Summarising 32 weeks of Learning
They say ‘The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step’. Those first steps I took, 32 weeks back, toward enrolling in The Mind Lab by Unitec’s Postgraduate Certification in Applied Practice have certainly led me on a journey.
Putting into few words, 32 weeks of learning and discovery is no easy task. Each week delivered such a breadth of topic that even the PLD post reflecting my thoughts on ‘Digital & Collaborative Learning’ which I made at 28 weeks in, is miles from where my thinking is now.
The growth I experienced in the programme has been exponential. The following Tagul image shows the responses of our intake when asked what our ideas for 21st Century learning might be.
Over the sessions to follow we explored these ideas through critical discussion, research, hands-on experiences and creative pursuits. Developing strong collaborative relationships with our fellow classmates and a deepened understanding of what it is to be a learner in our digital world.
Practicing Teacher Criteria
Throughout the course, each participant is demonstrating and collecting evidence toward the Practicing Teacher Criteria (PTCs) through shifts in practice.
The following resource by the Ministry of Education (2016) via the Enabling E-Learning site, links each of the twelve criteria to examples of e-learning supporting the PTCs.
Professional relationships and professional values
- 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 3: Demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa / New Zealand.
- Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice.
- Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.
Professional knowledge in practice
- Criteria 6: Conceptualise, plan, and implement an appropriate learning programme.
- Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment.
- Criteria 8: Demonstrate in practice their knowledge and understanding of how ākonga learn.
- Criteria 9: Respond effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga.
- Criteria 10: Work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa NZ.
- Criteria 11: Analyse and appropriately use assessment and information, which has been gathered formally and informally.
- Criteria 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.
If I had to choose just three skills that this learning journey had helped me to develop well they would be:
Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice.
The commitment to my own ongoing PLD is obvious. Enrollment in the course and the dedication with which I completed each assignment in a way that really impacted my professional practice can be evidenced by assignment submissions and my teaching as inquiry. However, my interest and enthusiasm for PLD sparked, I then engaged in a huge array of other PLD opportunities from workshops to online events, my professional learning networks grew and my professional discussions broadened beyond my own classroom practice.
Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.
Seeing the value that PLD had given my practice I then went on to join the PLD committee at our school, to help lead the e-learning team, to run an e-Learning PLD day for 50 plus staff and eventually to move into a full-time role as a PLD Facilitator.
Criteria 9: Respond effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga.
The practical and applicable nature of the programme made it easy to transfer our learnings into practice. Using my Teaching as Inquiry I was able to explore How Gamification might support responsive teaching practice. My literature review of Gamification and GameBased Learning in the New Zealand Education System led me to consider my new role as a facilitator and how I might support my new ākonga being teachers in this way. I c0-developed an inquiry into the Gamification of Teaching the Adobe Slate version of this is linked to the image below.
The next steps for me as an e-leader might be better described as leaps. My goal for 2016 is to strengthen my ability to facilitate change through developing the ability to help others have an awareness of their thinking, around the use of digital technologies for learning. I would like to do this by developing mentoring skills such as effective questioning techniques so that schools might develop sustainable shifts toward the effective use of digital technologies for learning. I have identified several enablers that might support me in this goal including:
- my awareness of the need to develop critical thinking for change
- an ability to feel comfortable in different situations and environments
- being well supported in admin and tasks side of my role as a facilitator
- being well supported by family who enable me to spend time on developing in this role
- being well connected in local education environment – PLD providers, local educators, local experts, helping with my own critical thinking and as a support network and
- having strong cultural and family links to my region.
I believe that using my strengths will help me develop my ability to facilitate change. This goal is linked to the Te Toi Tupu -Professional Dimensions for Facilitator Practice, Dimension A2. Facilitators engage in appropriate professional relationships and demonstrate commitment to professional values – Professional Leadership.
I am also working with my mentor to build collaborative practices in my community of learning by designing community collaboration initiatives to increase engagement and collaboration across stakeholders. In achieving this goal I will have created a visualisation of my local PLN with the intent that this will allow me to see connections across my network and make links where beneficial. I will have explored ways of supporting COLs to find common goals and I will have a kete of skills, techniques and tools for working with COLs and other groups toward common goals.
I am excited by the opportunites these next steps bring and the new pathways that open ahead of me as I continue on toward the next 1000 miles.