26 August 2015

Hapara Workspace

I had my first view of the Hapara Workspace in a webinair with Lenva Shearing tonight. I always love how clearly she takes us through these platforms at such a fast space. I am looking forward to sharing this feature with the team but am still wondering which learners will benefit most from this tool and structure. It has the potential to be a very practical task board but it is important to re-think some of the secondary school features/ management of tasks. 

  • beta mode with new features being added weekly: bits of it are sometimes broken.
  • workspaces is the big container that makes up the whole
  • columns 4 in every plus cards added = goals, cards/ resources, activities, rubrics ( not ready to go yet… can simply include a link if needed. the rubric maker is coming…)
  • The activities can include a link or just an instruction. Smartshare is initiated by the student when they click on the link in the learning activity.
  • Start date is when the card is available therefore you can hide the cards and stagger the dates that cards are released. Due date - when the task is due to be completed.
  • Can add co-teachers to workspaces - a collaborative space.
  • make workspace visible by publishing. The students need to access the workspace by going to mystudentdashboard.com and log in with their log in
  • Children can add resources for the rest of her group.
  • They can also add their own work to the cards - only the teacher sees.
  • student clicks on link and and the doc goes to drive. On her card, it shows that work has been started and when finished she can submit.
  • When a piece of work is submitted - the child loses editing rights while the teacher marks it. The teacher marks it and the work is copied when it is returned. The original is kept as a copy so that there is a record of what the child has submitted.
  • Can see activity and whether children have visited the workspace. Changes occur on the card and on the overview summary.
  • Icons attach…. 10 icons and colours - so you can tag activities to resources. You can ask children to tag 4 of the red rocket tasks and 2 of the yellow stars.
  • Whole school unit - every class is a different group
  • unpublished workspaces - edit, delete
  • libraries and sharing

Self pace module - https://sites.google.com/a/hapara.com/hapara-workspace/
                             - https://sites.google.com/a/hapara.com/pd-module-2/ 
Google Group -  https://plus.google.com/communities/113914853889094994008

24 August 2015

Beginning to Gather Student Voice

We are getting ready to unpack some practices and think about where they fit with our beliefs, principles and literacy essence statement. It's a big journey that needs to go slowly so as to ensure that we are all on the same page.  I have been excited by our first go at capturing "student voice" and sowing the seeds with the team about the value of this and engaging learners in the curriculum with what they bring to the conversation! 

15 August 2015

Thinking About Makers' Space, STEAM and Tinkering @EduCampInvers

This weekend, I attended #EducampInvers.  I made the conscious decision to not participate in a session that I am passionate about. Instead, I decided to observe the Tinkering session. I wanted to see what it all looks like from a "teacher's" perspective. I had a wonderful time observing teachers in the sandpit and playing with tinkering things. I was inspired by Phillipa's and Emma's passion and the way they explained stuff. I was also impressed by the discussion/ dialogue amongst educators as they explored tinkering. 

The helpful conversationsI heard included:
You're doing it wrong
But what's happening
We need to change something
The other one was way better
So...that's the plan
But why?
Yay! We did it!

I have been a fan and an advocate for educamps for a few years now. This forum has helped me to connect with passionate educators and to develop collaborative inquiries with educators from anywhere. 

11 August 2015

Effective (e)Learning

Today we finally had time to sit down and share our thinking around eLearning or should I say just learning! It was great to be able to have Myles Webb (@NZWaikato) skype in with us and share the impact on engagement and progress that e tools have had on his writing programmes.

For most of us, it was the first time that we had come along the SAMR model. We used this to think about what eLearning is happening at present. 

8 August 2015

Developing Learning Relationships

I have been thinking a lot lately about the relationships that we are developing with our children at our school. I remember hearing about the research that was being done by David Hargreaves from a colleague returning back from the UK a few years ago. His work was based on mental models in teaching and learning with a particular emphasis on interpersonal relationships. Sadly, it was written in 1975.

Hargreaves refers to three mental models that teachers typically hold:

  • Lion Tamer – Control by power – education is about keeping children managed, contained, busy and good 

  • Entertainer – Control by manipulation - education is about keeping children controlled, happy, busy and good 

  • New Romantic – Teaching model based on ‘unconditional positive regard for the learner’, education is about child agency, child engagement and teacher as ‘activator’ – feedback, student verbalisation, challenging goals, frequent checks on effect of teaching…’ 

Few teachers hold only one mental model exclusively but I think all of us have met our fair share of "lion tamers" and "entertainers" in the staffroom. And like many, I aspire to be a "new romantic" in an ILE. Next time you lead a group discussion be self aware and ask who is doing the talking & who controls the interaction?

There are distinct parallels between Hargreaves work and the learning relationships that Michael Absolum talks about in "Clarity in the Classroom". 

Absolum discusses the following perspectives of educators with regards to the relationships that they develop with the children that they work with:

  • A Control Focused Perspective, ie. the teacher has control by power - learning is about keeping children managed, contained, busy and good - little time for an ‘expressive / evaluative’ process of learning.
  • A Caring Focused Perspective. The teacher has control by good intention. Learning is hampered by sympathy and excuse making.  There is no need for ‘expressive / evaluative’ processes because "that's okay... it was a good try."
  • A Learning Focused Perspective. This is when learning at the centre. Learning ‘is the sole purpose of the relationship’ between the teacher and the children he is working with. Learning is about child agency and engagement. The teacher's role is to activate this which in turn promotes the need for an ‘expressive / evaluative’ process as a part of the learning cycle. 
Absolum goes on to suggest that there are a number of attributes you would notice if children are really learning to learn.  The first is a sense of self confidence - they know that they can learn. Children are in control of their learning. 

My wondering is how well are we developing and building our relationships with the children that we are working with? Is learning really at the heart of our interactions? 

Ref: Mental Models in Teaching & Learning David Hargreaves,: Interpersonal Relationships and Evaluation 1975  
Michael Absolum,: Ref: Clarity in the Classroom