Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hack Your Classroom - Holiday Reading and Viewing

It would be hard to capture in one post all the fabulous readings and videos I want to share, but here are a few potted highlights to whet your appetite in the lead up to the Hacking your classroom - the Term 2 challenge!

Short Readings

A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning
Authors: Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy
Michael Fullan and Sir Michael Barber, chief education advisor to Pearson, former head of McKinsey’s Global Education Practice and UK government advisor, will lead the launch of A Rich Seam at Pearson’s London office on September 22nd. The speakers will unveil the findings of the report to a selected audience of educationists, academics, policy advisors and media commentators, before leading a live Q&A, which will be live-streamed to a global audience.
The report by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy is the first in a new series of publications published by Pearson. It addresses the challenges encountered when trying to implement new pedagogies on a large scale as well as providing examples of changes happening in classrooms, in schools and across a few education systems.
This publication describes a rich seam of insight into how education systems are beginning to change. The “new pedagogies” are not just instructional strategies – they are powerful models of teaching and learning, enabled and accelerated by increasingly pervasive digital tools and resources and support deep learning at all levels of the education system. “Deep learning” develops the learning, creating and ‘doing’ dispositions that youth need to thrive now and in their futures.
Source: http://www.michaelfullan.ca/a-rich-seam-how-new-pedagogies-find-deep-learning/

Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching - a New Zealand perspective
Author(s):  Rachel Bolstad and Jane Gilbert, with Sue McDowall, Ally Bull, Sally Boyd and Rosemary Hipkins
This research report draws together findings from new data and more than 10 years of research on current practice and futures-thinking in education. It was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to support its programme of work to develop a vision of what future-oriented education could look like for New Zealand learners. The report has a foreword by the Minister of Education Hekia Parata and a message from Anthony Mackay, Co-Director of the Global Education Leaders’ Program.
Source: http://www.nzcer.org.nz/research/publications/supporting-future-oriented-learning-and-teaching-new-zealand-perspective

Recommended Viewing

Hackschooling makes me happy: Logan LaPlante at TEDxUniversityofNevada
When 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal.

TEDxNYED - Dennis Littky
Dennis Littky is the co-founder and co-director of Big Picture Learning and the Met Center in Providence. He is nationally known for his extensive work in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings, spanning over 40 years. As an educator, Dennis has a reputation for working up against the edge of convention and out of the box, turning tradition on its head and delivering concrete results.

What 60 Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills: Grant Lichtman at TEDxDenverTeachers
The rate of change in the world demands that we re-imagine and restructure the foundational learning relationship among students, teachers, and knowledge. In September 2012, pursuing a decades-long passion for transformational education, Grant packed up his Prius and set off on a solo, nationwide research tour to discover what schools are doing to prepare students for an evolving future. Find out what he learned from three months on the road visiting 21 states, 64 schools, and the great ideas of 500 educators. Presented by Grant Lichtman, Author and Educational Consultant.

Books worth buying

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything 
by Ken Robinson
The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.

A breakthrough book about talent, passion, and achievement from one of the world's leading thinkers on creativity and self-fulfillment.
Source: http://www.amazon.com/The-Element-Finding-Passion-Everything/dp/0143116738

Leaving to Learn: How Out-of-School Learning Increases Student Engagement and Reduces Dropout Rates 
by Elliot Washor  & Charles Mojkowski 
"We have a bold strategy for revitalizing schools and for graduating and preparing young people for success in their future learning and work. This "leaving to learn" strategy is driven by our image of that future. Our goal is not merely to graduate every student but to prepare graduates who are uncommonly ready for success in their workplaces and their communities."
-Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski

It's an alarming fact: in the U.S., one student drops out of school every 12 seconds. Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski, both of Big Picture Learning, have a proven, innovative solution for stemming the flow of drop-outs and breaking the cycle of disengagement that leads up to it. It's called leaving to learn. Leaving to Learn helps us deeply understand the real reasons kids drop out and the essential conditions for productive learning that today's adolescents require. The authors then make a compelling argument: in order to retain students through to graduation, schools must offer experiences where students do some of their learning outside of school.

With common sense "rules of the road," the authors offer nuts and bolts guidelines for implementing a high-quality Leaving to Learn program, including:

examples of the many forms of out-of-school learning: internships, travel, community service, independent projects, and more
seamlessly integrating students' outside learning with in-school curriculum
assigning academic credit for out-of-school accomplishments.
Isn't it time to try more innovative ways to address the challenges of our nation's dropout rate? We can keep kids in school and prepare them for life after graduation by delivering authentic learning experiences that matter to them. The first step is taking down the barriers between school and the outside world. The first step is letting them leave, to learn.
Source: http://www.amazon.com/Leaving-Learn-Out-School-Engagement/dp/0325046042

The Big Picture: Education Is Everyone's Business 
by Dennis Littky
What is the purpose of education? What kind of people do we want our children to grow up to be? How can we design schools so that students will acquire the skills they'll need to live fulfilled and productive lives?
These are just a few of the questions that renowned educator Dennis Littky explores in The Big Picture: Education Is Everyone's Business. The schools Littky has created and led over the past 35 years are models for reformers everywhere: small, public schools where the curriculum is rich and meaningful, expectations are high, student progress is measured against real-world standards, and families and communities are actively engaged in the educational process.

This book is for both big "E" and small "e" educators:
* For principals and district administrators who want to change the way schools are run.
* For teachers who want students to learn passionately.
* For college admissions officers who want diverse applicants with real-world learning experiences.
* For business leaders who want a motivated and talented workforce.
* For parents who want their children to be prepared for college and for life.
* For students who want to take control over their learning . . . and want a school that is interesting, safe, respectful, and fun.
* For anyone who cares about kids.

Here, you'll find a moving account of just what is possible in education, with many of the examples drawn from the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center ("The Met") in Providence, Rhode Island--a diverse public high school with the highest rates of attendance and college acceptance in the state and a dropout rate of less than five percent. The Met exemplifies personalized learning, one student at a time.

The Big Picture is a book to re-energize educators, inspire teachers in training, and start a new conversation about kids and schools, what we want for both, and how to make it happen.
Source: http://www.amazon.com/The-Big-Picture-Education-Everyones/dp/0871209713

On my 'To Read' List!

Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy, and Change Knowledge Paperback
by Michael Fullan
"It's time to take the lid off learning."
In Stratosphere, Michael Fullan takes a close look at the fast-paced world of emerging technologies and argues that the inevitable influence of technology on teaching and learning must not be resisted, but rather embraced and applied in meaningful ways to positively impact school classrooms.
Examines connections–and disconnections– between pedagogy, technology, and change knowledge in education
Creates a vision for improving education by escaping the content-focused teaching of the past and embracing “the new pedagogy” of higher-order skills
Focuses on the harnessing of fast and innovative technologies to bring about change in classrooms, districts, states, and provinces
Identifies four critical elements that, at scale, have the ability to make large-scale change a reality– and easier!
Source: http://www.amazon.com/Stratosphere-Integrating-Technology-Pedagogy-Knowledge/dp/0132483149

The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School 
by Grant Lichtman
"A significant contribution to our search for true 21st Century education." -Bo Adams, Principal, Westminster Schools "We would all trade a lot of knowledge for a little bit of wisdom." -Aaron Butler, Falconer Class of 1998 "School prepares us to be successful. We aspire to be happy." -Robert Landis, Falconer Class of 2001 If we want to achieve elegant results we have to teach the tools of elegant thinking. We want our young people to develop the traits of our heroes: courage, compassion, creativity, leadership, invention, vision. We need our students and employees to learn the skills that will give them a competitive advantage in an interdependent world. Yet our schools and training centers are stuck in a 19th century model that ignores this fundamental goal. Geared toward the teacher and student in all of us, The Falconer provides a simple model for making the leap from passive learner of previous knowledge to an active creator of new ideas. Based on a five-year classroom trial, and now used by forward-looking educators to help build a 21st Century educational model, The Falconer adapts a novel interpretation of the classic book of strategy, The Art of War, to new goals of educational creativity and personal fulfillment. Grant Lichtman is the Chief Operating Officer of Francis Parker School in San Diego, California. He earned a bachelor's and master's degree from Stanford University and has founded and managed companies involved in education, energy, and the geosciences. Lichtman, his wife Julie, and two children live in Poway, California.
Source: http://www.amazon.com/The-Falconer-What-Learned-School/dp/1450231268

Would love to hear your recommended reading/viewing list as well! Please share here or on Twitter #hackyrclass #holidayreading #holidayviewing

Monday, April 21, 2014

The EDUCANZ Bill - I have made my submission, have you made yours??

Remember teacher friends! Submissions close 30 April 2014. 
Make your submission now!

Here is my submission, would love to see yours as well!! ;)

To the Education and Science Select Committee
I am making a submission opposing the changes to the Education Amendment Bill No.2, in particular the sections establishing EDUCANZ and changing the teacher registration framework.
I submit that:
The lack of teacher representation (Section 380 and Schedule 22) is a major issue. The complete absence of elected teacher positions marks an absolute departure from democratic process. I believe this undermines teachers as professionals and suggests that teacher voice is not valued in decision making related to EDUCANZ.

Of even greater concern is the fact that there will be no elected teacher positions on the new Council. Whilst it is stipulated that a maximum of five positions must be people who are registered, it is not actually specified that these positions be filled by currently practising teachers. Compare this to the Medical Council of New Zealand which comprises of:
  • four doctors elected by the profession
  • four doctors appointed by the Minister of Health
  • four laypersons (a person who is not registered as a health practitioner)
I would suggest a similar process for appointment and spread of representation would be far more equitable, representative and democratic. So often we hear the need for teachers to be treated as or regarded as “professionals”, similar, one would hope, to how doctors are regarded. I would suggest that having a similar approach to Council formation, would be an excellent start. Also it is important to highlight that teachers are in fact the people who fund the Council, surely, it would only seem fair that the Council made possible by teacher registration funds was at least in part elected by the teaching community.

Another area of concern (at least without further information) is the expanded functions of the Council. It would seem that Council is going to have an increased leadership role over the profession. It would also seem that the Council will be disseminating best practice and fostering development of the profession. Whilst best practice and professional development is integral to raising teacher performance, it is also incredibly important that this leadership comes from within the profession and not from an external body. If the Council was definitely made up of at least eight highly regarded current practitioners this would not be of concern. However, at present, the make-up of the Council looks like it will not be representative of the teaching community at all. We are professionals, we have a vast pool of expertise within our community. Teachers must be represented, they must be recognised and they must be the people who lead their peers.

Another area of concern is the change of Code of Ethics to a Conduct of Conduct. Ethics is integral to the teaching profession, a shift to focus on conduct, or rather behaviour is simply insulting. It would suggest we as a profession need our behaviour monitored, rather than abiding by a set of ethical guidelines. This to me is preposterous. Again, we are professionals who deserve to be treated in the highest regard. In an age where the rhetoric of the classroom is shifting away from conduct and behaviour and is engaging increasingly in dispositional curricula that looks to develop ethical, world aware young people it seems almost absurd that the Council would like to move backwards in their language and approaches.

A final area of concern outlined in this bill is the changes in provisions for Limited Authorities to Teach which will  mean that someone “with specialist skills but not a teaching qualification” can be authorised to teach for three years at a time without the employer having to prove that they have tried unsuccessfully to fill the position
with a trained and qualified teacher. Whilst I believe it is becoming increasingly important for schools to partner with the wider community and to access the expertise of a range of specialists, I do not believe that this change is necessary. All this does is undermine the very profession that you suggest you are trying to elevate. It infers that registration and even teaching qualifications are not valued, or even required. If the government believes that the present teaching qualifications do not provide the skill set needed in schools, I would suggest you redirect your focus to those delivering the qualifications and not undermine an entire nation of registered teachers.

In summary, I have a number of real concerns about a changes to the Education Amendment Bill. It is absolutely essential that the Council is representative of the teaching community, and that a democratic process is used to establish it. Without this representation, the increased functions of the Council is deeply concerning. The change of the Code of Ethics to a more menial Code of Conduct is also deeply troubling. This compounded with the elevation of “unqualified teacher” suggests an incredible lack of trust and low regard for the registered and qualified teachers of New Zealand. I would like to finish this submission by repeating my earlier refrain - teachers must be represented, they must be recognised and they must be the people who lead their peers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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...