#scichatnz 10 tips to PONDer

This is a guest post by avid Pond user and #scichatNZ regular Tony Cairns

This is a few tips and suggestions from my perspective and completely independent from N4L nor the Pond. I think the pond is a great idea – well I would say that wouldn’t I since I am knee deep or neck deep in in. I have loaded over 782 resources into 66 ‘buckets’ (folders) in the 503 days i have been involved. I was pioneer or early adopter educator and I have attended several meetings, workshops and seminars on the Pond.

To me the origin of the pond was a fusion of the need to find a use for the UFB: content, skills and professional learning and the desire by teachers and administrators to learn form the best resources available. It was free, fast, flexible and friendly – mainly because it was run for, by and with teachers. The designers and coders were responsive and eager for feedback and very willing to make changes – rolling out new and better features on a monthly and quarterly basis.

Uptake by teachers was fast – presently a community of 15,241 members is made up mostly by teachers i.e. 11, 612 educators in 43 groups, with 400 education providers and 2611 schools. Students are yet to arrive – possibly in 2016 when protocols and policies have been further explored by teachers, schools and providers. BUT contributors do have the option to make any or all of their resources available to any group, public or private, of any age, expertise or group affiliation.

My ten top tips on wading in the pond:

  1. Tag wisely and consistently all your resources to make them easier to find and more targeted to end users.
  2. Place all resources into clear consistent well labelled buckets (folders) and help others by tagging (with restraint) relevant resources
  3. Load whole units, ready to go with all files, features, presentations and tests into the Pond – be generous with your time and resources – we all owe others for our education and learning – it’s time to give back and share what we know.
  4. Add the Ponder this… app into your browser and use it to clip the items, articles and lesson you think may help others – or your own students
  5. Order your folders so that the lessons and topics flow and link to your lesson plan.
  6. Tell others your successes by all means but also discuss your failures – you can learn more and stress less form reading others mistakes than making more of your own
  7. With permission and mindful of copyright (we use creative commons with attribution) load the images of your work in action, the student exemplars (with their permission) to show how the lesson went and what can be learned from it to further improve your practice.
  8. Follow the leaders – the teachers and providers you like – the debates that interest you and the groups that you are affiliated to
  9. Comment and Ka pai (like) the successes of others and give some ripples to those who may appreciate some feedback from your own experience of the topics or lesson plans you have used.
  1. Keep it positive, upbeat and concise – a little wisdom can go a long way and more is not always better


Thanks N4L, Carolyn, Paula, Andy, Ian, Pete, Chris, Tim, Barry, Gary Keely, Alex, Alfonso. Kris, Matthew, Simon, Adeel, Kris, Sian and all the others I am yet to meet. Thanks Providers Science Learning Hub (to die for resources) Kiwa (KIWA is the world’s leading production house for experiential digital books) and NZ On Screen (amongst too much excellence to mention in full.) Thanks Educators Eliot, Gerard, Giles, Mike, Anna Gregory and al the wonderful contributors who give up their time, energy and resources for no gain but to make the world, education and teaching better. Thanks for the tips on how to use the Pond Better esp from Eliot 


One thought on “#scichatnz 10 tips to PONDer

  1. Great post Tony! thanks for your insight into Pond – your “ponderings” 🙂 and the 10 tips are brilliant! very useful advice.
    Having met the Pond development team – they are certainly committed to making this the best platform for educators that it can be – and still want feedback into how to make it better.
    Keep up the awesomeness Tony, you are one in a million!!!


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