Monday, April 30, 2012

Research Online

We now have five years of research reports available on our cluster website.  The latest report to be published is the 2011 Evaluation report of the pilot year of 1:1 Netbook implementation in 18 Manaiakalani classes.

The 2011 evaluation was designed to answer two major questions: 

(1) How does The Manaiakalani One-to-One Device Project contribute to the teaching of literacy in one-to-one device classrooms? 
(2) How does The Manaiakalani One-to-One Device  Project impact on student learning of literacy and engagement in one-to-one device  classrooms? 

The 465 students in 18 classrooms that effectively had a full year of implementation were part of the evaluation. The evaluation used achievement measures, video records and in situ observations of classrooms; one to one interviews with teachers and students; teacher surveys, and artifacts from class and individual blogs. 

To read the executive summary, or if you are extra keen to read the whole report, follow this link.

Research reports are not universally popular, so if you prefer an anecdotal approach to following an initiative I would recommend following clusternz on Twitter. This way you will hear it from the 650 or so children whose blogs feed through this account!  They are not afraid to be honest about most aspects of (school) life!  This should come with a warning though - 25,000+ tweets (each representing a blog post) have been processed in less than three years.

Farewell Colleen:
On another note, the Manaiakalani Cluster wishes Colleen Gleeson all the best as she steps into her new role as Review and Development Officer of Schools, for the Auckland Catholic Diocese.  Colleen has served the cluster as Researcher since 2008 and we are indebted to her commitment to the students, teachers and schools of the area, and her contribution to the Manaiakalani vision. She will be greatly missed.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Writing Exams? Who does that anymore?

In the previous post our students' reflections expressed a changed attitude to writing attributed largely to the mechanics of writing being so much more satisfying when the writing tool is a keyboard rather than a pen/pencil. These reflections have been backed up by the Manaiakalani Evaluation report for 2011 released by Colleen Gleeson.  She noted significant changes in student engagement and motivation, and the asTTle writing test scores of students had improved.

We have just completed the first term of the 2012 school year and increasing numbers of our Manaiakalani students are using their own netbooks - including the entire cohort of students at Tamaki College.

What does the immediate education future for these young people hold?  They prefer writing using a digital device and have a changed attitude towards writing.  They feel their writing has improved and the evaluation evidence supports this.

Nevertheless, many of these young people still have to sit exams and tests using pencil and paper, particularly for NCEA. It is not so bad for the younger students who are doing e-asTTle tests, which can be done online.  They will be tested using the tools they are familiar with.

But our Year 11-13 students have to face up to 3 hours at a time of handwriting 'high stakes' exams on paper booklets.  Is this a bit like asking kids to sit their drivers license using a horse and cart - it shouldn't matter because they would be covering the same content and route, just using a different mode of transport?

What are our private schools and high decile schools who have been 1:1 for up to a decade doing about this?  Is this just a transition period and if so, how long will we be going through it?

60 of our 2012 Year 9 students were in the Manaiakalani pilot classes for 1:1 in 2010.  They will be sitting Level One NCEA in 2014 after using a Netbook as their major learning tool for five years.  How will writing answers using pen in a booklet  allow them to express their true understanding of the questions being asked?

I do hope that the folk at NZQA are getting this sorted THIS year!