Sunday, March 26, 2017

Using Learnings from Past Inquiries

I have spent a bit of time this morning reading through the inquiry blogs of other members of our cluster of schools.
While I was reading, it occurred to me to think about the previous inquiries that I have been involved in and how I am using that information in my teaching now.

Surely the only reason to do an inquiry is to get something out of it that is going to be useful to you?

For two years (2014 and 2015), I have been lucky enough to be involved in the Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher initiative.


I am looking at how to extend my use of blended learning at Levels 1, 2 and 3 in Design and Visual
Communication, and how this can raise the achievement of the students.

As I have a junior class again, this will also used in the junior school with the target that it prepares students for choosing DVC at Level 1.

In DVC, the students have to produce a lot of work on paper in the form of sketches and rendered drawings. They also make 3D models. I want to focus on how this is blended together with online work and how using more interactive online content can enhance the experience in DVC.

The Manaiakalani research report recommends a focus on accelerating student progress to enable our students to succeed and I want to look at how blended learning can achieve this. I have been working on this during 2013 with the use of cameras, scanning and more use of online design tools so that the students can work at home more.

I want continue working to significantly increase the number of students achieving merit in my subject and up to excellence, by capitalising on the digital learning environment I am building, to accelerate success.

How am I using this now?
We continuously use a variety of methods to "blend" what we do.
As my subject is design, we work in a variety of ways so use cameras, scanners, screenshots, screencasts, online tools to collate all of the work onto online portfolios (Google Sites).
For NCEA, these online portfolios are sent off as links in November for external assessment. I still send the actual sketchbooks so the examiner can see them in real life. 
this is ok as I still don't think that scans give justice to the quality of the student's work. 
For moderation at the start of each year, this is done entirely digitally now via a link to a single document for each standard, which is great.

I plan to see how the use of online courses ( in a MOOC style ) can affect student outcomes.

This will be in terms of :-

1) Starting the DVC course early, in Year 10.

2) Doing the online components in their own time at Level 1 and 2 and using more of the class time for group analysis work and skills practice, as it is these elements that will gain the higher levels of achievement for the students.

3) Offering the courses to students who do not have space on their timetable due to other option choices.

This is in line with the Manaiakalani goals of ubiquitous learning at any time and of raising overall achievement. It will also give students agency of their own learning as they work at their own pace on the online modules over the year.

How am I using this now?
I am continuously updating my site in regards to this inquiry focus. I never seem to be happy with it. (that's a good thing right?)
I use Google slides to make step by step instructions. I make screen casts for techniques and processes. I use both class Google Plus Communities and Google calendars for lesson instructions.
The layout for the class site seems to be a never ending feast where I am constantly tweaking it to make it clearer to follow without much teacher involvement.

To be honest, I did not get much success in offering the course as an "extra" to the student's standard timetable. Time management and time overload were both big reasons for failure here. 
Where this research has been REALLY helpful has been our move as a school to more rewindable forms of presenting the material for a course. It has given me a lot of background on this so I was able to approach it with a much clearer understanding of tings that could be attempted. It has also helped me in my efforts to support other staff members in this.

Using SOLO Taxonomy

This has been a huge help with how I have been structuring the activities that I get my students to do within a project.
I am still including adding more of this type of structure in every plan that I do regarding pedagogy. It is showing improvement in how my students analyse their work. It is not a magic on / off switch and needs continuous work so it is included naturally as part of the process.

Using Google Plus Communities
This has been a big success as I use these all the time with my students. My seniors are used to using them now and are really comfortable at posting their work straight into the communities so everyone in the class can see their work and give feedback.

Manaiakalani / Woolf Fischer research to inform MOE Learning and Change Networks
June 2014

I was asked to create resources for the LCN presentations based on the finding :-

Behavioural & Cognitive Engagement#12 Synchronising tutoring: the digital environment allows for a much closer match between what teacher and learner is doing – much closer pacing – e.g. teacher can quickly respond to learner demonstration of learning through viewing their work live through a dashboard and give immediate feedback. “a closer dance”

The purpose of these resources is to show how this is being done in a secondary school environment.
This has been really where i have started everything recently. The way we work in DVC has been evolving since this point and it gave me the confidence to know that what I was doing was working and it was OK to try new things.

So, overall...

  • Don't stand still, even when something works, keep adapting it for new situations and new students.
  • If something doesn't work, it's not the end of the world, move on.
  • Find out what the students think about what you are trying.

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