Monday, January 26, 2015

Create: Learn Create Share Pedagogy

One of the foundation goals of Manaiakalani is to
"Motivate our learners  to engage with the curriculum" 
and a significant driver for engagement has been our intentional use of modern technologies to enable creativity to play a significant part in learning and teaching opportunities.

Since the beginning of the Manaiakalani programme our teachers have been exploring how to increase opportunities for our learners to be creative - and this often means physically moving, making and doing - both individually and collaboratively. Our evidence confirms that Creativity is a significant hook into learning and we need to be empowering our young people to develop this.

One of the proponents of creativity who has impacted teachers across the globe is Sir Ken Robinson.  There are few who would not find his talks entertaining, but implementing the ideas he discusses can seemed daunting to teachers constrained by a 9-3 school day, timetabling and testing/assessment. His suggestion that Dance should be a daily event seems beyond the realms of possibility.

Our digital learning environments, which remove the time constraints of traditional classrooms, allow increased opportunity for our learners to be creative.  We are talking about creativity in traditional forms (song, dance, art, culture etc) and using digital technologies (MakerSpace, digital art and design, movie making, animation, coding, etc). And whatever medium a child uses to express their creativity, the affordances of the technology mean that this can be capture digitally and shared with a wide audience.

We talk about creativity being an element of the Manaiakalani pedagogy, a component of the learning cycle.  And often this is where it sits; Learning activities occur, the learner creates something to demonstrate this learning (process, activity, knowledge building etc) and then shares it with a wider audience. This almost linear framework can be a comfortable starting place for teachers who have little experience or are hesitant about 'letting go' and empowering children.

We believe, and our researchers concur, that significant learning and cognitive engagement occurs when our young people 'Create to Learn'.  They begin with creativity and the learning emerges from there.  Sir Ken, in this interview, uses the example of his home town band, the Beatles, and his belief that when they first started out they only knew three chords and their musical knowledge and learning exploded as they were involved in the creative process.

This thinking around 'Create to Learn' is where our experienced and confident teachers are focusing their attention. We have adopted the SAMR model as a shared framework across our cluster of schools, and have been interested to note that teachers who are focusing on cognitive engagement and 'Create to Learn' are automatically working above the line on the SAMR ladder.  It promotes modification and redefinition in digital learning environments.

We have much to learn and are interested in what our colleagues around the country and the world are doing in this space.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Learn: Learn Create Share Pedagogy

Implementing a pedagogical framework across a community of diverse schools has been an exciting journey.  The 'Learn' element had the potential to be the most challenging aspect of 'Learn Create Share'. Our foundation document from 2007 described our common agreement to implement our learnings from Schooling Improvement alongside emerging digital innovations.

This movie is a short description of how our schools retain their autonomy and meet the needs of their individual learning communities and yet have a remarkable coherence around the implementation of 'Learn'.

The coherence around this has been noted by the Woolf Fisher Research team and in this video Dr Rebecca Jessen and Prof Stuart McNaughton discuss their observations.

A number of examples of the collective practice around 'Learn' are provided on this page.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Learn Create Share

This movie is a brief summary of the backstory of the co-construction of the "Learn Create Share" pedagogy. 

Learn Create Share emerged from the literacy cycles used by our teachers in the days when we had limited or shared access to digital devices. We were looking for ways to ‘hook’ our young people into learning and were exploring the opportunities offered by
  1. the exciting new technologies becoming mainstream in the early years of the 21st century
  2. the connectedness social media platforms were offering freely to all digital citizens
Within limitations imposed by access to these technologies and access to the internet, we chose to focus on the biggest achievement challenge we had in common, literacy. The first project to explore this was a podcasting project called Korero Pt England (KPE) which began in 2005, and through the literacy cycle used to implement KPE we saw significant acceleration in reading and learner engagement.  The research report about this is available here.

In 2007 the initial seven Manaiakalani Schools formed a cluster and 12 volunteer lead teachers piloted constructing versions of the literacy cycle to reflect their own contexts (from years 1-10) and innovative approaches using differing technologies and social networking platforms. Read more about this here.

For three years teachers in the Manaiakalani Schools implemented literacy cycles in their classes and Colleen Gleeson wrote research reports documenting the outcomes.  As we observed the acceleration a recurring theme became, “imagine what we could achieve if our learners each had their own digital device!"

In 2010 the first two classes piloted digital learning environments with each learner buying their own netbook. As the teachers implemented the literacy cycle they soon observed that the three components of the cycle would be equally effective across all curriculum areas. 

So in 2011 when 17 classes across the cluster went 1:1, Learn Create Share (the three elements of the cycle) was successfully trialled in all curriculum areas.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Seventh Manaiakalani Film Festival

Yesterday was another highlight on the Manaiakalani calendar with our annual film festival taking over our lives for 12 hours!
It brings great pleasure to families and supporters as our young people display their skills and talent, as well as their learning, on the Extreme Screen in front of capacity audiences.

Over the years we have not only seen the numbers grow (as in the graphic above) but also the confidence and self belief of our children and their teachers.  It also helps that quality digital tools are becoming cheaper and more accessible.

We would love you to watch our movies and leave some feedback on these budding Peter Jackson's work.

And if you want to see how far we have come, check out our 2008 entries here!

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.