Saturday, 7 June 2014

Digital Learning

As a part of being a MIT (Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher) we were asked by Telecom to front a movie showcasing learning in our schools.
It was a very difficult task trying to articulate exactly what it is we do in a 30minute interview - so the cameras came to school.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Create and ReCreate

A culture of creation and reflection in a classroom, I believe, leads to true understanding of the learning process and how best each individual responds to new ideas and challenges.
In young learners, this happens many times a day and in many situations. As simple as when drawing, trying to spell a new word or tie a shoelace. Through to the more complex tasks of crafting an effective story, creating an appealing movie or writing a new song to share learning.

Each occasion calls for learning and it's our job to recognise those moments and build in the reflective thought and language until it becomes an innate experience.

I watched a 6yr old show me how she had learnt to copy and paste in Kidpix to make 2 of the same picture. After successfully copying and pasting her image, she quickly realised that the original image had been too big and there was no space on the page for the copy. Without hesitation, she realised what she had done and said "Oh, it's too big, I can do that again and get it right this time."
I asked her what she would do and how it would be better second time around.
 "I'll just have to make my picture smaller first, so that when I paste there'll be room for two pictures."

Not only are our students learning how to create great pieces of art, amazing stories, fascinating animations or solve complex problems, these tasks teach them about how to learn. A skill that will serve a greater purpose than any other.
These learners will always have learning at the forefront if they are encouraged to create, reflect, re-create and refine.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

A Mid Year Reflection

I have spent the better part of today reflecting on my students and where they have come from this year as I write their mid year progress reports. It seems like the perfect time to reflect on the process and learning that we have all gone through this year.

What have we learnt:

  • How NOT to set up tablet devices.
  • How young students take to an online learning environment.
  • How strong a role the Key Competencies play in the classroom and in learning.
  • How articulate young learners can be when given the opportunity to talk about learning.
What are we still working on.
  • The best way to set up tablet devices.
  • How can we encourage young learners to fully engage in an online learning environment?
  • How far can we entrench and use the Key Competencies to even further support learning?
  • How much more can these young kids surprise and encourage me as we talk about learning?
Major Successes
  • Week 2 Term 2. A child before school was using their Chromebook and remarked to a friend. "Look at our class site, I can see what we are learning today and what I can do for my learning."  5 other students gathered around to look and remarked that they too could "see what they are doing today."  Up till this point, despite being shown and told numerous times a day, the learners had yet to engage with the fact that a class site held that information 24/7 -  since day one of school.
  • Week 4 Term 2. I remarked to a student that I had noticed they were more engaged and participatory in class and that it was such a good thing to hear their ideas. He replied "Yeah Miss, I realised that when I listened and joined in I knew what to do and learnt more. School is fun and easier when I participate, contribute and relate well to others."
I can feel that we are beginning to emerge from the learning pit and are truly developing strategies, ideas and new, exciting ways to learn. 
Our next learning steps, as a whole class, is to delve much further into the idea of exploring our learning and taking it to that place where curiosity resides and thrives.