Welcome to my Professional Learning blog.
My name is Matt Nicoll and I am a high school teacher in New Zealand, interested in improving the classroom experience for my students. I am open to trialing new approaches and hope to use this blog to reflect on my ideas and practices.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

A Chance to Read

Today's first task suited me in more than one way. We had to "read" something, and we had to write a blog post. I use quotation marks because every "reading" option was a video being read out to us. That was useful for me because I am a really slow reader!! As for being given time to write a blog post, well...

The given options were:

Matthew Taylor - 21st Century Enlightenment

I chose to "read" Daniel Pink, primarily because I intend to start properly reading his book over the summer holidays. I bought it for my Kindle, so I have made that commitment to myself already.

I liked the idea that, provided you take money out of the equation, separate studies have identified a few common motivators:
  • autonomy (give me the space and time to do things my own way)
  • mastery (I want to get better at this)
  • purpose (this is meaningful to me, my family, my society, my planet...)

These resonate with me. I do find that these are my primary motivators. What a pity, though: I thought I was special!! I also find that when I am under financial pressure, these are not necessarily my key motivators and drivers. Money definitely needs to be taken out of the equation... I wonder how much money individuals need to take the issue of money off the table. I wonder how governments and businesses can afford this amount of money to everyone. I wonder how they cannot!

I like that these findings are claimed to be based upon evidence. I hope only two examples are expanded upon to maintain the flow of the argument, not because the others were flawed or contrary. I wonder about some of the details of the investigations. What data was collected? How was this data collected? What were the tasks being employed to measure the impact of monetary motivation?

Now for some more reading...

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

My New Tools

The tasks we have been set in our first few weeks at Rolleston College/Horoeaka Haemata have had the side effect of adding some new tools to my kit. Hopefully the learning at our school next year will provide the opportunities and time for this same growth for students, and for me!


While I was using MovieMaker (don't judge - it was what I had at my disposal) to create video records of our work, I needed ways to make static images. I also had some fun with the built-in features of MovieMaker to pan across, or zoom in/out of the static images. I also found the need to make composite images for my work in Canva.
I had forgotten that you can do your work in PowerPoint or Publisher (horses for courses, or personal preference), then save them as JPEGs or PNGs, which can be used in MovieMaker and any other apps/programmes that require images, such as Canva and ThingLink (I am still learning to play with ThingLink, but it looks useful).

I liked using PowerPoint better, because I could create a series of slides (a presentation, if you will), then turn all of these into separate images in a folder. That made inserting them into a movie project very easy.


We were trying to put together an AppSmash into a digital, interactive poster. Canva was a really useful tool for collating the work every team member did, and to present it in a visually-pleasing way.

We could embed links to slides, videos, audio files and images in our Google Drives, and to YouTube.

Since learning to use this, I have also used it to make a collage of ideas that were sparked in an activity earlier today.


I have never played with Sites, although we did need to upload work of ours, and links to some of our work (such as our blogs) into a shared Site. There was a need, so I learned...

Then, we were given time to create our own site, to get a feeling for the kinds of things we might be getting ākonga to do. Sites seem a bit clunky for now, but apparently there are some exciting ("pretty") changes ahead. It seems to be a good way to store an electronic portfolio. It was easy to get started, too...