Friday, 2 October 2015

24 Hour Digital Footprint

Students have been  learning about their smart digital footprint.  They tracked where they had been online over a 24 hour period and created a map of this with links to where they had been. Thanks to +Madeline Campbell for this great idea.
I did this for myself over the same timeframe. I was thinking it would take ages to do as my history showed a large number of entries. When I came to do it however, I found that while there were a lot of entries in fact I was going to the same places a large number of times. I didn't show these multiple visits to the same places as I felt the map would be too busy. I have added numbers to show how many times I visited places on the web.
Younger students, e.g. year 2-3, needed a lot of support with the idea of 24 hours. Creating links on an ipads proved too difficult - in fact they needed to be done on a chromebook or desktop. Year 4-5 students on chromebooks did this well with careful instructions from +Fiona Grant. A fun and informative acitivity tht graphically showed how we leave a digital trail wherever we go on the internet.

Friday, 21 August 2015

On Being a Self-directed Learner

from John Milton Gregory's book The Seven Laws of Teaching, published in 1888.

Yes 1888! Wow, what has changed since then....

I recently read a blog that shared seven laws of the self-directed learner. It was very interesting to see that everything and very little has changed. Yes we now have digital technologies, yes we live in a vastly different world, yes so much has developed in education but people are intrinsically the same and the essence of good teaching and learning seems timeless.

The idea of who is the learner and who is the teacher has blurred and so to the 'Seven elements of the self-directed learner', as adapted by Bernard Bull:
  1. Everyone (including the self) and everything is a teacher. 
  2. A self-directed learner establishes the desired learning goal and attends to pursuing and achieving that goal. 
  3. The self-directed learner learns the languages and discourses necessary to reach the desired learning goal.
  4. The self-directed learner builds cognitive bridges between what she already knows and can do and what she aspires to know and do. 
  5. The self-directed learner aspires to learn how to motivate herself and what motivates her.
  6. The self-directed learner strives to embody the new knowledge or skill. 
  7. The self-directed learner reviews, refines, and re-creates what she learns. 
  8. The self-directed learner establishes feedback loops that give her insight on whether she is progressing toward the desired learning goal(s). 

The idea that I am a learner at all times and in all places and roles: as a teacher, a wife, a parent, a child, a friend, a scientist,  a member of the human race, ...

Ah, but am I setting specific goals, learning the discourses I need, linking to what I already know, motivating, working hard, re-creating, and reflecting?  Well, sometimes. Sometimes I do this process formally, often times incompletely, sometimes in isolation, usually as a random loop that gathers data and wonders.  It might be in the car, in the shower, in the middle of the night. At times I do this with others.

Working through the process with others is especially important as there are things others know about me which I might not know about myself, as demonstrated in the Johari window.  This allows for the collected understanding. It means I need to trust others viewpoint and trust my own understanding about myself as well, to build a more complete picture. Not to mention a less biased one.

Spirals of inquiry is a way to formalise and discipline the self-directed learning process that has be developed to help me as a learner,  who happens to also be a teacher. This is a deliberate practice that I need to ensure is in place. I need to put time towards this and have a way to record what I am doing.

I am learner. To be a self-directed learner means I need to ensure I am deliberately reflecting and challenging myself. Reflecting is how I can ensure I am not just going round in circles, that my 'spiral of inquiry' is not just a circle. Rather I need to be able to track progress towards a stated goal, point to evidence towards this and see what the next steps are.  Then of course do them.

1888 or 2015, taking responsibility for my learning is still the same.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Infographic about Learn Create Share

As students were learning about creating an infographic, I decided to create one as well. We learnt about how to attribute images, how to use colours and fonts, and how to snap together text boxes and images. Also how to use information to share as part of an inforgraphic.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Trust is fundamental

“My report was based on the idea that it doesn’t matter what programme or initiative you’ve got in place, if you don’t have the trust of the community, they’re not going to engage. It’s about going back to the ‘deep stuff’, and realising that trust is the basis of success. It’s about listening fundamentally, and there’s no secret recipe.”
Noula Kazakoz's reflection in Life-long learning article in NZ Education Gazette, Vol. 94 Num. 9 02 June 2015

As I read the life-long learning article I was reflecting on the job I have just taken on in which, when I am trained, I will stand or fall on the trust I can develop with a cluster of schools; trust with leaders, teachers, students, whanua and aiga, support staff.

I need to take the time and put in the effort to listen to where they are at as individuals and as groups, the groups that make up the whole. To listen, to learn, to develop trust and to contribute as a part.


Maybe it's like an orchestra where each person is listening to themselves play and the people around them as well as the whole. Adjustments are continually made to keep in tempo, in tune, to harmonise etc. so to make the collective beautiful noise. Is there a conductor? Is it in fact an orchestra as yet or a collection of players?

Each player brings their honed skills, their practise - the obligatory 10,000 hours to become an expert. Each is an expert or a yet-to-be expert in their own field, in playing their instrument.  Coming from different espoused theories and actual practice, yet doing the stuff on a day by day basis, the teaching, learning, supporting, challenging, loving.

Do they already listen to one another? Is each point of view and understanding respected even if not agreed with? Can I hear the spoken and the unspoken? Who is not speaking? Is there a group who do not have a voice and can I help to give them one? 

I go in to listen, to learn. To hear and see where change needs to happen. To bring the whole together as the conductor, perhaps, in time. Or maybe I'm not the conductor at all, perhaps a visiting soloist who might take a part for a short time. Yes, the orchestra can learn from me and I from them. But it is they who make the music, who carry on day by day.  

I will be actively listening.

Monday, 29 June 2015

My learning in the 'Learn Create Share' pedagogy


Influences by Sir Ken Robinson who advocates opportunities for expression. Allowing, encouraging and expecting creation as part of the learning process. 

A quote from his blog:  Creativity is about fresh thinking. It doesn’t have to be new to the whole of humanity - though that’s always a bonus - but certainly to the person whose work it is.

The idea is to use the opportunities that technology allows to show learning in ways that were not available before. This links to the SAMR model of redefining what we are doing, not just doing the same things we have always done but now digitally - substitution. Rather doing something completely new that we were unable to do before - redefinition.

Dorothy Burt sourced this thinglink below and unpacked the SAMR ladder very clearly on her blog.

I really like the idea that teachers start the process and then get out of the way of the students learning, as noted under Redefinition on the thinglink. I suspect it can be hard to do but a good discipline. Those learners who excel often do their best (most / all?) learning outside of school in a traditional classroom. So to give tools and set rich tasks... makes sense. There needs to be entry points for all learners at all levels so applying Universal Design for Learning principles makes sense to me. If I can 'design from the outset for the learners from the edges, rather than for the average and then adapt.' (from a UDL webinar facilitated by Nathaniel Louwrens) then I will have designed for all learners.

Teachers need to be given the opportunity and expectation to do use the SAMR ladder in a structured way. Yes mistakes will be made but ones that can be learnt from, a slight correction made and move on, then building on what is working well. I find it exciting to see teachers discovering, using and improving what works well in a supported environment and they in turn find it satisfying to see significant student progress in learning.


To an authentic audience. The initial audience can be classmates, teacher, school, parents. The more authentic audience is the wider world, e.g. sharing via  TV or the internet.

We have a very simple definition and a deliberate plan of attack to help students grow one [authentic audience].

An authentic audience is people who choose to listen to you.

And if they pay to listen to you then I guess they are even more authentic! From a Dorothy Burt blogspot.

Learn Create Share

A place to start is the Learn Create Share (LCS) pedagogy as a linear model using the SAMR ladder. Hence a scaffolded framework is a good place to start to help teachers move practice to be above the line.

Eventually there is a shift to a spiral model where students might create to learn or share to learn. This 
post by +Fiona Grant  shares the content of a professional learning day where the teachers explored the idea of Create to Learn.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Learning re Google Apps for Education

I have passed the Basics Exam for Google Apps for Education (GAFE). A small start.

Some reflections on the process

 In some areas, of interest perhaps, I have gone much further and deeper than the exam required. In other areas I needed to 'review' as the exam suggested.
While I have done the learning and have 'passed' the exam I still feel somewhat underhand and shamefaced that I both required and used the opportunity for further review. Why?

Interesting that to me the word exam immediately conjures up the idea of cramming and preparing and of failing if I don't do this well enough.

I did the Basics lessons, practices on the various elements and answered the self-review questions, mostly right so I thought I was on track.

So what happened?

Once I hit a few questions in the exam where I didn't know if I was correct in my multi-choice answer, I decided to go back to the element and have another go or search it so as to find out 'the answer'. I decided to do this based on the facts that:
  • I was here to learn rather than pass or fail an exam so better to learn it now
  • In two months time the learning is the important thing not the exam pass or fail
  • The GAFE exam tool recommended to review questions so it must be okay mustn't it?
  • Some of the questions were... "Really? I 've go no idea even though I've been using Chrome for years and I've never needed to do that specific action and was it in the lessons 'cos I did those."
  • If I failed the exam I would going back to the lessons again but I would not know where I should focus. This would be disheartening and I might find it all too hard and even give up.
Even though I have now 'passed' I would still like to know what questions I got wrong so as to learn what I obviously missed, misunderstood, or just plain got wrong.

Effective feedback is so important -  it  needs to be timely, specific and with next steps. I like Hattie and Timperley's 'three questions'. for effective feedback. Elegant, in it's simplicity, as the mathematicians would say.

As an independent learner I did what I felt I needed to learn.

Perhaps on reflection I have missed the whole point. Perhaps I could have reviewed every answer I submitted and know that I would in fact get 100%.
Either that or maybe as well as that a multi-choice assessment is not the best way to assess this learning. Could be that is why the Google Educator exams are currently being reworked. I'll find out as that is my next goal.

Thanks to Allanah King for her reflections on becoming a Google Certified Educator. It gave me some ideas.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Imitation is the first step

Currently I have lots of time to think, learn, and tutu (play around) with new things. This is fantastic - I can learn all the things I felt I didn't make time for in the rush and hurly-burly of school life as a leader/ learner. A school moving forward like an ocean liner with goals, staff, skills on board and trusting we're on the right course. 

So, the luxury of time. Yet what to learn? Suddenly there is no pressure, no have to, nothing to solve and no specific goal to achieve. 

I do have a community of on-line learners to collaborate with, to see what they are thinking and valuing, to mirror this and to contribute what I am thinking, learning, doing.They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. This seems true up to a point but I also need to add something. Hopefully through questioning, through reflecting and considering I can in some small way do this.

Stop being a brand imitator

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi
With your basket and my basket the people will live
My understanding is that as we all contribute and co-operate, as we give of our gifts and talents we will find success. 
I have decided to learn more about google apps for education, to take the basics exam and move onto advanced. As I work through the basics I am confirming that I know quite a bit already. Having come from a school using Office 365 I didn't think I would know much. While I haven't used the suite of tools to their full extent in terms of linking it all together I do know and regularly use this and that. I have been a  long time loud chrome user and used google drive for organising family events such as our daughters wedding (in three months flat... another story) but blogging sounds kinda scary.

There is a whole GEG NZ  and other communities to learn alongside. Most are way ahead of me and doing great imitation.
But as I am me and everyone else is already taken (quote from Oscar Wilde) I will have to see where I get to in learning and contributing. 

Here goes.