Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Friday, 30 September 2016

#edchatNZ Conference 2016 Reflection of Day Two

Day Two brought new learning opportunities again at the #edchatNZ 2016 Conference at Rototuna Junior High School.  I was a bit late due to attending to a cat emergency, so when I arrived, I went straight into the first workshop.  I chose to attend the workshop about Elections 2017.

I chose this workshop as I have done a unit with students during elections in 2005 (Year 4/5 class), 2011 (Y5-8 class) and 2014 (Y3/4 class) and I believe the earlier we get students paying attention to politics and understanding how the right to vote works, the more likely they will be voters.  I will always remember our local MP, Jack Luxton, visiting my class when I was in Standard 4 in 1984 to talk to us about elections - it did help that four of his grandchildren were at my school!

And I am pleased I went to this workshop as I was the only primary school voice in this small group of people, so I was able to add a new dimension to the conversation and learn some new things myself from the secondary teachers in the room.  Hopefully what we came up with will make it into The Pond for many teachers to use.

My next workshop was with Jane Gilbert from AUT on Education's complex future - what does this mean for teachers?  The room just kept on filling up for this one and spilled out into the next.... which was ok because RJHS is made up of flexible learning spaces, so the big ranchsliders were left fully open.

I chose this workshop because I felt it was quite relevant to what I am currently doing with my Master of Education focusing on Global Education Policy.  I felt this question opens up a huge chasm of questions and quandaries that we as professional educators need to consider for not only ourselves, but also for our current and future students.

Below is a Storify of tweets just from this session.

Below are photos that I took of Jane Gilbert's slides during her rapid lecture.

Jane argued that education needs to make a rapid change as it was no longer appropriate to do a mass production line form of education (reminiscent of Yong Zhao's opinion of the sausage factory mode of education).

"We don't need another brick in the wall" industrialise education was how we were taught - but this is not appropriate for students of today or tomorrow.  What is the core role of a teacher?  How does that role relate to other teachers?

Mega trends in education:
* digital revolution
* globalisation

Mega trends in education:
* massive growth in new networked forms of knowledge
* Anthropocene

World events such as terrorist attacks,Brexit,Trump... these are upsetting world order... leads to chaos.  Chaos and disruption may provide potential alternatives.

Sardar says we're in a transitional age. A change phase:
* Complexity
* Chaos
* Contradiction

How does education policy fit here?
* "we need to get the system to perform better"
* digitisation
There is a focus on outcomes (measured in the 'old ways') & students - but the focus on teachers is yet to come.

Lots of investment in hardware (infrastructure, tools, vocab) but not on software (teachers).

The mega trends undermine the 20th Century education system. Need to look at these questions in photo.  There are all these things we are asked to do for students but haven't experienced them their selves.  The good news is no one knows the answers.

Why are they talking about things in picture?  If we don't understand human systems these'll be subverted.  Personally I believe the model in place for Communities of Learners currently is wrong with too much dictatorial influence by MOE.  This will subvert true collaboration. That's why I consider COLs as IES pig with lipstick.

System features to consider.
Also: closed & open systems.

The murmuration of starlings - modification in response to small change - interaction produces change.  Murmuration of starlings: no one is in charge. System has its own "collective intelligence" as a whole.

Dave Snowden's Cynefin Framework. See http://cognitive-edge.com 
Education is a complex system.  Things are difficult in education and therefore requires a different sort of methodology.

Great examples for simple, complicated & complex problems using the model.

What does this mean for teachers and schools and students? What is the future? Is collaboration enough?

Three things (in picture) matter to build collective intelligence.   Building collective intelligence depends on quality of elements, quality of interactions and degree of diversity

Hargreaves & Fullan - 2012, Professional Capital - Transforming Teaching in every School: what is "strong" collaboration?  Collaboration or innovation is not collecting others ideas.  Don't necessarily apply to your situation.  Strong collaboration needs collegial not congenial, critique and extension of existing ideas, push each other, thinking differently.  To achieve change we HAVE to challenge ideas, argue; conflict produces new deep thinking.   Avoid echo chambers.

Collegial collaboration - NOT congenila collaboration needed. R Evans 2012 - Building True collegiality in schools.  How do we get strong collaboration? See R. Evans (2012) bottom of picture.

Questions for us to consider in light of this workshop with Jane Gilbert - and for all teachers too.  Will reconfiguration of the role of teachers be enough? Do we need a complete rebuild?  Jane argues that some of the professional learning offered to teachers is quite basic! Need to rethink how teachers are educated.  Absolutely agree that teacher PLD must start with focus on individual cognitive growth.  And group cognitive capacity of teachers.  How might we think about "next practice" not just "best practice"?  For teachers to interact in new world order & support kids; need new PLD model that focuses on cognitive growth to create next practice.  But we have to achieve this change while keeping some aspects of the old system going.

"Historic change is like an avalanche."

As you can see there are a lot of things we need to consider about the future of our profession as educators for ourselves and our students.

After lunch (where I caught up with some  #kotuku tribe members), it was the Provocation session, where the keynote speakers provoked us.

The first speaker was Stanley Frielick and below is the blurb about Stanley from the #edchatNZ Conference website.

Dr Stanley Frielick is Director of Learning and Teaching at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) – a central role in a network of staff, students and enabling technologies that increases the capability of the university for educational development and innovation.

His diverse research interests include the ways in which ecological / biological understandings of thinking interrelate with social and digital media to create new modes of learning, and the implications of these for strategic planning and leadership. He has led several initiatives in academic development, digital media and mobile learning at AUT.

The second speaker was Kaila Colbin and her blurb from the #edchatNZ Conference website is below:

Kaila is an ambassador for SingularityU and involved in organising the first New Zealand summit. Kaila is also a curator for TEDxChristchurch, Ministry of Awesome co-founder.

​Kaila is an entrepreneur, a connector, and a person who loves to see ideas turned into action. She is a co-founder and trustee of the non-profit Ministry of Awesome, an organisation dedicated to watering the seeds of awesome in communities; and the founder and director of New Zealand social media consultancy Missing Link.

These two speakers were rapid and thought provoking.

Kaila's keynote inspired these tweets:
  • Riding the exponential wave of change
  • Exponential technology is not just about the computing
  • In ED, are we just hanging out in the trough of disappointment? Waiting for the steep curve to amazement!
  • Self-drive cars are already twice as safe per mile as humans.
  • A single crash for a self-drive car immediately improves the whole fleet. Not the case with humans.
  • sci-fi is really sci-non-fi!
  • 35yrs of 3D printing and what do we get? Shitty models of Yoda's head
  • x times as fast, at x less cost. soooo awesome!!! Jet fusion printing from HP - electronics within the printed object
  • Highest prediction is 81% of jobs gone in 20 YEARS!!!
  • AI always starts with base knowledge of all other AIs, people do not
  • Loving "the dick factor" that @kcolbin talks about e.g. wearing technology such as Google cardboard.
  • Segways failed because of "dick factor" VR Goggles mean you can't see other's eye rolling at you
  • We used to teach kids to ski as the future was paved, now we have to teach kids to surf as the future is unknown
  • See @richardsusskind's 'The Future of the Professions:  http://goo.gl/faLAve
  • Find your Billion - book your students places to learn about exponential tech with @kcolbin  http://www.findyourbillion.co.nz/ 
Stanley's keynote inspired these tweets:
  • Kia whakatomuri te haere whakamua
  • Watching the Mother of all Demos from 1968 - the original YouTube How To video.
  • The Dynabook looks like the forerunner to a laptop & tablet - Alan Kay DynaBook 1968
  • Inspired by the history of these incredible people who gave us so many possibilities. Papert -my favourite. 
  • All day I have been reminded over and over that the technology I thought was recent... well... wasn't
  • Richard Brautigan poem - All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace
  • We have so much tech but what are we actually doing with it?
  • What wicked problems can we authentically engage our students with?
  • key word there... authentic. surely students need to have a say? how can WE dictate that?
  • The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly
  • highlighting disconnection. oooh, nice. are you "Whole in a connected world"? human touch - AGAIN, whanaungatanga.
  • "We also need a space where we are wholly ourselves, contingent upon no one else"

After the Provocations of the keynotes, we met back up with our tribes.  #kotuku tribe had come up with the idea of #minutechange to present to the Conference later that afternoon.  So we debated this.  The first thing we needed to do was define minute so that people knew what we were talking about.

Naturally I have a wee Storify of our thinking over #minutechange:

WIDD = What I did differently - which links into the whole idea of #minutechange.

After nutting it out, and making a new Twitter account called @minutechange to go with our hashtag #minutechange it was time to present our proposal to the Conference and hear what other tribes had come up with.

All in all, I enjoyed the two days at the #edchatNZ Conference.  It was almost a cross between a traditional conference and an Educamp, in that it was timetabled like a traditional conference but had the flexibility of choice that comes with an Educamp, with the bonus of time to network and build a tribe to collaborate on a new idea with.

The bonus for me was that this year it was in Hamilton... and I hope the next one will be at a school that I can get to easily.

Below is a Storify of the whole of Day Two of the Conference - there are a lot of tweets... like maybe 885 tweets.

Thursday, 29 September 2016


One of the exciting things about relieving is that every day is different and you are not sure exactly what you will be doing.  Last week I was in a Year 3/4 class who were just starting a geometry unit.  The teacher asked that I do tessellations with the class.  Boom!!!  I was stoked.  I love doing tessellations with students.  I was taught a brilliant way at Teachers College and I've been using it pretty much every time I do the geometry unit on symmetry in the twenty odd years since as it is great for teaching translation.

So here is how we did it, and I think these kids were brilliant with their watching, listening and then following the instructions.  The one pair that mucked up their first attempt were able to use the feedback to have a successful second attempt and then they were flying.

First of all I cut out of cardboard a square for each pair of children (if it was my own class we would do individual posters), 10x10cm.  I demonstrated to the children how to label the top and bottom of the square with the letter A, and the left and right sides with a B.  After that I showed them how to draw a simple shape to cut out of one A side and one B side and then sellotape them onto the opposite side - A with A, B with B.  You can see that in the photo below.


I then demonstrated putting the new shape on the paper, tracing around it fully, then moving the shape over, aligning it with the first shape I traced and tracing around three sides.  I then repeated this until the whole page was a repeated pattern right to the very edge of the page.

Below, you can see the children's work and them doing this process themselves.

Afterwards I showed them how to turn their shape into something.  Most did monsters or the like.  My partner choose a clown for us to do.  I think demonstrated how to use felts to draw around each shape to make a pattern and then colour in with jovis (let's not waste felts with colouring in).

As you can see below, my partner and I were an efficient team.  Most of the students, who were Year 3/4 were doing very well with this task.  The only issues were one group of girls didn't cut out their A/B shapes properly and had to start that again, but they flew with the task after that, and a group of boys didn't understand the concept to not colour everything the same.

This is the finished one that I did with my partner.  Sorry about the upside down pictures, but I think you understand the concept.

Obviously some children did not quite finish on the day, but I think they came a long way on the day and their work was fabulous.  When Sarah, the teacher, returned at the end of the day she was very pleased with the progress and how well the students had listened.  I really enjoyed teaching this mini unit of work to this class.