<< Me as a Teacher >>

A photo story of teaching, learning and sharing

I presented on Digital Games-Based Learning at Learning 2.0 and the ACAMIS Technology Conference in 2016. Games CAN be leveraged in pedagogically effective ways!

Our 1:1 MacBook programme starts at Grade 5. During the first few months of term, we run a comprehensive induction including Wordpress, Evernote, Moodle, Trello, email,  MinecraftEDU, and digital citizenship.

I've been working a lot more with the Early Years lately. Their excitement and motivation is infectious! Here we are using the iPad app Puppet Pals to retell a fairy tale. Puppet Pals is a great app for developing oral language skills, understanding of narrative, and story comprehension.

As a part of the overall PD programme for teachers, we run "TechBytes" sessions - half an hour drop in tech-explorations after lunch. We've covered Green Screening, Lego for Literacy, Pages, Creative Commons, Twitter as a professional tool, Classroom iPad management, iMovie, MinecraftEDU, Videography, Book Creator iPad app, Stop Motion, Explain Everything and Visible Thinking, Evernote, Professional blogging, Puppet Pals iPad app, Coding, and Google Apps for Education (so far!)

Designing spaces for learning is a special interest of mine. I've had the pleasure of contributing to the development of this space, the Media Centre. It's modular, flexible, and comfortable, with lots of natural light. Teachers and students alike book out the Media Centre for everything from movie making projects, to guided reading groups, to meetings, to coding and gaming clubs.

Parent meetings are an amazing chance to strengthen the home - school partnership. Providing information about school systems and learning programmes is important, as is supporting parents with their own technology upskilling and strategies for their children "growing up digital".

The students always have a blast participating in the Hour of Code. Giving students opportunities to develop computational thinking is of central importance for their increasingly digital futures.

One of my favorite moments... these students were coding together, using the resources from Code.org. Who says computers are isolating and nonsocial?

In Grade 4, we trialled a high-tech new way of storing iPads - a repurposed vegetable cart from the mall down the road. Working well so far!

As a part of our Media Centre, we have a campfire: a space for gathering, discussing,  and sharing in small groups. Students and teachers can freely connect to the AppleTV and use as they see fit.

Grade 5 students played the iOS game Monument Valley - filled with tough visual puzzles. They took screenshots then reflected in Book Creator every time they got stuck as well as after they inevitably got unstuck. Learning about resilience, the emotions of learning, growth mindset, and meta-cognition.

I hosted a learning technology "job-a-like" for Jiangsu province at school in 2015. A great opportunity to learn and share with educators in similar contexts. Apologies for the mo - it was Movember!

Introducing iPads to kindergarten or the early grades? Why not try the Apple iPaper...

We make advertising images each week for our TechBytes PD sessions. This was one of the most popular. Lots of green screening going on around school that week!

In Grade 3, we explored how media can express ideas. We discovered that A) digital games are a form of media and B) through their unique gameplay elements and narratives can indeed share and express particular messages. We used the game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons to explore the central idea.

An annotated inquiry cycle with our findings from a documenting student learning professional learning group. Social constructivism with teachers in a similar context is an excellent form of professional development.

Any space is a space for learning! In this case, working on yearbook design.

A few of the good people who've been a part of #TeachMeetNZ - it's always great to meet your online buddies face-to-face.

After a hard morning working together in mixed, collaborative groups making games (using only a few random pieces of PE equipment) it was important to sit down, relax and reflect on the experience.

Talking "going offline for thinking" as a part of the Smackdown at #EduCampWelly 2015

The offline / online mix in action. It's vitally important to leverage the right tool for the job, being critical about technology integration.

Speaking on Google Docs at the Auckland Google Apps for Education summit in 2014. My workshop was so popular I had to move to a bigger room at the last minute!

Games based learning can offer engaging pre, during, and post-learning opportunities. The key is to not just "set and forget". Use of games in class requires forethought, care, and reflection.

Presenting an Ignite Talk (20 slides which auto advance every 15 seconds) at the most recent EduIgnite Wellington evening.

Printed off versions of my Digital Badges. When used judiciously, digital badges can allow you to value a wide range of outcomes, as well as provide motivation for learning.

With my team at the NoTosh led Google Teacher Academy in Sydney. A full two days of design thinking and changing the world.

My own Google Teacher Academy in 2013. I'm at the back mid-right.

Students planning, shooting, and editing films using iMovie. A great collaborative activity which teaches a host of skills and competencies.

Romo the smartphone robot came to visit. Learning how to program - the input of directions which then controls an object - is an important part of modern learning. Students need to have confidence they can manipulate and create the world around them.

Prototyping ideas by building them. Building ideas in this way allows others to give you helpful feedback in a way that just telling them about it can't.

Roasting marshmallows on a week long Year 5 / 6 camp in the South Island. Camps are hugely character building and an integral part of a young person's education.

Learning maths strategies outside in the sun.

The school band playing a lunch time rock concert. This is a win win! The students in the band get to practise performing, and the students eating lunch get to hear some great music.

Collaborative activities can be hotbeds of effective learning. Ideas can spark of each other, and healthy competition activated. Group tasks are research proven to enhance learning when there are group goals with individual accountability.

Any surface for learning - it can spice up the most mundane tasks.

Tablets such as iPads offer a new category of reading: interactive books. Students can follow links of information more easily, have access to multi-media content, can listen as well as read, and can record themselves reading too. It's another tool in the literacy toolkit.

Students with their Chromebooks outside on a sunny day. Students need access to the web quickly and reliably. Available devices and an ultra-fast wireless network are a fundamental component of modern classrooms.

A wonderwall, where students have posted up their wonderings after an immersion. Inquiry should start with a deep, empathy building immersion, followed by a synthesis of the areas you want to investigate further.

Giving students the freedom to choose where they learn, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem, allow them agency and voice over their education.

Connecting with students all across New Zealand in "KidsEdChatNZ" a biweekly Twitter discussion for kids.

Sports! In this case, long jump practise outside on the field.

Learning how to use Scratch - a brilliant sandbox for learning how to code visually.

Doing our bit for the community - a beach clean up.

In an open, modern learning environment, finding the time and space to get into flow is a valuable thing. As a part of a design thinking experience, I developed these signs which have become very popular around the hub. Students have reported getting more work done as a result of using them.

Hexagonal thinking - writing down elements of an issue, or problem, or topic on hexagons allows connections to be made between different concepts. Hexagons have 6 connection points, allowing ideas to link, cluster, and be made sense of.

Year 1 and 2 students in a Mandarin class, drawing pictures of the day's vocabulary.

It's all about family. My little boy meeting the students - my other family!

An authentic context for learning perimeter, area, and measurement. Students making re-usable shopping bags.

Again, we have students planning, running, and learning about business through a lunch time ice-block stall. There is such rich learning in many areas to be had in authentic experiences such as this.

And you can never be afraid to dress-up every now and again! Here I am in a kimono as a part of a Japanese cultural experience. Much laughter was had (at my expense).

Science experiments testing water quality in the creek out the back of school

Boys love their sports! So much so they are drawn towards the PE shed when finding places to do their learning. Not such great wifi in here though!

An often heard lament when visitors come to observe us in action: "How do you test in a Modern Learning Environment" - well, this is how!

Developing a web-based student tracking, goal and evidence app right from the start. Wire-framing it all out with string and paper allowed us to try out ideas inexpensively, and get staff feedback before the next step.

Back in the late 2000's I worked in an English Language Academy in Taipei. In a recent family visit back I was walking downtown and noticed some of my promotional shots up on huge billboards! A strange experience!

Comment Stream

3 years ago

Love this! Really cool to see the variety of work you and your student do. Thanks for sharing.

10 months ago

Impressive Matt, hope you n whanau well! Amesbury and wellyed Rock! Cheers M