Saturday, 27 August 2016

Manaiakalani Hui

Yesterday we were fortunate to attend the fifth annual Manaiakalani Hui which was a great opportunity to connect with colleagues and other members of our cluster.  It was a jam packed agenda so I attempted to both sketchnote and tweet over the day to see if that helped me synthesise the information.

Multitasking is not my forte so here are my outtakes via sketchnotes from the day:

The first item on the agenda was a presentation from our Manaiakalani Ambassadors which are student representatives from our schools who presented an element of their learning from the year so far.  Their deft knowledge of the "learn/create/share" pedagogy and the pride and confidence in which they presented was admirable and something that I would like to strive towards creating with the learners I teach.

The part that I found the most interesting was the presentations from the Spark MIT Innovative Teachers - these are colleagues within the cluster who shared their current enquiries with us.  A lot of these revolved around both motivation and literacy - both topics that I am currently investigating for potential focuses for next year's dissertation.  Again I found these presenters incredibly proud of the learning they are creating - this opportunity is available for me in my third year of teaching so something to investigate over the next year as an option for 2018!

Russell Burt presented the group wth an interesting notion that there are 47,000 plus jobs in the technology sectors which we need to be preparing our learners with the skills to work in such positions.  By keeping the open lens on how we can expose learners to opportunities in which they learn these skills is paramount - a very scary but also exciting challenge for the years ahead!

We were fortunate to have Rebecca, Aaron and Stuart from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre come present to us - some analogies and acronyms have stuck with me like "Students who can do harder things with harder tests at an earlier age" and L.I.F.T (Learning Ideas From Text).  Again I am excited and inspired about how to bring more critical literacy skills into my practice and am grateful for the support and the information that is provided to our cluster on a regular basis.

After lunch, it was great to learn more about the outreach programmes especially after having made connections from today.  How can we use these networks to share resources and ideas freely to better support our learners in the drive to learn today's skills for tomorrow's jobs?  We were also challenged by both Russell and Pat Sneddon to keep reassessing the status quo and using the skills we have from moving from below to at and transfer these over to the movement of learners from at to above.

A very thought provoking day - check out Twitter for more insights from other attendees - #Manaiakalani

Friday, 19 August 2016

PLG - Social Media and PLNs

This diagram from James Hopkin's presentation resonated with me.

In my response to James after his presentation to this morning, I called myself #currentlyincuriousity as a reflection of my status of a Twitter user.  I follow people, I read posts, however, I have not found the courage to engage with others in this forum.  Discussing it with the members of the MDTA cohort, I put it down to where I am in my teaching career and how I feel that I do not have a voice yet to engage with others.

Upon reflection, this feeling does not sit right with my teaching philosophy where I value the power of conversation.  Twitter is a powerful connector and I need to start engaging with others to develop my own Professional Learning Network (PLN).

Why is it important to have a PLN?  This infographic from Sylvia Duckworth gives some strong context.

To help build all our confidence in how to connect and discuss with others, Dorothy and Anne set up a provocation where we were answering a series of questions and using the hashtag #MDTAchat.  We were able to gain the technical expertise of responding to others from this exercise.

While doing this, I found myself in the "zone" - I was reading, responding and formulating ideas at a quick pace and it gave me the insight into the personal philosophies of my cohort.  I was able to see the connections that others made as well as challenge both others and my own thinking.  I found my Twitter voice!

So what next?  You tell me, I want to talk!

Friday, 12 August 2016

PLG - Garageband 101

I was quite apprehensive about this week's PLG as it focused on the cohort learning to use Garageband in preparation for creating a film to share at the Manaiakalani Film Festival later this year.

Garageband is a whole music creation studio, which also has a complete sound library including software instruments, presents for guitar and voice as well as virtual session drummers.  A lot of teachers in the cluster already use this software to enhance audio elements in recordings or more simply for recording instructions for rewindable learning for learners.

We were fortunate enough to have Rob Wiseman from Pt England School come and spend the day with us to help build our confidence with using the software.

The reason for my initial apprehension was that most people who I spoke to are quite adept in the use of the app and when I had a look through it, it was a bit daunting.  Luckily Rob was able to scaffold us into using it with the design of a few tasks.

Our first task was to record ourselves reading a school reader and making it as clear as possible.  I found that the use of it was very similar to that of iMovie where you could cut out parts where there was additional sound (ie, page turns, doors shutting) and clean up your raw footage before saving it for use.

Here is the recording with an image of the book to see how my first attempt went!

Our second task was to create a backing track for some video footage that we had already captured.  Rob bought up a good point about how audio work is just as important as working with the visual and how we should not treat audio as the "poor cousin" to visual.  As we began to experiment with the different elements, I started to see how you could spend a lot of time on these tracks.  Here is a screenshot of the various options you can choose from (there is a lot!)

You can see how audio can add atmosphere or another layer to a film so the last part of our day was spent discussing how it is important to prepare for filming and plan out all elements of your filming.

Here is my track from the second session:

Thoughts or wonderings for my practice:

- I am now a Garageband convert and am keen to try these new skills!
- As mentioned above, I really can see the benefits for rewindable learning.  This can help learners who may struggle with reading instructions or allow them a choice on how to receive instruction.
- It could add another element to my literacy program where we can work on using reading with expression or add personalities to various characters within texts by experimenting with how we imagine they would sound or speak.

Look forward to showing some more recording skills later this year!  If you want any further tips, Ashley wrote a great blog post about it!

Friday, 5 August 2016

PLG - Infographics

Today we joined the cluster's Digital Immersion PLG which was focusing on the "Share" element of our pedagogy.

After spending the morning discussing how the element impacts on both our practice and our learners, we were tasked with creating an infographic which linked to our audiences of either our professional or class blog.

Why use infographics with our learners?  Here are some facts that were shared with us to help build our knowledge:

"Show, don't tell.  The average human attention span is 8 seconds and our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text.  Infographics make it easier to grab your viewer before the next distraction does."

"People learn to love by examining visual representations of data."

I decided to build an infographic about the statistics for our hub blog to use as a discussion piece with the learners.  Enjoy!