No comment

monkey-987886_640I’ve just read a post on a blog that has comments switched off. I noticed this particularly because the topic was one that could cause some questions, debate or discussion.

This made me wonder why someone wouldn’t want comments on their blog posts. I came up with these:

  1. I’m worried that comments could be offensive or cause arguments.
  2. What I’ve said is final/right. It shouldn’t be questioned; there is no room for debate.
  3. I want to tell you what I think but I don’t want to hear your opinion.
  4. I’m too scared that someone might disagree with me.

To me, out of these, the first one is a fair concern, however, you’ve always got the option of moderating comments.

If numbers 2-4 are the reasons, then you’re not willing to be questioned, challenged, or to learn.

If you want to speak with authority, then you need to show you’re willing to back up your argument by allowing for questions and discussion, and be willing to hear alternative points of view.

Image in the public domain

The rise of #EdBlogNZ


Many of you will have noticed the hashtag #EdBlogNZ starting to gain a bit of momentum recently due to some great promotion from the likes of amazing connected educators such as Sonya van Schaijik (@vanschaijik) and Alex Le Long (@ariaporo22), but perhaps you’re wondering how it started.

I enjoy reading teacher blogs and have done for over 5 years now. I’ve used in the past my trusty Google Reader, Flipboard, Feedly, Blogtrottr and now I use Inoreader (RSS reader). However, as new and different edubloggers come along, they don’t get automatically added to my RSS reader, so I miss them.

I was using the edchatNZ hashtag to try to capture these new blogs, however some days that twitter stream runs hot and the blog posts are easily missed in the constant chatter. Fantastic that the chat is going on, but I wanted to capture those blog posts.

So I thought – we need a way to identify what is a blog in twitter, and hence the EdBlogNZ hashtag was born. I started it quietly, at the end of July 2014, tagging my own blog posts with it.

It didn’t really catch on. For over a month I tweeted using the hashtag. Had a couple of retweets but no one else noticed until…

Woohoo! Someone noticed! Not surprisingly it was Annemarie!!!

On that same day, September 6 2014, we saw two others share blogs with #EdBlogNZ!!! And it has started to grow from there with more and more people slowly picking up on the hashtag. Connected Educators Month NZ 2014 helped a bit, as well as quite a few tweets like this one:

Recently, thanks to awesome support from Sonya and Alex, we have expanded EdBlogNZ into a blog site that currently links to anyone who shares a blog post using the hashtag. Check out the blog: EdBlogNZ. Sonya has been compiling a spreadsheet of NZ educator bloggers for some time and this has been included in the blog.

EdBlogNZ also now has a twitter account: @EdBlogNZ. We plan on using this and the blog to set up some blogging challenges, likely to start off during the upcoming Connected Educators NZ. Look out for the challenges and follow us!

I’m really looking forward to where this takes us and am excited that #EdBlogNZ has finally really started to take off! Now I just have to keep up with all these awesome professional teacher blogs and bloggers!

Professional blogging for beginners—a reflection

For Connected Educator Month this year I thought it would be good to step out of my comfort zone a little and present a short webinar with someone I’ve never met before! So I contacted Alex Le Long (@ariaporo22) a few weeks ago and asked if she was interested to present on blogging. She was! Step one complete.

We had a quick Google Hangout where we talked for the first time ever virtually (other than through Twitter) and semi-planned out the session. There might have been a slight “wing it” attitude from both of us but we were a bit more prepared than that. Step two complete.

Stepping out a bit further we decided to run a Hangout on Air. I’ve used Adobe Connect a lot to run training sessions etc, but hadn’t actually used Hangouts on Air, so whether this was a good idea or not we were going to find out! In the end it seemed to work okay except that it seemed that the audience that we knew were there weren’t really a part of the session except through the odd question in the Q&A panel.

All in all it was an interesting experience and the recording of the session is available on YouTube (and embedded at the end of this blog post).

What did I learn? It’s good to try something new and once again step out of our comfort zone. Google Hangouts might not be the best “webinar” tool but it is definitely usable. And it’s fun to do something with someone you’ve only met through Twitter!

I’m looking forward to meeting Alex during the next few days at Ulearn in Rotorua!

If you want to watch the webinar, here it is.

Monday Mentions: 18 August 2014

Check out my favourite blog posts from the past week.

  1. On the Importance of Commenting on Blog Posts… by Alex Le Long from Evolution and Imagination. Alex gives us a good reminder that we need to be commenting on other blogs. I know for me that I love comments and sometimes get them on Twitter instead of the blog post. It’s nice, but feels more permanent if attached to the post.
  2. Let’s Booktrack by Allanah King from Life is not a race to be first finished. Allanah blogs about the Booktrack app. I had a look at this at the Education Festival earlier in the year and could see some really good benefits in this. Worth a read.
  3. UDL at the dentist by Chrissie Butler from The CORE Education Blog. This is a great blog post about Universal Design for Learning from an unexpected experience at the dentist. If you want to see a practical example of UDL check it out.

Monday Mentions: 11 August 2014

BlogCheck out my favourite blog posts from the past week.

  1. Managing change in your school – What is missing? by Leigh Hynes from the blog Hynessight. This post highlights some of the challenges that come about due to change in a school (or anywhere). If you haven’t considered each of the five parts of change management then stress can easily build amongst staff.
  2. Pond and Copyright: negotiating the waters by Chris South from the N4L Blog. I’m sharing this post for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as Pond continues to develop, it’s useful to know how N4L/Pond is dealing with copyright infringements and what our responsibility as educators is. Secondly, the N4L blog is a useful one to follow to keep up-to-date with what is going on with N4L, the Managed Network and of course Pond.
  3. Five Good Resources for Teaching Digital Safety and Citizenship to Elementary School Students by Richard Byrne from the blog Free Technology for Teachers. Richard shares a range of useful digital citizenship resources for you to use with your students.

Monday Mentions: 4 August 2014

BlogCheck out my favourite blog posts from the past week.

  1. Schools that work for kids by Eric Sheninger from the blog A Principal’s Reflections. In this post Eric reflects on his son and his technology use at home and relates that back to a school situation, stating that the structure of many schools is at odds to the world our children are growing up in.
  2. Why are more teachers not sharing their practice? by Steve Mouldey from the blog Steve Mouldey: Emergent Reflections of a Secondary Teacher. I know I shared a post from Steve last week but this, to me, is such an important question to consider.
  3. HPSS and Seven Sharp – The School Behind the Soundbite by Claire Amos from Teaching and E-learning. TV current affairs show did a segment on Hobsonville Point Secondary School (HPSS) looking at the modern learning environment and practices that the students learn in. Overall it was very good. Claire takes this and expands on what a school week is like at HPSS to show that the normal stuff people expect from school is still covered within the project work they are doing. This is a great post for anyone interested in seeing how a brand new school operates within and MLE, using modern practices.

Monday Mentions: 28 July 2014

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Monday Mentions blog post. I decided last week I need to reinstate it.

Monday Mentions is when I pick my favourite blog posts to share from the past week. Usually 3-5 of them.

So here they are for this week:

Keeping up with blogs with Blogtrottr

RSSI read a lot of blogs… at least I try to. When I was commuting to and from the city for work, I found it relatively easy to keep up with them. Using Google Reader to capture the RSS feeds from the blogs I followed I used to love the synchronicity with the Flipboard app on my iPad. Unfortunately, since the demise of Google Reader, Flipboard for me just hasn’t been the same.

I trialled a number of different RSS aggregators/readers and eventually settled on Feedly. Feedly is good because it syncs beautifully between devices and it’s easy to set up and manage. Different categories can be set up for different types of blogs and it has a range of sharing options from within the website and the mobile apps.

While Feedly is good (I’m certainly not denying this), it just isn’t doing it for me anymore. I don’t have a daily public transport commute anymore and therefore I realised I wasn’t keeping up with the blogs I follow. I would often forget to go into Feedly and read and therefore when I did go in I found there were too many posts to go through. I had to find a new solution for me.

After a bit of searching I came across Blogtrottr. Blogtrottr is a site in which you enter the blog you want to follow and it emails you the postings. I’m in my email every day (all day sometimes!) so this works in my favour. Blogtrottr gives options to receive posts as they come up or as a daily digest (as well as other options). It has a free and premium version, however I can’t quite see a reason to pay US$10 a month at this stage just to get rid of a few ads in my emails (which I haven’t really noticed). There may be other good reasons to pay for it, but at the moment I’m happy with the free service.

Best of all, I’m finally back to keeping up with the blogs I follow!

Me me me! It’s all about me! A blogging meme.

A long time ago, in a twitterverse far far away… I was nominated challenged by @fivefoot3 to carry out this blogging task. Here’s the task…

The blogging task
Acknowledge the nominating blogger. Share 11 random facts about yourself. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you. List 11 bloggers. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated.  Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

Now that I’ve completed and submitted my thesis, and had a bit of a break from doing anything (apart from work), I’m ready to give it a go. I’m not sure I’ll get to the posting of 11 new questions and nominating 11 bloggers yet, but I do want to make sure I complete the other parts of the task. So here goes…   (I apologise as this got a little long…)

11 random facts about the one and only ME!

  1. I’m married with 5 kids. For those who know me this won’t come as any surprise, but usually when I mention this people think I’m a little crazy and think we must have a busy household etc. Both of these may be true, and… yes I do know what causes them!
  2. I never wanted to be a teacher. My parents are both teachers. I wanted to do a science degree but I didn’t want to work in a lab. So… what to do… I applied for a conjoint BSc/BTchg course and got accepted. Even when I finished it I wasn’t overly excited, however, education and my love/passion for learning has grown on me since then. Maybe I just grew up! Now I love education. I completed a PGDipEd. I’ve just submitted my thesis for my MEd (I’m very nervous about that!), and I’m very passionate about teaching and learning, e-learning, education and helping people succeed!
  3. I attended state schools, private schools, state-integrated schools and I’ve been homeschooled. Yep, I’ve done the lot (although I’ve never been unschooled). Ups and downs with all of them.
  4. I gave my wife a 52 week anniversary in 2013-2014 to celebrate our 10th year of marriage. In January this year, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Each Sunday of the preceding year I gave my wife a gift to celebrate. It was a lot of fun!
  5. I played cricket in primary school and high school. And I love watching cricket. I’m able to sit through an entire 5 day test. Love it!!!
  6. I’ve learnt how to make good coffee but can’t stand it myself! I try to make my wife a coffee every day. She has an espresso machine and so I make real coffee. Her favourite is a long black but she goes for a mocha occasionally too (oops, this is supposed to be about me not her…).
  7. I delivered my youngest child… at home… no help present. This was an interesting experience. When we only just made it into the ward with number four, we figured we’d better call an ambulance for number five. 12:40 am my wife wakes me and says to call an ambulance. I call 111, ambulance is on its way. My wife is definitely in labour… oh… actually she’s pushing. 111 operator guides me through delivering my baby girl. She’s wrapped in a towel having snuggles with Mum by the time the ambulance arrives. Paramedics tell us that usually when they get a “woman in labour” call they have about 8 hours. Not this time.
  8. I love Twitter! This probably isn’t surprising if you’re reading this blog post. I used to wonder why anyone would use twitter. Who cares if someone is having a cup of coffee or gone for a walk. Then I discovered at a conference the power of twitter and have made a number of great connections online and it’s great PD!
  9. I own a Pebble watch. Makes me feel a little geekier than I probably really am. It was a 10th anniversary gift from my wife. She thinks it makes her a bigger geek than me because she bought if for me. If you don’t know what a Pebble watch is then click here.
  10. I love travelling but have not travelled much. I’ve not done anywhere near as much travelling as I would’ve liked. Australia a few times, and was lucky enough to get to the US (LA, Chicago and Atlanta) and down to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil when I was 14. That was quite an experience!
  11. I’m awesome. I was going to write this first, and then decided not to. Then I needed one more fact and asked my daughter (12) for one more. She said, “You’re awesome” straight away. I promise there was no prompting. You can even ask my wife (@daikininz)! One reason I was going to write it is that I think in New Zealand we are really good at talking ourselves down and also shooting down the tall poppies. I really want to change that. I think it’s great if people are confident about themselves and if people encourage, praise and support others in feeling good about themselves.


Answers to the questions from @fivefoot3

  • Who was your first teacher and what did you think of them?

I think my first teacher was called Miss Colby (it was something like that). I don’t remember her very well, but I recollect thinking she was old. I’m sure she was nice-new entrant teachers always are.

  • When you escape everyone where do you go?myspot

I’ve got a couple of places I go. I like to head out and wander the shops sometimes. Usually I’ll walk around a few shops and then grab something to eat and drink. I also have a spot that I like to drive to and park at the mouth of the Hutt River. It looks out towards Matiu/Somes Island and Wellington city. I find it really peaceful and relaxing.

  • Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Truthfully, I’m probably neither at the moment, but generally I’m more of a morning person.

  • What is your number one tried and tested “Grandma’s remedy” for illness?

I honestly don’t really have one. Rest and have someone else look after me.

  • If you could name 1 education book that a beginning teacher should buy, what would it be?

I don’t/haven’t read a lot of education books, but I do read a lot of blogs, so this book might not strictly be for beginning teachers, but a book I found really good was, “Making the move to e-learning: Putting your course online” by Kay Lehmann and Lisa Chamberlin.

  • When the going gets tough who or what is your rock?

This would have to be my wife. And still, sometimes my Dad.

  • If you could be a rock/pop star who would you be?

I have no idea.

  • Touch type or finger poke?

Definitely touch type. I learnt at high school during Year 9-11. Got up to about 60wpm then. Can do over 90wpm now. Would not have managed to get through postgraduate study, especially writing a thesis if I was a finger poker. I also strongly believe that all children should learn to touch type.

  • What is one thing that you will do this year to make the world a better place?

Keep breathing. Seriously though, I want to help make changes in my workplace that will benefit the lives of the thousands of students that we serve each year. My aim is to help the school make the shift from a correspondence mode of delivery to more fully online ensuring good pedagogies are considered along the way.

  • Why did you first join twitter?

I think I kind of answered this already in my random facts. It was to make connections with other educators and learn what they’re doing. To share with them and also to get my blog seen.

  • What is one thing you’re going to read lots about this year?

E-learning and Education 3.0. I’m always reading about e-learning, online learning, blended learning etc. Our school has also decided to ensure we are heading towards teaching and learning using Education 3.0 methods and pedagogies, so I’ll be reading a fair bit about this also. It’s all pretty much related though!


11 bloggers

well… 1 for now… getting tricky to find people who haven’t already done it! @sandydougherty,


11 questions for the bloggers

  1. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
  2. What age group do you prefer to teach?
  3. Intermediate or middle schools?
  4. What are you most passionate about in regards to education?
  5. What’s your dream car and what colour?
  6. Why do you blog?
  7. If you were to get a new pet, what would it be and what would you name it?
  8. Summer or winter?
  9. What is one thing you would like to change/work on in your teaching practice this year?
  10. If you were to choose a different career, what would it be?
  11. Apple, Android, PC or a mix?

Monday Mentions – 19 December 2011

Favourite blog posts from the past week (in no particular order):

  1. From The 12 Most – This one is self explanatory: 12 Most Innovative, Inspiring, and Unmissable TedTalks.
  2. For all you bloggers out there (and those who want to get into blogging) here are some good thoughts for writing blogs also from The 12 Most: 12 Most Standard English Rules to Break When Blogging.
  3. Something to think about from The Innovative Educator: Could the key to teacher effectiveness mean dropping certification requirements?
  4. A look at Digital and Global Citizenship from Educational Origami.