Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sam's Spiders Web

Sam was the first to arrive at Kindergarten this morning and went outside to put out the swings with his Mum, Rebecca. Sam came rushing inside to ask for the camera as he had spotted a spider's web. It was a very misty cold morning and the spider's web was really standing out. Sam went off independently to take the photos and then came back with the camera to show me his shots. WOW, what an amazing spider's web. Sam was keen to print the photos out straight away and worked through the process of loading the photos and getting them ready to print with me. Sam showed his photos to everyone at mat time. Throughout the morning I heard other children asking Sam to show them his spider's web. During the morning, Sam asked to take more photos and came to show me more photos of his spider's web, this time with the sun shining on it. Again we printed out the pictures. I asked Sam if he would like to put together a photo story about his spider's web just like the one his Mum made about his soccer game. Sam was keen and we worked together to make a photo story. Tomorrow we will work together again on putting Sam's words with the pictures. Very soon you will be able to see Sam's photo story on our blog. Keep on checking!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ICT - Literacy & Science

Thursday 24th May - the day began with a phone call at 5.15am from Beverly to tell me she had "parked" her car in a paddock! We left Whangarei at 6.00am for a Professional Learning Day in Auckland, the venue being Auckland Botanical Gardens. After struggling in the morning rush we arrived ready for a coffee at the Botanical Gardens Cafe. A great day! Naketa and Linda, our facilitators encouraged and excited the group to gain more ICT knowledge and learn from each other. We had the opportunity to share skills and work in group situations to create podcasts, blogs and photo stories. Beverly and I enjoyed sharing skills we have gained with other Educators. We were able to showcase Aiden's preying mantis movie and talk about our learning experiences with the digital microscope. We always enjoy working alongside other Educators involved in this project, sharing stories and being inspired by each other. Just to make Beverly feel better about having an accident I organised a Policeman to come roaring up behind me, lights flashing, to give me a speeding ticket on the way home!

We have also explored RockYou online movie maker. Check out our efforts in the posting 2 April 07 - Parua Bay Primary Visits

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Auckland Regional Hui

Emma (Manaia's ICT Support Person) and I spent the day on Saturday in Auckland. We were with the many other teachers from Auckland Kindergartens and Childcare centres who are part of the ICT ECE PL Programme. It was great to re-establish our links with others who are thinking and working along similiar wave lengths to Manaia Kindergarten. It was an opportunity for Emma to meet the facilitators and leaders of this programme for the first time. The first talk focused on the research side of our ICT ECE PL programme. We were encouraged to think about the purpose of our involvement in the ICT programme. Nick Billowes put it this way "If someone goes to a store to buy a drill they are not really wanting a drill - they are wanting a hole!". Our focus for bringing ICT into kindergartens is to improve and enhance the quality of children's learning. Emma has summed up in her reflections of the seminar, "The chinnese proverb, 'teachers open the door - you enter by yourself' - reflects teachers' roles as mediators between children and the world that greets them."
It was emphasised at the Hui that Action Research, which is a major part of this programme, is about reflecting on ICT in our context and sharing our ICT story. We goal continues to be to share our stories with families and others in the education sector so that we may all learn.
Our second seminar focused on the benefits of ICT and literacy learning. ICT presents new possiblities for early literacy that go hand in hand and compliment more traditional literacy experiences. "It is an essential part of the teaching role to identify and extend new literacies" (Emma).

Emma - Mt Roskill South Centre of Innovation
"Seven years ago, in 2000, all Roskill South Kindergarten had in the way of technology was a phone, a fax, and a copier. Karen Ramsey, one of three teachers at Roskill South to take on the ICT program in 2003, talked about her experiences. The full report can be found through the Ministry of Education’s website.....Roskill South was challenged with the question “How does the innovative use of ICT in pedagogical practice build community, competence and continuity?” Karen reported that to find the answer to this they ‘looked to the children.’ Karen told some very touching stories about how the ICT program had influenced the lives of the kindergarten children. ICT helped to form deeper relationships between teachers, children, parents and the community through learning stories and photo/video records of activities inside and outside the classroom."

Beverly - Podcasting
This was a hands-on workshop on podcasting. A simple definition of podcasting is "a combination of technologies that allows users to create radio-like content with their computers and allows listeners to automatically receive that content over the Internet, then play it on their computers or portable music players." I was most excited about the use of an Apple Mac programme called Garage Band to created visual and audio commentries. I was very excited about the possiblities of this programme with or without podcasting. Using Garage Band gives us the opportunity to record or video learning and easily edit. One such application is to create digital files of children's stories (using their own pictures or published pictures), record children's voice as they read or create the storyline, add music for atmosphere, and use musical instrument to add sound affects. These could either be used to share with our immediate community at Mat time or during our sessions, or to share our learning with other educational facilities (other kindergartens or local schools). Garage Band can also be used to record children's plays and with such an easy programme the children can be involved in the editing process of their production. This will encourage critical thinking, decision making, visual and audio design etc.
We look forward to exploring this programme with the children.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Meeting the Schools

Today I (beverly) joined Parua Bay Primary, Onerahi Primay, and Whangarei Heads Primary in their ICT Cluster group meeting. I had an amazing oportunity to share with those schools the wonderful work the children and families at Manaia Kindergarten are exploring. They were very excited to see the capabilities of children as young as 3 using laptop computers, investigating nature through the use of the digital microscope, creating animated movies, taking photos, making photostories and becoming involved in blogs. Teachers from the three schools shared their integration of ICT into the various school sectors. Many of them are concentrating on Powerpoint and children are contributing to Powerpoint presentations and putting together books of their presentations that can be revisited even if they are unable to have their turn on the computer.

The schools have invited Manaia Kindergarten to be a part of their ICT cluster group and to attend these meetings when they occur once a term. This is a great opportunity to broaden our Learning Community. Who knows where this journey is going to take us all - but I know many people are very excited.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Our ICT Journey explained

Foundations for Discovery is the Ministry of Education's strategy for Information and Communications Technology in Early Childhood Education. Under that framework the Ministry is funding a professional learning programme in ICT. A major component of the programme is an action research investigation. Manaia Kindergarten is part of the pilot programme.

Manaia Kindergarten is part of the ICT ECE PL Programme. We are on a huge learning curve as a community, developing our ICT skills and sharing our learning together. The roles of the teacher and learner are completely blurred in this community. Often children can be seen teaching adults about the digital resources that are available to them throughout the day. The children's favourite has to be the Digital Blue Microscope. Everyday interesting insects are brought to Kindergarten and observed under the microscope. Photos and movies are made of the patient creatures and the children are able to share their discoveries on the laptop screen at mat time with children and parents. We have watched spiders spinning webs, see close up shots of the many eyes of flies and moths, we have watched crickets eat the insides of wasps - leaving just the shell... The children are thriving. When we can find no one to explain aspects of our discoveries we search the internet and gather indepth information. On this blog we hope to share with you are discoveries. Please contribute to this blog via Comments and share with us your learning.

Mantis Lunch