Ulearn 2018

ulearn

This Year I attended Ulearn 18 with several colleagues in our ACCoS Kahui Ako. 

Ulearn is CORE Education’s annual professional learning conference.  The conference is suitable for teachers, facilitators and school leaders alike, from early childhood through to tertiary.

CORE set up a space where we have access to plenary speakers Bios and Graphic Sketches that were created during sessions.

This blog post is a summary of those presentations with links if you want to explore these further.

Each conference gives us access to international speakers. Often I hear inspirational plenaries and I am always super excited to see our own educators take the main stage. I believe that here in New Zealand we also have world class stories to share. This year there were three plenaries who were varied and all had the same message about the importance of humans being at the heart of decision making.

On the first day we heard Hana O’Regan from Aotearoa. Hana asked us to tell stories, stories that have not been told. Stories that were not allowed to be told in the past. She questioned the negativity within stories from our cultural legacy that our ākonga are hearing and described their potential impact on young Maori. Let us “be brave” (Hana’s words); we must reflect on the cultural narrative that is shared in our classrooms and positively override the stereotypes by telling the stories that count. Here you can read more.

On the second day we listened to Pasi Sahlberg from Finland and who is now based in Australia. Pasi reminded us about the power of small data: tiny clues through personal observations, collective human judgment, and raw instinct that can lead to big change in schools. In order for big data to work we as educators have to contribute small data to contribute to our school’s big data. Lead and think with small data first, then use in conjunction with the rest of our skillset and Big Data.

Pasi iterated that rather than develop and agree to systems that put even more emphasis on screen learning and can truly mine data for Big Data, we should be pushing for ‘face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of who we are working with.’ Here you can read more.

On the final day we had Mike Walsh beam in via hologram. Mike discussed a reality where we cannot avoid ‘big data’, analytics and ‘machine thinking’. We have to prepare our children and students for this digital world, where our services are more and more likely to be run through a digital platforms. The consequences of of big change are arriving in the world. We need to teach the coming generation about being comfortable with uncertainty / ambiguity and to be flexible in the face of change.

Mike sees great potential in digital tools, environments and artificial intelligence that can assist teachers and parents to help learners reach their own potential. In his view it will not be entirely digital or online, it will be a combination, the screens will be less visible but DATA and algorithms will be prevalent in informing decisions. Here you can read more.

The breakout sessions I attended.

There are links to the abstracts and any resources they shared. Also do follow them on twitter.

Removing specific barriers to access learning using assistive technology

 

Evaluating games for learning and teaching mathematics and the Key Competencies

 

Artificial Intelligence – New Zealand opportunities

 

Va‘atele: Creating reciprocal partnerships and digital translanguaging opportunities with Pasifika learners and their whānau

 

How to reclaim professional wisdom in schools by using small data

 

Kāhui Ako: Changing practice at Epsom Girls Grammar School

 

The importance of humans at the heart.

Ulearn conference is also the time when I reconnect with other educators from around New Zealand. I also have the chance to catch up with CORE Education efellows and hear what they have been sharing. If you want to know more, here is a link for the annual efellowship. It is now known as Dr Vince Ham Scholarship. Vince was one of the mentors for the efellows.

efellows

The conference is also time to connect with new twitter buddies via the hashtag #Ulearn18. I have to mention Tim Stevens @MrStevensAGSnz who quickly created shared docs of all the plenaries. It is time too to catch up with old friends such as Ritu Sehji @rsehji

Ritu

This year our Mathematics Team presented our initiative and work across three schools. For them Ulearn was a first time experience. I was super proud of them all and how together we collaborated to share our years work in one hour. To find out more you can check out the Mathematics tag on our ACCoS Blog.

Maths

Auckland central schools use collaboration to drive change in Pāngarau/Mathematics

Overall Ulearn is a time for connections, for collaboration, for sharing and for reflection. A reminder to share back with your schools what you learnt and a reminder to thank your school leaders if they supported your attendance. For us at Newmarket School I am always grateful for the opportunity that our Board of Trustees and principal provide by supporting our attendance at this national conference. They have allowed me to attend every year since I have been at Newmarket school. As we continue with our ACCoS journey I know that more principals within our Kahui Ako will also allow their Across School Leaders and In School Leaders to share our work with educators in and beyond New Zealand.

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

Poutama.jpg

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.

sunrise.jpg

 

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.

 

Digital Teaching Philosophy (First Draft)

DigitalCall me

Greetings everyone, if you have any time to give me feedback on my current assignment for my Hapara Scholar Certification, I would be most grateful. This is my first draft and eventually I would like to have a clearer and uptodate teaching philosophy that incorporates our new Digital Technologies curriculum.   

Technology improves the quality, timeliness and richness of the information and information flows. (Unknown)

Overview

I have taken the ISTE Standards for educators and incorporated them in my new digital teaching philosophy.  ISTE is the  International Society for Technology in Education.

The ISTE Standards are standards for the use of technology in teaching and learning  and are a framework for students, educators, administrators, coaches and computer science educators to rethink education and create innovative learning environments.

At the same time I want to include our New Zealand standards for teaching that have a slightly different focus. For example our code and standards for teaching  have 4 values that underpin Our Code for teaching and Our Standards. They define, inspire and guide us as teachers.

These are:

WHAKAMANA: empowering all learners to reach their highest potential by providing high-quality teaching and leadership.

MANAAKITANGA: creating a welcoming, caring and creative learning environment that treats everyone with respect and dignity.

PONO: showing integrity by acting in ways that are fair, honest, ethical and just.

WHANAUNGATANGA: engaging in positive and collaborative relationships with our learners, their families and whānau, our colleagues and the wider community.

In addition we have 4 codes of professional responsibility such as Commitment to Society, Commitment to the Teaching Profession, Commitment to Learners and Commitment to Families and Whānau.

Using the Maori word of rararanga and the samoan word lalanga, from my first language, both of which means weaving I will endeavour to weave both standards into my new digital teaching philosophy.

I will then share about an important digital tool that has an impact on designing learning and unpack effective strategies that has been researched to have the greatest impact on student and teacher learning. Following that I will acknowledge the importance of analogue tools and to continue using a balance of digital and analogue to foster and support a student-centered, thoughtful, classroom. In addition it is already 2018  so I will remove the word 21st century learning because our current learners who are nearly finishing high school were born in this century and I believe it is time to put aside 21st century learning and just focus on learning.

Finally I will summarise why as an educator that I must be a model with what I teach by sharing my own learning.

Introduction

In my school I primarily teach in the areas of second language and I support teachers in using digital tools.  I also work across eleven schools as an across school teacher in the Auckland Central Community of Schools.

My goal as a teacher is to motivate teachers and to continually improve my practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. I dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.

I have special training in second language acquisition and I have an awareness of the Treaty of Waitangi which is embedded in all that we do as educators in New Zealand.  Therefore I would endeavour to provide opportunities for the continuing acquisition of language of children from ‘kohanga reo’ and from other language backgrounds. Using digital tools is the future for survival of our pacific languages which are currently being eroded at an alarming rate. Learners who speak Pacific languages have greater access to other speakers through using communication tools. I also believe that parents and community need to be closely involved in children’s education by ensuring that students, parents and education stakeholders are part of the learning community to build agentic students. Being of Pacific Island descent, I know that the ‘whanau’ has an important part to play in the learning of the ‘tamariki’. I endeavour to be open to all cultures, without bias or prejudice and to respect the views of others. I believe in continuing with my own second language learning so that I may better empathise with children learning a second language for example I am currently learning Chinese which is my seventh language.

As a teacher with leadership responsibility, I believe in the leadership model of service and example. The pastoral, educational and managerial dimensions of my leadership should reflect the principles and practices of stewardship. I seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. In my administration I seek to be sensitive to the needs of the whole school community, – children, staff and parents. I inspire students and teachers to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.  I facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement.

In describing my leadership style – I lead by example. I set myself high goals and am resourceful and flexible. I prefer to deal with immediately relevant issues and tend to excel at defining goals, along with a plan for reaching them. I design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability. I understand and use data to drive instruction and support students and teachers in achieving their learning goals and often show teachers how to do this.

I thrive on involvement and can be extremely persuasive.  I excel at marketing, fundraising and motivating others. I undertake given tasks with enthusiasm and am successful at supporting others to ‘come on board’ with new ideas. I respond well to incentives and rewards and especially acknowledgement. I am comfortable in a leadership role.  I constantly monitor how leaders, whom I admire, manage change and innovation.

Hapara

One important digital tool that I have identified that can help me with my work is  

Hapara. Hapara is an Instructional Management Suite, which includes Workspace, Highlights and Dashboard. Hapara enables me to organize my students and their assignments, track their activity and progress and dynamically personalize instruction across different metrics.  The Hapara Instructional Management Suite consists of three tools that all give teachers greater visibility into student work and activity:

Usually educators begin with the dashboard tool. Dashboard does speed up access to documentation and allows the grouping of learners but not alert the students of this. Dashboard helps with the management of digital artefacts.

Our teachers need access to Workspace so that greater customisation of students learning can take place. Without workspace educators would struggle to create a student-centred, thoughtful, 21st century classroom because workspace allows educators to manage what students are doing, see that they are on task, give them instant feedback and as a teacher to be able to access their work with a single click.  

Hapara Highlights helps teachers see what learners are doing in the Google Chrome Browser in near-real-time. Feedback mechanisms allows reinforcement of pro-learning behaviour and helps re-direct unfocused behaviour.

Not to shut any sites students are viewing without warning, however open a site to help redirect their learning. Teacher can send a message to highlight positive behaviour.

Highlights can be used to track the sites visited to help identify trends and can also be highlight who is not using the space appropriately and can be seen if they are on task.

Over time compare viewing trends for individuals or groups of students. Use the data to share back use of time for learning in positive ways.

Effective Strategies

In his research Hattie, (2012) identified several effective strategies for successful learners such as Direct Instruction, Note Taking & Other Study Skills, Spaced Practice, Feedback, Teaching Metacognitive Skills, Teaching Problem Solving Skills, Reciprocal Teaching, Mastery Learning, Concept Mapping, and Worked Examples.

Whenever I choose new digital tools, I use SOLO Taxonomy to improve the impact of how and what I teach because SOLO teaches Metacognitive skills through direct instruction and concept mapping is an important part of learning using SOLO. Feedback is clearer with SOLO and the learners can see the feedback in an explicit way.

SOLO is an acronym for Structure Observed Learning Outcomes and is the research of John B. Biggs and K. Collis. SOLO is a proven research that produces outcomes that has been in education for over 40 years. SOLO is often sighted in Hattie’s research.

I choose the best digital tool or tools for the task. As our children become more digital I offer them the choice of which tool to use. I use several strategies such as those having been identified by Hattie to leverage technology in a student-centred  thoughtful, 21st century classroom and I know when and why to use them. I have several tools that I continually use and my current favourites include Google Draw for mapping ideas, creating videos, voice thread for feedback. I also choose tools that can be collaborated on such as Google Slides, wevideo and padlet.

 

Hattie, J. A. C. (2012). Visible learning for teachers. London, UK: Routledge.

 

Analogue Tools

Sometimes analogue tools will be used in a student-centered, thoughtful, 21st century classroom because sometimes putting pen to paper creates different pathways in the brain. At the same time as our children curate their analogue products for their digital portfolios a combination of technology is used to capture these creations. For example a scene could be drawn from a book using colouring pencils on paper. Then the image is captured using the chrome camera, uploaded to Seesaw and an audio added to explain what is happening.

Students will practice being citizens by supporting their classmates in their learning and respecting the rights of other students to learn whether it be face to face or digitally. They will be encouraged to look up answers at every opportunity using both the analogue way of using the library and the digital way using online databases, and Google.

They will learn and be supported in finding the right or best answer or solution to real life problems through using current productivity software to solve problems, analyze data and communicate with others. Sometimes the best way of capturing this is with a camera as they learn how create videos and photomontages to tell a story, provide information, or help solve a problem.

Students will become familiar with social media and how to responsibly maintain a presence on the Web by being exposed to as many examples as possible of how social media can be used in a positive manner to enhance their lives and often this happens when sharing with friends in a face to face way.

 

Summary

In summary, all students and teachers have the right to learn and I encourage them to actively participate in their education through the use of technology in the classroom at every available opportunity. When they leave our school I expect our learners to be savvy tech users and model digital citizens prepared to tackle any challenge they may experience as they go through life. As an educator here in Aotearoa New Zealand I believe it is important to continue with my own learning so that I can be the model learner for the students and teachers that I work with. I do this by being actively involved with developing my digital learning and my face to face experiences of learning. I learn online such as currently completing my Hapara Scholar certification and have recently completed my Digital Passport to unpack the new Digital Technologies curriculum that will deliver key competencies in digital technologies by 2020. The Hapara Scholar Certification enabled me to learn with educators around the world and learn about their teaching standards and in doing so better understand our code and teaching standards in New Zealand.

Bear Breaking off Corn

Bear

http://www.cnnuu.com/jianbihua/dongwu/4257.html

During my session of Chinese language this week I learnt a new saying

‘狗熊掰  玉米  Gǒuxióng bāi  yùmǐ’ which means Bear breaking off corn.

This is explained that the bear gathers corn and stores it under his armpit and we can see what happens as he adds to his stash. It is an analogy about the importance of maintaining previous learning. The Chinese story tells of a young bear who plucked a piece of corn, then saw watermelon and thought that was better. So he drop the corn for the watermelon. Next he spotted a rabbit and thought that was better so he dropped the watermelon and chased the rabbit. Unfortunately the rabbit ran fast and the young bear returned home empty handed. I guess the English version of this saying is ‘ A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’

That is a perfect explanation for my learning over this past few weeks. So much has happened that I feel like the earlier learning has dropped away.

Just before the October holidays I sat Google Certified Educator Level 2. This was my second attempt after having a computer freeze in the final 20 minutes during my first attempt. At the end of my second attempt I scored 78% out of 100 and you need 80% to pass. Therefore I failed.

Google Fail

Then this week I received notification of my HSK level 2 result. I scored 108 out of 200. I needed 120 to pass. Again I failed.

Failure

Sometimes having knock backs is disheartening, but as a learner I know that in some ways they are important to help refocus, reflect on how to do better next time and know that learning can have many FAILS.m

Straight after both results I felt like the glass half empty. Yet if I refocus on the glass half full perspective I can reflect and share the good outcomes. This year, I got to visit Beijing on a scholarship and this year I passed Google Certified Educator Level 1.

In addition I ran a successful TeachMeetNZ for our CoL, managed to persuade three of my colleagues in my CoL to present with me at Ulearn. You can read about all about that here.  Last weekend I published EDBookNZ 2017. This is an initiative where educators from around New Zealand contribute to a shared book about current education happening. You can read about past EdBookNZ books here.

Over the past two weeks my Travelwise Student Leaders collected our Gold Level certificate that reflects the work we have done this year at my school and just yesterday we were evaluated as a Green/Gold Enviro school and beyond and our students made that final decision based on our kete of evidence. So just from this term alone lots of fabulous personal achievements. This reflection is still coming.

Where to next

In regards to my Google Certified Educator Level 2 exam I will spend time over the holidays revisiting all the modules and aim to try again later January. In regards to my HSK level 2 exam, I have downloaded the brand new Duolingo app for Mandarin which so far is flippin amazing and practice for 5 minutes daily then try HSK level 2 again in May of 2018.

Update: Oh and check out Reading too much into star wars, ‘The Last Jedi. By Rachel Chisnall

 

Message to the Right Honourable Curran

(This post is one of several that were collated into #EdBookNZ for 2017.)

In response to the Right Honourable Curran, New Zealand’s new minister of Government Digital Services recent call for “algorithmic transparency”.

Let us remember to forgetViktor Mayer-Schönberger (2009, 2011)

 

Balance

Teachers as evaluators  

New Zealand schools gather and store data about their learners.  They do this in an attempt to make meaning of the school based learning processes – to determine the extent of their influence on changing the learners’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours over time.  This data gathering and storage activity assumes that the infinite complexities of human understanding can be reliably and validly represented by a simplified set of statistical profiles and continuums.

Effective teachers think of themselves as “evaluators”. Teachers who want to make  a difference are exhorted to adopt certain mind frames about what they do – “most critically a mind frame within which they ask themselves about the effect they are having on student learning.” (Hattie 2011 p14).  

My fundamental task is to evaluate the effect of my teaching on students’ learning and achievement. Hattie in Visible Learning for Teachers (2011 p159)

When teachers are evaluators then schools become places where to paraphrase Schama (1995) “measurement is the absolute arbiter of value”.  

Technologies have enormously enhanced the ability of schools to gather and store this data. As a consequence of the facility with which we can gather and store student data – the focus of school administrators shifts to monitoring the management and exchange of student data as the student moves through the school system.  For example – the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s recently released report on the Student Information Sharing Initiative (SISI) is intended to improve the management and exchange of student data.  

Balance: Good intentions and unintended consequences

Postman (1998) reminds us of five things we need to know about technological change. His first idea is about balance. He reminds us that “for every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage”.  The advantages of using technologies to make learning progress visible are commonly described and experienced. Even the most temporary of visitors find that signing in at the front office is transformed into an expensive  data collection process where they find themselves – bar coded – time-stamped, stickered and photographed – their names (first and surname) and signature recorded along with their intentions and details of their car model and registration.     

I would like to explore this balance between advantage and disadvantage.  What is the corresponding disadvantage to students when schools have a mandate to gather and to  store their achievement data. To ask just because we can gather and store student data – should we? (Van Schaijik, 2011).

My question asks:

What rights does the learner (and or their family)  hold over the gathering and storage of their personal and achievement data by schools and institutions?

Does the learner have the right to ask for the sharing of their data to be restricted?

Does the learner have the right to ask for their data to be forgotten?

Calls for data transparency versus the right to forget data.

Schools collect large amounts of varied data on students including their medicals records, academic scores, and character traits.  They are expected to share student data in ways that keep parents informed on matters of their child’s academic and social well being. The shift to Kāhui Ako identifies that schools also sharing student data with other  schools within their Community of Learners.

Sharing individual and collective student data can help build community and pedagogical content knowledge.  However, when others control and share your data it compromises the rights of children and families to make their own decisions about the data – their rights to privacy and autonomy.  

Mayer-Schönberger (2009) identifies three concerns about providing information to others who then store and share this information online. In school settings I would describe them as follows – concerns over:

  1. Power and control

Students and their families lose power and control of the data that educators put online in digital platforms like Kāhui Ako. Sharing the narratives, history, culture and creativity of students online comes with some important responsibilities. It seems to me that the use of digital platforms like Kāhui Ako for communicating and storing information about young children should raise many more questions than it does about the nature and ownership of our students’ digital memories.  

Who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged when others own and control access to our memories and our data?

  1.  Surveillance across space and time

Technology enables the collecting and storing of unlimited quantities of data and artefacts of student learning on digital platforms in ways that massively extends the surveillance available in the past. This surveillance of student data extends over time and across all learning spaces.

Who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged by this surveillance of learning outcomes?

Who is disadvantaged when learning outcomes from the past are as easily accessed as learning outcomes from the present?  

  1. Information overload and impaired reasoning

When we can gather unlimited quantities of information – and nothing is forgotten it makes it hard for us to discern the data that matters most. We let detail and data from the past that has long since lost any relevance influence our interpretation of data from the present.

Who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged when our past is so easily conflated with our present?  

Building community

One of the aims of Kāhui Ako is to build connectivity between schools through transparency, collaboration and participation. Currently this is being carried out at teacher level and some student level. One area that has been identified for further focus is agency.  As learners develop in understanding they will see that autonomy – personal control – is an important facet of being an agentic learner.

When does personal control over individual student data and information become part of the learners journey?

Transitioning data

Previously data has been drilled down at school and individual year levels, making school data transparent across classes. With the advancement of the New Zealand Ministry of Education data collection processes, student data can be seen across schools and across Kāhui Ako. Now each learner has a National Student Number so with a click of a button and a bit of importing and exporting, data is shared across management systems. The system is not perfect we still ask feeder schools for manually collected data and information about their learners. However, the NZ MoE is active in devising better ways of sharing information across management systems as is seen from the SISI initiative.

The questions asked about this data collection all assume that collecting and sharing data more efficiently within and across schools as students transition will be advantageous.  There seems little interest or appetite to ask about the disadvantages of student data sharing.  

What breeches of privacy and autonomy are built into the architecture of institutional platforms like Kāhui Ako?

What rights do/will individual students and their families have over ownership and control of their data in Kāhui Ako?

Do students and their families have the right for student data to be forgotten?

Forgiveness and understanding

Privacy and autonomy are too easily undervalued when building an online community of learners. Therefore school must maintain a sense of responsibility and balance  between the legal space of the internet and the ethical space of schools.

The internet has amplified the ideals of freedom of expression as well as the importance of privacy.  Along with the advancement of cloud technology it has enabled ease of data storage in ways that have raised questions over the legalities of who owns the rights to control the data collected – its use and how long it should be stored.  

Thinking about this in the context of schools makes it apparent that we must think past issues of data ownership and consider the collection and storage of student data in the context of forgiveness and understanding of what it is to be a young learner.

What limitations should we put on the storage of student data in the context of forgiveness and understanding?

What should we remember to forget?

The right to forget data

As children move between levels historical academic data can now be accessed to give a clearer understanding of the progress of learning which gives a clearer learning picture than benchmarking against National Standards.  As learners move sectors other information is also asked for and again the question is asked ‘What needs to stay out of the data gathering and might be better forgotten?’ Some schools believe that all information helps give a better picture of the child. Yet surely there needs to be a balance to include new beginnings. Therefore ‘How much and what gets passed on?’ As is often heard, ‘if a child is in the banana’s reading group they will stay in the banana’s reading group.

Hook, (2010) reminds us that “When the control remains with the producer of the content, and we shift the default back from retaining information forever to forgetting it after different time periods we restore something of what it is to live well with technology, we restore what it is to be human.”

I urge that all members of Kāhui Ako to find a positive balance between our communities desire for transparency and our students right to privacy so that each child and their families can be involved in the decision making over what happens to their personal details and data.  

I would like all school communities to discuss how their student data is gathered and shared. We must ensure that any data gathering has a purpose and any data sharing is done with fully informed consent – respecting fundamental rights and liberties of students and families over the use of their data – including decisions on how long student data can be stored or when it should be forgotten and deleted.

Note: Thanks to Pam Hook who as usual can really challenge my beliefs and thinking especially around using Digital Tools.

References

Curran, C., Hon. (2017, November 9). Address to Nethui 2017, Aotea Centre, Auckland. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/address-nethui-2017-aotea-centre-auckland

Hattie, JAC. (2012). Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximising impact on learning. London: Routledge.

Hook, P. (2010, May 16). A giant romance of primitive life and unfettered love. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from http://artichoke.typepad.com/artichoke/2010/05/a-giant-romance-of-primitive-life-and-unfettered-love.html

Mayer-Schönberger, V. (2009 , October 22). Delete: the virtue of forgetting in the digital age. The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. . Retrieved November 10, 2017, from  https://youtu.be/XwxVA0UMwLY

Mayer-Schönberger, V. (2011) Delete The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. Princeton University Press.

Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://www.education.govt.nz/further-education/communities-of-learning-kahui-ako-information-for-postsecondary-education-and-training-providers/

Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Data Services. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/data-services

Ministry of Education. (2016, June 22). Student Information Sharing Initiative Report. Retrieved November 11, 2017, from https://education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/consultations/SISI-Report-FINAL.pdf

Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Student Information Sharing Initiative (SISI). Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://www.education.govt.nz/ministry-of-education/specific-initiatives/integrated-education-data-ied-programme/student-information-sharing-initiative-sisi/

Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Managing Student Data. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Connected-Learning-Advisory/Resources/Managing-student-data

Ministry of Education. (n.d.). National Student Number. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from  https://www.education.govt.nz/school/managing-and-supporting-students/national-student-number-nsn-for-schools/

Postman, N. (1998, 28 March). Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change. Talk delivered in Denver Colorado. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Neil_Postman:_Five_Things_We_Need_to_Know_About_Technological_Change

Schama, S. (1995). Landscape and memory. London: HarperCollins. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from http://www.amazon.com/Landscape-Memory-Simon-Schama/dp/0679735127

Van Schaijik, S. (2011, August 14). How young is too young to have an email? Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://sonyavanschaijik.com/2011/08/14/how-young-is-too-young-to-have-an-email/

 

Lessons learned from an Across School Leader in a Kāhui Ako

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I have written before about the importance of making connections before collaboration can happen.

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(@edu_sparks took the photo)

Just as an update this is a reflection about this year’s uLearn. Sometime I meet educators who say ‘I hear the same stuff and I haven’t picked up anything new.’ My response usually is, ‘Are you presenting? If not then it is time to give back to the community.

Co-Creating lifts the game of collaboration.

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This October several collaborations happened. As an Across School Leader in the  ACCoS Kahui Ako, I ran a TeachMeetNZ with a focus on ACCoS. You can read all about that collaboration here with principals, ASL, ISL and classroom teachers involved. We even had a facilitator take part too. Then following that I attended uLearn with 3 Across School Leaders in our CoL who presented with me and we shared our narrative. You can read all about that here. We can talk about collaboration but when we co-create evidence of what we do then that is even more amazing. Here is a link to the abstract.

Links of resources from uLearn17

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(@coreeducation took the photo)

Core EduCation have just updated their page of resources for uLearn. This helps with curating the experience. So from there I managed to locate some images to help with this blog on their flickr site.

During uLearn plenaries, I uploaded my own notes of Eric Mazur’s session and also of Brad Waid. I did not take any notes of Anne Milne’s session and cannot stress enough to teachers that they must listen to her plenary as she speaks openly about her experience being a principal and how she addressed the marginalisation of her learners. Anne wrote a great article here that also included what she spoke about in her plenary.

During the breakout sessions I attended the following

  • Using the Seesaw App to enhance learning and connect with families
    • Presenter: Renee Morgan, Sarah Corkill, Casey Frew
        • Takeaways: My query why student’s work would need downloading as PDF? I then reflected on wondering if this was the pathway we need to be taking.
  • The exponential future of education
    • Presenter: Kaila Colbin
      • Takeaways: How fast things can change.
  • Augmented Reality, emerging technology and the future of learning
    • Presenter: Brad Waid
      • Takeaways: update own knowledge of VR and keep tracking what is happening in this area.
  • Night at the Movies ‘The heART of the matter’ movie screening
    • Presenter: Alex Hotere-Barnes
      • Takeaways: the importance of story-telling
  • Raising the bar – with Abdul Chohan
    • Presenter: Abdul Chohan, James Petronelli
      • Takeaways: With the right people and tools magic happens.
  • Building a collaborative culture – everyone with us – 2
    • Presenter: Jo Robson, Jo Wilson
      • Takeaways: Ideas for getting our ASL and ISL working together. I really liked how they structured their session to have us talking together.

Highlights for me

    • Presenting with three ASL from our ACCoS cluster. I felt really proud of how we managed to work together and pull the session together. A great discussion and a great sharing. I believe that the padlet we shared allowed us to see how far we have travelled on our journey.
    • Meeting Chad for the first time face to face. I met Chad several years ago via twitter and I was part of one of his google hangouts.
    • Celebrating my birthday at the uLearn annual dinner. I usually celebrate my birthday at uLearn but this year somehow the word got out. I attended the dinner with Sue from Epsom Girls Grammar School. As usual I took many selfies. I caught up face to face with several educators I talk to via twitter and I met some of the Core #efellows17.Pete.png

(@SteelOtter took the photo)

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(Rachel took our photo)

Takeaways for me

  • Continue to push for documenting and sharing of what we do in our ASL roles.
  • Work towards collaborative inquiry across our ACCoS Schools.
  • I would love to run an ISL session like we do for Flat Connections and give teachers a taste of using the tools to collaborate digitally across our schools.

Special thanks to Newmarket School Board of Trustees and my principal Dr Wendy Kofoed who supported my journey to present at uLearn.

Extra special mention of the following ASL who presented with me

  • Catherine Palmer from Kohia Terrace School – Across School Leader in ACCoS Kāhui Āko
  • Erin Hooper from Cornwall Park District School – Across School Leader in ACCoS Kāhui Āko
  • Sue Spencer from Epsom Girls Grammar School – Across School Leader in ACCoS Kāhui Āko