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 ~