Sunday, February 28, 2016

Teaching with KidsedchatNZ

Using our class twitter account to participate in KidsedchatNZ this year is showing an engagement in writing and reading as well as building great tuakana/teina relationships between the junior and senior students.

Students enjoy taking part, sharing their thoughts and ideas with other classes.

Some chats that we already have been involved in includes topics such as 'Greatness' with KidsedchatNZ, 'Learning about Digital Citizenship' and 'Making Connections'.

I have also written an article for VLN Primary School about KidsedchatNZ which can be read here.

~ "Writing should be meaningful for children, that an intrinsic need should be aroused in them, and that writing should be incorporated into a task that is necessary and relevant for life." - Lev Vygotsky ~

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Learning - the moving spring of action...

Another great turnout for our fourth Educamp held in Rotorua with many 'newbies' present. A huge range of ideas and resources had been shared.

It was also great to receive this tweet from a first timer who displayed courage to present not only once, but twice!

My Storify:

Thank you to everyone for coming along and for sharing your wonderful ideas!

Thank you to +Justine Driver for a fab blog post.

~ "A genuine enthusiasm is an attitude that operates as an intellectual force."
- John Dewey ~

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Maker Movement and Learning Spaces (Week 14)

In class: View the video 'If students designed schools' and discuss the merits and pitfalls of these learning model presented in the video.

Today was pretty much a hands on session where we had 3 hours to rotate through stations to upskill in Maker Culture, 3D Modelling and Innovative learning spaces. The requirement today was to do a minimum of 3 stations. 

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Maker Movement
"There is a lot of interest in learning through making, focused on the social construction of artefacts. While this might appear to echo earlier formal apprenticeship models of learning, it is good to know that the emerging ‘maker culture’ especially emphasises  informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfilment."

During the Station work / In-Class flipping choose at least one of the Digital and Collaborative learning related stations (2, 4 and 6)
2. Discuss & Meme Goal: Understand what innovative learning spaces are
4. Design & 3D Model: Rehearse a universal design and prototyping mindset
6.View & Video Goal: Plan your own future digital learning environments for the last 16  weeks.

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Learning Spaces
"Innovative classrooms reflect new ways of teaching and learning and they remove the focus from a teacher led environment to a space where teachers and learners collaborate.
These learning environments are much more creative, flexible and supportive of technology and are ideally designed to facilitate a more creative approach to content, and new ways to deliver the curriculum that encourages connections in content, encourages excitement and makes learning a transformational experience.
Our classrooms should support new ways of accomplishing the desired outcome that is more active and enables students to retain knowledge and expand on concepts beyond what is taught in the classroom.
Modern learning spaces should be bold and encourage risk taking and original thought through breaking rules around what a classroom should look like."
During the Station work / In-Class flipping choose at least one of the Leadership focused stations (1, 3 and 5)
1. Reflect & Sketchup Goal: Re-design your learner's learning environment with a future focus in mind
3. Analyse & Suggest Goal: Consider the environment as the third teacher, from a learner's point of view
5. Read & Feedback Goals: Witness maker culture and students as makerspace designers

Lab Workshop: (3D printing as a cross curricula teaching resource)
Photo by our local MindLab Director

Question to ponder: 3D Printer? Do I need that?... Hmm...

~ "Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning natural results." - John Dewey

Monday, February 22, 2016

A new voyage - 'Insightful Questioning' & 'Re-framing of a Problem'

As our cohort is working on our appreciative inquiries (Academy for Collaborate Futures' cross-school collaborative inquiry and collective wisdom), we were reminded by Dr Vikram Murthy to stay in the question. Also to look if our initial statement is more of a task or statement rather than an actual problem.

We learnt to understand the importance of critical reflection and practice the re-framing of a problem by undertaking detailed and insightful questioning of each individual group member's initial problem statement. We then had to engage in an individual critical reflection and tried to arrive at an re-framed problem statement using the multi-loop problem solving questions:
  • Single loop 
  • Double loop (which is all about checking/test facts and assumptions against the problem) 
  • Triple loop (examine yourself and the school in relation to the problem)

A beginner's mind is needed for insightful questioning and includes:
  • Emphasising 
  • Focusing 
  • Recognising that the seed in a good answer lays in a good question and that collaboration  ends in a better result 
  • Understanding

An empowering ground rule:
Statements should be made only in response to questions

Action Learning:
  • Know the difference between ''cleverness" and ''wisdom'' (it is "recognised ignorance" not "programmed knowledge" which is the key to action learning) 
  • There is no learning without action and no action without learning.

~ "Every question missed is a disaster waiting to happen. Discovering such questions could lead them to approach resolving their business challenge more strategically and comprehensively." 
- Adams, cited in Boshyk and Dilworth, 2010, p. 128

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Inquiry Led Learning and Teaching as Inquiry (Week 13)

Add your school's Inquiry learning model to the slide-set (as picture, text or links). Our school uses the SOLO Taxonomy model.

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Inquiry Led Learning

There are lots of inquiry models... as we all know

Some tools that might help to manage inquiry projects:
- Reference managers (e.g. Wizfolio)

There is significant need for students to understand the processes of critical thinking that improves their ability to reason, evaluate, judge and assess. Critical or reflective thinking is integral to inquiry and to the process of forming an opinion or building knowledge.

The role of a teacher is to carefully plan learning units, support students to explore activities to help them understand the topic and to teach them how to follow an inquiry process. Questioning plays an important part...

Conclusion: Teachers should guide students and coach them to observe, wonder & ponder, investigate, conclude.
In this model, everyone practices research all the time.

  • Decide, as a class, what inquiry model you will adopt for this week’s activity and make it visible
  • Apply the chosen inquiry model to the question "Will robots/AI reduce the need for human teachers?"
Our group choose Glenbrooke school's model for the inquiry process around the question about robots/AI. Looking at the variety of inquiry models, each one of them had something we wondered about, even our own (which we are thinking of tweaking a bit). Nevertheless, this is what we came up with following an inquiry process.

Positive: following process of questioning
Negative: some things are just easier to teach and quicker without following an inquiry process 

  • Program a robot
How hard is it to make and program robots? (1h Challenge). Although we did not actually make the robots, we did have to program them... with some great laughter and fun going on all around.

When walking back to the table, I accidentally dropped it [and it broke it into pieces!] and I was looking for the button to turn it off...

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Teaching as Inquiry

We briefly looked into [the well known] teaching as inquiry as this is also an important component of our next assignment.

Inquiry is underpinned by the process of 'double-loop' learning. This requires us to question underlying assumptions and beliefs as part of our decision-making process. Single loop learning has often been compared to a thermostat in that it makes a 'decision' to either turn off or on. Double loop learning is like a thermostat that asks 'why' - is this a good time to switch things.

  • Plan the focussing inquiry phase of a teaching as inquiry project

  • Analyse assumptions and thinking underlying some sample teaching as inquiry questions

~ "Cognitive development is the science of educational psychology." - C. J. Brainerd, "Jean Piaget, Learning Research, and American Education" ~

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Design Thinking in the classroom and Design Thinking in Leadership -School transformation (Week 12)

Homework Task:
View David Kelly's TED Talk on 'Human-centered design' and consider the'79 ways you can use design to transform teaching and learning'
Which THREE of these ways did you find most surprising? Record your answers and in each case, explain in short why.
1. 'Swivel to attention' - it never occurred to me that furniture that twist and move will increased   students ability to concentrate. I always thought  when doing this students don't concentrate.
2. 'Slow the pace' - the idea of having furniture in hallways always made it look unorganized (or so I thought) - I would now like to think of it as places of pause, which discourage high-speed traffic
3. 'Paint by function' - I wonder why I did not realised that the same concept that one use at 
home of determining what each space is used for, to specify a paint color that supports the mood of the space should/could be applied to school

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Design Thinking in the classroom

Our session was linked to the agile style from last week, but now we were looking at design thinking, which is more of an approach. Although similar to the agile approach, prototyping is the key to design thinking.

Meinel and Leifer claims that there are four principles to design thinking
1. The human rule - all design activity is ultimately social in nature
2. The ambiguity rule - design thinkers must preserve ambiguity
3. The re-design rule - all design is re-design
4. The tangibility rule - making ideas tangible always facilitates communication 

Task: Complete the Stanford DSchool Crash Course in design thinking methodology by redesigning the gift-giving experience for your partner. 

Liz and I used the dschool materials to interview each other. We started by gaining empathy, asking questions, sketched radical ways to meet needs, reflect and build our solution.

Here is what we came up with...

   Liz created a coffee cup for me                                    My ukulele creation for Liz
                                                   Innovation is a team sport! 

There are many approaches/models to design thinking. Here are some:


If you only remember a few things...
1. You are a designer
2. Stepping out of your zone of comfort = learning
3. Embrace your beginner's mind
4. Problems are just opportunities for design in disguise

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Design Thinking in Leadership -School transformation 

Why do we need design thinking? Process. Structured. Purposeful.
Use design thinking to make a change happen
What does it add to being creative?

Design Thinking for PD

Key messages for me

Don't assume you know the problem
Stop learning to bring things together
Come up with ideas, prototype ideas early, gain feedback on ideas to move them forwards
Use the information gained from today and treat it as part of our immersion (use design cycle for weeks after this). 
For every one day conference, do you have 6 weeks afterwards to test ideas out in class and getting feedback on it? 
Design thinking is never believing in your first answer or the content/happy feeling, but to encourage yourself to believe there is still a better way of doing things
Be uncomfortable with the current status quo

Evaluate one of the elements of the DSchool design thinking process, record your thoughts and publish to the Google+ Community.
After a discussion, Liz and I came up with the following:
Foster learners' natural curiosity and creativity
Empathy - teach kids to empathize with others to foster well-being and collaboration.
As teachers we need to encourage students to develop empathy. Conversations lead to a deeper shared understanding between different people.
What is missing? Reflecting. Celebrating. Cycle.  Maybe prototyping earlier. Evaluate.

This video demonstrates the power of building excellence in student work using modelling, critique and disruptive feedback.

My 'take away': Teach kids to give effective feedback

Fullan's five components of Good Change Leadership


Task: (In pairs), record your view on what type of leadership is needed to facilitate design thinking.

#DTleaders: Use agile leadership/ learning to engage different kind of students and teachers. Prepare students for making choices in life by giving them a voice at school and opportunities to lead their learning. Have/ show empathy to get the best out of a team, evaluate the idea and not the person.

~ "There are three teachers of children: adults, other children and their physical environment." - Loris Malaguzzi

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Agile Based Learning and Agile Based Leadership (Week 11)

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Agile Based Learning

Looking at what project management looks like in our schools...
For most schools project management is sort of a pyramid structure and implementation styles vary.
An overview of Agile structure vs Waterfall structure

'Old styles' is Waterfall. With agile it is more like formative assessment.
Does your process look like a Waterfall? As Steve McConell ('Rapid development', 1995) says, it's possible for a salmon to go back up a waterfall, but it's not easy!

How would you rewrite the agile manifesto to apply to teaching and learning?
"Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation customer collaboration over contact negotiation responding to change over following a plan. That is, while there is value in the items on the left more."

This is how Sue, Liz and I rewrite it:

What Peha thinks:

What does project management look like in your school? By Sue, Liz and I

We looked at how story cards are used to record user requirements in agile teams.

It is about what the user want and why.
Looking at agile planning:
As a ...
I need / I want to...
So that ...
(and as Sue said, this is a great way to eat an elephant!)

Create learning user stories and add them to a Trello board

Kanban charts can be used in agile projects. It can also be used in the classroom...

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Agile Based Leadership
We played a game to demonstrate how self organising teams are an important component of agile management

Our group's strategy - passing in star form. Then we realised it's going faster if taking more balls in hands and pass on. Reflected on self-organising teams and leadership with the ball point game improvement kata with these questions: What did we learn? How might this experience offer insights into how the teams you operate in at school (can) self-organise.

Simon Breakspear asking 'What is an Agile Leadership Mindset?' 

The mindset of an agile leader is to get better all the time.

Agile Leadership style:
  • Facilitate 
  • Remove obstacles 
  • Encourage reflection 
  • Be a servant leader 
  • Create a safe environment 
  • Allow team to self-organise
There can still be boundaries to work within - in a self-organising team. Function and structure are closely linked. A flat structure will result in agile function whereas a hierarchical structure will lead to waterfall functions.

Individual Activity: Agile Leadership
Revisit your presentation of your school's planning process and look at what adjustment you would make by applying agile leadership concepts and look at what obstacles would need to be removed.

~ "We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated." - Maya Angelou ~

You will inevitably run into challenges along your agile journey, the key is to learn from these challenges and overcome them through stand-ups and retrospectives.