A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster.. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S *Ask the individual to SMILE.

T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)

(i.e.. It is sunny out today.)

R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediatelyand describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

How online video is driving innovation

Chris Anderson’s video above highlights the powerful way in which online video is inspiring innovation. With 800 million hours of online video viewed everyday around the globe there is power in use of video.

There are educators around the globe who are sharing their lessons, such as Khan Academy  and MIT.

There are thought innovators sharing their ideas and and challenging our thinking. For example Mister Sharp or the vlogbrothers.

There is TED, RSA  and EdTalks sharing experiences and allowing us to reflect on the passion and practise of others.

There are even educators in New Zealand who are beginning to share their own and their students experiences through video.
For example eMartian and 29sisroom.

We, as educators in New Zealand, are a crowd just like that shared by Chris Anderson. We need to shine a light on the way we are educating students. Share the desire and the passion we have for our profession.

Keep sharing...

by Pinelopi Zaka (, @paz11uc)
If we look into a learning organization such as a school, teachers are often encouraged to collaborate with each other to improve their practices, support one another and further develop their professional knowledge. At the next level is sharing these learning experiences that the teachers are developing within their own contexts with teachers outside their own school. The benefits are priceless, including thinking outside our little box.
As part of my M.Ed. on e-learning and digital technologies in education at the University of Canterbury, I had the opportunity to collaborate online with many teachers and other professionals that were coming from various and different contexts, sharing our ideas, experiences and reflections and of course supporting each other in our learning journey. Experiencing the value of sharing in the ‘safe’ online environment of my courses, I was further motivated and encouraged to start using other social media to extend my learning experience, connecting with even more people.
This is where I realized the important role of social media in today’s world. It’s all about sharing our knowledge, our practice, our experiences with other teachers, other professionals, in other contexts; using blogs, wikis, videos, tweets and so many other ways, depending on what better suits the individual, this is what helps us to think outside our own silos and move our thinking and practice lots of steps further.
There are countless examples of teachers and other education professionals in New Zealand and elsewhere that share their educational practices, ideas, research and other resources through blogs, wikis, twitter, podcasts etc, not concerned about keeping their materials for themselves. Acknowledging the value of sharing, they consider other professionals that can be inspired from their own practices, engage in constructive dialogue, reflect on their own contexts from different points of view, experiment with new tools and approaches.
This plays an important role in changing what it means to be a good educator. In a society where knowledge itself has lost its previous ‘glory’, as the web enables instant access to what was previously held by the experts, teachers and schools have to offer more than teaching materials; it’s not about the resources, but about inspiring others and be inspired – moving beyond knowing the facts and creating new knowledge through collaboration. Isn’t this what we want for our students? Why not for us as well then? Practicing what we preach... so keep sharing!


Qwiki's round up of news 20-11-11

View Top News: 11-20-11 and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

Finding the right balance

by Pinelopi Zaka (, @paz11uc)

It is widely accepted that self-directed learning is one of the most important skills that students need to develop in today’s Knowledge Society. Online teaching and learning approaches (either with fully online or with blended courses) provide plenty of opportunities to the students to develop independent learning skills.

However, in their research on New Zealand students’ experiences learning through virtual conferencing, Bolstad and Lin (2009) argue that independent learning skills are both a requirement but also a result of online education. This means that on one hand online teaching and learning encourages students to become more self-directed, but on the other hand the students need these skills at some level before they begin learning online, in order to succeed. This is something that most of the teachers in New Zealand I’ve talked to also identify as a being a very important pre-requisite for the students, as well as a useful outcome of online learning.

What most research tells us is that although students often enjoy the flexibility and independence that online approaches offer to them, their ability to self-direct their learning is not always enough to enable them to learn autonomously, without support. The students are often struggling to remain engaged in fully online/blended courses and this has further implications for schools and teacher training in supporting the students effectively. For example, by researching students’ flexible learning experiences in New Zealand, Pratt and Trewern (2011) found that although most students identified that they became more independent after learning through video conferencing (or other forms of flexible learning), it was clear that some of the students still needed more support from their schools. In cases where more support was needed but not provided, the students were more likely to drop out their course.

When we talk about student independence we may need to think about learning how to ride a bike. One way is to give a child the bike, let them see how it is like to fall and hope that they will not give up trying. Another way is to hold them while riding, making sure they don’t ever fall, never letting them do it themselves. What is the right balance between these two extremes? The best way depends on the kid. How confident and how persistent they are is maybe one of the things we need to know from the beginning. In any case, the teacher needs to be on the kids’ side, guiding them accordingly, based on their needs and gradually giving them more independence. Trying to find the right balance is not easy, but I think it is important to remember that each child is different and that what worked on us as students, on our children as parents, or on our other students as teachers does not always work for everybody else.

Shifting from ‘a sage on the stage’ to ‘a guide on the side’... Are we ready to give our students more control? Are our students ready to take it? Finding the right balance...

Photo by Greg Robbins.
Bolstad, R., & Lin, M. (2009). Students' experiences of learning in virtual classrooms. Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER.
Pratt, K., & Trewern, A. (2011). Students experiences of flexible learning options: What can they tell us about what they need for success? Computers in New Zealand Schools: Learning, leading, technology, 23 (2).

Sitech Roadshow

Venue: Taradale Intermediate, 6 Murphy Road, Taradale, Napier 4112
Date:  30th November 2011 & 01st December 2011 
Time:3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

You are invited to see a display of our latest equipment
See our new “Collaborative Learning Centre” complete with touch screen See our large 55” mobile monitor See our very popular teaching stations

We will also have on display:
  • The new multiple touch, dual response Panaboard interactive board 
  • A variety of classroom recording equipment 
  • The sophisticated Moway robots 
  • The very popular Aver Visualisers
  • Acer Iconia touch tablets
Nibbles & Refreshments Available

Final VPLD Hot Seat for the year

Christina Ward: Teaching as Inquiry

Session Overview

“Teachers are at the heart of school improvement, and with all the change in the
world and new understandings about learning it is essential that they too keep
learning. “
(Stoll, Fink & Earl, 2003)

In this session we will explore teaching as inquiry by:
  • discussing the process and its place in The New Zealand Curriculum,
  • taking a look at the characteristics of schools and classrooms where high
  • levels of teaching as inquiry are evident
  • sharing examples from New Zealand schools, and other useful resources.


Christina Ward manages New Zealand Curriculum Online. Since 2004, she has worked with the education sector to ensure schools have access to quality information to support curriculum development and implementation. She also encourages them to contribute to the online environment, share their stories and make connections with each other.

Christina is also closely involved in a number of online environments, including Key Competencies Online, Middle Schooling, Secondary Middle Leaders, Community Engagement, Software For Learning, and Te Manawa Pou.

Christina was a classroom teacher before launching into curriculum resource development and publishing, then Social Studies Online and the exemplar project.

Follow up notes, summary and material available

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Roberta Gbowee

Leymah Roberta Gbowee has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. She is a Peace Activist in Liberia responsible for leading a women's peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.

She began organizing Christian and Muslim women to demonstrate together, founding Liberian Mass Action for Peace and launching protests and a sex strike.

They staged protests that included the threat of a curse and a sex strike: "The [sex] strike lasted, on and off, for a few months. It had little or no practical effect, but it was extremely valuable in getting us media attention."In a highly risky move, the women finally occupied a field that had been used for soccer; it was beside Tubman Boulevard, the route Charles Taylor traveled twice a day, to and from Capitol Hill.To make themselves more recognizable as a group, all of the women wore T-shirts that were white, signifying peace, with the WIPNET logo and white hair ties.Taylor finally granted a hearing for the women on April 23, 2003. With more than 2,000 women massed outside his executive mansion, Gbowee was the person designated to make their case to him.Gbowee positioned her face to be seen by Taylor but directed her words to Grace Minor, the president of the senate and the only female government official present. [1]

She is a wonderfully gentle woman with a warm heart and a generous spirit.Her dry sense of humour was evident on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. She should be an inspiration to all of us...

Duffy Hero Assembly...anyone??

Useful Links:

 [1] Wikipedia article: Leymah Roberta Gbowee
Wikipedia article : Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace
Leymah Roberta Gbowee website
Purchase the Book

Top tips for Maths and ICT: Presentation

D9 Teacher presents...

When: 15th November 2011
Time: 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Venue: St Matthew’s School, Hasting, NZ                                    
Using  ICT   software tools  to  empower  students  and   maximize  teaching  and  learning.


Quote of the month: Ernest Dimnet

Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. 

Kawerau Intermediate and Kawerau College to close? Or morph?

Tragic news for the logging community from the Bay of Plenty when the Board of Trustees of Kawerau Intermediate and Kawerau College received on Friday 11 November a letter from the Minister of Education notifying them that she intends to proceed with the closure of Kawerau Intermediate and Kawerau College at the end of 2012 and create a new Year 7-13 school on the site of Kawerau College.

There has been much protest and discussion around the issue including a long review that drew protests from the Bay of Plenty town - including an angry demonstration on the steps of Parliament - Education Minister Anne Tolley has opted to merge Kawerau's college and intermediate. But wait instead of a being a complete merger, there will be two separate campuses - intermediate and high school.

So, let me get this straight: We’re closing two schools due to falling rolls and creating one school… but over two campuses?
Wait, maybe its not so tragic as they will get two new campuses for their two old schools – It’s a little confusing, to say the least.


Schools wrangle tipped as 'huge election issue'

“Tell a teacher, tell the principal... tell someone!”

by Pinelopi Zaka (, @paz11uc)

It is not only the kids that have a lot to learn from adults, but obviously adults have a lot to gain in designing their practices by listening to kids’ views; especially when it comes to issues that kids experience every day, such as bullying and their expectations from us as adults in supporting them.
36 groups of students were interviewed and 1,673 were surveyed on their experiences in cyberspace. The findings of this study highlight the need to provide students with adequate support to overcome the challenges they are often facing; key results include:
  • Almost 95% of the students access the cyberspace at least 3 times per week, mainly for communication and research.
  • 67.5% reported that they experienced a challenge on the cyberspace and for half of these students the challenge was distressing.
  • The challenges that students reported include: Harassment, cyberbullying, cyberbullying and harassment, meeting with new people and strangers, unwanted sexual solicitation, sexual content, other inappropriate content, copyright infringement, computer security issues, inappropriate digital footprint, time-management.
  • Cyberbullying was the most distressing challenge for the students.
  • The most common practice to manage distress was ignoring the challenge; however, this practice never led to resolution.
  • Almost 40% of students turned to social support to manage distress.
  • Social support, including support from adults was not associated with the resolution of most of the challenges students experienced on the cyberspace.
Whether we are educators or family we all have the responsibility to support kids, no matter in which environment (school, home...) they experience these challenges. We are all part of kids’ environment. They believe in us (or they want to believe in us) as adults, and expect us to be able to help them and make things right. Are we? They often come and talk to us and then what? What do we do to encourage these kids to trust us?
Developing empathy is perhaps where preparation to provide adequate support needs to begin from... listening to kids’ experiences while putting ourselves in their shoes.
Related topics on Educating the Dragon:

Qwiki news 10-11-11

View Top News: 11-10-11 and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

Nominate a New Zealander for TED

New Zealand Education leads the way globally. I am sure that there are innovative and engaging teachers across New Zealand who have a story to share.
TED 2012 are launching TED ED next year and they are wanting you to nominate educators that would be willing to share with the world. In their blog post they write:
For the upcoming TED conference TED2012: Full Spectrum we’re looking for 10 of the world’s best teachers to take the TED stage during a special session we’re calling The Classroom. We’re accepting nominations to help track these people down. You can nominate yourself or a remarkable educator we should know about — who doesn’t have to be a teacher in the traditional sense.” 

For full details follow the link to the TED Blog.

An Evening with Dame Alison Holst


Join the Napier Central School PTA for a fabulous night with Dame
Alison - she will be talking about her memoir, A Home Grown Cook. Bring your Friends, Neighbours, Aunties, Mothers, Grandmothers and make an evening of it. Tickets are only $20 and include home-baking and $10 off her book. There will also be raffles and the chance to win a bakers dozen of Dame Alison's Cookbooks. So come and support Napier Central School and meet the Queen of the New Zealand Kitchen

We are excited to be able to support this event and Beattie&Forbes have plenty of her books for you to buy - a great Christmas present for only $30.

Tickets from Ticketek - Please Tweet or like and get the word out as this all goes to support the school.

What is your vision?

by Pinelopi Zaka (, @paz11uc)
Some people like change, some others don’t. As educators we are often trying to make a difference as change agents in our own organizations. Sometimes it is easy, but not always...
Everett Rogers, a sociologist, writer and teacher introduced his theory on the diffusion of innovations in 1962, explaining the rate of adoption. According to Rogers, each innovation has five attributes and it is the individual’s perceptions of these attributes that will determine the rate of adoption. The five attributes are:
  • Relative advantage, referring to the benefits that people identify in adopting an innovation.
  • Compatibility, which is the degree to which an innovation is consistent to people’s values, experiences and/or needs.
  • Complexity, referring to the perceived challenges of adopting an innovation.
  • Trial-ability, which is the degree to which people can experiment with an innovation on a limited basis before deciding whether or not they will adopt it.
  • Observability, referring to the degree to which people can directly observe the results of using an innovation.
Reflect at your own situation. When was the last time you were in a position to decide whether or not to adopt an innovation? What advantages and challenges you could identify in adopting it? Were the innovation’s characteristics compatible to your needs/values/experiences? Did you have any opportunities to try out the innovation before deciding? Were the results of using it relatively easy to observe? You may find that for different innovations there are different attributes that have greater impact on our decisions.
Looking into a learning organization such as a school, it is not only the teachers’ perceptions on these five attributes that will determine the rate of adoption of an innovation. It is also the students, sometimes their parents, but most importantly school leaders whose perceptions will have a big impact. When an innovation is introduced in a system where its members have different roles, needs and perceptions, things might become more complicated.
For a teacher for example, considering that implementing some Web2.0 tools in the classroom will help them to provide students with more opportunities for independent learning and collaboration, might be an important advantage they identify. For them, challenges related to learning how to use new online tools might not have a negative impact to their decision, due to the relative advantage they see. Perhaps this teacher had already had the chance to experiment with some tools and maybe they started to observe changes in students’ ability to self-direct their learning and collaboration. However, another teacher, a student, a school leader, a parent, whose priorities and goals are not the same might have different perceptions.
Building a shared vision among the members of the school community (Segne, cited in Smith, 2001) is very important , in order to “foster genuine commitment and enrollment rather than compliance”. This way, when introducing an innovation, members of the system will have a similar reference point when assessing its usefulness, as well as when they are working towards effective ways to implement it. Look at your own context again. Change is not easy. Investigate. What are the priorities of other individuals at your own institution? What is their vision? What is your vision? How can the innovation you want to introduce address yours and others’ vision? How can you build up a shared vision?
“As people talk, the vision grows clearer. As it gets clearer, enthusiasm for its benefits grow” (Senge, p.227, cited in Smith, 2001).


Photo by
David King
Rogers, E. (2003). The diffusion of innovations. (5th ed.). New York: The Free Press.
Smith, M. K. (2001).
Peter Senge and the learning organization, the encyclopedia of informal education.