Virtual School Meanderings

May 2, 2017

Your Ethos Newsletter for April

One for my Kiwi readers…

Your newsletter from the Ethos Online Community – April 2017


Kia ora, talofa lava, and greetings,


According to many sources, the amount of decisions humans make in just one day averages around 35,000. These multiple decisions are probably seen as completely normal, and maybe even insignificant, due to their slow build up over time and the day-in day-out consistency by which we make them.


However, these seemingly small decisions paint a much bigger picture. The things we say yes or no to, essentially form our boundaries and dictate the direction our lives take. So, is it odd then that boundaries are generally seen as restrictive rather than enabling?


Sarri Gilman is an experienced marriage and family therapist. She is also the founder of two organisations that support the needs of children and teens facing homelessness.

In both these roles she has found that clear boundaries enhance relationships and the quality of life. Boundaries aid in giving people a voice and allow more understanding around the respect of yourself and others.


Sari believes that boundaries are empowering. In Good boundaries free you – and how to set them Sari discusses the power of boundaries and gives an outline on how to create positive ones and stick by them.


Sari’s talk can be applied to many situations. Particularly in the classroom. If a student has defined boundaries within which they can make a decision then they are being given guidelines and support as well as freedom to make their own choice and the responsibility to do so.


Does anyone have any good resources or advice on how they implement boundaries either on a personal or professional level? And if so, what are the outcomes you’ve experienced from setting these?


Welcome to new members – April

The Ethos Online Community now has 437 members. Hope you will all give a warm haere mai (welcome) to January’s new members to the community:

  • Alex MacCreadie  joins us from Wellington where he works as an Executive Director for school strategy. He is particularly interested in providing schools with a pedagogically based, cloud based digital learning platform for use in New Zealand schools.


Know anyone who would like to join an international Online Community that’s all about learning – across all education sectors, business & ITOs: Please invite them :)

Member Blog Posts and discussions

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

  • Leigh Hynes was disappointed recently when reading an ERO report which evaluated the evidence of the 8 principles within New Zealand school and classroom curricula. The disappointment stemmed from the fact that the Future Focus principle featured the LOWEST number of times in NZ school curriculum, and second to lowest in classroom curriculum. In A rant but an important one – is your teaching future focused? Leigh considers that perhaps schools are putting too much focus on preparing students for assessment and not actually giving them the tools they need to tackle the future. Leigh notes that, ideally, students should receive the skills to both achieve assessments and take on the future. Leigh reminds us of the 6 themes of future orientated teaching and learning and links us to a future focused symposium taking place this week. Do others try and incorporate this in their teaching? And how much importance do you place on the principles, particularly that of future focus?

  • Some compelling arguments in support of online technologies and the related pedagogy looks at the unfortunate, yet common, occurrence where those with the power to effect cultural shifts in educational institutions can sometimes be a bit behind the eight ball when it comes to actually enabling said changes. Those in the position to influence change may in fact have a vested interest in things staying as they are. This is apparent in the continued growth of e-learning where we see a number of educators reluctant to embrace technology. This post references an article that may help anyone needing to justifying requests for appropriate professional development around e-learning. Thank you to Helen Martin for sharing this fantastic piece.

  • The media and public have long been aware of cyber bullying, but what legal documentation and actions have been taken to both prevent and help understand this harmful act? This draft report defines harmful digital communication as forms such as threats, harassment, dissemination of intimate personal visual recordings and incitement to suicide. It recommends a “four limbed” approach: the creation of a new criminal offence for “bad digital communication”; the amendment of existing statutes; the establishment of an authority to enable takedown and cease-and-desist orders; and some suggested changes to the legal regime for New Zealand schools. What are others thoughts on this?

  • John Birnie  shares a fantastic TED talk from Daphne Koller. Daphne is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free – not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. With Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng), each keystroke, quiz, peer-to-peer discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed. This could be both a fantastic resource for students and a clever way to collect data to help improve many areas of education.

  • Studio H is a high school design/build curriculum for rural community benefit. The one-year program is offered to Junior-year students of the Bertie County school district in North Carolina. It provides college credit, a summer job, and a hands-on opportunity to build real-world projects for the community. In Case Study of Project Based Learning Taken to the Maximum, John S Oliver shares a video that shows how the program works as well as some insights into why this style of education can have some very positive outcomes.

  • As Google seems to get bigger and more complex by the day, so does the process by which Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is successfully executed. Luckily, Kate White has composed a guide on the complete SEO process, how it works and how to make it work for you; How to write content for SEO.

  • Do you enjoy caring for others and giving back to the community? Is this something you could even see yourself making a career of? The Community Service Industry offers many long and satisfying careers. However, students must be aware of how their education will later dictate the job path they’re able to take in this area. Four ways to choose the best community service career looks at the various factors to take into account when considering this job path.


Also recommended

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

  • Powerful questions are a cornerstone of coaching. These questions are sometimes called ‘magical’ because they can support a coachee to step around perceived barriers or familiar ways of thinking into a space where they are more creative. Their concrete context (i.e. resources, issues, etc) hasn’t changed, but the way the they are thinking can become more positive, increasing motivating and boosting self-confidence. Using ‘magical questions’ in coaching delves into two types of ‘magical questions’ and how they can enhance the coaching process.

  • The story of an ePortfolio: A Scenario  is a mind map and hypothetical scenario that tells the story of Susie and her use of Web 2.0 tools to conduct research for her assignments. The mindmap: Susie’s Web 2.0 Research is designed to give an idea of the complex web of information, ideas, sharing, evaluation and analysis that can go on (in an ideal world) when the potential of the Web 2.0 is exploited fully.

  • It’s a common complaint in business – you find yourself bombarded with emails, and as a result you either have an overflowing (and therefore not very useful) inbox, or you’re spending too much precious time sorting emails. This article, via The Learning Wave Blog, gives strategies, backed up by example and case studies, for stopping email overload; Suffering from email fatigue? Here are some strategies to help…


Recommended videos

From the ever growing repository of videos (1,440 in total – thanks as always to John S Oliver for his awesome contributions), these are a just few of the highlights.

  • Have you ever had someone tell you to look at the sun when you’re trying to sneeze but can’t quite get it out? Well, it turns out it’s an actual thing – but only for some people. The sun sneeze gene explains why some people are sun sneezers.

  • Why doesn’t magenta appear in the rainbow? The answer lies not in physics but in biology, find out more: Colour mixing: The mystery of Magenta.

  • People tend to put boundaries on par with rules and restrictions, perhaps seeing them as a negative thing. However, boundaries can actually be extremely positive and help towards productivity and achievements. Sarri Gilman has found that clear boundaries enhance relationships and the quality of life. Good boundaries free you – and how to set them gives an outline on why and how to effectively use boundaries.

  • In her talk, A life without boundaries – making the most of opportunities, Fiona explains how medicine taught her to be intuitive, but China taught her to live intuitively. She explains her journey and how she has learned to listen for the one soft clear note in a sea of static.

  • This video features national play experts Sue Palmer and Tim Gill; and chief executive of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Different aspects of play are set out: exploratory play vs. representational play; the role of play in the development of fine- and gross-motor skills; the links between play and speech and language; the difference between adult-led and child-led play. Sue Palmer: “Almost everything that we become as adults has its roots in play.”

  • The human-animal bond has proven biological, psychological, and social effects – some that people recognize and some that people don’t. Knowing more about what your pet sees and feels within you can help you heal and be more healthy. It’s time to find out what your pet is telling you in What is your pet telling you? And, how might an animal help you build better relationships with humans?



  • If you are a Google fan or Moodle user in any way, shape or form, you are going to find these resources from Claire Amos invaluable (she shared them here originally) – thanks, Claire.

  • “Future-oriented learning and teaching” report now online is a piece Rachel Roberts cross-posted some time ago from the VLNC group. This research project draws together findings from new data and more than 10 years of research on current practice and futures-thinking in education.

  • There are basic tips in photography that anyone can follow whether you are a beginner or more experienced with photography. This post from Vikas Rana gives some common things you can follow to get the best results from your photography.


What’s on?

Lots of other things happening (online courses, conferences and other opportunities) including Educating for Change, taking place in Brighton on June 30th.


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



Nāku iti nei, faafetai lava, and warm regards


Charlotte Caines

Community Coordinator

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

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