Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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Leading a way forward

We often see leaders struggle to know how to get to where they want to be if it means change from the status quo. Trends emerge and new ideas seem to be taken up by different schools but it is easy to miss the boat. It is easy to see where its heading but have not been on the first sailing. 

One of the most effective ways I see to lead effectively take aspirational future looking trends like those brought to us by Core Education and look at them through an action orientated lens like the elearning planning framework. The framework can be used in many ways in this case it identifies some different domains for action: Leadership and strategic direction, professional learning, teaching and learning, technologies and infrastructure and beyond the classroom. The resulting ideas can form the basis of effective implementation plans and strategies.  

Doing this with others makes it more powerful and well considered.

At a leadership sharing session We looked at two of the 10 trends (Learner orientation and networked organisations) watched introductory videos produced by CORE and discussed them using them the elearning planning framework as reference frame. Here are some of the action imperatives we saw that would empower and enable schools.

Learner Orientation
“It’s helpful to think of learner orientation in two ways: firstly, how does the learner orient themselves toward learning? And secondly, how does the school and community orient themselves towards supporting that learner?”

Now looking at this with the different elearning lenses pics of notes taken

Leadership and strategic direction

  • Leadership needs to be seen to be learner orientated in staff meetings
  • brain research into things such as self regulation - help understanding as to how we can orientate towards learners
  • Need to try to connect learning areas to bring authentic learning
  • We need to know our students observing how they learn outside of school
  • We need to know our students getting their feedback feedforward
  • We need to know our students collaborating directly with them
  • High levels of futures thinking  

Professional learning-
  • Need to have a variety of this with a pedagogical focus
  • Have learners present ie clear inquiry into learning as it takes place classroom opportunities to observe learning and learning design
  • Collaborations with other schools
  • Able to provide access to this 365/24 online/blended components aligned with school learning kawa/protocol

Teaching and learning-
  • Relationship with the students is paramount
  • Diversity in acceptable evidence of learning
  • Use of authentic learning inquiries with real world impact
  • consistent language of learning eg (thinking maps, habits of mind)

Technologies and infrastructure-
  • Need to have open networks and technologies
  • Visible learning through the use of web spaces and environments.
  • Use of online forms and aggregatable data to inform learner orientation
  • Web research to assess preferred futures

Beyond the classroom-
  • Have a whanau orientation - work with the things that have their buy in
  • And example of this is to show how they can feed students learning into their own  network constructs. Dorothy Burt at Manaiakalani has shown parents how to feed their students blogs into their facebook streams.
  • Provide opportunities for parents to experience the same learner orientation their students do with learning happening in the same way.
  • Take the school to the community represent the school outside of the school.

Networked Organisations

David Rogers(link is external) describes networked organisations as:
  • “Borderless: Networked organisations tend to have relatively porous boundaries separating their own departments from other schools, parents, and other key constituencies.
  • Collaborative: Rather than settling for mediocre, these organisations actively seek out ideas from students, parents and partners, exchange information with them, and involve them in innovation and value creation.
  • Pervasively-networked: All divisions and functions of the organisation are engaging with customer networks, and digital technologies are used to connect across disciplines and departments within the organisation as well.”

Leadership and strategic direction

  • Leaders need to let go and empower everyone to take ownership
  • Identify multiple networks and cultivate them  
  • Try to be clear about the two way nature of networks ( the give and get)
  • Position and present clearly outside of the organisation
  • Utilise social networks and other connected environments
  • Make networks accessible to the community

Professional Learning

  • Associate with educational networks (VLN, GEGnz, edchat etc)
  • Participate in regional learning networks and localised clusters
  • Acknowledge networked learning opportunities for staff professional learning
  • Provide information as transparently as possible to allow for access
  • Promote and work with

Teaching and Learning

  • Connect learners to others outside of the organisation
  • Co-construct some learning with schools beyond our own

Technologies and infrastructure

  • Use social Network tools: Facebook, Twitter, Google plus etc
  • Provide systems that allow contributions to come from outside of the organisation
  • Ensure that the capability of the network connection is

Beyond the classroom
  • Try to find ways to ensure accessibility to the organisation for Whanau and that the learning is not solely relying on physical presence
  • Familiarise parent with networked strategies
  • Be aware of the connection strategies of others in the community

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Makerspace - learning for today

Here are some thoughts from some of the Makerspace sessions at ISTE 2014

The Makerspace website describes them "simply, makerspaces are community centers with tools."

Many Schools are looking to provide such a space for learning and making. As a developing trend/concept this seems to be changing over time.

A makerspace may not necessarily a physical room. It seems is to be about the idea that people learn when given the chance to build authentic projects.

Here are few considerations in making a successful makerspace that came from discussions
  • Boys see technology as a toy
  • Girls see technology as a tool
  • This has an implication for the making that takes place
  • There is a relationship of making to project based learning
  • We may be able to achieve more learning through the making challenge, motivation, and application to real problem solving.
  • In terms of engineering and sophisticated electronics we need to chose carefully the age groups we present whole class challenges to.

3d Printing tools and ideas
  • Web based design tinkercad is easier than 3d-tin and would suit students - age 13. (best options for Chromebooks)

  • Autocad producing a new type of 3d printer

  • Printcraft allows you download minecraft object to 3d print

How to get started and get buy in

  • Start something small with a big buzz.
  • Get the parents on board by having them experience making
  • Have a student leadership group to help others
  • Kids spear head collecting

Products to use

  • Makey makey is under 50 a good mindset start point uses the computer as a keyboard. The website
  • sparkfun arduino inventor

Places to learn

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Working with others

Last Year I worked with Mel and her students to design an innovative sustainable toy for  some younger students. I thought I would revisit this post which had been left a draft because I noticed something in the picture. The students are focusing on the from and probably try to listen as things are explained to them but they seem a little disengaged, lethargic almost.  

The engaged photos are first and then the in classroom ones. Would be grateful for any ideas anyone out there has about how to change the way they saw the in class learning.

Throughout the building I was not sure we used the motivation of this relationship with the younger students enough.  The Technology design was challenging in that students are asked to come up with a toy that hasn't been made before .  

Hmm Focus

Some ideas to up engagement are here...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Looking back

I am always in a hurry for people to adopt technology for what it does to help us (to make us better). Allows us to share learn and create. Sure there are those times when we could do with stepping back from technology to breathe in the fresh air and get real. Most of the time I think people aren't: moving quickly enough, adopting quickly enough or coming to terms quickly enough. I came across this reminder  of a survey conducted in 1998 at my school.  At that time half the staff without a computer at home.

We have come a long way.

Posted via Blogaway

Sunday, May 18, 2014



This might be a little tongue in cheek but it points to aspiration and doing. The real world activities recommended create some capability that time spent connected to the wifi may not. The simplicity of the goal makes it clear what achievement results in. This is not tough love this is just love.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Not sure when this came from but it is a nice motivator to "give it a go" and "give it a second go". Seth Godin is my favorite motivator and he achieves this through looking at things in a slightly different way. There is a truth to many things that is not what you first see. When we see success we often think it has happened overnight but

"That's why it usually takes years for something to become an overnight success. The culture changes from the edges, and gradually, we come to answer the question about a hat or a software network or a car with, yes, in fact, people like me actually do use something like this." Seth Godin

These messages of persistence are what we nee to keep feeding our students if we want something from them more than what the standards say we should get.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I learn best

I learn best when I check my ideas with some other people.
I learn best when I can use the internet to find things out.

I am interested in what you think?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What to do with the ineffectual?

When we have BYOD programs and the years pass by the younger brothers and sisters of the first participants help the technology live on. They bring them and use them.

But what happens when the screen size, start up times and processing speed start to impact on the learning of the younger ones. This is another type of digital divide.  Insisting on new technology on a quick turnaround has sustainability implications. Not insisting may just have learning implications.

Seth has a analogy for this with a rotten fish problem.

Seth Godin's Blog on marketing, tribes and respect: The rotten fish problem. http://www.google.com/newsstand/s/CAIiSENBRVNNSFJoWnpwbmIyOW5iR1V1WTI5dExESXdNRFU2Y21WaFpHVnlMMmwwWlcwdk5qVmhNV1UwWkRka1pHRmpPR1U1TlNnQSp6CAQiENQdjNmPALIE6YAJmOz4Qn4qZAgAIhDUHYzZjwCyBOmACZjs-EJ-Kk4ICiJIQ0FFU01HaDBkSEE2THk5elpYUm9aMjlrYVc0dWRIbHdaWEJoWkM1amIyMHZjMlYwYUhOZllteHZaeTloZEc5dExuaHRiQ2dBUAFQAQ

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Staying ahead

Some good advice here about being strategic.  Project management is always challenging. One idea referenced here is moving away from a plan of it never going to cut the mustard. HBR.org Daily: Three Imperatives for Good Project Managers. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwpYO-lRo

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What are teachers excited about?

When a group of educators get together in 2014 what are they finding as exciting.

Teachers at our learning community's open meeting had this to say.

  • using video to capture learning
  • using WeVideo to for videomaking and stopmotion animation
  • using iPad to entice reluctant learners 
  • using whiteboards to engage entice and excite learners
  • using a Google site to track my own learning
When I look at the list there is a focus on the motivational things that will hook students into learning and doing.
A way to think about learning in the now and for the future is to make learning motivational
the following are key ideas in Katrina Shwartz's mindshift article about this.
Teacher's caring and daring is the starting point for what can become a cycle of upward achievement. 

Students in Year 6 are learning about well being and designing a lunch menu for boarders at our school. 

I can see that they are motivated by their autonomy in developing recipes etc. This is a hard process to get right especially when you adapt and change the things you are cooking to make them original. This is where the "knowing teachers care" really matters. Kids learning independently can't be just a convenience. This youtube shows the students talking to a chef and a you can see the learning and thinking written on their faces.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Healthy food for the boarders

Our Challenge is to create an ORIGINAL

healthy food LUNCH recipe that could be easily made in mass 

production in the Southwell School kitchen for the boarders. 

You will be assessed on your knowledge of healthy foods, your 

planning and cooking skills and your understanding of how your 

recipe will affect the students who are eating it.

What Do we need to do next?

Decide on a meal type. 

How will it be cooked?
What makes it healthy?
What makes it tasty?
Name three ingredients.