Camp Karakariki

At camp my group was called CAMP ROCK!

Me Climbing the Tree

Me Climbing the Tree

We did lots of activities.  One of the activities was BMXing.  Mr Fawcett showed us how to go over the hills on a bike.  Then four people from CAMP ROCK got a BMX bike and one person went at a time.  Everyone had a few turns going around the track.

Loading the gun

Loading the gun

Soon we had to move onto shooting.  Shooting and archery were a lot of fun.

My favourite activity was the tree climb.  It was my favourite because it was my first time climbing a tree.

One of the camp parents had to hold onto a rope.  One person went up the tree at a time.  Everyone had a go.  Some of us made it to the top.  I did!

I had a fantastic time at camp.

Writing and illustration by HemReb

Anarchist Lurkers?

A couple of weeks ago I was happily twittering away when @timbuckteeth (Steve Wheeler) dropped the link below into the tweetstream.

I have no idea why I clicked on the link. Maybe it was to test the livestreaming because I’d been experimenting with basic streaming from my phone. Maybe it was simple curiosity or perhaps it was an example of what Steve Wheeler called legitimate peripheral participation (lurking). Whatever the reason I spent the next 30 to 40 minutes watching a Skyped presentation in Bremen, Germany.

I was introduced to Edupunk, a term that’s probably familiar to many, but new to me. I watched with burgeoning interest as Mr Wheeler explained some of the ideas behind Edupunk, interacting with the class, answering questions and adding insights. You can view the Mogulus archive of it here (skip to 3:30) and read Mr Wheeler’s subsequent blogpost.

I think I’m beginning to understand Edupunk’s far reaching philosophy. It’s about teachers (and students) participating on their own terms. It’s cutting out the educational profiteers, directing financial resources elsewhere. Like using a Wii remote hack costing less than NZ$250 to create a multitouch digital whiteboard instead of paying NZ$3295 and lining the corporate coffers. It’s about finding ways to overcome barriers to learning by using, mashing and melding the available (usually free) tools. It’s dealing with lack of hardware by dragging things out of the bin and re-jigging them until they do what’s needed. Teachers have always done this in the classroom with the resources they’ve been supplied with, supplementing them with their own money, time and ingenuity. Edupunk brings this into the 21st century teaching and learning environment.

Steve Wheeler suggests taking it further-

“I would even go as far as to claim that Edupunk teachers should be challenging the curricula they are required to teach, and especially the assessment methods that are imposed from on high. These are the structures that constrain education and stop learners from achieving their full potential.”* Read more here.

Digressing slightly, Mr Wheeler’s response to a question, describing lurking as “legitimate peripheral participation” rang so true for me. For many it is a prerequisite to contributing. In my case lurking has led to commenting, connecting, collaborating and creating… participating and learning.

A year ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of writing this, but now I feel part of a global community, connected enough to comment and feeling that I have found my voice.

So what do you think? Does Edupunk encompass any of your teaching/learning? Were you or are you a longtime lurker?

More Edupunk below- 3 videos to watch


This post originally posted at

A Glimpse into the Future?

A month ago I sent this tweet about a video at MIT.

The link goes to an article at that includes a video that is amazing.  It looks a bit clunky at the moment, (I compared it to this polished MicroSoft promo) but imagine what it could be like! I’d intended to blog about it, but other things came up and it slipped my mind/fell to the bottom of my to do list.

Today I found a video on TED that explains more about “Sixth Sense”.  Watch it below.

Remember that this is a prototype.  What if it was integrated onto our clothing or mobile devices?  The possibilities are almost endless.

I Got to Meet Greg Murphy at the V8s!!!

I got to meet Greg Murphy!

I got to meet Greg Murphy!

I went to the the Hamilton 400 on Friday 17.4.09 with Dad, my brother Brock and 5 other family members. When we were at the Holden merchandise tent I saw Greg Murphy signing posters. He signed our posters and was happy to let us take a photo with him. My aunty got him to sign her arm!

It was fun and I felt happy and lucky meeting someone so well known.

by MatSav [via email]

Talking the Talk

So here’s my audio-post.  I got over the fact that I don’t like to hear my recorded voice, wrote a script and read it out (most of it).  There were a few mistakes and err…umms along the way, but I just did what I tell the kids to do, “Keep going, we can edit the mistakes out later.”  I did just that!

Click to play*

This is my speaking voice; I mean this is the voice I use at school in class and with colleagues. I made a conscious effort to change and modify the way I spoke at teachers college 10 years ago. Out of school it’s a little more relaxed, but I maintain the same inflections, vocabulary and syntax. I still encounter occasional blank looks at particular phrases and sometimes I can see people ruminating, trying to decode exactly what I just said, because I used a familiar word in an unfamiliar context, but most of the time my altered English voice serves me well.

But I’m not English. I’m a Yorkshireman. I’m Yorkshire, a tyke. This is my real voice. It’s flatter and my Yorkshire accent is broader. I drop my aitches, miss out words like ‘the’ and the letter T and replace them with a glottal stop. Most vowels become short vowels, others undergo a shift, taking on other vowel sounds. Some words with a double O sound in become U and others are extended into diphthongs. Ends of words are shortened or clipped and unfamiliar dialect words may be used instead of Standard English words. Right doesn’t sound like write, Mother or mum stays much the same, but father is different, dad is not. Boys and girls are lads and lasses who like to play football on the grass and if a lad scored a goal he’d be really proud of himself. They might have brought something for their lunch, but if they haven’t brought anything they’ll have nothing to eat and will be hungry on the way home.

How many times have you heard an adult say, “I hate the sound of my own voice.” Someone (@klandmiles in Singapore) tweeted on Twitter last week, “Of course you hate the sound of your own voice, it’s in the rules.”

I wonder how children hear themselves. So do kids hate the sound of their own voice? Or do they listen and think, “Hey! That’s me!”

We expect children to want to record themselves on audio or video and many of them do, but a small percentage of them will feel as I still do…I hate the sound of my own voice. What can we do to nurture these students? How can we build their confidence and encourage them to participate and create in this way? Do they have to?

*audio recorded on a Nokia N95, three main takes and edited in Audacity

This post originally published at “At the Teacher’s Desk

Sounds Good!

Earlier this week I left a comment (which I later turned into a blogpost) on this post by @wmchamberlain and was invited, via Twitter, to be a contributor at “At the Teacher’s Desk”   As I’d already identified audio and video of myself as a personal dislike I decided that the first step in “walking the talk” would be to use an audio-post as my first contibution to the blog.

Our class blog is provided by and it’s been about three years since I’ve done any real work on a Blogger based blog.  Before writing and recording my audio-post I needed to find out how to embed an mp3 audio player in Blogger.  Blogger (Google) doesn’t make this easy, which is a strange omission in a blogging platform that is otherwise so media friendly.  I thought I recalled doing it previously, but wasn’t sure.

In response to a question from @jlamshed I sent this tweet-

Which was met with a couple of responses.  One from @wmchamberlain suggesting I use Vocaroo (an online recording service) and another from @winetimejs saying I should find somewhere to host the audio file and link it in the blog.

Neither of these matched exactly what I wanted.  They’d both work perfectly well, but I wanted to edit the audio in Audacity to remove any “umms” and hiccoughs I might make.  I also wanted to embed a little player into the blog rather than have a link like this- listen here.  Don’t bother clicking – it’s not a real link!

After following several pomising leads from Google I eventually found this page.  It documents several ways of adding an audio player to Blogger. I used number 1 on the page to produce this player below.

You’ll need somewhere to host your audio file (I actually uploaded mine to WordPress).  After that you need to follow the instuctions, copy and paste the player code and then paste in your mp3 file location. I’m not going to reproduce all the steps here in any detail because they’re all included here.  Just make sure you paste the code into the html view in Blogger.

The page offers other options for embedding mp3 audio in blogger, none of which I’ve tried.  I like the sound of number three, which adds code to the Blogger template so that a player appears automatically whenever you paste in an mp3 link.

One final note.  This only works with mp3 audio files.  If you have any problems you can leave questions and suggestions in the comments.  Happy recording and listening!

Class Jigsaw

I found great new tool online.  It’s a jigsaw maker!  If you have a few minutes to fill why not go to Jigsaw Planet and have a go.  You’ll never guess what the picture is!

Mr F.