I started this journey on the first day – literally. The very first Monday session in the first intake. I loved the first sixteen weeks, despite a fairly hefty workload. I enjoyed meeting people from diverse backgrounds and quite enjoyed discussing ideas with teachers who worked in schools that were far and beyond my own experiences (such as low decile and Pacifica students). I was pleasantly surprised that the Leadership in Digital and Collaborative Learning and Digital and Collaborative Learning in Context (DCL) papers contained enough material and experiences for everyone, regardless of how tech-savvy they were or how new they were to using technology in the classroom. In fact, there was only one tool that we looked at in DCL that I already used with students – Scratch. Having the opportunity to explore ideas I’d heard of (e.g. Aurasma and augmented reality) but never tried was also rewarding. It’s not often that teachers have the time for these sorts of things, so being involving in formal learning in this way was appreciated.
The next 8 weeks (Research and Community Informed Practice) was tougher than expected. Gone was the social interaction we’d experienced each week and I had an overwhelming feeling that I was being asked to complete tasks for the sake of it. I assumed, based on the title, that this was a paper that would encourage the implementation of an actual research project in my school, but alas, it was more about researching research principles. I must admit that I found things quite boring as a result. My motivation levels definitely waned at this point! When the specialisation of this certificate is in digital and collaborative learning, the last sixteen weeks barely utilised either IMHO.
I delayed the last paper (Applied Practice in Context) and when restarting, I realised how little ‘digital’ or ‘collaborative’ learning was actually taking place. Even though I attended two of the drop-in sessions and signed up to the Google+ group for the March intake, I lacked a distinct impression that a community was being maintained. I therefore felt quite isolated, which is a shame.
Practising Teacher Criteria (RTC) in e-Learning :: examples from my practice
Criteria 1: Establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of all ākonga.
Criteria 2: Demonstrate commitment to promoting the well-being of ākonga.
Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice.
- This year I attended ULearn in the September holidays and on 19-20 November I will be attending Computer Science for High Schools (CS4HS) at Unitec.
- Choosing to undertake this certificate.
Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.
- I delivered a PD session on coding at the annual ACG PD day in July this year.
- I am currently developing a new Computer Science curriculum for Middle School students that will be shared with all ACG schools.
Criteria 6: Conceptualise, plan, and implement an appropriate learning programme.
- My unit and lesson plans are developed with an iPad app called DayBook Pro
- In developing a new Computer Science curriculum in Middle School I have research a lot about what is happening in NZ, Australia, the UK and USA in particular and tried
Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment.
- Students in my classes are encouraged to ask/answer questions, rather than expecting me to be the fount of all knowledge.
Criteria 8: Demonstrate in practice their knowledge and understanding of how ākonga learn.
- I read the psych reports of students with learning differences and I attempt to use the advice given in these to help the student in question.
Criteria 9: Respond effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga.
- I try not to write the names of students in red pen because for some cultures (e.g. Korean) this is the colour of death and is offensive
Criteria 11: Analyse and appropriately use assessment and information, which has been gathered formally and informally.
- I review each student’s test/exam paper and make notes about weaknesses and improvements, which I share with students.
- We are expected to use feedback from colleagues and classes in the school’s appraisal process to help inform our teaching as well.
Criteria 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.
- Teaching Computer Science involves teaching students how to solve problems in intelligent ways.
- I’ve allowed more time in my senior classes this year for students to spend time ‘playing’ as they develop programming skills.