Manawatu Cluster

I’ve just finished presenting a keynote talk to around 120 teachers in Palmerston North at the Manawatu ICT Cluster mini-conference. In the break until my next session I managed to get around and visit the various workshops being held by teachers from within the cluster, each sharing some of the great things they are doing with their classes (see photos to the left!)

Among the things I’ve seen are some tremendous examples of using the Bluescreen capability within Keynote with five year olds – all with a focus on the development of literacy skills through story telling etc. There were also some great examples of stop-motion video making, working with graphics within word processing packages, and some excellent science-based activities using small cameras with LEDs and macro capabilities.

The things that impress me most about this conference are the very things that I believe are so essential to powerful professional learning, including:

  • teachers sharing ideas and experiences with other teachers
  • plenty of opportunity for reflection and discussion
  • lots of deliberate hands-on, direct experience
  • examples of practical activities with direct classroom application, but linked to theory and pedagogical understandings
  • a very welcoming and stimulating environment where teachers are valued and given recognition for the great things they are doing

I imagine students in many classrooms in this cluster are going to be experiencing something a little different in the coming term 🙂

2 thoughts on “Manawatu Cluster

  1. Sounds great Derek – my kind of conference! Can you suggest any great education conferences in New Zealand that would be worth visiting if I combine a holiday with business? I wonder if any are in what would be school holidays here in Melbourne?

  2. thanks for your comment on my blog – if you’re looking for a good conference to come to in New Zealand you can’t go past ULearn. It’s the annual ICT in schools conference that attracts a very large number of NZ teachers – featuring some excellent keynote speakers (including Will Richardson this year) and plenty of workshops provided by teachers sharing what is happening in their classrooms etc. we have loads of Australians come over for it each year – along with a handful of others from places in the Middle East, Asia and some from the UK – it’s become a really popular event.
    Check out the website at

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