Showing posts from 2017

Introducing City Senior School at The Launching Pad

In November last year I was lucky enough to attend the SingularityU Summit in Christchurch. It was an awesome three days. It reignited my love of futures thinking and served as a swift kick in the pants. I wrote this blogpost.  I went back to school. I felt unsettled. I needed someone to help me process my thinking. So a week or so later I called up my friend and now business partner and co-founder Brett O'Riley . I knew Brett had attended the SingularityU Executive Training in the US and I also knew he shared my frustration at the seemingly glacial pace of change in education. I shared my thinking and a vision for a school that was part school and part innovation co-working space. I wanted to know why we weren't leveraging digital technology to support more self-directed study in a social learning environment. I wanted to know why schools weren't more like GridAKL ? Why are young people still in uniforms "PAC-MANing" their way through disconnected

Communities of Status Quo: Is there enough disruption in your Community of Learning??

Over the last year or so I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the establishment of what looks to be a particularly fabulous West Auckland COL - Te Whiria te Tangata. It is great to see school communities of schools coming together to collaborate to improve student outcomes. It is great to see school communities of schools collaborating, full stop. However I do have a concern. I am not concerned that communities of learning won't see schools coming together to improve learner outcomes, what I am concerned about is that they may not, because of their very structure and achievement challenges, actually change much else. When scanning the endorsed achievement challenges and in the conversations I have had with many colleagues from a range of communities, I keep thinking, is there much within COL plans and achievement challenges that move beyond the paradigm of business as usual? Or are we simply going to see communities of schools holding hands, singing kumbaya and patting t

Teaching as Inquiry: A mechanism for leading meaningful and manageable pedagogical change (and integrating Digital Technologies)

In light of this week's announcement from Minister of Education  Nikki Kaye, it felt like the right time to re-publish this post. As pressure ramps up to integrate digital technologies and strategies, I heartily encourage you to use e-learning infused Teaching as Inquiry or Spirals of Inquiry within your school or COL as a way to lead meaningful and manageable change! It is so important that schools find a way to tackle the integration of the Digital Technologies head on, but do so in a way that is firmly focused on the learner rather than the tool or technology.  Source: Issue An important leadership issue that exists at a micro (school) and macro (systemic/national) level is that school-based, episodic and initiative-focused professional development does not support meaningful and manageable pedagogical change to occur. Context This is particularly important as many New Ze

Future Focused Assessment - imagine if schools did no high stakes assessment...

Today I was lucky enough to attend the Ministry of Education Cross Sector Forum where they were launching the Digital Technologies curriculum draft ( check it out here and provide your feedback ).  It was an excellent event. The Lynfield College Robotics group kicked off the event, charming the room with their articulate argument for technology across and within the curriculum. Then our new Minister of Education, the Honourable Nikki Kaye, provided an excellent insight into her vision for education, I got the sense that the Minister is well positioned to prepare the sector for the exponential change that is closer than we think. Her vision for digital transformation was bold (the need for which was excellently articulated by Frances Valintine's keynote) and her message was clear - we need to act and we need act now! It was also clear that the Minister understands that there are very real issues with teacher wellbeing and workload and intends to address this head on as well.

It's not about our students not being school ready, it's about our schools not being 21st Century child ready

Image Source In one of the many fantastic staffroom chats I get to have every week at HPSS there is one that keeps coming back to me. Last week I was chatting to my lovely colleague Heemi McDonald  (make sure you read his blog) about the growing regularity of school leader meetings I seem to be sitting in on where educators are voicing concerns about increasing numbers of students coming in with more learning needs than before. Principals now more than ever are struggling with meeting the diverse needs of young children and young adults with increasingly complex needs. I myself have engaged in discussion where we have tried to find the source of these "issues". Is it the development in medicine that has seen more premature babies survive who may have experienced all kinds of complications? Is the increased screen time? Is it the sugar and processed food? The increasing amount of time toddlers spend in daycare?? The reasons, and ultimately the excuses, for children not b

Claire Victoria Amos: NZ Educators casualties of flawed opinion piece

At the end of last week, Bernadine Oliver-Kerby published an " opinion piece ". It has prompted me to pen a letter (sorry it ain't handwritten...). Dear Bernadine, Your article started, innocently enough, by voicing a very valid concern, that I am sure would be shared by many parents - "I was simply asking why the children at school were practising handwriting while lying sprawled on the floor." Hey, I believe parents and educators absolutely should be encouraged to question what is going on in the classroom. I applaud your positioning of yourself as nothing more than inquisitive caring parent. If you had genuinely asked this question and then explored and investigated what is actually going on in Modern Learning Environments, I would be here cheering you on. But unfortunately you did not do that. Instead you followed up a seemingly caring and rational question with a whole raft of assumptions and generalisations that quite frankly do more damage than go

Amplifying best practice with BYOD and Google Classroom (or any online platform)

Video - Google Classrooms, Learner Agency & Universal Design for Learning In this day and age it blows me away that there are still high schools debating whether to introduce Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and then it frustrates me further than when they do go BYOD and they choose to make it optional or drip feed it in level by level. Those yet to introduce BYOD are doing their students a massive disservice, potentially widening the gap between the "haves and have-nots". Young people need these skills, and considering your school probably has something in the vision or mission statement about preparing young people, you're really not delivering the goods. And as for those who are doing the slowly, slowly drip feed of BYOD, bravo for taking the first step, but you need to recognise that you are increasing your teacher's workload, not reducing it, and the chances are you are not getting anywhere near the benefits that a one to one BYOD programme can offer.