Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Change is in the air

Since my last blog post there have been many changes to my situation. I have resigned from my position as Head Teacher at Manaia Kindergaten. It was time!  I had been at Manaia for 10years. I continue to love the kindergarten, its community and the teaching team, but it was time to refresh my batteries and experience new adventures.

 I am currently working as a relieving teacher for the Northland Kindergarten Association. It has been the best professional development I could have hoped for and I highly recommend that others do the same. If you have a teaching job and just want to explore other ece's - talk to your management about a few days of professional development to visit other kindergartens or centres. Don't pop in for a few hours - take 3 days and visit 3 different centres. At the very least, do that.

As I move from kindergarten to kindergarten I am being asked to provide some ICT support - which of course I am happy to do in the context of the day. I am amazed how much ICT comes up in my practice - particularly trying to capture children's voice. I don't need to encourage children to share their stories, children I am new to are eager to tell me their stories. I video, take photos and type their words onto the photos when appropriate. Wherever possible I try to use the kindergarten's cameras, iPods and iPads. I have been surprised at the technology kindergartens have and how they are using it.

My interest has been spiked. What 'latest' technologies do early childhood centres have in new zealand and around the world? And how are they using their technologies?

How about you and your ece?
What do you have in the way of digital technology and how confident do you feel you are using it?
Are the digital technologies offering you and the children the extended learning opportunities you had hoped for?

Please be honest and if you want to remain anonymous you do have that option when posting a comment.




 PS: Another change in the air - its election year. Lets make that count!! More on that later.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Above the standard - intrinsic motivation.

Currently in New Zealand the National Government is encouraging schools to run more like businesses. They have introduced standard tests and they rate schools according to 'best standard performance'. These standards supposedly hold schools and teachers accountable for the work they achieve. The National Stardard tests and ratings supposedly show families which schools are the best schools.

The push to conform to standards is a rising tide that is drowning teacher's passions and squashing student's intrinsic motivation. Learning to a formula and rewarded with 'carrots' and gold stars will only create robots.

I think the National Government and 'Big' Business has it wrong.

What if the current business model (in big business and now in schools) strips people of their intrinsic motivation, and productivity decreases to a standard level? Dan Pink's TED talk makes a case against the standard business model.

What if the model changed to something more in tune with people's intrinsic motivation and passions - because we can't go on doing the same standard things for 'carrots' and gold stars.

So what are your children learning in school?
Why are your children learning the things they are learn in school? Is it enough?
Who is their motivator?

What is motivating them to learn more and rise above the standard?

 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Music composers

At Manaia Kindergarten we are updating our ipad and ipod touches with musical instrument apps. After listening to Kevin Honeycutt at the Teachers for Teachers workshop, the team as a whole was once again inspired to explore new ways of doing things.

We have contemplated installing complex music systems to go with our ipad and ipods. However, Kevin Honeycutt's use of a simple amplifier and splitters would do perfectly for what we are hoping to achieve at Manaia.

So a search for some worthwhile music apps has been undertaken.

Melody Bells and Piano have already been successful apps at Manaia. Piano has particularly supported children, not only to explore notes, but to follow simple instructions to create a musical piece. The smiles on faces has encouraged others.

But the ipad/ipod technology allows us to think outside the square. Although 'real' instruments are amazingly beautiful, there are apps that allow you to create music in a new, different and beautiful way.  One I explored today is Musical Squares. It's interface is simple and plain - but somehow mesmerizing.


video


Bloom is an artistic variation of Musical Squares. It creates a visualisation that is almost hypnotic. Apart from the difference in its interface from Musical Squares, Bloom allows the music to eventually fade, allowing new music to be added - and so the piece continues to be composed.


video

I look forward to using these apps in our final mat times of the day (as well as throughout the session). In our final mat time, we sit, read and share books with one another, whilst listening to relaxing music. Currently children are able to choose the quiet music. They have drawn their own pictures to match the songs they enjoy and loaded them onto the ipod  (this makes it easier for them to identify the different music). With Musical Squares and Bloom, children will be able to CREATE their own relaxing music. I look foward to exploring this with the children.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Efellows for life

What an inspiring bunch of awesome educators who have been on this incredible journey with me. The wisdom, knowledge and skills we have shared together has taken my learning to another level. Efellows for life - friends for life - dedicated to inspiration for life. What an amazing experience this has been. Thank you CORE education for this wonderful opportunity, and to the Northland Kindergarten association for their support. I owe my colleagues big time for encouraging me on this journey and putting up with my absences on significant days. There is lots to share, which I will do with pleasure.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Google Girls

Truly inspired at Google Apps For Education as part of the Efellows master class.

YouTube video editing - will Manaia children jump on the journey? What amazing tools YouTube has to inspire learning, collaboration, and sharing knowledge with the world.

Google Forms - a definite for communicating and encouraging contributions from families.

And much much more....

What is your most valued Google App and WHY?
Which Google Education App do you use most and WHY?

Friday, August 17, 2012

MoMA Art Lab

Children's Collaborative Creation - Manaia Kindergarten

There are many creative apps for the ipad, but what is different about MoMA Art Lab ($4.99 NZ) is its link to the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Using 'simple' shapes and techniques children can explore colour, balance, shape whilst creating a work of art. Designs can be complex or 'simple' - and both stunning. Children can explore the processes of creating abstract modern art, and they can save their final creations to print and display. The MoMA Art Lab encourages group collaboration through the use of 'Create an exquisite corpse'. Based the age old game where friends draw different body parts on folded paper, children can create a surprise drawing together... ideal for a kindergarten setting. Above is the design created by three Manaia Kindergarten children. You can see them in action using the app together, on the Manaia Kindergarten blog - Drawing Together with MoMA.

The Art Lab tools that are provided for creations mimic techniques used by the Great Artists, and introduce young children to great paintings. Below is a YouTube clip highlighting many of the creative attributes of MoMA Art Lab for the iPad.





Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hurve Tullet

Having been inspired from the efellow's masterclass, I have arrived home and continue to read, research, watch, listen, and explore ideas.

I have discovered a great blog by John Funk.  I enjoyed his recommendation of the book Press Here by Hurve Tullet.

I have previously heard about this book.  I thought I'd wait for the ipad app Press Here - LOL. However, on further research, I watched a youtube video of children interacting with this book. I realised that an ipad app would clearly contradict the message of the book. And, I believe, it would be a contradiction of Hurve Tullet's philosophy.

Hurve Tullet's books inspire me. I found a great video interview (2min) with Hurve Tullet, about his book Doodle Cook. As an artist and educator, this interview inspires me. I can imagine the possibilities with our children and I look forward to further exploring this artist, author and his books, with the children at Manaia Kindergarten.