Saturday, 16 June 2018

TML Wk 29: Professional Online Social Networks

My post this week relates to Professional Online Social Networks. In response to this I will be reflecting on my own experiences as an early adopter of social media and the opportunities this has created for me professionally. I will discuss this considering Jay and Johnson's (2002) reflective model to unpack it. This takes the form of a three step reflection process that is descriptive, comparative and critical.

I consider myself to be a connected educator and early adopter of social media for professional use.  I have documented this journey, as evidenced in several blog posts and in particular this early one from 2009 on my top 3 tips for getting connected online.  In this post I suggest using "new" web 2.0 tools such as opening an RSS reader account, using social book marking (Delicious) and starting connections using Twitter! I also refer to my developing Professional Learning Network (a PLN) which back then was a very new term and predominately spread throughout New Zealand.  Now, some 10 years later, my PLN is global and these digital connections I can call upon because of the on-going nurturing of interactions via social media, making the vast physical distance of global connection virtual and compact in the palm of your hand (on your device).

My experiences parallel the video produced from Office of Ed Tech (2013), shared for our week 29 course work which discusses how being connected is one of the number one tools for being a 21st Century Educator, the isolation of the classroom (or school environment) is no more through the magnification of the transformative power of professional learning via technology (social media).  At the time of writing this post their was limited responses in our cohort survey tool to compare.  What I can say from my own observation of being connected over the last decade is that the use of Facebook for professional social networking has increased with the use of "groups" and of interest over this time the development of #hashtags and frequency of #twitterchats to share professional knowledge.

As an advocate for using professional online social networks, I reflect back on this 2013 Ignite presentation that I shared in which I spoke about being connected, disconnected and reconnected.  

It takes a lot to nurture your online social media profile and connections. The rewards of doing so open a world of professional growth that I would have never had opened if it weren't for social media/technology. I would recommend that anyone wanting to start being a more connected educator to follow the simple "Follow 5, Find 5, Take 5" method suggested by Whitaker et al., (2015) as a way nurturing a PLN.  As an employer, being a connected educator is an important factor in considering whether a candidate is suitable and I do review the online presence of applicants.  One of the key points of difference I have in my tool belt when going for leadership roles (I believe) is that my employer knows that it isn't just my skills, and knowledge that they are employing, but that of my wider collective and connective PLN too, which I can access readily!  

Opportunities afforded to be by being connected (& associated blog links/video):

Word count: 649


Emerging Leaders, (2013) Ignite Talk by J. Driver. [video file].  Retrieved from

Driver, J (n.d). Blog posts retrieved from

Jay, J.K. and Johnson, K.L. (2002). Capturing complexity: a typology of reflective practice for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 73-85.
Office of Ed Tech. (2013, Sep 18). Connected Educators. [video file]. Retrieved from
Whitaker, T., Zoul, J., & Casas, J. (2015). What connected educators do differently. New York, NY: Routledge.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

TML Wk 28: Influence of Law and Ethics in Practice

My post this week relates to the Influence of Law and Ethics in Practice.  In response to this I will be reflecting on a previous experience with a Provisionally Certified Teacher (PCT) breaching our school privacy guidelines.  I will discuss this considering what happened using Rolfe’s (2001) reflective model to unpack it.  This takes the form of three simple questions, “what”, “so what” and “now what”.

At our school all students in Year 3-6 have their own school Google Suite for Education account.  The PCT of a Year 3 class was teaching them to use their account and had on display each child's class login and password.  A parent brought to my attention that her daughter's work had been tampered with as a result of the passwords being on display (another child had signed into the student's account and ruined their work because of the passwords being insecure due to teacher error).  

So What?
It is important that our staff uphold and model best practise with using digital technology and being a digital citizen.  A privacy guideline from our policy states "We have reasonable safeguards in place to protect personal information from loss, unauthorised access, use, or disclosure.  These safeguards include the use of individual logins for computers" (2018).  In this case, the young PCT had breached privacy by displaying the logins and passwords for all students in her class, causing a student to take advantage and destroy another child's work (digitally).  This made tracing the offender very difficult, as the document didn't have shared authorship; the offender used the child's login/password.  As a school leader I was able to use the history feature of the G. Suite to print evidence and timestamps of when specific changes had been made to the student's document and provide this as evidence for the parent.  

Now What?
The dilemma for myself and the PCT was how to do to use this as a learning opportunity for these young learners regarding sharing passwords, appease the parent that action had been taken, and support the PCT on how best to manage digital technologies in class with her learners. On reflection it would have been useful to have been able to use Ehrich et al. (2011) “model of ethical decision-making” as it would have not only given ourselves some clear directions but also may have been useful to show the parent how I thoroughly considered all aspects of the breach (the seriousness of the issue) and dealt accordingly. The strength of using a model like Ehrich et al. (2011) is the way in which it breaks down each of the components of the incident. Whether these are around legal issues, professional ethics or areas of public interest and relates these to the implications for us as individuals, organisations and communities.  In this case, I went into the classroom and took several lessons for the PCT/students around digital citizenship and strong passwords.  This satisfied the parent, the learners understood the seriousness of the issue and learnt how to protect their password, the PCT felt supported and as a leader I felt satisfied the dilemma had been resolved for all involved. I had acted with professionalism and integrity upholding our school Code of Conduct (2016) when interacting with the student/s, parent, and staff member with this dilemma.
Image result for Ethical Decision-Making Model Ehrich

Word count: 541 


Ehrich, L. C. , Kimber M., Millwater, J. & Cranston, N. (2011). Ethical dilemmas: a model to understand teacher practice, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 17:2, 173-185, DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2011.539794

Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., Jasper, M. (2001) Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sunnyhills School Board of Trustees, (2018). Privacy Guidelines.  School Docs retrieved from 

Sunnyhills School Board of Trustees, (2016). Code of Conduct.  Internal School Document.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

TML Wk 19: Communities of Practice

Wenger (2000) states a community of practice can be defined as "groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly". These communities have three characteristics, domain, community, and practice.  I am part of several CoPs and for this reflection I will contextualise my participation and leadership within our school senior leadership team and consider the following 2 inquiry areas from our MIndlab study to date:
  1. Digital: Maker Movement + computational thinking (Tinker Time)
  2. Leadership: Teacher inquiry into student learning
The senior leadership team as a CoP consists of 4 senior leaders and 6 team leaders.  The team leaders are responsible for ensuring that Tinker Time (our school's take on the Maker Movement inclusive of computation thinking) takes place within their teams.  The team leaders also are responsible with the facilitation of weekly collaborative inquiry meetings within their respective teams to reflect, plan and adapt their weekly teaching in order to have a positive impact on student outcomes.  

My involvement as the principal and lead learner/change maker is to create systems and structures to ensure that these 2 initiatives are happening and empower the team leaders (and senior leaders) to monitor the implementation of these initiatives.

  1. Tinker Time: The video below was made this week by visiting educator Michael Davidson of MakerEdNZ.  At our school we have integrated Tinker Time as our take on Maker Space and incorporation of computational thinking.  Many schools have visited to see how we have invested in technologies and have our Tinker Kits rotated through the classes.  
  2. Collaborative Inquiry: Teaching as Inquiry has been modified at our school over the last 3 years.  We have implemented a spiral of inquiry approach in the past that was individual, however last year moved to a more collaborative approach where staff worked in teams (rather than individually).  Staff were able to then start reflecting and supporting each other with changes to their practice.  When responsibility is shared, substantive decision making occurs and interdependent relationships are fostered for collaboration (ITL research, 2012).

Critical Reflection:
After discussions with my CoP (senior leadership team) and also informal discussions with my CoP (Mindlab crew) I can reflect: 
  1. Tinker Time: Currently staff go through the process of letting the students participate in Tinker Time, however there isn't a deep investment from staff with the importance of how this links to the digital technologies curriculum.  There is also a disconnect between the WHY we are implementing Tinker Time with how student interactions with this type of technologies contributes to promoting our future orientated outlook at our school.  I would like to investigate the views of staff into the barriers for them with implementation.
  2. Collaborative Inquiry:  Based on feedback from last year's teaching as inquiry/collaborative inquiry where teams once a term investigated student outcomes and possible ideas for changes in their practice and reflection, a new system has been created to enable weekly critical reflection of teacher practice and the impact that this has on learner outcomes.  I would like to investigate how to support and develop team leaders facilitation and coaching skills to really ask the hard questions of their team members to reflect on whether their adaptations are having an impact.
Word count: 546


ITL Research. (2012). 21CLD Learning Activity Rubrics. Retrieved from

Jay, J.K. and Johnson, K.L. (2002). Capturing complexity: a typology of reflective practice for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 73-85.

Ministry of Education (2017).  Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko. Crown, Wellington.  Retrieved from

Wegner,E.(2000). Communities of practice and social learning systems. Organization,7 (2),225-246 

Thursday, 12 April 2018

TML Week 18: Future-Orientated Learning & Teaching

Figure 1: Gibbs' reflective cycle
Step 1: Description - What happened?
As a connected educator/leader who has a future-focused disposition and considering myself as a change maker already, I am interested  now in reflecting on theme 3: A curriculum that uses knowledge to develop learning capacity.  I am interested in our current pursuit for developing a new teaching model at our school focused on a visual metaphor of GEMS (Growth, Empathy, Mana and Self-belief). This change is a current process that we are in the midst of implementing.

Step 2: Feelings - What were you thinking and feeling?
Myself and the senior leaders believe our GEMS acronym will provide continuity for our staff, learners and community to understand what teaching and learning at our school is about.  We can relate the GEMS to aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) key competencies, and have adopted the GEMS into our behaviour management plan, learning inquiry model, staff performance management and values.

Step 3: Evaluation - What was good and bad about the experience?
We are currently energised by the GEMS and adapting these to many aspects of our school context.  We are finding that having a strong focus is giving us opportunity to bounce creative ideas off each other and relate the GEMS to different cycles.  For example, in our performance management we talk about Growing Everyone, Maximising Success.  In our learning model we talk about Get thinking, Exploring, Making meaning and connections, Sharing & shining. The changes at present have not been shared out with the learners or community (this will be the next phase after consultation, co-construction and iteration with the teaching staff). 

Step 4: Analysis - What sense can you make of the situation?
There is a sense of synergy across the leadership team and this is beginning to extend to the wider staff as we share our initial concepts and see feedback on the development of each metaphor within contexts.  The staff initially have indicated in favour of this strong metaphor/acronym and in relation to GEMS as a learning model for inquiry (described above) this moves us closer to knowledge not being taught in separated learning areas and equipping our learners to do things with knowledge and within context in order to develop learning capabilities (Bolstad 2012).  We believe our GEMS will help support and develop learning capabilities.

Step 5: Conclusion - What else could you have done? & Step 6: Action Plan - If it arose again what would you do?
We are within the process of implementing this change, so at present we are too close to have perspective of whether we would do this differently.  What I have learnt with our change process is that we seek and consult with our staff to gain feedback to adapt and be agile.  We trial ideas, reflect and iterate.

Word count: 535


Bolstad, R., Gilbert, J., McDowall, S.,  Bull, A.,  Boyd, S.,  & Hipkins, R. (2012). Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching — a New Zealand perspective. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education  

Finlay, L. (2009). Reflecting on reflective practice. PBPL. Retrieved from

Saturday, 31 March 2018

TML Week 17: Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is one of those terms that is touted as current best practice for being responsive to the needs of our learners and dare I add in my leadership role, responsive to our staff and community needs.  It has become an integral part of the cycle of teaching as inquiry for effective pedagogy, a practice that is now widespread as a means for educational improvement and improved teacher quality. However after reading through the article by Finlay (2008), I would postulate that it is not done with the depth of understanding to truly be reflective.  The important element of critical analysis required for reflection-on-action as Schön (1983, cited in Finlay, 2008) describes as ‘after-the-event-thinking’ is often missing. In this post, I attempt to use a three step model by Jay and Johnson (2002) to critically reflect on my own reflective practice.

Jay and Johnson (2002) Reflective Model

Stage 1: Descriptive
In my own practice, as an educational leader, I do not believe I reflect to the best of my ability, despite good intentions.  In a time poor environment where I am driven to juggle many tasks and manage events on a situational basis, I feel I need to be more selective and spend time to reflect and draw clarity to the events around me for future learning and leadership. I am often caught up with situations that arise unscheduled, where I have to be agile and this requires me to take a reflection-in-action (thinking while doing) approach.  I often find that I then personally reflect on my own after a situation or event on my actions, my feelings and what I would do differently in the future based on my own gut feeling and hindsight.

Stage 2: Comparative
When given the opportunity to meet with a colleague, my leadership team, or in a professional learning group, I have the time to digest an event and reflect more deeply on my actions, the situation and contemplate how to adapt if this event or similar was to occur again.  When reflecting with others, if this is verbal or completing a PMI chart of an event, I am drawn to the many perspectives that I would not have had while in an isolated internal thought structure. This interaction allows me to consider multiple perspectives, feelings and therefore new information for me to add to my personal professional knowledge and mental model.  I also find when I reflect with my professional learning group, we are often reflecting against our own practice and a current topical reading. For example, currently my professional learning group is reading Dylan Wiliam (2016), Leadership for teacher learning. I find relating relevant readings when reflecting on a situation or event can be helpful to uncover what the wider educational community have found through research.  However, I must include in this part of the reflective process that through being a connected educator and leader, I will often seek perspectives from social media. I tend to post on a closed Facebook group for New Zealand Principals, or on Twitter to seek advice.

Stage 3: Critical reflection
After connecting with others through online forums or in person (partner, team or group), and considering relevant readings (or research) I find I am able to draw conclusions and considerations to add to my personal professional knowledge.  Through these connections I know that when confronted with a new situation or event, I am often more poised to respond in-the-moment (reflection-in-action) by appropriately drawing on hindsight of previous experience, collective wisdom gained through discussion and readings, and ready to seek further feedback from my colleagues.

Word Count: 599


Finlay, L. (2008). Reflecting on reflective practice. Practice-based Professional Learning Centre, Open University. Retrieved from

Jay, J.K. and Johnson, K.L. (2002). Capturing complexity: a typology of reflective practice for teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 73-85.

Schön, D.A. (1983). The reflective practitioner. New York: Basic Books

Sunday, 28 February 2016


On Saturday 27th February at the crack of dawn I picked up +Fiona Grant and +Karen Ferguson to head south for a day of learning and connecting at #educamprotovegas held at Rotorua Girls High School.  We made it with time to spare and it was a great opportunity to see some of my awesome PLN face to face and meet new educators that I can now call upon.  The day started with a really informative smackdown - where participants had only 2 minutes maximum to share an idea, app or educational gem.

I shared in the smackdown about the +GEG NZ learning community and our upcoming GEGNZ Studygroups that will help educators in NZ attain level 1 in the new Google for Education certifications.
After the smackdown and lunch break we then had the opportunity to select two breakout sessions - I listened to +Steve Katene share the learning journey of Richmond School in Napier where he is DP for his learners and coaches (teachers) which was really inspiring! This guy has great energy and I'd love to take a visit to his school to see it in action.  I'm looking forward to revisiting his slide deck.
I was super pleased to meet my old student teacher and colleague +Robyn Keightley for her first Educamp.  She travelled over from Tauranga and ended up sharing twice in the smackdown and then led a breakout session on the 1:1 ipad journey her school had made.
Thanks to +Annemarie Hyde and +Marnel van der Spuy for being great hosts and organising this event! It was well worth the 450km round trip!
Here are the tweets from the session:

Friday, 15 January 2016

Are you a Connected Leader?

The Connected Learning Advisory (CLA) runs webinars each month, and I was asked to be part of a  Webinar on and for "Connected Leaders" on the 21 October.   The aim of the CLA is to provide interactive opportunities for sharing practice, discussion of key ideas and connection to experts and other educators.

What a great opportunity I thought to give back to the education sector and contribute some gems on helping the sector connect. The other connected leaders were Marnel van der Spuy, Stephen Lethbridge, Rachel Boyd and Annemarie Hyde and together we answered the following:

  • What does a “connected leader” look like ?
  • In your role as a connected leader, what do you do to support/model/advocate/facilitate e-learning ?
  • What attributes do you think you need most, to make this role successful?
  • How would you encourage a reluctant teacher/ leader to get connected?