Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Not really a phone

Thought it might be a good time to share how things have changed so much. I have chucked my front page of my phone here.
Messages - yeah texts nothing new there, however the fact that the messages answer each other in chat style, makes life so easy because you can track a conversation and go back to numbers or information in a snap.
Contacts - nothing new here, not so, these sync with every email, phone and chat address, and they sync with cloud too, so they cant be lost, nice.
Calendar - This is actually seven calendars and they can come from google, .mac, whatever, with all the alarms and reminders that you will ever need, essential.
Camera - still or video, yes nothing new here, however being able to mms, email, mobileMe, youTube, flickr are nice options. It also uses gps to tag the photos.
Compass - This is actually a gimmick, I will never need a compass, but I know where north is (true and magnetic!)
Expt4GDocs - Basically this is a google docs reader, every doc, all my folders, all my shared docs. This is priceless, it doesnt allow editing the docs but I don't care, I have access to everything I need at a snap.
Ping - is texting over wifi or 3g, therefore you can text other ipod or iphone people. It has potential within a school or when overseas and international texts or roaming costs too much. At the moment its only for iphone/ipod but an app like this will grow or skype will reinvent itself to push.
Notes - You can use cool things like evernote (see @mumbleboy no 1 fan) or you can keep notes simple by just writing, sync, email. All good and very useful.
App Store - This a gem, there are thousands of useless things your phone can do and the app store has them all, this is why you need @mumbleboy or macash they sort the rubbish out and install it on their phones and then tell you what are the good apps. Trainspotter heaven. It was only a couple of years ago that finding third party stuff for computers was a nightmare, good old steve has all the third party peeps dying to be part of itunes, nice work steve and you are getting $ from developers, up there for thinking down there for dancing.
Maps - Ok doesn't every man know the city he was brought up in? Not true, Auckland has suburbs called Botany and Danemora, and then if you visit any city in the world you get a map with your location marked, never print a page, its the bomb.
Weather NZ - Everyone is an expert on weather, the problem is not everyone is a golfer, I've gotta have accurate weather. Plus if I bump into an old person I can always say "they reckon its going to rain this weekend" this is usually a sign of knowledge, you know, someone who reads the paper or listens to the wireless.
Settings - You gotta tell your phone what you want it to do.
TVNZ - Not a bad app, actually it beats watching the news, it has the main NZ news with fast loading links to stories and or videos, the sports links are great too. New bits added to this app quite often, big ups to the tvnz generally followers, now leading.
Twitterrific - Ok everyone has their opinions on twitter and or which is the best app to use for twitter. Personally what works for you is all good. This has a very nice search box, the @'s and dm's are great. I am a sucker for nice looking icons and the bird chirps just keep me coming back.
NetNewsWire - My fav iphone app by miles. This is an RSS reader. The desktop app syncs with google reader and the iphone app does the same, the "mark all as read" box is a favourite of mine. To be able to read in your down time with quick and fast access is just brilliant, no book, paper, or computer. You aren't reading a small can't see screen either.
Facebook - Not sure that Facebook is everyones cup of tea, the app is brilliant, no bloody ads or joining this poxy group, take that stupid quiz crap, just keeping in touch and using it the way I want to use it.
Phone - I almost forgot its a phone - ha, someone should tell Vodafone it has other uses.
Mail - Yes you get em all to your phone, and because it pushes you never get double ups. You can VPN if you really want to know who is using the hall in period three. I have found it very useful to delete email on the fly. Really easy to reply, forward, send, receive.
Safari - Useful to be able to browse the internet on the phone, I have found that I use this less and less as the collaboration web 2.0 apps have been released for the phone. The pinch and spread screen thing is brilliant for iphone so you can get to pages that need zooming.
iPod - Can't do without your music? I can, but can't do without my podcasts that I subscribe too. Also the odd episode from the town of Royston Vasey, Green Wing and or the odd youTube video can kill time while on the plane, especially those golf lessons that I need to review every now and then.

So thats one page on the phone, i have another 50 apps, and some of them are just mindless rubbish.
What will kids be holding in fifteen years? Where are we going with these devices,?
It has certainly helped me learn new stuff, helped me find new communities, helped me find new ideas, meet new people, respect my colleagues, appreciate the sharing of peers, stay connected and I can turn it off any time I want!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On Tour

Last week I had a great opportunity to visit 6 schools in Chch with 11 staff. We tried really hard to take the attitude that we didn't want to be like those hundreds of visitors that visit us. We didn't want to be shallow, looking at artwork, and laminated things and surface features. By gum its easier said than done. I think its just so enticing as a teacher to borrow a very simple idea that someone else has done in such a creative way and use it for your self. After wading through the surface features (let me tell you there were some great examples of cool simple ideas) we dug into the ideas bucket. Its amazing what you can achieve when a large group from one school get a license to brainstorm when motivated, inspired and away from the chalkface. Either I have an amazing staff (true) or we were in a very good space, the PD was perfect and all the ducks were in line. SO how did it work and how could you replicate this for your school.

Flew red eye to Chch, carry on luggage only, rental van, try to arrive 830 at first school, which should get you ahead in terms of getting to all 3 schools. debrief 3 to 4pm, free time, dinner.
Arrive at 830 on day 2 at first school. Debrief in airport lounge. Catch a late plane home 6pm or so, which eliminates stress on the road and at check-in.

Two days was enough, three would have been too many days away from home and classroom, and it would have sunk our banked staffing.
Six schools was a rush (but worth it), time your travel well, be planned, have the cell numbers of the future visitors so you can text ETA's.
Visit a range of deciles, include a private school too.
Do your homework on the principals, they hold the key to the schools performance.
Debrief all the ideas, surface features are as important and big ideas, make sure everyone gets a say.
Have a chat with the school well before you arrive so they know what you are keen on looking at.
Take the chance to invite the school principals you visited to join you for dinner, you get a chance to ask a few deeper questions.
Accommodation is too easy to scab on, make an effort.

We have some great ideas being flicked around and now i'm looking forward to the next 12 heading to Wellington, as well as a local tour in Aukalani.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A quick assessment - No pun intended

Here are the things you must collate and report on. Forget all other documentation, if you are a principal or teacher this is what Mary Chamberlain is being paid for.

After 1 year Level 1
After 2 years Level 1
After 3 years - early Level 2
End of year 4 Level 2
End of year 5 - early Level 3
End of year 6 Level 3

After 1 year Green
After 2 years Turquoise
After 3 years Gold
End of year 4 - at Level 2
End of year 5 - work towards Level 3
End of Year 6 - at Level 3

After 1 year Level 1
After 2 years Level 1
After 3 years - early Level 2
End of year 4 - at Level 2
End of year 5 - working towards Level 3
End of year 6 Level 3

Some quick observations - Writing is the same as Maths almost word for word, Reading too after Y3. All the support documentation they sent about maths, reading and writing mean nothing cause the MOE only want the data from above. You have to report to them exactly on the standard above and give them a number and proportion.

Nag 2A (C)(1) Says report on:
the numbers and proportions of students at, above, below, well below - maori, pacific, gender

I have quickly assessed my whole Y3 year level and looking at the data this will be how my report looks. We have a significant number at or above with a smaller number below. We have a small proportion of students not achieving and a large proportion at and a smaller proportion higher than at.