the launch of their reformatted newsletter KidsCan celebrates the lives they continue to impact upon. For example:
Tana Umaga joined KidsCan in Christchurch to distribute over 500 care packs to our 18 partner schools affected by the earthquake. Tana was featured on TV news spending time with the children and helping distribute the packs put together by KidsCan.

KidsCan delivers targeted programmes which remove the physical barriers preventing children in low decile schools from getting the most out of their education. These tangible initiatives currently support the education of more than 41,000 children in 201 low decile schools across New Zealand ensuring they get through the school gate in a better position to learn.
That’s all great and we can bask in the reflective glow of a charity having such a positive impact on children here in New Zealand. But there is more we can do, Julie Helson explains:

"This month is the official launch of the KidsCan ‘In Our Own Backyard’ child sponsorship programme which gives caring Kiwis the opportunity to make monthly or yearly contributions to support a child’s education."

You can…

Sign up for the newsletter
Make a donation

They need Volunteers on Thursday 2nd June 2011 from 9-1pm to help pack food for distribution. Please contact if you can help.

Writers Get Together
Wednesday 15th June 2011

Beattie & Forbes Booksellers

Are you a writer of:

  • Children's Fiction
  • Teen Fiction
  • Picture Books
  • Non Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Short Stories
  • Adult Fiction
  • Screen Writing
  • Journal Writing

Are you serious about your writing?

Do you need someone to bounce ideas off?
Is it hard to find other writers in your genre?
Do you just want someone to talk to about writing?

Now is the time to find that person or build that group - We would like to get you all together so you can find like minded writers to do just that!

Because after all - Only a writer understands a writer

We are very honoured to have Award Winning local author Anna Mackenzie as a guest speaker
to help launch our get together and then we can chat about what local writers really need.

Published and Unpublished Writers all Welcome

TKI – Teaching TeReo Maori

Seeing maori succeed educationally as Maori has become something of a focus for the MOE and schools alike.
With so much rhetoric about it, it is often difficult to unpack what that looks like for schools.

But to keep up-to-date with information and resources relevant to the teaching and learning of te reo Māori in English-medium schools TKI have provided a very useful resource entitled

As part of the MOE 2010 seminar series, Helena Baker tells the story of curriculum development at her kura, in particular the visioning of how elements of the curriculum align with the needs of whānau, students and the kura.

He Reo Tupu He Reo Ora 

Check out this fantastic new online multimedia resource for teaching and learning te reo Māori. The primary audience is students in years 1–6 learning at levels 1–2 of Te Aho Arataki Marau, the curriculum guidelines for te reo Māori. It contains eight units of work with complementary reomations (animations in te reo Māori) and videos on how the resource can be used and marae protocol.

Other useful resources:
Curriculum guidelines
Lesson Plans

Lane Clark Speaks about Teaching and Learning

Lane Clark spoke very powerfully at ULearn10 about the need to acknowledge how we educate being more important than what we educate about, and that we need to work with students on how to learn, how to think and the relationship between the two.

To support this Spectrum Education have a limited offer on Lane’s Books.

Where Thinking & Learning Meet  - Lane Clark
Book and CD Rom
If it is our goal to see an increase in student levels of engagement and levels of high school retention, an improvement in student performance standards and learners skilled and ready to contribute to their world, then we have got to rethink what we are doing, and how we are doing it, in our schools.
We've got to teach our kids how to think and how to learn.
In Where Thinking and Learning Meet, Lane Clark challenges our individual and systemic educational beliefs and practices. She offers an approach to re-thinking and re-engineering how teachers teach and how learners learn.

Where Assessment Meets Thinking and Learning - Lane Clark
Book and CD Rom
A symbiotic relationship exists between thinking, learning and assessment. Criteria, void of thinking, result in little more than ‘quantity' statements or statements of subjective ‘quality' language. Neither stretches the learner in their performance, and the latter results in confusion and often a need for moderation.
When a learner is provided with criteria, but is not given the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of their elements, its use is compromised and the end result disappointing. This book is about the thinking and learning process. It's about the relationship between assessment, thinking and learning. It's where assessment meets thinking and learning!

31 Days in May- Catch up with week1 and click 'subscribe'

I am attempting to vlog everyday in May. I am covering a raft of topics and liking to a variety of useful Youtube material. My theme is education, in its broadest and then, moat personal manner. In order to view these installments you could either visit my video page  or for ‘live updates’ visit ‘My Channel’  and click ‘subscribe’.

Join me, leave a comment under the video and participate in the discussion.

Book Corner 3 Compton McKenzie

This is the third interview for Book Corner.
Kay talks about ‘The Four Winds of Love’ by Compton McKenzie.
Sir Compton Mackenzie revealed that he was planning a new 'very long novel'. It would 'consist of four love stories and four philosophies of love and four decades of a man's life', and would probably run to more than 200,000 words.
In the event The Four Winds of Love ran to nearly a million words and was published in instalments between 1937 and 1944. Complex in design and teeming with ideas, it is perhaps the author's greatest achievement as a novelist, and certainly the most likely to stand the test of time.

Useful links:
South Wind
West Wind
North Wind
East Wind
The order of these books is a little unclear as two claim to be 'book one' and two claim to be 'book two'.

If you have any insight please leave a comment. 

Staff PD is now cost effective

CORE Education are responding to a need schools have for accessible professional learning and development (PLD).
Far too often the shrinking time and budget puts pay to professional development but CORE Achieve seeks to address this problem with their innovative, flexible courses.

The internet provides a range of delivery methods, both synchronously and synchronously, which CORE have tapped into.

The courses are modulor and can be delivered to individuals or a whole staff via the online environment.

“Achieve allows individual teachers to study their choice of topic at a time and place suitable to them, with the focus being on participation, collaboration and interaction rather than just delivery.”

Don't forget to register.

Things to do:
Discover CORE’s approach to PLD
Find out more about cost effective PLD
Register with CORE Achieve.
Auckland Writers and Readers festival 2011
11-15 May 2011
Aotea Centre, The Edge

A festival of literature and ideas, the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2010. The Festival is a highlight of New Zealand’s cultural calendar and an iconic Auckland event. It brings together acclaimed writers and thousands of readers and thinkers through innovative programming.

Top Authors:

Michael Connelly decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler. He is the author of Harry Bosch thriller series as well as several stand-alone bestsellers.

Izzeldin Abuelaish first caught international attention during the Gaza War of 2008-09. Two days before the ceasefire, an Israeli tank launched several shells at his apartment, one of which landed in the bedroom containing three of his daughters and his niece – Bessan, Mayar, Aya and Noor. They instantly perished. The book is about that tragic day in Gaza.

A.A. Gill was born in Edinburgh. He is the TV and restaurant critic for The Sunday Times and is a contributing editor to GQ magazine, Vanity Fair and Australian Gourmet Traveller. His new book Here and There is out in May 2011. He lives in London and spends much of his year travelling.

Useful links:

Ten Trends by Derek Wenmoth (2 of 10)

Derek Wenmoth continues his series of discussions on the 'Ten Tends'

Ubiquitous computing - Connecting wherever, whenever.

  • Wireless - It is the way in which we can fullfil that expectation of connecting to the internet 'anytime, anywhere'.
  • Mobile Devices - The range of options is growing quickly. Laptops, netbooks, iphones, mobile phones, mp3 players, andoids, even PSP allows wireless connection to the internet beyond mere gameplay.
  • Personal Clouds - Allowing us to consider using the cloud to personalise the learning for students.
Useful Link:
Ten trends on the CORE blog

Today is a ANOTHER day for ECE news.

First there is the opinion that John Key out of touch with parents when it comes to Early Childhood eduation. Then we have Dunedin literally haunted by the spectre of budget cuts past.

OTAGO Daily times:
“The impact was evident in an advertisement Dunedin's Little Wonders centre placed in the Otago Daily Times on Saturday. It was seeking an "untrained early childhood teacher", which raised the ire of New Zealand Teachers Council director Dr Peter Lind, who was "concerned" about the wording of the advertisement.
He questioned if people would be happy to see a medical practice advertise for an untrained doctor.”

It is my opinion that stating ‘untrained’ in the advert is merely antagonistic and is not at all appropriate. But to equate that with advertising for an ‘untrained doctor’ is a bit of a push. I’m sorry but nobody died due to a poor choice in maths game.
It is interesting to note the number of adverts for Scale A classroom teachers stating ‘New Zealand registered teacher’. Do we raise an eyebrow at that? Is that discriminatory? Is that not a clever wording for ‘we’re not taking untrained teachers’? Is not practically racist?
I would question what parents are looking for in an ECE centre. I wonder how many genuinely choose one centre over the other based upon the number of qualified staff and how many simply factor the ‘feel’ of the centre.
NOTE: I have no idea how many, or which, staff were qualified at my son’s centre – but then maybe I’m a terrible father.

Science week 2-7 May 2011

Research has found that Year 5 students in New Zealand schools receive, on average, just one hour of science education per week. The inaugural National Primary Science Week aims to change that. Breakfast speaks with its organiser Chris Astall.
What’s happening?
  • Workshops for teachers in local areas
  • The Big Milk Experiment – nationwide for schools
  • Competitions for pupils – writing, poster design
  • Practical daily experiments – for classroom or home

Our kids should be choosing life

FEELING disconnected from Pakeha culture heightened the risk of suicide among young Maori, an international study found.  Reported the SundayNews

click to enlarge
The article is written in such an emotive way as to enflame the debate over Maori youth.
Perhaps the figures indicating that Maori youth suicide is effectively double what it should be, representing 20% casualties. However, there was no reference to the remaining 80% and how they breakdown in terms of ethnicity.

Disappointingly, there is only quoted reference to the study carried out by Terryann Clark. I for one would have liked to have gone and read some of the source material.

I’m not saying Maori youth suicide is not a tragedy. Far from it. Youth suicide is tragic period. I mourn the loss of a single life from such a totally preventable manner.

There is clearly a disconnect between many youth and their parents. Without the feeling of unconditional love that we can only receive from our parents then life can be brutal. Friends are friends, but they still can let us down. Teachers play their role as do social workers and pastoral care workers, yet still it is the closeness of family that really counts.

Kids need to feel wanted and needed. Even during times when they themselves refuse to acknowledge that need. Through the good and the bad family needs to be there.

Today’s families look very different to those a few years back. But regardless of what a kids family is made up of they need that safe place to be alone. To be with those who will love them regardless. Provided that ‘home’ is a supportive place then we all can bear the trials of the wild-world outside.

Let us all love, support and care for those kids in our care.

Useful link:
Teenage suicides- OECD report (87.6k, pdf) Last updated 20/12/2010