Friday, 19 September 2014

Key Competencies - Snapshot

I have been looking for a way to show the key competencies in action for a while now. There was a questionnaire developed by nzcer in 2010 that I managed to find and through a little bit of searching I managed to find the pdf and the spreadsheet to process it.

Conducting a “snap-shot” or “stocktake” of views about practice: A “snap-shot” or one-off administration of the surveys can collect data at a particular point in time, in one class, school, or a group of schools. This data can become the basis for professional discussions about how teachers are currently helping students strengthen the key competencies and for “next step” planning.

Today I ran it with my Level 1 Digital Technologies class.

This is the first time I have dealt with this type of information around the key competencies, and I must say there is some areas which need some vast improvement. But isn't that we should be looking at as teachers, what are our next steps, would we expected to be covering all the areas, maybe this is my teacher inquiry. Have I left it too late in the year? An idea maybe is to see how this looks next year with a new lot of Level 1 students.

Monday, 15 September 2014

RTC system

I had someone post a image of some quotes that I added to a discussion group in 2011. I was using an online moderation system, mypotfolio to put together my RTC information. This worked for me at the time, I had a school that was ICT savvy, then I moved schools. It quickly came aparent that the school that I had moved to was not ICT savvy and that there was issues within certain structures. My first appraisal I did online.But this did not work out the best solution. There was no way for my appraiser to take a photo copy of what I did, I had to print off evidence. Then I started thinking, I need to do this by printing off evidence, who is my audience. The principal and the head of faculty. I moved to a paper based system.

Now I see this post and the quotes, and I start thinking, I need to move back to a computer based system. It worked for me, I could add in evidence when I wanted. I didn't have to print it off and add it to the every increasing papers in my office. I have a photocopier that I can scan to, I have dropbox and google drive accounts. What I need is a system that I can add items to, provide a bot of commentary to and tag.

So tonight I start to look at developing my own system!!!

Registered Teacher Criteria

Professional relationships and professional values
  • Criteria 1: Establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of all ākonga.
  • Criteria 2: Demonstrate commitment to promoting the well-being of ākonga.
  • Criteria 3: Demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa / New Zealand.
  • Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice.
  • Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.
Professional knowledge in practice
  • Criteria 6: Conceptualise, plan, and implement an appropriate learning programme.
  • Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment.
  • Criteria 8: Demonstrate in practice their knowledge and understanding of how ākonga learn.
  • Criteria 9: Respond effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga.
  • Criteria 10: Work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa NZ.
  • Criteria 11: Analyse and appropriately use assessment and information, which has been gathered formally and informally.
  • Criteria 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Meeting a need - nzc explorer

January 29 2014 
Hi there, 
Does anyone have or know where I can locate a spreadsheet or database of all of the Learning Outcomes as they appear in the NZC. We are wanting to build an interactive database where students can pull up LOs by Learning Area, Level and we also want to tag each LO with a corresponding Fluency (our Specialised Learning Leaders have developed a range of fluencies so that we are aiming to evidence student development in more areas than numeracy and literacy).
Any suggestions, advice appreciated!

This got me thinking, is there such a thing. It has been getting at me all year. When startup education weekend happened I thought that this could be a good time to explore this idea a bit more, great for education, but not for a business solution. However, that did not stop me. This weekend I decided that I would work on a prototype to see if I could develop a solution. NZC Explorer was created.

I created a spreadsheet to enter the data in, and from there I have been working away.
Here is an example of what I have created. 
It allows for a Curriculum Area to be selected, and the level, you can add as many Achievement Objectives as you want, and you can clear your selection.

It is available here:

This has yet to have all the Achievement Objectives added into it, working on the last one which is English. This has to go through some manipulation before I can add it in due to the Indicators that are included within the English curriculum 

This has got me interested in this area and I am starting to explore what other possibilities there are. Maybe an integration into POND?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Key competencies - nzcer survey

Interesting talking around some of the aspects of the idea that I posted earlier, Key Competencies came into effect.

One of the areas that came up on twitter for me recently was  Key Competencies.

I started doing some digging around, and came across a NZCER project from 2010...

Any school can use these surveys but there are some important things you need to keep in mind. These surveys:
  • are overview tools. They explore some dimensions of each key competency but it would be impossible to explore everything that could be relevant to each one. There is a trade-off to be made between exploring the complexity of the key competencies and the diversity of practices relevant to each, whilst also keeping the surveys a reasonable length.
  • are primarily focused on views about classroom practice. They do not explore how other school-related experiences, such as participating in a sports team or as a student leader, might also assist students to strengthen the key competencies.
  • gather perceptions, not data about actual activity. Different people will see a situation in different ways. It can be useful to compare different perspectives. There are teacher and student versions of the survey to help you do this.
  • are used to look at aggregated or group patterns — they are not about individual thoughts and practices. Responses should be kept confidential. Be careful about making generalisations — especially if you only have small numbers of responses (e.g. from staff in a small school).
  • are designed to support professional learning. Do use the surveys to generate learning conversations about what's happening in classrooms now and what could change.
  • are not designed to be used for accountability purposes. Don’t use them to make judgments about how well teachers are supporting students to strengthen the key competencies.
The teacher survey can be completed by primary or secondary teachers. The student survey is designed for Year 4-13 students.

However the links fail, I have has to do some work to find the files and have included them in a dropbox. These are the student survey and xls spreadsheet file only, I do not have the teachers documents.

If i had time

One thing that keeps coming up is that we need a way to develop units of work that are curriculum related. This online environment would assist with that process.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Student outcomes, feedback from teachers

I have a project that has been launched by three students, it was released to those that asked to be informed. The feedback is interesting,

Fabulous! I will use this info when discussing course content and even PD for myself. Thanks you for preparing this. Great idea!

Thank you, this is going to be very useful. I hope this website will stay live into 2015. In appreciation for your work, I hope you receive an excellence.

Awesome work and very interesting to look around the country in the way you have set it up.

Thank you for this information, I found it very interesting to see the side range of courses being offered by the different schools around my area and beyond, especially our neighbouring school. I found it very interesting to see the number of students that are enrolled at each level. I would like to have seen somewhere within the data the total number of students enrolled in the school to see if there is any correlation between school enrolments and course enrolments.
The layout of the information is very fluid and easy to understand.
Well done on an excellent project and resource.

Good luck with the work that you are doing. I will have a look now and give you some feedback if I see anything that you should be aware of.

Nice work, One Question, I recall submitting our response yet we are not on the map. Is this becasue you didn't get my response.

One little glitch I found, our website doesn't open as it needs to have the www in front.
I have had a very quick glance, as naturally looked at our school first, so if you want to fix this link problem, that would be great. I will study it more over the coming days, looks very impressive.

The site looks good. Easy to navigate around and very clear in the design and layout. Fonts are large and clear which makes it easy to read. Use of colour sparingly means things stand out. For this to have a purpose for me it would have to be updated every each year as I make changes to my course content dependet on the students I have and on their interests areas. As far as sustainability goes if it is automatically updated it would be useful. It could also be a site that is used by teachers to find other teachers doing the same standards so they can support and collaborate.
If and how the site will remain updated could means that it needs to removed after some time to ensure that it is not accurate information that is reflected on the school. This will affect the lifecycle of the outcome etc.
Your statement about some schools not completing it for whatever reason means that there are no judgements made and it is good that you discuss why some fields are blank. This means that you have considered the social impact that the page could have on those who have not completed whilst also giving them a chance to complete the survey.
I hope this helps, I know how difficult it is for students to sometimes get feedback and have teh support of the work they do for a real situation.

Wow, This is an amazing effort. i'm really impressed.

Well done boy's Your home page is clean, easy to understand and user friendly. The map took some time to load. The maps works well, the links work to the schools I looked at, loaded quickly and was well laid out. I found the information that you gathered rather interesting and in some cases surprising. I tried the search function and that interacted as expected with the map. I was not able to try this on another device but wondered if you had created a responsive web site or not. I could not remember which standards you were focusing on for this.

Well done on the completion of your project. It is always interesting to see which standards other schools are offering.

You have not shown me the brief on what you set out to do, so I cannot give you an appropriate feedback for your work.
The data collected is represented well on the map.

Monday, 8 September 2014

What seems easy... but isn't

I gave the Digital Information Assessment to my students today, what seems easy, and if anyone looked at it would go, that isn't complex information. But until you tried it you start to see it falling away from being an easy assessment into one that turns complexity on its head.

Simple enough, here is a data set, now create something with it...

This is way easy say the students. You want us to create something with this... Yes, I want you to create a visualisation.

Show them

Right, now the information that you have has an issue, it is set for NZTM, ahhh, whats that... It is a way of recording a position, but it doesn;t work with cartodb. Ok, how do we convert this.

Oh, you use the LINZ converter to convert it from NZTM to WGS84... Whats NZTM, Whats WGS84

Oh yeah the LINZ data converter doesn't accept empty values... it removes them. Ummm

If you look at this assessment you would say it was too easy, it is not until you dig deeper into it that you realise, what a *********

UPDATE: We had to replace this with the NZGD 2000 as it provided better results.
Students have managed to work out some issues with the LINZ Converter, rather than downloading the recalculated results they have found it better to show them within the webpage, take a copy and paste them into a csv file.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Startup weekend Education

What a weekend, a couple of months ago I was introduced to the startup concept. This was through a tweet on twitter announcing New Zealand's first Startup Education weekend.

What is a startup weekend...

Startup Weekend is where entrepreneurs, developers, and designers get together to form new businesses in a 54-hour marathon of inspiration, perspiration, collaboration, and fun! We attract people with all skill levels in a friendly, welcoming, yet challenging environment.

Wellington Startup Weekend EDU will be the first Education focused Startup Weekend in New Zealand and follows closely on the heels of Sydney Startup Weekend EDU.

Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) was founded on the belief that entrepreneurship is the most powerful force to positively impact education outcomes. We are a global initiative that brings people together over the course of 54 hours to launch startup companies and projects that have the ability to drastically improve the educational experience for various types of learners or have a positive impact on the education sector. Only two years old, SWEDU has already expanded to 16 cities across the world, and we are excited to give everyone an unprecedented opportunity to play a role in creating the future of education. SWEDU is part of the wider Startup Weekend global initiative.

More than simply a themed Startup Weekend event, the SWEDU programme is designed to drive change and innovation into the education sector by using the awesome power of the Startup Weekend format.

What’s different? SWWLG EDU has the same rigour as a normal Startup Weekend, running from pitchfire to pitch night, Friday through Sunday. The main difference is the make up of the room, which includes Educators and the criteria for judging on Sunday.

This sounded like something I wanted to be a part of, impacting educational outcomes. 

On Friday, we arrived, being from outside of Wellington didn't matter, the people involved were all finding out who people were, what was going on, who had a idea, early pitch practice. 

Pitches started after the initial hype of what startup weekend was all about, what we were to do, what we would be marked on.

The first 1 minute pitches started, should I get up and make a pitch? This was a question going through my head, as a heard more and more pitches I started wondering what value they would have within education. I has a star system for each of the pitches, a simple one to five scale. Majority of the ideas were getting a one. Then I heard a couple that talked about valuing education, I wanted to pitch, the idea was a way to search the New Zealand Curriculum, its 8 learning areas, was for students and teachers to search for terms, levels and develop ideas based upon these. I had the educators hooked, I didn't have the non technical, developers or designers though. There is no money in this.

Now I started to struggle with the startup weekend education concept, was this to create products that could be used to improve the value of education, or where they business ideas. 

I was fortunate to have a conversation with Pascalle after, in which she explained that she faced the same issue when she attended her first startup. Education is part of the focus, but the product has to be sustainable. It needs to be a paid for model.

A pitch called Pave the Way, developing innovate students was presented. This managed to get 4 stars based on my scale. Having a conversation with the pitcher Anika, this idea had merit, it met the education model, as well as looking at a possible model for revenue.

We managed to find a place to start work. We had, 2 developers, 1 design, 2 non technical, 3 educators on board. A 8 person team was formed. We had an idea, we needed to make it work.

So the rest of Friday night was spent working out what we were doing, what was needed for the next two day, formulating a business plan and finding out what each person brought to the table.

Day two -Validation!

We needed help, we needed to validate what we had planned. Everything needed validation. It was just good enough to know that this would work, we had to show, through feedback and numbers.

The day was talking to educators, using our networks to find out if this idea had merit, would they buy it?
This was carried out through surveys as well as phone and google hangouts. We even had a visit from two teachers who we took through the process and they wanted it.

The survey,

The problems:
  • Innovation enables us capitalise on opportunities HOWEVER 84% of our validation participants believe that innovation is not adequately taught in schools.
  • Teachers do not have the skills, confidence or resources to support the development of key competencies from the New Zealand curriculum that result in innovative students. “they are trained to kick the ball into goal posts – innovation is about creating new goalposts”
The unique value proposition:
  • Increased engagement and by in from students in learning
  • Safe Environment – facilitated through teachers and mentors
  • A tool to prepare students for jobs that do not exist yet
Product names:

but no, that was taken

IdeaVolt is...

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Working after midnight

First design and what it changed to very quickly afterwards
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We needed to find out what we were creating would spark interest. We used eventbrite as a way to guage interest, a way to validate what we were creating could be used within school. A $5 chance to register your interest to show some money coming in for the judges. So the question was put out there.

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The pitch

Teacher dashboard

Students Ideas

The Challenges

Understanding the problem

Getting down to work, loved the sharpies

Having the mentors explain some of their concerns

Answering questions from the judges

Feedback from the Judges

Innovation in the classroom is a sound idea. Relevant and backed by understanding of teaching.

Need to think through issues such as if teachers have little understanding, how effective are they going to be as judges of progress. Also, could be easily linked to other learning areas to increase impact.

Love innovation, great tool to aid. Needs more teacher validation.

Good concept and market validation. For a sustainable business need to look at detailed sales and marketing, and possibly overseas.

Love the comment from one of the mentors,

There were times when you lot were all over the road. But you stuck with it and pulled it together into a really strong presentation worthy of your commendation. You also did a great job of holding together and working positively despite the team size. We were very impressed with your resilience and dynamic.

students projects going live

One of the students projects has gone live. The feedback from teachers is impressive. One of the issues that the students are facing is the issues that schools have with their websites. The students used information from from the schools directory. They are now having teachers provide feedback that there own school website does not work.

If I put my own schools address in a browser it fails when I am at school. When I am at home it works. That is because schools setup there own DNS settings, normally setting up for their internal domain. This means going to will not work internally in the school, however, when you enter when at home it will find the IP address and access the website.

Another issue that has been brought up is the accuracy of the information, as it was only 104 schools that completed the survey. There are some schools which I think have realised that the information they entered does not put them in a good light and that they want to change the information. Others mention the issues around when the data is collected, what is the longevity of the information.

It was outlined in the survey introduction that this was going to be used to develop a website showing what is going on. Every chase up email included the letter that was sent out that included how the information was going to be used.

I do wonder what the outcome of the next release will be, looking at the feedback that these students are getting.

One of the great things about this project is that it is real data, a real website and that it is available for people to have a look at.

One of the feedback emails,
I have received an email from your student with the link to the finished project. The project is put together well and has validity. Please pass on my congratulations to the students involved as the execution is great.

As a matter of curiosity, I would love to have a summary of how they approached the task and the different obstacles that got in their way.

Awesome work...

*Great to get this feedback, I like the idea of a summary of how they approached the task, guess what, that is their final brief...

Startup Education Wellington

How do we teach students to be innovative.

One of the things that bugs me so often around teaching quite often, is that teachers have been in the classroom so long they don't actually know what things look like in the real world. They don't understand how the real world functions. So of course they can't prepare kids for it, or help involve them in it. Because they don't know what it looks like.

So for me, I felt like this was an exciting opportunity that would challenge me as a person, because it is something different. Give me inspiration, not just the strict professional development education basis, but an actual stretch your mind challenge yourself, learn something completely new, network with other people that are interested in education but not in education, get out of the echo chamber.

It came down to learn.

When was the last time you did something for your learning that was not part of the Professional Development you get through school.