Friday, October 16, 2009

Everythings amazing nobodys happy

Dedicated to all those at the ULearn Conference who complained about their phones!!!! and want an upgrade to a faster, better, funkier fone!

This is to keep you entertained until I have time to write my reflections of our recent inspirations from ULearn09 - coming soon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Spell with Flickr

I'm really proud of Tayla - Fiona's niece - she has just taught me how to use Spell with Flickr. Try it out - it is a fun way to play with words. It's really easy - Tayla (7yrs) explained it all to me - and it doesn't look like a user friendly website. But you just type in your name and click 'Spell'. Then wait. The site will come up with a selection of photos from Flickr with the letters of the word. If you are not happy with one of the letters - click on that letter and it will give you another option. Keep clicking until you are happy with your choice. To share - copy and paste the code under the letters into a blog, facebook, or... other social site.

Great to hear the children of Glenbervie School are hooking a love of ICT into learning.

letter B letter E V E pemb R oke, MA L is for Public Gardens Wood Type Y

Tayla DID suggest I just use Bev - but that's just not me!

letter T letter A Y letter L A

F happybIrthday letter O N A

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Comic Life - Software Review

Fiona Grant from the MOEs Software for Learning encouraged me to write a few reviews about software we use in early childhood education. There was little doubt in my mind about which piece of software to begin my reviews.

Comic Life has been an exciting addition to the curriculum at Manaia Kindergarten. This is a software package that appeals to teachers, children and parents alike. In addition it is equally usable on both Mac and PC (though marginally faster on a Mac!).

Although Comic Life is set up to provide tools for the creation of comic strips and pages, it is quite versatile for a variety of uses.

The teachers of Manaia Kindergarten use Comic Life to write children's Learning Stories. Stories about children's learning experiences had previously be written in MS Word. We found Comic Life provided a platform to easily mix pictures and text in creative formats.

Text boxes can be placed anywhere on the page. Text headings come in all shapes and sizes. You can choose from pre-determined styles or manipulate the shape, colour, or outline of headings. When using a Mac - Comic Life provides some text formatting options.

Picture boxes can easily sit next to text. Neither moves unless you click and drag them to the desired position. A small image library window remains open with your image thumbnails. It is easy to click and drag your images from the window into your picture box. They automatically resize to fit the window. It is also easy to crop images by clicking and dragging the boundaries of the picture or the box. Picture boxes come in a range of style shapes which can be manipulated individually along with the frame, if desired.

Speech bubbles are the cornerstone of Comic Life. At Manaia Kindergarten, we use speech bubbles to type children's words and correspond them with particular images. You can see an example of Speech Bubbles in use in a recent story about our trip to the Fire Station.

Blog your learning stories easily from Comic Life. Each page can be saved as an image (jpg) and uploaded onto a website or blog.

• Bling - pages can be beautifully coloured with preset backgrounds or manipulate easily to create your own. Check out some on Manaia Kindergarten blog

• Children - the Comic Life interface makes it easy for children to create their own pages and make their own choices about images, colour, heading styles etc. Children at Manaia Kindergarten see Comic Life as an opportunity to take charge of the mouse, click to make their choices, and have direct input into writing their own learning stories. Check out Sari's story about Poi meeting her friends at home.

Purchase Comic Life - its not expensive
Comic Life is a creation of Plasq. They have a variety of Comic Life options. We use the regular Comic Life option at Manaia Kindergarten. You may also be able to purchase a bulk license to cover a number of computers and computer platforms in your Early Childhood centre. Comic Life Download Link.

PS: I am not paid by the manufacturers of Comic Life for this review - though I probably should be lol!

Best Cybersafety Practices

Further to the discussion in May on ICT in ECE blog about Cybersafety Practices for Young Children - today I found a great video to illustrate some of my points.

Best Cybersafety Practices is a video produced for TVNZ for "in betweens". Inbetweens is a series of informative videos for pre-teens and teens. The series has children, talking to children, about issues that relate to their lives - and they are great. I would have liked to embed the video here - but alas that doesn't seem possible. So go over the In Betweens on TVNZs site, watch, enjoy and be informed. Read the discussion on Cybersafety Practices for Young Children. I would love to hear our comments or particitpate in discussion with you on this topic so don't for get to return to this post and leave your comments and discussions points. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kahlua enjoys online company

There is something to be said about the global community. How far can we push it? To what extent can it benefit us, and our loved ones? Will I discover a new niche market in technology?

Our new chihuahua poodle began life like many young children today - online. Well not exactly but his first pictures were posted on TradeMe. Once I had discovered them (and then visited him with my partner), I emailed the pictures to Kindergarten. The new born's photos were displayed through the digital projector onto the big screen for parents and children to discuss and enjoy. Within hours of arrival, here, at his new home, he sat with me to skype my relatives in South Africa. Since then his image, movements, and faint sounds have traveled through skype all around the world. You too, can enjoy images of his first visit to Manaia Kindergarten tomorrow on their blog - along with the story of his first bath!

Today our new poodle chihuahua, Kahlua, continued his ICT journey.We used YouTube to connect with other poodle pups from around the world. In our first movie we watched and listened to the excitement of a group of puppies settling into their new home in Canada.

Maybe it wasn't the right time? Maybe Fiona's baking in the kitchen was too distracting? Maybe other pups are not where his interests lie?

Technology and puppies - is there a future here?
Or was this just an excuse to blog about our new little boy!
I will keep you posted :-) LOL!!!!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Child Discipline Act and The Referendum

Last week I received information in my letter box about the upcoming referendum to take place in New Zealand. The infamous “Anti-Smacking Debate” has reared its ugly head again.

As a teacher of young children, I thought it my duty to respond to this debate – which will no longer be labeled the “Anti-Smacking Debate” on my blog.

Did you know that as of June 2007, the law does not prohibit parents from smacking their children. There are 5 clauses in the Crimes Act that justifies the use of force for good parenting. (I can’t believe I’m admitting that – but it is a fact). The 2007 change in the Crimes Act prohibits parents from smacking their children for the purposes of ‘correcting’ behaviour. You can read the wording of section 59 Parent Control, No 43 of the Crimes Act

I believe that the tragedy of the current debate is the wording of the up-coming referendum question.

Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offense in New Zealand?

This is irresponsibly misleading. New Zealanders are paying $9mil on this referendum and the question has been written poorly and with bias. That alone is criminal!! I do believe it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the wording of a referendum is unbiased, well worded, and fairly executed.

It is important to understand that:
  • The law is not about an incidental light ‘smack’.
    And therefore the referendum question is immediately flawed.
  • The law is not about ‘good parental’ practices.
    And therefore the referendum question is flawed.
The law is aimed at parents who hit their children hard enough to end up in court*. It is to prevent those parents from using the purposes of ‘correction’ as a defense.

Rewording the Referendum - my thoughts:
Should parents be legally permitted to use force for the purposes of correcting behaviour?
The term ‘correcting’ and the word 'force' should be defined.

How do you think it should be worded?

How would you define ‘correcting’?

Debating the Bill leads to debating discipline.
What I do love about the bill and the referendum, is that discipline is up for debate again. It means we get the chance to talk about the ‘discipline’ of children, and we get to advocate for a better way.

As teachers, we are not permitted to hit children.

What would happen if a teacher were to ‘smack’ a child?
  • They would be disciplined (not smacked!)
  • They would probably loose their job.
  • Parents would be irate.
  • The teacher would loose the respect of families and colleagues.

  • Because there is a better way to teach children, and as professionals we should know better.

How much more then, should families learn a better way to help their children make good decisions. Smacking is lazy. Smacking is more about the adults coping mechanism than teaching children. And would it be fair to say, that left unchecked smacking can be abusive?

The definition of Discipline is “the practice of training people to obey rules”.

As teachers we are taught to respect children - (crazy to have to write that). Children naturally deserve respect. Children are capable of thinking, of problem solving, and of empathy. They are competent learners, especially young children who learn so much in the first few years of their lives. It is not so amazing to discover, that when you look for a new way to support your children’s learning, your relationships with your children grow.

Anke Richter (a German Journalist) wrote an article To Smock is to Love (2007) - an outsiders look at the ‘Child Discipline Bill’. It’s a great read, along with the discussion that follows at the end of the article. Essentially she suggests that by legislating against hitting our children, we begin to implement social change – smacking becomes ‘un-cool’. I believe that when smacking becomes un-cool (and it is so un-cool for many wonderful parents with whom I am associated), parents build richer relationships with their children. ‘Disciplining’ without smacking takes time, patience, and heaps of reflection. And time, patience and reflective thinking is the kind of modeling we need to be sharing with our children.

The citizen initiated referendum takes place in the month of August 2009. It is flawed before it even begins – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote. Educate yourself about No 43 Crimes Act, about the referendum, and about the debate.

* Parental Control Crimes Act explained - pdf download
• NZ Referendum on Child Discipline 2009 - the yes vote

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A fun look at our questions and children's answers

I saw this in Suzie Vesper's blog. It is amazing how many parents at Kindergarten complain that when they ask their children "what did you do today at Kindergarten?" the children always reply "nothing". Seems like nothing changes!!

And that is one reason our parents love our Manaia Kindergarten Blog! They read about children's interests at Kindergarten. Parents then use what they glean from the blog as a starting point for conversations with their children about their children's learning.

On further reflection - what about the questions we ask our children? Do they inspire answers beyond "Dunno, nothing, sorto, good"? How can we ask better questions?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Future of the Web - Are you keeping up?

Sir Tim Berners Lee discusses the future of the internet on BBC online.
Keep up and take part - and you will help mould the future.

3min video

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nurturing creativity

Do your best - no matter what that is - and maybe some genius will be passed through you on its way to somebody else. We are not all geniuses, but we all have a genius. As long as we show up, do our part of the job to the best of our ability, that genius has the opportunity to show up too.

An inspiring speech for all who are creative, all who want to be creative and all who didn't even know they had it in them.

Questions I asked myself when listening to this inspiring, provoking thoughtful speech.

How can we best use these ideas to nurture children's creativity and genius?
• Do you think this is a valid approach to nurturing the best from children?
• Is it a cop out?
• Is it egotistical to think otherwise?
• If you take the genius out of you and placed the responsibility for it else where - would you try as hard? would children?

I do love Elizabeth Gilbert's concept. I love that it invites all to take part in sharing the genius, being open to creative thought, allowing yourself time to catch the poem, the tune, the thought.

PS - follow the TED link and read the comments that follow this talk - some great thoughts and debate.

(good grief - I just discovered she's my age - she seems so much wiser!!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why do you blog and what are you blogging about?

There are many Early Childhood Education blogs around these days. Its great!! It is wonderful to see such advocacy for Early Childhood. It would be interesting to know WHY early childhood centre's are blogging. What is your motivation to blog? What are your aims? What are your results?

Results is a strange word. But is it time to reflect on your aims and what you, your centre and your children are learning through blogging?

Linda - another of our great ECE ICT facilitators - wrote a thought provoking post in the subject.
"What are we blogging?" is well worth a read. In this post, Linda challenges us to think about what were are blogging. We often say we use blogs to celebrate children's learning. Are we celebrating product? What is happening to the process? Is process being valued through our blogs?

Do you have an example of an educational blog that celebrates process, is driven by children, or posts from parents?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Will Richardson on Blogging in Education

I really like Richardson's description of blogging. Have you ever heard a blog described as an online web journal? Is this your experience or does the term 'a journal' make you cringe too? Richardson describes it as a space for learning and that he has learned more from blogging than from his formal education years - including his studies towards his masters. If you were to describe, to endeavor to excite others about blogging - what words would you use?

Whats your definition of blogging?
Tell us about your blogging highlight?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Best Cybersafety practices for young children

At Manaia Kindergarten we are often asked about our Cybersafety ideas, practices and policies.

  • I believe that the internet offers wonderful tools that enhance children's everyday learning, and tools to build community.
  • I believe that children should have access to the internet and a child has a right to have a presence on the internet if their family is in agreement.
  • I believe that by using the internet with children, children are able to learn some valuable lesson's about being safe on the world wide web. What a great time for children to learn such valuable lesson's when they are with trustworthy adults.

I also believe that children at home should have the same opportunities. Here are some safe practices that families can follow to teach children about the safe use of the internet.

1. Always have the computer in a family room - not in children's rooms (I would adhere to this until your children are ready to leave home)

2. Explore the use of safe internet filters on your computers. (read the comments on this post to learn more)

3. Always have an adult closely monitoring children's internet usage, while also giving children independent control of the computer. Just as you do with your children in public places - never be too far away from young children, give children more space/time on the computer as they grow older.

4. Teach your children that there are good (safe) sites and bad (unsafe) sites on the internet and what to do if they accidentally come across a site that doesn't look safe. There is an awesome example of this Cybersafety practice on Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

5. You should never put images of children on the internet without the permisson of their parents AND the permission of the child. Consider using pseudonyms or just first names of children. And teach children safe practices when our in real life public places. Keep personal contact details off the internet.

Those would be my top 5 tips. What are yours?

NetSafety New Zealand - safety tips for parents (including teens)

Blogged 27th July - Inbetweens Video on CyberSafety Practices

Monday, May 4, 2009

Building Self Esteem in Early Childhood Education

Term two begins and new children begin at Kindergarten. They each come with their own identity. At kindergarten they will develop their identity further. What will they learn about their identity while at your Early Childhood Center? What elements of their character will they see as valued? How will this contribute to their self esteem?

Unicef reminds us -

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Successful Education - A Quote

David Hutchings is a world renown dog handler and trainer, and recently featured on TVOne's Country Calendar. He's New Zealand's own Dog Whisperer, invited to the US and Canada to run training clinics in Stockmanship and Mustering. His skills, and what he brings to New Zealand mustering is significant.

And this is what he says about his own education:

"School wasn't for me...
I just found out what I needed to know, and then I found the best people around to learn from!"

Isn't that what education is all about?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New Zealand Bloggers Badge - Copy and Share!

You can copy the code below and paste this badge onto your blog. Be a Proud Kiwi!

There are two options for you below.

New Zealand Blogger badge

Step 1. Select and Copy Code you want

Step 2. Paste into an HTML widget in your side bar

Step 3. Leave a comment to say you have a badge and a link to your blog will be displayed here:

NZ Bloggers

• Naketa - ICT Early Childhood Facilitator
• Ethical Martini - This is a blog about media ethics and journalism / journalists.
• Breakaway Retreat - a luxury beach front Retreat in McLeod Bay, Whangarei Heads, NZ
• Silverspikes Photography
Auckland Daily Photography - Awesome photographs by Lachezar from Auckland and throughout NZ
• Nelson Daily Photo - Really creative photography by Ben - capturing Nelson
• A Walk Through Auckland - brilliant concept, great photos
• Hamilton Views - another great NZ photographic blog
• Tauranga Daily Photos - there looks like a photographic challenge on between all the idyllic cities of New Zealand. Another fantastic site with a photo a day from Tauranga
• Whangarei Daily Photos - a fellow blogger from my adopted home town, capturing the spirit of Whangarei. Fantastic!!
• New Views of New Zealand - New (ish) to New Zealand as a result of a mixture of technology and love, this self acclaimed 'mad woman' shares her views of New Zealand.
DutchCorner - postcards from New Zealand. Stories, photos, wonderful poems... and I have to direct you to a little bit of NZ humour!
• Cafe Pacific - Pacific media uncensored
Otautahi Outrospective - Bringing to you the daily life of christchurch nz
My UK/Kiwi Life in Photos
Maungataroto Daily Photo - a Dinkum kiwi town
• Four Paws and Whiskers
• Christchurch Daily Photo
Three Spoons - the culture of food in Aotearoa New Zealand
New Zealand Links - life downunder in NZ
Wellington Road - An American Expat, "pontificating about, you know, stuff" and life in NZ
Just Plane Crazy - Adrenaline Action in New Zealand

This New Zealand Bloggers Badge was created by Beverly Kaye.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What makes a great teacher? II

I really enjoy dialogue that comes from sharing one’s ideas online. This post is a continuation of the dialogue started in - What makes a great teacher? (13 April 2009)

Further on that subject, there have been some interesting responses that have taken me once again on journeys of discovery.


The first, from Ann, who commented on the ICT ECE PL Café. Ann submitted this quote

“When we as teachers recognize that we are partners with our students in life's long and complex journey,…
- when we begin to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve for simply being…
- then we are on the road to becoming worthy teachers.
It is just that simple - and just that difficult.”

I love the description of ‘life’s long and complex journey’. It reveals the depth of the journey our children/students are undertaking, as well as the exciting prospects education and life have to offer.

To be partners with our children/students and treat them with dignity and respect ‘ is just that simple - and just that difficult’. I believe this captures the earnestness of educators as well as the shear buzz for educators.

Creativity and Professional Judgment

The next day, Elaine's comment led me to Bruce Hammond’s blog and his discussion on Creative Thinking. His blog post takes a look at Elwyn Richardson’s pioneering thoughts. In Hammond's post he reflects on teachers being creative educators, and the universality of creativity. We need to be creative in education whatever tools we have at our disposal… (pencil, printing press, technology) Bruce Hammond goes on to say…

“Forget the research and current conformist 'best practice',
go back and see what teachers like Elwyn did….
By all means be 'informed' by research but not 'led';
we need to use professional judgement
you ought to know your classroom best…
We need to be more concerned about creating our own ever changing 'best practices'.”

In conclusion
As great teachers we need to be creative in our own ‘best practice’ in partnership with the holistic individuals we find ourselves linked with for some small part of their (and our) long and complex journey of learning.

Readings supporting this post:

Leading and Learning – Bruce Hammond

Ann’s quote is from Awake Magazine. This is an interesting source for educational theory, however if we are to be creative and holistic in our approach to education and use our professional judgment then we open up a world of resource and reference material worth considering.

Ann’s quote went on to refer to a statement by William Ayers
"We must find a better way, a way that builds on the strengths, experiences, skills and abilities... I am reminded of the plea of a Native American parent whose five-year-old son had been labeled a 'slow learner': 'Wind-Wolf' knows the names and migration patterns of more than forty birds. He knows there are thirteen tail feathers on a perfectly balanced eagle. What he needs is a teacher who knows his full measure.”

You might be interested to research William Ayers – another interesting character, on YouTube.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What makes a GREAT teacher?

My reading this weekend included a BlogCatalog discussion facilitated by Tim Wicks - Senior Teacher in a Special School for High School students. The discussion is entitled "what makes great teacher?"

The word "knowledge" or "be smart" makes an appearance in the discussion a few times and I liked Tim's response..

"You say my list has no mention of knowledge. I will add it to the list, .... I am very focused on relationships, and for me knowledge comes in way down the list. Why? So many teachers are brimming with knowledge, yet do not connect with their students."

I would add that sometimes knowledge gets in the way of learning for many teachers. I believe strongly that NZ Early childhood curriculum reflects an emphasis on 'relationships' in education - it is the teacher's job to reflect that in practice. I know that the new New Zealand School Curriculum recently add this in their Key Competencies.

The team at Manaia is currently considering, reflecting, discussing and establishing our new team philosophy, so I was interested to read international ideas about ‘what makes a great teacher’.

I read through Tim Wick's Time to Shine Blog and “15 Critical Traits of the Remarkable Teacher” and wondered what my list might look like and how our final Kindergarten philosophy will read. Tim’s list includes - Be crazy about children, Be fun, honest, Be a learner, Go beyond the boundaries of your classroom, Be a good listener, work with children's strengths, promote self management... Others in the discussion added passion, dedication, adaptability... I liked the suggestion of being a good facilitator.

I would like to make my list more succinct.. here's my list of top five...

1. Be an effective facilitator
2. Be a passionate learner
3. Work with children's strengths
4. Be adaptable
5. Have great expectations of all
6. Show respect
7. Be caring

Ahhhh - its hard to stay on just the top 5.. and already I have shuffled, deleted, added, rearranged...

Quick thinking - off the top of your head - what are the Top 5 teacher characteristics that you value?

Thanks Elaine for your comments - I have reflected further on this topic in:
What makes a great teacher? II

Friday, March 27, 2009

Reflecting on Wisdom

I began 2009 with a TED presentation that started a personal reflection on Wisdom. For some members of my family, 2009 has been a cross roads - a crucial time to move forward with integrity, dignity and a monumental amount of wisdom. It has been a time of confusion and has seemed like the days have been dragging through the mud.

Today I found this quote from the publisher of Guy Claxton's book "Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind - How intelligence increases when you think less" - and I just love it and it seems to fit. I also love that this is something we can bring to our classrooms...

"We assume that the quick-thinking " hare brain" will beat out the slower Intuition of the " tortoise mind." However, now research in cognitive science is changing this understanding of the human mind. It suggests that patience and confusion--rather than rigor and certainty--are the essential precursors of wisdom."

How often do we ask a question of a group of children. Instantly hands go up (sometimes before you have even asked the question) and we respond by randomly calling the name of a child. How much time have we given the group to think? The chosen child 'Uhmm's', bends their head, picks at their toes while the whole group wait. Then we pass them over, maybe even saying "if you don't know don't put your hand up", and choose the person who is high on their knees, pushing their arm into the sky, bursting with the desire to share what they KNOW....

...But what words of wisdom have we missed from the child, temporarily grappling with their bubble of confusion, trying to tap into their limited vocabulary, to express some profound revelation?

If anyone has read Claxton's book on "Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind", I would love to hear some authentic reviews.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Best Blog Writing?

What is the best way to blog?
I have only just asked myself this question - and I am not sure I have any answers. At Manaia Kindergarten we blog as we would a daily diary - I guess you could call this the traditional way of blogging and it works well in a kindergarten setting, with the goals of informing parents about the daily/weekly learning experiences that take place at Kindergarten.
But what about professional blogs? As I have mentioned before I have a raft of unpublished (incomplete) blog posts. With a combination of writer's block followed by an onslaught of bloggable thoughts from various sources, I find my blog is feeling my blog posts are rather 'random'. It doesn't seem that my ideas are related or continue from one day to the next. Rather it seems like haphazardly inspired thoughts explored, analysed , written and abandoned. Followed by another random thought. Yes the thoughts may have something of value on their own - but is it best to have one's ideas following a logical pattern? Would that mean more to readers, would they read more posts, and therefor be more involved as a result of time spent on a blog? Or are today's readers more interested in one off blog posts, quick sources of information/discussion? Jumping from Google search to google search?

So - time to consider some organisation of this blog? limits to themes/ideas? a more narrowly defined thread?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

Following on from "When Computers Go Down", I'd like to thank Naketa for her comment and more wholesome look at how we sometimes feel when technology lets us down. Check it out Stuck on an Escalator
- Man!, are we getting lazy?

This reminded me of a movie I watched with my niece at the weekend - Wall-E. After living for many many years on board a High Tech Space Station - the People discover they might be able to return to Earth. After so long without gravity, and in such a High Tech environment human bodies have evolved to such an extent it is doubtful that they could ever walk again... Can they ever live without lazily relying on the technology, that for so long has kept them alive... Just the very idea of taking that first step, of coming back down to earth seems... well to them its a dream come true.

Stanton (Wall-e producer) states "It (the movie) doesn't demonize technology. It only argues that technology if properly used can help humans cultivate their true nature..."

Lest We Forget - Ensure that technology works for the betterment of humanity - such as the character, Wall-e . And let us never forget the amazing abilities our brains and bodies possess on this truly remarkable planet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

When the computers go down!

The beginning of the 2009 year at Manaia Kindergarten, began at first with a bolt of fresh air. We had lovely sunny days and 8 new families at kindergarten. Our roll call topped 23 after a week or so of low numbers. It took just a day for new children to begin to explore the digital world. The cameras came out and newbies were recording their first few days through photography... photographing their first impressions of mat time, photographing the environment and new friends, photographing interests from home and sharing the photos at Kindergarten.

And then the computers went down...

Our two computers we use to create movies, upload to the blog, and email - just crashed.

I felt like we had lost a limb - In the light of our ICT project and new families excited by the possibilities, the lack of two vital computers seemed crippling.

Fortunately at Manaia we do have more than two computers and the laptops were shuffled around to accommodate. Some movies were uploaded on home computers, and we stumbled forward.

But the experience brought interesting reflections. I 'needed' to solve the problems that arose - loading photos so that we could access them again in a logical manner when the computers returned (this took a week), then re-downloading software such as Photostory and Comic Life, discovering, finding, reloading missing plug-ins, sorting codec's (which I still don't understand - never needed them on my mac)... As a problem solver I found it hard at first to move on. If you have ever watched somegreybloke, here he is expressing some of the frustration I felt.. "The Internets gone down" (warning: some inappropriate content - the first minute or two is quite relevant!! PS a new window/tab will open)

You'll be pleased to hear the children at Manaia Kindergarten continued to learn!! A downturn in technology did not equate to a downturn in learning. But it did occur to me - as education becomes more and more entwined in technology - what will happen when the computer/internet goes down? Will WE be able to switch off and learn/teach the old way? Is it even possible!! And can technology cause mass disruption in an education setting? Or is that just scare mongering?

Check out the possibilities via this news caste

- and how this may be played out for young professionals or not so professionals (ok - prehaps a little over the top! warning content may offend)
Certainly a far cry from beginning 2009 with Wisdom!!

These scenarios are good for a laugh - however have you experienced significant downtime with technology in your education setting? Are the above questions relevant? What are your thoughts?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Beginning 2009 with Wisdom

I have been waiting for inspiration to step into 2009 with a positive and meaningful post for the ECEICT blog . As mentioned before - I have a number of draft copies of posts yet to be published. They all seemed an inadequate start to the new year. Today, however, I have been visiting TED again. If you haven't joined TED - I highly recommend them.

Barry Schwartz, a professor of Social Theory, talks about wisdom. That elusive quality that is hard to teach, that crosses cultural communities, age, education - and yet without it even the most intelligent among us can struggle.

Wisdom can not be taught. However I do believe that wisdom can be role modeled. As Schwartz promotes, we need organisations both on the macro level (say Kindergarten Associations, Boards of Trustees, Committees) and the micro level (individual teaching teams, individual teachers) that value wisdom above rules...

Check out what Barry Schwartz has to say. At first I thought I would recommend that you at least listen to the first 5mins... then I listened further and if you have 10min to spare enjoy a cuppa and listen. However, I actually highly recommend that you sit down, enjoy and be inspired by the 20mins of wisdom.

Please observe there is a footnote about ECE below this video.

What is Early Childhood doing about Children and the development of Wisdom?

Te Whāriki (NZ Early Childhood Curriculum) has five essential strands - Wellbeing, Belonging, Communication, Contribution, and Exploration. These we hope are some foundational developments to wisdom. Within our everyday programme we value children's thoughts. We try to connect with individuals at the beginning of the day to get them thinking - "What is your plan for the day?". When disagreements between children occur, we try to step back, or stand beside if asked and support them as they try to think through solutions. When altercations have erupted we sit together to work out how things got so bad that someone felt they had to resort to fists, and consider other pathways that could have solved the problem.

I believe that although wisdom can not be taught, we as early childhood teachers should be valuing this quality in children, parents and teachers - by documenting and celebrating wise choices, thoughts, and negotiations and promoting wisdom by not always sticking to the rules - seeing beyond the (our) rules.

What other ideas do you have to cultivate wisdom in young and older children? How can we help to build a generation of adults who are motivated by practical wisdom.