Friday, 8 December 2017

Final Inquiry Presentation 2017

This is my final inquiry presentation for 2017. I used this presentation which was created on Keynote to present my inquiry findings at ULearn 2017 in Hamilton. The last few slides summarises my findings in Term 4. I am grateful to have been a member of the SPARK MIT group in 2017.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Final Reflection SPARK MIT Inquiry 2017

This year I have been privileged to have been a member of the SPARK MIT 2017 group. Last year when I wrote my proposal for the SPARK MIT programme I initially thought that I would focus on using coding as a platform for improving critical thinking skills for my Year 7 & 8 Extension students. Little did I know that my inquiry would take a different direction at the time.

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to meet with Anne Sinclair who is an education specialist. Anne introduced me to the idea of the Paideia method and Paideia seminars. Prior to this I hadn’t even heard of this concept before. I had heard about deep dialogic conversations though. I soon realised that this was a big part of the Paideia method of teaching and learning.

I was still keen to develop coding skills for my senior extension group, so I enlisted the help of Zoe from OMGTech. We focused on using the ‘Scratch’ programme to code as I thought that it would make sense to start off with something that was manageable for the students and myself. We set a goal of small groups of students creating a game with three different levels on Scratch. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to achieve this by the end of Term 1, but we did with help from Zoe. I was extremely proud of this achievement.

In term one, my Year 5 & 6 extension students were introduced to the idea of the Paideia method and Mrs Sinclair. We set goals for these students and informed them that their first Paideia seminar would be held at the end of the term. Along the way students were expected to conduct research based on the topic of ‘Pollution’ and present their findings in the form of a DLO (Digital Learning Object). They also practiced having Paideia style conversations and learnt how to express themselves verbally. Scaffolding their learning based on the Paideia method was really important at this stage.

The first Paideia seminar was held at the end of term one. The results were mixed and interesting. The seminar was filmed and analysed based on a SOLO framework. I had a fairly good idea how the seminar went as I had witnessed it firsthand, however after viewing the footage and analysing it, the results were worse than I had expected. One student had dominated the conversations far too much. Around 5 students barely contributed anything to the discussions and one student didn’t say anything at all. There was also little piggy backing, or building off the ideas of others.

New goals were set for the Year 5 & 6 Extension group after the results were shared with them. At least we could clearly identify the students who needed to participate more. As for the Year 7 & 8 Extension group, I decided that they would continue to use Scratch to code to consolidate their learning. The focus was still on creating a game, but adding on extra elements to make it more difficult and interesting.

By the end of term two, the year 5 & 6 extension students had participated in their second Paideia seminar. They also held their very own mini-production in the hall in front of the whole school. With some help from Anne Sinclair and myself the students had created their own scripts, soundtracks, dances, songs and backdrops for the production. What was amazing was that this was the first time ever that a production of that scale was fully scripted, created and performed by students. The students had plenty to talk about during the second Paideia seminar as the idea of ‘collaboration’ and ‘technology’ were two of the main themes.

The Year 7 & 8 group created their mini games on Scratch. By this stage it was clear which students had become quite skilled at using this coding programme and the few who still struggled a bit. The students were given the task of working on the ‘Beat the Goalie’ game which is set at level four of the draft technology curriculum. Most students were able to achieve at this level which was great to see.

In term three the Year 7 & 8 Extension group continued to work with Scratch but also had the extra element of working with Makey Makey kits. Their task was to create in small groups, either a game show, band or game for people with disabilities. The students enjoyed using the Makey Makey kits and their knowledge of using Scratch made this task very manageable for most students. This group also presented two workshops at this years GEGNZ student summit at Ormiston Primary.

In the third Paideia Seminar, the results showed that at least 13 out of 18 students had made an improvement in their critical thinking skills compared to the term one results which was fantastic. There are still four students who still need to shift out of the unistructural stage of SOLO. One student had not moved from the multistructural stage all year as well. Overall I am very proud of the results and can’t wait until the final Paideia Seminar.

On the last day of term three I received an email to advise me that I had been accepted into the Apple 'Women Leading Learning: Coding Summer Camp' which will be held in Sydney in January next year. I will join a group of around 50 women from Australia and NZ to take part in a three day workshop learning how to use Swift Playgrounds to teach coding to students. This is an amazing opportunity that I know I only received because of my focus on teaching coding this year. It’s amazing where a pathway may lead and the opportunities that it opens up. For myself personally this is so awesome because I get to learn about something that I am interesting in developing my own personal skills in. I will become more skilled at teaching others and I get the chance to travel overseas and meet other like minded people, which is something that I don’t do very often.

In term four I am hoping that my students get to really show off what they have learnt this year. I have kept the tasks quite simple as it is such a short term and I need to collect data quite early on this term in order to complete the academic awards list. The year 7 & 8s had to create a soundtrack on Garageband, create an original song and a short animation. They also had to demonstrate their skills combining Scratch and Makey Makey.

Overall it was a privilege to be part of this years SPARK MIT group. I'm proud of what I achieved and acknowledge that I had some great mentors in the form of Anne Sinclair, Zoe from OMGTech, Dorothy Burt, Lynne Le Gros and others to help me develop new skills and knowledge this year.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Term 4 Paideia Practice with Y5&6 Extension group

Y5&6 Paideia practice Term 4 2017 from SchoolTV on Vimeo.

This terms theme is 'Musical Madness' with a focus on music and making music. The year 5 and 6 extension group practiced their thinking, speaking and listening skills through a Paideia practice session. They were encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions as well as piggy back off the ideas of others.

Most students participated well. Compared to Term 1, the students have a better understanding of how to be considerate of others, and how to wait for others to share their ideas especially if they have already spoken. Most are now more confident to share and express themselves during the group discussion. They are more focused and now put more thought into their answers. I am really proud with how far they have come.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

OMGTech Workshops @ PES

Today we had an electronic and Makey Makey workshop with Kawana from OMGTech. He came with a group of 4 volunteer workers from Microsoft. They were here to run three one hour workshops with our Extension students.

First Session: Year 7 & 8 Extension group. The first lesson was a quick lesson about electricity, circuits and how they work. Kawana used the example of minions and how they eat bananas to get energy as a way of describing how a circuit works. I think this was a great way to explain something in a way that our students would understand. The students got to create their own mini torch using cardboard, and LED light, electrical tape and tape. This was a neat way to put the concept of a circuit into practice. As our extension group have been using the Scratch programme throughout the year they were very familiar with using Scratch to code. They were only introduced to Makey Makey kits last term, but quickly worked together to create buttons using the kits and playdough to create sounds.

Second Session: Year 5 & 6 Extn group. This was a bright bunch of students. A few had quite a good understanding of how circuits work and what makes good conductors and insulators of electricity. The enjoyed the mini torch making task. Most students had used Scratch before to code, but did not have any experience with the Makey Makeys.

Third Session: Year 3 & 4 Extn group. This group needs more experience with using Scratch and Makey Makey to get the most out of the workshop. They loved making the mini torches though. At the end of each session, the students were asked to complete a survey about the workshop. Most students agreed that the workshops were a lot of fun and that they learnt something new. This was a great experience for our students. Kawana is a great teacher and his delivery of the lessons were easy to understand, fun and interesting. I would definitely like to run workshops again like this for our students.

OMGTech workshops mini LED and Makey Makey from SchoolTV on Vimeo.

Year 7 & 8 Extn Projects using Scratch and Makey Makey

In Term 3 the Year 7 & 8 Extension students had to work in small groups of 3-4 on a project. Each group had to use 'Scratch' and 'Makey Makey' kits to create one of 3 projects:

1. Band
2. Game Show
3. Game controls for people with physical disabilities

Here are snippets of highlights from their presentations.

Y7&8 Extn projects Term 3 2017 from SchoolTV on Vimeo.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

ULearn 2017 - Day 3: Adobe Spark

Breakout 6 - Digital creativity and design in education using Adobe Spark

Southwell School - Presenter: Paul Savage

Teachers can create an i.d. And share with students. Kids can add to it.
If an android phone, need to access app by looking at full browser version

Digital Storytelling

Learning a language or how to pronounce words. Could record kids speaking.
Everything is saved in the cloud. Creativity is simplified to enable quick interface. Don’t need to save anything as it is instantly saved.

Adobe Spark video - creates simple/professional looking videos
Can create short ads for school e.g. school fair, fia fia??

Projects, click on the plus, select video
Give video a title, select a template,
Layout is very simple. (layout, music, themes)
Only 4 types of layouts. Very basic storyboard available.

Possibly useful to set up for writing e.g. narratives or instructions

When theme is selected it automatically changes theme of all slides
Can select photos to use, uploads quite quickly
Videos need to be loaded onto drive before

Video editor, easy to cut by dragging, when saving it saves automatically into selected slide.
Select icons, easy to drag slides across.

Post: can select layout to select type eg. facebook, twitter etc

Best to experiment with layout, colours etc

Friday, 13 October 2017

ULearn 2017 - Day 3: Keynote speaker Ann Milne

Colouring in the white spaces - Ann Milne Phd

Schools traditionally were a tool of colonization
Kia Aroha College, Otara
280 students Y7-13, Decile 1
Learning in communities
What are schools doing for Maori?
Teach First NZ
NZ education system
20% failing students, mostly Maori and PI
Maori disenfranchised, assimilated into white culture
Generations of low expectations, outcomes
White spaces
Mainstream education - quiet, = whitestream
Identity is formed by the way that others perceive you

73% of all teachers are pakeha
Most kids that fail are Maori and Pacific Island
Who defines our community? Without our culture we have no identity
Hegemonic system that puts blame on Maori for failing when it’s the system that has failed
M & PI need to be able to relate to the learning - what is relevant to them?

Kahikitia, accelerating success
Vision: Maori learners enjoying education success and achievement as Maori
Whose knowledge matters?
Maori cultural identity has to happen all day everyday not just part time e.g. learn in blocks, can’t be timetabled

A critical culturally sustaining pedagogy of whanau
Schooling should be a site for sustaining the cultural practices of communities of colour
The rigged game of education
Important to know who you are, to be comfortable in your shoes, being confident, think universally but having a strong hold on your culture
Graham Smith (1995)
The whanau concept of: knowledge, pedagogy, discipline, curriculum
Established a whanau centre - culturally responsive interventions
Unrealised potential to unlimited potential

Personal Reflection:

This was a great keynote and I hope that it was a real eye-opener for many of the teachers who were present at ULearn. It had the potential to be quite awkward as it was criticising the history and current situation with our education system. Her presentation talked about ‘white spaces’ and how the NZ Education System still caters for the needs of mostly ‘white students’.

I agree with Ann Milne that the delivery of education for our Maori and Pacific children needs to be changed, urgently. The current system is failing too many of our ‘brown’ students, especially when they reach college. Why are so many of our Maori and PI students failing? Why are they so disengaged by the time they reach or leave college? Why are so many of them entering the workforce at such low academic levels? What is being done to address this issue of the ‘long tail’?

I agree that Maori & PI students need to be able to relate to the learning. Cultural identity is important and is not something that happens when it suits. It needs to be acknowledged, shared and celebrated. That’s why I am so proud to teach at a school where we value and celebrate the different cultures at our school.  

I think that this keynote was great because it raised awareness that this is an issue that cannot be swept under the carpet and ignored. Open discussions need to take place and needs to be encouraged from a whanau, school, community and national level. Furthermore, realistic solutions need to be created to help alleviate the problem.

The saying ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’ reminds me that a country or society will only be strong if all members of society are treated, nurtured, strengthened, valued and recognised equally.

ULearn 2017 - Day 3: Coding and storytelling tools

From Shakespeare to Star Wars – Coding and storytelling tools
Presenter: Brad Waid

During this presentation, Brad Waid shared many great apps for bringing learning to life for students through cool storytelling tools. He also shared some great sites for coding programmes.

Storytelling is a superpower that we all possess
Tools: books, tv, movies, commercials
Walt Disney - master storyteller
Dr Seuss, Stan Lee, George Lucas
Popular TV shows - we can relate to the characters, humour, scenery/location, drama, storyline,
Puppet Pals, Shadow Puppert Edu
Music is powerful to tell a story
Select a scene, characters
Story Bird
Zimmer Twins
Chatter Pix - animate and bring anything to life
Write Comics
Using tool is just a medium to show understanding. Can students apply what has been learnt/taught in another medium?
Marvel Comics
Touchcast Studio - can use with greenscreen
Morning announcements - students can do daily broadcasts
Book Creator - create ebooks
Canva - graphic design tool. Simpler version of photoshop.
Adobe Spark
Action Movie FX

Chromville - can colour in a character, scan and bring to life
Quiver and quiver education
Crayola Color Alive - bring characters to life
Tools can leverage power of technology to engage students
Atlas Trac Labs - programming robots

Kodable - Junior kids level
Tynker - using lines of code like Scratch
Pixel Press Floors - robust, free, students program and code with their hands first, draw own video game, symbols represent a piece of coding. Scan drawing and digitise drawing. Students can upload games for others to play.
Bloxels - 21st century programming - hands on and digital
Blocks of colour, dropped into board, scanned and then digitised. Can create characters, villains, kids create and then play.
Cospaces - year 4 up
Box island
Game froot
Piktochart similar to canva - year 5 up
Tale blazer
Explain everything
Pixar on a box
Kahoot - interactive quiz tool
See Saw app
This was a really cool presentation just to see what the most popular apps and programmes were being used for educational purposes.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

ULearn 2017 - Day 2: Keynote Speaker Abdul Chohan

Abdul Chohan - The Olive Tree Primary School

Background teaching chemistry

2008 ipod touch. Bought a set for school. Discovered difference between mobility vs portability. (Mobility means that information can be accessed from any device e.g. info is not just stored on your laptop only. Cloud computing allows for true mobility rather than just portability)

Focus on plumbing e.g. infrastructure etc
Teachers use twitter to post learning/teaching, use hashtags
‘Believe You Can’ - students must have belief in what’s possible
Teaching approach is different, but biggest focus is ‘Belief’

How to change belief:
  1. Simple
  2. Reliable

Powerful when children are creating and making. Lessons were planned and organised differently. Activities were designed to allow strategic thinking. E.g. Water Cycle by using playdough, animating using an app etc. Cognitive demand on students increases. When learning is shared, more time is invested in making sure that the quality of the product is acceptable.
SAMR model - expecting students to think/work at the modification level.
The biggest problem is schools is the lack of consistency.
Building consistency: Relationships, The non-negotiables, develop the people

Photo of students work - teachers can give voice feedback to help students improve work
Reflections around learning, successes and failures
All teachers are Apple Certified - showed teachers how they could use apps to do things
All teachers have learnt Swift coding, feel that computational thinking is something that is quite key and is something that is becoming very relevant. Not many people understand it.

Coding is introduced at the age of 5. Not using blocks but lines of code.
68% of students enter school 2 years behind their peers. But within 6 months students most students have caught up.
Showbie and itunes U

What’s really important is the bread and butter of teaching and learning, not all about tech.

ULearn 2017 - Day 2: Cultural Inclusiveness

Cultural Inclusiveness in a mainstream setting - Breakout 5

Presenters: Bruce Jepsen (Principal)
                   Tane Bennet (DP)
Te Akau ki Papamoa School (Tauranga)

Mihi to start from presenters to share their backgrounds.
School has doubled in last 10 years.
Papamoa is fastest growing region in area.
One to one digital school. Apple distinguished school.
Digital integrated school.
40% Maori students. 9 years ago they were a failing school.
Decided to take a culturally inclusive approach. Use programmes on ipad e.g. keynote.
Tech is a tool, not a distraction
Now is top 2% of achieving schools in the country. All teachers are apple recognised teachers.
Do all own PD to build capacity of teachers.
DP (Paula Jamieson) also runs a maker space, coding, robotics
Every child has an ipad provided by the school

School roll = 600-700 students
Teacher needs to have an understanding of child’s culture. Students feel good about it if their culture is acknowledged.

Radio station has been the driver behind Te Reo Maori.
Te reo maori taught on a daily basis for the past 6 years - based around identity and language.
Stats show that almost half of Maori students (48%) will achieve less than level 2 NCEA when they leave school

What is your vision for their future?
Disproportionate failure of Maori students
Teachers make the greatest impact

Self identity is important, especially for urban Maori. Do they know where they come from?
Displaced. Relationships are important.
Maori student achievement is the priority
Set high expectations

Leadership e.g. board, clear vision, goal is to raise Maori achievement

Vision: Identity, Culture, Maori achievement
A non threatening culture is critical
Identity: on enrolment kids culture/iwi is identified. Barrier = some parents did not list where they were from. Sense of belonging is important. 32 different iwi, biggest group is Nga Puhi.
Map of NZ and names of families from diff areas/iwi. New students are connected to other students who come from that area.

All students reconnect including non-Maori.
Send letter to each iwi to acknowledge identity of child.

Great breakout. Not about the tech that appealed to me but the about the lengths to which they are inclusive of culture and are passionate about raising achievement for Maori.
Radio TAKP FM Radio. Lessons in class to learn language.
Students can call into the radio station with a question live. Live radio feed across the school.
Non maori are embracing culture
school/child created apps on ipad

“The culture of the child can not enter the classroom until it enters the consciousness of the teacher”

ULearn 2017 - Day 2: SPARK MIT Presentation

On Day 2 of ULearn 2017 our SPARK MIT group presented at ULearn in Hamilton at the Claudelands event centre. Dorothy Burt had already set up the main presentation which appeared on a gigantic screen. We were given a briefing about the order of our presentations and a quick reminder that the audience would be given time to ask questions after every speaker. Each presentation would be delivered in the style of an ignite talk which meant that we would have 20 slides at 20 seconds each.

I was first up after Dorothy's presentation. I was confident that my presentation would be ok because I had already delivered much of the same information earlier at the Manaiakalani Hui. The main focus of my inquiry was about my experience with the use of the Paideia Seminars and my Year 5 & 6 Extension group. My goal was to use the Paideia method to improve critical thinking skills.

At the end of my presentation the floor was opened to the audience to ask questions. One of the questions asked was 'Why did you decide to use the Paideia method with your students?' My answer referred to the fact that we have many Maori and Pacific Island students at our school and that developing oral language skills was a key skill that needed to be developed amongst our students. Another question was 'How did I assess the students using SOLO?' In my reply I talked about the fact that the Paideia seminars were videoed so that I could analyse the footage and what the students said. I could then plot the answers according to the types of responses that the students had. This determined where the students sat on the SOLO framework in regards to their level of thinking.

After my presentation and question and answer session, the other SPARK MIT teachers delivered their presentations. Each of them spoke about their inquiries and findings which were all quite impressive. Angela was the only other teacher from Pt England, Dot and Hinerau were from Tamaki College, Troy was from Papakura College, Kelsey was from a cluster in Christchurch and Alicia was from a cluster in Northland.

Overall I think that the SPARK MIT group of 2017 did a great job. We all connected well with each other and enjoyed our ULearn experience. Thanks to SPARK and Manaiakalani for supporting us and for providing us with this experience. I am also really grateful to the help, guidance and support that I received from Anne Sinclair throughout my inquiry this year.