Ulearn 2010

A group of teachers from the cluster went to Ulearn this year and were amazed by the keynote speakers and breakouts that they went to. Below is a breakdown of the sessions that individuals attended.

Pete Potter
Keynote: Lee Crockett
Lee spoke about being a just in time learner and how teachers are just in case educators. Also looked at how the digital generation learns from using multimedia where the recall of knowledge increases from 10% to 65% when using images. The digital Mind is used to all of this stimulus outside the classroom and then when they come to the classroom it stops. They need this instant gratification as they have so much going on.

Breakout 1: Showcase
Ipod – Using apps in the classroom to provide a personalised learning space and engage students.

  • Twitter – using twitter to say to students ‘hey look at this’ and also speaking to people of similar interests.
  • Audacity and flips – used to engage students.
  • Studyit – students need to be aware of this and should have access through the school site.
  • Voicethread the bloggers cafe - used by students to add commentary to something visual that they have created.
  • Digital online portfolios: all teachers had the expectation that they were to have a wikispace. They then went on to create wikispaces for the students.
  • They have moved from these being a digital repository of work to being a reflective learning space.
  • Ultranet in Australia. A tool to connect families, teachers and students together.

Breakout 2 - Building a Professional Learning Community

The main message that came from this was that momentum was important to keep teachers thinking about the goals of the group. I think from our year some teachers can quickly lose their goals in the day to day life of being a teacher. The example from this gorup had weekly meetings with the PLCs to ensure that the goals were being met.

Breakout 3 – Jaqui Land

Papanui High Schools use of Moodle as a LMS.Moodle is free, but the support is not there, Moodle for NZ schools has been set up to give support to schoolsThe site is separated through moodle/cms/google apps/kamarSchool links can be used for parental bookings.
E-cast is used for access to National Geographic TVNZ etc
Parental Portal can be accessed through KAMARLive data goes on the net 10 minutes later. Parents were made aware of this that data may be entered later. Tick boxes are used in KAMAR about what information can be given to parents.Course selection has been done through moodle.

Breakout 4b – Moving Lurkers to Learners

Studyed blended learning and built an online community that would support the course that 6 teachers with 10 meetings.The meetings categories were split into 3 categories pedagogical/social/knowledge facilitation strategies

1. contextualising the learning2. build knowledge3. create shared artefacts4. build community relationships5. use data and evidence from the learning community6. use challenging questions – when ready7. provide collective and personal learning opportunities8. vary the pedagogical approaches9. give timely feedback

Break out 5: Cracking the Excusci code

Chris Morris at a school in Blaclutha. Spent $220000 on IT taking the school wireless and UltraNet.Keeping the momentum going.Be in people’s faces.Some things that held staff back were; lack of confidence, small world view, self interest, fear of others opinion
Keynote: Professor Stephen Heppell
Debbie Miller went to the following breakouts:

Breakout 1

Reconceptualising 21st C curriculum: From segregated subjects, ad hoc themes and covering content to holistic, integrated learning. – Dr Julia Atken

(Download a copy at http://www.learning-by-design.com Dr Atken began by playing “Shift Happens” from You Tube. (Worth looking at if you haven’t seen it.)
She said “Education is at the crossroads. We can go down 2 paths – either make an effort to lift achievement within the traditional education models or –make radical changes in Education that will lift the way we think about learning.”
Julia quoted Plato, “The task of educators is not to put knowledge where knowledge does not exist but rather to lead the mind’s eye that it might see for itself.” And Bertrand Russell, “They work to pass and not to know. Alas they pass and do not know.”
Key Questions to ask ourselves are:
For our students, what is it essential that they learn? How do we ensure powerful learning?
How do we map our curriculum in a powerful way that ensures depth and breadth?
Start with BIG IDEAS, not topics. Factors which promote meaningful learning are motivation, relevance, interest, curiosity, challenge, direct experience, teacher passion, role plays…
Dr Atken is involved in Core Ed and promoted a tool for self-review. Her website is http://eps2.core-ed.net/

2. Finding your Way with Digistore – Rochelle Jensen and Fiona Grant

Go to http://digistore.tki.org.nz/ec/p/home Use the Browse and Search functions to locate desired content. Create a learning path. Enter a name and brief description. Select save. To share the learning path with your students, so that no pin and username are required, Login. Select from My learning path the learning path you wish to share. Select Edit, Copy the URL. Use this URL to direct students to the chosen learning path. (Visit http://digistore.wikispaces.com/Learning+Paths )

Digistore gives you access to Learning objects in many different curriculum areas, images, speeches songs & interviews, short video clips from NZ History, Historical maps & documents, Art works & posters.

3. SOLO Taxonomy and Visual Evidence for Depth of Thinking. –Emlyn Wright HOD Graphics, Design and Technology, Lincoln High.

Based on Pam Hook’s Hooked on Thinking. See http://hooked-on-thinking.com/ for templates and explanations. This is a great way to get students to evaluate what level they are thinking at and to challenge them to think more creatively and at a higher level. Comparisons with de Bono’s Hats are made. The thinking ranges from making a point, a range of points, connections between ideas and then linking them to future possibilities. Lincoln High use this model throughout the school and Emlyn has designed a set of templates for Graphics, which are for sale. ewr@lincoln.school.nz

4. Natcoll – Val Gyde (creating.futures@natcoll.ac.nz)

Check out www.digitalcareers.co.nz to find interesting jobs in digital media.
Go to http://utopia.natcoll.ac.nz/moodle/ to see what is on offer at Natcoll.
2011 Short Courses for teachers: Introduction to Photoshop (8wks), Introduction to Desktop – Graphic Design (8wks)
Longer Courses: 3D Modelling & Animation with Blender (17wks),
Industry standard Print Design (20 credits – 34 weeks)
Courses can be customised for schools.
May offer Digital Media Skills Certificate for Teachers in 2012

5. Emerging Technologies & Transforming Learning in Schools – Westley Field from MLC School. (Motto – Dare to be more)

Began by looking at how Advertising Companies used to spend $250,000 on one advertisement. Now, they offer between $2000 and $20,000 for the best ad, uploaded to You-Tube. (Check out Dorito’s ads – some cost as little as $1.20 – for a bag of Doritos.) This reflects a change in thinking.
Research – Don’t accept research at face value. Ask the area of expertise of the researchers, significance of the sample, bias and the credibility of the source. E.g. Westley carried out research to see who was the “Best Presenter in the World” and without a doubt, he is the one. His research was 100% conclusive -he asked his Mum and she agreed that it would have to be him! We need to be wary of research results such as : “Facebook Users attain lower results” (Undertaken at University with 1000 students from 1st Years to Post Grads. 1st year students using Facebook gained lower results than Post Grads. –Need to question the research.)
Trends in Education – Personalised (Independent), older, female, Collaborative, flexible learning spaces. At MLC School (My Learning Community), everyone has a personalised web page. They can chat to students and teachers within the school community; they have “My Friends” and “My Favourites” on their web page. (They use nicknames in chat. Teachers can see the real name – prevents bullying.) Social technologies are used to teach about networking. Westley encouraged us to think how we can develop strategies for personalised learning.
Technologies – i-phones can be used to identify plants on a bush walk. He encouraged us to become “digitally experienced” – using self-scanning supermarkets for example. They use a “Mathletics” programme where the students compete against others all over the world for 10 mins each Maths period. Students can Google anything and everything and they do. There is a thin flexible screen available, which can be attached to a clear plastic water bottle and with an attachment on their glasses, they can scan exam questions and Google them and have the answers displayed in the drink bottle screen!! Process needs to replace content. We need to teach students how to search and how to be discerning.
Global connections. Schools collaborate around the world on skype through skoolaborate. Westley talked about Q Books, Sketchbook Pro and wikihood. Online Learning MLC uses online learning – students can watch a film for English as many times as they want to or need to. Specific tasks can be set. Students can access tasks when they are absent from school. See US Dept of Ed “Best Practices in Online Learning”.
Pedagogy must drive technology, not the other way around. Technology needs to be dead simple for us teachers to own it.

6. Mana Tangata. Moodle - positively promoting the Maori Culture and improving student success through innovation, collaboration and active learning. http://learningon.theloop.school.nz/moodle/course/view.php?id=927

Moodle at Marlborough Girls. “Great learners make mistakes! “ “I will is more important than IQ”

(Ed Hillary being told he was a “skinny little white boy who wouldn’t amount to much” by his PE teacher.)
Marlborough Girls’ are trying to lift Maori students’ achievement by making them proud of being Maori. They have a ‘Pamper Day’ once a term, where they can choose what they would like to do. They were offered manicures, facials, foot massage etc and the girls asked if they could learn to weave! Girls, who previously would not have admitted to being part Maori, are now identifying as Maori and are proud of this identity. This improved self-esteem is helping to lift achievement. They have Online Quizzes – during Maori Language week, there was a competition with house points and the results were also online. Musical raps used to help learn Maths eg. Pythagoras. Competitions held with a “Mimio” balloon on the whiteboard. It would pop when time was up or when a team had answered correctly. Science learning of the Digestive System was made real by using bread, false teeth, plastic bags, socks, stockings and coloured water for the digestive juices. The process was videoed by each group then they did a voice-over explaining the digestive system. Words like ‘peristalsis’ and ‘oesophagus’ won’t be forgotten. http://learningon.theloop.school.nz/moodle/

Dave Thorp's reflections on Ulearn

Lee Crockett

Like Pete, I was impressed by Lee Crockett. I thought that his points about visual stimulus were really interesting. Finding visual images to support learning material, either by direct representation of a thing or more of a conceptual/ metaphorical representation, definietely aids learning and recall. I think the point is that we don't need to be furiously making Power Points; we just need to spend a bit of time seeking some jpgs of the internet to support our teaching. Worth looking into because most teachers these days have data projectors.

Effective Online Communities of Practice

Presenters: Phil Coogan / Session Type: Presentation

This workshop was about how to set up and operate an online professional learning groups. Having set up learning group wikis and blogs before(sometimes with success, others abject failure), I was interested to learn his secrets. They are as follows:
  • The English Online learning communities are the only truly successful communities operating in NZ education today.
  • Even with this group it's hard to move debate away from basic resource requests to discussions about effective teaching practice.
  • Phil felt that the reason English teachers were happy to go onto the learning communities was the fact they wanted practical things like resources or advice on assessments.
  • The English communities briefly went away from an email prompt (like Facebook) to a system where you had to log on to see what was happening - that was a disaster.
So the lessons:
  1. Give the members a reason to want to go onto an online community - resource sharing is an obvious one.
  2. Use community moderators to subtly turn the debate towards teaching practice.
  3. Make sure it's an email prompted system or it will probably fail.