Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Time flies when you are having fun...

It's the time of year when people contemplate the year gone and look at the future - for me it feels like coming up for a breath, never mind anything else!
“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss

But what I ride it has been, I have learnt so much!!!!
“You have to be a speedy reader because there’s so so much to read.” ― Dr. SeussI Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

I googled some Dr. Seuss quotes just because I feel like it today (and because I can lol), and I just realised how forward thinking they are, this one is talking about COLLABORATION!
“And when you're alone there's a very good chanceyou'll meet things that scare you right out of your pantsThere are some, down the road between hither and yon,that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.” ― Dr. SeussOh, the Places You'll Go!

And collaboration has been such a major part of my professional life this year, colleagues sharing left, right and centre, us all learning together and with & from & for our teachers and their students. There is still a blog post on collaboration brewing in that little Belchick head somewhere... By the way, I have added a few more GAFE tutorials here, doing my part in collaborating.

There have been times in between when I doubted myself and my abilities - I just need to listen to Dr. Seuss some more:
“And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!” ― Dr. Seuss

Some days I feel like this poem was just written for me
“I love my job. I love the pay!~I love it more and more each day.~I love my boss, he is the best!~I love his boss and all the rest.~I love my office and its location. I hate to have to go on vacation.~I love my furniture, drab and grey, and piles of paper that grow each day!~I think my job is swell, there's nothing else I love so well.~I love to work among my peers, I love their leers, and jeers, and sneers.~I love my computer and its software; I hug it often though it won't care.~I love each program and every file, I'd love them more if they worked a while. ~I'm happy to be here. I am. I am.~I'm the happiest slave of the Firm, I am.~I love this work. I love these chores.~I love the meetings with deadly bores.~I love my job - I'll say it again - I even love those friendly men.~Those friendly men who've come today, in clean white coats to take me away!!!!!” ― Dr. Seuss

One day it might get to this :) My last little quote is for all of us
“Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.” ― Dr. Seuss

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Reflections on my own ULearn Presentation

This post has been a few weeks percolating...

I was excited to go to ULearn and nervous to present. My topic is very dear to my heart, Connecting with my learners and their whanau / family. You might be sick of looking at popplets, but here is my outline:

I approached the topic from looking at our own identity, at the way we all (incl. our students and their whanau / family) stereotype (a fascinating topic, I definitely want to look more into this!) and make assumptions, the different personas we all fulfill at different times. Then I wanted to ensure that the attendees understood why it is important to connect: Not just because my gut feeling says it is a good idea, there are lots of researchers out there that can tell you exactly why, e.g. 

Next point was how to connect with them, overtly and coverty, finishing off with what to do when there are problems with these relationships.

So far so good, I am still happy with the content. However, as e-Learning Facilitator and this being ULearn I felt obliged to include e-tools. As it was a hands-on workshop I tried to cater for multiple platforms and multiple preferences my activities, e.g.

I knew I would be pushed for time, 75min is less than you would think :) However, my key mistake was making assumptions. I assumed that everyone who went to ULearn was a techoholic like myself. I assumed that everyone would know how to deal with Rolling Notes, how to install apps on their iPad, how to take an object / video they have created and insert it into Google Docs etc. To sum it up, I made some of the mistakes I had wanted to prevent the attendees from making with their learners. I did not take the time beforehand to find out who they were, what level of technical confidence they had and how to cater for them.

I received four evaluations, two giving me a 4 out of 4 and two giving me a 2 out of 4. And I am certain that they were spot on. Some people 'got it', and others were hampered in their 'getting it' by my not knowing where they were at. The irony of this happening at a workshop called "Connecting with my learners" does not elude me.

I was beating myself up about it a bit. These people have paid a lot of money to come to ULearn. Thankfully nobody else but these two felt strongly enough about it to complete an evaluation giving me a low score. However, I can't go back and change it, but I can learn from it.

My learnings:
  • If you present in an unfamiliar forum, ask others who know for some background.
  • If you use technologies, ensure you get a feeling beforehand about the technical confidence of attendees
  • Contact attendees beforehand if you have a chance.
Today I held a very brief online presentation in a semi-familiar forum, this time I had asked about technical expertise from someone who knew. While there was no immediate technical acitivity required by the attendees, I am hoping that they will do their 'homework', and I am thinking about following up with a survey in a couple of weeks time.

If you are interested in looking at my presenter materials from ULearn, they are available here.

Collaborate on Popplet

Following my previous post about Popplet, Hazel and I have had a tutu to collaborate on a popplet. After a few false starts we have succeeded (URL

So how can you collaborate on a popplet in real time?
Start your new popplet or open an existing one. Click on the Share button on the right:

Click Add Collaborators and enter the name or email address of another Popplet Account holder (can be a free account), then click add them! This will generate an email to them, inviting them to this Popplet.

You have a choice for your collaborator(s) to edit only their own popples (default) or to edit any popples on this popplet (a few to many 'p's in this sentence!). For this you click on the cog and select Labs, then Popplet Permissions:

Unlike when you embed or share the link to a popplet, you don't seem to need to make your popplet public - this one is as I have embedded it into the blog.
And there you go - online collaboration!!!

Popplet for schools

Popplet accounts are available for schools at a reduced rate, and you can find out more about it here. I would love to hear from teachers in New Zealand who are using Popplet class accounts with their students!

Popplet iPad app

I only have the lite version of Popplet on my iPad (which allows you just one popplet at a time), the full version currently is NZ$6.49. However, I have just found on the Poppletrocks! blog that you can move popplets between your iPad (seems to require a full account) and your web based account. If you would like to find more about it, just have a look here

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


Today on Twitter I noted some tweachers discussing their problems with inserting Popplets into their Google Sites. As Popplet is my absolutely most favourite go-to tool for all sorts of things, I wanted to share its use and how to embed it into a blog with you.

What is Popplet?
The online application Popplet let's you create digital mindmaps with ease. You sign up at for free for a limited account (5 popplets at any one time) or you can purchase a full account with unlimited popplets for a small fee (from recollection $3/month?). I started using Popplet back in February, and initially I felt that I didn't need more than 5 popplets anyway (you can export them easily), but I have since paid for the full version which allows me to work on a project for some time. You can also download the lite or the paid iPad app (NZ$6.49).

Here is one example of a popplet I created while planning my ULearn session, and here is the URL for it:

What would you use Popplet for?
Any time you want to collect ideas, brainstorm, show connections between facts, to plan an event, to develop a lesson, I have used in in writing sessions with students to collect rich vocabulary, to develop a story from an interesting image / video / music video with alternative beginnings and endings, to practise word families etc. This tool is very easy to use, even by junior students, it allows you to include images / videos from flickr, vimeo, YouTube and your computer. You can also draw (I struggle with this aspect, need to practise this I think!). I have not used it as a collaborative tool yet, usually it's been individual or collective brainstorming and one person typing. 

How to create and change a popplet?
Log in to Creating a wall is completely self-explanatory. You select a title and get a choice of colours both of which you can change once your popplet is created (just click on the title and delete / type etc.). To create a popple, just double-click on the screen, or tap on the iPad. {Note: I have tried this for the first time on my Chromebook today and it didn't want to give me my first popple. I clicked on setting (cogs icon at the top) and selected New Popple and was fine from there.} The popple can be typed into, have an image inserted, you can change the colour, draw in it, change the font size - all really self-explanatory. To add a popple, just click and drag on the little circle off to the side of a popple. If you would like to sever a connection between to popples, hover on the line connecting them and click on the x. Alternatively, if you want to connect two popples, just drag out from one popple's circle on the side to the next popple. 

Why and how would you embed it in a blog?
Why? To show your students and their audience.
On the right side of your popplet you find a share button. In order to share a popplet, you need to make it public. You can select to share it on Facebook or Twitter, or you can get a link or an embed code for your popplet. This will allow others to view your popplet. To embed it on blogger, get the embed code (gibberish). While creating your blog post, click on HTML, and at your chose location, paste the gibberish. Return to your Compose view and you will find a grey box with a triangular playsymbol embedded. Once you publish the blog post, you will see you popplet and you are able to navigate within it.

Collaborate on a popplet
Again, you click the share button and you can invite collaborators. Collaborators apparently need to have a Popplet Account - if you would like to collborate on the popplet below, please contact me and I will invite you - I would love to give this a try.

Below you find a little test popplet embedded and here is the URL.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Padlet Walls

One of my schools has experimented with embedding a Padlet wall onto their blog, so I thought this is a good opportunity to post about this very versatile tool.

What is Padlet?
Padlet ( is a free web-based application, you might have known it as Wallwisher previously. It is an online wall where you can place sticky notes. Depending on what privacy settings you choose you can have just one person place sticky notes and others may or may not be able to read them, you can have several people place their stickies and edit their own stickies, or you can have anyone place and edit stickies on the wall. Below you find one example I did with some y3 students:

What would you use Padlet for?
Any time you want to collect ideas, brainstorm. As this is an online, collaborative tool, any number of people can collaborate on this at the same time. The owner can at any time change the settings to stop others from adding or editing any more and therefore keep the wall as evidence, e.g. as part of the inquiry process, towards assessment etc.

How to create and change a wall?
Sign up for a free account on Click on Build a Wall. On the right side bar you are given the opportunity to modify your wall. You might like to play with appearance etc. but the most important features to look at are Privacy - who do you want your wall be visible to? - and Address: You are able to pick your own unique padlet address (provided nobody else has used it before) which can make your life a lot easier if you want your students to type the address into the browser address bar.

Why and how would you embed it into a blog?
Your class / teacher blog, or your class / teacher site can be a great platform for students to access their learning activities all in one place.
To embed a Padlet wall into your blog, click on the Share Button at the right of your wall:

This will open a side bar with the options of Sharing, Exporting and Embedding your wall:

To embed the wall, copy the gibberish inside the box (it's called an Embed Code). Back on your blog, create a new post. On the top left of your 'paper' you find two boxes: Compose (the default view) and HTML. Click on HTML and paste the gibberish you copied earlier into the space. When you click on Compose again, your wall will appear on the paper!

Below you will find my little test Padlet Wall. Please feel free to leave a professional sticky note on this wall!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

ULearn13 Reflections

(this has become more deep and meaningful than I thought it would be - feel free to leave this post at any time :D)

I have just come back from ULearn13 in Hamilton, and I am still buzzing. Why? What is it that makes me want to go back next year?

I had never been to ULearn before - money, time, so much of an effort to get there and to sort out kids & hubby in the meantime. Living up in the Far North I have settled nicely in my little hermit cave, waiting for people to come to me, to bring opportunities to me. Doesn't happen very often... This year 'the boss' offered the opportunity to apply for PD funding for ULearn to those on the team that were accepted as presenters. So I submitted a proposal to present and - it did get accepted. No way out now (life in the hermit cave is so much easier when we either have people not come to us, people not bring opportunities to us or people turning us down when we for once offer to go out).

So there I was, I had to go - it felt like one of the occassions when your girlfriends ask you to go out with them and on the one hand you do want to go, but on the other hand you also enjoy just sitting in your pjs on the sofa and watching telly - it's a great effort to get ready, but once you are there, you really enjoy yourself! Choosing the breakouts to attend was fun and daunting - is this session interesting, relevant??? More so than the next one at the same time slot??? I was happy with the sessions I had chosen, Te Karaka School talking about their inquiry approach across the whole school incl. secondary was very enlightening, it went a long way to overcome my frustration with my secondary colleagues (I am secondary trained myself). N4L was very interesting, none of my schools managed to get into the first round of rollouts, now I am hoping that some of them will be in the second. Stephen Knightley talking about Gaming in the NZ Curriculum was right up my alley :) Manaiakalani Teacher Academy had lots of interesting projects, I am especially intrigued with the one engaging reluctant boys into writing. Diana Wilkes, from my BeL team, gave a very interesting session on using the SAMR model in teacher inquiries, lots to think about for me in there.
My own session was on Connecting with my learners and their whānau / family. I had felt the need to delve into the theory and offer a range of practical tools for teachers to take away with them. I knew it was a push to get both of this into the 75min, and tech issues slowed us down. I really hope the participants have taken something useful away with them. This is a topic I will definitely work on some more in the future, and I am hoping I will have the opportunity to repeat it some time in the future with some more time.

So what was it at ULearn that makes me want to come back - in fact proposing to present again at Learning as School in January 2014?
Firstly, it's the face-to-face contact, the connecting with people I had met in real life previously and those I hadn't met f2f before like my tweacher PLN. This sentiment has been repeated in many conversations I overheard - real life and on twitter:

  1. I connect way more virtually than f 2 f. There r lots of reasons 4 this.
  2. didn't meet you until Friday but you've been big part of my PLN for ages.
  3. Same! Next ulearn hopefully we can connect more! I loved meeting all the tweeters at it was a highlight!
  4. Hear hear! It was taking being connected another step.
  5. Yeah, it made twitter real 4 me! I now can really claim 2 know my PLN!

-> Despite all the virtual connecting, we are still human creatures that crave f2f contact :-)

It's secondly the opportunity to pop into a different session on offer, or to stay for something that is going on, has taken your fancy etc. simply because it is all at one place. F2f this is very simple, you get to talk to someone, you hear, see something, and you go off in that different direction. In the virtual world we are ultimately by ourselves (in our hermit cave) unless we choose to connect :)

Thirdly, it has given me the opportunity to reflect on my ' living in the hermit cave'. Yes, it is unfair that few opportunities come to the Far North. Yes, it sucks to drive for 5h one way to get to Hamilton. But guess what, it's time to suck it up, put on my big girls' knickers. Other people have different problems, yet they go out of their way, too, to connect, to learn, to present. Life will not hand us everything on the golden platter, so it's about me - us all - to make it happen. Do we want to improve education for our learners? Then let's do something about it wherever our hermit caves might be. We all make choices in life, and need to learn to live with them - for our sake and for the sake of our learners.

So where to from here?
I have always said I want to win lotto and retire to full-time quilting (in my hermit cave) - I am kidding myself. Even if I was handed a lotto win (on the golden platter), would I really retire from the education world?? That doesn't mean that I won't continue crafting, most certainly it's going to remain my sanity saver from the busy day-to-day life.
Neither will I completely abandon my hermit cave just yet, though I am seriously contemplating whether the location of it is giving back enough to me and my family to make the hardships worthwhile (long drive, lack of access etc.).
I need to start creating my own opportunities; my location might mean I am out of sight, but my staying in the hermit cave too much means I most certainly am out of mind. While it is a matter of balancing commitments, with a group of tweacher friends I will put in a proposal for Learning at Schools (sucker for punishment, I know). I will also put my hand up more often when asked for contributing to hui planning etc. My biggest issue will be time management, so probably this will be the first issue I have to tackle. My learners will benefit more if I leave my cave more often.

As I said above, a post that is deep and meaningful to me; feel free to leave a comment if this resonates with you, too.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

How to insert photos / images into blogger

Inserting photos/images into your blog can be very simple or very frustrating - seems to depend on what blogger feels like on the day I sometimes think!

You can insert images on the Compose view for a new post by clicking on the photo icon. This opens a new screen with the following selections:

  • Upload: Choose the photos / images you want to upload from your computer
  • From this blog: Use a picture that you already have on this blog again.
  • From Picasa Web Albums: A Google account usually gives you access to Picasa. If you have an image uploaded to there, you can insert it into your blog this way.
  • From your phone: Your android phone or iPhone need to have instant upload enabled in their respective Google+ app (I don't usually use this)
  • From your webcam: You will be asked to give permission for blogger to access your webcam and you can take a snapshot of yourself to add to the blog post
  • From a URL: Just paste the URL address of a picture you want to insert, provided you have permission to use this!
You can upload more than one image at a time, these will be held in blogger's memory for a little bit and you can select one or more of these to insert into the blog post.

Positioning: Sometimes blogger has its own mind about where to position your photos. By clicking on any of your inserted images you can change their size (small, medium, large, x-large, original size), change their position (left, centre and right), add a caption, assign some properties (I don't tend to use this) or remove the image. It pays to have a look at your post preview as sometimes your layout will determine how large a photo you want to insert.

You are looking for something a bit easier or something fancier? How about making a piccollage of your photos on the iPad? You insert any number of photos, change size and postion any way you like, add stickers and text. This saves as an image to your Camera Roll and you can either transfer this to your laptop / computer to insert as an image or you can insert it via the blogger app (which will be covered in another post).

In a laptop you could use shape collage, a programme free to download. I have not used this much yet (e.g. I have not worked out yet if you can add text), but this is an image I just created, again displayed in Original Size:

You could also make an online slideshow of your photos, e.g. via Photopeach. Create a free account (which means all your slideshows will be public, so once again, ensure that you have permission to use all your photos!), then upload the images you want to use, add a title and captions, pick some music to go with the photos and in the end you get an embed code for your blog (click on the pen icon on the right of your slideshow). In the HTML view for your new post, paste this embed code (aka gibberish) and you have your slideshow:

Lifecycle of a butterfly on PhotoPeach

Please share your tips and tricks!

Inserting a Word doc or Google doc into blogger

Sometimes our students have spent a lot of time making their published work look just right. How can we show this on our blog, as cut and paste looses all that editing? I have played around with a number of ways:

  1. The easiest way is to take a photograph of the work and insert it as an image.
  2. When you have a document in your Google Drive, you can insert the document into your blog, but often you end up with it showing up in a small box instead of seeing the whole document. These are the steps you have to take:
  • Open your Google Doc. Click on File, then click on Publish to the web.
  • In the new box, click on Start publishing and again on Ok.
  • The next window will give you a link and an embed code to your document. You can paste the link into your post or use the embed code in the HTML part of writing your post:
Link to the document

UPDATE: Below this next section is my initial and very complicated solution to rectify the small box issue when using Chrome or Mozialla Firefox as your browser (I have not tried Safari). However, via #edchatnz on twitter last Thursday @MNatusch offered me a much simpler solution using Internet Explorer.

For me Internet Browser doesn't usually play nice when I use Google Apps. However, in this case use Internet Explorer as your browser when you compose / edit the post - you can view the finished result in any browser. The small box your document has been inserted into can be manually changed by left clicking on it and then dragging the little squares at the corner to the desired size:

Magic! Full marks to Internet Explorer on this one!!!
Below you can see my more complicated way of changing box size for use with Chrome and with Mozilla Firefox:

You can see that the document is appearing in this small little box. If you would like to change the size of the box, you need to go back into the HTML view and insert sizes. The original code will look something like: <iframe src=""></iframe>
and after inserting sizes it might look like
<iframe height="760" src="" width="660"></iframe>
Depending on the layout of your blog, you might want to play around a little with the numbers.

You can see that this is not the perfect size, but if you have followed up to this stage I am sure you can adjust the size to fit your layout
3. There are online services you can use to upload your documents to that then give you an embed code, e.g. which seem to come with the correct sizing. However, you need to check if the service you are using is not also adding advertising.

Have you come across any other ways to insert docs into blogger, I would love to hear from you!

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

How to insert an Educreation into a blog

Educreations is a one of a number of apps for iPads that lets you record a lesson you or your students give on a whiteboard (on the iPad). Two of my teachers asked me how they could embed these into their class blogs.

When you have recorded your lesson on Educreation, you click "Done" and then "Save Lesson". This opens a new screen where you enter your lesson title and an optional description. Click "Next" and you get to choose your Audience. If you want to embed a lesson into a blog, you need to select Public here - you don't seem to be able to change this later from the iPad app. Choose the subject area next and make sure you are using the correct login and your lesson is saved.

To embed it into your blog you go to "My Lessons" on your iPad, slick on the share button (box with arrow pointing out). On each of your lessons you now get a number of icons, click on the chain link of the lesson you want to insert into your blog. If you had selected "Public" under Audience, you will get two options: Copy Lesson Link and Copy Embed Code - select the latter. You can now insert this embed code into your blog post into the HTML option of your post:

This will insert your lesson as a rectangle with the task bar visible when you hover over it with the mouse. You can highlight it and use the controls above your post to align the box.

If you need to change the Audience for one of your lessons, go to and log in with your username and password. By clicking on your name up top right, you get access to your lessons. Click on any of your lessons, select "Edit Lesson" at the top right and under "Privacy" you can change the Audience. You will now get the option to embed your educreation into a website / blog.

There are a number of similar apps out there, here you find an interesting discussion on these and their uses.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Google Sites

Some of my schools are interesting in Google Sites as a base for their students' learning in class and from home. A Google Site is a website, within the Google Suite of Apps, easy to design by everyone even without much knowledge in regards to HTML programming or website design.

Why would you use a Google Site for your class?

  • a platform for your students' learning
  • students can see what the next steps are and progress to the next task
  • to post class news and links to relevant sites
  • providing the opportunity for students and parents see your planning to improve transparency etc.

Find here my attempt to make the creation and editing of Google Sites easier for teachers.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

"GAFE - How to..." insert a video into blogger

I have been tutuuing quite a bit with blogger to answer questions from my schools about inserting or embedding content. I have decided to post my findings on here and link them to a separate page for easy reference. So when in the future one of my schools has that same question again, I can explain it but also redirect them here :-) I am looking forward to feedback of how things could be done better or easier from you as I wouldn't want to claim that I hold all the knoweldge on these topics!

Sometimes we might want to use a video to show a play, a speech, to use as a tutorial, for our reflections etc. Here is How to insert videos into blogger:
  1. Your first question always needs to be "Do I have the right to share this video with my readers?". Proceed only if the answer is yes.
  2. You might have a video on your device, you might have it in your Google Drive or on YouTube. The process for uploading them is the same, though there are different implications:
a) A video from your device shared straight into blogger will be viewable by all your readers but not (necessarily) to anyone else.
b) You can adjust settings for sharing of a video out of your Google Drive: Files in your drive can be public to anyone on the web, they can be available to people have the link for the file or they can be private to you plus people you especially invite. For each of these there are three sub-settings of view, comment or edit. If your school is using GAFE, you might have the option of sharing within your domain also.
c) A video uploaded to YouTube can be public, available to anyone with the link or private. It can be viewed outside the blog as YouTube clip.

    3.   For each of them you go through the following steps:
  • Select where within your post you want to upload a video, then click on the clapper board icon.
  • The new window gives you the option to upload a video (from your computer), to use a YouTube Video, to use one of your YouTube uploads or to upload a video via your webcam. There is also the option of using a video from your phone which I have not tried out yet.
  • Find the video you want to upload and click on select - this will insert your video into your blogpost.
So how about inserting a video on your blog for a change?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

PLN - why Twitter now plays such an important part for me

Professional Learning for me used to be limited to a few f2f workshops - if I was lucky enough to be approved to go. These were usually curriculum content related. Living and working in rural Northland of New Zealand makes interesting f2f courses few and far between, more often such courses are in Auckland which adds cost and time away - a challenge for both for your employer and your family.

About 11 years ago I enrolled myself in a postgraduate diploma in education with ACE / University of Auckland. My main rationale at the time was to get others to take me more seriously firstly (honestly!), and secondly to boost numbers so we would keep such course in Whangarei (which is still a good hour's drive from home). As I was pregnant with son no.2 (and obviously I already had a toddler at home) I intended to power through my papers while on maternity leave and emerge all competent and to-be-taken-seriously. Well, reality was that I lacked maturity and knowledge (leave alone time) to make the most of this, but I did graduate with a B (B-? can't remember now!) about 10 days before son no. 3 was born. I vowed to myself not to do this again any time soon (and I still haven't), and within the teachers' payscale an additional qualification would have made no difference anyway (at that time this was an important consideration for me!).

Almost 8 years after graduation my knowledge about and view on education, pedagogy, teaching and learning has vastly changed. It is an accumulation of discussions, readings, experiences in my various roles over the last 15 years - secondary music teacher / HOD music, parent educator for PAFT, supervisor of Playcentre sessions, liaison teacher for children at risk studying via correspondence, tech teacher at intermediate school, special education advisor with MoE. While I used the single out the liaison teacher job as the most influential on my beliefs, my current position as e-Learning Facilitator has now replaced this.

It is not so much the work itself that makes this standing out, it is the connections I have made. My PLN has been vastly enriched by connecting with other facilitators, by their willingness to share their knowledge and resources without any hesitation or without asking for anything in return. The biggest addition to my PLN has come through twitter, though.

Twitter allows you to follow any number of people and see their tweets in your feed. They will often share links to interesting reading, they will discuss topics, re-tweet what others have tweeted, ask questions  etc. I was introduced to this back in March at a Kevin Honeycutt workshop and currently follow 184 others from all around the world (and 77 people are interested or polite enough to follow what I have to tweet). A tweet is a short message of 140 characters which can include links, photos etc. It often includes a hashtag # which helps you link tweets to a particular topic together. Various groups of people might meet in twitter at a particular time and discuss a topic they previously agreed on (e.g. #edchatNZ every other Thursday night at 8:30pm). There are also initiatives like #kidschatnz run by @PalmyTeacher every Wednesday at 2pm where students discuss questions.

What makes twitter so valuable for me?
On any given day there will be dozens of tweets in my feed, some relevant straight away, others not so of course. By following people that are interested in similar things as I am, I am covering a huge range of readings and research without having to wade through them all by myself. If someone finds an article interesting or relevant, they often tweet it. I can then decide to go and have a look at it myself or not. Many of these links I email to myself so they are not getting buried in my feed but instead sit in my inbox until I get time to look at them properly.
There will be tweets sharing links to resources, usually for free.
Crowd-sourced presentations are making the rounds, tweechers are invited to add, share use (I have one started recently at about the vision for an supporting info on BYOD / 1-on-1 devices).
By connecting with twitter users overseas, I get a glance at overseas education trends which might influence what we do in NZ.

There are good resources on the www to learn about some of the intricacies of using twitter, e.g. So go ahead and give it a go (if you haven't tried it yet). As @BeLchick1 (the girl who wants to grow up to sing as beautifully as a tui) I would be happy to meet up with you and other tweechers on twitter!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Welcome Home!

I am so glad to be back home from my little escapade with wordpress. See, while wordpress looks so shiny and funky, him and I have never really 'clicked'. In my gut there was always this little uncomfortable feeling, the niggling sensation that this relationship is simply not meant to be. I told myself I would give it 6 months - it turned out to be 7 in the end - but no, I am so glad to be back in my good old comfortable slippers = back on blogger!

Much has happened since I embarked on my journey as BeLchick - the chick that hopes to one day grow up and sing as nicely as a tui (NZ bellbird). If you would like to read my occassional ramblings from the last 7 months, please feel free to visit my 'ex' here. I will eventually archive these posts (when someone gets me a 'round to it').

Feel free to hop on board and come along on the journey. Your comments are much appreciated!