Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a fourth year teacher working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 3 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, 30 November 2016

Manaiakalani Film Festival 2016

Earlier this month I once again contributed a movie to the annual Manaiakalani Film Festival.   With slightly older learners this year I asked for their ideas and tried to incorporate them all into the movie - no mean feat given they had SO many ideas.

Over the last few years I have come to realise it is really important to do three things:

  • Plan REALLY well, including a full list of all screen shots (really handy as you can film out of order)
  • Always film MORE footage than you think you will need - definitely the case this year but that way there is little need to refilm (and try to get things exactly as they were on the day)
  • Allow more TIME than you think you need for editing - it always takes longer!  Movies this year were due in week 8 and I organised to film in week 2, which was way earlier than most.  This gave me six weeks to work on editing (and it took nearly that long)
The opportunity of the Film Festival for my learners is amazing.  I have some learners that I taught back in Year 1 so they knew that they would have the opportunity to dress up and get into their roles.  For me, I try to make the experience enjoyable and different for my learners.  They all get the opportunity to dress up and become the character.  I also try to add the fantasy and "wow" moments by using the green screen room.  This ensures that learners (who don't see the movie until it is on the big screen) don't really know what to expect.  

So, without further ado, my Manaiakalani Film Festival entry for 2016 ... see what happens when its not "Just Another Day!"


Monday, 21 November 2016

My Spark Manaiakalani Inquiry Review

Its hard to believe its been a year since I began my inquiry but today was our last meeting at Spark HQ to reflect on the progress we have made.  As part of this, we recorded our presentation, with additional commentary on our overall thoughts on learner shift as well as personal learning.

The "Thinglink" below provides links to all aspects on my inquiry:



The opportunity to be a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher for 2016 was amazing and I've grown professionally as a result.  Its been a privilege to join the other teachers involved this year (particularly given the Manaiakalani Outreach teachers were also involved) and I've thoroughly enjoyed following their inquiry progress and presenting with them all this year.

I look forward to continuing my inquiry journey into 2017 and have shared all my resources publicly so that other teachers (and learners) are able to also benefit.

Finally, a huge thanks to the Spark Foundation and Manaiakalani Trust for the opportunity.  Their generous support continues to open up opportunities for both learners, teachers and the wider community.

Presenting at ULearn 2016