Saturday, May 25, 2013

Asian Awareness at Freemans Bay School

This week I attended the Auckland Principals  Asian Aware Network. (PAAN). This network has been set up by the Asia New Zealand Foundation to support principals in preparing New Zealand students for their future in a global world. Our students today need to be prepared for a world in which Asia is highly influential.  Freemans Bay School is providing more opportunities for our students to be more 'Asia Aware" by learning more about our Asian neighbours, their culture and languages. 

We were delighted to have the opportunity to host this Shaolin workshop at school this week.
International artists from Songshan Shaolin Wushu Vocational Institute, China accompanied by musicians from Hanan University. In New Zealand care of Hanban for our Auckland Confucius Institute network of schools. This was  a spectacular not-to-be missed event and our students were delighted to have the opportunity to see and take part in the workshop and encouraged our students in their learning of Mandarin, which we teach in every class of the school.

Shaolin Concert on PhotoPeach

Learning Space Design

Last week we took 12 of our school leaders and teachers to visit three schools in Auckland. We were looking at the relationship between teaching and learning and the design of the classroom spaces.  We were interested to explore how recent built learning environments are really working. How has the design supported personalised learning or other thoughts on contemporary educational practice. What was working and what were the challenges and what would the teachers working in them do differently if they had the chance?

Such visits help us to inform our thinking about our future school design as most of our school is to be demolished and a new school built over the next two years.We believe that it is important that our educators have a role to informing our future school design to ensure that our new environments reflect the needs of future education rather than where education is  currently at.

We were impressed with the designs and the discussions.

The spaces we saw were supportive of:
  • personalising learning
  • inside and outside connections
  • e-learning
  • collaboration
  • engaging learners
  • linking thinking about teaching to design spaces

School design and teaching and learning tour on PhotoPeach

Friday, May 10, 2013

Technology in Our Classrooms

The second term has commenced at Freemans Bay School with excitement from teachers and students alike. I am pleased to be able to share the TVNZ clip about e-learning at Freemans Bay School. As some people said to me they found it hard to find it on the TVNZ site. Orcon have it up on YouTube. Orcon are our ISP and we can only run our blended e-learning curriculum if we have excellent service through our fibre connection.

The video shows how we use KnowledgeNET as our learning management system for students to reflect on their learning and share with their teacher, peers and parents. As you can see in the video clip, the reflections can be written, audio or video. The great thing about the video clips is that the students do not have to upload them. The system works with WYSISYG and the option is embedded in the system so the students can film off the screen camera and post!

It is a great facility and having a decent fibre connection means that several students can be doing reflections in a variety of ways to articulate their thinking about their learning. I believe that the  opportunity to reflect and to consider where to next is very powerful for learners to consolidate their learning experience. Having the video facility is also very motivating and engaging.

How do you get your students to reflect on thinking about their learning?