Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Community of Schools

In March 2015 international author Michael Fullan visited our Manaiakalani Schools  to find out more about learning and community development in our school context. He wanted to understand why the cluster endures and what is next. 

Some of the footage depicts the cluster Writing moderation day at Glenbrae School. Teachers from across our schools come together to moderate writing from children in Years 1 - 10.  
The classroom footage was shot at Pt England School.

This video was made by David Copeland and consists of an overview and 5 shorter vignettes.

  • The Manaiakalani Story
  • Learning and Digital
  • Characteristics of Successful Clusters
  • Spreading and Supporting Clusters
  • Full Partnership with the Community
  • Embedded Professional Learning

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Our Teachers' Share their Learning

We are all back at school for the second school term and many of our teachers are buzzing as they implement new learning from the 'non contact time' a.k.a school holidays.
  • For some it was a time to reflect, read, rewind and review in their own time and at their own pace.
  • For some there were heaps of conferences and workshops going on, so they headed out to learn with their peers.
  • For some it was an opportunity to learn by sharing - there is nothing like creating conference presentations to help you process your thinking and learning, and then the conversations with the people who attend your presentations provoke new ideas and learning.

We are very proud of the large number of Manaiakalani teachers, leaders and facilitators who exemplified our belief that 'Learn Create Share' begins with the adults, and got out there in the holidays and presented workshops locally and even internationally.

The two main conferences our team presented at were the GAFE Summit in Auckland and the BYOD -Making it Mobile Conference in Auckland.

This table collates the many wonderful presentations shared by the Manaiakalani Educators

Monday, February 9, 2015

Learn Create Share: Overview

Over the past month I have posted a six part series outlining the Manaiakalani "Learn Create Share" pedagogy.  The Link to this series thread can be obtained here.

The graphics below are links to the individual posts.  We are very happy for people to re-use  this on their own Sites, with attribution.




This series has been 'in the making' for a couple of years now, and it would have been much different if I had created it back in 2013. And undoubtedly in another 12 months it will need an update.  Co-constructing a pedagogy based on continuous teacher inquiry and innovation is exciting!

A couple of editorial comments about this series:
First, each post is constructed to model 'Learn Create Share' with some comment on what we have been learning, a short digital object having been created, and of course shared publicly here.
Second, this ended up being a 'selfie' series as all my tech gear was flogged at the end of the year, including cameras, mics, tripod etc, so I decided to see what I could do with selfies on my phone! Complete with my tent and the sound of surf and birds in the background.....

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Linear or Spiral: Learn Create Share Pedagogy

The way "Learn Create Share" trips off the tongue as three short sequential words can easily lead observers and new teachers into thinking this is a linear framework; 
Learn something, Create something to show or practise what you have learnt, then Share it with others.

It certainly starts out that way for most teachers new to this way of learning and teaching. Not because it is a complex framework, but because our young people use digital tools to access learning. And we have discovered that there are still a significant number of experienced teachers coming into our Manaiakalani schools as new teachers who are not at home in a digital world, and the graduates from our universities coming into teaching are certainly not. 

So while these new teachers are getting 'up to speed' with the technology required, a linear framework appears to be necessary.  This also applies to classes of children who are moving into 1:1 learning environments for their first year.  While the teachers are transitioning them from their previous blended learning environments, a linear, routined, scaffolded framework moves everyone more quickly from focusing on the technology to focusing on their learning.

As teachers and learners become at home in a digital world, thinking about Learn Create Share becomes more spiral and we hear many conversations about 'Create to Learn' and 'Share to Learn'.  Our researchers observe this in their visits to our classrooms and it is under the spotlight regularly at the various PLGs we run for our experienced teachers and school leaders.

Create to Learn
Comes with the idea that in starting with the Creative process powerful learning can emerge. In a previous post I quoted Sir Ken Robinson's mention of the Beatles starting out knowing three chords for the first song they wrote. Some of our schools value 'Break Through' time or 'Passion Projects' as part of learning and often we see a child start out with something they want to create and in the process deep learning occurs. Our annual film festival shares many examples of this from across our twelve schools.
We believe that in this environment cognitive engagement is happening, and teaching and learning is inevitably pushed above the line on the SAMR ladder.

This post by +Fiona Grant  shares the content of a professional learning day where the teachers explored the idea of Create to Learn.

Share to Learn
Similarly triggers cognitive engagement.  When learners are sharing with an authentic audience on a platform such as their blog or in a Google+ community for the teenagers, powerful learning opportunities occur.  Threaded conversations empower reflection, feedback and feed forward to occur. The contributions of experts and strangers inspire further learning to develop. This also occurs when learning is shared in face to face or 'real time' situations, but teachers have often remarked that in our analogue classrooms the pressures of timetabling, bells and deadlines meant that this opportunity would slip by.

The Manaiakalani teachers are continually inquiring into their own practice in this area as we work with determination to raise student achievement outcomes and prepare these digital citizens for a successful future.  

We still have much to learn.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

It Starts with US: LCS Pedagogy

"If we are to successfully implement the Learn Create Share pedagogy with the children we teach, it has to begin with the big people - the adults."

Teaching is a profession where we need the support of the adults in our work life  - cause we’re surrounded by kids!  Whether these kids are wee children, teens or almost adults, they can’t (and shouldn’t) replace the friendship, collegiality, professional energising and empathy our fellow teachers provide.

But sharing is a funny old thing in teaching; it seems to come naturally to some and has to be specifically elicited from others.

In the past millennium, as a bright eyed beginning teacher, I walked into my experienced buddy teacher’s class next door the day before school started and as I was looking admiringly at his walls he snapped, “Don’t you go stealing my ideas!” Who knows what that was about?

For many teachers a reluctance to share is mostly about underestimating their own competence, shyness, fear of the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome or simply never having been told how good their ideas and practice are.  I don’t think it is a competitive streak in most cases.
One significant barrier to teachers feeling empowered to share has been the term 'Best Practice' that is used by government, academics and senior management in education.  We need to get away from this mentality which emphasises if something is being shared by a teacher it is considered to be an exemplary model of teaching for all to follow. Sharing (within the bounds of ethics, common sense and good taste) should be a snap shot of what I have learned today and I am putting it out there so you can learn from it too.

“If we are to successfully implement the Learn Create Share pedagogy with the children we teach it first has to begin with the big people - the adults” is a quote from Russell Burt.

The digital age we live in has made it so much easier to share with our colleagues as we enjoy the same affordances our children experience - anywhere, anytime, any pace and with/from anyone.  Many teachers are now well established in social networking with their peers, sharing their experiences and learning from each other. Some school leaders have formalised the processes for their staff to share professionally in spaces such as Google+ Communities, Blogs, Google Groups etc.

However we choose to do this, it is of huge benefit professionally and very important to have established in our own practice before we embark on this with our learners.

Some examples of how our Manaiakalani teachers share their practice include:
Google Plus Communities - we have our own public Manaiakalani community, and many of us belong to and contribute to other communities as well.
Blogging - a number of us blog professionally and in some of our learning groups it is a required part of the process. Here are some to get you started: Aireen,  Kirsty, Laura, Matt 
Twitter - lots of us can be found sharing on Twitter
Face to Face - our teachers put their hands up to share with colleagues at conferences and unconferences regularly, as well as at our local professional learning opportunities.

We invite you to explore some of the links below that will take you to resources and sharing communities contributed by our Manaiakalani teachers.

Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers

Explore the links here as teachers have shared their inquiries from the 2014 school year.  These cover the full range of learners from Year 1- Year 13.

MDTA Beginning Teachers

This group of beginning teachers have shared their journey throughout their first year of teaching in Manaiakalani schools.  Lots of interesting ideas to explore from the link above.

Digital Immersion Network for new teachers.

Our teachers new to our cluster begin publicly sharing from the very first orientation session they attend and this becomes an ongoing part of their practice.

Teachers contributing resources to our websites

Manaiakalani Teachers regularly contribute resources to our profession learning websites so their colleagues can learn from their practice.  These are never called 'best practice'. These reflect how we are, what we have learnt, on the day we make them.