Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Scratch Getting unstuck day 1

So I came across getting unstuck a 21 day challenge  for the programming environment scratch.
Having attended the CS firehose at ISTE in Chicago I reconnected with the scratch team by following them on twitter. @ScratchEdTeam . I found out about getting unstuck through that and have started.

So here is my first project

New learning
  • Use glide to make movement look natural
  • The motion blocks will take on the position of the sprite

Digital tote resources

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Delete multiple page - Classic Google Sites

So for a long time I have been frustrated by having to delete pages in google sites I work with. Tidying up was a tedious process where each page needed to be entered an then deleted. There was no opportunity to select multiple pages and delete going through the manage site menu. Long story short - Move the pages under one page and then delete that page to get rid of them all. Video below.

Friday, May 13, 2016

What comes First? - 5 min Post

It seems as if a focus on preschool language development is key in this Education week article.

I liked the reference to vocabulary , vocabulary , vocabulary which we has seen in the studies about the word deficits that learners from poverty are coming to schools with. The whole thing need to feel like play celebrate imagination. Oral language is far more cognitively natural than written language and a place to concentrate for sure.

My quick ideas for doing this in preschool in a digital age would be to have things like
  • skype/hangout to school
  • film a play and play it back
  • some words on tvs not for the kids but to stimulate teachers into trying to weave new talk into a day

Building ELLs' Literacy Early Is Crucial - Education Week

Sunday, November 15, 2015

WiFi for the pi

I have been interested in the Raspberry Pi for some time and have two of these great little single board computers. I have the latest version 2 board  operating as a media center/ HTPC. This replaced the older version of the Pi that I am now using to have a play with in recognition of the new world in which our learners live. One where they can develop and explore electronics and making like never before.  I want to be able to talk with and relate to this group of learners.

And So ...

To keep learning I have decided to try and build a photobooth similar to the one created by drumminhands .

One of the first things I felt need was to get the raspberry pi working with a Nano Wireless card so that I could connect to it remotely using ssh and/or VNC.

Working Wifi Cards

There are two cards that I would recommend and one I would not

Recommend using the EDIMAX EW-7811Un adapter or One of the cards Identified by Element14

This Edimax Card I got from PBtech worked for me out of the box.

The card I would not Recommend is the TP-link

TL-WN725N while earlier versions of this card worked with the Pi the later ones do not

Getting it going 
Note this assumes a working Rasperry Pi with Raspberian OS installed

What I did was start the Pi with a network cable attached. Identify the ip address of the Pi using the device list table from out router and then SSH into from the terminal on my mac. You can use the SSH client for Chrome referenced below.

Then I set up a VNC


Log in to your Pi and install the Tight VNC Package
$ sudo apt-get install tightvncserver
Next Run TightVNC Server which will prompt you to enter a Password and an optional View Only Password
$ tightvncserver
Once that is done you can start a VNC server from the shell prompt. This example starts a session on VNC display zero (:1) with full HD resolution:
$ vncserver :1 -geometry 1920x1080 -depth 24
(If fonts appear the wrong size, add '-dpi 96' to the end.) Or you could create a script to save typing in the whole thing.
$ nano (call the file whatever you like)

When logging on to the pi VNC server we need to add the right port number to our request to get a working connection

I used VNC viewer for chrome as wanting to develop understanding as to how learners with chromebooks could work with this

To set this to autostart


Display zero ( :0 ) is port 5900, display one is port 5901

Because I initiated using vncserver :1 my connection address was

Once logged in we have a graphical user desktop and can add the wifi connection.

With the details saved I was able to reboot the Rasberrry pi without the network cable and connect to it using SSH and VNC 

Stage 1 is Complete 

Here are the two chrome apps that might help those working with Chromebooks

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Powerful Network

As we  tend significantly toward working with networks of schools rather than as isolated ones I  thought it worthwhile to spend time considering how this has come about. What thinking and actions will maximise our benefits from belonging to one or more of these networks.

There is a real move to schools working together as clusters; sharing information, resources and becoming more networked. How do we make these powerful and meaningful.

Networking/clustering has been growing for the last 20 years and has contributed to a vibrant and progressing education community.

Here are three stages of belief and deliberate action that I think we have seen in networks.
I am considering the cluster/network and its impact on the learners in the individual schools within it. Each stage is of value but the third belief and deliberate actions associated with it are where I see sustained system improvement is possible.

First Belief and deliberate actions - collectively we engage with outside expertise.

My experience of this first stage started with an ICTpd contract where our school was part of a cluster of 6 schools. The network formed bring an efficiency of resources and a critical mass to a funded programme.
The characteristics of the programme were
  • Teacher only days with outside experts. This was for many their first exposure to professional development in their place. A consistent message was about the changing paradigm and the rate of change in society which we would all be faced with.
  • Experts were used in rotation with little ongoing relationship any one expert.
  • Think tanks of ICT early adopters and geeks got together to share.
  • Innovations were spread quickly through group presence and a willingness to try something new.
  • Numerous disconnected introductions of various exciting new technologies
  • Commitment lasting for the period of funding (ICTpd) ie with outside experts and little internal funding some leaders saw no intrinsic value to working as a network.

Second Belief and deliberate actions - there is power in local connections

My experience of this second belief was one where we developed the power of being in a group we called a professional learning community. For me this represents  a network able to see value in getting together sharing ideas, challenges they are facing and innovations they are adopting or developing.
The characteristics of the programme were
  • Experience with Personal learning networks showed that you could connect with others and learn. It was like your extending the PLN to schools.
  • Professional learning communities was a way to make similar connections and share learning in a local setting where people could connect face to face.
  • Given everyone was attempting change people saw the importance of helping each other in our place
  • There was something special we could do when we weren't isolated from each other's ideas.
  • These clusters brought all its ideas together with more coming from within.
  • There were too many ideas ie many conversations were lost because the variance across initiatives meant that elements of one could not fit in another
  • Commitment to this type of group is ongoing and somewhat self funding
  • Individual schools within the cluster know their impact

Third belief and deliberate actions - there is power in coherence and collective action

Russell Burt introduced me to the idea of the operational collective. This for me meant that we start to do more together and build on collective innovation. In this type of network the group identifies initiatives with promise testing them in their diverse contexts and bringing back the learning to take the next inquiry cycle.

This third belief is how I would describe the Manaiakalani Cluster as acting and developing.

The biggest difference between this model and the previous ones is that both a school and network (identity/purpose/challenge  guide the day to day activity and long term strategy in the individual schools. This allows them to “get more from” and “give more to” each other going from strength to strength.

Purposeful research allows this type of cluster to know their impact. I see them as “collaborating to compete” (Fullan). Not compete with each other but back to the latin roots of the word compete.
- Comes from Latin competere, "come together," but in later Latin, it developed the sense "strive together," which was the basis for the English term.

What I see in these emerging networks are schools becoming stronger in their individual achievements and coming together in agreed ways to make progress.

The characteristics of the programme are
  • A common language of learning eg Learn, Create, Share
  • Agreement to inquire into our learning systems with the same reference points
  • Visibility of what is happening in learning across the cluster
  • Research to know our impact
  • The impact attracts and generates wide external support
  • Making our Kaupapa -- who we are and understanding a collective identity
  • There are more partners but all in service of the learners
  • Building a base on innovation found to be effective rather than taking a “splatter gun approach” Russell Burt
  • Rich resources of how “we do this” are made for and by the cluster
  • Energetic and committed leadership that believe in the contribution of the network to individual success
  • Focusing on the learners and the community as the measure of success
  • The operational collective develop a sense that they are there for each other.
  • Being resolute and persistent

Is there a next stage to this type of network ?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Future Focused Innovation

Moving into the future usually involves some hard decision making. One of the issues is that possibilities and options are expanding over time. 

What basis should we use to choose our next move when there seem to be so many ways to do similar things?

I have been exploring how we can choose moves and innovate quickly. I believe in doing this through the development of strong communities of practice and operational collectives as Russell Burt promotes. 

In these environments the community accumulates together an evolving knowledge base or meme of how to do things. Innovation is focused on shared vision, pedagogy and agreement. Here is a graphic showing how I have experienced innovation and community agreement as being important in the development of cohesive improving system.

I have been working with my wife (Jude O'Neil) as she introduces #chromebooks #gafe etc to her students. 

New to the environment Jude might operate in many different ways for example to share a learning document with a student "you could":
  • email the document link
  • share the document through a web link
  • smart share through teacher dashboard
  • link the document through a blog
  • embed it in a learning site with other learning and supports
  • write it on the whiteboard
Each of these alternatives is an adjacent possible (a possible next step see below) but the way we decided was by thinking about the learn create share pedagogy which meant that the document was embedded on a learning site with other learning and support. 

Thinking about a pedagogy helps the community of Manaiakalani schools to adopt systems innovations that support their vision. 

What the community affords is a rigorous group investigation of all of the various "you coulds" to arrive at a best practice systems position. This can undoubtedly change over time as other innovations get tested. 

In my mind powerful innovations can often be measured against their ability to be taken up widely by the Operational Collective and then spread wider. 

This is a type of networked innovation that is able to deliver an almost adjacent probable to those pondering over a few adjacent possibles. This is one of the reasons I value being part of the Manaiakalani community.

Postscript Came back to edit this post to link to Dorothy Burt's post about the Manaiakalani folk who recently offered their innovations and inquiries as professional development to a wider group of teachers.

Adjacent Possible 

One of the speakers at the GAFE summit held
Auckland recently was Lucy Clarke who talked about the adjacent possible

"The adjacent possible is the basic motivation behind all human progress. "

It’s the ever-present set of opportunities at the boundaries of our reach. And:
The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them. Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations.

The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.Sep 28, 2010

Monday, March 30, 2015

That's a whole lot of devices to charge

I've been lucky to be visiting schools that are all working with device dense environments. Almost everyone is looking for a place to store and charge them. In this post I am trying to think through the stories that people have told about their solutions and what has made a difference.

My favorite upcycle storage design

Where this most often has gone wrong is in the smaller details. The self organising bit is important particularly in enclosed spaces.

One tip I have found really effective is colour coding and numbering. We added a colour plastic cover for our samsung chromebooks which mad it easy to identify which was missing and for learners to know they were returning the device to the right place. This is particularly useful if returning a device to a different place.

Colour Coding

Cable Management
This is probably the hardest thing to get right. A missing charger will mean that a chromebook or tablet can't be used.