Posted in Blogging, Criterion 5, Resources

Getting started with blogging


Posted in Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Resources

Powtoon: a fun presentation tool!

There are heaps of cool apps and websites put there that we can utilise to make cool presentations but my tool of choice at the moment is Powtoon.
It is really simple to use and creates a great looking pressie.

This Friday and Saturday OC is having our 3rd annual BYOD conference titled Rethink Recreate Redefine. Our focus is on enabling others to operate at the Redefine level of the SAMR model.

Linda Rubens, Althea White and myself are facilitating a workshop on how to create cool presentations on the fly. Althea will do iMovie, Linda – Explain Everything and me – Powtoon.

Here is a Powtoon I created on why you should use Powtoon:

Here are some instructions to get you started:


Posted in Resources

Why creating an iBook to sell is like having a baby

Over the Christmas holidays I wrote an iBook and I absolutely loved creating it and see it grow into something that I was really proud of. Like creating a baby and being pregnant, that was the easy part. Getting my book onto the iTunes store was like giving birth, extremely painful and frustrating. I just wanted to get it out there but what a difficult process! Here’s what happened:
1. Apple ID
Because I had already published free books I could not use the same Apple ID so the first thing to do was to set up a new one. I also had to create a new email address and I couldn’t use the iCloud one that I had already but never used because it was an Apple email address.
2. EIN
Next I applied for a US EIN (Employer Identification Number). As foreigners cannot do this online and there is no email address to send to, I had to either post or fax this application. I could have rung but, as I only have a mobile, I was not keen on this option. Nearly a month after I sent the fax my EIN arrived in the post.
3. iTunes Connect
I then signed up with iTunes Connect who had to approve my EIN. This took about a week.
I discovered through reading the Apple forums that I needed an ISBN to identify my book. This was easy, I applied via email to the NZ National Library and had my number, free of charge, within 3 days. Go NZ! Other countries charge around $100.
5. Vendor ID
So now I had all the information I needed to get my book onto the store, right? Wrong! I had almost finished filling in the forms on iTunes Producer when I was told that I had not completed the Vendor ID field. However, there was no field available to add this ID into. I went back into the Apple forum and found out that I had to go into Preferences > Publication > Editable before delivery. This worked. Then I thought, ‘What is a Vendor ID?’ Back in the forum, I found out that it was the number at the top right of the Sales and Trends page in iTunes Connect. But no, I don’t have anything for sale yet so I don’t have this number! Anyway, after searching everywhere I found a definition for Vendor ID and, to me, it sounded just like the ISBN. So I copied the ISBN into the Vendor ID field and it seems to have worked.
My book is currently uploading to the iTunes store…

So you can probably see now why it is like giving birth, it is excruciating and goes on and on and on! But I am sure that it will all be worth it.


Posted in Criterion 5, Resources

Gmail, Blogger & Google+

Today I made quite a cool discovery, Gmail, Blogger and Google+ work together really well. Yes, I’m sure I’m stating the obvious to some of you but to those of you who are wondering what I mean, read on…

Creating Class Circles
My main goal for today was to create circles on Google+ for each of my classes and then add my learners to the appropriate circle. For this to happen, I needed their email address and my laptop. I have been trying to complete this task on my iPad for several days now and can’t find a way to make it happen. If anyone knows, I’d appreciate your ideas 😉

At the beginning of each year we ask our learners to set up a Gmail account because we use Google Docs during the year and for them to use it they need a Gmail account. They had all emailed me previously. I found all the emails on my laptop in Gmail and went into each one. On the right hand side I found a button which said ‘add to circle’ so I added my learners to the appropriate circle.

I opened my Google+ app and voila! The learners who had already joined Google+ and posted something, appeared in the timeline for that circle. I also noticed that the blogs of those with Blogger accounts also appeared in the timeline. Magic!

A new discovery!
When I went back into my Gmail I saw a link by my profile photo which said ‘share’. I wondered what that was about so I clicked on it and it gave me the option of sharing a variety of things and a YouTube link was one of them. I decided to find the movie version of the book we are studying and shared that it showed up in my Google+ timeline for that class. So awesome!

Blogger challenges
When I saw my learners next I was checking that they all had a blog and recommended Blogger. After they had signed up I got them to join Google+ and join our class circle. We had fun connecting with each other! One problem we experienced was with the Blogger app. It seemed to want a you to set up a whole new Gmail address so we found it was better to go through Gmail on the internet, the login page has a link to Blogger on it. This way you can use the Gmail address that you already have.

Google ease
I think that the fact that Gmail, Google+ and Blogger are all part of the Google suite makes the idea of connecting much more simple that having different apps for different purposes. Now whenever anyone blogs, it automatically shows in the timeline for all the people in the circle to read and comment on. You don’t have to go looking for anything.

A very cool discovery, I’m thinking!


How to link Gmail, Blogger and Google+ – using an iPad

1. Log out of Gmail
2. Google(verb) Blogger and sign in with your Gmail details. You now have blog!
3. At the top left-hand corner you will see your name with a + next to it. This is the link to your Google+ account. Whenever you write a blog it will automatically post to Google+.
4. On the top right hand corner of the Blogger page you will see a ‘share’ link. If you tap on this you can type a message, add photos, links etc and then choose which circles to share with on Google +.
5. To set up circles in Google +, tap on the link to Google+ at the top left hand side of the page.
6. Tap on the icon on the top left. Then tap on ‘circles’, you will be given an option to create a new circle and build your existing circles.
7. Tap on ‘people’ to choose from your contacts which people to add to your circle. If this doesn’t work you will have to go onto your laptop and add each contact individually.
8. You can download each app, sign in and use these now (Gmail, Blogger and Google+).

Good luck!

Posted in Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Resources

Planning a PBL Unit

For creating your own matrix of learning activities based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and Gardner’s Intelligences,check out:

Here’s a link to “BloomsGardners Matrix.doc” in my Dropbox:

You can download this template and adjust it for your own needs.