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 1/2 class using Play Based Learning (PBL) and 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.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Seesaw Ambasssador

Earlier this week I completed my Seesaw Ambassador training for another year!  I really enjoy using Seesaw particularly as a platform for sharing the learning happening in the classroom with whanau.


Additionally this year I've started using the Seesaw Activity Library more extensively and contributed with my own activities.  While still using Explain Everything, the Seesaw activities tend to be able to be completed during one lesson and provide opportunities for students to practise different skills quickly.  They are just as interactive (particularly with the new features added) as using Explain Everything and students don't need to be shown how to upload to Seesaw.

The above example is an activity created earlier today to practise skip counting to solve multiplication problems.  I look forward to continuing to use Seesaw in the classroom over the coming months!

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Auckland Summit - Day 2

The last two sessions for the day.

Extension Magic - Nick Major

An action packed session with lots of great ideas and features.  This post showcases a few of my favourites or ones that I'd like to explore and use.

Download the Educators guide to Wakelet here

Full notes from the session are here.

Auckland Summit - Playgrounds

A new feature of the Auckland Summit is the Playground session.  This is an hour of short presentations on a range of topics.  This blog post is a summary of them.

Literacy with Google - Toni Westcott

Some inspiring ideas and ways to use literacy in the classroom.  I really enjoyed this 12 minutes - some ideas I need to adapt for my learners:

  • Language feature example (with photos)
  • Narrative shared writing examples - using Google Slides so students can look back and review
  • Pick a path books (or quizzes) 

Amazing Race with Google Earth - Rachel Duckworth

A great way to create an activity which is cross-curricular and engaging for students.  Link to session notes:

Lego - Problem Solving - Aorere College Students

A fun interactive session racing other teachers to make bridges or towers - unfortunately my tower fell down before the photo so this photo doesn't really do it justice.

Hemingway App

Copy text into this great app and have your writing analysed and see what improvements could me made to your writing.

Auckland Summit - Ignite Closing session

As the first day draws to a close, we finished with an Ignite session.

What did you create today?   So far today, I have created 3 blog posts full of notes and inspiring ideas to share with others.


Suan shared all his grand plans following his badly broken arm eight weeks ago.

Some things take time to recover.  Take time to get better.  Be the best version of you.

How are you creating these four things with your students?

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Day 1 @ the Auckland Summit

Session 1:  HyperDocs - Lisa Highfill

Notes from this session available here.  HyperDocs are a way to create engaging lessons with a variety of multimedia.  

Our first task was to explore Google Maps and find our 'happy place'.  These instructions show you how to share a map with your class.    There were some wonderful places noted on our map and this is one way to have students explore their environment, ask questions and make wonderings.

I particularly like the website where teachers are freely sharing their HyperDocs with other teachers.

For my age group, I'm excited to explore the work of Nadine Gilkison who teaches at my age level and be inspired.

Things to Explore Later:
Book Bentos

Session 2:  Screencasts: Learning & Reflection Anytime Anywhere - Anthony Speranza

This session uses Screencastify to create a digital recording of computer screen output in video format.  

Before starting your screencast you need to think about:
  • background noise or moving things on your desk - this can be picked up by the microphone
  • use a web camera to showcase the classroom
  • an app that supports whiteboard style teaching
  • manage your background noise as much as possible

Screencasting allows for blended learning, which can be a mix of face to face and online learning - it may be online in the classroom so the teacher is also available - it can maximise the face to face time with the students.

Things to consider with Screencasting:
  • Have a purpose in mind
  • Plan what you are going to say 
  • Be mindful of visual distractions - do you want your audience to listen or watch or both?
  • Start by keeping it short and to the point - particularly for your students
  • Be mindful of confidential tabs or whatever else you have open on your computer screen
  • Think about the lighting around you
  • Students will respond better if it is something you have created

These are some tips from Screencastify and from EdTechTeam


Sketch.io - to draw as you are screencasting
AWW board - a web white board

GAFE Summit Day 1 Keynote - Time to Wonder

Once again I'm at Aorere College for this years Google Summit.   This year I'll be presenting two sessions with a colleague, on Explain Everything and Seesaw.  It is great to networking with old friends and catching up with fellow Googlers from #SYD19.  I'm excited for a day filled with ideas and Googliness :)

Today's opening Keynote is entitled Time to Wonder by Lisa Highfill. 

Time to Wonder

Have you ever been embarrassed by your good ideas?  Or too scared to share them with others?  Fear of putting your ideas out there?  Time to do something with them.
"The value of an idea lies in using it" - Thomas Edison
Lessons should attempt to accomplish this kind of learning.  How do you create an environment for good ideas to grow?

How do you inspire curiosity?  
"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. - Albert Einstein
Use the internet to inspire learners - find movies or images that are powerful and inspire curiosity.  Multimedia text sets are a way for learners to lead their own learning and explore a range of media resources.   This allows the teacher to move away from being the holder of all knowledge. 

A question is the most powerful force in the world.  How can you inspire your students to ask more questions and wonder more about what they are seeing?

We are the architect to learning experiments in the classroom.  How can we build agency and 'get out of the way of the learning.'  How can we build dynamic lessons that build curiosity?  Hyperdocs are a way to giving students ways to learn in the smart package.  Give your students voice and choice to hand in their project. 

'Sketchquoting' - a way to making note of all the things that resonate from a piece of text - a great way to analyse a piece of text and remember the important parts.

The ultimate goal of any classroom is to have engaged, inspired, thinking, creating, empowered, connected learners.

An inspiring keynote to start the day - resources discussed during the session are available here:

Digital Ideas and Books to explore

Answer Garden
Book:  Make Just One Change - Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions
Dan Rothstein & Luz Santana