The Mindset of the Maker Educator


Decide for yourself – Are you a Maker? How would you shift your pedagogy, thinking and practice, in order to ensure the needs of your students are being met and does technology play a role in that shift? Does it need to?

I think that giving students ownership, collaborating and cooperating in the teaching and learning decisions that happen should be common place and not out of the ordinary. The Maker Movement enables this to happen.

Please share your experiences and stories – I love to hear them!

Originally posted on User Generated Education:

Here are some graphics, Thinglinks, and the slideshow I created for my Mindset of the Maker Educator Workshop:

perfect storm



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Google Forms adds short URLs, randomized questions, more


Often a new online tool pops up and in a flurry I need to play. I’ve discovered that these ‘fly by night’ apps and tools are not the ones to get excited about.

This blog points to the way in which Google has again listened to their users and made improvements to a product that has potential to not just gather data but that as a teacher/learner can assist me to engage with others to better understand concepts, activities and more.
Thanks for a @ChanceHMiller for providing this neat and useful blog post.

Time to play with the new features – maybe embed it in my blog :-)

Originally posted on 9to5Google:


Earlier this month, Google made a handful of changes to its Forms service, allowing users to choose custom themes and survey designs. The company, this afternoon, is continuing its beefing up of Forms, rolling out a few more ways to customize surveys you create.

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Video newsletters = easy and awesome! Thanks @shareski


The voices of our students are potentially the most powerful tool for learning, their own and especially ours as their teachers.

I admire how Stephanie allows her students to show how her teaching is having a positive impact on their learning. Stephanie is able to feel that there is no need to prompt or script her e-newletters and as you listen to these intelligent little individuals you will realise that there is a genuine and honest truth sounding loudly!

The main message here: we love to learn and want others to know that we are learning!

Great role modelling of what it means to learn and teach in the 21st century, to impress the skills and attitudes and values that will propel these learners into the future and in fact to create it!

Originally posted on Teaching the Teacher:

Writing newsletters is one of least favourite chores. I’m not sure how many parents actually read the newsletter, moreover the production of newsletters takes time away from the things that matter.

Could this old-style communication become more effective?

Enter Dean Shareski.

One of his suggestions from the recent Singapore Google Apps for Education summit was the idea of instead of sending out a text-heavy newsletter video could do a more effective job of telling what is going on in classrooms. People get to hear tone, voice and realise that yes you are a person not just a teacher.

I decided to have a go at producing a video newsletter for my year group.

During a non-contact period I pulled 3 children out of each of the Year 4 classes out. I asked the group what they’d learned in school for English, Maths and Unit of Inquiry. Each child talked a little bit about what they had…

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iMovie trailers – A Fun & Easy Icebreaker!


What more can be said – watch the video and decide for yourself…our online presence can be real, funny, innovative, creative and engaging. Thank you Stephen for your dedication to teaching, learning and fun!

Originally posted on

iMovie trailers on iPad/iPhone/iPod touch

Here is a great ice breaker activity for you if you have a few iPads to use in your classroom.

You will need around one iPad per group of 2-6 students. Or, if you only have one iPad, create a trailer as a class.

iMovie trailers is a very fun and easy way to create awesome short videos. Your class will probably be able to finish within one to two hours.

Note that you don’t need to worry about any spoken lines. Have your students fist choose a theme, then figure out the written parts either before or during filming.

How to film, step-by-step

Have groups of 2-4. Students should take turns filming and make sure each person is featured in the movie.

1. Open iMovie on the iPad

2. In the Projects tab, tap the + sign at the bottom. Select “Trailer”.

3. Choose…

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11 Major Teaching Mistakes to Avoid

Reflecting on mistakes are the learning jewels we all need to accept and I believe that if you can accept ‘educated’ risks as a partner to mistakes then you’re able to shape your learning for life!

Educational blog to follow! Thank you Mark Osborne for your insightfulness and refreshing way to blog – makes you think!

11 Major Teaching Mistakes to Avoid.

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Thoughts About Classroom? Share Them Directly With Google!


There seems to be a lot of angst towards the giant Google at times but reading Jennifer’s blog post provides a very personal touch to Google. They actually care that their educational products can and will make a difference in the life of teachers and students – our future depends on equal and fair access doesn’t it? How can we teach and provide the opportunities to learn about the demands the future will present to our young people if we don’t have the vehicles to drive them?

I have recently downloaded Jenkins (2009) work “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture” where he points out the skills that our young (I dare to add older) people will need to acquire in order to engage in the way our global culture interacts with each other and technology/media. Do we remain ignorant and pretend that the internet, social media and social networks will remain confined to a horse and carriage mentality? How will this help future generations?

Thank you Google for attempting to create a space for learning that has no boundaries and that at least tries to go from conceptualizing to realizing the skills that Jenkins views as instrumental for our human progress.

Read them here for yourself (free to download):

Originally posted on Jennifer L. Scheffer:

I am beyond excited for the first face to face event for members of the Massachusetts Google Educator Group! Our event is taking place tomorrow, August 28th at 3:30 at the Google Office in Cambridge. Approximately 30 MA GEG members are attending. We’ll have the opportunity to the tour the Google office and speak directly with members of the Google for Education team. The spotlight products we will be discussing include Google Play for Education and Google Classroom.

I’ve been fortunate to have early access to Classroom, and over the past two days, I’ve been able to share how the product works through a presentation and live demos with my colleagues in Burlington at our annual three day professional development conference. Overall, the response to the product district wide has been positive. There are already teachers and department heads at the elementary, middle, and high school who are going…

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What works in education – Hattie’s list of the greatest effects and why it matters


Ensure you have time to read this post from 2012 because the debate is current and relevant in 2014 – sadly… I need to think on the number of points made and not just by Grant but by the many discussion contributors.

I’ve never felt like I belonged to the teaching ‘norm’ and paid an enormous emotional (mostly) price over the years, sticking up for my students rights to be ‘allowed to learn’ in such a manner that suited them, their passions and way of working – regardless of where they came from!

Also, I do not believe we train teachers for teaching and learning but for a job – this is a problem. Hattie’s research, as examined by Grant in his blog, deserves to be thought through, the implications and affect that Hattie’s research has on our pedagogical thinking and practice does ultimately filter into and effect the lives and learning of our students.

Just as an aside – how does working with and through technology play a part in all of this ? Don’t have the answer right now but willing to continue to learn, to think and to examine it.
Thank you Grant and others – food for pedagogical thought.

Originally posted on Granted, and...:

I have been a fan of John Hattie’s work ever since I encountered Visible Learning. Hattie has done the most exhaustive meta-analysis in education. Thanks to him, we can gauge not only the relative effectiveness of almost every educational intervention under the sun but we can compare these interventions on an absolute scale of effect size.

Perhaps most importantly, Hattie was able to identify a ‘hinge point’ (as he calls it) from exhaustively comparing everything: the effect size of .40. Anything above such an effect size has more of an impact than just a typical year of academic experience and student growth. And an effect size of 1.0 or better is equivalent to advancing the student’s achievement level by approximately a full grade.

The caveat in any meta-anlysis, of course, is that we have little idea as to the validity of the underlying research. In a summary of…

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Cool Tools for 21st Century Learners

Cool Tools for 21st Century Learners.

Having focus in life is often under valued or unrecognized as we move from work to home to vacation ( if we’re fortunate) and then back to work…the cycle continues.  In my digital world I’m beginning to sense a new kind of focus but it isn’t quite as pronounced as in my ‘real’ physical world.  Unfortunately, I’m not very focussed in my virtual world and the distractions, at times, overwhelm me. My ability to have my own creative thoughts and then being able to reflect or act on them become blurred. I find myself losing interest and hence my focus.

This focus is something that I appreciate when I virtually bump into the lives and learning of such great bloggers such as Susan Oxnevad.  She quietly inspired me to come back to my learning and to reflect on it. There is an order/style in her work and not just in this blog but in all her endeavors, using multiple tech tools, suitable to a number of different audiences and in a number of different contexts. I believe this is more than just ‘style’ but a real reflection of her digital self, her digital tattoo, her respectfulness as a digital citizen that speaks of her passion, expertise and care for the learning of others.

What does my digital focus say about me? As I keep learning and sieving through the abundance of digital dross that can distract me, I need to continue to critically and cautiously evaluate my contributions and consider where I want to take my readers too!

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“Ignite” Professional Development At Your School

“Ignite” Professional Development At Your School.

When we have been working, thinking and living with a particular framework/mindset it is not always easy to view and accept the ideas of others, especially when yours are so deeply ingrained.  Others’ ideas might cause our own views to shift, be questioned and this makes us uncomfortable.

The ‘temporary’ discomfort that I sense, when people share their own learning like that of  ‘John Falino‘  in his blog, can provide new learning for me, insight, a fresh way to view a concept that could become entrenched and eventually irrelevant or useless.  I have especially been touched by his summary of what he learnt at this year’s ‘Ignite‘ session at ISTE’s 2014 conference. I’ve been to an ‘Ignite‘ here in New Zealand and it is a powerful and empowering way to learn.  I have been touched by one of John’s points – in particular point #2.

The question to ask myself, and any sojourner passing by my lonely blog, is “what does this actually mean – does my ‘digital profile‘ represent me in a way that I can be proud of, that teaches others how to act respectfully online, that provides opportunities for others to question their own views, to learn from and with each other”?  Long question – no short answer! All I know for now is that I am viewing my digital citizenship more and more as a ‘tattoo’ in progress!

Thank you John.

2) “Rebranding Digital Citizenship”: The days of sitting all students in an auditorium for a “one shot” presentation on digital citizenship are over. Instead, digital citizenship needs to be embedded into all aspects of the curriculum and needs to become part of the fabric of the school. Each student is now creating a digital legacy through their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channels, etc. In effect, these outlets are now becoming the new resume. What will colleges and employers find when they search our students’ names? Or worse…what if they find nothing? These (and more) are important questions for schools to tackle head on.

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Analyzing iPad Myths in Education


Most excellent post! Thanks for this very educational, informative and real eye opening article! Richard and Steve – as teachers, your perspectives and knowledge are valuable. I’ll be sharing this far and wide. I will even do this from from iPad Air – I’m in my 50’s :-)

Originally posted on  IPAD 4 SCHOOLS:

iPad MythsAre you still trying to fight for iPads in your school?

Many obstacles that iPad cynics attempt to put in place when discussing a roll-out are based on untruths, poorly research and/or out-of-date information. I was delighted when my Canadian Twitter friend and fellow iPad blogger, Steve Lai decided to join forces, as we’ve done before, to combat this dis-information that floats around the education profession worldwide.

This Post explains how to argue a Case for iPads in the Classroom.

A collaboration between iPad Educators:

Steve Lai (@sly111, Canada) and
Richard Wells (@ipadwells, New Zealand)

Preamble: This article is to support iPads in teaching. However, it is not to devalue the benefits of a great teacher. The execution of iPads in class is only going to go as far as the passions and mindset of the teacher allows it to. In other words, the iPad will never replace quality teaching.

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