Sunday, May 27, 2012

Standard Issue

We want people to reach standards! Having National Standards give us some new information that we are able to aggregate and compare.
One thing we all need to be careful of is seeing the standards as a goal above others. Thinking about and knowing how to administer the standards perhaps shouldn't be the central measure of professionalism.
When we hop on the scales every day  to check if we have the lost weight that Christmas bought us
we might be better served by going for a run or a trip to the gym. Change takes time and something has to happen to achieve it.

How often should we check for standards?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Growing Pains - A Bigger Network of Schools

I work with a professional learning community who has as one of its goals:

Interest groups who have not met previously are developing networks and increasing capacity across the schools

As it has grown we are needing to change
A key role of our regional group is to provide school leaders with information about leading change, engaging with and building community the power of networks and cross school moderation and sharing.
The scale and size of the community will be determined by what it means to principals, leaders and teachers. Communication methods have changed now that we have over forty schools who want to belong.

Push vs Pull
Communication structures are important and the balancing of push vs pull mechanisms are a challenge. Here’s how we see the conflict. Push being things we send (encouraging attendance, informing) without letting people decide if they want that information. Pull being things we can provide for people that have asked for them eg interest groups, web sites.

We have looked at various ways of matching written, email and website communication. Registrations and memberships are one thing but keeping a community up to date is another.

We have also approached the regional Principal’s group to try and get a face to face opportunity.
Placing our network within others and connecting through them is a goal. Relying on one central network we felt was unsustainable as was proceeding through gatekeepers to people who have their own connection points. Especially when it came to email communication

Why did this need doing?
This means getting the communications mechanisms right for a regional group if it is to be sustainable and effective.

What did we learn as we did this?
What we learned is that the systems need to be wherever possible streamlined and for the division of roles to be established with the administration group i.e. financial control, membership communication, e-mail communication, association with other groups eg principals groups. We see it is important to use face-to-face and person-to-person contact to establish an understanding of what membership has to offer. Offering other ways of communicating is vital to let friends hear the messages they want to and to talk back.
The ways to gather up a community needs to be varied so that we develop an overall effect of clear timely communication.

What have we achieved? What did this mean for you?
We have been working hard to get the contact addresses for members within the primary sector into categorise schools so that we might be able to send information appropriate to their needs such as secondary and primary groups. We have extended the belonging offer to Waipa, Matamata Piako and the Waikato region. This helps interest groups develop critical mass.

How do we know it's working?
We know we have some communications do because we only have six members schools from the secondary sector. Information from schools outside of the Hamilton district expressing interest in membership shows that they are watching us to communicate with them and to have an option for professional learning in the area of ICT. We also knew that we needed to address this issue and make decisions around how and when to communicate to members. Because of a greater allocation of funding was in the final year of the contract we are adding things to the programming as we proceed forward. Our previous mechanisms were insufficient.

What advice would you give others trying to do this?
Our advice to others and achieve this is to utilise automation tools and have ongoing reflection as to how we are reaching our community. We are looking to utilise mailchimp as a method of collecting addresses for contact and allowing people to choose what they wish to be informed about, how regularly etc. Event registrations through google forms are used to record contacts for updates and happenings.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In Our Own time

When we give kids a challenge and some ownership they love it.
They learn as well. Having offered students a chance to come in at lunchtime and work with Lego robotics we have about ten committed students. 

They turn up consistently and work on this.

They are experiencing flow.

One of the ideas I am working on with this group is that
this is not a race and to acknowledge their own achievements.

The Temptation is to "borrow code" from others a little further ahead. 

With our own efforts well get there and when we do we'll understand more than borrowers.
With our own interests and challenges we are more likely to see this through.

Another quote to support this is "be a maker not a taker"

What Mckenzie had to say about Robotics and their Robot Storm.

Storm "So far we have built our robot. We are currently wireing and putting on our sensors. We downloaded the program we needed to use to program our storm robot.Our robot is basically made out of lego,  I like building Storm because it is a great challenge to achieve."

Finally Have a look at this clip that comes without sound.
5 seconds only. What it show is grandparents looking at the kids playing with robotics. I don't think the future is all about robotics but the looks on the faces of grandparents shows how different their learning and lives were.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Restore contacts - Gmail Help

I kindly offered to send a friend a group of contacts in Google. I unfortunately sent her my whole contact list of 1291 rather than a group of 18.

Restore contacts

If you make changes to your contacts that you want to undo, you can restore your full contacts list to an earlier saved version. This allows you to undo changes like:
  • Recovering contacts that have been accidentally deleted
  • Restoring contacts after an unsuccessful sync
  • Undoing a recent import
  • Undoing a recent merge

To restore your contacts to a previous version, just follow these steps:
  1. Click Contacts.
  2. From the More actions drop-down menu, choose Restore contacts.
  3. Choose the time you'd like to revert your contacts list to (e.g. 10 minutes ago, one hour ago, one week ago, etc). We suggest that you also make a note of the time that you restore your contacts, in case you'd like to return to where you started.
  4. Click Restore. You'll see a confirmation at the top of the screen when the rollback is complete.

To undo a restoration:
  • When the operation completes, a notification bar will appear that gives you the opportunity to immediately undo the restore. This notification bar will disappear if you leave Contacts or make edits to your contacts.
  • If the notification bar is no longer there, you can always re-run the Restore Contacts tool to take you back to where you started. Just set the tool to take you to the time just before you started the whole process.

The 24 hour rule for Chat contacts:
When you delete a contact in Contacts, it will also get deleted from your Chat list. After the contact is deleted, Chat still remembers the invitation status for that contact for another 24 hours. So if you restore a deleted contact within 24 hours, it will be fully restored in Chat. But if you restore a deleted contact after 24 hours, you'll need to re-invite that person to your Chat list.

Restore contacts - Gmail Help