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.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

GAFE 2017 - Opening Keynote

Once again I'm lucky to be attending the GAFE Summit in Auckland, this time representing Lynmore School.  This blog post will document my thoughts and findings throughout the session.

Opening Keynote:  Iteration and Innovation in Education
- Jaime Casap

Why do we care so much about Education?  Education is what changes a family's destiny! Education disrupts poverty!  If you work hard, get a good education, anything is possible.  No matter how many years you teach, the impact you have on students goes on for generations.  It is possible to have an impact on students for years to come, on students that you possibly won't even meet!

We need to take the best of what education is and take it to the next level.  How can we do that using technology?  Our job is to prepare kids for the future.  We need to remember that the 21st century is already here!  Computer science in NZ is a huge part of this future.  Out of the top seven jobs in this country, six are information technology positions.  This is true throughout the world and why it is important to have computer science as a part of education.

We know what good learning looks like compared to the past.  Things such as personalisation, modern, motivating and engaging  are common place in the classroom today, allowing us to deliver education in different ways - thanks to technology!  Given where technology is today, how can we take the best ideas and bring it to life.

Do you remember when we had to call the internet, and the internet was busy!  What was your reward when you got online?  Today - how do our expectations differ?  Generation z learners are global, social, visual and technological.  How children today think about learning is different given the world they are born into.  Children today learn by exploring whereas we waited for someone to teach us.  We need to pay attention to that.  What is generation z facing?  The technology of today isn't close to what is coming.  They are able to visit places virtually that we never dreamt possible in the past.  Today we can merge the real world with the virtual world.

Skills that are needed in the workplace, in a technology world (as per big companies employing technology specialists):
  • problem solving 
  • team-working
  • communications
  • critical thinking
  • collaboration
  • creativity
  • literacy
  • digital literacy
  • leadership
  • foreign language
  • emotional intelligence
The process of problem solving is what kids need to do as through this they will develop the learning they need to solve the problem.

Iteration is the result of critical thinking - feedback to take learners to the next level is more important than a grade.

Collaboration is how problems are solved - one of the things that Google looks for is collaboration skills.  The ability to listen, the ability to reach consensus, and to take a step back and let someone else lead.

We need digital leaders - if students don't learn how to be strong digital leaders in schools, they won't learn it anywhere else.  Can they tell the difference between a news site and a sponsored site?

There is therefore a need for a culture shift.  How do we bring education to the next level?  Converting information into intelligence is important.  There will always be a need to memorise but at some point information becomes a commodity with no value.  How do we ask questions that you can't look up on Google?  That is the challenge for us and our learners.  Student centered learning models give the learner the opportunity to explore their own learning.  A great teacher helps these students strive, with the use of technology, maker models and forward thinking.  

Iteration and innovation drive transformation!  Think how Google has changed.  It can happen anywhere!  It takes time and problem solving to make progress.  The future classroom starts on Monday - experiment, try new things, we are just getting started!  We are not behind, we are in the middle of change.  Only 40% of the world are online!  This is the most exciting time in Education.  To a 5 year old, the latest and greatest phone today is the worst piece of technology they will see in their life - it is their Commodore 64!  Do we have the right processes in place that they are going to need to thrive and build the skills to solve the problems of their world!

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