Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Connecting with whānau

Room 10 @ Ruapotaka held a Chromebook celebration last Thursday to engage with family and whānau and in order for learners begin taking their Chromebooks home to experience ubiquitous learning. To strengthen connections with whānau, two of the Manaiakalani team, Fiona Grant (Professional Learning Team Lead) and Yayleen Hubbard (Kaiarahi/Whānau Engagement Facilitator) offered support at this hui.


Students were actively engaged in preparing for this event by creating personal invitations for whānau. A small group of students also created a video invitation in English, Māori, Samoan and Tongan to maximise whānau understanding and involvement. To encourage learners to reflect upon the transition from homework to learning at home through this digital affordance, each student created a screencast to share with their families how and why their learning would benefit by taking a Chromebook home. Here is an example shared through individual learner blogs.

To support communication and engagement with whānau, an additional whānau page has been added to Room 10's class blog, where students have posted the first of a proposed series of screencasts to support parent and whānau understandings about being a Cybersmart parent.


Each student led the experience for their family. To promote student independence and agency, learners were scaffolded to present learning and work through a series of tasks and activities with their visiting whānau.

An important aspect of this celebration was gathering data from whānau through a whānau survey to gauge attitudes to learning at home, and information about digital learning, use of public libraries and languages spoken at home.

Overall the celebration was highly successful as a model for engaging with whānau. Although there are a few students in Room 10 who have yet to complete the paperwork to purchase a Chromebook, only one family (of those students with a personal Chromebook) was unable to attend.

To reflect on this event, all students have been asked to write about their experience at our Chromebook celebration: here is Alexandra's writing. It is poignant that at this exciting and unique milestone event in their digital learning, a highlight for many students was sharing afternoon tea.


Through this Chromebook celebration, I have learnt that:

  1. Learners co-operated and collaborated with new-found confidence when creating the various DLOs for this event as it represented a significant milestone in their personal digital learning journey.
  2. Parents were excited to come and see digital learning in the classroom and excited that their child was able to begin learning at home using a Chromebook.
  3. All learners were proud of their achievements and proud to share their digital skills with their visitors.
  4. Google does not offer translation into Tongan.
  5. Learners need a password to access the Tamaki Learning Network (TLN) on their Chromebooks at home!

Next steps

Learners will create additional screencasts to support whānau engagement with their child’s digital learning. Additionally, primary caregivers will attend some initial training with the Manaiakalani 
Kaiarahi/Whānau Engagement Facilitator to enable learners to take Chromebooks home more than twice per week. While maintaining relationships with family, it is now time to begin addressing the reading aspect of my Spark-MIT 2016 inquiry.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Tips for blogging more ...

The Google Educator Group Auckland held its first SparkShop yesterday - inviting educators to "spark inspiration in the practice of others".

Kate Ginders, Cornwall Park District School, and I shared our blogging tips and strategies with others:

Friday, 20 May 2016

Sparking Connections!

An engaging afternoon was spent sparking connections with Rachel Williams at the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland yesterday to support my Spark-MIT 2016 inquiry. Rachel is addressing the summer slide in literacy specifically within Manaiakalani and created a pilot holiday blogging programme, Summer Learning Journey, which ran over three weeks in January 2016. Blogging was chosen for this initiative as a positive way to hook learners into creating and sharing more writing. Eight 1:1 digital classes across three Manaiakalani schools participated in the pilot programme with approximately one-third of those learners actively blogging during this time.

How does this relate to my inquiry? As the programme is set to expand during the July holidays, it offers learners motivation and a framework for authentic and fun reading and writing activities in addition to any holiday leisure reading. Rachel is excited to have an opportunity to connect with the learners in Room 10 @ Ruapotaka and enable their involvement in this ubiquitous literacy journey, taking advantage of digital affordances at home and in the community. We will collaborate to enable whānau to engage and connect with this blogging journey.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Spark-MIT 2016: Day 2

A haiku poem to share a moment in time! It has been a reflective day at Spark HQ with the Spark-MIT 2016 cohort sharing the progress and challenges of our inquiries so far.

Firstly we unpacked and discussed Dr Ruben Puendetura's SAMR model to evaluate how we will apply his framework to digital innovation in our classrooms. Critically, do we envisage that our digital innovations will transform learning through redefinition?

Each of us then outlined our problem, the progress made, the challenges faced and some proposed innovations. To summarize my inquiry so far:

As identified in earlier updates, my focus remains inquiring into engaging with whānau to support learners in achieving and sustaining accelerated gains in reading.

Baseline reading data has been collected for Year 6 learners for November 2015 and February 2016. As we enter our third week of Term 2, approximately 75% of learners are using Chromebooks in class on a daily basis, whilst the remaining students record their learning on paper.

Waiting for more Chromebooks to come on line in the classroom has proved a challenging aspect to this inquiry and has limited opportunities to engage with family/whānau. When beginning this inquiry, I naively envisaged that students would be learning at home with digital devices by the end of Term 1. Very soon, this challenge will have run its course!

I'm excited that students are about to invite family/whānau to school to share via a screencast why their learning would benefit from taking the Chromebooks home! They will also begin to create some "how to" videos to help their family/whānau engage with our kawa of care and support learning at home. The voice of our whānau will determine what shape some of this will take and, consequently, how this translates into innovations around reading.