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Tessa Gray's discussion posts

  • Tessa Gray 11 Apr 2019 9:34am () in Scratching our heads for ideas with Scratch!

    If you missed yesterday's webinar with Nicki Tempero on Scratch in the primary classroom, you can see the webinar recording here and as well as the presentation (with links) below.

    During the session we made connections to the Progress Outcomes 1 and 2 as well as the exemplars for both Computational Thinking and Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes. 

    You might also enjoy seeing how Te Kura o Matapihi uses their design thinking process to plan an interactive story in Te Reo Māori in Scratch. For more see the snapshot in Enabling e-Learning, Design thinking and hangarau matihiko in a kura kaupapa setting

    This was a simple introductory session introducing the new Scratch format and some of the variables for simple block coding. What else would you like to see more of, in regards to learning/using Scratch in the primary classroom?

  • Tessa Gray 03 Apr 2019 4:22pm () in Last call for submissions to Tomorrow's Schools Review

    As you’ll be aware, the consultation around the report on Our Schooling Futures: Stronger Together Whiria Ngā Kura Tūātinitini (Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce) is closing soon and submissions to the taskforce close on 7th April. See, Have your say 2019. 

    So far this year, educational communities have been invited to feedback via meetings, surveys (closed) and by oral and written submissions. This is an important and large piece of work that requires some in-depth thought, input and debate on our behalf - 30 years after the tomorrow schools model was first introduced.

    Whether it means we unpack the intention of the key findings, debate the issues around equity, discuss proposals for rearranging administrative arrangements or each of the key issues and their recommendations, we need to be; informed, understand the issues at hand, and show some empathy while engaging respectfully with others who have differing opinions to our own. We need to be strong and stand up for what is good for all of the learners in our communities, and we need to be heard to our voice can help shape future policy, because who knows education better than the stakeholders themselves?

    There is a lot at stake in the current proposals…New Zealand society has changed so much over the same time, that any reform that could make a difference needs to be very carefully considered. Professor Martin Thrupp and Dr Katrina McChesney, University of Waikato The Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce Report (Part 1 of 4): The lack of debate, one of four blogs submitted to Blog of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education.

    Screenshot Tomorrow's school review 

    Tomorrow's Schools Review from Ministry of Education on Vimeo.

    In this video Bali Hague (Chair Tomorrow’s schools review taskforce) asks some overarching questions about whether or not our system is working effectively to prepare all of our children and young people for the future. One way to tackle the complex issues in this report, might be to address one/each of the key findings by using a Design Thinking model for thinking, where discussions can be facilitated enabling us to:

    • Empathise: Understand who is involved, who has the most to gain or lose and who is currently least well- served.
    • Define: Clarify and clearly define the challenges and issues at hand.
    • Ideate: Judgement is suspended where new proposals are explored.
    • Prototype: An iterative process is adopted through consultation, conversation and collaboration, where recommendations are shaped to meet the needs of those identified.
    • Test: Feedback is sought to help reshape recommendations and seek alternative solutions.

    Critical element here is collective feedbackWhat conversations have you had in your learning community and what moves or concerns you the most in regards to the 8 key issues and their recommendations?

    Also see, If you were the boss of education what would you do first? 

  • Tessa Gray 03 Apr 2019 2:33pm () in STEAM Design for Building

    Kia ora again Warren, good to hear from you. I can just visualise your TI now smiley after you shared your story with us last year.

    A couple of questions: How do you see STEAM being taught (integrated, bite sized, subject focused, problem based, tinkering, collaboration), what is year level you want to observe, what areas of the country would you be willing to visit and do you have a budget?

    Four schools come to mind:

    Also see Enabling e-Learning's Learning spaces - different spaces and their purposes (TKI).





  • Tessa Gray 25 Mar 2019 3:52pm () in Dealing with negative social media

    Christchurch city Last week was a very hard week for our own nation and while our hearts go out to all our whānau and friends in Christchurch, closer to home we’re taking some time to discuss the negative implications of social media on our young people.

    Live streaming through Facebook has come under heavy scrutiny recently and while Facebook ‘scrambled’ to remove the horrific footage, one Twitter user said, too late, half of my two classes of children have already seen it. I know of least one 15yr old who viewed the live footage and that teenager’s family is now working through talking about what cannot be unseen

    While social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) continues to block the many versions of the video, we need to have conversations with our young people about what is shared, what is seen and how to navigate those space that can violate our viewing - in a matter of seconds. Child development expert Nathan Wallis has some good advice on how to process this harmful and disturbing content (Christchurch shootings: You watched the shocking video but how do you forget it?).

    Netsafe has a Christchurch attacks advisory page on this very issue and reminds us that the offensive material is both harmful and in breach of New Zealand Law. While it’s an offence to view or pass on objectionable content, Netsafe also offers their services if anyone is struggling with what they’ve seen (free call or text 1737). 

    While the content is online there is some risk that children or young people may come across it. We encourage all parents to proactively discuss with their children what they should do if they come across distressing content online. Further information is available at netsafe.org.nz/upsetting-content/

    As educators, we need to look after ourselves and our young people, for more support, see Netsafe’s Harmful content advisory page as well as online resources for schools, Support in the wake of Christchurch.

    Image source: Flickr, CC Public Domain Bernard Spragg. The Brill in The Square.Christchurch NZ

  • Tessa Gray 25 Mar 2019 1:28pm () in Engagement in technology through authentic learning opportunities

    Anyone who attended last week's Technology Online webinar will know how good it was - where several examples of Technology in action were shared that had natural links to designing/creating/presenting using digital tools and technologies. 

    The resources for this webinar, including the presentation (PDF) can be downloaded from Technology Online

    These powerful examples show how primary children are responding to human needs in authentic contexts. What do you think? Do you have any questions for presenters Deidre Senior or Cheryl Pym? 

    Also see:

    A recipe book: Linking technology and literacy

    Primary playground redesign – a rich local curriculum opportunity

  • Tessa Gray 22 Mar 2019 4:36pm () in FREE DT & HM Readiness Workshops in your region

    Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko will be in your region offering free workshops to support teachers, kaiako and leaders to better understand and implement the Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curricula content.


    Ki te Ahikāroa or Regional Meetups are hands-on, engaging workshops and many will be delivered in both Te Reo Māori and English for both Māori and English Medium contexts.  Our experienced facilitators will deliver workshops for people with all levels of expertise - from early adopters and experts to the those of us who might be brand new to this content.  We encourage you to continue to check kiatakatu.ac.nz  as we will be adding new meetups in all regions for the second half of 2019 and into 2020.

    Please see our website here to find out more and register.


    Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko meetups

  • Tessa Gray 20 Mar 2019 8:22am () in Support in the wake of Christchurch

    Our hearts go out to all those effected by the recent tragic events that happened in our beautiful country on Friday. Kia kaha Christchurch and New Zealand.



    Cross posted from literacy list serves:


    Tips for parents and educators: Supporting children and young people

    In the wake of Friday’s shocking event in Christchurch, the Ministry of Education is providing support to schools, kura, and early learning services. This is a really tough time for New Zealanders and it is critical our children and young people get the support and care they need as they return to schools and other learning institutions. We also need to look after our teachers and staff.

    The Ministry is very focused on Christchurch but we know children and young people around the country have been impacted by Friday’s events and we are ensuring everyone is provided with the support they need.

    Tips for parents and educators on supporting conversations with children and young people have been circulated to all New Zealand schools and early learning services and can be found on the Ministry's website

    Other Ministry resources that focus on resilience and diversity

    Curriculum in Action: Change loss and grief 

    This resource helps students develop knowledge, understanding, and skills to support themselves and others in times of stress and loss. 

    School Journal Story Library: Home: Stories from New New Zealanders 

    Students share memories of what life was like in the countries where they were born and discuss what it has been like adjusting to life in New Zealand.

    Resilience and mental health resources provided by other organisations

    My FRIENDS Youth Resilience Programme

    This aims to help students in years 7–11 become confident, lifelong learners. It has been shown to help build students’ resilience – their ability to overcome anxiety and cope with difficult and challenging situations. 

    Mental health education and hauora: Teaching interpersonal skills, resilience, and wellbeing

    This NZCER resource supports teaching children and young people about mental health, wellbeing, resilience, and interpersonal skills.

    Common Ground 

    Common Ground helps adults to support young people in years 1–13 to manage hard times and enjoy happier lives. It includes tips on how to get help, initiate difficult conversations with young people, and identify a young person in need of help.

  • Tessa Gray 14 Mar 2019 4:43pm () in Leading Digital Technologies

    You might already be leading digital change in your school or have been newly appointed to help your staff become ready to implement the new digital technologies content from the revised Technology Learning area. As we know,

    Vision. Strategy. Implementation. Effective leadership is critical in implementing effective e-learning practices throughout your school. Enabling e-Learning Leadership (TKI)

    Digital technologiesWith the introduction of digital technologies (Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes and Computational Thinking), leaders need to manage the operation of e-learning and ICTs in an authentic, safe and inclusive manner.

    All staff need resourcing (including infrastructure, digital systems), time and opportunity to become familiar with and more informed about the new digital content. They in-turn, can become confident and capable to design authentic learning experiences; that enable students to be discerning users and creators of digital technologies.

    Where to start?


    1. Having an understanding of ICTs and e-learning capabilities as well as creating solutions while learning about Digital Technologies is a useful start. This PDF file, Differences between digital technologies and e-learning/ICT capabilities infographic from Kia Takatū ā Matihiko goes a long way to understanding the purpose and potential of digital technologies in our young people’s lives.

    2. Having a strategic approach to help plan for, manage and monitor this change is invaluable. The strategic thinking roadmap (downloadable PDF developed by CLA) is a very useful guide to supporting the development of your digital technologies action plan with five phases to work through: Strategic roadmap

    • Getting a team onboard
    • Understanding digital content
    • Beginning strategic discussions
    • Collating and prioritising key findings
    • Initiating goals and an action/implementation plan

    3. Having access to useful resources to help up-skill teachers and leaders with the new content, as well as facilitation strategies to mohiotanga (support) colleagues through this change, is also important. There are useful multimedia modules or Pīkau in Kia Katakatū ā-Matihiko (National Digital Readiness Programme) and there is also dedicated programme to support Pouahi | Digital leaders who have a passion for digital technologies and a desire to support and grow the digital readiness of their colleagues with resources to confidently lead others and stoke the fires of their colleague’s curiosity by supporting their learning communities to explore and implement the new digital content.

    4. Networking with fellow educators can help shed light on shared experiences, which can in-turn help to lead these developments – after all, we’re not alone. This Enabling e-Learning community, Facebook, Twitter, as well Ngā Kiriahi (Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko online network) can also help you grow and share your knowledge and advocacy of the new digital technologies content - as well as support leading e-learning in your school.

    You might be experienced in this area, or perhaps not leading this at all, either way, these networks and resources will go a long way to support others leading this this change in your school or kura.

    You may have already started leading this change to implement digital technologies, do you have any early observations about this process so far? What’s on top for you? We'd love to kick start this conversation and see how people are getting on.

    Also see e-Learning leadership: what does it take in a digital age?

  • Tessa Gray 11 Mar 2019 3:00pm () in Collaborative Teacher Inquiry

    In the latest Statement of Intent 2018 - 2023 published by the Ministry of Education, page 10 looks out over four years and acknowledges our education system is influenced by a variety of domestic and global trends, each of which presents risks and opportunities, one of which is;

    Collaboration and alignment – There is a lack of collaboration, alignment and coherence making the devolved system limited in its effectiveness. (Statement of Intent 2018 - 2023, p10)

    Question markA lack of professional collaboration could be interpreted to mean that we're less able to [collectively] address those things that need changing in our systems.


    Enabling e-Learning (TKI) has updated the resource, What is collaborative Inquiry?


    Teachers work together to identify common challenges, analyse relevant data, and test out instructional approaches.

    Collaborative inquiry as opposed to individual professional inquiry, is more than collective co-operation and involves;

    ...teachers, or members of a professional learning community (PLC), working together to systematically examine focused aspects of their educational practices by exploring student responses to instruction, leading to new understandings and changes in classroom teaching. Teachers work together to define problems, co-plan, co-teach, co-monitor and interpret outcomes, and then consider together “what’s next.” (Schnellart & Butler, 2014 )

    For those starting out, becoming a collaborative team takes time and perseverance, there are protocols for ways of working, and structural supports needed for relational trust to underpin the process of evaluative practice (including data-driven conversations) that can ultimately influence localised shifts in teaching and learning. See, Getting started - Effective collaboration. Enabling e-Learning has also published a number of examples, research and resources to support you with this process.

    For those who have already been working in this way, the question might arise, It’s the beginning of a new school year, should we start again? In this CORE blog post, Spiral of Inquiry: It’s a new year, should we start again? Rebbecca Sweeney writes,

    An influx of new learners in the new year doesn’t have to mean ‘new inquiry’ for the team. Collaborative inquiries morph and change over time based on the evidence you gather about teacher practice and learner progress.

    A better question to ask would be: What progress did we make with our collaborative inquiry last year and where to next?

    Do you undertake teacher inquiry as a individual endeavour (with peer review opportunities) or as a collective process facilitated through learning-focused conversations, where collaboration can/does result in improved teaching and learning outcomes? We’d love to hear more.

    Feel free to share how professional inquiry has changed for you, in the comments section below.


    For more examples of collaborative practice in schools, see Enabling e-Learning’s snapshots of learning:

    Also see our previous discussion thread (VLN), What is collaborative Inquiry?

    Image by geralt on Pixabay 


  • Tessa Gray 11 Mar 2019 12:14pm () in Who's sparking up your localised curriculum?

    NZC Online: Local Curriculum package support for schools and kura 2019

    Schools and kura want to focus on local curriculum – both design and review. In recognition that a range of leadership, teacher, and kaiako capability already exists on local curriculum practice, the Ministry is responding to this feedback with a package of support on local curriculum in 2019 including workshops with teacher-release time, guidance, and tools. 

    Leading Local Curriculum Guide series has been developed to steer your curriculum and assessment review and design decisions as you strengthen your local curriculum. It will support you to use tools to assess progress that is informative, and strengthen the partnerships you have with parents and whānau. There are three guides:

    There is also a tool for both Māori Medium and English Medium schools, Local Curriculum Design Tool or Rapua Te Ara Tika There is also a series of FREE workshops being hosted around the country to support you, Click on the city near you and you will get into the registration site.

Tessa Gray

Enabling e-Learning online facilitator. I'm excited about the prospects of the VLN and how it can bring like-minded people together online. I am here to help promote discussions and share effective practice.