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