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

Keynote 2: John Couch - New dimensions in learning
"If students are engaged, they will succeed and technology plays a vital part in their engagement."
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."
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."
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.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Snapshots of Innovative Teaching and Learning

No stranger to EduCampNZ where ideas / innovation are constantly being shared, I decided to [also] attend this opportunity organised by the NZEI, Taupo to see what this involves.

A snapshot of what is happening in education locally, were shared by five schools / presenters.

1. Working Collaboratively
This was not a new concept, although interesting to see how another school is using this to support student learning.

2. Student Voice
A 9 year old student shared how he record his learning using google classroom and how he's using the success criteria provided to assess himself. He also talked about how they use 'sphero' in their classroom. This was great to see!

3. #NZreadaloud
This is a great project to be part of if. 

4. Bush Kindergarten
Kids are taken out into the bush for a whole day where their boundaries are being pushed and where they learn to self-manage. Reminds me of what we did as kids years ago!

5. Blogging for Visible Learning
I was amazed to see the few classes that has a class and / or student blogs when the question were asked! This was slightly alarming to me... as the benefits of blogging is nothing new.
Image credit: Sylvia Duckworth

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Imagine and Achieve with a Class blog

I woke up to a big surprise when checking my emails early Friday morning. This is what I found in my inbox:

What a compliment! Of course I was happy to give permission for this to happen, but I did wonder how my blog ended up to be viewed this far away from home and how I could be contacted via email (without having it displayed on the blog)...

The reply just re-confirmed and highlighted the importance of carefully considering things that one posts online and that one always has to remember the power of a 'Digital Footprint'. 

In today's world it is quite easy to find someone by using an online search. I sometimes wonder if we realize / remember [constantly] that every time we go online, we leave a trial! The importance of building a positive online profile should therefore be recognized by everyone. Why? 'Apparently lots of universities and employers now use the internet to check up on you'!

The importance [for teachers] to model and teach our learners how to be responsible online users can not be stressed enough.

Source: Sylvia Duckworth

Here is the blog post about '5 Creative Back-to-School Classroom blogs' from Karen and the mention of my classroom blog, Little-Giants: 

~ "Your digital footprint is your new resume." - Ross Cooper @RossCoops31 ~

Saturday, August 6, 2016

In control of PL & D with EduCampNZ

My thoughts after attending another EduCampNZ, this time one in the Bay Of Plenty:

Learner Agency is a topic that has been talked about a lot [since] a couple of years ago. My perception is that an EduCampNZ is the perfect place for teachers to take ownership of their own learning. This is Teacher Agency in Professional Learning & Development at its best!

What I enjoy about attending EduCampNZ is the networking and informal chats one can have with teachers from all over New Zealand as well as building face to face relationships. I like the fact that teachers have choice and voice. Anyone can be a presenter and anyone can attend. It is great to hear about best practice and to get 'tips' from others and also being able to share your ideas and experiences. 

If you haven't attend an EduCampNZ yet, there are events happening all over NZ. Events can be found on the EduCampNZ wiki.

You have the power to take control of your Professional Learning & development, you can develop ownership of your learning. Why wait any longer?...

My 'Storify' about what happened during the day:

The 'Smackdown' slides: