Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Traditional vs Transformational" - Master Class #3 (#eFellows14)

I was looking forward to catching up with everyone again for this Masterclass... and when we got a tweet from +Karen Melhuish Spencer that said: "Plotting some #eFellow #Wellington goodness for this week... ;)" I just knew that we would have an incredible time.

Together again [at last] at the CORE Education office in Thornden, we started with Louise discussing the analysis process of our inquiries.

With this visual Louise demonstrated that we need to trust our gut feeling, but that we also have to follow this up with careful interpretation of our data.

Our accommodation on the Kapiti Coast was a slice of heaven . Quiet, with just the sound of the ocean that can be heard at times, it was the perfect venue to work on sorting and analysing the data we've had collected for our inquiries.  Discussions also kept coming back to our uLearn14 presentations in the research strand.  

On Thursday morning, after Louise did a bit of revision with us about the process of organising our data, we continued to work on sorting our data.  This whole process has became clearer in my mind.

Afterwards, we went to lunch where we were so relaxed and social, that John had to put on a timer, which only gave us a couple of minutes to be finished and back in the van to be on time for our visit to Amesbury Primary School, where I've also had the opportunity to meet Matt, one of my 'Tweeps'
This school visit was quite interesting and raised as many questions as answers for us, while challenging us at the same time.

Discussing the themes that emerged from our visit back at CORE's office, we did realise that we have become more critical as we now know, how to dig a bit deeper and to look past the surface.  We were also reminded by Karen that we have to be prepared to be provoked by things that we see or read or even by people we talk/listen to.

We've also discussed how we could contribute to Connected Educator month by sharing our journeys.

As we noticed people arriving, we realised that it was time for the potluck dinner.  It was great to meet Nathaniel, another 'Tweep'

Although it was hard to end our conversations at times, eFellows do have time to relax and have a bit of fun, as this photo shows on how +Anne-Louise and I were photo bombed by +Tim+Ben and +Rowan, while posing for a photo with CORE's stunning +Karen. What an amazing end to the day!

On our last day we woke up to a grey and rainy Kapiti Coast. 

At the CORE office +Chrissie Butler talked to us about Universal Design for Learning. I have heard about this before, but never actually got myself as far as looking into it.   

Chrissie used these images to illustrate that we have to rethink our approach to inclusivity as UDL is, after all, a framework that addresses learner diversity.

Universal Design for Learning:
Know the learners. Identify and remove barriers to learning. Provide multiple learning pathways. Offer a range of universal tools and supports to everyone at the outset. (Butler, 2014)
Further reading can be found on Chrissie's 'Passonable' blog

After lunch and a mind-boggling three days, we were really tired.  Louise did a great job in keeping us on track, while pulling together her last key message about analysing our data.

And then we were on our way home.

On my way to board the plane, I look out of the window to see the sun set on yet another fabulous eFellow14 Masterclass

See you all at uLearn14...

~ "Transformational leaders don't start by denying the world around them. Instead, they describe a future they'd like to create instead." - Seth Godin ~

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#eFellow14 Storify - Wellington

As #eFellows14, we experienced another three amazing days in Wellington. Here is a quick snap shot of our Master Class #3 and a little bit on what we were up to.

A detailed blog post will follow soon.

Storify by Anne-Louise:

~ "Experience all that there is for you and discover who you truly are. Be all that you were meant to be, will help you follow your dreams and transform them into reality" - Anonymous ~

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Virtual Learning Network: 5-day Challenge

I've decided to participate in the VLN 5-day challenge for a bit of fun and because I am not one to shy away from a challenge.

Our challenges were:

  • Day 1 - Update your profile page with more details about yourself. Add an image if need be.
  • Day 2 - Join two new groups of interest
  • Day 3 - Have you found, read and LIKED a post
  • Day 4 - Find two new friend, read their profile, click ADD friend and await their reply
  • Day 5 - Have you read and responded in a discussion thread of your choice?

What I liked about these challenges set by Tessa Gray?  It was "SMART" (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Time-bound).

After I eagerly awaited each challenge every morning, it then came as a big surprise that I won as the Ultimate 5 Day Challenge winner. Thank you Tessa & VLN!

"This short presentation gives a quick overview about how these activities can help us (as community members), to get the most our of this professional learning community." - Tessa Gray

~ "Let's put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children" - Anonymous ~

Monday, August 4, 2014

Learning together with Coding!

I want my students to code, I want to learn to code...

And as usual the question was: "How and where do I start"?
I therefore started looking for further information and found this interesting read. Getting involved in coding chats on Twitter, also helped.

Then [at Educamp Auckland] Lesley shared her coding slide in the 'Smackdown'... and I was intrigued.

I am now part of that G+ "Code Club for Teachers" and have completed my first Hour of Code.  I am looking forward to further coding challenges and to ongoing personal learning & development.

Last week I used 'Lightbot' to introduce my 5 year old students to coding. What an amazing experience for all. They really enjoyed the session and seeing the engagement and co-operation amongst peers, were priceless.

I am looking forward to having this learning journey continue alongside my students. I am certain that we will make lots of mistakes, but [most importantly] we will all learn together!

I have also participated in an #aussieED chat, where we had interesting discussions around coding.

~ "In fifteen years we'll be teaching programming just like reading and writing... and wonder why we didn't do it sooner" - Mark Zuckerberg~

Sunday, August 3, 2014

"WALT" or not?

What is the use of the WALT (We Are Learning To)?

The need to have this displayed or introduced before every lesson is very evident in some schools.  When I came across this picture in 2013, I just had to re-tweet it on Twitter.  I would have never imagined that (almost after a year I've posted it) my post would still attract some feedback!

What is your view on using the WALT?

~ "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us to new paths" - Walt Disney ~

Saturday, August 2, 2014

ULearn14 Abstract

One of the requirements of being a CORE Education eFellow, is that you have to present the outcome of your Inquiry at ULearn.  eFellows will be presenting under the 'Peer-reviewed Research Strand'.

Here is my submitted abstract:
Modern learning pedagogy & technologies in a NE/Yr 1 classroom

Short Abstract:
In this presentation I will challenge the traditional method of teaching that is organised around timetables, by sharing what I have learned through my inquiry on how to bring modern learning pedagogy and technologies into a junior school, stand alone classroom.  I believe this kind of teaching and learning enhances opportunities for students and teachers to learn and create together.

I became interested in the possibilities of a modern learning environment in a NE/Year 1 classroom after a conference I attended in 2013 which was on mapping a new landscape in learning.  I went away with my head spinning, but the question for me remained: “Where and how do I start?” Through my networks and discussions with other teachers I found that many were asking the same questions. We wanted to change our classrooms and practice, but didn't know where to begin. Early on in my inquiry I realised that I didn't want to focus on the physical aspect of a modern learning environment, but rather the pedagogy and technologies that facilitate personalised learning.  My inquiry then became about how I could support my NE/Yr 1 students to carry out their own learning in purposeful and meaningful ways, so that I can then share this with others. Some of my questions were:

a. What is important to my students and their learning?
b. How can I implement a more personalised learning approach?
c. How can I encourage students to be more responsible for their own learning?
d. What are others teachers and schools doing?

To explore these questions I visited schools and talked with junior school teachers, who are already using modern learning pedagogy & technologies in their practice. We talked about their journey, their ideas, how they got started, and how students are responding to this. In this presentation I will share some of my findings and discuss:

- The difference between individual learning and personalised learning;
- The foundations that are necessary for personalised learning;
- How being a teacher on your own is no barrier to creating a modern learning environment;
- Ideas for how to get started.

I am not an expert in this at all and [still] do not have all the answers, but I hope that with this presentation, I will be able to clarify some of the questions many junior school teachers might have.

You are also welcome to join in the conversation on the VLN page I've created around NE & Year 1 Modern Learning Environments.

Will I see or meet you at ULearn14?

~ A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." - Lou Holtz ~

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tweeting & Blogging at Connected Rotorua meeting

The theme for our fifth Connected Rotorua meeting was Tweeting & Blogging.  

The evening started with Alex, sharing her "The Twittersphere - How do I get involved" presentation. She explained what twitter is and why you should use twitter as an educator.  To help people get started on twitter, she also shared a list of her favourite NZ and International Tweachers.

Annemarie then discussed the protocol and security of blogging.  We were reminded that our school owns intellectual property - even the student blogs.

The evening concluded with me, talking about using Kidblog with NE & Year 1 students as an ePortfolio.  I ensure we tag posts, which makes it easy to monitor progress over time and also to use as additional information for OTJ's.

I also talked briefly about my students' participation in KidsedchatNZ, a twitter chat for NZ schools .  I am not letting the fact that some of my students are still learning to read and write hold us back to participate. To overcome this 'barrier', I organise parent help for our participation.  Tweets are projected on the SmartBoard, which we read out loud, students respond to questions and a parent types it for them.

My last 'tip' for the evening was that if you have a personal blog, tag your posts with the appropriate RTC 1-12 as evidence that you meet the criteria to be a Fully Registered Teacher in NZ.

~ "Most great learning happens in groups. Collaboration is the stuff of growth" 
- Sir Ken Robinson ~