Archive for the ‘ From the Teacher’s Desk ’ Category

In this video, Ginette talks with Tessa about the new DT Curriculum and shares some ideas for integrating some key concepts into your existing teaching programmes.

Information on Allocated PLD

These links will help you access the information you need on how to apply for centrally funded PLD.

Whangarei Central Library

Friday 12th June 2015

May Bain Room
1pm – 4pm
$99 (+gst) per person

The Raspberry Pi is a fantastic little device that is capable of teaching big ideas. Not only is it a computer that can be programmed it comes with GPIO pins that connect the Pi computer to the real world.  This workshop offers some tried and tested approaches to help you successfully bring this fantastic device into your own classroom.

There will be two options available on the day:


Teachers of Years 6-10, Facilitated by Ginette Van Praag (The Technology Hub)

Activities Include:

1 – Get to know the Pi
2 – Introduction to programming activities with the Pi using Scratch and Python
3 – Introduction to projects controlling simple circuits using Scratch GPIO


Teachers of Years 11-13, Facilitated by Andrew Hornblow

If you have attended a workshop with Andrew or Ginette before, this may be a great opportunity to take things to the next level.

Activities Include:

1 – Get to know the Pi
2 – Project ideas for teaching Networking and Programming for NCEA Digital Technologies and Electronics

For recent examples of our local children and teachers learning with the Pi, please visit our gallery.

To book your place, please email with your name, school details, and preferred option choice and we’ll be in touch.

Please feel free to pass this on to any of your colleagues who might find this to be of interest.

Raspberry Pi’s Workshop Update


As you probably know earlier on in the year I worked with Andrew Hornblow and Ross Peterson (Bright Sparks, Skills) to deliver PLD with the Raspberry Pi.  These workshops went very well and it’s obvious that this little computer is capable of some very big ideas!

These cool little devices can be used to teach any of the DT strands in fun and engaging ways, and DFRAG now sells them to schools and students at very special pricing starting from $99*


Visit the store

These new Model B+ Raspberry Pi Starter Kits include everything required to get started. 

Each Kit includes the following items:

Raspberry Pi Model B+
8GB Micro SD Card with NOOBS
Clear Case
HDMI-HDMI Connector
Micro USB Cable

Raspberry Pi Kit Complete
Add to the fun and connect your new Pi to the physical world with a Mini Electronics Kit for just $5*!

Mini Electronics Kit

Visit the store

*plus GST & postage and packing

Kia Ora koutou

Bookings are now open for the Raspberry Pi Teacher PLD sessions running as part of Digi Day, Rangitikei College, Wednesday 20th August, organised by Grant Collie.

There will be two sessions on the day:
9.30am – 12.00noon and 12.30pm – 2.30pm

The workshop fee is $120 and includes resource materials and an electronics kit to take away.
These workshops are a collaboration between DFRAG and The Skills Organisation.

A heartfelt thanks to Grant and his school for making the day possible.

Please go here for more details and to book.

We are planning more workshops around the country. You can register your interest here.

See you there 🙂

I’m pleased to announce the inaugural edition of the Newsletter Teach Young People Computer Science.

I have written this for two reasons – one is to raise awareness of the importance of teaching CS and programming in schools and to emphasis that the younger students are when they learn this, the better.

Learning to code has many positive spin-offs – developing higher order thinking and problem solving skills and laying solid foundations for accessing Digital Technologies courses in the future.

I’ve used Scratch in the classroom from Year 3 with success.  See here for examples.  I am currently tutoring a six year old and her three year old brother and it’s amazing to see their engagement and rapid progress.  Here’s Mum’s feedback.

The second reason for the newsletter is, yes, it’s a promotional tool for my Teacher PD workshops, which I hope doesn’t detract too much from reason 1 🙂

I hope you like it – please download a copy and have a read.  Pass it on to your colleagues, especially Principals in the Junior / Intermediate syndicates.  I would really like you to feed back, so I’m leaving the comments open for this one.

The Newsletter is available here:

I’d like to make an open invitation to colleagues to contribute an article or feature.  Including Digital Technologies Teacher’s voices will further inspire other teachers to give programming a go in their classrooms. Rest assured, this newsletter, like the Teacher’s Lounge will always be free.  Please get in touch.

As most of you will know by now, I am passionate about technology’s huge potential for engaging and raising the achievement of our learners and it is exciting to have the opportunity to raise awareness about this subject.

DFRAG Ltd is running two workshop sessions introducing Raspberry Pi and The Internet of Things on Thursday 20th February in Christchurch.

The sessions will be delivered by Andrew Hornblow who has many years’ experience delivering electronics workshops to teachers and student audiences as part of the Bright Sparks programme from the Skills Organisation.

As this is a pilot workshop for the South Island to test out some ideas and gain valuable teacher feedback places are just $10 koha per person.

A huge thanks again to The Skills Organisation who are sponsoring the event.

For full details, including how to register, please visit DFRAG’s website.

Happy New Year Everyone – The start of the new term has arrived!

I’m pleased to say that we successfully ran 6 Digital Technologies Teacher PLD workshops last term and 48 places were booked.  Thanks to everyone who attended and for their support in this new venture.

“Many thanks, it was one of the most helpful bits of PD I have done and the most useful at this time”

The schedule for Term 1 / Term 1 Holidays 2014 is now up and available for booking.

The first workshops Implement a Junior DT Pathway and Implement a Senior DT Pathway on 10th and 11th February respectively, will be held in Auckland.

Bookings for these workshops will close this Wednesday – 5th February

Then we have Skills for Teaching Level 3 Digital Information and Digital Media coming up in Wellington on 19th & 20th February and Christchurch on 26th & 27th February.

Bookings for these workshops will close this Friday – 7th February

For those keen to plan further ahead the same cycle of workshops will be available through March and April in all three main centres.  For full details visit the  workshops page on the DFRAG website.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Please note: The Term 1 Holidays Schedule has been updated and there are some changes to dates and workshops previously advertised.

Check here for details

Thanks to everyone who completed our recent survey, your input has been invaluable.  We are now pleased to announce that skills workshops will run from Term 4 2013.

The workshops will run initially in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch at the preferred times of Term 4 2013, Term 1 2014 and Term 1 2014 holidays.

For further information and to book your place, please follow the links:

We look forward to seeing you there!

As Director of DFRAG, the company that brings you the Teacher’s Lounge, I’m excited to announce that we intend to offer skills focused professional development workshops to support the implementation of Digital Technologies in NZ schools.

So that we can guarantee that these workshops will meet the needs of the DT Teacher Community we need your input.

We would be very grateful if you would please spare some of your time to provide us with your feedback. The form should take no more than five minutes to complete.

Simply click on this link:

DT Workshop online poll

If you prefer you can download the poll as a pdf file to complete offline and submit later at your convenience.

DT Workshop Poll August 2013.pdf

If you are part of a department, or a DT cluster, please share these links with your colleagues so they can contribute their feedback too.

The Workshops

The workshops will be designed to compliment the existing pd offered by NZQA, MOE and NZACDITT and will be in the following areas:

  • Junior DT Learning Pathways (years 7-10)
  • Digital Technologies Learning Pathways
    (Levels 1-3)
  • Skills for Digital Information Levels 1-3
  • Skills for Digital Media Levels 1-3 and
  • Generic Technology

Importantly, the workshops will run regularly throughout the year, according to the needs of the Community. They will be delivered by experienced Digital Technologies Teachers and will run in the main centres of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

Your Feedback Is Important

We look forward to hearing from you.  Click here to complete our online poll now.

Nga Mihi

Ginette Van Praag

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