Training tech to adult learners

People “… learn most effectively when they are responding to challenges that they know will directly and significantly affect their lives.” Malcolm S. Knowles

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Introduction

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Maori have a whakataukī about learning.

Whāia te ara Poutama – Pursue the pathway of education and betterment.

Poutama is the stepped pattern of tukutuku panels and woven mats – symbolising genealogies and also the various levels of learning and intellectual achievement. The pattern is often used in policy or in institutions to symbolise that learning happens in a scaffolded way. I have taken the idea and related it to my Hapara online learning this year. First I learnt what it was like to be a learner in the Hapara System and learnt how to work alongside  other Hapara Champions in the world to complete course work when undertaking my Hapara Champion Certification. Next I learnt about the role of the teacher in learning and I learnt more about the importance of pedagogical and content knowledge in the Hapara Scholar Certification course. Now I am learning about andragogy and how adults learn so that I may better cater for the teachers that I work with while completing the Hapara Trainer Certification.

My current assignment is to develop a philosophy around training tech to adults. However it has developed much more than that in me because as an adult learner I have made several links with my own learning and have made links with several online projects I have lead and been involved in. So in order to complete this assignment I have read several articles given to us on the course as well as searched further articles and videos to deepen my learning around adult learners. What follows is an unpacking of this learning. If you have time I would love to hear your thoughts about when you have worked with adults and let me know if what I have written is even close to developing a training teaching philosophy.

I am particularly interested in your thoughts if you are registered facilitator or if you are an across school leader in a Kāhui Ako. However maybe you might also have been at the receiving end of professional learning and can contribute some personal thinking to help deepen my understanding around adult learning.

 

Adult Learners Overview

As a course designer first and foremost is identifying the characteristics of the adult learner being helped and learn empathy for the learner by being an active learner too. Next, learn the subject well enough to enlighten the learner and learn the process of assessing the learners comprehension level. In addition it is important to understand andragogy which is all about how adults learn best and how different this is from pedagogy. Consideration must also be given to the stages of learning that happens as part of the process of learning. Finally as a course designer review previous courses and reflect on areas for change that better meet the needs of the adult learners.

 

Identify the characteristics of the adult learners

Pappas wrote about characteristics that exist (to some degree) in every adult learner and stressed the importance of understanding these especially in designing courses.

Adult learners are generally self-directed learners therefore learning needs to be structured in a way that lets them assess their progress at individual levels. Te Kete Ipurangi reminds us that “What matters most is not so much the form of the assessment, but how the information gathered is used to improve teaching and learning.”

Adult learners rely on their personal reservoir of life experience. For this reason learning needs to be immersive enough to compete with all the other distractions.

Adult learners are ready to learn based on a need so if the learner sees that they are making progress or learning something useful, then they will stick with it. One idea is to provide increments of learning in the way of digital badges such as can be seen in Digital Packbags or in certificates that acknowledge course completion.

Adult learners desire knowledge for immediate application and consequently  require deeper functional knowledge that can be translated into everyday use. A key strategy is using self help videos that can be slowed down, paused and re wound depending on the rate of learning.

Andragogy

Adults learn best when learning is focused on them, not the teacher.   Learning experiences should be based around lived experiences, because people learn what they need to know.  According to Malcolm Knowles, ‘Andragogy is the art and science of adult learning.’ Therefore andragogy refers to any form of adult learning.  There is an excellent video by Janet Finlay that explains andragogy and can be viewed here. The video compares andragogy and pedagogy as well as explains the six adult learning traits developed by Knowles in detail. Below four traits have been highlighted.

Adult Learner Experience: As a person matures he/she accumulates a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource for learning.

Readiness to Learn: As a person matures his/her readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental task of his/her social roles.

Orientation of learning:  As a person matures his/her time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and accordingly his/her orientation towards learning shifts from one of subject- centeredness to one of problem centeredness.

Motivation to Learn: As a person matures the motivation to learn is internal.

The stages of learning

Mezirow, 1990 identified  transformational learning as  “The process of recognising, analysing and making deliberate changes to the assumptions that we have that cause us to think act and behave in certain ways.” Mezirow states that learning is a “process of using a prior interpretation to construe a new or revised interpretation of the meaning of ones experience in order to guide future action”. This type of learning occurs when one’s beliefs or “meaning scheme” changes due to new information and ideas. These changes may occur quickly, or take place over a longer period of time.

Identification of a Dilemma or a Crisis: The realisation that we had all along been holding on to wrong beliefs or that we don’t know what we should know is often a trigger to dig in and unearth information or review our mindsets and thought patterns. Not knowing or realising that we have the wrong information is a crisis that is deeply upsetting to all of us. You have to point out to your learners what they don’t know to make them curious about your course.

Establishment of Personal Relevance: This is the context or the answer to the eternal “what’s-in-it-for-me” question that inspires people and drives learning. The context can be personal, professional, or social, and you should establish it right at the beginning of the course to spike interest and reiterate it often to keep learners hooked. Adult learners are motivated to learn when they can envision the results of their efforts.

Critical Thinking: Adult learners are sensible, rational people with minds of their own. So it is important to create opportunities for critical reflection (premise reflection) to encourage them to re-examine their beliefs and attitudes.

When learners have the opportunity to sort through their feelings and thoughts and realise on their own what they need to shed or tweak, they will be more willing to accept and embed the learning.

 

Areas for change

Teaching adults is really about understanding that learning is about good teaching.

The more learners are actively involved, the better they learn. Words like self efficacy and agentic learner come to mind as well as ensuring that the task is as Hattie would say the “Goldilocks theory of Just right.” Good teaching is all about the learner being at the centre of learning and that the tasks are just challenging enough to motivate the learner forward.

Course designers must actively involve adult participants in the learning process and serve as facilitators for them. Treat learners with manakitanga which is respect, understanding, and genuine concern. Adult learners need to know why they need to learn something so ensure that there are well-defined objectives.

Adults approach learning as a problem solving and they learn best when the topic has immediate value. Therefore establish clear directions based on the adult learners needs.  

Adults learners learn experientially so  ensure that content is meaningful and transferable to the adult learners’ world. Adults learners approach learning as problem solving so provide opportunities for them to work together and to share their knowledge and experiences. Help adult learners to see their learning by providing incentives to earn badges, certificates and to reflect on their learning.  Also give them opportunities to give feedback to the sessions because feedback is a key action expected of all learning.

References

Finlay, Janet. (2010, May 17). Andragogy (Adult Learning). Retrieved September 28, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLoPiHUZbEw&feature=youtu.be

Graham, Steve. (2007, May 22). A Simple, Easy To Understand Guide To Andragogy. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://www.cornerstone.edu/blogs/lifelong-learning-matters/post/a-simple-easy-to-understand-guide-to-andragogy

Hattie, John (2008). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. NY: Routledge.

Mezirow, Jack. (1991). Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

New Zealand Ministry of Education TKI (n.d.).What is assessment for learning? Retrieved September 18, 2018, from http://assessment.tki.org.nz/Assessment-for-learning/Underlying-principles-of-assessment-for-learning/What-is-assessment-for-learning

Pappas, Christopher. (2018, January 23). Adult Learner Characteristics: 7 Key Points To Consider. Retrieved September 15, 2018, from https://elearningindustry.com/adult-learner-characteristics-key-points-consider

Van Schaijik, Sonya. (2018, April 22). Not too hard or soft but just right. Retrieved September 29, 2018, from https://sonyavanschaijik.com/2016/09/07/not-too-hard-or-soft-but-just-right

The new dawn.

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Over the past few months I have been a learner. I decided that I needed to upskill myself in Hapara. Hapara is an instructional management system that wraps around google. Hapara means new dawn. Kind of like this image of our new school with the sun rising.

Basically the designers took the top 10 accelerated effect size from Hattie’s research and created a system for learning that utilised all of what is below.

  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Collaboration & Relationships
  • Formative Assessment
  • Visible Learning
  • Learner  Agency

 

I applied for was accepted into the Champion Educators Programme back in February of this year. I completed the programme and wrote a reflection about my learning that you can read. The Champion Educators develop a solid grasp on how to use Hapara tools as well as time to think about and practice using them meaningfully. During my training I learnt how to design a workspace for learning. This gave me a chance to revisit my understanding of designing learning and reminded me that it is really important to make visible what the workspace is for. Even though I only needed to create one workspace for my learning, I was so excited that I actually created 5.

Here you can check out my youtube clip that explains about my workspace created for assignment.

Following passing the Champion Educators Programme I managed to persuade our senior management team to learn how to use Hapara and they applied for the next cadre intake and were also accepted.

As they were learning how to use Hapara for teaching and learning, I decided to carry on and delve more into Pedagogy so applied for the Champion Scholar programme.

Champion Scholars develop an understanding of the pedagogy and best practices associated with Hapara tools. I have just about finished my course. My final requirement is to reflect on how my workspace lines up with what I have been researching. So that is what this blogpost is all about.

What I have learnt is basically to read about what other systems that help drive teacher’s learning. One of which is ISTE, the  International Society for Technology in Education. However what I really learnt more about was our own professional registered teachers criteria. I developed a deeper understanding about our values and codes as a profession. 

  1. Commitment to Society
  2. Commitment to the Teaching Profession
  3. Commitment to Learners
  4. Commitment to Families and Whānau

Here you can read Introducing the Code and Standards [pdf] created by Melinda Stevenson. 

Do check out my workspace about Teachers and their learning. A lot of similarities are there between the ISTE Standards for Educators and our New Zealand Code of Practice. My workspaces covers the Commitment to the Teaching Profession but for the sake of what I was learning I focussed on the ISTE standards for Educators, Standard 1: Learner.

Through the design process I learnt to include a variety of ways of showing learning, including using video or a creating a diagram.

I also included opportunities for learners to work together.

I managed to add a SOLO Taxonomy rubric so the learner was clear of expectations.

There were several examples of artifacts that the learners could look at to help them with their learning.

Overall during the training process, I was put through the steps of what I would expect from my own learners. I really liked having the Google+ Community for discussion. With our own primary school students we could use Edmodo for this part of the process. I believe we do not use Edmodo nearly enough and as teachers still rely on the face to face discussions. What I liked about the digital discussion was its asynchronous element. We did not have to be there at a certain time to take part in the discussions, but could come in when we were ready or had a few moments to spare.

I was super excited to share many of the projects that I have led with educators and felt quite proud that I am already doing most of what an ISTE teacher learner does.

I really like learning with and giving and receiving feedback with educators from across the globe. Our tutors on the course led by example and were visible in what they were doing to guide us.

The next call for Hapara Champion Educator training has just closed and I loved seeing even more of our teachers from Newmarket School apply to do the course. If you are interested in Hapara Training then bookmark this link to check out when the next call for abstracts are.

 

Old School planning or Hapara

Hapara

Sometimes Old School way of doing ‘stuff’ to our learners is no longer good enough.

I am an experienced teacher with both research and practical classroom experiences under my belt. In addition I have just about done every job that can possibly be done in a school.

Today I want to share with you my experience with planning for learning.

My classroom experience spans well over three decades. In that time I have seen the shift in teaching from the front of the class with 38 little faces in front of me, to developing group teaching where students are levelled against their reading, writing and mathematics levels.

In my earlier years in the early 1980s, there was no photocopier and I used butchers paper to handwrite task sheets for my reading groups. I used crayons because this was before the time of marker pens.

When the banda machines arrived, the giant sheets became A4 size and I would meticulously create the carbon masters to try and extract 30 copies for the master folder.

During that time too, my daily planner was hand ruled up each week and I would meticulously recraft the week like a timetable but with resources labelled.

Then in the early 1990s the photocopier changed the way we operated in the classroom. The banda sheets were repurposed into photocopier sheets. The weekly plan was copied and handwritten on. What a fabulous invention. I no longer had to rule dreaded templates. Following that we could buy a years planning book, but as our thinking changed, one book was not enough and we had two planning books. One for Literacy and one for numeracy.

After that the computer became part of the package and those of us who could, did. We bought our own computers and our own printers and started creating planning and worksheets using computers.

Before school wifi, we shared resources using floppy discs and that photocopier turned out to be our best friend and a headache for schools budgets. If only we had one in each class.

Each teacher had pretty folders with all their planning and assessment and some teachers were rated on how neat and tidy these were. Personally I found them a nightmare and only kept one because I had to and for no other reason then for when I was checked that I had one. My senior teachers ‘preferred paper’. But by then I had bought my own laptop and was using my planning digitally. I could never understand why I could not share my planning via floppy disc and always had to produce the dreaded paper folder.

This was before the TELA scheme.

The TELA scheme changed the game again and some schools realised that with a server, all teachers could share their planning. However I still found some team leaders loved those folders and to get teachers to share their planning via a server was a challenge.

Following on N4L kicked in and suddenly we had fast broadband and access was unlimited. WHOOHOO. I then saw a shift of planning moving to the cloud and being much more transparent with the use of Google Tools for Schools. However at the same time I could see a repurposing of planning. Rather than the printed off Doc for the planning folder, I could see the Doc sitting in a shared folder. Going back over a few decades, that doc kind of looked the same. Maybe a bit fuller as teachers copied and pasted from government planning sites.

With the cloud, teachers started to play with other planning formats and some used sheets or presentations as the tool. Some teachers continued with the doc format as they were able to just upload the word copy and duplicate the process in the cloud. Last year I wrote a post to unpack some of my thinking around blogs and sites and you can read that here.

As I tracked other schools I could see an evolvement using sites and blogs to curate all planning. The online spaces became like a folder and the planning was curated neatly using sites or blogger. Some adventurous teachers trialled My Portfolio or Wixsite, or wikispaces.

Last year I worked in the senior part of our school and was blown away by the use of calendars to support the children take control of their own learning. The children used a class calendar and dropped any workshops they needed into their personal calendars.

I immediately saw my understanding of lesson planning was no longer relevant for our current learners or for how fast we were moving as a school.

Recently I have undertaken learning to be a Hapara Champion Educator. I wanted to know more about the teacher dashboard tool and how it impacts on my understanding of what planning would look like. I also wanted to see the relevance of using the tool to support our learners to be more agentic. Those of you who might be interested in the course can apply for the next cohort of champions.

Within a very short time I have learnt that my concept of teacher planning is outdated and in order to keep up, I needed to be in the same working environment from both our learners and our teachers viewpoint. The Hapara Champion Educator course is approximately one month long. However how and when I complete the modules is entirely over to me, within a given timeframe. I choose when to begin the work. I choose when I am ready to share it with my teachers, I choose how to build my learning and choose how I will share that learning. I have access to flipped learning where I can watch videos created by my teachers to support my learning. I can rewind parts I am unsure off or fast forward sections I am already competent in. When I am ready I can sit tests that allow me the opportunity to fix any gaps in my learning so that I am happy with the results. I press submit and if there is still time and my work could be improved, my teachers can send it back to me with feedback of how to make it better.

Finally I have access to asynchronous communication with my peers and my teachers so that I do not need to see them facetoface for discussions.

Where to next for me: I am building a learning workspace and can see the value of doing this that far outperforms traditional digital planning as I know it. I had been struggling with creating a digital space using blogger for one of my groups. Hapara has already revealed where I needed to focus in order to run a much more efficient learning space. I like the way it talks to all the google tools and to links so that everything is in one space. The space is super exciting because once I started building I could see where my planning gaps were for my learners.

I especially like the way I can duplicate the format I have created, adjust it and repurpose it to suit another group of learners. I can take parts of it and target individual learners who a) might be struggling, or b)might need extending.

The most exciting part of Hapara is sharing what I am doing but keeping my learners personal details private so the framework is available to other teachers. If I invite teachers into the space from my school we can co construct the digital learning environment together.

I haven’t yet completed my course but I am already changed in the way I see planning and the way I can better incorporate Hapara into transformative instruction.

 

My question for you

Is teacher planning still monitored in your school and if so where are you up to with overseeing the professional teaching criteria?

Does your school still insist on a particular way of presenting planning or are your teachers encouraged to be agentic with their planning?

 

TeachMeetNZ meets ACCoS

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Yesterday I hosted TeachMeetNZ meets ACCoS. TeachMeetNZ is about New Zealand teachers connecting online. The project reflects the research and work of New Zealand educators in action. These live events are convened across all education sectors to address the emerging technologies, trends, and challenges poised to significantly impact teaching and learning.  TeachMeetNZ has been live streaming since May 2013.

This session’s focus was to highlight some of the fabulous learning happening in Kāhui Ako across New Zealand and especially from our Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS) Kāhui Ako  and was an initiative approved by our ACCoS Lead Principal, Jill Farquharson. Somehow she trusted that TeachMeetNZ would be an important strategy to help share our work across the Kahui Ako. Jill often hears me say, ‘If I cannot see what we do then it does not exist.

Nearly two years have passed since I have hosted a full TeachMeetNZ session. The system has changed a lot since that last time and in some ways is a lot more stable and a lot smoother. I now launch a live stream via youtube using Google Hangouts. Before I would do this the other way around.

As I prepared the team of educators for the session, I had a few challenges. My main one being that several are not yet on twitter so in some ways that forced me to use email for communication. The challenge with email is that the conversation is closed where as on Twitter, using the #TeachMeetNZ hashtag enables the conversation to be open and transparent. I liken it to eavesdropping because you can move in and out of conversations by listening and often you do not need to say anything, just listen.

Therefore the main organisation was via email. I had put out the call for presenters via our Across School Leaders and via our Google+ community yet still most of the presenters were gently persuaded with a bit of arm twisting.

I love the numbers of any event and here are some numbers.

Yesterday 8 presenters took part.

  • 1 principal
  • 1 across school leader
  • 2 in school leaders
  • 3 classroom teachers
  • 1 external facilitator

In addition there was

However the power of asynchronous communication means that many more will come and visit the recording after the session.

I have learnt to make use of playlists on Youtube so on the TeachMeetNZ Channel there are

  • 9 ACCoS mini videos sharing work across our ACCoS Kahui Ako.
  • 3.45minutes was the fastest presentation
  • 5.13 minutes was the longest presentation

After the session I had evaluations completed from 7 Educators, one quote I liked  was  ‘Interesting range of topics.  Wonderful opportunity for sharing within and beyond our kahui ako.’

What happens after the session with the individual videos has always been enlightening. Each presenter has their video clip on their TeachMeetNZ wiki page. Some will complete the triangulation of learning and reflect about the process. Some will go back and share their video and slides with their staff. Some will investigate twitter and join the global staffroom. Some will take time out to rest and recharge because they have been through a huge learning curve.

However all will return to their places of work with a spring in their step knowing they have achieved a huge milestone in their careers and that is to share what they do in such a visible way with the global community. From an event such as this I usually sit back and watch what happens to the team and smile as those hesitant steps of sharing with technology become stronger.  So to the following educators who helped make the session the success that it was, thank you.

TimeKeeper: Catherine Palmer  (ASL) @CatherineP63

Twitter Broadcaster: Dr Wendy Kofoed @newmarketschool

Presenters Name Topic
Alison Spence

Principal Kohia Terrace

Principal’s ASB APPA Travelling Fellowship 2017

Leadership Across Schools

Amy Battrick

(ISL)

Esol Strategies at Kohia Terrace School
Elena Reihana

Teacher

Using WeChat for Parent Engagement
Erin Hooper

(ASL)

As a matter of PaCT
Hannah Cameron

Teacher

Engaging the Community – Reporting to families
Patricia Whitmore

(ISL)

Learning Maps for reading
Sarah Morrison

Teacher

Using See Saw as a digital portfolio for junior school learners to share with their families.
Viv Hall Growing Kāhui Ako leaders

So where to next?

This week I leave for Hamilton to attend ULEARN and I am running a session with Sue, Erin and Catherine, three other Across School Leaders in the Auckland Central Community of Schools. The title for our session is ‘Lessons learned from an Across School Leader in a Kāhui Ako. Our session is Fri, Oct 13, 2017 10:15 AM – Fri, Oct 13, 2017 11:15 AM at the Claudelands Events Centre.

In addition I am with Christine Trimnell as she shares  ‘Global Projects – 21st Century learning in a digital world’. This is the work we have done with Flat Connections.  This session is: Fri, Oct 13, 2017 8:30 AM at the Claudelands Events Centre in the Holman Stand room.

I look forward to catching up with old faces and new faces at ULEARN, I look forward to meeting my digital buddies face to face and to connect with other Across School Leaders from other Kāhui Ako. I especially look forward to getting a #Grelfie with  Brad Waid an old time twitter buddy. Then when I get back I need to start my piece of writing for EdBookNZ another collaborative project that I coordinate.

Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko

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  • Topic: Strengthening Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko (#DTlHM) in the curriculum
  • Where: St Cuthbert’s School
  • What: Asking for feedback
  • When: 7th August 2017
  • Who: Principals and School Leaders

Facilitators:

What teachers, leaders & Communities of Learning need to know.

There is a Grassroots movement happening in schools. “Many teachers, schools, kura and Kāhui Ako are already making digital technologies learning part of their teaching programmes. This change to the national curriculum ensures that all learners get these experiences, to prepare them for a world where digital skills are increasingly valuable to the economy and wider society.”  

The consultation session that I attended with my principal was run for principals, and school leaders including Kāhui Ako because the new addition to the national curriculum needs senior management understanding.

The goals for the session were to

  • Understand the nature of the DT|HM areas
  • Understand the various reasons it’s being offered.
  • See ways that we and our students might engage with it.
  • ………. So we could provide information feedback.

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Wendy and I were particularly interested in the session offered to all schools in Auckland because the official announcement in regards to the addition to the New Zealand Curriculum from Education Minister Nikki Kaye  took place at Newmarket School on the 28th of June. That and because we both have strengths in Digital Technologies with a history of designing and developing digital outcomes for all our learners. We both believe that our pedagogy with digital technologies pedagogy is strong.

However what I found particularly fascinating was the way that both Tim and Hinerangi emphasised the importance of people and how they communicate. They both said the new curriculum was not about computers but was really about computational thinking. How the digital world interacts with the human world.

They both explained that DT|HM curriculum is about human need.

Some of the session focussed on unpacking computational thinking and looking at the technology dealing with digital technology using binary digits. But again there were no digital devices or digital technology used to push the concept of computational thinking. Instead both facilitators took us through basic activities to highlight the Progress Outcomes on Page 17 of the draft. There was a mention of Kāhui Ako and how as educators we need to develop understanding of transitioning so that we can help our learners as they move between the sectors. They stressed the importance of ensuring that our learners understood the why so that we can shift them from not just being consumers of digital technologies but to being creators.

Background and what we need to be know as educators

Digital technology Hangarau Matihiko is to be formally integrated into the NZ Curriculum. DTlHM is the first change to the NZ Curriculum since 2007. By 2018 the addition will be in schools. The subject  will be fully integrated into the NZ Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa by 2020.

What is DT|HM

DT|HM is about teaching students how technology works, and how they can use that knowledge to solve problems. This new curriculum  will equip our learners for the increasingly digitalised workplace and society. This will keep New Zealand competitive. Schools will be teaching our young people the computer science principles that all digital technologies are built on. They will be teaching Computational Thinking for Digital Technologies. Computational thinking is when students will develop an understanding of computer science principles that underlie all digital technologies. They’ll learn core programming concepts so that they can become creators of digital technology, not just users.

They will be Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes (learning how to design quality, fit-for-purpose digital solutions) because more and more people need digital technology skills and knowledge to succeed, whether making robots, be a politician, or a farmer. DT|HM is so that our learners become conscious users of the systems.

Again and I repeat the message

DT|HM is not about computers but is about how the digital world interacts with the human world.

What exactly is Digital Technology

Digital Technology is any technology that operates algorithms and uses digits to send messages” a key is to include storage (e.g. a mobile phone can store music, photos and maps as digits, as well as send them). It is any technology that uses digits to store and send information and operates algorithms on them. (e.g. My Fitbit tracking my personal health.)

What impact might DT|HM have on teacher practice?

Many teachers, schools, kura and Kāhui Ako are already making digital technologies learning part of their teaching programmes. This change ensures that all learners get these experiences, to prepare them for a world where digital skills are increasingly valuable to the economy and wider society. Use and understanding of DT|HM can lead to exponential learning.

Positives and negatives of DT|HM

I believe the positives of the draft is the focus on humans and social interaction rather than the technology.  I also really like that there is a separate one for Maori that incorporates Maori World View. However the challenge is developing teacher capabilities as fast as possible as there is a huge shortage in this area in schools. Therefore  professional development needs to be put in place across the sector to teach teachers how to engage their students with the subject. There is a fabulous site to help teachers begin the process of developing understanding around Computational thinking. This is Computer Science Unplugged (CS Unplugged). Yet still schools must find ways of upskilling teachers.

Whose voice is not currently not being heard?

Currently Maori and Pasifika are under represented in studying Digital Technology and in having success in this field. However they are consumers and creators of digital technology and so it is important that they also have access in schools.

Why is DT|HM important?

Technology is our 3rd largest earner and continues to have exponential growth for New Zealand.  By 2020  DT|HM  will be part of schools national curriculum.

Computational thinking will be at the same level of importance as reading, writing and mathematics and will be part of NCEA.

Computational thinking is about getting our learners to think big but without using computers. In order to do this they must understand the concept of algorithms. That is how many steps does it take to solve a problem so attention to detail and being persistent are important strategies to learn.  Algorithms have been around for a long time and the general principles will not change. What is important is that our children understand what is done to them. DT|HM is also that our children learn to create, think about other people, work with each other and develop spatial knowledge. We can do this by helping them to count, sequence, mix colours and develop spatial awareness. Diversity on the team must reflect the user.

We already know the jobs most likely to be exponentially affected by automation and as the saying goes, if teachers can be replaced by digital technologies then we should be.

So just to sum up.

Teachers need understanding to teach DT|HM especially in Computational Thinking and in designing and developing digital outcomes. DT|HM is not about computers but is about how the digital world interacts with the human world. DT|HM is not coming it is here and what is your school doing to ensure it is embedded in your learning by 2020?

As Kāhui Ako how do we ensure that our schools are ready for DT|HM and this is an area to consider when we update our achievement challenges because of its impact on learning.

Tidbits that were highlights for me.

  • Binary Code is still beyond me.
  • Computers search 1000,000,000,000 sites in 40 operations.
  • Cone cells in the fovea that detect colours only sees RBG.
  • Steganography is a a way of sending encoded messages. Here is a fabulous story explaining how.

Sites of interest

CS4HS https://www.cs4teachers.org.nz/events/series/cs4hs/

Computer Science without a computer http://cs-unplugged.appspot.com/en-gb/

Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko 

http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/News/Digital-Technologies-Hangarau-Matihiko

Update

Currently the Ministry of Education are consulting with leaders, teachers and whānau about the the Draft of this Curriculum.  The consultation process will run until 3 September. They are particularly keen to hear from the education and technology sectors as well as parents, students and their whānau.

Feedback is welcomed and all submissions will be considered with a report back later this year, prior to the curriculum’s implementation in 2018.

Make a submission using the online survey tool 

Computational Thinking and the NZ Curriculum

Respecting our learners.

learners

Photo from our School Facebook Page.

One of my excitements as an educator is when I hear teachers speak passionately about their learners in positive ways especially about their heritage, language, identity, beliefs or culture.  I am even more excited when I hear them make an effort to pronounce their learners home names correctly and notice when their learners have taken on a ‘school name’.  I see some cultures embrace this more than others and do not expect their child to take on a school name when they come to our school. I love it when our teachers make an effort to find out how to greet the parents in their home language. This is not an easy task at our school as we have 32 different languages listed as home languages..

This year I have been super excited to see the team I am currently a part of fostering a learning culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion through using a social media ‘WeChat.’ The exciting part of wechat is the simplicity our families have of easily translating what the teacher has written into their own languages. I recently sat Google Educator Level 1 exam and passed. However during my study time, I discovered how easily our families can translate the newsletters into their own language if we also offered a Doc option and not just a PDF. Therefore I will highlight this important feature to my school.

One key strategy I use when I teach is providing opportunities to build on a learner’s home language and culture in the learning setting. You can read more about these strategies in mine and Pam’s Book, SOLO Taxaonomy and English Language Learners.

I also allow our learners the ability to access their home language when using their chrome books. We have just updated our device management system and I noticed that this feature was locked down so I will be unlocking this again for our learners.

One of our support staff takes a group of senior students who are literate in their first language and she creates Duality maps with them. This ensures that heritage, language, identity, beliefs and culture is shared in both languages so that the students can celebrate who they are with their class mates and teachers. This is such an important learning activity that I ensure that time is given to this on a regular basis. You can see some samples here in our newsletter. Check out: 3 July 2017.

I myself model learning about histories, heritage, language, identity, beliefs and culture of my learners and what is important to them by continually learning. I am reminded of my TeachNZ sabbatical where I visited 13 countries in 11 targeting the countries where most of our learners come from.  

Recently I have been learning Chinese so that again I can feel what it is like to be in our learners shoes. Learning Chinese has taken me to China on three visits and my recent visit was highlighted on the International Exchange and Pathways portal (ILEP). This journey helps me understand that my world views are different from those of my learners and that I am willing to learn what it must be  like for them to learn in New Zealand.

I am an Across School Leader for ACCoS Kāhui Ako and I use this opportunity in my leadership to affirm and draw on the cultural capital that all learners bring with them to their learning experience by giving teachers in our Across Sector Groups the opportunity of sharing about their diverse learners and families in their schools. I believe in this so much that I have recently invited an ESOL Verifier to come and share to our Kāhui Ako so that this adds voice to the work that I believe in.    

I really like this video from Rae Siilata speaking about the importance of teachers to recognise learner’s differences and have shared this with some of our staff and remind them that language is central to culture, identity and heritage and that the right to use your own language in learning is an internationally recognised human right.

If you want to know more about our professional responsibilities to our learners then you must read the updated Code of Professional Responsibility.  This blog was inspired by section 2.3 on Page 13.

 

Part 2- Influences and Effect Sizes on Writing

“Without data you are just another person with an opinion.”

W.Edwards Deming

Last term I reflected on the process of teaching writing. I wanted to be really clear of what I did so I stepped through the process of what I do. This piece of writing is a follow on of a reflection I carried out in March.

 

 

Effect Size

My year 4s sat the written asTTle test and I followed through the process of marking and moderating alongside their team. I compared my targeted group’s data with their historic data and could identify that the first term intervention made a difference. Hattie cautions when calculating an effect size and especially when using less that 30 students. He highlights the  usefulness of  ensuring that all students are tested and that scores from the same group of students are compared.

I have studied all the year 4 data. Currently we have 34 students over three classes. Of that number,  25 year year 4 students at our school have data carried over from last year into this year. Therefore we have 9 new year 4 students at our school. Of that 25 original group, 11 made progress of 1 sub level and 5 of that 11 worked with me. The ongoing challenge is sustainability. I believe that the students I worked with will continue to make progress and I know they will maintain what they have learnt with me.

Soon their class teachers will be contacting families as part of three way conversations and I will be part of this.

My learning about data from unpacking the process.

I believe it is really important for teachers to track the historic data and I have taught the team I am working with how to do this. They looked at the same period of testing results and compared them across 12 months. When teachers only look at their interim March data and compare it to their October data, this gives a lulled sense of achievement. I now know that the focus needs to shift from March to March data. Then a clearer picture of learning is formed. Like reading, there is definitely a summer slide happening in writing. I can see this when I look at the October data and compare it with March. The holiday slide can be slowed down and I have achieved this when I targeted a group of older children and gave them a school chromebook to write with over the holidays. I will write about that strategy next.

My other learning is to focus more on the oral language before writing. Sometimes I believe that as teachers we can be so focussed on written output that other literacies are pushed aside.

Just to recap with strategies I used that went well.

  • Start with the data. Show the children their results. Identify the gaps and plan strategies that will support the learner.
  • Provide language based experience and use common school events or shared experiences to write about.
  • Track how many words are written in a session and build a graph of the number over a week’s writing.
  • Craft, craft and recraft. Using SOLO Taxonomy highlight key words that can help lift writing.
  • Help the children reflect on what they have learnt about how to make their writing better.
  • Show the children their progress and celebrate writing milestones with families.

 

Where to next

This term I have reset a goal. By the end of term 2 I will video the process of using a SOLO Taxonomy Describe Map to make a difference to Learner Outcomes so this can be used as a resource to build teacher capability.