Friday, 28 October 2016

Creating a class onAir episode

Today, we began to plan for our first attempts at creating a Class onAir episode. The day started with Matt Goodwin giving us some handy tips for setting up the episode, including tips for filming. Matt is one of the 2016 Google Class OnAir Teachers. 2016 is the first year that Google Class OnAir has run. It includes five teachers from the Manaiakalani cluster of schools sharing their teaching and learning process in the form of videos, in depth planning, reflections on lessons, and student learning. Check out the sites for these five teachers by clicking the link above.

Our aim was to complete most aspects of a Class onAir episode so that next week, we can film, edit, and complete an episode. Our first step was to create a site. Using the HTML for Matt's site, we began creating our page. I began by creating my title design. I still need to add photos of my students, however the beginning of the design (created through Google draw and Keynote) looks like this:

I then began creating a detailed plan of my episode. Note, this is still in the process of being planned so details may still change!

As part of the process, I also used Keynote to begin creating buttons which will link through to individual student blogs from the site. 

Through the process of creating a Class onAir episode, I have come to appreciate the extent of work required by the Google Class onAir teachers to create their sites and to post each new episode! Next week, I hope to film the lesson and complete the episode.

I think the process of creating Class onAir episodes is a great was to reflect on my teaching, to act on these refections, and to make learning rewindable for students.  

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Inquiry reflection: Week 3, Term 4

At our inquiry collaborative meeting for the beginning of term 4, we shared advice and ideas which we have learned throughout our inquiries this year.

Here are some of the discussion points that stood out for me:

  • We need to be making exciting learning experiences which engage students. How do we create something purposeful for our term theme?
  • For some students, we need to be extending them in reading using novels. However, how do we keep them engaged in the novel? We discussed student agency and choice. We thought about those students who are are beyond their current age for reading, however are not engaged or don't see the purpose in reading. We also thought about how these students need choice to read what they want. We need to be finding something which hooks them.
  • How do we get students reading independently for information? We need to be creating and using learning experiences with our students, such as quizzes, which require students to have read texts to complete the task.
  • Our learners need to have purpose. That is, they need to know why they are needing to learn something.
  • How do we get learners past where we are aiming? Often, we make progress with students (e.g understanding phonetics for beginnings of words) but then are challenged to create further progression. How do we get students past this barrier to keep them moving forward?

Created on

Friday, 21 October 2016

Universal Design for Learning

As part of our term 4 inquiry, (The Material World), I created this site which follows a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for students to use in their learning about Pseudoscience.

It was interesting that learners found it difficult to navigate in this site. I believe this was due to the fact that our students have been using our current class site for their learning during the year, so this new site was unfamiliar to them. More scaffolding will be required in the future for using a site like this.

Click the link below to explore the Pseudoscience site which I created:

Students were linked the this site, through our current site, here.

Term 4 Digital Immersion PLG

The aim of today was to create a teaching resource with a Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The day started with a discussion around the variety of ways our students best learn and their differing learning needs. This then linked into a discussion around how, as teachers, we need to be creating multi-modal resources and learning experiences which allow student's to have choice in their learning and which are appropriate for the various students in our class. This concept, which is known as a Universal Design for Learning (UDL), was explained by Chrissie Butler from Core Education, in this Core EdTalk. Chrissie Butler explained the importance of proving multi-modes to learning experiences so all students are engaged and have the necessary resources required to learn.

We felt strongly about the importance of learners being encouraged to use modalities which they may not always find the easiest to use as it is not always going to be possible for these learners to respond to and retrieve information from their modality of choice. This concept got me thinking about next steps in my inquiry - how can I be encouraging students to engage in learning when it is not presented in their favoured modality? To continue down this path, it is going to be necessary to find some other teachers or researchers who have looked into this idea.

How might this look in the classroom?. A discussion around this began with a look at research which has been undertaken by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre (WFRC). It has been suggested by the WFRC (2016) that learning experiences should include information presented through multi-modalities, and which include high reading mileage as well as wide and deep reading.

I began to plan a learning experience using a UDL for the Material World/ Nature of Science. As an introduction, I planned for students to explore Pseudoscience. I gathered a number of resources, including readings, images, infographics, videos, and also included a scientific method google drawing which students will be able to work with. Here is my plan so far:

I plan to use this learning experience in the weeks to come. As our team began inquiring into how we could use these findings of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre during term 3, I wanted to now challenge myself to think about how I could possibly make learning experiences more interactive for learners. During discussions with others, it was suggested that I think about how I could be engaging students who are absent from lessons.

Here is a screenshot of a learning experience created for term 3:

I have listed ideas around how I could possibly improve a learning experience like the one above in the future:
  • I could use buttons which are common for different things across learning experiences (e.g. audio explanation of task, screencast explanation of task, article, school journal, video).
  • I could make it clear as to what links to a video, what links to a reading, what links to a DLO template.
  • I could also be thinking more about how I create choice for students.


Butler, Chrissie. (2012). Universal Design for Learning. Core EdTalks. Retrieved from

Woolf Fisher Research Centre (26 August 2016). Manaiakalani Research Presentation: Manaiakalani Hui: 26.08.16 - Rebecca Jesson, Aaron Wilson

Friday, 14 October 2016

Future-focused learning and coding

We need to be teaching students in a future-focused way. What does this look like and why is this important? In 2014, a report was presented to the Ministry of Education by the 21st century learning group called 'Future focused learning in connected communities.' This document suggests 10 key recommendations in order to support future-focused students. It was really interesting to see which of these recommendations have been achieved, and which are still in progress.

In New Zealand, there is a big push for changes to the curriculum to support digitally fluent students. This is explained throughout this document. In addition, CORE education has released these 10 trends which have been acknowledged as important in future-focused learning communities. 

We need to be supporting our students for the future, not for the past. As a group, we brainstormed tools that are currently being/ or starting to be used for future-focused learning in the classroom:

Made with Padlet

One of the transferrable skills which has started to be taught through a number of schools is coding. Coding is a skill which can begin to be taught with junior school students and can become more and more complex as students progress throughout school. Coding can be presented simply as blocks with symbols or commands and can progress to use of JavaScript and HTML.

Below, I have coded a Star Wars game through 'Hour of Code' in using blocks and then using JavaScript.

This game requires the gamer to remove all 'Pufferpigs' to win the game. They lose points for hitting obstacles and will lose the game if they get all 'Mynocks' (the flying creatures). Play the game here!

Check out this screencast of me playing the game: