Tag Archives: Pedagogy

Technology Rant

6 Jul

Connecting

For the purposes of schooling, the technology (the device) needs to support the pedagogy (teaching and learning methods), not the other way around. The device needs to support our intentions for our pedagogy to be more and more student-centred; that means, providing students with greater choice of subject matter and pace of study. It also requires teachers to involve students in more decision‐making processes which result in memorable experiences where students ‘learn by doing’ with relevance to the real world. Examples of this approach would see students:

  • CREATE podcasts, video documentaries and websites;
  • COLLABORATE via wikis, blogs and Google share documents; and,
  • CRTICALLY ANALYSE the work of their peers using chat options and online media.

My desire is for my students and staff to more and more engage in activities that result in them Creating, Collaborating and Critiquing. They collectively need to move away from pre‐occupation of computer work being just “Word and PowerPoint”; and it is great to see that some are already doing this! The Microsoft suite of applications is one option which supports “creating, collaborating and critiquing”. Watch this space.

Writing Assessment Tasks

12 Jun

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Using the right questions creates powerful, sometimes multiple answers and discussions. Aristotle said that he asked questions in response to other people’s views, while Socrates focused on disciplined questioning to get to the truth of the matters.

Ultimately questions spark imagination, conjure emotions, and create more questions. The questions asked by a teacher or professor are sometimes more glaringly valuable than the information transferred to the students. Those questions spark a thought, which leads to a fiercely independent search for information.

If students are the ones gathering that information then they’re the ones learning it and student-driven learning cements lessons into the students’ mind making any lesson more powerful with this strategy. As I teach and write the next assessment task this week I have been thinking about the following questions. Note they need to be linked to our New Zealand Curriculum.

  • How might you show the differences and similarities?
  • What patterns might lead you to an alternative answer?
  • How many possibilities can you think of and why?
  • How does this relate daily occurrences?

Lets Be Connected

22 May

constructivist

Ka rongo, ka wareware

Ka kite, ka mahara

Engari, mā te mahi ka mōhio.

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, but through doing, I know.

 

Last year while on secondment to NCRS I did some presenting to groups and reflecting on teaching practice. Everything I did centred around our teachers raising student achievement. It reminded me about the importance of being a connect educator. I hope I brought this back to my own environment.

Overall a connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to grow as a professional and to empower each other and their students to build their own personal learning networks to learn using the technologies that are available. Much is learnt from each other, with each other, and with the classes that they teach.

As part of my appraisal, one of my guiding principles is Whangaungatanga or connectedness, Kaitiakitanga or Guardianship and Manaakitanga or Generosity of spirit. These all deal with connectedness.

Kaitiakitanga – Guardianship

Ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness of actions in environments both local and distant.

A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to build their community of practise that has active participants like guest speakers and where everyone co constructs knowledge. A great example of this is uLearn16 or #edchatnz or subject associations meetings.

Whanaungatanga – Connectedness

Being connected requires learners to develop a secure sense of their own identity and agency to think and work towards where their potential might lie.

Sacred Heart Girl’s College is already a strong learning community that collaboratively constructs knowledge to form a foundation for learning. A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use the managed online tools to find people and how to connect with them. They think carefully about the dynamics of interactions.

Manaakitanga – Generosity of spirit

Developing the ability to walk in others’ shoes which includes seeing issues from others’ perspectives and thinking carefully about the dynamics of interactions.

A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use and take the tools from their kete to move their practice forward. They know how to get the learning needed to improve the craft of teaching. A connected educator at Sacred Heart Girl’s College knows how to use pedagogical eTools.  They know how to bring back what they have found and learnt online and share it with their school community via a reflective educator blog. Personal learning is transparent, visible and accessible by all.

Ka rongo, ka wareware

Ka kite, ka mahara

Engari, mā te mahi ka mōhio.

 

 

 

 

 

Richness of LwDT

4 Jan

DT-wordle-300x189

LwDT can form an engaging platform for teaching and learning, with the potential to expand the realm of the classroom. A useful tip is that a phone can be the most useful and common device. Functionality and context are key considerations when selecting web sites and applications.

Mobile devices and their apps can provide utility and flexibility in a compact, portable package. Among the options available are:

GPS and other location-based functionality

Video, audio, and still image capture

Mobile networking and collaboration

The ability to bridge to other tools and data

Scanning and data logging in the field

Visual and audio recognition

Screen readers, slow keys, text to speak, and other accessibility features

The portability and convenience provided by mobile devices enables instantaneous connections means a richness added to learning.

How have you enriched your teaching using simple LwDT?

Student Achievement and Curriculum Development

16 Sep

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Curriculum development should not be left to chance.  Too many schools hope that teachers will find time to work together.  With the loss of staff development funds, changes in school calendars, the emphasis on ‘less is more, and initiative fatigue, some schools no longer make time for authentic curriculum development.  Curriculum development is the essential function of school leadership.  Whether the role is carried out by a principal, deputy principal for curriculum, a team leader, a department head, or by leading classroom teachers, the curriculum defines all other roles in a school.

Curriculum development is a rewarding process which enables teachers to have professional conversations about the intended and taught curriculum. Conversations about what is real. Pedagogy.

My personal experiences with curriculum development and observing the work of teacher teams in multiple school systems and academic research  has led me to identify the following five barriers to curriculum development: Time, Process, Tradition, Competition, and Motivation.  With proper planning, scheduling and support from school administrators, each of these barriers can be removed.

What have been some of your barriers?

Where are the Curriculum Leaders?

19 Aug

Leadership

Go onto Twitter or Facebook or any such site you will find people having their say on leadership. Thousands of books have been sold on the topic of leadership.  I have brought many of them. When you visit the library or search for an e-book, you can find topics about business leadership, military leaders, great sporting leaders, leadership wisdom from presidents, ethical leadership, and the list is limitless.

The field of education needs more curriculum leaders.  People know about curriculum leadership and some educators do a great job of leading their class or their team.  Curriculum leadership involves working with multiple people to ensure that the curriculum is aligned both horizontally and vertically.

When educators think of curriculum development and curriculum alignment, they often reflect on a time when teachers meet and discuss the nuts and bolts. What our system needs are people with greater vision. A flavour-of-the month approach to curriculum development will not support students or teachers and it creates a disjointed curriculum. It creates a culture amongst the team of yes “this will come and go, it’s only a fade.”

We need curriculum leaders who will challenge and advance pedagogy. We can all serve as a curriculum leaders. Ask yourself the following questions about your department:

  1.  What is Curriculum Leadership? (Clue: Its not about making sure everybody has textbooks)
  2.  Who are the Curriculum Leaders in our school?
  3.  What goals do the Curriculum Leaders have for this school year?
  4.  How will we measure progress towards the goals?
  5. How are we progressing right now with these?
  6. Do these meet with the school wide goals and my own personal goals as a teacher?

Lots to think about here but worth but worth putting these aside for a Departmental or Team meeting I think.

Curriculum Guru

10 Aug

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Curriculum Guru

Curriculum development is an ongoing process which requires collaboration, conflict-resolution and reflection. Too often, schools approach curriculum development as a product to be created. During my current role in 2015 I have developed a real passion for curriculum development.

Curriculum design and review is a continuous, cyclic process. It involves making decisions about how to give effect to the national curriculum in ways that best address the particular needs, interests, and circumstances of the school’s students and community. It requires a clear understanding of the intentions of The New Zealand Curriculum and of the values and expectations of the community. For some reading this is a good place to start.

Here are some thoughts:

Collaboration:

Classroom teachers decide what every student should know and be able to do, then they should be involved in the curriculum development process. Unpacking the standards, curriculum mapping, unit development, writing generalizations, developing essential questions and creating common formative assessments are each opportunities for collaboration.

Conflict Resolution:

Conflict is often avoided when teachers discuss curriculum development. When teachers debate which skills are essential and what content can be omitted, curriculum development becomes a matter of conflict resolution. When teacher teams embrace conflict and encourage conflicting opinions they are supporting student achievement. Open conversation is where professional develoment occurs.

Reflection:

When teacher teams reflect on the written, taught and assessed curricula, they will improve pedagogy and curriculum design. When teachers develop curriculum and fail to assess its effectiveness, it is difficult to know if the curriculum is meeting the needs of each student.

Some Questions For Curriculum Developers:

  1. Does our school have a ‘robust curriculum’?
  2. Is our curriculum aligned?
  3. Do teachers have a tool or method for communicating the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum’?
  4. When teachers develop common formative assessments, do they use the data generated?
  5. Are teachers meeting on a regular basis to reflect on the written, taught, and assessed curricula?

If curriculum drives the work of teacher teams, then schools must create time for teachers to collaborate, engage in conflict and provide time during the school day for reflection and revision. Curriculum development should be a priority in schools, rather than something that is handed to teachers as a top-down product. When teachers collaborate to develop the curriculum, they will have co-workers who support them when they come to a fork in the road in instruction.

Discussion Rooms

28 Feb

Dialogue is a hallmark of human interaction; the sharing of enlightening ideas, emblematic of academia. In this blog on teaching learning and learning teaching, teachers and learners alike are encouraged to enter into an open, dynamic dialogue on these, and related, topics – e.g., what are your thoughts teaching, from the perspective of teacher or student; likewise, what are your thoughts on learning, from the perspective of teacher or student?

My discussion rooms in my online classroom is an exciting place. It gives students a chance t express themselves in manner that they are comfortable and that will help them in the future. The “Discussions” space serves as a forum for teachers and students to bring up and constructively discuss areas of interest related to teaching and learning not otherwise covered in this blog.

In an era that many writers have referred to as “The Digital Age,” secondary learners are truly a new breed. They do their work and entertain themselves while communicating in a manner that was unimagined just 20 years ago.

Impact of the New National Curriculum on Online Learning

5 Aug

“Pedagogy can be defined as a combination of knowledge and skills required for effective teaching. Online learning requires a different approach to pedagogy, also known as virtual pedagogy or epedagogy.” (University of Adelaide, 2009).

The New Zealand Curriculum is one of the most significant changes to the educational landscape in New Zealand since the introduction of standards based assessment, with the Qualifications Framework and the National Certificate of Education Achievement, NCEA. Today all state schools within New Zealand are expected to be offering educational programmes that are in line with the new curriculum. The overall Vision of the curriculum is to create young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners. (The New Zealand Curriculum 2007, p7)

At the student learning end of the New National Curriculum, the curriculum is comprised of Values, Key Competencies and Learning Areas. Values are deeply held beliefs that motivate behaviour such as excellence, innovation, inquiry and curiosity, diversity, equity, ecological sustainability and integrity. The Key Competencies are described as capabilities for living and lifelong learning.

Thinking, using Language, symbols and texts, managing self, relating to others, participating and contributing, will all be competencies that people can expect to draw on throughout life. They also provide the basis for the future learning in these specialised learning areas. These ideals had to be clearly immersed into my vision of online learning. As a school we are using Ultranet and Office 365.

As a staff we have been working through a process that is bringing staff up to speed with the necessary changes, especially within the specific learning areas.

We have been looking at how the nature of our special character and commitment to our independent learner profile marries with the principles, values and key competencies of the NZ Curriculum. There may be some differences in the language used, but mostly we hold very similar views. We believe that through effective pedagogy, best practice in line with our teaching charter, and embedding the independent learner profile, students will develop as young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners. What better time to launch this blended leaning environment.

Lesson Objectives

4 Aug

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This year I have been privileged to observe teaching pedagogy by teachers in classrooms in my school in departmental review and appraisal situations. One of the indicators of effective instruction is that each lesson has a clear learning intention stated up front to the students in the class. In many classrooms I visited the learning intention was also written for students. In the flipped classroom situation many students knew this before the lesson had even begun.

I was able to ask some students about why they learning this lesson and was puzzled by what I saw as a gap between students knowing the learning intentions and understanding the purpose of the lesson. This is not an uncommon problem.

After lots of reflection and some reading it appears to me that lesson intentions that focus simply on the skill/s being taught the connections or concepts students need to learn to apply these skills in new settings.

The following piece of research sums it up better than I:

http://www.marktreadwell.com/Whatever_Next

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