Thursday, July 23, 2009

Test for Creativity

Had a great conversation with the mac center of Warkworth about testing. He really got me thinking about a National test for every kid. What you say ! Podgorani wants a national test - YES I DO. @macninz suggests we should national test every kid in the arts, dance, drama, music, and sports. Reality says a test wont work but it begs the question how schools would go if there was.
I would love to see the decile ranking spun on its arse, the 10s would find out very quickly what its like to be at the bottom. The declie 1's would be on fire with their depth of talent. On a more humorous note the south island (cant dance, white gene, wakefield company, andrew merhtons lookalikes) would be struggling. This would be brilliant.
Sure take this posting with a grain of salt, but consider Ken Robinson, are you part of killing creativity in your school? So have a reality check - look at the arts and ask yourself if you are putting the equal amount of effort into them as you are reading writing and maths.

For all you southeners who are feeling sad Merts says it all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You want cheese with that ?

So the holiday has well and truly disappeared and Im back to face ERO on the first monday back. Seems a quick way to come down to earth from the high life in the US. The truth really is that although the weather is crap and the All Blacks are persisting with Steven Donald, we really are a lucky country.
According to an OECD study it says we are only the third most obese country behind mexico and america. Given my recently trip to california I would say we are way way behind in third place. given the huge diversity of people in NZ it doesnt surprise me that we are higher in ranking than other OECD countries who have the mono ethnic mix.
Still america is heading for fat explosions, they have cheese with everything, and its that yellow crap. At a baseball game mini-podgorani wanted chips, for an extra 99c you can get cheese melted on your fries - why would ya? seems everyone esle round us was saying :" why wouldnt ya !"
Back to ERO, kind of not sure what to think these days, the days of sweating and worrying arent really there for me any more, I am kind of looking forward to getting them in, hoping they see all those little things that really matter. You cant really show HOW you do things, or HOW you have done things, in such a short timeframe. Yet we all know that how is way more important than what. I know the ERO office have matured since the days of rubbish bins not being clean, and sick bay registers recording every plaster issued.
I think there are two sets of eyes that ERO needs, fresh ones and ones that see where a school has been, its our job to show them where we have been and usually it didnt happen overnight.
Gladwell made a very interesting speech to NECC about success and creativity. basically everyone who has ever achieved has put in thousands of hours of hard work. bands like the beatles played for 2 years every night is a nude bar in germany before cracking anything (excuse the pun). fleetwood mac released 14 albums before making a hit. Think about those at the very top - Tiger Woods, hard work and dedication. Lance armstrong, might have clocked up a few miles in those legs, Steven Price those looks dont make the tackles.
Schools dont get to where they are without the depth of hard work, failure, success and more hard work. What you see is the result of hard work by everyone.
Then of course when all else fails look for luck, I know most times I have fallen in a dunnie there is usually a gold watch so long may it continue.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

NECC ISTE conference 09

Now six days into my US tour.
No news here about education. It is ridiculously clear that we are light years ahead of the american system. wedontknowhowluckyweare. I wont even try to explain the US elementary school system, why go there. What we need to do is treasure what we have cause its world class stuff. Yip, we currently have Nat Standards on the table and some see the erosion of what we have as catastrophic. What I’d now call it is a pimple that will soon pass, if you address it properly.
Where we are light years behind is broadband, we are on a par with the crappiest third world countries. Telecom and Vodaphone are just rubbish, ADSL3 which is coming soon to a school near you, (in the next 9 months for us) is old defunct backward technology here in the states. Go figure- we are keenly waiting for a product that is already phased out of every school over here. Yes it will be quick by our standards but pathetic by world standards. Many people don’t really know the benefits of fast broadband but there are tonnes.
We are also about 5 years behind in cell phone usage, sure I was at a technology conference but it’s an iphone (watch this) or blackberry or get out of the way. Nokia has a market in NZ, people think they are cool, but NZers in general are cell phone users, Americans are mobile web users. Every dude I see with a phone was using the web, forget the games. Telecoms 3g network might be ok for maybe a year, but will need upgrading, but because the habits of NZ cell phone users is low tech then they will get away with it for 5 years. Vodaphone... miles behind with data.
Twitter has been a great tool, at times I feel a little stink tweeting with a hash # tag to a conference thread when you have a bunch of followers who maybe aren’t following the conference you are at. This is part of the limitations I suppose of twitter or perhaps I am a poor user who doesn’t know a way round that. It has been interesting to see that the general tweeter at the conference took a commentary type attitude and tweeted what people were saying rather than giving opinion. When I tweeted opinion I was replied too “it’s not about opinion”. Interesting cause as I know at uLearn last year the keynote got rubbished by opinion on twitter. Maybe there is etiquette, or the yanks are too polite, or wont criticise publically (fear of being sued) or NZers are naive, not getting the whole public forum thing. Its a whole new discussion, but interesting.
Gadgets: got a livescribe, it won’t do OCR recognition yet, but the beta for mac is ready to be released in the next two weeks. I will post a link to some notes later this week.
Got a kodak Zi6, the picture quality is staggering, awesome, and it has an SD, takes stills, and can record in HD30fps, HD60fps, XGA for quick youtube. At the price point it has flip licked and it uses AA batteries (my preferred option).
Document cameras are quite big in the trade stands, and i see plenty of use as a classroom tool, the peddlers are loving this! However, buy a digital camera, run it from the ac charging plug, leave it on auto focus, use RCA to usb and tape it to some sort of lamp shade and you have one for $200, worth a crack! here are some from the net - seems easy.
Touch boards! ha! man is this big business, the dudes at the stands give away so much stuff and the sweet smelling, tidy looking chickies, and those tight shirted blokes with the stubble are just the shit. They have it down pat with their slick presentations and giveaways, you can see the huge margins these dudes are on. lets face it they are a fat waste of money, they are not smart or interactive, "the kids love them and they are engaged", but the work you are doing is not powerful, just powerful looking. I’m still amazed at what the boards look like with all the movement, but its movement is not pedagogy. Engagement is not learning, my kids engage with the simpsons and futurama every night!
Hyperstudio has been out now in NZ for 6 months and I am restricted by the price. But it is by far the best piece of software out there for mac schools, if you read this and brush over the comment and do nothing about it, then shame on you. Its more powerful than imovie, kid pix, and possibly keynote- big call I know but there you go! Roger Wagner is a very talented man. I did have a crack at the head of pricing and sales and he promises me a school site lisense, we wait- but don't wait for long.
Malcolm Gladwell was an excellent keynote speaker, so was Erin Gruwell who has a movie made about her. The ideas are running wild at present.
Holiday time now, back to normal now the conference issues are done.
gadget time.
have a good break one and all.