Friday, September 28, 2012


In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.
- Phil Collins

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

AKO - teacher, learner, leader,

We have realised that we need to do a lot of work on our maths strategies.  We need to see problems and maths in a context and we need to discuss and share our strategies, our understandings and our approaches to problem solving.  Check out the action in Room 6 today!  I loved watching the learners collaborate, network, share, discuss and challenge... then teach others and work through a real range of problems.  

Sometimes a teacher learns best when she is a silent observer...

I love learning.........

I really do love learning.  Tonight I took part in the Enabling e-learning BYOD webinar: How to use mobile technologies effectively!  After a full-on school day it is pure MAGIC to connect and network and learn with other incredibly passionate educators on a similar journey.  We were treated to a glimpse of the MAGIC of the Manaiakalani Project with Dorothy Burt and the Buy your own device; then Donna Smith from St Hilda's College in Dunedin shared their BYOD Macbook journey and ipad trial in Year 7/8; rounded off with a look at the Orewa BYOD programme with Mark Quigley.
What is the MAGIC in this type of webinar? For me there are so many MAGICal components to it but I would love to hear yours:

  • Choice of participation;
  • Free of cost
  • Relaxed and welcoming
  • Relevant 
  • Personal, with stories shared and journeys traveled discussed and shared
  • Inspirational
I love that I can connect, in class and engage in Professional Development right when, where and how I need it.  I love that we can listen, interact, engage, chat, and learn.  I love that I can multitask while participating in a webinar.  I was able to tweet, take notes for this blog post, reply to a couple of emails, update my google calendar and stay on task with my learning.  I was discussing this with a colleague tonight and I see the future of blended learning as imminent.  Our learners interact, engage, multi task, learn, create and share.  They network, and socialise while learning.  Are we becoming more like our learners?
My key take aways from today's webinar are:
  • Engage your community and keep them informed
  • Learn from research
  • Allow the learner their personal voice
  • Engage with an authentic audience
  • Expect creation
  • Cater for the needs of all learners with a blended learning environment
  • Be aware of issues of equity, discuss and learn from opportunities for all
  • Ubiquity is essential
  • Collaboration is empowering
  • BYOD is simply allowing another tool to enter the arena of learning
  • WWW - whereever, whenever, whatever
  • Robust wireless, stable network and affordable devices are uniting to make BYOD an incredible option...

As I approach the end of the third term with a BYOD class I am in awe of the journey we are on and in awe of the potential.  What a privilege it is to be travelling this journey!

Monday, September 17, 2012


"Dreams are the touchstones of our character"
Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Dancing....

I seem to have done an incredible amount of happy dancing this week.  It all started when we looked at some fraction assessment, then topped it off with an IKAN assessment.  Not only have we made incredible progress, we have really sharpened our focus and we are able to identify gaps, fill them and celebrate.  And celebrate we do... there was a whole lot of happy dancing - even some on the chair (to music.... very interesting choice of music though class).
We have been preparing for our second round of student led conferences and the work that goes into preparing is AMAZING.  The learners are clearly able to identify their successes and challenges and verbalise what they need to do to help themselves and what support they need.  
I looked back on my blogpost after the first round and reflected on our journey. 
In line with feedback received from the first round families were offered three options for the student led conference:

  1. Fully student led
  2. Student led, then time for parent/teacher discussion
  3. Parent/teacher discussion only.
Interestingly I had a range of these options, all for varying reasons.  
So, tonight the second round began...
If I thought the last sessions were MAGIC, I really don't have words for tonight.  The confidence of the learner to share their learning with their family amazes and inspires me.  The learners actually know how they learn, where they learn best, when they can share their learning and when they need support.  I am totally in awe of them all.  By no means were all the conferences easy, perfect or totally straight forward - but they were all firmly focussed on the learner and the needs of the learner.  
I love student led conferences! And I love the way the learners set up the class for the conferences...

P.S. check out the 'almost complete' bottle bivy in the background....

Monday, September 3, 2012

Up in the air again…

In more ways that one I am up in the air again.  I am flying home from a MAGICal weekend in Christchurch, so I am literally up in the air.  I am bursting with new possibilities and imaginings and innovations so I am also metaphorically up in the air.  I am up above the earth, above the fog, way above the clouds, cutting through the turbulence.  I am looking down at the fluffy clouds knowing the soft landing possible for ideas that don’t ‘fly’, and looking up, seeing the infinity of opportunity. I am looking out to the east as the sun is breaking through knowing the light possible with opportunities and looking west at the mountains on the horizon knowing the importance of acknowledging intrepid terrain and majesty of opportunity. 

As I fly I recall the AMAZING ignite talk by Stephanie (traintheteacher), recalling her expression FAIL = first attempt in learning… What a wonderful concept to keep at the front of our minds as we teach and learn, unlearn, re-learn and grow through the experience.
Saturday was an amazing experience, New Zealand’s first padcamp in Christchurch.  Using my metaphor of flying, I liken the journey of mobile learning devices into the education arena as a long haul flight… We are carrying a HUGE number of passengers, we are delivering to an immense client base in our schools, we are cutting through new territory, we are realising ubiquity!  All of these concepts are remarkable, admirable, innovative and somewhat MAGICAL given that I remember carrying the battery pack for the first cell phone we used in the field with the Customs Department many years ago. My challenge is this; are we seeing a comparable change in pedagogy to match the MAGIC of the learning tool?  Are we realising the potential of mobile learning devices?  How are we ensuring they are not digital worksheets or app based fillers?  Is their professional development available to facilitate the change in pedagogy required? Are we ready?  Are we coping?  Are creating and innovating with these mobile devices?
#padcampchch was all about creative use of the iPad.  It focussed on acknowledging and realising the potential of the device to enable learners to be creative musicians, storytellers, movie-makers and more… It was run by the people for the people and the MAGIC of the day, you guessed it, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata!  The passion and potential of the device was shared in and around the room as we journeyed to create a quilt of learning opportunities shared in the SMACKDOWN and in the shared notes.  Greater than either of these though, was the opportunity for networking, connecting and collaborating with passionate educators.  Conversations and connections lead to co-operation, collaboration and creativity.  The growing surge of passion for the use of the mobile device was overwhelming.

As I am now approaching my decent out of the clouds, I know that my head will remain up here with the passion and potential of the device.  Conversations and play – yes PLAY on the devices has allowed me to return to earth with an even greater passion for the power and creativity of the device.  I cannot wait to share my new learning with my amazing class who I just know will take this learning up to the greatest heights possible.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


What an amazing experience to be in a room with 75 educators buzzing on the first day of spring 2012...
Undoubtedly the MAGIC of educamp - he tangata, he tangata, he tangata...
So much sharing and collaborating on the Google Doc for you all to check out!
So much to add to this soon....

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Winging my way to #padcampchch

Here I am up in the clouds again… winging my way to the inaugural #padcampchch.  
 Just loving the illusion of the mountains and the clouds separating the land and the sky....

Just what MAGIC is in store for us today? 
Soon after the inaugural educampchch, Carol Kendall initiated  #padcampchch and I immediately booked my airfares.  Having been in Christchurch for four days last week I knew I could not afford the time for a five hour drive each way.  I also knew that I could not miss this professional learning opportunity.
I have had an iPad for over a year now and I’m running a BYOB class with a large number of students bringing iPads or iPods to class.  I am constantly in awe of the creativity and learning potential of both the learners and the tool and I am very keen to realise more potential in our use of it.  Yesterday was our class assembly and three boys in class chose to share about their use of their devices.  I loved listening to them talk about the ubiquity and ownership; the power of the device and the way they share their learning with others in little app fests.  They really are controlling the learning journey. 
I had a blended learning vision early in 2012 where the learners would be able to access learning online at anytime and face to face and collaboratively in class.  We do the face to face and in class learning well but I am still only beginning the fully blended online learning capability.   Our blog is fabulous for sharing our learning journey.  Our wiki is an amazing site where each learner is co-creating our learning journey.  Our Google sites are beginning to share the potential of a blended environment. 
I am also only baby steps along the journey of digital citizenship but every day brings an opportunity to share and discuss ownership of learning and sharing and collaboration. 
I was away from class last week and came back to find that my lovely class had not really managed their learning selves in the way they do when I am there.  It was nothing major at all, just little things like not taking responsibility for learning tasks or their individual responsibilities.  I was really disappointed and discussed it with them and staff.  My very perceptive teacher who shares my class told me to relax.  She likens my expectations of independence to senior high school.  This was a very welcome comment, as I was really beating myself up.  I was also questioning whether the learners were ‘managing themselves’ “just for me”.  Lots of great discussions and learning later and we are on a wonderful path to extending our self management. 

Looking out the window I am comparing my learner's self management to the tributaries of this river or the mash up of the patchwork quilt of fields... Certain things just have to happen to realise full potential...

Anyway – back to #padcampchch.  I am really excited about the potential of networking with amazing educators from around New Zealand.  As Jo tweeted this morning – it is MAGIC when the twitter family meet up face to face.  I am really excited about the entire focus of the day – creative use of the iPad.  This is not about the apps!  It is about using the tool to enhance learning opportunities and to empower creativity.  I often reflect on the cover of the recent interface magazine signalling the death of the desktop…. I wonder how far away we are from the death of the laptop.  The power of the iPad as a learning tool continues to amaze and inspire.
So, here I am on 1 September 2012, the first day of spring, winging my way to Christchurch on “Random Act of Kindness Day”.  A day to really ensure MAGIC happens everywhere all the time. 
I have been really unwell and my ears and nose are really blocked, my throat is aching… The wonderful air host just stopped by for a chat and MAGIC happened.  He bought me a container of carvel to sniff to clear my nose and ears and it is amazing.  They really are clearing.  So there we go… 7.35am and the first Random Act of Kindness has come my way…  
I wonder how many I can sneak in today to really make this the most special day it can really be.  We are expected into Christchurch early – so not long now til I catch-up with Jo, Tara and Pauline and we head off to Wairairi for the MAGIC of the day…