The tool for the job.

I have an interest in boys writing and have been fascinated by some of the stories our children write around Minecraft.
I was first introduced to Minecraft a few years back in 2010 via Natasha Walden @MissNWalden a teacher at our school. She told me that this game, Minecraft, was taking the gaming world by storm. However I had no idea what she was talking about except to feel quite scared when we were in Minecraft. Then nighttime arrived and I was not ready in and for this Minecraft world. I now realise we had entered Survival Mode.
So I learnt there was a difference between Survival Mode and Creative Mode. Survival Mode has the monsters come out at night and Creative Mode is when you can fly around and see the world that you have made. I think that if I had seen Creative Mode I might have been persuaded to take part. Natasha is one of those teachers that drags me along in her online gaming world. Through her I had seen the inside of WOW and Minecraft before they were even spoken about in lay education circles.
Fast forward to 2013 and I watched my nephew create cheat videos to access pathways on his server. He showed me a Minecraft map that he had created and has had a massive download. Normally a quiet and shy fellow, his eyes lit up passionately as he explained what he was doing and why. But again I was not quite ready with my understanding. I was still a lurker and observer.
Then Shaun Wood @mrwoodnz presented on TeachMeetNZ and I was intrigued again with the Minecraft World.
I started to learn about servers, and about the Minecraft Edu version. I began asking questions about the logistics of bringing Minecraft into our school. I spoke with our technical people about setting up our own server. This year however I have been consumed with Google Apps for Education as we established our domain name, learnt how to use GAFE at school, set up the architecture for teacher use and learnt how to set up and use Hapara. This is still a time consuming journey. So Minecraft sat in the back and simmered.
As is with all fabulous professional learning, I spotted this #educampminecraft event via twitter. This year when Annemarie Hyde put the call out to attend I could not resist finding out more of what other educators in New Zealand were doing with Minecraft.
So on Friday night, straight after school I drove down to Rotorua and joined several other educators for #educampminecraft at Mokoia Intermediate School.
You can find out more about the event here on the educamp wiki.
Annemarie created a collaborative presentation using Google slides and different people added their ideas before the day http://bit.ly/1r7vnXQ
During the day, Monika Kern kept the conversation broadcasting to the rest of New Zealand via twitter and challenged us to complete a blog post about our experience of the day. By doing this I can grab a digital badge for my portfolio. I am always open to a challenge and this keeps me motivated to reflect on what I learn.
I contributed by creating a twitter list of all the teachers talking about Minecraft in New Zealand and that can be accessed here.
Here is a folder that I created and added photos that I took during the day.
Straight after the event Reid Walker created a Google+ Community for teachers using Minecraft group and that can be accessed here.
During the day it was particularly powerful to have some students there sharing their expertise with Minecraft. How often do we see students at education events? So I thought this was forward thinking of the organisers.
However I do think that the students would have probably run the session in a totally different way. I loved the way they showcased their work.
I loved how Kassey Downward  had her students share their learning and then guided us in ours. I learnt about griefing, when you destroy creations. One student said to me that is what I was doing when I left clicked the mouse and had great fun pulling down buildings that others had created. She said, “In Minecraft we practise citizenship and do not destroy other people’s creations.”
She taught me how to right click and put the blocks back. However I probably had already created quite a bit of havoc. We got to hear too from Natalie Dodd and her students about how they used Minecraft. 
My learning from all this is to go down the Minecraft Edu pathway because of time. According to Shaun who came in via skype and shared how he had set up a server, a lot of time and technical know how is required to set up a server for the children. You can read more about this on the slides.
I had my questions answered and more. I saw how Steven Katene mapped using Minecraft against SOLOtaxonomy. I say how his students crafted their Minecraft planning using Inspiration. I saw how they shared their creations with family via hidden youtube URL. His school has a 1:1 ipad programme. I can’t wait to have further dialogue with this amazing educator.
I had gone to Rotorua specifically to find out how to set up a server and the logistics in running Minecraft at our school. There would be legalities involved in hosting a server separate from Minecraft Edu where children take part and learn. In addition, the space would require adult supervision because our children are under the age of 14. I still observe what happens in Skoodle and know from experience that the most active online time for our children is straight after school. Some can work quite late at night. Yes we can lock it down to certain hours but also know from experience is that the children will move to other social media sites to communicate with their friends when we lock down their sites. I had been mulling over the idea of buying our own space because I initially thought the Edu licence seemed quite expensive and I am always looking for a cheaper way of doing things. However because we are dealing with student safety Minecraft Edu would be the preferred option. 
Another idea that I found out is that Minecraft requires a hard drive therefore striking our chrome books out. I don’t know why I had not thought about that. I thought Minecraft was an online game and did not realise that we would need plugins to download.
https://minecraft.net/store A singe computer licence costs $33.16 and this can be downloaded. 
The Minecraft Edu Version costs $22.15NZ per single licence and a single server licence is $50.45 NZ. However with the Microsoft school’s agreement deal I wonder if this would change because of the recent takeover.  At Newmarket School, we would require 1x server licence and $22.15 x each senior syndicate student and a netbook per student. So that cuts out what I had planned for the senior team because our senior classes have chrome books and Minecraft cannot go on a chrome book.
I also see that there is also an iPad  licence that costs $8.99. However this does not work with the Edu version. I have not yet investigated if this can be bought on the VPP store. But think that this could be an answer for us. I need to speak more to Steve about this and I have heaps more questions for him. Michael Fawcett confirmed that the pocket versions could talk together. So the Androids can talk to the iPads.
Our middle school use ipad and netbooks so at this stage they are the best place to put in a copy of  Minecraft. My recommendation to school would be to purchase 30 iPad licences and aim Minecraft for the middle school. But I would only do that if a teacher is willing to take the time to trial it with her class as part of teaching and learning. Like with everything on the iPad, Minecraft would go have to go through Configurator. Because we do not have 1:1 devices we would have the challenges of saving games and a shared central location of creations to deal with.
So where to for us.


When I think ahead for us as a school I recall the weekend conversation I had with Annemarie regarding the tool for the job. As a school we are conscious about sinking too much money into one platform as things change so quickly.  The ideal tool for Minecraft appears to be a netbook, with a mouse. To make full use of the collaborative and community aspect we would require a server licence and individual licences for the students involved. We would need someone to set it up and have a teacher dedicated to be an online moderator.  The alternative is to have it set up on the ipads but like with everything on an iPad, there are challenges for sharing because of the ages of our children and because they do not have 1:1 ipads.
If someone can talk me through a workaround, I would love to discuss this more. I am @vanschaijik on twitter.


Teachers at Newmarket School, if you have any further ideas, do let me know. My thinking around Minecraft for learning is how absolutely fabulous. We all know that learning is a social activity and what better way can we hook in our children with learning then with connecting, collaborating, creating and sharing in a community environment using a space that they love and several already know so well.


Reid, you were looking for a further challenge after completing your Code challenges. How about if we go in together as educators into the Minecraft world and create something for our own learning. Maybe we could create our ideal school. I would put my hand up for that.


Annemarie, Monika, Kassey, Steve thanks heaps for organising an amazing day of learning for us. Unfortunately I have come away with more questions that fortunately I can ask on the new Minecraft community.
To find out more about Mincraft in New Zealand Schools, Visit the site created.To find out more about #educampminecraft, Visit the slides created.

To find out more about education licences, Visit the Minecraft Edu Wiki space.
The big news of the weekend was that  Minecraft has just been sold to Microsoft. Delving a little into the Minecraft history brings up two names.

Markus Persson @NotchAlexej Creator of Minecraft. @jeb_ Lead developer for Minecraft



Eduignite

This post is a reflection of all the times I have taken part in Eduigite sessions.

I guess it is thanks to Veni Jamieson whose feedback to me after one of my led staff meetings was ‘Find out how not to blush so much when you present.’

I do, I get really red because I am not a public speaker and the nerves are just there.

So the first thing I did was research and some steps I read include, drink cold water before going into a session, locate the room and survey before you begin, make connections with your audience, and just get in front and do it. The more you present the better you will be.

The steps are simple enough except for ‘practice speaking out loud as often as you can to a room full of people’. Hence Eduignite. Where else could I find a better group of people to practice on than my own peers?

My first eduignite, I attended was Term 3 2012.
The second time I was unwell, but went along anyway and presented. I was really nervous as you can see and hear.

To present in 5 minutes, a lot of time is involved in preparation just for 5 minutes.
The format is 20 slides in 5 minutes. Each slide auto runs at 15 sec intervals.
You have to know your topic really well.

I rely on cue cards as I speak, because I just do. I have also used an ipad as cue cards and learnt to create PDFs that could be downloaded in advance using iBooks. That was before schools had easier access to wifi. Now I usually use them because it is just one less technology I am organising.

As each session progressed, I am not as nervous at the thought. I have now given 5x mini presentations and yes my confidence has certainly grown in this area. I do not feel as nervous as the earlier days and I am getting better. Every so often I get feedback that makes me pause and think. Like last presentation night when Emma Winder said Sonya you always share some great ideas. Because for me the real purpose is practicing with  a room full of peers to overcome nerves. The bonus is I also get to listen to other stunning presentations and hear teachers sharing their stories.

I also like to see the videos of my own performance and the earlier ones I cringe at but learning can’t happen without a few lessons.

Last night, I did not blush. Where to next for me. The next eduignite is held at the National library in week 1-2 of Term 4. Andrew Cowie is orgainisng that one as part of Connected Educators Month #CENZ14 and I will present again because this year I set myself a goal of sharing a three part journey.
Part one: My personal tattoo, Part two: My digital tattoo, Part three: Citizenship. You can check out the slides on my slideshare account.

I have had Reubina Irshad come along to one session and Wendy Kofoed my principal attend another. Eduignite stipulates that the first time you attend, the second you either present or bring a mate. Having peers attending from school only added to the stress of presenting because again, presenting to people you know has both positives and negatives.

This time too I have set further goals, invite the rest of Newmarket Staff to join me in the third presentation of  the three part series, get some more feedback from Veni to see if he thinks I have improved and EKK not use cue cards. There I have written it down.

This would be extra fabulous for me because I have been working with our Newmarket Staff on making connections with each other using social media. Eduignite would be a great way of connecting with other educators F2F outside of Newmarket School, use twitter during the session and maybe this might higlight too the importance of making their own learning visible.

The great thing about Eduignite is that the entertainment learning is free and there is always wine and food. The evenings are fun and you get to meet some great people.

So I do hope you all join me in Term 4 at the National Library.

Finally, just a shout out for Torbay school who hosted the last session. They are selling cook books as a fund raiser. I loved the way Johanna Chambers kept reminding us and she did all she could to support her school in their fundraiser. Oh and I caught the tail end of their children’s Trash to Fash sharing. It was absolutely brilliant.

Torbay School Cookbook. Developed by students. Awesome Christmas gifts @vanschaijik pic.twitter.com/oYxLoTmWLC
— Johanna Chambers (@ChambersJohannaSeptember 11, 2014

@vanschaijik Reflection

Thanks to @chasingalyx @boonman who tagged me.

I want to keep the connections going and make more connections. So maybe a blogging meme will work.” Reid Walker @ReidHns1
If you get included in the blogging meme: copy/paste the questions and instructions into your own blog then fill out your own answers. Share on twitter tagging 5 friends.


1. How did you attend the #Edchatnz Conference? (Face 2 Face, followed online or didn’t)
I was there in person and online and had the privilege of being part of the organising committee.
We planned the #edchatnz conference in 18 weeks totally digitally.
edchatnzjpg.jpg


2. How many others attended from your school or organisation?
I had two others attending from @newmarket school and they were Anna Speir @MissSpeir  and Renee Hogg @MissRHogg.













3.How many #Edchatnz challenges did you complete?

I achieved 10 of them and that is another blog post. I made it a point of talking to lots from preservice because I was so happy that they could join us. In addition I was the vehicle for Dr Cheryl Doig’s virtual session.
She and I practised the session virtually until she was comfortable with using the tools. On the day she ran her session through me virtually using virtual tools.
4. Who are 3 people that you connected with and what did you learn from them?
@arti_choke  @BridgetCasse @mattynicoll It was just fabulous to catch up with SOLO taxonomy educators who’s work I have read and who inspire me to shift deeper in my thinking and practice.
solo.jpg

I also connected with @beechEdesignz who shared about design thinking and with @fFreemansbayScho who shared her principal’s journey into school design.


5. What session are you gutted that you missed?
I would have liked to see some of the coding and 3d printing session and the gaming. But generally, I am happy with what I attended. I did miss out of getting my image lazer printer.
6. Who is one person that you would like to have taken to Edchatnz and what key thing would they have learned?
I would liked to have brought @ginnynz01 but due to circumstances that was not possible. However because she is now on twitter I know she was following virtually.
7. Is there a person you didn’t get to meet/chat with (F2F/online) that you wished you had? Why
I love science and missed meeting and hearing Nanogirl  @medickinson.
I love photos as memories. So I will say I missed out on a photo opportunity with my TeachMeetNZ team. The TeachMeetNZ teachers have put in a lot of effort and time to share their teacher stories and it would have been great to have that as a memory.  I also would have liked a #grelfie with Pam Hook aka @arti_choke. She is my eduhero.
8. What is the next book you are going to read and why?
I want to read SOLO Taxonomy in Physical Education written by Nicola Richards and Pam Hook. I want to see how SOLO is used in PE.
9. What is one thing you plan to do to continue the Education Revolution you learnt about at #EdchatNZ?

I will continue on my journey of learning more about how I can support  ‘The greatest source of variance that can make a difference to student learning–the teacher and how they share their learning.’ My principal Dr Wendy Kofoed @newmarketschool and I will be sharing this at Ulearn so do join us in our session. Breakout Four A on Thursday 09 Oct 2014 at 13:45 to 14:15.

10. Will you take a risk and hand your students a blank canvas?
I am willing to take a risk and handing our teachers a blank canvas and coaching them as they take the risk with our students.


Who do will I tag with this meme:
Having been involved with a meme before and knowing how it works, I am tagging
Anna Speir @MissSpeir   
Renee Hogg @MissRHogg
Terry Beech @beechEdesignz
Bridget Casse @BridgetCasse


I am adding one more task to this meme. Using my SOLO taxonomy lens I know that this meme is at relational level because we are making connections with each other. However to push my meme to extended abstract I need to make my meme visible in a sharing way. So I have added mine to the #edchatnz Listly and I challenge anyone reading and who are tagged in the meme to do the same.

TeachMeetNZ Interface

Titled: Where Teachers Meet
TMNZ.png
(Educators involved in TeachMeetNZ in 2013)
This post is an update of that article.


In 2013, I launched TeachMeetNZ as part of my TeachNZ Sabbatical. A TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting (in the style of an unconference) for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology. TeachMeet originated with three Scottish educators – Ewan McIntosh, David Noble and John Johnston. Currently all over the world there are hundreds of TeachMeets that take place regularly in a variety of venues. As Ewan Macintosh commented, TeachMeet was never about technology 100%, it was about the Teach first of all, and the tech was instrumental to achieving what we wanted to achieve pedagogically and never the other way around.” Ewan Macintosh.
This article will describe how I developed TeachMeetNZ, the process of the on-line organised collaboration using Google Hangout, the relevance to teaching and conclude with future development for TeachMeetNZ.


TeachMeetNZ
I developed TeachMeetNZ after two years of research, investigation, then the trialling of a variety of online products, with Google Hangout being selected as the preferred platform.  
A small team of willing educators agreed to join with me to learn how to use Google Hangout as a way of presenting, demonstrating good practise, sharing and celebrating teaching with technology. Each term, a group of inspirational New Zealand educators develop and deliver a series of presentations. These sessions are live streamed, and are attended virtually by educators from around New Zealand and globaIly. In addition a TeachMeetNZ wiki was  developed for participants to communicate and share their presentations with a virtual audience.


Collaboration and participation
TeachMeetNZ is about New Zealand teachers connecting online. They collaborate and problem solve using online tools. These educators support and mentor each other before and during the practise Google Hangout sessions. To take part, teachers prepare 12 slides that auto cue every 15 seconds so their presentation is three minutes long. The slides are hosted on Google Presentation or Slideshare and must be live before the session. We learnt that the most viewed YouTube clips are just under three minutes long so this is the preferred length. A three minute video is created of their presentation and may become a resource for use at a later time.
After the live event, discussion usually follows via twitter using the hashtag #TeachMeetNZ. Many teachers go on to blog a reflection of their session, and they can embed the YouTube clip into their blog.  A TeachMeetNZ presenters badge is awarded to those educators who present on TeachMeetNZ..  Participants and viewers willingly give feedback and regularly give their time to support and help others.


Relevance to teaching
Online spaces are useful for portfolio development and fostering interaction and collaboration. Google Hangout is a tool that can be used to collate and present resources, to support community interaction and contributions, and as a platform for personal expression. Google Hangout is an ideal tool for teachers combined with a YouTube account.


From creating and hosting TeachMeetNZ sessions I have learnt that teachers appreciate recognition and acknowledgement for what they do. Hosting TeachmeetNZ has pushed my knowledge of making connections with ideas and with people. Hosting the sessions has encouraged me to give better feedback to teachers who take part. The sessions have allowed me to be more focussed on my feedback with teachers and not to rush this important process. After each session I play the clip back and reflect on how I can carry out the task better next time. I make notes and begin with these notes at the next session. I have also learnt to go through the presentations before the live streaming so that I can better prepare my questions. I do this by asking for presentations to be live before the session and I usually run practise sessions for people new to using Google Hangout.


Where to next?
In the future I plan to host more discussion sessions with panels of educators. Last year I had an educator host a specialist session based on PE and this year I have planned to include similar sessions.  In addition I have planned to have single themed discussions and to have educators and practitioners who can contribute to themes at a deeper level. Some of the feedback that I have had from participants is that they enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas in greater depth. A session, that I hosted at the Festival of Education in Auckland, featured a group of inspirational educators who shared and discussed their passions both online and with a live audience.


The TeachMeetNZ site has grown rapidly and I have now become the site’s curator. Currently the site contains nearly thirty nano presentations. This number increases each term as teachers share and celebrate their learning on TeachMeetNZ. Global visitors and viewers can watch the presentations in their own time and place.


For my own learning.
The SOLO Taxonomy practitioner in me realises that my current sessions take me back to being multistructural in my thinking.  In order to achieve depth in what I do online I need to continue to take a leadership role in other online communities. As frightening as this sounds I think that my first goal is to move from participating and running TeachMeetNZ sessions in online communities to being involved at administration level with online global projects. I would also like to continue with mentoring and developing others to host sessions. The popularity of the digital badge concept may also mean that I further develop this system for levels of participation.  


If you have been a presenter or have watched a session on TeachMeetNZ, please add your comments below.


For further information
Visit the wiki
#TeachMeetNZ on twitter


Teacher from Newmarket School
Auckland New Zealand

TeachMeetNZ Anniversary

First week back at school this term and I was still finishing off TeachMeetNZ Anniversary session.
On the 3rd of May we hosted our anniversary session.
However the real date that TeachMeetNZ began was on the 4th of May 2013.

We had a full house.
@MissDtheTeacher @stephen_tpk@gingamusings @kaiako_nz @gmacmanus @chasingalyx
Our invited guest was Arjana abfromzwho got up at 4.00am in her timezone to join us. She was invited as a mentor and guest and in true Arjana style she had a turn at presenting. 

Time Keeper was Kathy @kathyscott25   and she was also back up host. Kathy was one educator who had been with me from the start learning how to use the tools. She tinkles the bell to keep us on time.
For this session we trialled Question and answer in hangout and worked at bringing in more participants.
Marnel 1MvdS was my monitor for this new tool. The challenge she had was being able to see it from within a hangout. My fault, I was training the presenters but did not realise how difficult it was to see the questions from within a hangout. At the end of the session, Marnel created a storifi of the twitter feed.
We trended again on twitter.

Monika @BeLchick1 watched the twitter feed and broadcasted on twitter as presenters spoke 
We broke the 100 live time views mark on the day and 15 people watched the session right through.
Our first session took 25 minutes to broadcast and this one took just over an hour.

I have learnt a lot about my self from hearing the way I speak and direct teachers. Some of my learning include not to be so direct, giving positive, clear feedback and acknowledging the other educators who gather around me to ensure that the sessions run smoothly. These include broadcasting and helping with training. There have been 38 teacher presenters on the sessions and you can go and rewind their sessions here. The highlight for me is the reflective blogging that happens after the sessions. This is when the real learning happens for teachers as I think about how we can continue to get sidetracked with the product. I also learnt that with the Festival of Education GHO session I myself am unable to screen share. I love the way that the recording was live almost immediately after the session.

Where to next? I would love to run a session with staff to share their inquiry. I am keen to have  a try at running a virtual mini conference. Maybe call in past presenters to run their own sessions but all within a single hour period. Begin with one session where everyone can tune in and then push people out to various groups and pages on the wiki. It would be great to have questions and answers too from a virtual audience.

Finally I am ready to run a discussion as is being planned because I can now operate the Q & A section on a hangout.

TeachMeetNZ Reflection

Recently the above message came to me via twitter from Annemarie Hyde.

Of course I responded with a yes and here is my Eduigniterotovegas presentation. I shared about TeachMeetNZ and about the amazing connections I have made with New Zealand educators. I shared about the site being a collaborative product and how proud I am to have nearly 30 mini presentations available for anyone to come, view and share. It was great to have Marnel Van der Spuy as master of ceremony at the Eduignite and to see her in this leadership role all the way in Rotorua via Google Hangout. Because I was presenting I needed to have practise sessions and was grateful to and to  who spent time with me in a Hangout so that I could practise my part of activating shared screen and showing my own presentation. I did miss having with her rattle snake to remind me of time.

To be honest I am always hosting a Google Hangout Session but I have never really presented. I have been hosting TeachMeetNZ sessions for nearly  a year now and the sessions allow New Zealand educators to talk to each other. The sessions are like being in a conference yet more like when you meet over coffee with your educator friends. That kind of sharing of practice is a fabulous way for New Zealand educators to use technology to talk together.
TeachMeetNZ shifts the focus of conferences because now we do not have the restrictions of time, space or paying to attend a conference. The exciting part of TeachMeetNZ is the ability of a teacher presenting to other teachers. Yet the experience is not just for the teachers who attend or who tune into a session but also for the teachers who presenting. I did not realise the value of this until I myself presented at Eduigniterotovegas via Google Hangout.

Sharing via Google Hangout provides opportunities for educators all over New Zealand to share their expertise with other educators and this is not restricted by time, venue or location. 
As  would say ‘It’s Magic.’ The ‘Magic’ is for educators to share with each other as she did so well recently when she highlighted TeachMeetNZ at #Educampdunners. 
There is no selection process for a TeachMeetNZ session and I am proud of the fact that anyone can share. Generally, I tag people on twitter who have shown an interest and often I am asked if they can join a session. Every session new ideas come in. As a host I have learnt so much listening to each educator share their passion, practice, expertise and ideas from around New Zealand. I feel elated every time especially when I see people from all over New Zealand connecting and then from outside of New Zealand sharing the sessions. 
So for you audience come and join a TeachMeetNZ sessions and watch. Come and see how much fun it is to meet other educators and have deep meaningful conversations. Start by being a lurker and rewind the learning. Follow the conversation on twitter using the #TeachMeetNZ hashtag. 
I believe TeachMeetNZ is something of significant value to the New Zealand educators scene and I am excited to be presenting a special anniversary session on the 3rd of May. I already have a glimmer of running a full virtual national conference because I can see how to use the Google Hangout tool with the questions and answer features activated.

To finish with, when I was waiting for the session to begin, I felt excited at seeing and  out there in the Rotorua audience because they are part of both my online learning world as well as my face to face learning. I enjoyed presenting via Google Hangout and welcomed the opportunity to be part of the process instead of directing the event.

Steve Hargadon’s video provided me with lots of inspiration for this post.


“One world, Many voices.”

Thanks to Siromani for this tweet that gave me such a great opening for this post.

Last night I was privileged to host a #GlobalClassroom chat session with Julia Skinner.

Our topic was inspired by a blog post from Edna SacksonEdna wrote about culture and used the analogy of an iceberg.

The discussion was fast paced over the hour and I was thankful to Michael Graffin for creating a list of questions to help guide the discussion.

I was particularly interested in hosting the session as I wanted to clarify my own thoughts about culture as this is our topic for Newmarket School. The first step in teaching a new topic is to define the term with the children. I already had two sessions with the children and we had begun to make links with what they knew about culture. As my own knowledge was not as clear as it could be I was excited to learn from the discussion. I took time to ponder the various statements by going back over the chat via the storify created by Marnel. So this is what I have created for my definition. Thanks to all of you who took part as I have taken parts of the discussion to help frame my thoughts. Thanks to to Clive Elsmore who creates an archive of all the chats as it was great to trawl the following chats for their gems too.

My definition of culture.
Culture is an iceberg. Above the water we can see national costumes, physical appearances, tattoos and body adornments, food and hairstyles. We can hear language and music. We can smell scents such as spices, food smells and nature smells including the different flower scents. We can taste foods that are sweet, spicy, salty, hard and soft. Below the surface we can feel joy, sadness, excitement, love and respect.

Above the surface is the difference between us all. Below the surface is what joins us together as part of the  human race. Our feelings is what makes us human. It is our treatment of the differences above the surface. Culture is our way of living. It is the beliefs and values of a group of people. It is the beliefs, values and traditions that we practise and celebrate in our daily lives. It is the core values that we all have in common such as respect, trust. beliefs, kindness and love. I think as families and individuals we evolve our own cultural practice to reflect how we are validated or what we learn. Learning about culture is important to accept the reality. “One world, Many voices.” It is about treating those differences that above the iceberg with actions of dignity and respect. It is about communication and being transparent with communication.

Where to next, this week I will be reworking our class draft definition and I can see how I am moving to creating a definition of culture from our school perspective. So again, I can see how I would use the above the iceberg to what we can see in schools as a difference between schools and what happens below the iceberg as a commonality we have with all our children in schools.

Finally, when I frame learning using SOLO taxonomy I use my SOLO mentor Ginny who I go to for feedback. Ginny has suggested I include way of life too and how culture is passed between generations. Therefore the idea from Siromani of ‘One world, many voices’ surmises this. Again Ginny’s feedback suggests turning my thinking upside down and begin with whats under the iceberg and use that to give examples of what is above the iceberg. Those of you who were with us last night, what definition of culture did you come up with?

Follow up, I was interested to see Dr Kofoed, my school principal include this statement as part of our teacher appraisal.
‘To enhance the relevance of new learning, in 2014 teachers will include:
developing classrooms as high-trust environments, where the teacher affirms and validates the culture and identity of each student.’ Love it.