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.