Friday, 28 October 2016

Class on Air

I have written before about my admiration for the teachers who participate in Manaiakalani Google Class on Air.  At the beginning of the year I found it intimidating simply to publish my lessons online, so it seems incredibly brave to film a live lesson! However, this is what we have been planning in todays PLG (although ours won't be published on the Class OnAir site).


For my Class OnAir style lesson, I have decided to try a teaching strategy that I have been planning for some time. I have noticed that a few of my learners still need support in developing detailed ideas in writing and that working collaboratively has provided some support. I have also been looking at bringing gaming into my lessons as this is something that my learners are interested in. So, I introduced the idea of playing Dungeons and Dragons with them.

Unfortunately we experienced several technical issues when filming this video, so I have included the video for our introduction for the session and a screen cast to illustrate a snippet of game play. I also sped up the parts of the video where we are mostly reading aloud and discussing what can be read in the slides. I hope this gives you and idea of how our RPG functions and how the use of Google Docs and Drawings supports the game play.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Visible Learning

Are you teaching to accommodate you students learning preferences or simply teaching with your learning style in mind?

This was a point of discussion in todays Manaiakalani digital immersion PLD which focussed on the notion that visible teaching and learning enables accelerated shift. We looked at this in the context of creating visible learning through our class sites, which must be both behaviourally engaging or interesting, and cognitively engaging which could be achieved through multi-modal activities.

I believe that while my learners have learning preferences, they learn best when offered the opportunity to access information in a number of modes. While I have been successful at introducing topics in multiple modes and using a variety of multi-modal create activities, much of my teaching in reading has focussed on my learners first responding to a text orally and in written form.  However, our class site and 1:1 classroom environment allow me to go further than this and create something more engaging.

                                                          Check out my full site here

As such I created the above webpage to engage my learners.  Last week they became 'hooked' on the topic of World War 2 and asked to learn about it in reading. In my haste to respond to this interest and change my planning, I simply created a digital worksheet and create activity that I was planning to use on Thursday. However, this PLG and a change of plans have allowed me the time to create a webpage for them instead, that will extend their learning and maintain their engagement. It is not perfect as I planned and created it in a couple of hours, but for a few lessons of teaching I am happy with what I have accomplished and know that they will find the topics of interest.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Taking The Stage

This afternoon I presented my first ever toolkit, alongside fellow MDTA Clarelle Davis This had been something I was a little nervous about, despite being so used to speaking in front of my class, I still find the prospect of speaking at assembly and in front of a group of adults a bit daunting!


However, as we had a small audience, I quickly got over my nerves and became quite comfortable discussing sketchnoting with our guests, as this was the topic of the toolkit. I think it definitely helped that we had planned out the toolkit in advance, and followed the structure of our slideshow throughout.
My Sketchnote
In the end we sat with the other teachers and we all created a Sketchnote regarding something we had taught that week. This provided us with a wonderful opportunity to connect with other educators and we discussed how sketchnoting could be used in different contexts and year levels. I now feel I have the confidence to take another toolkit in the future and enjoyed being able to introduce other educators to something I am passionate about.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Hour of Code

If you asked me during my high school ICT classes if I saw myself coding in the future, I would have laughed.  I felt overwhelmed and slightly uninspired when I was given the task to write a few commands in Javascript.

However, when I encountered the Hour of Code last summer, I discovered coding in a new light and completed the 20 hour Accelerated Intro to CS course out of interest! I also realised that this would be valuable knowledge to possess as a teacher, as coding is a skill that could benefit my learners in the future.

In fact, thanks to their Computer Technology classes and previous teachers, many of my students are already competent coders. A proud moment for me this year was taking them to OMG Tech, and watching them create their own games through scratch, with little support from the facilitators.

As we discussed future focussed learning in our PLG today, I was reminded of the importance of this skill and will definitely consider using the and other programmes with my learners in the future. Having the opportunity to complete an hour of code also influenced this, as we all thoroughly enjoyed playing and coding our own games! (See part of this session in the video below).

While the Hour of Code is educational and beneficial for students alone, I found that the art component of the site can be used to support students when teaching angles. The code requires them to consider the angles required to draw a circle, square, triangle etc. And more sophisticated shapes would increase the complexity of the task.