- using technology better- Newsletter - issue 5 - 2019 BLOG UPDATES - something we think you'll like - something to make you think- AND MORE!


It's Saturday morning here in New Zealand as I write this. Yesterday, another example of man's inhumanity to man was witnessed in Christchurch, just a few hours up the road. Like many other horrific events of recent times, the lives of many innocent people were destroyed by the action of a minority. We've seen this on the news in other places, but never here, on our shores.

Once again something like this gets you thinking about how, as teachers, we can:

A) support our students to understand something that is actually incomprehensible

B) help our students to develop empathy, love and extend kindness to all others.

I don't have the answer. But I, like you, have many small ideas that hopefully add up to helping to ensure the above. I wrote a few of them in a blog last year, you can find it here. This week's 'Tip of the Week' also looks at ways to make YouTube a safer place for young people.

The UTB team send their thoughts and aroha (love) to the Christchurch community at this time, and to all other communities that have been affected by this type of act ever, anywhere in the world.

To our teaching colleagues in Christchurch we are especially thinking of you this week as you go back to work and support your students and communities. Thank you for looking after your tamariki (children) on Friday and putting their needs above your own.

Lara, on behalf of the UTB team.

#KiaKahaChristchurch _____ #TheyAreUs_________#notallheroeswearcapes

toontastic 3d

We're always talking to teachers about ensuring students are having plenty of time to be creators of digital content, not just consumers. Tim tried out 'Toontastic' while in a school last week and this is what he had to say....

Last week I explored Toontastic with eight Year 3 and 4 teachers. Toontastic 3D with Google allows students and teachers to create 3D animations using a suite of great characters and scenes.

Users can record different scenes, direct the camera and record audio and then easily share the video file. Toontastic can be used to explain concepts and tell stories while collaborating.

The key to a good Toontastic is prior planning and this also presents students with the chance to think critically about what they are doing.

It is available on IOS and Android mobile devices. Download it and have some fun!

something we think you'll like....

When I was teaching I was always bookmarking sites and tools that I wanted to revisit when the time was right - in fact, I'm still bookmarking sites, tools and readings!

A little while ago, I came across a relatively new tool called Wakelet. It is web-based but also has a Chrome extension and has apps for iOS and Android.

It allows you to group what you save from the internet into ‘Collections’ which - if you choose to - you can share with others. Immediately I saw an awesome way to collect relevant websites and share these with students. You can make your collections private, unlisted or public and you can follow other Wakelet users if you choose to.

If you want to find out more about how Wakelet works you can read about it here. We think you’ll find it really useful!

something to make you think...

Artificial Intelligence is moving at a rapid rate. Progress in the education sector is slow but many advances are being made elsewhere that will be readily applied to education and training.

One interesting recent development is Tengei, a job interview robot. Tengai interviews potential employees so that human interviewers subconscious bias are not applied. I’m predicting this technology alongside Soul Machines AI teachers, will heavily augment if not replace face to face education and training within the next decade.

What are your thoughts about AI? What new strategies and skills will we need to deploy this technology effectively in the near future?

Here are Tim's top 5 future uses for AI in education, training and work:

1. Professional Learning Guide: No need to go to a workshop just tell your AI teacher what you want to learn and they will walk you through it.

2. Personal Coach: Tell your AI coach your challenges and they will scaffold you through a goal-setting process.

3. Admin Assistant: Discuss your daily tasks and your Admin Assistant will get to work behind the scenes sending your emails, booking travel and even researching or making resources.

4. Classroom Assistant: Your AI assistant will tell you where students are at and suggest next steps. You can then deploy them to help specific students or groups of students.

5. Efficiency Assistant: Through live data your AI assistant will monitor your work output and suggest when you should take a break, what you are doing inefficiently and whether you are on track to meet targets.

blog posts you may have missed

Check out the practical, helpful tips in our blogs below.

Something you want us to blog about? Make a request here or check out our website to see all our posts.

STEAM - iPads - Gmail

What does STEAM look like? - Do you find yourself wondering what other schools are doing with STEAM? Have you started STEAM in your school but feel like you don’t know what it should look like? The answer, rightly so, is that STEAM looks quite different from school to school. With unique communities and local curriculum, there is no one size fits all approach. - By Tim Thatcher

3 ways to use your iPads without relying on WIFI- Do you have iPads in your classroom but the wifi isn’t always reliable? Instead of ditching them in frustration, read on to find ways you could incorporate them into your classroom practice - without the need for an internet connection.- By Donna Golightly

How do labels work in Gmail? - Gmail’s label feature is very powerful and useful, however it can be quite confusing for people who have spent most of their working lives using ‘folders’ in other email applications. In this blog post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about how labels work in Gmail. - By Samantha Vardanega


Professional Development that suits your schedule and interests!

WOW! We're delighted with the feedback we're getting about our online courses! Thanks so much to those of you who have signed up and embraced our courses and the opportunity to grow your skills when and where it suits you!

We have a great range of online courses available, with more coming online soon. This week we released our Introduction to G Suite for Education course. You can read more about this below!

Get together with some colleagues and work through a course together - collaborate, share ideas and encourage each other!

Check out some of the options below!

Featured Online Course...

introduction to G sUite for education

So many teachers and admin staff in schools have NEVER had training in G Suite, yet they rely on it every day!

Perhaps this is you, or perhaps it's a colleague of yours?!?!

For these teachers, asking for help can be hard and embarrassing, so they do what they can to stay afloat.

Face to face training can feel overwhelming and too fast paced.

We've created an online course with those people in mind.

The course consists of ten modules that will take people through the fundamentals of the core G Suite tools.

The beauty of online learning is the ability to go at your own pace, stop, start, review whenever you like. You have access to the course for a whole year so you can take your time to work through each module and put it into practice before moving onto the next one. You can come back to any module at any time.

Our trainers have all worked together to compile 10 videos that are less than 15 minutes each.

If you know someone, or you are someone who is ready to feel more confident and competent with G Suite tools then send them this link so they can find out more!

Tip of the week.....

Kids + YouTube - Some things you can do to make it more secure

Nothing is fool proof but there are a few ways you can restrict the content your child, or students, see when using YouTube.

1) Turn on Restricted Mode.

Simply go to your settings and toggle Restricted Mode to on. This applies a filter to try to leave out "potentially mature content". Find more info on this here.

2) Use You Tube Kids

YouTube designed for kids. It contains limited, family-friendly content. With loads of great features that allow you to limit searching, set a timer and cap the volume. You can find more about YouTube kids here. While this is a great way to restrict the content children see it is NOT FOOLPROOF.

At the end of the day nothing will replace you as the best filter and guardian over what your children or students see online.

upcoming events

If you'd like to request a workshop or support in your area please get in touch by clicking the button below.

Host schools get a free attendee. :)

These boot camps are fast paced, 2 day courses that cover a wide range of G Suite tools and how to use them in the classroom. You will also sit the 3 hour Google Certified Educator exam, where you will demonstrate your knowledge with multiple choice and practical scenario questions.

We've seen an increase in demand for our Google Certified Educator boot camps at both Level 1 and 2. This is great, as we think our two day courses have a lot to offer for everyone working with G Suite. There's several locations to choose from below. If you'd like to host one at your school, as always, feel free to get in touch!

Check out dates and locations in New Zealand.

Back by popular demand....

Technology has been evolving at a rapid pace, artists and designers are pushing the boundaries. New techniques and strategies have emerged which art teachers can harness to engage students in innovative projects.

In this fun, meaningful workshop teachers are supported to explore how new technologies and ideas can be integrated into the art room. Participants will enjoy hands on experimentation and lively discussion around how art, technology and innovative thinking can be integrated into the classroom.

Check out all the dates and locations here!

STEAM / Digital Technologies Powered by your iPads

A fun hands on experience discovering how to authentically deliver your STEAM / DT curriculum through the power of your iPad for only $49!

See the dates and locations and register your interest HERE

Purposeful Practice with Digital Tools in the Maths Programme - A Half Day Workshop

In this fun and meaningful workshop teachers will be supported to explore how some of these new technologies and ideas can be integrated into the maths programme. Participants will enjoy hands on activities and lively discussion around how maths, technology and innovative thinking can be integrated into the maths programme.

Auckland 15th of April

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Created with images by Chris Barbalis - "untitled image" • Tincho Franco - "untitled image" • freephotocc - "laptop ipad organic" • RyanMcGuire - "running sprint cinder-track" • Hello I'm Nik - "YouTube App" • Jack B - "untitled image"

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