A Learner's Journey

August 27, 2012
by 34mk2012

A funny thing happened …

An interesting experience in my 3/4 class last week …

we were involved in learning about multiplication and division and investigating factors and I showed the students a card game that would help them to work with these concepts. We also had some work to finish off on the computers publishing our texts about Book Week and dressing up. I decided maybe we should split up as a few computers were free in the next door classroom as well as ours. I was really surprised when I suggested to some students they might like to work on the computer first – “Ohh … we wanted to play the game, can’t we play it first, that’s not fair” and so on. SO a card game trumps time on the computer … that was a surprise!

I guess as I reflect on this experience, what I see is that for our students, it is not a case of ‘computer an any cost’ but rather it is more about what they are doing on it. I have used my own iPad in my classroom for most of the year and the students clamour to have it in their hands and have a turn. They are completely entranced when my two integrated students use theirs for any purpose and yet … they all really wanted to play the card game with a real deck of cards. This reminds me that engagement can take many forms and it is vital that we maintain the good, engaging and successful practices we have always used as well as embracing new technologies and the opportunities they bring for learning.

As the saying goes, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

One of our babies, Billy having his very first bath at home! (now 11!!)

August 13, 2012
by 34mk2012

August Teach Meet

On Saturday August 11th, 60 keen teachers gathered at the Immigration Museum for a TeachMeet. Like the title says, it is a meeting of teachers who gather to share some of the great things that are happening in their schools. This was my first experience and one I am keen to repeat.

My students were very keen to hear about the session from Danelle Batten ‘How Minecraft is Changing Learning.’ I teach a very dedicated crew of Minecraft fans and although Danelle works with Year 9’s, she gave me plenty of food for thought about harnessing the power of the game for learning opportunities, particularly for some of the boys who tend to be less engaged in literacy focussed tasks. Check out this link if you would like to know more;


Edna Saxon from Mount Scopus gave a presentation on Concept Driven Learning, linking beautifully with what we do at Holy Spirit with Integrated Studies and RE. She used a great graphic of an avocado to communicate her ideas; the skin as what is worth knowing, the flesh as what is important to know and the seed as the enduring understandings.  Interesting to consider the relative size of each part of the avocado and how that relates to the learning – what do we spend most of our time on … the skin or the seed?

We also had presentations on Aurasma and augmented reality in the classroom, Why hexagons are better than squares, Danny Deck Chair and how to ‘hide’ maths in authentic learning investigations, using Google Drive forms for learning, using history pin, Teachers Across Borders, Kodu game creation, Macbeth on Trial and flipping the classroom using online video.

I came away from the day with a few things to ponder and follow up on and enthusiasm for continuing to attend TeachMeets when I can. Highly recommended!




August 11, 2012
by 34mk2012

MYSA Travelling Scholars

During the week, I was fortunate enough to attend the workshop with George and Alec Couros organised through the MYSA Travelling Scholars program. I have been following George and Alec for a few months on twitter and knew this would be a fantastic learning opportunity –  and I wasn’t wrong. 

The day was titled “Anywhere, anytime, anyone: transitioning toward 21st Century learning.” It was a small intimate group and by the end of the session, many new connections had been made. Some of the things that stuck with me are:

Schools as centres for learning, not just for students but for all staff as well. Sounds obvious but I often feel the learning needs of staff can be easily overlooked. If our students see us trying new things and learning with them, that is extremely powerful and most likely liberating for both students and teacher. I have had many opportunities in the last couple of years to allow students to teach me something that they know and it certainly brings out the best in them. I have been blown away with what they are capable of when I am prepared to hand over to them and share the learning process.

Innovation – George spoke about the need to stop talking and start doing! Sometimes, you need to go out on a limb, take a chance and just give it a go. I have found value in this approach recently in my own classroom and some of the things I have tried have worked and some not so well. We so readily tell our students that making mistakes is how we learn but can often be reticent to face that in ourselves. I firmly believe that our schools need a clear pathway toward creating a school climate that allows for personalised, relevant and rigorous learning but it can be all too easy to get bogged down in the discussions and never get around to the action.

Connection – so important for all education stakeholders. We all crave it and how rewarding it is when it is achieved. George spoke passionately about how technology can actually work to personalise education and enable us to connect deeply with our students. This is a challenging idea for many teachers who feel very cautious about the ‘risks’ associated with social media.

One of the quotes of the day was “Put it out there and let the world decide!”  I guess in starting this blog, that is exactly what I am doing!

I have placed Geroge’s blog on the blogroll – it is well worth a regular look.

Thanks to George and Alec for inspiring Melbourne teachers and for being such innovative and engaging educators.


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