Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 2 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Learning from older peers

Today we had Year 3/4 learners come to our classroom to share what they'd been learning and teach our students how to use the ScratchJr app.  It was great to see the absolute engagement of both my learners and their older 'teachers' for 90 minutes this morning.

The Year 3/4 learners were very adept at using the app and were confident and articulate in sharing their knowledge with my 5 year olds.  I buddied two of my learners with one 'expert' and circulated the groups to listen to the conversations and observe the modelling which was occurring.  The older students were able to scaffold the activity and support their younger peers to ensure they all completed an amazing animation!  It was great to hear and see the older learners demonstrating and then watching and guiding as the younger learners tried things out with patience and a supportive attitude!

We concluded the lesson using our Apple TV where learners were able to showcase what they had created as a result of today's learning.  The older learners were also keen to share which gave us some great ideas for using the app in the future.

For me, this session reinforced the importance of removing the traditional teacher/learner barriers and thinking outside the square about how to convey knowledge.  Sure, I could have taught my learners how to use this app quite successfully, but the success of the peer teaching goes deeper than that.  The Year 3/4 students had to scaffold their approach to suit my younger learners, which they did with amazing success.  They were able to reinforce their own learning through teaching others and see others create as a result of this teaching.  Ultimately, the Learn-Create-Share framework which is the backbone of our school philosophy was highlighted today, not through blogging or something visual, but through sharing their knowledge with others in the school, which in turn enables them to Create to demonstrate their own Learning - and so the cycle continues!


  1. What a great initiative Karen. Your thoughtful explanation of learn create share in action is particularly helpful.

    1. Thanks Dorothy! I think I was extremely privileged to see this amazing session unfold!