Response to John Hattie’s interview on AITSL

This was an interesting article about AITSL and the impact it can potentially have on the educators, teachers etc. My understanding of AITSL have always been minimal. I do not know much about it and have only found out about it this year. As far as I can understand, AITSL seems to me a governing “body” that maintains the standards of teacher quality in our education system. Correct me if I am wrong?

I would like to make comments on two statements that John Hattie made. The first is:

Teachers must be supported to implement practices that have been shown to improve teaching – evaluating their impact, seeking feedback about their practices, working together, and engaging in effective professional learning.

My question when it comes to this is: What does he mean by “shown to improve teaching?” In today’s educational world, we are bombarded by an influx of strategies and techniques that have been “shown” to be effective whether it be locally or internationally. The only constant thing about education, in my opinion, is change. There is always change and improvement, new things to implement and new curriculum standards to consider. I think it needs to be a bit more specific – John Hattie’s statement of “improved teaching”. What do we mean when we say we want our teaching to “improve?” And what constitutes improvement? Is it progress? Is it growth in results? Is it Naplan scores? Because they do not all co-relate. And I believe it means one thing in one school but something else in another.

Second thing that John Hattie said that I found interesting:

And if our “best” teaching or “best” whatever are not working, then we must change and use different methods – not criticise the students, parents, systems, time, resources. 

I have read somewhere in another article (don’t ask me where, I can’t remember!) that teachers make the most impact in student engagement, progress and effective learning. Here, John Hattie pretty much confirms that. Other factors matter less, although it could effect us (class size, technology, lack of resources etc), it is the teacher and the relationship between students that effect the learning environment the most. John Hattie challenges all teachers to look at themselves instead of first blaming outside factors or circumstances. He also suggests that sometimes it is the small things that teachers can change that can make an impact. I see it as: It is easier for teachers to change themselves and their teaching than for the student or their parents to change.



Team Reflection of PARTS project

Question 1:  Talk about what you have found out as you have answered the question?

We found that in using Google Drive, we have only a replaced books in the classroom and not using technology in a transformative way. We discovered this halfway through our journey when we joined ICON learning and found out about the SAMR (Substitute, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model and TPAK (Technology, Pedagogy and Knowledge). We realized that we were thinking too “small” when we started with our PARTS project, only focusing on Google Drive. We learned during our journey that technology is so much more than that, and there are plenty of Apps and tools out there that can transform the way we learn in 5/6. But we needed time to get used to the technology before feeling confident that we can use them effectively to help the kids.

We now actually feel that Google Drive is quite limited in its functions and it limits the amount that we can do to transform learning. At the moment, Google Drive only allows us to only reach the SAMR level of Augmentation and Modification which is children collaborating online. But it doesn’t redefine the way the students learn in the classroom.

Question 2: What do you see as being the next steps ?

Our next steps are transforming the way we use technology in the classroom in a way that REDEFINES learning. We will still be using Google Drive as a learning tool as a means of editing, feedback and collaboration. However, children’s work will now be published on an online platform (blog) that will not only connect to other schools in Australia but also classrooms around the world. This is also part of our So What theme, where children are asked to challenge themselves on making a difference with their learning. For example: some of the children have created Show Me tutorials about Fables and presenting it as a teaching tool to other students in the level. They were required to co-operate with each other and help each other learn something new. We are hoping to do more collaborations like this across groups in the level and potentially across global classrooms. We are also hoping to send our Fables to the children in Matutinao.

In addition, we are also providing students opportunities to present their learning to us through various ways such as: Show Me, Imovies, stop motion animation, Power Point, Keynote etc. Students are encouraged to demonstrate their learning in different ways and use creativity whenever they can.

Some of the changes we have made to transform our students’ learning in Level 5/6:

* “So What” blog to present our So What inquiry projects and learning

* Google Drive

* Google Classroom

* Show Me, Stop Motion Animation etc.

* Doing more open ended tasks (Investigations etc.)

* Collaborations between groups across the Level

* Using what we have learned to educate others beyond our classroom

* Making learning more purposeful and relevant by making links with our community… always asking “So What?”

Session 2: Google Webinar

In 5/6 we have identified that we create work that can be of a Modified level in the SAMR model. We understand the Pedagogy MUST match the technology, but the difficulty is knowing the content, as well which technology fits the content (forever changing and evolving).

We have been directly working towards redefining the learning experience for our students. In our units, students are working towards creating show me videos, stop motion animation and posts on blogs to show how their learning can be of meaning to everyone else. Their final question is ‘so what’ how does what I have learnt have an impact on our school, community and wider world. We are working towards connecting our blog to the outside world, including classrooms both locally and globally.

This journey of exploring Google apps has made me realise that Google apps may not actually be the way we need to go. I think google apps allows us to modify learning according to the SAMR model, but to take it to the next step of Redefinition we need to utilise another ICT tool.  Maybe a blog?

ICON Learning: Technology to Transform

As you are all aware, we are partaking in the ICON Learning and Collaboration Community on Google Plus, working with Craig Cummings and several other teachers in different schools on how we can transform the use of technology in our classrooms. The previous post discussed about the unravelling of the “So What?” blog. Students have been writing short reflections that they can post on the blog about our Mathematics lessons the past few days. Clare, my student teacher, planned excellent Maths lessons which involve creativity and “out of the box” thinking. I took some pictures of the students’ findings and their reflections and will be posting them unto the So What blog.

I am now also in the midst of linking this blog with other teachers around the world. I found that the students are a bit reluctant and hesitant to post on the blog as they claim “Nobody reads it anyway.” I think, to really motivate them, I need to make sure that we have an actual “audience” reading the blog. To do this, I hope to partner up with some colleagues that I know work in schools internationally (China, UK and USA) to secure a “real” audience. That way, the students can actually see the comments coming through and really experience what it is like to have a global audience reading their work and vice versa. Hopefully that goes well!

If you would like to have a look at the conversations we have been having with ICON learners and the community, please click on the link here.

You can probably see that we have moved away from our initial research project, which was using Google Drive to improve writing. We realized that we have been thinking too small, too limited, and that it wasn’t “transformational” enough. So here we are, trying something new. 🙂

Technology to transform

I have been thinking a lot about technology and transformation the last few weeks. As you are all aware, the Year 5/6 team have taken on the ICON learning project where we discuss the use of technology and how Google can transform our learning in 5/6 community. As part of the transformation “initiative”, I have decided to create a new blog named “So What?” This is a blog (notice the Lane Clarke/Yong Zhao reference) that will document the student’s journey of creativity and making a difference. It focuses on students using creativity in their learning and their various forms of “So What?” I am hoping that this blog will reach the “global” audience and allow students to communicate with others around the world. This is my response to “transformation technology.” I am hoping that through this blog, students will be able to transform their learning experience not only within the community, but globally as well. The targeted focus of the blog towards creativity and “So What?” also provides for students a different kind of space, not the usual “This is what we have been learning…” space which is common for class blogs. I want it to be a blog with a slight twist – hopefully I can achieve this. I will speak to the students this week about this new blog and I hope that they will take it on. Here’s to transforming learning through technology!

ICON Learning (TPACK)

Video about TPACK

This week we looked at a video (click above) that discussed the relationship between Technology, Pedagogy and Content. We discussed how TPACK can possibly transform the way we teach our children. We had to provide a response to some questions and here it is:

At St. Elizabeth’s, we know that all three (Content, pedagogy and technology) must be present to transform learning to provide authentic and purposeful opportunities for all students to learn.
We know the content – we know the pedagogy! We need to learn to use technology to redefine our practice!
How can technology impact on our practice moving forward? Having discussed TPACK has given us the opportunity to explore the purpose of publishing students’ writing on Google Drive. In order to give children a more purposeful experience in their writing and use of technology, we have decided to publish their work on a global platform and create mini videos of lessons for children in other communities.
Is there anyone out there who would like to collaborate with our children through a blogging system to enhance student learning?

Google Educators

Recently, the 5/6 team have decided that we would like to become experts in Google and all it’s wonders! So we have decided to educate ourselves with everything to do with Google so we can fully use it in our classrooms. Nothing is more frustrating than the knowledge that something has the potential to work well but not having enough understanding to use is to it’s fullness! I often find myself struggling with the buttons and getting angry because I don’t know how to use something!

Today, we went through our first Google lesson. We watched a video on how to use Docs & Drive. Most of the things we are already familiar with, but we did learn one two new things. The question is, whether or not the children can access the same functions on their Ipads as the laptops. I find that many of the functions can work on a laptop but doesn’t necessarily work on the Ipad. We will have to test it out and see.

I would like to be an expert on Google, so I can really decide whether or not it can “transform” our classroom. The idea of transformation (which we discussed in our Webinar last week) is interesting. Transform is really a “big change”, a chance so large that the old is no longer recognizable. Basically, a transformation is to make the “old” “new”. Now, I have to admit that Google hasn’t yet transformed our classroom. But I would like it to, and I have heard that it has done so in other schools. I am itching to watch the transformation happen here, but until we are experts in using the technology, no transformation can occur. I want to know how to use it properly – hence why we are studying to be Google Educators.


Analysis of Data

Just a short blog post about my analysis of the data that I collected last week.

What I found really interesting was how many of them still prefer the traditional way of marking and writing in their books. I predicted that the children would be for Google all the way, preferring technology over tradition (as they usually do!). But the data shows otherwise. The children actually demonstrate a sort of 50/50 preference with Google Drive. A small number of students prefer Google and want to make that transition to Google but most of them like a combination of writing in books and using Google Drive. Again, I found this surprising considering their love for technology and their Ipads. I guess because we are “writing” and the children are actually “working” on their Ipads, they don’t seem to see it as fun anymore. They tend to isolate Ipad as “fun and games” and not necessarily a “tool” for learning. Now that we have switched the writing process, using the Ipad as a tool to write, many of them find the process slightly strange.

Another surprising factor is that they don’t seem to appreciate the collaboration as much as I do and the “ease” of marking. My last few posts wrote about how less time consuming it is for me to mark and give feedback through Google Drive. I feel that I can get to every single student this way and not have to interrupt them. But they don’t seem to feel the same. Their main reasons for liking Google Drive is the fact that they can type and delete and not make a mess in their book. The whole notion of immediate feedback/marking did not make quite the impression I expected them to. Maybe they just need more time to get used to the change? Some children even mention that they prefer the old traditional marking because they can show their parents the ticks, (which I find incredibly interesting).

So from the analysis of the data, I can say that the benefits so far, has been more for me than for them. As a teacher, I can clearly see the benefits and advantages, both for me and the children. I also see an improvement in children’s writing but I doubt they are as aware of it as I am. My theory is that they are still getting used to the change and don’t quite like the switch. Although, they are getting there. Like I said, there seems to be a 50/50 balance between Google and books. Right now, for our writing lessons, I am using the half half system. Sometimes we write in our books, sometimes Google Drive. It seems to be working well.


Google Survey Success!

So 25 students in my writing group completed the survey electronically last week and I’ve got the data collaborated. Here are the responses. Just a bit of background knowledge about the children in my writing group, they are quite proficient writers and are very comfortable with writing. They don’t struggle with it, but some of them find creativity a challenge. For example: elaborating, coming up with new ideas etc. Here are the responses:

Question 1: Do you enjoy writing?

Response: 75% Yes 25% Sometimes 0% No

Question 2: Are there particular types of writing that you enjoy?

Most students responded that they enjoy creative writing and poetry. Narrative was also a very popular response. One student wrote that they enjoyed expositions and another wrote report.

Question 3: For the rest of the year, which would you prefer to use for your writing lessons?

Using Google Drive Only 20%

Combination of Writing in Books and Google Drive 80%

Question 4: Do you like writing/typing in Google Drive?

No 36% Yes 64%

Question 5: What do you like/do not like about typing in Google Drive?

Responses varied but the most popular response was the fact that they enjoy typing because they can delete and paste, it’s easier to type on Google, it’s easier, it allows people to help edit your work, it helps you become creative, the teacher can check your work straight away, it’s faster. Negative responses were: I don’t like it when people can come and see your work, I don’t get to practice my handwriting.

Question 6: What is the best thing about Google Drive?

I can delete, copy and paste text quickly without making a mess in my book 56%

The teacher can read my work without interrupting me 12%

The teacher is able to provide comments straight away 8%

I can edit collaboratively with my friends 24%

Question 7: Do you prefer traditional marking / marking on Google Drive?

4 students said that they prefer traditional marking. The other 21 said they preferred Google Drive. For example, one reply was: I like google drive because the teacher doesn’t have interrupted us when we are doing our work, we don’t have to wait ages in the line just to show our teacher and the teacher can comment and mark anytime.

Question 8: Please explain your response to the above question.

The answers were varied as follows: It is easier to access it in Google Drive and not looking through every page to find it. In the other hand, if it is on Google Drive others could access and use the comments for their own writing too! because multiple people can all comment and read at once and it’s a lot faster than everyone having to look at my book and write a comment. Because it’s easier than the google drive one and I like showing my parents the ticks a get. It is easier to understand and people can delete your work on google drive I prefer google drive because you can show people at home your work and what the teacher has to say about it without having to take a book home. Because I can look at the comments from home without having to bring my book home. Above I like it because I can see the teacher’s comment while I am writing and go back to fix it. I prefer traditional marking because if you don’t understand what the teacher meant… You can ask s/he immediately. I can receive a comment quicker. Because people can delete your work and it’s easier to quickly show your teacher your work. When the teacher comments it is easier for me to fix my mistakes.

Question 9: Do you like printing/publishing your work and putting it in your display folder?

Yes! I love to have a printout of my best writing to keep in my folder 12 48%
No! It’s on Google Drive and in my book. I don’t need a printout. 2 8%
I don’t think it really matters whether or not it’s printed. 11 44%


Google Drive Survey Gone Wrong

Today, I conducted a survey with my writing group just to find out what their feelings are about using Google Drive as opposed to writing in their books. I created a survey on Google Forms but for some reason it didn’t work when they tried to do it on Google so we had to revert to the old fashioned way of writing answers on a piece of paper! Collating data from the paper was tough and it was good that Bec came in to help me figure out what went wrong with my survey.

I have created the survey on Google correctly but what I didn’t do was allow children to access it on their Ipads, so they couldn’t complete the survey. Now that I have installed a Google shortener on Chrome, I can now provide children the access into the survey through their Ipads. So tomorrow, we will be doing the survey again. I will return the written survey answers back to the children and get them to think about their answers and put it into the survey. It would be interesting to see if the answers change when they are answering it on their Ipads.

I have created the survey in as much of the children’s language as possible, with as much detail so there will be no room for misinterpretation. These are the questions that I have asked them. Some are multiple choice answers and some are short answers. Please note: to save myself from typing it over and over again, Google Drive will now be called GD.

1. Do you enjoy writing?

2. What is it about writing that you enjoy/do not enjoy?

3. Are there specific genres of writing that you prefer?

4. For the rest of the year, would you prefer to write using your books/GD?

5. What is the best thing about GD?

6. Is it easier for you to write in your books/GD? Explain why.

7. Do you prefer traditional marking where the teacher leaves a comment in your book or do you prefer the teacher providing feedback and comments through GD? Please explain why.

8. Do you like printing/publishing your best writing to put in a folder?

I ask these questions because I would like to see if there is a link between their like/dislike for writing and their relationship with GD. I know for a fact that the children in my writing group will not hesitate to use their Ipads everytime, for note taking, researching, completing a presentation etc. But do they love it just as much if they were to use it for a subject they disliked? Flicking through the paper responses today, I can already see how children who dislike writing dislike using GD. I cannot say this for sure until they complete the survey electronically and data is collated but I am predicting a link there.

I also ask questions about what type of writing they like and not like (genres) to see if this has anything to do with their responses to GD. The last question regarding printing/publishing their best writing is a question I ask to find out if children feel proud of good work. I find that many children in my group are not comfortable with celebrating success. They tend to put themselves down. So I try to print out their work so they can see evidence of their great effort. But I would like to know what they think about it.

So there you go. I am curious about the results collated from Google tomorrow. Will get back with another post to let everyone know about the results.


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