Learning Spaces Aotearoa

Last week, I attended the first Learning Spaces Aotearoa conference put on by Learning Environments New Zealand (thanks to winning a ticket through their facebook page). It was a really inspiring day and the conversations were slightly different than normal edu conferences because of the mix of people present – teachers, Ministry and architects. Across the speakers I heard, conversations I had and the site visits that I experienced, there were some key themes to emerge from the day.

Welby Ings opened the conference with a provocative keynote, with key points that resonated across the rest of the day. By the end of our schooling, students have learned in more than 30 formal classroom spaces all of which impact our cognitive, social and emotional reactions to learning. As people are neurodiverse, we will all interpret and process information differently within these spaces. Welby set out 3 key themes to consider when designing learning spaces, which apply whether it is a traditional 4 walled classroom or a newly built innovative learning environment. Continue reading

Teaching as Inquiry

This is the next post in my series on effective pedagogy from the 2007 New Zealand Curriculum. These have all been written for the purposes of provoking thinking at Lynfield College.

The 2007 New Zealand Curriculum introduced Teaching as Inquiry as an important teacher practice. It stated “Since any teaching strategy works differently in different contexts for different students, effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students.” (NZC, pg 35)

This is supported by Graham Nuthall’s (Hidden Lives of Learners) research that showed how students assimilate new information differently because of their prior learning and experiences. It also links well with the adage: “Just because you have taught something, doesn’t mean the students have learned something.” Essentially, we should be taking notice of how each individual learner is progressing through their learning programmes.

The NZC then set out the following diagram as to how this inquiry could be visualised:

Continue reading

Starting Collaborative Inquiries

When I arrived at Lynfield College last year I found a school with a very strong Teaching as Inquiry culture. All teachers across the school were inquiring into the impact that their teaching was having on their students. This was enabled by some great scaffolded templates to help teachers who were newer to the process and time was built into the meeting schedule to help these inquiries progress.

Continue reading

A Breath of Fresh PD

Last month I went to 2 conferences: I started April at the Teach Tech Play Conference and ended it at Energise 2017. These two events were such a breath of fresh air.

Admittedly, the locations were a major help. Teach Tech Play was in Melbourne so I got to have a weekend exploring there before the conference started. And Energise 2017 was in Queenstown, where I didn’t have extra days to explore but the scenery was amazing enough at the venue:

These different locations also meant that the teachers at the conferences were a different group than I regularly see at conferences in the upper half of the North Island. This means that I got to meet lots of educators that I knew through twitter and also to meet new faces that I hadn’t interacted with before. (A special shout out here to Rachel Chisnall who I met face to face for the first time the night before we presented a workshop together – led to great opening lines about welcome to our workshop, we met online). Now, I really like the crew of educators that I have got to know over the years at local events, but it was great to break out of that chamber and interact with different people for a change. Continue reading

Neuroscience & Adolescence

This afternoon we were privileged to have Nathan Mikaere Wallis at school to talk with us (our staff plus some staff from other schools in our CoL) about neuroscience. This post is sharing my notes from the session (so please ignore grammatical errors etc. as Nathan is highly entertaining and moves at great pace!).

 

He is a highly entertaining speaker and the 2 hour session sped by. If you get the chance to see Nathan seak, then make sure you take it!

Nathan said we were trying to cover 6 hours of material in 2 hours. So, here are my notes to summarise it even further. Some of my thoughts on the implications of all of this follow at the end. Continue reading

Ponderings

 

If new technology is used in the same way as old technology, the pedagogy ‘wineskin’ is likely to fail

Steve Wheeler – Learning with ‘e’s

 

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

Introduction to Universal Design for Learning

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.

#edchatnz Reading Room

Last year I shared a weekly reading with staff at my school to provoke thinking. As this was quite successful and lead to many great discussions, my good friend & #edchatnz founder Danielle Myburgh has asked me to share a weekly reading for #edchatnz. I hope that many of you will join us in the #edchatnz Reading Room this year, reading, sharing and commenting so we can all push our thinking forward together.

Also, if you read anything mind blowing, please share it with me so I can feature it!

A Key to Great PD?

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

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.

Aside from this though, were other great experiences.  Continue reading

Deeper Learning

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.

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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