After an amazing 3 days at camp my brain was a wee bit of mush but I had too much FOMO (fear of missing out) not to attend the monthly PLC run by The Education Hub. And I am so glad I attended. I have really enjoyed the past sessions as it is so amazing to be amoung really amazing educators who I can hear inspiring ideas from and it encourages me to go even further and get more and more passionate about my profession!
This evening's discussion has made me want to post as I did not want to loose my thinking. We talked about technology and wellbeing which have been a big part of my journey this year and it made me think about the Key note from Mike Walsh at ULearn (yes that is a hologram!), all about the Future and the direction he thinks education might go in. Having reflected on today's discussion about how we as adults find it hard to restrict our use of social media/technology so how can we encourage learners to limit their time on devices? I was thinking about how it is even more important to get children these days to understand WHY they should limit their device time. Most people over the age of 20 should be able to remember a time when technology was a novelty and you had to find ways to entertain yourself; be it with friends, playing outside, making things. However, this is not a reality for learners today as many have nothing to compare this feeling to. When we know we have had a lot of time on our phones we will say 'oh I need to get outside' or 'I need spend some time in the real world.' But to some of our learners their 'real world' is in technology where they speak to people from all over the planet. Which can be a positive but if this is their only means of communication then that is where they don't understand the WHY behind limiting their device time.
This leads to my connection to Mike Walsh's key note. These are the three things he puts forward as key for young people to know and understand now and in the future:
1. Be more comfortable with ambiguity
2. Recognise the power of IT (Information Technology) and AI (Artificial Intelligence)
3. Centre ourselves and make good choices (Philosophy)
This Keynote really resonated with me as I was glad that even though he was a 'Futurist' one of his last messages was 'Don't loose touch with what is means to be human.' That is why although I think the first two points are really important, the third one is what I have been reflecting on the most. We need to be educating learners (and ourselves) on how we can use technology to extend our knowledge but not be our only means; see it as a tool and a resource not get trapped and addicted. They say that the reason why technology can be so addictive is because of the dopamine hit but when I was in the group today (even with my tired body) I was buzzing off the energy that being in a safe group environment can bring.
I myself really enjoy philosophical chats which is probably why I really liked this suggestion. In the past I have used things like circle time, P4C, word mats so I know what Philosophy in schools is not a big new thing. However with 'anxiety' being the new trigger word in today's society I think that philosophy may very well be the connection needed to be emphasised to ignite the conversations we were talking about in the PLC to boost wellbeing. While washing away my camp blues I was listening to a podcast I delve into from time to time - Philosophise this! He was talking about Kierkegaard who built on the idea of self. And one of his quotes was 'anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.' linking this quote alone as a provocation as to what does it mean to be free? Free from the pressures of technology, from social media? How can you achieve that? What do you do to help yourself calm...... and can be taken in a different direction for the littlies - how can we make good choices? What does our body do when we are nervous....
I hope over the next while to keep working in this space to refine my understandings and make links between technology, agency and well being, seeing how they all come together to support our learners in their futures.
It is so great to be working with the Junior team this term to focus on agency with their learners. I have enjoyed learning together to create new resources that can enhance practice by intentionally planning and questioning . The three hub reps have then planned to go back and share our learning so it reaches a wider community. I am so happy to have got to this stage as part of the Agency Team and it is in turn enhancing my practice as I am bringing what I have been researching as part of my inquiry and now sharing it. I have been reflecting on how I can use visuals to stimulate agency and this is what we are planning to implement in the Junior areas too. It has been so great to have amazing growth mindsets to collaborate with as they are also using visuals in their own practise so we can share our current practice to break ground!! Exciting times ahead......
This year has been my first time working in a 1:1 device setting and I have loved learning all the different tools that can be used. My biggest learning has been deciding how much time should be spent on the device and what can the device be used for?
A lot of our visitors ask me the same questions - 'do the learners not just use the chromebook as a past time? How do you monitor what the learners are doing? Are they not just doing 'busy' work.' And I think all these questions are fair but I have learnt that children can do busy work if it is digital or physical. So planning and preparation are essential!!
I have found that digital learning has really helped build agency as I can record myself, create workshops, link playlists and get learners to research their next steps. So I have been able to create a wider bank of resources than ever before!! And that is what I have found - it is a resource that supports learning and it allows me to work with different size groups to further the learning. BUT physical resources are also essential. Just like in our PD with Jannie Van Hees where she said the importance of using practical resources to boost a sense of community and get the learners engaging physically in group settings.
Therefore I am excited for next year after spending this year exploring different digital tools I can continue to boost my understanding of how the digital world meets the physical world.
At the beginning of my inquiry my learners found it difficult to challenge themselves and get in the learning pit. So I created the Challenge Charge up wall to encourage learners to talk about when they find learning challenging and how they can get out of the pit. It has been so amazing to see the learners grow from getting upset at the thought of difficult activities to, with the help of the visuals, asking for challenging workshops. This video shows a learner talking about her learning, she has developed her ability to retrieve past information and justify why she finds challenging learning better now.
As part of the Manaiakalani Cluster we have been sharing our progress in our inquiries. It was great to hear about what strategies have been working to weave research and practise together. I enjoyed sharing my inquiry into how we can use cognitive functions and neuroscience to better my planning and the outcomes I have seen to all learners not just the support learners. Here is a link to other amazing inquiries within the cluster.
Since I have been trying to grow my understanding of how our brains develop and use this in my practise I have been looking at my next steps and wanting to grow my own knowledge of the links between Neuroscience online. This link has been a great start to understanding the different roles of the parts of the brain and using this in my practise.
'Children who live in poverty are especially at risk because stress can limit working memory. In many schools, children with weak working memory are labeled as inattentive, restless or unmotivated, when they may simply be forgetting basic instructions or information before they begin the task at hand. Teachers can be trained in brain-based learning to help students build and strengthen working memory. They can also implement simple strategies in the classroom, such as giving directions in multiple formats, organising information into smaller chunks, making it multi- sensory or involving students in peer teaching.'
Being aware of strategies that grow the brain's capacity help us to find out ways we can intentionally plan for our learners and grow agency in our lessons. I intend to continue to add these planning tips into my Preventative Planning Programme - linking the research to practise.
What does teaching for agency look like? We know we have to 'change the script' for our lessons but what does this look like and how can we achieve this?
I have been reading the OECD 'The future of education and skills 2030' and linked this to my thought so far about Agency to create the image above.
I believe Teaching for Agency includes;
Pre Lesson: Designing the lesson to intentionally include questions to promote agency and get the learners reflecting on their thinking and actions
During Lesson: Workshops and options that allow the learners to be assessment capable and make choices based on their needs/ next steps
Post Lesson: Intentional questioning and prompts to get learners to assess what they have achieved during the lesson. Where will they go next? How will they record this? What resources will you need to create to link to the next lesson?
Although we do not know what the future holds I feel we have to attempt to understand what qualities and skills will be needed/desired to be successful adults: creative, risk takers who can self regulate and adapt to a changing environment (with confidence or resilience?). - That's my thoughts anyways. Helping children to accept and understand what ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable so you are prepared for anything’ means.