Saturday, 31 October 2015

Flipped Learning - a retrospective look

Flipped learning is a popular way of providing opportunities for students to learn.  I was looking through some of my notes on flipping and came across these examples that I had used in my teaching practice.  I thought it was worth sharing again.
Ways in which I have used flipped learning.
Trialling of different approaches.
  1. Using flipped learning for staff PD. Using Techsmith’s Jing (free for 5 minute videos)  or Snagit software (about $30 for a download of this software from Techsmith), I have made videos for professional development of staff and posted them in a Myportfolio group or onto youtube as many of the flippers do.  This enables the staff to access the content of professional development 24/7.  PD as and when it is needed, just in time PD.  I can also post these videos to youtube and they can be accessed directly from there.  My example is shown here.
  2. Giving instruction on a virtual field trip. Using the same software, so that students who miss out on the field trips through any absence, also have the chance to catch up by using the videos posted on youtube has been a successful method of delivery of content. My example is shown here.
  3. Instructional videos for practicals I have made and posted these to our learning management system - Moodle (embedding them, using youtube) so that students can refer to them when carrying out these tasks.  This is also extremely useful when I have been absent and a reliever has been in class. Example for giving instructions like this is here.
  4. Involving students in filming the videos.  Students can also be involved in videoing this instruction, so it is not onerous for the teacher to make.  My example of a video made by a student is at this link.
  5. Ask students to create videos.  This really can show their understanding and they can also be posted on the learning management system so that they can use them to study or revise from.  This is particularly effective as the student takes ownership of the video and is keen to establish correct facts to learn from later.  My example is shown here. (My year 11 Maori boys class)
Use software to enhance videos. (Students or teachers)  Standards software like Jing will just record and allow basic editing for 5 minute videos.  An upgrade to Snagit will allow you to use some editing tools to enhance your videos. Camtasia is a full editing and enhancing programme ($200 for teachers).  Note that there is other free software to enhance the videos, for example one called Bubblr which gives you the ability to add short quizzes to youtube videos, or Presentationtube which allows you to generate videos from your Powerpoint presentations. is also useful for engagement and teachers can track responses, and students can collaborate on responses to videos.  I have also used the Educreations app on the ipad.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

eportfolios - why, how and what?

This afternoon I am presenting a webinar on eportfolios hosted by Enabling e-learning.  These are my thoughts around this topic.
WHY:  It is important to decide the purpose for which you are keeping an eportfolio. There are three main types of portfolios: - showcase portfolios, process portfolios and accountability portfolios. An educator may construct an eportfolio for any one of those reasons, and in fact, it could be all three.
Curriculum Vitae | by the
Spiral-of-inquiry_lightbox.pngAn educator may be keeping a record of their best work for a CV with the purpose in mind of applying for a new job.  This is called a showcase portfolio.

Alternatively, they may be keeping a record of their inquiry which is a learning journey or process eportfolio.

Teacher enthusiasm

Or they may be wanting to keep and present evidence for the purposes of accountability , either for the practising teacher criteria or appraisal, which may include goal setting.

An electronic portfolio is best constructed keeping in mind the concepts of "COLLECT, SELECT, REFLECT, and PROJECT" (Burke, Fogarty and Belgrade, 1994).  The process is well explained by Nick Rate in his slide show - eportfolios - the story so far.  Whatever the reason for your eportfolio, make it part of your regular practice - embed it into your every day teaching life.

Why have a cloud based digital portfolio?  Because the dog cannot eat it, it cannot be burnt in a fire or lost by the boss.  It can be constructed from multimedia artefacts like video, sound and images gathered essily by cameras, ipads, microphones and smart phones.   It can be shared easily with the right people.
Music homework purportedlyPressure, Suppression, StressiPhones, an original iPad,

Putting an eportfolio together has a very positive outcome, because when we reflect, we learn.  John Dewey is famously quoted for his words - "we do not learn from experience, we learn from relecting on experience".  Robert Manzano calles reflection the final step in a comprehensive approach to actively processing information.  It allows you to order and check the validity of your thoughts.  It is essential for teaching as inquiry, to allow you to decide your next steps and goals.  Morevoer,  when you share your reflections, it allows others to critique, provide feedback and feedforward.  Reflection is the sign of a lifelong learner.

HOW:  Some options for putting together your eportfolio are as follows.

  1. Myportfolio is the Ministry of Education funded software for building an eportfolio for students and teachers.  It has a lot of functionality because it is Mahara software specifically designed for  eportfolios.  It is easy to journal, write a CV, add a variety of content and then select from the content what you wish to project to others.   You can sign on easily as long as your school is registered for its use.  Some teachers have found this platform clunky.  Personally I love it, but in saying that, I think you need a certain amount of confidence and/ or competence in using the software, so it is not the easiest platform for beginners.  However, it is constantly being improved and made more user-friendly and there is a lot of help available.
  2. Websites - the most commonly used around New Zealand are Google Sites but Weebley Sites are also reasonably popular.  They are a more generic kind of platform as they can be used for a variety of purposes but they are also suited well to eportfolios.  I have made a google site template for the gathering of evidence for the practising teacher criteria and also a couple of videos to help you on your way. Video 1 and video 2.  You can set up a page to write a journal when you create a new page by selecting "Announcements" as the type of page.  This will allow people to comment.  
  3. Blogging - blogging is becoming more and more popular because it is easy to collect artefacts as part of your daily practice.  Your entries are all dated, and you can label each post as you go, or even later.  It then makes it really easy to select or search for all of the evidence of good practice that you have collected around each of the practising teacher criteria or Tataiako or Pasifika Education Plan actions, or indeed the indicators of Success for All.    What is more, certainly if you use Blogger, you can use your phone at the end of each day or lesson to voice record direct into your blog using the Blogger app and the speech to text function, along with a few photographs and videos. Blogging makes it really easy to embed the collection of artefacts into your daily practice.

File:Blogger.svgblogger app.PNG
WHAT:  This depends on your purpose, but it is important that you have looked at what you and your school have decided are examples of good practice.  Sometimes it is examples of effective pedagogy from the New Zealand Curriculum pages 34-36.  When collecting for the Practising Teacher Criteria for re-registration, I would present sufficient evidence of your good practice using the practising teacher criteria or Tataiako or Pasifika Education Plan actions, and the indicators of Success for All.
There are excellent examples of PRCs using elearning on the enabling elearning site.

Finally, my tips, barriers and considerations

  • Collect (especially) photographic evidence of good teaching practice as part of your everyday practice
  • Reflect often
  • Using a blog easiest
  • Tag/label your blog
  • Video yourself in class and self evaluate with a peer
  • Present digital evidence to your appraiser for regular feedback
  • Lack of evidence
  • Forgetting to take photos, collect media
  • Not realising that your evidence can apply to several PTCs, or Tataiako, Pasifika Education Plan or Success for All indicators
  • Lack of regular reflection
  • Making it into a huge task instead of embedding it in your practice
  • Try story hui as a way of recording your inquiry
  • Everything can be recorded digitally
  • Write up your inquiry only and then tag it with each of the PTCs and Tataiako - what is missing?  
  • Inquiry is spiral not circle

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Do you hate the term 21st Century Pedagogy?

I have recently heard quite a few comments about the detesting of the term 21st Century pedagogy.  I heard it said twice in the last week.

I have a different viewpoint.  I quite like the term, because it gives a clear line in the sand.  The 20th Century finished at the beginning of the year 2000, and yet we still have numerous examples of 20th century pedagogy in New Zealand schools.  The change to a very different paradigm of education has been painful and slow for many teachers and leaders caught up in the day to day demands of "teaching."  

I believe the situation is quite complex, requiring firstly a change in vision for schools.  Which means a principal willing to promote the changes needed, a shift of thought in the communities that they live in (many parents wanting their children to be educated in the same excellent way that they were and applying pressure to the principals and educators to continue in the old ways.)  As well as new tools to use, the teachers also need to come to grips with different ways of teaching (assuming that teaching means the enabling of learning).

So back to the "21st Century Pedagogy" term.  There is no doubt that pedagogy will evolve over the next 100 years but the term indicates very clearly to educators that there should have been an uncomfortable and major shift in their practice.  If you haven't felt that disruption in the way you think, act and practise in the classroom, then you are behind the eight ball and should do some serious professional development immediately.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Blogging focus continued....

Yesterday I attended a meeting at the University of Waikato in the Education Faculty about academic blogging.   There were a number of useful blogs spoken about that educators may wish to follow, because they look pretty interesting.  So here they are.

  1. is a blog by three "science communicators and tertiary educators" who work together to broaden discussions and share ideas with people with an interest in Science education.  Which is cool for me as as ex Science teacher.  But there are a lot of other ideas explored such as "should we stop students using laptops in lectures?"  (which, by the way, made me very scared about the way that lectures may be happening in universities.)
  2. Bioblog  is another set up by one of the talkingteaching authors, Alison Campbell for secondary biology teachers - very cool.
  3. is by Terry Locke and examines the concept of critiquing.
  4. is a collaborative blog by Drs Noeline Wright and Dianne Forbes - teacher educators at the University of Waiakato who are examining the role of digital technologies in education. It includes a blog on the recent OECD report that media jumped on with headlines "digital technologies show no noticeable improvements in learning" type headlines, and looks a lot closer at the report, focusing instead and rightly so on the importance of 21st century pedagogy when using using digital devices.  This is an issue close to my heart, one on which I have presented and one which I blogged about back in July.  There is more to come on this discussion.
  5. by Australian researcher, Dr Inger Mewburn, is to help students everywhere as they come to grips with academic rigour.
  6. Physics stop looks like another goodie award winning science educator Dr Marcus Wilson.  
In the month of the connected educator, here is an opportunity to refresh your RSS feeds and subscribe to some interesting blogs.

Monday, 12 October 2015

How easy is blogging?

Today I am working at Lytton High School in Gisborne.  It is a teacher only day and I wanted to tell the teachers, during a smackdown, how easy it is to blog just using your phone.  Once you have set up the blog you can download the app Blogger or Blogpress and sign into your blog.  Anytime you want to add a post, you can using the "speech to text" function of your phone to write your message straight into the Blogger app.

I demonstrated this by talking into my phone as follows.

I'm telling you how easy it is to blog you can use the speech to text.

The photo wasn't very clear because I was not paying attention to the quality of it.  But it works, so easy!

Here is my colleague, Heather, talking at Lytton High.  I had more time to focus on taking this photo.

The upshot of this post is, try it!  You will like it

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Why Blog?

I was working in a school recently introducing the concept of blogging. When I first raised the subject, one of the teachers quickly interrupted and said, "That's what that Whale Oil guy does.  How on earth is that relevant to us?"

It was a secondary school and I was quickly able to get his attention by saying blogging was a way to gather evidence for NCEA assessments. Many of his students lost their paperwork and so he could see that if the students could use their phones to take and blog photos of their technology process in action, along with some simple reflections, that would meet the need for evidence for assessment.  A breakthrough!

In another school, a teacher questioned the need to put yourself as an educator, out there.  This is a common theme in schools. "I value my privacy" is the common objection.  Well, I believe this is a new age.  You need to put yourself out there to grow as an educator.  You need to express your opinions, reflect on what you learn to gain deeper understanding and also get feedback from others. This is how you learn to collaborate - work together to achieve goals, with a shared understanding.

Another teacher told me it was narcissistic to blog.  That was interesting.  I think there is an element of truth in that we are often looking at ourselves when we blog, examining our own beliefs, reflecting in the pool of "do I like what I see?"  I also believe that knowing oneself also forces you to see warts that need removing, flaws that need remedy.  Yes, sometimes it even forces you into depression.  But it forces you to move. Do you believe the same thing that you did 10 years ago?   In the words of Michael Jackson "I'm looking at the man in the mirror.  I'm asking him to change his ways."

I am also getting a lot of the "we spend too much time on devices" talk.  Well, I think that you spend as much time as you allow yourself to.  So if you don't take a break and interact with the people around you face to face, then whose fault is that?   I see blogging as part of what I do as an educator. In the Victorian days, they used to keep diaries.  I wonder if people used to say "you are spending too much time writing in your diary."

Many of the benefits of blogging for younger students are well documented.  Authentic audiences raise the level of learners' writing.  They also develop the skills of communication with the guidance of their teachers and parents through digital citizenship.

Blogging is a great way to be a connected educator in the month of the Connected Educator.  Do yourself a favour and start blogging today.  You can have several blogs - private, public or shared with just a few.  Here is my video which tell you how to start a blog on Blogger.

Monday, 5 October 2015


Ulearn is starting up in Auckland this week.  I made a deliberate decision to stay away this year and try to broaden other horizons.  But I have a serious case of FOMO.  (Fear of missing out.)  The blogging challenge for connected educator month arrived this morning and although I don't follow the challenges precisely, it has given me a proverbial boot up my blog.  Which is a good thing!

So today I am going to try to connect with a blogger that I admire who is attending Ulearn and hope that she will blog or tweet my FOMO malaise away.  Anne Kenneally is a regular blogger who works for CORE  Education.  She is based in Mosgiel and blogs about her work and the things that inspire her.  Her blog is found here. 

Anne is what I call a truly connected educator.  She has contacts and experience in education all over New Zealand.  Reaching out, Anne.  Can you keep me in the Ulearn loop, either through blogging or tweeting?

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Modern pedagogy - a reflection on the VLN discussion.

There has been an interesting debate on the VLN (Virtual Learning Network) in the last few months, about what Modern Learning Pedagogy (MLP) really means.  The conversation was started by Neill Reilly who questioned why is is called modern pedagogy and not just effective pedagogy.  

The New Zealand Curriculum specifies 7 effective pedagogies (pages 34 to 36) but then goes on to say that teachers should be investigating how digital technologies can transform teaching and learning.  The most succinct answer to Neill's question, I think, came from Bernice Swain fairly early in the piece - that modern pedagogy was more than just 21st Century best practice.  She suggested "self-regulated learning, student centred programmes and individualised programmes, collaborative teaching, ubiquitous use of technology and 'anytime, anyplace, anywhere' learning" were the essential elements of a modern pedagogy.  

The debate has raged on, but going back to Bernice's words has echoed for me that she captured the essence of modern learning pedagogies.  Derek Wenmoth stepped into the discussion fairly early on to remind us that the NZC gives us the permissions to pursue modern learning pedagogies.  Yes, we have the permission but now more than ever, some teachers and leaders are actually looking at using the permissions to move forward. The trouble is, time short educators want quick answers and I am not sure that there are any quick answers.

Linda Barran added valid points - that our best practice needs to develop learners who are equipped with the 21st century skills of creativity and critical thinking, learners making use of collaboration and connectivity.  Very reminiscent of the 6 Cs  infographic that I blogged about earlier but are these perhaps more outcomes of the pedagogy rather than the "type of pedagogy" that develops these skills.

The themes of future oriented teaching and learning are extremely well discussed by Gilbert and Bolstad et al and it seems to me that the ideas about MLP's that are discussed in the debate on the VLN could easily be placed under the 6 headings of the themes.

Supporting future.....
  1. Personalised learning (any time, anywhere, incorporating self regulation or learner agency of choice and control)
  2. new views of equity and diversity (capitalising and developing individual strengths for the benefit of all to make a stronger community)
  3. new relationships with community (anywhere, anytime, relevance, use of digital technologies to support)
  4. using knowledge to build learning power (metacognition)
  5. lifelong learning for educators and leaders (working towards what works best for individual learners, reflecting on the learning, adjusting, trying new techniques and technologies
  6. new roles for teachers and learners (collaboration)

Paul Wilkinson asked what headings in a book on collaborative teaching could be.  I wish he would write this book because it seems to me to probably be the least understood concept for many practising teachers. Sarah (sghailes) reinforced this for me by saying that collaborative teaching needs to be facilitated and coached.  It is so much more than team teaching.  It involves shared vision, evidence, goals, defined roles and relational trust.  You must be prepared to be disrupted.

Derek Wenmoth re-entered the dabate in the last few days of September, He rightly questioned some of the assumptions that Neill made in the beginning, and then asserted that we really need to bring the whole pedagogies discussion "out of the closet" and think about the "new pedagogies" in terms of emergent opportunities and affordances of technologies  to "enable the deeper engagement with knowledge, completion of tasks and connections with others as a part of the learning process."  He is working with Fullan on this at the moment. I, for one, look forward to hearing more.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Journey of an Educator

When you go on a journey, you know where you are leaving from and you like to know where you are going. You plan your trip according to the departure date and the return date. You might do a bit of a "Sunday Drive" from time to time but if you set off on a purposeful journey, you pretty much make a plan.
 An educator's journey is a bit different these days. You don't really know where you are going to end up. As an educator, I like to have my goals, and learning outcomes pretty much sorted. But this 21st century stuff is not as easy as you think. The goals are open ended. The outcome may be entirely different to what you thought it would be.
 We know where we have come from - a tried and true industrial method of drafting off the "academics" from the "labourers" with a few skilled trades people in between. The trouble is, we don't know where we are going these days. The world is unpredictable. Technology is advancing so quickly. We may not need to even learn how to drive, since Google and other companies are on the threshold of delivering that promise. We are preparing our students for the unknown.
 So we set out on our journey with a bag packed with a few odds and sods that we think might come in useful. Adaptability, protection, flexibility, a bit of experience, our personal learning network email or twitter addresses in case of emergency, a steady hand on the wheel and off we go.

 And as for our you think we will know when we get there?
Images from Flickr and Wikimedia and Pixabay