Today we celebrated #iNZpirED with a difference.

#INZpirED began as a 3 nation collaboration India, Nepal & New Zealand. The main objective is to invite our PLN to chat on various topics.

This week we had four of us work together to create the format for todays session which was live streamed via youtube.

Theme: Wrapping a cloak of support around educators was inspired by the work of Dr Welby Ings. Welby talks about putting an arm around our disobedient thinkers.

Audience participation took place via 

  1. Twitter #iNZpirED share some highlights of where/when  you have felt supported with the NZ Team.
  2. Google Draw- map where you are in the world- Viv

  3. Padlet: upload a photo of a view from your window- Ritu

  4. FlipGrids with -Kerri

    • FlipGrid Disobedient Learning-
    • FlipGrid – Collective Teacher Efficacy

    • Flipgrid – are schools too preoccupied with routine?

Participants were encouraged to comment on each others contribution.


I used https://www.timeanddate.com to identify times for other zones.

I also used CIA Factbook for the different flags. I created this presentation with greetings of languages we have at our school and place them on display. If you want a copy, please help yourself and let me know how you use it.

Initially Ritu approached me to host a session and of course I said yes and we discussed a variety of ideas. The idea of live streaming came up and so we brought in a team to work with us. We prepared for the session by communicating via direct group messaging on twitter. I set up a variety of docs and slides. When we got together for a practice run through, each idea was discussed and modified and that is where Padlet and Flipgrid came in. Because we were broadcasting from New Zealand we thought that it was important to highlight what makes us unique in the world and for us kiwi educators it is our connections with our Te Reo and our environment.
On the morning of the session we were still tweaking and adapting. Ritu accidentally tweeted that we would sing a waiata and so I did a mad scramble to relearn how to play the ukulele because I could not find my guitar. Unfortunately I only know a couple of chords and so I could not transpose the song down. Therefore it was a little on the high side.
The exciting part of pulling an event like this together is the learning that we all do. I loved the use of Padlet to make connections and the use FlipGrid to capture thinking. I also really liked the mapping idea and using images to jazz it up a bit.
When we have virtual learning we have the chance to capture digitally what we have done. From the work I have carried out with Julie Lindsay I know the importance of capturing the digital breadcrumbs so that there is a resource for the education community.
From my learning with Pam Hook and SOLO Taxonomy I know the importance of documenting the process and identifying what went well, what was the learning and what needs to happen next time.
The event itself was fabulous and even more so because of the people involved. That Ritu is truly an iNZpirED_udator. Viv brought her facilitator hat to the discussion and helped with the conversation. As for Kerri I really liked the way she kept opening up feeds within the FlipGrid to drive our learning deeper.
The twitter feed was exceptional and we remembered how difficult it is to do both a hangout and tweet at the same time. I give a shoutout to all the tweeps who took part and apologies for not being able to multi task and respond immediately.  I know I did not get to twitter until after the hangout.
When I rewinded the clip, I realised that I had not switched on my camera when sharing the screen so must remember that for next time.
Creating a Hangout is not that difficult. Below are two links on presentation that you might find useful in case you are interested in trying something like this.
Where to next
Soon I will start training any interested teachers in Kahui Ako who would like to take part in a  TeachMeetNZ/ ACCoS session.
Thanks to all educators who took part today in any of the activities and a special shout out to Dr Welby Ings. Ritu I am holding you to that Flash Mob ukulele idea.

Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko

DTlHM (1).jpg

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


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

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

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

The goals for the session were to

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


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

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

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

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

Background and what we need to be know as educators

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

What is DT|HM

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

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

Again and I repeat the message

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

What exactly is Digital Technology

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

What impact might DT|HM have on teacher practice?

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

Positives and negatives of DT|HM

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

Whose voice is not currently not being heard?

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

Why is DT|HM important?

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

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

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

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

So just to sum up.

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

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

Tidbits that were highlights for me.

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

Sites of interest

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

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

Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko 



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

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

Make a submission using the online survey tool 

Computational Thinking and the NZ Curriculum

EduCampAKL 2017


EducampAKL began in 2007 as an unconference and was first held at Epsom Girls College.

I attended my first educamp at Point England School in 2009. My memories from that day was meeting the fabulous Lenva Shearing and being introduced to wikispaces.

Over the years I have generally attended the Auckland venues with a couple of years where I went to Wellington for the WellyEd first one and drove to Rotorua for the Minecraft Educamp.

I have learnt so much from attending educamps and am continually surprised that not enough teachers find the time to attend a session in their own locations. Over the years I have managed to persuade teachers from my school to come with me. Partly because I believe they have much to share with the community. However that is still an ongoing discussion.

When I go I usually try and find ways of contributing however to move to this level has taken time and I must admit that during the first few years I would attend for what I would get out of the sessions. Here you can check out the smack down slides.

I like educamps for networking face to face with other educators. I always learn heaps of important information that could affect me, my school and my learners. I find out what is going on in other schools and I get to visit other schools to see what they are like.

This year EducampAkl was hosted at Papakura High on Saturday 29th July 2017. There were about 40 educators present. This year the smackdown session was live streamed. Not many views happened but I am never worried about that because I know that the benefit of live streaming is what happens after when the clip is available for rewinding. I created slides to explain what I did so if you are interested in having a go, it is quite an easy system to set up.

I attended Gerard’s session on CS unplugged and found what he had to share very interesting and timely for us as a school.  Gerard shared that children do not have to programme on a computer. We can be doing and are already doing a variety of activities that help children with their understanding such as

  • Writing instructions for other students because the demonstrates an understanding of sequencing.
  • Creating videos that show understanding of direction and of location.

He clarified that data representation is what can we do with data

  • How do we collect data?
  • How do we sort data using algorithm?
  • How do we verify data?

Gerard took us through parts of Unplugged 2nd version

He has a fabulous blog that I often visit to read and here you can find some of what he does. http://oneteachersview.blogspot.com/ Some of what he shared went over my head but that is OK because I know what I need to do to help learn more.

Some teachers wanted to know more about live streaming so I took them through youtube and google Hangouts.

Overall the purpose of EducampAkl is to bring educators together in an unconferenced way and the best people for sharing are whoever turns up on the day. Connections are made and some collaborations are set up. Some educators go on to create reflections or resources that are shared across the community. Fiona Grant is the overall organiser and archivist for the wiki. Generally different schools take up the challenge to host and organise the event on the day. Maybe one day our little school might have the space and parking to be a host.

I think that Educamps work well for professional learning and believe that all teachers need to add the annual event to their schedule of learning.

Linked In


I was a little surprised to curate some of the labels that people have tagged me with on Linkedin. I have just over 600 followers in Linkedin and many have attached labels to me of what they believe I have strengths in. I am pleased to see Educational Leadership start to feature strongly as well as blended learning. I am also pleased to see instructional design begin to be acknowledged. However I am surprised to see that ConnectedEducator, ESOL, BilingualEducation, SOLOTaxonomy or Collaboration yet to come through. I would also like to add Citizenship and CyberSafety into that mix.


So if you have collaborated with me on any of the following online spaces such as TeachMeetNZ, EdBookNZ, EdBlogNZ, Flat Connections are there any positive labels you think I also need to feature? You might have attended an ESOL session or a SOLOTaxonomy session with me and was inspired from the session and can think of some labels.

Maybe too if you are in the Linkedin space and you would like to write a recommendation on my Educator Profile, I would be really grateful. 

Some of you might be wondering how I created the label. I placed each label into a spreadsheet and populated it the number of time featured on Linkedin. Then I copied and pasted the list into wordle. I did not do all the labels because the numbers were too small.


I read a wonderful tribute by Michael Field  to one of the most amazing academics that I met during my teaching career. Reading the tribute brought back a flood of memories.

His name is Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi 

I knew him as Tupua and that is how I addressed him. As a child growing up in Samoa we knew the Tamasese family name because they lived up the road from us. My younger sister went to school with one of the boys. I also knew his name because he became prime minister of Samoa a few years after we emigrated to New Zealand.

As a young teacher I was so fortunate to get to first get to know  him when he agreed to be the plenary for our 2002 Ulimasao Bilingual Education Conference in Auckland.

I set up his webpage and this is what I wrote about him.

“Tupua studied law at Victoria University, New Zealand, before embarking on a long career in Samoan politics that spanned almost four decades to the present.  

He became prime minister twice, during which he had been an influential voice on issues concerning Samoa and the Pacific region. Part of Tupua’s present profile is his active involvement in scholastic learning, in his enormous capacity as an experienced politician and man of letters. Tupua has published three books, two in the Samoan language. Occasionally, Tupua is a guest lecturer in Victoria and Auckland universities respectively. Always in high demand for his views as a prolific bilingual speaker and scholar.”

He was our conference dinner speaker and the title was,  ‘In search of Meaning, Nuance and Metaphor.  I was the one chosen to introduce him when he spoke at another session. I was determined to do it in Samoan and so I did. I had heard the term tama’āiga to describe him and presumed it meant like an esteemed family member. However later on I realised how much more of a title that is.

I believe it was this speech that caught his attention because after that he made a point of making me sit with him and talk when I was serving him tea. As is typical Samoan he asked,  “O ai oe? O ai lou aiga. Fea lou nu’u?” (Who are you? Who are your parents and what is your background?)

When he found out who my mum was, then the stories began. He told me that he did not live far from her in Moto’otua where my mum grew up. We shared names and he told me that he knew my aunty Marina and her family and my cousin Patrick who still lives in Moto’otua. He asked me how come I could speak Samoan and I told him that mum insisted on us speaking le gagana at home even as we grew up in New Zealand. I also shared how I actively look for opportunities to speak and listen to Samoan such as through songs or on the radio. He asked me about church and I said that was more of a challenge because mass was always in palagi. He suggested that I  look for one that has a Samoan mass and even if I attended at least once a month to just listen and so I did.

Whenever I found out he was speaking in Auckland, I would find a way to get a ticket to hear him speak. He is an inspirational orator. I really admire him because of the way he instinctively knew that I wanted to practice my Samoan and would converse with me only in Samoan. My vocabulary exploded every time I heard him speak.

When I was in Samoa for the second Ulimasao conference in 2005, he asked me to introduce him to our travelling New Zealand plenary speaker Professor Stephen May and again it was about making connections. He wanted to learn more about our work with Bilingual Education. My cousin Tanya suggested that we sit in the front bar at Aggie’s Hotel and it was a perfect spot because the two academics had a chance to speak with each other and share their stories and of course I had a chance to just sit and listen.

During the time too of our second conference a group of us were invited to his house. My Aunty Marina schooled me up on etiquette before I went. This visit was where I met his beautiful wife, Filia for the first time. I also found out that she is a writer and orator too. Her work is where I got the inspiration for the header of my blog. (Lookup and you can see it.) From her I learnt all about the importance of service as a leader. Filia put on an incredible spread for us of traditional foods and we sat around talking and sharing stories. Again I was in awe sitting with the academics listening to their stories. However on reflection I can now see the importance of always growing the next generation. Again that is something that I now find myself doing.

What struck me most from that visit was the collection of photos that he had documenting Samoan history and the high balcony around his house.

Soon after that my Grandmother Matala’oa passed away and Tupua wrote a heartwarming tribute for her that we read at her funeral. I was so grateful that he took the time to commemorate our own family treasure. I have included this below.

Matala’oa Thompson    (Tusia e Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese _ Samoa – 16 May 2004)

O le matua o la’u fe’au: o le faiva o le Matala’oa e tiu ma afifi.  Pe atonu o le mafuaaga lea o le suafa o le tama’ita’i;  ona o le muafetalaiga e faasino iā Falealili, o se tasi o nuu o le latou aiga.  Ma e masani ā ona faatūtū i le alofa o le matua e faamaopoopo ma aputi lona faiva aua le fanau ma le aiga, o loo faatali mai i se nuu e mamao i uta.

Sa ou iloa Matala’oa ona e nonofo i ga’uta atu o lo matou aiga.  E masani ona usu mai i le taeao i le Misasa i Mulivai ma toe fo’i i lo latou aiga.  Ae ou te le’i mafuta tele i ai vagana ona ua matua.

O mea nei ou te mātauina.  E tāua iā te ia le gagana Samoa.  E tāua iā te ia, o ia o le Samoa. E ma’eu lana gagana aemaise sa ou manatu, ona e nofo i le papalagi ma e nonofo ā lo latou aiga i Leififi, sa fa’ita e ave le faamuamua i le gagana Peretania. E ola lona mafaufau ma e ma’eu lona taofi o mea sa tutupu, tainane ua matua ona tausaga.

A talanoa mai, e talanoa lava o ia o le tinā faamaoni.  E talanoa fiafia ma sanisani.  O le talanoa a le tinā o loo teu afīfī le faiva e faasoa mai i lana fanau.  E le gata i ē na ifo mai i lona manava, ae soo se tama fanau a Samoa.

Ou te manatua pea ia i lona talanoa mai faale-matua iā te a’u.  Ma ou te manatua fo’i lona igoa ma le muafetalaiga e fai iā Falealili:  O le tiu a le matala’oa, e tiu ma afīfī.  Ou te lagona ma le agaga faafetai, o a’u o se tasi o tama fanau Samoa na ia faasoa mai i ai lona faiva.


When Tupua became Head of States of Samoa in 2007 and Filia his Masiofo. I thought about how appropriate this was because they are keepers of our stories and our history. When you read Michael’s Tribute you can see how far Tupua’s spread is. In keeping with Samoan tradition I also think about Filia because behind every successful man sits a strong woman. I also see their time serving our beautiful island as part of our our Samoan genealogy.

To both Tupua and Filia I wish you all the best in your golden years and I look forward to more of your writing and talks. You have so much to share and we still have a lot to learn from you both.


Respecting our learners.


Photo from our School Facebook Page.

One of my excitements as an educator is when I hear teachers speak passionately about their learners in positive ways especially about their heritage, language, identity, beliefs or culture.  I am even more excited when I hear them make an effort to pronounce their learners home names correctly and notice when their learners have taken on a ‘school name’.  I see some cultures embrace this more than others and do not expect their child to take on a school name when they come to our school. I love it when our teachers make an effort to find out how to greet the parents in their home language. This is not an easy task at our school as we have 37 different languages listed as home languages..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Not Self But Service.


Our Newmarket School’s historic school moto is ‘Not Self But Service.‘ Citizenship taught as a value empowers our learners for life. With two of our student leaders we have been curating evidence of our Travelwise activities. Last year I found the group particularly interesting because our group consisted of mostly year five students. We meet every Friday for 30 minutes and basically reflect on our progress of where we are up to with our student projects. Each term we back map what we do using Google Docs.

From a piece of writing around Citizenship I decided that last year I would focus on students as participatory oriented citizens as framed by Westheimer and Kahne’s (2004) conceptions of citizenship. The Newmarket School Travelwise student leaders would unpack what this meant by identifying responsibilities such as:

  • taking skilled and active role in groups that work for the common good
  • knowing effective strategies for collaborative action

The students have worked tirelessly with several events. Some of them can be tedious such as the Back to School Campaign but diligently the children would turn up each morning on the first week of each term and hold placards and wave to the traffic.

Last year we claimed Gold for our school and I felt excited because as a student leader group we grew in understanding of our contributions and meaning of service.

This year most of the group is year 6 and again plans need to be in place to second the next generation of student leaders as this group move off to intermediate.

This year the students have continued to take a skilled and active role with their group projects that work for the common good and again what I really like seeing is when they plan using effective strategies for collaborative action for the whole school.

This years examples included Wheels day in term 1, Brake week in term 2. and in term 3 it is encouraging healthy children by walking to and from school.

We work closely with our Auckland Community Transport Coordinator and our local community officer. I have seen the students grow in confidence from public speaking, organising school events, to writing and tracking our narrative.

This year our Travelwise group featured in ‘Nurturing citizenship: road safety as a rich context for learning’ written by Rosemary Hipkins. I felt really proud because the children do work really hard for the school.

I was nominated for a Megastar Award and attended the recent celebration evening. I did not win as I know that our major next step is the walking school bus. However this year I have Hannah working with me so maybe this year we can begin to implement effective strategies to shift thinking towards healthy students rather than just being safe road users.


The children with Delia Walking School Bus Coordinator and Robyn our AT Community Transport Coordinator