Sunday, 30 October 2016

Multi-modal site

Hey team

So I decided to have a crack at making a multi-modal site using the new google sites. It saves having to use HMTL code (like the original google sites) however the design is limited to one row in each partition. I used larger font sizes to make up for the blank spaces that were left under small text.

Feel free to explore this site:  Any feedback would be awesome!

p.s you may need to have access to the new 'google sites' in order to view the site.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Student agency

Without fail my innovative mind kicks into gear during the last six hours of the weekend. Maybe inquisitive would be a better word to summarise the little sparks flying around in my head.

This time I have...

  • decided to revamp my class site by making the modelling books front and centre of the reading and maths pages
  • created a new weekly overview document that my students will use to plan their maths and reading lessons. They will do this by making a copy of this template each week and filling in the gaps
  • created a google slide to collect these overviews and make them accessible. Students have their own copy of this slide (SmartShare) and will link the document above to the corresponding week.  They will also note their curriculum achievement levels twice throughout the term

I hope this will help my learners understand that they can continue learning with or without the teacher around, develop a sense of ownership over the curriculum and be able to explain where they are at and their next learning steps.  

Spark MIT IGNITE presentations at uLearn16

uLearn16 provided an opportunity the Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers to present their inquiries through an IGNITE style talk. Through these talks the audience heard our key ideas, data, reflections and where to next from each of the inquiries.

I highly recommend following the other amazing Spark MIT inquiries by following this link

Here is my IGNITE presentation from uLearn.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Technology isn’t just a tool

Karen Spencer delivered an inspiring and thought provoking keynote at uLearn16. It has definitely served as a springboard for my future wonderings and was a clever ‘key note’ to start my symphony.

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." - Abraham H Maslow

Karen spoke about Maslow’s Hammer and the implications it had for us as educators. That we need to understand that their is no quick fix to engaging, inspiring and motivating our learners. Viewing technology as ‘just a tool’ inhibits our ability to innovate or create opportunities for our students to succeed. Technology in this case is ‘Maslow’s Hammer’.

Viewing technology as a tool essentially leads to ‘quick fixes’. Let’s look at issues with inappropriate images. A quick fix would be to add a filtering system that removes inappropriate content. That would be great until the tags on the images change and they let a few slip through the filters. If that happens we can carefully select images for intended use and link them to a shared document. Except now the links have been updated and redirect us to the wrong sites.. and the cycle of ‘quick fixes’ continues.

John Couch referred to technology as an environment, not a tool. This is true for most of our learners who grew up with technology, it’s second nature to them. If we view technology as an environment we can do away with the quick fixes. Instead we can create ways to support and inform our learners. For example the Cybersmart curriculum empowers our learners to navigate through their environment with the smarts to keep safe.

Couch also mentioned that we should make sure classrooms are relevant, creative and challenging with an element of collaboration. We need to create creators not consumers. With this in mind we need to empower them with the skills to navigate, manipulate, innovate and create things that couldn’t be done without their natural environment. If we don’t, we may as well be teaching our learners to share their learning through morse code.

McRaney, D. (2012, March 27). Maslow's Hammer. Retrieved October 08, 2016, from

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

uLearn 16 wondering

I have just heard this...
Mindcraft is going to be one of the most powerful educational tools over the next year. 

My wondering is... is it the the game (Minecraft) that we should be using as part of learning?  I say this because I feel the game could be used incorrectly, out of context and end up with some learners purely playing a 'game'.

Should we be digging deeper and helping our learners understand how this game enables learning? Or should we be getting them to think about how they can create content on a similar platform to share their learning, teach and inspire others?

What are your thoughts?