Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Still on Tour - Unmanaged Devices

While in the big apple I visited a school that was super familiar with laptop 1to1 but were now in full swing with iPads.Tucked away in this hidden gem was an Irishman with a word for the wise. He said we need to unmanage these devices, stop making them all alike, stop trying to sync and control and let the teacher be responsible.They had ruled out the carts and just stuck them in every room, gave the teachers the volume lisencing stuff and a bunch of iTunes cards. He said he wanted teachers and children to use them for their needs not some school administrator purchasing and vetoing apps. He wanted teachers and to some extent students take control. Sharp guy who was also into 3D printing and stuff #anotherday #isthatasquirrelupthattree #easilydistracted 

What are your thoughts?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Once in your life give 10%

After just two days and a few hours with some Chch Principals I went home to Akld feeling sad, disappointed and quite frankly pissed off. The people of Christchurch are getting ripped off, progress on fixing things is unbelievably frustrating and the rest of New Zealand carries on without knowing the disruption. Lots of people were annoyed with the progress happening but these are Cantabs, hardy stock. They never want to be seen as moaning, they are too proud for that. They don't want to throw stones, they have lived through a lot and they know this will take time. Evereyone is very accepting of "the way it is" this is, i suppose, the best mentality to take from this horrible situation. What grinds my gears is that we just carry on thinking the earthquake commission, the insurance companies, the task force and Gerry Brownlie have it in hand and the hardship is over. Nothing could be further from the truth. Its tough going, the suburbs are doing it tough, the schools are $200,000 to $300,000 down on their annual budgets, try losing that much cash and keep your school going. Housing sucks and hundreds of houses stand rotting with weeds 6 foot tall, and rain pouring in. School buildings are compromised and the decisions are hard to make. Principals have big ideas and hopes for rebuilds but their cash situation is dire and they are all looking at losing staff. Bugger that!

I ask -how can we really help? I suppose I'm now thinking of schooling issues. Schools across New Zealand gave generously to the CPPA and this was gratefully received. However the schools are still involved in messy meetings. Property money (5ya) has been frozen. There is still no decisions on which if any schools close and the wheels may be moving slow. However these are not criticisms of those in charge of decisions, there are complex issues and opportunities are rising from the devastation.
My issue is that while Christchurch schools wait and teachers are uncertain of their futures, other schools can do something, our leadership needs to think creatively and with empathy.

I believe that all schools in New Zealand should make a commitment to re building the school infrastructure in Chch. Why can't every school in New Zealand have 10% of their  5ya property money frozen. This would allow the money to be available for Christchurch schools when the decisions on infrastructure have been made. While chch suffers other NZ schools are building new libraries, admin blocks, gyms, meanwhile they wait for fulton hogan to pour some tar-seal on their damaged courts!
I want every child in New Zealand to get a free and fair education. Its not about our Ivory Towers its about being a Kiwi. I believe we all have to give up a bit of our hopes and dreams of our schools for those who have been hit the hardest.

So its time for the Ministry of Education to get this ball rolling. Get STA PPTA NZPF NZEI and any other group of fish heads together and talk sensibly about our friends in red and black country.
Put me down for %10, but its a team effort.