Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 10, Criterion 3, Standard 1, Standard 3, Teacher Registration

The Importance of Community Engagement

Earlier this year I began my Masters in Educational Leadership and Management through Unitec. For the one paper, I was required to interview my principal about how he facilitated diversity at Whangaparaoa College. This is part two of the essay that I wrote about my key findings.

The school has a diverse range of learners which represent 52 different countries. 60.6 % are New Zealand European; 11.8% are Māori; 10.6% are other European and the remaining people include African, Chinese, Pacific Island, Latin American and Middle Eastern learners. This is a huge range of learners and community engagement is necessary to support the achievement of all learners. Although my principal is Pakeha, his leadership style is cognisant of the need to “resonate with Māori conceptions of leadership…” (Hohepa & Robson, 2008, p. 31) in which communication with the whanau is valued. One of the school goals, Objective 9, is to  “create a welcoming and inclusive environment; evidenced by cultural harmony, respect, and a positive two-way relationship with whanau/community” (School Staff Handbook, 2016, p. 2). He is aware that what works for Māori will work for all but that the reverse is not necessarily true. There are many ways that the school utilises to engage with this diverse community.

There is a whānau support group that used to meet regularly once a term when the school was establishing itself and working through some issues. Recently, this has not been as well attended by local whānau. When I asked my principal why he thought this might be, he explained that 10 years ago there were growing pains and the school was establishing itself as a new school so there was more interest in what leadership was doing. Nowadays, it would seem that the school community feel more confident in the way that school is being run so don’t feel the same need to attend meetings.

The Board of Trustees also has included a member of Māori descent to represent the Māori community. This was recognised the recent 2016 ERO report,  “The co-opting of a trustee of Māori descent to the board of trustees with te reo and Tikanga Māori, and links through to the Māori community” (p.4). This member can communicate with their community to report on all the positive initiatives that are lead by the principal. Hohepa and Robson (2008) describe 4 principles of Maori leadership and Principle 4 relates to the leader being a waka and “ensuring that the status of the community is such that the people can feel proud to belong” (p. 23). The community of this school are proud and the recent ERO report of 2016 supports this: “Māori students speak very positively about the school culture and learning. They value the opportunities they have to engage in the wider life of the college. They also appreciate teachers’ efforts to be culturally responsive and to affirm their language and cultural identity. Māori students demonstrate a strong sense of belonging and pride in the school” (p. 4). It would seem that the school is providing a supportive learning environment in which learners of diverse backgrounds feel that they are able to achieve well in.

Another way that the school engages with the community is through counselling and youth workers. There are five youth workers who visit the school and hang out at break times with learners. The counsellors collaborate with the youth workers and they contact home when needed. According to Bishop, O’Sullivan and Berryman (2010), “Effective leadership that aims to sustain an educational reform needs to develop a means to spread reform so that parents, whānau, and community are engaged in a way that addresses their aspirations for the education of their children” (p. 106). By using youth workers to connect and engage with learners the school is able to help learners feel that they belong and have someone to talk to about any issues they are facing. The councillors will also connect with learners to help them develop strategies to deal with their issues. The whānau are then contacted so that they are aware of the issues. When our learners are supported in this manner, they are more able to address their learning knowing that they are supported by the school and by their whānau.

When discussing communication, my principal explained that instead of assuming that a communication was received and understood, he will go the other way and assume that it wasn’t until it is confirmed. He will check by asking a parent what their take away from the meeting is. To him, it is really important that both parties are clear. He explained that families from other cultures may say that it is clear but will sometimes misunderstand. Shields and Sayani (2005) when explaining cross-cultural leadership state, “For us, the term requires that leaders take a stand in the midst of diversity, helping all members of the community to understand it and to translate those understandings into positive and respectful action” (p. 384). By checking that both parties are clear, respect is shown and both parties can move forward in a positive manner.

When it comes to practical methods of communicating with the community, the school has a website, an app, a Facebook page, a newsletter, and a sign near the main road to the school. My principal explained that he tries to make sure it goes out in three different ways at three different times. He said that it’s got to be in the newsletter, on the app, on the sign, on the Facebook page and on the website. This is for advertising an upcoming event such as an Achievers’ Breakfast or a Prize Giving Ceremony. He explained that to try and engage through programmes, strategies, and support methods is much more complicated but the school will keep trying and be listening. My principal believes that listening is important, and will also ask, what can we do better? According to Bishop, O’Sullivan and Berryman (2010), “Leaders of high-achieving schools are more likely to see their goals and expectations are well understood and to see that academic achievement is recognised and conveyed to the community” (p. 101). By providing so many methods of communication and being prepared to listen, engagement with the community is more effective and our learners’ whanau are aware of the progress that their young people are making.

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Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 6, Standard 4

Our Interdisciplinary Learning story

 

At Whangaparaoa College, a few of us have been chatting about the possibility of trialing interdisciplinary learning in 2018. For a while, I have been pondering how we could make this happen without too much disruption to the timetable. After a fruitful lunchtime conversation with my friend and colleague, Debbie Culliford, the light went on! Our year 9 and 10 classes all travel together so what would be needed was a group of teachers of one class who would meet and plan a theme or project and how they would teach it to the class.

A few days later, Tim Rea, the head of the Social Science faculty, came into my class and asked whether I would be interested in making it happen in 2018. We chatted and agreed that it would be good for teachers of the four core subjects to be a part of the pilot. Unfortunately, our Maths HOL was not keen at first because in the past the Maths curriculum had not been covered sufficiently. I totally understood where he was coming from but was disappointed. However, he later came on board to try it for a term after another discussion. Dawn, our DP, then organised a meeting between the core subject Heads of Learning.

Before the meeting we started a shared brainstorming document of the following ideas:

General interdisciplinary learning ideas:

  • Choose a class and trial for a term/year.
  • Choose a common theme/project/problem to learn about each term.
  • Maths, Science, Social Science, and English.
  • The trial class would have a project/problem or theme that they would complete learning in each subject area about.
  • Communication with the community is essential.

Why should we do this?

  • To make learning engaging and relevant.
  • Learners will understand the ‘bigger picture’ and be able to connect to real life projects.
  • Opportunity for teacher collaboration.

How can we make this happen?

  • Survey our learners to see if there is interest.
  • Choose teachers of a year 9 class to be involved.
  • Teachers meet and plan a term together.
  • Create resources and share on Team Drive (set one up for this trial).
  • Identify feasibility asap so that planning time can occur in term 4.

 Questions to consider

  1. Should the teachers involved have a non-contact at the same time for planning purposes?
  2. Should teachers have a non-contact when one of the group is teaching the class so that they have the option of team teaching?
  3. Should learners apply to be involved or select the class as an option?
  4. Can we make this happen for 2018 or do we need more time to plan?
  5. Could Design Thinking be part of our process?
  6. How will we assess learning outcomes?
  7. Will we plan forwards to the outcomes or backward from the outcomes?
  8. Will we make the key competencies much more of an explicit focus within this class
  9. What taxonomy will we use to guide our levels of differentiation?
  10. How might we serve our community?

At the meeting, we chatted about how we could make this happen and agreed that the simplest way would be to choose a year 9 class for 2018 and select interested teachers to teach this class. We left the meeting agreeing to find a keen member of each of our departments to take part.

At our next Curriculum Meeting, Tim Rea and I presented our ideas to all the HOLs and asked for their thoughts. Everyone was surprisingly very positive, especially the Year 7 & 8 HOLs who teach in this style most of the time. This means that if our trial in 2018 is successful, we may be able to roll it out to more curriculum areas and classes.

The next steps are to choose the teachers to teach the class, ensure that they have time to meet and plan, and then timetable the class. We also need to discuss the questions above and make some decisions regarding assessment.

Reading and Viewing links

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 4, Criterion 5

Transformers! Teachers in disguise!

This year, my friend and colleague, Christine Emery, and I presented at uLearn 2016. Our presentation was about how we have helped to begin the transformation of our department’s use of technology.

Christine and I began teaching at Whangaparaoa College this year and had both come from schools that have been BYOD for the past 4-5 years. We have both completed the Mindlab Postgrad certificate in Applied Technology and are fluent in using technology to enable our pedagogy. While completing Mindlab, we discovered the Transformational Leadership style as explained by Bass and Avolio (1990). We were keen to share our knowledge and skills with our department.

Our department is made up of teachers who are at different places with the use of technology. Some have been using it confidently for years and some are not confident at all. Our mission was to transform our department with our 12 Step Programme.


During the year in department meetings we have discussed the SAMR model and how it can be incorporated into teaching practice. We have shared apps and websites and also PBL. Every member of the department has tried something new. I was super surprised when, after sharing this blog, everyone said that they were keen to try blogging themselves. I explained that I used blogging to record reflections and evidence of the PTC for registration purposes and they could see the value in this. During the year we planned what we would do as our department TAI and some reflections have been posted on people’s blogs also.


The transformational leadership style has been useful in promoting change in a non-threatening and encouraging manner. The department have seen 4 different Heads of Learning in the last 4 years so did not need change thrust upon them in an aggressive manner.

Christine and I have made ourselves available to help when needed and have consciously been supportive. Our plan was to meet people where they were at and see what they needed help with. At a staff meeting Carol Dweck‘s growth mindset was discussed and this has been something that the school has been learning about over the past year or two. Knowing that we could refer to this and everyone would know what we meant has been helpful in encouraging persistence.


We have also shared our stories of success with apps/websites such as Classcraft, Class Dojo, Kahoot, Google Classroom, Google sites and WordPress. As a PBL fan girl, I shared resources with people and a few have adopted this learning style also. Other members of the department have had turns at sharing apps and websites that they have discovered also. It has been valuable to learn how these technologies are being used to transform learning.

Many of our department now regularly use Kahoot and Google Classroom and the more adventurous have tried Classcraft and Google Sites with their learners. These have been used by learners also as ways of showcasing their learning.

Christine and I are conscious of our roles as leaders in this area and our responsibility to be positive role models. Our goal is to motivate and inspire while being encouraging coaches and mentors. Our department is a work in progress and so are we! We are well on the way to realising our department vision.

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 2, Criterion 4, Criterion 5, Mindlab reflections, Teacher Registration

Interdisciplinary Connections

The interdisciplinary approach is a team-taught enhancement of student performance, an integration of methodology and pedagogy, and a much needed lifelong learning skill. Interdisciplinary approach (2009).

Goals

At Whangaparaoa College each curriculum area has had its own paragraph structure acronym, these have included PEEL, SEXY, and TIE, to name a few. It was decided that we needed a common structure. Heads of learning from 6 curriculum areas met over the course of a term to decide which structure would work best overall. We settled on SEEL: Statement, Explanation, Example, Link. To achieve this goal we shared examples of what it would look like for each of us and then spent time creating resources. We have now introduced the chosen structure to our departments and have also begun using it. Posters are being printed so that the SEEL structure will be displayed around the school. It is hoped that by the end of the year all teachers and learners will have adopted it.

TALL (Teaching and Learning Leaders) is a group representing all curriculum areas that meet twice a term to brainstorm ideas, conduct research, and eat lollies!  A goal of the group is to create short lesson plans and accompanying resources for the staff to easily pick up and use. These lessons can be used in more than one curriculum area. We want staff to be comfortable trying new ideas without having to spend a lot of time planning. These lesson plans consider the SAMR model and aim to encourage more engagement and motivation. Currently I am working with a social science teacher to create a paragraph writing unit which includes a ‘how to’ video resource and a Kahoot to quiz the learners.

Challenges

Although the paragraph group have only focussed on one skill in an interdisciplinary manner we found that the paragraph structure needed to be general and not specific or it would not fit all curriculum areas. In English, the SEEL structure will be fine for our junior classes but we will need to add to it for our seniors so that learners record all the information needed. Other curriculum areas will do the same.

Benefits

The benefit of the interdisciplinary approach is huge for learners. They are able to apply principles across curriculum areas which makes them easier to remember and understand. This also cuts down on the time spent in teaching these principles so more time is available to help wih understanding specific content.

“Their cognitive development allows them to see relationships among content areas and understand principles that cross curricular lines. Interdisciplinary approach (2009).

According to Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997), there are many other benefits including increased engagement and motivation, more ability in critical thinking, synthesis and making decisions, and also in the promotion of collaborative learning. Basing learning on a theme across curriculum areas and incorporating project based learning could make school a very cool place to come to. For teachers, it would promote “…better collegiality and support between teachers and wider comprehension of the connections between disciplines.” (Mathison and Freeman, 1997).

Our paragraph structure group and the TALL group are only small steps in the journey of interdisciplinary learning. I would love to take larger, bolder steps in this area and truly become interdisciplinary in our school. I found the video below very inspiring.

References

1. Jones, C.(2009). Interdisciplinary approach – Advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI, 7(26), 76-81. Retrieved from http://dc.cod.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1121&context=essai

2. Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997). The logic of interdisciplinary studies. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 1997. Retrieved from http://www.albany.edu/cela/reports/mathisonlogic12004.pd

3. Lacoe Edu (2014, Oct 24) Interdisciplinary Learning . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA564RIlhME

 

 

 


Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 2, Criterion 5, Criterion 7, Mindlab reflections

Current Issues in my Professional Context

Organisational Culture

Whangaparaoa College caters for years 7-13 and has been in operation for 10 years. As part of their job application, our principals completed a Myers-Briggs personality test to ensure there was a balance of personality styles and skills. Recommendations from the Curriculum Stocktake (2002) were also considered, in particular, the review and refining of outcomes in essential learning areas. The principal at the time told everyone planning the curriculum to ‘chuck everything in the bin,’ metaphorically, and then plan based around themes. Once all the curriculum skills were chosen, they then asked what was crucial that was missing, added it in and ditched the rest.

Hattie’s research was influential in the planning of the school. His identification of the teacher as one of the most important factors in successful learning guided the teacher selection. However, many did not want to teach junior classes only so it was a challenge to find the right staff.

Academic Counselling is a key value. Learners spend one hour on a Wednesday with their Academic Counsellor. The focus for Term 1 was goal setting and in Term 2 the focus has been planning for the Learner Led Conferences happening in Week 10. Learners are asked to reflect on each subject with the guidance of the AC. They are then coached on how they will present this information to their family.

The school motto Together, Believe, Achieve reflects the importance of relationships and learner achievement. Our principal, James Thomas, believes in encouraging an Atmosphere of expectation. Boundaries are important: the teacher/coach sets firm boundaries but is not an authoritarian, or a teacher with a laissez-faire style. Communication is valued in the sense that a message is not truly communicated until it has been received. Hattie (2003) found that principals “…who create a climate of psychological safety to learn, who create a focus of discussion on student learning have the influence.”

 

My goal is to foster a positive, professional environment by role modelling the ABC and encouraging others to do the same. As I am a new HOL and new to the school, my priority is to build positive relationships with my department members. I have a vision for my department to be the leaders of the school in technology-enabled pedagogy but I am mindful of earning trust before mandating too much change.

Changes in the Profession

In the last few years Whangaparaoa College has been introducing BYOD to successive year levels. This has encouraged many teachers to reflect on their pedagogy and think about how they might incorporate the use of technology. The Teaching And Lead Learning group has been formed to address this challenge. I joined the TALL group this year and we have interviewed learners to find out what teachers are doing well and what could be improved. The results were then shared with staff by the learners. We are currently working collaboratively to create resources that will help teachers incorporate technology into their teaching practice.

In the English department and we are addressing these changes by sharing ideas. Each meeting, someone will share an app or website and show how they have been using it. We have learnt about School A to Z, Zaption, Google Sites, LitCharts, WordPress and MindMups. My department members seem to be enjoying this and we have all tried something new this year.



References

1. Hattie, J., 2003. Teachers Make a Difference: What is the research evidence? Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/content/download/501/3926/john_hattie.pdf

2. Recommendations from the curriculum stocktake. Retrieved from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Archives/Curriculum-project-archives/Developing-the-draft/Recommendations-from-the-curriculum-stocktake

3. What Is Laissez-Faire Leadership? Retrieved from https://www.verywell.com/what-is-laissez-faire-leadership-2795316

4. Thanks to James Thomas, Lisa White and Jason Pocock for answering my questions and providing useful information for this post.

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 2, Criterion 5, Criterion 7, Mindlab reflections, Professional Development

My Community of Practice

“Communities of practice,” a term coined by Etienne Wenger, is explained as: “groups of people who share a concern or a passion or about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interaction on an ongoing basis” (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002, p.4).

Communities of practice interact and learn together.

My COP is the English department at Whangaparaoa College. The purpose of my practice is to assist our learners to achieve. As a department, we regularly meet and discuss how we can help our learners by using E-Asttle and Kamar data to inform our discussion. We are also learning how to use technology effectively to enable our pedagogy. I contribute to my COP by facilitating workshops and discussions and encouraging others to share their ideas and experiences.

The core values of Whangaparaoa College are:

  1. The high importance of learning
  2. Valuing the individual
  3. Challenging ourselves
  4. Giving of our best
  5. Respecting oneself, others, and the environment
  6. Being a safe and well managed school
  7.  The importance of strong and appropriate relationships
  8. The vital partnership of home and school

Our learners are encouraged to value their learning by reflecting on each curriculum area regularly with their Academic Counsellor. Goals are set and plans are made and the AC encourages, guides and gives feedback. Each individual is valued and helped to achieve. Learners and staff are challenged to consider whether they are showing grit and working towards having a growth mindset. These ideas are discussed in Teacher Meetings and we discuss them with our learners.


Being the best you can be and living your best life are ideas that I believe contribute to a successful life and I try to be a positive role model for my learners and my department. Respecting yourself by completing the tasks expected of you and encouraging others to do the same, is part of respecting others and the environment you are a part of. When learners and staff do this, the school is well on the way to becoming a safe and well managed environment and community.

Positive relationships between staff and with learners is a key to success in learning.  As a new Head of Learning I am enjoying building these relationships. The relationships that I build with my learners is important as it helps to motivate reluctant learners. Relationships are integral for a partnership between home and school. Contact is made with home when a learner needs encouragement to complete their learning. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to attend the Learner Led Conferences.

My specialist area of practice is as the HOL in the English department. The broader professional context is to facilitate the learning of our akonga. My role is to help the members of my team to do this to the best of their ability. One of the key theories that underpins this is being a reflective practitioner. One of the reflection tools that our principal encourages us to use is Rolfe’s iterative reflection: What? So what? Now what? This is a simple way of looking at a situation and deciding what needs to be done about it.

Another reflection tool is the RISE model which asks a practitioner to Reflect, Inquire, Suggest and Evaluate. These models are both valuable in evaluating how we are meeting the Practising Teacher Criteria and also everyday situations. I am a regular reflective practitioner and I aim to encourage the members of my department to regularly reflect.

References

1. Wenger, E. Introduction to communities of practise. Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

2. http://www.wgpcollege.school.nz/ABOUT+USTe+K257reti+o+Whangaparaoa/Vision++Values.html

3. Dawson, P. Reflective Practice. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/r1aYWbLj0U8

4. Wray, E. The RISE model for self evaluation. Retrieved from http://www.risemodel.com

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 2, Criterion 4, Mindlab reflections

20th vs 21st Century Skills

How do 20th century and 21st century skills differ? 

As a student in the 20th century I recall that my education was largely about learning facts and content that would be regurgitated at a later stage to prove that I had learnt something. I vividly remember sitting in many classes simply copying notes from a blackboard. The only way that I could make it interesting was to add colour to my boring exercise book by bullet pointing, underlining and drawing little pictures with my felt tip pens. In English, watching a film of people perform Shakespeare on a dark stage with one stagelight was a huge highlight of my 6th form English class. It was little wonder that I felt I had to provide some sort of entertainment to the class by yelling out ‘Earthquake! Everyone under your desk!’ in the middle of one class.

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Most of my classes, apart from the specialist classes such as music, home economics, and PE, involved a teacher standing at the front transmitting information. I was not a well behaved student in the 3rd and 4th form and I think I am only partly to blame.

As I matured I learned to self manage and respect my fellow students’ learning opportunities. I also learnt that to get the best education possible I would need to respect myself and participate in the lessons I was taught. These are skills that are still relevant today.

Today, as a teacher, my goal is to incorporate the 21st Century skills of collaboration, knowledge construction, problem solving and innovation, digital literacy, self regulation, and communication in my students’ learning experience.

I have done this by utilising Project Based Learning and using a Solo/Gardner’s learning matrix, flipping the classroom and co-constructing units of work with my students. As a BYOD school, this has worked mostly well as students are able to construct knowledge easily with on tap internet and presentation tools. My focus has been on being a guide and mentor.

kids working.jpg

Being a BYOD school, self regulation and digital literacy has been hugely important to teach and there have been plenty of opportunities to do this. Students do get off task at times doing the wrong thing such as playing games or being on Facebook. Instead of blocking social media our approach has been to use it as a teachable moment and discuss when and where it is appropriate to being playing games and using social media. This is an ongoing thing and we do have consequences for persistent offenders.


Do we need both?

I think that the skills of managing self, relating to others and participating and contributing are skills that are relevant to both centuries. These are skills that are needed to be successful in any part of life so we still need to have them as part of our curriculum.

However, knowledge transmission via the ‘sage on the stage’ is no longer relevant. Students are now able to find most information on the internet and our role as teachers is to guide them in the skills of assessing, synthesising and utilising information.

Unfortunately, our exam system still expects students to regurgitate facts and content –  hopefully we don’t have to wait until the 22nd century for this to change.

 

 

 

Posted in Criterion 1, Criterion 4, Professional Development

Happy Highlights of the ADE Institute, Singapore, 2015

How did we get there?

My colleague and friend, Linda Rubens, and I both applied to become Apple Distinguished Educators this year and we were both fortunate enough to be successful. We were required to make a 2 minute video and answer a series of questions in which we told the story of how we used Apple technologies to enhance teaching and learning. 

 

New ADEs
 
We attended the Asia Pacific Apple Institute in Singapore in early August with 400 other ADEs who included newbies and Alumni from Australia, New Zealand, Greater China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Phillipines . The theme of the Institute was Telling your Story.

Highlights of the Institute

Storytelling

The Institute started each morning at 8am with an auditorium full of excited delegates and loud, pumping, pop music. After the plan for the day was introduced we heard from many of the Alumni who each told their story in a 3 minute presentation. It was inspiring to hear what  people were doing and how Apple technologies were helping them: from schools deploying a 1:1 iPad program to a whole school Minecraft construction, a 66 year old dentist who had written an iTunesU course for her students to a cross-curricular film project.

 

The Alumni presenters
 

No Pressure!

The product developers for Garageband and iMovie gave an engaging presentation in which they wrote a soundtrack to a short film and then edited it and added a 3D title in front of us in one hour. No pressure! While doing this they gave us extra tips on how to use each app more effectively. The result was pretty impressive.

Creativity is Magic

On the programme we saw that we had a special guest presentation but did not know who it was. It turned out to be Chinese popstars, The Yao Band. This is the band who featured in the advert for the iPad Air. They performed a song for us, to the great excitement of the Chinese and Korean delegates, and then demonstrated how they put a song together using a Macbook and iPad. They got several people up on stage and sampled them clapping and saying funny things which were then included in their song. After they had added a bassline they then sang and performed the song. As one of them said, “Creativity is magic.”

CARP to avoid CRAP

One of the Alumni, Kerri-Lee Beasley, presented her work on design in a morning session. She has created a multi-touch book titled Design Secrets Revealed. Her ideas were expanded on in an afternoon session. We were shown how to format a page or slide effectively by using the design principles of CARP – Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity. I feel inspired to use these principles in any resources I create from now on. These ideas will also be great for teaching static image.

Bill Frakes

Each delegate got their photo taken by photographer, Bill Frakes, and we will be able to use this professional shot for our profiles. Bill Frakes presented his body of work in a session and told us some of the stories behind each photo or film that he had made. One shot was of President Obama playing basketball and another a close up of the Pope. We found out that the unassuming guy who had taken our photos was in fact a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer. Very humbling. The clip below is a film that he has made.

Me, Bill Frakes and Linda

Speaking the same language

It was great meeting new people from lots of different cultural backgrounds who were like-minded in their passion for engaging their students and getting better results through the use of technology. Even though we were from a diverse range of countries, we all had similar stories to tell of our classroom experiences. On the final night we all went out for dinner together and, by the end of the night, were all on the dance floor getting down. It was a lot of fun!

Out for dinner on the final night

One Best Thing 
So I now have a project to complete titled One Best Thing. I could choose between creating a multi-touch book to document a cool lesson or unit of work; creating an iTunesU course for a lesson or unit; or committing to a community project. I chose the multi-touch book and I will document my Movies under the Microscope unit which I did last term and was pleased with the outcome of.

Recommended experience?

I would totally recommend this experience! It was a lot of fun and we were well catered for with amazing accommodation and great food. I will remember this trip fondly for many years to come, even if I get Alzheimers.
 

The Foyer of the Pan Pacific Hotel where we stayed
 

Here is a video that Linda created on her iPhone:


Posted in Criterion 1

Managing your classroom effectively

It takes some time to learn to manage your students well and some develop a great set of skills sooner than others. It took me a while and I know that I was not very strict or confident in my early years of teaching. I used to focus more on building relationships with my students than anything else. I still believe that building relationships is integral to good classroom management but not the only tool in my toolbox.
I came across this image on Twitter which sums things up nicely.

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Thanks to @WeAreTeachers for this image.

Posted in Criterion 1

5 Inspirational Educators

I am constantly amazed and inspired by educators that I know or meet who are passionate about teaching and learning. These teachers are keen to learn and adapt their pedagogy to enhance their students learning:

1. Linda Rubens @lindarubens
Linda is a passionate advocate of using 1:1 devices to enable inquiry based learning. She understands the importance of the learning environment and it’s impact on her students. Linda has recently been on an edutour to San Francisco and has returned with heaps of inspiring ideas. Check out her blog post to find out more!

2. Althea White @althea_white
Althea is an experienced educator who has been teaching for over 30 years but has found her passion for teaching and learning reignited through the use of social media. She has inspired her students to blog and tweet and has also successfully incorporated the flipped classroom into her teaching. Althea writes about the experiences in her blog.

3. Lewis Bostock @LewisBostock
Although Lewis is still training to be a teacher, he has had plenty of teaching experience with adults through the opportunities he has taken advantage of over the last couple of years. Lewis is a social media expert and has an inspiring wealth of knowledge. Lewis records his thoughts and experiences on his own website.

4. Gavin Fitzhenry @GavinFitzhenry
Gavin inspires me because he really cares about his students and their learning. He goes the extra mile to make sure that they fully understand the topic. Gavin recently taught a video conferencing class and most of them gained scholarships in English. He has a class blog to keep his students informed.

5. Tony Zaloum @Sc00tr
Tony is always positive and encouraging with anyone he comes into contact with. He has been using social media in his teaching for years and has inspired many of his colleagues to do the same. Tony has an interactive blog for his physic’s students which provides resources and discussion questions. He has also created a blog for colleagues to discuss the merits of blogging.

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