Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 - A new role - Manaiakalani Outreach Facilitator

Last week we met as a new CORE team and had the opportunity to spend a day with the Manaiakalani Trust Providers to meet who's who in the Manaiakalani Outreach team and to gain an overview of the Outreach programme and its intent.  WOW, the integrity, the pedagogy, the passion, the dedication, the belief and the commitment of the people in the room was outstanding!  I felt truly privileged to be a part of this team and look forward to the year ahead.  It's going to be an incredible ride!

Over the last couple of days I have been privileged to spend time in Manaiakalani Schools immersing myself in the Learn, Create, Share pedagogy.  I spent time at Tamaki Primary and Pt England School. Thanks to @dorothyjburt for setting up these visits and to the Principals and teachers who welcomed me so early on in the term!  

The beginning of term was the perfect time to observe the processes and structure involved with kick-starting the year for the learners.  All 3 classes I spent time in have their Google Sites up and running and were focused on using these as the launching pad for learning for the students.  Students in many cases have their individual blogs up and running, a continuation of, for some, years of sharing their learning.  I thoroughly enjoyed connecting with these learners and they shared their blogs with me and their goals for blogging for 2015.  One young man from Pt England School, Iisa, already has over 20,000 page views and is aiming for 30,000 by the end of 2015.  Check out Iisa's blog here and leave him a comment or two:-)

Other students who I spent time with included Ana and Stevenson, both highly articulate learners who have totally embraced 'share' as part of their learning pedagogy.  Again check out how many page views they have had and their lifelong blogging journey.

Ana's Blog

Stevenson @ Pt England Blog

Students in Andrea Tele'a year 7/8 class at Pt England School were focusing on writing their blog profiles (Blog profile), the process of writing quality comments on other students blogs, creating google forms as part of a math inquiry of getting to know each other as a class as well as creating their digital mihi.  All of this was happening in a highly organised way through the use of google sites, docs and presentations.   Learners were working at their own pace either individually or in small groups and tracking their progress.  Those who were more able were supporting their peers and running individualised workshops as and when needed.  Andrea's planning is highly visible to the teachers she works with, her students, whānau and globally!

Fantastic professional learning can be gained simply by exploring Andrea's Google Site and the Year 7/8 Team at Pt England School Google Site.

Pt England Year 7/8 - Room 3 - Andrea Tele'a
Year 7/8 Pt England School - Launching pad

Aireen and Petra's 2015 Google Site is a work in progress but again, amazing professional learning opportunities available through Aireen's 2014 Google Site.  Tamaki Primary - Room 7 2014  I was inspired to read Aireen's Reflective Blog.

Aireen and Petra are eagerly awaiting their new modern learning environment and are currently based in the school hall with their learners.  During my visit today they were focused on using Google Docs to write their applications to be a School Councillor.  There was a high focus on the 'how to' of writing and role modelling effective writing strategies for applications.

Aireen kindly shared with me the Start of year netbook programme Google Doc created by the Manaiakalani team.

A highlight of spending time at Pt England School for me is being able to catch up with Helen King. Helen and I were at the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney together in 2011.  Helen continually inspires me with her teaching practice and there are not many presentations I give that don't include some of Helen's learners work.  This year Helen is teaching a Year 3 class with 1-1 iPads and from what I saw (it was only day 2!) it's going to be an amazing year of learning for both Helen and the children.  Again, in the short time I was there, highly focused learners and engaged learners.

Helen's Year 3 Pt England School Class Site will be another one I will share with Educators to both challenge and inspire!

The research behind the Manaiakalani Cluster is outstanding and well worth exploring further.  You can find this and links to all of their Schools through their website.

I also stumbled across the Manaiakalani Outreach Videos which are well worth watching.

HUGE THANKS to the teachers and learners who hosted me today and totally inspired me.

So much to explore, so much to learn, so much to gain!  2015 - bring it on!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Connected Educator Month #cenz14

You know it's been a LONG time since you've blogged when.... your blog address doesn't appear in the URL when you start typing!

Just to make myself feel better, I do have to say that I am a 'busy blogger' in the schools that I work in and am also very good at encouraging others to blog.   BUT time to be a role model and 'walk the talk'.

October has been HUGE and it's only the 3rd.  BIG SHOUT OUT to @virtuallykaren and @COREEducation - for bringing #cenz14 to Aotearoa.

I have loved the professional learning from the comfort of my own home and have been wowed by many presenters.  The dialogue from participants in the chat box is also hugely inspiring and amplifies that we are living in a world where 'connectedness' is valued!

So, a few of my highlights  have included connecting in an online space with  @tombarrett@langwitches and @stephenheppell .  I have so much to reflect on as I delve deeper into my own thinking and learning.  Oh to head off to a tropical Island and take time out.

Tom's Blog
Silvia's Blog
Stephen's Blog

I have been inspired to download Designing a Learning Space by Juliette Heppell and yes, again, will need to take sometime to explore this further.

Huge THANKS to an incredible team of Christchurch Educators who have kicked off the Christchurch Connected Educator's Blog.  I was particularly impressed with This post by
@jodudley6 and know this is something that I will continue to share with Educators I connect with.  Jo has thoroughly explained how she is enriching teaching and learning in math with the support  of digital technologies and has shared some incredible examples.  Through Twitter I am able to express my thanks and share with Jo the impact this post has had.

Part of my role as a Learning with Digital Technologies Facilitator with Te Toi Tupu is working in schools and supporting teachers to be 'connected educators'.  So impressed with many Whangarei teachers who have already taken opportunities in these first 3 days.  Cassandra Reyburn is a teacher from Maunu Primary School in Whangarei who is doing AMAZING things - both as a learner and for her learners.  You can check out her blog here.  It was heart warming to open my emails this morning as see a google doc created by Cassandra who has delved into the Starter Kete for #cenz14!  #BOOM nice to know that I have inspired just one person and have this feedback.  Thanks Cassandra :-)

As I continue to immerse myself in the knowledge of others over the next month during both Connected Educator Month and ULearn next week, I know my brain will be filled with new ideas and knowledge.  I am thankful for the opportunity to LEARN and grow as a learner through my powerful connections.  YAH for being a CONNECTED EDUCATOR.  I love this final slide that is used in the webinars, both the Karaika and the cartoon!  Powerful stuff:-)

Events for #cenz14 Can be found here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Some days you just have to say WOW!

It just can't get any better!  We are all feeling very privileged to be here visiting incredible schools and meeting the most inspirational people.  After 3 days and 6 schools there are some definite 'themes' that make these schools so successful and I'm not just talking e-Learning.  The opportunities we have seen for student learning and engagement have been amazing.  The leaders we have met have had many things in common including a shared vision, passion, energy, spark and a complete understanding of the importance of personalised learning for students.  Technology has just been one of the tools in this journey.  We joined together for a hui back at our Hotel today and had time to reflect and discuss as a team.  Our first challenge was to come up with just 3 words to sum up our school visits to date...  3 days, 6 schools, 17 participants - CHALLENGE ON!

Today we had the pleasure of visiting Warringa Park School and Manor Lakes P-12 College, and as with the other 4 schools we have visited, writing words in a blog post cannot do them justice.  So, just a few notes to encourage you to join us on our next trip!

Colin Schot, Principal @ Warringa Park introduces the school and the context of it perfectly on their website.
It is a pleasure to introduce you to our school. Warringa Park is a dual mode school which caters for all children with an intellectual disability and has a current enrolment of 431 students. Warringa Park School is committed to assisting our students to be the best they can be in all that they do. Students are at the centre of all learning and we strive to ensure that they have the best facilities, resources, teachers and education support staff to enable them to learn and grow into responsible citizens.

We had the pleasure of seeing this for our own eyes - students engaged in learning, endless opportunities and support to be the best they can be.  Colin, Laura and Brian shared their stories and knowledge with us and discussed the positive impact 1-1 iPads had had for these students.  

A few notes about the school
  • Classrooms set up for personalised learning
  • No class sizes set, all about the needs of the students and who needs to be learning where
  • Technology provides more options and resources for these students learning needs
  • Science is a vital part of the curriculum - it's the game changer!  These students thrive with the tactile, doing part of science
  • Apple TV's in every class
  • Apple Distinguished School
  • Continually changing - redefining and rethinking
  • Vital importance of professional learning for teaching team
  • Social media is BIG for students - gives the a purpose to write, read and present - drives their learning
We could have stayed and played all day in this environment - from musical gardens and vege gardens to media rooms, tv stations and magic carpets - we were enthralled.  Our morning ended with morning tea in the student led Cafe - what a amazing hosts who are developing life skills in an authentic environment.  These kids knew how to roll!  Daz summed it up perfectly in her mihi - this school is creating MAGIC and we could feel the aroha and warmth from the gate.  Thanks for an incredible morning Warringa Park!

The team at Manor Lakes were again passionate and inspirational.  The vision of Manor Lakes DREAM, BELIEVE, INSPIRE greeted us as we walked through the door and followed us throughout our tour.  What struck us most at this school was the incredible mutual high trust between students and teachers as well as the value placed on relationships.  We could feel and see the vision in action.  We were fortunate to have the opportunity to hear a fellow NZ'er, working at Manor Lakes, explain their Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) programme which focuses on creating the vibrant harmonious community at Manor Lake.  You can check out more about this programme on the school website.

A few notes about the school

  • School built in 2009 in newly developed area
  • Has grown from 400 ish students in 2009 to 1800 plus today in 2014
  • 72 babies a week a born in the area!  Try and keep up with that!
  • 213 teachers on staff
  • Apple Distinguished School
  • 1-1 in prep with school owned iPads
  • Grade 1 and 2 - BYOD with a loaned model
  • Grade 3-5 - 10 laptops per class
  • Grade 6-8 1-1 iPad
  • Year 9-12 BYOD Apple devices
  • 90% plus uptake on BYOD and have procedures in place to make sure no student misses out
  • Have focused spending time and money on infrastructure - 2 full time technicians
  • Strong health and well-being team including a social worker, youth worker and occupational therapist who are accessible to students
  • Some teachers using a 'flipped classroom' approach
  • STRONG focus on using the iPads for a purpose, ensuring it is beneficial and utilising as a CREATIVE tool 
  • and to finish off with the best - 15% kiwi population in the school:-)
As I said, some days you just have to say WOW!  My 3 words today were 'He Tangata, he tangata, he tangata' - we have met so many special people over the last 3 days who have inspired us!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A day @ Ringwood - Primary and Secondary College

A day in the life...  so many thoughts in my head and it's hard to think about how to write them in a 'readable' manner.  Today is going to be very note like as I copy and paste and I hope to come back and edit and add as my brain becomes clearer.  The team from Kia Ata Mai have blogged collaboratively and it's well worth jumping from here to there for a very concise story of the day.

Our morning began @ Ringwood North Primary School where we soaked in information shared by both Teachers and Students around their culture of challenge based learning and how e-Learning supported this.

 A little about the School
  • Mac School
  • Mix of BYOD and school owned
  • e-Learning has been part of the school culture since 2010
  • 1-1 Grades 4 to 8
  • Prep to Grade 4 - approx 6 iPads per class
  • iPad apps - whole school apps as well as individual grade apps/specialist apps
  • Huge focus on challenge based learning
  • Well developed junior genius crew - students who have a leadership role in helping others, teachers able to book times with them where students can co-teach the class
  • Acknowledge the importance of professional development for teaching team, devoted time for this, it is ongoing and built into performance review processes.  
  • Awesome process of providing PD through challenge based learning for teachers, role modelling what could/should happen in the classroom
  • Actively encourage teachers/students to be risk takers and flexible thinkers and build the culture of 'challenging ourselves'
  • Acknowledge the importance of being honest and open 
  • LOVED the stories around how the students and teachers have created a positive digital culture at Ringwood North and have published a book in iBooks Author - A guide to Digital Safety
Students from Grade 2 and Grade 5/6 came to share their stories of challenge based learning with us. We heard about the process of what their 'big idea' was and the learning that had happened along the way.  Students were able to clearly articulate their stories of success with confidence.  It was fabulous to see how the teachers 'pitched' the 'big idea' to students through small movies and then provided the structure through 'guiding questions and 'guiding activities'. 

I have taken some great photos of this process and will share when stronger internet allows:-)

Next stop @ Ringwood Secondary College where we had the opportunity to see a history, english and math class in action.  A highlight for me was seeing how the teachers were using iTunesU to provide self-paced learning opportunities for students.

A little about the School

  • Year 7/8 iPads
  • Year 9-12 Macbooks
  • Loan iPads available but huge percentage of students have their own device
  • Again, the value of PD for teaching team and the vital importance of 'sandpit time' for teachers
  • The use of challenge based learning for teachers and students - great example of creating a 'DREAM HOLIDAY' and utilising 10 apps to do this in different ways
  • Valued growing own staff, building capacity and giving teacher time to create resources
  • Opportunities to attend PD on regular basis eg PD week where sessions offered by other teachers and students 
  • School have invested hugely in infrastructure - parents investment is in the device
  • e-Learning coach works to support early adopters and realises the importance of praising and valuing the work that they are doing - this in turn creates a ripple effect of others keen to learn and explore further
  • Integral to their journey has been leadership - top down modelling, an example of this is the Principal participating in PD
  • Focus on the SAMR model in their thinking 
  • Loved their thinking around providing a tool set, a skill set and changing 'mindsets' - it's all about being continually innovative and open to change
What an opportunity, valuable time was spent observing students as well as having the School Principal and e-Learning Coach share their schools journey from the Pilot in 2010 till now - the good, the lessons learned, the interesting and most importantly the student comments.

Looking forward to spending time checking out whats happening @ Ringwood Secondary College through iTunesU when I get home.

Monday, April 28, 2014

CORE Education Melbourne e-Learning Tour KICKS OFF

This time a year ago, a group of us, including Cribby and myself returned from our e-Learning Tour of California.  We were truly inspired by our experiences in other schools and our learning was immense, we wanted others to share this experience and so the seed was sown.  We wondered how we could provide this opportunity for others and sought the support of our leaders at CORE to bring our ideas to fruition.  @COREEducation Melbourne e-Learning Tour began to grow!  A well watered seed with gardeners a plenty to nurture this idea - Corrie Barclay - our Australian contact who provided a list of possible schools to connect with as well as support along the way,  MaryAnne Mills our Chief gardener who provided continual support and guidance, Kia Ata Mai who have supported tour participants from Māori Medium Kura and the 8 school leaders who have welcomed us to their Schools.

After day 1 we are all BUZZING - Cribby and I are stoked - our seed has truly grown and it has been amazing to sit and watch our tour participants today in the school environments.  The conversations between participants as well as the networking and communication with teachers and students in the schools has been incredible.  Top 'words' of the day include - Modern learning pedagogy, differentiated learning, personalised learning, passion, engaged, inspired, visionary and the e-Learning tools have just been an integrated part of this.

Day 1 - Debney Meadows Primary School

Quick facts about the School

  • New Principal
  • 100% of students with EAL (English as an additional language)
  • 90% of students from Horn of Africa
  • 95 students in the school
  • Arabic, italian and vietnamese languages taught in school
  • 1-1 iPad programme from P to Grade 3
  • 'Banks' of MacBooks
  • Parents pay a $150 bond for iPads if they want to take them home - nearly 100% uptake of this
  • Strong value in the school around intercultural awareness
  • Strong value placed on relationships and language - an example of this is all teachers go to the gate with the students at the end of each day to meet with parents
  • Strong community relationships, many community volunteers support students with EAL
  • Collaborative teaching spaces - focus on flexible and inviting learning spaces 
  • Huge focus on inquiry learning
  • Strong partnerships with other organisations eg Centre for Cultural Partnerships

Links to explore more about Debney Meadows

Debney Meadows Links

Debney Meadows School Blog
Debney Meadows Website
iPads for Preps @ Debney Meadows - You Tube Clip

These films were made as part of "Many Voices, Many Cultures" project; a collaboration between Centre for Cultural Partnerships, Faculty of VCA & MCM, University of Melbourne and Debney Meadows Primary School. For over three months, year 5 & 6 students worked with Shahin Shafaei and as a result 13 stories were written. At the end, three of those stories were chosen to be told as films. 

A Short Film by students @ Debney Meadows
Short Film 2
Animation Short Film

Day 1 - Silverton Primary School

Quick Facts

  • Collaborative learning hubs
  • No teachers 'own' space - all shared spaces including teacher offices
  • 67 nationalities within school
  • 21 plus learning spaces within each learning hub
  • HUGE focus on professional learning communities amongst teaching team
  • Every teacher has a mentor and is involved in a research project (4 teachers per project) which is presented back at the end of each year in a variety of ways
  • Bottom 10% of 'decile rating'
  • Performing in the top 5% in the country
  • Play based learning for 5 year olds
  • 6 and 7 year olds working on their own inquiries
  • Strong focus on personalised learning
  • Students could clearly articulate their learning, the process, their goals and their where to next

Silverton Links

Silverton Primary School Website
Images of Silverton School - You Tube Clip
Slideshare Photos

In both of these schools we were 'blown away' by the passion of both teachers and students.  It's hard to think about visiting two more schools tomorrow.  What a day!  Photos to come.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Connected Learning Infographic

Connected Learning

Check our further reading.

I am currently undertaking the Microsoft 21 Steps to Success programme with Bruce Dixon at Botany Downs Secondary College.    I am just 'throwing' ideas here and will elaborate shortly:-)  We (Catriona, Rick, Mary Anne and I) are taking extensive notes and once these are tidied up I will share here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Collaborative Digital Citizenship Inquiry within the Kamo Community

I am lucky enough to be working with a group of students from 4 different schools - Kamo Primary, Kamo Intermediate, Kamo High School and Hurupaki Primary.  These students are undertaking a group collaborative inquiry around what it means to be a Digital Citizen in the Kamo learning community.  We meet every Friday for an hour and a half.  The students range in age from Year 3 through to Year 9 and it has been extremely inspiring watching them work together.  As Facilitators of their learning we have simply set them on a learning journey to explore - provided them with links, websites, resources, video clips to follow - each individual/group has chosen which path they follow.  These links are all available on our blog and students are obviously able to access anywhere/anytime.  Our end 'goal' that we set for the students is simply to present back to the group their understanding of a Digital Citizen in the Kamo community in any way/shape or form.  We are also keen for them to present their learning back to their schools and our 'blue sky' thinking would be to on share throughout the Kamo community.  Our ideas for this are evolving on a weekly basis.

Exciting things are happening within the teams - we have movies in the making, animation on the go and posters being created.  There are rich discussions happening within the groups and we look forward to sharing our learning in various ways.

Today we had the opportunity to Skype with Sean Lyons from Netsafe NZ.  You can read all about it on our blog.