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.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

ULearn 2016 Day 1

Once again I'm lucky enough to be attending ULearn, this year in Rotorua.  On Day 1, after the opening Keynote I will be presenting with my fellow Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers. showcasing our inquiries from this year.

Early on in the morning, one of the first messages was to promote the Connected Educator opportunities offered throughout the year by CORE Education.  I'm looking forward to exploring these opportunities after ULearn.

OPENING KEYNOTE:  Larry Rosenstock - High Tech High

Larry launched his Keynote with a powerfully emotive video, before launching a history of Education in America.  Living in a country that is 'relatively young' it was great to hear the history that Larry shared.

Larry was a carpentry teacher, and this very apt saying resounded with me as a mantra for more than just carpentry.  

Why not integrate different subjects, with real problems and an authentic audience.  Why not Change the Subject?  This second video that Larry presented certainly opens up a world of opportunities.  Unleash teachers and students to design experiences that are authentic and transformed.

BREAKOUT ONE: Ignite your teaching through Innovative Inquiries: by teachers and for teachers 

The Ignite system of presenting was a challenge - slides auto-advanced every 15 seconds!  Dorothy introduced our session with a great over view of Manaiakalani and the Learn Create Share philosophy.  All the teachers that presented during this session share their inquiry via their blogs which are available here.

BREAKOUT TWO:  Rod Scott - Tools to help produce engaged and motivated writers
This breakout followed Rod's inquiry into motivating writers.  Some of the takeaways from this session were:
  • Know me before you teach me - what makes a child an individual.  Build the relationships with the parents.
  • Seek the parent views via a Google Form on the Class Blog
  • Mystery writer via email - write to someone and have them reply 
  • Use other classes as a buddy class to provide feedback on learners blogs
  • Have learners reflect weekly on their writing and post reflections to their blog
For me, this session complimented the work I've been doing for my Manaiakalani Inquiry - I'm looking forward to exploring the class blogs in more detail.

The closing keynote was a great way to finish the day.  Throughout his address John shared some thought provoking messages.  One such message that resonated with me was the difference between Education and Learning.

John challenged educators to make their classrooms relevant, creative, collaborative and challenging - something I feel we are always mindful of at Pt England, but also a timely reminder.  He also suggested that we think beyond just collaboration and content, moving towards Challenge Based Learning where the learner can "feel, imagine, do and share!"  A powerfully inspiring message which leaves me hungry for more on Day 2 of ULearn.

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