A Presentation of Progress...

The year 2017…

At the beginning of the year, I was a focused classroom teacher who knew that I needed to change my practise to engage my students in Numeracy. I had ideas around what I could do to change my own practise and hypothesised around what would accelerate my learners.

In Term Two I was given the role of Mentor teacher for a new BT to our classroom and also was in charge of the TA’s during numeracy time across the two classes. This is where I began to change my ideas around leadership and impacting change. I had the power to change the way that Numeracy was being taught and applied Learn, Create, Share on a huge scale! It was during term two that I got that chance to “prove myself” as a leader, (funnily enough it was positivity and relationships that got me through). This also gave me the courage to put myself out there and I applied to be the Education Programme Leader (EPL) for our cluster.

In the middle of the term I found out that I had won the EPL position, which came as a huge surprise to me. I recognised the huge impact of positive relationships with a wide range of people. I truly believe that it was the conversations I had at MIT and with Dorothy that made me suitable for this role. It’s not that I didn’t believe in the power of relationships before, it’s just that I had never experienced the impact on such a grand scale. I am truly grateful for all of the support I have been given this year.

Term three was a huge challenge for me. I was out of my comfort zone and following another leader as they worked. I was eager to do things, but recognised the importance of doing things “one step at a time”. I took term three as an opportunity to build relationships across the cluster. My Spark MIT inquiry did not get the chance to develop over the term. I had to “let go” of my fantastic class so that they could build relationships with their new teacher and came to realise the power I now had in my new role.

Term four, and I am sitting in the front room at Spark for the last time. I am thinking about the year I have had and all of the change that has happened. I have learnt so much this year, grown as a teacher, as a learner and have made some amazing friends.

My inquiry was lead by a range of people after I left the school and the results show that students have been accelerated in their Numeracy. They have had an authentic audience through their blogs and have a positive outlook on their own learning. Maybe it was the seed that I planted that got students on the right track, maybe it was the fact that these students were feeling successful, or maybe it had nothing to do with me at all. In any case, I am so proud of my students and where they are in their learning.

I think my biggest take away from the year would have to be: “Don’t be afraid to ask, because if you don’t you will never know what may have happened.” I have learnt to not be afraid of what may go wrong, to put myself out there and lean on the people around me. After all, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.”John Lennon
And at the moment, everything is more than okay! My students are accelerated, I am loving my new job, and I have a fantastic day to spend reflecting in a beautiful space. Life is good!

uLearn Day Three Keynote: Ann Milne

I was inspired by Ann's Keynote. She challenged ideas that I didn't even realise I had created, and provoked deep thought about cultural inclusiveness. I think one of the most significant ideas that I thought about were:

Luckily enough you can watch her entire keynote here:

and can read her blog here:

What an amazing way to end an incredible three days! Thank you so much Spark-MIT for allowing me to be a part of this! 

uLearn Day Three: Brad Waid Breakout

From Shakespeare to Star Wars - Coding and storytelling tools

We are in an age where we can use technology to connect with the stories that we tell.
We have a rich history of storytelling - it served a purpose of lessons learned and passing down messages. Brad spoke about using tools beyond their intended purpose to transform learning for students. He talked about how the tool is a medium to show understanding.

These are the apps that he spoke about -
  • Puppet Pals
  • Shadow Puppert Edu
  • Toontastic (pic on phone) built in music for the story climax etc.
  • Story bird
  • Zimmer Twins!
  • Chatter Pix - Look at Jen Jones @hellojenjones
  • Write comics
  • Marvel Comics
  • Touch cast studio
  • Book Creator
  • Canva
  • Word Swag
  • Adobe Spark
Augmented reality
  • Chromville
  • Quiver
  • Crayola color alive
  • Atlas Trac Labs - programming robots
Coding (young to old)

To take this further I would love to work with Bloxels or Pixel Press floors to help support and create learning opportunities in coding for students. It was great to see some other apps and tools that support story telling. 

uLearn Day Two: Keynote Abdul Chohan

Abdul Chohan - Bolton UK
Chemistry trained teacher - leadership

Abdul began his talk with the challenge of the laptop trolley - some devices not working, some won’t connect, “I’ve forgot my password” and how this transformed into his school the Olive Tree. The challenge made him think outside the box - What can money buy me? - ipod touch a new tool 2008, I could buy 180 of these…. A sign from above!

He developed his teaching and overcame barriers and blocks to using them successfully. He learnt about the difference between mobility and portability - laptops vs. ipads. The most amazing thing for his learners - “It works when you switch it on!”

Abdul then went on to talk about 'The Plumbing' - how to get technology to be transformational in terms of learning and teaching. And what does the plumbing look like in my school?
  • Induction programme
  • Teachers trained on twitter
  • Teachers posting amazing things they are doing in the classroom
  • Believe you can

He believes that Belief is the thing that changes behaviour. Things need to be made simple and reliable - it is hard to make something complex simple but it is worthwhile doing. He also believes that the highest cost in education is these words - "we’ve always done it that way"

We are in The Age of Change - Bill Rankin

Apps like uber, alibaba, wikipedia - they don’t sell product, they sell a service and this has changed our beliefs - we have new knowledge and new experiences. This related to how we have the responsibility to look beyond the curriculum.
IQ or DQ - teaching self regulation online and cybersmarts is important. We need to understand what this means.

Link to education - if we are going to put technology into classrooms - what is our return? What are we going to get out of this? What is the impact of technology in education?
19th Century Surgery vs. 21st century surgery - allows surgeons to do things that they couldn’t do before? Death by powerpoint is not something we should be teaching! Looking at environment - we are translating not transforming!

Fundamentals of education - what makes good teaching and learning?


Design activities that encourage students to think deeply. Cognitive demand is higher.
Sharing takes it further.

Building transparency and consistency.
Non - negotiables
Develop the people

Rewindable learning  

Arrange for feedback - app called show me or something similar

The wrong question - which is the best app for… the best app is the teacher in the classroom.

Session every week - what is one best thing you have done?
One best failure - what did you try and it did not work?

Using ibooks to be creating multimodes for students - free books from the olive tree

Measure the impact - how do you know that it has made a difference?

We need to be looking and transforming the ways we do things. "Opportunity is high - we are at a point where we need to understanding the global picture!"

Presenting at uLearn!

Butterflies... as I stepped up onto the stage at our breakout to present my inquiry in the form of an ignite talk! 
What an amazing thing to be able to do. I was so proud of everyone and the work that they had put in to their presentations. I was also proud of myself. We killed it! I think that this was one of the most rewarding things I have done as an educator and I want to thank Spark and Manaiakalani for giving me the opportunity! 

I shared the success that I had with my inquiry on using blogging and google slides for Numeracy. 
The main findings being extremely positive with students feeling successful in their learning and being more willing to take risks when working online. The audience seemed to understand why this was successful and questions generally were around how we worked together to create the resources rather than why. 

I am sure that at a later date I will be able to record this ignite for you all... and share online. But for now, just know that it went well and results are positive! 

uLearn: Day Two Keynote Brad Waid

Brad Waid - What an inspirational speaker!
“Engaging the globally connected student of today.”

He opened with his Mihi - what a connected and inspirational person. Throughout his presentation he shared short videos that connected to what he was saying. I thought that this was just fantastic. 

His focus was: What are the students learning, where are they learning, what is our role as educators, what are they sharing? Would a student share what you are teaching?
Brad spoke about the importance of technology for our students and how social media is shaping their lives. A 21st Century teacher needs to connect with a 21st century learner.
What happens with students when they leave our building for the day?

65% of students jobs don’t exist yet - World Economic Forum
What skills can we help prepare them for?
50% of the population is under 30years of age
We are a physical goods generation - are our students?

He shared a story about one of his students, Justin “The device spoke his language”. By engaging a student with a device and building a strong relationship he was able to connect with this learner. He made a clear point that "it doesn’t matter what the app is but it is the relationship that you have with the student that makes the biggest difference".

He then spoke about an online game League of Legends - which is has birds eye view of the game. It has 23% of the world’s child players compaired to Minecraft with 2% of the world child players. Are we connecting with what is important to these students?

Brad then went on to speak about Pokemon go which changed the power of screen time by getting students up and moving around. We need to leverage technology for great outcomes. Look at students with Autism - pokemon go has made a huge difference for these learners. You tubers are the influence of today - are we connected with this?

He finished his keynote with some core messages: 

What unites us is stronger than what divides us.

Live out loud - don’t be afraid to share what you have been doing

We all have a gift to give. What will you give?

How can we make a difference today?
E expression

WE can change the world by changing our mind.

The videos he used to hook us in:

uLearn: Day One First Breakout

The power of collaboration in a secondary setting - Karen Gray

This breakout focused on the power of working together vs. competing against each other.
It was taken by Karen Gray the DP of Haeata in Christchurch.
The school has a Year 7-10 hub and year 11-13 hub with 15 teachers in the Juniors and 280 learners. They run 9 teachers on the floor at the same time and have 6 BT's in their team.

These were her key messages from the session:

Karen spoke about knowing people from multiple perspectives and how this allows for modelling of dispositional learning, in particular the interactions of adults when they disagree and how they work through difficult situations. She spoke about how important it is to work together and be real with each other, creating the culture - social vs. collegial. This is the model for success that she spoke about when building a collaborative culture:
She mentioned that a lot of people get stuck in the comfort zone and this hinders their performance in the long run.

Karen also spoke about the Change of identity for teachers to teachers of people vs teacher of subjects. She said not to be afraid of the implementation dip when practise changes. That this is a part of the process. They encourage their staff to plan which model, what space etc. to be specific about what you are doing and how you will do it. Know the why first and then figure out how to get there.

Finally she spoke to us about lessons learnt from Geese! 

Overall this was a very interesting session - I enjoyed hearing about what Haeata is doing to build collaborative environments for their learners and how they are making these successful.  

uLearn: Day One Key Note

Wow! What an amazing opportunity! 
I walked in to the uLearn Conference not sure of what I should expect and not understanding the huge scale of this learning opportunity. I was blown away at the people, the presenters and the keynotes. 

Our First Key Note was Eric Mazur
Harvard professor - physics - Lecturer

He spoke about life BC - before computers, which is an uncommon thought in this day and age!
He asked about the transmission of knowledge?! Can you do this? and how do you? He said that the Transmission of information was a lecture and that this was not the way to help students understand information. So it is interesting to think about what is happening in our university halls... Are we preparing students for todays workforce by standing at the front of a room and talking about our own knowledge?

Next he went on to talk about "the curse of knowledge", which is the theory that once you understand something it is hard to explain how you got to that point. Someone who has just learnt the information is more likely to convince someone else of that knowledge because they can see the knowledge from a different point of view.

Eric went on to say that we need to get the brain engaged. He had changed the way that he was teaching and was now including a learn-create-share element in his lessons. He would ask a question with the aim that 30-70% can get the right answer. Then he would instruct his students to find someone with a different answer and try to convince them of your answer. After this he would get the students to revote on the final answer - he found that more students around 90% had the correct answer after doing it this way.

Asking a question and getting students to transfer and apply the knowledge that he had been speaking about allowed his students to have a deeper understanding of the concepts he was teaching. Which makes sense. He then went on to talking about a new programme that he had developed called Perusall - which is similar to google docs. He would give students a reading and ask them to annotate notes down the side - students could leave comments for others when they were unsure or to deepen their understanding. He started to use this information and created a rubric where students would get credit for their answers and comments. Pretty cool to see this happening in a university setting!

It was also really cool to have an artist taking notes during the key notes! Here is the first one:

Unpacking Understanding of Learn Create Share

Today we had an awesome PLG session where we were challenged by our shared understanding of Learn, Create, Share and Manaiakalani’s definition of each step. We used The Learning Conversation Framework (Joan Dalton) (page 42 in particular) to help clarify and challenge our thinking.

It's funny because I had previously thought I had a good understanding of each stage... This is the slide show that I worked through earlier in the year.

The day included a run down of what we thought each step was and included, pairing this with each others ideas and then discussing why we were on a different wavelength to Manaiakalani. I think this was one of, if not the most powerful learning discussions that I have had. Working together to understand and challenge our own thinking lead us to having that ‘eureka’ moment, where there was clarity and complete understanding.

We talked about how we could help others to be on the same wavelength and to find their own clarity of the process.

The learning pit (James Nottingham) is the model that I felt I connected with in relation to our newfound understanding of Learn, Create, Share.

Our version of this looks a bit like this…
Learn - “An activity where the objective is to access and engage with existing knowledge.” Broken down into looking at what knowledge a student has, what knowledge they can build on and what knowledge exists in the wider world. Looking at the purpose of the next step creating - what is the outcome of the whole process for the learner.
Create - “Remixing prior knowledge with new knowledge and understanding.” The things we do as teachers to help create understanding, as well as, the things the students do to further their understanding.
Sharing - “Any activity that involves sharing of knowledge. The result is often building new knowledge connecting and collaborating with others.”  We also talked about how students should be seeking feedback/feedforward in the sharing phase which will take them back into the learning pit.

Here is a drawing I create to help share my thinking and understanding…

That is where I am at today… talking this through on a whole cluster level and getting everyone to have the same shared understanding is our next step…

First PLD Session of 2019! - PLG Groups: Why These Are Effective for Professional Learning.

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