Hacking your classroom - the Term 2 challenge!

This morning I want to declare a challenge for Term 2.

I will be honest, the reason for this is more than slightly selfish!

a) I want to set myself the challenge of committing to weekly blog writing (I find declaring things publicly helps me to commit.

b) I want to help change NZ education, even if it's one classroom at a time!

Why am I doing this?

I have a messiah complex....thought I might as well say it before you think it. I actually do believe, I, you and any one individual can led cataclysmic change, so lets just get on a do it...and use it for good.

More seriously, I am doing this because I believe education needs to change, see my earlier post here about the why and how. I am also worried that we are all waiting for someone to tell us to do it, to push the big red MoE button, that will mean we have to change. I suspect if we wait for the that message and support to come officially, it will come too late.

I actually believe we have what we need to make the change. We all have a classroom, we all have students, we all have an awesome curriculum to guide us.

However you may of may not have technology or even the mindset yet - this would be preferable, but not a deal breaker.

And let's honest, it's more likely you are not in a shiny new 'modern learning environment' like me, but actually that doesn't matter at all (oh I know, easy to say from my ivory tower you say)!  The whole point of this challenge is that it is about about developing a growth mindset (and possibly your own messiah mindset) about how you CAN turn your classroom, prefab, block, department into a thriving 'modern learning environment' that delivers a kick-ass future focused approach to teaching and learning....even if it is within the confine of a depressingly locked down year planner your boss gave you. BTW - I'm not saying you don't already, if you do, please share!

This is about taking back the power....for your learners.

So how will this work?

Every week I will posting a different idea for how you can "hack your classroom". I will be sharing some of the fabulous thinking going on here at HPSS and beyond (we certainly don't have the answers...but definitely have ace ideas!) and looking at how any teacher could be making the change in their classroom, and changing now.

I will be looking at topics such as:

  • Developing a growth mindset
  • Turning a growth mindset into a hacker one
  • Getting to know your learners - hacker style
  • Bringing design thinking into the classroom (I don't pretend to be an expert...you ca learn with me)
  • Making every classroom a maker space
  • Ideas for blending leaning without 1:1 devices (or even wifi)
  • Intro to Universal Design for Learning for all (again. I don't pretend to be an expert...you ca learn with me)
  • How to let you students co-construct a unit, a course, a task without your HOD kicking your butt!
  • Tips for going free-range within the confines of a cage...
  • and anything else you suggest...or takes my fancy along the way.

What do you need to do?

  • Join in!
  • Read, share, contribute of you like.
  • Make suggestions.
  • Maybe start a blog and share your experiences.
  • Get a Hacker buddy - an in school one would be great...then you two could hatch a school wide plan...or even just a twitter buddy - there are plenty of those to be found at #edchatnz on a Thursday evening.
  • Use the tag #hackyrclass in tweets and posts so we can all tag along #seewhatIdidthere Lame. Dad joke.

Most important is that you simply just do something and then share it. As I said, I don't pretend to be an expert, but I am however an enthusiast, and I am keen to share my enthusiasm with as many people as possible. As my lovely boss Maurie Abraham said the other day - negativity and positivity is highly infectious, which one do you want to spread.

If you want to join in, please do. Because, remember it only takes two to start a movement...



  1. Hi Claire - good on you. Did you realise this could be your site of research for your thesis?

    1. Could it be my thesis?? Am looking at developing this into a MOOC if next term goes well.

    2. I started a MOOC course just to try them out and to see if I could take any tips on board. The result of that was me writing a totally online module to test it out. I have a year 10 tutor class and some of them are giving it a go for me to see how it goes. The upshot for them is that they get 4 DVC credits in Year 10 ( 4 literacy ones too). I see a variety of good reasons for doing this.
      ~There are always students who cant take my course due to timetable clashes.
      ~ I get students at Level 2 and 3 who haven"t done Level 1.
      ~ Year students are on a Technology rota so I am not always guaranteed to see them so it a way of hooking them early.
      ~ Students who are not in school for the whole year for various reasons.

      A couple of my year 10 students have made a start and it has got me thinking about all sorts of things.
      My main thoughts at the moment is can I put all of this type of work up online for even the class based students, then we can spend more of that class time on skills that will get them up into the higher achievement levels.

      Her is my blog post about it if you are interested :D


  2. Awesome challenge Claire! I'll definitely join in! (Once I've got over the trauma of the daily blogging challenge!) You are positively infectious in your positivity! (Though I would argue your tower is more red than ivory). Totally agree that it doesn't take a shiny new building to do amazing things. Looking forward to being inspired by your more frequent blog posts... ¡Viva la Revolución!

    1. Yay! Thanks Ros. You have provided much blogging inspiration as well! ;)

  3. I'm with Ros - great positivity and great challenge that you have issued. I'm in! I will need something to keep my going with my extreme blogging after the A to Z challenge. This is perfect! Shall we make a linky thingy so that those who have accepted the challenge can register their blogs?

    1. Yes lets do that! Maybe we can plan over the holidays!!

  4. Love this!! Such a cool idea of being the messiah in the school. - Alex @ariaporo22

  5. As a pre-service teacher I got a lot of crazy ideals of course, I haven't had reality wear me down I suppose ... and as a long time technologist I know that the future can happen - it's happening now in a heap of fields so much less important than education. I've heard a lot of reasons why not so far, but I'm not in this game to be traditional, for the status quo, so I'm keeping the ideals going. Have just started reigniting my blog, and will respond here and there to the challenge!

  6. Looking forward to these posts as we are at this stage. Old building but starting the MLE before we move in 3 years time. Can't wait to read your thoughts and ideas as have a proposal to put in for any changes in a classroom so can use you as part of the research!

  7. I'm in, from WGHS leading E Learning and often feel like that guy on the video!!! Our movement/journey has begun and has a few dedicated followers. Job this year is to gain momentum. Will reignite my blog

  8. Perfect timing for a challenge like this, Claire. I'm in! This year my learners and I are thinking like nomads while the builders work around us. I've had to move from a very large space to a smaller class and now to a very small glass room. ( http://declairingit.blogspot.co.nz ) My learners and I will be using it as a gathering space only. Lucky that our classes are connected and we can spill out.

    I agree with you that change should not be about a building but only yesterday, my boss and I were discussing that the building has given us a shared vision and grown our pedagogy. We were an old two story school with prefabs outside. By July every class in our school will be connected to an atrium type space with caves. It is very exciting.

    The nomad approach is forcing me to really look at the micro stuff of learning and teaching because we have no boards, no data projectors, no TV. Your challenges will be helpful to my thinking :)

  9. Hi Claire. I attended the GAFE Summit in Christchurch and I'm feeling really inspired and ready to take on a challenge. Would love to join!

  10. This is so where I am right now! Can't wait to join in!

  11. This is awesome! I'm so in. Looking for ways to #hackmyclass after the inspiration and awesome of #gafesummit. Let's do this!

  12. Will be following and attempting with interest. In a traditional school who are moving fwd and trying new stuff


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