Spark MIT - May

Sitting here at Spark headquarters reflecting on my day and feeling really lucky to be here with such an amazing group of educators. 

The day started with us sharing what's on top for us and our inquiries. Listening to where everyone has got to and sharing the struggles together is such an important way to start the day. We were also fortunate enough to have Anne Sinclair with us for the day supporting our ideas and challenging our thinking. 

We discussed the importance of recognising those before us and talked about 
acknowledging the work they have done in our blog posts and research. This is the best way to make ourselves credible and our inquiries worth reading. We also talked about how no idea is fully original, it stems from something or somewhere that we have seen or experienced. 

We then had a great session talking with the Spark Buddies that could make it today. Mine is from Christchurch and I am looking forward to meeting with her in the next few weeks. It was great to see such a range of people wanting to give back to their communities and interested in the affordances of technology for learning. 

Dorothy then shared with us two life changing extensions for google chrome. Google Save - which is like pinterest for bookmarking and Google Keep - which is an amazing note taking tool! I will most definitely be sharing these with my colleagues! 

We were then challenged to think about how our inquiry was innovative as it is the Spark - Manaiakalani INNOVATIVE teacher. I was really challenged by this at first and began thinking in too many steps and creating much more work for myself. 
I then realised that the innovation of my inquiry is the online practise and tasks that I am providing for my students to learn from. As long as I am making tasks that are providing creation and challenge I am changing the way that numeracy has been previously taught. And if I can collate these in a form that other teachers can add to and use then I will be saving a lot of work for others. 
I must acknowledge that the thinking of these tasks and providing students with online work that is multimodal stems from the work Manaiakalani has done previously in Literacy with multi-modal texts. I am also taking into account the extensive work that has been done by Naomi Rosedale in digital learning objects vs. digital learning artefacts. As well as Spector and colleagues notion of DLO as “the integration of multimodal digital content items with a learning objective”.

As always it has been so incredible to be on this journey. I have a lot of work to do in creating and innovating numeracy tasks so that they can be shared with the wider community of teaching and learning!
Watch this space!

Term 2 - After a day with the Woolf Fischer Research team

I am extremely excited to be heading up to Auckland this weekend for the second Spark MIT professional learning group (PLG).

I have been doing a lot of reading and looking at other schools and what they have been doing for Numeracy. I have also been thinking about the affordances of Learn, Create, Share and reflecting on my practise. Really I have been asking myself "Is my practice the best that it can be from what I know? And is there anything I am missing that could make a difference?" 

I felt extremely privileged to be a part of the Uru Manuka Review of the Data and what this means for practise. The day concluded in me feeling much stronger in my knowledge of powerful learning conversations, the difference between a DLO (digital learning object) and a DLA (digital learning artefact), as well as, thinking about how a students knowledge transfers. 

From this day some things I am going to change/edit in my practise are: 
- Giving students set class time to respond to the feedback that has been given to them online and also verbally. 
-  Aiming to provide positive, helpful and thoughtful feedback to students on all pieces of work (not applying a celling to any task). 
- Ensuring that the tasks I am asking the students to complete have an aspect of higher level thinking to them (know how students can take their learning further or gain deeper understanding through a task) 
- Thinking about blogging as not only a polished piece of work, but also drafts and work that needs some refining
- I am also really interested to know what kind of feedback the students I have prefer - aural or written or videoed? Does it make a difference to them? 

I have been looking in to the tasks I am asking my students to complete for Numeracy in particular and a quote that really resonated with me was from the Woolf Fischer team "Creating provides students with an opportunity to reflect on, synthesise, and come to a deeper understanding of what they read and know – or think they know." I had to ask myself are the create tasks I am prompting allowing students to come to a deeper understanding or are they just completing the task that I have given them?

Here are two examples of the work I have set this term..

Here is a link to a students finished product of this task Dani @ Gilberthorpe

Here is a link to a students finished product of this task Nevaeh @ Gilberthorpe 

I feel like the tasks involved practise of the new skill and the students recordings provide the deeper thinking. I could do more to provide some transferable scaffolds for students and a chance for students to create their own problems or examples... Food for thought anyway!

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