Wednesday, 29 August 2007


One of the things that I am doing at the moment is reflecting on how units of work have gone, or how they need to be improved.

I came across this blog while looking for a new unit for year 9. I am looking at using scratch as part of a simple programming unit for year 9.

Scratch is available at

Now while on this blog I found a couple of other resources, lego SIM:BOT I have 5 RCX kits and now I am after the build instructions so I can get teachers playing with them during a staff PD session.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Daylight saving time increases in New Zealand

I have an ethical dilemma at the moment, do I inform our IT department at school that they need to update all the laptops and desktops + servers in the school to allow for the changes to daylight savings time. If these changes are not done then there will be problems with emails and our Student Management System. Or should they be aware of it already

Is it my job to let them know, or do I just act ignorant?

I might just patch my own systems,
If you are interested the patch is available here

30 April 2007

New Zealanders will have three weeks more daylight saving from 30 September this year following the decision by the Labour-led Government to extend the period to 27 weeks, Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker announced today.

Clocks will go forward an hour a week earlier than usual - on the last Sunday in September- and back an hour on the first Sunday in April, instead of the third Sunday in March. This is the first change in daylight saving since 1990.

“The decision means people will have an extra hour of daylight in the evenings from late September to early April to enjoy the outdoors. This builds upon the extra half an hour already built into New Zealand’s time throughout the year,” Rick Barker said.

“The earlier start will also avoid clashing with the start of the fourth school term, which has caused disruptions for schools and families in the past. However more broadly over the longer term we will also be monitoring the effects on other parts of the economy, such as the energy sector, to see if there are long term sustainable benefits.

“Part of this ongoing monitoring will include the Department of Internal Affairs actively engaging in research that identifies potential positive and sustainable impacts experienced by other territories that have extended their daylight saving regimes,” said Rick Barker.

Rick Barker directed the Department of Internal Affairs to review daylight saving following public debate generated by Nelson City Councillor Mark Holmes in March 2006. Mr Holmes and United Future leader Peter Dunne recently presented a petition to Parliament on this issue.

“The Department of Internal Affairs will now work with computer companies and industries to update operating systems incorporating the time changes before the start of daylight saving,” Rick Barker said.

Daylight saving for 2007-08 will start at 2am on 30 September 2007 and end at 3am on 6 April 2008.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

ElectroCity - a fun educational game

What is ElectroCity?

ElectroCity is an online computer game that simulates, in a very simplified way, energy management in New Zealand. ElectroCity allows players to create their own city and explore different approaches to energy and the environment. It is educational and fun.

I love this game, it is fun and exciting and I have learnt something, electricity and how wind turbines work. I love being able to create a city and no matter what I do you get a different result each time.

From the About Us

How is energy generated? How much does it cost? How does it affect the environment?

These are extremely important topics today, and are no longer just the domain of engineers and industry experts.

ElectroCity was developed to increase public awareness – particularly among students – of the basic "common knowledge" of these topics. That is, the general terms and concepts of the industry and the dilemmas that go along with them.

Our goal is not to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the controversies in the various energy debates. Rather, our goal is to spark an interest and lay an unbiased foundation for later learning.

We set out to make a game that was fun and educational. A game that gave kids something different to do in class and share with their parents. And a game that was clearly designed and built in New Zealand.

ElectroCity is proudly brought to you by Genesis Energy. Genesis Energy is a leading generator and retailer of energy in New Zealand. It generates electricity from a range of sources including gas, coal, wind and water.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Quake III and gaming addiction

I put an entry form in for a competition on a magazine which comes out to school promoting good ICT skills and management in the classroom. The game I submitted was Quake III Arena. I use this as a tool in my classroom for when I am teaching year 12 programming about the societal implications of gaming addiction.
The following is a conversation that is happening between the magazine and myself, I am finding it interesting and its good having to put my thoughts down on paper (oh well on a keyboard).
Interface's email

We had lots of entries and an amazing number of games were mentioned, with hardly any appearing twice. It seemed too good a resource to ignore – and I was wondering if you could help us?

I thought it would be good to introduce these games to other readers. Would you be willing to write a brief profile of the game you use? Nothing huge, 100-150 words or so covering:
the name of game and where it can be found (is there a trial/demo version?)
a brief description of the game and how it’s played
an outline of the educational values you see in the game – the reasons why you like it

I hope you can help and look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks and regards

oneteachersview response

Game I have used in the classroom – quake 3 demo, multiplayer,

1. Quake 3 Arena Demo

2. First Person Shooter, keyboard/mouse. We mainly use the multiplayer function.

3. We use this in Year 12 programming class as a reward as well as a educational experience for my programming class, we run two servers and they combine as teams to achieve a common goal (teamwork). We also use it as part of social implications as part of the Technology Curriculum, as we look at addication to gaming to meet the Achievement Objectives.
Interface's response

Thanks oneteachersview.

Just one question: You mention you use the game for Year 12 - what age range do you think it’s suitable for?


oneteachersview response

That is really a good question, although most of these games have a rating of M or 18+, in New Zealand it came with a rating of R16. Most of my students have played Counter Strike (cannot install on school network due to licensing issues, Quake III arena comes as a demo which I am able) and other first person shooters and get heavily involved in MMORPG’s, in a way that it causes them to miss school, I let them experience a fps (first person shooter) and take notes of there actions throughout the lesson, this is taught in conjunction with gaming addiction unit that looks at the societal aspects outlined in the technology curriculum. I have questions and a discussion at the end of the lesson, which does give me some interesting thoughts about how they perceive the gaming world and gaming addiction; I would have had 2 students in the class who had not played quake III before.

I have attached some of the work that the students go through for this as well, see gaming addiction task.pdf (not in this blog...sorry).

Students work through the gaming addiction task which is marked as part of there Achievement Standard in Technology,
The video that is described in the task is First Person Shooter the video (

Using this knowledge and understanding they then create an educational game on a teenage issue using some game development software called gamemaker as part of there Achievement Standard Technology 2.1 and Achievement Standard Technology 2.2 and Achievement Standard Technology 2.7 see for more information.

Will wait for more

Monday, 20 August 2007

Discussion on ICT in the school

Summary of discussion questions

What do you think about how our students learn? Has it changed over the past years?
More use of IT, availability of information. Students don’t all learn the same/ variety of ways. Multitasking, applying knowledge. More opportunities to learn in different ways, more interactive learning, increase in ICT, student technology savvy ‘digital natives’, moving away from more traditional teaching methods, practical involvement, activities, group work, research on internet, interest, more student focused rather than teacher directed, teacher facilitator, multi tasking, more demanding, more options, use of graphic calculators, declining levels of student commitment to learning now we fear this will continue.

What changes will be needed over the next 5 years?
Use of Internet, games, reliable systems computers, advance workshops, scaffolding to solve problems, thinking processes, more computers, training for staff, accepting of new changes, more connection with students, more critical about sources, 24/7, better reliability, class room blinds, subject amalgamation, more access to technology. Some subjects more than others, some subjects not practical to use interactive material, both technological and traditional factors needed to be balanced, mindful of assessment style used. Has potential, exciting challenges ahead. What are teachers going to teach? Students still need to understand underlying principals, methods, basics, must be able to interpret/apply answers they have.

What changes have you already made to your teaching over the last 3 – 5years?
Availability of technology for everyone, more integration, acceptance to change, paradigm change, data projector, internet resources, becoming more open minded to new ways of learning/methods of learning, less paper work/ worksheets, more electronic, more group work, thinking about how we can incorporate into learning, Power point, data projector, ASTTLE, more group work, discussion, integrated curriculum.

What obstacles will be in the way of you making changes needed?
Money, time, space (room), access, choice, class size, availability of technology in the class room, confusion surrounding ICT, willingness to change, too much assessment, trust, old buildings, knowledge/training. Danger of using technology to teach in the same old way, time to change.

The handout information
Over that past few session we have talked about how our students are changing along with changes to the curriculum and assessment. This has meant changes to our teaching practice with the increasing use of ICT resources, (educational technologies).

We all have different ideas and interpretations of these issues and it would be good to discuss these.
What we would like is for you to mix up in groups of different departments and discuss the questions. Could you please appoint a scribe and record responses on the A3 paper.

what a normal teacher must go through

I have been kicked out of my room for a day, the reason for this is that all the motherboards in my room need to be replaced, well the motherboards in three rooms at school need replaced. These were all the computers that were purchased this year.
So this could happen I was removed from my classroom and put into 3 other spaces for today. S5, B4, and E10.

S5 is a computer lab used by Technology and Science, its a pretty good room in its layout and design. Same with B4, these two rooms are not too bad. The only complaint is that they have Macromedia Flash Player 6. Why might this be important you may ask? Digital Learning Objects, one task I was going to get my programming students to do today was work through a DLO and see if they can apply the outcome to their own practice, pretty hard to do when you need at least Flash Player 7. Ok sight grumble there. I never realised that I would miss my classroom so much, I think I take it for granted now. It has been my room for the past five years, although I do "visit" the other computer labs in the school, but for the briefest times.

E10 is a social studies room, with no computers in it. Ok how am I going to teach without computers, well get some pieces of paper, some pens and away you go. I had my students designing GUI interfaces for a mp3 player, weather application, youtube interface and last but not least there virtual pet. Man, what other teachers must go through when there is no computers in front of their students. To gain there attention and make lessons interesting.

I look at some of the teachers that come into our rooms and watch the teacher sit at the front of the room working away while the students play games or watch videos, rather than do the work that they are supposed to do. It is a different way of teaching, they have a media centre in front of them, available to do most things and instant access to the world, IM, social networking. These are now becoming to much of a problem in school. The students are always on, what this means they are always online, wanting access to talk to other people, the cellphones, internet and other communication, they "need" to use it. Bebo to them is an addiction, they need to be on it, see who has given them the "luv", commented about there page, upload the latest images and fill in the blog entry for the day. We can only do so much in the way of locking down websites, it is up to the teacher to direct what the students do in class.

The latest however is another proxy bypass site,, man all you have to do is do a search on Google with the term "mmproxy" and thousands of them pop up. It used to be poxy pass which was the popoular one, but this one seems to beat them all.

oneteachersview can do it!
One of the other things that happened to me today and it does start to annoy me, is that a staff member found a video that they wanted to include in a powerpoint presentation, now when they go to present this they will not have any internet access, how can she present her presentation?
She went and visited the technician who could not help her, she then went and visited the IT Manger who couldn't help her, who is also the video technician, they suggested oneteachersview, yes me. Now if anyone can do anything in the school it is oneteachersview. hang on, I get no public recognition of what I can do, have no administrator access, but when it comes down to "we cannot do it, see oneteachersview and he will be able to do it". I get frustrated. Of course I help the person, but it is becoming more frequent this type of we can't do it, see oneteachersview. Youtube is a wonderful resource, allows you to convert youtube videos to other formats, select .mov and then using adobe premiere elements convert to windows media file. 20 minutes work, would have been quicker if I had my power cord with me - never do it on battery again!!
Bring on the ICT position in schools, come on Ministry of Education and PPTA help a fella out.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Books in the Wild - newspaper article

Teens are in the good books
By RANI TIMOTI - Western Leader | Friday, 20 July 2007

A new scheme aimed at getting more teenagers reading starts in Waitakere city this week.
The Books in the Wild programme is an innovative book-sharing initiative targeting year 9 and 10 students.
Popular teen book titles will be left at locations around the city, including schools and indoor public areas.

Students are being challenged to hunt them down, register online and make comments before leaving the books in similar places for others to pick up.

The 14-week trial programme is being coordinated by the Waitakere library and information service.

Spokeswoman Adrienne Hannan says it's difficult to get younger teenagers into libraries.

She hopes the programme makes the library more appealing to them.

"The modern library is more like the living room of the city, with computers, games, DVDs and CDs in addition to books, magazines, reference material and study guides," she says. "If we can raise that awareness through initiatives like this then we stand to create a new generation of library users."

Library staff have been promoting the scheme around schools with great success.

"About 200 kids at Rutherford College were trying to get into their library first to get the books," she says.

"It was a similar scene at Waitakere College."

The programme features prizes for students and schools. It will be extended to other age groups if it is successful.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Don't bluff a IT professional

Heya, here is the latest, I proved this morning that there was a fault with the proxies and that we were not using external wireless, and that there was a problem with speed, I love

Year 9 Proxy Server (wserver2.*) 400 students (xxx.yyy.zzz.bbb which is a account)
Download Speed 3435 kbps(429.4KB/sec transfer speed)
Upload Speed 605 kbps (75.6KB/sec transfer speed)

Year 10,11,12,13 Proxy Server (wserver1.*) 1400 students ( wish is a
Download Speed 594 kbps(74.3KB/sec transfer speed)
Upload Speed 316 kbps (39.5KB/sec transfer speed)

As you can see this is without students accessing those servers, 7:33am this morning.
As I kept getting told there was no trouble, I had to prove it, now I get the following email from him. I have a migraine.
From: Insert Name Here
Sent: Wednesday, 15 August 2007 10:42 a.m.
To: oneteachersview
Subject: student internet speed


Before I rang watchdog, I used a new router instead of the one from watchdog, and tested it. The speed was up to 2000kbps/500mbps (download/upload) even while many students were online at the same time.

Watchdog has confirmed that they were having speed problems last week. We didn’t use that account so I didn’t know that. They say it will be sorted by next week.

So now we are not using watchdog filtering. If there is a problem, we will move your classes to another account.

We encourage all staff to report any problem directly to us and then we will try to find out the reasons.

Thanks for your help


Insert Name here.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

One statement I get sick of

Noone else is complaining about it. <- this is a statement that annoys the hell out of me!!!

Who else teaches programming, who else has students with a gmail account as the school won't give them a email account, who else is using blogs for the students to keep details of their achievement standard. Who else is using .NET programming and game development! Frankly why would anyone else complain! maybe I should get my students to do research in network hacking and broadcast floods, connect up one powerful server with two 1Gig cards in it and tell them that they do not pass until the network stops working! That is how annoying that statement is to me!

This is a statement that our IT guy keeps telling me at work. No one else is complaining about it. Hell I complain if the students can't access the internet. Man if you are checking that the Internet works when you login to the server, of course it will always work. Check it from a classroom machine when you have a full class trying to access websites and none of them work. I will insert the image of what the students got tomorrow.

School changed proxies last week, and I have been having issues ever since, websites blocked, pages not loading. I put in a complaint and the response I get in an email is that the year 12 and 13 students that are having the problems is that they are still on the same proxy server, ummm, then why is it coming up wserver1.* where as before it was wserver2.*, I get sick of people who try and bluff there way through things, when the person at my end is clued up and fed up with the stupidity. Why change things half way through the term, just as everyone is trying to get through assessments. This is due to the over usage of last month.

I am a ICT teacher who is quite web intensive!!!
My email to the IT Manager, DP, Technician and HOD
Good afternoon

Since the introduction of the 2 proxies, Internet access has been worse than ever. WebPages and websites either do not load or are blocked. Until last week I have not had the issues that have plagued me this week.

Today period 6, I had students accessing to keep a record of their game development. I had four students logging in and the page/website would not load even after 1 minute. This was carried out at 3:08pm, and again at 3:11. Some students no longer have internet access, not even will load. This whole entire year 12 programming class during period 6 today either could not access page or could not access the internet or had problems accessing sites today.

Internet access has also been slow and troublesome for students during classes the rest of today as well, either slow or pages not loading. Period 5 with a year 9 class doing research for a teacher who had booked the room was causing problems, slow internet access and pages not loading.

This cannot continue!

Please revert back to the status quo!!!! Or don’t muck around with year 12 and 13 accounts as internet access for these students for me is vital.
Our IT Guys reply

I don’t know what you are saying! I have been watching the student internet all day. Year 10 – 13 students all are using the same proxy and same internet account, but only you had this complain. I also test aatest12 both can go to and Of course, seems a little slow, but that is their problem. Don’t you think there were some other reasons?

We started to use two proxies from last Monday, and all users were sharing one internet account only, on last Friday, all students were using wireless internet. From this week, only 4 year levels students share a Xtra account, the only different is monitored by Watchdog this week, but wasn’t last week.
Confused as this email con fuddles me, 4 level students are using wireless accounts? Hand on, you say in your email that they are using the same server and same account!
To me, year 12 and 13 should be on the adsl accounts and year 9, 10, and 11 should be on the wireless.
Friday, I am glad I wasn't at school on Friday...
from a previous email
If they re-login this morning after Period 2, Year 9 students should go to wserver2, all other students should go to wserver1.

wserver2.* is the original proxy server
wserver1.* is the new proxy server
+ we also have another proxy for staff.

I am getting confused, he says one thing and writes another that contradicts the previous email.
IT Manager email from last week to the DP forwarded onto me.
Missed catching up Thursday afternoon, to let you know where we are up to with logging student internet use. With the new proxy with y10 - 13 are on, we can extract the user history into excel though a bit fiddly, but will work on stream lining it so you can get direct access. If you need details of where a specific student has been we can do it, just ask Insert Name here to check with me and I will check the routine with him. The usual logs should also be available but I think there is some problems at present Insert Name Here is working on.

IT Manager
oneteachersview needs to see Insert Name here or Insert Name here and they can sort out the problem. If he is away he could tell his students to go to student reception and ask for Insert Name Here or Insert Name here if there is a problem. It could be just a site Insert Name here has block for high internet use and can be easily unblock in a minute. I will get Insert Name here to get oneteachersview to list sites he uses so we don't block them. We are hoping to have another internet link soon we don't have to worry so much about consumption in the future.

If you see Insert Name Here remind him to remind staff that they can send students to student reception so Insert Name Here or Insert Name Here can fix problems immediately so to reduce interruption.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Fight - Lost Phone

While out on Duty today, there was a scuffle with two students, this lead to more students becoming involved, me falling over in the mud and losing my cellphone. Wonder if karma is on my side, or not.

Note: Thank you to the student who found the cellphone and handed it into the senior leadership team.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Internet Usage

I thought I would write about one of my experiences this year, the school switched to broadband adsl access away from wired country at the beginning of the term 3. Now we were doing around 32 Gig a month through the student proxy. Since the change over we hit 52 Gig, that is were our cap is at. And we still had a week and a bit to go to be able to get access to the new data. We do the normal thing, block all the social networking sites, try and block proxy sites through watchdog our internet filter provider. Also block is youtube. So how did the students go over the cap is such a large way.

My guess is stupidity.

Someone got up at the staff meeting and announced that we now had faster Internet access, come on, why would you do this... We have staff members at our school that would tell the students this, what will students do, they will work out a way around it and to use it. I have a cap of 10 Gig at home, and I use all of it each month. Someone suggested that it was the game sites that cause this problem, yes they do cause some of the problem, but not approx 10 Gig of flash games, there is something else that has caused this.

We keep logs of students access, however these are not easily accessible. but we do have a proxy log of traffic, websites, and traffic from users that we look at. However Monthly usage wasn't looked at, partly because its at the bottom of the page. Using this list we looked at users that were above 200 Meg for the month, I know that this is kind of low, but when you average out 1800 users it is rather a lot, 200 Meg and above is the at the top 19 users for the month. The top user reached 1.4 Gig for the month. How is this possible.

I was in the Deputy Principals office 3 times in one day because of this, as I seem to be the fountain of knowledge. It is difficult due to the fact the school does not have a adequate network use policy. It is way out of date and does not bring into account anything that it in todays schooling. I have been quoting the current network use policy since joining the school five years ago. The last update was in February 2004. We cannot do anything about these students this month, but the warning has gone out, be in the top 15-20 in August and be prepared to answer some serious questions. It cannot just be games, it has to be something else.

Most of the top users are in the ESOL department, where they spend most of there time at school. Internet usage is mainly mp3's and social networking sites. But what we need up there is education, unfortunately we do not have the resources in the first language for these students.

Other students that are in the top usage are the design students. how can this be, research, or just mucking around?

There are more questions to ask, but we will see what the month usage holds.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

ICTPD Thursday

Two documents were talked about

New Curriculum Document
Enabling the 21st century learner
Clip showing the teaching and learning taking place at Orewa High School, now a Year 7 to Year 13

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Wild on Books Part 2

Wild on Books - Day Two

Having responded to the email from yesterday that contained the podcast, I have now had another from my friendly librarian;
NO HURRY! I was just wondering if it is 'physically' (electronically?) possible so we could think about giving it a go. What do you think about next term? We don't have to have 160 books - we could reduce to 5 copies of 10 - 12 titles 'released' into the wilds of the school Library, with focus on Yrs 9 & 10.
Thanks for being so positive,

Background One of the problems we have is getting students to read books, our school has a goal that each student should get 2.4 books out throughout the year. we have approx 1800 students, half boys, and half girls. The boys get out less books than girls. The Library doesn't issue really until half way through term one when they get their ID cards, and stop issuing 5 weeks out from the end of school due to stock take and to make sure all the books issued that year have been returned. We have more than 10,000 in the library.

So each year we try to get over 4,320 books issued to students to meet the goal, a normal week we may have between 100 and 200 books, through the 7 weeks of the reading competition we had around 350 and over 400 books taken out. I think we had over 2,000 books taken out in that period.

This "books in the wild" might help as well, it gets students using the Internet for something other than playing games as well as helping our schools reading and writing level.

Plan and Design
Some things to think about when designing the database
We need to record or have a record of each student, these can be exported from our Student Management System, why not have them set a password and username, well the students don't have email accounts to be able to have there forgotten password emailed back to them, I have thought about using Active Directory, but don't really have the access to the main school web server. We will use one of the Servers that I have setup at the school, will probably setup one of the ict servers with this, it does need to have a bit of grunt behind it, as there may be up to 30 students accessing it at once, maybe more. I will use there login codes that they have at the moment, and the password as there date of birth DD/MM/YY.

Next is looking at the books that we will be using, what details should be available for the students, if they enter a code the book should come up, or does this need to be there? Or should this be a double check to make sure that the student has found the right book?

Students registering the book?
Students entering the information once logged in, (log out?) code of the book, details of the book? I think I need to be able to access the Waitakere system (Books in the Wild) for more of this information?

Student Table
StudentID Number this could be associated with there school id - unique identifier
Username? This is not needed as they will login using there stduent ID Number 4 digit number. This means the students need to have their ID card present with them, even to get a book out.
Password = Date of Birth, too difficult to link in with active directory.
Ethnicity = for statistical purposes?
Gender = for statistical purposes?

Barcode -unique identifier
SpecialCode mix of alpha and numeric characters

EntryNumber ID
Excitement score
Date and Time Issued

Photo Idea, setup an email address for students to email there photo to...

Design of the site, it has to be interesting and grab the students attention. Should it be a book? Or simple pages? Multimedia? Images? Somethings to think about for my next blog entry.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Wild on books

I was away on my field trip today and when I returned to school I had an email sitting there from the Teacher in Charge of the Library about a teenage initiative thats is being carried out in West Auckland secondary schools.
Can we do this?

Thanks so much Angela for drawing our attention to this. The link is

and is worth listening to. Congratulations to Waitakere library team for coming up with this brilliant idea. The whole interview is very thought provoking.
Now I have been busy looking at this and working on an idea for the use of this at school, however it will involve a little bit of work, the pilot and idea were originally designed by Waitakere Library and we will look at using some of there ideas. This will be done in conjunction with the Librarian at school.

200 books could be a bit of a large task, however creating the stickers to go inside the book will be easy, and creating the codes simple.

The website however? Do we make it only available inside the school or available outside the school.

What is involved in the website when students register a book? It sounds like we may have to do a trip to the west of Auckland for a bit of investigation. is the website that the Waitakere Library have created, and Manukau Library also have an idea of point allocated to books with there idea of Manix
There is a huge difference between these sites, however I think there is also a larger issue at stake, they have a great idea, but not the interface to engage the users, the manix pages are basic webpages, they need to employ someone who has an idea on how to create good websites. The books in the wild website has some good graphics but the overall design lets it down, students expect more these days.

More information about the "books in the wild"

Ground-breaking literacy programme for Waitakere teens
copied from

The wild west is set to take on a new twist with the launch of a ground-breaking teen literacy programme in Waitakere City.

In a New Zealand first, the city's Year 9 and 10 students will have the opportunity to participate in 'Books in the Wild' - an innovative book-sharing initiative involving the release of popular teen titles into "wild" places around the city.

Waitakere Library & Information Services is kicking off the trial programme with the launch of eight specially selected teen titles into the city's secondary schools on the week of July 16th. The challenge for the students is to hunt down and read the titles, register them online and release them back into the wild for others to read.

The titles include contemporary and classic novels, as well as non-fiction, and half are written by New Zealand authors.

There are a number of great prizes up for grabs for both individuals and participating schools, including a Playstation Portable and games, 30Gb iPod, Vodafone phones and airtime and Whitcoulls vouchers, as well as virtual library vouchers that can be redeemed in Waitakere City libraries for games, DVDs and CDs. Each book contains a unique identifying number, which allows the holder to register online, comment on the book they've found and enter the prize draw.

A digital photo competition is also being run alongside the programme - the challenge being to take a photo of one of the eight books in a 'wild' place. The winning photograph will be made into a new library card for 2008.

Children's and Teens' Services Librarian, Adrienne Hannan, says it is hoped that the Books in the Wild initiative will inspire the hard-to-reach teen market to become more engaged in literature.

"If we are going to grow the future capability of Waitakere City, we need initiatives like this that will help to grow its levels of literacy," she says.

"It also helps them to see that the library is not just about print resources any more. The modern library is more like the 'living room' of the city, with computers, games, DVDs and CDs in addition to books, magazines, reference material and study guides. If we can raise that awareness through initiatives like this, particularly with young people who may not have been brought up as library users or given books in the home, then we stand to create a new generation of library users."

If the 14-week trial is successful, Waitakere Library and Information Services will look to extend the programme to other age groups.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Reflective Practice

I was reading another persons blog today and found one of the statements really interesting.

"Often in our classrooms we get so busy planning for and managing the lessons we do with our students that we don’t allow ourselves time to reflect...Taking the time to reflect critically on the things we are doing in our classrooms is perhaps the most effective thing we can do to ensure that what we are doing is having the desired outcomes, and is changing our practice in the ways we want it to" (Wenmoth, 2007).

Reflective practice, through my teaching training and going out to schools on practice I used to keep a dairy of my time at the schools, I would write this up on my $500 laptop and email it off to my father each night. I really didn't care if he read it or not, it was something I was going to do. It was also part of my assessment while at college. Writing in the diary become something of second nature, I was writing about the classes I attended, taught and observed, how the students reacted with one teacher and then another. What worked well, and what didn't and how when the fire alarm rang we just sat there in class and carried on working. (I loved that day) No none really had any idea on what to do, as the fire alarm went off three times during the lesson. And to watch the next morning briefing when the SLT decided that a continuous ringing bell should be used as the alarm and to forgot what they had originally been told. But going back to my point, I enjoyed writing the journal and still have it in my area in the resource room for when I am having a really bad day, It is interesting to see what was happening in my life 6 years ago.

I started to keep a online diary when I started here at the school I am in, It was on a server at home in a home made PHP/mySQL database. The server is still somewhere and I should rip all the data off it one day and bring it in or incorporate it into my current blog through the use of the Post Options function.
Newer technologies have taken over and the blog is the new form, if you have read any of my previous entries it mainly focussed on the incompetence of the SLT at the school and how some of them blatantly show off that they do very little at all.

But one thing I am finding out now through using the blogs it that I am focussing on my teaching and professional development. I am finding these really useful for taking notes as well as being able to provide feedback to the department at the department meetings.