Saturday, January 31, 2015

Share: Learn Create Share Pedagogy

Two of the foundation goals of Manaiakalani are encapsulated in the word 'Share':

  1. Work with learners to establish an authentic audience for their learning outcomes
  2. Empower our learners with an evidence-based belief that their personal voice is valuable and powerful

I have written several posts on this blog over past years about the significance of an 'authentic audience' and this one back in 2008 is still highly relevant.

Sharing, like giving, has benefits in both directions; the person shared with is blessed as is the person doing the sharing.

For both our learners and our teachers the act of sharing is hugely beneficial. It it is affirming to receive feedback and a sense of appreciation, and motivating to raise the bar on ones own performance.

I am sure many adults shudder when memories return of having to handwrite a neat/perfect copy of something so it could be 'displayed on the wall'.  Especially for those of us old enough to have experienced the drip of fountain pen ink ruining a laborious copying task.
And who read it?  No-one.
Or to have been selected by the teacher to come out the front of the class to read our completed piece to disinterested-at-best classmates.

The digital age, with social media leading the charge, has made sharing the minutiae of our lives with all and sundry the norm. And in the process created a new social disease as well as careers and business opportunities.

In 2005, when social media was becoming main stream, it was a given that education needed to rethink how to move into this world that our children want to inhabit and to harness this new source of energy and engagement for our bottom line - raising student achievement outcomes. Our journey in Manaiakalani has been one of carefully weighing up the pros and cons of developing a learning environment increasingly online. We've been proactively using tools that would 'hook' our learners while constructing systems and processes which are age appropriate, legal and allow us to teach our young people to be Cybersmart from first arriving at school.

To use a transportation metaphor, sharing your learning online follows a similar process to learning to drive a vehicle; 
you start as a young child strapped into a car seat in the back simply enjoying the ride, you hear the types of driving talk and explosions the driver makes from time to time, you graduate to sitting in the front seat next to the driver and observe their driving habits, you swap seats at the right age taking the wheel while the adult instructs you, etc etc

We do harness the huge audience potential of the internet to engage and support our learners, but we certainly enjoy more localised audiences such as our own school publications and assemblies; big events such as productions and learning showcases; our Manaiakalani Film Festival; and a live audience of thousands last night at the Movies in the Park event.

I conclude with the tagline chosen by the first KPE Podcasters in 2005, a group of Year 5/6 children who are now all grown up and have left school:

"We want you to hear what we have to say"
Korero Pt England

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.