Friday, 12 October 2018


Its been a busy holidays.

The first week involved a meeting in Wellington that brought the providers of the Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko curriculum together. This was an important meeting that allowed for the first time to meet and share their experiences, as well as what they are looking at.

The following days involved me down in Christchurch at the DT4PD conference. This brought together the Regional Hub heads to be able to talk about and listen to what is happening in the regions. This has been important to get this up and running to allow teachers to be able to come together to share, develop and strengthen their understanding.

I ended the week by visiting Code Club Aotearoa, it was the launch of an amazing project that they have been working on which enables students to start understanding the Internet of Things and how they can be a part of it. There is a story available on stuff about the initiative.

I am interested in how we could get one for our own school garden, or do we make our own?

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Self review for schools in their digital technologies journey ideas

Some quick questions for the start of this post.
Is the digital technologies curriculum to be taught separately from the technology curriculum?

What is your understanding of the progress outcome for each strand. You can select to focus on junior, middle or senior levels.

What is your understanding of these and what types of contexts could they be taught within your school.

What are some of the opportunities that the Digital Technologies curriculum has to offer.

Many schools are asking about STEM and how this might develop an integrated curriculum, what type of themes could be used and what possible outcomes might be developed?

Schools often talk about there senior programmes of learning and the difficulty of how to understand what the junior curriculum has to offer. How might you look at the progress outcomes and the current timetable requirements of your school.

What are some of the opportunities that your current timetable gives?

Which has lead me to start thinking about what a Self review tool for where you are at currently with your digital technologies programme which is different to the review tool as part of the digital readiness.

While the new curriculum content includes a focus on Integrated learning, or connected learning, this  has been talked about as providing opportunities to teach digital technologies rather than within a single silo. However, is this a focus more on digital fluency? How we use digital devices within the class to support the learning.

Schools often talk of their digital technologies programmes being more about the learning with digital technologies or digital fluency. Office and google apps for education feature quite heavily. 

If you were to talk about your digital technologies programme within your school, how would you describe what is currently available and has been available for students?

Digital technologies,  has been taught at Hobsonville Point secondary school through integrated modules with foundation years.
Digital technologies with Physical Education
Digital Technologies with English
Digital Technologies with Performing Arts
Digital Technologies with Visual Arts
Digital Technologies with Mathematics

These have been taught through themes; 
  • Space and place
  • Identity
  • Citizenship
  • How things work
  • Culture and Diversity 
  • Relationships
  • Innovation
  • Transformation
These are just some of the SPINS.
Creating 3D modelling characters based upon the English novel that they have been reading.
Understanding the base principles and ideas of how digital devices work.
3D printing to understand and create new opportunities for recycling at our school.
Understanding how things work by pulling apart computers and understanding the components that make up a computer.
Recreation of historical building at Hobsonville point before they were pulled down in sketch up, this ended up being shown by the primary school students who were part of the class as part of a google summit for students by students.

Digital technologies has also been used to support Projects, an all in curriculum that supports learners to develop outcomes based upon guiding principles.

Back to some more questions that build on the self review
What does assessment against the progress outcomes look like? While this could be a larger question in itself, how could it differ in what it currently looks like within your school.

Local curriculum, how much of what you offer already is based on your local curriculum? How might this change with the opportunities that the digital technologies curriculum offers.

Do projects feature that combine learning about different areas of digital outcomes, ie information and media, developing an understanding of the data that you have collected and crates an info graphic based upon that data? Or are different areas of digital taught and assessed individually?

What is the current description in your course booklet for year 9 and 10?

How is this reported to parents? 
How are you reporting what the current learning is for students, are you using specific skills rubrics, or have you been the Technology Achievement Objectives. Does the report allow for different levels of the curriculum, or just based upon one curriculum level and a standardised level within that?
I have heard of schools that have created a junior credit system or using cut score marking to report to parents where the student is at. How are these being used to support the students next steps within their learning.

What outside opportunities exist for your junior students to develop?

Does your junior course prepare students for future study with digital technologies?

I don’t want to put projects or assessments in this, more want to get people to say what, not pld or specific requirements, but future developments that there regions or developed ideas could support.

What have you done to build your understanding of the new digital technologies curriculum?

Monday, 11 June 2018

Paper Cup machines, Edison robots and digital technologies

It has been a busy week developing a range of ideas for the MOVING module class. We have moved away from scratch and the development of algorithms that are being laser cut this week, through to more hands on activities where students have opportunities to be curious and creative.

It started with coffee cups, with other stuff added in. Students created their own paper cup machine that they used to see if they could develop some interesting patterns. One thing that they talked about was all the testing that they did flattened the coin batteries that we were using.

Classroom Post

A pretty great lesson where large amounts of learning, laughter and fun of machines doing some pretty weird things.

This lead to students being able to compare their paper cup machines to robots today.

The kit, Edison Robots and LEGO

Year 13 working along side Year 9 and 10 exploring the edison robot and potential uses

Classroom post

The edison robots provided a good platform for students to learn how to develop and test ideas as part of the Computational Thinking Progress Outcome today. Having an opportunity to work in pairs to design a way for the pen to be held on the robot through to programming and testing the ideas out. Students were required to develop three patterns with their time today. This gave them the opportunity to try out different ideas. We used the the EdWare programming where just in time learning supported students to develop code, figure out how to upload the code to the edison robot and also trouble shoot fail codes. It is amazing how many of the students had there volume turned to mute.

We are continuing to use these for the next couple of weeks. The reason is that want students to develop cultural patterns using computers.

We have been looking at different ideas for holding the felts, however the hole is too small on this. But it has potential. The comments from students who liked the fact that we were using LEGO to develop the mechanisms to hold the felts. Even students who were not part of the class today and in other areas commented that they could hear the lego being tipped out and wished that they could join in the learning today.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Opportunity to develop Internet of Things smart school

Last year I bought a thinxtra kit and thought about how I could use it to develop aspects of the new Digital Technologies Curriculum as well as provide opportunities for students to provide new information about our community.
This initiative falls in-line with the government policy addresses to enrich the curricula, increase learning activities, step up efforts to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. This also aligns with the worldwide trend of equipping the next generation with the skills they need for the future workforce to adapt to the rapid economic, scientific and technological developments, and its challenges.

Throughout the development of the new Digital Technologies Curriculum, we have been thinking about how Internet of Things and developing a way to capture our community and the growing nature of it. Hobsonville Point is a new community developed on an old air force base. It has been under construction for the past 5 years and the school is looking for ways to link in with the community at every chance. We are already an Internet of Things building were all the data is combined with our Building Management System - However, as we grow we want to develop a better understanding of our environment.

The proposed solution through your pdf links in well with our school's mission statement. Innovate. Engage. Inspire.

It also links in well with the new curriculum and getting students to create and understand our own data and what it means for our community.

Getting students to think about how the might sense the environment around us, and providing us links to the community. We have the programmes in place already within our school through our Modules and SPINs to be able to provide students opportunities to develop and engage with the solution. Modules are a combination of two learning areas and two teachers, SPINs are a Special Interest class where it is one learning area and one teacher. We also have Projects were for one day a week students work to develop next ideas and understanding that links in with our community.

I look forward to hearing from you and how we can make this project work for our community and school and create a powerful linkage for the next 5 years.

UPDATE: Since emailing last night I have been contacted today and they are going to give us three kits. This is fantastic. It has also got me getting the one that I bought last year up and running and it seems that I should I activated this sooner as it was out of contract. They have since sorted this out for me and added it to our account.

The email support I have received from them has been fantastic.
Thinxtra is very supportive to help students to use technology to make a difference.

Some schools are doing some amazing things with IoT technology, like this school in Waitangi where we put up a dedicated basestation and provided Dev kits just for the schools purposes;-

I would suggest as a starting point for your Student’s to look at their local environment and area and see what things they could improve? e.g. could be things like monitoring air or water quality, monitoring how often a classroom gets used, monitoring pest traps around the area, if people are using parking spaces appropriately, the list goes on…

Thinxtra can help and can provide 3 x Thinxtra dev kits to the school for free to help you get started.

These are a great starting point and before no time the students will be coming up with technology solutions solving some local problems.

API call for the data

This could be a great way to show Designing and Developing a Digital Outcome Progress Outcome 4
DDDO: Progress outcome 4
In authentic contexts, students investigate and consider possible solutions for a given context or issue. With support, they use an iterative process to design, develop, store and test digital outcomes, identifying and evaluating relevant social, ethical and end-user considerations. They use information from testing and apply appropriate tools, techniques, procedures and protocols to improve the quality of the outcomes and to ensure they are fit-for-purpose and meet end-user requirements.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Working as part of our schools

Yesterday I was sent an email from our primary school about helping to develop an idea from one of the teachers.
Since today was a flipped timetable at the secondary school, I was able to go down this afternoon to work with them for an hour.
There are two students who want to help fellow students to develop their number knowledge. They have been doing this as part of a project and I was impressed by the work that they have done. They had who could they ask questions, what resources they needed to have, and I wonder statements.
They had drawn some designs in their book on how they wanted it to look and some of the features they wanted to have. They want to help students develop there addition, multiplication, division and subtraction as well as a skill they I slightly remember, skip counting.
We sat down and I asked them questions around my own clarification on what they wanted to do, challenged them in there thinking around correct and incorrect answers and how they would feel getting big red crosses for every incorrect answer.
We then started developing some code in scratch for them to develop some understanding.
They were so excited to see their ideas starting to work, testing the different components of the project was difficult because they knew the answers. Getting them to realise that sometimes you had to put in incorrect answers into your project even though you knew the answer required some coaching.
They have multiplication and addition now working, with score-based working at present.
The part that blew me away, is that they are only year 3, 8 years old.
This is part of me reflecting on the different opportunities of the digital technologies curriculum. The opportunity for students developing and sharing their ideas nationally currently doesn't have a year 3 programme, it starts at year 5. I wonder...

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Refresh - Energise, hubsketch and grit

The learning pit.

This is a common phrase within schools, like it or not. Having the opportunity to start to recognise and deal with this is what I feel the cyclone energise conference is about. Give teachers opportunities to find there way out of the learning pit. A conference in the holidays helps me to find my way, connect back with people that are outside my school and region.

The energise conference is a fun filled, high energy Education Conference like no other. It focuses on empowering teachers and leaders to provide every student with the education that they deserve. Join us to connect with expert educators from early years, primary and secondary to explore the latest ideas on best practice teaching and learning and leadership.

Boy did it deliver. Starting off listening to Ali Carr Chellman - 'Gaming to Re-engage Learning' and finishing off with the keynote from Sylvia Duckworth - (Sketchnote queen) 'Why Creativity Matters'.

I had workshops with Cheryl Doig about collaboration and why it is needed to support students and teachers, with some good thinking around how we might better work towards better collaboration within our school.

Next was Matt Nicol from Rolleston and his Korero around how they are developing their school and what takeaways from its development over the past two years.

I then went to a session on the new Digital Technologies Curriculum and where to start. Having had some major input into the new curriculum strands, it was important for me to hear where other people are at. I think the kiwi phrase of "Yeh, na" nails it.

The second day I found myself at a bit of a loose end, the reality of holidays ending and emails starting to come in around changes to timetables and reporting start to hit. But I did make sure that I stayed engaged with aspects of the conference.

At 8am we had to find our teams, these were organised by the conference people, I was in a team of four, people I had never met over the conference and we had to use the information we were given and an ipad and sphero to complete challenges. I now know how my adventure racing students must feel when I have given them challenges to do with other students that they don't know. A quick getting to know you, what can you bring to the team and we were off, it seems that I got given the job of programming and making the sphero drive around, to tell you, this is something challenging, I swear it has a mind and control of its own.
To drive a sphero into a clam shell of water
To make a team flag
To make a chariot and race down a course
To drop the sphero in the paint and paint a creation on the floor
To stick an animal sticker on a cup and to program the sphero to act like the animal. We had a turtle.
All had to be videoed and photographed and placed up in twitter for evidence of learning.

All of this was design to show people how the new digital technologies curriculum - computational thinking could be used with students.

I must say I felt quite embarrassed when it was announced that we won the competition at the end of the day.

The end of the conference keynote was a highlight for me, from writing positive sayings on paper and then creating it as a paper plane and throwing it into the crowd, through to learning to draw was a highlight.
The paper plane that found me
My drawings

These are things that I can do with the students at school and I must say I have been doing since I returned from Christchurch.

Here are the students drawing creations from the beginning of Mondays Learning Hub - Ako. The video is based on the TED talk, so you think you can't draw.

This inspired me to refresh an activity that I was introduced to back in 2015 when Steve Mouldey and Danielle Myburgh were in our community, Taheretikitiki at school. Sketch a day in May. Here is the blog post that started the drawing

I developed this with my Learning Hub - Ako back in 2015 and it has been something that I wanted to bring back over the last couple of years, but Hub had changed and we were required to do other aspects of our Hub Curriculum. However this year, I have made a conscious choice to do Porowhita in a slightly different way. That is for the students to draw. they get a post it note and a felt. When they hand there drawing in they have to say what their drawing is about. This is then added to the table and a photo taken. I plan to add them to the Instagram feed that I created in 2015 called hubsketch.

I look forward to Learning hub tomorrow where I am exploring GRIT with the students. One of our Deputy Principals often talks about GRIT, so it has been a good explore and make sense of what GRIT is and how it affects their lives. This is working towards developing Personal and Academic Goals for the students.