Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sparking Learning

When the Telecom Foundation (now to be known as Spark) invited our Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers (2014) to participate in a group discussion about future focussed learning it was great to see Helen King, Michelle George and Kent Somerville volunteer to share their practice.

The video that came out of this was launched today.
Forget school books. Digital learning is opening up new opportunities for young New Zealanders that will give them the skills they need for life in the 21st Century. Through the Telecom Foundation, we're a major funder of the Manaiakalani education programme, which is revolutionising teaching methods and dramatically improving educational performance, for thousands of kids in some of our most underprivileged communities. The programme started in Tamaki, Auckland, and we're now working closely with the Manaiakalani Education Trust to extend it to dozens of other schools around the country.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kids' blogs recognised by the Blogger Team

Some very happy children when they saw themselves featured by the Blogger Team today.  Lesieli, Quasia and Mary are Year 7 learners at Pt England School and have been blogging for three years now.

At this age, and in our learning community, blogging is much more than social networking.  It gives our young people a voice and it significantly increases student agency. It invites the world to participate in their learning journey.  

Link here to the original post.

Thanks to +BrucePolderman and +MylesJohnson for this piece.

We are also grateful to the students in Dr John Strange's class at the University of South Alabama, USA for their ongoing support of our learners and their blogging.  It is very special to young people who live so remotely on the planet to have people from around the globe taking an interest in their learning.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Longevity of The Essay

This very short video of Professor Welby Ings from the AUT University was shared with me by my family members. It is entitled, "In 15 years: Death of the essay?"
He is talking about the death of the essay as we traditionally know it, and a sound bite relating to the discussion above caught my attention:
 "Sometimes moving academic conventions is like trying to move a cemetery".




In the teaching and learning space his comment that, "Schools will have to move beyond limited ideas of reading and writing as literacy" will resonate with most of our teachers who are fully immersed in digital environments.

The 3rd-party Add-ons for Google Docs will play into this significantly. We already were seeing the affordances that the simple Research Tool was creating for writers. Direct integration of this range of apps and media into any given document has now exploded the range of possibilities for those of us engaging in every kind of writing. 

It will be interesting (and probably frustrating) to see if the Universities are able to make any moves towards acknowledging this.

With our MDTA programme well underway and the academic workload mounting for the 30+ Manaiakalani Teachers who are either working towards an Honours or a Masters degree, some interesting conversations are emerging.  

Of interest at the moment is, "What constitutes academic literature?" when writing a Lit Review. This is particularly significant to the many of our teachers who are exploring highly innovative research areas and much of the 'literature' is in videos, podcasts, blogs and other online material.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

So what ARE we doing?

The Manaiakalani Programme has entered it's seventh year and for those of us who have been there from the beginning it is amazing to see what has come from those initial dreams.    We have been surprised by and grateful for the interest that people outside of our cluster have shown in our programme and our learners.  In recent times the media have also picked up on the name Manaiakalani and we have sometimes been disappointed by the 'easy soundbites' that have been inaccurately used to described the Manaiakalani Education Programme. 

So we made this slide to include in some of our presentations to be very clear about what we are NOT!

For the second year in a row the research report from the Woolf Fisher Team (University of Auckland) has noted in detail that one of the strengths of the Manaiakalani programme is the coherence seen around the goals and aims.

Check out here what we are about!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Innovative Teachers

I have the privilege of working in a community which encourages innovation amongst our teaching colleagues. Every year a fellowship opportunity is funded for Manaiakalani teachers to apply for. The Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers receive 12 days of paid leave throughout the year to focus on a teaching as inquiry project they have developed in their own classes.  They come together once a term for a professional learning group and to have their inquiries challenged by their peers.  The MIT teachers this year range from teaching 5 year olds to 18 year olds.

These teachers all follow the same "Learn Create Share" framework that our young learners use.  So you can follow their progress as they share publicly online.

I recommend checking out the 2013 cohort at this link.  They have shared their inquiries publicly and at the end of the year each made a very short video reflecting on the outcomes of their inquiries.