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.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Sharing ... Learning ... Networking #SparkshopAKL

Earlier today I really enjoyed attending the first GEGNZ run #SparkshopAKL, an opportunity to share and collaborate with like minded teachers/educators.  The day began with a Sparkshop smorgasbord with all participants rating each session based on interest - from there 18 great sessions were available to explore.

I was delighted to co-present a session with +Fiona Grant about how +Explain Everything works so nicely with Google.  During this session I showed how my learners access their +Explain Everything projects, which I have created to meet their learning needs, directly from my Google Site.

My second session was tricks and tips for extending Google Sites, touching on the use of tables to allow greater control of your layout and manipulating the HTML to centre tables, take away borders and resize images.  This covered some of the content I'd presented at GAFE earlier this year, however the smaller group enabled specific questions and tips to be covered.

I particularly enjoyed reconnected with fellow teachers but also took away some tips (particularly from the Demo Slam at the end of the day).
  • Colour Picker Add-on to Google Chrome - match an exact colour quickly and easily - great for when creating Sites or putting together presentations!
  • Bitmoji - as featured at the GAFE Summits earlier this year - but still a definite fave with me
  • Visual Timers - a great way to help with those transitions in the classroom - I have used these before but hadn't thought to use them this year so a timely reminder 
  • Bouncy Balls noise monitor - I thought this was really cool, although I could see it having the opposite effect in my classroom as they try to increase the noise to make the balls bounce more
  • Save to Google extension - quickly save any images or webpages to view later - use tags to easily group/find later



  1. Thanks for your contributions in making this event successful. It is always wonderful to have sessions run by educators who are passionate about what they do and can "talk the walk". Great connecting with you again!

    1. Thanks Justine! I really enjoyed sharing and it was a superb event - hoping its an annual thing :) Always great to reconnect with other likeminded teachers :)