#eTwion

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My ongoing personal inquiry is teachers and how they share their learning. I was really excited to  join Arjana and Bart @abfromz @BartVerswijvel and six other global educators on Tuesday 26th of April for a global networking seminar as part of their programme for European teachers called The Networked Teacher. When Shelly opened the session, we had both Arjana and Bart on screen and I was reminded about our history of connections through the TeachMeetINT virtual sessions that we took part in a few years ago. Bart had this cow bell that he used as a timer. That bell was an awesome timekeeper and we tried hard not to hear it.

I shared parts of my ongoing personal inquiry but from my perspective of how I built my professional learning network. I was asked to focus on my New Zealand connections so was extra excited to share about our part of the world to European educators in the eTwinning programme. The hashtag they use is #etwion. The session took place at 5.00am in our New Zealand time zone. You can check out the hashtag and see what the attendees are learning.

I built the slides over a few days. An event like this allows me to reflect on where I am as a learner and from listening to other global educator stories inspires me to set new digital learning goals. I was interested in hearing their stories from their parts of the world. Happening in the chat window was a lot of questions. I am not the best at multitasking so quickly captured the questions asked of me so I could respond to them later. The ones that caught my attention involved teachers of heritage languages wanting to make contact with our Te Reo teachers. So I suggested contacting me via social media and I hope to help them make connections here. I learnt the splot trick from @MissSpeir. So sprinkled purple splots as hyperlinked breadcrumbs throughout my presentation.

I have to mention here how Arjana was an inspiration for the #TeachMeetNZ project which is where New Zealand teachers share their passions and learning in 3 minute video clips. In a way too she plays a part in #Edblognz because it was by tagging me in a #Meme that the list of New Zealand educator blogs was curated by @HelenOfTroy01. I took that over and expanded that to include all other New Zealand blogs which was then added to the #EdblogNZ curated site of New Zealand educator blogs which I now help curate with @nlouwrens and @ariaporo22.

Thank you Arjana and Bart for inviting me to share our New Zealand teachers learning. To Joe from Canada @Joe_Sheik, Fiona from South Africa @fibeal, Shelly from Texas, USA  @ShellTerrell, Karina from Israel @karinam60, Marie-Leet from Belgium @BensBel, and Annamaria from Brazil @anamariacult, fabulous to meet you all. Hearing your stories was inspirational. To all the attendees of the webinair great to meet you all and I look forward to adding you on twitter.

My space

Why is my space set up like this?

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Well I have written before about my own personal space and the challenges it can have on my collegues.

So I have been thinking about Nathaniel’s #EdBlogNZ challenge for February. Thank goodness for leap years as I send this live on the last day of February.

I thought I would share my office space as it currently is.

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On my door I have a fabulous excuse of a poster which say’ sorry about the mess but we are learning in here’. Personally I do not excuse my mess. Especially now when I know genius like Albert and Steve have a similar looking space. That is my research to back up my current space.

Anyway, some smart staff cookie took the micky and added to my poster saying I ‘have achieved above standard‘ only to have another extra smart staff cookie add with “ learning to make a mess”.

Obviously they are no longer as cautious of my bark, like they used to be.

 

This week my space is cramped because more chromes arrived on Friday. I have ESOL data overdue to my principal, we have had camp and swimming so like all of you, this week has left me a little jaded. However the children are super excited and some staff are chomping at the bit and being extra nice as they are all hoping for a bite of that chrome cherry. Soon the new learning tools will be distributed according to our overall plan.

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On the bright side I am extra proud of my SOLO Taxonomy wall for reading comprehension. I am really excited during the learning sessions. You can read about that here.  I am also super excited to receive the draft copy of Pam Hook and my book for final reading before it is published.

Just a shout out here to the awesome as Gerard. I love the video clip he created about his school.

TeachMeetNZ 2015 Session 2

Another fabulous session of TeachMeetNZ has passed. On the live hangout we had eight presenters from around New Zealand.

Session Host: Sonya Van Schaijik

TimeKeeper: Virginia Kung 

Broadcaster and Storify: Monika Kern tuning in from Melbourne.

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Country Presenters Name Topic Twitter Google+
1 NZ Stuart Kelly #NCEADigitalEnglish @stuartkellynz +StuartKelly
2 NZ Natasha Walden My Experience as a Gamer @MissnWalden +MissNWalden
3 NZ Steven de Bruin Developing agency in the early years @Steven_de_Bruin +SteveDeBruin
4 NZ Terry Beech Design Collaboration @beechEdesignz +TerryBeech
5 NZ Adam Baker Star Wars,the comic strikes back @AdamBaker31 +AdamBaker
6 NZ Kerri Thompson #NZreadaloud @kerriattamatea +KerriThompson
7 NZ Shona Poppe Creating an inclusive classroom @shonapoppe +ShonaPoppe
8 NZ Rachel Chisnall ‘Bravery’ in your teaching @ibpossum +RachelChisnall

The celebration is over and I now look forward to the educators reflections about the process.

I know that this is when the real learning happens. There is also an evaluation form to complete and this helps drives the next session.

Presenters can add digital badges and a digital certificate to add to their reflection.

Now that the session is over I still need to clip videos and add them to the wikipages. Then I will add the pages to the Pinterest list. If you were a presenter and are visiting thank you again for taking part.

I give a shout out here to Monika Kern who did a fabulous job with broadcasting. We trended on twitter so that was really exciting and I give a shout out here to all the teachers who joined in on the session virtually. Thank you because having an active audience really helps make the session. Monika created a storify of the session.

I also acknowledge Virginia Kung from Newmarket School. She is our assistant principal and for this session she agreed to be timekeeper. She gave feedback and covered for me when I stepped away at the start of the session to collect the team.

Where to next for TeachMeetNZ, well we will be steaming live from Ulearn and I will have Matt Esterman from TMSydney with me as co-host. We will run a combined Australia and New Zealand TeachMeet virtually.

Finally, I was not all nervous this time. The changes I have made included creating slides and broadcasting them before each practice session. We also had questions happening on the  Hangout and I will push this more next time.

Now if you are interested in taking part, please do not hesitate to contact me on twitter. If there is space I do bring in educators from outside New Zealand however the time difference for you does suck.

Flat Connections Global Project

IMG_1311 ‘A week in the life.’

The intent of the NZ Curriculum vision (NZC 2007 p.8) is to enable connected learners who can support the well-being of New Zealand, can relate to others, participate and contribute to the world around them. This year Newmarket School students joined the Flat Connections Global project, ‘A week in the Life’. Learners are actively engaged in digital collaborative activities with 143 students and 13 teachers from 6 different countries.

This project helps Newmarket School students enact the NZ Curriculum  vision by enabling global connections in ways that prepare young learners for their future. Students learn to question, investigate and act as global citizens using digital technologies and online learning environments – learning with and from students all over the world.

The students use SOLO Taxonomy as a model to to design the process of their own learning and to inquire into the impact of their actions as citizens on their communities and beyond. The digital literacies required to usefully and purposefully navigate the environment are a strong learning focus in the project.  The information sharing, the creation process and the learning  discussion is made visible to all with students using digital tools like Edmodo, Hapara, Google Apps, Popplet and Voice Thread and others.

Goundhog Day at Newmarket School

In 1877, Newmarket School in Auckland New Zealand was established on the site where 277 is today.
On the weekend I was excited to have our current principal Dr Wendy Kofoed take part in an online discussion about learning with educators from around New Zealand.
This discussion will continue throughout October as part of #CENZ14.
After the discussion I put a call out to Pam Hook to read what we have so far accomplished as I wanted to ensure that the project is framed by SOLO Taxonomy. 
Pam flicked me a link to a sceptics log she and a team of creators had made in 2006 and the discussion was the same. In addition she linked me up to Chris Bigum who had been part of that original discussion and he started feeding me readings and video links via twitter.
The outcome of all that weekend learning is this reflection.
One particular idea that I had read about and awoke with was groundhog day. 
We are such an old school. I thought of our first school leader, Captain Charles Ross Cholmondely Smith.
in his single classroom with his room full of children.
The stories I have read about how the children learnt is hilarious. 
But if we revisit those early days of education, we know that the teacher was basically a coach.
They used the older children to teach the younger children who in turn taught the younger ones than themselves. In addition he would have had a team of children leaders who took care of various activities to help with the running of the school, kind of like our student leadership programme.
If a child needed extra help they would know who to ask for support.
They would only go to the teacher when absolutely necessary because he ruled his classroom in true military style of the time. 
Newmarket School on current 277 site of today
As the years passed and the school grew and new teachers came in, the process continued with teachers using each other as support. There was no professional development in those days only personal learning.
They relied totally on the community for everything because there was no local $2.00 shops to stock up or colour photocopying for the walls. They used local resources in their programme kind of like the glocalisation concept. (No, not a spelling mistake.)
The children would have continued to support each other and most had a job to do to help keep the school clean and tidy because there would have been no school cleaners in those days. This is like how we structure our enviro programme.
I was thinking about our current situation with the discussion centred around learning and thought we are moving back to those times not because of circumstances but because it just worked.
Teachers are reminded about the pool of learning amongst their peers. Our current head teacher continues to lead by example in her own learning. She in turn guides and coaches her team in their learning, who guide and coach the teachers in their teams with their learning who guide and coach the children in their classes and between classes as we move back to ”it takes a whole school to teach a child,’ and we move back to the notion of a single building on the site where there are no walls and we learn with and from each other. 
We have a variety of interesting developments happening in our school and this is raising teachers to the surface with their learning. Even more exciting is that they are sharing their learning with each other and several have begun the journey of reflecting in a visible way for our global school community via  a blog that you can read on the right hand side. If I have missed anyone, please do send me your link.
So in our old grounds, in our old buildings that are being demolished and rebuilt I can hear our head teacher, teachers and children ancestors giggling and watching from the ruins saying, here we go again. And you know what, so what. This teacher with 30 years experience finds it exciting to watch the cycle of education life go around again. Just like I love watching our 100 year old tree go through its cycle of life on a yearly basis, change and grow bigger and better, Just like I love talking with teachers and hearing their learning stories and sharing their learning stories. Even more exciting is the change happening. 
Children ancestors of Newmarket School

Clesol2014

Clesol Day 1

http://www.clesol.org.nz/index.html is in Wellington and runs for three days.

This year Clesol is hosted at Victoria University. This is my first visit to Rutherford house.
Using #Clesol on twitter I could only locate 6x other educators attending the conference.

The conference launched with a welcome function sponsored by IELTS. I was excited to see a few familiar faces so as Paul Nation walked by I grabbed him for a group photo.

The first plenary began the following day and as I sat in that first session and looked around, I  saw maybe 6 educators using a device. The challenge is most teachers have been given a TELA since 1996 so why were most educators here still using pen and paper.

William Grabe

Powerpoint available via email.
william.grabe@nau.ed
Foundation for L2 Reading development.
William highlighted essential aspects of reading comprehension. He spoke about instructional applications as well as a few specific practices that are not commonly considered in many reading instruction curricula. I was listening to him share about building a reading curriculum.

I attended   collaborative workshop ‘Connecting across the ditch and beyond.’ The session was well rehearsed, ran to time and was inclusive of all attendees. Both Lesley and Yvonne covered a range of social media and how they used them in their work. I was particularly interested in the collaboration and to hear that yesterday was the first time these educators had met f2f.
Lesley highlighted for the group a few of her global connections from her personal learning network. 
The following session was from John Read who covered 

‘Coming to grips with quality in language assessment’. John spoke about an ongoing concern in language teaching is how to assess learner abilities through good-quality assessments that are suitable for their intended purpose. He stressed the importance of moderation and expertise amongst teachers in their own subject area. Again the slides are incredibly text heavy and for a learner like me, I like my pictures.  I give a quiet chuckle when he spoke about computer familiarity. I was not sure if this included mobile devices but probably not.  

In the afternoon session I attended Heather Thomas session on Mindfulness practice and pedagogy that could enhance English Language Teaching (ELT) by increasing attention, emotional 

The session was not what I expected but is actually what I needed to hear. We often rush from one thing to the next but never take time to stop and smell the roses. 
She shared with us the following documentary. ‘Room to breath’.


Heather’s session was on Mindfulness meaning about being in the moment, being present, being in the now.

Probably the best part of the day was the discussion that happens between the sessions.

iPad

Our journey with iPads


2011, we allowed a small trial number of children to bring their mobile devices to school.Our prerequisite was that they must have their cybersafety badge on Superclubsplus and they must have earned their gold star for technical skills.We also had parental permission. We began with 3x children. One had an iPad, one had a laptop, one had a PSP console. I collected the ISP number from their devices. What we found out……The ipad user had a personal iTunes account set up by their parent, however our user was under 13 and stated in the terms of agreement with iTunes, this should not be allowed. In addition they had a personal email address that they used.Therefore they could download apps as they wanted them and did until we intervened.Because the iPad logged on easily to the network, the device was used during break times. They sometimes allowed their friends to use them. The skills developed for the Superclubsplus cybersafety certificate were not adhered to and the student was reminded about the implications of sharing a personal device. 

Lesson: Who has the right to put on a set of apps for an iPad? Is it ours or the parents? If children bring their own, do we demand that they have a school set of apps and not others? Do we have the right to ask this of a personal device? Who is using the device at home? What happens if a parent or older sibling uses the device and communicates to our children as the device owner? What happens if inappropriate apps are loaded onto the device? Should we have times on the wifi where children cannot have access? The laptop, was not as easy to access the wireless. It kept falling off. The PSP console, could see the wireless, but was not easy to hold onto. 

2012, we were snupped and we developed a system of passwords for visitors. But that was not easy, until I had a technical lesson later in the year. After that, I was able to set up visitors with their temporary passcodes. We locked down student access to certain hours. Superclubsplus was going through changes and the children were not as enthusiastic with it. We did not encourage devices to be brought to school, but did not discourage it either. We had one student request access for learning reasons. Her parents had set up her account on a dedicated programme, but often she could not get on because someone else had set up her online account and I could not help her. What about devices that are internet capable that are brought to school. Eg: smart phones with internet accounts and the children take photos of their peers and teachers and upload them to a social media account. We gave each teacher an iPad and found that they added their own iTunes account and then let the children have access to the device. 

Lesson,1)Learning need students accounts need to be set up by the school, not the parent. 2)Ruling about bringing a smart phone to school and used inappropriately during school hours. 3) Any visitors to be added to a temporary account and not to our teacher WIFI. 4) Teachers allowing chn use of a teacher tablet because they wanted to see how children used them. Because I had been through some training as a global online mediator with Superclubsplus, I began reading around the subject of legalities and children accessing the internet. I read widely around this area and attended Nethui where I was exposed to further discussion around legalities. I continued to find my own learning exploding. Twitter was my main source of connection, reading and learning. The more I read the more cautious I became. I also became interested in not just the learning with mobile technology but the implications. One starting to come through is that todays youth are not getting the required amount of sleep. Therefore sleep patterns are being affected. My investigation as an efellow highlighted the importance of collaboration and making connections. I was forced to face the fact that I often hide behind electronic communication and needed to balance that with face to face sharing. So moving out of my comfort zone I presented at a variety events. This included TeachMeet, Ignite Leadership and at our area ESOL cluster.  I also attended educamp and padcamp. I collaborated on a global project with one of our teachers.



2013Back at school, we called back all the teacher iPads and found out how much they had been used. From our findings, not as much as we had hoped. Really most of the apps we identified were from the principal and myself, with a few others from individual teachers. We invested in configurator because children safety was our top priority. We brought in Allanah King to share with us how she used iPads with her students. We identified a set of aps that would be standard on all student ipads. There is still discussion about the relevance of this but we will sort it out as we learn from this experience. From this, teachers were enthusiastic and asked for their iPads back, so we bought a new set for them. Again we will use this year as a learning year. The one rule we gave teachers was that students were not to use their teaching iPad. Just like they must not use their TELA laptop. They were to use this tool as a learning opportunity. Already one error on my part was adding youtube to the student iPad. I was thinking from teacher access. Again terms of agreement state that under 13 must not access youtube. So that will be removed the next time I work with configurator.  

Lesson1) Some websites do strange things with iPads. Eg: we had challenges with reading eggs and skoodle. Wikispaces looks very different. Therefore we are identifying tools that we can use with the children, that are safe but also can be used on the iPad. The terms of agreement in configurator identified ages for the apps to use. This helped immensely. I identified that any app with social media connections was not an appropriate app to add. Our top findings was if an account does not require student email, it was reasonably safe. If an account asked for school verification for a teacher account, then it was reasonably safe. Eg: Myportfolio, kidblog, reading eggs are safe. Accounts not safe, include wikispaces, club penguin, youtube, prezi. They all require permission for 14- 18. There is nothing stated for under. Or it said that educators take ownership and responsibility for the use of these. We have already learnt of the volume of access with our work with Superclubsplus so unless the teacher is on the environment 24/7 -caution is needed. We purchased and distributed apple TV’s to the 6 targeted classes. This was to any remaining classes without a smart board. Smart board classes had a VGA connection purchased for the teacher’s iPad. The initial observation included teachers sharing photos of learning. We hope to see this grow into children sharing their learning.


Lessons

  1. Ensuring that teachers used appropriate sites with our children legally.
  2. Teachers using appropriate apps with our children and have a purposeful learning intention.
  3. Continue to observe and investigate what other primary schools do in regards to mobile learning. eg: Just because you can does not mean that you should.
  4. Create our policy around the use of devices with children.
  5. Continue with professional development in the use of mobile technology for our teachers.
  6. Continue to learn about online learning spaces.

            Do you use iPads at your school? What learning have you uncovered?