Thursday, November 15, 2012

Out of Ten

At the end of the year we often sit back and see how we went. Assess the year in review, possibly even give ourselves a number. Perhaps a six for teamwork a seven for leadership, maybe a nine for community involvement. I reckon that one certainty is John Key will sit back on December 23, browse over the puffy brown leather chair, past the wood paneled bookshelf and start handing out numbers for the ministers and their portfolios. Only the direct minions will be listening, maybe English, but more likely someone even more trusted, perhaps even just himself. When he gets to education it will be interesting, we all know the noise and hear the rhetoric, but in this beehive office the truth will out, how will it go down? If I was a fly on the wall here is my “what they may say”.

4 out of ten and possibly a 3, she's got a tough job but she hasn’t handled things well. That nonsense with class sizes has clearly cost us. What is happening now is that our flagship policy that parents loved and that we had the unions backpedaling on (national standards) has been dropped to the bottom of a mud heap and is not on any horizon. This Novopay has been a bad one too, how did that happen? I think the whole Christchurch thing may still blow up in our faces, bloody John Campbell is chasing our arse everywhere. Charter schools better be well handled well otherwise we may lose more ground.
I think we may have to have a look at the Secretary for Education, she better be on a warning, one more gaff and she can head for the hills. She gave us the bad information on class sizes that was embarrassing, she signed of this payroll mess, and she bomb-shelled the christchurch people, Hekia was part of that too. Im gonna stay positive and give them a 4 but must do better. 

Give them a number people, John will, so its ok for you to do the same.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What's up in Christchurch

The earthquake has forced some tough decisions for Christchurch schools. Clearly leadership was needed from Wellington and the decisions were never going to be popular. So where has this whole shambles gone wrong and how can it be fixed? It is obvious that the decisions had to be made by the Secretary of Education. She took about 3 months off from her job and presumably locked herself in a room with analysts and worked out how it all would happen. In this time we got mail from the MOE with the title signed "acting secretary of education" and when some colleagues visited the MOE in Welly they were told she was unavailable as she was working on "other projects". No gossip there I'm just adding two and two, plus if you were the boss and this sad scenario happened on your watch you'd want it sorted and you wouldn't be able to pass the buck.
So what happened?
After the scramble for instant safety and emergency repairs, chch sat and waited for action.
This was a time to breathe and work things out, any decision on the future would be one that may impact the next 50 years. A time for Cantabs to try to sort their own homes out, their insurance companies, their parents, grandparents, whanau.

Months passed and buildings were in a state of wait and see and kids had moved to other schools/cities.
The first sign of action was a "share an idea website". Some schools threw some comments that way, others did bigger submissions and proposals.
After the submissions there was one meeting attended by the Principals this was about, big ideas, meeting about an educational future, not replicating what was already there, building partnerships. Schools said "let's make this an opportunity". This meeting was positive, people like the highly respected Cheryl Doig gave input and leadership. CORE were there with their professional support and modern thinking.
There endeth the consultation.

After the only consultation meeting it all went quiet and the peeps in Wellington got to work, analysing buildings, crunching numbers, looking at a plan, and strategising. They haven't done a horrible job of it either. They have just handled it like people who have no cultural capital. People who don't and didn't realise the complexities of the earthquake stress, insurance nightmares, mental health issues - basically there was no apparent empathy and no reality to what seems like a totally logical solution on paper from a distance.
So then they delivered their news, and in terms of delivery they get a 1out of 10. They dropped that ball, we all saw it on the news, and adds to the assumption of there lack of empathy.

So now they have clustered schools, and backed down a little bit and said the mergers and closures aren't concrete and you now have 50 days to come back to the MOE with new plans and ideas, they then withheld information of the numbers and buildings and why they made their decisions! Since the Campbell live thrashing of the MOE they have released most stuff to schools, and so they now have 40 days to make decisions on schools in each others communities that will last for the next 50 years. Add in the fact that some people/schools arent in any position to think in the yellow quadrant this is still a monumental stuff up. BTW secondary schools opted out of the MOE chosen clusters.

So how do we fix it? Listen up Wellington.
Send Lesley Longstone to Christchurch she needs to spend time talking with Principals. She needs to be there, she should spend the next ten weeks there, this is bloody important. Her presence will help build a functional relationship, and take away the perception of distance.
Minister to be true to her word and renegotiate timelines so that these clusters can make informed decisions within a period of time that honours true consultation, and allows good decisions.
Make every piece of information available to schools and clusters, make it transparent, its wasting everyones time and everyone looks silly.
Money: provide realistic funding for consultation and facilitation, the amount offered is pittance.

Its fixable but as always its about people: He tangata He tangata He tangata

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Still on Tour - Unmanaged Devices

While in the big apple I visited a school that was super familiar with laptop 1to1 but were now in full swing with iPads.Tucked away in this hidden gem was an Irishman with a word for the wise. He said we need to unmanage these devices, stop making them all alike, stop trying to sync and control and let the teacher be responsible.They had ruled out the carts and just stuck them in every room, gave the teachers the volume lisencing stuff and a bunch of iTunes cards. He said he wanted teachers and children to use them for their needs not some school administrator purchasing and vetoing apps. He wanted teachers and to some extent students take control. Sharp guy who was also into 3D printing and stuff #anotherday #isthatasquirrelupthattree #easilydistracted 

What are your thoughts?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Once in your life give 10%

After just two days and a few hours with some Chch Principals I went home to Akld feeling sad, disappointed and quite frankly pissed off. The people of Christchurch are getting ripped off, progress on fixing things is unbelievably frustrating and the rest of New Zealand carries on without knowing the disruption. Lots of people were annoyed with the progress happening but these are Cantabs, hardy stock. They never want to be seen as moaning, they are too proud for that. They don't want to throw stones, they have lived through a lot and they know this will take time. Evereyone is very accepting of "the way it is" this is, i suppose, the best mentality to take from this horrible situation. What grinds my gears is that we just carry on thinking the earthquake commission, the insurance companies, the task force and Gerry Brownlie have it in hand and the hardship is over. Nothing could be further from the truth. Its tough going, the suburbs are doing it tough, the schools are $200,000 to $300,000 down on their annual budgets, try losing that much cash and keep your school going. Housing sucks and hundreds of houses stand rotting with weeds 6 foot tall, and rain pouring in. School buildings are compromised and the decisions are hard to make. Principals have big ideas and hopes for rebuilds but their cash situation is dire and they are all looking at losing staff. Bugger that!

I ask -how can we really help? I suppose I'm now thinking of schooling issues. Schools across New Zealand gave generously to the CPPA and this was gratefully received. However the schools are still involved in messy meetings. Property money (5ya) has been frozen. There is still no decisions on which if any schools close and the wheels may be moving slow. However these are not criticisms of those in charge of decisions, there are complex issues and opportunities are rising from the devastation.
My issue is that while Christchurch schools wait and teachers are uncertain of their futures, other schools can do something, our leadership needs to think creatively and with empathy.

I believe that all schools in New Zealand should make a commitment to re building the school infrastructure in Chch. Why can't every school in New Zealand have 10% of their  5ya property money frozen. This would allow the money to be available for Christchurch schools when the decisions on infrastructure have been made. While chch suffers other NZ schools are building new libraries, admin blocks, gyms, meanwhile they wait for fulton hogan to pour some tar-seal on their damaged courts!
I want every child in New Zealand to get a free and fair education. Its not about our Ivory Towers its about being a Kiwi. I believe we all have to give up a bit of our hopes and dreams of our schools for those who have been hit the hardest.

So its time for the Ministry of Education to get this ball rolling. Get STA PPTA NZPF NZEI and any other group of fish heads together and talk sensibly about our friends in red and black country.
Put me down for %10, but its a team effort.

Monday, June 4, 2012

iPads for those who really need em...

Visiting a special Ed school was an experience on its own. The school was a k to 21 school and their job (god bless them) was an exhausting experience. I was humbled by the generosity of staff, the care, dedication and patience. Walking down the hallways of this school of nearly 400 students and all most as many para professionals was daunting stuff. The kids were huge and the variety of skills went from very very severe to medium and there were many autistic students. I had the pleasure of meeting the head of technology and an amazing principal. One random was that the principal had a door in her office, she had her own toilet, she saw it as a bonus, obviously she has never drunk speights! That was the type of person she was, never mind the 1950s Nelson block type school, there are opportunities everywhere and we will look for them, even if it's a toilet in an office.
The school has many students who have an iPad as their educational device. It's built in as part of their IEP but only if the device is considered essential to their learning/growth. I met a boy who is 15, he had never spoken to anyone some sounds but that was it. Cathy bought him up to the office and I had a conversation with him. He manipulates his way around the iPad at the speed of a nerd typing code (like a rat up a drainpipe). He has an audio programme (with pictures) where he has answers or questions that he often uses. As the iPad is speaking he will speak with it and his speech is now audible and you can tell he will be able to go without the iPad one day. The cool thing is that the phrases are not cut and paste ones, they are written with him so that he uses things at his level of ability to start with and new questions and answers are being built in conjunction with him. It was really apparent that he knew all the phrases and words because he could manipulate the programme with high speed, he knew where everything was.
I visited a couple of music classes, one at a very low level of ability and another at a higher operating level. You try a music lesson of 50 minutes with kids who's attention span is seconds (oh new entrants maybe) and keep them all on task. One boy was so quick to push the home button on the iPad it required a full time para professional to correct the behavior, this didn't stop the teacher, he had his 8 students engaged entirely, yes he switched apps for each student about five times, but he innately knew which app each student was capable of using and he carefully built a lesson around the students capabilities.
The next class was a higher ability level and he had all the iPads plugged into a sound system (note to @macash it took four minutes and worked first time) and the band started, the cool thing was that the band had their drum player away and two children had to play other instruments, change for these kids is almost impossible, but with clever guidance the band was away, no loops here just good old fashioned playing by ear.
This guy was a highly qualified music teacher with degrees in fine arts, he played many many instruments and in bands and orchestras, he could lecture in fine arts. Q: what was he doing in Queens 177 school? A: a bloody good job!
He had every known music app on his music iPads, there was no mention of 'what app this - what app that"? or "how do you sync"? It was all about the learning. Queens177 school I tip my hat to you each and every day #amazingpeople

I have video clips of our friend who now speaks, the music teacher and the Principal, you'll have to wait for the iBook (available soon for a kazillian dollars) for the extended version. Podgorani signing off from seat 42G AirNZ Lax to Akld 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

#8 F16 fighter pilots & the PGA Tour

The PGA tour is a far cry from a classroom full of devices and fighter pilots are something we only see on a playstation. However while meeting with superintendent Carver and a week at TPC sawgrass the ducks started to line up a bit.
Targets keep moving, this has never been truer when you talk technology and even more so when you talk student achievement. As kids learn stuff we don't stop and say you now have reached your potential, we kick on, the playing field is always moving, the target never sits still.
An F16 fighter pilot is tasked with having to hit a target which is moving. If you are to be successful you can't go on a linear line. Orientation Observation Decision Action OODA. You head for your target but every time your orientation changes you have to see things (observe) along the way and make your decisions, taking appropriate action. Change is fluid, targets cannot be reached in a linear fashion, targets are fine but understanding that playing what is in front of you is essential to the classroom.
Nothing was more evident at the TPC sawgrass about playing what is in front of you and also changing your game plan half way through an event. These guys practice between 6 and 8 hours a day for years. They have all the preparation done, everything is worked out, they have every gadget, their clubs are super rockets, the balls missiles. These guys are neat as a pin and cool as ice. But what happens to them as they play that final round they really have to play what is in front of them. They have to change their expectations based on the lie of the ball and the pin placement, the wind, the long grass, the difficulty of shot. They have a goal (winning) but reaching their goal is never linear no matter how much planning they put in.
If you have a plan for learning at your school, a plan that includes these mobile devices as a tool to help, then don't think linear, think fluid. Think OODA.

The thing you might miss is identifying your target
Don't have a plan for device implementation, have a plan for learning. Knowing your target is fairly important, the F16 pilots have a clear target, so did Matt Kucher.

I'm getting close to extended abstract, do i get a funny symbol?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

#7 on the road to Joe

I made my long awaited trip to Canby in a seek out "Joe Morelock". It was something I wanted to do since the podgorani discovered the canby wiki a few years back, I hadn't told Joe is was a secret mission to steal his mind, however I now have his most prized secrets Muwaaaahaahaa.
Sometimes you come across people who just have things sussed well beyond your thinking, those who have already made those discoveries that we mortals take years to trip over. What I found was a gem, a guy who was given a chance by his district and has taken it.
I shot quite a bit of video, and this I will stick into a format for my final report, however lots of the success can be put down to a clever superintendant, smart school leadership and lots of empowerment.
The classes were hives of activity, nothing contrived and lots of collaboration, they use google docs, blogs, wikis, edmodo, moodle and other collaborative tools (if you can try it they probably have), skill and drill is for the lemons, and if Joe has any he is making lemonade!

One gem from Canby is that one very important skill for teachers to learn is failure. Failure was expected and celebrated, teachers were encouraged to take risks and were asked to give hunches a go. NICE.
Failure was spoken about, it was put on the table as a huge possibility from day 1.

I also got to meet Dan @CanbyiOS the PL/PD & techo man for the district, he has the cool job of working with kids too, He is a hip dude (most are up this way) with an eye for quality learning.

I am just feeding you people 1 good thing at a time, It's just to keep you interested.

Monday, April 30, 2012

#6 still on the road

We need to consider whether our schools are prepared to take the step into the world of mobile devices. We should ensure they make a difference for children’s learning. There are a number of studies about “one to one” laptop programmes. I have been lucky enough to see “one to one” ipad and ipod schools and districts. All have shown progress against standardized tests but the exact interrelationship is not concrete evidence. In fact the American schools system lends itself well to systematic apps that drill children, I saw lots of use of maths and spelling apps. However there are a number of well led schools with great teachers who have diversified into creative learning opportunities using iPads as a tool ( and not the only tool). As we know New Zealand schools dont want to spend good money on new ways to drill students in reading and writing. We know what works - encouraging reflective thought and action, facilitating shared learning, creating a supportive learning environment, enhancing the relevance of new learning, making connections to prior learning and experience, teaching as inquiry, eLearning and pedagogy.
What I've seen and transferring it to a new zealand setting is exciting. We have the creative curriculum, if you are that creative teacher then take a pugh and jump right in.
On another note.
I would love the doubters of the iPads, to challenge what an iPad can't do as compared to a laptop and we will see if they stack up. Its not a fight i'm looking for its just time to justify what you are really doing on the lappie.

Lastly for you mac haters out there, before you duck off to buy south koreas latest hardware and combine it with our friend Mr google you may need to read this blog on why school deployment of android is a little fickle at the moment. Add to that apps written for the commonwealth bank in australia for android, none of them are actually linked to the bank, just some russian in cyberspace ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

#5 on tour - Portland

Ive now departed from the 13 others and am on my own, my god silence is unbearable, i'm talking to myself! Its outta control.
Ive had some time to think and am confident my ADE buddies will hook me up as i cross america in search of knowledge, beer, golf and a laugh.
The two day briefing at apple was awesome. I love it when people present and they just "get it". The guys there just know their chocolates, any question no matter how complicated is answered with a reason and and any suggestion you just know they have already thought of it and either implemented it or they had ten reasons why it wouldn't work. So I had a few discoveries I will share what i can remember but don't moan if you already knew it.
So image capture was a biggie- you open it on your mac and plug in any iPad iPod iPhone and the camera roll opens up, u can drag and drop to your desktop or to anything, great if you are assembling photos or moves for a call story etc..
Photo booth does a lot of great things including movie in movie- great for news reports scene playing behind (silent) and person in foreground talking etc.. cheap nasty and fast, all good I say.
iBooks Author is very impressive, its easy as and the interactive books are a no brainer, you have to look into this as it is so powerful, if you are a classroom teacher you can use image capture to get everyones info get their photobooths as well and then drop them in and export as an ibook, this can go on you iPad/pod image if you wanna go school wide or just have forever in your school library.
iPhone Configuration Utility - download this little puppy and it will help you configure your basic image for your school owned devices, its easy to use and give u a start point. Most NZ schools are breaking licensing laws and syncing from 1 iTunes account, at this point in time the bulk licensing agreement is coming very soon which will please rubberchicken.
On the iPad
Notability seems miles ahead of the rest in note taking, doodling etc. great for NZ schools because it syncs to dropbox, which means free. It has a nice folder structure, allows students to draw, take a photo from inside the app, type, export, sync, etc.
iMovie on the iPad is pretty good, in fact its great, what we have to remember that these devices are mobile movie cameras, mobile animation studios, mobile recording devices, cameras. One amazing comment from a kid in a 1to1 iPad school, "there is more of me in my work than ever before" she was referring to her voice, her face, her ownership.

I am now sick of typing
More later

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#4 on tour #finally

Being a fan of the springfield family today i recalled a Simpsons clip when Homer went to India, Apu wanted Homer to look up his brother. Cut to a scene in india, at least 15000 people in the scene, all with beards and black hair and in the same clothes. Homer got the description of black hair and a beard. So he asks any guy "are you Apu's brother?" "no". Then he asks the next guy "are you Apu's brother?" and miraculously he says "yes", Homer then says "finally".

My finally took 10 schools and a whole development of my thinking.

My initial thinking was along the lines of no way 1to1 ever. Device, laptop, anything.
My doubts were along collaboration and or lack of it.
My doubts too were about laptops being a better device than iPods and iPads, if you ever considered 1 to 1.
I was most concerned about drill and skill apps, the letter games and maths questions. Those junior teachers who justify iPads by using maths and spelling apps as "what is best for kids". 700 bucks to do spelling games - not on my watch.
Also i was not keen on devices for engagement only! that would make interactive whiteboards valuable, they are engaging, but we all know what the research says about the whiteboards (insert sales pitch here and pass it off as IWB research)
By the way there is 1to1 research (all positive), i will leave that to Mr Rusty and the academics to read.

So what happened was some clarity in thinking and some explanation in how things work from a black shirted man at apple and some discoveries from my slow to act grey matter.

I had a hyperstudio moment. Remember when Hyperstudio needed multiple inputs, you chose lots of different ways of setting up pages and inserted drawings and animations and linked paths and brought in  movies. Well iPads are requiring students to multitask again. There are hundreds of different ways to do things. Opening, inserting, changing, adjusting thinking, personalizing work, adapting, sending, retrieving, re-doing. With no server, no file structure, kids are forced to think creatively about solving how things are done and also looking at different ways of doing things, and kids in the same class have multiple options to do this. Don't get me wrong, problem solving a file structure or lack of it is a narrow field of learning, but the fact that it is forcing teachers and kids to make choices about what they do and how is solid stuff.

Some schools have chosen the network approach and looked for a backbone to send and drop files.
They have used dropbox,, google docs, evernote. For the Kiwis out there the best is a combination of whatever works for you, but free is good. Oh and by the way which ever you choose you can call it your learning management system (insert lol here)

so back to the "Finally"what did i see.
I saw leadership. I saw a relaxed differentiated andragogical approach to PD/learning for teachers.
So whats new in that? Well nothing if you know what you are doing with PD w staff.
But leaders need to get this right.
If you do you will eliminate bad practice, you will see creative use of iPads/apps, you will encourage courage and celebrate mistakes.
You will see the very very important: devices as powerful tools for learning, that is all, Finally.

apologies for the disconnected blog, its a little random tonight. Hope u all had a good anzac day.
More when the brain rolls into 2nd gear.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

#3 on tour - Engagement

There is no doubt that if you throw every child a device they will love it. They will be smiling, they will have something new in their hands, they will be engaged.

I've been in a few schools with 800 odd devices and the very obvious thing is that those students on the fringes of classrooms were engaged. The behavioural kids are into it, I struggled to see a student mucking about doing nothing and this was across a range of schools in different areas.

If engagement is what you are buying when u buy into a technology rich environment with children - is it enough ?

A colleague on the trip came out with this gem :

Comparing engagement to achievement is often talked about - what about comparing disengagement to non achievement ! nice one Helen

The Q is : can we afford not to deliver the technology and risk disengagement ?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#2 on tour

after two days looking at schools in san deigo i’m now on the freeway, earbuds in, listening to biggie smalls, while crammed in the back of a chevvy suburban, tethering my iphone to my air and blogging. today we went to escondido and went to schools who have one to one ipods throughout the school. The kids were articulate and switched on to learning. these are low decile schools, behavioural incidents exist, however the “switched on classrooms” have made a massive effect on the behavior and learning. These were alive classrooms and children who valued their teachers and peers alike. The principal we met was clear about her vision and could articulate it.

Both schools talked about creativity with the ipods. They had a vision of moving beyond remembering and shifting to creativity.

Like all schools they are in the middle of continuous improvement and these schools know that to get anywhere you need : PD, buy in, a will, success, etc.

Both schools owned nearly 800 ipods each and had a system of sync and upgrade etc. Interestingly they made teachers responsible for their own sync (they each had a huge sync station in their classroom), good work though because you have to make the job manageable as well as giving it longevity and ownership.

Q: How many teachers / principals have thrown away their laptop and gone to the device only?

Ob: I saw school owned devices however lots of kids have an ipod at home as well. Because of security around the internet they cant bring them to school. Interesting.

Monday, April 16, 2012

#1 on tour

It was interesting to see the integration of devices and laptops into the US schools programme.

A few observations and questions. Not definitives in any way

Ob : The device must be owned by the kids otherwise its not personal and or personalised.

Ob : Schools who have previously had laptops can’t give up on them even though they know what ipads/ipods can do. The reasons are: the massive committment to PD over ten years, the money tied up in them and that the ipad/pod cant do all that the laptop does.

Q can a school who never invested in laptops just get ipads/pods and start fresh without the preconceived shortfalls of the device and the have the ability to just “make it happen” ?

Q should laptop schools just grow up and go to the devices now ? 5 years and the laptop is off to join encyclopedia britannica.

Q are we educating children for today or five years in terms of the hardware ? If my son was in year 3 i want him to have the best ever year 3, now - today !

Monday, March 26, 2012

Don't be so Reckless!

Is it time to take the advice from the band Australian Crawl?

The time of complaining has just become untenable. Recently I was chatting with a parent who says they want to support teachers and is always happy with their class teacher but it seems when teachers are put into groups or represented as a group they appear to be negative moaners. She said it is typical of teachers to complain about the smallest things and that they hold a knowledge set that other parents aren't able to comprehend.
I kind of knew what they were saying and was almost agreeing although I know that the biggest bug bare for all teachers is parents who went to school so therefore that makes them experts in school. The flip side is that some teachers have never left school since they started all those zillion years ago at the age of 5 and they can't see the woods from the trees. They know it all.
This is me, I started at the age of 5 and apart from three years of training to be a teacher I am still at school, thats about to be 40 years, in that time is there any chance I or in my case other people with a similar history become negative to change and set in their ways, look to complain about stuff that doesn't matter!

Those who have met me wouldn't put me in the negative basket thats a certainty, but they might have me in the opinion basket (insert sarcasm- no way luke you'd never argue or have a strong opinion).

So at what stage is it ok to say
" She don't like that kind of behaviour"
"Lay down your guns don't be so reckless"

At this stage in education across the planet, we are facing statistical analysis and wide ranging judgements on teachers based on a result. So why not just roll with the punches and live within the boundaries. Tick the boxes and not lose focus on whats happening in the classrooms. Do what is best for the kids (educational achievement).
Laugh heaps, don't let our unions or representatives dangle negativity on us, don't let government policy no matter how laughable get us upset. Show those parents out there we care for one thing only. I'm not saying drop the fight for policy change,, leave that to those paid to direct change. But school by school class by class we live life with the glass overflowing.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Henare O'Keefe a great New Zealander

So is it true that we learn by association?
Do we need to change the habits of a school or community in order to create opportunities for learning?

In the holidays a watched a brilliant documentary on maori TV about one of NZ's most amazing men. Take 51 minutes of your life to watch this doco (not sure how long the link will work) and challenge yourself to make changes.
One of the points he makes is about learning by association. If you look at soldiers and the way they associate and the way they learn, compare this to gang members, babies at a pre-school and children in your class (no matter what age) you probably see that they behave in a way that "fits in" rather than "stands out".

As a Principal or teacher I reckon we have a responsibility to our children and our school to ensure that the associative behavior outside of your classroom meets the expectations of what happens inside your room. I have a saying that goes something like this, "judge our students not when an adult is present but when they think no-one else is looking". It can be quite harsh and often we are let down but it is still a great leveler and a goal to aim for. kids will let us down and their differences need to be sorted, but doing nothing all result in more of the same.

I love the way Henare is saving his suburb "one sausage at a time".
Metaphorically we have to look at our children, families and community and identify those who can cook the sausages, and those who can eat them, and as a school we may have to be the barbeque.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why do we go to school ?

Why do we come to school?
This was a Q we were asking ourselves at our most recent team leader meeting.
We were told that to increase student achievement was a given.
Our task was to think beyond student achievement.
I then had to draw a picture and explain what I had drawn, it had to depict - Why do I come to school?

If I asked you why you came to school (genuinely) what would your answer be?

I could just leave it open and ask your opinion, but I know ones reluctance to comment usually amounts in zero feedback, so I am happy to share my views in the hope that I don't get shot down too much for sharing.

My very poor sketch is about filling hearts and minds. As a Principal we are responsible directly for staff and indirectly for students in a general sence. This means that we have to keep those who work for us and with kids in an environment that fosters learning. We must have warm hearts and a healthy minds to get the success. I reckon we all have to try really hard to fill the hearts and minds of those we work with directly or indirectly to make our schools the best they can be.
Sounds a little warm and fuzzy sorry for those who want a sachet of "harden up" that comes only when a clean out is needed and even then a warm heart will always win through.

Why do you come to school?


People know I am a gadget freak and run a fairly decent school from particularly (not solely) an elearning perspective.
However, I want to help those out there who are not sure where to go with the devices/laptops.
I also want to get a really good grasp of the big picture around where we are headed as schools with learning.

I have this worry that the clamor for devices and BYOD and 1 to 1 everything is lost in the need to keep up with the Joneses and not about sound educational decisions. Many of you know that I like to call a spade a shovel and lots of people will disagree with me that their school's elearning is set up on sound educational decisions. I'm not attacking you guys, I am just saying that if you look around there are the "haves" and "have nots" and the gaps are noticeable and when i see schools trialling iPads and iPods i kind of want to see the pedagogy and the planning and the big picture understanding. (i'm sure there is a big word for that, Ando?)

So I have been lucky enough to get this APPA travelling fellowship. A chance to travel the world over two school terms and capture best practice using devices. I have a great chance to visit those guys out there leading the charge.

I am coming to Australia, USA and lots of good old NZ. I have lined up many schools and districts, however, I need to find good people, My ADE network is hard at work and I'd love to get a few/tips/offers/places to go from the experts.
Comment on the blog or hit me up on twitter @sumich
Possibles on the list thus far in the USA, LA, San D, San F, Portland, Des Moine, Wisc, Florida, NYC, Maine.
Cheers and Im back!
I have had my tail between my legs worried about big brother after last years battle with NS (standardized stuff). So we have a new leaf and new ideas and new beginnings.