Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Apps and Tools for Making thinking visible

Today at the Edtech team summit in Sydney, I went to a workshop presented by Kimberly Hall and Lorinda Ferry. Below are some of the visible thinking tools that we explored.

Answer Garden

This could be a great way to do a collaborative brainstorm at the start of a new topic or before a writing task. We could then discuss the vocabulary that came up the most (bigger words) and extend vocabulary knowledge around these words.

Visible Thinking


Kimberly and Lorinda drew our attention to this site which is full of ideas and suggestions for how learning can be made visible. This will be an interesting site to explore as visible thinking comes into the Manaiakalani Kaupapa.

FlipGrid

This was an interesting app which actually confused me a bit. There seemed to be quite the hype about it however, I felt that through Learn-Create-Share, we are already achieving a lot of what can be achieved on FlipGrid. I would need to explore this a bit more to see if there is any value in it (over and above what our children can already do using their google drives, webcam on their chromebooks and blogs).

Talk&Comment

This was a really good take-away from this session. This chrome extension would allow myself as the teacher as well as other children in the class to leave audio comments on collaborative docs, rather than just written comments. Through the extension you can insert an audio file easily into the comments session on google docs, google slides etc.

Pear Deck

This is another great take-away from this session. It is also a chrome extension for google slides and allows you to create really interactive slides which the children can access. The only problem with this extension would be the inability to rewind in its interactive form. I still need to look into it a bit more to see whether this would be possible or not.

Overall, I got a lot out of this session. I left with some great new ideas to try out in the classroom.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Creating a tool to support learning

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 Challenge (updated): Children living in a digital world, where interpersonal skills and critical thinking are essential, require ubiquitous access to cybersmart scaffolds and resources which are not currently available.

I have begun creating a site which will house a bank of cybersmart clips created by a group of year 5 children. These clips will have the potential to be used in a variety of places around our community to support other children in what it looks like to be cybersmart online. I think it is really important that these messages comes from the children themselves who can be role models to other children. 

An example of one of these short clips can be seen here, on Adriana and Aye Myat's blogs. This is the concept I want to achieve, except with more drama and more selective videography. The length of this clip is exactly what I was hoping for and the enthusiasm that the girls show is fantastic!

The image above shows the 10 different areas which have been selected through the research which I believe incorporates both interpersonal skills and critical thinking. I will begin working through these as part of cybersmart from the beginning of term 3.

The process will need to include a thoughtful plan of my explicit teaching in the area of cybersmart we are looking at. It will include the children participating in activities which explicitly teach the cybersmart concept and then time for the children to work in their groups on their video to show their thinking. I will begin adding these plans onto the site over the next couple of weeks. Once these are added, I'll publish the site so it can be viewed by others as the children begin producing their creative cybersmart clips.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Summarising the Research

Below, I have summarised research and articles in relation to my inquiry.





According to research compiled by the Education Hub, there are are range of soft skills that can be taught when social media is utilised in the classroom. Although our children are too young to use social media, our children are fortunate to have their own individual blogs which is a way they can interact and share their learning online.

These skills listed in the Education Hub's summary of research are:

- collaboration
- communication
- digital literacy
- citizenship
- creativity
- productivity

through...

- deep thinking
- reflection
- conversation
- thinking critically

The Education hub explains that "...it is essential that [teachers] continue to scaffold students’ critical thinking skills in order to help them learn how to evaluate the information that is accessed through social media for accuracy and objectivity."

This links really well with my inquiry which focuses on making a connection between critical thinking and interpersonal skills when working in a digital environment. Early on through my initial data, I also recognised the importance of being explicit with cybersmart teaching in the classroom - something that fits well with the final quote above.







This research is all about "developing cognitive and social skills in digital environment." The three "21st century skills" they focused on were "cognitive, intrapersonal and interpersonal." This study also explained why it is important to teach these skills and the benefits of of having these skills to their successful futures.

This links really well with my inquiry which focuses on critical thinking (which could fall under a cognitive skill) and interpersonal skills. What I need to do now is find out what the interpersonal skills are that were seen as important through the Developing in Digital Worlds study, and use these to help plan my digital took for this inquiry.
Interpersonal skills (as used in Developing in Digital Worlds):

- Peer help
- Showing concern
- Perspective taking
- Collaboration
- Empathy (cognitive & emotional)
- Pro-social skills - relationship with others





This article from the Victoria State Government begins in a positive way however when you read the listed suggestions for learning to be covered, they are mostly written quite negatively. My thought is how these sorts of scenarios can be turned around into a positive scenarios for explicit teaching to match with our kaupapa .

One of the 'behaviours' which they believe is essential to teach is critical thinking. This matches with the above pieces of research as well.





My inquiry and teaching of cybersmart lends itself well to flexible grouping (Christine Rubie-Davis). What this looks like could change from week to week.






In this blog post, Fiona Grant emphasises the importance of focusing on the positive.





This article lists the following interpersonal skills which could also be seen as important when working in a digital environment:

- listening
- questioning
- team work
- Persuasion
- Problem solving





Critical thinking includes:

- Researching
- Asking questions
- Making judgements
- Challenging ideas
- Planning
- Reasoning
- Finding information from a range of sources
- Thinking about how others feel - implications of actions
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Reflecting




Critical thinking includes:
- Problem solving
- Making comparisons
- Drawing conclusions
- Efficiency and effectiveness

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)