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Nathaniel Louwrens's discussion posts

  • Nathaniel Louwrens 17 Aug 2016 5:08pm () in What is collaborative inquiry?

    We were privileged today to have Rebbecca Sweeney share with us in the Understanding collaborative inquiry webinar a clear picture of how collaborative inquiry can occur amongst teachers in schools.

    Watch the webinar recording >>>

    The slide deck and a Storify of the tweets from the webinar are embedded below.



  • Nathaniel Louwrens 17 Aug 2016 2:35pm () in What is collaborative inquiry?

    Hi Lisa

    Yes the webinar will be recorded and placed on the Webinar recordings page.


  • Nathaniel Louwrens 15 Aug 2016 8:26pm () in FORUM: 7 principles of learning | Building horizontal connections

    connectionsThe 7 Principles of Learning are discussed in, The nature of learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice (OECD). This discussion focuses on number 7, Building horizontal connections.

    Building horizontal connections is about making connections between subjects and knowledge as well as wider into society, the community and across the globe.


    The Delta Learns, Toolkit for Innovative Teaching and Learner Success states the following:

    The learning environment strongly promotes “horizontal connectedness” across areas of knowledge and subjects as well as to the community and the wider world.

    A key feature of learning is that complex knowledge structures are built up by organizing more basic pieces of knowledge in a hierarchical way. If well-constructed, such structures provide understanding that can transfer to new situations – a critical competency in the 21st century.

    They list the following areas that teachers should consider when designing learning to build horizontal connections:

    1. Have real-world relevance
    2. Provide authentic activities and tasks
    3. Provide access to expert performances and the modelling of processes
    4. Provide multiple roles and perspectives
    5. Provide the opportunity to collaborate
    6. Provide the opportunity to reflect
    7. Promote articulation to encourage students to verbalize their knowledge and thinking
    8. Tasks are seamlessly integrated with assessment
    9. Create polished products
    10. Provide coaching and scaffolding at critical times

    Join the discussion:

    • How can secondary schools better leverage learning opportunities that demonstrate horizontal connectedness for/with/between students?
    • What are you doing to build horizontal connections in your classes?
    • How are you using digital technologies to develop horizontal connections?
  • Nathaniel Louwrens 15 Aug 2016 1:42pm () in SMS - LMS etc

    Hi Josie

    Great to hear you're finding the guide useful!

    Feel free to get in touch with the Connected Learning Advisory if you have any questions around it.



  • Nathaniel Louwrens 11 Aug 2016 8:30am () in SMS - LMS etc

    Hi Warren

    You might be interested to look through the Connected Learning Advisory guide on Making the best use of your student data.

    From the overview:

    This guide offers schools starting points for the effective management and use of data. It focuses on using Student Management Systems (SMSs) effectively so that learning is informed by accurate, rich information.

    So it won't give you suggestions on what SMS to use, but will give you some things to consider around the data you might wish to use/report on.


  • Nathaniel Louwrens 08 Aug 2016 1:37pm () in Putting the learning outcome first

    This EdSurge opinion piece on Why instructional design must focus on learning outcomes, not learning activities highlights some useful things to consider when designing and planning learning experiences for our students.

    1. Sometimes in schools, we find ourselves competing with the devices our students use in their downtime. We don't need to compete with what students do in their downtime:

    Recreation, entertainment, and downtime for students outside of the classroom are just that: recreation, entertainment, and downtime. Students expect to come to school to learn and to be challenged.

    2. Students still want to enjoy learning and it needs to be relevant to them. They are able to complete more challenging scenarios in the games they play. They have modes of communication where they can share their thoughts and opinions through social media. They want to be engaged.

    If we want such activities to produce genuine student growth, instructional design must focus on learning outcomes as opposed to the activity itself.

    3. Use digital tools such as Kahoot! to simulate games but also ensure that students have the opportunity to think deeply and critically. Use social media platforms can be utilised to encourage conversation and discussion between peers. But make sure you always start with the learning outcome rather than focusing on the activity or the tool being used. 

    However, to achieve engagement that exceeds the element of surprise or novelty, which is often necessary as an instructional “hooking” tool, it is imperative that we place the brunt of our instructional design efforts towards building thinking skills and cognitive growth within students.


    • When using digital technologies in your classroom, how do you ensure that the learning outcomes remain the focus rather than the technology?
    • What tips or strategies can you share in how you plan for learning using digital technologies?
  • Nathaniel Louwrens 13 Jul 2016 8:56am () in Supporting learners with assistive technologies

    Assistive technologies help students do things they cannot otherwise do, or do things better. Assistive technologies can include technology devices such as computer hardware and software (including literacy support software), as well as hearing, vision, and mobility devices and equipment, and specialised furniture. Find out more on the Enabling e-Learning, Assistive Technologies page.

    In this video Matt, a student from Wairarapa College reflects on his technology use, effective partnerships with teachers, and the need for self-advocacy skills.

    How do I know what technology will help a student?

    Lynne Silcock explains how to find the right technology for students in the blog post, Identifying the right technology to support a student (and the black box technique).

    Have a look at the Assistive Technology VLN group for more support around the technologies that are available to support learners. The group blog reviews software and apps to support learning.

    Check out also the Inclusive Education website Assistive Technologies guide.

    How are you supporting your learners using technology, whether specialist equipment or software/apps available on the devices in your classroom?

    Have you got any stories of creative ways you are using technologies to support students?

  • Nathaniel Louwrens 12 Jul 2016 3:09pm () in Connecting with your community through social media

    Up and down the country, schools are always looking for ways to engage further with their community. One way that schools are exploring is the use of social media. The Using social media to connect with your community guide will help get your school started with connecting in this way.

    There are a number of different social media platforms that can be used to engage with your community from Blogs to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. This guide offers you a starting point to support planning for and getting started with using social media in schools.

    Watch the video below to hear one story from Apiti School of how they have connected with their community online.

    You might like to check out the following webinars:

    Join the discussion

    • How has your school engaged with your school community online/using social media?
    • What questions do you have around engaging with your community online?
  • Nathaniel Louwrens 23 Jun 2016 4:03pm () in School Facebook Query

    Interesting thoughts whaeasarah.

    I'm really interested in what others have to say around this, but here are my initial thoughts/comments.

    My first question when reading this is what really is the difference between a school website and a Facebook page? Is it okay to publish student photos on one but not the other? Also when do the students have the choice if their photos get published? I posted about this earlier this year in Posting photos of children online.

    Schools could still use Facebook by creating a closed group, however each school would need to consider the purpose of having the Facebook page/group in the first place. Is it promotion of the school? Is it simply for communication? If promotion, then a closed group is not going to be very useful.

    Remember, students don't need to go on Facebook to find your Facebook profile. Google will do it just fine. The key thing is to ensure the security settings on your Facebook profile are adequate. Often when you sign up for social media sites, the security is wide open. If you only want your friends to see your profile, then you need to adjust your settings accordingly.

    Finally, whether in a closed group/site or an open page, anyone can download/copy photos and post somewhere else. We need to continue to educate our wider school community around good digital citizenship.

    You might like to check out the Connected Learning Advisory guide:  Using social media to connect with your community

    If you have further advice around this, I would recommend you contact the Connected Learning Advisory by filling in the online form at www.connectedlearning.org.nz

  • Nathaniel Louwrens 20 Jun 2016 4:28pm () in 3 things students should have before they leave high school

    social network

    At the end of Telling a Story Beyond Grades, a blog post by George Couros, George shares an image stating 3 things that students should have before they leave high school. They are:

    1. A professional social network

    2. A digital portfolio

    3. An About.Me page

    It is becoming more and more important as adults to ensure we have a professional online presence. Being able to show our professional side through sites such as LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter and more allows potential employers to see what we have accomplished and what we can offer their schools or workplaces.

    It would be great to hear your thoughts:

    • How are you developing your professional image online?
    • How important do you think this is?
    • In what places do you share professionally?
    • How do you keep your professional and personal separate online? And should you?
    • In what ways are you encouraging your students to develop a professional online profile? What are you doing to demonstrate the importance of this?

    There is more to the blog post shared above than these 3 things and it is worth a read.

Nathaniel Louwrens

Connected Learning Advisory Facilitator, Enabling E-learning Online Facilitator; Learning with Digital Technologies Facilitator