Friday, December 21, 2018

Telling Our Story

In 2018 we were offered the opportunity to work with a talented digital media group and tell the Manaiakalani story.  We appreciated their patience as they worked with us (herding cats!) to design the story and then capture it on video.
The seven minute version is well worth watching right through if you want to understand Manaiakalani.  We have appreciated the feedback from groups who have used this video with various audiences and report that it does a great ‘sense-making’ job for us.

These shorter vignettes are cropped to tell specific elements of our story for a variety of purposes.

Equity and Access

Russell Burt

Evidence Base

Prof Stuart McNaughton

IT and Infrastructure

Kent Somerville

Aireen Ah Kui
Clarelle Curruthers
Dorothy Burt
Let us know if you find these useful!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Education Around the World @ Google Cloud Next 2018: Tokyo

The team from Google for Education invited a group of educators from around the globe who have had experience leading and implementing large-scale ICT transformation in their district or country to present at this event in a separate education strand. I was included to represent the work of the Manaiakalani Programme in New Zealand.

We were given this context for our presentations:

“Japan’s public education system is extremely traditional, having undergone very few transformations in the past 100+ years.  Despite a technologically advanced consumer culture, technology in education has not been seen as a priority.

In 2016 the government decreed that Programming (aka. Computer Science) would be taught in all grades K-12 starting in 2020.  This has prompted large-scale planning to introduce ICT properly into schools and curriculum.”

With that in mind we were invited to share with the audience of principals, Boards of Educations and school decision makers our experiences using the following questions to provide coherence:
  1. What is your a holistic vision for learning? 
  2. How does technology support learning principles and transformation?
  3. What challenge(s) did you face before implementing Google for Education?
  4. Why did you select Google for Education as a solution?
  5. What results have you seen since implementation? 
  6. What advice would you have for decision makers facing similar challenges as you had?

Education Around the World
For a 12 minute video summary of Google Cloud Next 2018 and learn how customers are using Google Cloud to transform their businesses, and a showcase of new offerings launched across Cloud AI, GCP and G Suite.

Seven development strands for implementing the Manaiakalani Programme
The contexts of each speaker were vastly different, carefully selected to represent different parts of the globe, different age levels, different socio-economic groups, large and small countries etc etc. We had not met each other before this week and had no idea as we prepared our presentations in our own corner of the world what each person was going to share.

It quickly became apparent that the elements of success, moving a school or group of schools into the digital age, were remarkably similar. The seven development strands of the Manaiakalani Programme, which we ask all our Outreach schools in various parts of NZ to agree to implement (see diagram left) emerged as each speaker told their story.

There is a ‘formula’ for success. Each element is important. Dissatisfaction, or even failure, emerges from taking shortcuts or ‘cherry picking’.
The day before we presented we were invited to spend the day at Google Tokyo Partner Plex n Roppongi Hills Mori Tower working with a translator to make sure they would be able to accurately translate what we were saying in real time the next day. The person who drew the short straw and had to explain what Manaiakalani is in Japanese deserved a gold medal! We all spent a little time with a video crew and the short videos below were created from these conversations.

Anthony Speranza
St. Mark's Primary School
Chris Lickfold
Tring School
Cristina Cardenas
General Coordinator
Shad McGaha
Wichita Falls ISD
Wichita Falls, Texas

Bill MacKenzie
Upper Grand District

Dorothy Burt
New Zealand
Jenny Nyberg

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Creativity Empowers Learning

This year when asked to share an Ignite talk at the Auckland EdTech Summit I chose to attempt presenting in five minutes the PLD theme for Manaiakalani schools in Term 2: Creativity Empowers Learning.

Our innovative Manaiakalani teachers and facilitators are preparing professional learning group sessions and staff meetings based on this concept so I thought I would give it a go too.

This movie is a slightly expanded version of the Ignite talk - without the relentless auto switching of slides I was able to slow it down a bit!  It includes snippets from two movies, a New Zealand documentary "The heART of the Matter" and a fun piece from Will Smith.

Our teachers spent a month in April contributing ideas to create an understanding of what we mean when we use the word Create in our pedagogical framework. I included this in the presentation. We debated fiercely as we co-constructed a way to synthesise the multiple contributions and after coming to an agreement Karen Ferguson created us a graphic to use. It incorporates the idea that while many definitions of creativity focus around thinking and using our brains, the pathway to creativity for many of us - and the children we teach- involves other parts of the body 'doing creative stuff' before the brain makes sense of it!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Kāhui Ako: 2018 Inquiries begin

The Manaiakalani Kāhui Ako teachers began the year on the front foot in 2018. Many of the CoL teachers were returning for a second year in the role and were very clear in their own minds about how they planned to approach their inquiries this year.  The new-to-the-role teachers had done their homework and explored the 2017 inquiries and were equally confident about how they would contribute to the collaborative process.

With this foundation, we were able to begin the year ready to launch into collaboration, conversation, and critical thinking.

Our website was already populated with the collaborative inquiry groups based around our achievement challenges and people slid into the group conversations with ease.

Our first after-school PLG was held on Thursday, February 8th. We had two guest speakers to provoke and support our approach in 2018, both from Auckland University; Dr Jannie Van Hees and Dr Rebecca Jesson.

The outcome of a year of robust and rigorous inquiry in 2017 was a consensus from all teachers that regardless of year level (ie 1-13), curriculum area or achievement challenge, language acquisition and development was proving the biggest barrier to progress and acceleration for young people in Manaiakalani schools. This includes acquisition in the early years and subsequently impacts the ability to transfer and sustain language across school levels and curriculum domains.

It was agreed that "Language in Abundance" is the lens for all our inquiries and Dr Jannie Van Hees has been invited to support us. She opened the conversation with a presentation using the notion that 
"Language in abundance environments ‘drip’ with language availability and attention, where noticing and relevant use of words allows for deeper, wider, more specific and precise, context-appropriate language expression…leading to knowing at deeper and broader levels."

Many of our teachers live-blogged their presentation, adding their reflections and responses.  Here is a selection of these.

Our attention then switched to the unique opportunity the Woolf Fisher Research Centre is offering our CoL in 2018-2020.  Dr Jesson will lead a team who will analyse data and evidence from teachers’ inquiries to identified Learn Create Share practices likely to contribute to accelerated progress for students. 

We have often spoken about the three lenses that Manaiakalani schools and teachers have available for exploring our learners' achievement and progress - and for providing evidence to whānau and the government about what is being achieved:

  • Each schools' own local assessment practices
  • Outcomes from each teacher's inquiry into their current practice
  • External evidence provided by WFRC when they evaluate our test data and conduct classroom observations and surveys
The next step for us was simply defined as, "Using meta-analysis to identify what works"!  We heard anecdotally from teachers over and over in 2017 as it emerged on their blogs and at every PLG and hui presentation.  Now we have the opportunity for external assessment of whether the effects are statistically significant (likely to be more than no effect 95% of the time) and whether the effects are stable (does the effect vary a lot?).

This presentation was also shared on teachers' blogs.

We are in for an exciting year as our teachers share their journey and inquiries, modelling 'Learn Create Share' themselves.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Blogging impact repeated for a second summer

For a second summer, 2016 -2017, Manaiakalani learners had the opportunity to blog supported by Dr Rachel Williams and her team from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre through the Summer Learning Journey (SLJ). While many children continued to blog 'freestyle' as they always have, 141 learners actively participated in the SLJ activities.  It is these learners that the latest publication reports on.

On receiving "An Evaluation of a Design-Based Approach to Holiday Blogging in New Zealand Primary and Intermediate Schools" authored by Dr Rachel Williams and Dr Rebecca Jesson this month we immediately looked to comapre the impact on literacy achievement outcomes with the previous summer.

Check out what Rachel says in her Executive Summary:

"At the end of the summer holiday, I evaluated the quality and accuracy of all of the posts provided by our students. I also explored the impact that participating in the Summer Learning Journey programme had on the writing and reading ability of our students. 

Writing: Figure 1
The results were really exciting! They suggest that participation in the programme led to significantly higher writing (e-asTTle) and significantly higher reading (PAT) scores in Term 1 2017 (after the summer programme) for participants than non-participants (see Writing: Figure 1, Reading: Figure 2). 

In fact, the participants were 31.65 asttle points (approximately 6-9 months of learning) and 5 full PAT points (approximately 6 months of learning) ahead of non-participants at the end of the summer. 

Reading: Figure 2
We believe that these differences are quite substantial and provide clear evidence of the significant, positive effect that sustained blogging over summer can have on the writing and reading ability of the students."

This insight into the impact of the Manaiakalani kaupapa is valuable. 

Our Manaiakalani Education Trust provides a free wifi network to our learners to support ubiquitous learning, and our summer bloggers have made full use of it. The SLJ would be challenging to support if the kaupapa of visibility was not genuinely supported, both for the learners and adults interacting with them. The design of the programme empowered our learners and overtly encouraged connectedness. We look forward to exploring the report in depth in Term 3 when our Kahui Ako theme is "Connected Learners Share".

There was a focus in this report on non-academic skills and 21st century competencies, including the development of individual prosocial skills (eg. communication, collaboration, empathy, support, etc).

"The presence of the commenting feature also appeared to drive student engagement and encourage participants to engage positively with the ‘expert’ commenting staff, with family/whanau and with students from New Zealand and overseas. There were numerous instances of positive, prosocial interactions between students in the commenting threads. 
There were also instances in which the commenting staff forged deep and meaningful relationships with the student participants. It was clear that students trusted the expert commenters and were prepared to share personal details of their lives with them. The ‘mutually reinforcing nature’ of this interaction ensured that the students continued to participate and the commenters continued to engage positively with them, driving further, deeper and more meaningful participation from both parties. 
 The research team strongly believes in the capacity of this digital programme to facilitate the development of genuine personal relationships between individuals separated by geographical distance. 
They also believe that individual, social and mental/emotional well-being may be enhanced through sustained participation in this programme, particularly for students who may be without much social interaction over the holiday and are at-risk of feeling lonely, alone or under supported. They would like to further explore the impact of participation on student well-being in future iterations of the programme."

Finally, I want to acknowledge Manaiakalani teachers and principals who encourage and actively support their learners as they head into the holidays. The report notes that
"Rates of engagement were highest amongst ... students attending schools with strong role modelling and support from teaching staff. Staff who valued the programme clearly communicated this to students who, in turn, were more likely to participate."