Virtual School Meanderings

September 1, 2014

Newsletter For The Ethos Community – August 2014

A third item from my Kiwi readers…

A newsletter for all members of Ethos Online Community – August 2014


Kia ora, everyone,

It feels as though spring is in the air in New Zealand, and that a much-needed change in the weather may well be on the way!

A rainy August does offer opportunities for more exploration and thinking. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative seems to be gathering momentum, with early adopters already seeing some interesting results, especially when there is a shift in pedagogical approach toward a more student-led learning experience. For example, Catlin Tucker, describes how enabling “students to use their devices in the classroom has been absolutely transformative” (source). She also mentions how equity of access to devices becomes less of an issue where a culture collaboration and sharing (including of devices) is cultivated. In fact, she shares that she prefers “the energy in the room when multiple students share devices. They lean in, they ask questions, and they have conversations” (source).

Other education institutions are at a slightly different place on their journey, and are working to implement change. Margaret Macpherson, shares a post (Using the future) about how she is working with a small team to help guide change.

I was also struck by one of the quotes Marg shares from a participant at a session she facilitated: “usually this sort of thing makes me feel like it’s too hard for me but this has made me feel like something I can do” (source). It’s interesting how much is captured in that one quote (and, admittedly, I am prone to reading too much into things!). At face value, it speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the approach Marg and the team are taking (awesome!)

What it also said to me, though, is, deep down in a lot of educators is the notion that they lead the learning and the change. There is often, I feel, little sense of teachers thinking ‘this is something my students can do, and I can be involved in that learning journey with them’. I suspect this has much to do with how, as a society, many folk perceive formal education.

As a result, and I could be out of line here, much of the pace of change in education seems to be dictated by the speed that educators change their thinking and approaches, rather than the rate that learners can adopt and run with such changes. It feels, therefore, as though the focus (as the folks with the power) is frequently on the educators, rather than the students – and this focus is often supported by parents, whānau, education policies etc, because this is what we perceive education to be.

What do you reckon? Would be good to read your views.

Welcome to new members – August 2014

The Ethos Online Community now has 324 members. Hope you will all give a warm haere mai (welcome) to August’s new members to the community:

  • Ali Hassan, is a developer from Punjab, Pakistan. Hopefully the information we share at Ethos will translate into being useful for development.

  • Angela Cameron, is interested in teaching in a BYOD classroom. Angela is a teacher based in Christchurch.

  • Catlin Tucker, is a teacher, Professional Development facilitator, speaker & author based in Santa Rosa, USA. Catlin has a vast amount of experience in many fields, especially in education and e-learning. Looking forward to your further contributions Catlin :).

  • Charlotte French, whose interests lie especially within developing active, engaged thinkers and learners who are confident articulators of their own ideas and thrive in a collaborative environment. Charlotte is a secondary teacher based in Lower Hutt.

  • Jenni Lemberg, is an advisor based in Nelson. Jenni is interested in using the community to enhance her work with teachers.

  • Kamal Bouskri, the CEO of, is based in Marrakech, Morocco. Kamal wants to stay in touch with learning and e-learning to enable him to share information and meet others in the industry.

  • Nicola Hildreth, hopes to find information from the Ethos Online Community members to take into her classroom. Nicola is a teacher based in Auckland.

  • Rebbecca Sweeney, a Professional Learning facilitator based in Wellington. Rebbecca is especially interested in how ICT enhanced learning and teaching increases engagement, equity, achievement, collaboration.

If you know of anyone who might like to be involved in the Ethos online community – or to contribute a guest post, please feel free to invite them using this link:


Member Blog Posts

In this newsletter, as always we have some great featured posts. Please jump into the conversation and feel free to ask questions.


  • Featured blogger for this month, Catlin Tucker, gives us 5 tips for managing mobile devices in the classroom – just as the title suggests, this post looks at how these devices can be incorporated into a learning environment to enhance learning experiences, rather than a distraction, as many educators may see them. Some great tips and insights.


  • Managing change in your school looks at the obstacles that may interfere when trying to implement a change and how one may overcome them. A great read from Leigh Hynes, thank you.

  • E-Learning: Its not just about technology  is from Co-founder of, Kamal Bouskri. Kamal has done much research into the issues that stop or hinder institutions from successfully adopting e-learning. Kamal has kindly shared with us some of the feedback he has encountered. Very interesting, would be great to hear what others experiences with this are also.

  • Litiana Yabakivou shares with her a great experience she recently had, that not only shows how technology can bring people together, but how sometimes it can actually aid tradition and culture. Have a read here.

  • John S. Oliver delves a little deeper into the process of pondering and how thought process works. Take a look here.

  • Collaboration and networking with a future focus is a great introduction to one of our more recent members Rebecca Sweeney. Rebecca shares with us her interests and experience around things such as effective teaching as inquiry, school leadership, collaboration within and between schools, school improvement, and research and evaluation. There’s also links to Rebbecca’s blog and a site she’s been working on which focuses on creating resources. A great way to get to know a new member and all they have to offer, thanks so much Rebbecca.

  • Using make the future is a great video and prezzi presentation used by Margaret Macpherson when giving  a presentation on Future Focused Learning at Ashcoll – why enable e learning – moving to BYOD. Some great information on e-learning and its advantages; well worth a look.


Recommended Blog posts and Discussions

As always you have contributed a great variety of posts this month. Thank you. Here are some of the posts and topics that you may find of interest:



Recommended videos

From the ever growing repository of videos (1,052 in total – thanks as always to John S Oliver for his awesome contributions), these are a just few of the highlights.

  • Humans need not apply discusses the prevalence of machines and increase of these machines doing what were previously human tasks. Always an interesting topic, would be great to hear others’ thoughts or experiences.

  • The mere mention of unions often provokes strong reactions, and if you watch this video, Teachers’ unions vs. students (narrated by Terry Moe, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University), you are likely to come away with an opinion!

  • FCB Brasil and the CNA language connects CNA students in Brazil with Americans living in retirement homes. The meetings are carried out via an exclusive digital tool that uses video chat technology to bring the students face-to-face with Americans. Real, global connections and learning english takes a more indepth look at this with some glimpses into the exchanges.

  • From the page to the classroom: Implementing the common core state standards (CCSS) looks at the background of the CCSS as well as including footage from some New York classrooms trying to implement these standards through integrating complex English texts into their curriculum.




Lots of other things happening (online courses, conferences and other opportunities), including The 3rd year of Electronic International Interdisciplinary Conference (EIIC) taking place on September 1st. This event is virtual, which is a great opportunity for people worldwide to take part.


Here are the events listings for more details about some of the superb opportunities available.


Please feel free to add events to share them, or just let me know and I’ll add them :-)


Many thanks once again to, Catlin Tucker, Leigh Hynes, John S. Oliver,  Kamal Bouskri, Litiana Yabakivou, Rebecca Sweeney, Margaret Macpherson, Janey Nolan, Yvonne Hynson, Clive Shepherd, and Niki Davis. Please keep your posts (including cross-posts), comments and recommendations coming :-)


Nāku iti nei, faafetai lava, and warm regards



Hazel Owen

Education consultant / Director

Ethos Consultancy NZ Ltd

PO Box 90391, Victoria Street West,

Auckland 1142

Phone +64 (0)9 9738027 / +64 (0)9 5750206

Mobile +64 (0)21 2273777

Web site:


Email addresses: /

Skype: hazelowendmc

August 31, 2014

Statistics for August 2014

This entry is being posted back-dated.

In what has become the norm… A quick, back-dated statistics entry for this month… This past month there were 3,822 visitors to this blog – which is down about 100 visitors since July, and about 300 or so less than August 2013.

The top ten entries this past month were:

  1. Questions About The School Of Tomorrow
  2. Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education
  3. Guest Blogger: 5 Reasons Why K-12 Online Learning is Growing Fast
  4. Online Education – In Ontario
  5. Instructional Technology Dissertation Topics
  6. Leadership Day 2014: Educational Leadership and Virtual Schooling
  7. Early Bird Special – May 2013
  8. Defining A Dissertation Topic – Which Aspect Of K-12 Online Learning?
  9. Cyber Schooling And Homeschooling
  10. Student Holiday Notice

In what is still kind of unusual, but has become a bit of pattern in recent months, seven of the ten entries were actually written in April (n.b., 1, 2, and 6 were not).  I wonder how this lack of activity from the archives impacts the overall usage.

Search engines account for 10 hits to this blog for every one hit from another source.  The top search terms that were used included:

  • online education in ontario reviews
  • history virtual schooling
  • california catholic virtual school
  • middle school cartoons
  • ncaa high school online schooling
  • holiday note to students
  • studies on comics in rural schools
  • stats for students with ieps in cyberschools vs. brick and mortar schools
  • “bet you didn’t dream this” cartoon
  • education reformer school broken business remedy online

Finally, the statistics from my old blog site.


[DEANZ] August Newsletter, Member Survey And A Special Offer To Members

Note the members items, which may be a reason for you to consider joining DEANZ.


August newsletter, member survey and a special offer to members
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Hello DEANZ member

In today’s communication we have the following for you:

  • DEANZ August newsletter (links to a PDF document)
  • DEANZ member survey
  • Special offer for DEANZ members.

With best regards

DEANZ Executive

DEANZ members survey

Dear DEANZ member

Just over two weeks ago we invited you to participate in our DEANZ member survey. Thank you to those who have done so. This is a chance to voice your opinions about DEANZ and help us identify ways we could better serve you. In order to participate in the survey, please go to
before midnight on 5 September 2014.

The survey takes less than 20 minutes to complete and is confidential and anonymous.

Please take this opportunity to have your say.

Many thanks for your valued contribution
DEANZ Exec Committee

Special offer for DEANZ members

Clad Services are running an Online Facilitation Train the Trainers course on their Qualify Online website, starting the 15th September. Clad Services are offering DEANZ members a 10% discount on this course.  Here are the details and a link to the course.

You are receiving this email as you are a member of DEANZ. To unsubscribe please use the unsubscribe link below.
Our mailing address is:


c/o Kathryn Mac Callum, Eastern Institute of Technology
Private Bag 1201


New Zealand

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DEANZ ( · c/o Kathryn Mac Callum, Eastern Institute of Technology · Private Bag 1201 · Napier, HBMC 4142 · New Zealand


NZC Online Newsletter August 2014

A series of items for my Kiwi readers to end the day and start tomorrow…

NZ Curriculum Online

Vol – | 29 Aug 2014

If you are having trouble viewing this email please click here
Kia ora and welcome to this edition of the NZC Online newsletter, filled with up-to-date ideas, resources, stories, and research to help you consider, review, and design your school curriculum.


New section – Reviewing your curriculum

New Zealand schools have the scope, flexibility, and authority they need to design and shape their curriculum so that teaching and learning is meaningful and beneficial to their particular communities of students.


Reviewing your curriculum.

NZC Online has launched a new section that supports schools in the process of curriculum design and review. It includes information, research, tools, suggested areas of focus, and inspirational stories to help schools make decisions about how to give effect to the national curriculum.

Supporting blog
A supporting blog post has been developed that offers a guided tour of the new section. The blog explains curriculum design and review and guides visitors through the structure and features of ‘reviewing your curriculum’.



Student and teacher.Smooth transitions for students with special education needs
The final film in the Mt Roskill film package explains how students with special education needs experience positive transitions at the Mt Roskill campus thanks to the collaboration and close relationships between teachers, support staff, therapists, and parents.
View all films in the Mt Roskill collection.


Tongan Language Week – Mark your diary
Tongan Language Week / Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga takes place this year from Monday 1 September to Sunday 7 September 2014. This resource page provides ideas, resources, and inspiration to help you learn and celebrate the Tongan language with your school community.

Cook Islands Language Week and International Languages Week were celebrated during August. You can use ideas from these resource pages to support the learning of languages in your schools throughout the year.

Science Online – Five science capabilities
Five Science capabilities were recently published on TKI. Teachers often ask why they were called ‘capabilities’. Dr Rosemary Hipkins of NZCER explains why the capabilities were developed (what they are supposed to ‘do’ in terms of teaching and learning), why they were called that, and how they fit in with our curriculum’s key competencies. Read her article Unlocking the idea of capabilities in science.

Ministry Bulletin for School Leaders
The Ministry Bulletin for School Leaders | He pitopito kōrero is the central channel for communicating school-related information. The bulletin is sent to principals and board chairs fortnightly on Monday mornings and is published on the Ministry of Education website. See issue 13, August 18.

National Standards – Inquiry for accelerated progress
The Ministry of Education has developed a set of resources that respond to the national aggregate Public Achievement Information data. These resources have been created to support schools to inquire into what needs to be done differently in order to accelerate progress for those students requiring additional help to meet expectations.

There is a progress and achievement inquiry tool that enables you to compare your school’s achievement picture with the national picture. There is also a tool to help you focus your inquiry on students not meeting expected levels and to plan specific teaching actions using strategies and resources to support this. Resources for parents and whānau to use at home to help support their child’s learning are also provided.

If you have any questions, please contact

Professional learning

Supplementary support application for professional learning and development 2015
In order to enhance your student achievement, this year the Ministry has created an online form to support your access to appropriate supplementary support for 2015. Whether you are a school, kura, or cluster, this form will allow you to choose from one or both language/mediums, English and Māori. Application deadline is 19 September 2014.

FREE financial capability workshops for year 1 –10 schools
Free financial capability workshops for school leaders and teachers are being held across the North Island during terms three and four. During the workshops, participants will explore the purpose of financial capability in The New Zealand Curriculum, examine the financial capability online resources, and discuss strategies for integration of the financial capabilities across current teaching and learning programmes.

Learning area highlights

Technology Online

New video resources on Technology Online:

Technology student.Teaching strategies: Engaging with technological products
These videos show a secondary school with a great approach to exploring materials. Each video has accompanying curriculum links and reflective questions. Four new videos have just been added.

Technology Online newsletter
Technology Online now has a newsletter for all teachers of technology from years 1–13. The first issue was published on August 7: Technology Online newsletter, volume 1.

Keep up-to-date with what’s happening on Technology Online. Go to the home page to sign up for the newsletter.

Coming soon

Exploring the Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017
This blog post examines the Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017. It provides resources, ideas, and stories to help schools raise the participation, engagement, and achievement of Pasifika learners.

Spread the word

Please share this newsletter and encourage your colleagues to subscribe to the updates 

Want to be informed of new tools, resources, and stories as they are published? Join our FaceBook page for updates.

[STLHE-L:] CyberCourse: Open Source Course Authoring System

While this came across my radar screen through a higher education forum, I think it is quite relevant and useful in the K-12 environment as well.

CyberCourse is open source software for authoring courses. It’s best for university skills courses, like programming, writing, and math. It makes assessment-driven classes practical.

Build a course with many exercises. Students write programs, write emails, find math logic errors… No multiple choice quizzes. Students get individual formative feedback from humans. Practical at scale, at low cost.

CyberCourse (Cyco for short) supports mastery learning. Students can improve their work, until they get it right.

Pseudostudents (pseudents) are virtual students who go through the course with the real students. They help with deep learning and metacognition, by modeling appropriate responses. For example, real students can see how pseudents react to information overload.

Patterns (schemas) system to help with deep learning.

Blueprints help authors plan courses, before they start writing.

Responsive. Works on laptops, tablets, phones, etc.

Plus other stuff.

It’s at

Reactions welcome!



I forgot – here are more pseudent examples:


Kieran Mathieson
Associate Professor of Management Information Systems
School of Business Administration
Oakland University
Rochester MI 48309 USA

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