Think VR and Augmented Reality

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My husband,son and I were having a conversation the other day about which was going to be bigger Virtual or Augmented Reality,we were split.  My son (a Virtual Reality developer) went for VR and from a marketing perspective I think he’s right.  My husband on the other hand,thought AR but I went for a mix of both depending on the context.  Virtual Reality has so much potential for a truly immersive experience and in education I can just imagine the potential of medical students working on patients,engineers understanding the inner workings of machinery or artists being able to put themselves inside their painting.  Augmented Reality where information is conveyed as overlays on the real world,would I think,be great for group work maybe VR is as well but the cost and fitting of all the equipment surely puts it at a disadvantage?  Either way the potential of this immersive and interactive technology is compelling.  I came across this interesting article today,The Top Ten companies working on Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education Can you imagine what Science would be like if the teacher has the tools from the Starship Enterprise at her fingertips!  If only I could figure out how to bring those hologram figures into the classroom,I’m sure someone’s already onto it…(any leads or thoughts welcome 😉

Critical Inquiry

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Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice

Key Indicators

i.    systematically and critically engage with evidence and professional literature to reflect on and refine practice

ii.   respond professionally to feedback from members of their learning community

iii.  critically examine their own beliefs,including cultural beliefs,and how they impact on their professional practice and the  achievement of ākonga

Level 1 Digital Technologies Teaching Inquiry

The focus of inquiry for 2016 was with my Level 1 DTY students,I taught one class at school and one class online through FarNet.  I was particularly interested to find out how effective my assessments were in terms of students’interest and engagement.   In previous years I had observed the single outcome assessments (which were provided by the previous Head of Department) were not always enjoyed by students and they struggled to see the relevance.  In discussion with a colleague from another school I tried a multi-outcome assessment in term two and the results were encouraging.  Students enjoyed having a choice around not only the topic but also with how they presented their work.  Achievement Standard 91047 requires students to develop a digital prototype to address a brief using this assessment.

2016 Teaching Inquiry Level 1 DTY:AS 91076

2016 Teaching Inquiry Level 1 DTY:AS 91071

2016 Teaching Inquiry Level 1 DTY 2016:AS 91075


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Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning

Key Indicators

i. actively contribute to the professional learning community

ii. undertake areas of responsibility effectively

Lecturing at the University of Auckland

The first semester of this year was a busy one,not only was I teaching at my secondary school but I also taught a level 5 paper at the University of Auckland.  The paper was titled ‘An introduction to Computing’and was primarily for foundation students entering a Bachelor of Education.  I was responsible for the course design and assessments which were around teaching and learning in the 21st century.   Some of the resources from the course can be viewed here.   Students’learned what it meant to be an educator in a digital environment,they learned how to create their own digital resources and then collaborated on a class website called the Tai Tokerau Students’Learning Hub.

Lead Teacher of Digital Technologies –Kaikohekohe Education Trust



Student well-being

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Demonstrate commitment to promoting the well-being of all ākonga.

Academic Counselling

At our school we are lucky enough to be a part of the Star Path programme which includes students being involved in the Academic Counselling programme.  Three times a year the school is closed   It’s a great opportunity to meet with our students’whanau and for the students to lead the conversation.  My Year 9 form students led the parent,student,teacher conference PST and they did so confidently having practiced in class a couple of times.    Students established learning goals but on reflection they could have been developed further and this is something I want to focus on for 2017 by supporting students’self assessment to help raise their self-efficacy and confidence in themselves.

Kia Eke Panuku

Since 2014 our school has also been involved in the Kia Eke Panuku programme.    To me Kia Eke Panuku is first and foremost about relationships.   I understand how important having a good relationship with your students and their whanau is to students’engagement and their success.

Rongohia te Hau classroom walkthrough 

The files below are from an observation of my Year 11 Digital Technology class,the highlighted sections represent evidence seen by the observer.  Those not highlighted are areas for me to focus on in 2017.



Professional relationships

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Engage in ethical,respectful,positive and collaborative professional relationships with:

a) ākonga
b) teaching colleagues,support staff and other professionals
c) whānau and other carers of ākonga
d) agencies,groups and individuals in the community


Developing positive,professional relationships is paramount for me in my teaching practice.  Whether dealing with students,their whānau  or my colleagues I always aim to communicate clearly,opening and with integrity.

a) ākonga

I know the value of having good relationships with ākonga and this was a focus of mine for my Kia Eku Panuku professional development.  I focused on two classes,one was with my Year 10 Social Studies class and the other was with my Year 11 Digital Technologies class.  The file below is a transcript from a focus group interview of students from Year 11 Digital Technologies class.  My Kia Eku Panuku facilitator conducted the interview,students’identities were kept anonymous.


b) teaching colleagues,support staff and other professionals

In the latter part of 2016 our school was working towards Chromebook adoption for all new Year 9 students in 2017.   We would be joining the highly successful Kaikohekohe Education Trust and my role as Lead Teacher of Digital Technologies includes acting as the liaison person between the trust,our school and my colleagues.  For many teachers at our school,the move to predominantly teaching through the utilisation of digital technologies would be a significant change that would require a considerable amount of upskilling.  In addition to running professional development workshops once a week after school I also developed a website to act as our online hub for resources,links to ‘how to’tutorials,pedagogical readings and other school exemplars.   Using Google Sites it is intended as a collaborative work in progress,here’s the link to see more.

c) whānau and other carers of ākonga

In 2016,I really stepped up my online communication with whanau through class websites and frequent emails.  I tried to keep parents informed about when and what their child was required to do in regards to their homework via our class website  and through group emails.  I created electronic assessment and marking schedules (see here) which made it not only easy to share with students but also their parents.  Feedback from parents was positive and something I plan to build on next year;

Parent A:
Thank you so much for sending out these reports. It really helps to see.
Parent B:
Thank you for your reply,Kerry ,and for letting the students know what is required of them. We are going away on camp on Monday,but I will encourage ….. to do some work on  AS 91070. I hope you get a chance to relax as well as do work.
Parent C:
Thats great,thanks for letting us know.  Will his credits go up for that this week sometime?

d) agencies,groups and individuals in the community

This year I took a group of Year 10 Social Studies students to visit Parliament in Wellington.  It was a fantastic opportunity for students and brought to life for them the importance of government,the type of issues discussed there and by whom.  For some of our students in the group this was the first time they had ever flown or been away from their whanau.  We were warmly received by Miranda Thomson and her team at the Parliament Education Services  they do a fantastic job.  The students got to me Kelvin Davis in his office,a tour of Parliament buildings and sat in the public gallery while the house was sitting.  The trip would not have been possible without the support from the New Zealand Business and Parliament Trust who provided financial assistance for some of our students’travel.

Students also got to participate in the Eye on the Hive programme with Capital E Studios in Wellington.  This gave students the chance to be news reporters and ministers at government discussing a fictional argument complete with media scrum.  A visit to Victoria University also got students thinking about future steps for themselves after high school.

Every kid needs a champion

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I love this woman Rita Pierson,what an inspirational speaker.  She talks about the power and importance of relationships and reminds us to see our kids efforts in a different light.

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Great couple of articles to read in this month’s Education Review and it’s good to know there is so much online support for PhD students should I ever decided to go down that path,which I’d have to say is rather tempting.  Dr Inger Mewburn the driving force behind the blog The Thesis Whisperer has 12,000 enrolled in her Massive Open Online Course) on ‘How to survive your PhD’.  I’ve referred to the blog many times this year The Thesis Whisperer and always come away with some inspiration to continue with writing.



The Thesis Journey

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Writing a 40,000 word thesis is no small task,thankfully I’m one of the lucky ones and have a whole year of diligent focused study to complete it.  On commencement a year seems like a long time,the due date sits months away somewhere near Christmas and flowering Pohutukawa,but now it’s mid October and that deadline is looming ever nearer.  There are days when I doubt I will ever manage a paragraph and other days when I seem to skip through a thousand words.

For the past month I’ve been coding my results,then a little more coding followed by…yet more coding.  For some respite I managed to carve out a big section of my methods section which feels pleasantly satisfying but then it was back to coding.   In total I’ve spent a good three weeks coding my results which does tend to affect ones outlook in strange ways. Suddenly what seemed so simplistic is full of complexities,devoid of the essential connecting dots.  It’s in those moments that the term ‘can’t see the woods for the trees‘really plays itself out.

I’m lost.  Overwhelmed in a sea of themes,codes and comments.

Open coding has had it’s way with me and a fog has enveloped any clarity.

How timely then,that I was off to Auckland this week for a couple of days with the Woolf Fisher team.   Our discussions were rich and purposeful as always,full of  inspiration,tips of the trade,Piaget and anecdotes that brought life to the driest breath of any research methodology.   So yes,I’m refreshed,on track and importantly reinvigorated to get on and complete my thesis.    I still have a mountain to climb by Christmas but I’m feeling more and more confident that it’s achievable. One –step –at – a -time.

A huge thank you to Aaron,Kerry,Mei,Rebecca,Stuart and fellow scholars Liz,Carolyn,Gina and Sam for a great couple of days.



Doctoral and Postgraduate Symposium

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I attended the Doctoral and Postgraduate Symposium on Saturday at Auckland University and really glad I did.   Dr. Rae Si’ilata gave an inspirational speech for the opening address which set the tone for the day.  She was eloquent,informative and outlined all the reasons why you might want to consider doing a Doctorate.    Rae instilled how important is was to believe in yourself,stay connected to your whanau and keep the end goal in mind to help you through those times of self-doubt.

I saw some excellent presentations from both Masters and Doctoral students.  Cheryl Loughton was electric in her presentation Are there metacognitive differences between the sub-populations of secondary school students in New Zealand?  I particularly liked her use of the koru as a symbol for her whole thesis.  It really helped me to get an overview of her comprehensive study of thinking styles,motivations and processes for students studying science at high school.   Cheryl is looking at the benefits of using Betty’s Brain,a computer teaching tool that helps students to learn by putting them in charge of the teaching.  I found a short video (see below) which explains how Betty’s Brain works.

It was the first time I’d heard the term ‘hidden markov models‘which I think is part of the algorithm behind Betty’s Brain that is responsible for tracking students’movements.  This allows the programme to build a profile around how the student learns which would be very useful.

Katy Perry,not the one swinging in the jungle 😉 did her Masters dissertation research on the advantages and disadvantages of using instant feedback via scratch score cards and Socrative,an online app.  Both systems motivated students,cost was a factor with the scratch cards which she accessed online and internet issues were at times challenging with the Socrative app.

Jiansheng Cui embarking on his doctoral studies has been looking at common themes between schools and their BYOD policies.  The second part of his research will be looking into instructional design and how teachers use devices in the classroom.

Investigating fanau engagement in the Manaikilani project was Maria Meredith.  Her Doctoral study is about understanding the ways that digital schooling impacts families.  Maria is only in the early stages of her study but already she had come to understand what a rich resource our parents/caregivers are and by understanding their perspectives we can help raise the achievement and engagement of students.

It was a great day,a chance to meet other students and share the highs and lows of embarking on such intensive study.  Next on the University’s calendar in terms of symposiums is Exposure 2015 which includes presentations,academic posters and a variety showcase,looking forward to that one.

Three Minute Thesis competition

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I recently competed in the Auckland University Three Minute Thesis competition and was delighted to get through to the finals. There were some excellent presentations for both Masters and Doctoral students and it was great to get an insight into what people are researching.

The brief was to present your research in three minutes by outlining your objective,providing a background to your research topic by highlighting the significance of your research and to give a summary of outcomes.  No mean feat to get across all of that in 3 minutes with only one slide and no technical research jargon.