Saturday, 27 May 2017

Digital Immersion No. 4   26 May 2017

Here we are, back at Manaiakalani Head Office, Panmure, Auckland, for our fourth get-together.                                              

The session began with Dorothy talking about teaching 'back in the day'. When a child finished their set task they showed the teacher, and, if it was good enough, they could possibly go and show the Principal, who would put a sticker on their book - and that was it.  Book closed.  Move on!  The sharing of your work was evidence you'd finished.  Good job!  This type of 'finished evidence' is not confined to memories from past experiences alone.  In schools around the world it is common practise.   Kids love the stickers, and the learning is done!  Next!!

But now, with the benefit of digital devices, sharing work, with not just the Principal, but the whole world is a sign to everyone - look what I'm learning (not what I've learnt per se, but what I'm in the process of getting 'better' at).  The learning cycle, when shared digitally, is never-ending.  Learning is continual, rewindable, and shareable (is that even a word??) with anyone who takes the time to look.  It can be referred to - days, weeks, or even years later, because it's always 'there'.    

Of course, with the ability for all to 'see' one's learning, comes the ability for the reader or observer to make thoughtful comments.  Feedback (and feedforward) are amazing opportunities to lift a child's learning.  As the learner sees the power their written word or the images they've created has on others, it encourages them to do more, to do better, and also to expect further responses to their work.  How fantastic it must be to realise your words have been read by people who you'll never see - but even greater to have a comment from a perfect stranger who may be moved enough by your work that they feel compelled to comment.  

It was a great start to another learning session.

Now – I could continue giving you a recount of what we did, but you can read another
blog to find that out.  And I did pick up a couple of great gems to use with our i-pads - thanks James and Khismira.  But what I’d really like to tell you is what I learnt.  A personal light-bulb moment.

If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know that when it comes to digital devices I’m a bit behind the other ‘kids’.  In lots of things I'm a quick learner, but in others I just take a bit more time.  It’s not that I don’t want to learn – I really do.  I listen, and I give everything a go, and I eventually get there.  But…some things are just a bit more difficult for me to follow.  Sometimes it’s too fast, and I begin to lag behind.  At those times I begin to feel a bit useless.  In fact, I could easily just give up.  No-one is yelling at me.  No-one is sighing in frustration at my inability.  Everyone is really supportive, but still the feeling of being ‘less than’ the others is lurking in the corners of my mind.  But I’m an adult, and I can make good choices for myself so I call out for James to come and help.  And he comes - again, and again….and again!  Thankfully James is a patient man who does not complain about having to return often to the spot where I am working.

As I struggled (once again) to master skills that seemed to come so easily to others, I became very aware of the five year olds in my class who daily struggle with things that others find easy.  I empathise with their feelings of inadequacy.  Perhaps they also feel panic, and anxiety as they daily faced with their inability to fulfil the task they've been given - it may be as simple (?) as reading or counting.   

In my class of 18 five-year-olds, there are a few for whom learning is ‘easy’.  They’re always getting the work completed, the answers, 'right'.  The words ‘Great job’ and ‘You’re amazing’ are often in their ears.  But, for the majority of my students, the sense of accomplishment is something they feel far less often.  I'm always looking for opportunities to tell them how great they are, but I think, when compared to the more able children, it’s a lot less often.  Plus, the internal feeling of 'I can do it' isn't intrinsic to them.

So, I have been thinking of how I could give those who struggle with learning, a chance to feel successful at something.  I realise I'll need to find the thing that each student is good at (and everyone's good a something, right?), and then I'll need to give them the opportunity to show me, the rest of the class, and anyone else who's keen to
watch/listen/applaud, how amazing they are.  And perhaps, the feeling of pride in what they do well, will cascade hope, optimism and, eventually, success in the more difficult tasks they face. 

I have a plan.  I’ll report back on the impact it has.  Watch this space! 

Oh - and here's one of the tasks we had to do.  Use Screencastify on a chromebook to record our response to one of three different tasks.  I chose to respond to giving focussed feedback.  Note - this was not about what we said (cos my response is pretty lame) it was about the task.  

Friday, 19 May 2017

Digital Immersion  3  19.5.17(I didn't attend number 2)

Whew!!  What a log of new learning we (well, I) had today.

It began with a look a reminder that creativity is one of the six 'C's of education in the 21st Century

Critical Thinking  

It is through creativity that students will gain purpose for their learning. I have been challenged to make sure I plan for creativity, and not simply have children 'working'. Sounds like they might have more fun!! 😃

Mail. It's something I go into umpteen times a day, and yet I'd never every realised that there was so much I was missing. Today I got to change the look of my gmail page, make labels, and...oh - instead of writing it all out - here's what was covered -

Mail in your Browser
  • Undo Send and the settings menu
  • Hide/Mute/Delete and the outcomes
  • Searching and organising
  • From: To: Sent:
  • Labels and filters
  • Configure inbox view (settings/inbox)
  • Labs- reading pane options
  • Labs- Mail notification
  • Chat
Mail App
  • Layout and differences
  • Moving between inboxes in one app
  • Searching, sending and attaching.
  • Starring- why?
  • Hamburgers or Sausages

  • Simple event creation
  • Inviting others
  • Link creation
  • Adding notes
  • Send to calendar App
  • Changing the view
  • Repeating events
  • Connecting to apple mail
  • Sharing and accessing the calendars’ of colleagues
Calendar App
  • Views
  • Alerts
  • Accessing others’ calendars

After this, we were introduced to Google Keep - another great app.  There are a lot of nifty uses for this amazing app, and I can see that I'm going to have to spend some quality time looking back at what we did today to ensure that I use the new learning I'm getting.

It was a challenging (for me) day, but I love being exposed to new things.  This 'Learn' part of our pedagogy is great, and will do my best to see the 'Create, Share' aspects become a visible part of my own teaching (and learning) practise. Thanks Dorothy and James for sharing your expertise, and for patiently helping the more digitally-challenged of us!  Roll on Week 4!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Digital Immersion.  Day One - 5.5.17

Today is the first of nine Fridays attending a Manaiakalani Digital Immersion Intensive training.   We (12 teachers from a variety of schools in the area, and I) began to familiarise ourselves with google docs, apps, and Hapara.
Here is some of the add-ons we looked at:

Talk & Comment - Instead of typing out a comment, voice audio.
Docutube - Insert Youtube clips into documents rather than the link
Lucidcharts - insert charts and diagrams into google docs
Extensity - for managing extensions
Grammarly - For checking plagiarism - to shorten URLs
Easy Accents- Quick and simple way to add macrons
Select and Speak- Voice to Text Engine (works with Google Docs)

It was great finding out new ways of using docs (I’m a bit old-school, apparently).  There are a lots of ways I can improve how I use google docs and I am challenging myself to make changes.
Had fun sitting with Ben.  Great discussion about what we’re doing in our classes. He even had to help me take this photo - Thanks Ben. 

Before we left we had to create a venn diagram showing what part of our learning was for our own professional learning, and what parts would relate to our classroom teaching and learning.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Term two has begun along with a change in direction to 'Movement in Learning'.  We've started out slowly with counting to 20 by moving side to side while saying odd numbers in a whisper then the evens out loud (hopefully building an ability to confidently count in 2's to 20).  The response was fabulous.  Just getting off the floor and making the counting more fun has seemed (after just one day mind you) to have a positive effect.

I aim to add balls into the mix, jumping on numbers, and more body action into various aspects of Maths learning.  Any ideas gratefully accepted.  TIA

Looking forward to a fabulous term of Maths teaching and learning!  😀