Monday, 29 August 2016

My Takeaways from Manaiakalani's Annual Hui

On Friday the MDTA were very lucky to attend Manaiakalani's 5th annual Hui - a place where teachers and learners across Manaiakalani celebrate and share their accomplishments.  

This has ended up being a rather lengthy post, as I gained many new insights from the teachers, researchers and learners at the hui.

In the morning

First up we heard our Manaiakalani student ambassadors share their learning.  It was really interesting to hear from students how they learnt in their school.  What I like about Manaiakalani is that every school is different.  Although we are all following Manaiakalani's 'Learn, Create, Share' pedagogy, each school is able to put their own spin on it to reflect the community they are in.  There were plenty of ideas that I will borrow and repurpose in my classroom, like the use of a 'Goal Wall' to make goals visible to learners.  

Following this, the Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher's shared their inquiries with the insights they gained along the way. I came away feeling inspired to give my own teaching programme a shake up to ensure my lessons are engaging, motivating and using digital technologies as much as possible.  Whilst I do believe I use technology a lot in the classroom, these teachers had come up with ideas that I had not thought of before.  Check out my infographic to see my main takeaways from the MIT.

Next up

After morning tea we heard from Rachel Williams about her holiday intervention programmes 'Summer Learning Journey' and 'Winter Learning Journey'.  Rachel's aim is to help lesson the 'summer drop off', where learners achievement declines between T4 and T1 after the school holidays. Her results show that students who participated in the 'Summer Learning Journey' had less of a drop compared to students who did not participate in the intervention.  Rachel's data was very compelling and I am excited to encourage my learners to participate in 'Summer Learning Journey 2.0'.

Next Woolf Fisher researchers, Rebecca Jesson, Stuart McNaughton and Aaron Wilson shared their insights gathered from observing teachers, and challenged us to consider what we are doing to accelerate our learners achievement.


Dorothy, Russell and Pat Snedden spoke about where we are now and where to next for Manaiakalani.  Although we are doing a great job accelerating our student's achievement, we need to continue to reflect, refine and improve our teaching. We have a series of outreach clusters which are looking at us and using what we are doing to accelerate their learners achievement too.  Therefore, we need to be at the forefront of change and be constantly seeking ways to help our learners achieve.  Pat Snedden's talk was the most inspiring of the day.  He is so passionate about lifting our learners out of subsistence to capital builders.  I think Pat Snedden gave me the kick I needed to ensure that I am constantly doing my best and seeking ways to improve my teaching, because it is what my learners deserve.

I also used Twitter when I heard something which resonated with me.  Here is a collation of my tweets from the Hui.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Grow Your PLN with Twitter!

Today's learning was all about the affordances of Twitter an educator.  James Hopkins joined us via Google Hangouts to chat to us about his journey with Twitter.  James spoke about Twitter being the catalyst behind his 'year of change'.  He firmly believes that he learnt far more during his first 10 months of using Twitter, than he had during his 10 year teaching career. Check the presentation James shared via screensharing during our Google Hangout to find more information about James' journey and the affordances of Twitter.

Why use Twitter?

  • Find and share resources
  • Connect with like-minded people
  • Find 'critical friends' who will provide professional and honest feedback
  • Twitter is accessible anytime, anywhere, to suit your needs and preferences
  • Soundboard your ideas


Following James' thought provoking discussion, the MDTA participated in our first Twitter chat, using the hashtag #MDTAchat.  Anne gave us a series of provocations and questions, which we had to answer via Twitter under the hashtag #MDTAchat.  We also had to reply to each other's tweets to keep the conversation going.

Find me on Twitter!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Importance of Audio: GarageBand 101

Learning the Basics

Today for Digital Immersion we were lucky enough to have Point England teacher and GarageBand guru Rob Wiseman join us to take us through GarageBand.  We went through all the basics of GarageBand like cutting and editing audio recordings, GarageBand shortcuts and creating our own music.  I wrote some notes of the tidbits I found useful, which you can find here.

Creating in GarageBand

Our challenge was to create some music to use with a video we had captured during the week.  I chose to use a video I took of the Zirka Circus performers that came to GIS on Monday.  The quality of the video is a little poor and the music is a little odd, but I felt it matched with the performers actions and their costumes.  I might refine it a little more by using iMovie to cut and match the song to the movements of the performers, but for now this will do!

My takeaways from my experience with Garageband

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Infographics: a fun way to display data

Unfortunately I was absent during last Friday's Digital Immersion day, recovering from a procedure on my jaw. After looking at Dorothy's presentation and blog post,  and the blog posts from the rest of the MDTA team, I knew I missed out on an awesome learning opportunity!

Creating to share with infographics

The create aspect of the day was about creating to share using infographics. Infographics are a visual and fun way to present statistics.  It goes without saying that people respond better to visuals than a lengthy piece of writing.  The average human attention span is only 8 seconds, and our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.  This makes me question who wouldn't want to use infographics to show data!

Having a go

I created an infographic to display the data from my professional blog. There were so many infographic creator sites online, but I chose to use Canva.  Instead of using a template I decided to create mine from scratch as I had an idea of how I wanted to lay out my infographic.  There were lots of icons, images, charts and shapes to choose from, but the only thing that bothered me was that the charts were not editable, I had wanted to use a Pie Graph to display the countries of my visitors, however I discovered it was a set image that could not be edited.  I had heard that Piktochart allows you to edit your charts, which I will keep in mind for the future.

Why use it in the classroom?

  • Fun way to display information which would normally be in the form of lengthy sentences.  
  • Infographics grabs readers attention through its use of images and colour and short pieces of writing. 
  • You don't have to be an artist or very creative to feel successful in your creation.
  • You can choose from a wide variety of templates to get you going and get some inspiration.

Student's perspective

I actually finished creating this infographic whilst supervising a group of GIS students at a chess tournament.  When they saw what I was creating they were all really interested in what I was creating.  They liked the way it looked and had said they would like to do something like this in their learning.  One of the students said an infographic about their blog posts would be a cool thing to create and have on their blogs and classroom. Such an activity could empower, excite and motivate my learners to continue to share their learning on their blog. I am looking forward to finding more ways to use infographics in the classroom.