EDUCATION REVIEW VOL 8. ISSUE 5
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM CREATING COMPUTATIONAL THINKERS
ARE WE REALLY THAT FUTURE-FOCUSED?
EDUCATION UNDER A NEW GOVERNMENT
HIPKINS AT THE HELM
COMMUNITIES OF LEARNING:
THE COL ‘COMMANDMENTS’
ICT & PROCUREMENT
THE ILE DEBATE
Educators: the only people who lose sleep over other peopleâ€™s children. Alfie Kohn
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Best education could be delivered in a tent I once wrote an article about a fancy new rest home that had an innovative layout and all the mod cons you could imagine. The rest home had won all sorts of awards for its fantastic care delivery. I foolishly jumped to the conclusion that the modern design and technology somehow underpinned the facility’s excellent approach to care. The manager, a former nurse, looked at me with nurse-like austerity. “I could deliver the best care in a tent,” she said matter-of-factly. She didn’t need the bells and whistles to run a good rest home. The same is true of education. There was nothing particularly innovative or modern about the classrooms I frequented many decades ago. I can’t recall a single beanbag throughout my entire education. And aside from the ‘computer lab’ there was no opportunity to jump online. Yet my learning occurred under some brilliant and visionary teachers. Did it matter that we sat in single file rows at wooden desks (I’m pretty sure some still had inkwells and lift-lids)? Debates around modern (innovative, flexible, blended – call them what you will) learning environments seem to miss the point. So too do the arguments for and against incorporating digital technology into education (although granted it’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone in opposition of this). Great teaching and learning can happen in a tent, or on a mountain top, or on the moon. The point is, why not give the talent that resides in our teacher workforce room to breathe and flourish? Why not model the competencies we’re so eager to see our students adopt? If we have the opportunity to encourage collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking by placing education in places conducive to these skills, then why not? This issue is brimful of research and opinions on innovative learning environments, digital technology and the shifting focus to 21st century skills. Enjoy! Jude Barback, Editor
Education Review’s print edition is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to in-depth coverage of education in New Zealand. Go to educationreview.co.nz for web-exclusive content, including thought-provoking opinion articles from sector leaders.
Hipkins at the helm
How will the new government transform tertiary education?
If teacher collaboration in ILEs is the answer, what is the question?
Case study: ILEs in action
A Tiriti leap of courage
Reinstating Te Kotahitanga is a good start
The CoL ‘commandments’
Education in New Zealand: responding to the digital challenge
Getting hands-on with learning spaces
Created for teachers, by teachers
Creating computational thinkers
The BYOD debate: which device is best?
Gaming – is there a place for it in education?
Asian kids in Aotearoa: the challenges they face
Curious and creative – the new wave of 21C Kiwi kids
Managing ADHD in the classroom
10 global education innovations to inspire Kiwi educators
5 EdTech trends changing the way we teach
Lightbulb moment: making the switch to LED
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PRODUCTION Aaron Morey
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Bradbeer, Jo Cook-Bonney, Debbie Garth, Annie Graham-Riley, Tracy Henderson, Camilla Highfield, Jody Hopkinson, Alex Hotere-Barnes, Graham McPhail, Donna Nichol and Roger Smyth.
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EDUCATION REVIEW VOL 8 ISSUE 6
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ICT & PROCUREMENT 1
NEW EDUCATION MINISTER
HIPKINS AT THE HELM JUDE BARBACK catches up with new Education Minister Chris Hipkins to find out how he’s finding his new role.
t’s been pretty amazing,” says Chris Hipkins of his first few weeks as the new Minister of Education. It’s a job he’s been eyeing up for some time now. Nine years is a long time for an MP in opposition with big ideas. Mere months ago we talked at length about Labour’s education manifesto, debating the ‘what ifs’ of abolishing National Standards, charter schools and tertiary education fees. Today’s chat is less hypothetical. The big ideas he shared with me then are now making headlines as they become reality. Our chat is also more succinct. He’s got a lot to crack on with. Hipkins has certainly wasted no time in setting the ball rolling to get rid of National Standards, or at least the downsides of National Standards.
“We’ve had some amazing feedback from teachers.” “We’ve had some amazing feedback from teachers,” he says, of his plans to scrap the system. Hipkins believes the sector is excited to have a Minister who trusts and values teachers. Teachers already have a wide array of tools to assess children’s progress, he says. It’s time to trust them to use them. He’s keen for teachers to return their focus to The New Zealand Curriculum and its learning progression levels. In response to calls to relaunch the curriculum, he agrees there’s room for a refresh. Despite all the confusion around charter schools, he assures me the plan remains
2 ICT & PROCUREMENT
to discontinue the charter school model and deal with each school on a case by case basis. One of the hallmarks of Labour’s manifesto was its intention to establish a long-term strategic plan for education. Hipkins is committed to getting stuck into this early next year; however, it strikes me that although it is a laudable idea, it is rather shrewd to make all the big changes first.
Certainly, he’s already made a dent in his sizeable ‘to do’ list, announcing some big-ticket changes for nearly every level of education. While other Ministers within the new government appear to be slow in coming to grips with their new portfolios, it is fair to say Hipkins has hit the ground running. “It’s been a lot of fun,” he says, of his first few weeks in the sector’s top job.
TERTIARY EDUCATION CHANGES
HOW WILL THE NEW GOVERNMENT
TRANSFORM TERTIARY EDUCATION?
n 19 October, Winston delivered his verdict: Labour is to lead the next government, in coalition with NZ First. And on 24 October the two party leaders signed the formal coalition agreement listing priorities “which Labour will support alongside its policy programme”. In many areas, including tertiary education, the NZ First election policies were closely aligned with Labour’s. Both parties want to increase financial support for tertiary students. Both want to reduce immigration – partly through reducing international student numbers in low-level tertiary qualifications that have been used as a pathway to residency. Both want to strengthen careers advice. Both propose a national dialogue on the future of education. National’s policy, on the other hand, was almost an afterthought, released in the days leading up to the election. Their policy statement mainly focused on their achievements in government but also promised to raise the target for the value of international education to $7 billion by 2025 –
ROGER SMYTH anticipates some interesting changes for New Zealand’s tertiary education system under a Labour-NZ First government.
up from the present target of $5 billion – and declared an intention to work towards having a university ranked in the global top 50 (without specifying a date to achieve this target). With nine years to think about their priorities, Labour had developed a detailed plan that covered every aspect of the system. And with agreement between the coalition partners on the direction of tertiary education policy, NZ First was evidently happy to support Labour’s wide-ranging plan. Now the top priority for the new Minister will be to set priorities from that extensive menu.
THREE YEARS’ FEES-FREE POST-SCHOOL EDUCATION Labour’s flagship policy of three years of fees-free tertiary education retreads and spruces up the Studyright policy introduced in 1991 by the then National government and removed towards the end of that decade. Studyright aimed to guarantee three years’ tertiary education for young people and ex-beneficiaries. It was implemented through a funding differential between those entitled to the
Studyright and others, however in an environment of deregulated fees, many institutions didn’t pass on the price difference to students. Labour’s new policy doesn’t have that weakness as it is fees free for the target group. Labour’s target group is also slightly different – the age criterion is replaced by targeting on the basis of tertiary education consumed in the past. The new policy will start its six-year phase-in in 2018. In the first year, as the policy is rushed into effect, and as officials work on the complex system changes required to implement the policy, the government will look to find a mechanism to pay the fees – possibly by writing off fees borrowing by the eligible students. But, as the policy phases in and fees reduce to zero for the first three years of students’ enrolments, the government will want to strike new funding rates that compensate institutions for those foregone fees. Given the large variations in tuition fees between institutions, the new fees-free funding rates would see some institutions lose, while others would receive a windfall. Negotiations with the sector –
ICT & PROCUREMENT 3
TERTIARY EDUCATION CHANGES especially with the powerful university lobby – on how to manage this will be interesting. The Labour party expects that its fees-free policy will boost participation by around 15 per cent. Conventional wisdom suggests that such a large-scale increase is unlikely, certainly in the short term. International evidence suggests fees don’t provide a barrier to study as long as there is adequate student financial support. In New Zealand, everyone who can meet the academic entry requirements for a degree and who wants to study at that level can find a place in the system – if not necessarily in their programme of choice. If participation rises, it may be less a consequence of this policy than the student support increases (see below). And, possibly, a result of a change in institutional education performance measures to de-emphasise qualification completion – a policy given the catchy brand ‘hop-on hop-off’ tertiary education. But with a falling school-leaver cohort and a strong employment market, the overall increase in enrolments is likely to be small in the short- to medium-term.
Free tertiary education will be a popular move. But if the participation response is as slow as I expect, critics will mark the government down because this measure represents deadweight spending – a high cost for a minimal change. And many will complain that fees-free tertiary education (especially at the degree level) is regressive – because the benefits are disproportionately captured by people who will be among the best paid in the society.
MORE STUDENT FINANCIAL SUPPORT … Labour also pledged an extra $50 a week in the living costs component of the student loan scheme, and for those who receive a grant under the targeted student allowances scheme. These moves will take effect from 2018. That’s also a high cost: under the interest-free student loan scheme, lending costs around 40 cents per dollar. And this policy – increasing the amount of borrowing – will increase repayment times and hence, will increase the cost of lending (although this will be partially offset by a fall in borrowing by the beneficiaries of free fees).
With nine years to think about their priorities, Labour had developed a detailed plan that covered every aspect of the system ... Now the top priority for the new Minister will be to set priorities from that extensive menu.
But this policy is a response to increases in rents, which have risen much faster over the last 10 years than have the borrowing entitlement and the allowance rate, (which move in line with the consumer price index). While the $50 a week increase is the headline policy in student financial support, both parties have lots other targets in their sights: Labour promised to restore the eligibility of postgraduate students to student allowances, removed by the former government in 2012. While that move will win the government support from many, this could also be held to be a deadweight cost, given that there was no discernible drop in postgraduate enrolments when allowances eligibility was removed. The NZ First and Labour manifestos both mentioned exploring how to use the loan scheme to create incentives for people to work in areas of skill shortage. And both referred to investigating a first in family scholarship scheme, to provide financial support to those who come from families where there is no tradition of participating in tertiary education.
…BUT FEWER INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
International student visa rules will also change. For sub-degree students, work rights will go. Requirements for post-study work visas will ramp up, stemming the pathway to residence for those without degrees. A shift to a focus on higher levels and higher quality is a good long-term strategy. But it comes with a high short-term cost; Labour estimates that these changes will reduce provider revenue by $250 million a year. According to the party’s policy statement, these losses will be mitigated by the “plan to introduce three years’ free post-school education [which] will see domestic enrolments grow 15 per cent”. But, as noted above, that level of increase in domestic enrolments is not likely in the short term. If I am right, universities will be unaffected by the planned international education changes but many other tertiary providers will suffer financially from a fall in their international student numbers.
We can expect the new minister to explore incentives on employers to take on apprentices. And a number of the moves made by the former government will likely be reversed – for instance: restoring a requirement for governing councils of institutions to have a student member relaxing the requirement for adult and community education to focus on literacy and numeracy and disadvantaged groups easing the lifetime 7 EFTS limit on borrowing through the student loan scheme. It will be an exciting three years. Roger Smyth has 30 years’ experience working in tertiary education – initially in senior management and later in the Ministry of Education. At the Ministry, he managed the tertiary sector performance analysis team and then took over as group manager, tertiary education policy. He retired from the Ministry in April this year.
4 ICT & PROCUREMENT
INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
IF TEACHER COLLABORATION IN ILES IS THE ANSWER,
WHAT IS THE QUESTION?
he idea that teachers will be working collaboratively represents an implicit but commonly under-emphasised aspect of the shift into innovative learning environments (ILEs): it’s often a feature by design. Notably many contemporary primary school spaces, whether newly built or refurbished, are predicated on the idea that collaboration will be taking place; teachers won’t have their own classes in their own classrooms. Instead, they will be sharing responsibility for teaching a larger cohort of students, in a space containing multiple flexible or purposeful learning settings. It’s very much the vision of the Ministry of Education’s current property policy – one that sees spaces built that are future-focused and that with appropriate professional learning and quality teaching, may have the potential to enhance opportunities for student-centred pedagogies. However, such spaces are reliant on teachers working in close proximity, and in doing so, relinquishing some of the autonomy, privacy and ownership that have previously been afforded by more traditional settings. So although the shift into new environments may most obviously be emphasised by architectural changes, arguably it is this collaborative aspect that may result in being the most significant and complex professional transformation (refer Professor of Education and educationalist Mick Waters) in the shift into innovative learning environments. Educational history documents multiple collaborative initiatives that have enjoyed high degrees of success. Furthermore, extensive research has shown that building professional teacher capital, developing collective teacher efficacy, and focused schoolwide collaboration have played significant roles in leveraging school change. Collaboration is generally seen as a good thing. But I wonder to what extent some of what we have described as collaboration in our schools really is? How much of it is actually coordination, organisation, and ‘getting along’ rather than collaboration in its truest sense of the word? Of course ‘getting along’ is important and may well ease the whole process, but collegiality and collaboration are not interchangeable. They may well reflect each other but the former is more
CHRIS BRADBEER says that innovative learning environments might give us the opportunity to explore the untapped potential of teacher collaboration.
concerned with qualities of relationships as opposed to the actions we undertake. The critical difference I see in teaching together in ILEs is that it brings the level and intensity of collaboration to the fore. Collaboration is no longer an activity we are able to step out of our own classroom spaces to take part in, and then to step
of commitment. The emphasis is on solving a problem and bringing people together to work collectively and achieve something in a way they are unable to do on their own. Perhaps because they lack the knowledge or expertise to do so? Alternatively, perhaps due to a lack of resource or experience? Starting with a shared problem
“The critical difference I see in teaching together in ILEs is that it brings the level and intensity of collaboration to the fore.” away from afterwards. Hence collaboration can no longer be a visited activity; more representative of a step-change in how we might work with colleagues. At the risk of leaping into semantic gymnastics, I think it’s helpful to consider what we mean by collaboration. Delving into a definition for a moment might help us to frame it more accurately. It also presents us, I believe, with an intriguing question. Barbara Gray, someone who has written extensively on the subject, considers that the whole point of collaboration is “a process through which parties who see different aspects of a problem can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited vision of what is possible”. It’s a great definition. It shows that collaboration goes beyond levels of coordination and cooperation – in essence through increasing levels of intensification and sophistication – and is noted for its more formally understood relationships and level
provides a great reason to work together in the first place too. Let’s face it, if we could do it on our own then what would be the point of collaborating in the first place? What I particularly savour in Gray’s definition, though, is the last component: the aim to go beyond our “own limited vision of what’s possible”. Not only is it about solution finding, but it is also a language of opportunity, of possibility, Continued on next page >>
ICT & PROCUREMENT 5
INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
and potential. Given that definition, is the regular 90-minute team meeting after school on a Wednesday really an example of effective, longterm collaboration? Is priority actually placed on utilising our collective skills, knowledge and expertise to enhance student experiences, opportunities and progress? Are we together able to do something for students that we are not actually able to do on our own? If we take Gray’s definition of collaboration and use it to problematise the work we are doing in the context of teaching in ILEs, it presents some interesting questions. We might ask in this case, “if teaching collaboratively in an ILE is a way to
solve a problem, what is the problem we are trying to solve?” Alternatively, “if teacher collaboration in ILEs is the answer, then what is the question?” What are we able to do together that goes beyond our own vision? How might we constructively explore our differences in the search for solutions? How clear are we on what we are trying to achieve together? I’d argue that these are important things to be able to articulate, not only to ourselves but within our own schools and contexts and across our wider communities as we shift into our shared ILEs. In doing so, our responses may help us to set collaborative direction and to provide clarity
and common goals around what it is we are trying to achieve together in our ILEs. ILEs potentially provide us with wonderful spaces in which to explore these questions and solutions – together. I’d suggest that developing a more sophisticated understanding of collaboration may help us in turn to maximise the opportunities engendered by the provision of these new spaces. This, I think, is when they’ll become truly innovative. Chris Bradbeer is the assistant principal at Stonefields School in Auckland and a research fellow of Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change (ILETC).
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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CLASSROOM:
APPROACH ILES WITH CAUTION GRAHAM McPHAIL argues that while modern learning environments can help facilitate different pedagogical approaches, there is no inherent link between classroom design and educational outcomes. The way our classrooms are physically designed is symbolic of deeper ideas about education. Desks and chairs arranged with a focal point at the front of the classroom suggest a more traditional instructional style of teaching where the teacher is at the centre and standardised delivery of the curriculum takes priority over the individual learning needs of the students. The Ministry of Education’s newly favoured modern learning environments (MLEs) include open plan classrooms with glass, natural light, moveable walls, breakout spaces and moveable furniture. These spaces are colourful, bright and modern. They are also suggestive of student-centred pedagogy, where learners are able to move around freely, connect with each other and with the teacher, and access the internet as required by the context and demands of the learning. While learning spaces can certainly add a great deal to a positive ambience and facilitate different pedagogical approaches, such as group learning or individual work, there is no inherent link between classroom design and educational outcomes. The Ministry’s blanket advocacy for such spaces needs to be approached with caution as there is a risk of such visions becoming idealised. If schools dive straight into the curricular and pedagogical approaches implied by these new learning 6 ICT & PROCUREMENT
spaces (for example, intersubject and project-based learning), there is a danger that some teachers may not be sufficiently well equipped to be leaders of learning. So, what is it about such pedagogical approaches in these new spaces that requires caution? Firstly, in the case of intersubject learning, making deep connections between subject areas requires teachers to have advanced understanding of both foundational and threshold concepts of a subject before meaningful links across disciplines are likely to occur. In recent research in a 21st century school in New Zealand, teachers identified the unpacking of such concepts as one of the most difficult aspects of moving towards a new curricular model. Teachers are left to develop these skills pretty much on their own.
“While learning spaces can certainly add a great deal … there is no inherent link between classroom design and educational outcomes.” Secondly, in relation to individual studentled project work, the design and tracking of conceptual progression within a subject comes to the foreground. If a teacher is leading 30 learners through individual projects, how can conceptual progression be managed, let alone ensured? The design of learning spaces is only one of the aspects we should be considering in relation to in-school factors and media reporting tends to represent discussions in a polarised way but solutions are likely to emerge from nuanced thinking rather than traditional-versus-progressive binary conceptions.
The longitudinal research of Morais and Neves (2011) suggests drawing on a combination of both ‘traditional’ and ‘progressive’ approaches in order to increase achievement with all students. In their model there is a personalised learning environment where students feel valued and confident to question, discuss, and share ideas. The model suggests a ‘progressive’ approach whereby students are given more individual control over the time needed to assimilate, develop and utilise new knowledge. In the model, a more ‘traditional’ approach is required in relation to curricular selection, including its sequence and evaluation. The teacher is present as an expert who oversees the selection and sequencing of content and then guides the student along the path of conceptual progression through strongly framed evaluative criteria and an engaging pedagogy. We can logically see that certain learning spaces may well be conducive to broadened and more student-centred approaches. But they are not in themselves critical. What is pivotal is the teacher’s ability to provide a positive learning environment, detailed and effective feedback derived from deep knowledge of disciplinary conceptual progression, and time for students to assimilate and work with new knowledge. The challenge in innovative learning spaces and enquiry or project-based approaches is to ensure the conceptual progression is positioned at the centre of students’ and teachers’ work. The Ministry would do well to support the development of teacher knowledge, which becomes, somewhat ironically, ever more critical in student-centred learning spaces. I’m sure we all hope that such ‘classrooms’ will be filled with more than just aspirations. Graham McPhail is a senior lecturer in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work.
INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
ILES IN ACTION Teachers of Dunedin’s Fairfield School share their candid assessment of introducing innovative learning environments.
airfield School is a decile 9 full primary school in Dunedin with a roll of 420 children. The school has slowly moved to the innovative learning environment (ILE) model. There are currently two single cell classrooms for most year levels within the school, however the Year 1, 2 and 4 groups are working in ILE with two teachers. A new purpose-built ILE has also just opened for the Year 7 and 8 classes.
THE YEAR 2 EXPERIENCE – DONNA NICHOL
The first environment was established four years ago in a prefab class area with bifold doors in the middle. The area is designated Year 2, with 47–53 children any given year with two teachers. The space was transformed by removing desks and replacing them with standing tables, kneeling tables, couches, bean bags and writing boards. We improvised on costs by making our own writing boards (to press on when writing) out of wood or bought TV dinner tables at cost from Briscoes. We also made caves in our rooms to section off areas for learning by using old material and wall units that were being thrown out. When we first began our journey four years ago, we found it to be a trying process with managing the children, curriculum needs and our own teaching practice. During the first year we developed simple systems that we both agreed upon, such as behaviour management steps, curriculum targets, reporting, getting to know each other’s teaching style and intense work on setting up one curriculum successfully using innovative learning as our focus. This took a whole year of talking and discussing, changing things that didn’t work and revising aspects that needed adjusting. The subsequent years included the setup of maths and writing, fine-tuning routines, developing areas of the timetable to include critical thinking and collaboration and developing a space that
could include all types of learners that would meet their needs. The early days of teaching together in an ILE were stressful at times, but this was offset with being able to express yourself to the other colleagues and have them understand what you are going through. Both of us are experienced teachers and had taught together before, so we were familiar with how our different areas of strength complemented each other’s teaching. As we progressed throughout our time in an ILE, we underwent various professional developments, including readings, CORE Education mornings and visits to other schools. The best professional development we have had recently was the Incredible Years teacher course run by
the RTLB service. It is primarily a course on behaviour management and even though we are experienced teachers, we found it very useful for moving large groups of children at a time, noise control and setting expectations. It allowed us to chat together away from school about things we wanted to change and develop a specific behaviour management plan for 52 children. Although the first year is the hardest in teaching in an ILE, it becomes easier as time goes on as certain systems are put in place. The children learn routines quickly and enjoy having choice about where they can learn – for example, standing tables are very popular with the boys.
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INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
The children set the expectations of work level at the start of each term. Our class timetable consists of making time for celebrations of learning to create a cohesive and supportive atmosphere. We included things such as super learner of the week, and reflection of the week, looking at things we found easy and why, and things we found tough. We also facilitate a problem-solving/ critical-thinking activity on a Friday that encourages group collaboration. This activity is usually a basic problem but we are mostly trying to facilitate learning the skills involved in communicating to a group.
Students learn more about themselves and how they learn as they can bounce ideas off more than one adult or peer. Our two joined classes have a celebration at the end of the year by holding an activity day where the children are challenged in their mindsets and have to use critical thinking to achieve a common goal, such as pitching a tent or scaling a wall. This is the highlight of the year for the children as they love achieving something they thought they could not do. An ILE environment enhances student agency as the children observe others’ learning, discussion and group work. They develop friendships with a wider group and their strengths in areas are more easily accommodated through different teaching styles. Students learn more about themselves and how they learn as they can bounce ideas off more than one adult or peer. Children become very good at selfmanaging themselves, communicating in a group, streamed learning and working in large spaces. From a teaching point of view, the benefits are more colleague
8 ICT & PROCUREMENT
collaboration and the chance to learn off each other, less workload, change and new ideas happening all the time. However there are still challenges in an ILE. Noise level is very much a concern, with large groups of learners, especially at the younger age level. Priority learners need extra time and space to meet their learning needs and an old class environment has difficulty meeting those needs where the child is not being interrupted or distracted by large volumes of noise. Squeezing all of the curriculum obligations into the timetable is still an issue, the age and maturity of students can hamper an effective ILE, and we still grapple with an effective system of reporting to parents. It is also difficult when one of us is away sick as the onus is on the remaining teacher to be the teacher and organiser for 52 children. I love working in an ILE. I love the talk, learning and collaboration that happens. It takes a while to set up, but when it is, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
THE YEAR 4 EXPERIENCE: DEBBIE GARTH AND JO COOK-BONNEY
Our journey began four years ago when teaching Year 4 classes in single cell classrooms alongside one another. With the aim of the school being to move into the ILE model, we began thinking about what we could do to begin moving in that direction. Firstly, we decided to start with one core curriculum area and begin working more collaboratively, cross-grouping, and having students moving between our two rooms. We also thought about how we could begin utilising our individual strengths as teachers to benefit the students. We chose numeracy as an area to develop. Using assessment, we then divided the students into two ability groups. In the beginning we both taught each of the groups at different
times, as we each felt responsible for our own class’s assessment and reporting. We also realised that for any of this to work we would have to align our daily timetables. Next, we changed the furniture around in each of our rooms, getting rid of some desks and using low and high tables and purchasing bean bags in order to create different areas around the classrooms. Because the students were going to be moving from room to room, it was an ideal opportunity for them to begin making choices about where they sat and with whom. This required discussions about making good choices and the consequences of not doing so. We were lucky enough to have a deck that ran along the outside of both classes, so we began using it as an additional working space/breakout area. We quickly found ways of working together that capitalised on our strengths. While one teacher took swimming classes, the other took grammar and spelling. For the school production, one taught dance while the other took the remaining students for inquiry. One teacher worked with a small cohort of reluctant writers on devices, the other took the remaining students. We carried on finding other opportunities to further develop this way of teaching, although we often found that we had to tweak our initial ideas. Something that was absolutely essential was making time (which wasn’t always easy) to discuss how things went, how we were both feeling and what, if anything, needed to be changed, as well as the obvious, ‘Was this working for the students?’ Another thing we had to consider during the early stages was ensuring that we were both on the same page with regard to management and discipline, in order to keep the consistency among the two class groups.
INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
The following year we had the same year group but were moved into one larger space, something that we had always dreamed of. This was not a purpose-built area, but an old technology room with ovens, benches, and a fridge, with a smaller room off it. The two areas could be separated by a bifolding door. Our new space came with some modern tables, stools and bench type seating. We set up the furniture and were ready to go – or so we thought! As the year began, we suddenly realised that there were many things we had not considered. While one teacher was 100 percent ready to proceed with the full ILE experience, the other wanted to take smaller steps and felt as if she would be relinquishing control of her students, even though she would still be responsible for all of their assessment and reporting throughout the year. How would that work? We also needed a consistent approach to things like taking the roll, transitioning the students between areas and activities, storage, sharing workload, reward and discipline systems, displaying students’ work and daily routines. It wasn’t until we got into this space that we found we had quite different routines, expectations and teaching styles. At first we both felt as if we were losing our identities, the things that made us special as teachers, and we weren’t sure how to deal with it. After much discussion, we began sharing the responsibility for different subject areas and decided that whoever was delivering the concepts did it their way. We then agreed that we would be happy for the other teacher to jump in with any extra information or content that they thought was important. After visiting another couple of schools where we picked up new ideas, we eventually had reading and maths well organised. We could both be working with small groups while the remaining students worked independently on other tasks. This took a lot of setting up and relaying of expectations and practising for the students, but eventually it all came together. The benefits of working in an ILE for teachers are the discussions that take place, the problem
solving, the collaboration, the opportunities to use your strengths and above all, the learning that takes place when working alongside your colleague. From a student’s point of view, many become better at taking ownership of their own learning and making choices about how, where and with whom they learn. This includes managing themselves, being responsible for their belongings, learning routines quickly, communicating in a group. It is also essential however, that children realise that the wrong choices can lead to that choice being removed. We also think that with the continual movement around the learning spaces, students seem to get along with a wider range of their peers. One of the difficulties we faced in the first year was getting to mid-year reports and realising that we hadn’t actually had certain children from our class group in any of the maths or reading groups that we had taught. Now, in our second year, we swap the groups that we take at the beginning of each new term. This way we both feel that we know all of our students better. We also have a lot more discussions together when writing reports. Another challenge was noise level, mainly because of the sheer number of students, particularly when they are all working collaboratively on group challenges. It was distracting for us and the students when we were both teaching small groups at the same time. In some cases when we wanted to have students discussing concepts or working together, we felt as if we couldn’t because it would disrupt the other group. Even closing the bifold door didn’t really help.
Luckily, this year we were given an additional space within the same block that we were able to use, which has certainly made things much easier, and provided opportunities for more targeted learning with smaller groups. Another area of difficulty is when one teacher is sick the other teacher becomes responsible for not only the teaching but also organising the reliever. There are certainly more challenges ahead; although now that we have an excellent working relationship and will openly and honestly share our ideas and discuss what we think, we feel that we would like to continue our work and perfect our learning model. This would put us in a good position to share our experience and knowledge with other teachers to support them in their ILE journey. After having had the opportunity to work in an ILE environment, it would be hard going back to a single cell classroom, although, as we’ve discussed, if we were working alongside another teacher, we could simply start the whole process over again, but with a lot more knowledge and experience.
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ICT & PROCUREMENT 9
TE TIRITI AND DIGITAL LEARNING
A TIRITI LEAP OF COURAGE
n Aotearoa we can’t discuss the role of public education and digital citizenship without engaging with Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Why? Because Te Tiriti is a part of our civic life: it contains moral, ethical and political learning regarding our history and present, which informs our future. Te Tiriti is vital to understanding what it means to be a citizen in Aotearoa and globally. It distinguishes us politically and culturally. It offers us a homegrown blueprint for relationship building between tangata whenua and non-Māori now, and into the future. Learning with digital technologies is never politically or culturally neutral – its ideas, language, mediums and platforms are all infused with powerful cultural values. This situation shapes the digital learning judgements we do and don’t make. It impacts on students’ digital learning opportunities and realities. Through school values and graduate profiles it’s possible to explore how digital technologies reflect Māori and nonMāori worldviews in Aotearoa. Done well, this will contribute to the following positive digital outcomes: 1. Produce educational equity for and with diverse tangata whenua. 2. Forge creative ways for our students to learn with and from a range of worldviews. 3. Explore and apply the digital innovation and creativity that is bubbling away in our own backyard.
ALEX HOTERE-BARNES discusses the relationship between Te Tiriti o Waitangi and digital citizenship and looks at how educators can incorporate digital learning opportunities that reflect Māori and non-Māori worldviews in Aotearoa.
AFFIRMING TANGATA WHENUA – “HE KAI KEI ĀKU RINGA”
Tangata whenua have long embraced technologies and their learning benefits. This is true prior to colonisation and in the present moment. Māori see the potential that digital technologies bring to learning in homes, communities, on the marae and in kura. Charles Royal (2007) aptly observes that Māori are driven by creativity and innovation that embraces cultural revitalisation, restoration and social justice. Here are a few exciting Māori digital initiatives that fit this description (please visit the online article for hyperlinks): Linking traditional Māori games and gamification Dig My Idea: Māori Innovation Challenge Ka Hao: Māori Digital Technology Development Fund Te Reanga Ipurangi: Māori embracing the digital generation Digital Natives Academy Te Whare Ako: mobile learning Iwi-led digital initiatives Hangarau matihiko: E tipu e rea What’s exciting about these initiatives – and there are many more in development – is that they are designed to affirm and expand the language, identities and culture of students through digital technologies. They are examples that challenge what Ann Milne powerfully calls the “White Spaces” in our education system.
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Educationalists are generally aware of Te Tiriti. It’s in our curriculum(s) and in a range of policy documents. Yet many perceive that Te Tiriti is “too hard”, “impractical” or “irrelevant”. This is because many of us in the teaching profession have had little personal and professional exposure about how Te Tiriti can be practically applied. This is particularly the case in digital technologies. The latest standards for the teaching profession offer us a useful starting point. They prompt us to think about what quality teaching in relation to Te Tiriti can look like. Applied to digital technologies, here are some ideas to think about and actions to take: Seek digital learning resources and examples that recognise the unique status of tangata whenua. Find digital mediums that provide your students with an understanding of the histories, heritages, languages and cultures as partners to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Begin to incorporate and develop the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in your digital learning content and pedagogy. Often it’s most practical to start exploring one element of the standard at a time. As you progress, you are more likely to actively affirm the identity, language and culture of Māori learners and their whānau, hapū and iwi.
WHOSE MODE OF MANA?
An honourable Tiriti relationship takes up the opportunity to engage with the creative and innovative activities that diverse Māori and non-Māori are involved in. A Tiriti o Waitangi partnership in education provides opportunities to co-create and co-innovate a digital learning environment that reflects Aotearoa. Te Tiriti can enable us to: be vigilant about whose modes of mana are being enabled and/or denied, and the directions our digital learning takes us identify diverse cultural experiences and worldviews enable Māori and non-Māori students to see themselves in their and our digital world be active digital makers and creators, not just passive consumers of technology. We have an opportunity to join national and international indigenous digital innovators who locate rich layers of culture, language and identity at the centre of their digital learning design. We have an exciting role in thinking and planning alongside tangata whenua about how our digital learning embraces creativity, innovation, cultural revitalisation, restoration and social justice. Kei ngā kanohi hōmiromiro – Jen Margaret kōrua ko Ānaru White – e mihi tonu ana ki a kōrua tahi. I am grateful to Jen Margaret and Ānaru White for their thoughtful feedback on this article. Alex Hotere-Barnes is senior researcher/evaluator and expert partner at CORE Education.
REINSTATING TE KOTAHITANGA
IS A GOOD START
CAMILLA HIGHFIELD is encouraged by the new coalition Government’s move to reinstate Te Kotahitanga and other targeted programmes that will help to ensure success for all New Zealand students on an individual level.
he new Government has revealed the details of the coalition agreements between the three political parties that have formed our new Government. I was excited to see these agreements signal support and confidence for those of us working in the education sector. These are clear statements indicating a commitment to a 30-year strategic plan for New Zealand education, restoring funding for gifted students, pilot counsellors in primary schools, restoring funding for computers in homes and free driver training for all secondary school students. But the one that was particularly significant to me, and which indicated ongoing support for teachers and leaders, was the restarting of the Te Kotahitanga teacher professional development initiative. For those who don’t remember, or who are new to education, Te Kotahitanga was a research and development project that was initiated in 2001 with the goal of focusing on teaching pedagogy and practices that could raise the achievement of Māori students in years 9–10. The programme included dozens of schools and hundreds of teachers, principals and school leaders, and laid the groundwork for many of the understandings that were developed into an updated version of the programme entitled Kia Eke Panuku (Building on Success), which came to an end in 2016. That it is being brought back, alongside several targeted programmes, is an encouraging sign
the new coalition Government is committed to ensuring success for all New Zealand students on an individual level, whether that means additional resources, culturally tailored approaches or extension programmes. New Zealand’s young people are not a monolith: their needs vary, and our goal should be to help them, all of them, reach their potential.
We continue to have one of the largest internal disparities in student academic achievement in the OECD and these new education policies are a step towards addressing the equity issues clearly apparent both within and across New Zealand schools. We continue to have one of the largest internal disparities in student academic achievement in the OECD and these new education policies are a step towards addressing the equity issues clearly apparent both within and across New Zealand schools. This is a breath of fresh air after years spent operating in a political environment that seemed
to regard diversity of needs as a burden rather than an opportunity. Too many of our young people are right now missing out because of insufficient funding for the necessary specialists, aides, resources and access to teaching under a curriculum that engages and motivates them to learn and achieve. With new technologies arriving at a seemingly ever-increasing rate and evidence that advances in artificial intelligence will continue to change the way we live and work, the challenges our young people are going to face in their lives are impossible to predict. But whatever the future brings our tamariki in their lifetimes, they will need the ability to become lifelong learners who are creative and adaptive with mental and physical resilience. While nothing concrete, these agreements are a good sign of positive change in social policy and I find myself looking forward to this Government’s first steps in this area. Here’s hoping those steps will be the first in a long and positive journey that will benefit our students who are most in need of an education system that supports and advantages them. Camilla Highfield is director of professional learning and development at the University of Auckland Faculty of Education and Social Work.
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ICT & PROCUREMENT 11
COMMUNITIES OF LEARNING
THE COL ‘COMMANDMENTS’ JUDE BARBACK talks to three Communities of Learning (CoL), all at different stages of their CoL journey, about what they’ve learned so far.
eet our three Communities of Learning. Waitakere College deputy principal Shona Smith was appointed leader of the Waitakere Community of Learners (Te Kahui Ako o Waitakere) in term 1 last year. She says while there has always been some connection between the schools, there wasn’t enough communication, and no actual talk of student transitions. The Waitakere CoL, now in its second year, is slowly changing that. The Pukekohe CoL is at roughly the same stage. Across-schools pedagogical leader for the CoL, Martin Bennett, says the schools have always been collegial, but other than collaborating on things like Mathletics, they’ve had no real reason to work together on any shared projects. Whiria Te Tangata CoL grew out of a “tight-knit group of principals” in northwest Auckland. But the pathways weren’t going to work for everyone, so their group splintered into three. CoL leader Heather Atkinson and principal of Riverhead School Kris Hughes count themselves fortunate to have two high schools in their CoL: Hobsonville Point Secondary School and Massey High School.
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Massey is actually part of two CoL; its funding is through the other but the school generously participates in both. All three CoL are working out how to improve learning and transitions among their schools. It’s not a straightforward process. Each CoL journey presents different challenges and opportunities, but some common themes begin to emerge.
Don’t rush the early stages – get to grips with what collaborative practice really means first before diving headfirst into the achievement challenges.
With northwest Auckland undergoing a growth phase with new schools planned for the area, Heather Atkinson and Kris Hughes knew their CoL needed to be robust in order to absorb the growth of potential new members. They are even considering having a homeschooling school join their CoL. “We want to be stable on our feet,” says Hughes. Establishing a strong trust model first – before any thought was given to the data – was a priority for the CoL. “Our top criteria is developing and maintaining relational trust,” says Atkinson. They even took this approach to the interview process for the across-schools team, which involved a collaborative exercise involving the candidates presenting in front of everyone and bringing their ideas to the table. The successful applicants then began co-constructing their role.
Hughes acknowledges that the early emphasis on collaborative practice and trust has meant progress has felt slow initially. It takes time to be sure that everyone is on board. “We keep having to go back and revisit decisions. And new issues keep coming up,” she says, “But on the flip side everyone’s concepts are heard.” They’re sure their approach will pay off. By the end of next year they’ll hope to have made some concrete progress with their goals. Waitakere CoL leader Shona Smith agrees that it is a marathon not a sprint. “Only in the last term there has been a real sense of momentum,” she says. The CoL, one of the earlier ones to be established, essentially began with a bunch of principals and Smith. The across-schools team were next to come on board. Smith credits the “overseas holiday” on Waiheke Island as playing a big part in getting the across-schools team working closely together. Finally the within-school team was established. “There is not yet a deep sense of ownership beyond those people, but it is slowly changing,” says Smith. Martin Bennett agrees that it took a while for a couple of schools to come on board. He thinks people have generally been directed by their moral compass to supporting the schools. Like the other CoL, he says it’s too soon to see any results. They’ve been working with five years of previous data collected in 2015, so it takes time to see a change in trends.
COMMUNITIES OF LEARNING
Involve your senior leadership teams (SLTs). CoLs work better at the individual school level if the deputy and assistant principals are on the same page as the across-schools and within-school teachers.
The structure of the CoL can challenge a school’s traditional hierarchy. It is only natural that teachers who have worked their way up to associate and deputy principal roles, might feel a bit unnerved or put out at the introduction of across-schools and within-school teachers. Bennett says assistant principals and deputy principals are often the missing link in CoL. It can be tricky, he says – people who haven’t had leadership roles before are now effectively telling them what to do. As a result, in the Pukekohe CoL, the schools have made a conscious effort to involve the SLTs, particularly in the professional learning. Heather Atkinson agrees it makes a big difference having the SLTs involved. They had heard from other CoLs that not involving the deputy and associate principals led to
problems. So in their CoL, the SLTs are included in all the decision-making.
Don’t let achievement challenges stand in the way of what your CoL is ultimately trying to achieve for your schools.
Bennett says collectively analysing the data was an eye-opening experience. “It was the first time we’d all really looked at the data. And there it was, in black and white,” he reflects. The data showed clearly that the CoL’s Māori, Pacific and male students were lagging behind in writing and numeracy. “So we had to ask ourselves: what are we going to do? All these kids are going to end up in our community.” Bennett says they quickly realised they wanted to look beyond the 85 per cent achievement goal. “We interviewed current and ex-students to gather their thoughts on transition, diversity and growth. And they said: why isn’t the goal for everyone to achieve?” The CoL then surveyed students and scoped all its schools, talking with principals and staff to build
a clearer picture of what issues were falling out of the achievement challenges. These became the CoL’s main focus. For the Waitakere CoL, at first all the attention went into their achievement challenges, which focused on culturally responsive pedagogies, literacy, numeracy and improving NCEA Level 2 pass rates. However, other goals grew out of these challenges. For example, they realised that retaining Māori at school has an impact on pass rates, so that became a goal. Smith says the other area that began to emerge as a key area was transitions. “As we’ve gone through that first year and dug deeper, we realised more and more that we needed to plan for those transitions,” says Smith. One year before the end of their first round, they underwent self-review using matrices from both the Ministry of Education and Education Review Office. This process revealed that while they were ticking the boxes for the content areas (i.e. literacy, numeracy, culturally responsive pedagogy and NCEA) they needed a plan around community, transitions and data. This enabled the CoL to put in Continued on next page >>
OUR 2018 ISSUES AND DATES NZ TEACHER February
LEADERSHIP & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT May
TERTIARY EDUCATION July
INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY October
ICT & PROCUREMENT 13
COMMUNITIES OF LEARNING
place a robust implementation plan for their next round of achievement goals, which will focus mainly on effective transitions. These goals are to be approved in April next year. Whiria Te Tangata CoL took a similar approach, surveying parents, students and staff to get a sense of the story behind the data. This revealed five important drivers underlying good pedagogy: collaborative teacher efficacy, culturally responsive pedagogy, developing learner agency, powerful connections with whānau, and powerful community connections. The CoL is more focused on these drivers than their achievement challenges. They had a planning meeting with principals and the Ministry to help build the drivers into schools’ annual plans. Every staff member from every school, every BOT member is on board, says Hughes. She also says the Ministry is hugely supportive of this approach. “The Ministry is completely on board. They’ve been fantastic,” agrees Atkinson.
You don’t have to view your achievement challenges in isolation of each other.
Shona Smith says the achievement challenges and their underpinning issues are all interwoven. “A lot of CoL have focused on one aspect, but we’re a big CoL and all these things are things we need to work on and they’re all interrelated.” For example, the CoL’s approach to maths has been through a culturally responsive lens. One of their schools, Holy Cross Primary School, held a maths parents evening in which parents were told, “You’re the experts in your own children – tell us what they’re interested in.” They were soon integrating maths into cooking, sport and music. Similarly, Pukekohe CoL wanted to get a sense of how students truly felt about learning and transition, so they surveyed 2,230 students from year 4 to year 10 about how they learned and how confident they felt about moving between schools. “As a collection of schools we had some preconceived ideas about what the answers were to these things, but we followed the Bernhardt model, which is about not relying on one source.
14 ICT & PROCUREMENT
“We felt it was important to not just accept the majority result. For example, if 80 per cent said that transition wasn’t an issue, then great – but what about the 20 per cent who did?” About half the students who completed the survey commented on the open response section at the end. “We’re conscious of following up on things raised from the survey, otherwise students won’t bother answering next time.” These findings, combined with the data and school scoping, have led to across-schools work streams in the areas of cultural responsive pedagogy, literacy, numeracy, learning support and transition, which each have an impact on each other.
Realise that achieving consistency across schools doesn’t have to mean that schools have to give up their identities.
How does a CoL develop a coherent pedagogical language and ensure smooth transitional pathways between its schools, if everyone is using different systems and terms? Bennett says achieving consistency across schools is a challenge. For example, some schools use PaCT, while others don’t. It isn’t about determining who does it best, he says. “It’s about getting a shared understanding of how each school works. What works for my school may not necessarily be what works for others.” Whiria Te Tangata CoL is about to embark on this challenge. “The schools are autonomous identities – and that is sacrosanct,” says Atkinson. This is top of mind for the CoL as they start thinking about consistency around approaches and systems within the schools. It’s not an easy task. For instance, Hobsonville Point Secondary School doesn’t collect NCEA Level 1 data, but Massey does. Shona Smith said certain areas were harder to find common ground on than others. For their CoL, it was literacy. “We struggled to find our focus because we didn’t have a common tool to talk about writing.”
Nothing exists nationally to serve the purposes they needed; there were some excellent tools used by individual schools but no consistency among them. With the help of Vision Education’s Dr Alison Davis, the CoL spliced the tools all together, alongside The New Zealand Curriculum and literacy learning progressions. “We’re now in the process of translating them into kid-friendly language,” says Smith. “Across the CoL, when we talk to each other about what good pedagogy is, we use the same language. “We anticipate next year will be a transitional year, but the goal is that any time between year 0 and year 10 kids will understand the same language used around literacy.”
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to PLD – choose your provider and method to suit the needs of your CoL.
The Waitakere CoL took a three-layered approach to PLD: a ‘once-over-lightly’ conference once a term, which took a broad brush approach; seminars with specific areas of expertise; and schools could choose which area they wanted to explore in-depth. The majority chose culturally responsive pedagogies. Last year Smith delivered the professional learning along with the across-schools team, but this year they’ve identified three providers for different areas: Cognition Education for culturally responsive pedagogies; Massey University’s Drs Bobbie and Jodie Hunter for maths; and Vision Education’s Alison Davis for literacy. However, Whiria Te Tangata CoL takes a different approach. Hughes says they want to leverage the expertise within the CoL. “Our schools have a lot of knowledge around the areas of numeracy and literacy, so we will tap into that knowledge.”
EDUCATION IN NEW ZEALAND: RESPONDING TO THE DIGITAL CHALLENGE
oday’s world is more digital and fast-paced than any previous generation. And it’s changing at an exponential rate, shaping our homes, our communities, how we live our everyday lives and how we interact with each other. The worldwide demand for skilled people in an increasingly important digital economy far outstrips the skills supply. The challenge for the education sector is to recognise this change and embrace it to ensure today’s learners can be best equipped to thrive and succeed. The OECD’s Education2030 project neatly sums up how the education sector needs to respond to be more future-focused. It challenges us to consider how to support schools and educators to investigate how they and their curricula need to adapt to be able to prepare students for more rapid economic and social change, for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, and to solve problems that were not anticipated in the past. The positioning and content of Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko has been reviewed in The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. As a result, strengthened Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content was developed and to gain feedback the Ministry ran a public consultation process from 28 June to 3 September. Later this year a range of reports that illustrate what we heard and the key themes will be published to conclude the consultation process. From 2018 it is expected that the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content will be available for schools and kura to begin including into their teaching and learning programmes. From 2020 all schools and kura should have integrated it into their local curriculum.
Forming part of the Technology Learning Area and Hangarau Wāhanga Ako, the key ideas for Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko include: understanding the computer science principles that underlie all digital technologies developing computational and algorithmic thinking skills knowing how to develop instructions to control digital technologies and solve problems understanding the digital world, how to use technologies ethically, and the implications of being a digital citizen designing and developing digital outcomes while considering their role and responsibility as digital citizens. Students will benefit from the strengthened Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko content as it will further enrich their skills at problem solving, collaboration and logical thinking. Students will be able to develop the capability and confidence to design and develop digital solutions in response to real-world challenges. The Ministry of Education will also be delivering a package of support for teachers and kaiako from 2018 aimed at lifting capability and confidence needed to effectively teach the new Digital Technologies or Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content. Any updates on the initiatives and the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content will be available from the Ministry’s website: education.govt.nz.
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ICT & PROCUREMENT 15
INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
THIS ARTICLE IS SPONSORED
GETTING HANDS-ON WITH
An innovative app is allowing schools to take charge of designing their learning environments.
odern, innovative, flexible, active – the terminology associated with learning environments can make classroom design and furniture selection a daunting process for schools. But an innovative ‘Classroom Planner’ app is allowing schools to focus on what will work best for their teachers and students. The app, provided by Woods Furniture to schools free of charge, allows schools to experiment with different options for their spaces. Richard Jenkins, general manager at Woods Furniture, says the challenge has always been getting schools to visualise the potential options for their learning environments. So the company approached a business in Lithuania that had developed an effective interior design app that Woods Furniture felt could be adapted for schools. The Classroom Planner app has been up and running since August last year, and is constantly being refined and updated. “We like to work with schools to get them started on the app and then leave them to have a play on their own,” says Jenkins.
16 ICT & PROCUREMENT
The app’s drag and drop function lets teachers experiment with the placement of furniture. “It’s important to make schools accountable for the design of their space,” says Jenkins. Pillans Point School in Tauranga worked closely with Woods Furniture to create different settings within their learning spaces. Assistant principal Christine Shearer says the furniture selection was integral.
“We like to work with schools to get them started on the app and then leave them to have a play on their own.” “We need to have furniture that suits different learning styles and just works well for all children,” she says. Shearer says their learning environment has been beneficial for teachers too. “For the teachers, we have constant professional dialogue. For the children,
it’s wonderful – they can form relationships with four or five different teachers.” Jenkins believes teachers need to be trained to teach in modern learning environments as the reality of two to six teachers teaching in one space can be quite a departure from what they might be used to. He also stresses that furniture choices need to be made carefully, as quality hard furniture lasts a long time, and says schools need to be wary of spending a large chunk of their budgets on soft furnishings, which typically have a much shorter lifespan than hard furnishings. This means not rushing in to buy the latest fad items, and thinking carefully about the flexibility of furniture choices. For example, tables and chairs should be able to be used separately or grouped together in different formations, allowing for both conservative and contemporary teaching uses. Jenkins says there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to designing or fitting out a learning space. “It comes down to the individual school and their priorities,” he says, “The learning environment should be a reflection of a school’s community.”
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Reimagine your learning environment with the Woods Classroom Planner App
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CREATED FOR TEACHERS, BY TEACHERS A4Plus might sound like a strange size for a school exercise book – but not to Kiwi teachers or their students.
eachers involved in the design of the Warwick ‘My Learning’ range of school exercise books suggested that while teachers want an ‘oversized book’ into which they can glue A4 sheets, the current product that was available in the market was too large to fit in a standard Kiwi school bag, let alone a tote tray or storage unit. And so the A4Plus size was chosen. Similarly, teachers spoke up about the time wasted spent dotting every second line manually so that early literacy level students knew to skip a line to give space for corrections and rework. As a result, two of the new Warwick literacy books are second line dotted. It was this level of detail and insider knowledge that informed the specifications for the
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‘My Learning’ range. In designing the range, Croxley Stationery enlisted the expertise of educational consultancy partnership Tools4Teachers, which specialise in the development of classroom resources. Together they engaged two teams of teachers from various year levels and school deciles. Across multiple focus groups, both teams were tasked with reviewing products currently available in the market, with the intention of creating a brief for their perfect literacy, maths and multipurpose exercise books. The result is a series of robust literacy and maths books that suit the needs of New Zealand educators and students. For a start, they’re up to surviving the daily ‘in and out of the book bag’ routine, thanks to fourstaple binding and a durable gloss-laminated front and back cover with paper that’s up to 65 per cent thicker than an average exercise book. The reference material included in each book is relevant and simple; teacher focus groups suggested that bold, overpowering illustration and text might distract students. For example,
My Everyday Exercise Book has a prefix and suffix chart, map of New Zealand and a list of academic words. Similarly, My Literacy Book 1 has beginner learning goals, beginner word cards, days of the week (in English and Māori) and an illustrated alphabet chart, while My Maths Book 1 has beginner addition, doubles, fractions, shapes and even a ‘write and wipe’ digital/analogue clock face. Judging from the initial feedback, it sounds like Kiwi teachers are fans already. “These would be a super-dooper handy tool for kids; great layout and easy to use. I love the fact that they cover so many essential tools for a wide range of learners. Central School New Plymouth would rock these! Being Warwick brand too, they would be very durable!” says Jo Ross, commenting on Facebook. Vanita Narsai from Otahuhu Primary likes the way the books say ‘My’ in their titles. “It makes the students have ownership over their books,” she shares. The range also gets the environmental tick, carrying FSC certification.
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CREATING COMPUTATIONAL THINKERS TRACY HENDERSON discusses the importance of computational thinking in creating with digital technologies.
echnology touches all of our lives, in everything we do, from purchasing items at the supermarket, pumping petrol, tracking our health, to keeping in touch with friends and family and finding out the latest news. However, all of this technology has come about because of hours of planning, problem-solving and communication before a person or team sits down to ‘code’. It is the thinking behind this planning and problem-solving that is the computational thinking being introduced through the new Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko curriculum in 2018. One of the major misconceptions and perceptions about students in our school system is that because our students are digital natives and that technology is getting easier to use, our students don’t need to learn about this. The reality is they are great consumers of technology, but don’t necessarily have the computational thinking skills to be great creators of technology. The term ‘computational thinking’ has been around for many years and there are different ways of expressing it. The UK Computing at School (CAS) computational thinking model provides a practical model for classroom settings, although it is useful to tie this to actual lesson plans to see how it plays out in the classroom. For example, the CSUnplugged.org website has explanations
of what computational thinking is, how it relates to each topic and lesson, as well as examples of what you could look for in student responses. This is designed to support teachers to increase their knowledge of computational thinking. The process of finding a solution that can be turned into a computer program is described on CS Unplugged.org as follows: Describe a problem. Identify the important details needed to solve this problem. Break the problem down into small, logical steps. Use these steps to create a process (algorithm) that solves the problem. Evaluate this process. What makes computational thinking different from other planning and organisation tools and systems is that the types of processes that can be designed are limited to instructions that can be followed by a computational device such as a smartphone, desktop computer or special purpose digital device like an alarm system. Although this restricts what can be done, it also has great benefits; for example, the same device can be used for multiple purposes simply by changing the software, and the software is very easy to distribute. It also tends to be very low cost, despite being able to deal with large amounts of data at very high speeds.
When computational thinking is bypassed or ignored during the planning process for writing computer programs, students tend to produce things like Spritefests (where in the programming language Scratch, many students create programs that use simple features that demonstrate that they have tinkered with the programming language, but there is no real purpose to the end product). A teacher’s role is to empower students to be able to produce programs that solve a given problem, rather than put together something that is restricted to a few tools that they have taught themselves. Computational thinking is the underlying process of solving problems where the solution is implemented in a programming language for a digital device. A teacher’s role is to ask the relevant questions to support the student’s problem solving by questioning if a step can be broken down into smaller parts (decomposition), or asking what steps are needed to complete the tasks (algorithmic thinking). Teachers can observe when students discover patterns or trends in solving the problem and can have a conversation about the logic applied to the solution. Teachers who are applying computational thinking into their classrooms are finding that the students that hadn’t yet found what they are successful at are leading the computational
Year 4 and 5 students exploring binary numbers and how digital numbers are stored in computers. They are using their computational thinking to create their own codes.
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thinking discussions. When teaching using a computational thinking approach, teachers are also mentioning that these new strategies and skills are supporting students to have higher success in other curriculum areas. They are moving away from seeing programming languages like Scratch as being just for animation and are creating meaningful solutions to everyday problems by applying computational thinking to these. Another important skill for students in this context is debugging their programs – it is unusual for a program to work correctly the first time, and students need to develop an ethos of testing their programs thoroughly, and celebrate finding and removing bugs. Teachers can support this by asking questions to help them find the bugs in their programs, such as “What is actually happening on your screen?”, “What did you expect to happen on your screen?”, and “What does your code say to do?”. Learning to find bugs supports students to build their perseverance and resilience, and also develops valuable problem-solving skills. Often the reaction to introducing CT is to buy new gadgets, but all of the activities above can be done using nothing more than everyday classroom resources plus access to a programming language in a web browser. The focus of computational thinking and the new digital technologies curriculum is on understanding how to be creators of technology, rather than consumers. It’s an opportunity for everyone to be informed citizens, where teachers and students understand the difference between coding (the act of typing in the code) and programming (using computational thinking to create a solution that can be coded), and the concerns surrounding the new issues that this new way of problem-solving can bring up, including artificial intelligence, data privacy and digital security. This is a new subject for teachers and there is a growing network of like-minded educators coming together through NZACDITT (the teachers’ subject association for Digital Technologies, soon to be renamed DTTA) that supports and shares ideas and successes with teachers in secondary, kura kaupapa and primary school settings. Computational thinking helps students to develop a new skillset that is increasingly relevant for our digital society and for careers in a future that is likely to involve more and more automation. The new curriculum should not be confused with just ‘coding’ and using gadgets; it supports the key competencies, including communication and collaboration, and it is about empowering students to understand our digital world.
The new curriculum should not be confused with just ‘coding’ and using gadgets; it supports the key competencies, including communication and collaboration, and it is about empowering students to understand our digital world.
A new entrant class learns to program a Kidbot to a desired destination by following arrows.
Tracy Henderson is from the Computer Science Education Research Group, University of Canterbury.
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THE BYOD DEBATE:
WHICH DEVICE IS BEST? ANNIE GRAHAM-RILEY collates school, student, parent and industry perspectives on what devices tick the right boxes for teaching, learning, functionality, affordability and durability.
s schools prepare for the new Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko curriculum, many are reviewing their students’ access to technological devices and what tools they need for 21st century learning. Some schools have sufficient funding to provide students with a device and this is being made more accessible through lending schemes such as Cyclone’s Parent Leasing Programmes. Others have utilised grant or trust money to boost their stock of devices. However, many schools are finding that, without a surplus left over in the kitty, a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scheme is the best solution. In contemplating a BYOD scheme, schools and parents are faced with the big questions: Which device is best to prepare our tamariki for a digital future? How will these devices be funded? How can we best use these devices?
A SCHOOL’S PERSPECTIVE
Students at Tahatai Coast School in the Bay of Plenty are currently able to bring to school only Apple devices. This ties in with Tahatai’s Apple Distinguished Program and the school uses the Apple ecosystem (iOS and OSX). To supplement the school’s stock of iPads and computers, parents are encouraged to provide their children with iPads and are encouraged to ensure the purchased iPad is, at least, Apple’s newly released ‘base’ model. This comprises a 9.7 inch screen, Wifi and has a memory of 32gb or 128gb. There are, of course, other more expensive models with more gigs of memory, but parents are left to make the decision for themselves whether or not
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they wish to purchase a more superior model. Parents are then provided with a list of free and purchasable apps that are required on each iPad. Tahatai Coast teacher Shona Poppe believes it’s paramount that the applications suggested are based on the students creating content, rather than simply consuming, alleviating any parent worries that the iPads are being used as a ‘babysitter’ in class. The following reasons have been deciding factors as to why iPads are currently the device of choice: Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is used to encourage collaboration and any resources created can be shared by using Airdrop. GAFE can essentially replace all word processing tools available on PC, with data then stored in a student’s Google Drive for remote access. The iPad has built-in assistive technology features such as speech-to-text, predictive text, spelling checker and guided access. Coded projects can be easily created by accessing Scratch (scratch.mit.edu) through the Puffin browser while junior students benefit from apps such as Lightbot, Beebots, Scratch Junior, Hopscotch, Cargobot and Daisy the Dinosaur. Storytelling, publishing and presenting is accessible using apps such as Draw and Tell, Explain Everything and Book Creator. It is worth noting that the school is considering the possibility of changing its ‘Apple only’ policy and allowing students to bring other devices to school, taking into account the affordability of devices for parents, what is needed at the various year levels, and what students will need as they transition to the next level of schooling.
A STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVE
Jess and Toby are year 6 students at Havelock North Primary School, which encourages the use of devices from year 4 onwards. Like Tahatai Coast School, a voluntary buy-in means parents have no obligation to purchase a device for their child and the classrooms are equipped with additional devices, including PCs, Chromebooks and iPads, to ensure no child is marginalised. Havelock North Primary School currently encourages parents to purchase a Chromebook, which Jess and Toby both speak highly about. “It’s much easier to have your own Chromebook. So you can have all your own work on it and it doesn’t go missing,” says Jess. Toby adds to his classmate’s sentiment and describes the Chromebook’s ability to ‘do-away’ with traditional books and the administration issues this can cause: “You can just grab your device rather than going around the class and getting five different books.” Toby refers to the Google Drive as being an important system used in class, meaning their work is saved remotely and can be accessed anywhere, and from any device. Both children agree that iPads, which are also available in their classrooms, are used largely for filming and taking photographs and compiling them on simple applications. They say that, if given the choice, they would choose Chromebooks over both iPads and traditional PCs because “they’re easier to use”.
A PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE
As a parent at Havelock North Primary School, Kerrin also speaks positively about the Chromebook.
She says that the feedback from parents was “absolutely positive … it’s also not forced [by the school] so children don’t feel left out if they haven’t got one because there are other devices in the classroom”. Concurrently, her son’s attitude towards learning with the use of a Chromebook reassures her that purchasing the assistive technology has been a worthwhile investment . “I just can’t believe how quickly they learn to use them. He hates not having it at school. He’s absolutely positive about using it; he would rather have his Chromebook than do his work on his [laptop] computer,” she says. The following factors have contributed to Havelock North Primary School’s decision to recommend Chromebooks as part of their BYOD scheme: Price: newer model Acer Chromebooks are currently retailing below $400 (a price range which Kerrin described as manageable, and probably her limit). Battery life: Chromebooks are currently made to last 13 hours when fully charged, meaning they don’t need to be charged during a school day.
Portability: the size and durability of the Chromebook means it can be transported in a backpack and brought to and from school each day.
AN INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE
Graham Prentice, a former school principal and BOT chair is now the general manager of Cyclone Computers. Prentice is aware of the dilemma that schools face when recommending parents purchase devices for their children. “Schools do not have the resources to stay current with the technologies, at the number required, to ensure that student access is available when they are required, as part of their learning,” he says. Whilst leasing devices through companies such as Cyclone is an option, BYOD is often seen as a solution for schools endeavouring to keep up with the demand for digital devices and a digital pedagogy. “As educators, we should not wait for whatever handout may come from government, but rather take initiatives to make it happen locally now,” he adds. Prentice believes the selected device is actually less important than the learning context in which it is placed and that individual schools
need to select the ‘best fit’ for their needs and the needs of their students. Prentice says that Chromebooks, iPads and laptops all have their place in the education system but could not pick a clear winner, instead stating that the decision to recommend a device should be closely tied to learning outcomes. He adds that it is critical to include students in the decision-making process. He outlined the following considerations: Importance of collaboration (student to student, student to teacher, teacher to parent/ caregiver). Use of multimedia creation capability for student learning/communication. Coding and how that may feature with new curriculum introduction. Specific apps for class integration and sharing. Input: keyboard or not/use of interactive screens. After this, other variables may include device cost and specifications, after sales service/warranty/ insurance, peripheral use (interaction with 3D printers, cameras, drones), and local teaching expertise.
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GAMING – IS THERE A PLACE FOR IT IN EDUCATION? Do Minecraft and Roblox really help kids to learn? JODY HOPKINSON looks at whether computer games have a place in Kiwi classrooms.
igital New Zealand 2018 studied 807 New Zealand households and 2,288 individuals, revealing that games play a fundamental role in how we learn. More than half – 59 per cent – of parents reported that their children have used video games for curriculum learning activities, compared with 38 per cent in 2016. Seven out of 10 parents believe games can be effective for teaching students. “We have also seen a significant uptake of games in schools and the workplace. Games play a fundamental role in how we connect, stay healthy, and learn,” said lead author of the report and Professor of Communication and Media at Bond University Dr Jeff Brand. Just a few years ago, coding classes were the domain of just the techy kids. However, the latest research shows us that technology and gaming in particular is now an integral part of our day to day lives, says Brand. “This research gives us the data to support the anecdotes that we hear every day. The medium has been accepted and normalised. Moreover, because they’re so engaging and enjoyable, we’re seeing games move to serve uses beyond entertainment in education, health and business training. That’s where the medium gets really exciting.” Digital New Zealand 2018 is the fifth study in a series of national research that began in 2009. The report, which is based on national random sample, looks at the
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demographics of Kiwis who play games, play habits, behaviours and attitudes. Brand points to a worrying statistic that girls are playing 60 minutes a day and boys 110 minutes. “This is, we think, because we are socialised to be more tolerant of boys gaming. This can be to the detriment of girls who may fall behind in such a digitalised age. Conversely, the study shows that boys are much more likely to play games that are popular but not as educational. “We need to encourage boys away from playing games that are fashionable like car racing games and encourage them towards playing games with a purpose which is what girls do. The girls play games which require a lot more reading, have a lot more text. This is worrying when we know boys are behind girls in reading and comprehension.” Digital teacher at Arataki Primary School in Mount Maunganui Terry Jones uses the likes of Minecraft and Roblox in his classroom a lot. “It teaches real-life problem solving. It teaches you how to fail then get on and try again. It allows a back and forth in communication between the children. You can be teaching measurements in hard copy then go online and make the measurements fit in the digital setting. Using games in the class needs to be done properly though – teachers need to have a real understanding of what they want to achieve with the games, not just throw the games at them.” Even the issue of safety online – often viewed as the downside of our increasingly digital world – can be turned into a learning experience, says Jones. “I talk to them about ethics. To the girls about Music.ly – a music miming site, I tell them to make their account private and only friend people you know. As a class
we talk about a poop emoji and how it can mean nothing to one person, but something completely different to another.” Gaming can be a real way for parents to engage with their children’s learning, says Brand. “When I hear of parents who don’t game with their kids I think it’s a tragedy; it’s a missed opportunity. Children and parents only have this very small window of engagement with each other. “If their children express an interest in that book I would like to think the parents would read it with them. The same goes for technology. A great way to connect with children is to show an interest in the child’s gaming life and say, tell me more about this – show me how to play it.” Christchurch-based parent Peter Rutherford and his partner allow their two boys, aged nine and 11, just one hour a week on the iPad or computer. “For us, time on technology is given as a treat not as an expectation.” When the boys do play, Rutherford says they aim to make it an active engagement rather than a passive experience like watching TV. “They read books written by old hands of Minecraft, which helps develop their online skills. This relates to the Vgotsky theory of learning, which is when a child is shown how to do something, then is guided while doing it and then has learnt how to do it.” Gaming prepares kids for life, says Jones. “We no longer need skills for the jobs from the industrial age. Gaming helps children to problem solve, to communicate with one another, to take real-life examples, apply them in the digital sphere, then reapply them to real life. For me, using gaming in the classroom also means having a good time in class. And that’s what learning is.”
ASIAN KIDS IN AOTEAROA: THE CHALLENGES THEY FACE A new report by the Asia New Zealand Foundation finds maintaining cultural knowledge and language skills is a challenge for the growing number of under-five Asian children in New Zealand.
he report Starting Strong: Nurturing the potential of Asian under-fives looks at the rapidly increasing Asian under-five population, their home environment, as well as the response of Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres to this changing demographic. “It is important to recognise the benefits of having these children with diverse languages and cultures growing up in New Zealand given Asia’s growing relevance,” says Simon Draper, executive director of Asia New Zealand Foundation. Almost one in five children under five in New Zealand are now of Asian ethnicity. Between 2001 and 2013, this demographic almost doubled from 18,378 to 35,898. While families of Asian ethnicity in New Zealand place great importance on their heritage, culture and language, researchers say parents notice that as soon as children start school, English becomes the main language at home and their heritage language is used less. “We hear from employers that New Zealand’s present and future workforce needs to be confident and competent in engaging with Asia and Asian peoples,” says Draper. “This report tells us children are entering our school system with a head start – bringing cultural knowledge and language skills that will be a real advantage when they enter the workforce 15–20 years from now. “What are we collectively doing to grow and nurture these skills? What are we doing to encourage their friends and classmates to learn from them? This is not about choosing one
language over another. There is no reason these children cannot learn English and at the same time retain their heritage language,” he says.
THE OTHER BOOKEND OF THE SCHOOLING SYSTEM
maintain the skills of our Asian under-fives as they enter the education system?” says Draper.
In July this year, the Foundation released a related report on the Asia engagement of school leavers – the other end of the schooling system. Losing Momentum shows only eight per cent of senior secondary students are ‘Asia-ready’ and six out of 10 did not consider Asia-related skills and knowledge important for New Zealand’s future workforce.
“This report tells us children are entering our school system with a head start – bringing cultural knowledge and language skills that will be a real advantage when they enter the workforce 15–20 years from now.” “Our data suggests that our education system, whānau and communities are not doing enough to support the development of Asia-related skills for our school leavers. We invested in Starting Strong because we wanted to get a clearer picture on what was happening at the beginning of the education pipeline – what are we doing to
According to Starting Strong, Asian parents consider it their responsibility to teach their child their heritage culture and language. They do not expect ECE centres to do this. Researchers also found that many Asian parents requested that English be spoken at ECE centres, even when bilingual teachers were available. Parents believe English fluency is essential for children making a smooth transition to school.
While ECE centres acknowledge the importance of retaining children’s heritage languages and cultures, the report says there are barriers in this process including constraints on time, resources and availability of bilingual teachers.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
“Together with officials, providers, the community, the families, and other key stakeholders in the ECE sector, we need to come up with a deliberate and coordinated approach to ensure the language skills and cultural understanding of these children are not lost,” Draper adds. Data shows there is widespread support for children speaking more than one language. Draper says the adoption of a National Languages Policy would assist in growing a ‘languages culture’ within New Zealand where children speak more than one language, as it is in majority of countries in the world.
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CURIOUS AND CREATIVE
– THE NEW WAVE OF 21C KIWI KIDS How are schools, teacher educators and industry looking to equip our young people with the skills and competencies they’re going to need for the future? By JUDE BARBACK.
ducation is at a fascinating juncture as it attempts to break free from its shackles of rote learning and content acquisition to embrace the 21st century skills that advocates believe schools need to teach to help students thrive in today’s – and tomorrow’s – world. The arrival of Auckland-based start-up 21C Skills Lab is challenging schools to think about what they’re teaching and how it relates to the jobs and workplaces of the future.
21C SKILLS LAB
The 21C Skills Lab was set up to encourage New Zealand’s education system to recognise the importance of the new 21st century skill set – including skills like tenacity, creativity, curiosity and a growth mindset – as being necessary to thrive in the new world of work. “The future of work is going to look very different, and we must be ready,” says co-founder Justine Munro. “We are heading into a world where many New Zealanders will have outdated skills, susceptible to automation and off-shoring, and are not well matched to new and emerging jobs. “We know employers view these social and emotional skills as just as important as technical skills,” says Munro. At a recent 21C Skills Lab event, chief executive of Callaghan Innovation Vic Crone, and chief executive of Genesis Energy Marc England were in agreement about the importance of the 21st century skill set. They described, from an employer’s perspective, the importance of arming young people with social and emotional competencies for the workplace. Munro thinks New Zealand’s education system is ripe for such an approach. She points to its flexible assessment system, its great curriculum with its key competencies, and its motivated and capable teacher workforce.
in the teacher education curriculum than I am the views of industry and special interest groups. “It is profoundly sad in my view that education is increasingly seen as valuable only when it offers preparation for paid work, rather than preparation for active lifelong citizenship. “Indeed if we take the predictions of workforce futurists seriously we should be preparing young people for a complex portfolio career that includes work, leisure and unemployment.” Massey’s teacher education programmes place emphasis on ‘service learning’ in which students work as volunteers in community and NGO settings.
Munro sees teacher education providers playing a role in all of this. She wants to see teacher education programmes include two-week industry fellowships so that aspiring teachers can spend time getting to grips with the realities of the modern workplace and the demands of employers. However, Massey University’s Professor John O’Neill believes teacher education should reflect the needs and wants of young people, rather than employers. “I must admit to being far more interested in what children and young people would like to see
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“We know employers view these social and emotional skills as just as important as technical skills.”
“This provides an experience of contributing to community building which arguably is just as important as experience of work in the waged workplace,” explains O’Neill.
ASSESSING SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS
21C Skills Lab has partnered with US organisation ACT to bring to New Zealand the Tessera assessment system, which allows schools to measure and assess social and emotional competencies such as tenacity, responsibility, teamwork, curiosity, leadership and resilience. Evidence shows these competencies are enablers for life and work success.
In the Tessera assessment, students make judgements on how they are likely to respond to hypothetical situations. An example question asks students to describe how they will react to performing poorly in a maths test, for which they studied very hard. Will they focus on the questions they got wrong? Will they compare their result to others? Will they put it down to a fluke bad test and do nothing? There is no right or wrong answer, yet the answers are very telling about the competencies students possess. New Zealand is the first country outside of the United States to use Tessera. The programme was customised for New Zealand and is currently being piloted in 12 Auckland secondary and intermediate schools and tertiary organisations – however the aim is to expand it to every intermediate and secondary school in New Zealand by 2021. Schools that have the Tessera data now are at the stage of early analysis. Munro says schools might focus on a particular area, like conscientiousness. Or they might focus on a group of students, for example those that show tenacity.
LYNFIELD COLLEGE’S EXPERIENCE
Lynfield College is participating in the pilot. Deputy principal Steve Mouldey is a strong advocate for incorporating 21s -century competencies into their learning. “As a school we do well academically, however we have a growing interest in what students need. The skills that 21C Skills Lab put an emphasis on mirrored those that were raised by our community.” The school was in the process of reviewing its learning charter, looking specifically at the learning values of their students. With the curriculum as the backdrop, it incorporated the views of its students, parents and teachers. “At the point where we were about to release an updated version of the learning charter, we came across the 21C Skills Lab. It was good timing. It just made sense. It was a good fit with our learning values.” The school set up Tessera testing for Y9 and Y10 students with 520 students completing the assessment The test results have shown that overall, Lynfield students are doing well. However, it has also
indicated areas they need to work on. Mouldey says further data crunching will reveal correlations between the findings and things like attendance, ethnicity and academic performance. It’s already proving useful at the individual level. The Tessera test gave the chance for students to report on issues, which has opened the door to mentoring conversations and goal setting with students. The Tessera findings and related analysis will also feed into their Community of Learning discussions around the Lynfield Graduate. Mouldey anticipates the intermediates will be interested in the findings. He’s mindful of the test’s limitations, particularly that it is a one-off test on one day of the year. “You could never use it in isolation,” he says. Mouldey says Lynfield staff have really bought into the process with three heads of faculty and their SENCO all putting their hands up to be involved as well as the school’s middle leaders. “This indicates to me that there is some real power in this.”
IS NEW ZEALAND’S EDUCATION SYSTEM REALLY THAT FUTURE-FOCUSED? The inaugural Worldwide Educating for the Future Index found that New Zealand has the most future-focused education system in the world. But local experts have questioned whether this is an accurate reflection. Education Review asks NZCER about what their research shows about our education system and whether it is really that future-focused.
Education Review: What are the most important components of any education system when it comes to preparing our young people for the future – and to what extent do you think New Zealand is achieving this? NZCER: The question triggers broader questions of definition and purpose. Are we educating for a particular economic future? Or a set of environmental or social indicators? How do we characterise the future? Are we educating for individual and collective benefit? The story about Makara Model School is an example of future-focused learning – where students gain from contributing and building new knowledge, or constructing or changing something in their environment, or a locality project that creates benefit for their environment. When we think about these questions, we come back to the paradox of preparing learners for the unknown future at the same time as delivering education in a system has made assumptions about what learners will need for that future. NZCER thinks The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) is in line with the global trend towards competencybased frameworks. NZC provides one of the strongest frameworks internationally for weaving through the capabilities that are identified as future-focused – critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and communication. We haven’t backed it as well as we should for existing
teachers; we will need more innovative approaches to initial teacher education too. One of many challenges for the curriculum, and the teachers who deliver it, is to balance developing competencies within individuals and teaching knowledge in specific subject areas.
ER: How do we encourage and enable teachers to embrace a future-focused outlook? NZCER: We have researched and contributed to programmes and initiatives that are exploring this question. Without looking at specific programmes, we can generalise to say teachers for the 21st century need to think differently to those who have taught before. This puts big demands on teachers and those who train them. As well as thinking differently, teachers must be able to work in different kinds of classrooms, with technologies that are evolving. So even if we think of teaching as being purely about disciplinary knowledge, new ways of analysing and sharing knowledge means teachers face increasing demands and expectations. We hope you will put this question to the Education Council and the Colleges of Education. ER: What do you think we need to improve on? Where next for New Zealand education? NZCER: We suggest a future-focused education system is one that allows every learner to engage in lifelong learning. This applies to teachers as much as to learners, because the demands on teachers will continue to change. Additionally, we believe there is scope for the New Zealand system to increase and improve the alignment between schools, tertiary education, and workplace learning.
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MANAGING ADHD IN THE CLASSROOM JODY HOPKINSON talks to a clinical psychologist, a teacher and parents about what teachers can do to help Kiwi kids with ADHD in the classroom.
hile ADHD is well known, it is all too often not well understood. Misinformation and a lack of information means children with the condition, often co-occurring with dyslexia and oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), are regularly stigmatised, says clinical psychologist Dr Sarah Watson. Dr Watson is a clinical child and adolescent psychologist. At her Auckland private practice, Totally Psyched, she works with children and families and provides teachers with professional development, strategies and ideas about what works best for their classrooms. “As a result of ADHD, children have ways of behaving which can impede the child’s ability to learn in school and isolate them in relation to other students because of things like not waiting their turn, over talking and having a limited idea of what is personal space, for instance,” she explains. ADHD is a neurological condition that affects the way the brain receives, processes and responds to information. It is divided into three sub-types: the inattentive type (formerly called ADD) which is
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characterised by inattention to detail, not listening when spoken to and being slow to process information; the hyperactive-impulsive type which is characterised by moving and fidgeting, talking nonstop, and acting without thinking through the consequences; and the combined type which features some or all of the inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive characteristics. Students with ADHD can it find challenging to settle into class and stay on track, grasp and retain information, and they may find it difficult to regulate their emotions and to make friends and socialise, explains Watson. “Research has shown that kids with ADHD don’t feel things more intensely than other kids – it’s that the frontal cortex of the brain takes longer to develop, so those kids’ ability to self-soothe is behind, their need for rewards and reminders greater and they tend to live in the ‘right now’.” Children with ADHD can often display a number of strengths including persistence, creativity, enterprise and a willingness to take risks. They can also exhibit leadership abilities, empathy, sensitivity and a good sense of humour.
“Research has shown the ADHD brain is structurally different. It can be that the prefrontal cortex is more immature. It’s the last part of the brain to mature. With some, that can change over time and improve through adolescence so they would no longer meet criteria for ADHD; for others it matures more through adulthood; while for others it will improve but they still have symptoms in adulthood.” Fortunately there are many tools and strategies which can help teachers bring out the beauty of their ADHD kids so they can get along better with their friends and be a proactive and happy member of the class. “I tell teachers to find out what is a child’s BIGGEST impediment? If the teacher tries to solve everything, it can be really overwhelming, so focus on the top three things. So what is one of the biggest things that gets in the way of multiple areas? One frequent example is with the kids who are really wiggly and wriggly, especially for the younger ones, it causes a lot of aggravation like standing on people when they’re walking across the mat, or touching other people.”
“Research has shown the ADHD brain is structurally different. It can be that the prefrontal cortex is more immature. It’s the last part of the brain to mature.” Students with ADHD can miss that they are in someone else’s personal space and not being aware of others doing their work, for example, says Watson. “So use the personal hula hoop. Literally, give each child a hula hoop and walk around the room and as they bump into each other they begin to see how much space each person carries around them and to be more mindful of that. That way when you see one of the student’s impinging on another’s space you can say “hula hoop” and they’ll register.” Apparatus support tools can be wobble cushions and wobble stools for those who need physiological feedback. These are inflated stools with a dimple in the bottom so it is convex so they can quite easily sit there and wobble but not be in anyone else’s space. The wobbling can help their memory to focus and allows them to wiggle without bothering anyone else. Constant reminders to “keep still” are unhelpful and tiring for both teachers and children. The wobble stools can lead to long-term behaviour modification. Watson also suggests sitting children with ADHD at the front of the room so they are less likely to get distracted. “Teachers can have the invisible string that links their eyes to yours so when you see them getting distracted say ‘I want to see the invisible string between you and me’ – like the Robert de Niro fingers to eyes ‘look at me, look at me’ concept. Just a reminder brings the kid back.” Watson says that physiologically kids with ADHD are unable to sustain their attention for long spells so she suggests other strategies like ‘chunking’, ‘body breaks’ and ‘brain breaks’. “Fatigue exacerbates loss of behaviour control, so doing little bits of work a little bit at a time, giving the child the chance to run outside, or a break by taking something to the office, helps. For some kids with ADHD they find being still is like torture.” The ADHD brain needs to be rewarded straight away – the end of the week or even the day won’t work, says Watson. “If you think about a toddler they have to have everything right now. The ADHD brain is in ‘the now’. The reward part of the brain takes longer to develop and mature. I don’t know how many times a parent has told me sticker charts don’t work but if used the right way – you want this then provide it straight away - it’s an immediate reinforce. “Giving ADHD kids a large piece of work will make them feel overwhelmed and they’re not going to be able to do all that. So I suggest giving them worksheets for homework and literally cut the worksheets up physically so you have got it in many bits. And then get the parents to do it over
three nights with the child and say, ‘do this, and THEN we’re going to the park’. “The ADHD child needs reminders. Constant reprimands are demoralising and demotivating. Reminders encourage and are supportive. If they’ve been told off a lot it is very natural to become defensive – they either internalise it and become anxious or externalise it and become really angry. Often for those who are either inattentive hyperactive or emotionally under controlled just being believed and validated is the most important thing.” One couple with first-hand experience in this area are Rachel and Andy Fowler of Pongakawa in the Bay of Plenty. The eldest of their three sons, Tom, was diagnosed at age six with dyslexia with an “indication of ADHD”.
“If the teacher tries to solve everything, it can be really overwhelming, so focus on the top three things.” “He never ended up doing really naughty things but he was always just doing things! We had some wonderful support from Dr Leila Masson. We thought we had a relatively healthy household with me making home-cooked meals but she gave us an insight into how eliminating food with numbers in them could really help Tom’s behaviour. Even now, if he has a chip with barbecue flavouring on it, we notice how quickly his pupils dilate and he goes up the wall.” While extremely helpful, the change in diet was not enough and it was after an RTLB told the couple that Tom was a child “literally climbing the walls” that they went for an assessment. This came out as ADHD combined hyperactive and inattentive. The couple, while on the required 18-week parenting course, decided to try Tom on Ritalin. The results were automatic. “He’s not the naughty kid anymore and now he can learn. He can focus. Tom had always been reasonably self-assured and confident, but he had begun to lose faith in himself and think he was a bit of a doongy at school. “On Ritalin, he was able to learn and focus, and very quickly he went up two reading years. He notices the difference. He likes how he feels on it and he says he’s ‘clear’ and there’s not a ‘fog’. School is not set up for boys and not set up for boys with ADHD, and to assist, the teachers need strategies. With Whaea Sherree it was her patience and her belief in him and us as a family. We needed some help to back him and she did that 110 per cent.”
If Dr Watson was looking for an example of how best to help kids with ADHD achieve in the classroom she need look no further than Tom’s former teacher at Pongakawa School, Whaea Sherree Clarke who now teaches Years 5 and 6 at Arataki Primary School in Mount Maunganui. “I have three principles. I create self-belief, I use creative licence – I interpret the curriculum in creative ways – and I have patience – it’s important to remember that all the students will get there in the end. “I do believe in my students. I have high expectations of them. I tell them ‘I believe in you’. Some of the kids I teach have high trials and tribulations and that is huge in their learning. Creativity helps them to manage that. “I have cush balls in the class which help my kinaesthetic learners who self-regulate through their hands. It’s not that they WANT to play with the balls – it’s that they NEED to. With the kids who need help with self-regulation I use gentle touch; I use their first name and touch their shoulder. I say, ‘I can see what you’re doing. I can see that you’re focused’. “I’ll say, ‘It’s great to see that you are using paragraphs in your writing’ when the child isn’t and then he starts using them straight away! I learnt a lot from Incredible Years for Teaching. I use colour coding a lot, in their books, everything. Their timetable is all visual. “With maths assessment, I have to remember it’s not about them reading about maths, it’s about them doing well at the actual maths. They get overwhelmed and I need to be mindful of that. I give frequent brain breaks and I make the learning fun.” Clarke says a part of teaching is keeping the parents upbeat so they feel successful too. “For me teaching is a three way partnership between the student, me and the parents. I regularly touch base with my students’ families and have frequent phone calls home about positive things. Then if I do have to make a call that’s tricky I’m doing so after 10 good conversations.” Does she remember her pupil Tom from Pongakawa School? “Oh Tom, he is such a beautiful boy, so lovely. I just saw him blossom. It’s something I’ll never forget as a teacher. I loved the phone calls home about him. I’d get off the phone and have a moment as a teacher and as a person to celebrate, to watch him transform his life… it transformed my life and learning. “One day is never the same as the other. It’s good to change it up or it gets boring. And nobody likes boring!” she laughs.
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10 GLOBAL EDUCATION INNOVATIONS TO INSPIRE KIWI EDUCATORS An artificial intelligence programme to detect dyslexia, a crowd-sourcing educational tool for projectbased learning, and an app aimed to support teenagers with stress and anxiety are just some of the inspiring global education innovations that could work in New Zealand.
undrED, a Finnish programme focused on finding and sharing innovations in education from around the world, recently released its 100 Global Inspiring Innovations of 2017. HundrED’s in-house research team analysed over 1,000 innovations to find out if they were addressing a problem from a new perspective, if they provided real impact, and if they could work somewhere else and be scaled. The 100 selected innovations span 41 countries. Here are 10 innovations from this list that Kiwi educators may want to adopt in their schools.
COUNTRY: FINLAND 1MEHACKIT
What is it? A programme that give students the opportunity to create something personal with technology, allowing them to see technology and their own technological ability in a new way. The goal is to make creating and building technology as easy and natural as using technology is today. Mehackit also breaks down prejudices associated with people working in the tech industry and gives students new role models. The courses are already used in over 60 high schools in the Nordic countries. The study unit teaches young people how to build technology and program in creative ways. Mehackit’s course material also offers teachers the opportunity to learn how to teach similar courses in the future. “Mehackit wants to increase equality and self-confidence by providing everyone with the opportunity to experiment with building technology with their own hands” – Heini Karppinen, CEO, Mehackit
“YES” THE DEFAULT COUNTRY: AUSTRALIA 2 MAKE
has to be answered “Yes” unless it will take too much time, too much money, or has a negative impact on someone else. This has given enormous scope for all members of the school’s community to take control of their own learning and anything that affects them at school. “At Templestowe College we don’t want kids to be endlessly preparing for the future. We want them to create and live this future now!” – Peter Hutton, principal, strategic development
COUNTRY: UNITED KINGDOM 3 MEETWO
What is it? Meetwo is an app which provides an early intervention support solution to the problem of teenage stress and anxiety. The app was created by a psychologist and an educational technologist in collaboration with teenagers from schools in England. The young people involved wanted a discrete, easy-to-access service on their phones that was as quick and simple to use as social media platforms such as Twitter. Peer support is at the core of the app. Users can ask any question, but a 300-character limit demands focus. Other users can reply with advice or ideas, or click the ‘MeeTwo’ button to say that they share the same problems. This reassures young people that they are not alone. Young people are also able to submit artwork, longer written pieces or photography to express their feelings. “I didn’t feel I could tell my friends about my panic attacks. But with MeeTwo, within a few hours of posting you get several replies from people who might say, ‘Yes, I have that same thing, here’s what I try.’ You get help with your problem, but you also get to help others by replying to their problems, which makes you feel better too” – Phoebe, aged 15
What is it? Templestowe College has a ‘“Yes” is the default’ policy, which means that any request or suggestion from a student, parent or staff member
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A STUDENT CHALLENGE COUNTRY: USA 4 SHADOW
What is it? Shadowing a student gives the opportunity to understand school from a student’s perspective by immersing fully in the experience of being a student for the day. Leaders start by seeing school through their student’s eyes, identifying meaningful opportunities to improve the school experience for the students, and then taking action to create change at their school site. This is organised into four steps: prep, shadow, reflect, and act. Shadowing a student embodies the idea of ‘walking in another’s shoes’ and can push leaders to challenge assumptions and establish deeper insights. It is an immersive experience in observation. While school leaders spend much time in classrooms throughout their school day, it’s often for just a few minutes at a time. What is missed is how these moments play into the whole student day. It gives staff an opportunity to understand the experience of those students who may be underserved or at the margins of school culture. “Take an empathy deep dive. Shadow a student to see what school is really like for your students” – Peter Worth, Shadow a Student
COUNTRY: RUSSIA 5 GLOBALLAB
What is it? An educational tool that takes the premise of project-based learning and expands the scope for data collection from the classroom to the whole world. In project-based learning, students can draw data and information only from their immediate surroundings and are unable to know whether different answers would be found elsewhere in the world. Over the past three years, GlobalLab has built up a platform of projects on a variety of topics and subjects such as literature, science and psychology. Students from all over the world can
contribute to these and can use the data gathered in their own studies. Both GlobalLab and students can make suggestions for projects. Groups can then collaborate to work on the project and gain a truly global perspective on an issue, topic or problem. “We built GlobalLab as a new type of educational tool that utilises crowd sourcing to foster the skills of problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration” – Tatsiana Krupa, president, GlobalLab
COUNTRY: BELGIUM 6 SCIENTIX
What is it? Scientix gives teachers an easy-to-use online portal, which has inputs from experts in specific subjects, so they can teach their students the most up-to-date ideas and work in their chosen field. It can be difficult to share best practices and new information about STEM education in an easy way. By showing students how the subjects they are studying can be applied in real life and the usefulness of what they are learning, it increases students’ personal motivation and engagement in class. Access to real-world examples and science activities can help to achieve this. “Thanks to our supporters, Scientix is now able to provide a platform to get the knowledge flowing: to ensure that no project works alone, that no STEM centre or organisation has to start from scratch, that no teacher faces unaided the hard but most needed task of getting kids to know, like and dream about science” – Dr Àgueda GrasVelázquez, project manager of Scientix, science programme manager at European Schoolnet
SPACE DESIGN LABS COUNTRY: DENMARK 7 LEARNING
What is it? Autens, a leading Danish education consultancy, runs Learning Space Design Labs for educators. In these workshops, all staff come together to co-create a new learning environment on the basis of a shared vision for learning. Staff have the freedom to think, play and create together
provides useful data for schools and districts on children’s general reading and writing ability. This method ensures that every child can have access to screening, so that fewer children go undiagnosed. The Lexplore team is able to quickly screen large groups of children, by taking them out of class for only five minutes each to read short texts. Upon receiving the results, the school is then empowered to make decisions about getting a full diagnosis and early support for at risk children. “We got a fast and objective result with Lexplore that the special education teachers and classroom teachers could work with and analyze. This made it possible to do the right interventions” – Kent Ylvesson, school development leader, Ånge Muncipality, Sweden
so that the outcome is as innovative, insightful, shared and inspirational as possible. The design process is hands-on, project-based learning in action, with an authentic, real-world problem that demands a solution. One innovative teacher might improve their classroom layout and culture, but this is unlikely to have a long-term impact on the learning culture of the school. For lasting impact and meaningful change, the whole school community needs to play an active role in changing the culture and design of learning spaces. “We are not designing learning environments, we are designing a learning culture” – Lene Jensby Lange, founder, Learning Space Design Lab
COUNTRY: FINLAND 8 SEPPO
What is it? Seppo is an authoring tool for creating educational games. It is an easy-to-use tool for teachers, that makes lessons inspiring and motivating for students. Students solve problems in teams using mobile devices and teachers give feedback in real-time. Creating, maintaining and enhancing learning motivation in schools has become a growing challenge because the world around us offers more and more exciting and motivating stimuli for kids. Schools have to keep up and make education exciting and relate it to the students’ lives. There is a great need for ways to make learning fun in a pedagogically meaningful way. “It was easy to get into Seppo. The students were exploding with the joy of learning and experimenting and demanded more. The kids had excellent performances, moved around and were fully in” – teacher using Seppo
COUNTRY: SWEDEN 9 LEXPLORE
What is it? Lexplore is a screening tool that makes it possible to identify children with reading and writing difficulties early on, using cloud analytics, artificial intelligence and eye tracking technology to help screen for the likelihood of dyslexia or related learning difficulties. This means that schools can intervene quickly and children no longer need to fall behind. The method also
DEFY COUNTRY: INDIA 10 PROJECT
What is it? Project DEFY (Design Education for Yourself) is a system of learning that believes anyone can teach themselves anything by using the internet and the community around to find solutions. The mission is to change the way people think and ignite individual passions so students can believe in their abilities to educate themselves, others and their communities. With a device at hand, the community customises a makerspace that fits their own requirements, and develops its own learning space, called a Nook. Projects can be anything – artistic, technical, or other – to fit each student’s own learning interests and experience. “We do not want education to be merely a transfer of instruction. Education is a much more interesting process of self-discovery and understanding of local and global surroundings” – Abhijit Sinha, founder and director of Project DEFY. For information about these products and others, please visit hundred.org.
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ICT & PROCUREMENT 31
CHANGING THE WAY WE TEACH ANNIE GRAHAM-RILEY looks at the EdTech trends that are changing the way we teach and learn in Aotearoa.
LMS (LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS)
Learning Management Systems aim to take the classroom online. Using Google Classrooms, a teacher can create, distribute and mark activities and assignments. Google Classroom combines Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, Gmail, Google Calendar and Google search. Each ‘class’ that a student is part of is created as a separate folder in the student’s Google Drive. Mobile apps for Google Classroom are available on both iOS and Android devices. Apple Classroom works in a similar way. Particularly relevant in classrooms where students are 1:1 with iPads, Apple Classroom has much the same properties as Google Classroom, but it also allows teachers to manage student devices – think the capability to immediately send all iPads to the ‘lock screen’, group students for differentiated learning and see what students see with the ‘screen view’ function. Edmodo and Hapara are two more Learning Management Systems which enable teachers to share content, distribute quizzes, assignments, and manage communication with students, colleagues, and parents. Edmodo synthesises Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office. There’s no need for children to jump from app-to-app as Edmodo ensures they can all be accessed from within their app. It also alleviates the 21st century problem often faced by teachers: ‘I can’t remember my password’. Created locally, Hapara is focused on **itals** The New Zealand Curriculum** and John Hattie’s research on Visible Learning. It was based on an idea to create a tool that would streamline teacher workflow and deepen student engagement. Hapara is now used in more than 40 countries and has 2.2 million users worldwide.
Gamification is an educational approach which uses video game tactics and game elements as a means to motivate students to learn. In simple gamification models students earn points through completing tasks, either in app or in class. Classcraft, available free as a teaching platform and on mobile app, uses a system of real-life rewards and risks. Students collaborate and work in teams depending on their strengths and weaknesses. Heretaunga Intermediate teacher Karla Hinton has found Classcraft a successful addition to her classroom. “I have found it hugely beneficial on so many levels. The team element encourages collaboration, teamwork, manaakitanga and tautoko. The gamification aspect (avatars, powers, pets, points
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and upgrades) provides a cultural relevance for instant buy-in. There is no slacking off as they must upload their evidence each lesson,” she said. She adds that having extra points allocated when parents sign up to the parent portal added an extra element to the experience, connecting school and the classroom on an accessible level. Class Dojo and Banqer can be used in a similar manner. With teachers allocating Dojo points, or ‘money’ for positive work ethic, good behaviour or completing set tasks and challenges. Banqer can be used concurrently when teaching financial literacy.
In recent years, simple forums such as Blogger and Googlesites have been utilised by schools as a way to collate work and display it in an online portfolio. More recently, forums such as SeeSaw have changed the game, offering teachers a simple and accessible way to create a learning portfolio for each student. SeeSaw, available as an app, enables children to create a digital portfolio and share their learning with both teachers and parents. With simple features to upload multimedia – pictures, videos, texts, links to documents and websites – the app enables even young children to share their work. Teachers and and students can comment on each other’s work, providing instant feedback. It also can help facilitate student reflection as they view their own learning, understand their needs, and access it from home with their whānau. SeeSaw have recently introduced an update which allows teachers to easily assign ‘activities’ to be completed by students and has a library of resources for teachers to choose from.
Coding is essentially any computer programme where children are giving a computer step-by-step commands to tell it what to do. According to the Ministry of Education, coding can include making websites, games and apps. With an emphasis on being future-focused, the Ministry’s TKI website now states that coding is important and necessary for future-focused literacy. Coding can be integrated simply into any classroom and applications and tools to support the teaching and learning of coding have become more prevalent. Websites such as Gamefroot, Scratch and Scratchjnr allow students to create stories, games and applications using simple coding techniques. With the required technology, schools are also embracing robotics. iPads and tablets can be used to digitally programme commands which translate directly to a robot in front of them, providing a stimulating learning experience for the children.
ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKING
Many schools now have social media pages to give messages to parents and add photos of sporting events, competitions and cultural performances. In future, our tamariki will need to safely navigate forums like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. While there is a focus on teaching children literacy skills, such as letter writing, there is also to be a focus on how to construct a tweet, or Facebook post, and communicate safely in the 21st century. Teachers can use websites such as Fakebook to help students construct a post. Edublogs, Kidblog and Edmodo also help teachers and students explore social media competencies and writing techniques. A class Twitter account allows children to simply take a photo of their learning, or upload a screenshot or video, and reflect on it by writing a caption before sharing it to Twitter. Class YouTube channels and Podcasts can also be used to promote oral literacy and share learning in a creative way. Twitter has been embraced as a forum to connect with learners nationwide and globally. Chapter Chat utilises Twitter as a forum for Kiwi kids to connect with each other as they read a shared novel in their classroom, then share their learning and respond to questions about the text during a weekly ‘Twitter Chat’ session while teachers connect on Facebook about the weekly reading and teaching.
LINKS TO THESE RESOURCES
Edmodo: edmodo.com Hapara: hapara.com Classcraft: classcraft.com Class Dojo: classdojo.com Banquer: banqer.co SeeSaw: web.seesaw.me Gamefroot: gamefroot.com Scratch: scratch.mit.edu Scratchjnr: scratchjr.org Fakebook: classtools.net/FB/home-page Edublogs: edublogs.org Kidblog: kidblog.org/home Chapter Chat: facebook.com/ChapterChatNZ twitter.com/ChapterChatNZ
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LIGHTBULB MOMENT: MAKING THE SWITCH TO LED LED lighting makes environmental, financial, social and sustainable sense for schools.
ighting costs make up a large portion of a school’s expenses. One way for schools to drastically cut the cost of their power bills and future-proof their classrooms is to replace fluorescent lights with LED lights. Managing director of T8LED Hamish Coney says LED lighting makes environmental, financial, social and sustainable sense. “LED bulbs use 50 per cent to 90 per cent LESS electricity than traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. A 40-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with a 6-watt LED bulb, which will give an equivalent light output,” says Coney. “We don’t charge anything upfront to retrofit your business with LED bulbs. Once installed, the school or childcare centre, or kindergarten, makes immediate savings on their power bill and they just pay us a monthly amount, which is a lot less than the savings you make.” Coney says LED lights last for 10 years, compared to fluorescent lights, which last just three. “As well as being demonstrably cheaper, the light is gentler on the eye and because they last so long the maintenance costs of changing bulbs are eliminated, leaving school caretakers more time to attend to schools’ other needs.” New Zealand is just now catching up with a worldwide move towards LED lighting, says Coney. “For example, in the USA, schools have banned any glass in the lighting over food in schools. The LED lighting we use is plastic and every part of it can be recycled. What people don’t realise either is that fluorescent lights have a small amount of mercury in them so are hazardous to dispose of, especially in landfill near waterways.” Teachers are doing a great job of educating the next generation about sustainability, as evidenced by programmes such as Enviroschools and the Genesis Energy’s Schoolgen programme. Wellington’s Clifton Terrace Model School this year won Schoolgen’s top award.
T8LED recently switched nearly 90 fluorescent lights to LEDs as part of Clifton Terrace’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. There was an immediate and drastic decrease in the school’s power bill, says Coney. “The school has recorded a 60 per cent decrease in power bills. Before we replaced the lights, I did a demonstration in front of the school showing the kids what LED lighting looks like. I lit up an LED light like a light sabre and the kids loved it when I dropped the light on the ground and it didn’t break. We also had the children measuring the output of different lights with a lumen reader and they were amazed they were able to track the power.” Coney trained as a teacher in Western Australia then worked in IT, but it is his daughter who has been the inspiration for his move into LED lighting. “I’m the father of my six-year-old daughter and as I’ve watched her growing up, I thought I want to make a difference in how sustainable our schools are.” He has travelled to China to inspect the factory where the T8LED lights are made to ensure the sustainable approach of the company begins at the very source. Currently there are few hard and fast requirements of schools to make their schools sustainable across the board, but Coney explains that students are so well-educated in the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling that LED lighting simply makes sense to them. “We’ve found school children are fascinated by sustainable practices – and that the teaching across the sciences in relation to LED lighting and explaining the social and environmental positives of the lighting can become the beginning of a lesson plan for teachers.” This is a sentiment echoed by the teacher lead on the Schoolgen programme, Maggie Clink from Clifton Terrace. “The introduction of solar panels sparked a lot of interest from the school community, inspiring the pupils to come up with other ways to become more sustainable,” she says.
FOUR REASONS TO MAKE THE SWITCH TO LED Limitations of fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lights are inefficient at high and low temperatures. They contain mercury, radiate ultraviolet rays and most can’t be dimmed. Frequent switching causes a lamp to age rapidly. They are also hard to dispose of and recycle. Benefits of LED lighting. As well as being environmentally friendly and costeffective, LED lighting is also beneficial for children with Irlen Syndrome, epilepsy, depression, agoraphobia, and other conditions. The better quality of light reduces eye strain and migraines. New Zealand compliant and approved. T8LED is a wholly New Zealand owned company and their tubes go through detailed quality assurance and safety checks before leaving the factory. LEDs cannot be trusted if they are cheap – they may not meet New Zealand standards! Easy pricing. T8LED’s price model allows your LEDs to come out of schools’ OpEx (Operation Expenses), rather than their CapEx (Capital Expenses). T8LED provides a free assessment report, which includes a no-obligation quote. They are also developing an app to allow schools to calculate their lighting costs by entering general data, such as the number of tubes and size.
ICT & PROCUREMENT 33
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Education Review, ICT and Procurement 2017