Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mobile Technology - So easy! Testing pix from phone

Progress continues on site. We are set to open 3 February, 2011


We recently took our foundation staff on a retreat to begin the induction process. It was a fabulous few days. The sense of team was apparent as we began to collectively make sense of the vision principles and define what learning is going to be like at Stonefields School. Jeremy Kedian would argue that Doctors, Dentists and many other professionals are clear at defining what that do. Gaining this clarity is as essential as activators of learning I believe. Jeremy Kedian has played a critical role in challenging our leadership team. He took the three of us through a process of defining our core business of learning. We each spent 15 minutes defining what learning is ... and then came together to analyse and synthesise a definition we were each happy with.
As learning is our core business we believed it was important to collectively define this as an essential piece of our educative purpose. We worked through a similar process with our entire staff to arrive on the third day with a definition we were all happy with.
The definition stands;
“Learning is a dynamic, fulfilling process of actively building on what we know; by questioning, thinking and connecting to make meaning, expand knowledge and deepen understandings.”

We look forward to reflecting on our definition in January where we continue our professional learning together and watch it evolve as we set forth on our exciting journey together.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How story telling has changed

21st Century Story Telling. Interesting change through the years. Worth a look.

Haven't Things Changed

I enjoyed seeing this clip again at John's session on 21st Century Learning Spaces. Haven't times changed!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Future Dispositions Required?

What Core skills do we need to develop in our students to ensure they are future fit?
The team enjoyed a reflective and provocative session with Jeremy Kedian today. The following core skills were deemed essential
*Ability to communicate – interpersonal skills
*Need to develop entrepreneurial skills
*Managing here and now and future. Know how to learn and be equipped with a process of learning
*Adaptability, attitudinal open mindedness

What are your thoughts? What should we be equipping our students with?
We were challenged by a colleague recently to think about the language that had started to emerge within the team to highlights what we stand for and believe in. Interesting as a team how often the words 'mindfulness' and 'learner centred' have bubbled up today. Fascinating observing this shared language emerge quite organically.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Future trends

What education will look like in ten years time: Andre Malan from terrytalks on Vimeo.

Interesting to reflect on the implications of these messages for the primary sector. What stood out for me is that education will be more social, open and real. What is very much on my mind currently is how do we design the school environment to allow for this? How do we design the environment so that it becomes the third teacher or enabler of learning.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Exemplifying slowness with learners

How might this be used as a starter to get our students talking about slowness?

Praise of Slowness from Didier Weemaels on Vimeo.

In Praise of Slow

Following a visit to Baverstock Oaks School, Mary suggested a good read for the team might be In Praise of Slow. I did some googling to see where we might purchase it and came across this Ted Talk by the author himself. Well worth the watch to see how we might take the messages into our work and life.

Happiness, Is That It?

What is the ultimate outcome we are aiming for in education? Many educational visions have words such as Life long learning, success, achievement, making a difference etc. But why these words? What does achievement lead to? What about success? Achievement to earn lots of money? Dan Pinks book Drive would suggest quite the contrary. So what are we upon this earth for? The more I reflect on this rather large and philosophical answer is, that we aim to be happy! When happiness prevails one experiences an incredible sense of fulfillment. This has led me to then ask, what is one doing when feeling that sense of delight and happiness? I've tried asking this of myself of late. I am lost in time when I am involved in the things I am most happy doing - singing, dialoguing philosophically with colleagues, helping someone out, spending time with my nieces and nephews etc
How do we actively build a self awareness in our students around what makes them happy? If school is to be a place that harnesses and builds on each individuals sense of happiness and fulfillment then we can't leave it to chance.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sharpening Strengths

I have been doing lots of wondering about how to best build confident, connected, life long learners. I believe there is a place to actively build a learners capacity to learn. This encompasses building self awareness and self efficacy in learners, it's about knowing when to persevere and when to stop. It's building mastery and competence in foundation areas to be able to access learning, problem solve and think critically across curriculum areas. Importantly I am coming to think that it is about seeking out and identifying learners strengths and talents and being quite deliberate at setting goals in these areas to self improve and achieve fulfillment, mastery, satisfaction and ultimately happiness. All too often we over emphasize setting goals in areas of need only. Mark Tredwell once said in a conversation some months back that the world is running out of experts. Are we schooling for generalists? Can it be too soon (primary years) to hone in on strengths. What do parents know about their child's strengths and character traits that we can learn from on enrolment in our schools. I am not sure that the parents voice and historic overview is valued as much as it might be. How might this be captured on enrolment?
I believe talents can be used to leverage success in areas that don't come to easily for learners.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Go Sir Ken Robinson

How refreshing to view Ken Robinsons latest Ted Talk. He shares how time takes a different course when individuals are involved in things that resonates with their spirit. Ken reinforces the importance of moving from a linear process of learning to a more organic process that allows individuals to flourish and realise dreams.

Poker Chips - Building Self Esteem

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Importance of Playing to Strengths

It was refreshing to view this clip again this morning in a Keynote from Denise Quinlan. It helps to reminds us how important it is to encourage our learners to identify and sharpen their strengths. "Developing our strengths reduces strengths and increases happiness" Seligman et al, 2005

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Thanks to Denise Quinlan for her presentation at the NZPF conference. I was taken and moved by her talk on gratitude. She probed us by asking some great questions around how we show gratitude in the workplace, our meetings, the playground. She shared how gratitude can be helpful for children as it has the potential to
*Encourage social connection
*Create upward spirals of emotion
*Promote well being
*Facilitate learning
*Can be developed

Here's a moving clip that Denise shared at the end of the session.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stunning Queenstown

You couldn't have asked for a more stunning day to land in Queenstown. It's been 18 years since I last visited this picturesque piece of New Zealand. We landed on a run way laced with snow as the grand Remarkables saluted our decent.
This picture was taken by the edge of Lake Wakatipu, a gorgeous light for taking photos. Looking forward to visiting two schools tomorrow as the New Zealand Principal Federation (NZPF) conference begins. Looking forward to this weeks learning.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Power of Picking the Right Ap

I was delighted this evening to get a call from my 7 year nephew asking me the name of the x table ap I had downloaded for him a few weeks prior. I said why do you want to know that? He responded by saying that all the aps on Mums iphone were boring and that one was helping him learn. I had a wee giggle to myself when I mentioned Mum would need $1.29 to buy it. Here he was 6.00pm requesting to play an educational game to get better at the times tables he was wanting to get better at. This phone call reminded me just how capable our young learners are at self regulating what they need to work on. Just had to share that wee pearl!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Motivates Us?

Enlightening - well worth taking 10 minutes out of your day to reflect on what motivates people. How do we actively maximise opportunities for learners to experience Challenge, Mastery and Making a Contribution. Very cleverly illustrated in Dan Pinks 'The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us'.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thank goodness for the video camera on the iphone!

Having the phone in the back pocket has been incredibly handy on more than one occasion today. Would you believe it Nan and Aunty were in charge of one family of three today and boy number 2 scores his first goal of the session. Mum and Dad weren't there but we have the evidence! Am sure his arms were in the air for more than a minute in shear glory he had scored. Captured first hand on the iphone!
I set the 5 year old up on the mac to write his own book. Dragged a few movies and pictures of him into keynote and away he went. He was hooked for the next hour sounding out words and writing his own story and stopping to read it to anyone interested in listening.
Had a blast tonight when all 6 cousins came together at Nans for dinner. The music was turned up after dinner for all to reveal their best moves! Must admit we have some real groovers amongst us. Out came the iphone to capture the moment. The interesting thing was when I showed the 3 year old just how groovy she was she was mesmerized watching herself as the movie was played back. I wonder what she was really thinking?
Loving trying out how different technologies might be used on my nieces and nephews. One thing I am learning is it's in them, intuitive and you don't need to show them much before they start teaching you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Personalising Learning - Selecting Aps

What fun I have had recently selecting the most appropriate aps for each of my nieces and nephews. The ease in which an application can be searched for, downloaded and instantly tried out to see if it is pitched at the right level is instantaneous. I am intrigued by what hooks each individual. The aps that give immediate gratification as to whether the individual has been successful or not seem to be a hit and played over and over again. A priceless moment was when my 3 year old niece whilst playing a counting game on my iphone beams ear to ear and looks up for a brief moment and says 'See Aunty it claps me'. On reflection it was so obvious she was hooked by the frequent feedback and gratification of achieving success, when she wasn't successful she tried again. The engagement levels I continue to observe are intense and sustained over long periods of time. The learning that is taking place is significant. Why is it significant I keep asking myself, I am coming to realise that the i pod touch/iphone uses all sensory modes at once, kinesthetic, auditory and visual, which we know is more likely to lead to long term memory. Loving this informal research!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

ipod Touch- Engagement Continues

You may recall that I got an ipod touch for my nephews to share as payment for building my deck! but more importantly as an experiment for myself to see what types of activities would sustain their engagement and if the time they spent on it was of educational benefit. I managed to pop round this week at story time. As I entered the 5 year old was keen to show me a lego city movie he had just about recited. This is relevant at the moment as the house hold challenge is to build a city out of all the lego they have. The movie adds to their creative imaginations as to what is possible. It was then story time, as I read to the 5 year old the 7 year old timed how long it took me to read the story and had great joy in reading the number decimals in all. After the story the 7 year old then proceeded to tell me that his school reader the night before was about Mr Windsor. He said it wasn't that interesting, he continued to share how he went onto you tube and looked up Windsor, this is when it started to get interesting. He told me all about how to tie a windsor knot (tie) and that he had toured the Windsor castle and explained what he saw. Dull book turned interesting as the learning then was unlocked.
I asked the 7 year old how the sharing was going as one of the rules was that if there are problems with sharing I might have to have it back. With a big grin on his face he replied none. His Dad backed that up and said I haven't taught the boys anything. I can't believe what's starting to happen.
In summary the engagement increases - no interest is lost at this point. Will keep you posted.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mobile Technology

I have returned from a fun afternoon setting my two nephews (one 5 and the other 7) up with their first ipod. After downloading itunes and setting up an account we were away searching for free aps. After several minutes there were at least ten aps that the boys took to without any tuition. I watched with interest for the next hour or so as they took turns to explore the chosen educational and recreational aps.
As they had e books read to them and touched individual words for the word to be repeated, I witnessed just how powerful this tool could be for learning both inside and outside the classroom.
I will continue to watch with interest over the next few weeks to see if this engagement sustains. How long will their interest in certain aps last? When will they be hungry for more or different? Will it develop interests otherwise not discovered?

A considerable amount of money can be spent on having the desired e learning tools, what amazes me that we continue to spend without researching the tools impact on student outcomes. There is a need to research and gather evidence to measure the impact such tools have on student learning. Interested to capture some during this wee trial with my nephews. What this space!

Friday, April 30, 2010

ITSC 2010 - 2 Day Conference

Flexible display technology
Mobile devices

6 design Principles of 21st Century

"The predominant technology determines the predominant learning task in the classroom" Alan Kay

Engagement, Learning, iphone

Take a look at this as an example of engagement. How does one harness this in the classroom?

Engagement, Learning, iphone from Stonefields School on Vimeo.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Powerful Professional Learning

I experienced an incredibly powerful professional learning session today facilitated by John Edwards. He shared a new model he has been developing on Productive Feedback. The session was facilitated in such a way that there was considerable input (new information) however chunks of time were taken in between each input, to dialogue, question and role play to make meaning of what had been presented with colleagues.
The connections to the hub of the powerful learning model became obvious as I reflected about the day. I am convinced less in more and going deep through utilising the hub is paramount in cementing new learning.
A great day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Google Docs - Right tool for Primary Education?

I have been working between two platforms (mac and PC) over the last couple of months. The usual hurdles have been encountered - not being able to open office 2007 on my mac, backing up each computer to ensure the hard drive is up to date and I can access the documents as and when I need to.
This prompted me to give google docs a real go. For someone very comfortable in the use of Microsoft Office for a number of years I have been pleasantly surprised just how good it is. I can share the same document amongst many folders, share the document with whom I want and collaborate on documents when the need arises. It doesn't matter what platform or software I have as it all sits on the web. As long as the connection is good I can access my docs anytime, anywhere!
In thinking about IT solutions for Mt Wellington School it seems a very good option.
Anyone giving it a go in their schools?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Creating Environments Focused on Learning

Teachers continue to amaze me at just how creative they are. These photos are examples of how teachers are intentionally creating a culture of learning within their own classrooms by activating thinking. In sharing these photos I wholeheartedly acknowledge the individual teachers at Red Beach School who have interpreted, made sense of and actively implemented the essence of the Powerful Learning Process within the daily life of their classroom. I salute you!

Activating Thinking using the Powerful Learning Process on PhotoPeach

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Visit to Nelson on PhotoPeach

Shirley and I were lucky enough to be asked to go to Nelson to share Red Beach School's change story. What a privilege to come to such a beautiful part of New Zealand. From the moment we were greeted we were put on a fuss. In 24 hours we have experienced fabulous people, fine food, breathe taking scenery, marvelous markets and art works, live music. Tonight we are off to the famous Boat Shed for dinner to try out the delectable seafood. There is no doubt I will be back.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wiki Educator Taster Session

I was involved in a really valuable session this week with Mark Osbourne who ran a wikieducator taster session for a group of our senior leadership. I whole heartedly agree with the vision and principles behind wiki educator, where content is added with the intent of contributing to a wider educational audience and where sharing and collaboration is encouraged through individuals being able to add to, shape, remix and blend content so that it potentially continues to evolve.
Check out how Warrington School is using wikieducator

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Planning for Powerful Learning

During a visit to Point England School at the end of 2009 Dorothy Burt inspired some thinking around a planning process she had been using with teachers within her Manaiakalani Cluster. It showed how a child created digital learning object can often live months after it's creation when placed in a blog, google site or wiki where it has potential to be commented on.
We have been grappling with how best to plan for powerful learning for some time, this motivated me to think about whether we could create something similar around our own powerful learning process.
The plan above is our first go at planning to activate thinking and learning experiences at different stages of the process.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

School designs - What's possible?

Image taken from Stephen Heppell's site
I was told recently that a trillion dollars is spent on education a year across OECD countries. The scary reality is there has been no significant change in educational outcomes for students in 60 years. This would suggest more of the same is not the answer. Thinking 'different' perhaps is! How do we maximise the evidence highlighted in John Hattie's recent Visible Learning meta analysis, about what works? What actually has an impact on student outcomes? How do we design learning to take into consideration opportunities where students self grade (1.4 effect size) and provide opportunities for rich feedback to be integrated into everyday learning.
With this in mind I am currently grappling with what impact does the traditional school design have on student outcomes if any. How do you flip the traditional on it's head and create the new, what might be possible? I am in a privileged position currently thinking about how one might design learning environments/spaces to ensure that learning experiences, opportunities and student autonomy is increased. Has the traditional classroom contributed to the no change in student outcomes?
More questions than answers as I sit and scribble how multiple learning zones and spaces might be organised/ furnished to maximise student ownership and autonomy and ultimately increased student outcomes.
The more I search the more innovation I find. Check out this cushion hub above that looks like it helps to make learning fun, comfortable and maybe maximises student outcomes!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Learners should work harder than their Teachers!

I was privileged to sit in on a session that Anne Davies facilitated at the beginning of this year. Anne is an assessment guru residing in Canada. One of the comments she made has resonated with me ever since. She said that we need to get students to work harder than their teachers.
The more I have pondered this the more I have to agree. She shared the importance of learners being involved in assessing peers learning and building their own assessment literacy to make informed judgments about progress and high achievement.
Whilst sitting in classes recently I have been thinking about the traditional mental model we hold about teachers providing the right stretch and challenge for each learner to reach their potential. To get the learner working harder we need to flip that on it's head and teach learners how to give themselves the right kind of stretch. I am wondering how one might motivate and empower learners to build a habit of extending beyond what they can already do.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Longitudinal Evidence - Student Voice

How do you really know as a Primary School that you are having a lasting impact on student learning and outcomes beyond their Primary School experience? Are the competencies you instill in young learners developed to the extent that they are habitual? Do they last, continue to live beyond the Primary School experience?
Rather than wondering and making assumptions we have set about to design an online survey that can continue to gather past students reality, ideas and feedback. I am excited about the potential such feedback has in creating a broader and more informed picture of our Schools impact on learners.
Watch this space!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snells Beach School - What a beauty!

What an amazing opportunity yesterday to visit Snells Beach School, situated just north of Auckland. We arrived only a few days after the schools 1st birthday. The entrance was welcoming, gardens extensive and the greeting on arrival second to none.
Our team spent the next 3 hours asking lots of questions and exploring the learning areas, each unique in colour. The thought that so obviously must have gone into the design is to be applauded, multiple and flexible spaces open and close with ease.
A most enjoyable afternoon, certainly got ones creative juices flowing. Thanks Kathryn and Jill for your generosity in sharing the journey and your time.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

iphone - sending pxt to blog

I have been playing around with my iphone to see what it can do. I was on a road trip during the summer break and stopped at a few schools along the way. Here is a photo of Taihape School. I was impressed with the layout and the welcoming way in which you entered the school.

Go the iphone - am imagining what students could do with this technology - amazing!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thanks Dorothy - Another great clip worth watching

Clip Dorothy Burt Shared - worth a look!

Online Bridges Symposium

A great bunch of teachers and leaders gathered prior to the start of the school year to be immersed in ideas around e learning, powerful learning and web 2.0 tools. For those delegates who were interested in a copy of the power point presented around Red Beach School's development of the Powerful Learning Process.

Thanks for the participation and great questions.
Just having trouble uploading presentation to slide share will persevere and get it up asap