Saturday, 9 July 2016

Mindlab - Putting it all Together

Activity 8: Changes in my Practice
Evidence for Applied Practice in Context -MindLab
This MindLab postgraduate certificate  journey has been both inspiring and challenging. This experience has further opened up the world of online learning. I consider myself as a life long learner. I am always eager to learn and experience new concepts.  I love networking with other educators outside my own practice, in Auckland, nationally and globally. It has definitely made me think and see outside the box!

I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the lecturers and admin staff at the MindLab in Auckland. This journey has not been easy. Initially,  I had signed up to the Postgraduate course in July 2015. Due to personal reasons I had to ask to be deferred to the November intake. The staff at MindLab have been supportive and sensitive to my needs as well of other fellow students I know of.  Since November I have been able to fully engage and enjoy this learning community and am so blessed to have been given this '2nd chance'. 

Assignments have been achievable and flexible.  With a full-time teaching load again the MindLab administration have been supportive and taken into account the 'busyness' of our jobs. I have felt like I have been chasing my tail for the last 32 weeks.The flexibility to submit assignments using video, photography and blogs have been exciting as we have not had to document our learning through traditional documentation - Essays!  The feedback I received for the assessments were great. Initially, I had a few that brought me down and nearly to a halt. Through the MindLab Google+ community, I was able to share my experiences with others and gain support and motivation to persevere. This enabled me to push through and try new techniques, manage my time effectively and stay focused.

Two key changes in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria
 PTC 7 - Promote a collaborative, inclusive and supportive learning environment
PTC 8 - Demonstrate in practice their knowledge and understanding of how akonga learn.

My MindLab experience has given opportunities for my learners which is engaging and future focused.  Learners are given the opportunity to risk take and take ownership of their own learning and behaviour.  I have been encouraged to implement a collaborative learning environment.  In Technology, my learners work in groups to solve problems, design and develop their products.  Learners use google docs, slides, drawings and blogs for collaborative planning and discussions.

I believe my MindLab experience has been deployed well into my classroom. Learners have been given opportunities to learn in different contexts. This term my classes have been developing their digital fluency supported by tricks and tools I have shared with them e.g. enforcing learning using Kahoot quiz, recording learning reflections using blogger. I have bought a class set of Makey Makey and we have been using this during term 2. I have taken my learners to MindLab for a visit to learn how to build flight controllers for a flight simulator.

Visit to MindLab

Learners have experienced the Marketshare board game. We were very lucky to have Nick Hinsdon visit us at our school giving learners a different context to learn within.

Futher to support PTC 8: provide opportunities and support for akong to engage with, practise and apply new learning to different contexts, I invited Angela Lee to share her knowledge and 'toys' with me and my learners. 
 We spent the afternoon exploring Google expeditions where learners experienced a virtual reality experience and visited different parts of the world.  Learners were given the opportunity to create apps using bitsbox.  The most exciting and engaging 'toy' they experienced was how to programme control robots Ollie and Sphero.

Next term I will be running a code club. Learners will be developing their computational skills using Scratch.

PTC 4 - Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of personal practice.
I have been actively contributing to various professional learning communities are  shared in my  social networks blog and My community of practice blog

 My dream regarding future professional development
  • I will continue to share my practice using online tools and social media such as Twitter,Facebook and google+ communities to keep me informed with the current 21st Century practices. 
  •  In the next 6 months I plan to achieve google certification Level 1 and continue with further certification for Google Apps for Education.

Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators.California.Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from

Ministry of Education (nd). Practising teacher Criteria and e-learning . Retrieved from

Friday, 8 July 2016

Mindlab - Professinal Context - Crossing Boundries and Creating Connections

Activity 7: My Interdisciplinary Connection Map
Evidence for Applied Practice in Context - MindLab

“Reflection as a slogan for educational reform also recognises that the process of learning to teach continues throughout a teacher’s entire career, a recognition that no matter what we do in our teacher education programmes, and no matter how well we do them, at best, we can only prepare teachers to begin teaching.” (Carlgren et. al., 1994)

The teaching profession and its practice are changing at a rapid pace.The boundaries between disciplines are changing and new disciplines are being created at a remarkable rate and the boundaries between disciplines are becoming more connected.
An interdisciplinary environment as described by Jacobs (2004), is the delivering of a curriculum that "presents content, skills and thinking processes, and assessments through exploring connections among the disciplines." 
Today and in the future, practitioners will be asked to support people who will be skilled in the ability to work across disciplinary boundaries.

Joyce's Interdisciplinary Connections

Benefits and Challenges

As a Technology teacher, I believe  the Technology curriculum enables our learners to develop into people who will be skilled in the ability to work across disciplinary boundaries and this is supported by Jones (2009). He states that students are provided with opportunities for 'lifelong learning' skills and this is valuable for their future and also to encourage them to pursue their passion for becoming 'lifelong learners'.

Technology is a learning area that interdisciplinary. The curriculum strands urge learners to access relevant knowledge and skills from other disciplines. For example, learners working with materials and or food technology will need to refer to science and maths and learners working on an architectural project will find that the understanding of art history is invaluable. Technology is intervention by design: the use of practical and intellectual resources to develop products and systems (technological outcomes) that expand human possibilities by addressing needs and realising opportunities. Adaptation and innovation are at the heart of technological practice. Quality outcomes result from thinking and practices that are informed, critical, and creative.

The attributes for Technology education is not dissimilar from project-based learning (PBL) as it also lends itself to interdisciplinary learning. PBL is an innovative approach to learning that teaches a multitude of strategies critical for success in the twenty-first century. Learners can drive their own learning through inquiry, as well as work collaboratively to research and create projects that reflect their knowledge.  As described by Solomon, 2003, PBL enables learners to "work in groups to solve challenging problems that are authentic, curriculum-based, and often interdisciplinary. Learners decide how to approach a problem and what activities to pursue".

Although I am in favour for interdisciplinary learning and connections there are some challenges that may need to be considered. An Interdisciplinary approach can be time-consuming. To collaborate and plan effectively time is required. Educators will need to consider how this will fit into the timetable of the currently structured school system? Implementing interdisciplinary connections will require resources such as a collaborative space for learners and facilitators. Access to Technology may also be a challenge.

Future Goals:
The two potential connections from my map that are my near-future goals will be to continue to explore  Google Apps for Education GAFE and
 work towards achieving Google certification for educators.  
This more for a personal reason so that I can continue to network and collaborate with like-minded educational learners.  Secondly,  I would like to continue to embed culturally responsive pedagogy within my practice. Lynch (2012) describes "culturally responsive pedagogy is a student-centred approach to teaching in which the students’ unique cultural strengths are identified and nurtured to promote student achievement and a sense of well-being about the student’s cultural place in the world".

Carlgren, I.,  Handal, G. & Vaage, S. (Eds.). (1994). Teachers' Minds And Actions: Research On Teachers' Thinking And Practice. London, UK: The Falmer Press.

Jacobs, H.H. (2004).  Concept to Classroom: Workshop: Interdisciplinary Learning in Your Classroom. Educational Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved from  

Jones, C.(2009). Interdisciplinary approach - Advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI, 7(26), 76-81. Retrieved from

Matthew, L. (2016). What Is Culturally Responsive Pedagogy?. Retrieved from

Solomon, G. (2003). Project-Based Learning: A Primer. Retrieved July 9, 2016, from

David Wiley - An Interdisciplinary Path to Innovation. TEDx Talks (2001, April 6). Retrieved from

Monday, 27 June 2016

Mindlab - Professional Online Social Networks

Activity 6: Using social online networks in teaching and/or professional development
Evidence for Applied Practice in Context - MindLab

What is Social Media?
The Oxford dictionary defines social media as Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking
According to Joosten (2012,p.6), "a virtual place is where people can share; everybody and anybody can share anything, anywhere and anytime."

What are some key features of social media that are beneficial for teaching and learning? Why?
Social media is a powerful tool for educators that can be used either for personal or professional means. On a personal front, social networking lets you mix with people from all over the world. It helps maintain relationships easily. Now, instead of having to call someone and force a conversation of a decent length, one can simply comment on others’ photographs and status messages or just drop them a message online. This assists with communication, especially with friends and family who stay in another country or another continent even.
Professionally  social media acts as an informal resume. Potential clients and employers can ‘check you out’ on these networks and browse through your educational qualifications and experience. 
Social media is a handy tool in the classroom, it can be as beneficial outside the classroom. 
Some of the key features include:
Sharing ideas - social media enables educators to share ideas and practice with each other using various professional learning networks (PLN) .  They are able to compare notes on classroom teaching techniques and learning styles can help  enhance the learning experience in the classroom. Educators are able to share their lessons, plans and use social media to celebrate practice.
Connections with Schools - social media allows teachers to connect with teachers in other schools around the world. These partnerships are beneficial as they keep educators abreast of changes in curriculum and content in others regions, states and globally.
Professional development - social media helps educators become aware of  upcoming courses, seminars and conferences either face to face or online.  
The value of contacts - contacts are key to professional development. The world today revolves on who you know. Establishing relationships with others in different schools can help you enhance your career. Getting a job is generally a lot easier if someone knows you and recommends you. 

My Journey with Social Media:
I am an avid user of social media. I use various platforms for my learning in education, personal and business use. I think Social Media is a powerful tool for educators to use as learners and teachers to stay connected. 

Educators can keep connected with professional learning network (PLN) within their practice, nationally and globally.
Social media tools I use to enhance my professional development include these:

I use Facebook to capture my learning via my Learning Page.  I belong to various educational groups on Facebook. Some of these include Primary teachers facebook pageNew Zealand principals and senior leaders pageNew Zealand Technology Teachers.
Facebook enables me to communicate and  share my learning with others educators.

Alongside the use of Facebook,   VLN  is another platform I use that is a  New Zealand based PLN to share and learn with other educators.  This is supported by Melhuish's (2013) study has suggested that VLN Groups can enable an informal type of professional learning for teachers. Google apps for education, E-Learning Beyond the classroom  to name a few  are a some of the groups I follow within this network.

In the last two year's I have become a regular user of Twitter. I am identified by my twitter handle @redgurami. This enables me to follow educators globally and others to follow me. I use twitter as my main professional development source. I am able to tap into resources, readings  and workshops globally and do not need to leave my classroom.  This is an advantage as I no longer have to worry about the budget at school.  I do not have to take time off to be part of some of the professional development available on twitter. 

I have found myself increasingly engaging with twitter during conferences and seminars. The recent GAFE summit and Google Educators in New Zealand workshop
encouraged me to tweet during the sessions and celebrate and discuss learning as it happens.

I began using Google+ within my MindLab network. I have found engaging with other educators on the same postgraduate journey an exciting experience. Through Google+ yet again I am able to connect and collaborate with educators here in New Zealand and abroad. The Google+ community has given me a safe, trusting environment for me share my practices, reflective blogs and discuss assessment tasks.Through this community, I have made friends who I will continue to share and collaborate with outside my community of practice. 

Pinterest is an integral part of my daily practice. I use this tool to organise information and brainstorm ideas for teaching and learning. Pinterest encourages collaboration globally with other educators using Pinterest. Ideas, videos, news articles, images can be shared. This tool is highly effective in the classroom as it provides a structured resource for learners which enables them to collaborate.

Being connected empowers me as an educator, not only to grow myself but to grow my learners alongside me.


Joosten, T. (2012). Social media for educators: Strategies and best practices. John Wiley & Sons.

Melhuish, K.(2013). Online social networking and its impact on New Zealand educators’professional learning. Master Thesis. The University of Waikato. Retrived on 05 May, 2015 from

Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2013). Social media for teaching and learning.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Mindlab - Influence of Law and Ethics on Professional Practice

Activity 5: Legal and ethical contexts in my digital practice
Evidence for Applied Practice in Context - MindLab


  • promote the ethics of the profession
  • inspire the quality of behaviour that reflects the honour and dignity of the profession
  • encourage and emphasise those positive attributes of professional conduct that
  • characterise strong and effective teaching
  • enable members of the profession to appraise and reflect on their ethical decisions.
Certified educators in New Zealand are governed by  the four
 fundamental principles : The Code of Ethics
  • Autonomy to treat people with rights that are to be honoured and defended
  • Justice to share power and prevent the abuse of power
  • Responsible care to do good and minimise harm to others
  • Truth to be honest with others and self.
As an educator of children, I recognise my commitment to develop and provide the highest quality of educational services to all learners I serve.  I also recognise the responsibility for fulfilling obligations to the organisation that employs me, the profession, and the community.Furthermore, I understand that the way I conduct my professional activities has probable influence on the learners, as well as any other involved individuals, not only on their academic but also on their private lives. 

Ethical dilemmas are a fundamental part of daily life and are unavoidable. The use of social media makes us all exposed and start to feel unsafe. Therefore it is important to me to create safeguards. I must consider what the purpose is of using social networking, as mentioned in a video from the Education Council.  New Zealand Teachers Council (2012) Establishing safeguards video by Sean Lyon, acknowledges that there are challenges for teachers to use social networking in classrooms. He states that these challenges should not stop teachers from using social media.


My Current Dilemma
My Dilemma is around social networking as an educator.   

Teacher Ethics Video - Social Media Dilemma HD

This video reflects on how educators need to be very careful about what they post, where they post and who the posts are visible to.  

I use Facebook, Twitter, Google + communities, VLN, blogger and youtube. I use all of these tools for my proffesional learning. I enjoy networking with eduactors here in New Zealand and globally. I am very concious of my privacy settings with my facebook accounts. My personal facebook account is not accessible to learners. I have had a few try and add me as a friend. I have declined and have had conversations with them about safety and privacy. They have been respectful towards my decision not to add them.  

The barrier I have at my current school is that most of these are blocked for eduactors and learner use. I find this frusturating but at the same time I need to respect and value the school's choice.

Hall (2001) explains the ethics and values around social media within a collaborative student, teacher, community built site. The relationships should have a clear understanding of the expected interactions that this should be planned for.  My community of practice I believe would benefit from creating a policy specifically around social media use in the classroom. To date I have not sighted a policy. Learners do sign a Google policy and parents give permission to the school if their children's photos can be used on media.

Hall states that the community of practice within the school would need to set guidelines that takes into consideration for values based on the culture of the school. Hall believes it would promote a universal ideal among the many members and stakeholders by being collaborative. Ethical decisions are often based on personal ideas of what would be deemed right or wrong. Different people will have different ideas and yet again I need to be respectful of this.

How we keep Safe?
In  my classroom, each group of learners attending Technology classes completes a cyber safety session with me so that the learners are very clear about expectations.
One of the videos we watch discusses the 9's of digital citizenship. 


Education Council New Zealand, (2016). About the Code of Ethics.

Digital Citizenshio Week:6 Resources for Educators

Hall, A. (2001). What ought I to do, all things considered? An approach to the exploration of ethical problems by teachers. Paper presented at the IIPE Conference, Brisbane. Retrieved from

New Zealand Teachers Council.(2012). Establishing safeguards. Retrieved from

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Mindlab - Broader Proffessional Context

Activity 3: 'Contemporary issues or trends in New Zealand or internationally'

“Trend is a term which refers to the statistically observable change or general orientation of a general movement. In order for an orientation or a tendency to become a trend, it must comprise a certain period of time, repeat itself during this period, be proven statistically, focus on a specific area, be based on data, and have a certain level of consistency. Within the international scope, trends enable enhancing the changes in education and having an international point of view, and also help nations to learn from one another. Trends report only the facts at the time the research is done, and they do not predict the future. Therefore, it is possible to say that trend studies are repeatable (Karataş 2016)”.

Screenshot 2016-06-05 09.04.19.png

Sir Ken Robinson’s talk discusses how Digital Technologies  is changing our future. As modern educators we need to keep up. The way our children learn now is different from when we went we went to school. My professional context is no longer confined within the boundaries of my school. The technology has moved so swiftly in how education is perceived and how it is accessed by all.  We are now increasingly connected across a variety of platforms and in a variety of settings.

Internationally and in New Zealand, 21st century learners are digital device and platform users. Their learning goes beyond passive receipt of knowledge towards actively seeking knowledge and their learning extends beyond the classroom walls to the digital learning environment. These changes in learning behaviour are a global phenomenon and not confined to a specific country or region.

The New Zealand Education Context
A report by the Education Review Office (2012) indicated that New Zealand’s education system needs to pay more attention to three key aspects including :
i) students-centred learning,
ii) responsive and rich curriculum, and
iii) assessment used for students’ learning.

Use of Digital Technologies/Digital Fluency
Digital Fluency can be described as using Technologies learn, to work and to play, and the infusion of Technology in Teaching and learning to improve outcomes for all students.

My goal is to expose and extend the knowledge for my learners to Technologies available and accessible currently.

This term I have taken  a risk and decided to explore the opportunities that ‘coding’ using Scratch. This opens up opportunities for our learners in terms of addressing the key competencies:
  • Using Language, Symbols and Text
  • Thinking - Creative, Critical, Reflective
  • Relating to Others
  • Participating and Contributing
  • Managing Self

The Horizon report focuses on the importance of deeper learning approaches and teaching complex thinking. They state that "teaching coding in schools is a way to instill this kind of thinking in student as it combines deep Computer Science knowledge with creativity and problem solving” (p.32).

To support their learning in the classroom using Technologies my students went to MindLab for a visit. At MindLab they developed a controller for a flight simulator. They used Scratch and a Makey Makey Kit alongside some conductive tin foil and cardboard.
I believe in providing access to my learners to resources currently available in New Zealand. I want my students to learn using Technology and become fluent with its applications in everyday life and bridging the digital divide gap .

The recent reportOECD (2015)- highlights the importance of bridging the digital divide, not leaving the development of digital fluency to chance.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a process that can support us to shift from improvement and reform approaches towards ways that encourage transformation and a “learning revolution” (Robinson, K, 2010).
Within my curriculum area of teaching - Technology educators have been historically using the design thinking model years. 

Technology education in New Zealand explores how, beginning with a need or opportunity, new products and systems are developed, and how technological developments impact on our world.
The Technology Curriculum enables learners to work together and create new solution. This aligns with the design thinking concepts.  Learners innovate and solve real life problems.  

As stated in Core Education's Top 10 Trends - Design Thinking is a process that can support us to shift from improvement and reform approaches towards ways that encourage transformation and a “learning revolution” (Robinson, K, 2010). 
This  can help educators to  prepare our learners for the demands of  the real work business sector. Design thinking process within education will enable our learners to be 'ready' for the rapidly changing job market as technology replaces many process-driven tasks. It can also help us to empower our learners to be proactive when working with real-world complex problems. 
This is because Design Thinking processes help to build the skills and capabilities needed for learners to navigate multiple perspectives, to find common ground and to create “messy” solutions that haven’t been thought of before.
                                       Design Thinking                           
Within my practice combining elements of Design thinking and the New Zealand Technology curriculum, I see myself engaging with very exciting, innovative learning both for my students and myself.

Core Education Top Ten Trends (2016) Retrieved from

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.Retrieved from

Karataş, S., et al. (2016).  A Trend Analysis of Mobile Learning. In D. Parsons (Ed.) Mobile and Blended Learning Innovations for Improved Learning Outcomes (pp. 248-276). Hershey, PA: IGI Global
Pearson. (2013, April 26). Global trends: The world is changing faster than at any time in human history. Retrieved from

KPMG Australia. (2014, May 22). Future State 2030 - Global Megatrends. Retrieved from

OECD.  (2015), Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Robinson, K. (2010). Bring on the learning revolution. TED talks.

The RSA.(2010, Oct 14). RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from