I cannot believe this is the final SPARK MIT16 hui. Wow time flies when you are riding the learning wave (cheesy I know).
This year has been amazing thanks to the support from SPARK and Manaiakalani. As a result of their funding I have grown as a professional, developed an inquiry that I can see building into a whole school focus and built some fantastic learning networks. I still remember feeling star-struck at our first hui because I was sitting amongst so many phenomenal educators and I could say that I knew teachers from Pt England School (had only seen their amazing work but never met any of the staff in person, until SPARK MIT16).
Today I created a ‘Thinglink’ to give you access to the different dimensions of my inquiry.
I would like to thank Lynne LeGros and the SPARK Foundation for their ongoing support this year. They are amazing people who have students at the heart of their intentions and are always willing to fund innovation and creativity to support our students. Their initiatives are based on the here and now to serve all communities...watch this space.
I would like to extend another thank you to Dorothy, Juanita and the Manaiakalani Education Trust for the opportunity to create a focussed inquiry with funded supports. As part of this programme I was funded to attend ULearn 16 and present my ignite talk which allowed me to gain recognition for my efforts and extend my personal learning networks. Thank you again.
So is SPARK MIT for you?
If you are innovative, committed to raising student achievement, open to feedback, willing to take risks and delve into the unknown… then yes this is for you. SPARK and Manaiakalani funded twelve release days so I could inquire into raising student achievement in reading. The allocation of these twelve days was flexible and allowed me to continue my inquiry whilst teaching full time. They gave me the opportunity to research the importance of oral language and gather data to drive my inquiry. Along with these funded release days I was lucky enough to meet once a term with the SPARK MIT16 group at SPARK HQ. Having the opportunity to meet with like-minded educators and bounce ideas off each other was fabulous. The feedback I received from Dorothy and Juanita was clear, constructive and well informed. I highly recommend applying for SPARK MIT17. If next year isn’t your year to inquire then keep this in mind for 2018!
So I decided to have a crack at making a multi-modal site using the new google sites. It saves having to use HMTL code (like the original google sites) however the design is limited to one row in each partition. I used larger font sizes to make up for the blank spaces that were left under small text.
Without fail my innovative mind kicks into gear during the last six hours of the weekend. Maybe inquisitive would be a better word to summarise the little sparks flying around in my head.
This time I have...
decided to revamp my class site by making the modelling books front and centre of the reading and maths pages
created a new weekly overview document that my students will use to plan their maths and reading lessons. They will do this by making a copy of this template each week and filling in the gaps
created a google slide to collect these overviews and make them accessible. Students have their own copy of this slide (SmartShare) and will link the document above to the corresponding week. They will also note their curriculum achievement levels twice throughout the term
I hope this will help my learners understand that they can continue learning with or without the teacher around, develop a sense of ownership over the curriculum and be able to explain where they are at and their next learning steps.
uLearn16 provided an opportunity the Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers to present their inquiries through an IGNITE style talk. Through these talks the audience heard our key ideas, data, reflections and where to next from each of the inquiries.
I highly recommend following the other amazing Spark MIT inquiries by following this link
Karen Spencer delivered an inspiring and thought provoking keynote at uLearn16. It has definitely served as a springboard for my future wonderings and was a clever ‘key note’ to start my symphony.
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." - Abraham H Maslow
Karen spoke about Maslow’s Hammer and the implications it had for us as educators. That we need to understand that their is no quick fix to engaging, inspiring and motivating our learners. Viewing technology as ‘just a tool’ inhibits our ability to innovate or create opportunities for our students to succeed. Technology in this case is ‘Maslow’s Hammer’.
Viewing technology as a tool essentially leads to ‘quick fixes’. Let’s look at issues with inappropriate images. A quick fix would be to add a filtering system that removes inappropriate content. That would be great until the tags on the images change and they let a few slip through the filters. If that happens we can carefully select images for intended use and link them to a shared document. Except now the links have been updated and redirect us to the wrong sites.. and the cycle of ‘quick fixes’ continues.
John Couch referred to technology as an environment, not a tool. This is true for most of our learners who grew up with technology, it’s second nature to them. If we view technology as an environment we can do away with the quick fixes. Instead we can create ways to support and inform our learners. For example the Cybersmart curriculum empowers our learners to navigate through their environment with the smarts to keep safe.
Couch also mentioned that we should make sure classrooms are relevant, creative and challenging with an element of collaboration. We need to create creators not consumers. With this in mind we need to empower them with the skills to navigate, manipulate, innovate and create things that couldn’t be done without their natural environment. If we don’t, we may as well be teaching our learners to share their learning through morse code.
McRaney, D. (2012, March 27). Maslow's Hammer. Retrieved October 08, 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-are-not-so-smart/201203/maslows-hammer
I have just heard this... Mindcraft is going to be one of the most powerful educational tools over the next year.
My wondering is... is it the the game (Minecraft) that we should be using as part of learning? I say this because I feel the game could be used incorrectly, out of context and end up with some learners purely playing a 'game'.
Should we be digging deeper and helping our learners understand how this game enables learning? Or should we be getting them to think about how they can create content on a similar platform to share their learning, teach and inspire others?