Agentic Teacher

On Thursday evening I took part in the fortnightly #EdChatNZ Learner Agency led by Philippa N Antipas.

The topic was, ‘Schools seek to nurture learner agency. What does learner agency look like for teachers, and how do we develop it ourselves to model it for others?’

Last year Claire Amos wrote a brilliant piece explaining  Learner Agency – more than just a buzzword! That she kindly allowed to be used in the EdBookNZ 2015 project unpacking latest buzz words.

I am continually amazed at how connections made online come together in fabulous way.

On Thursday Phillipa was moderator for #EdChatNZ and this was her first time leading this New Zealand Educator chat. I know she would have really enjoyed moderating the chat because she is a passionate educator and really know how to make connections with those that she works with.

I pulled together a storify of the chat because I am always interested in numbers.

I counted 719 entries on the storify over the hour. I deleted anything past that time and also past the next day. However I think it would have also been interesting to include the ongoing discussion because the chat continued for most of Friday too.

When I shared the storify, there were 34 tweeps who took part. You can see them all from the discussion. I have not counted the other educators who continued to contribute to the discussion on Friday. 

The hour long #EdChatNZ conversation was fast and furious. I am always interested in questions asked. I was particularly interested in Thursday night’s topic because teachers as learners is a topic very close to my heart. I have previously blogged about this recently in Children do not come first. Those of you who follow the work I do will know about the spaces and places I have created for teachers to share their learning such as TeachMeetNZ where teachers connect and share their learning in 3 minutes, EdBookNZ  where teachers collaborate and co-construct their own learning and more recently EdBlogNZ where teachers reflect on their learning, a site which I help collate.

Using storify to make connections and to unpack the discussion around teacher agency I churned over several of the quotes and as I further unpacked the discussion I had the feeling of Déjà vu. You can see what I mean because I have written about this before but under a different labeller of ‘ Connected Teacher.

Using the questions fired at us, I searched for some references. The third reference was given to us.

1)What does professional or teacher agency look like?

I found this great article written by Jackie Gerstein that tells us a little more, titled  Teacher Agency: Self-Directed Professional Development

2)Define Teacher Agency

This one has a fabulous video of a teacher sharing practice and explains what a teacher does. John’s story – Agentic positioning. But still couldn’t really find a true definition except for what Clare wrote. Also via the chat a definition for Learner Agency surfaced from ERO site.


Together under Philippa’s guidance we hogged twitter with our ideas to define Agentic Teacher.

Defining Agentic Teacher

(Totally ninjed from the 34 kiwi educators taking part and rehashed.)

Teacher agency is about service to our learners and our community through communication, making connections and seeking collaboration. An agentic teacher has the power to make a difference by becoming involved and owning their own learning through figuring the known and the unknown. An agentic teacher shows mutual respect for collaborative partners through actions with a focus on learning. Current practices are challenged and alternatives ideas are suggested where appropriate. The learning journey of an agentic teacher is lifelong. The ongoing goal is to be the best as you can be by actively and continuously challenging own assumptions, knowledge and practice regarding learning.

Personally, I should have also added Whānaungatanga. An agentic teacher lives and practices Whānaungatanga. Here you can read my personal description of Whānaungatanga. 

3)What kinds of environment or culture would teachers need to develop agency?

This article was referenced in the chat. Swimming out of our depth.

4)Teaching as inquiry has been mentioned. It’s in the NZC. Has this led to agentic teachers? If not, why not?

Agentic Teachers is a way of being.

Q5: What if schools co-constructed professional learning with their teachers? Would that encourage agency?

Q6.What might it look like if everyone in the staff was agentic? Chaos?

So what do you think?

Have I defined Agentic Teacher or is agency a quality and mindset that we develop as is suggested by Jackie. Do all teachers need agency? Or will we just exhaust our teachers?

If you write about the chat, please do use #EdBlogNZ and I will curate them all together.

Philippa has asked to be tagged too so do remember that as she will be reflecting on her session and seeking feedback.

Who’s voice is being silenced?

Who do we silence when we “collaborate” and “connect”?

Trust Pam Hook to ask this question.

I recently read a blog post where Pam commented and asked this question.


Those of you who know me, connecting, collaborating, creating and sharing are my ongoing personal teacher inquiry. So much so that I have literally made an online name for myself with doing all this “connect” and “collaborate” online stuff..

Pam asked an interesting question and one that I am sure like me you had never really thought about or really cared about and you have been hell bent on gathering followers or creating virtual communities to have teachers work together because you realise how much of an impact this has on teachers learning.

But if we think about it, who are the teachers who are  being silenced by all this online learning ‘stuff.’  I remember in the early days of social media trying to convince teachers to ‘at least read emails’. or saying things like, ‘The information is on the server #DUH.’

And ‘Paper?? What’s that.  Give it to me digitally so I can have the option of repurposing what you have created.’

I know the internet is the main form of communication in this 21st Century and who does not have a cell phone? Correct? But it is still a valid question.

We are extremely lucky at my school because we have a strong school leader who has always been forward thinking in her approach. Such as giving the teachers the tools. So we all had an iPad 2 when they first came out and have since been updated and senior teachers were given an iphone with a school plan. She gave us all a chrome to play with because this was a tool we would be using with our children. We can even choose what kind of a TELA we want.

Yet I grew up in a 3rd world nation and I speak to other teachers who do not have the same access to technology or professional learning as what we have at Newmarket School.

I visited 13 countries in 11 weeks and spoke with teachers who many do not have the same opportunities and access that we have here in New Zealand. I visited many teachers whose classes do not have internet access.  For teachers in New Zealand I query their access because TELA has been available since 2003 and access to the internet really took off in 2004 when the first waves of schools were snupped. Name a new Zealand teacher who has not been part of an ICTPD contract in the past 10 years. Our Ministry of Education has poured millions of dollars into our digital learning.

So again whose voices are being silenced through connection and collaboration?

I am aware of the challenges that some outlying schools have to access. They do not yet have broadband and are still reliant on dial up. But I believe that if you want access bad enough somehow you can find a path. Even if you pay for access yourself. When I think back to schools that I have been at where I have had to pay for first of all for my own laptop and then my own lease or when when I was an early adopter of technology and bought dial up at phenomenal costs.

Online I notice that my twitter PLN are made up of mostly European educators. I find the Maori and Pasifika Educators appear to gravitate to Facebook. As for Asian educators I talk to them on WeChat. So I guess if I am looking for certain voices then as an educator I must move in the social media that has greater numbers.

When I have run online professional learning for educators I particularly target voices that are often very quiet. I am much more conscious of this then I have ever been because of my work with Pam.  Yes using digital communication can silence when we “collaborate” and “connect”.

The ones taking part in connecting and collaborating online can have their voices amplified like being the only ones holding a microphone at a face to face meeting. Yet what about our children who do not yet have access to home broadband because the extra cost is a luxury that is over and above feeding a family? That and even having a device to access communication with. Yes we still have those.

I also think about the work I do with my Samoan colleagues who insist on face to face meetings because, ‘This is the way we work best.’ I encourage digital communication but that is on ongoing journey I have always had. I also find that in the face to face meetings I am the voice being silent. I am used to having my voice amplified with media that sometimes I feel frustration in the noisy face to face meetings. I feel frustration at the speed of getting things done because I am so used to getting things done at super speed using online communication. I am the educator who amplifies our Samoan voices digitally and I do so willingly because I know some can be very quiet online.

My citizenship question to you is the same as Pam’s.

Who do you silence when you “collaborate” and “connect”?


I should have begun with this quote taken straight from Tahu’s Blog Post on Whānaungatanga.

Me hui kanohi ki te kanohi kia rongo i te mauri o te tangata!’ It is important to meet face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of the people we are working with.

Tāku Pepeha


In Aotearoa this week it is .

I have been working on my pepeha for quite a while now. Once I recorded it, I wondered if it was totally accurate. I am a fluent speaker of Samoan and often I can hear a sentence in Māori and know that it makes sense because of the familiarity of sounds and word order.

However with my pepeha, I was a little hesitant. I turned to my  twitter buddies and put the word out there. Straight away help was on hand and @temihinga responded immediately and helped with a final proof read. Yes I had several corrections to make. She also explained why and this helped me immensely.  I had recently met Te Mihinga at Nethui face to face and had heard her speak.Alex also responded. She had presented with me on TeachMeetNZ.

In my Samoan culture we do not have a Pepeha but we do have a faalupega. I know when I was teaching in a Samoan bilingual unit, I had the children learn their Faalupega. In Samoa when reciting our Faalupega, we must know where we come from and who the chief and the talking chiefs are in our family. If we are really clever we will know all the titles of our chiefs and we will also know all the different villages we associate with because of family connections. My training in Faalupega was it was like a ripple in the pond. I am like the centre of the ripple and then I move out. As I learn more about myself, I add that. It is like reciting genealogy. Place markers are also part of Faalupega. At the same time the chiefs are place markers too because they are associated with families and places.

With Māori it is knowing where you come from. At our school, we teach our children our school pepeha and have been relearning it each year during Matariki. This year I wanted to add a little extra and see if I can say my pepeha and include my Samoan markers. My next step is to memorise our school whakataukī. The neat thing about recording yourself is that you can listen and rewind your learning. By hearing our own voice often enough the flow of the words stick in our memories and soon they are part of our active oral schema.

By learning my pepeha, it reminds me of the challenges of learning another language. In the registered teacher’s criteria learning my pepeha covers cultural responsiveness and language maintenance. But it also covers acknowledging the place of Te Reo in our curriculum.  Samoan language and who we are are indescribably linked. Just like Te Reo and the people of this land. There is such a connection to the land it almost comes across as one. The people are the land and the land is the people.

In order to learn our school pepeha, I needed to learn our areas history. I visited the maunga mentioned and I visited the awa. I researched our local history. Over the years I have worked with the children on both our school’s history, its surrounding area and our pepeha. As a school we visit our local marae of Ōrākei and we reconnect with Ngāti Whātua every two years.

My challenge to all educators is learn your school’s pepeha and teach your children how to say it too. Use Matariki as a time to revisit your pepeha and to learn a little more about the area that your school is in. Use Māori language week as a celebration of how much reo you have learnt over the past year and a commitment to how much more you will learn in the coming year.

Aufaga Faimai Tuimauga

Ua ta le logo o le aogoa i luga. Ua valaau lenei faiaoga e sauini i lana aoga fou. Faimai, ia manuia lou malaga ma e fetaui i le Pule muamua. Alofaaatu uso.faimai

I was sad to hear of the passing of a dear colleague from many years ago. My friend Pati emailed me the news this morning.

What I know about Faimai is from the years we worked together as part of the Ulimasao Bilingual Education Association.

I located this page that she helped create and you can see even then, she was keen to learn how to use the tools for broadcasting. This page was was first created in early 2000 and each year the steering committee had to update their own page, which she did.

What I remember of Faimai was laughter. As in a belly roar that was totally infectious. In addition she was a doting grandmother, a fabulous dancer, connected and knew everyone. She was able to fill a hall with people if we were fundraising.

She was fiercely proud of her grandchildren and proud that they were bilingual. She would correct my Samoan if it needed correcting but would do it in a positive way and usually with one of her belly laughs. She adored her husband Toleafoa and he adored her. This could be seen by the way they treated each other.  Below is the page she maintained for her Ulimasao Profile.

Name: Aufaga Faimai Tuimauga

Employer: (MOE in 2006)

Position:Position: AUSAD Pasifika Bilingual Education Cluster in Mangere


Association: Ulimasao Bilingual Education Assoc. Inc. N.Z.

Office Bearer: Education Advisor

ExperienceOver 20 years of teaching and involvement in education both in Western Samoa and Aotearoa/NZ. Taught at Viscount School Mangere, Redoubt North Manukau, Mangere Central Primary, Aorere College,

Part time Lecturer – Auckland College of Education

Language Advisor: AUSAID Project with Macquarie University Sydney Australia- Project between the Government of Australia and the Government of Samoa, key supporter and assistant facilitator for Schooling in Mangere project 1995, initiator of the community development towards Ulimasao development, organiser of the Samoan teachers’ educational trip to Western Samoa in 1993,

MOE project: Know How Resource: Implementing the Technology Curriculum,

Director: Pacific Island Auckland Initiative [Participation in Early Childhood]

Member of the Pacific Island Advisory Group in the Ministry of Education, involved with the development of Unit Standard and NCEA, Coordinator: Secondary Teachers Professional Development project, Manager & Presenter: MOE Radio Education programmes in Auckland


  • MA (Applied Linguistics) [Hons]
  • Dip in Education of Students with Special Teaching Needs (STN)
  • Dip. English Language Teaching (ELT)
  • Adv. Dip. Teaching
  • Higher Dip. Teaching

Sports/Interest: Dancing, Socialising, Being a doting Grandmother


My descriptive week.

On Tuesday I was part of a team of presenters presenting with Julie Lindsay at the Global Education Conference.  I shared about #TeachMeetNZ the New Zealand project that I host on google hangouts.

In addition I shared about #EdBookNZ where 10 New Zealand bloggers collaboratively wrote a chapter to unpack current generic education terminology.

Here is the recording from the session hosted by Julie from Flat Connections.

On Wednesday we had the final session for our ESOL area cluster group. The session was held at Stonefields School and after the meeting we were given a tour by @KirstyPanapa.
I was interested in seeing their new building.

That evening I supported Virginia with our Chinese dance group who performed at the Auckland Town Hall as part of the Auckland Primary Principals Association Festival.

On Thursday I presented the final part of a Trilogy. I had set a goal to present three times this year at Eduignite and I have fulfilled that goal.
The first presentation was my Personal Tattoo, the second was my Digital Tattoo and the third was on Citizenship. In addition I had set a final presentation goal which was to present without notes by talking from the slides and I did.
If you want to find out more about Eduignite then follow the twitter hashtag. I wrote about presenting at Eduignite here.
This Thursday’s Eduignite had some fabulous presenters as we normally do and they were @digitallearnin @DianaWilkes @CaroBush @BridgetCasse @f_leaupepe @HmsMoore. It was great to catch up face to face with educators who have also presented with me on TeachMeetNZ.
This time we sent through our slides to @cowieandrew as link on twitter so that there was smooth transition between presenters.

Digital tattoo 

Then on Friday night some of us from school attended our Mandarin Language Assistant Graduation held at Confucius centre at Auckland University. Bingqin has been with us for nearly the whole of 2014. We share her with two other local schools.

Finally on Saturday I attended another learning session with Julie Lindsay with our #FlatConnect cohort. I enjoy these sessions as I know I am learning so much from my team mates about being a Global educator. We were given our final task of designing our own global project and I am keen to begin the framework for our Ningbo sister school in China.

So in all another busy and fun learning week.

Global Digital Citizenship

The most important variable in collaboration is people. I keep coming back to the phrase that before collaboration can take place people need to make connections. Dr Wendy Kofoed and myself are presenting this very topic at Ulearn.  If you have questions for us you can add them here to our Q &  A Padlet.
Over the past two months, I have been making connections with three groups of educators as part of Connected Educator Month. I have been practising digital citizenship. I have been struggling to make sense of digital citizenship because I believe that citizenship is a strong enough word on its own. Why do I need to add digital in front of it to make it something other than what it is. I want to present this idea at my final Eduignite series where I hope by then my thinking is clearer. Monika @BeLchick1 has agreed to take on the challenge defining Citizenship as part of our #EdBookNZ project and I will be catching up with her soon to find out what she has been reading about on this very idea. Myself I agreed to work on connected educator and you can read about my thinking on connected educator here

In September I joined the second cohort of the Flat Connections Global Educators under the guidance of Julie Lindsay @julielindsay I am aiming to become a certified global educator by the end of this year. The outcome of that would be that I have led a global project and I would have worked with a group of #FlatConnect educators from around the world. I have taken part in several global projects and hence why I coordinate #TeachMeetNZ because here in New Zealand we are in still in the infancy stages of having our teachers working together nationally on national projects. Like the teachers blogs that have surfaced, evidence shows we are still in the early stages of collaboration. I have started to see some evidence of our teachers taking part in global projects with their classes but again I can count that on two hands. Some of that work you can see when I run the second TeachMeetNZ session this month as part of connected educator month.

Already I have adapted the work I do online with #TeachMeetNZ to align better with what I am learning. On reflection I know I have not given enough opportunities for the teams I work with each quarterly to make connections and to get to know each other. This is called a handshake activity. Therefore for this connected educator month I have set up a padlet for my handshake activity because I would like to implement what I am learning.
The first collaborative assignment involves Digital Citizenship –concept and practice? I am working with Ann Rooney @AnnRooney6 and you can read her blog post here on her current thinking around this. Julie gave us the term and a few guidelines as to how to go about carrying out the assignment and the rest is up to us.

So the first thing I do when I am writing is to activate a SOLO Taxonomy rubric and I have chosen an analogy map to help clarify my thinking. You can activate your own rubric from Pam Hook’s site. Virginia Kung, my SOLO  mentor at school  will be proud because that is always the first question she asks me, “Where is your rubric, Sonya?”
From the four years I have been using SOLO taxonomy in my teaching and learning I know that first step is to define my key idea.
So here goes. 

What is Digital Citizenship?
I am reflecting on citizenship through: all those online and offline experiences; conversations shared over scrambled eggs and bacon and through the screen; and books read online and by turning the paper pages.
Pam Hook – Personal Communication over scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast at Altar Mt Eden 3rd October 2014
“Any action that makes a positive difference to the common good can be construed as an act of citizenship. Enabling students to think critically about their own lives and society as a whole is a powerful way of making citizenship visible to them. To develop what Hayward (2012) refers to as a democratic imagination, motivation and involvement, students need a context where they have a voice and feel like they belong, matter and can make a difference. A context where they can value, and act in ways that promote, community and participation for the common good. A context where they can experience agency and demonstrate the rights and responsibilities they have as citizens.” Hook (2014 in Press) – Transport as a context for encouraging skilled and active citizenship) Pam Hook is writing about using the road as a commons – a shared space – as a context for citizenship but her arguments can just as easily be conceptualised through the use of digital technologies.
Pam’s question is: How might we build students’ democratic imagination, motivation and involvement as “digital citizens”?
At breakfast Pam talked about the different types/categories of citizenship – and how these might be helpful in thinking about building digital citizenship – referencing the work of Westheimer and Kahne
She asked what each of these might look like in  the context of digital citizenship.  We talked about how these categories might be expressed by students and educators – 

We think it might look something like this (draft thinking only).

Personally responsible citizens:
Participatory citizens:
Justice oriented citizens:
act responsibly
obey rules and laws
take skilled and active role in groups that work for the common good
know effective strategies for collaborative action
seek social justice, equity, human rights and moral rightness
take skilled action for social change
know effective strategies for changing existing practice
Newmarket School
Curriculum connection:
Not Self But Service- Newmarket’s first Motto
Newmarket School Curriculum connection: Student Leadership Programme at Newmarket School
Newmarket School Curriculum connection:
Students taking on a glocalisation project to benefit our local environment.
EG:I would like to see here what we are doing to minimise traffic around our inner city school.
Digital citizen example:
Educators volunteer to take part in an online project where they act in ways that will benefit others.
An example here would be the GlobalClassroom chats I have hosted and co-hosted on a variety of topics.
Digital citizen example:
Educators take a skilled and active role in a group that hosts and or organises online projects for the benefit of others.
An example here would be the #EdChatNZ conference that has taken place recently
Digital citizen example:
Educators experience a form of context collapse – and exercise “pedagogical activism” to understand whose voices are amplified – and whose voices are muted or not heard. They work to include in the conversation those whose are excluded by the process and or the technology that enables online projects  – They ask what are the unforseen consequences of online projects – e.g. Postmans questions – who is advantaged – who  disadvantaged and who remains unaffected by online projects – and then they work to find clumsy solutions to address this
eg: where are the Pasefika educators hiding online. I plan to host a TeachmeetNZ totally in Samoan as part of Samoan Language week in 2015.
Digital citizen example:
Students taking part in the Skoodle Badge system (or equivalent) – or using SOLO rubrics for blog commenting – learning how to behave online for the common good
(A teacher has just created a badge system for her class.)
Digital citizen example:
Students setting up a FaceBook group to support other students in their year group – course – church or social group
Digital citizen example:
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  
Educators and students  develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours about and for
·       technology access, 
·     technical awareness, 
·     individual awareness
·       social awareness
·       cultural awareness
·       global awareness for personally responsible citizen outcomes  

Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time 

Part of purchasing the course book gives me access to further online resources including access to a glossary and this is what this is what I found on Pearson’s resource site.
Digital Citizenship is the ‘Norms of online behaviour. A person practising effective digital citizenship understand the technology and can relate his or her behavioural choice according to social cultural and global norm.’ 

I am not sure if ‘norms’ necessarily captures citizenship – what it is to work for the common good. Couros suggests that – ‘Digital Citizenship needs to concern itself much more with social responsibility and social learning than is currently being addressed.’ Dr Alec Couros  Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds, Pg 97
The observations by Couros are supported by the conversations with Hook – see above.
When educators are connected to resources and create learning environments to help students form educated opinions and behaviours for online safety they are acting as citizens – acting in ways that promote the common good. 

There are five areas in which personally responsible, participatory and justice oriented citizens can act to promote the common good in and with online environments. These are: technology access, technical awareness, individual awareness, social awareness, cultural awareness and global awareness. From Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds Chapter 5, Citizenship, In the enlightened digital citizenship model. I will take these terms in turn and use them to better understand what I do when I act as a participatory citizen with TeachMeetNZ. (refer ticks in grid below). I note that there are other elements that can be addressed. So already I can see how to make what I do online even better.

Type of citizenship
technology access
technical awareness
individual awareness
social awareness
cultural awareness
global awareness
personally responsible citizen
participatory citizen
justice oriented citizen

Technology Access: Tools for Collaboration. In order for collaboration to take place the educators that I work with must have access to Asynchronous Communications such as twitter, and google+ communities and via gmail because we are using a google product. Communication takes place asynchronously in that the participants do not generally communicate concurrently. However when we move to the live streamed event, we use synchronous tools such as google hangout and even twitter. Therefore communication takes place in real time. When the session is over we move back to asynchronous communications such as twitter, a blog reflection and commenting on each others blog and a wind back of the hangout via youtube. The  educators that I work with develop their presentations using a communication conduit such as google presentation and the group wiki through which ideas flow between themselves and me on their presentation. I can see their slides develop as they are being built and can give feedback. The communication conduit happens too via the google + community and via twitter where we use the #TeachMeetNZ. I have added a facebook page too but at this stage I still find twitter the best place to pass messages through. 

Five areas of awareness

This next part of my reflection involves walking the educators through the process of the TeachMeetNZ sessions and their learning framed with the five areas of awareness that develop as their online learning unfolds.The first term is technical awareness. Educators are faced with a new tool such as using google hangout to present their learning. They generally have a basic awareness of the features and functions of Google Hangout. Many of the educators I work with are also new to wikis and presenting on #teachmeeetnz is usually the first time that they have created a presentation that is Asynchronous.

Next Individual awareness evolves as the educator decides how they will create their slides for sharing with an audience. The first thing learnt is making a copy of the presentation template. They also learn how to respond to a call and learn how to use the tools.  We have three practise sessions before the min event. 

Then during the first face to face virtual practise session, social awareness takes place. I see the educators tagging and linking to each other via twitter and adding each other on google +. I also see how the slides evolve as they personalise their presentation. Some take the slides and totally rehash them, others create their own sequence and I have even had a couple choose a totally different media too to present with. From these experiences I can see my own progress in social awareness develop as I had not even thought of using some of these ideas for presenting. 

After that cultural awareness happens as the educators learn about each other, from each other and understand what they have in common. They make connections with each other via same interests, same education levels, same cities that they live in, and even same cultural background. They find out family facts and put a face to a twitter handle. Some make connections because what they hear about is new learning for them and so generally go and find out more about the topic before the next hangout practise takes place. 

Finally global awareness happens, as the hangout is live streamed and feedback comes in from countries on the other side of the globe. The educators are excited that someone as far away as Brazil, or Spain or Finland stopped by to hear their story. They realise the impact of what has happened. For me the most exciting thing is seeing what happens next. I observe several who have joined me suddenly blossom in online confidence and I see them leading other initiatives and being rewarded with recognition from the education community both nationally and globally. In addition I love reading their blog reflections of the process and several have told me that their blog readership spike after having taken part in a session with me.

Developing a democratic imagination as a connected online educator.

 An awareness of these five areas is the beginning of developing a democratic imagination online – of digital citizenship. These five areas of awareness are like a lens to look at the behaviours we demonstrate online. In SOLO I would call this outcome multistructural thinking. The teachers that I work with know what it means to be online. They are not taught about digital citizenship but through the experience of being a digital citizen – it is through participating in an online project like TeachMeetNZ where they work with educators from around New Zealand and that by living the story, this is an effective process of learning about citizenship. From reading Flattening Classrooms. Engaging Minds Chapter 5, Citizenship, In the enlightened digital citizenship model, the best behaviour filter we have is “the space between the ears of the person using a computer”.  I love this phrase and have used it even with our teachers.

This filter is created through:  

Safety, Privacy, Copyright, Fair Use and Legal compliance. As the teachers create their presentation, they ensure that the images they use do not give away their children’s personal details.  As they mash and rehash resources, they must ensure that what they used has been referenced and acknowledged. From the chapter on digital citizenship I realise that I must stress the copyright sections with the educators that I work with. By taking part in a TeachMeetNZ session they allow their work to be shared on the TeachMeetNZ wiki and with that comes responsibility to their school and the children that they teach. I remind educators taking part about transparency and ask that their slides are visible to the audience using an embed widget.

Etiquette and Respect. The teachers learn about being respectful of other educators and learn how to give and receive feedback. A thought that keeps surfacing is disruption and I think that sometimes in education we live in an online bubble and communicate with like mindedness. Therefore missing the voice that asks us the difficult question. So we can ask the hard questions and still be respectful of the educators who ask us hard questions. In fact I welcome educators who ask hard questions I call them disruptive and use that term positively. 

Habits of Learning: Responsible Management of Online Activity. This section focusses on appropropriate habits of learning in the digital age. It focusses on the students but from my lens I focus on the teachers. TeachMeetNZ is an academic space and reflects an understanding of appropriate behaviour that is different from how the educators interact socially online. Reliability is shown by having an online presence. The chapter talks about the digital footprint and I talk about the digital tattoo because I often make reference to my personal tattoo. The educators are reliable contributors and collaborators in online spaces.

The beginnings of thinking for justice oriented citizenship 

Thinking about representation and flat leadership. It is interesting to note that educators who take part in a Teachmeetnz session with me are all involved with twitter, all have a blog and all have digital spaces that they contribute too. They are leaders on the VLN, early Pond adopters. In addition they have other education communities that they are part of or lead. Personally I call this being an educator and a citizen  It just is. However, they are not representative of the wider community of educators doing great work in teaching and learning – and as connected educators and citizens we must not forget this. The TeachMeetNZ site is still dominated by me leading and I am trying to change that by encouraging other educators to lead. This is happening, but it is not fast enough for me. Using SOLO Taxonomy I can see that use of the space is currently at a multistructural level. The scary part is I can see where to take it to relational and extended abstract. But that is another blog post and that thinking is evolving using SOLO Taxonomy  and because I am involved in this certification process with Flat Connections.

Thinking about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Hook (personal conversation) asks how we can design online groups and teach meets so that the conversations, learning materials and ideas can be accessed in multiple way – do we provide “multiple ways of presenting materials for learning”? Do we provide “multiple means of contribution – expression and action for learning”? This thinking should become our default design when thinking about initiatives for developing digital citizenship. 

Thinking about literacy and fluency. Language in New Zealand differs. Alongside our Maori Culture we have a vibrant Pasifika Community with representatives from all islands. Being Samoan I notice online in education that Pasefika and Maori educators are few and far between. So I am always on the lookout for Pasefika and Maori educators to join me. Last July I ran a CLESOL focussed TeachMeetNZ and was excited to have representation from both groups presenting with me. In Aotearoa New Zealand particularly in Auckland we already have a vibrant cultural representation so why is this not reflected online in our education circles. Yes it is growing but again is still in early stages. My goal is to run a TeachMeetNZ totally in Samoan and one totally in Maori. So if you are of those two groups you will already know that I have been shoulder tapping you to join me. I am aiming to support a session in 2015 during both language weeks in New Zealand. 

So where is this all leading too?
The post is to clarify my thinking around Digital Citizenship, but I continue to struggle. I think the term lends itself better to just being citizenship – to ask how do we act with others in ways that enhance the common good online and offline? Yes the technologies certainly make our task of collaboration transparent and easier to coordinate but ultimately it is about people. It is about building relationships for the common good and we do this by making connections online and offline and in the between. Easier – is not necessarily better – any time, any place, must not neglect the anyone.
In Samoa I would be asked: O ai oe? O ai lou aiga? O ai lou matai? Fea lou nu’u? or Who are you? Who is your family? Who is your village leader? Which village do you come from?
In Maori we say He aha te mea nui o te ao?  He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! What is the most important thing in the world?  It is people! It is people! It is people!
Image created by students from Newmarket School.


Hayward, B. (2012). Children, Citizenship & Environment: Nurturing a democratic imagination in a changing world. Routledge.Westheimer, J. and Kahne, J. (2004). Educating the “Good” Citizen: Political choices and pedagogical goals. American Political Science Association

Hook, P. (2014 in Press). Transport as a context for encouraging skilled and active citizenship. NZTA

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2013). Citizenship. In Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds Move towards Collaboration One step at a time. Pearson.

Lindsay, J. (2014, March 1). Digital citizenship: A global perspective. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from

Make memories and share stories

Last year I shared our story of using the HOT seat forum with our staff at a staff meeting.

Just before the term 3 holidays, I presented at Edugnite Leadership and shared our story with Auckland teachers of using a HOT seat forum on Superclubsplus.
Then our story was shared via TKI on the snapshot for learning.
Soon after that I re-shared our story globally of using Global HOT seats with TeachMeetINT where I was one of 24 educators from 16 countries sharing using Adobe connect.
Now my next step is to increase that circle to a greater audience by resharing this story via my blog and then using twitter to broadcast to an even greater audience.
Where to next, I plan to continue sharing our story when I travel to European countries as part of a TEACHNZ sabbatical in 2013. I plan to make links with other Global educators of primary school children.
Before Ulearn. I attended Pasi Sahlsberg’s session for school leaders. He spoke about the Finnish Education System and why he thought they are placed top in the world for education. He shared his views on equity in education. He shared his ideas about GERM. I made connections with Pasi on twitter so was excited to hear him speak face to face and to hear his stories about his home country. One key connection I made to his story was the importance of first language for accademic success. Here you can download an article I co-authored regarding the importance of first language.
The day before Ulearn12, I attended #GAFENZ. This was the Google apps for education New Zealand Summit. Here I heard educators share their stories on using Google for learning. I made connections with educators who used Google Hangouts but do not think we will be using that with our primary school children. However there is nothing stopping us as teachers using it to share our stories with each other.
At ULEARN 2012, each of the plenaries shared a photo from their school days and shared memories of teachers who influenced them.
Therefore as part of this blog I have located my photo taken in 1972 or 40 years ago. I was a pupil at St Mary’s Savalalo in Apia Western Samoa. My teacher was Miss Laulu. I was one of 42 pupils in standard 2. This was my last year before we shifted to New Zealand. I have that story here on my wiki. I have been in New Zealand now for just over 40 years yet I still call Samoa home. I am nostalgic when I think of Samoa. Which pupil is me? Surely you can guess? Yes I was as fluent in Samoan as I am now. My story on my wiki was the closing plenary presentation for Fagasa in 2002. Yes I shared my story in Samoan

Ulearn12 provided me with opportunities to making connections to some of the stories I heard. Most people will share connections from the plenaries. You can read all about the plenaries messages here in the shared Google docs.
However for me, the highlights included making connections with the 2013 efellows and introducing them to the coreefellows wikispace. In addition when I attend Ulearn I try and attend any Pasifika or Maori teachers sessions. This year this included Janelle Riki, Moana Timoko, Anaru White, and Togi Lemanu who shared blended elearning for Māori and Pasifika Students. They spoke about the importance of pedagogy. I especially made connections with Moana as she spoke about BROfessionalism. I also listened to Togi share his story about Pasifika Learners and the blended model that he used.
I was also privileged to listen to some stunning teachers share their learning.
These included Mary Rahiti and Tania Lako from Sutton Park speaking about Flashing Flipcharts.
I sat in on Tupou Kolo’ofa’i sharing how she uses an active board when teaching the arts.
Other stories included @arti_choke aka Pam Hook sharing about SOLOtaxonomy. 
I would have liked to hear more about the ROW and other global projects. 
I also would have liked to have heard Simon Evans Software for Learning presentation where he shared about our Skoodle Project.
I attended the launch of the Digital Citizenship project launched at the National Library. Already I have begun contributing to this collaborative project.
What ULEARN did for me was to remind me of others and to continue mentoring our teachers in the use of the tools with learning. I am conscious of the space between the nodes concept or as Moana called it BROfessionalism. I also wish to mentor a group of students as they prepare for a Global sharing. From Ulearn I have made contact with other New Zealand Global educators who have been part of collaborative work between countries and primary school children.
My aim is to coordinate a TeachMeet session here in New Zealand using Google hang-outs.

One word I took away from Ulearn was Ubiquitous computing. This is like the Internet of Things. This is machines that fit the human environment instead of forcing humans to enter theirs. 

The message that I take back for my school is ‘its no longer enough to do powerful work if no one sees it.’ Therefore create content to share your stories with other educators.

So where are your stories?