Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 2 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 ... a year in review!

Usually at this time I just "think" about the highlights of my year and I've never had a blog before and therefore a vessel to review them via.  That all changed this year as embraced social media, in particular blogging and twitter and have enjoyed being able to share my successes, thoughts, attempts and meanderings.

I've grown so much as a teacher this year and look forward to extending that growth into my own classroom next year and at the same time completing my Honours degree - I have one summer school paper and a research project which I'm awaiting ethics approval for - once again, "watch this space" on that one!!

As we move into 2015, I feel I've accomplished plenty in my first year of teaching, and received an opportunity that very few beginning teachers have had - the support of a mentor teacher to assist in my transition to the classroom - the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy (MDTA) made this possible and this unique opportunity has made for an amazing year!

So, without further ado, here are just some of my highlights as I think back and review 2014!

  • The 19 unique individuals who will forever be the very first class I had the pleasure of teaching!
  • Sharing my knowledge with the school and cluster with HTML toolkits
  • Sharing my experiences on my blog (and the Auckland University Top of the Class blog)
  • Getting to know the wonderful staff at Pt England School who make coming to work every day such fun
  • Piloting the iPad 1:1 in the junior classroom - it was a challenge that I embraced and enjoyed, despite the hurdles and occasional bumps along the way - opportunities for learning and growth, each and every one of them!
  • Explain Everything - wow, what an app!  We've used it in SO many different ways and I know I will continue to do so in the future
  • The Manaiakalani Film Festival - wow - what an experience, can't wait to do it again next year.
  • The MDTA weekly sessions which gave us opportunities to debrief and talk about our weeks  and more importantly, explore new tools to assist us to be at home in a digital world
  • and last, because it means the most:  Michelle George, my mentor teacher - you are amazing!!  I will never be able to thank you enough for your support and encouragement this year - I'm a better teacher because of this experience - you shared a class with me and were supportive no matter what, always allowing me to try new things, while providing expertise and experience that you were so happy to share, each and every day.   
I'm sure I've missed things, but the wonderful thing about my blog is the history - I can look over the experiences of the year at any time in the future!  I can't believe I've been teaching a year - its been exciting, enthralling, exhausting, eventful, exhilarating and emotional - I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else!   


  1. Great post Karen. From the sidelines it has been fabulous seeing how you have taken every opportunity given and made the most of it. New Zealand education - and years of children to come - is blessed to have you. Enjoy the break and best wishes for a wonderful 2015.

    1. Thanks for your ongoing support Dorothy - I love my job and the people I get to work with every day! You are a shining example of creating opportunities and flying with them (and an absolute pleasure to work with!)