Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Using google translator to extend a language interest

K and I were reading a picture book together, then she started counting in Spanish. She counted from 1 to 10, and she asked me how to say 11 in Spanish. I had no clue, then I turned on the translator apps, and showed her how to use it. She carried on and learn up to 19.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Creating Great Presentations

There are two awesome sites that allow us the not so computer savvy to create awesome presentations.

Prezi - Prezi lets you turn your ideas into great presentations, have a look at "If you put it that way"

Speaker Deck - this lets you upload presentations in pdf and turn it into something nice.  Also has easy share feature that allows you to share on facebook, twitter, embeded link with one click.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Monday, 11 February 2013

Google Maps

Google maps is a good tool, I've created a map called Our Education Community which list all our colleagues in the area, training institute, the local marae, kohanga reo and events happening around the community the kindergarten in.

We could also add children's home to the map, it's like the e-version of hand-drawn neighbourhood.

Google maps version can add the children's photo there, children can type their own name and address and get a sense of their home address, and they can also see where their friend's houses are.

I invite you to add the language(s) spoken in your community on the language map. Click on "Edit", find the street you live in (by typing in the search box), right-click and choose "Add a placemark".

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Using Google Calendar

Early childhood centres and kindergarten can use Google calendar to plan, share events.

I've created a sample kindergarten calendar, which can be made public or private and share with only people you selected.  I can also embed the calendar to my website if I choose to.  Parents can sync the calendar to their iphone if they want, no more copying and writing it down, parents can access it on the go.

We can use the calendar to:
  • Share events like fundraising, parents evening
  • Share public events that would be interested to parents e.g. free shows, family fun day...etc
  • A separate calendar for staff to share and collaborate meetings...etc

How to add other google calendar to iphone?

Step 1

Write down or copy the URL for the Google Calendar you want to add to your iPhone.

Step 2

Tap the "Settings" icon, then scroll down and select "Mail, Contacts, Calendars."

Step 3

Tap "Add Account" and select "Other."

Step 4

Select the "Add Subscribed Calendar" option, fill in the Google Calendar URL in the Server box and click "Next." Change any settings you see fit before saving the calendar. You do not need a username or password.

Step 5

Toggle your view of the subscribed calendar by opening the Calendar app and tapping "Calendars" in the upper left corner. Tap a calendar name to either display or remove calendar events.


Any other ideas to use Google Calendar?

Monday, 4 February 2013

Benefit of e-portfolio

Has your centre manager (or administrator, head teacher or parents) complained that it's been a long time since the children's portfolio updated? 

Do you sometimes get 'writer's block' when you sit in front of a computer trying to write a learning story?

Why suffer?  An e-portfolio can make life easier.  

Sometimes a picture says a thousand words, taking photos with meaningful description and share it in children's blog (e-portfolio), what's better, a video can tell the whole story.

Benefits of e-portfolio, both for individual child and for the whole centre, from the Ministry of Education site:

The outcomes for children, include:
  • experiencing the instant and immediate opportunity to reflect on events, experiences and learning
  • making individual decisions about the look of their blog
  • making independent decisions about what documentation they value
  • a greater interest in peer's experiences, which has spring-boarded into more involved conversations with peers and staff
  • an increased interest in literacy, as children are drawing meaning from what they are seeing.
The outcomes for parents, families/whānau, include:
  • feeling more connected to their child's life at the centre
  • experiencing the emotion and achievement the child feels as evident in their e-portfolio
  • enabling distant family members and friends to see what is happening for the child
  • the ability to easily revisit learning through the online e-portfolio
  • understanding how learning is achieved over time (not always evident in paper portfolios)
  • enabling children who are absent or attend part-time to easily 'keep in touch' via the e-portfolio system.
The outcomes for teachers, include:
  • a richer picture of both events and learning (more so than still photos and text) through the use of video and other multimedia to chart children's learning experiences
  • recognising that teaching practice has become more transparent because of the blogs - they must be on top of their game professionally
  • more purposeful face-to-face conversations with parents
  • strengthened relationships with families that lead to meaningful learning for children. Teachers have found that parents are more likely to respond to a post on an e-portfolio.

After trailing different blogging platforms, wordpress, blogger, google sites, edublogs, I found blogger being the easiest for everyone.  Blogger's interface is user-friendly, very easy to use, it can also import word documents so it's spell-checked & grammar checked.  It can host public and private blog easily, not many people have problems getting into private sites, I had a lot of issues from people getting into wordpress private blogs.

Another pros for using blogger is that the centre or kindergarten can add affiliate links, and adsense easily to get additional funds for resources.  For example, recommending books, apps, dvds, so every time a parent buys from clicking the link, the centre/kindergarten will get a commission.  Or every click on ads on the site.  This is not major, but it's a compliment.  Imagine, a centre can run a fund-raising project on the website, and all family, extended family, friends of parents can help by buying products they can use on the site.

Cons for using bloggers is that it can share files as easy as on google sites, but you can always link to a shared file in google drive.

I don't see a lot of early childhood centres use e-portfolio, I wonder what the challenge is?

Is it:
- about Internet safety, privacy issue?
- not familiar with blogging?
- a bit of a hassle setting the system up?
- doesn't have reliable Internet connection & necessary equipment?

Please share your thought in the comment section, there's a solution to all of the above.