"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Thursday, 29 December 2011

New Years Resolutions

This really is a most thoughtful time of year. I suppose some of the things I have been pondering off late is how can I get the best learning environment for my students. It is of course very hard to cater to all students needs but I am wondering how the learning needs of adults will be different to that of teenagers. I guess I will find out sooner rather than later. I have been getting a little stressed as I feel as though I won't be ready for when term starts but I think the best approach is to take one day at a time. 
                "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

This week I also joined the South Pacific Book Chat http://spbkchat.blogspot.com/ on twitter #spbkchat. It was wonderful to see what others in the Asia Pacific area are reading at the moment. Apart from reading lots of education blogs and research I am an avid book lover. I enjoyed the whole experience and I didn't find the tweets were coming too fast that I couldn't follow the discussion. All in all I think it would be a good technique to use in the classroom. Was pleased I had a chance to test drive the experience first. 

It looks like I maybe running a training session on Google Sites at my new job for the other teachers. I am really enjoying every opportunity I get to train and encourage other teachers with how they can use technology to engage, inform and inspire their students. 

Have been thinking more about the logo for the business. I think I need to make it very simple. Plain colour, plain writing. Still working on that one. Thanks for the feedback. 

A couple of interesting sites I came upon this week were; Historypin http://www.historypin.com/ and Digital Docs in a Box http://www.digitaldocsinabox.org/ History Pin allows you to add pictures, audio, video and text to an event in history. Digital Docs in a box guides you through the process of making a documentary. Both useful for teachers and perhaps some creative parents to work on a project with their kids. 

My hope for this year is first and for most, make it through without losing the plot. I am very excited about my new business. There is a lot to be done to really get it up and running however I know I can do it. It will be hard to juggle new job, new company and family commitments but I am always up for a challenge. 

I pray you all have a safe and happy new year. Thanks for following my blog and I look forward to sharing with you some more next year. 

Until next year,

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A light bulb moment or two

Have found I have had quite a few light bulb moments this week.  I felt I needed to do something for my business. My good friend Sally gave me the idea to try and design my own logo for the business. She put me onto two great sites to get started. 


Great for finding some interesting images.
Once you found the pic you like you can load it up to Picnik and edit the picture.

There are lots of fun editing tools to make you pic fun and interesting.

So here are the three I have come up with so far. I'd love to know what you think. 

Sallly aka Salinafix http://purplespecs.blogspot.com/ has been helping me jazz up my blog. So over the next few weeks I may make some other changes. 

Have started preparing lessons for TAFE and started setting up a Goggle site for each of my classes so they can have all the information they need on hand and it is easily accessible for them. Found a really great webinar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVa1ba4-AGU for some ideas for pages to add to my Google site and really great layout features.

Am really looking forward to Christmas and spending time with family and friends. I wish all my blog readers a safe and happy Christmas. 

Until next week, 

Friday, 16 December 2011

Great conversations

As the silly season gets into full swing and people let down there guard into more casual conversation I am yet again encouraged that I am onto a good thing. I have had so many ideas for my business that at one point this week my brain was buzzing. My business is not yet fully underway and it is getting bigger than Ben Hur. I suppose it doesn't hurt to think big. God is really guiding to speak to the right people.

I was very glad to receive my Cert IV in Training and Assessment Certificate and I am now a qualified Trainer and Assessor for adults. I cannot praise enough Paul at SAVE Training for his help and encouragement. I have never done an online course before and he made the whole experience easy.

Had a great day at TAFE on Tuesday and have now been given all my courses. I have decided that I am going to set up a Google site for each one of my courses to help the students. Really excited about trying out all my techno ideas. Found it hard to sleep on Tuesday night as my mind was buzzing full of ideas. Have yet to get all the work for the HSC course but I am sure that will come soon. Have been reading the required texts though, The Story of Tom Brennan, Wilfred Owen poems and Strictly Ballroom and am waiting for the Shoehorn Sonata to arrive.

Yet again have found some great Tweets. The 2011 Edublogs were announced and gee whiz there are some very clever teachers. Watched a great webinar on Google Docs with Molly Schroeder https://sites.google.com/site/mydigitalfootprint/  Am totally addicted to finding cool apps for my ipad.
Really like http://www.kleinspiration.com/2011/12/breaking-news-today-educreations.html app to make your ipad interactive. I am totally addicted to Word Search HD app.

Was interested in http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/results-prove-theres-power-in-the-pack-20111215-1owyh.html Sydney Morning Herald article about the High Achievers at Sydney Boys High. They have got a good thing going there. Inspiring teachers, inspiring students. Winning formula really.

Have decided to probably wait until new year to launch site. Getting busy with all my TAFE work. I really need to get a logo for the business before I launch the site. Must get onto that next week.

Enjoy the silly season and find some Christmas cheer.

Until next week,

Friday, 9 December 2011

Hurray! I made it

What a relief! I am still awaiting my results but I finished my Cert IV on Wednesday. I don't recommend you do a 12 month course in 3 weeks and work full time! Way too much stress.

School is out and I am moving on with my new career.

On Monday I ran my first teacher course with the HSIE faculty and I felt it went really well. The feedback I got from the teachers was great. I had a feedback session with them the next day and overnight they had made two websites and were adding all sorts of things to them. They were really chuffed. It was so great to see these teachers inspired to help their students learn through technology. I get such a buzz out of excited and inspired teachers.

As some of you know I really love twitter. I find some great gems. This week the nominations for the best EduBlogs came out http://edublogawards.com/ I was having a quick read of last years award winner and he is nominated again. On his site he gave his top ten websites and I was so happy to see that on Monday I had shown at least 7 of them. The link is below. Everyone wants free stuff.
The important thing with teaching technology is that it needs to be current. Twitter and blogs are the best places to find all these new ideas.

I have become a little addicted to my ipad and have really had a lot of fun finding some cool apps for the classroom. I would love to create an app oneday. I would like to create an app that links to my website that I create. Now that school is out my big job next week is to get my website up and running.

I am meeting with TAFE on Tuesday to find out what I have to teach next year. I have the HSC texts I will be teaching and am looking forward to reading these. I still have to look at how they want me to teach it. Looking forward to it.

This year has been a big learning journey and I have loved it. I really enjoy learning as much as I enjoy teaching. I do hope others feel this way too. Thanks to all my family and friends who are reading my blog and I feel now as though I have an audience.

Keep learning, keep loving,

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Bit off more than I can chew

Have had a bit of a frustrating week. I think I set my goals too high from last week and I kind of crashed and burned. The student course didn't go real well as the students were too tired to pay too much attention at the end of the day. However I am not going to let that get me down. I thought my Shingles were coming back so I have had to have a day of R & R. In saying that I still managed to almost finish my Cert IV. This time next week it will all be done! Hurray.

Have realised that as I have been working on my Cert IV I am dropping into the lingo a little easier. Instead of students we have learners or canditates. Instead of 'in class today..', we have ' in this training session'. Just takes a little to adjust to a few changes.

Had another call from TAFE. Now they want me to teach HSC English. Very excited. My mind has been a whirl as to how I can include technology into the course. So excited. This means that I can put into practice all my great ideas and test them out before I run my training sessions.

Have been exploring how to incorporate Apple Education Apps. Have had very little time to play lately but am looking forward to having a play with that next week. Found a great website http://ilearn.empowerbpo.com/2011/11/100-ipad-apps-perfect-for-high-school.html . 100 ipad apps for education. Will have lots fun thinking of classroom applications for these apps. Yet again Twitter provides me with great ideas.

Have had a few staff members from other facualties ask if they can sit in on the training session on Monday. Am taking that as a really good sign. Must make sure my course is really tight so they can get lots out of it. Will have to have a play with Jing again this weekend to make sure I don't have any trouble uploading my videoes to a google site as I demonstrate on the day. Best to make sure it all works before I have to demonstrate it.

So.. this week not so many goals. One goal. Finish Cert IV. Hanging by my fingernails.

Until next week,

Friday, 25 November 2011

The end of an era

Yet again this week has proved to be full of surprises. I had another call from TAFE and they want me to work 3 days next year. Very exciting. I bought an epad recently (a device that makes the whiteboard interactive any where in the room). The pen didn't dock properly and recharge so I asked for a replacement. After 8 weeks they finally sent one. In the meantime the faulty one fixed itself. So I asked what to do. They told me that branch of the company had been sold in the last 8 weeks and I could do with it what I want. So now I have a spare $400 epad for free. Not sure what I am going to do with it.

I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about next year and all things new and feel excited and a little apprehensive as well. I have been so focused for the last 14 years on teaching teenagers and now I am leaving that behind to teach adults. I have been enjoying my Cert IV and I have found myself thinking in a rather different frame of mind when planning lessons for adults.

There are so many things that will change next year. I think it will be nice to not get spit balls in the back of the head. I really do love teenagers and I love the way they view and discover the world. I will miss their quirky ways and our belly laugh sessions. I will miss the buzz of school and all that goes with it. I will not miss playground duty, year 8 Chinese last period on a Friday, school sport, running detentions and school politics. So I have been reflecting a little off late on the huge change that will occur next year.

If you have seen the movie Julie and Julia you will understand what I am about to tell you next. I checked my Blog stats and found I have had 116 reads on my Blog. I can't believe my wonderful family and friends are supporting me all way on my new venture. I seriously didn't think anybody would read it. Thankyou everyone for your encouraging words and support.

As for next week I have a few things I should follow up. I need to get the website really going so I hope to get started on that. I have a student course to run for Year 10 on Thursday and next Monday I am running one of my Teacher courses. Am excited about that. Another faculty member has asked for some techno tips in the hols. Really glad for the experience and feedback from my good friends at work. I do however have to finish writing all the course notes for Monday so I had better get my skates on. I want to have all the course work for my Cert IV finished by next week so the last thing I have to do is video tape a session of me teaching teachers a new skill. I am hoping to do this on the Monday course and then I will be finished. Well all of that sounds very ambitious doesn't it. I wonder if I can get some sleep in there somewhere.

Keep smiling, I know I am,

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I got a new job!!

Well there have been some exciting developments this week. I have managed to get a job at TAFE teaching English for two days a week next year. So I now have a steady income to pay for my Business. They have Smartboards and are very happy to aquire this tech savvy little teacher.

Have yet again been having some excellent conversations with people about my new Business. Had a chat to one of the Girl Guide mums Liz the other night and I was chatting to her about the Parent course I am going to run. She thinks it is an excellent idea and I was running by her what she thinks I should charge? I was thinking $50 for 1/2 a day but she thinks that is too cheap. She said if I make it too cheap people might wonder if it's any good so she suggested $100 or $80 for pensioners and do the course from 10am-3pm. I suppose it would all depend on the venur hire costs. I will have to look into that one.

Anyway I am looking for some parents who would like to do one of my courses. The course will show you what technology is being used in your child's classroom and the basics of website creation and how you can help your kids use technology to study and be organised. If you are interested just let me know. Leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

I am now 1/2 way through my Cert IV and am hoping to finish by my birthday, 9th Dec.

Each week brings with it new surprises. What will happen next week?


Saturday, 12 November 2011

A week of experiments

This week I had a week long block in Geography and Commerce. My lovely teacher friend left the bones of the lessons and she said she didn't mind if I added a little dazzle. So I tried Kick Me. The idea is based on the silly thing kids do when they put a post it on the back of someone that says 'Kick Me'. The students were given a sheet they had to read and think about. They then had to turn it over and not look at it. They were given stickers with the answers on it. Two stickers were placed on each students back. As a class they had to remove the stickers from each other's back and work together to place the correct sticker in the correct part of the table. The students enjoyed the activity and all students were engaged in working together. We then discussed the table when we were finished. All in all quite successful.

I really love the work that Presentation Media do with their artistic flare for powerpoints. http://www.presentermedia.com/
I used many of their animated power points in my lessons this week to make my presentation engaging and interesting.

My other little fabulous tool this week has been my portable scanner. It only cost me $75 on ebay and I use it heaps. I had quite a few casual Maths classes I had to take this week. Unfortunately for one class their text books were locked in a room in a cupboard where the School Certificate was being undertaken. Forunately I had a copy of the textbook and scanned in the page and put it up on the board via the data projector and the lesson went quite smoothly. I have also used the same technique in Maths when I want the whole class to work on a problem or sheet. I scan in a worksheet and project it on the board and as a class we work through the problems together. My ePad (RM Education) is a device that allows me to interact with my computer and the computer screen that is projected on the board anywhere in the room. I can write notes or the students can write in their Maths answers from where they are sitting and don't need to get up to write the answer on the board. The students love using it and you can save the work and email to the teacher or email it to students that were away that day instead of rubbing it off the board and all that work is gone.

As I type I am battling a bad case of the flu and a chest infection and am feeling it quite a struggle to come up with things to put in my blog. However I am dedicated to the cause.

I am part way through Cert IV in Training and Assessment. Finding it interesting to learn about the VET sector. Have asked one of the Art teachers at school if he could do some designs for me for my company logo. Heard from the bank about getting a credit card for the business. Got sick and haven't got any further than that. The company thing is still chugging along.

Until next week,

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Cleaning out the cobwebs

This week has been a busy one but very productive. I have officially started my Cert IV in training and assessment! Finally. I am on my way.

Has been a slow week work wise but has been productive in giving me time to sort out my thoughts. Cleaning my daughters bedroom for four hours this week gave me time to reflect on my decision to start this business. I have started writing my Business Plan but get stuck at times and need time to think. I have been thinking about times when I just gave in because things seemed too hard. Sometimes it just wasn't worth the risk. Was speaking to a friend at school the other week and she was speaking about a parent who was highly successful and seemed to be able to organise anything or get the job done. Her comment about life is, "It's all in the attitude". How very true. If I think I will fail then I probably will. I often tell my students to have a 'can do' attitute yet I give up myself sometimes.

Anyway... Met with the the people from the local Community College to see if I can book out a room to run tutorials. She also suggested that I might be able to be employed as a casual through the college and run my courses for parents and students throught the college. Another avenue I hadn't thought of.  It looks like a viable option to hire out a room.

Met with the bank to set up Credit card payments for my courses and bank transfer for my website. Hubbie bought the domain name for the website so I will soon be up and running on the web. Things are falling into place. Praise God. I don't even feel stressed and am enjoying the challenge.

Will share some great sites with you next week.

Until next week,

Friday, 28 October 2011

The Company Director

Well this week has certainly been an eventful one. Have mostly been at work teaching all the lovely students at Lakes but some major developments have occurred.

I was able to see the accountant Jean McCloed and get some advice on what company structure would suit me best for my business. She was so helpful and given me the steps I need to get started.

So I am now the Director of eLearning Educational Solution Pty Ltd. The company is registered with ASIC and I am on my way. No turning back. Had a lead from two friends this week. My friend Steve is the head of IT at the Ourimbah Campus and he said I could book out a room or computer lab for my business to run tutorials. He also suggested I get in contact with the head of education as she might be able to pass on my courses to teachers about to graduate. Another friend Steve (fundly enough he is other Steve's brother -in-law) also suggested that I could contract out to other companies who run courses similar to mine. The ideas and offers keep rolling in. My God is good.

Since meeting with Sally I have become an avid Twitter reader. I have found more useful sites like popplet.com for making cool mindmaps. Read an interesting article on teachers in Finland. Did you know you can only apply to be a teacher in Finland if you get a score of 90 or more in your final exams and you don't become a teacher until you have a Masters! What rigorous training. Wish they had it here!

Was feeling very overwhelmed by the task ahead a few weeks ago and came down with the Shingles so I now feel great and am approaching things one step at a time in order to not get too stressed. Told my Boss at work about my company and he was great. Best boss ever. He was very supportive.

Am planning on starting my Cert IV in Training and Assessment this week.

Until next week,

Friday, 21 October 2011

Yeah Twitter

Had a great day on Tuesday with my good pal Sally who is an expert in Twitter. She was able to show me the ropes with Twitter but also gave me some ideas as to how this can be incorporated into the classroom. Have discovered that following the right sort of feeds is essential. You don't want to waste your time with people who think they know stuff but really it's all fluff. Have found a few really good people to follow. # Hash tags are a great way of joining a discussion group or creating one of your own. Hootsuite was an app I downloaded as a way of organising your streams. Really find it useful.

#edchat and #ukedchat are very helpful when seeing what other educators are doing in different parts of the world.

Some of the discussions with collegues at work this week has been how can teachers meaningfully display students digital work. Was able to give them some options like Issuu, Google Sites, Google Groups, Museum Box, Glogster to name a few.

Unable to get to the Accountant to register my company. Hopefully next week.

A few great sites I found this morning were Free Music Archive and Vimeo (alternative to Youtube)

Hoping to start Cert IV this week after registering company.

Until next week,

Friday, 14 October 2011

Overwhelmed but excited

This week has been really exciting but overwhelming. I have managed to continue to surf the net and find some new cool sites. Museum Box is a great site for history teachers to display a topic their students have been researching. I also have been watching some Google Apps Webinars which have been really helpful in my journey to become a Google Apps Trainer.

This week I have pursued enrolling in the Cert IV for Training and Assessment and will start hopefully in the next week or so. I am meeting with an accountant this week to formalise my company and then I will get started. I sat down and wrote all the potential courses I could provide and found I have about 20 I could run on a regular basis.

I have had some interesting conversations with people this week as to where I can go with my Business. Firstly I thought I would just have PD for teachers. Now I really want to also teach students. During the week I had a conversation with a friend who suggested that I also teach parents. I could do a class at the community college. Someone also suggested I do a tutorial with the home schoolers. Someone also suggested I go to the uni and run a course for the students who are just about to leave to become new teachers. So my options are really out there and are coming to me. Praise God.

My faith in God is essential to this journey. I can see his big plan for me and I am humbled by his great love for me. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Until next week,

Friday, 7 October 2011

Going into Business

Well I have really been enjoying learning a heap more on youtube but during the school holidays it is really hard to find the extra time and energy to work on my idea.

I have decided to set up my own company. eLearning Educational Solutions. I like the sound of it. I am going to offer a variety of courses on that will help both students and teacher utilise all the net has to offer to learn and study. I am very excited and have been looking at all the different requirements by law that I have to do to become a business. I will also have to get approval for my courses from the teachers institute so I can offer accredited courses that teachers will get credit for professional development.

I will firstly have to register my new company and then will have to complete my Cert IV in Training and Assessment. I am going to spend the next twelve months setting up my Business and then I am going to get started.

I am going to look into Drupal to power my site and I plan to have a go at this soon.

Until next time,

Monday, 3 October 2011

Youtube- Teachers greatest friend

This week I have spent some time looking at the various ways you can use Youtube both in and out of the classroom. The new teachers Studio or teacher tube is great for ideas. I am going to further investigate how you can make your youtube site interactive. I think it would be great to post a combination of lessons and you tube videoes on your site. Great for exam refresher. I like the idea of combining your screen castings with your other videos on a particular topic.

I have ordered my epad from RM education and can't wait until it arrives. Will try it out at school in the next few weeks. I am learning great new things each week and am really enjoying the journey. I have decided that I love flip teaching and I am going to investigate this further. I have a friend who is going to show me how she uses Twitter for educational purposes and I am looking forward to spending time with her as she shows me the ropes on Twitter.

Until next week,

Saturday, 24 September 2011


In pursuit of knowledge I have been rather busy and have not had time to add to my blog. Well in the last few weeks I have had some interesting conversations about technology in the classroom with my collegues at work. There seems some that feel that they don't have time for technology and neither can it really be useful in the classroom. So sad! Anyway I was encouraged by one of my older collegues who is well into her seventies and she has embraced all that Moodle has to offer. Her students have spent time in class and at home working through activities she has posted on Moodle. 

I have found that during the last few weeks I have been adjusting where possible the use of technology in the classroom. The students are very keen to learn other ways they can also use technology for study.

I came across and American teacher who uses Twitter in her class. Rather than stopping them from using their mobiles she encourages them to Tweet any questions or post a comment during the lesson. She says it's like a newsreel at the bottom of your screen but the discussion that appears also forms part of the students learning. What a great idea. Great for quiet students who don't normally participate.

I have spoken to another friend who saysI should look at different jobs in the eLearning sector. I have discovered that I really love sharing how to use the teschnology with other teachers and students and I am good at it. So I think I will need to investigate further what is required for me to get a job in the eLearning sector.

Found this great quote which sums up the past few weeks.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be
 those who cannot read and write, but those
who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
    -Alvin Toggler

Until next week,

Sunday, 11 September 2011

New Beginnings

As with a new day....I am starting a blog to coincide with my decision to change my career. I know there are many people in cyber space and probably no one will read this but at least I will give myself a forum for my thoughts.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Kathryn and I am an English/ History teacher. I spent 5 years at home raising my kids when they were small but am in pursuit of a new job. I have been casual teaching full time for 3 years and am finding this a little boring. I am in need of a new challenge. I have spent this year retraining myself using interactive smartboards, Ebeam, Easiteach, Adobe and have spent much time creating website for teachers to help them use technology in the classroom specifically for their subject. I have come across lots of great websites and fun interactive tools teachers can use and incorporate to make their lessons engaging and fun.

I have also been spending much time reading and thinking about current theories in education and think these ideas. such as BLP- Building Learning Power (Guy Claxton) can be incorporating with new technology to give students the ability to be life long, confident learners.

I will need to complete a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment to be able to become a trainer of these types of Education Products. I plan to Blog each week to see how I am going with my goal to teach students and teachers how new technology can be an effective way to help students learn.

Until next week,