Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Give the Gift of yourself this Christmas

Give a gift of yourself

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, December 11, 2008

100 Conversations - Part One

In true Web fashion - I have once again stumbled on inspirational blog posts that have encouraged my thinking and inspired another post.

100 Conversations is an initiative set up by Tony Karrer who maintains the eLearning Technology blog. Tony "is CEO/CTO of TechEmpower, a software, web and eLearning development firm based in Los Angeles, and is considered one of the top technologists in e-Learning. " (quote from Tony's blogger profile).

Within Tony's list of 100 Conversations - I believe there is a conversation for you. I have set up a draft post behind the scenes of the 25 of the 100 conversations that I feel inspired to participate in. This should keep me busy through the holidays. Thanks Tony for the ideas - it helps to keep me motivated.

The first conversation that seems relevant to me at present is number 31 on Tony's list of 100 Conversations. I address this for two reasons. One - it is relevant to my learning at present. Two - I hope to encourage other educators and students who are starting out in the blogging world or are wondering about their illusive audience.

31. How do I envision (envisage) my audience.

This has been an interesting revelation to me in recent weeks. Soon after my post "Generation C" on October 15th I began to feel very disillusioned about my image of my audience. Although I have a stat counter, I wasn't a very prolific observer of my stats nor did I really know how to explore my stats positively. As I belong to EntreCard - I envisaged my small audience to be EntreCard droppers (and I mean droppers not readers). I received minimum comments - and thus imagined I had no serious readers.

After blogging fairly noncommittally with little aim - on ICT in Early Learning - I was beginning to wonder what my motivations were for blogging and whether it was worth the space on the web. And then a light bulb moment encouraged by a conversation (a "verbal comment") I had with a member of the CORE Education team occurred. The CORE member had read my blog, enjoyed my blog and quoted my "C Generation" blog post in a recent job interview for CORE - a job she recently accepted. I was blown away and I was incredibly humbled. I had an audience I never envisaged. And what I had to say or highlight, was being noticed.

After this I decided to look more closely at my stats. I had recently loaded Feedjit widget to my site and when I explored this widget further - namely by clicking on the "Watch in Real Time" option - I began to take notice of who was looking at my blog, where they had arrived from, and what they were searching for. The thing I notice most was that there is a huge audience out there looking for information about technology and learning for young children. By observing readers search queries I have begun to target my post to address some of the queries educators have about technology in education.

I have realised that with the experience of introducing blogging to young children at Manaia Kindergarten, presenting with Tania Coutts at various conferences, and addressing queries that flow through our phone lines - Tania and I have some professional learning to offer on the world wide web as elearners and educators. And maybe this is something we need to take seriously and to post professionally as we become immersed in this ever growing global conversation.

I have also read that only approx 4% of readers ever comment. Thus one has to decide when beginning a blog, what is the purpose of the blog, what do I hope to achieve by blogging, and what do I want to get out of it. I have decided that although I LOVE COMMENTS - I will no longer write for comments. Now that I have some idea about who my audience really is, the aim of this blog is to advocate for young children, for their learning and elearning, their protection, and for their right to be considered competent contributors to everyday and global conversations and learning. The other aim is to encourage others to join this advocacy role.

So how do I envisage my audience now? Prehaps just the one, though I know of two others. And the rest? Well that is quite scary. I was the youngest in my family and my sisters had a lot to say at dinner table conversations. It took me until I was 21 before I realised that sometimes people listened to my contributions too. So I do worry that my contributions are sometimes that of the youngest sister and maybe not so well informed. Forgive me if that is the case. If blogging was truly an anonymous platform I'd feel better. However I want to be part of the conversation, to contribute, to learn, and to advocate.

I believe ones vision of ones audience does matter. It helps to get to know your audience through your stats if not your comments, and then to target your posts and provide a relevant message for those who really are your audience. And more importantly I believe the internet provides a platform we are privileged to have at our finger tips and to join the conversations as an educator and learner, either as a reader or blogger, is a privilege we should grab with both hands.

PS: Thanks Janine for being part of my audience. I have noticed and I do appreciate.

Do you have something to say about education? Can you contribute? Check out Technology for Teachers

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Who dares teach? - with Toondoo.com

I don't ever remember cartoons being used in my education as a valid form of learning. But as Techno Dys reminds us in their blog (technology and dyslexia) - "If a picture paints 1000 words, then a three picture cartoon must be a 3000 word essay." Toondoo is a fun (and addictive) online cartoon site. Characters, scenary, props can be dragged into cartoon strips and brought to life with written words. At Toondoo.com you can read many cartoons created by people all over the world. In schools this would be a great site for students learning new languages, to create and interpret succinctly their understanding of a lesson, a book, a subject, or to express their feelings/fears/celebrations. I have been hesitant to suggest this tool for the classroom setting or for early childhood as I have not explored the site fully and can see its potential for misuse - but thanks to Meera from toondoo.com who offers to assist anyone wanting to know more about toondoo and education - I have discovered that the site has a "Safe Search" feature. I have not explored this feature but encourage educators to give this online site a whirl. Never cease to learn!!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do

Its been yet another day of bad tv, rain out doors and a bit of a tummy bug. So I turn to Ted Talks. Even the ones I have heard before are worth revisiting - and always there is something new to learn.

When considering children at your school or kindergarten... your children at home... it might be prudent to ask yourself... Do you want cotton-wool kids?

Then why not let them use power tools, sharpen knives, break copywrite laws, play with fire? Gever Tulley is founder of the Tinkering School, and this is his TED talk about 5 Dangerous things you SHOULD let your children do.

Having reheard Gever's ideas and been provoked about his ideas - I still can not help wondering if he has 'left out' some safety ideas... MMMmmmm what do you think?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thinking outside the square - Animation vs Animator

It's amazing what you discover when you follow up on comments left on your blog. It really does become a worldwide community of sharing and learning...

So from Shal who followed up on and added a great explanation on her blog about Toondoo.com (which she is planning to use with her students) - I also discovered a link to this great clip. Talk about thinking outside the square...

Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART

"A mind once stretched by new ideas NEVER regains its original dimensions"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Technology for Teachers, Technology for Education

Oh my goodness my mind is buzzing. I have a number of Draft Copy posts hidden away behind this blog. My fingers and allocated time, can not keep up with my questioning, readings, thought provoking conversations, and observations. But today (tonight) I will share with you some thoughts sparked by my recent posts, my ict facilitator's provocations, and professional discussions I have had with colleagues.

I blogged last month about the Benefits of Technology in Education and Naketa (our fabulous ICT facilitator for the MOEs ECE ICT PL programme) left me a challenging question in the comments... "..You have outlined wonderful scenarios in which ICT has enhanced learning experiences for children. I wonder how ICT has impacted on your own learning - personally and professionally." As I posted last week about encouraging students by leaving comments - I thought I should be using the comments I receive more productively and began to ponder on Naketa's challenge. I take time to ponder - which is a good thing sometimes... I will try to summarise my thoughts later in this post...

This evening I had a phone call from a colleague. We don't actually work together in the same kindergarten, but we are both passionate ECE advocates and enjoy philosophical conversations about education in the early years and the more formal education of the school system.

As a result of some challenging situations my colleague has found herself in recently - namely working with others who do not share her philosophy - my colleague began to think more seriously about setting up her own childcare centre based on her ideas on education and on life in general. We talked about the practicalities of this and expected outcomes. We chatted about ideals and realities. We considered the future of education and if our ideas will ever really be embraced throughout the education system. We reflected on recent conferences we have attended and the 'change' foreseen in the future for education - when IS this future going to happen. We concluded that the future is not tomorrow - the future is today.

Today there are tools and resources that can benefit education in ways that has never been possible. There are tools and resources available for educators to use for advocacy, to promote the best of education and spread this to the world. If my colleague were to set up her own childcare centre (and it would be an awesome centre) and 'experiment' with her ideas and philosophies and run it as a model for future education - she would certainly have hurdles. For one she has to fit within current education regulations. Secondly what impact would she really have on the education system as a whole in New Zealand? What impact would her childcare centre of 10pupils have globally.

The future is now. Now teachers with the convictions such as my colleague, who are passionate about a new way forward, who have the skills, expertise and knowledge of the emergent curriculum, who can see classrooms beyond the four walls - have the freedom and audience right before them. And I believe we should all be taking advantage of this. I believe we should be sharing our professional ideas globally.

And to my original question - How has technology helped me personally and professionally?
I remember a time some 30yrs ago when my mother was cajoled into buying the Encyclopedia Britannica. Nothing wrong with that 30yrs ago but it was more than we could really afford at the time. I remember using this resource for my school projects. I also remember being very distracted by these numerous books (12 books, all different colours and themes) whilst doing my projects. I would find myself reading about things I 'wasn't supposed' to be reading because they would have nothing to do with the project at hand. However I would suddenly see the potential in the information provided in these books and whilst reading I would find out about things that I had often wondered about. Some years later my family moved overseas to live and 12 heavy Encyclopedia Britannica's didn't quite fit into the suitcase allowance. So they were left behind.

I'm not afraid to say I struggled at school. No not because I did not have the E.B. I just struggled. I struggled to get my ideas down on paper with my blotchy pens, my constant typos that my pen would make (lol) and the permanency of the marks my pen would make (copious amounts of crossing out or twink didn't cut it for assignments), and the lack of quick easy information, would trip me up continuously.

When I reached teachers college 10years after leaving school and the home computer was well established - my grades, my confidence and my learning took on a whole new life. With the advent of the internet my inquiring mind found a new source of energy. And with Web2.0 I have slowly (and perhaps less confidently) begun to find a voice. And with that - along with my colleagues and the children at Manaia Kindergarten who blog about their ECE experiences - I have inadvertently entered the world of advocacy. Together through Web2.0 we are advocating for Early Childhood, for the emergent curriculum, for the future of education (seeing the children in action in the kindergarten blog is much more convincing than reams of type as seen here - so check out their blog - www.manaiakindergarten.blogspot.com ).

Web2.0 is a tool that teachers who are passionate about education can use to promote their ideas, to advocate for education - not just to those teaching in the early years but to teachers in primary, secondary, tertiary - and heck - in business too. Early Childhood teachers, and teachers who believe in a new approach to education, can begin a dialog, join the conversations, promote their ideas.

What can technology do for you as a teacher? as a professional? It can enable you to advocate to a wider audience and - and bring the future of education closer.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Think EDUCATION outside the square box

A Boys Blog

Mathew Blog card

The above blog is an example of what a 10 year old boy can do with a laptop, a blog and an adventure. His six months in Italy is up, but his story sharing skills will be with him forever. What he learned, and what he has shared with you about the Italian way of life, about being adventurous and mostly about his growing and in-depth knowledge of food has become an integral part of who he is. Read about his adventures, and be part of his learning, teaching and development. Leave him a comment on www.mytuscanyoe.blogspot.com

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What does Blogging offer children's education?

Once again the teachers of Manaia Kindergarten, along with other Early Childhood teachers who are part of the ICT ECE PL Program, spent a great Saturday presenting and sharing ICT initiatives and resources to 180 ECE teachers from around the North Island. And once again we found it inspiring and motivating with the added element of meeting new people and new theories and ideas.

One resource we like to promote for Early Childhood centres and schools, is blogging. This is a FREE resource and provides children/students with a new medium for self expression, story telling, celebrating achievements (be it final results or showcasing their determination and enjoyment of learning), and to teach others what they themselves have recently learned. Blogging provides a number of positive elements that traditional forms of writing, self expression and teaching are unable to offer.

The first is that blogging provides an authentic audience. It is not just the teacher who assesses children's learning. It is not just the Mums, Dads and Grandparents who smile with pride at their children's progress proudly displayed on the kitchen fridge (although both the afore-mentioned are naturally and vitally important). There is however, a world of bloggers, blog readers, children and educators who are addressed, considered, and valued by children who blog. And the idea that there are people out there and are interested, is easily accepted by the C generation. For young children, their own learning and achievements are the central parts of their world and they naturally accept that their learning and achievements are central parts of your world too!! They are all eager to share accomplishments with you.

I have not noticed children blogging for comments. Checking the blog (or checking with teachers) to see if comments have been left on their posts is not the first port of call when they arrive at Kindergarten. The swings and sandpit still rank high as the activities of choice! However they are stoked, chuffed, overjoyed when a comment is left by a loved one, by friends and actually by anyone who shows an interest in their contributions. Both known and unknown commentators are valued as comments invite children into the global conversation and recognise children's contributions on a level playing field.

Those interested in education, of students achieving goals, for those who value displays of determination - you are given a unique opportunity to encourage, to respond, and generally to contribute to individual children's learning, and to communities of children at schools, at home and at kindergartens around the world.

So my challenge for you is - Have you left a child an encouraging comment on their blog this week?

Manaia Kindergarten

Hunter Park Kindergarten
Geraldine Kindergarten
Whangarei Heads Primary
Parua Bay Primary

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Zealand Elections

OK - so the election didn't quite go my way. I don't mind admitting live online - that I am an avid Labour supporter. As has been said many times in the lead up to and post elections, National and Labour have come together in many of their ideas and policies. As the opposition party, National fought many of Labours policies. However during the events leading up to the election it amazed us all how J.Keys of National described much of those same policies as ones that made sense for New Zealand - like Kiwibank, Free ECE, not fighting in Iraq, and so on.

Keys' support for many of the popular Labour initiatives was probably concerning for many supporters to Nationals right - those that want more means testing, more user pays, lowering taxes for the wealthy. Those far enough to the right seemed to have moved over and voted for the ACT party. And those to the left who may have just wanted a change seemed to have been fooled into believing that National is a 'Centre' party close to the Left now - with leftist ideas, policies and practices. BUT this is not so! Because fundamentally Nationals philosophies still underpin its direction. And this was made very evident in John Key's acceptance speech. "What will determine our success is the unity of purpose. A willingness to work together, while recognising that our collective success rests on the success of individuals"

And so it is - National supports the individual. If John Key can rise up from state housing to Prime Minister of New Zealand and help to make things better - then so can you!! He does go on to say that "We need everyone working together because we need everybody to be pulling in the same direction - and if we do that then we will make NZ prosperous as we all know we can be." And I say - prosperous for whom? Such a veiw - that the individual can make it better for the collective - denies the innate selfishness of humankind... those that wanted lower taxes because they didn't want to help those who will never know what prosperous feels like.

To suggest that EVERYONE can reach their financial goals (and therefor some semblance of a decent standard of living) - denies those who work for the less fortunate for next to nothing, denies those who for reasons beyond their control they have to stay at home with no income to support children who don't fit into the mainstream of education, or the mainstream of anything, denies those who for reason's beyond their control will never fit into mainstream.

To say - to work together as individuals for collective success - is an anomaly. And I hope that National keeps to its word about many of the policies so supported by the collective for so long. And I would prefer to hear Key say "lets work together as a collective for the success of all and for the individual"

However there has been a vote for change.

Change is what New Zealand voted for.
But we do not yet know what that change will bring - and for whom!

(More on NZ politics and how it relates to ICT in Early Childhood later.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Where's the learning?

Consider the new dawn of education, consider how technology is exciting the learner, consider our different strengths, abilities and interests, before casting your vote for education and the direction of NZ tomorrow.

Then maybe try your hand at making your own statement with ToonDoo and adding it to your blog!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Benefits of Technology in Education

Having recently attended ULearn08 in Christchurch, and presented at this inspiring conference, I again came home excited about the future of education. The possibilities seem to expand with every passing year and I am amazed as I reflect and realise that actually the possibilities for us as a kindergarten continue to expand. Everytime our children assess their own learning, and challenge us with questions and responses to technology, we are amazed by their own expectations and desire for learning. Here are some real life examples:

Digital Dexterity
A few years ago a young boy came to me with his completed work of digital art and my expectation had been that I would either type his name at the bottom, or print the picture and have write his name himself on the paper page. It was with renewed expectation about children's mouse skills that I appreciated how he wrote his name in green digital ink on the digital page. His very matter of fact satisfaction with his newly developed skill paved the way for himself and other children to extend their own possibilities.

Learners as Teachers
One four year old girl had just finished making her PhotoStory3 movie and she wanted to change the colour of her text on the movie. A few runs through that process with the adult teacher and soon this four year old was teaching her friends. When introduced to other programmes they recognised a difference in the programme interface and wanted to explore the slightly different method of changing the colour of the text. The pride in this young girls face as she taught her peers, and her matter of fact satisfaction when her friend also acquired this skill took us all to a higher level of expectation and possibilities.

A young blogger expects Web2.0 capabilites
A four year old leaned out the window at Kindergarten and said "Hey Beverly, I left a comment on the blog" - and she had! This same girl wanted to see on the computer, the school she was to attend when she turned five. When the website was downloaded by an adult teacher, the four year old searched the page and said "Hey, where can I leave a comment?" - unfortunately the school had not yet entered this young girls world of Web2.0. When she finally arrived at school on her 5th birthday, this new entrant handed over the kindergarten business card and said "This is my blog address, you will be needing that!"

What are the benefits?
You might read the above examples and wonder how they answer such a question. These are but small instances highlighting the impact of ICT on children as they assess their own learning, explore with fascination and expectation at what computers can do for them. This expectation goes with them to school. They have a level of expectation about their learning that is best supported through the use of ICT in education. Technology is an invaluable asset when we begin to explore what ICT can do for us and our students, and when we begin to view education as a collaborative, relevant, living opportunity.

Also Read:
What are the benefits of Technology in Education? Practical processes children use when engaging with technology including a list of links to kindergartens and schools who blog about their technology learning and their open exploration of education in all areas.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Are you - Generation C ? ...........................You could be!

"It's not that children are interested in technology. Its that they are interested in what technology can do for them"

We are talking about the new generation. This could mean YOU.
"Generation C is not age defined but means those who are CONNECTED, COLLABORATING, CONTRIBUTING, COMMUNICATING"
Matt Headland, MTV
Quote from interview on Radio New Zealand's National programme

As an educator you are sure to have Generation C students. You could join them. Get connected, take the risk and contribute, collaborate - get communicating with new technology. Its the only logical way ahead for education.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

ULearn08 - 21Century Shift - Joan Dalton

What a dynamic speaker and a presenter of challenging thoughts. We all know that education is on the brink of huge change - Joan has visualised this in a very practical way. Looking back to the beginning of the 21century in 30years time what will we think of the classroom with four walls, one teacher and a set curriculum... when technology can connect the world, the students, the experts, each of any age or position in life. Young children teaching artists, primary children teaching the young mums and dads, students learning what they want when they want it because the resources will be (and in many cases already are) at our finger tips. "The world has changed, learning is limitless!" - J.Dalton

You will need high tolerance for experimentation and trial and error - risk takers will lead the way knowing that failure is ok - through trial and error we learn.
As teachers we need to facilitate and be language masters and inquirers. Lets grab the world of possiblities and get rid of words like "but...". "I Want you to...", "I'm going to give you some information that...." These comments assume the power stays with the teacher. We need to use a language of possibilities, the language of invitation , the language of inquiry and inclusion.That way we help children to self instruct - and maybe with these tools children will not lean towards self destruction.

Give yourself license to play - encourage play with possibilities
Believe in yourself.
Be wise - wise of mind, wise of heart, wise of soul.

A Whole New Mind - Daniel Pink

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Power of Questioning in ECE

Questioning - Surfing or Scuba Diving?
A workshop by Mary-Anne Murphy - Educational Facilitator
#ULearn08 - Christchurch.



Questioning is important because it helps us understand issues more deeply. It indicates that we have a level of curiosity about an issue and also helps to stimulate curiosity in others. Questioning promotes conversation and can take conversations to a new and deeper level. Questioning helps us to find an answer or address a curiousity... The importance of questioning is instictive in 2-3yr olds who start off life after establishing the words Mum, Dad, and various other vital labels, by asking "what's that?" and then deepening their questioning to ask "Why?"

The profile of a good questioner is someone who has a good level of curiosity and above all is prepared to take risks. They need a certain level of patience and persistance so that they are able to continue to ask their questions again and again until they are heard, or to be able to modify their questions so that they are understood.

The early years is a great time to encourage children's questioning. But it can also be a time that is so easy to discourage questioning. The 2yr old who asks "WHY?" until the only answer you can find is because if you believed in a God - is because God decided it would be so - may start to be ignored when asking questions.

So how do we encourage questioning in a manageable why for such young children? DO WE have to answer their questions with correct answers to encourage their questioning style - or at this particular age could this not lead rather to parents, teachers and caregivers going insane and resulting in a discouragement of questioning? Do they need us to have an answer to every question? What if we asked the children their ideas to the questions they ask? We might see some astonishing insights into the way our children see the world. Would it be better to correct their insights and theories or would we encourage a development of their questioning techniques if we let them work on their theories over time? I don't believe that we have to find and give the answers immediately. I believe it is much more fun to involve children in seeking the answers to their questions and I believe this would show children that we take their questions seriously and respect them for asking their questions.

Children do not always ask questions at times that suit our timetables, or home schedules. Maybe it would be good to have a place in our classrooms and homes where children can 'park' their questions. These questions can then be addressed over time and given the time to address them. This way we would be saying to children that we are listening and that there a no wrong/bad questions - they are all valid and together we can look for the answers.

What makes a good question?
Open ended question - one that requires more than one word answers
Takes you to another level, another question
Acknowledging that in certain context closed questions are important.

Inspiring and developing questioning... (activity)
Give the answer - " the answer is 'tree' - what is the question?"

Questioning relationship
child <-> adult <-> child <-> child

Maybe encourage the children to create our ICT survey?

Return to NZ - Still connected to the network

What a fantastic experience I had in Italy and the Uk with my family. It was great to see we were still able to pick up where we left off - all together. Our physical network has been made stronger and we are still connected - emailing, skyping, sharing blogs. They are not that far away...

One thing I noticed while chatting late at night with my neice and interacting with my nephew, being involved in his correspondence schooling - is that technology in education is not a theory! It is real, it is happening, and the children are involved, engaged and using the technology in anyway they can.

Today I am sitting in the ULearn08 Christchurch auditorium. What I saw in my immediate family in Italy and the UK - is being talked about here in New Zealand in this keynote presentation. My nieces 14yrs and 16yrs are part of the technology network. I wander what guidance they have had to use these networks to create networks, to help them put their best foot forward in the social online globe, how are they using this technology to learn, grow, share, colaborate, prepare. I am hugely impressed by their abilities with technology - my hope is that their teachers guide them in a trustworthy way to gain the best for them. I am also incredibly proud of my 10year old nephew who is making fantastic leaps forward in his use of technology, putting his best work online, sharing his knowledge with others, networking with others in the online New Zealand correspondence community, extending his community by responding to the professionals who have been inspired by his blog, knowledge, and leadership in the online world of education... he is putting his best foot forward and creating his learning community.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Benefits of Skyping

"A family who Skypes together stays together"

Ok probably as debatable as the old saying "a family who prays together stays together" - but in this instance the skyping lifestyle has helped to keep my family, at least, together and deepened our relationships.

The young girl who blew me kisses over skype ended up costing me over three thousand dollars. And despite the miles that have separated us, we are as close, if not closer, than we have ever been. I couldn't mention it then, but the day after my two and half year old niece was taught by her other aunt to blow kisses to me over skype, I booked my ticket to Tuscany!! I had said I couldn't afford it - but those kisses made me do it. (see story on the ICTECT blog)

My entire family congregated in Tuscany and skyped me everyday. They were planning my fathers 70th, and in the end I decided the best birthday present for him would be for us all to be together. So with those two events in mind (the kisses and the birthday) I travelled to the UK on the 13th of September (now booking airline tickets online is something I need to re-consider - the travelling story is a whole other story). Through the use of technology, skyping, email, texting - I slowly made my way to the UK, then to Goring, and then along the canal tow path - and knocked on the door of my father's canal boat. Stuck in a canal boat, away from the internet and most communication, he had no clue of my imminent arrival. He was gob smacked and I had a great week on their canal boat despite the rising river and appalling weather.

Then on to Tuscany to meet that little girl and my sister's family. Skyping has helped my nephew (check out his amazing blog about his time in Tuscany) and neice communicate with me on a regular basis, to see me, to hear my voice, to know me. Even as a two year old, Ana was able to pick up with me as we left off over six months ago. I also met up with my teenage neices in the UK. I haven't seen them for over two years. And again, via skype, blogging, and facebook our relationship is as comfortable as it ever has been.

Skyping has kept us all together. If you want to keep in touch, or rekindle your relationships with overseas family and friends, download skype today.

If you would like to know more about my adventures in Europe over the next three weeks check out treehouse dwellers. Next week I plan to skype Manaia Kindergarten children as they arrive at kindergarten for the day. Don't forget to visit next week to hear that story of skyping in education.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Can Technology benefit Eudcation?

At Manaia Kindergarten technology has become integrated into the emergent curriculum.

Digital Photography
Children use technology to record and assess their learning. It has become a natural part of their kindergarten (and for some - home) lives. Children spend time creating sculptures with blocks, building volcanoes in the sandpit, or pushing their bodies to swing so high they can touch the shade sale... Then they grab a digital camera (or ask a friend or teacher to) and record their work. Quickly the analyse the images, return to their work, and perhaps modify their processes.

Movie Making
Later these same photos are often put together into a movie using Photostory3. Children again analyse their images - this time assessing which photographs best tell their story. The next step is to talk to their images and tell their story to an unseen audience. This can be tricky concept for children, so with the support of teachers they are sometimes encouraged to preview their movie and asked if they would like to make any modifications.

Children now expect that their movies will be show cased on the Kindergarten blog. They know that when their movie is on the blog they can share it with their families at home. Families at Manaia Kindergarten are emailed when their children have an item on the blog. The blog has become a focus for parents to support the children's learning and to find out what is happening for their children at Kindergarten. They regularly leave comments for their own children and other children who share their learning.

Learning Stories
Images children create with the digital camera can also be used to create stories of learning. Using Comic Life children can easily select their images of choice and drag and drop them into picture boxes on the digital page. With the support of a teacher, they share the words they want typed on the page. Children have a large amount of control of the way the final page will look - choosing the background colour, font and colour of the title, and the shape of the speach bubbles in which to type their words.

Note: the suggestion is that Technology benefit Education - Technology is not the education.

To explore this further you need only visit schools and early childhood centre's who have integrated technology into their programme.
Check out these sites:
Manaia Kindergarten - New Zealand
Geraldine Kindergarten - NZ
Kindergarten Tales - USA
Greenwood Kindergarten - NZ
Nelson Central Primary - NZ

Technology benefiting teachers
You might also like to consider how technology benefits education by the way in which it builds professional community. When teachers are engaged in technology, sharing their knowledge, reading about the work of everyday teachers such as themselves, then the profession of teaching becomes richer - and thus in turn - children/students education benefits.

Read also:
The Benefits of Technology in Education: Real life anecdotes of Technology in use in Kindergarten
Technology for Teachers, Technology for Education

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Manaia Kindergarten Presentation

We at Manaia Kindergarten, are working towards a keynote presentation for CORE Eds ULearnO8 Conference. We are sharing the platform with other like minded professionals across the education sector. Our aim is to share with others what we are doing at Manaia Kindergarten, and hopefully inspire others in their ICT journey.

So what are we doing at Manaia Kindergarten? Well check out our blog for starters. Our aim was to build community - check out our Kindergarten blog and see if you agree that this tool is achieving this aim. At Ulearn we have 15mins to capture the excitement that is happening in our community... If you want to know more, at this stage , come along to ULearn. Just 15 mins - that's a challenge!

And then I came across this today in my professional reading - The Machine is Us by Dr. Michael Wesch. It is not altogether new (2yrs old is old on the web) - but I find it interesting as it succinctly (in 4mins) tells the story of what is happening with as a result of digital text. It is powerful! It makes you think. It sketches an inspiring exciting future. And it is succinct! Succinct is good. Succinct is powerful. It also encourages me to believe that the task ahead of us is possible, as much as the research we began (2yrs ago) has been powerful -it has been possible with the use of powerful tools... digital text.

Explore more of Michael Wesch's ideas here on the ICT ECE blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TED Talk - J. Harris: The Web's secret stories

Feeling a little under the weather, I thought I would rest, watch the sun play in the harbour from my bed, and catch up on a little ICT professional listening (prefer that to the readings!). Have you seen TED yet? TED talks, such as Ken Robinson's talk posted earlier this term on ICTECE, are mostly thought provoking, well executed and cutting edge. Check out the "Jaw Dropping" category. It was whilst browsing through this that I discovered Jonathan Harris and his amazing universe.

Who is Jonathan Harris?
Instead of re-inventing the wheel I shall quote Jonathan's profile on the TED pages.

"Artist and computer scientist Jonathan Harris makes online art that captures the world's expression -- and gives us a glimpse of the soul of the Internet."


"Jonathan Harris [is] a New York artist and storyteller working primarily on the Internet. His work involves the exploration and understanding of humans, on a global scale, through the artifacts they leave behind on the Web." Edge.org

And here Jonathan Harris tell's the secret stories of the web. (see a selection of responses to the video below).

Beverly Kaye – August 28 2008
"At Manaia Kindergarten, we are encouraging children to tell and share their stories, to express themselves and their world. They share these openly on their public blog. It is great to see Jonathan's amazingly creative approach to gathering such stories, and devising an art-form that allows us all to celebrate the importance of humanity's feelings, thoughts, and emotions, Amazing."

Allison Thagard – August 29 2007
"I love how Jonathan says that we leave our foot prints with the blogs that people write. All the technology in the world helps anyone to be able to leave pieces of ourselves to others, in the future."

samantha frost – February 23 2008
"I thought he gave a very well rounded and interesting presentation of what seems to be some great anthropological work. Look forward to viewing the websites!"

Clifton Burriss – June 10 2008
"Mr. Harris, how do you make a project like "We feel fine" and not spend an eternity reading all of that, let alone creating "Universe" which will truly be even more impossible to unravel every article? Man, I thought I couldn't get out of the chair with Youtube, Facebook, and Google, and then this fellow invents couple more info-distribution boards. Wow..."

NOW check out the UNIVERSE
And have a play...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Have you skyped today?

I was recently phoned by a telephone exchange company trying to sell me cheap international calls if I switched my allegiance to them. On the end of the line, one of those telephone sales people rambled on and on so that I couldn't interrupt and tell them to find another hobby. When eventually she did pause for a breath I informed her that I skype. A longer pause followed. I thought she was about to hang up when she asked "What does that mean?". I was amused that a sales person for a telephone company did not know about new telephonic technology. So I explained. Skype is a programme that allows the user to initiate phone calls from one computer to another (assuming that the other has downloaded skype onto their computer too). Not only can one talk to friends and family with the aid of a computer and microphone, if you have a webcam you can see each other too. The telephonist genuinely sounded impressed and asked skeptically how much it cost for a skype call. I told her that was the best part of it - it is completely free. She apologised for taking up my time and hung up.

Skype has been a wonderful way for Manaia Kindergarten children to meet and get to know children from other kindergartens around New Zealand. We have many examples of children in our Whangarei Kindergarten (at the top of the North Island of New Zealand) crowding around a computer and microphone exploring the art of conversation with children from Geraldine, Fiordland and Auckland. The skpying kindergartens have shared their knowledge of painting, matariki, possums and stoats with our children. As teachers we have been able to hold professional conversations with teachers around New Zealand and as far away as Chicago.

On a more personal note my sister recently packed up her family, with my 10yr nephew and 2yr old neice and flew off to Tuscany for a 6month holiday. It is a trip of a life time - and I miss them. My niece and I had just come to a turning point in our relationship - as happens between me and most 2yr olds. We pass that awkward phase and become buddies. So it was kinda tough on us for her to then be whisked away. The highlight for me during their holiday in Italy is that I have spoken to my sister and nephew much more than I ever did when they were just 2hrs drive from me in Auckland. We skype almost once a day - whenever Mathew is a bored he sends a little chat "Want to skype?" - and I beam from ear to ear. My niece has peered into the webcam and watched me - fascinated - but seems to have found it all a bit confusing. Today she peered into the webcam, then vanished, and I could hear her talk to my family as she pointed to the computer and said "Beverly". Later she sat on my sister's knee (her other aunt) and was taught to blow kisses. We had a wonderful time blowing kisses from Whangarei to Tuscany and back again - til I almost cried!

Have you Skyped today?
Download Skype

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can blogging benefit your children's education?

As teachers in a Kindergarten, as part of the MOE ICT ECE PL CORE Education Research Programme, this is one of the questions we have been addressing. If you would like to know more, check out Manaia Kindergarten Blog. If you are concerned about the safety of children blogging and their presence on the World Wide Web, check out our Blogging Safely Webpage - with links to articles, netsafety, and videos on how to begin a blog.

Share your edublog experiences under Comments.

Have you personalised your Google Page?

I have always seen the little link in the Google Search Engine page - "personalise your google page" - or some such remark and pretty much ignored it. The thing that attracted me to Google back in the mid 90s was the fact that it provided a clean page - unlike Yahoo at the time - and listed only links you asked it to list without adding a bundle of flashing light advertising. So personalising my Google page (which has always been my home page) gave me images of flashing lights, inane advertising, and clutter - and worse still - its self imposed!!

During the recent storm and between the episodes of power failures, with nothing better to do - I thought I would have a look at what a personalised Google Page offered. I have to say - as I have chosen the items on my Google Page - it is all rather handy. I have place on my Home Google page a small window with the days top news items, along with our current hobby - weather watching. A third small window accommodates my Google Reader account so on opening my Google Home Page I can see immediately, who of my friends and admirers, have updated their blogs.

Then I noticed that I could add permanent tabs to my Google Home Page. Google has a long list under "Add Stuff" - including (but not limited to) YouTube search engine, Google calender, animated eyes (which presumably watch your every move - scary!). YouTube is always a favourite of mine so I added a whole tab dedicated to YouTube's search engine, top viewed videos, Google's favourite google videos, etc - you get my drift.

I thought this 'tab' thing was kinda fun and wandered what other internet sites I like to be updated on quickly and efficiently - and ofcourse my addiction to FaceBook was quickly satisfied with a tab dedicated to my inbox, my friends updates, and profile page.

I looked at the idea of making my new Google Home Page 'pretty' (not usually my thing) and found that actually there are a number of attractive headers which change depending on the time of day (as I blog my Google Home Page is adorned with an attractive setting sun across a pacific beach). Maybe a bit kitsch, and you certainly have to play with different headers as some are more distracting than adorning.

I decided to visit the "Add Stuff" link one more time before the storm raging outside subsided - and to my delight I found ......... PACMAN. This game of my youth (I held the highest score in our 3rd form class in '83! - not sure if I should still be proud of that - but there you have it) now takes centre stage on my Personalised Google Home Page!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ken Robinson

This talk from Ken Robinson may be a few years old - but definitely a good watch. What seems like an obvious way forward for education, seems to be a new idea for so many. Sir Ken Robinson, doesn't so much give a definitive view on what education should look like, but rather poses some reflective questions about education today. I have felt for some time that early childhood is on a good road. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the school system followed the lead of Early Childhood Education, by following children's interests, strengths and the tools that come so naturally to them, as a vehicle to teach them many of life's necessities. And along the way wouldn't children develop a passion for learning, because they are learning about things that interest them. And wouldn't it be great if assessment did not consist of a hall filled with rows of desks, shuffling papers, tension, stress, and a pass or fail. But rather wouldn't it be great if children could be encouraged through positive assessment practices, and scaffolded by teachers who are passionate because there are sharing their strengths and interests. Because isn't it that which is important - the knowledge, skill and passion TO LEARN - and not the actual data we throw at them? Because the data we feed them today, will probably not be the data they need for tomorrow...

Here's Ken Robinson's take from TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

Also check out Ken Robinson's views on National Standards

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Team Challenge

David Spragg provided a thought provoking day, as he challenged the teachers of the Northland Kindergarten Association, to step forward positively as we face new changes. Many of us are excited by the prospect of having a new teachers join our individual kindergarten teams. David Spragg proffered that if our new challenges DON'T SCARE us, then we need new challenges. That is - there will be some testing times. It was mentioned a number of times that it takes almost two years to settle into a new job, for changes to become embedded, for a team to congeal.

Personality types
We identified our different personality types based on shapes. Many identified with the Squiggle - a person with many ideas, who can see the whole picture, who is a bit rusty on detail. The Circle was the next biggest shape - the nurturer, making sure everyone is ok and working together well. And then the square, rectangle and triangle - more interested in detail, some more so than others, some more obsessively than others. It is important to remember that no one shape is better than another - indeed it is better for a team to have one of each 'shaped personalities' in the team - a team of circles rolling around taking care of each other will not dream or get the job done, squiggles will too might have the ideas, but if the detail is not there the job is not achieved, and the squares, rectangles and triangles need a dreamer.

It was also noted that we need to treat our team members with the same respect that we treat children. If a child said "I'd like to build a rocket today!" - would it be acceptable to respond - "Mmm, No. We tried that yesterday and it didn't work." And yet for some reason we are apt to responding in this way to new ideas from adults. Spragg challenged "What is the worst that could happen in trying out an idea, even if you have tried it before, or don't think it will work - Let your team member give it a go, with the support and enthusiasm we proffer children".

Barriers to flexibility - what are our barriers. Spragg divided the barriers into three main areas - Attitude, Structure, Competence.

Attitude. We use power play, Cynicism, tradition - to prevent ourselves moving forward.
Structures. Architecture (Not a big enough office, not a big enough playground), Union regulations, Legal requirements (can't do that we're not allowed)
Competencies - Knowledge gaps, Skills Shortage (don't know how to draw), Technology deficiencies (don't know how blogs work), Innovations shortfalls (isn't measurable)

Tantrums - He suggested our barriers can be manifested in what essentially is an adult tantrum. We all do it, it is way to ensure we get things done the way we want them done - but tantrums are not helpful in a team decision. How does your tantrum manifest itself? If you feel a teacher throwing a tantrum in a meeting - Spragg suggests you point it out. It is hard, but a good decision can not be made if one member is throwing a tantrum. It is best to say "Lets put a hold on this decision until you get a grip on your tantrum." Tantrums need to be left at the door.

To build a team philosophy - you first have to be a team and have a personal philosophy within that team. Spragg suggested that we work together for a term, make notes and sort out our own philosophy in words, and then come together and work out a team philosophy.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." - Darwin

So for Manaia Kindergarten, we wait, step forward positivitely and with excitement - prepared for the new road ahead.

Friday, July 4, 2008

1968 - Future of Computers

So what did they get right and what's a little different?
What is our prediction for 2048?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A quote to share around...

This is a quote I found on Naketa's Blog (our fabulous ICT facilitator!) - and I thought it inspiring...

" The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind - computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys of the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind - creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people - artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers - will now reap society's richest rewards and share its greatest joys. "

Source: http://www.danpink.com/wnm.html

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chris and Cru - A fight for Justice

Ok - it's late - but it's passionate!!

Human rights have been disregarded this week. Two young children - twins - three months old - were murdered. After two years of investigation, a charge filed against their father, a trial, and TEN MINUTES of deliberation - somebody has gotten away with murder.

This CAN NOT happen! New Zealanders CAN NOT let this slide!

I do not know if their father, Chris, who has stood trial for their murders, did deal the final blow. Maybe it was their mother, who is rumoured to have gone out drinking on the town the night the children died, who beat them so badly before going out for the night.

The Day Chris and Cru Died - Macsyna King returned from a night away and discovered the boys had sustained substantial bruising. She and her husband took them to the GP - "who ordered immediate hospitalisation for the infants. Instead of going to Middlemore Hospital, which was only 10 minutes away, the parents went to McDonalds and returned home after several hours" (wikipedia). When the children were eventually taken to the hospital it was discovered that they had suffered serious brain injury as the result of skull fractures from blunt force truama.

As the investigations began the public were told that the Kahui family refused to speak to police.
WHAT does that mean?
How is it that children can be murdered in their home and the ones in the house at the time can decide whether or not they would like to speak to the police?
I did not understand then and I do not understand now why the police scrambled as the whanau (extended family) pointed fingers at eachother, defended the parents, and defied police. Why did the police investigating these murders allow this family to get away with it? It took 5 months for a charge to be laid.

During the trial there were many references of the abuse that Chris and Cru suffered at the hands of their parents. It is not doubted that these children sustained continual abuse during their 3 traumatic months. And even on this the law enforcers seem powerless to act.

Are we really going to allow New Zealanders to get away with the abuse of children AGAIN?
Are we really going to allow New Zealanders to get away with the murder of their children?

You can read a slightly different but equally as brutal, version of events here.

A late addition to the May 15th, Blogging for Human Rights Campaign BUT not just a post - THIS IS a call for action. See below.
Bloggers Unite

Does anyone know of a public online forum, where New Zealanders can have their voice? A site that has a moderator who will oversee a mature fight for justice. I would like to see somebody like the Commissioner for Children facilitate such a site. Children need us to fight for their rights. We need to fight for our children!

Other's Uniting in Human Rights
Everyone deserves a good Education
The Right to Exist
For more...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bloggers Unite - 15th of May

As I curl onto my bed and surf the net before I shut my eyes - with wireless broadband I can help to change the world!!!

Tomorrow BlogCatalog is running it's initiative - uniting bloggers around the world to raise awareness of a single topic of world wide concern. Bloggers Unite's previous campaigns have addressed Organ Donation Awareness (sorry I missed that one), Bloggers against Abuse, Acts of Kindness. On the 15th of MAY 2008 - bloggers will unite again to raise awareness on Human Rights Issues.

So surfers on the web, on the 15th of May, will find themselves reading a similar message over and over again as more and more people unite on world concerns.

For my small part - I discussed this event with Ash at the new and responsive DotDash social network. They too are joining this event. Hopefully more and more social networks, ...... schools, teachers, students, parents and more .... will use this time to band together and unite on a single topic of world wide concern...
and use the internet as a POWER FOR GOOD.

How will Early Childhood respond?
How will YOU change the world from your place in it?

To find out more - go to www.unite.blogcatalog.com

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I have realised that many of my blog posts are not so much about ICT in early childhood - but are focusing on ICT in schools. The reason for this is that as a teacher in the early childhood sector, dedicated to making education relevant, exciting and explorative, I find it motivating to see and share the ICT exploration happening in the primary and secondary sectors. I have been concerned about our students moving on to primary and secondary schools where there is a very 'traditional' approach to education. So it is really motivating to come across videos such as Mathmaticious. I highly recommend Early Childhood Teachers, Parents and School teachers check this out and encourage a wider spectrum of learning methods. See what school children are saying about this approach to learning via theYouTube comments.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Great Imaging of the World

Found My Great Imaging of the World from Free Technology for Teachers

Thought this was a great place to display my own photos, but it is also a great site for students looking to extend their knowledge about countries and cultures around the world. Students can also add their photos depicting their view of their world. Like a photographic wiki.

Beyond the Classroom walls

As a kindergarten community exploring the possibilities of information and communication technology, we continue to discuss and promote it's uses higher up the education spectrum. Where are our children heading? What will their primary and secondary schools be offering to further their excitement of learning using technology as a resource?

Second Life is not new to Education - but I challenge you.. are YOU thinking beyond the classroom walls?

Then again, I challenge myself. Is there any room for young children in Second Life? What are the implications? What are the possibilities?

You might like to engage in discussion about this here through comments or at BlogCatalog as part of the Education Today group.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Education today - Where to from here?

Ok - I looked up YouTube about Education some months ago and found an interesting video that made me think about my support for a new way of thinking and teaching in today's educational environment. It seemed to support some opinions I had heard about the way children are taught today. I thought at the time Maria McDermott (Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Rochester ) made some good points. Something upset me about this and I hesitated to reflect on it because I was nervous that I might have to rethink my basic fundamental beliefs about today's education (both positive and negative).

After a good deal of personal reflection, discussion with colleagues, and research - I am happy to share this video with you, and encourage you to think about it's message - and TO READ FURTHER. Compare this video with the accompaning video below and the post "Back Up Educaiton". Tell me your thoughts, reflections, on what you know, see here and other research you have discovered.

After re-searching for the above video - I also discovered this YouTube video. Watch and compare. I have added the crux of the lyrics (but not the repetitions - you can retrieve all the lyrics from the YouTube site).

what you know about math
what you know about math
what you know about math

hey, dont you know I represent LC
when i add, shorty subtract
Got my notebook
where I'm showin' all my work

Rollin 24s, mathematicians in the business
We'll be your future boss
Don't make us mad or you'll be useless.

ti-89 titanium
know I'm shinin' dog
fresh batteries in the back
to do my natural log

(hey)you know we multiply
(hey)while memorizing pi
(hey)take limits to the sky
(hey)be sure to simplify

graphing utility(okay)
does trigonometry(okay)
I'm goin' to GT(okay)
dont you cheat off me

(oh)distance is rate times time
(oh)the sine graph ain't no line
(oh)exponential decline
(oh)bet your score can't beat mine

(cheah)here everybody hates
(ch-ch-ch-cheah)cuz i can integrate
(ch-ch-ch-cheah)we're bout to graduate
(ch-ch-ch-cheah)not gettin many dates

(what)i got to find a mate
(now what)but girls just player hate
(now what)and always make me wait
(now what)but i know im not gay

calculators too slow
test is done i gotta go
all the maths inside my brain
final grade is 10 Hoe!

(ey)we rollin twenty fo's
(ey)Reimann sums are low
(ey)now calculus is known
(ey)thank GALILEO

few things here i wanna say
I can integrate all day
e to the 2x is fine
gimme something worth my time

so what you wanna do (okay)
derivative or two (okay)
think i know a few (okay)
now i wont be screwed

(oh)see all those like terms
(oh)them things you never learned
(oh)nothin' to calculate
You must have skipped that day

(what)you're stuck in algebra 1
(now what)you'll never have this fun
(now what)quadratic equation
(now what)forgot you're too dumb
(BROCK) -- "I Know All About Math"

---------------------------------------- ----
YouTube Quote "This video was made for the furthering of math by myself and my friend. Among that it was also made for a great math teacher(featured ending) that myself and others have come to respect over the years. I used an idea from the original video(www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooa 8nHKPZ5k) and made it my own. This video is by all means a REMIX. Also, this video stands as a response to all others willing to compete with their math-rapping abilities as well as video editting skills. 100% of the video was made by those SEEN in the video. Yes, Steven and I know math and yes we are that funny. Steven really is that white, I really wrote that solo, and I really do play guitar!"

Now read Back Up Education post. Your thoughts are welcome. Please leave your comments.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back Up Education - Marc Prensky

I would just like to acknowledge the great link that Cheryl (kindergarten teacher for the Northland Kindergarten Association) shared with me in a recent comment.

I am just exploring Marc Prensky's website and thus far I think he has some inspiring things to say to todays teachers and parents. Marc has a page in his site listing his writings. Thus far I have read Digital Native, Digital Immigrants and another quick easy read is Back Up Education which you can download as a pdf file to read, keep and share, share, share. What I loved about Back Up Education is how succinctly Marc puts into perspective the role of ICT in today's education environment. ICT is not going away. It is deeply embedded in the lives of young people today - they are as he writes in his earlier publications - Digital Natives.

As teachers and parents we sometimes confuse the methods of learning with the basics of learning. He suggests that we no longer teach children how (the method) to read or make a sundial - because we have newer quicker methods of (the basics) reading the time - with a machine strapped to our wrist. In the same way, why are we so caught up with putting long division algorithm and cursive writing (or any writing penmanship) for example, before ICT, - when we have calculators and keyboards?

Some teachers argue that if this technology breaks down (back up education) children need to know how to do these things manually. Realistically, Marc suggests, that if these things break down - we fix them (and I would go on to say, maybe we need to teach children HOW to fix the technology if it breaks down rather than throwing it out). And if computers, phone lines, satellites, televisions - if this whole IT network breaks down - our children's algorithms and penmanship will be the least of our worries.

You should check out Marc's website and see what else this visionary has to say.
Thanks Cheryl! If you too have any sites worth sharing, or have any views on this post - PLEASE share - Leave a comment - that's what education is about!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Press the Play button in the pink circle on the phone above. Its a little slow - so be patient. This was pretty cool - still in beta and the recording wasn't complete (I challenge you to a duel if you disagree with my comments!! lol - but then again you should share your thoughts anyway... and give Gizmoz a go!

Monday, January 14, 2008

FaceBook, Yuwie and Bux.It

Fiona and I have set our new years resolution. We have been so busy on the house over the last 3years that it is time to refocus. We have decided we need to be more social!! With that in mind I decided I needed to reconnect with old friends and in so doing, hopefully make new friends along the way. I searched the Internet googling names of old friends to see if I could suss out what they were up to and how to get hold of them again. As a result I discovered FaceBook.

I joined FaceBook about a month ago. I thought it was quite cool that I could find old friends – and I did. I sent them messages and invited them as friends. I also advertised a unit for rent ( didn’t get any bites – TradeMe is excellent on that score – though I have learnt that TradeMe won’t sell digital files such as The Chill Book you see on the right hand side). I then began to feel a little down that I could only find 13friends. I hesitate to mention that because it seems such a blight on character to ‘have’ only 13 friends. When I mentioned this to someone they said “13?!! I thought most people have 100s!”. So that didn’t boost my confidence. Then I realised slowly that actually these 13 friends are people I have found on FaceBook – many of my friends can not be bothered with it. Despite my ravings, they just don’t see the point. My REAL friends think it’s all a bit inane and get a little annoyed when I pull out the laptop to check out what my ‘friends’ are doing when my REAL friends want to go for a walk along the beach, hit the shops, chat about the day, discuss philosophy etc. And yes my partner feels it would be much more useful to get things done around the house!!

There ARE a few cool things to explore on FaceBook. You can rate how sexy you are, and constantly rate yourself or your friends in relation to how trendy you are, what you would spend your money on if you won a million, boast about the number of countries you have visited (note: check places the plane has landed at – you look more impressive that way – or of cause you can lie!!), add graffiti, get an anagram for your name (mines Best Excellent Visionary Entertaining Relaxed Loving Yummy – but I had to re-enter it a couple of times before I got the anagram I liked – the first one said “V for Vicious” – didn’t like that – I hit the computer, mangled at it’s keys, swore and pressed the REFRESH button!). The funny thing about my 'addiction' to Facebook is that I’m not one to 'poke' too much, to throw virtual snowballs, or to watch eggs hatch. (sorry Michelle – did appreciate that you were thinking of me). Then again – was she? You can share all these applications with ALL your friends by clicking a box "Share All".

My family, friends and mostly my partner will be pleased to hear that the addiction is wearing off. I think I will still keep my account. It’s good to be able to tap into the social network to advertise – though my one advert I was not at all successful. I have put another advert up for The Chill Book (read more about that here) – I thought I should send a message to all (13) of my friends to tell them about the advert – but then I consider that is using them a bit and I’m not like that – even in the virtual world.


However I am trying another experiment in Yuwie. (You don’t need to press the join button on the right hand side of this blog – or here – or here – or here - to find out all about it – but it would help with my referals if you do!). I’m going ANON on Yuwie. I’m seeing if I can be someone else online. My name is George though I still admit to being female and it probably doesn’t help that I’ve listed my blogs on my Yuwie account so my anonymity probably won’t last long if I’m actually wanting to push my blogs and blog visits. But I thought I would give it a go. I like the clubs on Yuwie and have joined up with lots of photographic clubs and of cause MAC clubs. I haven’t set up an account yet, so I have no idea how much I’m earning on Yuwie (you get paid everytime someone views your page, or someone looks at your referral’s page if you really want to find out more click here). But there is also that kind of advantage – if it really is an advantage.


I've been reading quite a bit about making money online. It seems a bit of a fickle endeavour - but I thought I would find out if this really works - if it can be done by mere mortals such as myself. Thus I joined up with Yuwie and as a bit of an experiment I’m also trying out Bux.to. Here all I have to do is click on an ad, have it up on the computer for 30 seconds and then I earn ONE cent! I thought I wouldn’t bother other people with this and just try it out on my own. There are a limited number of ads to watch per 24hrs. Yesterday was my first day – I clicked on 14 ads and earned 14cents (you want to earn that kind of money click here!). Each ad taking 30 seconds I spent 4min 20sec doing this (though don’t tell the advertisers I was also cooking dinner at the same time). Anyway I figured if I want to make $140, it would take me 420hours (is my maths correct)… that’s a long time to prepare dinner.
Fiona and I ditched the computers last night (actually I ditched the computer with Fiona’s encouragement) and we went for a walk along Ocean Beach (and I didn’t even take a camera to show you how beautiful it was – you’ll have to visit it yourself!!). We did talk about all of this – and we calculated that by using Bux.to on my own (without referrals) we would be paid $1.20 an hour. (So in order for us to make our millions we need you to click here and join as our referral.) But you don’t have to – cause this is probably a red herring and there would be easier, quicker and more social ways of making an extra buck! Besides it seems as though even Virtual George is not very pushy – and I don’t blame her!!

Right now however – I’m wandering if 24hr has passed and I can click on more ads – or I could phone Mitre10 about all the new tools we have to buy to tame our out-of-control weeds that are consuming the builders rubble left over from last years building project!!

Maybe I will leave all of this computer stuff til such a time that I’m laid up sick in bed – and just enjoy this amazing Northland summer instead…..?!

Then again read this LINK first "With Friends Like These..." by Tom Hodgkinson of The Guardian posted Monday January 14 2008 - some quotes - "Now even if you don't buy the idea that Facebook is some kind of extension of the American imperialist programme crossed with a massive information-gathering tool, there is no way of denying that as a business, it is pure mega-genius....The creators of the site need do very little bar fiddle with the programme. In the main, they simply sit back and watch as millions of Facebook addicts voluntarily upload their ID details, photographs and lists of their favourite consumer objects." And there is much on this site about the people behind FaceBook etc

Then if you would like to be more social or earn more money click the START button at the bottom of your computer and select SHUT DOWN (what is it about the PC - you have to click Start in order to End). If you are on a Mac - don't worry about it, your computer will sort it out!! And get out there, plant some seeds - yes real seeds, water the garden, share the fruits of your labour with friends (again real friends), then go for a walk on the beach, or a drink at the pub, or enjoy a boat ride around the bays!!

If you have any additional or alternative views on the above, or know of any website or REAL books on the subject please leave them in the comments section, or email me, or phone me, or tell me!! I look forward to hearing your point of view.