Sunday, 28 June 2020

ULearn17 - Day Two - Thursday

I just found this in my drafts folder - Has some good links so I'll publish it now - just a few years down the track!!!

These are my notes from day two of ULearn. They are just notes and may not always make sense, but feel free to ask for more information. 

Keynote - Brad Waid @techbradwaid

Engaging the "Globally" connected student of today

One thing I noticed was the amount of clips he used in here - all worth the watch!
Augmented Reality found it in lots of things but not education. It engaged students.
If something resonates with you-share it.
 Think about the first time you did something. Now there is a helpdesk for everything.
 Scrolls to books video - had to laugh as it shows the Manual uses the same tool as learning
The role of the teacher has changed-have we?
21 century teacher has to connect with 21 century learner
 Would they share what we are teaching on social media?
 "I took a picture of the lesson and tweeted it" 15 yr old boy - that's great.
 Are we preparing them for their future or our future?
 He needed to understand what was going on outside of education to know what to teach.
 65% of students entering school today will be in jobs that don't exist yet.
 You never know what will change a student's life
 cargobot app " The device spoke his language" and got a previously selective mute student talking
 If doesn't matter what the tool is. They will always change - it's about relationships .That will never change
social media video - Eric Qualman Social Media revolution
 50% of the population are under 30
Twitter. There was a tweet on an earthquake that got to another area before they felt it. News - you can get information right now
We are a 'physical' goods generation
League of legends-world champs in Asia are huge
Mine craft VS League of hr Minecraft 1.97 kids %  League of legends 22.92% Huge impact on our kids.
Pokemon Go took the power of screen time. First time it got kids up and moving
They put the stops on Monuments and parks and libraries. This shows we can leverage the tech for great outcomes
Autistic children engaged
How do we make a difference?
 The most important thing is how we treat people
 Coke did a social experiment with India is Pakistan to bring closer together  Coca-Cola Small WorldMachines - Bringing India & Pakistan Together
 We need to be learners ourselves:
Brought up with you win or you lose, but really you fail, fail, fail, fail, then win
Commercial about learning to read. New Bell's South Africa TV Ad -- The Reader
 @kevinhoneycutt "Live out loud"
One thing that you have been doing for years could be one thing that makes a huge difference for someone else
 We all have a gift to give
 1st. Teaching
 2nd. Sharing messages
How do you share it to benefit students.
 What does the world need?
 The purpose of life is to discover your gift
 The meaning of life is to give it away.

Toys that teach computational thinking

Presenter: Tim Carr, Fay Cobbett 

Mind kits -The Education, 3D Printing and Electronics Specialists
Find tools that we can roll out and not have to have lots of knowledge
Challenge is to find the toys that have longevity and good learning outcomes
The future of employment graph - the black is how many now, the white is what is left once robots take our jobs - see the full report here
How do we avoid having our job replaced?
What can we have that's fun, kinesthetic and in the budget
Edison - lego compatible and can also use Python as well as block code 
Rapid Router - free tool for coding 
String across assembly, used a robot across with a gopro underneath to video the students
e-textiles as well
If this then that concept  - Make block Neuron more for junior school

Applying authentic contexts to creative digital learning

Presenter: Peter Graham and Samuel Phillips

Facebook: Capitaleforchildren
Media Lab and onTV studio
Provide crash course on game design etc
Same with TV - make a TV show
Collaborative piece
Roxy5 short filmcomp - Wellington only at the moment
Winning film remake with professionals
Real world environment that industry uses and put into schools
Given a project, a role and task. Recognise as a real world environment not a learning environment
Learning resources for roles - teach themselves
Process is more important than the environment
More about soft skills of curriculum
Surprised which students step up. Different from the classroom persona.
Collaboration, creativity and working together to provide something people need.
  1. Development - have a reason for filming. Purpose and questions it wants to answer. What is the story?
  2. Production - start shooting. All working to the same point
  3. Post Production - editing Hit film4 express - free software You can't keep up with tech, can hand learning over to the students.
  4. Distribution and Review  What would they do differently with the process as well
Game design
Still same phases as films
Trust the process. It will be messy but  give them the power to create and lead the content

Fidget Spinners and gadgets for learning

Presenter: Callum Tytler 
BYOC - Chromebook
22 boys and 9 girls
2016 Fads- was dab and bottle flipping - built into class activities and fitness. Bottle flipping drove maths for a week - graphing, stats, probability
What's ordinary for some is ground breaking for others
Some schools banned them - lots of headlines in the papers
They were a pain in the class, up to the teacher to reinforce the school values - respect etc - Good chance to reinforce these.
What is student engagement?
What is student success - how do you define that? Some is getting really good marks, some it's leaving today wanting to go back tomorrow
If you tell them no - what do they do, is it worth the fight?
Growth mindset vs fixed
Look for an opportunity to embrace anything that can be the hook into learning
Bought some for the class for those not having them
Got opinions across the class - girls thought they should be banned
Opportunity for students to ask questions:
Why does it go backwards?
How come the colours change?
Why does it want to stop you moving it?
Why do the heavier ones spin longer?
Who's seen my fidget spinner?
It makes a circle - talked about rotation in maths
Angles of the 3 circles
Stare at it - can notice it going backwards - one student found out about the human eye seeing frames per sec. They know about frame rates because of games
Talked about colour blending
Gyroscopic recession - got a gyroscope
PE - race as far as possible while the fidget spinner went
3D printer did a BATman one
Make a poster with a modern twist
Edpuzzle - put your own questions over YouTube clips free to use
Stats and graphs
Tinkercad - can design your own fidget spinner - can email them and they will print it
Vertigo technologies - printing
Scratch - coding a fidget spinner
What's the next fad and how will you be able to embrace it for learning?
Ultimate fidget spinner for teachers - cork screw!

Teaching and learning with artificial intelligence

Raphael Nolden

Possibilities that AI gives to teaching and learning
Imagine a world where every student has a private tutor. If you had 30 of yourselves working with 30 students
The Matrix - download data to brains - photo of matrix kungfu
Old days - all lived in castles and had private tutors - well some did. Best way to learn. A few people to be educated
Industrial revolution - needed huge number of factory worker and education needs changed. Industrial education - or schools as we call them

Nothings changed over 200 years even though we know everything else has completely changed

Chinese students taking an exam outside to prevent them from cheating.
When was the last time you told an employee to sit in a room without tech etc - this is how we decide who should work for you. Why do we use exams to measure potential success when it has no relevance to the world they will work in.
No point memorising data. - so why do we have exams to assess people
Goldfish video*** - in court if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree. Modern day schooling on trial
Education is not distributed equally. Some have private tutors, some don't have lunch

How can we distribute education more equally - technology
1:1 teaching most effective way for students to learn
What does a 1:1 tutor do?
Many jobs will disappear - our job is a human one. AI will allow humans to be more human. Allow us to have time to do what we want to do. If you only role is to transmit info, you'll be out of a job
Paperwork - marking. AI takes over the boring mundane tasks so teachers can do the human stuff
Clown fish and the sea anemone. Need each other. Teacher and AI partner the same - can be better
AI can't work by itself either. Need humans to inspire student and give relevance. Motivate them and keep them on track.
Future of teaching is symbiotic
Watson and understanding diagnosing cancer
Medical - who would go to one for diagnosis
Doctors may go in present state.
Nurses we need - to care for us
Prescription: Watson ***
AI Lawyer Ross been hired ***
Googles AI smarter than human doctors ***

Babel fish from Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy *** Google announced. Will translate 40 languages in real time. Google pixel buds
We live in the day of the age of sci fi

A lot of the world doesn't know as it takes a while for mainstream to get hold of it. We have to be aware of it so we can preare ourselves and students for that
Ray Kurzweil on how we will become God
Shows how much computational power you can buy for $1000. 2023 - could buy a computer that has the power of a human brain

Skype - were building the technology for Skype before there was no tech to run it. Same now = developing tech we can't run yet. Confident that in a year or two it will be able to run

What do you wish AI would do for you most - most annoying things
Solving tech problems
Ability to personalise curriculum
Pulling sources together coherently
Summarising information
Attendance and admin
Reporting to parents

AI could make things affordable
Automatic marking and report writing
No more plagiarism
More time to inspire students
Real time feedback on student/class progress and understanding - give students data. Marking immediately
Dynamic assignments

Factorise quadratics - end of the day outcome to be able to factorise. AI teaches what they need to know. No student would have the same assignment to get to the end outcome.
Had favourite teacher - engaged because the teacher taught in the way we liked. Using AI we can change the way the teaching happens to engage students.
The language we use. Some like short sharp responses, some like strict, some like a friend. Formal or casual. AI teacher more of a friend. Looking at making robots more persuasive.
Amy - private tutor for maths. Doing trials this year.
Limited form as it's testing. Currently getting first version ready for 2018
For students: How could it help students
Assess when ready
Know where they are at all times

Who is setting the curriculum?
AI knowing where they are at - be able to group them from there
Contextual subjects?

Right now we are working in Maths
Right now we know that technology is advancing so may be able to do more in a few years.
Progressing so quickly.

Want AI to teach at the level they are at as well as for the level/age of the student.
Best time to learn - not when emotionally disengaged.
Ran a trial into FB messenger - doesn't post on your wall. Hey let's do some math while waiting for friends. Let's have education disrupt social media.
Amy tie into Google safesearch.

Individualised teaching style - adapt to student likes e.g horses
Individualised dynamic assignments
Feedback as you solve problems
Makes learning more efficient
Learning for understanding - not learning for passing. Explore for understanding - process involved in understanding.

Looked at Amy demo
Each student will get different questions to cover things they got wrong. Will all have variations so can collaborate by asking how but can't copy because numbers are different.
Sign in and go to demo

Keynote by Abdul Chohan
Unfortunately by this stage I was struggling due to my concussion and I didn't make it to this session. However, there is another blog I found which has some notes. Thanks to

Boma - a few meetings over the last 6 weeks

This is a continuation of my Boma journey - more notes from our time together as a group.
Our meeting on the 25th of  May was still online. The first section was with our group and then we had a guest speaker - Shai Reshef, founder of the University of the People. These are my notes from that session.
The first part was about making assumptions. We looked at our projects and the problems we are trying to solve and the users of what we design. Our next step was to have a discussion about whether our users actually need this - we assume they do, but really, do they?
How can we validate our assumptions? Surveys, shadowing a student, focus on specific aspects rather than the whole thing. If it's a product, have a landing page and example of that product. Kickstarter is an example of digital validation - people will put money in if they think it is useful to them. Also Indiegogo. We need to be careful that people who give positive feedback with actually use it. Need to be specific.
We discussed what we each needed to validate - we assume so much, but it's not always true. The people we talk to need to have an understanding of our project. I think my main assumption is that teachers have the desire and capacity to grow their own practice.
Having a minimum viable product is important - having something tangible that they can see and then decide if they would use it. Having this means that you can have user testing, having people using it and then send out updates, it won't be perfect. Need to look at our own bias into the project, we think its awesome, but it might not be.
We looked at one question we would love to get an answer for, and who would be a good person to answer it, then ask that question of ourselves and answer it with what we think that person would say. One example I had was "how can we get rid of assessment as a driver of learning?" and that person would say "get rid of assessment - the definition of success is different for every person - standardised assessment is not needed". This inner mentor is great to ask questions and answer them with a different lens.

Shai Reshaf

Non-profit University of the People -Democratising Knowledge
How online learning will solve the future of higher education
Students have to work to pay for university and they know they won't be successful without education. The University of the People opens the gate to higher ed for many who can't afford to go otherwise. UNESCO predicts that in 2025 98 million students will not have seats in the existing universities, and that was before COVID 19 - see this article on drivers and innovations shaping higher education.
University of the People is the first non profit, tuition free, American accredited online university.
It started in Europe where the students could keep their jobs, stay with family but still get a degree. It is opensource where people help each other, teach and learn from each other for free. When he first started this and announced it was going to happen, the NY times wrote an article and the next day people wanted to help. There are over 17,000 volunteers and they have a wide range of highly regarded educators. The volunteers are supported by paid workers who back them up and sometimes be in their place if there is a gap to fill. AT this stage there are 200 paid supporters. The programme advisors are paid but the instructors all come as volunteers. but have an honorarium if they complete the course they teach - US$3 an hour - they majority stay for this, It started in 2014 with 500 students and each year that has doubled and they now have over 31,000 from over 200 countries. The classes are small, between 20-30 and they mix with students form all around the world. A course is 9 weeks long, 8 weeks of the course and 1 for an exam. Every week they have lecture notes, homework assignment and discussion. It has a very strong academic pedagogy which opens minds to different cultures. It runs form Thursday to Wednesday as a week and they have virtual classrooms where they can choose to share info with their peers. The discussion question is at the core of pedagogy. All students comment on it and it develops over the week. All student must write at least 1 original comment and then 3 comments on other peoples discussion. The main discussion is between students, not lecturer. The homework is assessed randomly, they get a grade for homework, log and discussion each week, then have a final exam. Students go to this university to have a better future, many are refugees from all over the world.
Shai says they are the opportunity for those that have none, It was said in 2009 that it won't run on volunteers and if it did it wouldn't be accredited and f it was it wouldn't be sustainable. It is. People said "online is not the real thing" - now, with Covid19 it has been shown it is the real thing. The future of higher education is ruined if they are not moving online correctly. You can't just move online and expect it to work the same. They need training and tech support. Need to be kept motivated and engaged It can be isolating, they must have social engagement. 'Peer to peer' learning is a way to make it more interactive and less isolated. A discussion form. Having a virtual librarian or student advisor to be a 'big brother' helps to be in touch to see how they are if they are not turning up.
The UoPeople have gained a lot of knowledge over the last 11 years and have offered to teach other universities - they want to help others with using the power of online learning. It can harm students, the university and higher education if not done well.
Many people struggle to pay for college - the USA, UK and others have millions of people who cannot afford  and now with Covid19 it is much worse. The USA will have over 30 million unemployed in the next few weeks and hundreds of millions will lose jobs and need to improve their education or change career to find a new one, many will not be able to pay for that. This becomes and online learning solution where they can keep a job while completing an education.
The UoPeople are a solution for this, but many students are too scared to go to uni because of Covid19, or their parents may have lost jobs and cannot afford to send them anymore so the universities have to adapt. Perhaps they could move the first year online and give it out free while this situation calms down a bit. What would happen if all universities did that? Perhaps 1/3 or 1/4 would complete the year - they could work while studying. Both uni and students save money but still have a campus life. Many universities will not survive after Covid19 - many have funding cut but this way they could have more students for the following years. A dramatic restructuring is needed. Many people have discovered how powerful online learning is.
UoPeople will continue to offer its course, it is affordable for anyone who wants a better chance for a better future. It will continue to grow while there is a need.
Did you see high schools online before the pandemic?
In the USA there are quite a few online. In some the athletes train all day and only make it to school at night. For Upper Elementary and High School they need motivation, self discipline, support is needed. It doesn't work if it's just a lecture.
At UoPeople they do 15-20 hours a week for every course and only do 2 courses a week, so 2/3 hours a day each course. Almost all students work so they do this on top of work. Most are in their late 20s, they have been working or dropped out of college. The most popular course is Computer Science but Business administration is larger. It costs $100 for each end of course exam so could be $1000 for the full time year. They do have some scholarships as well. $1000 is small compared to $30,000 at traditional uni.In Africa they have many needing scholarships so they have a long waiting list there.
Where will education be in 10 years?
It is utopian, not dystopian. The top universities will always be there. Harvard for example, costs US$60,000-$70,000 a year, then living on top of that, just the books cost over US$1200. If Harvard was to say 'it's now going to cost you $1,000,000, people would still pay to go. This is true for all the top universities. But most universities won't be there in 10 years. The cost is increasing. In the UK 20 years ago education was free. No it's 10,000 pounds a year. Worldwide, governments are unable to support as they used to so parents pay. Are they only teaching university, or researching? A professor may teach only 6 hours a week and the rest of the time they are researching, and students are paying for that. Eventually students will not be able to pay. UoPeople will be there offering low cost education. They will be there, Harvard will be there and everything in between. If you go to another uni you must be willing to pay more. How much are you willing to pay to learn about the ancient history of Greece? It's a market. What do I get for how much I'm willing to pay. If people have a local job and are in a local community they may be prepared to pay more to stay there. There will be some fully online, some blended and some face to face. It will be different - how different? We'll see.

Online meeting - 8 June

This session was meant to have a guest speaker, who unfortunately couldn't make it so we had another session with our group. We spent some time looking at timelines for our projects - interesting to think about what it might look like in 1 year, 5 years or more!. We talked about the coaching and mentoring times and spent some time on our own projects.
What are questions we still have? What are we pretending not to know? We went through our project evolution documents and completed some more of this.
I think one of the biggest things for me is self doubt/ I sometimes wonder if I can do this and whether I have the skills and the knowledge to follow through. Some good advice for this was to give yourself the advice you would give to someone else if they had that problem. What would I say, I'd say of course you have, go for it, you can do it - so that's what I need to believe in for myself. Mindset is such a big part of doing this project and I think it has been difficult with Covid19 and everything that has been going on.

Face to face meeting - 22 June

The last session we had was in person! It was so nice to actually be with people and connect again. We had a short talk by Kaila Colbin, co-founder of Boma Global and CEO of Boma NZ. She is so inspirational and it is great to have her around. She talked about shame - having that intensely shameful feeling that you are not worthy of love. Being a bad kid, not doing homework, no-one loves me, a spiral. A real fear of not being good enough. We want to be someone who does what they say they will do. There was a bit of discussion about Dave Meslin: The antidote to apathy and Dr. Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability - both well worth a watch. We talked about balancing life, work and Boma and how hard it has been. Hopefully our 3 day trip will help to narrow things down a bit and give us a path of action.
We each did a quick talk about where we were at right now. We all asked some questions of each fellow, using some expanding questions from the Leadership Lab to both reflect on past situations and look at ways forward. The questions I was asked are:
What has been a big win for you this year?
If it works perfectly what will the outcome be?
What advice would you give someone else in this situation?
How might you test this idea?
What can we support you with?
Who has overcome this and might be able t support you with this? Who could be collaborative partners in NZ business and Education?
I'm looking forward to spending some more time on my project over the holidays - I have started a minimal viable product and hopefully can get this to a stage where I can share it will kaiako at my kura next term to see if they would use it - no assumptions!!

We are off to Lake Tekapo in the holidays to do some work together and hopefully that will give us a kick start into the next step. I am looking forward to it!

Monday, 8 June 2020

Earthquakes and Pandemics

I've been thinking a lot lately about the differences and similarities between the earthquakes and this pandemic. There seem to be a lot of things that remind me of back in 2011 and I'm sure that many people that live in Christchurch can say the same. I thought I'd write a few of these down to try and make some sense of the madness.
I've split this into 3 sections to try and make some sense of it - things that were only earthquake related or pandemic related and then just some things I have though about that relate to both.


For me, the earthquakes were a really difficult time. I  was in the centre of town when the first big one struck and the noise, visions and chaos still remain with me, even after counselling and support. It took a long time to feel comfortable and even now I still feel strong emotions when even a small one hits. Earthquakes are unusual as we have absolutely no control over anything to do with them. We can't stop one, we can't remove ourselves from them (apart from going somewhere that doesn't have them), and there is no warning. My balance was so bad I spent time at Burwood getting back to being able to walk around without holding onto things. I struggled to go back into many buildings and even now I find myself holding bannisters and not going to some places 'just in case'.
We were without electricity, water, and many portaloos adorned the streets for a long time.
There were many lessons the earthquakes taught us about sharing. Schools were site sharing, with my children going to school from 7am until lunchtime then another school starting on the same site at 1. Businesses shared sites, people stayed with us while houses were being fixed, we helped neighbours dig out the silt from liquifaction - it was a time of community - we helped others and they helped us. Many people are still struggling through claims for damage and there are areas that are still recovering. Buildings are still being torn down and rebuilt and this will continue for some time to come.
The earthquakes only really affected us in Christchurch. The rest of the country mainly didn't have the knowledge of what it was like - all very easy to say you poor things, but they didn't have the experience of what it really was like being her through all of those aftershocks and how much is took it's toll.


Covid-19 has shaken the whole world. In complete opposition to the earthquakes we have been forced into isolation and we are not gathering together to offer support. We are happy to be in our own little bubble and we are far more aware of our surroundings, hyper aware sometimes of who is near us and where we go. We have an app to trace our movements and we are monitoring who we see. We have control over where we go and who we see (although there were restrictions, we could still choose who was in our bubble).
Everyone is in the same boat. We all understand, we all 'get it'. We have changed our habits to cater for this lack of engagement with others and are doing more online shopping.
Schools have been changing to online learning and we are adapting to the new normal. In a short time we will be at Level 1 - almost back to where we were, and we have been very lucky in this country to not have had more deaths.


Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs - I think this is really relevant for both of these events. If you look at what we had and didn't have, it shows how difficult those earthquakes were. The safety and physiological sections were severely damaged in the quakes, whereas the pandemic has been more about the safety and belonging.

Businesses in both of these have suffered. I remember walking through the centre of Christchurch a few months after the big quake in February 2011 and seeing cafe tables with the food and drink still sitting on them. Some never to go back in before it was demolished. But they got back up and the container mall was invented - a great bit of kiwi ingenuity. Hopefully we will get back up and running soon. We need to make sure more local businesses are getting our support and those that can are helping to get the economy back up and on its feet.

Neither the earthquakes or the pandemic have been easy to live through but we do get there. Eventually things move forward and although sometimes it's hard, we do embrace the changes. There will always be change and you can guarantee something else will come along eventually to make us change again. I think this links in well to my previous blog - what kind of future can you imagine? What's next?

Boma: Chris Clay

One of the things I am loving about the Boma Education Fellows group is that we get amazing opportunities to have workshops with interesting presenters. I love learning and love having this opportunity, even though it would be nicer face to face!!
A few weeks ago we had a workshop with Chris Clay who is a futurist - you can read about him here.
He talked about how we create the future because of how we imagine it. We imagine a future but there are a lot of possible futures out there. If we look at our December self and wondered what May would look like we would not come up with this! You can read his latest blog on this subject - Transforming education but not as we know it.

These are my notes on our session with him.
We have an opportunity to rethink, reimagine and redefine education. Read this article - Cuomo partners with Bill Gates - why do school buildings still exist? Reimagining - understand limits
"What we know limits what we can imagine" 
Cynthia Barton-Rabe from her book "The Innovation Killer"
One hundred years ago we had fiction with dragons and werewolves but now we are more streamlined, not as fantastical, only a few are now really different.

Want education to be digital, personalised, student centered - are they open to other thinking? Student centered comes out a lot and is the greatest priority.
What is the purpose of education - is being planet centered more important than student centered?
Cognitive tools - what do we take for granted?

Decolonising our imagination:
We need to help people see not only what it could be but what is restraining them
Our visions are highly colonised - not in a European way necessarily but colonised.

Wouldn't say it's wrong but NZ's future in this is only one option of future, there could be other futures and different possibilities

Technology and Entrepreneurship are needed

Learning to code may ensure our future but this only covers a narrow range of visions for the future
We need to be more adaptable. Learn to thrive in different futures. How can we use this experience of Covid19 - what else might happen that we need to adapt to?

4 future archetypes - Dator
Education in 2035 - 4 stories - all trends grow but based on continual growth
Collapse - societal or economic - new beginning
Disciplined - some kind of control, external force or power - self disciplined
Transformation - completely changed, robots do everything

This is why we look at fiction - films, books often involve scenarios of future worlds. But "what would the world be like if this is the case" could be good or bad
Scenarios of possible futures
Group to draw up different types of scenarios - may be 4 archetypes
Not trying to engage in anything predictive. Idea is to put people's imaginations in a different place to enable people to think differently.
What would school be like if we were like "Ready Player One"?
Need to give us the opportunity to decolonise. We are so switched to the 'now' that we don't get into 'what could be'.

Don't just want digital and student centered - need a broader range
Younger people's awareness is open, they are noticing and absorbing not focussing on what they need to do.
Why don't we do that now? What can we do to stop that being a problem?
Whose future is this? - Stuart Candy - TedX
In a poetic future/There is a box/Related to work/

We were then put into groups to create something that exists in the future
The year is 2040 - only 20 years so still connectable to our current situation.
He gave us an example of a Steampunk future where you have to describe the world, describe the thing you are inventing and then bring the story back to the whole group. Some related to education, some didn't and we didn't have to make it good or bad, just possible. What kind of future would you see?
There is a card deck you can get to do this - The Thing From The Future - it gets you more agile and thinking about what would be possible.
We worked together in 4 groups and looked at some different scenarios. I found it really great to just go wild with ideas and what the future could possibly look like.
Working in scenarios can enable us to amplify what is happening today. For example a flexible timetable, how it works and the impact on families.
Using horizon scanning - looking around for signals of change then using scenarios to raise ability to notice emergence and new stuff
Social media, fake news - find examples of that and track these - which response are good and bad.
All of our scenarios were great, some weird, some more realistic. When we start to think about the future don't go in with the mindset of solving the problems of the present. As you solve a problem a new one appears if we are imagining things then it turns assumptions inside out.
Rigorous imagining - Riel Miller
Need to think in new ridiculous ways, don't just solve

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Isolation 11

Well this is it - the last of the Isolation blogs - unless we go back into lockdown which I really hope doesn't happen.
It's been a real journey with ups and downs in all aspects. Looking back over this time I think there have been some interesting days. Thought I might do an overall reflection for my last one.


The opportunity to spend time with family and slow down in the rat race. I think lockdown has given us all an insight into what life would be like if we got off that wheel now and then. Spend some time just walking, playing games, just being. 
I've saved money - I sure others will have too, from not buying that coffee on the way to work, or just by not going shopping just because we can. I have been donating to a few causes because I am in a position to and I think this also lets us reflect on others and how they may not be in the same position as us and how can we support that. I saw and read a few articles about companies that took paycuts to support others, and those that didn't. There has been a bit of an outcry for us all to be in this together. That's what it takes. Be kind. Help others who are not in a good situation.
Exercise - nice to have time to go for a long walk each day. I'm considering doing this anyway once we are back at school but it will start getting dark earlier so it might fall by the wayside a bit! Time to do a workout each day without having to get up at 6. That will be a shock come Monday as I have been getting up a bit later. Trying to pull it back over the last week but realised it was dark that early - bit sad.
Jigsaws - I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing these. Just having one there, on the go all the time, has been my go to for a brain break. I thought I might do more colouring in (see my concussion blogs) but it was the jigsaws that gave me the space I needed sometimes. This last one pictured here brought back memories. My Dad used to do this on our table tennis table when we were kids. I think he did it every year over Christmas and we'd all go past it and try and put in pieces. It's not easy, have to have the light just right to get the sea and sky sorted
Working from home - the chance to take a break when I needed or felt like one and the opportunity to have lunch. I've written more about the educational pros and cons in my last blog.
Making the effort to talk with people on Zoom or Google Meet. I think I spoke to more people outside of Christchurch over this time. You don't think about the geography if you want to talk to someone. Everyone is online so it makes no difference. It would be really good to carry this on to the future and remember that asking a question doesn't have to be face to face, there are a wide range of people you can ask on screen face to face instead.
Time to arrange my day how I wanted. If it was super nice I could go out in the garden for a bit and rearrange when I did some work. Nice to have that flexibility.
Time in the evenings to read, watch webinars, do some learning if I wanted, or just chill and watch some TV. I don't think I have ever watched so much TV - I'm not usually home in the evenings!


Just seeing people and having a hug - I missed that terribly. I think many people have struggled being stuck in their homes. Some not in safe environments, others lonely. I was pleased for our country that we did what we have, but it wasn't easy. I had a few down days and I think everyone has been struggling to a degree.
Not having routine of going to work. Although I was working from home, its hard some days to be motivated to get up and ready for the day when it would be so nice just to snuggle back under the blankets on a cold morning.
Dragonboating has been on hold. I have missed training a lot, but I have been lucky to be able to do some in the pool, but it's not the same as being in a boat. It's sad we didn't get Nationals this year but keen to train for 2021!
No shows or performances to see or do. Watching them on a screen just doesn't cut it. It will be good once we get some live shows back on track.
Many many many hours on a screen. I won't miss that. It's given me a headache on a few days with large number of calls, plus my normal screen time doing my blogs and reading.

Moving forward

I'm still not keen to go shopping in the mall - too many people there at the moment, I'll give it a week or two before I go and get the much needed clothes and maybe I'll have a look around for some smaller stores to support. I also will give the desperate people time to get their haircuts before I book one in, I'm quite enjoying having my hair a bit longer for now.
I'm keen to support local business and so am planning a road trip or three over the next wee while. Be good to go and see people and places while supporting getting the economy back and running. I also think it would be good to travel a bit over summer and maybe see some new places. I had intended to go to Australia later in the year but am thinking that may have to wait!
Back to work tomorrow and seeing our awesome students. That will be good, definitely better than teaching online.
I might just have to do another jigsaw, might take a bit longer to finish but it was good to have one on the go. Off to enjoy the sunshine now while I can on my last day.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Relections on the last 5 weeks

So - we are on the way back to school next week. It's been an interesting five weeks of learning for our ākonga and their whānau. These are a few thoughts and ideas I have had over this time.
I think before I get into the pros and cons, we need to be clear that this learning has not been normal online learning - it really is crisis education - you can read more about this in this article. I also have been thinking more about synchronous vs asynchronous learning online. This is worth a read even though it is about online learning in general, it gives a good explanation of the types of learning and is something to think about in our ākonga and moving forward in this space.

What has gone well?

I do believe teachers have worked exceptionally hard to get resources out to their ākonga in this time. The Ministry also worked hard to get out resources both paper and digital, as well as having the TV shows. Pretty impressive if you look at what some other countries have or haven't had during this time. Yes, some hasn't worked that well, but overall we tried hard!

Whānau have tried to deliver this work and encourage ākonga to do it! Some with more success than others and some, I think very sensibly just didn't even push it. Learning happens at home in so many different ways and those that took the time to be with their whānau and just do things together rather than do the workbooks or online tasks probably learnt more in some ways. This learning by being is underrated I feel. The learning that comes from cooking a cake together, walking around the block, talking and just generally being part of a whānau I believe is ultimately more important than the subject matter that gets handed out. They can learn about being connected with others, keeping a house running, planning meals, being bored and how to combat that, playing board games, doing crafts, all sorts of learning that will be beneficial in the long run.
I remember when I was at school, I was away for a whole term in my School Certificate year (Year 11 equivalent). I went to England with my mother and met family that I have never met before. It was a learning experience on it's own, and yes it probably impacted on my marks for that year (I didn't really like SC French anyway) but it was a great experience that I will never forget - unlike the content of that year of which I can't remember very much - quelle heure est-il? The learning you can get from being at home and just playing is underestimated by many.

Google Meet and Zoom - what a great way to communicate when you can't be there in person. I've never had so many face to face calls online and I've had the opportunity to connect with others around the country and the world. This has always been there but we don't always take those opportunities until they are forced upon us. I hope to continue some of these chats more often even when we are out of lockdown. You do forget how easy it is to catch up and maybe we need to take more time to do this.

I had lunch each day. Amazing! We don't usually take the time to just sit down and have lunch - and cooked lunches are even better - or go for a walk, or just stop thinking about work for 10 minutes. It was nice to actually shut my laptop and take a break. In some ways I felt I needed to take that break as being on a screen all day every day is very tiring. It would be good to think that maybe there would be some time to have a break at school as well but we often keep working through those breaks.

Some ākonga have loved working online. I have surveyed my group about what they loved and what they would change and most said they would like a mix of the online learning and face to face when we get back. This goes back to that synchronous and asynchronous learners I mentioned earlier.

Digital skills - many kaiako and ākonga have improved their digital skills over this time. They had to, even if they didn't really want to. This is also a negative as many really struggled, especially when whānau were not able to help either.

PD - I have had a lot more time to be able to read and digest things. It's been great to be able to research and keep up with the reading I want to do, as well as reflecting. More time to reflect and see what is and isn't working. I also had more time to write resources - no distractions to getting the work done.

What could be better?

To be honest, I don't like Google Classroom that much. It is just that, a traditional classroom. The teacher has all the control and the students do the tasks they are given. This goes against my thoughts on education where I believe the students should construct their own learning in consultation with and alongside teachers. I also believe learning is very personalised and although you can push out individual tasks for students in Google Classroom, it is easy to default back to the "assign to all students" option. Would we be better in a social network community type platform where you could breakout into groups, have individual conversations easily and have the student post to others. Would something like Discord work better for this type of community? Lots of questions and not so many answers.

Digital skills - Being online has highlighted how many of our ākonga do not have even basic digital literacy skills. There was a definite divide between those that managed well with the online side of leanrnng and many that really struggled. This is something we need to look at once we are back face to face. How can we improve those skills and make sure they have basic knowledge?

Helping parents - I think many parents have really struggled with  things. They have struggled having their ākonga around all day and not being able to get out but they have also struggled with the learning. I don't think we put enough effort into helping them understand the learning, and supporting them in all of this. We focus on the ākonga but maybe we should be putting more focus on the whānau as a whole.

Project Based Learning - this sort of links into the above, but I think we have lost our way a little with trying to continue with the projects that we have set up for ākonga. It's very easy to drop back into siloed learning and to not push the boundaries when you are under pressure. I do believe we can do project based learning individually and online - it just means moving away from the traditional forms of delivery and keeping true to your vision. You can see one example of a project based piece of work from SheCanCode - although this is time driven each week, it's a good example of giving student agency in their topic and passion.

Collaboration - this seems to be harder online, although it should be able to be done - more calls with each other, sharing resources and helping each other with skills and ideas. Wouldn't it be great if all schools could have shared their resources? Imagine the resource bank we could have in the country. I'm loving The Great NZ NCEA Hackathon 2020 for this - sharing ideas and knowledge and working together to improve outcomes for ākonga.

I do think we need to do more reflection and surveying of ākonga and whānau. Reflection is so important and we can't do this without gathering the voice of our community. How do we know they like or don't like what we have done? It is imperative that we get the feedback and move forward from that. I sent a survey for both ākonga and whānau and got some great insight into how they found the last 5 weeks. The biggest issue was the loss of social connection. How can we improve this online? Maybe the thought of a more communal online space could help - my comment before on Discord or some other platform like that might be a useful one to try and help with the loss of connection.

Digital divide - The Manaiakalani Programme has the following three things that show are part of improved learning outcomes for students:
  • an effective blended eLearning pedagogy that is materially changing the school experience of students from years 1 to 13
  • affordability of 1 : 1 digital devices for all students from years 5 to 13
  • provision of fast internet to all students to enable any time, any place, any pace learning
I think we struggled with a lot of learning because these things were not in place for our ākonga. There are still some without internet, some without devices and many that perhaps had internet but the connection was not great. This came out in a conversation on a Boma New Zealand Campfire (see my blog on this) as well as other issues that the ākonga on that call were very articulate in sharing.

It's hard in a pandemic - never mind being online as well. Hard to balance our haoura /wellbeing as well as all the other things on peoples minds. Need to challenge them enough but not too much, need to be aware of where they are at and how different their situations are. Week four seemed to be a hit the wall week for many including myself. How do we support our ākonga going back to kura? I did like this infographic put out by Hagley - thought it was a good way to address some of the questions they gathered from the community. We need to support both ākonga and whānau - so much has changed and there will be reservations about Level 2 and what that looks like for everyone.

Need to know the individual in order to meet their needs. This relates to the above as well. I do feel that ākonga that only started at our kura in the week of lockdown were severely disadvantaged and that this showed in the lack of engagement from some of them - hard to engage them when you don't know them very well. Trying to unpack their learning while at a distance is definitely an area I can improve on.

Where to from here?

I like these documents from the Leading Learning - Lessons Learnt in Lockdown and Preparing for Level Two. They are a good start for thinking about what we have actually learnt and how we use that information.
Albany Senior High School has also changed what they are doing when they go back next week - you can read how they are moving forward here.

We need to focus on the learning to learn skills - how can we help our ākonga be more resilient and be able to cope better if/when this happens again?

I read this provocation by Cheryl Doig yesterday, interestingly enough just a few hours before a workshop with Chris Clay on the same sort of thing (my blog for that will be out in a few days). Provocations for the future. What sort of future could we see? Let's dream big and not go backwards in any of our thinking - keep pushing to make things better.

There are probably more things that I have thought about over the last few weeks and not included but these are what is on top for me right now. I have been keeping a diary of what I have been doing each day and reflecting on what can be changed and what cannot. Back to the serenity prayer - thanks Mum for saying this all the time. I found this version, which adds a few lines that are very appropriate.
Serenity prayer, extended version: serenity, courage & wis… | Flickr

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Isolation 10

Thurs 30 Apr
Wow - I can't believe I am writing Isolation 10 already! The time has actually gone quite quickly. Today I felt like some days are more productive than others, I was very productive in bursts today. rather than full on throughout the day. Had some time when I just was not really onto it but then got totally motivated and got a heap of work done. I think it's about being aware of what we are feeling. I needed the time at lunch today to sit out in the sun and pat the cat. Just felt like it was the right thing to do at the time - I didn't even go for a walk which is unusual. But then I worked through until quite late when I felt like it. Maybe this is something we need to think about for work and study - when do we work best? I normally work really well at 7.30am. I know many others would be horrified at that time of the morning but I do work well early in the day. It gives me time to get set up and organised. Recently that has pushed out to 8.30 - I think working from home has made me a bit lax on that 6am start!!!
I got some good news today. I have been waiting for an appointment for my foot for over a year now. It was scheduled for Apr 3rd and of course that got cancelled due to Covid19. I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably wouldn't get an appointment for another few months but today I got a message saying I could go tomorrow. I am just a little bit excited and hope that something can be done eventually as I can't walk very far without it being strapped up. Here's hoping something can be done - I don't mind if it takes ages to do it, just knowing would be good.
I managed to take the pool from green to clear over the last couple of days - had let it go by just not really thinking about it. Might need to concentrate a little more on my surroundings. So much going on right now - there are different things to focus on and a pool is well down the list.

Fri 1 May
I can't believe it's May. It seems like April didn't really exists this year. It's very strange.
I had a good day today - 12 calls online and a very busy day both at work and not.
Went to the surgeon - finally getting an MRI for my foot to get all the information needed to see if he can fix it or not. He had some ideas but wants all of the information before we go the next step - if he can. Feel good that at least there is a next step.
I did a bit of reading today and found this great advice for lots of calls and how to combat Zoom fatigue.
This afternoon I went to the Future of Learning catch up - these have been going for a while - in person, then online. It was good to tlak with other educators and share experiences and ideas. I do enjoy those conversations.
Watching the Repair shop again tonight reminded me of my father's clock. I think I'll get that out and have a look at it.
My Peptalk magazine arrived today. Wow what a great resource. There were two books in one and I found the information was really great. My daughter had a look as well and she thought it was good as well. If you haven't got your free copy then go to this link and order it. Yes, free. I've subscribed to further issues, that's how much I enjoyed it.

Saturday 2 May
Made a big cooked breakfast for my children - it's nice to have one occasionally. Keeps me going all day and I'm a pretty good short order chef. It's always nice to have my 2 children around. We played some games, went for a walk and just had a nice lazy day. Managed to do quite a bit of the jigsaw - I'm worried now, almost finished all the ones I have in the house!

Sunday 3 May
I really have felt very lazy this weekend. I think that the online calls take it out of me quite a bit. I know I have to work extra hard because of my hearing and I struggle with the lag between voice and camera when I know I do rely a bit on lipreading.
I have 187 emails to sort through. Hmm. Maybe I'm a little unsorted right now - very tired at the end of the day and have struggled this week mentally. Finally finished that jigsaw today - found another 2 in the back of the cupboard so I haven't run out just yet!

Later in the week...
So I've slowed down on the day by day account. I think I just find every day is busy with work or just trying to find time to relax so from here on in I'll do an update when I get the inspiration.
Had a Boma New Zealand Rethinking Education Campfire on Tuesday - really interesting to hear some students talk about their experiences of online learning. You can read some of their ideas on my blog. It showed me how important student voice is in this isolation time. I have made a survey for my mentor group and it's been interesting getting their feedback. I'll do another blog on Reflection and Isolation sometime soon.
I attended a NZQA workshop this week. I was happy that I felt confident in this area, but it was interesting to see the questions others asked. I wonder how we can improve teacher knowledge in this area? There are obviously a lot of people not sure of how things work. Something else to ponder.
I've had a couple of conversations with some of the Boma Education Fellows for this year. It's hard not being able to talk face to face and our programme has certainly been disrupted. Getting to know each other is taking longer, but at least this week I managed to catch up with a few and have some conversations both around what our kuras are doing online, and with our own projects. My project is in a bit of a hold at the moment due to many things, but I did do some more research this weekend around diverse learners and looked into some other sites that cater for these learners. Been a good learning weekend in that respect.
Another flashback moment on The Repair Shop this week - a spinning wheel. Mum used to spin and I remember carding wool for her and watching her spin and knit for hours. She also dyed the wool herself - I remember the different natural dyes she used. I still have homespun jerseys that she made for my children. Such memories and a skill that can be lost if we don't take things up. I wonder how many things are handed down from parents anymore now that we are busier in our lives. It makes me wonder if maybe lockdown is a good thing - getting back to spending time with family and not being able to fill our days with things. Maybe this is the start of people learning the old skills again. I do hope so.
I completed my Microsoft Innovative Educator application for the next year today. The MIE group in New Zealand is fantastic. Such great support and I have made some good friends out of this group so hopefully will be able to continue on with this for 2021 - even though I work in a Google school! I still use a lot of Microsoft tools and and I am passionate about their resources. They certainly work hard to make things better for schools and offer some interesting and useful courses on the Microsoft Educator Community site - go and have a look!
I also completed the Science of Wellbeing Course today - and have a blog half done on that - another day.
Well it's Mother's Day. I've done a couple of blogs, a bit of gardening and managed to finally clear my emails down to single figures. Must be time to have a break and get this posted.