Monday, 14 August 2017

Meeting - Pūtaki Toki

Once again the Pūtaki Toki meeting has left me with fuel in the tank and fresh inspiration for another term of learn-create-share. The nice thing about these meetings is that there is somewhere for everyone to jump in no matter their 'level' or experience with digital immersion. For some staff, they set up an inquiry blog which was a huge learning step for them. For others (who are a bit more experienced with 'share') it was a timely challenge to dive in a little bit deeper and investigate how they could enrich the blogging experience.

For me, it was a reminder about the rich communal resource we have with the Manaiakalani and Toki Pounamu sites and blogs. As educators we don't have to tough it out alone, there are others that have walked before us.

 Nā tō rourou nā taku rourou - ka ora ai te iwi.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Inquiry research

I am wrestling with how to form a really good question for a literature review (part of my Mindlab study this year)

I am planning to focus on my online art history class. We collaborate using Knowledge Forum a lot (Kwok-Wing Lai, 2014), to explore big questions and construct an understanding of art history concepts as a class. 

I am a bit hesitant to box myself in with the term 'knowledge building' in my research question. I guess I want to be able to compare other collaborative models with knowledge building, which will require a more open question.

I am interested in how collaborating in an online setting can affect engagement (lots of barriers in online teaching) and epistemic agency 

I've formed a few possible questions, that you are welcome to critique:

1. How can use of 21st-century technologies and constructivist models enhance student engagement and epistemic agency in the online environment?

2. How can collaborative tools increase epistemic agency in the online environment?

3. How can knowledge building communities enhance student engagement and self-efficacy in the online environment?

Feedback, please! I'm trying to write a really rich question that's neither too broad or too narrow.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Shifts over time and why we do what we do - Lead Teacher day

Today Madeline asked us as Lead Teachers to reflect on our journey with Toki Pounamu. Where did we start, what kind of shifts have there been, and what kind of a difference is it making for: teachers, students, leaders, whanau, community etc?

Although Westland High is very much in its' infancy with Toki Pounamu, I am constantly blown away by the effort that teachers are putting into adapting their practice and covering a lot of ground very quickly in terms of getting up to speed with it all. This is only highlighted when sharing stories with other lead teachers. You are more amazing than you know.

Lead teachers have been asked to put together 'impact stories' to share (and in a way give back to other clusters that we've been getting such valuable knowledge and resources from).

My challenge to Westland teachers is to share with me a story big or small.

It could be a particular instance or a particular tool, that really helped, a change that you've made in your practice, an anecdote about a class or a learner. I'd love to hear what's on top for you.

Knowledge Building video article

I wanted to share a video article I made for the NetNZ annual report around Knowledge Building.

So a little bit of background. Part of my job is to teach level 3 art history online with NetNZ.
Over the last couple of years, I've been working with a model called Knowledge Building Communities in art history and inquiring into how this can engage and extend a diverse range of learners from a diverse range of schools.

So this is my first attempt at making a blog style video and I have to say it felt a bit vulnerable to put myself out there in such a public forum. That said if you watch it and it sparks some kind of interest, I would welcome any questions or indeed feedback.

NB If you're interested in reading more about Knowledge Building feel free to check out my appraisal website, I based my inquiry around the work I'm doing with Knowledge Building and have heaps of background info about the big ideas and how it works on there.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Defining Engagement - Collaborative task WHS

Defining Engagement

Engagement is a complex and broad concept. There are visible elements (what we can see within the four walls of our classroom), and invisible elements(the emotional and the cognitive).  What influences engagement within a classroom though? How do you shift what is valued, or how a subject is percieved?

Thursday, 11 May 2017


I've been reflecting a lot, since the staff meeting Madeline facilitated around the 'Create' part of learn-create-share and the SAMR model.

(Reuben Puentedura)

Two things were highlighted for me.

  • How much of what we do is a substitution, and how can we redesign learning tasks given the affordances we have with digital tools? This is something to work through with our awesome team of Junior homeroom teachers. It may be about identifying one or two things that would be achievable for our team. I'm also keen to get out and have a look at good practice in other schools that have been at this digital immersion thing for longer than we have.
  • We can't operate at the top of the model all of the time. It would be exhausting and unsustainable (This was reinforced this week at the Mindlab when we were discussing change management. When introducing new ideas, leaders need to think about 'cyclical energising'. What this means is that there will be periods of intense focus and effort, then periods of easing back and just celebrating the wins.) We need to look at the Junior schemes and think about there we could design 'Create' moments and when it would be more appropriate to just augment the task, using the digital tools we have available.
I really value PD with Madeline, it always leaves me with an 'aha moment' or just some little gem to reflect on.