Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rolling Over Individual Blogs

I have spoken a lot about the benefits for children when they have their own blog to use as a record of learning.  In the last few months I have presented workshops at two Google Apps Summits on how to manage a quantity of individual blogs. A question I was asked from at both GAFE Summits by teachers was, "Why go to all this effort managing the individual student blogs?". They would like to simplify matters by simply getting each student in the class to set up their own blog for the year and the teacher have no responsibility for what happens the following year.

There are three parts to my response:

  1. In our Manaiakalani schools the teachers take delight in supporting the children build their record of learning - an ePortfolio - and our original child bloggers are entering their 6th year of having a personal blog.  So we do need to be able to track the blogs and support the children as they transition from class to class.
  2. If we create the blogs with an accurate naming structure the posts and comments feed through to Teacher Dashboard - a fabulous way to monitor them for the teacher.
  3. We are able to ensure the settings are all completed in the way we have discovered gives us maximum accountability for the online supervision of minors. (More about that at this link)

As we enter a new academic year I have updated the workflow for a school managing the transition of a set of student blogs onto the next teacher(s).

I will headline the stages below, but the full process is available for anyone to use at this link.

Blog Rollover - Workflow

Step by step to transitioning the student individual blogs at the end of the academic year to their new class/teacher.

Stage One
Getting Organised
Get all the documentation sorted BEFORE starting the rollover process so it happens in a methodical fashion

Stage Two
Passing on a class set of blogs to the new teacher(s)
This really should be done by the teacher who taught the class in the PREVIOUS academic year.

Stage Three
Updating information on the new set of blogs
The classroom teacher has just been made Admin of a whole new set of student blogs. Now the header information, which displays publicly, needs to be updated.

Stage Four
Spreading the word about the children’s blogs is an important way of supporting their learning.

I do hope this is of use to others!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Kids share their Summer with the world

There is nothing like a good Summer holiday at a beach enjoying the sun, surf  and family to re-energise and clear the head. The things we read and the conversations we have (lots of educators or people who have been educated visit our beach campsite!) inevitably lead to plans about how we can do things differently to lead to better outcomes for the kids we teach in the coming year.

A paragraph in one of the magazines I took away with me to read got me thinking again about what a huge team effort is required in our Manaiakalani schools as so many of our students start school two years behind academically in year one:

“Most new entrants turn up to high decile schools well-prepared for learning. Research suggests that they will have heard some 32 million more spoken words than a child turning up to a decile 1 school...”

And various pieces of research kept popping up about the Summer Drop-off and how it inevitably impacts Decile 1 kids far more than high Decile kids.  This relates directly to the amount of exposure children will have during their holidays to experiences (including print and conversations) that will continue their learning.

This could have been a depressing train of thought to entertain during the holidays, but thanks to the Flipboard app on my iPad and the @clusternz Twitter feed it was far from it. Why? Because everyday I saw Blog posts from our kids being tweeted.  Children who were writing in their Summer holidays. This Summer there were dozens of Manaiakalani children posting online yet we still do not have all our children taking their netbooks home, nor have we completed the Tamaki Learning Network which will deliver free wireless connections to all their homes. Imagine what it will be like next Summer when they are fully connected!

Some of these posts brought tears to my eyes, some were funny, some were clever, some were well written and some would have had a teacher using up an entire red pen back in the old school days of ruthless corrections. But all were indications of children intentionally sharing with the whole world snippets of what they had been learning at the time.

While some were clearly posted quickly in a Facebook announcement style, many showed signs of careful thought and planning: Iisa who is writing a serial story; kids who took the time to draw graphics to illustrate their stories; kids who must have taken photos while on an outing specifically to post with a piece of writing they had in mind; students who obviously were recrafting their writing to use the English conventions they had been learning during the year; students doing online Maths activities and capturing screen shots to ‘prove’ their achievements; ditto kids keeping up with their typing tutorials.

Most made it clear in a variety of ways that they were intentionally posting for their audience. Some thought about creative 'hooks' and included graphics, photos and movies. Willy went so far as to create a ‘Spot the Difference’ game for his readers with photos he had taken.

I know that some of our children have been keeping in email contact with their teachers during the holidays too.

If we can build on this enthusiasm our young people have to Learn, Create and Share regardless of whether it is ‘school time’ or ‘holiday time’ - if we can inspire them to become life-long learners, then surely we can help them overcome the circumstances mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs.

Finally, because they took the time to connect with us, I am going to share links to as many of their posts as I could collate - you might like to dip into one or two and leave them some feedback.....

Many children shared Christmas highlights - with a couple of lowlights amongst them: Roezala, Cheyanne, Ane, Lesieli, Sela, Josephine, Sarona,  Rave,  Lorenzo,  Kingston

And Boxing day was big too, especially for those who got money to spend!:
Willy,  Cheyanne,

New Years was big: Kaycee, Sela, Jordenne, Quasia, Roezala,  Makerita

Some have clearly been following the news and comment on events:
Alexandria, Stevenson
Levi built this shed with his Dad
Rocky illustrates the movie he watched.

Some went to the beach: Paris, Levi, Ana, Serena, Rocky,  Kaycee, Gloria F,

Some went overseas to Australia and back to the Islands:
Gloria,  Alexandria, Josephine

Some spent time doing house or yard work:
Paris, Levi,

Some wrote for writing’s sake (short fiction pieces);
Iisa, Sarah, 

Some wrote to (or about) connecting with friends and family;
Mary,  Brooklyn,  Shirquera, Quasia, Iron, Lesieli, Sela, Sarona, Rave, Stevenson, Willy
Iisa illustrates his creative writing.

Some recounted movies watched, games played , outings or books read:
Korobeau,  Rachel,  Atamani,  Sonya, Iisa, Paris, Tyla-Marie, Isara,  Rocky,  Quasia, Gloria F,  Roezala, Siutaka, Silas, Makerita

Some reflected on school life, teachers and events;
Lesieli, Iisa, Nikki,

I have scraped the Twitter feed and pasted the raw links here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Helen King on Creativity

In 2012 one of our cluster lead teachers, Helen King, was awarded an eFellowship with Core ED. It was significant for all of us that she chose to investigate creativity in her classroom to enhance learning and teaching. 
The Manaiakalani schools have developed the "Learn Create Share" pedagogy and in 2012 acknowledged that the Create component of the pedagogy is the most challenging to consistently provide opportunities for.
In this video Helen explains what she did with her class of Year 5 ( none year old) children.

Elearning and creativity from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Helen King from Pt England School tells us how encouraging creativity through music, animation, and movies enhanced the learning of her students. She found that infusing creativity through all curriculum areas contributed to a change in classroom culture.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Students reflect on 1:1 in 2012 Part 1

"It makes my brain be brave" 
(Catherine, SPX)

In December 2012 we asked the students across our nine Manaiakalani Schools to write a reflection on their year of using a personal digital device as their basic learning tool.
About 250 students chose to post these reflections online via their blogs. These posts came from seven schools and children aged 9-13 years.  The students ranged from having had 2 terms experience to 2 years experience in 1:1 classrooms.

Between them they posted 51,000+ words - pretty much a Master’s Thesis!  So my challenge over the past two weeks has been to collate the main themes that have come through, whilst retaining some of the ‘Gems’ individuals have shared.

All 250 blog posts have been copied and pasted into this public Google Doc and anyone interested is welcome to trawl through the raw data with links to each source.

A quick visual impression of what was significant to the children was obtained by pasting the content of all their posts into Tagxedo . One example is embedded below.

A clear message from all of the children was the connection between their personal device (netbook in most cases in 2012) and learning, particularly improved learning outcomes.

  • Enjoyment, motivation, fun, engagement and success came through consistently.
  • Writing as a subject and the mechanics of writing were commented on favourably by most.  
  • Many more mentioned Maths this year as a subject they now enjoyed.
  • The empowerment of digital technologies to strengthen collaboration and connection with peers, teachers and home was another strong theme.
  • A significant number talked positively about the ability to learn anywhere, at anytime and with anyone and at any pace.
  • And most students linked their reflection to the pedagogical underpinning of  ‘Learn, Create, Share”.

The consistent negative concern was internet connectivity, or the impact on them when internet was erratic. A few children wrote of how they problem solved but a significant cry of frustration emerged.  It will be interesting to see how the arrival of Fibre (UFB) in their schools and the Tamaki Learning Network providing wireless connections to their homes early in 2013 impacts their user experience.

Following is a collection of ‘sound bites’ with links to the original post of the child quoted.
This is the kind of anecdotal evidence that does not come through in standardised testing but some of these snippets reflect deep impact on learning.

Here are a couple of ‘Gems’ to get started:

Britney GIS

The netbooks have made our school days interesting because now I talk more because there is a lot more to talk about.
Catherine SPX
Now I can use my learning tool and I can type fast and it is so amazing. I am so exciting because I can do anything on my netbook. My learning tool helps me find the answers and it helps me do my worked and get it finished and it’s make my brain be brave.

There are hundreds more of these in the next post.


Students reflect on 1:1 in 2012 Part 2

This is part two of an overview of the reflections posted by Manaiakalani children at the end of the 2012 academic year. This post is a collection of statements mined from the 250+ blog posts children published, with links to their original post if you are interested in delving deeper.I make no apology that this is an outrageously long post. These young people deserve to be heard, they are more than a collection of test scores!"How has your year has gone with a digital device (netbook) as your main learning tool..."In praise of the deviceSome of the children have use various writing devices to try and hook readers as they describe their device:
Isara N PES
What am I? I am a small black digital device, I have a keyboard and a mouse pad, I let people share their work with the whole world. Most students at Pt England school have me. You guessed it - I am a netbook. Well I am in year six at Pt England school which means I am lucky enough to own one of these magnificent devices. Netbooks are so awesome, because not only can we learn from our teacher but all our friends. Sharing docs takes one minute but has a huge impact...
Tyla Marie PES
Complaining from my cousins is all I hear from them. Why? Well because at their school they have to use the boring paper and pencils. But luckily for me I get to use a netbook which is much easier to handle. Instead of nagging everyone and reading boring books. Just type in keywords in Google and you’ll find lots of different and interesting things about your subject. Not only that but you learn faster too. It’s portable and convenient too...

Rejecting the old world
There were lots of strong messages against reverting to a pencil and paper world!
Josephine PES
Pencil and paper was a huge mistake for us kids. Now, I’m trying to refuse the pen and pencil. At the beginning of time when we had stationery, it was a hard for us, wanna know why? Every moment we read to the class, we could hardly see anything with the messy black shades covering the words.
Gabriel PES
I love my netbook. Do you? Since last year, I’ve had my netbook and I love it to bits. It is so cool. I’ve had a few problems but most of the time its been sweet...Will I ever go back to pen and paper? Well..... NOOOO!!!!! I will never ever go back to pen and paper. I’m going to leave it at that.
Kingston PES
I liked having my Netbook the very first time I got it, so I can’t imagine what it will be like without it. Working old fashion (Paper & Pencil) would be a nightmare for me because it takes me forever to write an acceptable piece of writing.
James PES
I would never go back to paper and pencil old school style. The reason why I would not go back to paper and pencil? Because it was boring and it does not have auto speller.

More praise for 1:1 learning
There were some fervent outpourings of endorsement for digital learning tools
Lydia TPS
Experiencing how to work on the netbook was a fun journey. I searched up new things on google and learning even more than I expected! Googling for pictures was really fun! commenting,connecting and sharing with your friends work was clever and easy. Organizing your work is no problem! Everything I need is on the netbook! Discovering the world was wonderful. Now I can type better than ever! This enjoyable tool has prepared me for the future.
Makerita PES
This generation has more modern ways to learn. For example, we now use high tech fashion mini netbooks, a couple of iPads in each classes, and many of us pretty much have moved on from using pencil and paper....It’s only been 2 years since the Manaiakalani Programme has kicked in and people’s grades have been rising very rapidly.
Waata PES
I’ve had my netbook for nearly two years and I am very happy with my netbook. When I first got my netbook I was very excited and happy...I love my netbook, it is my precious. My netbook is the best of them all it is fast like a cheetah. It has lasted me for two years and is still going hard.
Tupou GIS
Before the netbooks it was so slow when we were writing and doing the other subjects in our books.  We never finished our work on time in any subject. The work in our books could not be shared with anyone. When I heard we were getting netbooks  I could not believe it. When we got our netbooks it was so amazing. It helped us work fast, leave comment on other people's blogs and read other people's stories. It the best thing to happen.
Selena PES
This generation our learning has been enhanced with better technology, and Pt England students were fortunate enough to be gifted with learning devices such as the Netbook. It worked magic for us then because it had easy access to the Internet and easily filed google docs.
Fast forward 2 years later and these little Internet devices are still working magic for us. This year, our netbook has helped us with our learning a lot. Since using this device, I have improved in Math and have even begun to enjoy learning about Maths with the learning application which we use to enhance our learning.
Siosiua  GIS (after two terms)
Before I had my netbook I was working in books. It was Boring working in the books. When the Netbook's came it change my whole life. When I worked on my Netbook my learning got more interesting. I got to blog and comment on other people's blogs...
Jennifer PES
The thing that I did differently now than last year was, thinking better, having more confidence in myself and having more FUN!!!!.
I think my learning is gone better than last year because I have learned more things this year and thinking about the right thing before I said or wrote it.

Writing was one of the most commented upon areas of improvement students attribute to having their own device. The prominence of the word in the image below is confirmed by statements like this:
Mone GIS
In our netbook Mr Ramklowan sometimes tell us students to go to Google Docs, it is fun writing in our Google Drive like it never was writing in a book in your life before. It feels like you want to write and never stop. But you have to stop in a moment for morning tea and lunch.

Many children talk about the craft of writing and how having a digital device simplifies the process:

Francis PES
Learning with a netbook is better because I love to write and also when we make mistakes we don’t need to rub out our writing instead we can delete it. I think it is really handy to have a netbook because you can go back and edit your writing when you need to.

The streamlining of the sharing process is also mentioned:

The really good thing that I have discovered in the year is that my hands don’t hurt as much as when I was writing in a book because my hands don’t have to be in the same position all the time. The other thing is that it is easier to do is publish because in my book, I had to write it out, type it onto the computer and then post it to my blog but now, I just need to copy and paste what I have typed onto my blog.
What I like about my netbook is that we can just type and publish instead of write, copy and publish, it just takes too long.

The majority of students include comments revealing that their success at learning is somehow equated to the neatness of their handwriting (this is a future blogpost of its own!).
Annliz PES
It is one hundred times better than writing on a book because my hand always gets sweaty when I write with my pencil.
Shirquera PES
I like my netbook because it’s faster than a book and a pencil.  I like my netbook because paper gets messy and I like my netbook because if I get words wrong I can change things. Sometimes I can lose my books and pencils.
When I did not have a netbook I got words wrong and my book got messy and now that I have my netbook it’s easier to write on.
Lesieli PES
I think the best reason why I like using my Netbook is because I am able to share my work with the world! ..The most difference I found is that the netbooks are tidy and when we have paper we make big nasty black mistakes that makes black shades and it makes it hard for you to read.

Some classes (teachers) seem to have focussed on this more than others. Those children who have had the opportunity to commit to improving typing skills are very enthusiastic about how it has enabled improvement in learning and confidence:
Sonya SPX
At first our typing on a netbook wasn’t very good, some of us typed 4 words per minute. As the terms went on we started to get more and more confident and brave using a netbook. It was amazing seeing such wonderful things on the netbook and what it could do...Now using netbooks we have improved in learning and sharing our knowledge. Using a netbook got better and better as the terms pasted by, now we are starting to finish our work faster and we are typing faster than before. ..Usually when we work in a book our hands hurt because we would write for ages, but our hands don’t hurt that much because of typing it makes it much more easier especially with having Miss G to show how to type faster.
Kerisimasi GBS
I like my netbook because  it’s more  fun to type than write
Now, I feel much more confident in using my netbook. I have also improved in my typing, I can now do my work much faster because I can type faster.
Kilistina SPX
Now I have improved as I can type faster. It is helpful because when you use paper and pencil you have to keep standing and sharpening your pencil. This year my typing is well gone high into the 40’s words per minute.

Sore hands
Who would have thought that so many kids have sore hands while using a pen/pencil?
Haina TPS
I like using my netbook because its easier to type and it can correct my mistakes when its wrong. ..I like working on my netbook because when I write on books it makes my hand sore but on netbook it doesn't hurt my hand cause you type not write.

Another ‘surface feature’ that looms large in children’s minds as an indicator of their ability to learn.  The majority mention that learning digital overcomes this:
Matthew PES
Netbooks have helped us with learning lots because we can just spell check if we've spelled something wrong. Netbooks are the best and I love using them.
I like my netbook because it is a lot better than before and also it is helping with my spelling.
James PES
I do my writing , reading and maths on my netbook. I have become a better speller because of the mistake fixer on my netbook every time I spell a word wrong.

Work faster
Children perceive that their work output is quicker and more prolific using digital tools:
Tyler PBS
The interesting parts of my netbook is doing my work faster. Finding things on the internet and not waiting around the computers for a turn. And making my desk clean.
Kifi PBS
This year I have been getting my work done quicker by using my netbook. It is also faster to upload work onto my blog. I am motivated to finish my work that I couldn’t be finished in books. It is also easier to backspace mistakes than to rub out, I like the font and the font size, it makes my handwriting look very neat.
Sonya SPX
Now using netbooks we have improved in learning and sharing our knowledge. Using a netbook got better and better as the terms pasted by, now we are starting to finish our work faster and we are typing faster than before.
Tupou GIS
It really feels good to have a netbook  to work with. This  has really made a change in my learning. Last year, without these interesting netbooks, I worked really really slow like a sloth in the tree. I worked slow in everything like writing, reading, maths and also topic. But  I was mostly  slow in doing my writing. I never finished my writing in time and my teacher always glares at because I never finished in time for him to mark it. But now, with my netbook, I finish everything on time.

A lot of children mentioned improvement in Maths and find the Maths programmes selected by the teachers (eg Maths Whizz) to be helpful and fun. A number mention games they have downloaded or accessed themselves as well:

Samuela PES
My netbook has really helped me with my learning. I do my writing, maths and reading on my little device. I have become a better speller and have improved in my maths, but am still improving in my reading. It has helped me a lot because of the sites on the net that I can go on like maths whizz, xtramaths and studyladder. Another thing is that I can go onto the net and do some research if I need a piece of information to help me.
Sione PES
What I liked about learning on my netbook is math its fun and it’s cool I like doing my math and I always finish it.
Jessica PES
Our netbooks provide knowledge that we can't get while using pen and paper...The good thing about having netbooks is that you can go on different sites instead of surrounding Mrs Nua's laptop.The most thing that helps me with my learning is Maths Whizz and Xtramaths.
Kobe PES
I can play lot’s of cool learning games like Studyladder, Sumdog and Xtramath.
Giselle PES
The sites like Maths Whizz and Xtramaths help us improve in our maths ,Since i've been using all these sites i’ve been improving at least a little bit every single day because when you start to use these sites they help you learn how to solve and how to use the strategy to get your answer.
Gloria PES
With our netbooks, we are able to use programmes such as, Maths Whizz, Xtra Math and Tuxmath. This let’s us have a choice of learning either on the internet or on the programmes already on our netbooks.

Learning 24/7
Student led learning; the ability to learn at any time, at any place, at any pace and about anything; the idea of learning being a global (in every sense of that word) activity has been a highlight for many children. They express this through many different lenses:

Lydia TPS
Experiencing how to work on the netbook was a fun journey. I searched up new things on google and learning even more than I expected! Googling for pictures was really fun! commenting,connecting and sharing with your friends work was clever and easy. Organizing your work is no problem! Everything I need is on the netbook! Discovering the world was wonderful. Now I can type better than ever! This enjoyable tool has prepared me for the future.
Saadiya PES
When I was a year 1 student and first started at Pt England I was asking the teacher about everything. But now as I am a year six I ask Google instead! I have learned so many new things about netbooks for the past 2 years. Since I have my netbook I always finish on time and always have cared of my netbook.
I really enjoyed my net-book this year because it has absolutely helped me with all sorts of stuff. It is way better than using paper and pencils because with paper and pencils you have have to ask the teacher for something, (like our work!) Rather with netbooks if you need help you can just ask Google or email, You could learn create and share anywhere you are.
Jonita PES
Learning with Netbooks makes sharing, editing and information much more easier. Even though school finishes, our learning hasn't, when we can still learn maths, writing and reading at HOME
Laita PES
The great thing about having a netbook, besides having free time, is actually learning about other stuff. Reading, writing, and maths, is all fun to learn about.
Rocky PES
This year a netbook has really helped me because I had a choice of choosing different topics whenever. Although this has been fun it has been challenging too because many of your netbook problems you had to try and fix it yourself. I really liked taking it home to do extra work so that on fridays I do not have to catch up.
Raenan PES
This year was the second year that I had a netbook. I like having a netbook because it is easier to work on, with all the gadgets you need. ...Also we have got access to find out about the latest news and see when and where an event is happening like, the Panmure Santa parade.
Kingston PES
I have enjoyed having a Netbook. It helps me to teach myself in some ways like, not waiting for Mr Barks to tell me what to do. I can do what even I want, as long as it is work related.
Ashleigh PES
This year is soo much cooler using our little devices, netbooks.It is much better then writing on scrunched up paper. You can also share your work with people all around the world. Its like the new way of learning!...Our netbooks are helping us to learn by our self and we’re not relying on our teacher too much. We also have access to a lot of things that will help us learn more like videos, rubrics and information.
Jouan PES
There is an advantage to taking your Netbook home. Like, getting ahead or catching up on your work. At my class we work independently. So we can work on whatever we want, when we want. It is also helps us to be cyber smart. We also like to take charge so instead of bugging your teacher or our friends, you can just search it up on the internet. Plus it’s way better than working on a boring old books and pencils.
Jessica PES
Our netbooks provide knowledge that we can't get while using pen and paper.
and her teacher replies via comments...
And your learning has really improved this year well done Jess. Keep reading and taking an interest in what is going on around you. It's been great hearing your voice so much more in class - keep sharing your thoughts and ideas here and in the classroom.
Mrs Nua
Jorja PES
With our Netbooks we not only can do our work at school but at home as well.We are not only learning from Ms.Garden but from everyone around the world. Sharing our work can also teach people on how use better techniques.
Roezala PES
If I'm sick at home I can still do what my class is doing because of the class site.I can catch up with what my class is doing .

Whanau engagement - parents and home
A number of children mentioned the significance of involving their parents in their learning, for a variety of reasons too!

Falemi GIS
The year is almost over and we don't get to use our netbooks over the holidays,unless our parents did the netbook training. I feel very sad my dad didn't do the netbook training.
Kelvin GIS
my Mum leaves some nice comments on my blog.
Gloria PES
Sharing my learning on my blog has given my mum a chance to look at what I have doing at school. My family around the world is enabled to comment and share it with more of the extended family.
Cheyanne PES
I am enjoying my Netbook, what I like is we can share our work with the world.We can learn at home and my family can see what I have been doing at school because we have a google docs.
Raeleen PES
Taking good care of your Netbook is not that easy because if you have a little siblings they can easily break it so if I was you I would hide it where the wont find it.
Chloe PES
It is Really cool because we also get to take our netbook home and our parents get to see how great using a netbook can be.
Jordenne PES says this...
Having our parents paying for our Netbooks is really cool. The reason why they pay for our netbooks is because they love us. Our parents pay 15 dollars a month, and I think that is really good.
And Mum responds.... mum December 3, 2012 3:45 PM
yes - your mama/papa love you lots and do everything to make sure that you have the best education - including buying you a netbook. The netbook has helped you learn about computers and how to use them. its also great for keeping in touch with mum aea! keep up the good work ua iloa ma vaai faalelei lou netbook - aua e taugata! love you sweet. Mum x

Teacher Workload
Some children have identified a shift in teacher work/load as a result of them having netbooks!
Edwina GBS
Using my netbook for my learning is very helpful because it is easier for my teacher to check it...I can also communicate with my teacher from home by email.
Lizara PES
When I did not have a netbook ... my teacher had to always go home or stay at school looking at each book to see if it had punctuation and the paragraph lengths.
Samuela PES
I would never go back to paper and pencil old school style. The reason why I would not go back to paper and pencil because it is boring writing for hours and it doesn’t have an auto speller to correct my spelling if it wrong, and it much easier for the teachers because they could just go on Teacher Dashboard to look at your work and what have you improved instead of handing in the writing books.
Rocky PES
A great thing about my netbook is that you have the best of both worlds. A real highlight for me was how learning changes when you use your netbook. It is easier to show your work to your teachers because you can use your docs and share it with your teacher.
Saadiya PES
When I was a year 1 student and first started at Pt England I was asking the teacher about everything. But now as I am a year six I ask Google instead!
Jouan PES
We also like to take charge so instead of bugging your teacher or our friends, you can just search it up on the internet.

Peer Support
Many children wrote about learning from or with their friends and peers.  Via their Blogs and via shared Google Docs were the most commonly mentioned:
Broneq PES
When you're on your netbook you don’t have to give it to somebody to read your work, you can just share it. If they say you have done it all right then you put it on your blog.
But the best thing about the netbooks is that we can communicate with other schools because you can see what they are doing at their school throughout the year on their blogs.
Susana TPS
I have just completed my first year with my netbook. The thing that was most interesting about having net book was that you could have different ways to help a friend with their work. For EG: You could post a comment on their blog or send them an email. Another way to help them is to ask them to share their work with you and they would, which means you could also post comments or help them out by editing their work for them.
Hannah PES
I like commenting on other peoples blogs so it can help them think about how they should write or do their maths properly.
Clearissa GIS
I like posting positive and specific comments on students work from different schools, sometimes they provide feedback when I share my stories online. I have read stories from children of the Manaiakalani Trust.
Britney GIS
Everytime I see my netbook I can always see a better education for myself. During my two terms I can see an improvement in my main curriculum areas. To be honest it used to be really boring but now that I have a netbook it is actually fun. Commenting on others blogs are also exciting because I get the chance to find out about their learning and I get to meet others beyond this school.
Mele GIS
Before I used books and I couldn't share my work with others.  But  now I love to share with other children and read their comments.
Mavis TPS
The positives that I experienced this year  includes interacting with classmates when we need help. We also get to respond to amazing blog posts that were posted by our classmates or other students in the Manaiakalani cluster...We get to voice our learning on our blogs.
Isabella PBS
I find uploading things on my blog really successful because then when we have more posts we get more comments and we have more people from around the world checking out my blog. I also like it when people comment on my work and that will let me know that I’m doing a great job on my work and on my blog. Also I can show my work off in assembly, in class on the big screen or to other people from other schools or around the world...I also like it when Miss Paton checks my work so that she can show it in assembly or she can put it up in class on the big screen so that I know that I have done a great job with my work.

Audience appeal
One of the foundation objectives to engage Manaiakalani students has been to help them develop an authentic audience to share their learning with. Comments like these validate this:
Hannah TPS
This year is totally different because I can share my stories with the world. Having a netbook is really cool because you can see what other people shared as well.
Crystal GIS
I once visited my friends blog and when I looked at her visitors map, there were so many red dots I couldn't see the map. She has been blogging for about three years. I can't wait till my visitor map looks like hers.
Josephine PES
Having a netbook has recently been a blessing for me. I get to type up the new things I have learnt and by clicking publish, it starts a whole new technology life. ...In terms of having a netbook, I have learnt about how we can share via technology with the world.  People all over the globe frequently read my blog and leave a comment and their URL in order for me to check what they have been learning.
Jordan PES
This year I don’t just create little baby stories, I create movies, blog post, presentation and animation with voice overs explaining what I learn. I think learning this year is cool because we can share our work with the world and they can leave us some feedback.
Chante PES
I absolutely love being able to communicate with people through my school, it makes me so happy, and to think that it helps my school, fellow students, and teachers, makes me feel even happier, and gives myself a sense of achievement and nothing could ever beat that feeling.

Initial reactions to owning your own device
We are well aware of the economic challenges faced by most Manaiakalani children and that this netbook is often the first piece of technology the family has invested in. Many experiences were as we expected, like this:

Susanna TPS
At first sight I was so amazed and excited that goose bumps appeared and second of all I wondered what kind of learning we would do until 'WOW' it was cool. We got to be creative in our way and we never had to wait for a very long time to go on the computer just to find a single information.

We may have underestimated the degree of uncertainty and even fear the children experienced when they first owned their own device.  Here are some different reactions:

Valenisai SPX
At the beginning of the year I felt so nervous and scared, because I didn’t know what I was going to use to do my work on. Suddenly I got a netbook that was new to me because I had never used a netbook before. I got my netbook and I opened it and turned it on. At the beginning I was unsure how to use my netbook and also I was slow at typing.
This year, I was very lucky and I got to use a netbook for my school work instead of a book. At first, I was very nervous and I was a bit scared because I thought that I might drop it or break it. Everyday, when I went to school, I was always very excited because I knew that I would be using my brand new netbook. I was also very unsure because I didn’t know how everything works and how to use it properly.
Now, I feel much more confident in using my netbook.
Jane SPX
In the beginning of the year room three had these little netbooks and each one of us had our own one. Some of us used our brother’s or sister’s netbook from the previous year. When I first got my netbook I was so scared that I might break it. We were all happy to use our netbooks but the only thing we were unsure of was how to use it.

Appreciation of teachers
Finally I must mention the large number of children who included appreciation of their teachers and other significant adults (eg principals and the Manaiakalani team) in their reflections. There is no fear that technology is going to replace good teachers in the eyes of these kids.  Rather, they wrote about teachers as people who guided, supported and encouraged their learning via digital tools.

As I wrote at the beginning, the student responses published publicly on their individual blogs ran to 51,000+ words, so if you would like to view the lot, they can be accessed on a Doc here.

School abbreviations next to student names are as follows:
TPS Tamaki Primary School
SPX St Pius X School
PES Pt England School
GBS Glenbrae School
TIS Tamaki Intermediate School
PBS Panmure Bridge School
GIS Glen Innes School