Notes and Key Points from the Rotorua Learning@School Conference 2010.

Key Note Speakers:

1. Dr Stuart Middleton
Dr Stuart Middleton

2. Dr Alan November

1. Who owns the learning?
The teacher works harder than the students - it should be the other way around.

2. Critical thinking on the web is highly important and needs to be taught.
Where is the information and the site you are relying on really from?
eg: Main Martin Luther King website was renamed after a few years and written by a White Supremacist.

3. Tips and Tricks
a). wolfram alpha - maths site for entering maths questions and working out answers
b). wayback machine - can navigate the history of a site to find where it has originated from and its legitimacy.
c). - mentioned for something but i can't remember what - look at the check it outs and see there.

Notes from the Conference Blog
Today we are trying something new, pushing boundaries and demonstrating the possibilities of ICT. Alan November is recognised as a leader in education technology. His areas of expertise include information and communication technology, planning across the curriculum, staff development, long-range planning, building learning communities and leadership development. He has delivered keynote presentations and workshops in all fifty states of the USA, in every province in Canada, and throughout the UK, Europe and Asia.

Using technology we have access to thought leaders around the world. We can bring them to our place without the expense and time of actually travelling.
So this year we engage with Alan November via Skype.
external image alan2-300x200.jpg
Here are my notes from Alan’s presentation:
Desperate people make good students!
Alan discussed the key skills for today’s children and these form the structure of this talk:
  • Global collaboration
  • Deal with overwhelming amounts of information
  • To be self directed
The most important question to ask is who owns the learning? Is it the teacher or the students. In many classrooms the teacher works harder that the students. The trick is to turn this around. The philosophical onset of this is that every student is a teacher and every teacher is a student. Alan demonstrated how you can zoom in on one countries information by using the word “site:tr (the ‘tr’ stands for the country code of the perspective you would like to search for). This is a way to make sure you are gaining information from different points of view as straight google searches really do give you a very western perspective in the results.
This brings about the discussion about teaching students how to be effective and evalutating users of the web. Alan introduced us to a few websites you could use: type in the domain name of a website and it tells you who owns the domain so you can evalutate the information – this site has the way back machine. Use the search bar to type in your website and it will give you the history of the website from the time it was launched. You can view the different versions of the site and how it has changed over time.
There are a variety of tools that all children should know that tear apart the internet layer by layer.
I have a list of bogus websites that can be used for this, and there are more on Alan’s site: sites Alan shared to demonstrate students taking on teaching roles, and demonstrating deep learning: - Students design tutorials to help other children learn.
http://www.studentnewsaction.net – independent school teachers - Wolfram alpha – investigate this for your math classes
The concept is should we be asking children to do work that teachers used to do? How many jobs can we give to children? Given that we have incredible tools the answer is probably limitless.
Don’t underestimate your kids.
Tags: keynotes Alan November

3. Dr Thomas Hoerr
Dr Thomas Hoerr


1. Who you are is more important than what you know.

2. Three things to reflect on each night:
a). have I offended the people I want to offend?
comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable.
b). Am I making new mistakes?
c). Am I practicing the balance that I preach?
Excellence versus Perfection

3. Important points to remember:
a). teachers determine the quality of the school.
b). The leaders job is NOT to make the teachers happy.
c). The leaders job is to facilitate.

4. The leaders own growth is key:
a). take care of selves
b). be learners
c). fly with change

5. What if staff meetings were voluntary?
How many of your staff would attend? We should apply the same attitude to adults as we do to children.
Staff Meeting Myths:
a). Staff meetings are for sharing information
b). Staff meetings belong to administration
c). Staff meetings should always be lead by management
d). Staff meetings should not focus on content only on process.
e). Staff meetings are formal and serious

6. Leadership is about relationships.

7. Book he recommended: The Checklist Manifesto. By Atul Gawande.

8. We need less reliance on edicts and go-it-alone solutions.
we need more focus on collaboration, distributed intelligence (supplement your skills with others around you), focus on the personal intelligences and EQ (you get hired for IQ but are maintained for EQ)

9. YOUR decision, MY decision, OUR decision: Not all decisions need to be made by everybody or one person. Decisions can be broken into three groupings. You can still ask for advice and ideas but explain whether it is a MY, YOUR or OUR decision situation.

10. Collegiality is the key: If students are to grow and learn, the adults must grow and learn too.
The leaders #1 job is to create a setting in which EVERYONE grows.

11. H.E.A.L
H = Hiring: Collegiality begins with hiring.
E = Expectations: What are the expectations for staff members?
A = Administrators: Abdicate, Assign and Accept!
L = Learning: Learning by everyone is the key to student success

12. Failing wisely - schools need to teach this as it is applicable to students and adults.
Fixed mindset - intelligence is a fixed trait. However much you have is what you have.
Growth mindset - Intelligence is malleable. Einstein wasn't Einstein until after years of hard work.

Praise effort not intelligence.
Praise the verb not the noun.

13. Leadership is creating a culture in which everyone learning becomes an expectation