Online Learning & Teaching

It’s been a while since I last posted.  So here we are… in the midst of Covid-19 that has sent so many of us around the world to our homes with the possibility that this might go on for longer than originally thought.  As an educator my role has become more important than ever in maintaining the connections with my tamariki (children) and their whanau (family) as we all navigate through this.  As we all know, relationships are the glue that keep society together and offer a sense of normalcy and must be maintained..

As an educator now is the time for me and my colleagues in this field to be flexible and open to learning a bunch of new skills to provide learning opportunities for our tamariki.  We need to provide ways to engage them in learning that will allow our students to connect into something other than thinking about the current situation 24/7.  

Over the past few days I’ve been mulling over what this will mean for my immediate whanau at my school and the wonderful group of educators that are currently designing appropriate learning opportunities that meet the needs of the different levels across the school.   

Learning is not just of an academic nature, it should be holistic where the whole child is developed.  In New Zealand we have nine curriculum areas across the Primary Sector (Mathematics, Writing, Reading, Te Ao Māori (language & Tikanga), Science, Social Studies, The Arts (Drama, Dance, Music & Visual Arts), Technology (includes Digital – Computational Thinking & Designing, Developing Digital Outcomes), Health & Physical Education.

As you can imagine filling a child’s kete (basket) is a process over time, and right now we need to take care of their emotional well-being first.  Learning online is not about putting activity after activity in front of a child to keep them busy.  We must consider the needs and levels of our communities.  Going in light and gentle for those starting this journey is important.  In doing so we will reduce stress levels for all involved in this process.  Learning should be interactive and interesting, not a chore for a family to be burdened with.

As I work through options and approaches I will do my best to share these with you.  If I can be of support to others out there on the same journey, I am here and will help where I can.

So from my bubble to yours, kia kaha (be strong) my friends, draw your loved ones close and keep in your bubble.

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Me, Mya & Maddie (Minxy the cat out catching mice!)

 

 

Students Need 21st Century Teachers!

2016-03-09 11.47.00Raising awareness often means putting yourself out there.  Recently I agreed to be in a video to raise awareness around professional development for teachers because my students have directly benefitted from the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning) with MindLab.  

There are some really strong avenues out there to build teacher 21st skills to pass onto our students. There are also many ways a teacher can now receive professional development (PD), but not all are equal.  Not all will provide better outcomes for students (or teachers).  Over the 10 years that I have been teaching I’ve attended loads of courses.  Some good, and some just plain boring. So if the purpose of PD is to make me a better teacher, and therefore make a positive impact on my students, shouldn’t the PD be interesting, interactive and looking to develop my 21st Century skill set?

Click on this link to watch the video (you will need a Facebook account to watch this).

 

Innovation That Doesn’t Come In A Pill….

Innovation in education can be described as teachers trying new ways of doing things to make learning more exciting and relevant for their students.  This is no easy feat, it is not something that you can maintain if you have not put some thought and sound pedagogy behind the innovation.

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Last year  I think there was part of me that felt something was missing in my teaching. I was learning a lot with the in house professional development on offer, which was great, but I was hungry for more.   I needed to be inspired by a way of thinking so profound, that it would move my teaching to the next level, and in doing so, give me ways to inspire my students to push themselves harder.

I remember looking through an IT magazine at work and circling a course that I thought might be good for me.  It promised those that undertook the study they would be armed with contemporary digital and collaborative teaching practices. How innovative I thought, just what I need. However, when I got to the bottom of the pamphlet and reviewed the cost, I knew it was out of my reach.  But, I circled it anyway, ripped it out of the book, and took it home.

So what’s all the fuss about innovation and being innovative?  We are now preparing our students for jobs that don’t exist.  Many of the jobs that students would have picked up when they leave school, are slowly being filled due to technological advances; jobs once filled by humans are now being done by robots.  In Japan they have a hotel called Henn-na Hotel in Sasebo, Japan. completely run by robots!   So what do teachers do to help our kids prepare for a life in the 21st Century?  We need to innovate, do things differently, and not give up just because it didn’t work out the first time.  After all, perseverance is an important quality!

To be innovative you have to be prepared to go places where you don’t know what the outcome will be.  Answers often only revealing themselves to you as you stumble down the path.   I often get told “You’re a teacher, you should know!”  Well guess what, I don’t know everything, and certainly don’t purport to know everything either.  What I do have however, is an open mind set and a willingness to learn.

It just so happens, I was to receive an email from my Deputy Principal inquiring if I was interested in taking on a Postgraduate Course.  Well knock me down with a feather, I could not believe my eyes….. it was the very course I had wanted to go on a few months back.   If I was accepted I would be given the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning), and as an added bonus they were offering scholarships!

So that you don’t die from suspense, yes I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship, which has allowed me to get ‘innovative’ in my classroom, and provide my school with an innovative resource –  me!

I’m not going to pretend that the course is easy. The workload is heavy but I am okay with this because everything I learn can be used in my classroom, and disseminated across the school.   It requires me to open my mind to possibilities that I had not considered before, and in the process I have reached out to people that before this course, I would have felt to shy to do so.  Oh the joy of being around like-minded people!

Our students need teachers who are willing to take on the 21st Century skills and find innovative ways of teaching them.  This view is also supported by Dr David Parsons, Associate Professor Massey University (2015) who adds that teachers must move on from 20th century education, as students of the 21st century are now living and will work in a completely different world.  This view is also supported by Dr David Parsons, Associate Professor Massey University (2015) who adds that teachers must move on from 20th century education, as students of the 21st century are now living and will work in a completely different world.    

Gone are the days of standing up the front of the class. But we won’t get me started on that….. another time… another post……

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