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, 4 October 2017

Power and Process of Mentoring TWO

Further to my first post, earlier this week I started to delve into the second chapter of the Mentee's Guide "Preparing Yourself to Make the Most of Mentoring."

Preparation is the key to any successful venture, and it seems that being a mentee is no different - it is just as important to prepare for this as for any venture!  This chapter of the book provided opportunities for reflection and review as well as forward thinking to the future.  While I completed all the exercises, I'm sharing just some snapshots of the process as this will enable me to reflect, to look forwards now, and provide a baseline to review in the future.

2.1 Personal Reflection Exercise
The task:  Create a timeline of your career journey, including highlights, milestones, marker events, challenges and disappointments.  Use this timeline to complete the accompanying questions.

Identify your top three professional successes - I've had an amazing start to my teaching career and I feel the opportunities I've been lucky enough to have all build on my start in the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy (MDTA).  My passion for technology started before the MDTA, which is perhaps why I made the most of the opportunity and am so passionate about using the affordances of technology to personalise learning today.  Being accepted as a Google Certified Innovator ranks as another of my top three professional successes - this opportunity has been a challenge, at times hard work but I've enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy) every moment of this journey.  Lastly, but definitely not least, I have had the privilege to work in two amazing schools with terrific colleagues who inspire me daily to continue striving to be the best teacher I can be.

2.2 Creating a Personal Vision
My #SYD17 innovation came about because I believe personalised learning has helped accelerate learners in my classroom and I'd like to inspire other teachers along the same personalised learning pathway.  My journey using personalised learning has taken many hours of my own time to get to where it is now - and time is one commodity that teachers have so little of.  My vision is therefore:

To inspire other teachers to use the affordances of technology to personalise learning through the creation of a community which encourages sharing of resources, ideas and pedagogy to save time and benefit all learners.

2.3 Mentee Skill Inventory
Evaluate your proficiency on the mentee skill inventory - you may wish to share this with your mentor as you look for ways to develop your skills.

2.4 Know your Learning Style
The book refers to David Kolb's Learning Style model, and I know I am a blend of the four types of learners mentioned.  In order to check my own understanding I completed this questionnaire.  I'm not surprised to see a strong leaning towards a reflector style of learning, with less emphasis on the pragmatist and a medium leaning towards activist and theorist styles.  Reading over how the selected learning styles are described, these are where I feel I fit:

Once again, using The Mentees Guide has enabled me to be more formal in my thinking and reflective through this blog post.  I look forward to continuing with my mentee journey as my #SYD17 project continues to blossom.

Digital Citizenship and Safety

As a teacher in a digital classroom I totally understand the importance of digital citizenship, but it's always good to brush up on your understanding, even if its just a reminder of what you already know.   Earlier this week I completed the Google for Education Digital Citizenship and Safety Course

The course includes five units, followed by a short quiz to test your understanding (all completely free): 

  • Teaching students about internet safety and privacy:  including what makes a strong password, two factor authentication, and privacy settings
  • Online safety: securing your mobile device, public and private Wi-Fi, avoiding harmful downloads on your smartphone
  • Savvy searching: helping evaluate the credibility of online information sources to distinguish between legitimate and dubious sources 
  • Staying safe from phishing scams: how to recognise potential scams, how to check if a web page is encrypted, and what to do if you encounter online scams
  • Manage your online reputation: why does privacy matter and how to identify and report inappropriate behaviour
After taking the course and completing each quiz, you receive a recognition badge as well as a link to download Lesson Plans to use in your own classroom.  I'd really recommend spending the time to review your understanding of digital citizenship, as well as using the resources to remind your students.  Teaching safe use of the internet is a necessity in today's classroom, and its never too often to reinforce this with your learners.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Collecting Teachers Voice on my #SYD17 Innovation

In order to progress my #SYD17 project, I'm seeking teachers voice and opinions about what would be most beneficial to help them personalise learning using technology in the classroom.  This will enable me to adapt my innovation to what would be most useful for teachers.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey which will inform my Google Certified Innovator #SYD17 project.  I'm passionate about using technology to enhance personalised learning in the classroom, but appreciate that for today's teachers, the one commodity we have in limited supply is time.  My dream is to provide a place for teachers to share resources, upskill and support each other to benefit all learners.