Monday, 21 December 2015

Idea around developing identity

One thing that travelling does to me is gets ideas following, the other day I saw this tweet

Getting to see regions driving down the country, a number of them have icons to represent trails. This has me thinking about simplicity of design.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Hour of code

Picture of my desk - what does your desk look like during this weeks hour of code.

The New Zealand Curriculum

Tuesday, 8 December 2015


Collaboration is key to creating national change. Change not only in curriculum, but in societies understanding of the future needs of the workforce, economic shifts and the opportunity and potential in front of us - especially if we get important leavers in education right. The work that we are doing individually is amazing, but when we come together and find intersections across our programs and partnerships we are able to turn it into something truly magical., with far reaching and lasting impact.

Saturday, 5 December 2015


During the term three holidays 48 teachers throughout the country came to Hobsonville Point Secondary School for a two day NZACDITT workshop

The workshop started with a look at Hobsonville Point Schools, it provide an opportunity to see what a ILE looks like. Then a quick introduction to Hobsonville Point School, The Learning Design model and Hobsonville Habits(dispositions) provided a backdrop to how the next two days were going to play.

The first workshop went through external achievement standards, with the teachers working in groups to pull apart the external achievement standard,work out what was being asked for, what were the requirements for an achieved, merit and excellence. Then using the markers report and teachers guide worked through the development of a collaborative non examination external report. 

The workshop invited one of the digital technologies NZQA moderators to provide an insight into what is evidence. Working out what is evidence for assessment purposes helped look at different ideas for teachers to do digital internal moderation, as well as what is evidence for digital technologies internal assessments. How can we get the writing down. The ideas and feedback provided some good discussion and a challenge for change.

The Ministry of Education then filled us in on the RAMP review and asked for ideas on what Teaching and Learning Guides could look like for Digital Technologies in the future.

Day two saw the challenge of writing internal assessments. Through the NZQA moderator and NZACDITT president saw examples of assessments, and going through the process of an internal moderation on the assessment task. Using the internal moderation checklist provided teachers an opportunity to collaborate and discuss ideas on why the task passed or failed. Developing internal assessments that meet the requirements of the standard and the Know your students helped teachers collaboratively develop internal assessment tasks that provide opportunities for students using authentic contexts. This was a well received workshop and one that could be run within regions by the conference delegates.

The post it note wall was then actioned, providing some interesting discussion about student numbers, developing assessments, authentic contexts, and making noise to name a few. Through this we also talked about how much feedback can you give for externals to students as a teacher. 

I must say being the workshop convenor and bringing this to the embers was a challenge for me, however having a growth mindset and using the tools that I have seen through other NZACDITT events and hearing the feedback from the delegates that came, I am heartened to have such wonderful teachers teaching the subject. The passion and experience that you brought to the workshop helped make it a success. The beginning teachers in the room were full of praise about the tables that they sat at and hearing first hand about some of the positives and negatives of the strands. They have walked away with a amazing amount of knowledge, and so have you.

Some of the information that went out around the conference, I have heard through emails and conversations on the day that these were some of the best dispositions and that other conferences could do well looking at how to implement similar dispositions.

This workshop is not a sit down and listen workshop. This is about what you put in, it is about resilience, purposeful, reflective and compassion. This mirrors the Hobsonville Point Secondary School Habits (Dispositions) and it is about practicing what one preaches.

Resilience, working with others to co-construct external and internal work and assessments.

Purposeful, staying on task working through with others in the development of a co-constructed external assessment that will be sent away to the NZQA official markers who will provide feedback in a new pilot developed in conjunction with NZQA and NZACDITT around external feedback in the externals.

Reflective, being reflective in the changing nature of students knowledge and skills. Developing ideas for new programmes of learning based on thework that you do in the sessions.

Compassion, working with others to develop new assessments and listening to what they have to say. Challenging when needed, to clarify, but not to judge.

This workshop is geared to be about working out the answers to your questions together rather than hoping for that silver bullet solution. Because there is no silver bullet solution.

Again, thank you for the fantastic two days. Keep the lanyard in sight and think about what you can do for your region.

Is Auckland University growing up?

Yesterday at the CS4HS Conference in Canterbury, there was a major announcement.

Ever since Digital technologies was developed and being delivered in schools there has always been an issue for Auckland teachers. It will not be considered an academic subject because it does not appear on the University of Auckland's Table A and Table B.

What is this Table A and Table B?
For entrance to some University of Auckland qualifications, you need to have completed subjects listed in Tables A and B below. Check the subjects required for your proposed programme against the 'Discretionary Entrance: Subject, credit and other requirements' table below.
Remember, a minimum of four subjects in total is required. Some programmes have no Table A or Table B requirements (eg, Bachelor of Arts)—in that case, you are free to choose any subjects from the NZQA list approved for University Entrance.

Table ATable B
Classical Studies
History of Art
Te Reo Māori OR
Te Reo Rangatira
Copied from

I do realise that not everyone goes to Auckland University. That there are other Universities, and how they treat Digital technologies.

However, this post is more about the announcement

Digital Technologies being recognised at Auckland Uni

Hot off the press, we've just heard that:
Digital Technologies will likely soon be accepted as a "Table B" subject for admission into the University of Auckland, pending Council approval and the provision of satisfactory curriculum data.  It has made it through Senate and we're confident it'll eventually be enacted.
This means that, subject to final ratification, the University of Auckland will be finally recognising Digital Technology at NCEA school level as suitable for meeting the academic requirements of entry into many restricted-entry courses.
As you may or may not know, Table B contains the "academic" subjects that are accepted by Auckland University for restricted-entry courses. It currently consists of the main maths subjects, the traditional sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), accounting and economics. Parents often see this as a defacto "worthy academic subjects" list, rightly or wrongly. 
Big ups to Tim Bell and others who have pushed for this along with IITP for a number of years, and for strong support from the Auckland University Computer Science department and Science faculty.

Now I wonder when we will see this...
Table ATable B
Classical Studies
History of Art
Te Reo Māori OR
Te Reo Rangatira
Digital technologies

Computer skills recognised as key for tertiary study

08 December 2015
Success at NCEA level in a new computing related achievement standard now counts towards admission to the University of Auckland and is endorsed for study across the University, it was announced today.
Up to now, NCEA Level 3 credits in Digital Technologies have not been included on the list of subjects considered best preparation for study at university level, particularly in science and engineering. 
Dean of Science Professor John Hosking says today’s decision acknowledging digital skills and knowledge as increasingly important across a wide range of study areas marks an important change for students, parents and schools.
It sent a clear signal to schools on what the University considers the most suitable preparatory subjects for admission to many Bachelor programmes, he says.
“Literacy in computer technologies and a fluent understanding of the digital world not only provides a strong foundation for tertiary study but the University recognises that it has become a core employable skill.
“I welcome the addition of Digital Technologies to the list of subjects we believe are of prime academic importance for success at tertiary level.”
The addition of NCEA Digital Technologies has been welcomed by the IT industry.
“This is a very significant step towards transforming Digital Technologies into a strong academic area with the potential to attract top students into related areas,” says Institute of Information Technology Professionals CEO Paul Matthews.
“It’s also a critical step in addressing high-level shortages within the industry and signally the importance of tertiary study in this field.”
Recent changes in the computing curriculum for NCEA, in consultation with universities, has resulted in a revised curriculum for Digital Technologies. The new curriculum progresses from Level 1 studies to Level 3. Level 3 NCEA Digital Technologies includes database creation and management and an introduction to networking and programming skills
The University’s Department of Computer Science has a new Stage 1 course which builds on the Digital Technologies curriculum and allows students entry to an accelerate pathway if they have completed NCEA level 3 in the subject.
“The Faculty of Science will be strongly recommending Digital Technologies for all science students,” Professor Hosking says.

Friday, 4 December 2015


I have been thinking about the work that I have bene doing over the past number of years, and it has dawned on me that I want to get back to some of the developments I was working on a number of years ago. I have put a lot of time and effort into developing programming and computer science in the schools I have been in. To this extent I feel that I need to relook at what I am delivering to students.

I am not dropping programming and computer science, I believe it has its place in the curriculum and well deserved.  Instead I need to relook at Digital Information and Digital Media. Sitting down on the lawn on Tuesday night I was talking with some people that have been looking at firebase and parse. I started to wonder what have I missed.

It is not that I have missed anything, it is that technologies are now moving forward away from the mysql databases of old through to realtime database development and being able to show new items without the need for a page refresh.

So what does this mean for me. Excitement, as well as opportunties to grow my knowledge and skills. Having already done the tutorial I now have a real time chat client that runs. Could this be the backchannel in classrooms.
I have some more ideas as well. Though one thing I have been looking at are web frameworks that could be used to support this. Polymer looks to be a good web framework that would allow for the development of web applications. Just need to find a way to learn a bit more.

Though one thing is for certain, digital media will look differently for me next year.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Getting back to Juniors

This year has seen a large change in what I have focussed on. Getting used to a Innovate Learning Environment and using Innovate Learning Practices. But what it has also allowed me to do is focus on Juniors. We have no senior students really this year. It has allowed me to rethink my ideas about what Junior Technology programs allow and what can be done with them. I have not been bogged down with the issues of NCEA for my students, it has been something that has been on my radar to do for a while is to rethink what junior technology programs might look like with the changes now implemented to NCEA Technology and Digital technologies. What might these look like in the future?.

At the junior levels we are developing an understanding of the three strands of Technology, we are not getting them to write a university paper.
I have students developing skills and understanding through their work, but not all of it is written, getting students to develop their ideas and present them to me through one on one conversations. Group Conversation, Now I know what others are saying, Oh, where is the time... We have changed the timetable to allow that, developing new ideas in how to present. Why is it always an individual piece of work that is being assessed, why can't it be a group piece. I have students working on a greenwall as part of sustainability at the moment, they have looked at inquiry, planning and collaboration through technological modelling. The report and the feedback are around how they have worked as a group. Not an individual. How have the communicated their ideas, not how well have they done individual planning, because half the time that has been done by the teacher in the first place. How do we get students developing the concepts of the strands when everyone talks about being time poor. Lets get creative, I love the ideas that come through this group about change. When I asked about what the does the future of the subject look like, great ideas, but why are we talking about these as a future, why are they not a now.

Students have the technology at hand, they are sitting in front of them every digital technologies class. BYOD, mobile phones, photos, videos are all valid forms of evidence.

I know a number of people will be frustrated at what I have written here. But I am frustrated. We need to be thinking smarter, and getting our students prepared for a world that is under change. Not for something that existed in 2007.

All the strands can be covered through digital technologies, but it doesn't mean that you have to spend an entire term covering that one strand.
Tech modeling could be being done through a digital media outcome. I currently have students creating paper prototypes for an app to support their PE class in which they are working towards action, developing through a couple of lessons.
Technological systems through programming and computer science.
Get a student to develop a program will require some form of planning and brief development. For example.

They are not in depth NCEA assessments, it is around using teacher judgement around the indicators of progression. It is around developing and knowledge to support the students learning and understanding. And they have fun doing it. Getting a student doing paper prototypes had them talking, collaborating, seeking feedback for an hour and a half, they want to continue developing prototypes next week developing the functional reasoning behind there design, as well at the practical reasoning. Using 

We do not have specific year 9 classes, we call them the foundation years where year 9 and 10 are together in all classes and work towards different curriculum levels on where they are at.

Topics we cover
The whole school works under a theme for the term. Here is what we are covering each term for the next two years;
2016 Term One - Identity - Identity of Design, Principles & Elements of Design
2016 Term Two - Space/Place - Innovation & Ideation
2016 Term Three - Citizenship - Characteristics of Technology
2016 Term Four - How Things Work - Technological Systems
2017 Term One - Culture/Diversity - Outcome Development & Evaluation
2017 Term Two - Relationships - Technological Products
2017 Term Three - Innovation - Brief Development
2017 Term Four - Transformation - Technological Modelling

Many teachers outside the school talk about the issues of teaching technology, its not fun...
As for fun stuff,
  • my fun stuff has been brief development where students developed a brief for new training equipment to develop a skillset in PE. (no specific requirement on any tech area)
  • my fun stuff has been technological modelling where students have been developing ideas around an app for developing skills with the primary school students years 4-6
  • my fun stuff has been technological outcomes were students made a stop motion video around relationships for visual text through an english context.
  • my fun stuff has been elements of design creating graphic novels through an english context. 
  • my fun stuff has been digital information using documents and sheets
  • my fun stuff have been digital media photoshop looking at students photo editing skills, collage development and incorporating mixed media to support the ideas required for level one.
  • my fun stuff has been sketchup recreating building around the hobsonville point for historical purposes.
  • my fun stuff has been developing a technological outcome for 5 years through scratch
  • my fun stuff has been programming through ardunio using the mindkits brainboard develop prototypes
  • my fun stuff has been programming through python to develop games through technological systems
  • my fun stuff has been digital information, creating guess who through mysql console for technological modelling.
  • my fun stuff has been digital media through developing simple websites using notepad++ through outcome development.
  • my fun stuff has been teaching students about algorithms, human computer interfaces, data representation which has covered a lot of technological systems.
A lot of this has taken place from the student voice we get from the students, as well as conversations that I have with students in the modules. What is it that they want to get out of school, from the area. Where will this take them. I look forward to what the students will be doing in the next couple of years with the knowledge and skills that they have obtained through technology and digital technologies. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

EOTC Get Lost roundup

When we were asked what could we do for EOTC Week, I never imagined the comments that I have had this week.

Developing the Hobsonville Habits, developing lifeskills, being able to teach my child something that I couldn't.
These have all been comments from the parents through the students explaining their learning over the past week.

Over the past week students have been through an Education Outside the Classroom Experience, Called Get Lost. It is important to highlight the principles of EOTC.

EOTC is curriculum-based teaching and learning that extends the four walls of the classroom.

Learning takes place both inside and outside school. Learning at school should encourage young people to be capable and knowledgeable citizens, who are involved with the communities they live in and contribute to the wider community. Every young person should be able to participate in learning beyond the classroom, whatever their age, ability, or circumstances.

Learning outside the classroom has the potential to support learning in ways that are consistent with the vision, graduate profile, principles, values, attitudes, key competencies, and effective pedagogy statements in the national curriculum (The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa). In addition, EOTC can support the aspiration for broad and deep learning in real-life contexts within and across the learning areas of the national curriculum.

The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies: thinking; managing self; using language, symbols, and texts; relating to others; and participating and contributing. Settings beyond the classroom are rich sites for developing, practising, and demonstrating the key competencies in a range of contexts within and across learning areas.

  • Authentic contexts are essential for developing the key competencies. Since it is important for students to develop and demonstrate their capabilities, where better than in authentic contexts beyond the classroom? 
  • Students need to apply the key competencies and use them to transform learning. They are a means of transforming the way in which students engage with and use their knowledge and understandings. Where better to apply and transform new learning than in relevant, authentic contexts beyond the classroom? 
  • Students need to develop the disposition to use the key competencies. Attitudes are important as well as knowledge, skills, and values. Learning beyond the classroom prompts students to demonstrate that they are ready, willing, and able to use the new competencies that they are developing. 
  • The future-focused aspect of the key competencies can be reinforced through EOTC, through experiences in which students encounter future issues that are a current concern in contexts beyond school.
Through our school, rather than the five key competencies, we have expanded them into dispositions, sort of extracting the key competencies into ten habits. 

When I think about the EOTC Journey that I have been on with this, and also the students, the habits are identifiable and the students have identified various habits as they have been on their journey. From being able to work within their group, comments from the students often talk about having to sort out issues within their group. When going through Auckland CBD on Wednesday many of them talked about the need to be compassionate, this brought out many conversations about the homeless people that are around the CBD. 

How did this happen...
It is great to have Auckland Transport and their AT HOP Cards, this meant that travel could be preloaded and students get to use a single card for their entire week, it also mean that each student have the responsibility to manage themselves. For the week, I only had one student forget their HOP card. 
Later on I will include some other comments about the AT HOP Card and the issues that we faced...

Preparation began a number of weeks ago, thinking about ideas and how to do a 5 day EOTC week, making sure that we stuck within our timeframes of time. For many of the students on this they have afternoon commitments that they were worried about. A look on the website and looking at ferries gave me the times that I had to work with. The Hobsonville Ferry was out of the running straight away as the times that it left were not in line with our school day. The West Harbour ferry left as 9:05 and arrived back at 3:40. A discussion with some of the get lost students who have afternoon commitments was held and they were happy with the times. 

Once we had the times and my initial planning from 5 years ago, we needed an extra two days. Having a discussion with a teacher at school getting students out east and south for a day, as well as north and west for the second day. Out west was then taken out of the equation as it was felt a number of students already knew that area well.

Day 1: Hobsonville Point and West Harbour, no transport required. Students will be completing a Street Orienteering activity and learning how to use a GPS receiver down at Bomb Point.

Day 2: Students will travel to and from Britomart on ferry and travel to Auckland Domain for the main activities.

Day 3: Students will travel to and from Britomart on ferry and activities will be based around Downtown Auckland.

Day 4: Students will travel to and from Britomart on ferry and participate in an amazing race style event based around Auckland CBD to Manukau using Bus and Trains.

Day 5: students will travel to and from britomart on ferry and participate in an amazing race style event based around Auckland CBD to Albany using Ferry and Bus.

A booklet went out with all the the EOTC Week events, where students were to select their top three. This work well as the majority of students managed to get their first choice. 

Once the initial selection was done, it was communicated through learning hub, where students had an opportunity to change if needed.

Once numbers and choices had been sorted it was then time to meet the students. 

We had four meetings with the students, the first was around informing the students and answering questions about the event.

The second was to collect information, cellphone providers and wether they had a AT HOP Card.

The third was to collect in the AT HOP card and check in with the students about other questions

The fourth was to finalise all the details and pass out the final details, in which I also emailed out to parents, including the "What will happen if students do not make the ferry back on time."

To run something like this requires a large amount of planning and research. A day in the Auckland Domain checking to see if everything is in its place. Amazingly not having used the domain for the past 5 years, the logs and rocks were still in the same place. The only thing that was missing was the train carriages I used.
A day around Hobsonville Point and an afternoon caching down at the point.
A day around CBD, this was also an ingress event day in which I used a lot of the places that were held as part of this event.
I originally planned south auckland to include a trip out to the auckland domestic terminal, I removed this section of the race as I felt that an extra one and half hours could have been pushing it.
Travelling out and around the north shore looking at places to use, I found a fantastic bush within the city that allowed me to get students to explore different areas. From Volcanic cones, to beaches, to native bush.

Day One
Two maps, Hobsonville Point, and Hobsonville to West Harbour. This involved an aspect of street orienteering, at each of the sites, there was a question. Two of the sites involved the students taking a photo. 

I would probably make the second map a bit shorter. While many of the groups managed to do this in a good time, one group took 5 and half hours to do this. Many group came back talking about how they managed to get lost. A common phrase over the days. Many proudly talking about how they got lost and what strategy they used to become unlost. In the afternoon, there was a quick session on how to use the GPS Units that they would be using tomorrow.

Day Two, auckland domain, a mixture of caches and puzzles
First trip on the ferry today, with a train to take us the rest of the way. It was lucky that today we did this, as part of the route to the Auckland Domain on wednesday was part of a police cordon. 
Today was all about the GPS units to fin there way, no map. No way of knowing which paths to follow or what bush they would be going through. For the students it was all about following the arrow. 
Through my planning and checking the night before, I managed to miss one mistake, instead of being 174, I had put 144. This resulted in a number of groups talking about how the arrow did not move, one thing they forgot to look at was that the GPS unit was staying the cache was 2788km away.

billy goats gruff
can you spot the cache?
getting prepared
the most hated steps

While there were caches, there were also puzzles, getting students to investigate the world around them.

The end of day two
It was a change for Steve to have run looking for caches, he missed one

What people started to realise is that I visited the domain three times during that week, once on Monday night to put the caches out, to run the event, and then that night to collect the caches again. It is rather a busy park after work, with many groups playing soccer, running, cross fit and I think an AA meeting? 

Day Three, Auckland CBD

Planning their route

Planning their route

Discussing what order
Today, maps and cards. Getting students to follow a GPS, is one thing, but having to follow a map with 22 different points on it. Sounds like a computer science problem to me. What is the best way to go. How much time do we have to visit all 22 points?
Introducing students to the concept of nearest neighbour...
I am going to start of with the idea of using a computer to try and solve this problem. In fact here is a widget from the website.
It would take 80,948,713,101 years and 11 months and 4 days for a computer to find the best route for this problem.
For the students, they had 5 hours.
The yellow dots are detours, in which all students in the group must all complete a physical challenge.
Shooting baskets
500 skips by the group
One was skipping 500 times, the other was how many basketball shots could be made in 3 minutes. 
Students also had to create an origami boat and have it sail in a fountain. (Instructions were provided)

One thing I start to realise is what is available in the CBD to be able to develop ideas, new parks, spaces and those laneways. Getting students to explore the spaces around them and start to think what can be done differently.

Day Four, South Auckland, Trains! 
train timetables and maps

where do we have to go

Tasks that have to be completed
Planning, on the way to town we gave out the days train timetables and notes on what they had to do. This provided the students time for planning, what train were they going to try and catch, what order would they do it all in. The conversations during this time were purposeful and students were having to show compassion towards others in their groups when there was disagreement.
Many students had not ride the train before. This was not at all surprising as there are no trains really on the north shore. Many talked about how clean and quiet they were. The information put them to one tree hill, sylvia park and manakau station. It also involved a 1km sprint between orakei and meadowbank station along a boardwalk across the orakei basin. This was the day I though I was going to have to stay in town for an extra period of time. Two students had yet to make it back, lucky 15 seconds to spare.

Day Five, North Shore. Buses and Ferries!
Ready for day 5

We need to build a sandcastle?

Trying to figure out bus routes

Old military bases, beaches, rose gardens, bush, sculpture gardens, a selfie and mini golf.
Not stopping for the view
Ferries, this was the day that we had an issue with one of the HOP Cards, this ended up two students not making the devonport ferry with everyone else. However these students were resilient and carried out with purpose. Considering they sent an image near the end of they day as they were crossing the harbour bridge they could see the ferry coming to pick us up below them. 
Racing the ferry from the harbour bridge
They made it back on time. Mind you I though this was going to have other issues, getting reports of students still on north shore at 2:00pm, my mind was running, ok, four groups have yet to make it back, what did I email to parents earlier this week about the next ferry.

Thanks to the West Harbour Ferry company for four days of having extras on board.

This has been a fantastic week in which the students enjoyed, I had one student who found it a bit much. However, in talking with the students, they did not realise the amount of physical activity required for this. They could not explain to me what there initial reactions were to what Get Lost would be about. They had to get themselves around, use three forms of Public Transport, climb, create and mange themselves.
Trying to do this with a teacher working with every group is just too hard. Considering there were only three teachers for this. Without the other two (Steve and Leoni) it would have been too much to do. They were invaluable. They ran the checkpoints that I set up, the physical activities or challenges, they were there to support if anything went wrong. A lot of this has a large number of risk factors attributed to it, the RAMS form was 9 pages long. 

I think one of the biggest things that I learn from this, is that the qualities that we are developing with our students are those that they can take into situations, five days of Get Lost is rough on any person. These students managed to do it for the five days, turning up every morning, managing themselves and often having to deal with struggle within their groups.

AT HOP Card Issues
Registration, it seems that when a 15 year old student registers their HOP card, it makes them an adult when in fact, the website states over 16 years old.
  • Children 5 to 15 years inclusive (until 16th birthday) of age are eligible for a child fare.
Day Pass AB
When you look at the the map around what an AB Zone Day Pass, you see all this green, so sweet, no... however it only applies to Inner Ferries, if you ar not to sure what that means, it is only the ones straight across from Auckland CBD, not including west. Hopefully this can be made clearer.

Loading 30 HOP Cards shouldn't require 30 transactions, Trying to find out if you could load them all at once with just the HOP card numbers. This required many emails and phone calls to try and find out. 
Thanks to the great customer services people at Smales Farm, you were awesome helping me get the money loaded and for the information you provided.

Seems one of the cards was Stolen?
Turns out it was't still don't really know what happened here, but got a text message from a student that told me that the customer services rep told him that the card was stolen. At least the student was able to log into his AT Account on his phone and show that he was the holder of that card. But it resulted in him missing the Devonport ferry ontime.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


One of the greatest things I find in schools is their ability to get students thinking outside the square. In 2009, the school I was with started a 3 day EOTC project, this was aimed at year 9 and 10 students and was designed to push students outside their comfort zone. The same happened again in 2010. This was an amazing experience where we pushed students to develop ideas around EOTC and key competencies. The same happened happened at my last school over two days. However, maybe I was not as adventurous, the first year we went mountain biking at hanmer springs, and went for a ride through the woods, finishing off with one of the coolest downhills the students have ever enjoyed, straight down jollies pass road. The next day we rode around bottle lake forest. This was over two days. The following year, paint ball shooting for two days, you can get pretty sore. The next two years was at school develoting time to a cost free programming session, which allowed the students to develop hour of code projects while having fun, including google hangout a students from up north.
Arriving at Hobsonville Point Secondary, Camp was being talked about. I can't think of the last time I was on a school camp. However, the idea of developed of an EOTC week for students, to develop the dispositions or hobsonville habits. I thought of the fun and excitement of Get Lost again, and included it in the document. The Get Lost name is back, students use it around school like a badge of honour, when handing the forms back in at reception, the answer of Get Lost is heard. What was once a three day project has now turned into a 5 day exploration of Auckland through the AT HOP card and public transport.
I have enjoyed finding areas of the Get Lost environment still the same after 5 years, which is kind of scary, but also fascinating when you think of the thousands of people that visit the sites each day.

I will develop this more as we run the event next week.  

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Realising the potential

How do we deal with students that join our class in year 13 - this was on a post-it note from the workshop in the holidays

I have been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks and I have been having a number of conversations with people around it.

The issue is the prior knowledge that is required.

Now, think openly about this,

Focus on a single strand of digital technologies, I am going with the programming and computer science strand. This is based on credits and resources.

Having a students turn up in year 13 having possibly done only a little bit of digi tech in year 9 is a challenge. Normally this student is thrown a course in complex techniques and struggles. 

Term One - Level one programming and computer science, have them work through the level one papers and assessment. Many students will probably turn there nose up at this, however, point out that this is the basic knowledge and this will help develop skills and understanding for the rest of the year. Also offer the knowledge computer science external, as something else to work on.

Term Two - Level two, advanced programming and computer science. Developing a better understanding of the requirements for level 3. Demonstrating knowledge of computer science for externals.

Term 3 - Programming and computer science. Doing the level 3 requirements and computer science paper.

Yes this is a large amount of work, but the resources are out there. And being year 13 students they should have the numeracy and literacy skills to be able to do these.

This develops a pathway for these students that they may not have had before.

While it is a single strand, students would get out of it, 10 credits at level one, we don't have to assess the level one credits though 10 credits at level 2, and 10 credits at level 3. But why stop there, allow them to work for endorsement. Use a technology standard as a research task AS91619, Going through the clarifications document, The expected level of understanding of how the technical area has underpinned developments increases across eras. That is, students will explain the technical ideas and developments that created the technical area (for Achievement); explain current limitations and opportunities and possible future developments (for Merit); discuss potential developments in technical areas and debate how these could be applied in fields in the future (for Excellence). 

It is a common occurrence that has been talked about at CS4HS conference as well as through my own experience. 

When students get to year 13 they find that they do not want to continue with a subject due to the amount of external's that have been pushed into the subject at the higher levels, no longer wanting to do the subject because of the amount of theory where the previous year it was practical. Wanting to experience something different because they are being told that they should take this subject because of a skills shortage.

Students change their mind, influenced by different ideas, friends, peer groups, teachers, media.

Why do we stop students from engaging with learning, I realise a lot people will talk about students that may not be self directed. But when I think of this, when has a student been allowed to be self directed? They may have been in courses that are all teacher directed, developed and content as well as assessment contexts have been given and the student has had no say. 

How can we develop students to have these skills earlier on in their learning and not leave it until their 13th year of schools to find out how to become self directed.

Need to include some information here on Managing Self, Key Competency.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Innovation Generation

Many of the Innovation Generation are deeply worried about the future of the planet, seek healthier lifestyles, and want to make a difference more than they want to make money. But they are swimming against the tides of tradition. A lot of parents still harbor hopes that their children will persue prestigious careers and be economically better off than they are. Too many teachers and employers still reward the "old school" behaviours of deference to authority and striving for "success", conventionally defined - and count on carrots and sticks for motivation. The result is that many in the Innovation Generation are skeptical of adult authority and the institutions that their elders have presided over. School is a game the Innovation Generation knows they have to play to get "credentialed", but they do it with as little effort as possible. Most have no desire to climb the corporate ladder and wait twenty years to do something interesting or worthwhile. They have no patience with worksheets or busywork. They have dreams and ambitions that demand time and space - and active nurturing.  
The problem is that many of those in their forties, fifties and sixties who work in established institutions don't make the time and space for the younger generation's dreams and ambitions. Leaders of conventional schools and businesses don't know what to do with this Innovation Generation. These young people have different dreams, different aspirations from their elders.
Page 19, Creating Innovators, Tony Wagner

Why am I posting this,
When I read this book it kept striking me that what we are doing within the Technology Curriculum and Digital Technologies needs to change. No longer is it ok to give the students the same project and expect an outcome. Why are we not allowing students to develop websites with a social need for example.

Last year a student wanted to make a change, help end child poverty.
This was picked up by the Internet Party who pushed it out through their social media.

Allowing students time to develop outcomes and think of new ideas is what is required in schools. It is amazing when I think of the work and time that students put into developing their ideas in class, developing programmes that supported an issue around spelling, a security system in a house through a raspberry pi due to a break in of a fellow student. These projects are ones that I would have never thought of. Students being able to have the confidence to talk about these projects and develop the understanding of skills and knowledge required to make these projects work. A lot of people will talk about the final outcome, few will talk about the process that it takes to get there, the failures along the way.

I meet with my Hub students today and asked them about their successes this term, all were able to talk about them and why they were successes. When I asked the question about failure,  they struggled to talk about them.
You are going to fail - and likely more than once. If you don't fail, then you are probably playing it too safe. Failing hurts like hell - especially failing in public. But you will learn some of your most valuable lessons from failure - far more from your successes. As you reflect on the causes of your failure(s), you will come to better understand yourself - your strengths and weaknesses - and you will adjust your aspirations accordingly. You will also become clearer about what it is you are trying to do and what is required to make it work. Think of failure as iteration, as learning.
 Page 246, Creating Innovators, Tony Wagner

Monday, 14 September 2015

An open letter to NZ Universities - Digital Technologies

Good evening,

We are now 15 years into a new century of education, the 21st century. Through this, we have seen a major change in the education sphere in New Zealand. National Certificate Education Achievement, this has allowed for students to seek better opportunities in courses, though there seems to be very little that schools do that you wish to change. In 2011 a new subject was created, Digital Technologies, yet looking through the marketing material, these students that take the subject in secondary schools as a background subject are missing some of the key information.

The University of Otago background subjects guide is one
Computer St
and Computer Studies is mentioned.

I am going to say, this has not been around since the end of Sixth form Certificate.

Canterbury University
When you enter digital technologies into the search engine, you get a whole lot around education and e-learning. When you see the information science, you read, While we do not require students to have studied digital technologies at school

Then you see... If you enjoyed Digital Technologies and Media Studies at school, you might like to study the following subjects at UC: Astronomy;

It seems that the University of Canterbury links Media Studies and Digital Technologies together...


Victoria University, Congratulations!!!
Fantastic! You deserve a Bouquet!

University of Waikato
This is a little bit more difficult, however for Computing Degree as mentioned in this, more around Mathematics requirements.

Auckland University
Where do I start...

Entry requirements for Computer Science

Students are not required to have studied any sort of computing at high school to be able to major in Computer Science at The University of Auckland.

It is good preparation for prospective computer science students to study level 3 NCEA in Mathematics or equivalent. Physics can also be useful.

It is however... 
15 Points
Computer Science Fundamentals
This is the entry course to Computer Science for students with prior programming knowledge. It focuses on data structures and efficient ways to manipulate data. Topics include: a brief recap of programming concepts, recursion, regular expressions, data interchange, abstract data types, linear data structures (lists, stacks and queues), non-linear data structures (heaps, hash tables, trees), searching and sorting.
Prerequisite: Achievement Standards NCEA Level 3: Digital Technologies and Programming: 91637 Develop a complex computer program for a specified task, 91636 Demonstrate understanding of areas of computer science, or equivalent, or Departmental approval
Restriction: COMPSCI 101, 105

Is it possible to be able to update your material to include aspects of Digital Technologies, the subject to help build interest, parents perceptions, and careers advisors information.

Thank You.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Time to play - mytime v0.0.14

It has been another good night of development, I now have the days running separately and two choices per day. Data is now being feed into a selection database, where if a student has already completed it it overwrites, otherwise it adds in a new row of data.

Thought I had a problem with the display of some data, but it was the way I set it up to test to make sure that if the mytime coordinator did not want to have a selection on that week that it would not be displayed.

Added in the ability to change weeks within the system, could have been done a bit cleaner with a for loop, but leaving it for now...

Now to get the next parts in, 
Guided Learning 
Numeracy support.

Should it be a second choice... if a student is either going to be away, wanting guided learning, note only one a week, meeting with a teacher or numeracy support, these should be first choice only. Second choice is something else..

Note: only one guided learning a week. This is possible as I can tag it to stop it coming up again in the following days.


I have now included a check to make sure that you cannot select the same item in 1st and 2nd choice. This will be made red and developed a bit more, but for now.
I am also developing a way to check for guided learning only to be entered once, this is taking a little bit longer to sort out with the logic needed.
Also check it with a student logging in today, had to change his password as I could not remember what the cipher is for login.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Time to play - mytime v0.0.3

I finally feel like I have some time to play,

I am currently playing around with the idea of what learnPath is all about...

I started off with a habit evaluation from one that we started off at the beginning of the year, but now it has changed as the we include and think about what it is developing, or showing.

However the big one for me at the moment is around the mytime, I have started developing the code for it, and I have been rethinking and developing it once I get a piece working. I was running at 173 lines of code, now down to 83, including comments.

Playing around with data and display
Each week our mytime changes, this has been included in the development of database, it reads the year, term, week and day, at the moment we have mytime run for 3 days, however I have developed it so mytime can run each day. I am thinking about wether to show individual days or select all days on one screen, select second options on the next.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Transforming Assessment Praxis

I am on a pilot of a new NZQA Best Practice Workshop model, which is around Transforming Assessment Praxis.

While it hasn't been all inspiring, as most of the work that they have been talking about over the last five weeks has been ideas that I have been working on with my students for the past couple of years. It has made me more aware of what we are trying to do at HPSS. Knowing the learner and working with contexts.
As well as looking at Naturally Occurring evidence
While watching the three hour session tonight that I missed last week, around What currently drives you current assessment practice, What students value, Future shifts, Modes of assessment and naturally occurring evidence. I have been sent two assessments to moderate by another teacher, looking at these tonight and putting the ideals that I have been working through, I have been able to make some changes to evidence statements. While it is an assessment in Digital Information, database creation, the assessment is written in such a way that it allows for a student to develop their own context, yet also offer ideas for those students that can't think of one, or it does show the students what the rigour of the assessment should be. Having the conversation with the teacher on the phone while modifying the assessment through Google Drive has allowed for some great conversations to happen about how the assessment could be delivered, and what contexts should be included to help develop students ideas around rigour.
Evidence statements have now been changed to allow for a screencast of the database working by the student to show how it would function.

But the highlight of the work was on area of the assessment that had been developed which was on to show skilfully or efficiently as required as part of the step up of the assessment. This is the masterpiece of the assessment in my opinion, without even knowing it or putting it in for assessment sake, this allows for naturally occurring evidence of the technology level 2 achievement standard around planning to be included. So a 6 credit assessment, is now a 10 credit assessment.

In the presentation I was watching tonight, was included some information on overlaps. This is something I think originally looked at when the assessments came out, however I think I was turned off at the amount of evidence required by the standards. Having a better understanding of the standards now and evidence required through my role in the subject association helps me to now develop better assessment outcomes. A feature of what we are looking at as part of the Workshop15 in the holidays. To many teachers are talking about the amount of evidence needed for assessments now. Why are we not thinking smarter and allowing the technologies that we use everyday to assist us.

I know look forward to the next two weeks where I get to put my plans for the task into action and develop an assessment resource 

Things to consider …

Prior to writing your assessment resource, you will need to consider the following:
  • Your goal
  • What the student voice has told me
  • Student input into context
  • Knowing my student
  • Documents which will inform my assessment resource (Achievement Standard, Conditions of assessment, Clarifications documents)
  • Modes of assessment
  • Variety of ways to collect evidence
My Goal, to look at how naturally occurring evidence and authentic contexts can help develop engaging learning that can be used for overlaps of assessment.