Recent Posts

China’s Great Firewall

August 3rd, 2012

I was sent a TED Talk from the High School Puxi campus TRF Pat McMahon. I enjoyed Michael Franti’s approach to censorship in China and was surprised to see such a positive attitude, especially for someone that had his Microsoft blog deleted some years ago. His refreshing approach will make you laugh at the ongoing “Cat and Mouse game” played in this wonderful enriching country!

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Welcome back once again! 12/13 here we come!

July 1st, 2012

Blogging has taking a Hiatus and a half in my life!! It seems that the personal approach in Elementary School worked a lot better for me…or at least that’s the excuse I am using. However I have been invigorated after spending some quality time in Greece and also moving into a new position at Shanghai American School.

As the Middle School TRF I see a fantastic opportunity to be reinvigorated and approach tasks and teachers in, well not new ways, but different ways….This blog being one way to share ideas and approaches. I already have a heap of other blog posts floating around through my mind, but do not want to burn out in the first week. I’ve reached a point where I now realize it’s not a race for the latest and greatest (except for obtaining that elusive username……I still rue my 3 hour delay when Facebook gave us the opportunity to create our username…..I was in Denmark), but a long steeplechase.

So to begin my “Tech Reinvigoration”,  Dan Russell from Google has a wonderful project beginning July 10th. Power Searching with Google

I love this idea, as I consider myself an avid Google user, but know I will find at least something useful from each of the 6 lessons. Each lesson looks like it will be 50 minutes in length, long enough, but not too long to interfere with my Greek tanning regime…..and you know it must be good if Dan Russell is putting his name to it!

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Edublogs awards 2010 at Shanghai American School

November 17th, 2010

Sarah Toa, for best class blog

Kimbra Power, for best teacher blog

Amy Hossack, best resource sharing blog

SAS teachers do an amazing job, of directing their students to worthwhile content online. Daily I am impressed and often in awe of the content teachers are developing and writing about with their students. 3 teachers in Elementary on the Pudong campus constantly engage their students in online learning by making their blog “the Go to” place on the web.

In 1st grade Amy Hossack has developed a blog that delivers, just the right amount of content for her 1st grade students to develop technology and online skills that allow the students to shine. Just look at the news post titled The World’s biggest and Longest. Mrs Hossack has a group of 1st grade students eager and willing to embrace technology. Her ability to introduce and find resources for her students has allowed classes around the world to easily find resources and ideas of embracing technology. Too often I hear of programs and websites being used by teachers that Amy has introduced them to through her blog.

Sarah Toa has been involved recently in a collaborative project raising awareness and money for a school in Uganda. The Uganda Global Project, was embraced world wide with Shanghai American School raising over $15,000 US dollars! Through Sarah’s blog, she engages the students and develops strong writing skills, social awareness and a “a whole lota fun”. This site is the go to place for 3rd grade students. It has become the Portal to the world, with links to keep the students safe, learning and commenting.

Finally, Kimbra Power in her 6th year of blogging continues to develop strong bonds on a global scale with her students. Her engaging posts and links to interesting and educationally sound sites allows her students to view blogging as a medium to develop writing skills, social awareness, interaction and lifelong skills. Her examples allow students the opportunity to understand personal safety online whilst building their own online presence. I don’t think there is one post without a student comment on it!

So without further ado, I would like to nominate these three teachers for the outstanding job they do!

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5th grade Cultural Studies Photo Essay

October 29th, 2010

As part of the Cultural Studies unit you are exploring in class, several excellent sites are available to you that demonstrate the differences between cultures throughout the world. One of my favorites would have to be What the world eats along with Where children sleep. Let’s explore these two websites along with another from time titled The world’s harvest.

One of the most powerful Photo Essays is this one Notice how the powerful writing supports the images…….the thing I find fascinating is the photos celebrate and positives are found of Meri-Andani’s life.

This Photo Essay focuses heavily on the powerful images, but also not the language used…. “The air was clear at 9,000 feet and Mt. Adams faced us like an old friend at the door.”

Let’s look at you creating your own photo essay….we will create our final product in keynote, but there is a lot of planning that will have to be done before we get to that stage.

Let’s read this page together about tips on creating a great photostory

Your task is to explore some part of your culture. Perhaps it is how you spend Halloween as a family, or what you eat in a week, or your favorite toys and what they mean to you, clothes you wear and where they came from? The topics are endless, however ……have the over arching theme of Cultural Studies in mind and understand that you will be sharing this with the world for people to understand your culture.

We will begin by rereading point number 4……

4. Every dynamic story is built on a set of core values and emotions that touch the heart of its audience.
Your first step is to decide on a topic….
Second step is to write down what it is you and your family value about this topic?
Third step is write down the emotions you and your family feel when you think about this topic.
This can be done as a blog post titled “My Photo Essay Plan”

Use this  two-column-story-table …….. to write your story and plan the photos you will use to create it.

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How to avoid the spinning ball of death!

September 22nd, 2010

So you’ve had your new car for over 12 months now, sure you look after it, if a problem comes up you get it fixed right away, but it’s driving slower….you turn it off then back on…that helps for a little while, and if the window is stuck you get it fixed straight away, but you don’t take it in for a full service…oil change, tightening of bolts, the full overhaul……sounds silly doesn’t it?

Of course you would do it for a car, likewise it’s now time to spend 10 minutes overhauling your mac to stop the spinning rainbow ball of death!

Before we start though…just like a car there are programs and things that we love having on our Mac that you should know will slow your machine down…….again with the car analogy, we all know running the Aircon on high all the time, having the demister on when you don’t need to demist the back window, keeping the lights on when the car is stopped are all bad things….likewise your Mac has a few things you should know about…………

Trash…..keep it empty. If you’ve decided to put it in the trash, then get rid of it.

Slideshow on desktop… a memory hog. Decide on one picture rather than the slideshow of your last vacation, this will free up some memory.

Folders and documents on your desktop….having too many will slow your machine down. Likewise making a folder on your desktop and placing all your files in the folder won’t suffice. You have to create an alias. Place the folder in “documents” right click on it and choose “create alias”….now, place the alias on your desktop.

Stickies…….I know you love em’ but try not to have so many of them on your desktop.

Unused Applications left running…….Quit programs you aren’t using….have a look at your dock….do you have lots of programs with a shiny light under them, but you’re not using it? Right click on it and quit……they are hogging the limelight.

Dashboard apps………Don’t go overboard on all the dashboard apps. These are kept running all the time and can really slow things down.

Software Update……make sure you check to make sure your software is up to date, your machine will have to work harder to make sure everything is compatable.

Last but not least…..this one is a little more complicated. Repair disk permissions. Go to the application called “Disk Utility”. Click on your hard drive and click “Repair Disk Permissions”

The Mac store at school sells extra RAM for your machine too……….. doubling its “thinking memory” will give you a real boost. It’s a little price to pay for speed!!!!

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ADE onward and upward

April 7th, 2010

It has been a long time between posts, but with a PSU course completed and an Apple Distinguished Educator conference to attend along with the amazing day to day runnings in the classroom, one can get sidetracked. In a good way though.

The PSU course I just completed was titled “Educational Leadership in Technology”. A fantastic course with excellent discussion and use of web 2.0 tools. I would have to recommend this course and to all interested in technology. Plymouth offer several courses centered around technology, with the syllabus of all looking incredibly challenging in a good way. A way that stops and makes you think about its role in education.

The other big attraction over the last few months has been the Apple Distinguished Educator summit in Singapore. From the application process, to waiting and waiting, to planning the trip and finally attending….it’s been a big focus. A few exciting things came out of attending Singapore….one, the city is an amazing place and one both Kimbra nad myself would enjoy living in one day. Two, the ADE’s both Alumni and newly appointed were fantastic. The connections that were made were great. People and blog posts I had read, finally in the flesh! Many were people I hope to bump into at future schools and also collaborate with. So many exciting projects and people with so much energy.

Probably, my biggest take away was the introduction to Aperture, and the presentations given by Joseph Linaschke have inspired me to pick up the camera again. Photoshop has a love/hate relationship and the ease at which I felt with Aperture rejuvenated my photography ideas. From this Joseph will be visiting Shanghai and our Deputy Super ……a big supporter of technology, has agreed to Joseph visiting and working within our community at Shanghai American School….A big win for our school!

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Final Summary for Leadership in EdTech course

February 26th, 2010

As part of the final paper for this course, we have been given the challenge of summarizing our final paper. A very hard task! In looking at the tools we have utilized, I tried to think of a tool I could use that hasn’t been covered, but one I find very useful for staff at our school……Camtasia. A great screen capture tool. One of many out there. It is quite expensive, and there are some other options such as Jing and Screenflow, however Camtasia would have to be the best one I have used…or perhaps I am just used to it. We use this regularly to help staff learn new tools or understand a process. This one goes for 3 mins…….probably the maximum amount you would want to do, as they can be VERY dry. I try to be as fast as possible when showing staff things like……how to shrink an image, or convert a file etc……enjoy!

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Mindy Zhang on Social Media in China

December 17th, 2009

Just watched this slideshare by Mindy Zhang on Social Media in China. Some huge figures to digest here…..I enjoyed particularly the first half of this slideshare. One that surprised me was 95 million rural netizens! Living and working in Shanghai you can sometimes forget just how big the rest of China is, especially when you take out of the equation the big cities…..Got this from Thomas Crampton’s blog.

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December 7th, 2009

Please copy and paste to your blog the following scenarios. Under each scenario write your response to the questions….. Use the questions as a guide to write a response to this situation outlining what you would do if you were Jan and Marcos(don’t include the questions on your blog, use them as starting points) These activities were taken from the Cybersmart website


Jan, a fifth grader, likes to visit Web sites about her favorite actress.Her friend tells her about a site with fun photos of the actress making her latest film.After school, Jan types the Web address she thinks is correct.Instead of finding photos
of the star on a movie set, she finds pictures that upset her. Jan is embarrassed by the photos.She realizes she must have entered the wrong site address (or URL).She is afraid she will get in trouble with her parents.Scared, Jan stays away from cyberspace for a few days.
What words in this story tell that Jan feels uncomfortable?

What advice would you give Jan?


Marcos, likes going into cyberspace to talk to his school buddies.Lately, one of his buddies is using rude language in his messages.Marcos is uncomfortable with such language.He is afraid his parents will see the words on his computer screen and get angry.Then they might take away his messaging privileges. Marcos’ buddy doesn’t use these words in school or at the park.

Why do you think his buddy acts differently in cyberspace?

What do you think Marcos should do about the problem?


Using the flips in pairs explain about uncomfortable feelings and tell how they can take action when these feeling occur online.

In class I will show you how to upload your video to the portal and then embed on your blog……Let’s get started!!!!

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To be a fly on the wall

December 3rd, 2009

One amazing thing about slideshare is the community that can develop. If we place our Keynotes on slideshare we are basically saying “please use” I have ideas that you might find interesting……….I know with my recent Keynote, I am hoping by placing it on slideshare that at least one idea or thought could be used by someone else……Now some would say, “but I made it….it’s mine! I’m not sharing”. In these times, it will only shrink you and your ideas/thinking. I know I am richer for visiting slideshare and viewing their top hits or recently uploaded. Have a search….you will be surprised as to what you find. Two that caught my eye that I found just fascinating and would love to have been at the presentation is Matias Klang’s on Human Rights and Technology This presentation caught my eye as living in China this topic comes up regularly….even at our school with the introduction of the 1:1 Laptop program, and use of tools such as Apple Remote Desktop; Policing and management is a hot topic (through my lens) and finding a balance that doesn’t infringe on Human Rights can be a slippery pole. Check it out…….

The second presentation that I would have enjoyed being at would be David Stutts, 10 Trends to watch in 2010. A fascinating read, especially his rationale on why these trends matter? As a teacher, keeping abreast of the times is hard…..Seeing that Marketers are also scrambling to keep up with change makes me optimistic as to what and how we are teaching our students to become adaptable and change direction in a heartbeat….if you think how new the apple App store is and how it has enhanced (changed?) my life……wow!…..Check it out……….

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