Tuesday, 4 April 2017

EduIgnite 3rd April 2017

EduIgnite is new thing for me. I read more about it on this site and was excited about attending my first evening. Speakers are given 5 minutes to get through 20 slides and share their ideas. This was the first EduIgnite for #ChchEd this year and was held at Haeata Community Campus. A lovely spread of drinks and nibbles was provided beforehand (thanks to Mark Osborne form Core-Ed and Emerging Leaders) which gave us the opportunity to chat with other educators. I know I made a great contact with someone in that first 30 minutes and I recommend that you turn up early to the next one (follow #EduigniteChch). Andy Kai Fong opened the evening then everyone introduced themselves. Many connections were made, and there were a few laughs as we went around. These are my notes, so my apologies for any mistakes and sometimes disjointed comments. The 5 minutes goes past very quickly and my typing skills are not that fast so I hope I got all the information right. For those that spoke, please feel free to add in the comments below if I missed anything!

Tara O'Neill (@Aratoneill) - A case for play

Play allows for curiosity and for relationships to be built. If students don't play and be curious they get turned off learning. In playbased learning, the child learns through their own effort rather than being directed.
Play is the child's natural way of learning skills and teacher direction needs to be learnt at the right stage.
Motivation = autonomy + a sense of competence
She talked about a student who didn't know purpose of writing. One of the learning scenarios she talked about was playing firemen and the students took notes after a fire callout. A good example of the purpose.
To do this we need to be providing a playbased learning environment plus integrate learning, for example using a student biking and doing skids turned into a maths lesson by using the skids and deciding which is longer and estimating lengths.
One book she mentioned was Free to Learn by Peter Gray and I managed to find this pdf  of it which I will have a read of later.
During the short changeover, someone asked about what was needed to teach this way. You need to see learning in what children are doing and find the learning within it. It is a different way of approaching learning, not standing in front and delivering. When asked about when we should move on from play-based learning, Tara explained that we still all play, with our gardening and our hobbies.

Matt Nicoll (@mattynicoll) - Proof

Matt introduced us to a unit he has been doing at Rolleston College?? based on solving crimes. They have selected times - 2 x 100 min blocks that they opt into, some multi disciplined,  some specialised, and this unit is one on forensic science, the legal system and what justice is. They start with a fake crime scene - staff have
set up a site with video evidence, synopsis and pictures of the crime scene. They used SOLO rubric and did reflective writing. They used Padlet for exploring the learning they wanted. Could they find people to run things? Used SOLO to get down to specifics like fingerprinting. Staff wrote a new crime scene - what next? Crime scene, murder mystery? Used SOLO Assessment rubric. They wanted students to solve a crime using evidence, be collaborative and write about this. Only problem they had was in finding mentors for students.
Matt kindly shared his slide deck on Twitter.

Tom Bijesse - Code club

Code Club Aoteoroa is a nationwide network of after school coding clubs. Volunteers run it - some are developers who know how to write code, not always the best teachers, but they learn from each other.
Can students be volunteers - yes
They learn Scratch, HTML/CSS, Python, and Sense Hat (Raspberry PI). They also use CSUnplugged.
I liked the explanation of the Emotional Learning curve where they start at the top thinking they will be able to make Halo then go to the bottom when they realise they can't make Halo, then rise to the top again when they realise they can make Snake.
Most of their projects are from the UK but they have one in Scratch to teach Matariki which looks great.
Would you recommend it for teachers - yes
Codeclub.nz - yes you can volunteer/ yes you can host one - put venue on the website. They can help recruit. Kids can join as well.
Mondays 4-5.30 New Brighton library
Tues 4-5.30  Upper Riccarton Library
Wed 4-5 Halswell Library
Here is the link to the flyer for the Code Club 4 Teachers courses in term 2 and the link to a Tech Week event - an info session on Code Club 4 Teachers, being held at Haeata or you can email Tom at tom@codeclub.co.nz

Lex Davis (@lexynz) - NCEA in FLEs

NCEA is silo heaven - trapped in one for years. I liked his slide when he had a beanbag in the middle of the room to show the change to modern environments with the title: MLE/FLS/ILE/FLE/LOL.
He reminded us of this quote "The era of qualifications as we know it is over" by Sue Suckling at the Singularity Conference this year.
Seen many schools in the last 6 months:
Templestowe College - doing amazing things in some areas, then they have classes for their assessments separate.
Hobsonville - amazing - big rocks and small rocks to get through
Rototuna - cross curricular modular based learning
How do we want to run at Haeata? NCEA is the spanner in the works. Constrained by qualifications and the more walls we build, the more complex it becomes. Want to push down the walls. Want individuality. How do we manage the admin of NCEA?
V1.0 - tried a careers based module system.
V1.1 - broke learning and standards into kete so they could pick up and go
V2.0 - portrayed by the harakeke - versatile. Long and short courses. Self-management is an issue - we want them to, they don't want to - they love classes.
External Providers - have lots at our fingertips and we need to create relationships with them.
Communicating this to whanau - they are scared, need to assure them that we are authentic and credible.
Early days, nice to share our journey.

Karyn Gray (@karyngra) - Changes

Karyn started with this quote: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result."
We know serious changes are needed in our system. We know there is a culture of assessment learning in schools. Need to change. What is success - in life not in school and grades. To get from one form of success to another is a great leap. Dispositional curriculum - are we modelling that?
Every assessment procedure should match your purpose. Sometimes schools do assessment driven work.
Need to show leadership and have a sense of urgency. If we all stand up and stand together we can change. We join groups and get involved. Twitter is educational - huge amount of contacts and information from Twitter - I agree with Karyn that Twitter is the best PD I could ever ask for. If you are not part of it, you should seriously join. Check out #EdChatNZ, #ChchEd. #eduignitechch and if you are up early #bfc630nz (or if you are like me and can't make 6.30a.m., you can read it later!).
In Korepo (one of Haeata's hapori) a different teacher is blogging every week. We have a responsibility to do this and share our practice. As leadership we need to encourage people to move out of their comfort zone. We need to challenge people on why school should be the same as it was 20 yrs ago.
She left us with this quote (of which I found many slightly different versions and 2 different authors attributed so spent time trying to find the original - hoping this is it!)

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
And they came
And he pushed
And they flew.

by Christopher Logue

#e2 Toronto Day 3 and home

Day 3 – The final day

Another day and I got up to have another amazing breakfast while talking with educators from around the world. I sat next to a woman from Armenia who communicated that she spoke no English. She could say only a few words and we chatted via our cellphones and photos. She showed me her school and some of her students and what they were doing and I did the same. We managed to work out ages and shared a bit about our own families. It reminded me how important it is to spend time making that effort – it could have been so easy to just let her be and sit silently as she was hesitant to try to communicate. I’m pleased that I persevered and we sat for quite a while chatting (with occasional online translator tools being used).
Our Keynote this morning started with David Lopez (@DavidzepoL), from Actiontec talking about classroom agility and how to use technology to maximize classroom management.  At the Tech showcase on Wednesday night (see previous blog) we were given a Screenbeam device when we went to that booth. He described the use of the Screenbeam to enable teachers to have agility to move around the classroom with the students and what effect this can have on both the environment, behavior and learning. He talked about classroom agility being formative assessment, being a constant presence in the classroom. 
Megan Lawrence, 
PhD, accessibility technical evangelist at Microsoft (see her TED talk), talked about the importance of accessibility and usability of products and services, and shared accessibility best practices while professional learning specialist Martha Jez demonstrated some of the the latest apps and tools that help students with disabilities. 
She talked about the types of disabilities and said that around 70% are invisible either due to families not disclosing them, or them being undiagnosed altogether. One quote she used that I liked was:
“The foundation of inclusive education is the educator’s belief that all students belong and are valued members of the classroom.”
Martha Jez said when students with disabilities are at the centre of your design then you are creating meaningful experiences for all of your students. You can use the Skypetranslator to remove language barriers and can use it to have conversations with students that arrive in your class from other countries. The app currently supports live voice translation in English, Chinese Mandarin, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Office Lens now has immersive reader within it so you can scan any document and have it read to you (then send it to OneNote). Word has lots of accessibility tools within it. Clarity and conciseness is one and you can access this in the Review tab, and go to Accessibility Checker.
Microsoft will give you the tools but you have to make it happen in the classroom.
Every student deserves a fair chance at learning. She made it very clear that the teams were there to help and wanted feedback as well as questions from any teacher, students or families using the tools. I encourage everyone to do this as they will only make things better if we tell them what we need.
Lakesha Kirkland from Shaw High School in Columbia talked about preparing her students for employability through Microsoft Imagine Academy and industry certifications.  For about $1500US a year all students can access the resources and then sit the exams. This includes 30 staff from the school as well, so could be good PD for them as well. There are some great stories on http://mycertiportstory.com/ and she talked of using gmetrix for different languages.
I mentioned before about giving feedback and there had been a few times over the conference where we could meet with Microsoft staff and talk about what we want in the tools. I took the opportunity in the next session to have a chat with Ari Schorr and Safiya Bhojawala about teacher’s primary goals as well as tasks and tools/work arounds that we use to achieve them. I was the only teacher there for a while and it felt a bit overwhelming to start with as they fired questions at me, but I felt they really wanted to hear from teachers about what we do and what tools we need to do our jobs better. It’s important to give feedback if we want improvements, they can’t do it all without us!
We then had some time to set up for the Learning Marketplace. This was the time where we could all present something we are doing in the classroom.  It was great to be able to share and to look at what others were doing. I presented on using SurfacePro and StaffPad to create lessons for students that they could watch and therefore learn at their own pace. Many people hadn’t seen StaffPad before and I enjoyed telling them about it as it is a great tool for music teachers. I had some great conversations with others around learning and spent some time chatting with Anthony Salcito (Vice President for Education for Micorsoft) about Microsoft and Music software.
One of the tools I learnt about from one of my group was Rubistar. This is a great site for making rubrics. Really quick and easy. Thanks to Jorge Francisco Sierra-Perez for this. I also read this blog about different uses of rubrics which was useful.
The Awards Ceremony and Closing Ceremony were at the Muzik EventCentre and it was a great way to celebrate the end of an amazing few days. Many awards were given out for the group challenge and although our group didn’t make the top awards, there were many kiwis being celebrated for their innovative ideas.

Day 4

Last chance for a bit of sightseeing on Friday morning before heading to the airport. A group of us went up the CNN Tower. What a fantastic view - even with the cloudy day. A bit scary for those with  a fear of heights (including me) but well worth it. I then went to Ripley's Aquarium which was just beautiful. I have a bit of a thing for jellyfish and anemone walls! On my wandering back to the hotel I found this gentleman on a seat - Glenn Gould who was an amazing musician. Back to the hotel via the underground shops and then out to the airport for the long trip home.
That’s it. Three days of innovation, education and collaboration. A couple of days of sightseeing and spending time with amazing people. I am so thankful to Microsoft and Anne Taylor, Microsoft NZ's Schools and Academic Programs Manager, for giving me this opportunity. I would encourage all teachers to join the MicrosoftEducator Community and become an MIE which is where this all started for me. From listening to others, and hearing about innovation in other countries, I feel that New Zealand is well ahead of the game and we are doing amazing things in our schools but we still have an opportunity to push the boundaries. Keep learning and challenging yourself to make education better.