Archive | July, 2015

Modern Learning Environments

31 Jul

Modern Learning

I believe the biggest change that is required from teachers today is that of moving from teacher-centred to learning-centred models. Chalk and talk was the experience that most current teachers experienced at school and therefore it becomes our native language in the classroom. While this may be a comfortable zone for the teacher, this is hardly a method that will help to engage students given their variety of learning styles. The idea that teachers ‘control’ the classroom as opposed to guiding and encouraging learning is another area of transition that is important for student learning.

I found the Horizon Report and JISC Report useful for reflection.

A learning space should be able to motivate learners and promote learning as an activity, support collaborative as well as formal practice, provide a personalised and inclusive environment, and be flexible in the face of changing need.

The layout of rooms and spaces for learning can have a major impact on how students approach learning and interaction. I have been thinking about the best ways that classroom design can assist student learning. Sometimes this will be in a large group, other times in a small group, and then other times working individually. I’ve noticed that when there is flexibility with the design of a room it is easier to look after the learning needs of students.

Here are some things I like to consider:

  • personalised learning, project based learning and technology that aids learning. 
  • how I need to keep on developing my understanding of 21C learning so that students not only meet the curriculum
  • outcomes for school, but more importantly developing lifelong learning skills for all Ako.

What do you think?

#REchatnz 21 July 2015

21 Jul


20 Jul

This has brought a great deal of new users to twitter so I thought it was time to revisit my TEN BASICS to get the most out of this tool.

  1. Organize your Twitter.Twitter has made it simple to keep things organized and makes looking through tweets a breeze. How? With the lists feature that lets you organize those you’re following into different groups.
  2. Flesh out your bio.You’ll get more mileage out of your Twitter account if you actually create a profile that says something about you, offering potential followers information about your interests, professional or otherwise.
  3. Educate yourself on the basics.Learn the basic terminology for Twitter and the major functions it can perform by doing a little reading on helpful social media blogs beforehand. You’ll thank yourself later.
  4. Link to your blog.If you’re the type of academic that loves blogging (and who doesn’t these days?) then make sure your posts are getting the exposure they deserve by sharing them through Twitter. Include a link to your blog in your bio, too.
  5. Get rid of the egg and get a photo.
  6. Create separate accounts.If you plan to use Twitter for your classes, yourself, or just for fun, you’ll probably need separate accounts to keep everything straight and to ensure that each is focused on just one topic.
  7. Learn how to use hashtags.It’s pretty much impossible to have not seen the hashtags that have been plastered on, well, everything in the past few years. But do you really know how to use them? A quick lesson can help you learn the ropes.
  8. Choose a recognizable Twitter handle.You want people to be able to find you on Twitter, right? So choose a handle that they’d associate with you, usually something close to your name, your blog, or your profession will work best. Get some pointers on choosing a username from this guide.
  9. Stick to a core topic.Ideally, you want to keep your Twitter account pretty focused on a single topic, whether it’s your class, your professional work, or even just stupid things you find on the Internet. The more focused it is, the more useful it will be to both you and your followers.
  10. Enjoy it

I Read Blogs

12 Jul

When I think about blogging I think about some great quotes.

‘May you live in interesting times’, the Chinese saying goes; or as Charles Dickens’s wrote about the Victorian Era, it is the ‘best of and the worst of times’.

Blogging is interesting, reflective. This feels a bit like a therapy session. If you’d told me two years ago that I’d be reading blogs I would have laughed in your face. Blogs were written by sad people who had no life and were total bores down the pub at the end of term. Forgive me fellow bloggers for thinking this, as I couldn’t be more wrong I think this is the thing that has and will continue to have the biggest impact for me. The teaching profession is full of people who work unbelievably hard for the students they teach and yet these people still take so much time to reflect and share their experiences to help others to learn, challenge themselves and grow. These blogs provide me with ideas ranging from small things to try out in a lesson, to huge developmental projects, to a complete challenge of ‘everything you ever thought you knew about. I would like to thank you blogosphere for making me a better teacher indeed better person.


8 Jul

I think acknowledging that some students need time to work on their own to get into their own state of flow and not being rigid with timetables. Not making students wrong for not loving group work and creating thinking nooks inside and outside of the classroom to let them recharge (same for work spaces and conferences).

Just because students or adults don’t speak up in group discussions or staff meetings doesn’t mean they don’t have anything meaningful to say. How do we make sure these voices are heard and more importantly valued?


5 Jul

We’re all human, we’re all flawed and we all make mistakes.  By human nature we try to improve our weaknesses.  Sometimes I want to fix several flaws at one time…this is next to impossible.  So how do we go about improving ourselves?  This is what I’ve discovered through reading books, listening to podcasts and watching Come Dine with Me!

1)  Self-Reflect:  Reflecting on situations promotes growth.  You must be honest with yourself in this process.

2)  Stop Comparing:  Be the best YOU!  Everyone has idiosyncrasies, embrace them and don’t try to be someone you aren’t.

3)  Laugh At Yourself:  Humour can heal the soul.  When you make mistakes be willing to laugh at yourself.  Remember we are all flawed.

4)  Learn From Others:  It takes a big person to admit they don’t have all the answers and that they need support/help.  Learning from/with others creates strong bonds.

To Draw…

3 Jul

Loved this Link!  How many times have you sat in meetings just doodling?

Secondment Reflection

1 Jul

In my secondment it has been a privilege to explore and solve problems with teams. The chance to see how a high performing team operates, and what characterises them, was another key learning development for me this year. I got the opportunity to see how this team was shaped by strategic thinking and planning, long-term plans, conviction that your plan will do the job and get the best results, constant checking of the data, digging for the detail and the stories behind it, a focus on excellence rather than initiatives, a daily togetherness and opportunity to talk about operational matters, weekly meetings which were purposeful, focused and always about how to get the best for our students. Yes the best teams have students at the centre. And how about this, could we have grass roots teachers having input on strategic goals for the year.


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