Saturday, April 20, 2013

Framing learning through our class online learning links on KnowledgeNET

Each teacher frames the class learning through the online class learning links pages on our online learning environment, KnowledgeNET.

Students access these at school for their collaborative  and independent learning. They can of course access this from home or anywhere they happen to be. This means that the learning framework can be accessed from any place at any time.

Generally the learning links page of each class has four areas: reading, writing, maths and learning pathways - (this is our student enquiry area).

The learning links welcome page looks like this or similar.

The students click on the links to access their work - I will show the Learning Pathways link as it is associated with the next post which shows students reflecting on their learning pathway work for the term.  On this page the teachers have framed the lessons around the student enquiry on attracting birds to the school grounds. The authentic task was  to design a bird feeder.

You can also view an article written by the students on their work on creating bird feeders on our school website.

You can see from the photographs and the article that the students are engaged, enriched and empowered which is our vision for learning at Freemans Bay School.

I wonder how other educators have used OLEs to frame pedagogy - in particular encouraging students to reflect on their learning and their thinking - I would be interested in your sharing and feedback.

Student weekly learning reflections

Our learning is about enriching, empowering and engaging students in authentic learning tasks. As part of the weekly programme, student make reflective comments on their learning on the class authentic student centered enquiry.

This example is from a Year 3 and Year 4 composite class. They have been studying about birds and their enquiry has been around how to attract birds into our city school playground.

This group has designed bird feeders.

They have been asked to reflect on their design and what they would do change if they made another bird feeder in the future.

Here is a selection from this class blog this week.

Parents are able to check in on the class blog, view the student and teacher comments and support the learning at home.

I wonder what other strategies educators have utilised to encourage feedback from student peers, parents and teachers in an online environment. What has worked? What has been tricky? What are the challenges and successes? I look forward to your sharing.

Student reflection and feedback on KnowledgeNET Online Learning Environment

Our students have just completed their reflections on their learning goals for term 1. They could do this by video, audio or text reflection.

Here is an example of how the goals are set up.

The student is a 6 year old yr 2 student. The first column on this page is the goal in either reading, writing or maths. The second column is the learning intention for the period and the third column is the success criteria - what would it look like if the goal was achieved.

The student clicks on the area they wish to comment on. This is an example of a 6 year  old student's learning journal - notice that each area has comments on it. In this case the comments have been made between the student and the parent from home or work on the reading goals in a combination of text and video. Sometimes the dialogue goes on while the student is in class and the parent is commenting from work (having got an email notification).

Notice how the parent is giving feedback to the student about their learning as well as to the teacher. Teachers and peers can also give feedback. This framework supports collaboration, home and school learning partnerships, engagement, learning anytime and anyplace.

I am interested in finding out what other systems people have put in place in their schools to encourage student / parent partnership in schools through an on-line environment? What have been the challenges, successes? What works and what would you suggest to do differently?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Funky Friday

Our curriculum vision is to empower, enrich and engage students with their learning.

We believe that both teachers and students should be able to follow their passion or discover passion through a rich and creative contexts that are self selected.

On Fridays each week, we have our Funky Friday programme.

This gives teachers an opportunity to share with students things they are passionate about and students an opportunity to explore or discover their passions.

The electives change each term and include many options that students and teachers select.. For example, movie making, comic strips, freeform soccer, animation, rock band, engineering, enviro-schools. dance,  trash to fashion and much more.

Each week our student news team is putting together a "Photopeach" slide show to feature on our school website:

The slide show this week showcased the golf and gymnastics options on Funky Friday.

I hope you enjoy their presentation.

">Funky Friday -Gym and Golf on PhotoPeach

I think it is getting really challenging to have enrichment programmes in schools like this - particularly in an era when standards based / national testing politics is so dominant in the education right wing political arena.  Educators  have to be prepared to stand up for what they believe in to maintain such programmes around the arts, technology, science,  and other creative pursuits in schools.

I wonder what other educators thinking is around this? Do you feel that curriculums are in danger of becoming narrower - only focusing on tests through reading, writing and mathematics? Are there enough opportunities for students to develop and for teachers to share things they feel passionate about? How is this done in your school or education district? Do you think it matters and if so why / why not? What is your thinking around this?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Video link of 5 and 6 year olds working in an e-learning classroom

This is a clip of a class of 5 and 6 year olds working in a blended e-learning environment at Freemans Bay School.

The students are reflecting on their learning using KnowledgeNET our online learning environment. A parent gets an email from the the OLE and responds to her child's learning reflection at work. 

I hope you enjoy the clip that featured on TV1 breakfast news this morning.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


This year our teachers have more autonomy over their own learning though our teacher professional development programme.

In terms of 'future focused learning" our teachers first task was to consider  different ways that  a range of teachers provide a  personalised learning environment in their classrooms. They looked at a range of online video clips to consider what personalised learning in a classroom looks like, sounds like and feels like.

This clip of Simon Breakspear was a good place to start.

Simon Breakspear: Personalisation as the way forward from EDtalks on Vimeo.

The next step was for our teachers to consider the learning needs of their students and to decide on an area to develop. They are working with other teachers who wish to strengthen in a similar area. They collaboratively developed an action plan to work on over the next six months  in these small professional learning groups. (PLGs).

In developing and implementing the action plan teachers  followed these steps:

Describe what you want to happen and describe how you will know it has happened.
What steps will you take to make this happen?
Map out the times that you expect this to happen
As you complete each step - reflect and record on your online log.

It has taken quite a few weeks to set these PLGs up and to get the action plans started.

This week teachers will be checking in with their PLG  and  will be discussing what changes they have made to their classroom practice to strengthen personalising learning for their students.