Monday, December 28, 2015

End of year reflection (2015)

I have started this year with many new challenges, therefore my chosen word for this year was 'Open'. 

Looking back at my half year reflection, whilst reflecting on a year that moved forward with some speed I now realised that there were many days that I [unconsciously] had to 'sink or swam'.

I had high hopes and some pretty big expectations for this year... Was it all smooth sailing? Of course not! In spite of some challenges and some minor disappointments, I believe that I was always true to myself whilst learning and experiencing many things.

  • The satisfaction of sharing my skills and knowledge with colleagues and the support I was able to provide where and when required
  • Seeing and experiencing how my five and 6 year old students developed into confident learners, supported by our Teacher Inquiry
  • Becoming part of the Voyager Cross-School Collaborative Inquiry and Wisdom Programme for leaders
  • Enrolling in a Post Grad study on Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning)
  • Started working as Learning Facilitator at Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru (NPeW)
A real value was having the opportunity to grow my own practice, to question and to make mistakes.
So did I accomplish all that I sought? 
Truthfully, I think no matter how prepared one might be, things don't always turn out as planned. I almost reached one of my goals of 'working towards achieving a work-life balance'. This year however was not all about the outcome, but rather the journey that got me there.

Where to next?
All in all 2015 has been great, but I would still hope to discover the way of having a better work-life balance in 2016 as I will be involved in leading many purposeful experiences as well as being a learner myself.

~ "Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you greater than any obstacle." - Christian D Larson ~

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Leaning Forward as Learning Facilitator

The Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Team

This term I started working [one day a week] at Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru (NPeW) as part of the Learning team, which is lead by Sue Winters as our Director. We had many discussions around future focused learning and teaching and what a review of literature suggest this will 'look like'.

The Learning team was heavily involved in co-constructing eLearning plans for NPeW schools alongside the schools' eLearning Leadership teams.

Towards the end of the year I gauge interest around setting up a Community of Practice for Junior School teachers and am delighted by the responses I've received from teachers who are interested in becoming part of this. I look forward to putting this into place in 2016.

I found it to be such a rewarding and stimulating time, working alongside many educators and parents in our district. What a privilege!

Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru also published our first Newsletter, Te Pūmanawa which is available to read at your leisure.

We concluded a very successful year with a 'Festive Season Lunch' at the beautiful Lake Tarawera.

~ "Build the capacity of individuals and groups to accomplish more on their own in the future."  - Unknown ~

Friday, December 18, 2015

Teaching Inquiry (Writing) Reflection

The main question in our 'Teaching as Inquiry (Writing)' was: "How can we accelerate the progress of our group of students to where they should be in relation to the National standards?"  Using some initial data and knowledge of our students, we were able to establish a baseline and direction.

  • What impact has the teaching had on students? -> Students were aware of what they know and about their next steps in their learning process. They became aware of the purpose for learning to write.
  • How do we know, what is the evidence? -> Students enjoyed writing and were using their skills to write for a purpose, such as 'persuasive letters' requesting a class pet, their 'writing journey' and some of their 'last stories'.
  • What do we need to do next? -> Explore other ways of introducing a writing topic. Keep students 'on track' with ongoing reflection and discussion.

Taking everything in consideration (as well as positive feedback from classroom observations), we feel confident that this inquiry was completed successfully.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Blending Learning (Flipped Classroom) and Leading Online Discussions (Week 7)

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Blending Learning (Flipped Classroom)

Four pillars of Flipped Learning 

Flipped learning requires:
- Flexible environments
- a shift in Learning culture
- Intentional content
- Professional educators

Flipped learning is used to easily access learning from a variety of contexts. Blended learning is used for hands on, face to face and online learning.

How is flipped classroom model different to teaching by instruction?
- more student regulated
- student choose when to study/watch
- reliant on internet access

- personal/student accountability

- student led

- allow student to revisit what is said
- different types of teacher prep/planning needed - eg upload 'teacher made' videos 

Benefits of flipping the classroom
- exposing students to new learning so that they have the skill already by the time they make it to group, and group can be spent troubleshooting
- gets them thinking about where else they can learn from ("Look it up on YouTube!")

- rewindable learning, anytime, anywhere

- means group time can be spent on more in depth, authentic learning e.g. applying the learning to a real world problem

  • Create a Play Doh representation of a Blended Learning Model and upload it to Google+
Station Rotation explained as an example of Blended Learning by Liz, Alex, Annemarie, Sue and myself.

  • Create a lesson for your students for the beginning of 2016, using Blendspace, TEDEd or Edpuzzle
I have been using Blendspace with my 5 year old students before and they love it. Here's an example for our Inquiry on Dairy:



How to use Flipped learning with 5 year olds? Video kids to show others how to read a book
If you're teaching the younger students engage students from an older class to help create online workshops as part of their learning. 
Collaborate with colleagues  - look for resource on Pond

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Leading Online Discussions 

Types of online discussions: Synchronous (members are present and discussion happens at the same time) and Asynchronous (members can contribute to discussions in their own time).

When participating/ contributing online - remember the importance of Digital Citizenship / Cybersafety

  • Participate in an online discussion using Twitter.

I have been using Twitter for some time now and although not as much lately as I did before (time deprived), I still see Twitter as my personal 'search engine' and it gives me the opportunity to learn from my PLN & we share ideas as professionals which help us grow & enable us to stay in loop with new developments. I enjoy making connections with people locally and globally. Meeting those (and other) people F2F is an extra bonus! (It's like catching up with old friends)... 

Some extras shared by Annemarie, Alex and myself: Use Tweetdeck for Twitter and Storify to collate tweets.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Connected Learning & Connectivism and Leadership Theories & Styles (Week 6)

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Connected Learning & Connectivism

Connected Learning: seeks to find ways to connect the lives and experiences of learners to the outcomes that educators feel are necessary to prepare students for their futures. 

Connectivism: suggests that learning only really takes place in networks.

Why Connected Learning?

Connected Learning
- How could the learning (yours and your students) be more connected? 
Inquiry based learning, real life tasks (authentic learning)
- What would need to be changed? 
Learning should be personalised. We have tech to do that now.
- Why would it be beneficial? 
Personal interest can be pursued. 

Connectivism Provocation: Networking is learning? 
It depends (thinking can be disrupted when tweeting, but sometimes it is fun, but not actually always learning something)

Connectivism & Connected Learning:

MOOC - new way of connecting people around the world - looking at connectivism. MOOCs are rising

How connected is your presence as a teacher?

Group Tasks:
  • Interview a group member in order to design a learning network / personal learning environment

  • Design a learning network / personal learning environment for this person                 

Thank you for designing my learning network, Brigitte!

  • Reflect: How do we design learning for learning networks, rather than for formal lessons / classes only?
I started using Twitter as a tool for professional development in 2012. Following on from that, I got involved in a number of learning opportunities like TeachMeetNZ and edchatNZ. Through TeachMeetNZ (and presenting in a number of 'Live' hangouts) I learnt about Google Hangouts, which I now am a huge fan of. I found the power of the Google+ communities to be invaluable. I am part of the Virtual Learning Network (VLN), have joined Pinterest (to collate ideas), Delicious (which I don't use as actively anymore), LinkedIn and more recently 'subscribed' to a couple of teaching and learning groups on Facebook. I use Blogger to reflect on my PL & D and tag posts with the relevant PTC's (earlier RTC's). I use Storify to create stories of tweets. I also have a personal wikispace.
I enjoy being a Connected Educator and Leader.

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Leadership Theories & Styles

What makes a good leader? 
Model, Communication & relationships, Encouraging others, Time management, Good listener, Confident, Inspire & encourage others to act. Promoting others and gently pushing them forward, Resilient, Moral purpose.

Main theories and styles:

Leadership theories in summary:
  1. Great Man Theory - You are born a leader, or you're not. 
  2. Trait Theory -  There are dozens of specific traits that characterize a great leader.
  3. Skills Theory - There is a set of key attributes that make a great leader - practical skills, technical skills, people skills, conceptual skills.
  4. Style Theory - There are different styles of great leaders - autocratic and demanding/democratic and participative/managerial grid.
  5. Situational Theory - No one style fits all contexts. This theory is about being able to adapt.
  6. Contingency Theory - We should be matching the right person to the context, (ie, leadership style is fixed, so match it up to a situation that requires that style).
  7. Transactional Theory - Reciprocity between leader and follower, strong dependence upon reward and punishment. (Reflection: Probably the most prevalent one in the classroom setting?)
  8. Transformational Theory- A transformational leader gets buy in and commitment through encouragement, care, inspiration and VISION. They cultivate fellowship. (Reflection: Probably the one most of use teachers aspire to?)
  9. Leader-Member Exchange Theory - There is an exchange between leader and follower. This tends to be the one where an "us and them" culture develops.
  10. Servant Theory - A mixture of transformational and transactional. The leader meets the needs of the follower to achieve an environment of co-operation, trust and reciprocal service. People tend to follow out of gratitude. 

Leadership styles in summary:

How do you 'naturally' behave as a leader?
- Give people an option, not dictate, get ideas and work as a team, listen.

Task(In class) Leadership challenges: Choose one and explain how would you approach this problem

I choose 'f':
Hold people accountable. You can’t say ‘Gee, that’s too bad.’ You need to figure out what went wrong and why, get behind the reason

Discuss with your employee what happened and what each of you think went wrong. If the problem was within his control, ask him to apply the possible solutions you’ve discussed

Task(In class): Identify which leadership styles (Goleman) you are good at and which you may need to develop further.

Task: (In class): Dive into the world of leadership theories. Which one you identify with? Transactional, Transformational... or some other leadership theory?

Transactional vs Transformational leadership theory:

Task: (In class): Test your leadership style with a 50 question quiz.  
My Score: 
Participative 40
Laissez Faire 39
Transformational 32
Procedural 31
Authoritarian 27

Related media: Daniel Goleman - Emotional Intelligence (6 leadership styles) 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Collaborative, Constructionist & Constructivist learning (coding) and Developing a growth mindset (Leading change) (Week 5)

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Collaborative, Constructionist and Constructivist learning (coding)

Mitchel Resnick creator of scratch used it to make an interactive card for his mum.

Learning about combining Scratch with MaKey MaKey. 

Group tasks:
  • Work collaboratively to use computer coding and electronics to create your own personalised musical instrument 

  • Use the video on the portal (Week 4: Top ten learning theories) and / or online resources to identify aspects of collaborative, constructionist and constructivist learning in the activity you have just completed.

  • Use the ITL Rubrics for ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Use of ICT skills for learning’ to assess the level at which these 21st Century skills have been addressed by this activity. Discuss ways in which the activity might be adapted, using principles of collaborative, constructionist and constructivist learning, to address these 21st Century skills at higher levels on the relevant rubrics.

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Developing a growth mindset (Leading change)

Discussed statements that intelligence is set by birth. The term 'growth mindset' refers to the belief that abilities can be developed and honed through dedication and hard work. In contrast a 'fixed mindset' is the belief that you are born with a level of talent and intelligence that really can't be changed. 

Carol Dweck's mindset

The theory is: mindset matters. A mindset is a mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and responds to situations.  Dweck maintains that how we feel about things like risk, learning, intelligence, tests, failure, effort (and other things) form our beliefs, and those beliefs can ultimately impact our performance and success.

Knowledge does not equal understanding. Be careful how you interpret things.

Collaborative taskBrainstorm ideas about developing a growth mindset in ourselves/our staff. You may like to take the Mindset Quiz
- Defer judgement
- Go wild with your ideas
- Build on the ideas of others
- Be visual (sketch)
- Stand up!

Do we role model mindset?
How might we build a growth mindset in out learners?
- Power of 'not yet'
- Talk about learning rather than work
- Use wall to document learning process as well as the final product
- Praise and reward effort, process, perseverance

TaskWrite a list of comments students say and write a growth mindset alternative.

Remember to build resilience, curiousity...

Group activityDesign a classroom activity (digital and/or collaborative) that will help your students explore/develop a growth mindset. 

SOLO help kids to think about their next step

Friday, November 27, 2015

A new voyage - 'Being Good'

In our third session we looked at organisational change and strengths-based perspectives.

Dr. Vikram Murthy did a quick recap on:
- Leadership and self
- Leadership and others

This session also covered leadership and followership (positive emotions, appreciative inquiry, positive core, science of happiness, Robin Hood case, and the learning styles).

We learned about the principles of an appreciative inquiry and to find the root cause of the problem...

We touched on the Pygmalion effect which is "the phenomenon whereby higher expectations lead to an increase in performance". Here is an example how to use it in the classroom: 

In any system [if you want to change it] act as if it already be... Be mindful of the sort of questions to ask.
Left ('negative') - Right ('positive')

Insightful questioning is about
1. emphasising
2. focusing
3. recognising
4. understanding

The appreciative inquiry involves a shift, but remember the positive core (and to inquire into exceptionally positive moments) which can be used as the central energy for change initiatives. People don't mind going to a new place [change] when they can take something they know with them.

We can learn a lot from our own experience... We have an experience, pause and reflect. Trust the learning (don't get fixated on winning/losing. It is about learning).

Use Carol Dweck's Fixed - Growth mindset and make sure to balance fixed and learning beliefs. We need a balance to grow.

Using the Honey & Mumford learning styles questionnaire helped me to understanding my own learning styles.

After plotting our scores we had to move into our particular learning style group and were given the task of creating a challenge for another learning style group. We had fun while discussion and eventually coming up with a challenge for the Activist Learners...

With the guidance of our "principal mentor" and a tightly-scripted role-play, we learned how to use multiple-loop questioning with a case-study of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest. Everyone in the group had to engage with and mastered insightful questioning and critical reflection. This activity helped in clarifying the current reality of any situation.

Discussing the leadership style of Robin Hood...

- Experts are experts of yesterday's issues.
- Opportunities and threats come from without (outside)
- Strengths and weaknesses comes from withing (inside)

~ "Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength." - Sigmund Freud

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Learning Theories and Researched Informed Practice (Week 4)

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Learning Theories

What is a theory?

Learning theory vs Learning style:

So what is the difference between a theory and a style? A theory is grounded in research. Style is the way in which something is done.


Ten learning theories that are relevant to digital and collaborative learning:
  1. Conditioning 
  2. Connectionism and the Law of Effect 
  3. Progressive Education 
  4. Constructivism: Social Development Theory 
  5. Constructivism: Equilibration
  6. Social Cognitive Theory
  7. Situated Learning / Cognition
  8. Community of Practice
  9. Constructionism
  10. Connectivism
Week 4 Task: Create a stop motion animation explaining the key principle of a learning theory.

Research informed teaching is based on evidence and it inform practice.

We don't research enough as teachers! ("few of those surveyed had any familiarity with major thinkers, writers or researchers in the field")

"What is self- evident today is tomorrows fallacy or tale of ridicule"

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Researched Informed Practice

Leading Research groups
Group Task: Read page 9 of 'Good practice in Leading and Supporting a research team

Group TaskCreate a graphic representation of the similarities and differences between leading a teaching team and leading a research team.

Good practice whether leading researchers or teachers
Wise tip: As a leader don't forget the inter personal skills that is so important in the classroom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Google NZ Education Roadshow

A full house for the free professional learning Google NZ Roadshow hosted by Greg Reynolds who've highlighted trends in eLearning.
Photo by: Greg Reynolds

We explored how to:
  • optimise the Chrome experience
  • coordinate learning using classroom

Discussion happened around:
  • using Blogger as portfolio
  • Google Classroom as learning space
  • Google Sites as professional communities

Using technology we can build better digital learning flows for students. It is a given that 95% is more engaged, but more importantly, 80% produce higher quality work.

This made me even more determined to utilise GAFE at our school as it can opens up an amazing world of possibility. 

Linewize also shared what they were about and how they (with GAFE) can assist in digital citizen management.

One thing that really sparked my interest was the downloading of chromium to bring old and slow PC's, netbooks and MAC's back to life.

~ "Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't." - Bill Nye ~

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Learning Activity using Google Maps (Week 3)

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Implementing Technology Innovation in the Classroom

Week 3 Task: Design a learning activity using either Google Earth or Google Maps informed by SAMR and/or TPACK

Thank you Mary, Callum, Joyce, Jackie and Tracey for your feedback on my activity:

Week 3 Homework Task: Do another group's Google Maps / Earth activity then rate it against a SAMR/TPAC rubric. Write your feedback, justifications and ideas to the Google Doc as comments

                    I choose the bucket list activity (below) created by Emma, Liz and Kumiko.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Virtual & Augmented Reality and Innovations (Week 3)

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Virtual and Augmented Reality and Innovations

Week 3 Task:
  • Reflect: Which sectors/industries have recently disrupted?
  • Reflect: Does your career path meant that you don't have to learn about technology?

The new reality... (disruption):

- We don't know what the future looks like... (The more overdue a disruption is, and the more sudden it is... when it finally occurs, the more off-guard the incumbents is)
- What (you never thought would be possible) is now possible? Cameras on phones, Google maps..
- We should remember to think further into the future.
- Self education is now the gateway to the world.
- What is the role of Key Competencies? (You need all these skills to study on line, you need time, motivation) Where does it leave us as teachers? What should we be doing?
The jobs in the future will still use the Key Competencies: Thinking, Using language symbols and text, Managing self, Relating to Others, Participating and contributing.

What needs to be learned?
Source: World Economic Forum, March 2015

The class of 2025... The oldest digital natives (currently 12 years old) are coming earlier than we think.

Project Loon: Balloons launched in New Zealand to learn what it will take to provide connectivity to everyone, everywhere. WIFI to the whole world, but not everyone has access to devices?

There is no comparison to be drawn from yesterday to tomorrow for occupations. So what opportunities and risks are there for tomorrow's students? Already plans for a future of driver-less taxi's, self-driving cars. Will I be using the services of an Uber driver? (Definition: One Tap to Ride. Uber uses your phone's GPS to detect your location and connects you with the nearest available driver. Get picked up anywhere — even if you don't know the exact address.)
Which careers are a safe bet? Find out: will a robot take your job?

Google Glass Project: You can choose what you want to see...

You don't need to go and watch a movie, you experience a movie - Magic Leap
Reality <- Augmented Reality -> Virtual Reality

AR - Augmented Reality:
- Daqri Smart helmet (realizes the true potential of augmented reality and 4D for the future of work)
- Oculus rift (to experience anything, anywhere, through the power of virtual reality)
- Google cardboard (to experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, affordable way)
- Ingress the game (turns the environment into a game - the world around you is not what it seems)

We explored: 
Anatomy 4D



Week 3 Class Task: Use Aurasma (either the app or studio) to create a trigger image and an overlay.

Phew... and finally, here it is...!

There are many possibilities for using this app in education. Bring schools to life with Aurasma.

My Storify:

~ "Get ready for tomorrow, Today." - Jvongard ~