Saturday, 9 June 2018

Getting to understand the Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko Curriculum

The Raranga Matihiko programme weaves the learning about taonga and artefacts in museums with the new Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko Curriculum. According to the Ministry of Education
Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko is about teaching our tamariki and children how technology works, and how they can use that knowledge to solve problems.
Once this new curriculum is introduced, our kids won’t just be using devices like computers and smart phones. The changed curriculum will mean that schools will be teaching our young people the computer science principles that all digital technologies are built on. Students will find out about how computers work – understanding what makes ‘algorithms’ and ‘binary code’.
Our young people will benefit from having these future thinking skills.
Tara Fagan brought up a very valid point in our recent PD session at Te Papa: With Digital Technology in virtually all areas of our daily life, how can we ensure that it is designed to meet the needs of the diverse society we have in Aotearoa New Zealand and in the whole world? We can probably all imagine the stereotype of a programmer / software developer (there is one in my family...): Usually male, European or Asian, young, possibly socially challenged. To my understanding, the stereotype is not that far from the reality (find one of many articles related to this topic here) though apparently this is beginning to change. Does the stereotypical software developer have the necessary understanding to design Digital Technology that is responsive to cultural and gender specific requirements, and if not, how can we make sure they do? I believe that you grow such understanding by adding diversity to the workforce.

The Raranga Matihiko programmes is targeted at students in years 1 - 10 from low-decile schools which commonly have a higher percentage of Māori and Pasifika students than their higher decile counterparts, and as a side effect I hope it will encourage more young people from diversity backgrounds to enter the IT field. Two main points of this programme excite me the most: Cross-curricular integration of Digital Technologies, and working with students and their teachers, empower ing them to teach their peers.

Since the DT | HM Curriculum was first published in draft, I have been concerned about it becoming a 'stand-alone subject'; I can easily see how e-learning, effective use of devices to support learning etc. would return to a "this is what you do in the Computer Suite 3h every week" - and I said so in my feedback to the Consultation Workshops (amongst other things). During the Te Toi Tupu BeL and LwDT programmes, we worked very hard to change this, due to the way many secondary schools are organised, high school teachers sometimes found that harder than their primary school colleagues.  I am glad that through Raranga Matihiko we can model what it can look like when you integrate DT | HM with other Learning Areas.

The updated version of the Technology Curriculum gives Digital Technology two of the now five technological areas:
  • Computational thinking for digital technologies (CT), and 
  • Designing and developing digital outcomes (DDDO).
While the three strands Technological Practice, Technological Knowledge and Nature of Technology still underpin them, they are fully integrated into these areas (while in the other three technological areas the curriculum document states them separately). Instead of Achievement Objectives, CT and DDDO are described through Progress Outcomes:

Both images retrieved from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/The-New-Zealand-Curriculum/Technology
For Raranga Matihiko, I have had a close look at POs 1-5 for CT, and POs 1-3 for DDDO. Each Progress Outcome refers to in an authentic context and with the end-user in mind and (obviously) builds on the previous one(s). This is my understanding of their main points, using colour to illustrate ideas/concepts that I believe belong together in each technological area:


Progress Outcomes for Computational Thinking


  1. Break down simple non-computerised tasks into precise, unambiguous, step-by-step instructions; give these instructions, identify any errors and correct them.
  2. Give, follow and debug simple algorithms; create simple programs involving outputs and sequencing.
  3. Decompose problems into step-by-step instructions to create algorithms for computer programs, predict the behaviour of the programs, understand that there can be more than one algorithm for the same problem. Develop and debug simple programs that use inputs, outputs, sequence and iteration.Understand that digital devices store data using just two states.
  4. Decompose problems to create simple algorithms using sequence, selection, and iteration by creating programs that use inputs, outputs, sequence, basic selection using comparative operators, and iteration. Debug simple algorithms and program, explain why things went wrong and how they fixed them. Digital devices represent data with binary digits, have ways of detecting errors in data storage and transmission. Evaluate user interfaces.
  5. Independently decompose problems into algorithms; use these algorithms to create programs with inputs, outputs, sequence, selection using comparative and logical operators and variables of different data types, and iteration; determine when to use different types of control structures. Document their programs, using an organised approach for testing and debugging. Understand how computers store more complex types of data using binary digits. Develop programs considering human-computer interaction (HCI) heuristics.


Progress Outcomes for Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes:

  1. Participate in teacher-led activities to develop, manipulate, store, retrieve and share digital content in order to meet technological challenges. Identify digital devices and their purposes and understand that humans make them. Know how to use some applications; can identify the inputs and outputs of a system; understand that digital devices store content, which can be retrieved later.
  2. Make decisions about creating, manipulating, storing, retrieving, sharing and testing digital content for a specific purpose, given particular parameters, tools, and techniques. Understand that digital devices impact on humans and society and that both the devices and their impact change over time. Identify the specific role of components in a simple input-process-output system and how they work together; recognise the “control role” that humans have. Can select from an increasing range of applications and file types to develop outcomes for particular purposes.
  3. Follow a defined process to design, develop, store, test and evaluate digital content to address given contexts or issues, taking into account immediate social, ethical and end-user considerations. Identify the key features of selected software, choose the most appropriate software and file types to develop and combine digital content. Understand the role of operating systems in managing digital devices, security, and application software; are able to apply file management conventions using a range of storage devices. Understand that with storing data comes responsibility for ensuring security and privacy.


I think it was an interesting and helpful exercise when we asked our visiting teachers to look at where they place themselves and where they place their students on the continuum. I suggest you ask yourself, too: Where do I sit on here, and what do I need to do to progress further? The aim of our Raranga Matihiko programme is not just to give the students a one-off (albeit repeated in year 2) experience, it is to equip them and their teachers to become experts and to teach their peers across the school (students and teachers). Therefore it is vital that the teachers have an understanding of the curriculum so they can support their students as well as their colleagues (and themselves) to progress on this continuum.

I think no matter what age students we teach, or in what Learning Area we specialise, at least a basic understanding of the Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko Curriculum is a must. There is Professional Support available through MoE, through your Kāhui Ako and various Online Communities (Digital Technologies on TKI, Core's Edspace, VLN, discussion groups on G+, FB and Twitter). If you are interested in the Raranga Matihiko programme, please visit this page.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Back to ???

Term 1 at work was as busy as I had expected it to be, with a few extra challenges thrown in, namely getting ready to deliver a new programme, the Raranga Matihiko | Weaving Digital Futures Programme, from Term 2. This programme is about integrating learning in the new Digital Curriculum Hangarau Matihiko with the rest of the school curricula, supported by the taonga and artefacts at the various museums. I'm really excited about working in partnership with Te Papa as well as Auckland War Memorial Museum and MTG Hawkes Bay, this project is ticking so many boxes for me:

  • Working with students and teachers on a more ongoing basis, and having more opportunity to really apply future-focused pedagogy
  • Concentrating on local (and low-decile) schools, something that's always been very important to me
  • Using digital technology for students to tell stories that are important to them
  • Putting my Digital Fluency hat back on and getting knee-deep back into working cross- platform and across devices in order to support student learning
  • Working in collaboration across sites and museums, therefore modelling collaboration between Museum Educators, and learning with and from each other
  • A new challenge to get my teeth into:)

Ic signal wifi statusbar connected no internet 2 26x24px.svg
By Google Inc., CC BY 4.0Link
There's probably many more pluses than I can think of right now (and they far outweigh the minuses of updating devices, dropped wifi connections or apps not wanting to play nicely); like the appointment of our fourth teachers to the team who is team teaching with me (she is absolutely wonderful, and she just gets it). I'm a little sad to let my active LEOTC involvement, the work with the visiting schools and the time spent with my lovely colleagues. It's a bit like handing your baby over to their N.E. teachers when they turn 5: I know the programme is in very safe hands, our two teachers are doing a marvelous job, and I am learning to not stick my nose into things I don't need to worry about.

So how does the Raranga Matihiko programme work? Normally schools come and visit us for up to three hours to learn from us about something that supports what they are studying at school (LEOTC visits). it's not unusual for this to be the only visit the student ever has to the Treaty Grounds, so many teachers are keen to pack as much into the three hours as they can (Museum visit, waka, Treaty House, Cultural Performance, film etc.). Our Education Vision is
For learners of all ages and from all backgrounds to critically engage with Waitangi, the place, with Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi, and with Aotearoa New Zealand as a nation.
There are many different learning models around, Thinking Hats, Bloom's Taxonomy etc. but we just narrowed it down to three verbs; we want to give students the opportunity to Collect (information), to Connect (that information with prior knowledge and with themselves), and to Reflect (meaning for past, present, future, for myself etc.) - this is where critical reflection happens. We are starting to get better to gather evidence of that critical reflection, some of this gets published on our Education Blog. With limited connectivity, limited access to devices (not all teachers are happy to take devices on outings), and especially limited time, our regular LEOTC visits are still very much a combination of paper with hands-on activities.

Our vision remains the same, but the Raranga Matihiko programme runs quite differently: In collaboration with the teacher(s) we plan a personalised programme for the students, then focus on an aspect that we can support here at the Treaty Grounds. As an example, one of our Term 2 classes studies 'awa' (water), and we will support that unit by work around waka (namely Ngātokimatawhaorua), navigation etc. At the same time we will introduce the children to certain digital tools they can use to share their learning about their topic with others. In turn they and their teachers become the experts within their school and teach others.

We start off with a Teacher Planning Day on site, looking closely at the Digital Technology Hangarau Matihiko Curriculum, and using this to underpin the planning of their Waitangi visits. Different to a LEOTC visit, they will have two consecutive days on site, and they will spend the majority of that time inside our Raranga Matihiko lab. Following these two days (one day in the second year), we will come and visit each of the classes, bringing the digital equipment with us, so they can continue on their projects. As it is currently funded, this programme will run over two years, with each classes being involved for a 10 week period in both years. 

I've been thinking of my elevator pitch: Maybe... "I work with students and teachers at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and I support them to tell stories that are important to them and their local community by integrating digital technology into their learning". Will that put people to sleep???

Soul II Soul's Back to life has been swirling around in the back of my head today; I'm not sure if I'm trying to look for meaning in something completely unconnected, but I feel very much alive and in my element coming up with suggestions, trying to find solutions to ideas the students come up with, tutuing with different tools, writing up one pagers etc. My family might feel differently, maybe it's more like Groundhog Day for them? However, the teenagers are rather impressed about 3D scanning and VR; maybe mum's mahi is even cooler than they thought...

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Let it go or Changed Priorities

Sometimes we need to let things go. Blogging and Twitter have been two things I pretty much have let go more and more since I left Cognition at the end of 2015. It is not that I don't see the value in it, other things have just taken up my time or become more important.

There is so much I have learnt from tweets and from other people's blogs, and I still do at times, and I realise that I consume much more today than I contribute. While I still find it hard to accept, I think it is a phase to go through - a bit like how parents move on from having nappy bags and toddler toys in the car as their children grow up. I always used to tell teachers different tools for different purposes and at different times, it's probably time that I stop beating myself up about not being everywhere all the time anymore.

I have also decided this weekend that I would let go of my Google Trainer certification though I had been so proud when I first gained it. But realistically I have held barely any training sessions, and I don't know that this will change any time soon, so why spend all weekend trying to pass all exams and create a resource to share? Instead I enjoyed the company of my family, even more important when the first is about to fly the coop.

I absolutely love my job at Waitangi, I am so grateful that I am allowed to follow my passions and shape the mahi we do here into what my team and I think it should look like. We have worked with more than 6500 students in 2017, and we hope that 2018 will bring us in contact with at least the same, if not more students. While I haven't been making much use of digital technology in my work with students over the last year, I hope this will change in the near future. 

For part of last year I had been wondering about where exactly Museum Education fits in the wider New Zealand education system; I am now convinced that it fulfills more than one function. On the one hand, Museums are partners to schools that provide specialist knowledge to supplement learning at school. If facilitated well, Museum Education in itself can follow the future focused themes (personalising learning, rethinking learners' and teachers' roles, life-long learning, equity and diversity, develop learning capacity). In addition, Museums can also facilitated professional development for educators including but not limited to content related to their collections, I tried to share this at Ulearn 17 with my presentation, if you are interested, you can view it here.
There were representatives of several museums at Ulearn this year, a few of us were asked to give an EDtalk. I spoke on The place of  museums in 21C learning and teaching.

Great learning for students means teachers need to have access to great learning themselves, too. We have hosted teacher PLD sessions here at Waitangi in 2017, have held some sessions for teachers ourselves, and on 31 January we will hold a collaborative webinar with CORE Education around planning a successful Treaty of Waitangi unit. This is a free webinar, please register at bit.ly/core-waitangi. We will also hold a webinar serious in collaboration with Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand in February - watch this space!

So while my priorities have changed a little, they may have changed less than I thought? After all I'm still trying to transform learning and teaching...

Friday, 1 September 2017

Meet Sophia, a humanoid AI robot, developed by Hanson Robotics


Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet Sophia, a humanoid AI robot, developed by Hanson Robotics. Here are some of the photos and videos I took, apologies for the quality of the videos from the back of the room:

Q&A session with Dr. Ben Goertzel and students from Kerikeri High School and from Lynfield College prior to the keynote

During keynote



After the keynote the audience was invited to come up close and personal and to interact with Sophia



There are lots of implications, positive and negative, out of development of AI and AGI. I will write a separate post once I have got my thoughts a bit better organised.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The end of digital collaboration - or is it? ACEL e-Teaching 25

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Earlier this year I was approached to write an article for ACEL's e-Publications. I have focused it on the shift from a highly collaborative working environment to an environment where access to collaborative digital tools is more limited. The question I asked myself was, how do you deal with loosing the access to tools like collaborative Google docs, do you have to go 'old school' and move back into a little box?

I don't think so, and if you are interested in reading my suggestions about keeping up your digital collaboration and even inspiring others to follow suit, you can find the article here.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Old meets Modern

A good six months into my new role as Education Manager at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is a good point for me to take some stock. We have come far, but every time I reach the peak of a mountain, I can see the next mountain range I want to climb:) Looking back over the last six months, there has been lots of learning
  1. of the necessary historic content (and there is always more to learn)
  2. how to run experiences outside the classroom for different ages, topics, learning needs etc.
  3. how to operate within one of the major historic & cultural attractions of the north
and much, much more. It has also left me with many questions:
  • What is the role of Museum Education within the wider NZ education system, and what do visiting teachers know about our role?
  • Do Museum Educators connect and learn with and from each other across sites?
  • How do you personalise learning for students when you are not the 'main' teacher for a class?
  • How do we best incorporate UDL into our programmes?
  • Pre- and post-visit learning: What exactly is our role, and how do we best fulfill this role?
  • How do we know we have made a difference to students' learning?
Looking back, it's interesting how easy you can fall back into a 'safe' zone of teacher directed learning on set topics, and I think that's probably what I have been doing when I first started here. We have since developed our programmes to offer more personalised programmes for individual classes, and while there are certain things many visits have in common, we have had lots of fun running visits around  "Polynesian migration", "European migration", "Matariki", "Northern wars", "significant events after the signing of Te Tiriti" and even "setting up an imaginary museum". I rewrote our Teacher Handbook to give teachers some ideas and important information before they arrange their visits.

The way I see it, the Museum Educator needs to not just understand points 1-3 from the top, they need to understand future focused teaching and learning: Personalising learning; New views of equity and diversity; Rethinking learners' and teachers' roles; A culture of continuous learning for teachers and educational leaders; A curriculum that uses knowledge to develop learning capacity; and New kinds of partnerships and relationships. What does this look like in our context?

Personalising Learning
In my own classroom, personalising learning would apply to each individual student, using my knowledge of every student; that's where we run into a bit of trouble as we don't usually know much if anything about our visiting students. However, we try to personalise the visit in a different way; to get away from providing just one programme for a particular year level, we try to work closely with the visiting teachers to tailor the programme to their needs.

Equity and diversity
As mentioned above, our knowledge of students is very limited and usually comes via the visiting teacher. However, when they arrive, we now make a real effort to get to know something about the students, and we try to hook into this where we can (e.g. an exchange student from NSW gave us the opportunity to talk more about connections with Australia during the early contact period, or we encourage avid waka ama sports people to take the lead when we visit Ngātoki). We are still working on suitable strategies to support students with special education needs better.

Rethinking learners' and teachers' roles
Ako… in a reciprocal learning relationship teachers are not expected to know everything. In particular, ako suggests that each member of the classroom or learning setting brings knowledge with them from which all are able to learn. (The concept of Ako)
I'm quite confident that we attempt to do this in every visit and generally do it quite well; however, not all students will be confident to share their knowledge with relative strangers during the visit. Establishing relationships during visits is one of our major goals, and with these relationships comes a greater chance that students will feel safe enough to share their knwledge with us.

Continuous learning for educators
This is one of the key elements for us in our work; while you could be forgiven for thinking that history is set in stone as it has happened, our understanding of historic events, their causes and consequences morphs and changes over time. It is not just a matter of reading lots of books, it's the korero with visitors, with local kuia and kaumatua, the visiting of other historic sites and museums and the making of connections between what we already know. As the saying goes, "history is written by the victors" (often misattributed to Winston Churchill but apparently its origins are unknown), but we are trying very hard to give a more balanced view of New Zealand history. 
My learning has concentrated a lot on content lately, but I want to stay up-to-date with pedagogy, with new approaches to learning and teaching, with future-focused pedagogy, with effective use of technology to transform learning. Our small team of currently two, soon three teachers, sits a bit isolated, not just geographically, and I am keen to link in more again with the wider education community.

Use of knowledge to develop learner capacity
It would be easy to see a visit to a museum or a historic places just as an opportunity to gather facts and information. We have said to our visitors all along that if they just leave us with information they could have gathered via Google, we have failed. Depending on age and maturity of our students, we try to encourage them to think deeper, think about the why and how, about the implications events have had in the past, have in the present and will have in the future. To this extent we have developed the progression of Collect, Connect and Reflect: Collect facts and information, Connect with prior knowledge and with yourself, Reflect on causes and consequences on New Zealand and on yourself.
Ultimately I want students to inquire into a question that is dear to them, but I am still trying to work out where exactly Museum Education fits into the wider education landscape. Are we running 'the show' or are we supporting the teachers with their learning (and how do we do that)? If we are 'running the show', how do we set up the inquiry, work through the stages and have the students share their learning if all we see them for is the three hour visit? Kath Murdoch, whose work I admire, has written an interesting post about "How inquiry teachers... teach" which is a good starting point for me to think about this more.

New partnerships and relationships
To a certain degree, we are one of these partners in learning, we support and hopefully extend the learning that happens in the classroom. We have learnt heaps from other people in the field, and we are trying to integrate this into our work with schools.
When schools visit us, I am sometimes not sure what role the visiting teachers expect us to play. I want us to be more than just the transmitters of information, but it is the class teacher after all who brings them here, who facilitates the learning at school, sets up units of work, inquiry projects etc. We are making a point of only appointing teachers into our team because I want us to connect the Old with the Modern, to help students inquire into our history using a future focused lens. I want our programmes to closely link with the learning in classrooms and with the NZC. Our Museum Educators need to be future focused teachers, and they need to be able to build relationships as well as manage behaviour when necessary. 

Where to next?
The lovely Tara Fagan at Te Papa and I have been bouncing ideas off each other about how to bring future focused learning to Museum Education - hence the post title Old meets Modern. I have to admit I have found time constraints are a major distraction to work on any issue or project consistently and to the depth I would like to. Thankfully with another teacher starting with us early September I will spend less time out on the grounds with classes and will be able to focus more time on answering my questions above. Each of these questions are as important as the next, and there are another few little ideas I have on the back of my mind - actually in a OneNote notebook so I won't forget (old brain...). A lot of these depend on improving our connectivity.

In regards to the actual visits, I am trying to give students more choice (e.g. they select the speech of one Māori chief and find supporting or contradicting evidence while we move around the grounds, and at the end of the visit they can state if they agree or disagree with the chief, backed up by the information they have collected), but overall I don't think we are fare well enough yet on UDL approaches. Once our connectivity has improved, I see lots of room for children's choice on how to present back their learning; wouldn't it be cool if a student chose chose to make a ChatterPix video of a carved figure answering a particular question, or maybe a stop-motion animation filmed down at Hobson's Beach showing a waka drill?

I would also like to connect more with the local educators, we have an advisory group which we could look at expanding further, but I would also like to be part of teacher PLD in the area (Educamps etc.). A step further would be actually running such PLD here on site - with beautiful views and a yummy cafe on site, the learning can only benefit...

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Museums - that's for old people

It feels like yesterday that I started at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds - here we are, 4 months later, having met close to 3500 children, their teachers and whānau... It's been an incredible journey of learning for both my colleague and I who started in this together.

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Not only did we need to learn the obvious like details about Te Tiriti and the way our nation Aotearoa / New Zealand began, there is a lot of complexity running successful education programmes at historic sites (not saying that we have been successful in all instances, but we are certainly trying very hard). My colleague has described aptly feeling like a wheke, an octopus, stretching out tentacles to build relationships with students, teachers, whānau, the other staff, the other visitors, delivering an effective learning programme all while keeping the children safe and looking after herself - and within 3 hours (note how, like for most teachers, the looking after self comes last?). One of our biggest challenges is that we just have the one opportunity to get it right.

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For those that don't know, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds come under the Waitangi National Trust, established from the very generous donation by Lord and Lady Bledisloe (here you can read more about the trust). There is a lot of emphasis on education in our organisation, and I had a hand in formulating our education vision:
To provide learners of all ages and from all backgrounds with world class opportunities to critically engage with Waitangi, the place, with Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi and with the history of Aotearoa / New Zealand as a nation.
Sounds good, but what does this actually look like? While we had no immediate predecessor on hand to induct us into the world of 'museum education', we had lots of help from staff that had been here before us, so we started out with resources on hand and modified these to make them less 'transfer of knowledge from us to students' and more 'students reflect on what they see and on the relevance to them'.

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Our school visits last for 3 hours, and we often have a visit in the morning and one in the afternoon. At the beginning of the year we had little time to connect with teachers before their visit, so our programmes were less personalised than we liked. However, after meeting with about 3000 students, we had fallen into a comfortable routine - and if you know me, comfortable usually is a sign for me that things need to change...

Little nudges came from different sides, discussions with our Advisory Group (a group of local teachers and principals), with visiting teachers & principals, with other staff members here at the Treaty Grounds, with the designers of our upcoming exhibition in the Treaty House, meetings with other education providers around Northland, from our own experiences in the classroom etc. We had already visited some of the other local historic sites, and two weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit Te Papa's Hīnātore Learning Lab, the He Tohu Exhibition at the National Library and museum educators from Auckland's War Memorial Museum.

Some of my realisations and questions (in no particular order):

  • Most young people see museums as places for old people. Why would you choose to go to a museum when you can search completely digitised collections on Google?
  • Some teachers see museums as places where you (only) gather information and facts.
  • Bringing the learning to the students applies as much for historical places and museums as for classrooms - and they spend a lot of time online...
  • Personalising learning is vital to make a visit successful - who wants to pay a lot of money to travel here and then not take away what they came for? Even better, take away more than they expected...
  • Integrating multi-media and digital technology in an exhibition does not guarantee that it caters for different learning needs (see my posts on UDL).
  • Our grounds are starting to offer more than we could possibly cover in a 3 hour education programme, especially when you include kai breaks, a run around, maybe a cultural performance etc. However, is it actually appropriate to cover everything in one visit? Why would anyone ever want to come back if they feel they have 'seen it all' before?
  • What about our visitors from further afield, who will likely only come once; how can we ensure they 'see it all' and thoroughly in the time available?
  • There does not seem to be a 'child friendly' online resource about Te Tiriti etc.
  • How do we design our programmes in a poutama approach that offer more complex learning the older the students get?
For now our first step is to truly personalise visits, and we already had some very positive feedback on this. We are also going away from the 'traditional' worksheets and are offering students choices about what they are focusing on during the visit, while linking it to the NZC and to the way they get assessed for NCEA. Without reliable and fast internet for visitors in place, using digital technology during the visit is still fairly limited at the moment.

It was great to meet other museum educators on our recent trip and have a glance at what they are doing. I was most fascinated by their use of digital technology within their programmes:
The Hīnātore Lab (read more about that here) obviously was 'right up my alley', using various digital technologies to help students engage with the museum exhibitions: How about designing and 3D printing your own mouth piece for a pūtātara, or your own waka hourua? I have plenty of ideas of what we could do, even without wifi, starting from photo collages to stop motion animation to movie clips etc. There remain plenty of questions, though, like are schools prepared to bring their own devices, are they set up for what we need to do, can we trouble shoot problems on the spot, and, very important, do we have enough time???
In Auckland we got to meet with the educator in charge of the Gallipoli Minecraft project, you can imagine that I would love to try something like this in our context... I don't think I have to remind anyone that I am NOT thinking of using digital technology for the sake of technology, but to transform learning (see my posts on RAT and SAMR). 

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However, there are existing expectations and perceptions that might need shifting: What do teachers think is the purpose of a school visit to the Treaty Grounds? As we discussed with our Auckland colleagues, schools don't necessarily know what else beyond gathering facts and knowledge could be offered at a museum. How can we change existing perceptions?

We have encountered some existing perceptions of a different kind which we are slowly shifting. Some of our schools have been surprised that they now need to pre-book their visits and that there are limits on how many students we can cater for per visit, also that they need to be accompanied by member of our team. We have had to turn away a few groups which always saddens me, but usually we are able to come to an arrangement (different day) that works for everyone. The reason for this is that our grounds are very busy, especially over the summer. The new Health & Safety at Work act requires us to look more closely at how we are looking after the safety of all our visitors. We are catering for a large number and wide variety of visitors on any given day, and we rely on the admission charges to fund what we are doing. We are starting to see schools take note of this and book further in advance which is really helpful.

Probably the most important perception to shift lies with the students: Museums are no just for old people, they are places for personalised and active learning for everyone.


Watch this space...