Monday, December 3, 2012

Open planning

While working on my Google calendar today, getting ready for next year, I found a cool little thing. I filled in lesson information into the information section on an appointment. The calendar is embedded on the Graphics site and when you click on the appointment on the embedded calendar,  it shows a pop up box with that information in for the students to see the lesson plan. I showed this to 3 different people and they all said, "oh, I already knew that!!". Gee thanks for telling me!!

This got me thinking about the whole Google sites thing we have been going through this year.
A lot of staff have had to be persuaded to open their sites to be seen by anyone with a school email address. They had previously had them private and put their students email addresses in to share just with them. A lot of staff had already opened them to the whole school. My site has always been open to the world as it has been used outside of school for example purposes. Personally, I have never had my course and lesson planning so open. It has been in folders on a shelf. It has been saved in folders on my school computer log on. It has been looked at by me, a HOD, maybe a member of management occasionally. Now, it is on the open internet for anyone to look at who wants to, both at school and anywhere else. I don't know why this has suddenly dawned on me today, as I was starting to put more detailed lesson planning on the calendars. Am I bothered? No not really, but I now understand the reluctance of those members of staff that must have realised this small point WAY earlier than me. Coming to terms with sharing and having it all "out there" in a totally non judgmental way is part of the whole thing we are going through at the moment. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

That was a long favor!!

I spent quite some time today doing a favor for a fellow member of staff. Mr T has his workbooks that his students go through in PDF format, which he prints out as a booklet for them to fill in. He was not convinced of the way Google docs was going to work for him, as they have to fill in activities in the workbooks, and the conversation has been going various directions for a while now.
I offered to make one of his booklets a Google doc for him to see what it would be like, so he sent along the PDF.
Just straight uploading to google drive was no good, as it was pretty to look at but not able to be written in.
I had both my Google doc and the pdf open side by side, and was copying and pasting a section at a time. This was not the easy job that it sounds as all the lovely formatting in the pdf disappears as it is copied over. It was called a variety of interesting names today as I had to reformat the whole lot to make it look like the original. The original booklet also had lots of nice pictures in it, so the "shift, command, 4" got used a lot on my mac today, to take some nice sectional screen shots.
Two and a half periods later, it was finished. This is just one standard!!!
When I shared it back to Mr T, I made sure he remembered that I like mint chocolate :D

Dear Google, please make it easier to load up PDF documents to Google drive so they are editable!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Google Plus at School

Google plus has not previously been available in schools. When we got the word through that it was now there to turn on if we wanted it, some thought had to go into it. We have had lots of staff discussion regarding Facebook, so is this just going to be another one to worry about? It was decided to   turn it on for the staff and not the students at the moment, so we can have a play, get out heads round it and then have a more informed chat about access for students into the new year. Is it going to be a good communication method with individual classes that we can put in "circles" or will it be a great place to waste time? Personally, I am interested in Google events on Google Plus, as a place to do group research on topics and share everyone's input.
We shall see.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Film Festival 2012

We have just had the 5th anual Manaiakalani Film Festival yesterday. This event has got bigger and bigger every year, with over 50 videos being submitted this year from the 9 schools in the cluster.
The event was held at Hoyts Cinemas at Sylvia Park in Auckland. My first job of the morning was to take 12 classroom chairs ( for presenters to sit on ) and our school display board up to the cinema. I managed to convince Matt that he REALLY wanted to help ( !! ), so we got everything up there in the school van.  I had made a 6 foot version of the poster shown here, so it was a simple matter this year of pinning this to our display board.

While we were there in the morning, it was really quiet as it was before the cinema was open, so we took advantage !!
One of the big film displays was for the new James Bond film to come out.
So check out double oh two and a bit....

The show kicked off at 9.30 to a packed house of junior and intermediate students, who were all very excited to be there. Our Tamaki College students were not due to present until the 3rd show, so I went and picked them up from school at 11.30. To keep them happy and full for the rest of the day, we had a little stop over for burgers on our way in..

We had 3 lots of presenters this year, as we had videos from 2 dance groups and 4 videos from the media studies class. This was the biggest year for Tamaki College at the festival. ( I have already started planting seeds to a few staff members for next year !! )
Our year 9 and 10 arrived for the fourth showing. They had come from school on 2 trains after walking to the train station. As they were arriving through the shopping centre, you could hear a wall of sound on its way. TC was in the house!!!
The presenters were extra nervous for this show, as it was in front of all their friends, but it went well.

For the evening presentation, I picked the students up from school at 5.30 and we were off again. As we got there nice and early, it was ice creams all round. ( We were at the cinema !! )
Mr Telefoni. the head of music, had organised a band to play for all the guests arriving at the evening show.
My presenters were dressed in their Azonto outfits ready for being the 3rd to go, and they were loving the attention they were getting as the audience were coming in and seeing them.
They all presented really well on the day, and all the Tamaki College videos went down really well with the audiences of the 3 showings we were involved in.

Check out the Tamaki College videos on TCTV on THIS LINK.
Check out the videos from the whole cluster on the Manaiakalani Site on THIS LINK.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Making the Cyber Safety Site

I was given the task recently of creating a Cyber Safety Google site for the students to use at school. It wasn't until I got really into it that I realised what a big job it could turn out to be. I am having new ideas and finding new resources all the time while I am busy on the site. There is loads of stuff out there, I have just been collating it all together into one handy little place for the students to access. I have also been trying to write "modules" for the students to work through for different topics. I have been writing these in the form of Google forms embedded on the site itself. All the answers from the students will come to me in a spreadsheet where it will be a simple job of sorting by tutor class and forwarding the answers onto the individual tutors.
My original working title for the site was "Scooby Says". I got this idea from the noise made by students a lot of the time when they are asked a question! We all know what teenagers are like at making grunt answers! When it was time to go live with the site, we decided that we better not use the name of a famous cartoon without permission, so the name Digital Footprints was put in place instead. I am pleased that the original Scooby name has remained in the url though.

If you want to check out the site, the link is here. Please remember that it is still definitely a work in progress.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Posting away the external work to be marked...

It's that time of year again when I mutter curses at anyone offering to help me sort out the senior work to send away for external marking. ( The help is offered very generously, but I know what I'm like. I have a way I like to do things and I will be extra grumpy if someone doesn't do it that way!!)
What has been trickier this year for the Level 3 students especially, is that their research, analysis and design development are all on their Google docs and not in their books. With Level 3, the whole project has to go, not just the elements that are being externally marked, so a quick rush round to print off their work was in order, so the project was a complete bundle, not just the drawings and notes in their sketch books.
With Level 1 and 2, I sent the drawing elements that were needed for external marking, and left the research, development, notes etc online. I will only print off the individual students work called for moderation in the new year. This means that I have to set myself some time aside to move the students online work from the teacher dashboard, and copy it into my Google docs. (note to self for next year - start this process earlier!! )
I cannot wait for the day when NCEA come into the 21st century and I can just send them a link to the students work sitting pretty online. It will save them a load on parcel post!!
My plan for next year, is that each senior student will have a Design and Visual Communication Google site of their own where they will put all of their work, instead of on individual documents.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Loving ToonDoo

I was recently introduced to Toondoo by Nolene at work. It was one of those things that you have a little go of when you are first introduced, and think...hmmm...ok.
Then I started giving it a proper go when I was after some more interesting graphics for the cyber safety site I am putting together. It is a really good online activity that has all sorts of uses, from the simple ideas that I made for the top of some of may pages, to getting across a point, to asking questions on a page in a visual way. ( being a Graphics teacher, I am always a fan of finding the visual way :D )
Here is where I used one of the headers I made, for my Graphics Google site.
I can't put up a link to the Cyber safety site yet as it is not open yet... ( work in progress !! ), but here is one of the toons I made for that site.

Toodoo gives you the option to embed your toon from their site or download it to your computer.
It also gives the embed code for this little widget here, showing all the toons you have made.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Quick Google search reference

This is quick but useful !!
This is also my first blog post done on my phone as I found this image while browsing on Facebook and "borrowed" it.

Interesting Google Drive Facts

Some interesting Googly facts about drive.
Thanks to Google for the original post here.

Johnny had to appear somewhere :D

I am busy at the moment working on a Cyber Smart site for the school. It is shaping up to be full of information and tips for the students to use and a set of modules for them to work through at the end.
Last night, I was working on the legal page and it was getting a bit "dry". While looking online for a suitable image to spice up the top to get the students attention, an idea occurred to me.

Here is the image that I put together on Photoshop. I knew I would get him in there somewhere :D

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ubiquitous learning with Google

I was asked today to produce a graphic illustrating the "Ubiquitous" Google model for learning, to be used in a presentation tomorrow.
I tired hard to get out of using the word, but that was what Russel wanted so that is what he got. I admit to asking a student to have a quick look on Google to make sure I spelt it correctly.
I was going to go round the local area to take the photographs, but Russel supplied them in an interestingly Googly way. He went onto street view and did screen shots on his tablet computer of the views. It seemed an extremely suitable way of getting the images for this particular project.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jack O Lanterns

While we were talking in TCTV last week about what we could film for Halloween, the subject of Jack O Lanterns came up.
It was decided that carving pumpkins would be too hard, so one of the TCTV members had the idea to use capsicums instead.
So.... armed with a bag full of red and orange capsicums, scissors, card and tooth picks, we made our creations.
They came out pretty good and I have lots of left overs for soup tonight!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Work Flow using Google

I was asked to do this video this year to go with a set being put together in the Manaiakalani cluster to show the work flow when using google apps. The "Managed Learning Environment".
I did mine about the sequence of events during the first project my Year 11 students go though at
Level 1 Design and Visual Communication.
I was very reluctant to do this, mainly because I hate hearing my voice on a recording, but I have been asked by a few people since then to see it so I thought i would share it more openly.

If you are interested in seeing the other videos that were submitted in our cluster, follow this link.
They cover a wide range of ages of students, doing a variety of things.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Yup....this just about sums it up...

Embedding a Flickr feed...

I have messed around with quite a few methods of embedding things onto a blog over the past 5 years of running TCTV. I found this method this morning about how to put a Flickr feed through as a post. Click on more ways to share and blogger is there and it asks to connect to your blog. Once you have done this, it appears as a method on the big icons for quicker access.

Here is my Flickr feed coming though.. I chose the option on my whole feed but you can do this on individual folders too.
I have been using the method of getting the html for the slideshow and embedding it for a long time now, but I like the way you get to see thumbnails of more photos at once on this method.

f9Lemon meringueCheese and sour cream sconesGinger CreamsFudgeBanana Whoopies
IMG_0109IMG_0162Outside the Chocolate Fish CafeIMG_0063IMG_0044IMG_0509
KarenFerguson1's photostream on Flickr.

Next task...Youtube feed on the sidebar as the gadget on Blogger has broken.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do you do what you always did?

This year has seen a lot of changes for me.
The standards for level 1 changed last year and I have 2 full groups going though them this year. Everything for this course is now up on my Google site, so this is all new too.
The projects are all different and the way I am approaching them is all different. This has really kept me on my toes this year but the result is that I am extremely pleased with the work my guys have been producing and the credits have been clicking in steadily. ( don't tell them that though, I don't want to ruin my rep).
I have 5 students who have completely finished everything early. This has never happened !!

My next challenge is to continue this into the new level 2 course and the new changes to level 3 next year. I hope all this foreword momentum can carry into these courses too.

I saw this image, and it kind of summed up my year.

Google Analytics

I became really interested for the first time this morning with the Google Analytics that I had set up for my Graphics site, then forgot about.

It only shows from about July as I managed to set it up wrongly at the start...duh!
An interesting shaped spikey graph!

Interesting thought number one .....

I have under 50 students who will be regularly accessing the site at the moment, as I am on half timetable with being a facilitator this year.
So who are the other 300+ "unique visitors" that have had a look?
What were they looking for when they found my site and what did they think when they got there?

Interesting thought number two ....

An interesting variety of countries have found the site, with the UK and America having surprisingly large percentages.

My interest has definitely been tweaked by this today and I really want MORE... or will that feed the paranoia??

The link to the Graphics site is on the side of this blog if you are interested.

Here is where the traffic is coming from. A percentage is coming from the Manaiakalani site, which is interesting news for the rest of the sites in the school, if there is a volume of that traffic is coming from the cluster website.
Here is the link to that site.
The biggest percentage is coming from random hits from Google searches. What were they looking for??...hmmmm

The operating system information is interesting. The linux hits will be pretty much all students as that is the os on their netbooks. Quite a lot of the windows hits will be students too, when they are working on a desktop.

Monday, October 15, 2012

First Day Back Joy....!!!

It was the first day back at work today after the two weeks holiday. I have been joint Manaiakalni facilitator at Tamaki College all year and have always been amazed at the kids who turn up to the door of B10 ( the netbook support room) every Monday morning with a variety of issues that have happened over the weekend.
Broken screens, the internet has disappeared, it just freezes. Most things can be sorted with the
re-imaging stick, where we re-image the whole machines or change passwords that they have forgotten over the weekend or reconnect to the school wireless. More difficult jobs and breakages get booked in for our techie guys to look at and they decide if it is an in house fix or whether it needs to be sent away.

Today though, has been complete madness! Before I even got to the room this morning for period 2, I had been given 3 netbooks to re-image. The room was busy with visitors for the whole period.
The busiest part though was that every time I left a room and walked down a corridor  I had students following me. "Miss, can you fix my netbook?"
Seriously ! I don't know what they do to them over weekends and holidays!
On the other hand though, they always look happy when you can help them out.

Here is todays intake for the techies to look at tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Presenting at uLearn12

I had my first experience of presenting at a conference this year at uLearn12.
I really fought against it as I did NOT want to do it.
Our presentation, One to one in a decile one community, was to be a panel style with plenty of people who are comfortable talking to a room full of strangers. It was an overview of our journey through this year at Tamaki College where we have gone 1 to 1 devices for the students working online.  Russel, Amber, Nevyn and Nick did an awesome job of not only keeping to the plan but dealing with the massive amount of questions people had.
My part was to prepare the presentation keynote, which included videos of feedback from various sources, including students and staff. I was happy with that. I can do videos.
When we got there, the place for the laptop setup was right at the front, so by the time the room filled up with people and it got rather warm, everyone had a great view of me pressing the buttons while going a fabulous shade of blotchy red.

I was amazed at the interest people showed, and Russel, Amber, Nevyn and Nick had a hard job getting through everything we had planned to cover as they were answering so many questions. It was good we had a wide selection of people to answer the questions as every angle was covered.

Here is our presentation if you want to have a look at it.

We had a great camera man too.....