Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A year in reflection

This year I had again choose one word to focus on... 'Fierce' the word that gave me the possibility of doing things deliberately this year.

Highlights (accomplishments, best memories)
  • Completing my Post Grad Study in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning). I did not find this to always be easy, especially while full-time teaching, but what a positive journey this experience was overall.
  • Sharing my skills and knowledge with colleagues in the district as part of my role as Learning Facilitator at Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru (NPeW). Two post to demonstrate: Supporting Junior school teachers as Learning Facilitator and Supporting change as Learning Facilitator.
  • I have been kinder to myself and therefore was able to finally work towards achieving a work-life balance
Game changers (unexpected events that shifted my priorities)
  • I have been fierce in re-connecting with myself, knowing who I am and what I am capable of. Therefore, I voiced my perceptions 'bravely' on numerous occasions when necessary and appropriate
Things I focused on (what I put the most of my time into)
  • Trying to understand that not everyone is ready for change and that I see things differently than my colleagues
  • As a leader, to trust and allow a positive space for people to grow and develop their skills, to focus on strengths not weaknesses 
Things I forgot (didn't get around too)
  • Partake in as many twitter chats as I would have like to and connecting with my Twitter PLN on a regular basis

At times it was [still] easy to forget that reaction is human... no matter how good the intentions. I will need to keep this in mind, as 2017 will surely bring [many] challenges of its own. I will be in a position of leading / supporting change in many purposeful ways. Most importantly, I will be a learner myself.

~ “The first rule of learning is that people learn what they need to learn, not what someone else thinks they should learn” - Peter M Senge: The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation ~

Friday, December 16, 2016

What have I learnt this year?

Teaching as Inquiry and Appraisal is a process to help improve teaching practice and to prove that you are meeting the obligations and requirements of being a professional. Our school’s appraisal process integrates the two of these into a process that is based upon evidence, mutual trust and respect.
“...effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their
teaching on their students.” NZ Curriculum, p35

This year I 'connected' this with our eLearning Plan and focused on Digital Citizenship (to make students aware of the ‘dangers’ and to increase knowledge of how to keep themselves safe online) and Digital Competency - Literacy (enable students to create digital content and adding media).

Baseline date compiled, showed a “current state” where my Year 1 students lack confidence in Digital Competency - Literacy. Although only a limited number of students were interviewed, my inquiry had a whole class focus and was not limited to specific students.

My Focus Questions were:
How can I  use eLearning tools (digital resources/ iPads /ePortfolios to support the class) to:
- Teach students about digital literacy and citizenship
- Support students to be engaged with what they are doing to improve learning outcomes
- Use eLearning to enable students to become thinkers and risk takers and reduce          dependence on teacher

eLearning tools and learning opportunities I trialed [with success] were:
- Easy blogger Jr
- Explain Everything
- Write About This NZ
- Quiver (Augmented Reality)
- KidsedchatNZ

I made sure that eLearning tools served a purpose when digital content was created to enhance learning as I strongly believe that the tool should be used to support learning.

We worked hard together to achieve the desired 'outcome' and getting positive feedback along the way sure helped and served as motivation.

Through consistent reflection it became evident when I had to revisit or changed what (and how) I do and where I needed to change direction and start again.

What have I learnt?
- I had to learn to ‘let go’ to enable students to become thinkers and risk takers to reduce dependence on teacher
- Things don’t always pan out in the best way possible and I had to consider theories about why something might be happening, which helped in my critiquing.

Reflection / Next Steps:
I feel that in many cases, the 'task' set contributed to students' critical thinking as they had to think what's needed to focus on for the learning outcome. I'd also hoped that students would 'integrate' / use technology naturally to explain their work. However, many times I still had to ask [them] if they would like to share their work on their blogs, using one of the apps. I don't think they see / understand the possibility of an iPad as tool to create / explain learning yet. Therefore, something I will need to work on next year is to make them aware of the potential this holds for learning.


~ “To be digitally literate is to have access to a broad range of practices and cultural resources that you are able to apply to digital tools. It is the ability to make and share meaning in different modes and formats; to create, collaborate and communicate effectively and to understand how and when digital technologies can best be used to support these processes.” - (Hague & Payton, 2010) ~

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Supporting change as Learning Facilitator

One of the highlights working as a Learning Facilitator at Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru (NPeW) this year [for me] was the connections I made with teachers and working alongside them in their PL & D. Seeing how teachers were active participants in learning new skills and how they made learning real for themselves to enable them to reach the desired outcome was a great experience.

The Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Learning Team often went in to schools in a group of 3 - 4 to support teachers as they pursued their objectives. Our role was to create an environment where every participant had the opportunity to collaborate, innovate and excel. We achieved some great outcomes and I am so exited and delighted about the changes that are starting to take place.

~ "All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end." - Anonymous ~

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Supporting Junior school teachers as Learning Facilitator

As a Learning Facilitator for Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru, I was in the fortunate position to visit teachers in the Community of Practice for Junior teachers that I started. I realised that there were some great learning already happening, which could be further enhanced with the use of technology. Therefore, I also started working alongside teachers in giving pedagogical support and also on their journey in using technology as a tool to support learning.

As one of the focus areas of NPeW is on Learner Agency, I have been looking at working closely with those teachers in promoting Learner Agency in the junior school, creating more opportunities for learners to input into their learning. I am aware that learners in the Junior school need more support and scaffolding, but the importance in taking a greater responsibility in their own learning can be achieved.

~ "The biggest enemy to learning is the talking teacher" - John Holt ~

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Being a Connected Leader: Why? How?

As part of Connected Educator Aotearoa NZ (#CENZ16), the Connected Learning Advisory ran an interactive WEBINAR on 19 October where the role of the connected leader was discussed. The webinar included questions like:
- Why should we be connected? 
- How can we connect as leaders? 
And is, as David Weinberger claims, the smartest person in the room, the room?..

Bede Gilmore (Winchester School) and Steph Thompson (Beach Haven Primary School), shared their journeys as connected leaders and the Twitter chat they have developed: #ldrchatNZ.

The main messages that came through from Bede and Steph were:
- "Leadership can be lonely"
- "21st century learning is about collaboration and connection and we as leaders should be      the role models for that."

Then ... a taster of #ldrchatNZ:
Q1: What benefits do you see to being a connected educator?
"#ldrchatNZ A1 benefits are instant high quality targetted filtered info and PD free online 24/7
" - Tony 
"A1 Meeting like minds #ldrchatNZ" - Steph
"#ldrchatNZ A1 no cost no travel no accomodation any device any time reviewable" - Tony
"A1 accessing people I wouldn't ordinarily have access to #ldrchatnz" - Bede
"A1 Sharing ideas and wonderings - getting support #ldrchatnz" - Steph
"A1: like that idea of ubiquitous professional learning #ldrchatNZ " - Philippa
"A1 Always someone who's been there, many ideas, collaboration #ldredchatNZ" - Wendy
"A1 - support from a wider area than I have access to" - Catriona
"A1: like the idea of multiple perspectives, hearing others' voices. Challening our own assumptions #ldrchatNZ" - Philippa
"A1 other voices - Karen Spencer reminded us at uLearn16 to lsiten to people we dont agree with too #ldrchatNZ" - Catriona
"A1 A problem shared is a problem cut down to size #lfrchatnz" - Steph
"A1 you get to 'meet" new people. Steph and I have never met yet we run #ldrchatnz" - Bede

Q2: How do you connect with other educators to grow your PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network)?
"A2 I look for whats happening by searching #'s eg #agileleadership, #educationalleaders " - Steph
"A2: Follow key people/leaders on twitter etc... then follow who they follow #lrdchatNZ" - Nathaniel
"A2 I've fund taking part in the chats via edchatnz the best way to build up my network" - Bede
"A2 you have to be prepared to put yourself out there though #ldrchatnz" - Bede
"A2 if I meet in real life at a conference I might ask if that person is on twitter #ldrchatnz" - Bede
"A2: I agree Bede - Richard Wells discovered this idea of teachers' identity when looking into how to become connected on twitter #ldrchatNZ" - Philippa
"A2 get involved in conversations, be accessible online and look for people with whom you have connections #ldrchatNZ" - Catriona
"A2 some of the most amazing, cut edge people hang out  on twitter - resource at your fingertips! #ldrchatnz" - Steph
"A2 if I read something or watch a video and want more I look for those people on twitter #ldrchatNZ" - Catriona

Links to resources:

Getting started as a connected educator:

Getting started on Twitter - advice from #edcchatNZ:

Watch / listen to the recording: Being a Connected Leader - 19 Oct 2016

~ "From confusion comes understanding, From understanding comes unity. We are interwoven, we are interconnected. Together as one!" ~ cla_nz

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Cross-Check Hui

The NEXT Foundation, NPeW trustees, Principals, BOT members and many other stakeholders attended this most successful event.

Frances Valintine discussed 'The Need for Change in the Education Sector' She started by challenging us to think about how many students finish school without knowing their potential...
She went further and talked about 2020 Education and beyond and 10 Essential technologies.
Some realities:
- Students are starting to look how to make the world a better place
- Today's 5 year old will never drive a car
- Skills required today is not being taught in today's schools
- There is a move to having no entry criteria / age to do a degree. It is the outcome that will
   be measured at the end
- Very little of the following are being taught in schools...

- Employers are starting to look at skills, not the degree

- Robots are used as Teacher Aide's

The Mind Lab remind teachers:
- that is okay not to know everything
- that learning is a life long pursuit
- that sometimes students really do know more than we give them credit for
- that we began to change an educational system from the inside

What should we do?
- Tell kids they can learn they way they want to learn. Give them a problem, technology
   and let them go
- Teach kids how to think, to work collaboratively, to be creative and to discover
- Teach them the benefits of failure and trying

Sue Winters gave a stellar presentation on 'Why we need Future Focused Learning Environments'
She asked the audience to take on the challenge to meet the needs of our learners.

- Principals / Teachers were the agents of change, but with Learner Agency it is the learners
- We should have effective teaching approaches which include:
  * Cultural Responsiveness
  * Integration
  * Evidence-based decision making
  * Reflective Practice
  * Inquiry
  * Co-construction
  * Reciprocity
- We need our teachers to have adaptive confidence and trial things another way and to
   learn from their learners
- 6 Global Competencies that links to Learner Agency. Maybe we need to access on
  these 6 competencies...!

- If we have effective teaching, the more likely we'll have Learner Agency
- Humans are innately wired to connect, wired to create and wired to help
  humanity (Fullan, uLearn 1016)

What next?
Think about what does this all mean for leaders...

Bill Kermode on the 'Philosophy and Role of the NEXT Foundation'. They look at projects that can make a difference. Projects include the Environment and Education. The Next Foundation has been established with a vision “to create a legacy of environmental and educational excellence for the benefit of future generations of New Zealanders”.

- By supporting and investing in aspirational education projects, their aim is to empower
  young people today and the leaders of tomorrow.
- NEXT Foundation support Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru and believe the project can make a
  contribution to the National level in education
- NEXT Foundation also support the Government's goal to have New Zealand predator free
  by 2050

~ "Education needs to be radically rethought partly to stop the boredom, but mostly to blow the lid off learning, whereby students and teachers as active partners become captivated by education." - Michael Fullan & Maria Langworthy in Towards a New End: Pedagogies for Deep Learning ~

Saturday, October 8, 2016

uLearn16 - "Connect, Collaborate, Innovate"

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."- Henry Ford. 
This quote resonate with me throughout [and after] this conference and I have to say that for me, these yearly uLearn events are just getting better and better...

Conference strands this year were:
- Transforming Learning and Assessment
- Transforming Professional Practice
- Transforming Leadership

Keynote Speakers:  Collaborative notes
Keynote 1:  Larry Rosenstock - It's time to change the subject
"We are starting to see more and more schools around the world that are atypical. They do not mis-predict which students can and can’t do. They do not segregate students through structures that we see in most traditional schools. The people running these schools recognise that the world is changing. These are special places that are preparing their students for the innovation economies that their countries so profoundly need."
'It's time to change the subject' blog post
CORE Education, uLearn Blog (Larry Rosenstock Keynote) - Submitted by Tessa Gray
Key takeaway: "We, as educators, must pursue the relentless creation of invention and reinvention"

Keynote 2: John Couch - New dimensions in learning
"If students are engaged, they will succeed and technology plays a vital part in their engagement."
'New dimensions in learning' blog post
CORE Education, uLearn Blog (John Couch Keynote) - Submitted by Tessa Gray
Key takeaway: “Education is what people do to you. Learning is what you do for yourself”

Keynote 3: Michael Fullan - Early lessons from implementing New Pedagogies for Deep Learning
"Our work on School Leadership, Professional Capital and Coherence is becoming deeply integrated and embedded in the clusters and networks of schools that are engaged in implementing ‘new pedagogies'. He identified some early lessons concerning how leadership for deep learning differs when it comes to digitally accelerated innovations. There were also some surprising new findings about the role of students as change agents relative to pedagogy, school organisation, and even societal change."
CORE Education, uLearn Blog (Michael Fullan Keynote) - Submitted by Tessa Gray
Key takeaway: "The job of leaders is to help learners run better"

Keynote 4: Karen Spencer - Beyond the echo chamber: The extraordinary possibilities of a networked profession
"Karen took us on a provocative journey to explore the rapid rise in innovative professional learning. From ‘done to’ staff meetings to collaborative, agile investigations into what’s happening for our learners, the way educators improve and grow has evolved rapidly in recent years. She explored new insights into professional learning, best ways to embrace change, and invited us to think about how we can transform what we do for our learners."
'Keep the fear off the set' blog post
CORE Education, uLearn Blog (Karen Spencer) - Submitted by Tessa Gray
Key takeaway: "Hold our ideas lightly"

Day 1:
  • Breakout 1 - Working towards developing student agency in maths with Jacqui Sharp

Key takeaway: "Before students can be expected to take responsibility for their own learning, there are procedures that need to be mastered. To facilitate this, tasks and workshops should be designed so they are student centred, personalised and challenging. Students grow control of learning through the choices and the reflections they make. Student voice is encouraged and articulates progress, which in turn informs the teacher about further teaching, learning and assessment." 

  • Breakout 2 - What agoggies and self-regulated learning with Mike Scaddan
Key takeaway: "We need to be teaching kids the skills of 'learning how to learn'. But keep in mind that all kids maturation levels are different so they will not all be ready to learn this at the same time. Heutagogy is developmental not necessarily age related. Technology can definitely help to teach the skills needed for self directed learning and growing assessment capable learners."

Day 2:
  • Breakout 3 - A day in the life of a 1:1 iPad classroom (Y0-2) with Richard Williams and Sophie Church

Key takeaway: "Technology is used to extend and reinforce learning, thinking, collaboration, key competencies and to share the students' learning with Whānau."

  • Breakout 4 - A roadmap for strategic leadership of digital technologies with Ray Burkhill and Viv Hall

Key takeaway: "Using a strategic roadmap helps to bring sense to the challenge of ensuring effective pedagogy is driving the use of digital technologies in our school. It also gives a strategic direction that ensures digital technology is integral to building our school’s effective pedagogy and future-focused curriculum."

Day 3:
  • Breakout 6 - Supporting staff through change — professional learning models with Anne-Louise Robertson

Key takeaway: "Ask teachers why they are reluctant to change their practice. Helen Timperley suggested that engagement in PL is not an option, however we should keep in mind those teachers who’s mental models are such that they struggle to engage through fear, being overwhelmed, the context they find themselves in and balance that with the 'go getters.' Leaders need to model good practice, be sensitive and respectful of the learners’ needs and be warm but demanding just as we are with the students in our classes… What do we need to keep the fire burning..?"

  • Breakout 7 - Building capability through Future Focused Learning
This year, I stood back and let a colleague, Hancine Samvelyan, be the main presenter in this workshop. I saw my role as merely supporting, as she decided what slides she wanted to use for the presentation. Her focus was on collaboration as a process.

Many participants felt uncomfortable and challenged within this workshop and the task, but I like the growth mindset displayed from a participant...

Other things happening:
- What you thought of Day 1

I actually love these conferences because you can always take something away. The workshop that I was at, was quite amazing. My one was about learner agency and it actually told me some steps on how to scaffold my kids to that stage. It was something I could go away with and tweak and modify, it was more for the older stages, but there were lots of examples and things that I can take and adapt to my student needs to help them get to the next steps.

Gala Dinner


with Hancine

with Bede

with Nick

with Stephen

Wristbands received - I got 'em all! Yay!

~ “Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.” 
- Dennis Waitley ~

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Augmented Reality in an Educational Environment

An article I have written for New Zealand Interface magazine (Issue 74, September 2016) on using Augmented Reality (AR) with 5 year old students:

Inspiring and engaging my students to make their learning real is important to me and I know that technology has the power to enhance learning. I see it as essential to bring it into my classroom to focus the learning onto the students’ future.

One opportunity that it brings to learning is 'Augmented Reality'. I have been aware of using AR for a while, but it was when I was reintroduced during my postgraduate study (The Mind Lab by Unitec) that contextualised it for me.

Here are two ways in which I have used this in students’ learning through the AR app Quiver.

Cluster Summer Sports
Firstly, they had fun reflecting and talking about their participation in a Cluster Summer Sports Day in which they were involved. Without the students even knowing, in this activity they were also touching on the Speaking and Listening component in the NZ Curriculum.

After choosing one of the two pictures provided (one for their ball kicking activity and the other for the game ‘rats and rabbits’), students coloured their choice using their favourite colours and then watched as their picture came to life just the way they'd made it.

Students took a screenshot and published their reflections verbally on their ePortfolios. (

Erupting Volcanoes
A second example was when students were learning and inquiring about volcanoes. I printed the volcano picture from the Quiver website.  Students took a screenshot and wrote a story about it.  They had the opportunity to choose how they would like to present what they knew and learnt about volcanoes. This has not only engaged them, but also enabled me to see what they have learnt. Writing has also becoming more fun, especially for the boys.

Some stories were published on our class blog

Excitement and engagement
To experience students’ excitement and engagement in their learning, is priceless and shows me that engagement is critical to their learning. The use of these digital tools gives them the opportunity to deepen their skills in engagement, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, as well as creation. It also allows students with various learning styles alternate modes to interpret ideas and understand challenging concepts, enhance their engagement & success.

As I see the difference in the learning of my engaged students, it becomes easier to find ways to incorporate technology into their learning. And, in my experience I have found that AR can be used in all learning areas of the NZ Curriculum. Making a difference and engaging students is not about what I teach, rather, it is about how I teach. This experience has been life-changing for me. It really gave me an opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of my young students.

Screenshots from Interface:

~ "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein  ~

Friday, September 2, 2016

Future Focused Learning (using symbaloo as Self Regulated Learning tool)

One of my responsibilities as Learning Facilitator for Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru is to organise the termly Connected Rotorua meetings.

I was lucky enough to have one of my Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru colleagues, Wendy Stafford, willing to present on the following:
Plan a lesson / unit for Future Focused Learning (using symbaloo as Self Regulated Learning tool) Incorporating:
- Key Competencies
- Thinking Tools (SMART Goals, De Bono's Hats. KWHL. etc.)
- Assessment Tools (SOLO, Blooms Taxonomy, etc)

Here is what Symbaloo offers:
"Creating a Lesson Plan
You can use Symbaloo Lesson Plans to create a gaming-style virtual lesson plan using the best educational resources. Tile by tile, create pathways for students so they may learn at their own speed. You’re able to change the route of the path by adjusting the arrows in any direction when creating tiles. Simply add videos, documents, questions, articles, and educational games that guide students through custom learning paths from start to finish." (Symbaloo)

"Personalizing Lesson Plans
Not every student learns at the same pace. Some students require additional explanation on a particular topic and some simply need additional challenges.
By adding questions to your Lesson Plan, you can test whether the student has understood the material. If the student answers the question correctly, they are able to continue. With an incorrect answer, you have the ability to write in an explanation for the student as to why their answer is incorrect before having a second attempt at the question.
Students will learn the material at their own speed. There is also the ability to add in additional learning material around the pathway for students to have further explanations." (Symbaloo)

"Real-time Statistics
Built-in analytics tools gather insightful data and improve learning outcomes, while students enjoy an engaging learning environment.
How long has a student been working on each step? What questions were often answered incorrectly, and who needs extra help? The built-in grading tool helps students and teachers evaluate and archive results from multiple lesson plans." (Symbaloo)

Some of the attendants having a 'play'...

~ "You can teach a student a lesson for a day, but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. " 
- Clay P. Bedford ~

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Apple summit

Sue Winters, Director of Learning for Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru, started by addressing attendants on:
1. Future Focused Learning

2. Learner Agency and an Agentic Learner

iPad in the classroom (Linda)
Opportunities to give student voice - ways to make meaning for themselves and others. STEAM - Adapt a Frog Activity / Assignment.

123D Sculpt+ app (students can create from scratch and adapt / change their shape etc).

Once image created, import into Explain Everything and students can then talk about their picture and explain their learning. There is also the opportunity for them to use the 'pen' to show what they are doing. This gives students a voice about their project. All the Explain Everything projects can then be put into book creator

Want to see iPad used creatively, not as word processor.

Students can print their creation in 3D.

Make a stop motion animation

Video can go in their portfolio of work to demonstrate their learning and understanding.

iTunesU (for teachers to find resources to adapt and use with their students).
Distinguished educators courses (to find lessons. Subscribe to it then to get access to lessons that is being taught in classes.
Australian national curriculum has lots of resources.

Tip: Be specific in Search function.

Apple and Education (James)

Acknowledging that New Zealand have a world class curriculum.
Using an iPad is "really about giving kids an opportunity to figure out what types of learners they are” (Corosanite).
Here is a great video as inspiration for teachers:

1:1 iPad is used for students to engage with learning.
Create learning experiences for teachers and learners.
Personalised it for audience.
Bring collective genius to the table.
Again, mentioning of stop motion lesson.
Students come to live when doing a project that interest them.
Element 4D app.

Students figuring stuff out on their own when using iPads. Not waiting for the teacher, however an iPad is not a substitute for a teacher - use technology to exemplify of what teachers are doing.

Personalisation is when we include student voice.

Tool for something much more meaningful.

Not 'special needs' - they are 'diverse learners'. You can use the 'Speak screen' on iOS devices for there learners.

Focus on apps that set task for students not just consume. They need to create something.
Students can use the camera app on iPad and the video function to record their learning.
Use a Soundscape to support creation e.g. if students create a poem.
iBooks author in iTunesU.
Check out all the functions in iTunesU - this seems to be having lot of possibilities.

Explore the 'Eight elements for success' in the iBook store.

Have a look at 'Research for educators' in iBook store.

Apple classroom app free to download.
You can see what students are doing in real time, but it should be more about celebrating work.