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, 16 May 2016

Spark MIT Update - May 2016

ABCs of Writing:  Authentic Audience, Blogging and Commenting

As discussed in my first blog post for my Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher inquiry, my inquiry question is:

"How can I use an authentic audience to enhance the motivation and writing mileage for learners in my classroom."

During the first term of this year I've begun my inquiry in a number of ways including:

  • bookmarks home to parents with a blog link and QR code
  • leaving verbal comments on learners blogs 
  • discussing learner blogs with parents during our "meet the teacher" conversations early in the year
  • deep analysis of my learners' needs in writing
Today we discussed the SAMR model and how our inquiry fits into this framework.  Ideally our inquiry's are aimed at the transformation level of the framework, using technology to impact on the learning.

My Spark MIT inquiry compliments my Pt England Inquiry as this investigates ways to accelerate writing in the classroom through my deliberate acts of teaching.  

Where to now?

It is extremely helpful to get the ideas from others in the Spark MIT group, which helped me to formulate my plan for future development.  While its been great to receive parent comments on the learners' blogs, my next step is to provide some scaffolding around these comments to make them even more powerful.  My initial thoughts were to redesign my bookmark with suggestions on how to comment, and translate this into different languages for my whanau (eg Samoan, Tongan, Te Reo).  However, after discussion today I agree that a bookmark may not be big enough to encompass the ideas I need to share.  Several ideas today included a postcard, calendar or piece of art that could be created by the learners.  I'm particularly taken with the art idea as this fits nicely with our school wide topic 'As i see it".

Additionally, there is potential to create a site using these scaffolds, as a reference for not only my whanau this year, but that could be shared to a wider audience.  Such a site could include screencasts of how to comment which could be used by both learners and whanau.  I envisage the site to be in multiple languages to assist whanau who are more comfortable in their native language.  It would be exciting to explore this with a small group of my learners who could assist with the creation of the screencasts.

SAMR Picture credit:  Ed Tech Today


  1. I love reading your update here Karen and the interventions you are exploring. I am so looking forward to seeing what happens in the next stage and recommend you connect with one of the 2016 MDTA teachers, Juliana, who is looking into a similar intervention. Check out her post here

    1. Thanks Dorothy! Will definitely connect with Juliana!