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.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Boma Education Week: Rethinking Education

This call was on Wednesday night and Boma New Zealand had organised 4 speakers. These are my notes from this session.

You can watch the videos individually here:

Claire Amos the Principal of Albany Senior High School, co-founder of DisruptED and and a board member for NetSafeNZ and 21C Skills Lab

Claire has been doing DisruptEd interviews to try and capture what educators have been noticing. The thing that matters most is wellbeing, not about teaching, learning or assessment but making sure they all feel safe and well. We know they can't learn when stressed and it's hard for teachers when they are unwell.
Where online learning is working is where there is a connection. A connection between school, whānau and the community.
Less is better - you can't do as much as you do in class. Forced to think about what really matters.
Create space in the curriculum
Create space in the day to go deep and wide
Need to have a combination of structure and flexibility
Home isn't school - you can't transfer straight across
Would do better if student centered at school - they would have more agency
They did Mon, Tue structured, then Wed-Fri student led - students loved that
Created agency, self direction and managing time and space
A challenge: The digital divide
OK if already using online platforms, they transitioned easily.
Real cost of digital divide is not about tools but about social justice. They need to be able to connect and still learn.
We need to embrace digital tools but realise we don't change overnight.
The reality is that education is ultimately quite inflexible. We need to design and prepare the new normal that we want.
Notice, take stock and redesign.
Whatever we design has to be agile - we may move in and out of levels. Needs to be a robust powerful experience
How do we measure success? NCEA has it's place but need to move beyond the traditional
Concept of personal constructs of success. Not our place to tell a young person what success looks like. Could be a portfolio of evidence. No one measure of success. Work with them to define what they want for themselves. 20th Century skills. The moment we turn it into a criteria it becomes redundant. Success is when they believe in themselves and can contribute.
Opportunity to consciously and critically integrate Te Ao Māori
Stop being seen as a school in isolation - be a learning hub/community hub - like a marae
A lot we can take from Māori constructs and community to reimagine school. At the moment we are still in the Western industrial age. Use the Māori view lens then we'd have a good educational model.
Working with nature - Green School - see below
Meeting needs of diverse learners and ESOL - think more collaboratively about resourcing
NCEA Hackathon Resource Group - to share ideas and resources
Virtual Learning Network - online courses and resources
Power of school and a platform such as Te Kura - we already have an online school - what would that have looked like if we had access to all of that during this time?
Communities of Online Learning (COOLs) - these had concerns about business - what if we had those?
Could have schools networked across geographical areas, not just Kāhui Ako 
Network/Collaboration/Sec schools online - where teachers are available and can cater for diverse learners and ESOL
Designing powerful online learning takes skill
We are not taught instructional design
Value in Portfolios of Personal Excellence (POPE) - they do impact projects at her school. This has earned them scholarships and opportunities in business. Sometimes we determine that NCEA has too much weight and value. Do impact projects need to be assessed to be valuable? Huge believer in soft skills - Design thinking, agile, collaborative, communicate, self directed
Ideal Learning structure:
Co-Learning hubs - Yr 0-13 learning space and a location for health and wellbeing. Co-working innovation with community as well
In and out of spaces as needed. Teachers there to open eyes and guide through the journey. Learning doesn't just happen in Yrs 1-13, it happens throughout life.
We get caught up on subjects and year groups - trying to keep the adults happy
Self directed learning schools in Canada - students come together for home room then work how and where they want to. This is the beauty of what we see in Primary Schools. Student have time to be self directed, but want some structure. Work with community groups, iwi, whānau
Teacher shave thrived where they already use UDL in normal practice. This online learning has shone a light on some people's gaps in practice.
Are teachers digitally literate? How can we use tech to be more inclusive and meet the needs of diverse learners?
Passion is the key to a great teacher

 Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch: Kaihautū Māori and education consultant for Evaluation Associates Ltd, and experienced researcher, evaluator and change manager for kāhui ako.

Team worked through surveys that were gathered through social media. Thought they would get 20 or 30 but got 100 overnight. Wanted to make sure the perspectives of parents were not lost
The name wanted to capture a new way of being - the partnership between home and school. Other names undermined the learning at home each day.
Doesn't matter what school wants - what happens in my home is what I want to happen.
Identified some benefits that would be good to carry over into school
How happy were parents with the work sent home? 50% gave a 4 or 5 but  25% only gave it a 1 or 2
If school didn't have a culturally sustainable practice then that was magnified online.
What's the best way to gather voice? Didn't use case studies but used pools of stories. Have conversations with communities.
Do we engage with parents and communicate or do we tell them things?
Parents - are they informed consumers or do we say "this is how we define success" and "this is what's important to us". Need to include the voice of parents. Best way to start is to start.
In the report they have included questions that you can use to help reflect on practice. Take back to your own setting.
Māori and Pasifika realities may not be the same as ours.There are questions to ask now and some to ask later. All the questions are designed form themes identified in the data. Constantly reflective.
How can we not be tokenistic in Māori and Pasifika?
The role that complexity plays - equity shouldn't be the end goal - devices are just a milestone on the path to reach potential. It's not enough to just have a conversation. Parents have their own perspective on their children. Need to engage beyond the surface. Her own children use identity, language and culture to grow.
Provocations - things to think about:
Focus on getting devices into homes - need them there to be able to engage
Homes are sacred spaces - no-one asked me about hundreds of people online coming into my home every day
Pasifika - loving home being calm and peaceful, it's a spiritual calm during the day
This is a chance to understand learning and how they can apply it to their own setting and reality
What are we going to go back to? Don't lose the learning. Māori and Pasifika parents have perspectives we can learn from. Need to take our parents with us into the future.
Thesis - a chapter on iwi educators defining success. Want them to achieve NCEA and be literate but also be proud and strong in their culture and to return home to serve their communities.
Really important to many Pasifika families - a right of transition - not just the child but the family as well. Want them to achieve all they can but be a whole person. Need to create conditions in schools to enable them to feel like that.

Rachel and Michael PerrettFounders of Green School New Zealand which uses a community-integrated, entrepreneurial way of learning with a focus on exciting and empowering students to lead the way sustainably.

Redesigning Education for a long time. Did Green School in Bali for 11 years.
Want to engage young learners as individuals who learn in unique ways
Sustainable caring for our planet
Creating a curriculum that addresses real world problems and engage students with joy, resilience and optimism
High respect values - entrepreneurial spirit to allow them to be changemakers
Whole community involved
Bring people along on a journey
Much of what they do is old knowledge, old wisdom and new future. Pioneering spirit. Authentic self directed learning in a natural context. 600 teachers applied before they even advertised.
Green School Compass - REAL (Relationships, Experiences, Action, Local)
Relationships - self/community/nature - this trumps procedures every time
Culture trumps strategy
Iwi first - needed to earn their place there
Engagement is extensive and rich. 
Māori blessing and powhiri - looked to reach consensus rather than just consult
Parent are essential - need to go on a journey with them to create a sustainable future. Have The Bridge where they can have coffee, the internet - co-working space. Parent have rich skills to share - can park and play
Socio economic background  - schools in Bali, Mexico and South Africa. 70 different cultures in Taranaki
Budget of 25NZ, 25Aus, 50 International
Using Bali formed Vision and values
Tweaked their content and curriculum with others
Focus on starting local and moving global
Community trusts and groups and sustainability. Support them and integrate with them and business. Public Sector support been cherished and supported. Had 7 weeks of this year before lockdown. Turned a dairy farm into an International Destination Private School
Academic rigour - sounded themselves with people to guide them
Hope to open up after school hours for sustainability studies and have camps in the holidays
Pride and partnership - an evolving process
Previous nature based school failures - many were too fringe, easily marginalised. Construction costs too high. Ego. Lack of academic rigour.
Made a list of mistakes form Bali they didn't want to make. It can be traumatic, it's stressful. Tough to conjure up a project like this but have a genuine desire to help. Montessori and Steiner have helped pave the way.
Need to be seen as serious, not fringe. Academic rigour is really important - you can learn calculus and stats in nature.
Unless Universities change it's hard for schools to get pathways so they are doing a blend of NCEA with the Green School Diploma to allow access to Uni
100% in Bali is Green School Diploma and Uni will take their students, but here it's not enough. In Bali 52 Universities came to recruit graduates - self starter, independent learner, self confident and determined. Some universities are listening but we lose so much talent to an antiquated machine.
They are moving from being the builder to the BoT. Roll early Feb was 47 and maybe have 65 by Term 3 and 100 for Term 1 2021. Want to continue to grow to perhaps 450-500 Yr1-13. Bali had a waiting list to get in. International school, but more and more people going to them.

Dylan Wijaya: a year 12 student attending St John's College in Hastings, New Zealand. For the past 3 weeks, he and 6 other students have been striving to create a cost-effective ventilator in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Called it Pear because it was like Apple, plus the Hawkes Bay is known for Pears.
Still at the brainstorming stage.
Lockdown has given him time to learn material at his own pace. Says he does 4hrs for the 6 hour day. More hands on approach plus time for hobbies
He is pursuing his purpose - to save lives

I really enjoyed this session - it reinforced my thinking around education and what education could look like. We need to make sure we take this opportunity to move forward, not take a step back into what we had. I'd love to work towards the idea of a marae as our school hub - more community involvement. More things to ponder!

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Boma Education Week—NZ Campfire: Young Voices

Boma New Zealand invited young people to share their perspectives on and aspirations for education in our current COVID-19 context and beyond at a campfire on Tuesday this week. There were a range of students on the call and all had a say as the session went on. 

The Campfire conversation was facilitated by Hannah Hudson from Boma NZ and covered these questions as well as going off on a few tangents!
  1. How might our experience of learning through Covid-19 inform how we could rethink education?
  2. What is working, what isn't?
  3. How might we redesign education to ensure everyone is engaged and has access to learning that works for them?
These are my notes from that campfire. If you want to watch it, it was recorded and is on the Boma New Zealand Youtube Channel.

What is something that has changed that you will take forward?
Time management skills
Managing own learning
Freedom - need self control to devote time to each subject not just getting into one for hours
Working outside is nice
No distractions
Not having to be confined to a class period - can spend 2 hours on something and study what you want a lot more
Develop project management skills

What are some ideas that have seemed radical before and now are looked at again?
More unstructured time in timetables
Can collaborate regardless of geographical location
Doing webinars and classes from anywhere
Getting different perspectives
The variety is cool
Recording classes - you can go back and listen to them again
Learning from experts in the field

Missing people - students and teacher as you discuss ideas more freely onsite, can help each other onsite and learn by explaining it to others
Need more effort into being deliberate in contact. You don't bump into people
You are not building relationships

Being on a computer screen all day is mentally draining. Socially it makes you tired and you get nowhere
Teachers give you motivation at school. At home you can spend hours doing nothing and then work at night instead.
Can't just ask a teacher something - have to email or arrange a call.

Teachers are always asking how do we best engage students - Ask students what they find engaging. Ask the individual.
Could be a collaborative area - need to go with what is best for students

There are a range of different ways to learn content now so they should be able to choose. Give them an option of everything.
Everyone has a different way of learning. At home you have time to process things - less stressful than at school.

Different teachers are doing things in different ways. Some set work for the whole week, some each day - need a similar way to do things to make it easier
Need time to finish things

Being away from the traditional 9-3 means it doesn't matter when they fit work in - nice to be flexible

What's the purpose of school?
Lots of curriculum shuffling going on now - more internals, more projects
Social important - realised how much you learn from your friends
What's more important -Excellence in NCEA or the social interactions?

What teachers think young people want is misunderstood - what would you like teachers to know?
Tie things into our lives
Now it's not as much routine but more flow
Noticing simple things like family and hobbies
Having spark not just routine
Want to continue studying with fun
Being resilient - how do we operate - best in a school setting where they have time to process as well.
Prioritising ourselves now, not at school
This generation is thought to be good at tech but they actually are not necessarily. Don't want to be on screens all day
Easier to take on tech but this has opened eyes that tech is not everything
This has changed everyone's perspective
Using energy socialising on devices - it's OK to take time to prioritise somewhere else, family or outside

From your experience why are peers not engaging?
Equity has always been an issue, needs to be a priority
Trying to communicate and feeling disconnected when you can't
Big separation between those that have and those that don't
Better wifi means better connected so it's even worse when there is no connection
Struggling with self motivation - some could feel it's time to leave school because they can't do this
Can't keep up with the work, falling through the cracks
In the country, using phone for zoom calls, 3am for work so they have the internet

What should happen when we get back to school?
When we do get back to school - slow down, catch up, don't force the work all at once. Slow down and ease into the routine
Mental health side of things - self motivation
What's happening in the world is overwhelming for some and causes anxiety. School work on top of that
Look at who is disadvantaged and take what's happening. They need help post Covid19, need to learn how everyone is mental health wise
Things need to be gentle when we get back some are close to breaking point
Learning while going through stuff is really hard
Self directed nature, having to learn autonomously
Bad partnership - school can be an escape from home - additional pressure

Realised how little control we have over our own lives
2 days to go into lockdown, so fast and hard to deal with
Reminded of Earthquakes as well
As a generation Chch people dealt with the earthquakes but this goes past that - it's the whole world. Fear of the unknown

Need additional support when we go back
Struggling to read and pay attention - caught between a rock and a hard place
MLE - need a space to be alone - take an easy approach to going back
Is it more difficult at school or at home - rock and hard place
Sometimes can't get into calls so feeling left behind even more
Need to look after ourselves. If you are not 100% you won't learn

Different types of learners - if this is extended how are they catering for different learning styles
Need to have different options for different students
Keep up with the curriculum but in a way that works for you
Some by themselves, some are distracted
At home can complete normal 50 min class in 20min then can do other things but 1:1 feedback is missing
Resources are out there for help, if struggling you need to ask for help but many too reserved to ask
Being away from others can be helpful, don't feel it's a dumb question as you can email it, bit more confidence not having to do so in front of others
Liked it to start with - organised own schedule
Everyone's learning experience is individual and they all have different ways that they learn best
Great solution is to ask students for feedback - establish a partnership

No discipline if you don't go to class anymore so no motivation
Teacher is on the prowl in a classroom environment so you get help without having to ask. Asking for help is now harder because you have to email. It's just an additional thing you have to do - communication.
Reduced level of accountability when learning from home
Need a routine - regular calls for questions and feedback. Teachers need to reinforce that they are there to help
Having a Google Meet time slot where you can just jump on is great. Teachers also need to give 1:1 times
Youth week next week - theme:
“E korero ana mātou. E whakarongo ana koutou? 
We’re speaking. Are you listening?”
Need to take time to discuss things 1:1 where they can really be heard - need to find ways to integrate this into schools
Teachers take student voice and don't use it - it has no effect so then students don't bother
Meaningful feedback and meaningful partnerships otherwise feedback is pointless
You don't have to have a formal leadership title to reach out to teachers
Student leadership helping to shift responsibility from "teachers should...' to people are doing things together
Committees - if you don't get on, don't feel you can't have a say. You should still voice things. You don't need to have a teacher to do so
Student voice should not be linked to student leadership
Needs to be authentic and non tokenistic
Need to talk to those who are affected  - if you are wanting to know about student engagement, talk to the disengaged.
Has to be balanced and working alongside each other
Be good to have platforms like this - missing discussing things with other people
It's also partly on students to find ways to have those discussions

We can be the change we want to see in this world. 
People are doing the best they can
We all have a voice
We have the agency to connect
Be kind, keep learning

This was done on the platform GetVokl - hadn't seen that before but I thought it was quite good for having people jumping in and  out of conversation - couldn't see everyone at once, but was good only having a few slots for people to talk. You do have to make an account before going in which also requires a cellphone for the code, plus then email confirmation. One issue we had was with a student trying to use it on a school iPad - couldn't download the app, so that's something to consider if it is for students.

I really enjoyed watching this - great to hear the voice of young people. It would be good to do more of this from a wide range of students and schools more often. They really have great ideas!!