Sunday, 29 November 2015

MindLab Assessment 1 - Video - Planning

Have been pondering and pondering about this. Am pretty happy with my topic choice but still procrastinating.

When I first looked into the assessment I didn't realise it was so heavily weighted on reflecting on practice and that you'd need to source advice and direction from different articles to further inform your practice. It makes sense though because having a stronger evidence based plan is better than just making it up as you go which is what I've been doing - with a little help from Lichtman and the folks around NZ and the world on Twitter...


The assessment is:

DCL Assessment 1

Identify, justify and plan a digital and collaborative learning innovation applied to a specific area of your practice.

Create a cohesive video presentation where you critically reflect on your practice and propose and justify a plan to address an area for improvement.

An innovation can be a combination of many types of tool, the ways you use them, new collaborative practice(s) etc.

Remember to consider the perspectives of different stakeholders.

Assessment breakdown

20% Identify and analyse the area for improvement based on a critical reflection of your practice

30% Explain and justify what you hope to achieve by addressing this issue, using supporting evidence (e.g. research literature, policies/guidelines, current practice, quantitative/qualitative data etc.)

30% Propose a plan for a digital and collaborative innovation and explain how it addresses the identified area for improvement

10% Use and present suitably referenced source material, including peer reviewed journals

10% Deliver and present content effectively, considering structure, narrative and language

Individual Submission

Video presentation of 6-8 minutes in duration


As always I've procrastinated. I've been busy with school and stressed but this course is what I needed. To jumpstart me. And so instead of just doing a halfway good job - I really need to push myself. So - here we go.


Identify and analyse the area for improvement based on a critical reflection of your practice

At present, the main area that I seem to be struggling with and the area that I want to improve the most is leadership with developing and sharing elearning skills. As a self-professed innovator who is always trying out new things, I think it's critical that I learn how to best share with my colleagues these innovations and develop stronger leadership skills in myself.

By doing this I'll be stronger in my own practice as a teacher because I'll have even more confidence when it comes to sharing with my students. Learning new elearning tools is similar for both students and adults - because there is still that nervous thinking that they can't do it. With enough encouragement and self-belief, anything is possible.

As a 27 year old female, I've talked about this before previously here, I feel like I'm not taken that seriously. As if I'm just another innovative new thing fly to swat away. I want to be taken seriously. It's why I've looked into the Google Certified Teacher Training and why I chose to get so involved with educamps and the MindLab. I want to learn how to best be the person I want to become. I've been on a hunt to find more inspirational and strong leaders for me to learn from. This year I've found quite a few which has been great for me.

The last area is elearning. It is everything and nothing without strong and confident teachers. By upskilling the teachers I work with we'll be able to create a stronger collaborative network and they'll try new things. At the end of the day - that's all I'm hoping for. Because if it works, it will have a massive (hopefully positive) impact on our students who will benefit from becoming more digitally competent for a world we can't even dream of yet.

By doing this, I hope to also offer elearning upskilling sessions to students who may also need help and encouragement. Eventually the tech angels programme I've been planning will take off and students will be helping each other too.

By creating a strong elearning framework of workshops and one-on-one sessions, hopefully I'll have a wide reach and create a snowball effect where teachers and students work together to learn from each other.

Explain and justify what you hope to achieve by addressing this issue, using supporting evidence (e.g. research literature, policies/guidelines, current practice, quantitative/qualitative data etc.)

The main challenge is to reduce resistance to new things. By developing more confidence in staff, I'm hoping that resistance to change will decrease dramatically. There are many pockets of early adopters and staff who are willing to try new things at our school but they are often clouded by restrictions placed on us as a school and previous safety guidelines that have now become irrelevant as we need to move forward into the 21st Century.

I want our school to keep being the school of choice in Rotorua and by increasing collaboration, confidence and competency in things elearning, we may have a chance. Many of our feeder schools are already using elearning to enhance their students learning and our new students will be coming to our school excited and with their devices in hand. My worry is that if we don't make a change and soon, students will choose other schools rather than us based on our inability to move forward to where our incoming and current students already are.

By addressing this issue, I hope that as a school we will have more confidence to try new things. We'll be able to identify key areas of focus that need improving more quickly and be less self-conscious about these issues. Our whole school will begin to adapt a growth mindset and push themselves to continuously be better.

I will need to keep reading the books by Grant Lichtman and Eric Sheninger. I will find some more effective, albeit shorter articles and videos to keep inspiring me. I will keep Sir Keith Robinson in the back of my mind and keep moving forward to find a better system than an industrial model. I will keep working with the CLA (Connected Learning Advisory) and the team at Ngā Pumanawa e Waru to develop a stronger plan to provide clear and focussed needs-based workshops and sessions for staff and students.

I've done a survey with staff already on their needs and have asked when workshops would work best for them all. Unfortunately the year is nearly over and my plans will have to wait for next year.

I will keep in mind the school values and targets - where this framework will no doubt help to achieve those aspirational guidelines.

Using SAMR and TPaCK as baseline structures and the eLP framework by Core - I'll have more direction.

Propose a plan for a digital and collaborative innovation and explain how it addresses the identified area for improvement

At present I've created a six month framework of what we need to do to get to where we need to be to begin the process of rolling out BYOD... or at the very least more elearning.

Embed doc here:

The main focus for this assessment and my own role in it will be leading and facilitating the upskilling of the staff to create more confidence. This has both the collaborative and digital aspects within it and hopefully will work well.

Workshops have been organised by me with the staff in mind and particular areas that we need to move towards. In particular: growth mindsets, collaboration, reflecting on our practice, sharing our learning and especially learning how to use the GAFE platform.

By collaborating with staff, encouraging them to share their risk taking and each new tool they've tried - we'll be making headway to becoming more collaborative and digitally competent as a school.

By increasing staff confidence around using technology to enhance their student's learning - not just to substitute their paper or books - but as stronger tools for learning, we'll be able to create stronger and more digitally confident teachers and students. They will become more innovative and try new things. They will share their ideas and their learning and become more reciprocal. Tuakana/teina relationships will happen more and more.

Use and present suitably referenced source material, including peer reviewed journals

At present I have found quite a few articles through Google Scholar and the Unitec library. I need to find more though. Am a hoarder of information and once I've found the best material I put everything back where I found it.

Deliver and present content effectively, considering structure, narrative and language

As always when I make a video - I worry I come across as Fobby... and when I read through my posts like this or think... I know I'm not. It's just how I speak sometimes and I think in future I need to go to toastmasters to fully fix my speaking issues. Some sort of brain issue that happened a few years ago - possibly to do with a concussion or two.

Anyway - having this post now - it's all broken down a bit more which is great. I'll be able to explain things a lot more clearly and reference different things I've already created and used in the video.

I've already begun thinking about the tools I'll use to create the video:
- Screencastify
- Whiteboard Collaborate
- Explain Everything
- Google Slides
- Google Sites - WHHS eLearning Hub
- Maybe even some StopMotion Animation!

Will need a few pictures:

- Me presenting with phone in hand...
- MindLab logo
- NPeW logo
- Next Foundation for thanks with scholarship to do MindLab
- School Staff
- ELearning Team photo
- NPeW and Heights eLearning team photo
- SAMR and TPaCK models
- Self-Filled in Rubric... cheeky??
- Twitter profile pic and G+ Communities


That's the planning that's been rolling around in my head for a while. Hopefully now that it's written down I can begin to make some headway with it.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Week 4 - MindLab - Theories and StopMotion

Awesome session tonight. Too tired to blog about it now though. Wrote notes so will add them in tomorrow.

Googley Googley Stuff - PLD Session at Mokoia Intermediate

Had the most fabulous session last night at Mokoia Intermediate. Massive thanks to Annemarie Hyde (@mrs_hyde) for hosting it and sharing about it to me - so that I could share it with our staff at Heights. Equally massive thanks to the SIX kaiako that came from Heights as well. Felt honestly so so supported and I really hope each one of them got something out of it.

Was totally inspired by both Greg Reynolds and Saunil Hagler from Cyclone. Greg gave us a huge run down without missing anyone out in his scope. That is a true skill and I want to learn how he did that. He catered for everyone's understanding - truly differentiated discussion points. Saunil had some really cool new tidbits to share - I love geeky things - particularly the different add-ons and extensions. I loved that he pushed Blogger as a portfolio tool, Classroom as the learning space and Sites as a collaborative tool that could also be used for PL Communities.

My notes are below: (will be embedded if you're seeing this before it's been

Key takeaways:

Overwhelmingly stoked that so many of our Heights whanau came. Two of our teacher aides were buzzing afterwards. My awesome colleague I wrote about the other day talked about just how critical Twitter is - so so cool seeing this massive transformation in her and so much more confidence. :) A few other colleagues who are part of our eLearning team too. Was just so cool to have them there sharing this learning with me. Usually it's just me at those things and I try to soak all the learning up by myself and hopefully find the right time and place to then regurgitate the info and share it when necessary. To have others there was equally cool because maybe now we'll have some more people on the uptake with it and keep moving forward.

Thanks to the Linewize guy - sorry didn't catch your name - who shared with us his programme and how truly cleverly designed it is. Putting the focus on digital citizenship, ensuring teachers still have an element of control with safety settings online and making sure that students are safe. Really enjoyed talking to your mum too! :)

There are literally endless possibilities. We just need to figure out what works best for us. What works best for our students. What works best for our learning and our purpose.

The GAFE suite as a creativity suite rather than productivity suite.

I'm rethinking my position and thoughts around Chromebooks. I always fall for salespitches. I need to think it through a bit more because there are definite pluses to Chromebooks. There's also the possibility of upgrading old comps to Chromium OS which I'd never heard of before. I think we just need to think about the purpose of the task and how tech will enhance the learning. Or redefine it perhaps...

The Chasm. The Laggards. Need to find and read that book.

The fact that info about Connected Rotorua is still needing to be spread more widely to ensure everyone knows and comes along to these kinds of things. Because it empowers them to develop and keep learning and pushes them forward in a safe and empowering way because we've all started somewhere.

That maybe I'm an innovater and not just an early adopter. I'm constantly chomping at the bit and even though I'm trying to be patient - I'm constantly frustrated but my mind is racing with possibilities and ideas and thinking forward - 3, 5, 10, 25 years down the track. Because I'm a goal setter from way back. And I have to be positive and aspirational so that I can look forward and know that one day - we will be where I'd like us to be.

Also - massive thanks to Cyclone for the 2.0 Google Cardboard. Can't wait to start playing with it tomorrow :)

Ngā mihi koutou :)

Have decided my words for next year. Inspiration and Aspiration.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Relieving and Google Drive with 10SciX

Had a really cool session today with 10SciX - a colleague had asked me to do an elearning session with his class last week but we had to move it today. Then he remembered that he was out with PLD today.

Anyway - it went really well - I gave them the Google Drive cheat sheet I'd made. Got some great responses on it - with one student saying I needed to make it less wordy. Was trying to cater for those audiences where I wasn't there to show them what to do... and she suggested more infographic style where there are pictures showing where to go rather than so much description. So need to up my game a bit!! :)

Got nearly all of them onto the platform. We did quite a bit of discussion around appropriate behaviours online and showed a few some new techniques when they were researching - like Ctrl+F and Ctrl+V once they'd copied something... also dragging pictures onto the doc from a source and cropping it to make it fit on the page.

With those that had used the platform already with their digital tech teachers it was easy enough for them to follow on.

Think I got some students side tracked though when they showed me how much writing they were reading... I asked them why they hadn't found the same info in a video first. Lightbulb moments... halfway through I went back to see how they were going and asked them how much they'd learnt. They told me verbatim heaps of ideas... I asked whether they'd written any of it down... nope. So they began.

Had a couple students share their docs with me so I could show them how the commenting permissions worked. They were impressed that I could see their work at the same time.

Had them share their documents with their teacher and will catch up with him tomorrow.

Hoping that this kind of Lightbulb learning continues throughout the year and hope more students get onto the platform by the end of the year so that we have a more simplified process with the Y11s next year. Am betting that it will be way more effective when they are using their devices for their writing at the very least.

Using SAMR, CoWs and MindLab Assessment

Since last week at the MindLab I've been thinking about how I use SAMR as a basis for my student's and my own learning. More critically for me is the fact that at the moment it's difficult to teach students the basic digi tech stuff without fulltime access to devices.

I'm maintaining positivity and patience, but am finding it difficult to try new things without being able to test it out with students.

Doing this with my Y10 social studies class recently has been an absolute godsend. Would like to thank the Maths dept immensely for welcoming us in as we've been relocated from our English classes while the exams are on.

Part of the awesomeness of this is being able to use the Maths CoWs. Still think that the term CoWs is highly funny having grown up on a farm. But like any good cowshed the Maths dept have got the most onto it system and damn it works pretty good too.

At first I was quite a bit nervous about using their sets of CoWs but decided to keep on prodding and going along with the system - which obviously works for them and they've had no issues - though one laptop is missing - not sure why. But that's pretty awesome by all accounts really to have such a solid system in place that there seem to be no issues!

Anyway - as I said - like any good cowshed there are systems in place to ensure that things run smoothly. With the Maths CoWs it's a matter of ensuring that they're in numerical order. At first I found this a pain as I'm not a numbers person and thought it was tedious - but there is brilliance in this - because straight away you can see when they're in numerical order whether one is missing or not. The only thing I could think of that would make this process go faster would be little numbered stickers on the metal above each of the CoWs ports.

As with the cords - one of the CoWs has a pretty simple but again brilliant idea with using some boards from one of their Maths exhibits as dividers for the cords - mainly so that the cords aren't in a jumbled mess on top and so that they're easy to find by quadrant to replug into each laptop.

Both sets of keys have a different keyring so you quickly become used to knowing which one goes to which padlock and again the system for this is easy and no issues.

I spent a good ten minutes with the last session getting a few students just to double check both sets of CoWs as three laptops were left on top because students had been lazy. Another really awesome thing that the Maths dept have in their CoWs usage system is the log book where students need to log in and out which computer they've used. This system made it super easy to call out the laptop number and check who had used it that period. A really simple way of catching out students who aren't being accountable for their actions.

That student, a couple of others who were being inapppropriate talking to other students in other classes or calling out the windows stayed behind to fix up the CoWs.

Absolutely think that this system needs to be implemented throughout the school because the Key Competencies are fully met:

Relating to Others: CoWs are plugged back in and recharged for the next use of students. Any issues are logged in the book.
Managing Self: Students log their laptops in and out of the system by using the booking sheets in the CoW booklets. They also return the CoW into the right place, numerically and in the right CoW (Stars and Non-Stars).
Participating and Contributing: Because the other two KCs are being accounted for - each student is able to use a laptop each.
Thinking: Students are learning about the different workarounds like issues with No Logon Servers Currently Available, or a low battery and getting a cord rather than a new laptop each time it goes flat.
Using SLT: Ensuring that the CoWs are back in numerical order helps improve the system overall for everyone's use of the resources.

What started out as a SAMR post has become a very geeky techy post - no apologies. You all probably enjoyed reading it as much as I loved sharing how awesome their CoW system is.

Anyway - the SAMR task list I've begun to collate and create is here.

Will add links to this as well with the different processes and focal points needed to understand SAMR in more depth.

A friend of mine recently reminded me about RAT. A more simplified version of SAMR that was being floated around different educamps last year. While I like it's simplicity - I still struggle with identifying the different levels and moving deeper into more redefined learning. I think I may already do some learning myself like this but identifying when and where I do this is my issue at the moment.

To fully convey the SAMR process - we need to actually get ontop of some of these things. And while I'm definitely not the fount of all knowledge, I can at least upskill myself for the benefit of myself and my students and can help my colleagues when and if they ask for help.

Probably one of the things that keep coming up in the MindLab is this assessment due next week - a video about our plan for something that will benefit student learning.

As my Y10 social studies students will mostly be doing their careers booklets now - they won't need as much focus on the CoWs or the Google Apps learning we'd been doing. Wish we could have started ages ago so that we would have more time to tutu, make mistakes, take risks in our learning and learn from them. But as it is we've got about a week or so to go and need to get these careers booklets and goal setting in place.

Because of this my plan for the assessment is to focus on the learning I'm planning for the staff with these workshops - because ultimately it will hugely affect student learning across the school and that will be my intended impact.

Regardless - I think that there are definitely some things we could all be doing at the moment - even if it's just using the CoWs more effectively, teaching digital citizenship and gaining a stronger idea of where students are at with their device use.

It would be cool if we all used the GAFE platform more often as a school as there are just so many different apps and programmes we could use as a staff to enhance focus and pride as well as organisation - like using Google Keep, Calendar, Slides for Notices maybe.. or even Sites for class portal pages for their learning.

Maybe even a schoolwide Google Classroom where students and staff post ideas and information. It would get pretty full on though with everyone posting. But I guess that comes into Digi cit too - learning how we use tech effectively and appropriately.

The stress and anxiety with report season is still upon us all and I really need to get out of this funk I've been in since Thursday night when I got THAT news... which I'm sure will be in the news soon enough. Am not even going to bother eliciting it with any response here. Not my story to tell - even though it generally makes me pretty sick physically to think about...

Am looking forward to the MindLab session this week and the Cyclone workshop at Mokoia this week too. Busy busy!! :)

Had NPeW elearning interviews today. Was absolutely awesome to be a part of this and hope I can go into more detail in the next couple of days.

Should probably finish writing reports for the night and get some sleep. :)

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Intro to Google Apps with Y10 Social Studies

Not that surprising today that there were the usual issues of no logon servers or needing to remember passwords... but was quite surprised by the overwhelming silliness that ensued while using the Google doc!

Picture this:

Class using the COWs for the second time this week and using their logons to go to a link I'd written on the board. Some students listened to the instructions well and carried on with the task (Complete a 2 minute google form survey). Others had issues with logging in to the computers, other computers weren't charged and some just forgot their passwords again.

It was chaotic because I was needed in about eight places at once and couldn't conduct or facilitate. I had to be the guide on the side - and while this is great - the skill level isn't there enough for our students to be able to do this without me yet.

Students were all on different tasks - some had finished the Form and were waiting for the next instruction. Others couldn't get on to the Form because they'd typed the link wrong. Others were apathetic and didn't have a go.

I had to stop the class a few times - to get their attention I actually had to have them look up from the screen and look at me - like primary school.

When some students were finished the Form I got them to type their names in alphabetical order down the page. Chaos ensued once more. I had written a tip at the top but they either hadn't read it or they had deleted it before I saw it. It simply said do not overwrite someone and to avoid this, push the space bar down a couple of times so that you're in a different line.

Having so many students working on one doc was chaotic. But it was a brilliant way to quickly assess their inappropriate behaviours, time wasting issues and more importantly their overwhelming silliness.

To counteract this I changed the sharing permissions to view. Got them to refresh the page. Went to revision history and went to the last time I wrote something and restarted it. I reverted the sharing permissions back to edit for the students and they refreshed so that they could try the simple task once more.

A similar thing happened. This time with less silliness but still with many Anonymous animals typing.

I stopped them again and asked them to login to their Gmail accounts and refresh the doc.

Still they were deleting what others were saying. I changed the sharing permissions once more. Talked to them as a class about expected behaviours and showed my surprise that they were behaving so strangely as they are normally quite a mature bunch of kids.

We started again. This time I added a table where they had their own space. I scrapped the alphabetical idea and just got them all to write their own names in a box each. Still anonymous animals but more student's names this time.
They began checking out the fonts, sizes and used this as a teaching moment to discuss the best font size - we didn't go down the controversial font type discussion though - and changed colour and backgrounds for their own names.
I then got them to highlight their names and add a comment as to a struggle and area they enjoyed that session.  Some silly behaviours then too but it's all a learning lesson at the end of the day.

For what was meant to take five minutes - it took the full hour. But jeez it was good to deal with that silliness now and get it out of their systems. Because that kind of collaboration, participation, managing self and relating to others is critical. 

The main issues were the fact that they were all collaborating in one place. It was noisy and it was a novelty. I can only imagine what the backchannel was like in the chat... Some strategies I've thought of include:

1) Get them to sign in to their Google Account first before doing any GDocs stuff. Avoids the silly Anonymous Tuatara stuff... and creates more accountability on what they're writing and who they're writing on top of...or deleting as the case may be...
2) Write instructions in a clear space on the board until they get into the habit of finding the work they need. Make each task simple until they become self-regulated.
3) They need to learn some basic workarounds - like using the ethernet cables or grabbing the power cable when the laptop is dying or dead, instead of just putting the laptop back and getting a different one.
4) Limited computer skills - typing and completing tasks online isn't as easy for some students.
5) Digital Citizenship and Key Competencies - need to be discussed and embedded. Absolutely critical. Because what happened today was a clear indication that they didn't have those skills sorted. We need to keep working on this.

Yesterday I reflected on the fact that I didn't give them the Drive Cheat sheet I'd made. I printed it out today but they didn't use it or didn't try it out properly.

I still need to look at the responses for the Survey...

I'm absolutely adamant now that our students need upskilling just as much as our staff.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Week 3 - MindLab - Virtual and Augmented Reality and Innovations

Absolutely been looking forward to this session since one of the presenters at #eduigniteTheTron shared how she was using Aurasma with her students. She was speaking so highly about her learning journey and it was only just beginning with the MindLab then too.

Am obsessed with my Google Cardboard and am a VR game player from way back so am looking forward to thinking more deeply about how we could use these programmes in our classes with our students to enhance their learning.

Playing Smallworlds pulled me back into that world again this week. Was brilliant being able to recreate myself in VR - this time as Ariaporo Rokoroko!

Really loved the digital citizenship aspects to the training and fundamentals of Smallworld. This is critical. As a kid in those VR games it's super scary to be chatted up by some creepy old guy... even worse if it's a kid talking to you in the game but really it's still a creepy old guy. By having the digi cit sessions and using Gamification to build on those skills and ensure that they remember them in more depth - it's really an interesting way to develop stronger skills in those areas.


Update to come:

Disruption. How have things become disrupted?

The class of 2025. The oldest digital natives are coming earlier than we think. The oldest digital native is currently 12 years old. Next year they'll be in our classes in Year 9.

Project Loon: Cool!! Helping to create more equitable and available wifi throughout NZ and maybe the world?

Self education is now the gateway to the world.

Why are men more often doing MOOCs?

Girls aren't always given the same opportunities as boys. Girls aren't always told that they can do things that interest them.

Girls need to be inspired to believe that they can do more.

This from: New Vision for Education

There are no comparisons from yesterday to tomorrow for occupations.

Which careers are a safe bet? Teaching, midwifery, doctors, nurses?

Check out:

What opportunities and risks are there for tomorrow's students?

If you were 4 years old - you won't need a driver's license. Because driverless cars will be safer than driving yourself. 

The jobs in the future will still use TRUMP (Thinking, Relating to Others, Understanding SLT, Managing Self, and Participating and Contributing). 

Can you see the world like a Terminator? Robots can see things. Looking at you and the details behind you. Knowing your digital footprint just by looking at your face maybe...

What is innovation?
Fire, the wheel, the bike, computer, internet, ipad....

What is innovation? The other dots. The ones you see that are valid - to move the world onwards.

Thomas Eddison - 1000 times til you achieve. Would it not have been awful had he not completed his innovation before he got to it? If he was at attempt 999?

Google Glass

iOptik contact lenses

Helmets with VR like Occulus Rift!!!!!!!! I so so wanna play with it... 

Ukelele app to learn how to play. 

Reality <<===== Augmented Reality =====>> Virtual Reality

Zombies Run! That looks awesome :D

Occulus Rift, Google Cardboard, INGRESS, Anatomy 4D, Enchantium, Quiver

Wow. Love Anatomy 4D for science. Enchantium - soundwaves and music. Quiver like Aurasma with an overlay but coloured in with own colours!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Importance of Tautoko and Awhi in eLearning

Over the last couple of years while my focus has been on upskilling myself and others in the area of eLearning, I've noticed just how important it is to stay true to the kaupapa of tautoko and awhi.

While mentoring and helping those begin or renew their journeys in eLearning, it is important to focus not only on the skills that need developing but the relationships you build while doing this.

One important relationship I've been cultivating is one of trust and support. I try my hardest to listen, to focus on the issue at hand and also to support the  colleagues and students who have sat down with me to talk about their own learning and the issues they've had.

By doing this, slowly slowly, I've been building trust. More and more people have asked me different things and are beginning to come and ask me for help or just an ear to discuss the process they went through to get some advice.

I've been overwhelmingly impressed and completely stoked by the way that one of these colleagues has emerged as a change agent herself. She's become quite supportive of others in our Google Plus MindLab community and has helped others on their own eLearning journeys. She has reembarked on her blogging and reflective journey as well. I've seen her confidence grow in this eLearning area throughout the year and am just incredibly proud of the shift she's made in so short a time period.

The importance of awhi is as important as tautoko. Because if you haven't fully surrounded and supported that person by giving wrap around support then sometimes they may feel uncomfortable in their new learning - though some may feel claustrophobic. So it's important to know the person through your relationship and develop a stronger sense of understanding as to what kind of support they may need, what help they may ask for.

Because at some point, that caterpillar hunger you've been feeding will eventually embrace them all on their own and they'll emerge as a beautiful confident butterfly, capable of extending their own wings to fly to the highest point possible. They'll visit other butterflies, other flowers on their search for knowledge and eventually come across their own wee caterpillars to feed and support too.

Who knows, maybe you've been feeding caterpillars without even knowing it? :)

Awhi and tautoko your colleagues because becoming a change agent is powerful. Because it helps to show just where you were and where you hope to go. Making that change is as important as breathing. Because without a beginning there is no future. And I think... that's enough metaphors for today. :)

Friday, 13 November 2015

Student Assessments and Rethinking Assessment

Have been part of two student's assessment projects this week and helped countless others in the library during study leave and it has honestly reminded me to open my eyes as to how assessment is offered, tasks given and co-construction needed.

Too often we lay down the challenge - eg: the Task. Whether it's Building Bridges, Party in the Car or Before and After... we need to remember what the standard is. If it meets the standard - it passes. If it doesn't meet the task but does meet the standard - shouldn't it still be worthy of passing? I think so.

I was helping a couple of students with their close viewing assessment (1.11) this week. They've since begun their writing on a Google Doc and have both shared their work with me and with each other now as they've just told me - tuakana/teina - and I reminded them that their settings for each other as it is for me should be Comment - so that when I print out the revision changes I can see that they've only commented with suggestions and not edited the other's work.

Anyway - during that session where we were planning out their work I was watching a student who was sorting out her static image. Over the two hours it changed from searching an image related to the three finger'd salute that Katniss does to the people in 'The Hunger Games', finding a suitable image to modify and adapt (it was a really cool golden salute with an arrow through it and a golden circle encompassing the image), finding a suitable quote which she tried different fonts out on to see which one would be suitable enough and effective, colours for her font to stand out from the golden image and the black background, figuring out how to best cover the artists' signature/watermark (let's leave the intellectual appropriation talk for another time...), and finally thinking about the layout and where the quote should go. I offered help a couple of times and at first she didn't want a bar of it. I was a strange teacher to her and she didn't like that I'd pronounced her name wrong the first time I said it, and she also didn't like that I was watching this creation of hers because she was embarrassed of others seeing her work.

What I loved about this though was how incredibly growth mindset she was. She came against failure after failure, found solutions to her issues and kept working on her piece of work. She adapted her original idea because she knew she couldn't just use an image from the film. When she finally finished figuring out how to hide the artist's watermark she looked around to see someone she could celebrate with. She'd taken my idea of using the textbox to fill it in anyway and adapted it by using some kind of clipper to clip part of the golden circle and part of the black background to cover the artist's mark and finally got it in the right place and literally fist pumped the air. I was so proud of this random student in that moment and I told her how cool it looked. She gave me that look. Haha. Still not impressed.

Not long after she got told by one of our amazingly hardworking teacher aides that it wouldn't be accepted by her teacher because it wasn't hand drawn. The look on that student would have mirrored the feeling in my heart and gut at that point. I was so frustrated and annoyed because this girl had worked so so hard to get this piece of work completed. If she'd been in my class I would have given her a Merit or Excellence right there and then. The idea was incredibly clever and the message clear. I spoke up at that point and said that that's ridiculous because we get our students to use digital tools to create their work, especially at Y12 for their visual verbal assessment. We've had digitally made static images in the past and they were fine. It's frustrating because she shouldn't be disadvantaged because of the supposed expectations of her teacher wanting their static images hand drawn.

I asked if she would give me a copy and eventually sat down with me where I told her just how seriously beautiful I thought her image was. I made sure to tell her how proud I was of her that she'd tried and failed and tried again and that that kind of determination was awesome and that she should be proud of herself too. Eventually she did look me in the eye and eventually smiled too. A complete flip to her original behaviour.

Not long after she grudgingly went and copied the image by drawing over it on the window with a new piece of paper. It wasn't as solid of a circle or clear image as she'd wanted and her friend helped her to fix it up a bit.

When I went back later on that day I saw the nearly finished document she'd created - and while it does look pretty cool with the layered paper and still clear image - she will be marked down because of her drawing ability (not that we'd ever say that though..) and her slightly off cutting skills on the quote.

Regardless - the task she was given was to create an image where she showed a message through using visual and verbal techniques. She had a crafted and controlled piece of work that would have been worthy to put into a visual verbal assessment in y12 but was told by a helpful and forward thinking teacher aide, warning her that it wouldn't be accepted because it wasn't handdrawn.


The second student - needed me to do a interview for him - it's a unit standard that I'm totally unfamiliar with but agreed to help as he's one of my students anyway and also because I'd originally asked him whether I could watch him present his speech. He'd originally said no. But this interview assessment I was asked to help with and I'm so stoked I did.

He had two of his mates interact with him, in two group interviews and in one that was one-on-one. I was incredibly proud of him and held back the tears. He was showing just how interested he was in three topics - volleyball, youtube, and Call of Duty - and it was awesome to see such focus and attentive behaviour to him about topics he truly adored.

I did not previously know about how knowledgeable he was in these three topics and the length and breadth he went into discussing these were truly impressive.

So so proud of him and these two boys who helped him, with brilliant questioning skills to boot. So so cool.

It reminded me that I need to think about how I do speech assessments. I'd love to do a TedTalk instead of a conventional speech which is the task we expect..


I seriously think we need to rethink how we assess our students. We should be giving them opportunities to show their learning in a way that is relevant to them and that shows off their skills. We can't every student to do the same task the same way. We aren't in the industrial age anymore. We don't want students rolling out of a factory who can think, act, speak and do things the same way anymore. More importantly, we need to be aware of what our preconcieved notions and expectations do to a student's creativity and innovation.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

MindLab - Week 2 - 21st Century Skills (DCL) and Reflective Practice and the Key Competencies (LDC)

Some really deep level thinking straight after the discussion that somehow prompted the previous post.

Thoughts here:

Reflecting on the Process of Reflection

Before I can think about how MindLab went... which was pretty well actually... I need to share a few things about how I reflect - mainly because it's on my mind and I can't quite focus til I've gotten it out of my system. Quite a few things I actually need to focus on at the moment too... like report writing, finishing marking and uploading credits to KAMAR, helping students, marking junior assessments and creating resources for them before exams next week.

Right now though, I've been prompted to think about how I reflect and how I engage with my own learning.

Even when I was younger I've always written for a purpose. When I was five it was to simply write down how I was feeling and get issues off of my chest... seemingly like what I'm doing now... When I was 11 - 15 I started thinking about the people who might actually read these diaries I was writing - my children, grandchildren, family etc - and I wrote as if I was writing to them, even talking to them by names I'd made up. When I was 16 I fully embraced the fanfiction world and became so involved with it because of my escapism so as not to think about the reality that I was living without my Grandad. I didn't really write much for a while about myself in journals as I was expressing myself through badly worded lyrics, poetry and continuing to make my way as a creative writer in the fanfic world. From 18-20 I was so immersed in the beautiful philosophical reality of being at university and learning so much about myself and sharing my ideas through essay after essay. I was also struggling with being in the parallel and very unsure world of meeting my Dad, brothers and sisters and distant members on my dad's side of the family tree. When I was 20... something incredibly terrible happened at the time that prompted me to begin writing again. I'm glad I did because I haven't stopped since.

Whether it's been in little kid diaries, silly LiveJournal posts, KiwiBlog, Blogger or private writing in unpublished blogs - I've been aware of who my audience was.

At present, I write for myself here. I know that there is a bigger audience that reads this - and I'd just like to make a shoutout to the MindLab 2015 Nov intake crew who commented a few posts ago and reminded me that people do read my stuff!! :)

Regardless though, this is always and has always been a reflection of my own teaching journey within this blog. I'm a curator of knowledge. I gather what I need, search for what I want and develop my own theories and hold onto information that happens to help me live the life I'd like to and that helps me with succeeding in my aspirational life goals.

As a curator, I like to share. As evidenced here and on Twitter too....and Facebook... where I post a lot...and share cool things I see. I didn't connect with the word curator until last year when a new colleague from Australia mentioned during a conference that I was prolific with how I share. I'm sure that there is another word he used but right now it's not falling into thoughts from the words hanging in my head...

As a curator, like good museum curators (which I'd love to be one day too..), I think about the story I need to share, the perspectives I'd like people to think about and more importantly, the understandings that develop and are created over time.

As a curator I think about what to post, what to share and obviously what not to share. People have different ideas on this of course.

On Twitter, I'm very sure of the how, what and why when using it and more importantly with who I'm discussing things with. The tikanga of Twitter helps when deciding what to share and when and with what audiences and this could be as simple as which hashtag to use. I think though that the fact that it's so public is what keeps me being true to myself and I say what I believe, constantly professional (with the odd tweet to my mate...) and overwhelmingly OWN everything I say and post. If there is some issue, I'm totally okay with taking things down if they've offended someone or have perhaps been taken the wrong way and I try to deal with the situation as fast as possible and with as much care as I can. Sometimes it can be easy to be a different person behind the screen than it is to show your true self. Portraying yourself and being transparent is key.

At the end of the day - I'm me and I'm constantly learning. I hope I never give up and become cynical and believe that change is hard. Because it's not. It's uncomfortable. And regardless of how carefully worded I pitch things as new ideas, there will nearly always be someone who doesn't agree or want to give it a go.

At the end of the day - I know who I'm writing for. Who I am and who I want to be. I need reminders like this that maybe if there are disgruntled people that perhaps I'm doing my job of being a change agent and disrupting with humility. I just need to be careful not to get in a rut, stuck, trapped into thinking that what I'm doing doesn't have a purpose or that what I'm doing is unworthy. Because I'm proud of where I've come - particularly since I was 20. Seven beautiful years... well maybe lets say six - but regardless... still proud of myself. Making movements towards the person I want to be one day and every new step, every new challenge, is at least hopefully moving me in the right direction.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

NPeW: ELearning Meeting 2.0

Today was really cool. I always enjoy seeing our staff collaborate and share and do so in an openly supportive environment.

The point of this meeting today was to gather some ideas as to how the school was coping/doing/succeeding in certain areas: technology, engagement, learning and measurement.

I really wanted to be in on all of the sessions... maybe not so much the measurement one....  but alas I still haven't figured out how to clone myself to be in many different places at once. So I put down that I'd go to the Learning session when we had our last meeting.

I was actually quite surprised mainly because there is such a range of where people feel we're at but also lots of honesty and positive feedback. I wish though that we would have been able to be a bit more constructive to improve the situation rather than side step major mines as we continued the discussion with Sue. I was super happy with how Sue facilitated the session. Always admire how she portrays herself in her role, her quiet but also methodical way of encouraging and supporting us to probe deeper and further than our previous surface answers. I loved that she notices the body language too and can identify areas where people are feeling left out and develops key focal points on them as she goes around the group to involve them in the discussion and think more clearly about the issue at hand.

Key facilitator tips right there!!

Both Sue and Donella give me the encouragement needed to move forward, to keep pushing and more importantly to believe in myself. Am glad that I've found these two mana wahine that inspire me ao often.


Throughout each session there were key points I noted down:

- need more engagement with whanau and the community in moving towards BYOD and to keep our community involved, engaged and interested just as much if not more than our staff at the moment.
- need to identify where key areas in school are that are desperately needing access points. Maybe doing a heatmap might help? Particularly with our big Nelson blocks...
- need to ensure our staff have adaptive confidence. Love this phrase!!
- need to build digital competencies in both staff and students
- need to upskill staff and offer upskilling sessions to students too
- need to identify our baselines and get our student interviews begun to see how we move forward and our own process
- need to remind ourselves that we're all at different stages and we all need to collaborate and awhi each other.

Many more ideas to come but that are mine for now until we continue the discussion tomorrow :)

Huge thankyou to the Auckland researchers that came down  -including Helen Timperley!!  :) So cool!!

Always a huge thankyou to NPeW for supporting us in moving forward.

Sharing - Snipping Tool on Windows

Today I shared with a student and a colleague - at different parts of the day how to use the standard snipping tool on Microsoft Windows OS.

For the student it was to snip a QR code he'd generated to avoid having to create an account throught the qr generator website for his static image.

For my colleague it was to snip a photo and title from the e-asttle exam to be used as a creative writing prompt in the Junior English exams.

To me this is a simple task. I need to remember that there are many tasks that I take for granted now that are completely new for others.

While walking my student (J) through this, another of my student's (A) sitting beside J was singing my praises to his friend. A was saying that I get them to do their work on Google Docs and can check their work from wherever I am and help them when they're stuck and give instant feedback. Wasn't too impressed collegially by the comparison to another teacher they were moaning about that doesn't do this (yet!) - but it was nice that A recognised the effort I put into not only doing the marking (which I would have to do regardless) but the fact that I put time and energy into teaching them new skills like this.

I walked away from overhearing their conversation, once I'd helped J, feeling stoked and pleased with myself. I noted to another colleague how cool it was that J was going with the QR code idea and that I'd taught him something new and got barely a response. I was proud of them and proud of myself. It's not always appreciated though - maybe fear of the unknown, fear of my and my students success? Maybe I talk too fast or maybe they just weren't interested or were just busy.

When I helped my colleague with her snipping job - I felt that I took over because I'd tried to do the same steps as I had with J where I guided him where to go on the computer but my colleague was more hands off at first and needed to visualise it first before she had a go herself. She was a bit scared of what I was trying to get her to do - I think because she was working so hard on the new exam and didn't want to mess up what she'd already done and maybe I hadn't explained it clearly enough - and once she saw how it worked she was impressed and overly thankful. We talked through the process so that she could remember how to do it again and then I asked her to try it herself this time and again she did and was pretty impressed with herself too and how the tool worked - stoked!

I must remember that everyone has different ways of processing and that they need to be catered for individually. Also - just because I have been doing something for ages or using a tool some way with my students doesn't mean that others are and they need help or not as well - depending on their level of interest and engagement. I should be more considerate with my time and make sure that when I do those kinds of one-on-one sessions with my students and colleagues and try not to assume that the other knows what I'm on about because everyone is on their own journey. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

MindLab - Week 1 - The Purpose of Education/Epistemology

This session we focussed on getting to know each other and get on to the Unitec MindLab portal. 

We started with three post its about why we were here:
- I want to learn something new.
- Push my thinking and challenge my growth mindset
- Encourage and meet other teachers from Rotorua and help continue to build #ConnectedRotorua

On the post it note that I wrote about the one thing that no-one would know about me was, "I used to hate the idea of Twiter!" Very much far away from that thought now haha.

I'm feeling a little bit selfish at the moment and am waiting to fill my brain up with ideas, learning and challenges to my own thoughts and thinking. I'm feeling selfish because normally I'd be super fast to go and help others like when I'm at Educamps or Connected Rotorua sessions. Selfish because I want to learn more for me. It's not often I get that chance to develop myself because I'm always trying to awhi everyone else.

How to lead change? How to get others onboard and as excited as I am? - Great questions. 

Wonder whether I should speak up about the importance of blogging since we just ran that session on blogging at ULearn...I didn't. Marnel did though so that's good. Still feeling selfish and a bit frustrated because there's lots of down time at the moment. Have to remember to be patient. Not everyone is on the same page or at the same level. Everyone is on their own learning journey.

Are you a thought leader? 

Found this interesting. Milla asked the question about whether we were leaders. I put my hand up. She asked another question - whether we had roles of leadership responsibility at school. Others put their hands up. Not me... not yet anyway. Love that YET. The power of YET. I wonder though why there are more people with positions of leadership who put their hands up but didn't when the first question was around being a leader. Are they different things?

"Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success."

I'd say I am this. I try to be. I try to awhi and help as many people as I can along their edu journeys. It's a difficult process because not everyone is aware that they're on a journey or that they need to make a shift. Those that are ready are of course more receptive and thankful for help. Those who are receptive have a stronger growth mindset because they aren't so nervous about other's success.

Epistemology - what is knowledge? Esoteric and exoteric - the knowledge held by tohunga whakapapa compared to how easily it has become to access whakapapa lines online... 

To Google is to know? Do you need to know everything anymore? Is it acceptable to learn as you need it? Okay to Google for exams even? ;)

Being a critical thinker is critical. Thinking about what knowledge is needed and what you need to know to find out what you might want to know more about.

Google is just a means to an end. To be used to find and locate information. To explore and share and develop. 

Ontology? Epistemology? Axiology?

Really love the slide with the 15 minute countdown youtube clip on it. Clever!

The knowledge is in the room! Some really cool thinking and pulling out ideas. Growth mindsets and some quiet people too. Wish I could have recorded those discussions when we walked around the room and checked out each other's playdough models of what knowledge is to us. Some people seem more talktative than others. Hopefully everyone will share as time goes on. Really enjoying having my thoughts being pulled, stretched, kneaded and elongated from Milla. Awesome session.

Cultural intelligence, emotional intelligence and intelligence. The value of social intelligence with the value of cultural intelligence. How some may have one side but not always both. 

One of the tasks we've had to think about is:

"Reflect on how your understanding of the purpose of education is visible in your classroom. Think about also how you would like to record and perhaps share your learning with a wider community?"

Do our classrooms really ever visibly show the purpose of education?

When my class was full of students work - perhaps. Or when we had the SOLO posters up in the class. But the class is now stripped of it's beauty or what we could do to make the space physically inviting. Exam time. 

If my classes were to be asked about PB4L and how we use Class Dojo then perhaps. 

I suppose it comes down to what does a visible purpose of education look like. 

Is it students focused on their studies, creating new ideas and new questions? Is it building on knowledge and learning from each other? Is it tuakana/teina or reciprocal learning and teaching? Is it the aim of the day on the board? 

I think that would be different everywhere... hmmm. Something to think about anyway!

Required reading: 'Towards Reconceptualising Leadership: The Implications of the Revised NZC for School Leaders

Link here:

I woke up early on Friday morning to read this one. I didn't purposefully wake up to read it - the dog woke me up and then couldn't get back to sleep regardless of how much I tried. Began thinking about school and NPeW and my role in what I'd like to do to give back...

Anyway- began this mother of a reading. Will need to read it again and again I think. Some really cool takeaways in it. Kinda wish there was an easier way to read it through the media library though because I was squinting to read it off of my phone as the pdf wasn't resizeable - like the books I read off of my Google Books app are...Also would like to be able to write notes and highlight sections within the media library like I do on Books...

Main thoughts:

- Leadership should be distributed. Not hierarchical. 
- The NZC is a beautiful document but it has been twisted. The KCs are absolutely critical and we don't use them enough at school. I used to have them visually available and connected with the learning we were doing when I was a BT but have dropped the ball and need to sort it. 
- There are some awesome leaders in schools but they aren't always given the roles of 'leadership' - that conversation last year with a cynical (my age) guy still irks me - "Do you have any responsibilities at school?"  "ME: Yep I take the ...... etc etc etc" "Doesn't matter if you're not getting paid for it."
- I really enjoyed the statements and quotes from the different school leaders he'd interviewed. I felt that they resonated more than the indepth discussion around what is knowledge (though perhaps that's because I read it so early??)
- Particularly liked the inclusion of Table 2 and 3 where I found myself able to distinguish between knowledge as a noun vs verb easily. However when I came to Table 3 it saddened me that my own thinking and aspirations in teaching and learning are the verb style - whereas our school is stuck in the noun side. 

I think overall a lot of this connects with the reading I've been doing from Grant Lictman's '#EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education' where he's also talked alot about collaboration, the need to break from traditional modes of teaching and learning so that we can prepare our students for an ambiguous future. 

Our leaders need to be up with the play on the changing role of education and leading from the front and more importantly, allowing us the chance to improve our own learning through relevant professional development. 

We as teachers need to be aware of the changing nature too so that we can easily adapt to new situations and teach our students that risk is fine - actually brilliant - because through risk, we learn. We develop. We never stay stagnant. Because as Lichtman says, "we're trying to be better". 

Since ULearn I've easily become a new Grant Lichtman fangirl. He is honestly brilliant. Am only on to chapter 3 so far... but wow. Loving it. Also looking forward to Danielle Myburgh and Jane Gilberts MOOC through EdChatNZ and AUT. 

MindLab - Exciting!!

So excited about beginning MindLab :) Not only is it a chance to push myself and my thinking - I'll be collaborating with some amazing teachers throughout Rotorua and throughout the country. I joined up to the Google Plus community last night for our November intake and it's so cool to see so many of the Twitter colleagues on our MindLab journey too.

I hope that once we're on the way forward I'll be learning some really cool new tools to share with my students and our staff at school. I hope that our four delegates from WHHS will share with each other and share with our departments too. I wish more Heights staff had signed up but maybe next cohort.

I'm really looking forward to challenging my thinking and pushing my thoughts outside of the box. Building on the learning I'll be doing, my teaching will hopefully change for the better. My students will benefit with what I'm learning too so will develop their skills and their own thinking too.

I'm most looking forward to building on my knowledge of augmented reality.

Any new tool they teach me I'm just going to be stoked. I've made a pinky promise with Nicky to do the Masters programme too. Always with the promises. :)