Saturday, 10 November 2012

Taking it to the next level

It has been an interesting week. It started off with the acquisition of a Samsung Gio smartphone and retiring my old Samsung flip phone with VGA camera. Okay, so I liked the flip because it reminded me of an original Star Trek communicator and I always felt like opening it and making a request to be beamed up...

Also, this week was senior prize-giving with TVNZ's Pasifika correspondent Barbara Dreaver as our guest speaker. It was an awesome night for our students, as always. It actually makes me proud to see kids I have encountered somewhere along their journey leaving the school, having achieved academic and extra-curricular success. Even better, Barbara Tweeted throughout the ceremony with pictures of our kids (@barbaradreaver), and mentioned us on Breakfast on Wednesday morning (http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/wednesday-november-7-5200957/video?vid=5201215 - the Fiji article). I will, however, not forgive Petra Bagust for calling us a south Auckland school; the cheek of it!

Senior students were then dismissed Tuesday morning, and the panic appeared to set in. How can they log into Facebook (at home) of their netbook is in for repairs?! Sorry, I mean study hard for their exams...
We were inundated with requests for return of said netbooks, most of which were still away being fixed, or in need of the $70 excess being paid. It was also hoped that the workload would start to reduce, not so though it would seem. Perhaps the juniors are the worst at looking after their machines (I know this to be a fact).

On Thursday we had the final ever netbook teachers' meeting for the cluster, as 2013 is going to see more specifically-targeted training being delivered. It was also the launch of the MITA- Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers Award to be offered to 10 experienced teachers within the cluster. I am going to apply for this, as it sounds interesting. Also, I feel that after 2 years extensive involvement with the programme, I am reluctant to move away from it all and return to being a full-time classroom teacher again next year. I have enjoyed the Manaiakalani experience, and I have learned a lot about e-learning and also programming (with the guidance of Nevyn the master!). It was also announced that Nevyn Hira had won the Education category at the NZ Open Source Awards for his work on the image and netbooks that we are using as part of the Manaiakalani cluster. Stunning performance!

To end the week, I have started making forays into the world of social media as a teaching tool. I would like to trial Twitter and Edmodo with my classes, and I am also looking at an application called Grouptweet to make the process easier. It is early days yet, but I am interested in this method of teaching and communicating with the students. This is an area that I am going to spend some time developing over 2013 and beyond, and something I will probably report back more on as this idea develops!