UTB Newsletter - Issue 10 - 2020

  • Welcome from Lara
  • Something to make you think
  • Something we think you'll like
  • Tool of the week - Custom Headers
  • Microsoft, Google and Apple tips
  • Website of the week - Apple Teaching Learning Center
  • NZ PLD Update
  • Special offer for Teacher Aide/Support Staff
  • A different kind of Christmas Party!
  • Upcoming Events
  • Latest podcast digs into the role of technology in the classroom
  • Our latest free face to face training day
  • Join the UTB Team
  • Win a free online course

October - wow! How did that even happen?

What a year 2020 is continuing to be.

Our team continues to be blown away by the dedication and hard work of educators all around the world, working in a multitude of ways to support their learners whether they are online or face to face. The capacity and willingness of so many teachers to throw themselves out of their comfort zone and not only learn, but put into practice new skills, is a credit to the education community.

Your values, passion and belief in what you do are probably at the core of why you do it. There’s a great lesson in that for us all. As educators we often forget ‘why’ we teach and what is important to be taught. When things are tough we need a strong foundation of WHY to realign ourselves. I love the work of Simon Sinek, if you haven’t seen his TED Talk from 2009 then you can catch it here. This more recent clip, ‘What a Vision Is’, is another great one to watch.

For many educators who are on school holidays right now, this is the first real chance to take a breather this year. If that is you, I hope you are finding ways to relax and charge your batteries. Take a moment to reflect on all that you have achieved and why you have worked so hard to do so. Your students are incredibly lucky to have you in their lives.

We hope you gain some nuggets of goodness from our newsletter. If you see something you like, or have any suggestions for our team, please feel free to let us know by email or even a shout out on the socials! :) We really love hearing from you.

Now pour yourself a nice cuppa and enjoy.

Something to make you think...

Digital Dilemmas

Image from Freepik.com

We all know the world is changing - and changing rapidly!

During a training day the conversation turned to driverless cars and the way they are programmed. What will the algorithms be when someone steps out in front of one? Will it be programmed to keep going or will be as sophisticated as having sensors that scan the person's face and make a move based on the results it gets?

The next day the Principal sent me a link to this podcast. Take a listen - it talks about just this issue.

Thanks John - it's definitely food for thought!

Something we think you'll like

Who's watching you?

Safari on iPadOS 14 now has a privacy report. You can see who's tracking you as you browse the Internet.


In-text citations in Google Docs

If you or your students need to do academic writing with in-text references you are going to LOVE this latest Google Docs update! No more do we need to rely on third-party add-ons for this feature! In-text citations are now built right into Google Docs.

You can insert in-text citations and create a bibliography in the MLA, APA, or Chicago styles. Source types supported include books, book sections, websites, journal articles and newspaper articles.

Tool or tip of the week

Are you looking for a video editor that works on any platform?

Image from Kapwing.com

Recently we had a school ask us to recommend a video editing tool for Chromebooks.

WeVideo is awesome for this - but of course all the best features are paid ones.

If you aren't in a position to pay for a tool at the moment you might like to check out Kapwing.

All the features are free, but there is a catch. The free version only allows you 7 days to work on a project. This could actually be a great way to encourage your students to complete the task on time!

You can't video directly into the tool, but you can upload video into it as well as adding titles, editing images, manipulating the timelines, adding multiple scenes and including audio. You can even remove parts of an image.

We've created a bit of a 'How To' to get you started.

Microsoft Tip

Are you a maths teacher and want to save time?

When you combine digital inking in OneNote and Microsoft Forms, your students can handwrite an equation, be shown the steps on how to solve it and then create a self marking quiz to test their knowledge. To see how, check out this video.

Google Tip

Are you using Jamboard?

Jamboard is such a great tool - in case you've not come across it yet, it's Google's version of a digital whiteboard.

You can share it just like any of the other G Suite tools and collaborate on it with others.

Did you know that you can easily access all the frames and add content to them without even having to fully open it?

Apple Tip

iPadOS 14 is here!

iPadOS 14 came out recently and there is a plethora of new tools and functionality. How well do you know iPadOS 14?

Classroom / Lesson Idea

Having fun with shapes!

Image from https://nzmaths.co.nz/resource/arty-shapes

Here's a great activity that combines maths and art.

Have you ever wondered how you could integrate an artist study into your maths program?

Maybe not 😂 - but in case you're wondering if you could, here's a plan that looks at Hundertwasser art and combines it with geometry.

We've suggested a few different digital platforms you could use and ways you could extend the activity.

We'd love to see any examples of what you do with the idea!

Website of the week

Apple Goodness!

Image from Apple Learning Center

When is the last time you visited the Apple Teacher Learning Center?

Not only are there step by step instructions on how to use the core Apple apps, but there are resources that you can pick up and use in your classroom tomorrow.

The Everyone Can Create and the Everyone Can Code books are super helpful and jam packed with useful ideas.

If you have even one iPad in your class you should take a look.

Just remember - you do need to know your Apple ID password to get in. 😉

NZ PLD Update

Applications for the last round of PLD funding for 2020 close on October 9. If you haven’t had a chance to prepare and submit your application, it’s not too late! Our team can support you with understanding the process, drafting and reviewing your proposal and getting it all submitted on time!

Find out more about the process here and get in touch with us!

If you have made your submission and want to learn more about how Using Technology Better have supported hundreds of New Zealand schools in their journeys, we’d love to chat with you. We have a unique, blended approach to training which will empower your educators (and therefore students) long after our visits and training contract is complete. We tailor all our training to suit every school.

We’d love to come and support your team to develop their confidence and competence with tech and integrating digital tools into your curriculum in meaningful, relevant ways! :)

Contact lara@usingtechnologybetter.com to schedule a call.

“We now have a strong, clear vision to underpin our decisions about infrastructure and programmes: To empower our akonga to be lifelong learners.” - Andrew Watson, (former) principal at Lumsden School

P.S. Here's some bonus information on how you can get your BYOD devices funded. Check out the video for all the details here.

Upcoming Events

Teacher Aide/Support Staff Training

This week we kicked off our series of Support Staff workshops across New Zealand. These workshops focused around equipping support staff with the confidence and tools to empower them when working with their students and tech. For these initial workshops the focus was on G Suite and iPads, with two trainers present to provide options and extra support throughout the day. See more about this by clicking here.

We’ve had such a great response that we are now planning more of these days and would love to hear from you if you think your amazing support staff would benefit from some training with us. Register your spot for 2021 here and keep an eye out for dates in your region, or even delivered remotely!

Some feedback from our attendees…

“Thank you so much for your time... I came away feeling so much more confident using the Chromebook. You were able to explain it in such a way that I could relate it to something physical. The whole session was very relaxing and stressless. I even managed to put the information you sent into a file no problem. Looking forward to some more sessions in the future.” - Leanne - Te Awamutu Intermediate

“It’s great, you're not alone, awesome workshop, really great if you’re not one for computers!” John - Forest View High School

“It covers a variety of functionality for devices and the Chrome browser. Some basic and an introduction to more advanced uses” Angela

“Highly recommended. Time flies when you're learning.” Theresa - St John’s School, Hamilton

NB: If you are in New Zealand the NZ Ministry of Education Teacher Aide Pilot Fund can be accessed to cover the costs (including wages, travel and accommodation) for your staff for these days! Check out the details here.

Others - A Blog from the Archives

A different kind of Christmas Party!

We’ve noticed one of our blogs from 2016 has been getting a bit of attention lately! As a remote team ourselves (spread across three countries and four time zones) we’ve been holding our annual Christmas get togethers remotely for a few years!

If you are looking for ideas and inspiration for your own staff gathering, check out this blog from Samantha. If you do end up holding one we’d love to hear how you got on! :)

Upcoming Events

Microsoft Immersion 2020 - An Online Summit for All Educators in New Zealand

DATE: Thursday, October 29th, 2020

TIME: 3:50 pm

Using Technology Better, Noel Leeming Group & Microsoft have combined their passion for education and appetite for helping educators and teachers succeed with technology in the classroom.

Whether you’re just getting started with tech in the classroom, using it often or already an avid user, this online conference has been designed for you!

Real School Transformation - A Practical Framework That Actually Works

Introducing Microsoft's Education Transformation Framework.

There is no denying that technology supporting and enabling learning is not going away. Whether it be blended learning, online learning if schools have to close, or simply better integration of tech in the classroom.

The great news is, there is a well researched, evidence based, and simple to follow framework that you can use to develop a sustainable teaching and learning plan.

Let me be clear about something. This will not be another talkfest where you sit and listen to another person tell you why education needs to change and where you sit and discuss all the issues. No. This will be a hands on, roll up your sleeves, and get about doing the work of developing a plan that will work in your local context.

You will unpack the 4 pillars of transformation and put a plan in place to address each element. Don’t be overwhelmed, you don’t need to address all of them at the same time, but you do need a holistic approach to your strategic planning.

Join us for the next Education Transformation Session. We have both online and in person options available

UTB updates you may have missed

LearnBytes episode #3 – Paul Hamilton: How to overcome your fear of judgement 

In this Episode: Samantha is joined by Paul Hamilton, UTB’s Apple & Creativity Wizard.

In his race against the clock, Paul shares his definition of creativity and why a fear of judgement is his biggest creativity barrier. We also hear his insight into what we can all tell ourselves in order to overcome this barrier.

LearnBytes episode #2 – Nick Ginsburg: Why efficiency and productivity are about self-care Copy

In this Episode: Samantha is joined by Nick Ginsburg, Executive Assistant, speaker & coach.

In his race against the clock, Nick shares why he sees efficiency and productivity as self care tools. We also hear about what Nick’s biggest efficiency challenge has been, and how addressed it with an ‘hour of power’.

The power of search, Twitter wars, SEL questioned as the next EDU war and more! Ep 19 - In this episode we surf around the web discussion some latest trends and things that have caught our attention.

Join the UTB Team as a trainer!

We have a few training opportunities to join the UTB training team in Australia and New Zealand.

We're keen to hear from people who may be interested in full time, part time or casual work with us.

If you are a passionate educator, digitally savvy and keen to explore training options fill in this form to express your interest. We'll get back to you with more details!



We love getting your feedback about ideas you've used from this newsletter or from one of our training sessions!

In fact, we get such a kick out of it that every fortnight we want to give someone who shares the love a free online course of your choice - valued at up to $300!

All you need to do is a share a photo or video of an activity that was inspired by something we shared with you (could be from face to face, online training or the newsletter), with a quick caption telling us what's happening in it!

Here are a couple of ways you can share...

  • Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us in with @Usingtechbetter, #utbSHARE and #utbPD
  • Not on Facebook, Twitter or Insta? No worries - email it to us at support@usingtechnologybetter.com and we'll share it out on our social media


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Created with images by Joel Holland - "untitled image" • Photos Hobby - "Vertical Watcher" • Delila Ziebart - "untitled image" • Julian O'hayon - "2017 Apple products unboxed" • Pineapple Supply Co. - "🍍" • BENCE BOROS - "untitled image" • Neil Soni - "Levitated like I’m David Blaine"