Prof Jamaludin: Getting Published and Effective Presentations

In Slideshare, the contribution of Malaysian education lecturer, Prof Jamaludin, has caught my interest.

Two journals have received and rejected my work.  Her presentation on Writing and Getting Published is therefore very topical.

Of equal interest is her presentation Designing PPT Using 1xD Theory. I have been puzzled and intrigued by the professional, cartoon-style illustrations that grace many of the slide presentations that I have seen in Slideshare. Are they all artists? Is there an easy way to create these masterpieces?

I am still to find out but in the meantime Prof Jamaludin’s design tips are helpful.

Five Generations of Family Pleasure

Zachy playing soccer for Ranui Swanson

My mother was the fifth child of seven and the only daughter of Irish immigrants.  She grew up watching her father and her six brothers play football, or soccer, for Irish Rifles in Christchurch.  Then, after we moved north, she watched her sons, my three brothers, play for Eden-Roskill, and then my sons, her grandsons, play for Albany-Wairau.

She called me today with a tear in her voice to tell me the wonder of now watching from the sideline as her great grandson plays soccer for Ranui-Swanson.  “Little children running after the ball like bees after a honey pot,” she said.  “I never knew my grandparents back home in Ireland.  What a privilege it is to stand on the sideline, watching a fifth generation play football.  Those little people have made my week.”

Go Zachy!  Go Great Grandma!

From notetaking to phone photos: But what about cognitive transfer?


In 2016, my school will have completed its five year roll out of BYOD.  When they were in Year 9, the 2016 Year 13 students were the first to have compulsory devices.

Over the four years to date, there have been many changes, some large, some small.  A large one has been the change in device policy.  The school quickly realised that certain devices didn’t have the capacity for both reception and production so we specified devices with full operating systems, either Windows or Mac OSX,  Google Chrome, and common browser plugins like Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Java, Adobe Shockwave and Apple Quicktime.  Of course the cost has decreased over time as battery life has increased so many students now have more than one device on hand, often a netbook and a phone.

The improvement in technical support has been incremental.  The personnel team has doubled in number, and there are now enough borrowable netbooks in COWs (Computers on Wheels) that lack of access to laboratories, device malfunctions, and student forgetfulness no longer prevent access.  A more robust wireless network, improvements to security, and the incremental transfer to cloud technologies are also majors.

Of course there have been subsequent and often subtle changes in the classroom as well; we are not teaching and learning in the same way as before.  The school has continued to support and encourage these changes with ongoing and generous teacher professional development.

However, a change that pleases and concerns me at the same time is the use of the ubiquitous smartphone to take photos of my scribbled whitebord notes, and even of the PPT slides which are readily accessible on Moodle pages.  Why it pleases me is that language students have those notes at ready access in their pockets at all times and can be learning their vocabulary on the bus as they go home.  Why it concerns me is that when language learners mindfully copy and reorder new language, cognitive transfer occurs.  The instant photographing of notes means the memory is not being activated in the same way.

Thinking about this as I write, maybe it shouldn’t be a concern because we now purchase interactive online programmes like Language Perfect and Kerboodle which ensure retention.

Google Site: Sounding French

Sounding French Home Page

To achieve #23TeachingThings tasks 10 and 11, I have extended my existing school Google Drive to create a site entitled Sounding French.  Hopefully the permissions have been set correctly so that anybody with the link can view the site, not just those on our school network.

The reason I created it on my school network, is so my Year 9 to 13 students who wish to learn lessons they have missed or review and practise their French might have easy access.  I would like to see them becoming independent learners, able to communicate creatively, but also correctly, in order to sound like a French person.  Despite current foreign language teaching pedagogy, sounding like a French person is a top priority my students say through survey.

My Year 10 class have recently learned the passé composé with avoir and are about to learn the passé composé with être.  So after the home page, which states the learning intention, the first page is dedicated to them.

One irritating feature of google sites, is that each time you edit a file, it changes the order in which it is seen on the page.  This means the files are no longer in the order in which the students would logically learn them.  I wonder if I number the files on a given topic, if that would keep them in place?  Or is there a simple solution that I have failed to see?

Learn Another Language!

As a foreign language teacher, I often forget that others are not as enamoured with words as I am.  As the adage goes, “a picture paints a thousand words”.  When teaching teenagers in this digital age, images are indispensible.

We have just gone through the annual option rounds where students select their subjects for the following year.  We are always trying to find resources to encourage students to continue learning their languages.  This lovely image could add to the mix.

Anglobubble 2

Talking in Languages by Markus Koljonen, September 3rd 2010

Creative Commons Licence  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The Habit of Saving Digital Data

One of my Year 9 French students lost her assignment when her computer crashed.  And yes, she cried.   Mum wrote a note explaining all this and saying that they had been to an IT specialist who had been unable to retrieve her daughter’s assignment.  It had represented weeks of work.

It led to an interesting after class conversation between teacher and student.  We brainstormed about naming and saving documents and backing them up.  However, the student’s response was enlightening.  Although she used to do everything I had suggested, because we now so frequently use Google Drive, where data is automatically saved, she is getting out of the habit of saving even when not in Google.

It was an enlightening conversation.

Much privilege means much responsibility

In Tuesday’s post was a letter from TeachNZ offering me a full year’s study leave.  My initial reaction was to whoop with joy.  That quickly became a deep sense of gratefulness.  Four days later that has transitioned to being a little overwhelmed.

My three years of part time Doctor of Education studies have mainly had personal responsability attached.  With such organisational belief and investment in my work, there is a whole new layer of responsibility and expectation.

Privilege has such a lot of responsibility and accountability.  I just want to get going!  After waiting from early June when the applications had to be in, to late August when the recipients were announced, was a terribly long three months.  However, between receiving notification late August and going on leave mid-December will almost be as difficult.

Can’t wait to get going!

The usefulness of

I have been intrigued recently by some unusual looking URLs used by tech-savvy colleagues and finally got around to asking about them.

They introduced me to the URL shortener,  “Interesting, but why?”  I thought.

It was only when I wanted to link to a provocative presentation on muliculturalism and democracy in a Twitter post, that I had an answer.  140 characters and a Youtube URL do not mix.  Yet I hesitated… Not another online profile!  But curious, I did a search.  Brilliant!  No need to create a profile.  Just simply paste your long URL into a window, click convert and pick up your copy to paste.  Easy!

For example:  


Message in 140 spaces achieved.  “Really interesting lecture on democracy and multilingualism at LSE. Are there implcations for AKL language policy?”

Twitter to Scaffold Second Language Writing

In the past, my Year 13 French students have wanted to include in their assessment portfolios a piece on something in the media that interested them.  We were stymied by the requirement that there be a task sheet for each piece of writing with suggestions of what to include, assessment criteria etc.  So last year at the start of the year, I wrote a general task that allowed students to write about anything of significance that took their interest, namely, current events.

However, no student has opted to use that supplementary task despite animated discussions in French on current issues.  I suspect more scaffolding is required.

Since taking the plunge and creating a Twitter account, I have been wondering about how I could use these 140 character bites to scaffold writing in a foreign/second language.  So it was interesting to come across a slide presentation by another teacher, Alice Louise Kassens, who uses Twitter to teach and assess Economics.

I like her idea of taking a current event and asking students to write a succinct opinion of that event.  Instead of using those tweets for assessment purposes, my students’ contributions could form the basis of a language and content lesson in preparation for a longer piece of writing on a similar topic, that is, as scaffolding for assessment.

Queries: Can you set up a private group space on Twitter?  How old do Twitter users need to be, and would parent permissions be required?  Can Twitter support foreign accents etc?

I will find out.

#23research – Thing 10: Content Curation (extra bit)

Curation is a new concept for me. I have often used bookmarks, tabs and links, that are computer-specific, but how convenient to have a cloud repository for all your personal website likes, accessed from any computer. To add to the new tools array is the What Do you love? feature on Google described here by Tracy. Thanks for the info.

Speak Your Truth

As part of Thing 10: Content Curation, the ‘try this’ activity was to reblog a post from a fellow participant.  I chose reflectedd’s blog post about Google Drive.

The Thing10 module reminded me of another Google tool I recently discovered called ‘What do you love?‘ This featured in Sauers & Burns (2014) book: Google search secrets.


I hadn’t heard of it before and it’s a bit like – you enter a topic into the search box and it returns results from multiple Google platforms: News, Blogs, Books, Groups etc.  Here’s a search I did using ‘Auckland’ as the topic:

wdyl2I tried another search using ‘Kaupapa Māori’ though it returned mostly Kura Kaupapa within the results.  With a slight tweak to my keywords, I retried using ‘Māori methodology’ and retrieved a slightly better set of results:


It seems to work quite well with more general topics…

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