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NCEA and e-learning | Designing for success

Started by Karen Spencer 22 Aug 2013 1:18pm () Replies (9)

Kia ora, talofa lava and welcome,

This thread is designed to kick-off a discussion related to how we are designing meaningful pathways for our young people in the senior years at school - and how e-learning might enable us to do this more creatively and easily.

On 28 August, we are running a webinar to discuss this and hear from two teachers - Tim Gander and Steve Mouldey - about how they are exploring the opportunities that technology offers to extend the learning experiences at NCEA.  Join us and register here.

...and here's a taster of the first four slides, offering a wee 'state of the nation' of where we are with NCEA and digital at the moment [view slides in Google with notes/urls here]


Meanwhile, let's begin to share some stories about what's possible - and what's happening around the country. 

What have you tried? Where do you see challenges - and opportunities?


  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 22 Aug 2013 1:38pm ()

    ...and here are a few discussions and stories from around the traps already:


  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 22 Aug 2013 2:21pm ()

    We had a parent evening last night at one of our local contributing primary schools (decile 2). They have formed a cluster with two other local primary schools (both decile 1) who will go 'paperless' in their Y4+ classes from 2014, using Chromebooks. They are following closely the Manaiakalani example. The parents were all very supportive despite the cost that will be involved, but there was a bit of discussion about what happens after primary school, with one parent commenting how the secondary school might disadvantage their children by having them return to a 20C teaching model.

    Are our 'systems' within the system, primary and secondary, talking enough with each other? When I was a secondary teacher, before having my own children, I looked down at primary teachers and didn't think I had much in common with them at all, and I certainly would not have expected they could teach me anything. What I see now, though, is that many primary schools are leading the way with e-learning, and if we want to make sure that our students get the best education they can throughout their whole schooling, we need to start talkign with eacher other and learning from each other.

    e-Learning, devices, BYOD are a mere tools in our kete, just like for example teaching concepts in our subject areas, to allow us to be more effective educators. When we first start driving, we have to consciously learn to change gears, and as teachers need to learn some of the mechanics of e-learning. When we are on the road, we don't think about every gear change anymore, it becomes automatic - just as the integration of e-learning into our secondary school context across the country will be, hopefully within the near future. Also, we need to allow others, esp. our teenage students, to be the drivers and to teach us something they know. The world will not end if we do not how to use a device, a programme etc. as well as they do. What matters is that we are there to guide and support them through their learning.

    How will we get there??

    Collaboration is the key. This webinar is a wonderful opportunity to start talking to and with each other; VLN groups, e.g. specialising on particular interest or a subject area; educamps etc.

    Sharing of experiences - with colleagues, through VLN, blogs, twitter, face-to-face etc.

    Be creative, trial new things.

    I recently came across this article through twitter, talking about why some changes are slow to be taken up in medicine and what could make a real difference in practise; I feel this is just as applicable to education. While I don't see the one-on-one mentor situation happening on a grand scale for NZ teachers any time soon, what can we do on an individual or on a school basis to replicate what BetterBirth are trying to do with midwives in rural India?

    To finish off on a positive note, here is an example of using blogging and the flipped classroom concept in secondary mathematics from one of the schools in my area - http://mrhmaths.blogspot.co.nz/p/about.html by VLN member Ben.

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 22 Aug 2013 5:13pm ()

    "Slow Ideas" is a great piece which I've shared with others.  Thoughtful post Monika.

    I'm seeing far more collaboration between the sectors now, so I'm optimistic.  Shared online forums like the VLN and Twitter and f2f forms like Ulearn and Educamps are ensuring the sharing of ideas. The ICTPD cluster I was part of last year, included a primary, intermediate and two high schools.

    Now our local schools are again collaborating to improve student achievement and it's exciting to be part of the planning and discussion.

    As in "Slow Ideas" we need to see what's in it for us and as teachers, what's in it for learners. I don't think that there are any quick fixes, so I'm grateful that we are at least "slow changing" in a forward direction!

  • Gerard Macmanus (View all users posts) 22 Aug 2013 8:58pm ()

    One thing that I have found is that teachers are after research, they want to be able to read something. One part of the inquiry that they are after is, does elearning improve grades. I realise this is a hard one to answer, as technology is changing, improving, expanding. The first iPad was launched April 3, 2010. Youtube was founded February 14, 2005 and schools are now only starting to get fibre. How could a single device in students hand improve learning. 

    One thing is true, today's students are different to those two years ago, the students we are starting to get in secondary schools now are connected, collobrative and global. No longer do they want to wait for the answer, they want it now. Homework that was once a worksheet is now shared and distributed through social networks and a collobrative answer is given. Change, In 2007 change started in schools, a new Curriculum, wonder at front half of the curriculum, and then came the standards review. Though we would like to see more, how can teachers assess group work. 

    Back to the research, NZCER have been doing some research around Science in the New Zealand Curriculum, the e-in-Science.

    This report explores innovative possibilities for e-in-science practice to enhance teacher capability and increase student engagement and achievement. It provides insights into how e-learning might be harnessed to help create a future-oriented science education programme and puts forward a possible framework.
    The report draws on four focus groups and two case studies. It is part of a Ministry of Education project investigating e-learning in science education (e-in-science). The project is one of three strands in a larger programme of work. 

    It has been interesting to read, and although it looks at Science I have looked at how this reflects in my own curriculum area. Also in reading the ZILDA phase one report, some of the same concepts come out, 

    “How do we engage young people in reflective discussions about learning?

    “How can we engage young people in learning experiences with digital technologies that support their abilities to do this?” 

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 23 Aug 2013 10:33am ()

    I just came across the NMC Horizon Report> 2013 K-12 Edition which I think could be quite informative for this discussion, especially with their referring to virtual and remote laboratories under Far-term Horizon.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 29 Aug 2013 12:01pm ()

    Yesterday's webinar was another jam-packed 'pot of gold'. If you missed this, you can view the entire recording here.

                             Screenshot of NCEA webinar

    Catriona Pene has also summarised this event for our benefit:

    Steve Mouldey and Tim Gander joined Karen Melhuish Spencer this afternoon for a webinar about How we design our Senior Secondary programmes and how Technologies can assist and enhance these programmes particularly with regard to NCEA.

    Karen shared some snapshots of how technologies are being used in secondary classrooms and the latest findings and expectations from the Ministry of Education on technology use by 5 -18 year olds. 

    Finally Karen linked us to some great examples of authentic, connected senior programmes that are being enhanced and extended with technologies.

    You can view them here in this pinterest collection created by Karen.

    We next welcomed Steve Mouldey from Hobsonville Point. Steve is on the New Zealand School of Geography Teachers Board and is teaching geography at Hobsonville Point. His attitude to geography is What, where, why there and who cares? Steve is adopting an approach to geography called Guerilla geography.  The 4 e’s of Guerilla geography are explore, experiment, experience and express. The 5th e is e-learning and this meshes in neatly with all four phases of the process. 

    Steve talked about disrupting the norms of teaching, mixing it up and using deliberate choices about varying our teaching and delivery style. He emphasised the importance of adjusting learning to suit different students' needs - playing to their strengths and giving them skills to take on into life. 

    Steve shared how he is using aurasma and qr codes to link information and experiences. 

    So why? Steve says because it is so engaging for students, it is big picture thinking, encourages creativity, tames the rebels and all students at all levels enjoy it.

    Read more in this thread /discussion/view/828262 on how Steve is gathering data and sharing his students evidence of learning.

    We next welcomed Tim Gander from Gisborne Boys High School. Tim has been working this year to digitise the NCEA PE programme using a range of online tools and technologies including google drive. His reasons for doing this were to help boys who had sporting and cultural commitments to manage their workloads, to personalise the programme for his students and to work around those who had challenges with the literacy content of the courses. 

    The students identified many advantages in working this way, including that they could never lose their work, had some choice of content and could manage their workload around their sporting and cultural commitments. 

    Tim used film and video to record interactions in class and then had the students assess how they were working collaboratively and give each other peer feedback. He also used the video to share with parents at interviews. Tim used an app called the coach’s eye to have students assess their performance against each other, using voice recording to capture the students responses. The students also contacted athletes from around the world using skype and twitter to improve their technique in their chosen sport. 

    Tim used a spreadsheet to share the students progress with them on a regular basis so they could get an overview of their progress against the standards and allow them to cross credit to other curriculum areas.

    Finally Tim shared how he used a collaborative inquiry approach to teaching one of his standards in Phys. Ed. He has used lucid chart in google drive, online forums, in class discussion, skype, google+, ebooks and more - listen to the recording for more detail.

    Please feel free to pass the webinar recording link on to others: https://vimeo.com/127210151

  • Madeline Campbell (View all users posts) 30 Aug 2013 10:39am ()

    Thanks so much Tim and Steve. After listening to you both, I've come away with practical things I want to try out, and a reduced sense of 'isolation' as I experiment and trial different ways of being a 'teacher'.

    Being a visual arts trained teacher, I connected straight away with 'things guerilla' - the 'Guerilla Girls' are a feminist artist collaborative who use popular imagery with bold 'headline' statements, as well as performance works, to challenge and confront thinking in public settings and spaces http://www.guerrillagirls.com/ - I could see from your photos Steve that your students were not just challenging themselves to think creatively and critically about environmental / social geographic issues, they were challenging viewers of their work to do the same. I taught junior social studies for a number of years, and have recently been thinking about how to run more integrated courses - you've helped me reconnect with the social sciences curriculum to help me think about structuring authentic learning, and how I might tap into different achievement standards to do this.

    ...which has just now triggered me to question subject endorsement - I suspect I'll need to do some research to see whether credits are linked to courses or to subject fields...

    I teach art history via distance / video conferencing, and this year I've used google docs to try and 'glean' info about students from other schools from edeans for the first time - the info we can easily find in our own school is a bit harder to come by when you are an 'outsider' teacher. Special learning needs, dyslexia, talents, health challenges, etc - all that stuff that helps me formulate how to best motivate and coach individual students. Tim, I now have a few better ideas about how to make this less messy and more workable. I'm also inspired that you've kept what keeps your students motivated and connected to school (team sports, rep sports trips etc) at the heart of your teaching practice, and come up with ways to integrate what many teachers view as a 'distraction' (grr!). Making learning 'stretch and flex' around students lives helps them to keep connected to learning - I've seen that over and over. From a senior student who couldn't always attend class due to 'fashion modelling contracts', through to visual arts students off at tournament week and competing at national and international events - through technology, these students needn't miss out on anything.

    As for sharing a story about whats possible, what I'm up to in the back-waters of Hokitika, and the challenges and opportunities I'm experincing:

    When I first started teaching on 'the Coast' in 2008, (my 10th year teaching), I suddenly realised just how massive and pervasive professional isolation could be. Oddly enough, today, I now have more professional learning opportunties and a greater professional network than ever, after having a bit of a 'personal teaching crisis - I can't do this anymore' moment in 2009. This is primarily and fundamentally due to e-learning, for both myself, and my students. I started teaching via video conference in 2011, and it blew my mind - I knew I needed to teach differently, I needed to know more about the pedagogies of online teaching. This journey has been totally transformational - and reminds me of the saying "be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!".

    I invited myself to be part of the VPLD (a bit cheeky!), got myself involved with Knowledge Buidling Communities TLRI project through Otago University and OtagoNet (2 years of practitioner-research co-constructing the design of the research), then was accepted into the VPLD mentorship programme to support this work - and everything took off professionally! The VPLD provides the best PLD I've ever had, and has been critical for my on-going involvement with the research project, as I quickly discovered that effective teaching embedding e-learning and technologies transforms you as a teacher, and its a bumpy ride! I was a pretty good teacher before, but the way I worked was unsustainable. Through learning about Knowledge Building Communities, I'm now working using a set of adapted principles to guide me into a different way of teaching, and my students still feel supported as I 'step back' - technology acts to bridge students to the content of their learning, rather than to me (whew!).

    Last year a visual arts student left it till the night before the deadline to get finished her folio - through our class facebook group, we messaged about how to lay out her folio in the most effective way - she photographed her work and did a 'digital layout', then i was able to do some re-arranging to show her different layout possibilities, then once we'd hit on the best solution, I went to bed and she was up at home doing the sticking down.

    In a recent survey, my distance art history class indicated that they 'strongly' experienced a sense of community in my class (despite students being spread across seven different schools from Warkworth of Hokitika). This was really exciting for me, as it was one of things I wanted to work on back at the end of 2011. The main reason for this is that students share their ideas in response to 'propositions/learning problems about content' that I pose to them on collaborative online environments (Knowledge Forum mainly, but we also use Padlet for short term idea sharing). This allows them to know and value each other's ideas (part of the ethos of the Knowledge Building principles) and to build and improve their ideas and understanding of content together.

    Using technologies has enabled me to personalise the learning to a greater degree - students select from 2 content areas this year, so i have 2 groups working simultaneously on different content. You can teach art history in the traditional way to do this - I put students entirely in charge of content, and positioned myself as the 'thinking coach'. Scary, especially with reasonably 'prescribed' course content and NCEA exam structures. So far, so good, internal results are really strong (the class includes 2 dyslexic students and a couple of lower ability students, as well as the usual very able students drawn to this subject). I'm looking forward to seeing the external results.

    This is a monster waffle sorry - I'll stop, though I have a range of examples about integrating technology and e-learning that continue to transform me as a teacher, and connect and empower students in their learning. I'm an e-convert.

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 04 Sep 2013 3:02pm ()

    It's wonderful to hear of the different examples of thinking that are begining to occur at this senior level and thanks for sharing your stories so far. 

    Here are the slides to the webinar:


    ...and Tim has kindly shared his slides here which have his speaker's notes attached.

    I know that, in many ways, this thread may be speaking to the converted but it would be great for others to link in with their stories of how they have opened up the process of senior school programmes in ways that take advantage of technoogies and begin to offer more choice and options for our learners.

    It would be particularly welcome to hear about ways in which such programmes have been designed to be inclusive of Māori and Pasifika learners...

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