Monday, 29 February 2016

A Visit from Pat Snedden

Last Friday the 2016 MDTA were blessed to have a visit from Pat Snedden, the Executive Chair of the Manaiakalani Education Trust. His korero was short but it had such a humbling and motivating impact on each and every person in our cohort. Pat shared a brief amount of New Zealand History which gave massive insight into the disabling effects of the displacement of Māori land

This disabling effect has been generational and has affected our learners. As teachers, we are here because we care. More importantly, as educators in Tamaki, it is our job to enable learners, the citizens of today and tomorrow, to be able to articulate their wants and their needs, to be able to identify what those are, and most importantly, give them the skills they need to be heard. We need to give them the skills of communication. 

Pat made a really crucial point in saying that we educators are not starting from the bottom. There have been many teachers before us who have had the courage to seek change, to make a difference for the Tamariki of Tamaki. It is important that we do not get caught up in our egos but rather, realise that we are here to serve the learners and not only that; we need to have the humility to realise that we also serve those teachers who came before us and all those who have fought so hard to change the educational experience of Māori and Pasifika children. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

An Official Google Certified Educator!

Carefully considering my answers with the help of my nutritious snacks
After two hours of answering multi-choice questions and completing tasks such as creating Google forms, docs, and sheets...

...I am officially a Google Certified Educator! I even learnt some things along the way! I would definitely recommend anyone who is already confident with Google Apps for Education to sit their exam! Only Level 1, but officially on the board!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Creation of Manaiakalani pedagogy

To kickstart our Digital Immersion session this Friday, Dorothy explained how Manaiakalani was brought to fruition. 

Many years ago, the Manaiakalani cluster lumbered through much deliberation surrounding what made an effective and engaging Literacy programme for their learners and the pedagogy of 

Learn, Create, Share 

was born. 

It was soon discovered that not only was this approach to teaching and learning applicable and effective in the area of Literacy, it could also serve to make significant shifts in all curriculum areas. 

Digital Upskilling: Google Sheets and Google Forms

In Digital Immersion this week we delved a little deeper into how to use the Apps Google Sheets and Google Forms, as well as having a play around with Add-ons to use within Google Sheets (there are so many Add-ons!).

As part of our learning we made a quiz on Google Forms, which as some of you may or may not know exports all the individual input to a single Google Sheet! Using the Add-on Flubaroo in Google Sheets we were able to take any number of answers, set the default (correct) answers and then Flubaroo went ahead and marked all of the answers for us!

Another part of our learning this week was sharing the ways in which our schools (previous and current) use these apps. Some of these innovative ways sheets are used are:

  • Student progression sheets - A table format for students to inform their next steps, and a place to link in their evidence to justify their understanding of a specific progression. 
  • A booking system where students can book in a time with the teacher to get more support in a particular subject.
  • Weekly timetables
  • A place for students to link their blogs so that Teachers can access all of the blogs from one place
Some ways Google Forms are used in the classroom are:
  • Collecting Student voice
  • Collecting Student prior knowledge

That was all in a few hours! I am really looking forward to taking the time to explore these apps further. The 'creation' part of todays session was to have another play with Google Draw and create another graphic representation of the days learnings and wonderings. My reflective question for the day was "How can I use these tools to manage existing documents and information more efficiently?" so not only thinking about what amazing and innovative new things I can come up with, but also think about what I already have in place and how I can improve them using these tools.

Digital Immersion: Week 2 Reflective Graphic 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Digital Upskilling: The sharing basics!

Okay everybody, here are a couple of tips that are bound to change your teacher lives!
Who knew that instead of going into each individual document to change the privacy settings so that learners and parents can view your documents with the link, you can just change the default privacy settings for every folder so that every new document you create within the folder automatically takes on the default privacy settings.

Let me break it down.

Here is my Numeracy folder in my Google Drive.

Select the drop-down menu on the right of the folder name


Mine is already set up, but what you are looking for is the "Advanced" Button on the bottom right.


Has certainly changed my life! Hope it makes yours a little easier, too!

The learning never stops!

Today the MDTA cohort experienced their first of many Digital Immersion classes with the wonderful Dorothy Burt and Anne Sinclair. Nearing the end of our class we were asked to create a graphic reflection using Google Draw which illustrated what learning and/or understandings resonated with us from the time spent together. The piece I created is below.

The bottom left of the picture represents the lifestyle which many of our families come from; where financial limitations breed a limitation of choice and a lack of agency within their lives. The middle of the picture, the wordle in the shape of a wifi bandwidth, symbolises the use of the digital tools in the classroom to help us Teachers in our quest to empower learners, but also acts as bridge to take learners and whānau from having no choice to being empowered with an abundance of choice, having soft skills and being technologically savvy; essentially being able to thrive in the 21st century.

Looking forward to next Friday's creative venture!