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:)

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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 Ng─ütokimatawhaorua), 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...

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