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.

Monday, 19 October 2015

ULearn Magic ... Day 2 and 3

Day 2 began with another thought provoking Keynote delivered by Ann Lieberman entitled "What do we know about Teaching Leadership, and what's to gain?"  Ann told us that "we are great storytellers in teaching" and her story described the National Writing project she was involved in (in the United States).  Ann described teaching leadership as:
  • A way of organising learning
  • A way of understanding connections between knowledge and practice
  • A way of learning skills and abilities to nurture a community among peers
  • A way of negotiating the tensions between privacy and community
For me this keynote highlighted the 'community of sharing' practices which already occur in the Manaiakalani Cluster through toolkits, the MIT (Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher programme) and the natural sharing that occurs in each school.  I found it particularly interesting that Ann unpacked the conflicts that naturally occur with change with her focus on it not becoming destructive to the change process.

My second session today was Karen Boyes' "Enhancing Thoughtful Classroom Dialogue".  This was a packed session and I could see why when Karen started sharing her ideas based around six main themes:

  • Classroom environment
  • Teacher technique
  • Listening skills
  • The Power of Language
  • Thinking
  • Questioning 
I came away from Karen's session with pages of notes and a head brimming with ideas to try in the classroom to encourage discussion in an environment which turns the fear of talking into fun.  This quote which Karen used was particularly inspiring:

"Children who laugh more ... learn more."  - Dr David Sousa

After lunch I attended Paula Jamieson's 1:1 iPads with New Entrants, looking for ideas that I could use to enhance what we are already using in Room 19.  While not specifically looking for any apps (I still firmly believe that just the use of Explain Everything is working really well), its always good to listen to how others are using apps and how I could possibly adapt these.  Paula delivered her address using a Multi Touch Book which immediately had me intrigued.  She is in the process of creating several books, all of which are available from the iTunes store.

I particularly liked the way that Paula referred to camera angles with her class - snails view, possum view, birds view etc and intend to create visuals to support this with next years class.  As Paula stated, having learners know how to take really good photos to document their learning early on, sets them up for success throughout their learning journey.

After a great "On the High Seas" ULearn dinner it was back for the final day of learning.  Today's first session for me was the joint presentation by the "Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers (MIT)" allowing a small peak into the great innovations they've been developing this year.  The inquiries of all the MIT teachers can be explored here.

Following the presentation of my second session, the final Keynote was Pat Sneddon, chairman of the Manaiakalani Trust.  No matter how many times I hear Pat speak he's always totally inspiring and the entire audience was spellbound by his story.  For those unfamiliar with the Manaiakalani story, this video, created by some Pt England learners was shown during Pat's keynote.  This website also documents the Manaiakalani story.

Outta this World from Team 5 PES on Vimeo.

Edit:  Pat's full presentation is available to view here

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