As part of my inquiry I have been looking into how I can use different methods to grow my learner's voice. As I said the DFI course has helped me see cool ways that can engage learners on a digital format. I have made connections with a teacher from NZ who is teaching in Vanuatu and we intend on building our learners capacity to see different perspectives by creating pen pals. The learners in our partner school do not have digital access so we will be understanding different settings and finding a variety of ways to communicate.
Both classes created a video to give introductions about our schools and so we started analysing the videos to find similarities and differences between our schools. While watching the video we took notes together and then we had access to the video to rewind and grow our understanding in our groups. I started using one of my new learned applications, My Maps with some of the learners to make connections between their school and ours. All learners were excited to share their passions and find out how they could make links with the learners in our partner school as well as question what they saw in the video that they saw as different. Looking forward to grow our understanding and use this in our concept of Community - how are our communities similar and different?
My DFI course has helped me explore more and more opportunities to share using our digital platform. Miss Clark and I have been planning how we can create buddy readers with our hubs and we started with a Google Hangout session. Unfortunately our TV decided not to work at the moment we decided to share but that did not stop us! We were able to share on the laptop and the kids really enjoyed seeing each other. 'They are in next door Miss Toland!' Even though they are in next door it still gives them a purposeful audience for them to share their learning and this has definitely engaged the learners thinking about who they are creating for. We intend to take this further and share next week either in Google Hangouts or buddy reading through digital sharing, encouraging my Year 4 - 6 to develop their coaching skills to teach the Year 2 & 3's how to share their docs. Exciting times!!
#2 Describe how and why you have selected this challenge of student learning. Locate your inquiry in the context of patterns of student learning in Manaiakalani overall.
Wow!! I can't believe how quick the day goes when your mind is moving from thinking you have an idea.... to not knowing where I am. Then having a great A- ah moment and then going right back to square one again! I guess that is what the design process is all about! We brought our thinking from the last few weeks together to think about how we can use the information to create a prototype for our tool!
I definitely consider myself as a person who aspires for growth but when you feel like you have great ideas in your head and struggle to get them out it is a very difficult process. Having others around going through the same thing has helped the process greatly and it has made me reflect about when we talk about being 'in the pit' with the learners. It can be a very uncomfortable place to be but the past two days have shown me the more I am in it the more comfortable it can be and not because I am getting use to it. It is because I am growing my capacity to think of other methods and strategies to go further with my thinking and it gets exciting. Collaborating has also helped the process as I have one way of thinking and I have been thinking about this space for a long time so it is great to get other thoughts and it completely helped me see that I have been focusing on the outcome of the tool rather than the process.
A lovely colleague from the MIT group create this as their sharing piece and it definitly made it click in my head how I can get my thinking out of my head. I have been spending a lot of time trying to fit my thinking into the outcome, the tool. Instead, just like Aaron Wilson has been saying in our CoL meeting, it is important to think about the now, the research, the noticings before looking at the solution. So I intend to spend the next few weeks looking at what is it I am actually noticing from the learners? What processes am I looking to share? What methods can I see working? And how does this fit into the tool instead of how can I make the tool fit the process? Lots of questions hopefully I will start finding some answers over the next few weeks....
I have been taking part in a weekly course, building my knowledge about how I can use digital tools more effectively in my lessons. As part of Manaiakalani we use Blogger so I have been tryng to use this and writing my top tips in there so take a look at this link to find out more!!
#1 Summarise the challenge of student learning you plan to focus on in this inquiry. Be as clear and specific as you can about the evidence you have about this to date.
After such an amazing three days in the Coromandel, focusing on the design thinking process. I have spent lots of time reflecting on the next steps for my proposal. Using feedback from my MIT peers as well as further discussions with my critical friends in school I feel I am getting somewhere with my ideas. My biggest change is, I went to the Coromandel thinking my proposal would be a podcast as an outcome but upon reflection I will still be creating the podcast but this will be a method to share the voice of parents, teachers and other professionals. My actual tool for the Innovative Teacher programme will be supporting the intentional acts of teaching for Reading and Writing.
Challenge I see in my school setting as well as across Manaiakalani:
'A number of learners do not make expected National Shift.'
Intentional questioning and intentional language is a big thing I focussed on last year and this year I want to use my findings to create a resource that builds this language with the learners to grow comprehension and voice. Also, the tool will be a reflection style game where the more they grow their voice the more they gain badges in different steps. This is still in it's early stages but I feel my biggest noticing has been that when we are promoting agency and learners driving their own learning especially with digital tools, sometimes there can be a misconception that we just leave them to make their own choices but it is the complete opposite. It is the deliberate acts of teaching that help scaffold the learners to reflect on what they have achieved and notice their next steps. This is what I hope my tool will support. More to come.....
I was able to reflect and get to the final problem I will be looking into for this year as part of my inquiry and I hope it will transfer into other areas of learning too.
So as part of my inquiry I have been reflecting on how I set up my lessons to engage with the idea of 'changing the script'. What do teachers do in lessons? What do the learners do? Like I mentioned in my last post, a common misconception that I hear when talking about empowering learners to drive their own learning is the thought that 'teachers just stand back and don't do anything or watch what the learners do.' From my experience this could not be further away from the truth! It takes much more preparation as I am reflecting on what resources I can create to set the learners up for success. What intentional questions can I ask to engage the learners and make them think about their next steps instead of relying on me to tell them what to do next?
So I have been introducing workshops again this year, and intentionally planning for the learners to reflect on how and where they learn best. Learners have been doing mini tests to assess themselves and see where they think their next steps are and then sign up to workshops. So my lessons range from me standing at the front (very little) to me giving instructions and working with smaller groups of learners while others are using the resources (online and practical) to drive their own learning. All the while recording and reflecting against their progressions. This can be tricky to begin with as we need to empower the learners with the tools to learn independently especially if they are not use to this way.
I believe building that shared language and 'gifting' with vocabulary is the first stage as then they will have a bank to go from working through the learning process, knowing what to do next or what to go back to when they are stuck in the pit. We are definitely still at the building knowledge stage of their process for many. However, I am already seeing a shift in mindsets for some learners, taking on board their independence and this has stemmed from the intentional acts of creating resources physically and digitally to support the learners. Let's see how they grow!!
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.