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Showing posts from April, 2018

Plan for what's in front of you; James Hopkins

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Are we using the opportunity to teach rich conceptual understandings or are we simply teaching factual information? James Hopkins challenges educators to teach the 'why' and cater it to the 'who', as opposed to focussing simply on the 'what', or teaching a series of facts.

For example, many educators 'cover' the Treaty of Waitangi, by encouraging students to learn the main facts of the event, as opposed to looking at it through a conceptual lense and posing deeper questions, such as how it is relevant in 2018, who benefited etc.


But we are still concerned with curriculum coverage, of covering content. When we plan we focus on our curriculum achievement objectives, but rarely do we visit the key competencies or values when we flick through the curriculum document. James asked us to highlight a piece of our planning indicating where we were teaching content, behaviour and skills. As a group, we noted the large amount of 'content' in our planning, …

Keynote 2: Once Upon Our Time

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Lindsay Wesner's keynote was about storytelling. She began with her own story, one not to disimilar to my own; a little girl who grew up with very little access to technology and who was greatly challenged when she was asked to use it a school. However, Lindsay began her teaching career at the blackboard using worksheets and exercise books. At the time this was the norm, she was respected by her colleagues and her students experienced success. Then she found herself lost in a 1:1 Macbook class.

This could have very easily been me; I learnt basic IT skills at high school, but I would have struggled in a 1:1 classroom had it not been for the professional development I gained from the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy. It was great to hear Lindsay's story as it reminded me of how far I have come and how fortunate I am to be capable of presenting at such an event so early in my career. It also reminded me to slow down when presenting and to be considerate of those who are at …

Session 1: Digital Tools for Student Voice

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As someone who regularly sends out Google Forms to elicit student voice (generally regarding student engagement and learning), I was eager to attend Jan Marie Kellow's session 'Digital Tools for Student Voice'.

This session started by looking at the use of some of my favourite tools; Google Forms (which I use heavily), Answer Garden (which I tend to use to gather prior knowledge) or Padlet (which I use as a sharing tool).


We then looked at the use of Google Slides - which could be used similarly to Padlet, but with each child creating their own slide to respond to the prompt or question. While I do use Collaborative Google Slides, I had not thought of doing this before. At the same time, I use Google Draw pretty often, but I had not thought of using a collaborative draw in a similar manner to AnswerGarden. I quite like this idea as the students could easily save it to their drives and reflect on it in the future.

Some other ideas that I enjoyed were using My Maps as part o…

Unconference: Hangarau Matihiko

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This afternoon I elected to investigate Hangarau Matihiko or the Digital Curriculum. I went in feeling quite comfortable designing and developing digital outcomes, but feeling like I need some support to incorporate computational thinking into my teaching. I was also curious to see how this might look in Māori medium schools and what the reo behind this might be.

I was really excited to learn some kupu hou that involved technology - things like Netflix (Haoata), Google (Kūkara) and Meme (atakata). I thought that these would be wonderful to incorporate in my classroom as we so often use these kupu. It was really interesting to learn how these new words are created and approved.

We looked at some Māori contexts that could be used to teach computational thinking or te whakaaro rorohiko, such as placing mattresses in the Marae, setting a table, making Kai, flax weaving. The more relevant we can make that computational thinking, the more engaging it can be. It is all about identifying patt…

Ignite: My Takeaways

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The first presenter,  Dorothy Burt lead a thought provoking session regarding educational policy. She asked us to reflect upon New Zealand's history in Education. She took us back 60 years to look at the hands on approach that educators such as Elwyn Richardson used. This was a time of creativity, where students loved learning and were provided with rich learning experiences.

She linked the lack of creativity and tactile experiences in today's curriculum to the recent announcement by the Ministry that they would once again review educational policy. She asked teachers to find time to create learning experiences that require creativity during the holidays.

Anthony Speranza sought to give us hope that it is possible to change our teaching. He spoke of asking his students what they thought a good learner was. This idea had been presented to me at PD before and it had previously challenged my thinking. This year I made sure to begin by explicitly discussing the difference between …

Leading Learning Through Google Sites

This morning Clarelle and I lead a workshop discussing the way we use Google Sites to lead learning. There is a lot we will adapt for our next presentation but it was a great opportunity to share our learning and to realise how far we have come in our learning journeys so far!

GAFE Summit Keynote

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Kicking off today's GAFE or EdTech conference at Aorere College was keynote speaker Patrick Green. This keynote was entitled "the relevant teacher" and it focussed on the changing nature of the education system.
Patrick took us through some examples of innovative 21st century schools and the way that they have adapted their practice. For example, Sequoyah school in California hold students back twice throughout their schooling to ensure that each child experiences failure and leadership. 
He looked at the changing role of teaching and discussed the acts of a relevant teacher. This is a person who questions their content and pedagogy, considering whether what they are teaching will be relevant and helpful to their students. Is it worthwhile teaching students information that they can access through Google at any time? Relevant teachers are aware that students can gather information at any time online and expects students to answer their own questions, to take ownership of…