Friday, October 8, 2010

Key Note - Stephen Heppell

Stephen Heppell (@stephenheppell) starts early acknowledging the importance of experience over expertise, acknowledging the importance of action research, reflective practice and the art of the teacher practitioner.

Interesting throwing out the idea of 3 teachers taking a large class - one teacher leads, one manages differentiation, one intervenes for remedial repair work. He says, when one teacher does all this it is often serial when a team do it, it is parallel, learning occurs a lot faster.

"We've put stabilisers on learning" - Nice anaology with bike stabilisers and the use of a balnce bike for his two year old granddaughter which enabled her to be readied for when she got a bike with pedal at the age of 3 she rode it immediately without any problems. The challenge is how can we provide 'balance bikes' for our kids that then enable them to go for it independently, rather than put on the restraints on have them 'stabilised'.

Embarrassed to have not come across google translator and google earth timelines - which show the historical development of cities/paces over years.

Note to self, check out Matt Locke's blog channel 4, behind the interesting Mapumental.

Breakout 6 - Derek Wenmoth (Future Focussed Schools)

Derek Wenmoth presented a challenging talk (available on slideshare) on future focussed schools. OECD future schools sceanrio produced six possible sceanrios:

1. Status Quo - bureucratic systems continue
2. Status Quo - meltdown scenario
3. Re-schooling - schools as core social centres
4. Re-schooling - Schools as focussed learning organisations
5. De-schooling - Learning networks and network society
6. De-schooling - Extended market model

Of course, the likely outcome is a combination. However, if you could start from scratch, without constraint of inherited plant, existing buildings and dedicated real estate, you are pushed back to first principles and if you could do this what would you do? Knowlsey had an interesting approach worth reading about with their 7 schools, shutting them all down on Friday and reopening 4 community learning centres.

If we are condsiering future focussed schools five areas we could consider are:

1. Vision, planning and governance (there are competing philosphies e.g. instead of driving change technology enables, supports and accelerates change; instead of seeing education as broken we need to see it as an investment in the future, teachers are not a problem to be fixed but supported professionals, students are more than a future workforce...). "Organisations that are built to change have a clear sense of who they are and what they stand for" Lawler & Worley, 2009, p.193 (Built to Change). A book worth considering, an oldy but a goody, Beyond the Stable State - Donald A. Schon - the idea that once so and so happens/finishes then we'll be back to normal is a falicy.

Another great question is how do we become a learning organisation? They have five features:
1. awareness throughout the organisation,
2. environment - flatter structures with openness encouraged,
3. leadership - Shared and resources are committed to enable them to lead,
4. empowerment - locus of control shifts to workers,
5.learning - through learning labs which are small scale real-life settings (Again based on a book by Schon)

2. Curriculum - the effective pedagogies & key competencies are great but there are inevitable tensions with technology, cuuriculum, and pedagogy. Again work on TPCK explores these tensions.

3. Buildings and architecture - at the forefront, what are your learning principles and how do you want to learn? There are so many examples of new schools with craetive design approaches including Albany High School.

4. ICT infrastructure - should be flexible, agile, simple, reliable, sustainable, scalable - openness. Need to consider movement towards cloud computing, mobile technologies and personalisation of learning.

5... missed this, maybe it was interconnectvity with other groups?

Derek finished with a caution - dangerous enthusiasms, book reviewed by Otago University. It's not about going back and telling them the jobs they should be doing but instead inspiring them with the vision for the future.

Breakout 5 - Cheryl Doig (Paperless Productivity)

Cheryl Doig's presentation is available on a live binder as a model for going paperless as much as possible. I've never heard of livebinder but this video tutorial may help open up some interesting uses. We looked at a bunch of different web2.0 tools

1. Dropbox - useful for sharing files (e.g. pdf) in a public way. It has the advantage of having permissions and synchronising both ways. Hot tip, the more teachers you can invite the larger the storage size made avaialable.

2. Google docs.

3. Tungle for scheduling, making meeting times and so on.

4. Stixy, not convinced.

5. Diigo. A more powerful bookmarking site than delicious. This is one thing I need to be exploring as I'd dismissed it earlier as another delicious (which I was happy with) but the snapshot facility and the sticky notes make it more powerful.

6. Evernote -a way of tracking things over time and not fogetting things.

Cheryl Doig's website thinkbeyond

Note to self - this invite to school of e-learning came via twitter while at Cheryl's workshop. Looks like a great collaborative space.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Breakout 4 - Tony Ryan (Solutions)

Tony Ryan - Rather than talking about problems, let's start thinking about solutions.

Here's a range of suggestions:

1. Fun theory - take a problem and get kids to suggest a solution to it.

2. Elizabeth Gilbert, on TED talks, on nurturing creativity.

3. Get rid of small talk: Mindless banter, gossip, inconsequential comments' often use the word 'but'. Get into Big Talk, proactive dialogue, solution focus, challenge, paraphrasing. Teaching kids to paraphrase is a really valuable exercise - using "so...what you're saying that...".

4. If you want to get into solutions with kids, use student voice. has a whole range of ways of doing this and getting schools to measure their use of student voice.

5. Kids have to have good strategies, they also need to know how to use them in particular contexts. We need to teach them to self talk and to think about their thinking (to be cognisant of their thinking - metcognition).

6. Use of thinkers key cards, to get kids thinking.

7. Reflection - what did I do well? What can I do differently? (reflective journals).

8. Another interesting way of getting kids thinking is to photocopy a whole bunch of famous people in shots, or people in different situations, then put speech bubbles above them - get kids to enter dialogue into speech bubbles. Must be plenty of ways of doing

9. Celebrate - we need to do this more. Love the idea of 1000 Awesome things blog.

Now putting this into practice - can I answer these questions...

1. What are three concepts/processes you are most likely to put into practice?
2. What could you do with it?
3. What will you do with it?
4. What will be the process of implementation?
5. How will you keep it going?

Breakout 3 - Teaching as Inquiry

I was keen to get into thinking about Teaching as Inquiry as I see it as an important next step for our school and a critical part of teaching practice, being constatntly reflective. I've always done that, to varying degrees, but I like the way the NZ Curriculum puts it there as an effective pedagogy reinforcing the fact that this is important for improving kids learning. Notes from the workshop is available on the softwareforlearning wiki. Got introduced to the idea of TPCK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge). Knew of PCK and I suppose this is a logical extension of it - the importance of teacher TPCK in how to effectively incorporate technology in their teaching. Also having a good opportunity to explore TKI, which I honestly need to spend much more time investigating, there's good learning here for teachers, for example these snapshots of teachers inquiry experiences using different ICT tools.

Key Note 3 - Lane Clarke

Lane Clarke is asking some probing questions -
1. What does it mean to learn?

2. Is their a difference between learning and knowing?

3. What is the difference between theme and authentic learning?

How does 'real world' learning compare to 'in school' learning? Shouldn't the school classroom prepare students for an authentic context rather than an artificial context.

Pleased to hear she's mentioned killing question stems and encouraging the use of 'wonderwalls' a place for kids to stick questions. Nice idea and I like the idea of encouraging the wondering, although that's why we need ICT because realistically who wants to wait for a question to be answered, maybe the next day, or next week? No one.

Critically here's some great questions to be asking after the initial finding out: So what? How can we use what we know to make a difference in our life and the lives of others?

Followed by: If I want to do this then what do I know and what do I need to know to achieve my end outcome?

She's into using thinkbox and thinktower (which cynically you can buy via her website - no creative commons). I like the ideas, the schema, the concepts of you don't know what you don't know, that's all good. Why do we have to pay for it and why at a conference like this do we have a keynote who does a sales pitch to a captive (captured) audience?
Nice to finsih with this video celebration of the crazy ones - the ones that believe they can change the world and do

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Keynote 2: Steve Wheeler

We are in times of rapid change, teacher should be at the forefront leading this change rather than just reacting to it,

A few great quotes from the key note...

Doctors save lives, teachers make lives.

" Somewhere in your organisation people are already doing things differently and better. To create lasting change create areas of positive defiance and fan their flames" - Pascale and Sternin (read more from these guys and download the pdf here)

What students need - digital literacies, engagement and fun (for example serious games, interactive narratives, role play simulations), personalised learning (moving from just for me model - apprenticeship, the just in case model - standard curriculum,and the just in time curriculum bespoke curriculum back to the just for me model of personalised learning.

Steve Wheelers blog here

Breakout 1: Stephen Heppell (Learning Spaces & Places)

Stephen Heppell has presented a pretty interesting array of school space ideas accompanied with a dry English sense of humour. What I take from the is the importance of students being involved in the design of the learning spaces along with the improtance of considering the three spaces: Me, We and See.

Me: your private space (probably the main focus of schools currently and typically done quite well)
We: you and your collaborators (can be done OK but still desks often designed or arranged counter to this)
See: the here I am, this is my stuff space (schools are typically shocking at putting the the learning they do to their community and celebrating what they do).

Further thoughts and ideas can be explored at Stephen's website and of course many of the rules that work for physical spaces also apply to virtual spaces or his blog.

Keynote 1: Lee Crockett

Great start to the proceedings at ULearn10. Lee Crockett provided an entertaining look at learning based on his book Understanding the Digital Generation. Worth exploring further are the different fluencies as described by the 21st C fluency project: solution fluency, creative fluency, collaboration fluency, media fluency and information fluency. These provide an immediate challenge to what and how we teach.
Also enjoyed again the Daniel Simons video on the Invisible Gorilla and while some of the connections were tentative at best I think, like the intention of the video really, people will draw different inferences from the clip. It's worth exploring some of the thoughts about what we see or don't see, what we all indivdually draw from the same material presented on the invisible gorilla blog.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

ULearn 2010

Right, finally I'm back at ULearn. I missed last year (and rightfully so) as RSNZ deemed it to be too focussed on professionally development, not personal development. Fair call. But I missed it after having been the previous 3 years. Today I'm at Suzie Vesper's workshop on web2.0 tools and the main reason I'm here is just to have the time to play. A day of mucking around with this wonderful array of web 2.0 tools, some I've use, but others I just need time to explore and that's what today is about. You can surely get lost in the wiki she's established, go on dare you. If you exhaust that one, then there's another using this link and if you make it through every tool you're doing better than me! Made this little fella, useful if you're not keen for your mugshot online. Easy-as to make using potrait icon maker.

So here's my first play, voicethread. Man I find it difficult to talk and be recorded, so ignore that! Lots of potential uses for this in the classroom though.

Also been playing with funky text, which I'm not so keen on (must be getting older) but I'm sure kids would love, glowtxt.

Cool text generator

Yikes, Ok finally a bit of a simple play with prezi