Monday, May 22, 2017

Te Waka Ako

It's been many many months in the making, but finally Te Waka Ako (The Learning Canoe) at Waikowhai Primary School is open. After a slightly extended build, the students of Rooms 7-9 have a brand new, open plan learning environment to call home for the rest of the year.

A special thanks to Michael Wood, MP for Mt Roskill, for opening the building on behalf of the school and community. The students are raring to get into their new open-plan learning space. The 'Te Waka Ako' sign was designed and created by Mrs Shiralee Sands, a teacher within the school.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Reblog from Potahu Class @ Hay Park School - Student led' Ako Hiko Parent Workshops

This post was originally written and posted by Christina Fortes via her Pohatu Class blog (Hay Park School)

Kia orana bloggers

Four of our very own students facilitated one of our Ako Hiko parent meetings today. They were Janine, JD, Nathaniel (all year five students) and Brooklyn (year four).

Their fabulous workshop gave parents the opportunity to upskill themselves in google docs, screencastify and develop their digital footprint.

Here are some photos of from today:


Well done to the students at Hay Park school who delivered the workshop. You can follow Potahu Class' Blog here 

Thanks Christina for allowing us to share the wonderful learning being undertaken within your community.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The next position is the best position

In response to some questions at the end of 2016, the Ako Hiko cluster has begun to incorporate the advice from the Ministry of Education (via TKI) around students' physical positions when using devices. There's not much out there, but using the support of TKI, we've developed a cluster specific document to view and download. Click here to view it.

The information is also embedded directly into the cluster website here. Click on the image to access the page if the link does not work.

Within the Ako Hiko cluster, we focus on providing safe settings for students to learn within and this includes their device usage. The key thing to remember is 'the next position is the best position.' Moving regularly sand finding different ways to work will avoid eye strain and working in an uncomfortable position for too long.

Below is a short video about ergonomics while using devices. Although created in 2011, it is still very much relevant to today's classrooms.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Student Led Toolkits 2016

By James Hopkins

Manaiakalani Outreach Facilitator

What is student agency? It’s not something you can touch or taste, but it is something you can feel and see. I could spend time trying to define the levels of empowerment and interwoven student voice as indicators of success, however to many teachers and whānau, it is a feeling deep inside and one that is more than challenging to explain. On Tuesday 23rd August, the Ako Hiko Cluster offered perhaps the best chance to anyone wanting to see what student agency really is. Over 150 students from eight schools descended on Hay Park School to lead, explore and experience together. I am, of course, talking about Student Led Toolkits.

What Are Toolkits?
The basic premise of a toolkit is for someone with strong skills sharing their practice around a specific tool being used in their classroom. The ‘expert’ teacher is tasked with sharing the ‘why, how and what’ of a specific classroom tool that they have found success in. Sessions are generally around 45mins long and offer input and ‘sandpit’ time in which teachers are invited to play and explore the new learning in the context of their own class. All are offered for free and the chance to connect with other teachers from across the cluster is often a draw in itself. Originally the concept was designed as professional development for teachers by teachers, however Ako Hiko has taken it one step further and developed an annual student led conference for 1:1 learners across the cluster.

Student Led Toolkits
With the inaugural conference in 2015 being a huge success, the Education Programme Leader Team began planning for the 2016 conference in June this year. A simple website was constructed offering students the opportunity to submit sessions to present, sign up to go to others’ and provide general information about the running of the day. Like any conference, students were provided with lanyards and name tags, offered a goody bag and placed into a draw to win a host of prizes offered by conference sponsors. A half-day programme was offered with 18 sessions held across six different areas of the school, each offering a specific skill or an introduction to a new learning concept. Slides were prepared, students were rehearsed and focused and the individual toolkits ran with absolute precision.

An incredible day of learning took place with students leading one another. Teacher input was minimal and predominantly centred around solving tech issues and small pep-talks prior to sessions commencing. This day was for students, by students.

A special thanks must go to all of the presenters and attendees who made the experience a memorable one, but especially to Vicki Archer, Phil Margetts and Rebecca Barton for their leadership and incredible efforts in providing such an incredible experience. Many others helped behind the scenes and the staff at Hay Park were more than generous in not only offering their site for the day, but also for their planning, support and leadership. Roll on Student led toolkits 2017!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Auckland lawyers appeal pupils' homework

By Alastair Lynn 

Ako Hiko Education Trust patron Phil Goff helps Alipate Vaka, William Pasa and Jairus Hulbert-Matthews with their homework.

Litigation, affidavits and depositions are not what you would typically find in the classroom.

But that hasn't stopped clued-up lawyers trading the courtroom for some impromptu lessons in maths, science or English.

And the pupils of Wesley Primary School are soaking up this new wealth of knowledge. To continue reading this article via, click here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

WHY, HOW and WHAT we share

By James Hopkins
Manaiakalani Outreach Facilitator

Everyday hundreds of students across the Ako Hiko cluster share their learning via their blogs. As they become more familiar with the processes and skills needed to share their learning in the 21st Century, it is fascinating to see who engages. Often comments are from Whānau and friends, but from time to time they come from further afield. This is a true teachable moment as we begin to talk about concepts like ‘authentic audience’ and ‘purposeful online relationships’ as part of the CyberSmart programme.

Many of the learners embrace the chance to post their learning to blogs and understand that it has a much greater potential of reaching the intended audience than ever before. Picture this, a student writes a speech about world hunger and the constant struggles of people living in the third world communities. When completed it is collected by the teacher, read aloud to classmates and feedback/feedforward is given. This in itself is a great learning experience, but it often leaves the writer with the question ‘how can my research and learning really have an impact?’ This is where a blog comes in. The chance to place the learning online, share the processes and research involved and attempt to reach people who feel the same way or have the power to implement change, is greatly improved. A personal passion that started in the mind of a learner now has the possibility of reaching someone that can make a real difference...
One example of a blog treaty constructed by a student at Christ The King School

As part of their learning and device use, we spend a lot of time looking at the concept of Smart Relationships. Using resources from Manaiakalani schools and carefully constructed research, students are shown how to engage with their readers and commenters through well worded responses. Alongside this we teach the importance of carefully constructed comments when looking at peers’ learning. This is a valuable online and offline skill that helps them focus on reading the learning and making a purposeful comment to connect.

Cybersmart Quality Comments.jpeg

Image courtesy of Manaiakalani and the CyberSmart Team

While facilitating in schools I often get asked the same question… ‘How can we make sure their safe online when sharing their learning?’ This is of course a teacher and parent concern that is very common. Just searching the web for a few minutes can fill your screen with horror stories. However, we focus on making SMART decisions that proactively reduce or eliminate risks online, rather than reacting to something that has already happened. I urge you to head over to the Ako Hiko Cluster Twitter feed and explore some of the student blogs. The emphasis is on sharing learning. Student’s personal information is guarded and the blog remains free of elements like their email address or last name. Teaching these life skills now is invaluable as the learners of today become the workforce of tomorrow.