Self-grading quizzes with Flubaroo

I have always said that if used correctly, tech greatly enhances student learning. In my opinion, the next greatest benefit of technology for teachers is that it can make our lives more efficient! The number one excuse I often hear from teachers as to why they don’t use technology is the lack of time they…

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Make learning accessible anytime and anywhere with ScreenCastify

A big part of my teaching philosophy is that learning should be made accessible for our students anytime and anywhere. I believe that if we have something important to say as teachers, then this information should be made available so our students can watch it time and again, either at school or at home, and be…

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Google Classroom, Google Sites or Blogger?

  Teachers these days are faced with many choices about how they could run their classroom in the digital age. There are so many tools, that sometimes it can be overwhelming to choose which ones will do the trick. Whilst this decision can be made a little easier within a Google school through the GAFE…

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How technology has changed my teaching philosophy

How is the technology I am using enhancing student learning? That is the first question I ask myself when I use technology in the classroom. If I cannot answer this question, then I am not using the technology well, and I am in fact wasting huge amounts of money that has been spent on it.…

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Learning in an MLE – students respond to ‘that article’.

I have to admit, I wasn’t that surprised to read about how some teachers are hugely resistant to change. MLE’s are a scary proposition for those that think we still live in the same world that existed when we ourselves were students. As I reflected on this, I thought who better to ask than my…

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Collaboration – An Innovation Challenge Accepted #EdBlogNZ

October is Connected Educator month, and this post is a celebration of connecting with others through a collaboration, on the theme of Innovation.  Most importantly, it serves to meet the #edblognz challenge to collaborate with another blogger (or in our case, bloggers) on an important issue in education.   We are a triad (to clarify,…

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Reflections on a 1-1 MLE

The anticipation of moving into a new Modern Learning Environment had been huge. We had been preparing ourselves for more than a year, thinking of ways in which we would change our practice to make the most of our new environment, all in the name of enhancing student learning. However, ultimately we were always going…

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Top tips for creating a self-directed learning environment

One of my main goals as a teacher over the last two years has been to create a learning environment that is as self-directed as possible. Essentially this is an environment where students take initiative and responsibility for their own learning. By creating such an environment, it is hoped that the learners become motivated, persistent,…

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Daily Student Learning Plans to help students own their learning

Recently I have written a lot about students taking ownership of their learning. We are trying to set up and environment that is as learner-driven as possible, where students are able to choose their timetables, and ultimately, direct their own learning. In such an environment, it is difficult for the teacher to write an achievement…

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Blogs as school-wide e-portfolios

Having just been involved in an inspiring #whatisschool Twitter chat hosted by Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) and Mark Weston (@ShiftParadigm), where the topic was ‘Social Media in the Classroom’, I got chatting about an idea I want to implement with my school…… Blogs as e-portfolios While this isn’t  a new idea, this year I have been…

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How and why I encourage Inquiry-Based Learning with my class

  I am a huge fan of Inquiry-Based Learning. I have been developing an inquiry template over the last two years that I am forever tinkering with, and I use this with my year 10 students. We generally do one inquiry per term (approx. 10 weeks), so the students are able to look into a…

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How technology supplements our Positive Behaviour For Learning (PB4L) approach

My school, Tarawera High School, is a PB4L school. Put simply, that means that our focus is on rewarding positive behaviour rather than punishing negative behaviour. This works on the premise that positive behaviour can be learnt, and a safe and caring environment that supports positive learning behaviour needs to be created. We push this…

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Wattpad – a great free resource for reading and writing

One of my students recently introduced me to the amazing free resource Wattpad. If you haven’t seen this resource before, Wattpad is a  free community for readers and writers. It uses many aspects that are common on social media today, such as being able to have followers, and to be able to ‘vote’ (similar to…

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Student agency through Student Licenses

Student agency is about creating an environment  where students are encouraged to take control of their own learning. A big part of this is the ability of students to self-manage. Last week my school moved into a new MLE, and my two colleagues and I really wanted to push the idea of student agency in…

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The how and why behind our Innovative Learning Space

Recently my school (Tarawera High School) has made the exciting move into our brand new Innovative Learning Space (ILS). With the students about to start on Monday, my two colleagues and I have spent some time organising our equipment and furniture into what we think will best serve their learning needs. We have a group…

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Why and how I teach my students to code

Recently I read a great post on Craig Kemp’s blog (mrkempnz.com) written by Kim Vernon, called The Key to Coding. It is a great read about the benefits of coding for students, and I couldn’t agree more with the points that Kim makes. Importantly, Kim notes that the main skills that coding develops in students…

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My favourite tools to flip the classroom

Creating online instructions can be hugely advantageous to both teachers and to learners. Below are my reasons why I like to create online instructions: For teachers, one of the main benefits of creating online instructions is that it is time efficient. Many teachers tell me they don’t have the time to create videos. I like…

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Why Kahoot is one of my favourite classroom tools

Kahoot is one of my favourite tools to use in the classroom. Students love it, and they are always engaged when I use it. For those of you that have never used Kahoot before, Kahoot is a platform where you can create quizzes, discussions and surveys. The Kahoot is displayed via a TV or projector,…

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App smashing using Aurasma and Explain Everything

As part of my endeavor to create a classroom environment that encourages self-directed learning, I have created posters that are brought to life using the app Aurasma. Aurasma is an augmented reality app, where the user hovers over a trigger image (in this case my poster), at which stage the content appears. In my example,…

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Self-directed learning in a 1-1 environment

I am lucky enough to be in the situation where my class is 1-1 with Chromebooks. In saying this, I also believe that we are not too far away from having the opportunity to be 1-1 in every class in the future. The reason I say this is because: 1) Technology is getting cheaper and…

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