Thursday, 6 June 2019

Causal chain: Theory of Action

Click on the image to enlarge

In our CoL meeting last week, we were encouraged to re-assess the hypotheses by looking at our inquiry in terms of a causal chain. That is, we might have a hypotheses that we have said links to an outcome yet which may not appear linked. It is important to think through the details of what is actually happening in the background to cause this connection or relationship between the "input" and "output."

Above, I have planned out these "details" between my hypothesis (blue square at the beginning and end).

Key:

CT: Critical thinking
IS: Interpersonal skills
Blue: Hypothesis
Pink: First explicit act of teaching and assessment of critical thinking and interpersonal skills.
Red:  Second explicit act of teaching and assessment of critical thinking and interpersonal skills.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

How I will test each hypothesis and what evidence will support (or refute) that hypothesis.

Kāhui Ako Achievement Challenge 5: Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/ key competency using symbols, languages and texts.


My Inquiry Problem/ Challenge: Children living in a digital world, where key competencies are essential, require ubiquitous access to cybersmart scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

Below, I will explain how I plan to test each hypothesis and what evidence will support (or refute) it.

As over half the class could not respond to someone else's blog comment, more explicit teaching is required, particularly in terms of how the children interact with others online (online interpersonal skills). 

A record of my cybersmart planning and reflections will be essential to demonstrate how I explicitly teach different interpersonal skills online.

Repeat of cybersmart quiz at the end of the year to compare responses to the questions relating to interpersonal skills.

Create a 'blog comment' log where children can keep a record of their blog comments and replies to blog comments throughout the year.

Interpersonal skills (smart relationships) and critical thinking are two areas of cybersmart which could be connected more through teaching to ensure they are effectively addressed in student learning.

Repeat of cybersmart quiz at the end of the year to compare responses to the questions relating to interpersonal skills and critical thinking.

Create an assessment tool which can measure the connection between interpersonal skills and critical thinking.

Create lessons with a focus on the connection between interpersonal skills and critical thinking.

Connecting interpersonal skills and critical thinking through cybersmart teaching/ learning will support children to better understand the realities of information available online. That is, we need to think about how we can thoughtfully elevate the positive around the negative.

Create an assessment tool which can measure how children respond to a range of questions - do they respond positively or negatively?

'Tip Clips' - children will be challenged to think about how they can share their cybersmart learning in a positive and quick way through a movie (30 seconds to 1 minute).

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Hypotheses about teaching that were MOST worth testing, and why

Kāhui Ako Achievement Challenge 5: Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/ key competency using symbols, languages and texts.


My Inquiry Problem/ Challenge: Children living in a digital world, where key competencies are essential, require ubiquitous access to cybersmart scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

Hypotheses:

Highlighted in yellow are the hypotheses which I feel are most worth testing. Under these hypotheses, I have explained why I think they are most worth testing.

1. Having mixed ability groups would be effective in teaching cybersmart - provide student to student support where some children are the experts and some are the learners.

2. More explicit teaching is required, particularly in terms of how the children interact with others online. Over half the class could not respond to someone else's blog comment.

- This is a hypothesis that is based around the idea that explicit teaching is still very much required in teaching cybersmart. It is easy to hold high expectations of our children and what they can do because they are confident on their chromebooks. Sometimes we need to take a step back and explicitly teach what we think is the obvious.


3. Superficial areas of cybersmart are important, however children can still learn online without these things. Deeper skills such as interpersonal skills and critical thinking skills which link with the children's wider worlds and which link to the key competencies of the New Zealand curriculum are in fact skills which I now think are more important for the children to understand and be competent in at this stage of their learning. This was evident through analysis of the data.

4. Interpersonal skills (smart relationships) and critical thinking are two areas of cybersmart which could be connected more through teaching to ensure they are effectively addressed in student learning.

- These deeper skills which children can learn through explicit teaching of cybersmart are two skills which link together. This was really clear through analysis of the data, where children were able to write positive comments however the deeper level of thinking (that is, the ability to think critically through being helpful and thoughtful) was often a challenge for the children. 
Research that builds on this idea:
The Relationship Between Critical Thinking and Interpersonal Skills (Kathleen Holtz Deal, 2008) - this text looks at clinical supervisors however has some valid points which link to this inquiry.
- Importance of critical thinking: This text supports the idea that critical thinking and interpersonal skills are strongly linked in a NZ physical education context.


5. Connecting interpersonal skills and critical thinking through cybersmart teaching/ learning will support children to better understand the realities of information available online. That is, we need to think about how we can thoughtfully elevate the positive around the negative.

- This blog post from Fiona Grant (Manaiakalani Innovation Team) is a great explanation of the importance of turning the negative into a positive. 

6. All cybersmart learning should use a consistent language based around the Kawa of Care document.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Process for testing the hypotheses

Kāhui Ako Achievement Challenge 5: Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/ key competency using symbols, languages and texts.

My Inquiry Problem/ Challenge: Children living in a digital world, where key competencies are essential, require ubiquitous access to cybersmart scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

Hypotheses:
1. Having mixed ability groups would be effective in teaching cybersmart - provide student to student support where some children are the experts and some are the learners.
2. More explicit teaching is required, particularly in terms of how the children interact with others online. Over half the class could not respond to someone else's blog comment.
3. Superficial areas of cybersmart are important, however children can still learn online without these things. Deeper skills such as interpersonal skills and critical thinking skills which link with the children's wider worlds and which link to the key competencies of the New Zealand curriculum are in fact skills which I now think are more important for the children to understand and be competent in at this stage of their learning. This was evident through analysis of the data.
4. Interpersonal skills (smart relationships) and critical thinking are two areas of cybersmart which could be connected more through teaching to ensure they are effectively addressed in student learning.
5. Connecting interpersonal skills and critical thinking through cybersmart teaching/ learning will support children to better understand the realities of information available online. That is, we need to think about how we can thoughtfully elevate the positive around the negative.
6. All cybersmart learning should use a consistent language based around the Kawa of Care document.


These hypotheses have come about through the analyses of data which was collected from 24 year 5 students in term 1. They hypotheses were further developed through a discussion with Fiona Grant, from the Manaiakalani Innovation Team. 

What I read: 
- Raising the bar with flexible grouping - this supported the first hypothesis by arguing the benefits of flexible grouping.
- This resource from the Victoria State Government states the importance of teachers explicitly teaching children to be cybersmart online. However, this resource suggests a large focus on the 'negative' aspects of the internet. The following hypotheses have a focus on the 'positive.' Hypotheses 2, 4 and 5 all are brought about through themes discussed in this document.
- The use of language is really important for our children. Dr Jannie Van Hees discusses this on her website. Hypothesis 6 stems from the use of lots of language with our children.

Who I talked to:
- Fiona Grant
- Manaiakalani CoL Teachers
- Pt England School inquiry group
- MIT group

Who I still want to talk to:
- Other teachers in my team
- Other teachers in the school (different year levels)

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Part II: Hypotheses about patterns in my teaching that could be changed to more effectively address the student learning focus.

Kāhui Ako Achievement Challenge 5: Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/ key competency using symbols, languages and texts.

My Inquiry Problem/ Challenge: Children living in a digital world, where key competencies are essential, require ubiquitous access to cybersmart scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

Last week, I met with Fiona Grant who is in the Manaiakalani Innovation Team. The purpose of meeting with Fiona was to discuss my inquiry and to come away with some stronger and more directive hypotheses about patterns which were shown in the data which I have collected. 

The two major areas which we thought should be focus on for my inquiry into the cybersmart curriculum were:

- Interpersonal skills (smart relationships)
- Critical thinking

The hypotheses that these were two areas of cybersmart which could be connected, changed and effectively addressed in terms of student learning came about after analyses of the data (see previous blog post).

We discussed how Manaiakalani has a focus on the positive in everything which we teach. We wondered how we could pose a question which would connect interpersonal skills and critical thinking. This brought us to the question:

How do we make connections which will build positive self worth/ critical thinking/ connecting with others?

On the whole the children were able to demonstrate how to be positive online through blog commenting however, the ability to add elements which were helpful and thoughtful were lacking more. Interestingly, this could suggest a need for more explicit teaching of critical thinking skills as well as interpersonal skills.

In addition, the data also suggested that a large number of the children put trust in information online when it was clearly a false news article. This was explored through giving the children a news article from kiwikids news which was put up as an April Fools joke. I asked Fiona whether it could be possible that our focus on positive all the time could be impacting on the children's level of trust when engaging with symbols, languages and texts online. This made me start thinking whether we need to be thinking about how we can introduce critical thinking in a positive and effective way so they are not blinded to the reality of information online. In other words, how can we elevate the positive around something negative? This is something that many advertisements on television aim to achieve.

A final point we discussed was that when Fiona goes into classrooms to model and teach the cybersmart curriculum, she always makes a link back to the Kawa of Care. She suggested that whatever tool I create through this inquiry should ideally link back to the Kawa of Care.

This final point made a clear connection for me back to our CoL meeting two weeks ago where we discussed reasons why the latests trends from the Woolf Fisher Research Centre showed acceleration in writing data however not so much in reading and maths data. Russell Burt asked us to think about why we thought this was. The common response that came out was a hypothesis that in writing, we have managed to achieve a consistent use of language across year levels as well as across schools however this consistent use of language has not yet been achieved in reading and maths to the same level. Linking my tools back to the Kawa of Care would support this consistency of language across the CoL. 

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Part I: Hypotheses about patterns in my teaching that could be changed to more effectively address the student learning focus.

Kāhui Ako Achievement Challenge 5: Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/ key competency using symbols, languages and texts.

Last week, I posted some initial data which I collected  to explain the extent of the student challenge (see here). From this data, I have now created a series of hypotheses about patterns in my teaching that could be changed to more effectively address the student learning focus.

My Inquiry Problem/ Challenge: Children living in a digital world, where key competencies are essential, require ubiquitous access to cybersmart scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

What the data showed me about this problem/ challenge:

The data which I collected from 24 students in one year 5 class showed us that there is a wide variation in what the children know, understand and can demonstrate when using their chromebook for learning. This reinforces a point that I was already aware of however only knew through anecdotal evidence.

This knowledge begins with simply understanding what 'digital technology' is and how it is used to support them in their learning. 

About half of the children were able to demonstrate that they know where to find symbols and texts which are commonly seen or used through google apps. The other half of the children were not able to say where to find symbols and texts which they use on a regular basis.

When shown a symbol/text which is less commonly used by the children or when asked how to find a particular symbol/text online, only a small number of children were able to demonstrate that they know where to find the symbol/text. This could suggest that only a few children are demonstrating curiosity to learn more and therefore using critical thinking skills and problem solving to find what they don't yet know.

Interacting with others online (smart relationships) was a big element of cybersmart which demonstrated a class-wide need for more explicit teaching. Most children (all but 2) were able to interact with others online in a positive manner. Interestingly, less than half of the class were able to demonstrate thoughtful or helpful interactions. Only 3 children demonstrated interactions which were positive, thoughtful and helpful. Again, through learning about how children interact online, it was clear that there was a wide variation in the abilities of children (ranging from children who can be positive, thoughtful and helpful online to children who could not write in response to someone else). In fact, over half of the class were unable to write a related response to someone else's blog comment.

The data collected for '4. Respecting others online,' '5. Keeping our information secure' and '6. Google shortcuts' showed that when explicit teaching has occurred in cybersmart, there are children who are not connect with what is being taught. This further emphasises the need to teach to different levels, rather than whole class instruction.

Another area which requires particular focus in being cybersmart is getting children to think critically online. When given a false news article, over half of the children believed this article should be trusted. Interestingly, as a class we had already looked at this article and discussed why it was not to be trusted. Less reasons were given as to why the article should be trusted compared to the reasons given as to why the article should not be trusted. This suggests that many of the children are too trusting when it comes to information they come across online and more explicit teaching is required to teach children how to be critical online.

Despite these results, when asked about how confident they are online, a high majority of the children felt confident in understanding how to learn online.

HYPOTHESIS 1:

Current hypothesis about my teaching:
- Teaching the same skill level across the class is not the most effective way of teaching cybersmart because there are varied levels of student skill in the class.

Hypothesis about my future teaching to more effectively address the student learning focus:
- Having mixed ability groups would be effective in teaching cybersmart - provide student to student support where some children are the experts and some are the learners.

HYPOTHESIS 2:

Current hypothesis about my teaching:
- I currently hold a high expectation and assumption that children are at similar levels of knowing how to interact online.

Hypothesis about my future teaching to more effectively address the student learning focus:
- More explicit teaching is required, particularly in terms of how the children interact with others online. Over half the class could not respond to someone else's blog comment.

HYPOTHESIS 3:

Current hypothesis about my teaching:
- Superficial areas of cybersmart (use of music online, image attribution etc) have previously been at the forefront of what I believe is most important.

Hypothesis about my future teaching to more effectively address the student learning focus:
- Superficial areas of cybersmart are important, however children can still learn online without these things. Deeper skills such as interpersonal skills and critical thinking skills which link with the children's wider worlds and which link to the key competencies of the New Zealand curriculum are in fact skills which I now think are more important for the children to understand and be competent in at this stage of their learning. This was evident through analysis of the data.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Preliminary findings from Cybersmart Quiz: The nature and extent of the student challenge

Kāhui Ako Achievement Challenge 5: Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/ key competency using symbols, languages and texts.

My Inquiry Problem/ Challenge: Children living in a digital world, where key competencies are essential, require ubiquitous access to cybersmart scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

Below is the analysed data which I collected through the cybersmart quiz which I gave to my class. I have split the findings up into overarching areas: