Skip to main content

E-fellow in Christchurch

                                                       Leaving Poverty Bay

It has been a couple of weeks since I returned from the second 2014 e-fellow experience of the year.  Christchurch was our destination, a place I’ve not visited for 15 years since I toured around the country in a 1981 Mitsubishi Mirage with surfboards on the roof, a tent in the back and not a care in the world.  Plenty has changed since then and I was astonished by the level of disruption, hardship and destruction still felt by the earthquakes back in 2010 and 2011.  However I was really amazed by the level of good old kiwi ingenuity and positive outlook that allowed the residents of Christchurch to continue on and rebuild their city.  Learning communities like the GCSN have really supported the rebuild in the educational sector by connecting schools and promoting shared resources and good practice.  

During the trip I spent plenty of time thinking about my inquiry - enabling learner agency in traditional
schools.  I am using an action research approach, which is similar to the ‘teaching as inquiry’ model proposed by the MinEd - the teacher is reflecting and modifying the area of inquiry to enable better practice, I am on the 3rd modified cycle of inquiry at the moment, I will write about my current findings in a blog post soon to be published/completed when the world stops spinning so quickly.  

I shared a thought with the e-fellows as we had our last moments together in Christchurch, and it was around that feeling that you get when you are lying on your back looking into the sky and watching the clouds that are drifting by, suddenly the thought pops into your head that you know the reason behind why we exist in this world, and as quickly as you feel like you are going to solve all of humanity's problems, it disappears into an abyss never to be returned to again, it is almost within your grasp, and you are so hungry to know the answer it slips through your fingers like the hot sand on a sunny summer beach.  Over the three day blur of eye opening sights and mind expanding conversations I felt challenged and stretched by all my interactions.  We visited two very contrasting schools that had different approaches, and were driven by different visions.  Both of them allowed me to think about my inquiry and were a catalyst of thoughts and ideas between what I know happens in schools, what people say happens in schools, what people think happens in schools and what could potentially happen in schools - and is any of it ever going to work or make any difference at all?  So at this stage, I am confused, challenged but slowly finding clarity…..but perhaps this is what it’s all about.


Popular posts from this blog

How to collaborate with ChatGPT in the research process and actually learn something

If you have used chatGPT before, it can sometimes feel like talking with someone who has done too much of their 'research on Facebook', filling in gaps with random facts marginally related to the topic just so they can respond and keep the conversation going. However, if applied or 'prompted' correctly, with the user utterly aware of the limitations and ethical considerations, chatGPT can be a helpful research assistant. There is already a wide range of tools available that are built on chatGPT that can support many of the things described below; however, I am still a bit hesitant to rush in with most of them being 'freemium' or asking you to upload your own research and other details or data into their database, I'm happy to stick with the open version of chatGPT as it is what our students have access to. Image created with AI The following guide highlights some prompts, some follow-up questions and most importantly, what you need to do next to follow up a

Motivation and homework follow up...

Last week I wrote about setting a homework challenge to learn muscles of the body as an online game - the students then had to post screen grabs on google+ to show they had done it and to be in contention for the hallowed prize of 'King of the Muscles' and a cafe voucher. I wasn't quite sure how it was going to go, but by Thursday the buzz in all my senior classes was about ' poke-a-muscle '.  The boys were so excited about it they'd post a score, and then find out that someone had beaten them, and then rush out of the class at interval to get to a computer and beat the top score.  I even had an email on Saturday (two days after the due date) from two boys who had been practicing and spent the afternoon working together to try and beat the original high scores they had submitted with the homework!!!

Group email parents with Kamar and Gmail

After # EdChatNZ on Thursday night I was really determined to make digital contact with parents and share with them the great work their sons were doing!  At our school we use Kamar to collect absences, store student data and report back to parents.  It has a handy function where you can click on a student and email the parents directly, but I wanted to email all the parents of classes at once.  After a bit of playing around I managed to find a way to do it, here's what I did!!! 1) In Kamar select 'Printing' then select 'Export'  This will save the file so you can copy the addresses into gmail, rather than printing it out. 2) Now you need to select your class - as I wanted to email one class at a time I need to select a single class, but you have to option to select multiple groups.  Click on 'Option Subject' and then type your teacher code into the box.  Your classes should all appear and then when you select the class it will copy into the bo