Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Conference close

The ULEARN conference had 1500 teachers in attendance (inc. 100 ECE) and 260 workshops. It is possible to see more of what went on at the conference so read on.....

Keynote and Spotlight presentations
The keynote and spotlight presentations took place in the main conference hall where they were filmed. These presentations are being made available streamed over the internet so you can watch them from your desk by going here...

Other workshops
Many other workshops have made their presentations available for download e.g. Whanau engagement in an educational context

You can browse through presentation materials by going to this link and then requesting the login details for me via email.

Wednesday 27th - Minister's address and Jane Gilbert

These presentations are available to view as streaming video here...

Jane's Powerpoint is here...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wednesday 27th - How to assess and do it well

How to assess and do it well - Kay Hawk
This presentation gave a good overview of the practical considerations around formative assessment practice. For example:-
Pifalls to avoid in assessment:
  1. Over assessment
  2. Poor assessment practice - e.g. secret criteria, meaningless criteria
  3. Poor use of data in the classroom
  4. Damage to student motivation and learning - e.g. through grading

I would contend that the model of formative assessment into practice that was promulagated here was limited in its scope and vision. However, a good point was made:- It is important to have a good understanding of the theory and principles that underly good assessment before you can begin to re-envisage the way in which you work with students e.g seminal work by Black and Wiliams (UK) and many others. The body of research raises many questions about the way in which we work with TCS students and the emphasis and importance that we place on formative assessment as a key driver in our pedagogy.

So what needs to be done to 'do' formative assessment? A good starting point is the Assessment for learning: 10 principles.

Wednesday 27th September - Celebrating and Strengthening the Professional Education of Early Childhood Teachers as Leaders in ECE

Celebrating and Strengthening the Professional Education of Early Childhood Teachers as Leaders in Early Childhood Education – Wendy Lee (related work)
This is an exciting time in ECE, particularily regarding the developments in ICT/elarning in this sector (kimihia-nga-pae). Wendy outlined the Educational Leadership Project (ELP) model for supporting and developing T&L in the ECE sector and the philiosohpy that underlines it.
This included the need for development to be founded upon:-

  • Latest research
  • Researching practice
  • experimenting new approaches
  • Sharing of insights

A parallel was drawn between the requirements of adult and (ECE) child learning. Other strong themes included the need for Storytelling - real situations, problems and solutions - and leadership being drawn from the community.

Tuesday 26th - Coherence Making – Joining the dots

Coherence Making – Joining the dots – Charles Newton – Nayland College Principal
This presentation was based on the research of Micahel Fullan into the Leadership of Cultural Change. The principals of this that he describes are:-
· Understanding the change process
· Ability to improve relationships
· Knowledge creation and sharing
· Making coherence – seeing the big picture
· Moral purpose
· Palpable, energy, enthusiastic, hopeful

The remainder of the presentation was based on providing a big picture for emergent ICT trends and developments. This presentation should be made available here...

Tuesday 26th - ERO, Key competencies, NCEA and Research requirements: How do they all fit together

ERO, Key competencies, NCEA and Research requirements: How do they all fit together – Liz Probert University of Auckland (bio)
If the question is in the title the answer given was Information Literacy. Using the digital strategy foci (content, connection and capability), reports from NEMP & ERO, a dash of key competencies and some inquiry learning, this presentation gave an excellent overview of Information literacy (the what, why and how to do it).

Implemention of an Information Literacy strategy requires an integrated cross-school approach and is an area that requires development at TCS. This was highlighted at a recent meeting involving deputy directors and the knowledge manager about the EPIC resources and how they are currently used by staff and students. The development of an information literacy strategy needs to be tightly bound with the inquiry model being adopted across the school to allow the latter to succeed. The key component to developing this strategy should contain the following elements
· Explicit teaching of information literacy skills
· Use of an information process model
· Professional development

If you have got to the end of this posting and are still thinking ‘what is Information Literacy’. it is defined as a the ablility to recognize when information is needed and the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information. Examples of information skills needed to be successful as a lifelong learner include brainstorming, Boolean searching, information discernment, Dewey, key concepts etc. etc. etc.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tuesday 26th - Transformational learning through gaming

Transformational learning through gaming -Lisa Galarneau (bio)

"Sure they have short attention spans - for old ways of learning" - Edward Westhead

Often the focus on gaming as an educational enterprise is on the ability of games to motivate students. Lisa (and Marc Prensky) contends that games can do much more than just this. Games provide opportunites to practise 21c 'skills' such as pattern recognition and systemic thinking. Gaming as an educational activity has, until recently, focussed on taking old content and putting it in a new wrapper - great for the short term motivation of students but not in transforming the learning process. There are parallels here to the use of CD-roms in our distance practice. One example of how gaming can support transformational learning are by providing a situated (authentic) learning context.

Further to this there are the MMOG (Mass-multiplayer Online games) games overviewed in Lisa's keynote (from Monday) where socialisation and collaboration is common place. I am not aware of an educational response to these types of games at present. Have a look at some of the educational games that are out now. In particular make sure that you check out 12th September. This game is a simple example of the points raised in this presentation. With guidance/scaffolding and reflection it makes a powerful (yet contestable!?) point about 'terrorism'.

Revolution (information on this game from MIT)
Open Heart (playable)
The Oregon Trail (info on a classic educational game)

I am hoping to get a copy of Lisa's presentation for you so watch this space.

Tuesday September 26th - 2nd Keynote

Getting over Socrates: towards a practical approach to classroom dialogue - Adam Lefstein (bio)
This was a 'low tech' talk about the role of dialogue within the classroom (and by extension - ' the learning environment') and was based on Adam's research paper that can be read here...
Adam drew from history, philosophy and concrete examples of classroom practice (inc. his own) to overview the effective use of dialogue within a f2f classroom. In the TCS/distance context our main mode of 'dialogue' with our students is our booklets. ICTs have the ability transform the methods of discourse and transaction that can take place between us and the students (and them with each other). In this context Adam's research has a clear application - even if the pedagogies surrounding the dialogue would adapt to or be adapted by his work.

Monday 25th - Gaming update

Gaming hits the TV3 news with comment from the presenter Lisa AND ALSO Derk Wenmoth (Core.ed ) and Murray Brown (ICT MoE).

Monday 25th - Whanau engagement in an educational context

Whanau engagement in an educational context - Kiritina Johnstone MoE (speaker context)

This was a good session but there wasn’t really an ICT context. The key question posed was ‘How are strong relationships fostered between whanau, communities and place of learning?’ to allow integrated action between the multiple players in education e.g. school, student, whanau. To view the Powerpoint used in this presentation click here...
Ma matau e raranga te ma tauranga - Let us thread the waves of knowledge

Monday 25th - Sharepoint services – not just an intranet

Microsoft Sharepoint is a collaborative web/intranet application. My interest in this session was two-fold. Planning for the redevelopment of our intranet is underway and it is useful to see the intranet functions that other schools in the sector are using, and also to see how an intranet is being used to support teaching and learning. Some of the uses of a multi-function intranet are:-
• Keep parents up to date with student progress/attendance
• A central point for student (digital portfolio) and teaching resources
• Daily notices for the whole school community
• Creating a an online sense of place for students
• Convergence of learning environments and intranets (e.g. ‘intranet takes on the function of a platform like Blackboard and is available from home)

Sharepoint is often found in schools as part of the MindSpring package.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Monday 25th September - First Keynote

I can('t) see for miles
A foggy scene welcomed the red-eye commuters to Wellington airport this morning. Flights were being cancelled all over the show so, although we landed three hours late, it was good to get here.

Keynote - Lisa Galarneau (bio) 'Welcome to the Future: What Online Games Can Tell Us About the Future of Learning"
Ok, so I missed the beginning of this session due to the flight delay, but essentially Lisa (that is her online gaming 'avatar' at the left) was talking about the future of online games (e.g. World of warcraft - probably blocked at TCS under 'Gaming' category) in the educational context. Have a look at some of her research at her website (includes a post of her persentation materials to download).

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Kia ora,
I am attending the ULEARN conference in Christchurch from Monday 25th to Wednesday 28th. The theme this year is enabling learners and leading organisational change. Both of these themes are key to the future development of TCS. Falling out of this are 10 key questions that form the basis of the keynotes and seminars.

I will be reporting back from the conference via this blog to share some of the experiences and messages with you. You can check in over the next week to see my updates and give me feedback using the comments area as I go (formative) or wait until next term to read all my missives in one go (summative).

All the best for your holidays,