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Showing posts from 2016

#SUNZSUMMIT - What I learnt from attending SingularityU and what I reckon it means for education in NZ

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Earlier this week (Mon-Wed) I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural SingularityU NZ Summit in Christchurch. Since then (Thurs-forever) my brain has a been a whirl as I have tried my best to understand and appreciate exactly what it is I learned and heard at the event. The saying "the more you know, the more you know you don't know" kept coming to mind. I went in to the event fairly confident I was abreast technological developments, what was in store and what that meant for education. I came away from his event patently aware that whilst I am relatively aware of technological developments, my knowledge really only skipped across the surface like a skittery ol' skipping stone and my understanding of the impact it is going to have on education was way short - I need to stop thinking Blue Sky High and need to start thinking Intergalactic Intelligence Building!
The SingularityU NZ website describes the event as bringing "the world’s top speakers and experts on e…

#SUNZSummit - Why I am looking forward to SingularityU

Claire Amos: Realising the Future of New Zealand Education from Festival of Education on Vimeo.
On the eve of the inaugural SingularityU NZ Summit I am continuing to build some very genuine levels excitement about what I might learn and how it might reframe my thinking about the future of education. It has been awesome to be part of what feels like a groundswell of educators who share a passion for futures thinking and educational change and it has been equally exciting to see this become a theme of large scale conferences such as Ulearn and EduTech and the many smaller corporate organised edu-conferences that have popped up in recent years.

However alongside this excitement this excitement there has also been a sense of frustration. Whilst there is absolutely a growing demand for educational change, there is also sense that these "edu-changemakers" still, in a sense live within a bit of a bubble. Head to any conference and you see the same lovely group of educators, speakin…

Keeping our cool about COOLs (without drinking the COOL aid)

Yesterday the government (as part of a wider announcement around updating the Education Act, announced they are to "Establish a future focused regulatory framework for online learning", which is unpacked as "A new framework for correspondence education (modernised to refer to “online learning”) to future-proof the Act, and enable students to study online as an alternative to, or alongside, face-to-face education. The new framework enables new providers to enter the market, as accredited Communities of Online Learning (COOLs)." I can understand that this may have come as a surprise, and that in and of itself makes people nervous, not to mention the use of the term "market", what I don't understand is the nearly universal "Chicken Little" response which has seen nearly all peak bodies, politicians and many media outlets declare that "the sky is falling!".

Personally my first instinct was - awesome! I mean, imagine the possibilities! …

Innovate Out West - A Collaborative West Auckland Teacher Only Day

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Innovate Out West West Auckland Teacher Only Day Tuesday 7th June
Conference Theme: Innovative Learning - sharing the best of the West!
Tomorrow marks the inaugural 'Innovate Out West'. A teacher only day with a difference! This year a range of secondary schools from across the West Auckland area (Hobsonville Point Secondary School, Waitakere College, Massey High School and Kelston Boys High School) are getting together to share their best practice with each other. It will be an opportunity for teachers to visit two different schools the learn about their best practice and innovative strategies they are developing, so as to improve outcomes for all.

Workshops include topics such as  'Pasifika achievement' - Strategies that empower Pasifika students to succeed, 'Matau Tatou' Kelston’s brand of PB4L, 'Restorative Practice" - Focus on relationships 'Cross curricular learning in a traditional context'- Sharing our current exploration of cross curric…

The 'Lean In' and 'Thrive' Dichotomy

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Can we Lean In AND Thrive?
I'm not sure if it's a dichotomy, paradox or a conundrum, however I know it is an issue that I, and potentially many others, grapple with - can we actually both Lean In AND Thrive?
The summer before last I read the two aforementioned books back to back. I loved both of them, both Sandberg and Huffington "spoke to me". Or should that be, they "spoke to parts of me". 
Sheryl Sandberg very much spoke to the career me, the one that has refused to acknowledge any glass ceilings or ever take no for an answer. It appealed to the side of me that genuinely believes I can do whatever I want to do and I can be anything I want be. This is the side of me I uphold as important not just for me but as a role model for my young daughters,  the young people I teach and those that I work with. To me, this is about developing a kick arse sense of self-efficacy - a quality that I think is integral to success in the 21st century. 
But then the other pa…

New Zealand Curriculum Implementation - Are we there yet?

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On Tuesday and Wednesday this week I had the utter privilege to be invited to participate in a Ministry of Education New Zealand Curriculum Think Tank. Two days, 25 positive, proactive agentic and action orientated curriculum leaders from across the country came together to consider how NZC implementation might be reinvigorated. Interestingly, I couldn't help but chuckle about how an article I wrote (as guest editor of English in Aotearoa) six years ago sort of captured the challenges we discussed.

English in Aotearoa Editorial – What new curriculum?

By Claire Amos

In August 2009 The Education Gazette spoke to New Zealand Curriculum project manager Chris Arcus, to find out what schools needed to know about the NZC at this stage. When asked where schools need to be by February 2010 his answer was this, “All schools need to do a couple of things – they need to design and implement a school curriculum and they need to teach using an evidence based inquiry cycle that informs what they do…

Dr Jane Hunter - Turning High Possibility Classrooms into High Possibility Schools #futureschools

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What's happening in some Australian Schools right now?

There are key issues that we need to be thinking about. The place of STEM? Place of professional learning. Disengaged students, particularly in high school. Radicalisation in schools. The SAFE schools policy. This is the context in which we are working.

The research project was qualitative

4 teachers in four schoolsHad to meet exemplary criteriaNo previous studies like thisData gathered over two years
What did research tell us about teacher's knowledge of technology enhanced learning in classrooms?

All were all early adopters of technology and considered exemplary in their use of technology.

The four teachers

Gabby - had interactive whiteboard, some desktops, iPads and her iPhone. Not one to one. Gina - worked for IBM prior to coming into teaching. Used a laptop, digital cameras, a maker. She believed it was important to teach coding because it taught you how to think. Nina - she had worked with Seymour Papert, she was in a o…

Claire Amos - Learner Agency - More than just a buzzword #futureschools

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Learner agency at Hobsonville Point Secondary School from EDtalks on Vimeo.
This is the closest I can get to blogging my own presentation, a repost from Semtember 2015 - the original post that inspired today's presentation.

Admittedly, even I'm impressed at the litany of edu buzzwords I manage to ram into one video here. When I first watched this, I couldn't help but imagine Tom Barrett poised with his Buzzword Bingo card and a kind but cruel twinkle in his eye. ;) And indeed I got royally roasted by Steve Mouldey, particularly when I managed to define one buzzword with another - did you know learner agency is really about student efficacy? Well now you do.

But joking aside, Learner Agency is bloody important.

So what does Learner Agency actually mean. The way I define it is the idea that the learner has a sense of ownership and control over their own learning. The word 'agency' is defined as "action or intervention producing a particular effect", so I gu…

Ayesha Khanna - Externships: Why Partnerships between corporations and schools is the nest way to teach STEM #futureschools

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Khanna began by talking about the future of work. 47% of jobs will be automated.

Khanna is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Keys Academy and innovative enrichment hub who champions the concept of "externships" which allow secondary students to apply their learning to 21st century industries.

Our new colleagues and competitors are robots.

Our new tools are becoming increasing sophisticated and are reducing in cost.

I am not interested technology, I am interested in giving young people creative confidence. I LOVE this quote. Consider it stolen and appropriated.

Our new jobs are going to involve wearable technology and virtual reality.

We are going to live differently. Khanna gave the example of designer babies.

How we work will be different we are going to see "the rise of the connected freelancer" (another goody - thanks Ayesha!).

Telepresence is going to become increasingly normal.

Smart nano-workers. For example 'HourlyNerd' where you can pitch projects to f…

June Wall & Jonathon Mascorella - Designing Learning Spaces - putting the cart before the horse #futureschools

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Learning environments can be defined as a set of physical and digital locations, context and cultures in which students learn.

Wall argues that environment IS important as it can shape how we behave and learn within it. She talks about the five cases - the zero case, the digital case, the side by side case, the embedded case and the classical case. Couldn't quite capture the meaning of each, but she concluded that the embedded case.

Found this explanation

Learning environments can be defined as the set of physical and digital locations, contexts and cultures in which students learn. Five typical cases of learning environments can be distinguished with respect to their relation to digital devices:

1. The zero case: there are no relevant physical or digital relevant stimuli in the environment of a person. The cognitive representations of the person can be formed rather independent of the outside world: thinking, dreaming, visualising something based on memory and creativity process…

Stephen Lethbridge - The Race to Makerspace #futureschools

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After warming up the crowd with a few Dad jokes like only Lethbridge can. He then began the session with a moments silence and this quote:

“So the urgent drives out the important; the future goes largely unexplored; and the capacity to act, rather than the capacity to think and imagine becomes the sole measure for leadership.”

- Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad: "Competing for the Future"

What is the proliferation of Makerspaces doing? is it a case of a good idea being scaled up and watered down? Is it keeping up with Joneses? He then talked about the renaming of Woodwork to Hard Technology, the change from Cooking to Food Technology. But has anything really changed??

He also challenged the notion of even having a dedicated space. Or that making can only happen in a certain space or in a certain class. He talked about us needing to consider the one important space - the mind and the idea that being a maker  is about having a "maker mindset".

He also talked about the im…

Darren Cox - Developing a School Culture of Professional Learning #futureschools

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Well this is a topic close to my heart.

This guy is loud and fast - a good thing to note as I can be exactly the same and I'm speaking in two hours time. Must not get too shouty. Must not get too shouty. Must not get too shouty.

He began by asking us why we became a teacher. He shared his story, what made him become a teacher and thanked the people who supported him along the way. Cox started teaching at 18 and became an Assistant Principal at 25, working with a lady with a drinking problem. He paused. This was a leadership opportunity for him.

As a leader, do we have an aspiring vision, are we empowering the students and tapping into what motivates them? Everything rises and falls on Leadership. You cannot lead people you are righting off - good statement. You need to like and believe the people you are leading. We need to view our staff as talent with capabilities that we need to tap into.

Without vision people perish. You need a long range vision - it helps in times of short t…

Erin Weightman - Reimagining Education, Revisioning the Future #futureschools

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Erin spoke of the the process of re-imagining secondary education at Surf Coast Secondary School. So interesting to hear a school going through such a similar journey to Hobsonville Point Secondary School. She spoke of integrated learning, of teachers working with teams of three teachers within a collapsed timetable. She then spoke of how they used SOLO taxonomy to scaffold the complexity of learning and talked of how they worked on projects under an umbrella concept - sustainable futures. This is all so HPSS! You can see what we are doing at HPSS here.

The only tinge of disappointment was the use of closed proprietary software - iTunes U - I have no issue with Apple, heck I am an Apple fan girl, my issue is using a platform that can only be consumed (properly) through an iPad. I did however the way they used the iTunesU courses to give students choice, agency and access to 24/7 learning. Also worried about the flurry of photos being taken of the iTuneU slide - the platform isn't…

Larry Rosenstock - The World is Changing...Schools are Not #FutureSchools

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I have enjoyed stalking Larry Rosenstock for some time now. I first came across him when I heard about High Tech High a couple of years back and then last year I was lucky enough to sit on a panel with him at EduTech. He was also one of the central players in the recent documentary 'Most Likely to Succeed'. So many reasons to be a ardent fan girl.

Larry began his talk by giving a background and insight into the path that led to High Tech High - a K12 charter school, now a chain of charter schools.

He then talked about the first teachers and schools, such as the basket weaver who taught others to weave baskets. He also talked of the great teachers he had and talked about the importance of thanking the teachers we loved and acknowledged the importance of the passion that they shared.

He talked about the importance of the Socratic Method - a technique that we see used at the beginning of Most Likely to Succeed.

Rosenstock worked as a carpenter and attended law school - which pro…

Blue Sky High - five things every secondary school should implement...now

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Apologies in advance. This appears to be my annual end of summer "what needs to be changed in schools" rant. All this "not blogging" over summer has resulted in pent up edu-righteousness that must be unloaded.


So, what happens when you take 15 years of teaching and leading at four different fairly traditional, fairly engaging, high performing secondary schools, add three years of innovation incubation as part of the establishment Senior Leadership Team at Hobsonville Point Secondary School (HPSS) and throw in a bit of Most Likely to Succeed (documentary and book)? For me it's resulted in the creation of Blue Sky High.

Check out the book here!
Actually, to be honest, Blue Sky High has been with me for a while now. Some people have imaginary friends, not me, I'm all about the imaginary high school. Blue Sky High isn't a new school, because to me that's not where the potential necessarily lies. Blue Sky High is all of the schools I've worked in and al…