In my last blog post I wrote a narrative of my day shadowing a Year 10 student. This was a real highlight of my first term as a senior leader. This post shares some of the questions that I have either been grappling with or am about to start grappling with in my role as DP. Some of these developed out of reflecting on my day shadowing, many of them emerged from other events throughout the term.
How might we build upon the great content learning to develop more autonomous learners?
What if students didn’t all move through lessons at the same pace?
How might student understanding be checked in ways that don’t stop progress with learning? Continue reading →
This afternoon I ran a brief workshop for staff who were interested in finding out about Universal Design for Learning. With a diverse range of learners at Lynfield College and devices now from Years 9 to 13, UDL is a strategy that can help make sure our technology is helping to amplify learning for all. Here’s the slides that went with my presentation.
This year I was privileged to be one of Core Education’s eFellows. This eFellowship would have to be one of the greatest professional learning experiences that I have ever been a part of. I have had major brain hurt, had my views challenged, laughed until it hurt and made some brilliant friends along the way.
The 2015 eFellows
We had an initial hui in Auckland to plan our inquiries and have those plans challenged; then met in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland again spread out over Terms 1-3. Each time we met up there were sessions on our specific inquiries to help them move along.
This week’s provocation at Hobsonville Point Secondary School was Grant Lichtman’s Deeper Learning Cheat Sheet. To follow up on this our Learning Design Kitchen Table (20 minute staff ‘meeting’) was an activity based upon that reading.
We started off by looking again at the tips that Grant has disseminated for increasing student engagement, curiosity and student centred practice.
Many of these strategies are commonplace and found every day throughout our school. But we recognise that we can always improve our practice. So, we focused on how we can scale up or amplify our practice on these. Continue reading →
I have a strong belief that developing student’s questioning abilities empowers them to take ownership of their learning. Strong questioning can open up learning paths and is also an important skill for being an active citizen.
Last week, our SLL team offered 3 different workshops for the Friday Staff PD session. This post is sharing the Questioning strategies I covered in my session.
QuestionStorming is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of a brainstorm where people put down as many ideas as they can, questionstorming is writing down as many questions as you can. It is a great strategy for developing students abilities to generate questions. Continue reading →
My role at Hobsonville Point Secondary School is called Specialised Learning Leader. Acknowledging that to most others outside our school, this title means nothing: the crux of the role is around curriculum and learning design. One of the tasks I have had in this role this year is to provoke staff thoughts around learning design each week. I have done this through sharing a weekly provocation: a reading, article, video that could prompt thoughts around designing better learning experiences for our students at HPSS.
Any of you that regularly read this blog or follow me on twitter will know that I read voraciously. This is a big part of my growth as an educator and this weekly provocation is aimed at encouraging all staff to grow by regularly reading and considering the implications on our practices.
The readings are shared via email each week and paper copies are placed on tables in the staff room. This means that we are providing for those happy to read on their laptops and for those who prefer hard copy to read or who may pick it up to read while having lunch or a coffee.
Initially starting with any article that linked towards our school’s vision for teaching and learning, we soon adjusted it to fit with our current SLL team focus: Continue reading →
MLE, 1:1 BYOD programmes, Dispositional Curriculums, new Timetables, new SMS & LMS, GAFE or Office365. All ‘new’ ideas coming into schools across New Zealand and all ideas being slammed by people because of the poor implementation.
Speak to teachers at conferences or scroll through any social media and read teachers comments. You will find teachers questioning or slamming ideas because of how they have been implemented at their school or a friend’s/local school. Teachers absolutely have the right to challenge the ideas being implemented but so many of these challenges are not of the ideas themselves, it is actually about the way they are being implemented.
Not enough PD or time spent helping staff upskill and see how they can best use *insert new idea here* is not a fault of the idea, it is a fault of the change management. Continue reading →
Last night I was part of a Google for Education webinar on the use of technology to aid learning. The aim was:
How do we identify #nextpractice in the use of technology in learning? Can we take the SAMR model to look at both best practice and #nextpractice using Google Apps for Education? Well, we think so! This webinar will provide some wonderful examples of educators who are working on a daily basis in best practice and innovating next practice. By the end of the webinar you will have seen numerous examples of using GAFE to augment, modify and redefine learning in schools.
Facilitated by the amazing Chris Harte, there were short presentations by Chris Mann (John Monash Science School), Kimberley Hall (EdTech Team) and myself. Chris spoke on how they use Google Docs, Slides etc. to augment learning in class, Kimberley shared some great add-ons that modify the learning occurring and I spoke on how technology underpins our attempt to redefine secondary schooling at HPSS. We then answered questions from those who were watching live. There is a follow up webinar to this on the 17th of June and in the next week a form will be available for people to vote on what they want to hear more about.
I have noticed recently (in myself and in many others) that we as teachers seem to find it extremely difficult to switch off from our jobs.
It’s the weekend at the end of our first week back and many of my PLN are currently at Edu Camp Auckland. Others who aren’t there are sending tweets that pretty much apologise for not being there but promising to check in on the hashtag throughout the day. The recent holidays saw lots of conferences occurring where similar situations happened each time.
Twitter chats bring on the same type of comments. Those heavily involved sharing their ideas throughout the hour, supplemented by those apologising for not being able to make it or for only being able to pop into the chat briefly.
Other teachers in the last break were going on overseas holidays excited at the chance to catch up on educational readings – those books that look like they will help us improve but there was just no time during term. Do other professions take their professional development reading with them on break???
I know my connections online are all extremely committed professionals who not only want to improve their practice but want to help others do the same. I’m also certain that there are thousands of other educators around New Zealand (and possibly millions around the world) who are doing the same things we are.
I am currently looking at taking up some more opportunities to get involved further in the education system and talked last night with my partner about the implications of this for our family. Her response: “it’s what you do.”
Why is it that as educators we find it so hard to switch off from learning, discussing, reflecting etc.?