Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Interface Xpo - Taupo

Today I've had the opportunity to attend my first Interface Xpo.  I was delighted to learn that my 'partner in crime' in so many of my PL&D activities, will also be there - and as many times before, we meet up and traveled together to this event. Always great to have company, thanks Annemarie!

We had great keynotes in:

  • Network For Learning (where Andy Schick gave us an update on N4L's progress so far on the rollout of the managed network as well as the launch of POND - the N4L Portal) 
  • TTS (with Martin Hughes talking about making professional learning memorable, meaningful and motivating)
  • Cyclone (we heard about changes in their business, new partnerships and some success stories from education customers.  In the afternoon, Adam Noar explained what's new at Google and how it can connect a school with a world of educational resources.  We heard about the chromebook, the management module and how local schools are using Google to improve learning ourcomes)

I found my two workshops to be quite interesting:

  • TTS - Going Google: A demonstration and overview for a school considering or getting started with GAFE
  • Sitech Systems NZ - Where I learned about the 'Seven Spaces' of modern learning environments and technology.

with Annemarie

and with the cool guys from N4L!

~ "Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have faith in people , that they are basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them." - Steve Jobs ~ 

Monday, May 26, 2014

"The ability to affect change" - Master Class #2 (#eFellows14)

Before I knew it, it was time for our second eFellow master class.  This time we were off to Christchurch, where some well planned learning meetings by John and Louise awaited us!

It was lovely to meet up with everyone again, reconnecting and eating.  After all the gossip and laughs, we headed to our first school visit.

We arrived at Breens Intermediate and were welcomed by the principal, and we learned how it was decided to have some kind of a vehicle to tie their school together.  There was a need to have something to help them to talk to the students about achievement, behaviour and belonging.  They decided to have five concepts to meet the five Key Competencies and this was the beginning of the development of the Breens' values (Brilliant, Brave, Beautiful, Bold, Belonging).

Walking through the school and talking to some students, it was evident that students enjoyed what they are doing, they were engaged and 'flying' in this MLE model. Learning was transparent and students were able to talk about having choice, challenges and their independent learning.

Some things that I took away from Breens Intermediate is the Change management - Apollo 13 approach "We're not going to do our best, we're going to do whatever it takes" and the Servant leadership "This is our pod/team and we serve the students, we don't give up on them."

Our next school visit was to St Andrews Collegiate to hear what they were up to.  

They opted for Moodle as a Learning Management System and incorporate their Developing Positive Relationships (DPR) values (faith, hope, compassion, respect, honesty, generosity and responsibility) into this management system.  The front page of moodle is used to celebrate student success.

It was interesting to learn how they use Office 365 and OneNote for information gathering and multi-user collaboration.  A very informative discussion was also generated around the use of Moodle and OneNote.

Students create ePortfolios with OneNote and Office365

One of the many things I liked was that they did a reflection on how their 1:1 is going by the way of three-way interviews to collect staff, student and parent voice.

I have been thoroughly impressed by the enthusiasm of teachers and eLearning opportunities at this fine school.

'Hosting the CORE Education eFellows of 2014 at St Andrew's College' - A post by Sam McNeill, Director of ICT at St Andrews College.

Our 'Leading from the Middle' session with Pauline Scanlan lead to interesting discussions around leadership and with some interesting questions raised:
"To what degree can you motivate people to change? Do you as a leader really support teachers in what they do? Do you have the ability to talk it through? Why are people at where they're at? Do you think about it from another perspective?

Transforming education is CORE's mission. It's about constant change and improvement. If you want change, you have to transform and improve.  

We were left with the question: "Is your school a jazz group or an orchestra?"

We begin our 'Making a Difference' session with Derek Wenmoth, who provoked our thoughts around 21st Century Teaching and Learning. 

One message that came through was that it is important for a teacher to continue learning and be engaged in a professional learning way.  The consequence of not doing that is that within 3-5 years you would revert to teaching in ways you remembered being taught.

We have to rethink our values.  We see schools improve, but not change. Therefore we really need to understand the concept of transformation, which is about a paradigm shift - a complete major overhaul of our system.

What we have to do is to see ourselves raising the bar continually in a trans-formative way, with improvements.

Derek also discussed CORE's ten trends, which is one of our most powerful penetrating things in education.

We looked into the three markers for change in the 21st century - Ubiquity, Agency & Connectedness and the five dimensions of the eLPF with the focus on Empowering.

And last, but not least, our session with Louise Taylor on 'What does Transformation look like?"

We learned more about transformational data collection and the who and how.

A whole discussion was generated around Transformational Language Ideas in which Agency, Voice, Attitude & Knowledge came to forth.

Main take away -> Transformative work serves the human course.

It was inspiring to listen to everyone talking about their inquiries and a stimulating three days with fellow #eFellows14 Anne, Tim, Vicki, Bec, Ben and Rowan.

Another highlight was meeting past eFellows as well as Michael and Josephine Winter. Missed a huge photo opportunity here big time! :-(

The price of change is measured by our will and courage, our persistence, in the face of difficulty.'  - Peter Block Business Philosopher ~

Sunday, May 25, 2014

An #eFellow14 Storify

This is a snapshot of our three day Master Class #2 in Christchurch.

A more detailed blog post will follow soon!

~ I'll look back on this and smile, because it was life and I decided to live it. - Anonymous ~

Saturday, May 24, 2014

In Charge of my Learning

Just back from an amazing and full on three days of learning with the 2014 CORE eFellows (Tim, Anne, Bec, Rowan, Vicki, Ben) and our mentors (John & Louise) in Christchurch, I was on my way to the Educamp in Hawkes Bay, which was organised by JulietMaurice and Rohan.

Coming home on a Friday evening and then having to get up very early the next morning, is not easy, but that is exactly what a passionate educator do.  I give up my time (with my family) to learn from, to engage and connect with other professionals.  

What is the reason why so many of us are doing this? I think it is because we are aware of the fact that we are playing a critical role in enabling the educational achievement of all of our learners, and therefore we need to keep on learning ourselves.

Around 80 educators were gathered from around the North Island.  The wisdom was in the room with great conversations led and inspired by passionate educators.

We started off with the usual Smackdown, where some attendees shared something they thought was useful and worthy of mention. I was grateful to hear beforehand from Tim, that there was a slide with my name added to it, to share about #TeachMeetNZ.  Phew, I had to think quickly as to what to say about this amazing project by Sonya and I hope I did it justice.  

After that, we used stickies to indicate our interests to form an 'unconference' for the rest of the day.

As usual, the learning and conversations did not stop when the educamp was over, thanks to my travelling companions Annemarie and Alex.

Evidence that even these discussions are valuable is reflected in this tweet:

It was fabulous spending time with like-minded educators and I am grateful for new connections made. 

~ "The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you." - B.B. King ~

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A guest post about KidsedchatNZ for #EdchatNZ

I am privileged to be writing a blog post for #EdchatNZ on a topic I find very close to my heart ... KidsedchatNZ!

I have always considered myself lucky to have the opportunity to be involved in KidsedchatNZ with my class, as I have experienced the positive benefits of being involved first hand with my students.  The following is just one example, where this 5 year old student of mine received positive feedback from a teacher on the writing he shared during a chat.

It is lovely to see how students have confidence and feel good about themselves, which in the end leads to them being actively engaged in their learning. That is what KidsedchatNZ offer to students!

In recent months, KidsedchatNZ got a lot of recognition by winning the Interface Magazine Award for 'The Best Teaching with ICT' and from mentions during the uLearn13 conference.

What is KidsedchatNZ?
  • KidsedchatNZ is a twitter chat between New Zealand classes and students, every Thursday @ 2:00 - 3:00pm. 
  • KidsedchatNZ has been created by Pascal Dresse during Term 3 2012 after participating in an #edchatNZ. It started of as a fortnightly chat, but as it gained momentum it became a regular weekly chat.
  • KidsedchatNZ is run by the Super 7: @PalmyTeacher, @PascalDresse, ReidHns1, @Juliet_Revell, @MNatusch, @simone15, @1MvdS
  • All organisation is done via Twitter and Google Apps. 
  • Some of the topics covered so far have been:  Literacy, Maths, Technology, Digital Citizenship, Teachers, Education outside the classroom, Rules, Courage, ANZAC Day (Trans-Tasman Chat), Culture, Learning, Homework, Modern Learning Environments and Inquiry Learning.
  • Anywhere between 10 and 30 classes participate in KidsedchatNZ each week, with up to a 1,000 tweets being recorded.
  • After each KidsedchatNZ session a 'Tweet of the Week' is announced for the best tweet during the session.
  • KidsedchatNZ also has a mascot called 'Follow' who visits classes that participate.  You can book 'Follow' here:  http://kidsedchatnz.blogspot.co.nz/p/mascot.html

Why participating?
  • KidsedchatNZ gives students an authentic audience to share and reflect on their learning.
  • Students connect with other classes and students throughout New Zealand, sharing ideas and thoughts.
  • Reading, writing and thinking skills develop.
  • KidsedchatNZ is an authentic place to learn about Digital Citizenship

How to get involved?
  • Create a class twitter account.
  • Send @PalmyTeacher a tweet and he will add you to the KidsedchatNZ Twitter List.
  • Subscribe to the KidsedchatNZ Twitter list and follow it on the day.
  • Join in the chat. You will find topics on the KidsedchatNZ Blog
  • If you need any more help to get started with KidsedchatNZ, we have created a number of 'How To' videos.  They can be found here: http://kidsedchatnz.blogspot.co.nz/p/how-to-join-kidsedchatnz.html
Get involved. Your students will thank you for it. We hope to see your class there soon!

~ A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. - Anonymous ~

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Holiday learning

I am extremely grateful for another opportunity to enhance my learning with help from my amazing PLN on twitter.  Through them, I was once again able to attend both the GAFE Summit  and NAPP virtually.

A couple of things that stood out for me at GAFE:
  • A crucial overview from Julie Lindsay was Meaningful collaboration is Co-operation + Contribution + Co-creation. Her 'Emerging Technologies' Presentation and the then live Collaboration about emerging technologies document.
  • A great presentation by Rob Clark with practical tips, was on 'Developing a shared Vision' for school leaders in which he mentioned that "the essence of developing a vision is not only being able to envision a possible future, it's also about articulating it in a way that's both compelling and inclusive." A possible future also needs to be seen as reasonable and achievable.  Being open to learning is massively important when developing a shared vision.  ~Touch hearts... minds will follow ~
  • If you are interested to see if your school is future ready, there is this 'Future Ready' website mentioned by Dr Mark Wagner. 
  • "Our students are not all the same so a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching is not going to meet the needs of each learner."  Differentiate learning tasks.
  • Richard Wells' presentation on "How Google can move the 'un-movable' teacher" was about how to support and develop colleagues in their efforts. He revealed that 70% of teachers he surveyed "Didn't know" what a Google App was!
  • Incentive #1 - Cancel Meetings to enthuse non ed-'techys'. Replace it with a collaborative doc with clear expectations and see what happens.
  • Incentive #2 - Let the students lead the change - don't expect you to become an expert, focus on what they do already.
  • Incentive #3 - No more excuses from student - flipped teaching (but don't call it that)
  • Incentive #4 - Leverage friendships. Use relationships and positive interaction & examples to build confidence.
  • Incentivise and Enable the majority. Treat them as learners and not roadblocks.
  • "Making the most of you Google Drive" via Leigh Hynes
  • "Re-design your School technology around the Cloud" via Tim Lee
  • "We've 'Gone Google', now what? via Amy McCauley

Some 'quotes':
  • Freedom is power to engage and amaze - Let's give our students & staff the freedom to amaze us!
  • Great is not good! - A motto to teach by?
  • It's really not failure unless you quit... fail forward and learn.
  • Teachers not masters of knowledge, but the most experienced learners in the room.
  • Internet access is more important than the chairs we are sitting on! The device isn't as important as the connectivity.
  • Our school websites need to be like newspapers, rather than magazines.
  • Don't undersell yourself! What we do here in New Zealand is AWESOME!
  • Tenets of reflective learning: Thinking Backward, Thinking Forward, Thinking Inward, Thinking Outward.

~ "I ain't changed, but I know I ain't the same." - K. Shelton GAFE Summit ~