Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quality Digital Learning

The NLC report contains a list ofwhat they call 10 elements of High Quality Digital Learning:

  • Student eligibility: all students are digital learners
  • Student access: all students have access to high quality digital content and online courses
  • Personalised learning: all students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider
  • Advancement: students progress based on demonstrated competency
  • Content: Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality
  • Instruction: digital instruction and teachers are high quality
  • Providers: all students have access to multiple high quality providers
  • Assessment and accountability: student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction
  • Funding: funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation
  • Delivery: infrastructure supports digital learning.

Read more:

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Reflection can be a challenging endeavor. It's not something that's fostered in school - typically someone else tells you how you're doing! Principals are often so caught up in the meeting the demands of the day, that they rarely have the luxury to muse on how things went. Self-assessment is clouded by the need to meet competing demands from multiple stakeholders.

In an effort to help schools become more reflective learning environments, Peter Pappas developed this "Taxonomy of Reflection" - modeled on Bloom's approach.

How useful is this model? Please share your thoughts

Sunday, October 31, 2010


We had the Manawatu Principals' Association One day Conference on Friday. We were joined by colleagues from Wanganui and further afield.

Some of the more interesting things that were said:

John O'Neil:
We need to be careful not to end up with a curriculum for poor kids and a curriculum for rich kids.

Gary Punler:
An efficient school vs an effective school - what is the difference and where do you sit on this?

Iain Lees Galloway:
What will the successor to the Internet be?

Perry Rush:
How do we assess to show learning and understanding outside if the core areas?

What are your thoughts on these ideas?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

But are they any good??

Lots of school have started using/experimenting using the Ipad. I am all for embracing new technologies, but it will always be important to make sure that the technology will support learning.

Here is a extract from an opinion piece by an "expert":

The prognosis for iPad's use in the classroom is good, said Sandra Sutton Andrews, research director in the Applied Learning Technologies Institute at Arizona State University. "The concept is perfect for education--a lightweight computer, relatively inexpensive, capable of being used almost anywhere: in your hands, on a table, attached to a wall, built into a tabletop," she said.

Andrews's job involves investigating uses of technology in education--especially emerging technologies. She designs and conducts research, teaches university courses, and works with K-12 teachers to help assess and satisfy technology needs. One of her next anticipated projects is setting up an iPad laboratory for a deeper examination of features and benefits.

"Add to this the fact that creating apps [for iPad] is not difficult, and at that point everything changes in terms of possibilities," she said. "Educators are already finding new uses for the available free or inexpensive commercial apps and are creating new apps that teach, engage, and even collect data. What's more, the educators behind these apps are making their resources available at no cost to other educators."

Positive point:

  • Good, some would call it excellent, color reproduction;
  • Natural platform for e-textbooks;
  • Large, 9.7-inch screen with 1,024 x 768-pixel resolution;
  • 3G and WiFi for "always on" Internet access;
  • Accessibility (support for closed captioning, voice over screen reader, full-screen zoom magnification, and support for nine languages, for example). (
What do you think?

Monday, May 3, 2010


Most people will agree that Creativity is one of the IN words at the moment and there tend to be consensus that Creativity is very important. Traditionally we tend to think of Creativity as something that normally gets expressed in the creation of something visual - maybe a work of art, new song, new gadget, etc. To look at creativity only from this angle can however be very limiting - especially in an educational setting.

So what does a Creative Classroom look like?

When students are being creative in the classroom they are likely to:

1. question and challenge ( Creative kids are curious and don't necessarily follow the rules)
2. make connections and see relationships (Creative kids think laterally)
3. envision what might be (Creative kids imagine, see possibilities and ask "what if"?)
4. explore ideas and options (Creative kids try alternatives and fresh approaches, keep and open mind)
5. reflect critically on ideas, actions and outcomes (The invite and use feedback and make perceptive observations)

So to find a truly creative classroom we might have to stop looking for good artwork, but instead listen and observe what is happening in the learning discussions.

(Creativity Its place in Education, W Morris)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Its here

We have been able to get 2 iPads and they are just so KEWL. Now the playing will start and we can explore how to use it as part of the technologies in our classrooms.

Once they are available in NZ we will surly get plenty more!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What currency do you deal in?

I've read a very interesting article about the currency exchange in a classroom. Most students offer teachers attention, curiosity and participation in return for their efforts. In exchange for their efforts teachers offer students approval, praise and positive attention. It is important to recognize that the currencies we value might differ from he ones our students value.

There are however currencies that is problematic, e.g. sarcasm. Some students might use it as a way of getting respect from their peers as it shows they are lever and funny. If students feel that teachers don't value or understand their currencies, they often assume that there is no place for them in the classroom.

Teachers often attempt to address classroom problems by attempting to connect with students through their interests or with rewards. Getting to really know 20-30 students in a short period of time and make a personal connection with each one is also seldom possible. A possible alternative would be to work out what currencies they value and plan your strategies around that.

How might this look in practice? If you have a group of students who value the approval of friends more than good scores, trying to get them to place greater value on scores might not be the best strategy. A much better way might be to develop a class culture where students push one another to do their very best - in short: use the currency they value.

(Robyn R Jackson: Start where your students are)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Future

I have a keen interest in how learning in the future will look and what spaces we need for this learning. Look at this new video from FutureLab titled ‘Make the Future‘, which looks at ideas drawn from research commissioned under the Beyond Current Horizons (BCH) programme. BCH considered futures for education in the light of social and technological change over the next two decades.

The video aims to inspire education leaders to think differently about the future of education and to consider the challenges and possibilities for 21st century schools. It contains a series of challenging statements and questions to provoke thinking and discussion for those involved in working to prepare our schools for the future.
(Thanks to Derek W for the link etc)


I was lucky enough to be awarded a sabbatical for this year. I strongly believe that the system of sabbaticals is a very important things to help principals take a break and come back to work refreshed.

At a Principals' Development Group meeting yesterday I met an English "Head Teacher" who is visiting one of our fellow principals. They don't have a sabbatical system in the UK, so after 15 years in the job he decided to resign his job to get the break he so desperately needs. This whole process is costing him a big part of his life saving. This was a good reminder for me to thankful for the opportunity I will have and a large number of my colleagues have had. I am also been lucky to have a very supportive Board who is supporting the "work" part of my sabbatical.
I will be on my sabbatical during Term 3 and plan to do a literature study and visit some experts in Auckland, Victoria (Aus) and the UK. And I plan to spend quite a bit of time on R and R and do some traveling to places I've always wanted to visit (guess where?).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's Here!

iPad has finally been launched by Apple this morning in San Francisco. This is a great device using the very successful touch technology. Makes surfing the net, watching and viewing all so easy. iPad also has its own version of iWorks - Pages, Keynote and Numbers to produce your own work.

Now the real fun will be to explore all the different ways we can use it to support learning. It can run all the iphone apps for a start, have some great tools of its own and who know what developers will come up with.

Exciting Fun Awesome