Sunday, 19 July 2015

Infinite learning and change from inspirational National Networking Hui #nnh

The National Networking Hui marked the official end of the the government’s Learning and Change Networks (LCN) strategy. In true LCN style, the final hui was everything we had hoped for. Brian Annan summarised this in a final email: Thanks to you all for your openness and collaboration, a true celebration of lateral learning in NZ.  

Michael Fletcher's tweet also summed up the engaging two day hui in a nutshell.

Brian instructed everyone to take agency and make the most of the two day hui. 
I loved this comment. It was up to us to be proactive and make it work for ourselves. 
This works for anything. We can either sit back and complain that something isn't what we expected or we can actively ensure that we find value in it. It's like the half-full glass.

This blogpost is a lengthy one basically because there was so much I wanted to record and reflect on from the hui. Here is a summary of the contents of this blogpost:

Learning Session - Student Agency through Pathways 
Learning Session - Learning maps, a new evaluative tool
Links to Joanna Robson's blog accounts of nine learning sessions and key notes
Further videos and my notes to support the excellent learning session - Passion Projects Akoranga o Naenae (AON)
Final video snippets from Valerie Hannon keynote and video by Steve Cutts
Final video message from Brian Annan.
Learning Session - Sustainability the never ending story
Where to next for Whitestone Network.

Here is the link to the Hui blog that staff from Otahuhu Intermediate set up. It has a video of special guest speaker Valerie Hannon addressing the hui and links to presentations from participating schools.

There is an excellent video on the hui blog that captures the moving powhiri
There are also a range of comments, reflections and photos on the Twitter hash tag #NNH in relation to key notes and seminars.

Active Reflections:
Learning Session Student Agency through Pathways
Maungaraki School, Wellington from the Seaview Network. Janet Evans with students Hannah,Tasneem and Felix. This student-led presentation was one of the highlights of the two days for me. You can access the student's reflection of their time at the Hui here on their class blog. Much of the learning that is happening for these students mirrored the learning approach that we are actioning at our school this year. I loved the way that Janet introduced the presentation and the students, then let the students take the lead. The learning session content offered next steps for us to consider in our senior learning hubs.

Found on Marg D's resource site

  • The hub has 2 classrooms with 58 children and 2 teachers - "organised chaos", free to  move in the hub with 1:1 devices (chromebooks). 
  • They do the Myers Briggs personality test with the students to help them understand their learning styles, what makes them tick and why they learn the way they do. 
  • Targeted learners moved from 50% below standard to 25% below in writing. 
  • Tasneem said ".. children need to adapt to a modern way of learning to move forward in life..". There is a break out room for independent learning and testing with a whiteboard table and outdoor space. There is a cafe in their space to warm up food and feel more comfortable. 
  • Workshops are in the pathways timetable, alongside these are the passion projects. They are infinite, no limits but based around the main curriculum. Students follow their own passion and get motivated and engaged into their own learning and utilise their strengths and then publish the project for the end of term celebration. Projects are marked out of 100 reflecting high school grading system. They use not achieved, achieved, merit and excellence.
  • Hannah spoke about the collaboration tracking document on google sheets. The students mark off what they have done for the week and highlight when completed. The kids also use websites for their learning. The 2015 tracking document on the drive has the set activities for week. There is a typing club with agreed word per minute expectations. 
  • Everything is changing and evolving, teachers have added in levels to show compulsory and extension activities. Pathways is designed for students to never finish their work. They can continue at home. That becomes the student's homework.
  • Felix explained that on Monday they fill out and plan for the whole week, first put in compulsory stuff like coding, kapahaka etc. There is an expectation that there is a certain amount of maths to be done and to be filled into the timetable. Workshops - on Friday the teachers let them know the workshops for the following week.
  • They have also started student led workshops based on student's strengths. Students can go to the teacher and say they want to run a workshop (maths extension) but must come with the planning etc. 
  • Students record results in google doc in their drives each term including reading and writing asttles, dates completed, passion project scores. They set goals each time they assess, kids make goals based on feedback and check these with the teachers for any modifications. 
  • They have student trainees and managers. Managers can check other students wok and help them. Trainees graduate to become managers. Students will do maths in morning, literacy, mid morning and inquiry in the afternoon. If they haven't completed Level 1 'must do' then they go to sit with the teacher on a Friday to complete work while others do a game or art. Other levels are Level 2 'can do', Level 3 'extension'. Some others choose to come back and work if they want to like typing. 
  • They use the Typing Club app from google to increase skill of typing 40 words minute. During the writing asTTle lots of kids chose pen and paper because they were slow at typing and so they increased the skill level to 50 words per minute and will go to 60 next term.
  • They also include one leadership activity per week in their timetable. Felix shared that he went from a 3b to 5b in 4 months with this engaging hub approach to learning. Felix is now motivated to learn and has fun having choice within the hubs. There is a collaborative space and hub for independent learning. 
  •  Felix mentioned that he went to the Wellington College induction evening with his dad. They spoke about the skills that the kids would leave Wellington College with - one was to be an agent for learning and the other was to be confident in ICT skills. Felix and his dad felt that he was already confident in these skills and were looking forward to a smooth transition to high school.
  • This approach to teaching is also working for low ability children who struggle with being motivated including targeted children.Trainee manager students work like peer tutors. The targeted kids are still fully capable of learning to manage themselves and get motivated through choice. Kids get shoulder tapped to come to certain workshops. If you can make it work for targeted kids then it will work for all. The kids gain self-confidence and the ability to collaborate with others. 
  • Felix said, "Myers Briggs helps us to understand that although we are different we all need to learn to work together, extroverts and introverts." We have a Twitter account and blog that kids can put things on. We learn about being a cybersafe citizens.
  • Jackie explained that for the blogs they share their work with the teacher for quality control as they aim for excellence. It's part of their school motto. 
  • Thanks to Jackie Sutherland and the students for their inspiring presentation.Here is a link to the slideshow.

Learning Session Learning Maps, a new Evaluative Tool Brian Annan and Mary Wootton Although I am already familiar with learning maps, my respect and regard for these presenters drew me to this learning session. It has made me more determined to make greater use of learning maps as an evaluative tool at school. Their value as a simple yet powerful visual record of learning and achievement can't be overlooked.
 Mary explains the meaning of learning maps

Brian explains the value of learning maps

Brian and Mary explain that the maps help the learners to articulate change priorities.
Brian and Mary respond to questions about learning maps.
 Brian explains that all learners are capable of creating learning maps.
Brian explains what could happen if learning maps become interactive and social.
  • Ask the learner to describe their map and capture this in a two minute video. It's in kid speak and is a true snapshot in time
  • Learning Maps can reflect something in their learning that they are finding tricky. Link it to one academic subject, for example, maths or writing.
  • Research carried out by Jean Annan is showing how fast learning and change can happen and that it can be captured through learning maps and videos. One group of children moved from below to at and above in three months.
  • Learning maps are a modern day tool that move away from traditional evaluation modes.
  • Learning maps can be scanned and stored with the videos.
  • Brian and Mary are available to run learning map sessions with students, parents and teachers through Infinity - where learning never ends This video is taken from the Infinity Website and captures the essence of learning maps for students, staff and parents to understand


Joanne Robson's blog

I was fortunate to see @Joanne Robson in action, live blogging on seminars and workshops that she attended and recording them on her engaging blog Joanne captured succinctly the essence of learning sessions and published them immediately. This is an awesome skill. Thanks to Joanna, I have provided links to her work below: 
Building Leadership Capacity and Commitment -Tasman School Nelson, Moutere Hills Network

Learning through Different Eyes - Sharlene Carki, Weston, Whitestone Network Oamaru. Sharlene's presentation was based on her work as part of her sabbatical with targeted learners at Weston school. It was very well received.

Science isn't just a Subject -Dr Michelle Dickinson (Nanogirl)

Passion Projects - Akoranga o Naenae Kelly Layton, Clare and Natasha
My additional notes: This presentation was another one of the highlights for me. The fact that three teachers from different schools across their network came together with forty-five targeted learners every Friday over a fifteen week period and focussed on active learning traits was inspiring.These videos are snippets from this excellent presentation:

Active learning and passion projects

Kelly explains the challenges experienced with AON.

                                      Measurement tools to assess deep learning

Networking opportunities and outcomes from AON

Introducing Global Trends - Valerie Hannon

                           Four levels of learning challenge for us as educators.

Valerie Hannon shared this video by Steve Cutts. It looks at man's relationship with the natural world. It brought home the important role that we as educators must play in changing attitudes to caring for the environment. This fits very closely with the message from Pope Francis in his encyclical letter entitled Laudati Si - Care for our common home

Valerie's deep and powerful conclusion

Brian's final words. Where to next ?

Learning Session - Sustainability. The never ending story.
I would like to thank Nicky Ryan my fellow presenter for this session. Together we presented a session based on our work as part of the Whitestone Network. It was empowering to present from a network perspective rather than a school only perspective. You can access our notes and links here. 

One of our tasks was to map out our next steps as a network. We will share our thoughts and ideas with our network and ensure we continue to keep the momentum going and drive forward for the benefit of all learners across our network of schools.

Thanks to Sharlene Carki for her valued input and for scribing our Whitestone map.
This was an invaluable two days and I sincerely thank the organisers especially Leanne Smith the Sector Co-ordinator who did a stunning job. 
Finally, an extra special mention of thanks to my daughter Chantelle who is teaching in Melbourne. She flew over for a surprise catch up and joined into the hui.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I was disappointed not to be there and this has filled in a lot of gaps for me.


  2. Taking the time to record my experiences has helped me to process so much more of it Dorothy. Thanks for your feedback and glad that this was of value to you.