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Covid-19 Update

(Last Updated On: May 1, 2020)

Welcome to our Covid-19 Update, where we bring you a selection of the latest news, information and advice on the coronavirus pandemic.


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Wednesday 8 April

Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home

The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April.

Read more.


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Tuesday 31 March

Keep kids engaged and learning at home with Gamefroot

Wellington-based company, Gamefroot, has developed a Remote Learning website that allows students to continue their studies from home, through a New Zealand curriculum aligned series of games based learning activities. 

“Kiwi kids love to make games and learn how game making works. The remote learning package of resources on the website are keeping kids engaged, while they also learn about STEAM subjects aligned to the NZ curriculum,”  said Gamefroot CEO Dan Milward. 

One of the key website resources is a COVID-19 simulator. A tool for students to code their own virus simulator, so that they can understand why staying at home is so important to help slow down the spread of the virus in both Aotearoa and overseas.  Read more.

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TKI adds ‘Communication technologies’ info to help with remote teaching. TKI’s Enabling E-Learning has set up a new webpage with practical help and information for setting up and planing for remote teaching and learning?

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Covid-19 stops nearly one billion children going to school. According to the UNOCHA, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced more than 110 countries to shut down their education systems in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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Scouts offer activities to do in the ‘Great Indoors’. While normally associated with getting out into the ‘great outdoors’, Scouts UK has pulled together some inspired indoor activity ideas for the ‘Great Indoors’.

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Share your stories

How are you managing so far? If you have any stories and experiences you’d like to share about your current situation (or anything else you’re doing with your teaching), we’d love to hear from you. Contact Editor Greg Adams at  greg.adams@interfacemagazine.co.nz

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Stay safe and well.

The INTERFACE Team


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Monday 30 March

MADE Awards 2020: Cancelled

An announcement from Sue Beesley, on behalf of the MADE Awards committee: “We have made the difficult decision to cancel the MADE Awards for 2020 due to the Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown and the uncertainty of when schools will be operating to be able to produce projects for entry to the MADE Awards 2020.

“We look forward to making contact early 2021 and hope that are still available to judge for our 2021 MADE Awards.”

More at madeawards.com

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LearnCoach launches online NCEA classroom, with free access until 1 May. For more information or to register for access to the platform, visit the LearnCoach website.

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How to teach online lessons with Zoom

With the lockdown, one app that’s seen a surge in popularity is Zoom (zoom.us), which provides a remote conferencing service that combines video, chat, and collaboration tools.

It’s fairly straightforward to use. Simply sign up for an account (there’s a basic free one to get you going). When you start a meeting, you are given a code and password that you share with everyone you’d like to participate. Here are a couple of videos that should help get you up and running.


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Friday 27 March

Covid-19 Pandemic level added to NZ Civil Defence’s game ‘What’s the Plan Stan?’

A new Covid-19 Pandemic level has been added to New Zealand Civil Defence game What’s the Plan Stan?, a free resource to support schools, teachers and students to develop the knowledge and skills to prepare for emergency events, including earthquake, tsunami and now a health pandemic.  Read more here. Give it a go!

WIN a $100 voucher. Designer Geo AR Games is challenging students (ages 6 to 12) to create a 30-60 second video trailer of the game, with a $100 voucher for the best one (as decided by Geo AR Games and Civil Defence). For more details contact support@geoargames.com or go the game site, What’s the Plan Stan?

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Gamefroot tutorial: ‘Stop the Spread!’

Coding platform Gamefroot has created an activity for students to learn how social distancing has a direct impact on how fast a virus like Covid-19 can spread. Go to makegamefroot.com, under Tutorials select ‘Covid-19 Stop the Spread!’, load the template, and play.

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From Stuff.co.nz

Kiwi teacher in China gives tips on how to teach in coronavirus lockdown Hazel Seager, a New Zealand-trained primary teacher, moved to Qingdao in July 2019 and works for an international school.

From The Guardian

‘Let your kids get bored’: emergency advice from teachers on schooling at home Suddenly the children are at home. How do you even start to educate them yourself? Here are expert tips from teachers

Free resources

NZ Transport Agency’s Education Portal has road safety resources for teachers and school leaders, with ready-to-use curriculum units for Years 1-13, advice for families and school policies. For the latest news and to access materials, go to education.nzta.govt.nz or @NZTAeducation

Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko / National Digital Readiness Programme has lots of resources available online to support the development and learning of your students. Inside the Pīkau/Toolkits, you will find activities you can teach online. In the coming weeks, new resources will be released to help make easier teaching online and integrating Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko into virtual classrooms. Sign up at kiatakatu.ac.nz or keep up-to-date on social media, @kiatakatu and facebook.com/kiatakatu/

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Share your stories

How are you managing so far? If you have any stories and experiences you’d like to share about your current situation (or anything else you’re doing with your teaching), we’d love to hear from you. Contact Editor Greg Adams at  greg.adams@interfacemagazine.co.nz

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Stay safe and well.

The INTERFACE Team

For past updates go to: https://interfaceonline.co.nz/2020/03/23/covid-19-update/


Thursday 26 March

Tahi Rua Toru Tech / 123 Tech: A perfect solution to delivering the new DT/HM content via a collaborative (and remote) online environment

Remember, 123Tech is something that can still be done ‘from home collaboratively’ to keep little minds busy and learning during this period of lockdown. This free competition is the national digital tech challenge available at all school levels across years 1-13. Teams of 3-4 students use digital technology to solve a problem in their local school or community. Find out more about using this awesome resource at 123tech.nz

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Tips on surviving isolation – from NASA astronauts who know a thing or two about handling being on their own

Share some expert advice on isolation with your students from astronauts Scott Kelly, Peggy Whitson and others, from their time on the International Space Station.

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Online scams, abuse and bullying predicted to rise during coronavirus pandemic

Netsafe is urging people to be vigilant to opportunistic scammers, fake news and possible online abuse, and has compiled advice and resources to support people relying more on virtual connections.

With its office closed, you can contact Netsafe at:

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Some free resources to check out

Online coding platform Kodable has made its Lesson Library free until the end of June. It has all of the resources you’ll need to teach the course remotely: teacher guides, videos, and more than 80 lesson plans. Full details at http://blog.kodable.com/covid-19-resources/

Time for Kids has launched a free Digital Library for those affected globally by school closures. It provides access to new issues, as well as all previously published editions from 2020 along with additional educational resources and activities.

Elevenses with The World of David Walliams. A free children’s audio story every day for the next month, read by the author.

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Share your stories

How are you managing so far? If you have any stories and experiences you’d like to share about your current situation, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Editor Greg Adams at greg.adams@interfacemagazine.co.nz

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Stay safe and well.

The INTERFACE Team


Wednesday 25 March

80 per cent of students worldwide now ‘at home’

UNESCO estimates 80 per cent of all school children worldwide are at home because their schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more at https://en.unesco.org/themes/education-emergencies/coronavirus-school-closures

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From 1News

Schools get creative as lockdown looms for education sector

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#ScratchAtHome

Scratch is offering ideas for remote learning at #ScratchAtHome. With regular updates, the site has suggestions and resources for teachers and students to engage in creative learning activities using the free coding environment.

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Remote learning with Microsoft 365

Microsoft’s Sam McNeill has put together a collection of ideas and resources for remote learning with Microsoft 365. Find out more at https://samuelmcneill.com/2020/03/16/the-ultimate-collection-of-resources-for-remote-learning-with-microsoft-365/

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Remote teaching tool: Zoom (zoom.us) is a video-conferencing platform that can link you with your students – free and paid-for options are available. It’s easily accessible via apps, desktop, plug-ins and extensions. Zoom allows one-to-one and group  video calls, screen-sharing, and you can also record video.

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Registered Moodle sites jump by 30 per cent in a week

Moodle is an open source learning management solution (LMS).

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Keep fit with ‘The Body Coach TV’

Encourage your students to keep active while they’re in lockdown. It could be a walk or run, kicking a ball about in the garden, or some exercises. There are plenty of videos popping up to help. One you could suggest is PE with Joe, a free, daily home workout aimed at those of us stuck at home.

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Share your stories

How are you managing so far? If you have any stories and experiences to share about your current situation, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Editor Greg Adams at greg.adams@interfacemagazine.co.nz

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Stay safe and well.

The INTERFACE Team


Tuesday 24 March

14 tips to guide educators implementing remote learning amid COVID-19

Educators face the challenge of moving to virtual classrooms. Netsafe’s Pauline Spence has put her top tips to help them get through. Read here.

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Teaching remotely with Google and Microsoft tools

recent Google blog provided plenty of tips and ideas about how educators can use its online tools effectively – Google Hangouts can host up to 250 people, Google Docs enables comments for a two-way discussion on student’s work, while Quizzes in Google Forms provides the opportunity to spice up the lesson by holding a pop quiz for your students. 

Meanwhile, Microsoft Teams brings conversations, content, assignments, and apps together in one place. As a virtual meeting platform, Teams is designed to enable discussion, and its features allow for easy assignment distribution—no matter where people are located. To get started go here. Guidance for Parents and Guardians here.

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Makeover for enabling e-Learning

The Ministry of Education’s enabling e-Learning website has a new look. Check out the revised layout and tonnes of content.


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Monday 23 March

INTERFACEXpo 2020 Postponed

Sadly, in line with Ministry of Health advice we are unable to go ahead with INTERFACEXpo 2020. In considering the health and safety of everyone involved, we are postponing our three conferences in May and all registrations for INTERFACEXpo 2020 have been cancelled. Read more.

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Ministry plans to launch ‘learningfromhome.govt.nz’

The Ministry of Education is launching two new websites, learningfromhome.govt.nz in English and Ki Te Ao Mārama in te reo Māori, for students, parents and teachers from preschool to secondary level to support learning from home.

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From The New Zealand Herald

Teachers call on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to shut down schools now

Government plan to provide internet and devices to 70,000 children if Covid-19 forces mass school closures

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From the BBC

The school of Mum and Dad: As schools in the UK close, while it’s not possible to replicate school at home, there is plenty of online help.

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From NPR

‘Panic-gogy’: Teaching Online Classes During The Coronavirus Pandemic: As colleges across the US pivot online on very short notice, there are a host of complications — from laptops and Internet access to mental health and financial needs. Digital learning experts have some surprising advice: do less.

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Minecraft competitions

One activity that is still in full swing is our Minecraft competition … and this year there’s a twist. As well as three student age categories, there’s a teacher section, too. We’ve teamed up with Microsoft and MOTAT, and the challenge is to  ‘Build a Better Future’; for teachers, we want you to tell us how you’re using Minecraft in your teaching. More details here


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Share your stories

Is you have any stories to share – from classroom learning to coronavirus preparations – we’d love to hear from you. Contact me at greg.adams@interfacemagazine.co.nz

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Stay safe and well.

The INTERFACE Team

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