Big Data & the space between the numbers.

 

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Thanks Laura for the photo.

In 2012 as a core education efellow I  researched Hyperconnectivity with the initial thinking that it was important to travel on the journey with our children to be as connected as we could possibly connect them. My thinking was that the more devices we could plug the learners into a variety of devices,  the better they would be in learning. However by the end of the year I realised how much more I needed to learn and found my thinking had shifted hugely thanks to several disruptive thinkers in education. These were names like Larry Cuban, Mark Pesce, Ulises Mejias, Sherry Turkle and of course our own Pam Hook who just kept asking the hard questions.

Search for them and you will find readings and videos that have a bit of a cautious educators edge to them. Here you can listen to my reflection as an efellow. From my learning I realised that what was not seen or could not be measured was just as important as the numbers. I changed my thinking to the human approach or as in samoa we would say Va Fealofani. In Maori they say Whanaungatanga. My twitter buddy Tahu wrote a fabulous definition here about whanaugatanga and included 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.’

Since I have been an Across School Leader for the Auckland Central Community of Schools I have been the person with the big data focus. I love data so when I knew Pasi would be talking about data I was intrigued. Last year I had been invited to be part of the Ministry of Educations initiative, Student Information Sharing Initiative (SISI)  and I wrote a post cautioning about how we gather data as educators which has continued to guide me and my thinking around data.

We often need educators who force us to pause what is happening and zoom in a little closer and say hey, remember that the machines are fabulous however just a reminder “whose voice can we not hear?” During Ulearn I attended 2 sessions with Professor Pasi Sahlberg with a focus on data.

Those of you who know Pasi’s work will remember his works around GERM, Global Education Reform Movement. Pasi introduced me to fabulous educators in Finland when I decided I wanted to visit the country that was highlighting extraordinary Big Data results via PISA. You can read my journey here when I visited Juväskylä- the Centre of Finnish Education.

Next: What I took away from Pasi’s sessions.

Education Data in general is run by big big data educators.  Big data does things like data mining. But does big data really make education smarter?

How does big data help schools?  There are those that think that the more we rely on big data concludes the better our education will be.

However big data often fails educators. In order for that big data to work we as educators have to contribute small data. But is small data, smart learning?

Big data often uses schools as small data and schools use teachers and their data as their small data. So as teachers we collect small data to contribute to our school’s big data. But more importantly we should be looking at the best way of using that small data to improve our practice.

We have already identified the strategies that help shift learning. But is learning all about the data? Pasi say’s ‘As educators we should trust our raw instincts of what works. Be amongst what is happening- not just observing and monitoring.’

Alongside our learning data we should be focussing on the space between the nodes. The elements that cannot be seen or measured. These are relationships. Relationships with our students and family, relationships with our colleagues both in and beyond our schools, relationships with our communities both locally and globally.

Ethically, 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.’

To finish with (Excuse the pun 🙂

Pasi leads by example and always shares his work freely. Here you can have access to his slides.

Thanks Pasi for the reminder about the space we cannot see but yet is just as important as the data gathering.

 

Training tech to adult learners

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

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Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

 

Adult Learners Overview

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

 

Identify the characteristics of the adult learners

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

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

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

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

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

Andragogy

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

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

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

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

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

The stages of learning

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

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

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

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

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

 

Areas for change

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mooncake 月饼 Yuèbǐng

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Next week we celebrate Chinese Language week. My school continues to experience much change over the last ten years, particularly in the demographic makeup of the school. Our total Asian group has increased in the last decade from 43% in 2007 to currently 68%.  At present our biggest ethnic group is Chinese children who make up 26% of our school role and that number has nearly doubled in 10 years.  So particularly for them we celebrate Chinese Language week and this gives us the opportunity to find out more about our children, about their language and to learn something about their culture. 

This year Monday 24th of September is the celebration of the Moon Festival. Chinese tradition celebrates the moon festival as the culmination of harvest. This is when the moon is the brightest in the sky. The day is celebrated with family coming together and much preparation is undertaken with the food delicacies prepared. One of these is moon cakes or 月饼.  Making moon cakes is to do with the story of Houyi and Chang’e and story goes that moon cakes were one of Chang’e favourite delicacies.

I usually retell the following story of their love.


The story of Houyi and Chang’e.

Legends are like the shifting sands of a desert.

This legend is no different, and there are many versions. But this legend is special because it is retold by Newmarket School.

The Jade Emperor was ruler of Heaven. He had ten naughty sons. One day, they changed themselves into ten suns.

They burnt the earth from high up in the heavens. Unable to stop them being naughty, the Jade Emperor called for Houyi.

He was an archer known for being a straight arrow shooter. The emperor told Houyi to teach his sons a lesson.

Houyi, was a half god and was very strong. He came to Earth and saw its suffering with his own eyes. Everything was burnt and there was not much life, and the people were in pain. Houyi was angry.

So he acted. He took 9 arrows  from his bag and aimed at the hot suns. First one fell down, then another. In the end, nine of the Jade Emperor’s sons were dead. Houyi left only one sun alive, to give the earth light and warmth.

When he heard the news the Jade Emperor was furious.

He sent Haouyi and his wife Chang’e from Heaven.

The emperor took away all their powers. They were now forced to live on Earth like ordinary people.

The pair found human life hard. Houyi had a single wish. He wanted to return to heaven with his beloved wife. She did not need to suffer.

Fortunately, Houyi remembered that the immortal Old Mother of the West, who lived on Earth. She had a rare supply of medicine that could let them live forever. The hopeful archer left to find her. He reached her palace and met the Old mother.

When the Old Mother of the West heard the story, she gave Houyi two things. One was the medicine and the other was a warning. She told Houyi to share the medicine with his wife. Drinking half the medicine will let him live. The entire medicine will let him live forever and send him to the heavens. Houyi thanked the old mother.

When Houyi returned home to his wife Chang’e, she was very happy.

While her husband rested from his journey, Chang e could not resist looking at the medicine that he had brought back. She really wanted it and so she drank up all the medicine.

Before long, she felt her body grow sleepy, and she began to float into the sky against her will.

Because the jade emperor had banished her, she could no longer return to heaven. Earth was now beyond her grasp as well. With nowhere else to go, Chang’e drifted to the lonely Moon.  

She coughed and there was a little bit of medicine left. It changed into a rabbit.

She spent the rest of her days in the lonely moon palace with the white rabbit. She cried for her husband Houyi.

But he was had to live the rest of his days on Earth as a man. Chang e looked down on Earth and could see her husband with lots of delicious food waiting for her.

Now each full moon you can see Chang’e with her rabbit against a blossom tree calling out to her husband on Earth and hoping he is still waiting with a feast for her return.


This year some of our fundraising leaders asked if they could make moon cakes and I agreed to help. So I thought I would share our recipe with you.  Our recipe has the sweet red bean paste filling  红豆沙.

How to make Moon Cakes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 50 mls of Peanut Oil or vegetable oil.
  • 1 tsp of Alkaline water (I cup of water with 1 tsp of baking soda added.)
  • 140 grams of golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 200 grams of flour
  • Extra flour for kneading and to stop mixture sticking.
  • 500 gram packet of sweet red bean paste 红豆沙
  • 1x egg

Method

  1. Microwave Golden syrup until slightly runny. EG: 30 sec High
  2. Mix golden syrup with alkaline water and vanilla essence, mix well using a spatula.
  3. Add the oil and mix well.
  4. Make a well in 200 grams of flour in a large bowl.
  5. Pour in Golden syrup mixture and mix well (Mixture should look wet and sticky.
  6. Cover mixture with plastic glad wrap, leave for 3 hours or more.
  7. Knead the mixture until it is smooth and shiny.
  8. Divide the mixture into 4 even pieces.
  9. Then divide them into 4 smaller balls, about about 25 grams each.
  10. Roll them into balls and set aside on a piece of greaseproof paper.
  11. Roll the red bean paste into 35 gram balls ( A little bit thick and sticky).
  12. Flatten the brown balls so they are nice and thin. As you work the ball the oil is warmed by your hands and you can do this easily.
  13. Place a red bean ball mixture inside and pull up so that the red bean ball is covered with the flour and golden syrup mixture. Set these aside.
  14. Continue with the rest of the mixture until you have 16 balls.
  15. Use a traditional mould, and brush on a little flour.
  16. Then press the mixture into the mould.
  17. Use your palm to gently flatten the top.
  18. Tap the mould against the table and the uncooked moon cake will pop straight out.
  19. Place on a baking tray.
  20. When they are all done, spray water over the cakes.
  21. Bake at 150C for 10 minutes.
  22. Take out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  23. Brush on beaten egg and put back into the oven for 15 minutes.
  24. Take out, cool.
  25. They can be eaten immediately or put in a tin for a few days.

Time

  • I made the pastry skin mixture the night before. The next day it took us nearly 1 hour to craft the moon cakes. If you measure the balls well there should be very little left over.

The murmurings of an across school leader.

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Starling Murmation By Kate Taussig taken in Nelson

“There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom’, the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” Paulo Freire

 

Background

Several years ago, I began blogging and in my earlier writing days I wrote a piece about learning and used Mangroves and how they adapt and evolve depending on what is happening within their growing environment to make a comparison about learning Several years later I wrote about Distributive Leadership and used flying geese as an analogy for leadership. Earlier last year I joined a global webinar and spoke about the learning and networking I do as a Global Educator.  Then I worked with other Across School Leaders in different Kāhui Ako as I ran a webinar for #INZpirED.

More recently I shared about learning at a local school and spoke about networked leadership and again compared this to Mangroves.

 

This week I reread the article on “Discussion Leadership for Communities of Learning” and thought about starlings when they murmur or fish when they shoal and believe that this is how Across School Leaders look like as Networked Leaders. When I began in the role two years ago, I felt like the starlings moving as a murmur with little understanding of direction but instinctively knew that this was the future of leadership. If you watch videos of murmurs you will understand what I mean. If you are new or not so new to the role, you will also understand what I mean. The discussion article referenced “Five Think Pieces” and after rereading this second article I thought I would unpack my understanding of what leadership looks like as an Across School Leader.

So below is what I have written and if you have any feedback, ideas or suggestions I would love to open up discussion via twitter and use the hashtag #EdBlogNZ.

 

Definition of an Across School Leader

An Across School Leader (ASL) is an educational leader and is different from leadership in schools because their focus is to operate as a networked leader within a Kāhui Ako.  Therefore an ASL is also part of the wider community of Kāhui Ako so they are a part of Government’s Investing in Educational Success initiative.

 

They have different facets to their role description. The primary focus of ASL leadership within Kāhui Ako focuses on actions that will shape the culture of learning more powerfully and develop the professional capital of teachers as a group.

An important ASL skill is awareness. Awareness that they are part of a larger networked system and so they seek ways  for the collaborative development of their leadership. An ASL identifies conditions required to enable them to work with each other, across sectors and with related agencies regionally, nationally and globally in ways that enable learning and development. They identify responsibilities that they  have to the Kāhui Ako beyond their own schools and own school leaders. An ASL helps provides access to people, information, and resources. They develop and use networks in ways that builds relationships and strengthens alliances in service of Kāhui Ako work and goals.

 

Systems

An ASL has confidence in their own knowledge and strengths. They have identified gaps in what they know and have the skills to network with others who can support the work they do. They have an understanding of complex adaptive systems because they know they are system leaders and it is important for them to identify what those systems are in order to strengthen their work. Complex adaptive system opens up new ways to work, with ideas advocated in complexity theory which is the study of complex and chaotic systems and how order, pattern, and structure can arise from them.

An ASL helps establish the systems and structure on how the Kāhui Ako will report and track on student and process outcomes each year. Some of these include transparency of record keeping and communication. ASLs work transparently because the more public they are, the more order develops in their work, the more easier they are found, the more opportunities come up for networked learning. Another part of their work is about being data informed and learning from failure. Knowing and working with data helps the ASL identify patterns in learning and track how successful the Kāhui Ako is towards their goals.

 

Coaching

An ASL understands that they are partners in leadership and learning and that they are partners in the Treaty of Waitangi. Therefore as leaders they work in learning partnerships and in collegial team coaching groups with a focus on learning and development.  They are project leaders and can network relationships across developments within and across Kāhui Ako. They are coaching leaders and understand about changing their own practice in order to coach others to do the same.

The ASL operates within the networked paradigm, promoting high levels of collaborative inquiry and activity, activated by strong mentoring and coaching relationships.

 

Community

An ASL needs to be aware of community learning needs in order to target a particular type of learning that is not yet already available. They lead project initiatives within the Kāhui Ako and foster community relationships. Their role is critical for achieving the standards of education leaders in education. Their leadership is inclusive, strategic, and above all collaborative. ASLs are distinguished by not just being leaders for the schools that they work in but also be part of the wider network of community leaders and have a clear obligation to the Kāhui Ako community. Their focus is on the development of a leadership community of practice, and to advocate for the kind of professional learning required by network leaders. At the same time success as an ASL requires individualised commitment to their own Kāhui Ako goal.

 

Networked Leaders

Overall  Across School Leaders must operate as Networked Leaders. They look for ways to maximise interaction between themselves, the In School Leaders that they work with and the senior leadership teams of the schools they work with and their community. In addition they go beyond themselves and cross sectors and identify related agencies regionally, nationally and globally in ways that enable learning and development.

 

ASL must develop their own leadership in order to be effective in terms of developing professional leadership and any form of leadership development programme should operate within the network. They must develop their knowledge of social media in order to tap into Kāhui Ako regionally and nationally and to connect with other learning communities globally to learn with and from them. They seek opportunities to share learning and regularly reflect in a transparent way. Some of these ways these can be via social media, through blogging and presenting. They hear all voices in their community and actively seek ways to create dialogue. They keep transforming and know that they are evolving and changing with the needs of the communities that they work with. The work they do is based on changing their own practice and to develop networked system leaders for New Zealand schools.

 

To finish with I believe that to be a successful ASL I must move from making connections, to collaborating, to coconstructing, to copresenting, to coreflecting.

Reference:

Education Council (Ed.). (2015, November 17). Leadership for Communities of Learning. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Discussion paper_leadership_web.pdf

Bendikson, L., Robertson, J., Dr, Wenmoth, D., Durie, M., & Gilbert, J. (2015, November 17). Five Think pieces. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Five Think pieces.pdf

Reruns and the chance to give a shout out to some tweeps.

tweeps

On Thursday I sat in a Cafe in Mount Eden waiting for a meeting with colleagues. I had caught the bus in from home. Once seated found out that there was no WIFI.

Shock and horror, now what. So I drafted this post using old school as in used a Word document and no I did not use a pen. The quiet time gave me a chance to reflect on the year and so I thought I would write this post like a rerun we might watch on Netflix.

This year has so far been an interesting year. I have been quite sick health wise. Last year I picked up a cough which is just sitting there.

Those of you who follow me know I had a wake up call from my doctor and spent a good part of this year redeveloping my fitness level.  I am getting there. Using my  Fitbit I have continued to track my steps and have managed to increase this to 12,000 per day.  I am consciously monitoring my screen time so you might not see me as ‘busy’ digitally as you have in the past. I have been consciously trying to eat clean. (Except for cheese.)

My writing has taken a bit of a back seat too so my blog is like my garden. The weeds are visible and the order is not quite as strong as it should be. However this year I believe I am getting better at being the the wind under our teachers with encouragement. With our ACCoS teachers I have been there encouraging them to make what we do visible. This year I can definitely see the work being shared both via our ACCoS Blog and via the Community of Learners Facebook Group.

So this post is to highlight some awesome teachers that I work with. I include their twitter handles so do follow them. 

From Newmarket School we had two teachers present at the Google Apps for Education conference. I give them both a shout out here so follow them on twitter. @MissSMorrison1 @MrsEReihana

Most of our teachers have completed their Mindlab Digital passport for the new Digital Curriculum that is being introduced to schools. I give a shout out here for @KishanMani2 as he has taken on board the role of leading the DC|MH at our school. With his gentle persuasion, most of our teachers completed their online learning and were able to show him their certificates. A shoutout here too for our Senior Leadership team who were interviewed by Mindlab. They were the first teachers to complete their Digital Passport from our school. @newmarketschool @ginnynz01.

Teachers who use Seesaw at Newmarket School have all achieved their Ambassadors Badge. I am really proud of then for that because it means they can problem solve any difficulties they face using Seesaw. @MissSMorrison1 @MrsEReihana @Nikki_From_NZ @JamiesonVeni @Reubinai @rushikanz @newmarketschool and @ginnynz01.

Some of our teachers have passed their Hapara Champion Certificate. I give a shout out here to @newmarketschool and @ginnynz01 our senior leadership team who took on the challenge to achieve theirs as soon as I put out the first call from Hapara for teachers to do the online course.

Earlier this year I visited Samoa for a family funeral and had the chance to catch up with extended family and meet the next generation. Another wake up call to be one of the ‘aunties’ now. Aunties as in I am now the older generation. You can read my journey here.

Coaching wise I have had a coach in a young teacher and have thoroughly enjoyed the discussions and the way she can nail me for accountability. I have enjoyed relearning how to phrase statements from her so that the onus is on me to problem solve.  I give her a shout out here so do follow her on twitter. @Nikki_From_NZ. Alongside here is @w0rdsbyshay. Just popping him in because he achieved quite a few likes with his support tweet for her.

I have been mentoring another teacher to take on the role of ESOL funding application and how to use the data as part of the process so a shout out here to @JamiesonVeni

This year I have been leading the Mathematics/Pangarau initiative for the Auckland Central Community of schools. From my school we have Belinda and Ainsley who are the ISL for Newmarket School. Here is a shout out for them.  @BelindaHitchman @AinsEliza.

Again I give @ginnynz01 a massive shout out because again she has been my mentor during the year and has continuously reigned me in when I start plucking at baubles for the team that I work with across the three schools.

I have picked up the role of Travelwise again for my sixth year and I give a shoutout for the amazing student leaders I work with who have driven the school wide events. I give a shoutout here for @AklTransport who give me Robyn and Delia who support me in the work I do and to Megan from @TrackSAFENZ who is just awesome.

Finally a huge shout out to the teachers who I work with across the three schools. These are the ones who now are on twitter. @BryceMills16  @clararosekim  @mathsdr @andyp_lawrence. There are several others who I will slowly bring them on board to connect with other Kāhui Ako on twitter. Yes check out the list here and if you are reading this and are not on the list, please tweet me. @vanschaijik. I also add @JillFarquharson our ACCoS lead principal here as she has been listening and encouraging some of what I say in regards to being visible in the work that we do.

  Members of our Mathematics/Pangarau initiative have willingly agreed to present our narrative at Ulearn this year. I am extra  proud of them. They have helped me write the reflections for our ACCoS blog which makes my task so much easier at the end of the year to create a summary of what we do.

This piece really does feel like a Television rerun and yet writing this gives me the opportunity to think of how much has taken place in our school this year. If you have been wondering then yes I have also completed my Seesaw, Hapara Digital Passport certificates too.  

Where to next for me

I am still working on my health, I have been accepted for the Hapara Trainer course, I have put my hand up to coordinate our ACCoS summary for this year and it will be in video so of course will use TeachMeetNZ format but will use my school account because I can take up to 15 in the Hangout, the team are presenting at Ulearn with me,  mum still lives with me and this year she turns 90 so a party is planned. 

 

 

 

Even shifting is a collaborative process.

nps

Collaboration:  “Kia ngātahi te waihoe” – translated this means rowing together in unison.

This reflection is timely for me as I have been mulling over collaboration in my head for several weeks because we have begun the shift over into our new building. With the physical shift also comes the mental shift. As a school we always address challenges as they surface and develop systems to minimise impact as it happens.

Last week I watched the upheaval in the known as physically furniture and teacher treasures were wheeled between the old space and the new space and wondered about the stress that develops with the unknown.

Maori have a word ‘whanungatanga’. Put simply whanaungatanga is about respectful relationships and at the same time whanaungatanga is much more than that. As we shift let us be mindful of not just our students but also our teachers. I have shared before about relationships and its importance to collaboration.  At the heart of our learning environments we must go beyond the physical space of what we see and focus on the ‘who’ inside.

Recently I was reminded of learning spaces in the new building and how different it looks and the focus of the ‘who’ by one of our students who created a short introduction to our spaces. She said, ‘The space comes to life when the people are inside’. From her narrated video I was reminded about manaakitanga which flows from whanaungatanga and is one of reciprocal care. Manaakitanga is about the care we give to people around us. I stress here that my translations of the Maori words do not do justice to their true meaning but by highlighting them helps us understand the meaning and the strength in their terms. So during the upheaval of shifting, are we practicing manaakitanga and ensuring that we look after each other to minimise the stress of shifting? Yes shifting has to be done. Yes things have to change. Yes some things are non negotiable. And let us keep manaakitanga at the core of what we do.

Keri Facer (2011) talks about ‘Gently rowing into the unknowable future, looking at all the possibilities floating out behind us from our actions in the present.’ I give shout out for my old friend Zita Martel. Zita has a matai title Vaimasenuu and is known for being the first woman to lead a fautasi to victory.  I often see her image online pushing from the front as captain. In Samoa the fautasi rows backwards. Zita standing on her fautasi guiding her team of rowers is the perfect analogy for Keri’s quote.

Wairuatanga is the principle of  integration that hold all things together over time. It is more than being spiritual. I liken wairuatanga to the space between the nodes. The unseen. For example the fish does not see the ocean that it swims in. The space between the nodes can be termed hyperconnectivity or the unseen.

Finally when I think about collaboration. I am reminded of a quote from Chris Lehman  who stated that ‘ Its no longer enough to do powerful work if no one sees it in Couros, G. (2016). With this is I think about the ultimate of collaboration, visible co-creation. So show me collaboration. Show me how you have co-constructed learning with your colleagues. Show me how you are reflecting on your journey.  Show me your videos, blog posts, articles, presentations. Show me examples of how you work in your learning environments. If the link is locked and I cannot see it, then what you have done does not exist. Evidence speaks stronger than words.

So as we continue forward with our shift into our new block, let us practise whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, wairuatanga. Let us reflect on where we have been and use this as a guide to where we are going. Let us find ways of sharing our learning journey and include both the highlights and the challenges.

We are not there yet. The wairuatanga is still turbulent and like a boat on rough waters we know we will eventually come back to calm waters. Meanwhile let us row together in unison.

Reference
Couros, G. (2016). “11 Books To Further an #InnovatorsMindset.” The Principal of Change, 24 July 2016, georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6522.

Facer, K. (2011). Learning futures: Education, technology and social change. London and New York: Routledge

 

 

 

Old School planning or Hapara

Hapara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was before the TELA scheme.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

My question for you

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

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