The second half of Term 3 offered some challenges which impacted on life and learning in Room 10: five Year 5 learners joined the class from a neighbouring class in Week 4 and are in the process of buying personal Chromebooks; and we relocated to Tamaki Primary and then Ruapotaka’s library during Weeks 7, 8 and 9 due to asbestos risk.
However, these challenges were put aside during the school holidays with the excitement of attending my first uLearn conference. Sharing my Spark-MIT IGNITE presentation as part of the Spark-MIT 2016 cohort has been the highlight of this Manaiakalani inquiry to date, but there was so much more to learn about, reflect upon and take away from uLearn.
Listening to internationally-renowned keynote speakers as well as teachers from around New Zealand sharing innovative ideas and their best practice was a catalyst for wonderings and ponderings in relation to my learning context. What can I learn from Larry Rosenstock’s philosophy at High Tech High in San Diego after watching the documentary Most Likely to Succeed? Regular exhibitions of student learning engage whānau and community on a large scale. Closer to home, the Ako Fakataha initiative at St Pius X within Manaiakalani is a striking example of teacher persistence in engaging and empowering whānau to connect with their children’s digital learning journey.
While learning how coding and robotics can be introduced into learning at school, I experienced my “aha” moment of uLearn: Knitting is coding! To achieve success at knitting, learners have to follow instructions exactly and persist in carrying out an often repetitive activity. Feedback is instant for self and peers: it is easy to spot if the pattern has varied unexpectedly or stitches have been dropped. Of course, the free coding and creating programme, Scratch, offers learners opportunities to code, create and animate digitally!
As Term 4 begins and we have returned to our usual place of learning in Room 10, what is the most important thing for me to do as we approach the final weeks of this school year? It is time to hold my ideas lightly as we focus on creating further opportunities and resources to support whānau engage with their child’s learning.