Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Auckland central schools use collaboration to drive change in Pāngarau/Mathematics

During the holidays the Pāngarau/Mathematics Initiative presented at ULEARN 2018. Two of our Across School Leaders and four of our In-School Leaders presented our years
work, they were Sonya, Andy, Belinda, Ainsley, Emily and Clara.

Here are our slides.

Summary of what we spoke about
Currently, the Auckland Central Community of Schools is made up of 11 schools and 1 ECE. The title of our community is ACCoS, and it still includes schools because we began when all applicants were known as Community of Schools. The initial achievement challenges were endorsed in 2015, and it 2017 we re-evaluated these. Moving forward, we wanted to ensure there was collaboration between schools, but also include goals that would fit in with the strategic plans for each school.

At the end of 2017, Auckland Normal Intermediate, Parnell District School and Newmarket Primary School identified Pāngarau/Mathematics as a focus for professional development in 2018. This was part of all three schools strategic plans and the work of the mathematics initiative began.

The purpose
The purpose of the initiative was to work together to provide Professional Learning for the three schools in Pāngarau/Mathematics. Within the three schools there are 77 teachers and in total there are 1,450 students. We stressed the importance of all school leaders being actively involved as one of the key successes for the initiative. In order to measure the effectiveness of the initiative, the three schools agreed that student attitude data would be used as a comparison indicator to see how successful the initiative was in strengthening teacher pedagogy knowledge and content knowledge when teaching Pāngarau/Mathematics in our schools.

We reached out to the community of schools and invited Primary and Secondary teachers to our across school hui. There were several across school meetings, where the teaching staff from each school got together to share what they were doing in relation to Pāngarau/Mathematics. There were discussions around own experiences with Pāngarau/Mathematics and how this has influenced our teaching, and identified some effective strategies to approach maths teaching.

In addition, we celebrated Maths week as an initiative. We created the inaugural across school A-Math-Zing Race, where students from the three schools came together for a morning of competition fun which included maths puzzles and activities.

Knowing the secondary school expectation for intermediate students transitioning was another area we looked into. Dr Sue Spencer who is the Head of Department for Maths at Epsom Girls Grammar School shared the skills and knowledge students need to know as they enter year 9.

We still have a way to go but the changes we saw in our students, teachers and community regarding the way they spoke about and viewed Pāngarau/Mathematics are encouraging. We aim to keep expanding and working with teachers across year levels within our schools.

What we learnt

Collective teacher efficacy impacts learners and no school is left behind because together we aimed to lift the achievement of every student. Collaborative conversation based on evidence between the three schools has been the key to improved outcomes for our Pāngarau/Mathematics initiative. Collaboration across schools provided opportunities for school leaders, teachers and students to explore new ideas/ways of doing Pāngarau/Mathematics. Including parents and whanau in the discussion is an effective strategy for learning and incorporating external agencies is also important to grow our practice.

Overall we had a great session sharing our journey. We made connections as a Pāngarau/Mathematics team and we made connections with other Kāhui Ako. We collaborated on ideas of what we needed to cover for our session and used the experience to reflect and celebrate on all we have achieved over the year in our Pāngarau/Mathematics Initiative.

We had some lovely positive feedback that helped confirm the importance of sharing what we do and also some suggestions for where to next when sharing.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Preparing the next generation for the algorithmic age. Mike Walsh: Final Keynote Speaker at Ulearn 2018.

Blog post:

Helen Cooper interviewing Mike via virtual projection.

Ulearn 2018 was both eye opening and energising as we rubbed shoulders with educators from around the country and from around the globe. Finishing up the three day event was key note Mike Walsh. Walsh is a futurist who travels the globe researching and talking to companies and groups about thinking and innovation which addresses the world of constant change that we live in. He joined the audience via a video presentation initially, then Helen Cooper from Core Education interviewed him via hologram projected onto a clear plastic screen, which was an odd sight, yet somehow perfectly normal at the same time.

Walsh discussed a reality where we cannot avoid ‘big data', analytics and ‘machine thinking’. Therefore, we have to prepare our children and students for this digital world, where our services are more and more likely to be run through a digital platforms. He gave the example of beggars on the street in China who ask for money via a Q Code rather than cash. In China platforms such as WeiShing and WeChat dominate. Walsh is positive about this future ahead. Believing that technology and automation will free us up to give more time to our children and learning in the future. He sees great potential in digital tools, environments and artificial intelligence that can assist teachers and parents to help learners reach their own potential.

What does he think education will look like in 20 years? Will classes, teachers and schools disappear to be replaced with online courses? He provided us some respite from the relentless focus on a digital future by reinforcing the importance and power of people working, in ‘full resolution’. He sees the future as being a blend of human and artificial intelligence. In his view it will not be entirely digital or online, it will be a combination, the screens will be less visible but DATA and algorithms will be prevalent in informing decisions. However, human imagination, intelligence and empathy will always be needed even in the face of AI, even if computers can process patterns and information millions of times faster than we can. ..Whew!

Some lessons for the future from Mike:
  1. The consequences of of big change are arriving in the world: We need to teach the coming generation about being comfortable with uncertainty / ambiguity and to be flexible in the face of change. The ability to handle ambiguity will be a key skill.
  2. We need to recognise and harness the power of Artificial Intelligence rather than being fearful of it.
  3. We need to focus on the ability to centre ourselves and find the right moral compass - to make good and ethical judgement within this environment of change and technology.
It was heartening for me to see that his final message was an emphasis on philosophy, ethics and critical thinking as these are a passion of my own and something we have been developing within the ACCoS, particularly at EGGS in the last three years. Walsh discussed the example of Facebook in relation to this last point. In the scandal which broke in 2017, where it was determined that Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook did not break any laws in allowing Cambridge Analytica to use Facebook data. However, Facebook did break the trust of users and broke moral laws. Bringing ethical issues around data and privacy and the effect of algorithms on democracy to the forefront of discussions. These are issues we will need to address with our students now and in the future.

You can see video clips by Mike Walsh online

Lisa Murphy

Saturday, 13 October 2018

If you don’t lead with small data, you’ll be led by Big Data

About Pasi Sahlberg @pasi_sahlberg

Prof Pasi Sahlberg has recently been appointed a professor of educational policy in the School of Education, UNSW, and will be working closely with Prof Adrian Piccoli setting up the new Gonski Institute for Education.
Pasi has worked as a school teacher, teacher educator, researcher, and policy advisor in Finland and has studied education systems, analysed education policies, and advised education reforms around the world.
He speaks 6 languages (Croatian, German, Finnish, English, Swedish and Italian)


Learning analytics, algorithms and big data are knocking on the doors of many schools promising fast improvements and new solutions to wicked problems facing schools today.
In the midst of datafication educators need to remember the power of small data: tiny clues through personal observations, collective human judgment, and raw instinct that can lead to big change in schools. Leading with small data requires collaboration, trust and professionalism as key features of educational change.
Link to Pasi’s presentation

Big Data

Data is changing the way we deliver education. Education data in general is run by big data educators. Big data is the process of sorting through large data sets to identify patterns and trends to reveal correlations and predict the future. Big data uses algorithms to establish relationships and solve problems through data analysis.  Big data does things like data mining and is processed by machines.
But does big data really make education smarter? How does big data help schools? In order for that big data to work we as educators have to contribute small data.

Small Data

Small data is processed by humans who continuously look for tiny clues to reveal
causations. Small data helps us understand the present. But is small data, smart learning? Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. So as teachers we collect small data to contribute to our school’s big data. But more importantly we should be looking at the best way of using that small data to improve our practice.


Is learning all about the data? Pasi say’s As educators we should trust our raw instincts of what works. Be amongst what is happening- not just observing and monitoring.’
Alongside our learning data we should be focussing on relations. Relationships with our students and family, relationships with our colleagues both in and beyond our schools, relationships with our communities both locally and globally.

In the midst of datafication educators need to remember the power of small data: tiny clues through personal observations, collective human judgment, and raw instinct that can lead to big change in schools. Lead and think with small data first, then use in conjunction with the rest of your skillset and Big Data.  Ethically, rather than develop and agree to systems that put even more emphasis on screen learning and can truly mine data for Big Data, we should be pushing for ‘face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath to get a full understanding of who we are working with.’

Personalised Learning

Where is the personalisation of learning if the learner's voice is not in it? Be cautious with letting machines do the thinking and learning. As educators we know that social skills are a critical component of learning and we need more play. Therefore, let us listen more to human observation, conversations and relationships. Professional wisdom is balancing value-based experience and combination of small and big data for collective judgment in school.

Lead with small data. Think with small data first, then use in conjunction with the rest of your
skillset and Big Data.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Telling the real stories from our past to inspire a positive future

How does our understanding of who we are effect who we will be?  
Link to the video

Hana O'Regan laid down a challenge to New Zealand educators in her keynote at uLearn 18 this week. She asked us to tell stories, stories that have not been told; in reality, stories that in the past were not allowed to be told.

Hana proposed that cultural narratives impact our self-perception. She questioned the negativity within stories from our cultural legacy that our ākonga are hearing and described their potential impact on young Maori. As teachers, we can help to reverse this effect by acknowledging the role these negative messages have and talking about where they have come from. We can then work towards filling in the historical gaps and actively sharing the positives. A good place to start might be drawing attention to the notably high levels of Maori literacy in colonial times (for example the 47 Maori language newspapers in circulation) and sharing examples of pioneering Maori academics as inspirational role models.

So how can we rise to Hana's challenge within our learning community ACCOS?
What can we do to build positive self-belief in our Maori students?
How can we extend this concept to the multi-cultural context of our schools?

Let us "be brave" (Hana's words); we must reflect on the cultural narrative that is shared in our classrooms and positively override the stereotypes by telling the stories that count.
Let us and our students find stories about our local area and about successful alumni from our schools and share them with each other.
Let us empower our students so that they are creating their own future narratives of success.

Tō reo ki te raki, tō mana ki te whenua
Let your story be heard in the heavens, And your mana be restored to the land

Thanks to the amazing artist at uLearn who captured the keynote in annotated images.

Link to more information about Hana and uLearn18.

Friday, 31 August 2018

The Mathematics/Pāngarau Initiative for Auckland Central Community of Schools.

The quality and capability of school leadership is the most significant in school influence on student outcomes. (ERO, 2016).

Richard George Principal of Parnell District School, Virginia Kung Deputy Principal of Newmarket School and Champion of Mathematics/Pāngarau, Jill Farquharson Principal of Auckland Normal Intermediate and Lead Principal of Auckland Central Community of Schools (ACCoS), Wendy Kofoed Principal of Newmarket School.

Behind are the teachers working collaboratively from the three schools. 
They are sharing their inquiries with each other.

Our ACCoS Kāhui Ako  Mathematics/Pangārau Initiative was initially formed at the end of 2017 when Auckland Normal Intermediate, Parnell District School which is a full primary and Newmarket Primary School which is a contributing primary, identified Mathematics as a focus for professional development in 2018 which was part of the schools strategic plans, as a way of working together across schools. The principals and members of their leadership team met with the Across School Leaders and the Champion who had been allocated to identify, plan for and help drive the Across Schools Collaborative Inquiries in a more direct and explicit way.
Within the three schools there are 77 teachers and in total there are 1,450 students.
Across the three schools the achievement data is generally above, when based on National Standards. 

As agreed by all schools taking part in the mathematics initiative the focus is around Teacher Pedagogy (Building on Content and Knowledge). In order to measure the effectiveness of the initiative student attitude data is used as a comparison indicator to gauge how successful the initiative is in strengthening teacher pedagogy knowledge and content knowledge when teaching maths in our schools. 

The Across School Leaders highlight pedagogies that motivate and engage students and identifyeffective strategies that support teachers in unpacking their content knowledge in mathematics. They look at the effect size using John Hattie's research.

They ensure that links are made with school directions and goals and ensure that achievement challenge 5 which is parent engagement and participation have been included as part of the process.
All schools agreed to share their strategic plans for 2018 and their assessment data for 2017 as a starting base for the  ACCoS Kāhui Ako  Mathematics/Pangārau Initiative inquiry. 

With the purpose of the collaboration is to improve outcomes, our Auckland Central Community of Schools Mathematics/Pāngarau Initiative, the three schools involved work collaboratively for school improvement and student achievement. When the schools in the initiative hold meetings or sharing of teacher practice, the three school principals are often seen and are visible in the initiative. Included in the above photo is our Mathematics/Pāngarau Champion who supports and guides the initiative lead Across school Leader (ASL) in her role as AcrossSchool Leader.

In addition to this photo the deputy principals from the three schools are also visible by working together, across schools to help unpack the data gathered from the initiative and sit behind the ASLs and In School Leaders (ISL) within the initiative to help guide and steer direction so that all members involved are focussed on the same goal. The effectiveness of the initiative will be measured using the effect size tool to measure progress and not achievement.

Alongside this initiative, there is a support ASL who helps with organisation and five ISL who lead the Professional Learning Groups/Communities within their own schools and share back school happenings when the team meet twice each term. The ISL analyse data for improvement by tracking historic data and analysing attitudinal data to unpack a correlation in achievement. To improve the quality of teaching and learning across the schools they access and run professional development that is aligned with their schools’ priorities which have been identified in the school’s strategic plans.

Key Drivers
Together the Mathematics/Pāngarau team have identified key drivers such as developing teachers pedagogical knowledge with a deep look at content knowledge to help prioritise what is taught, ongoing analysis of learners needs to ensure that a focus on learners remains the purpose of our work and a focus on parent engagement and participation.
Our long-term outcomes are:
●      Teachers working together across schools
●      Identified teaching strategies that have the greatest effect in mathematics
●      Increased positive attitudes of the learners towards Mathematics/Pāngarau.
●      Contribute to an increase in total assessment data
●      Reduce the level of not achieved in each school
●      Greater awareness about  Achievement Challenge 5 Parent Engagement & Participation

Transparency in the team
As an initiative within ACCoS, the work is transparent by sharing with everyone within this Kāhui Ako. This work is accessible online via the ACCoS Team drive that is hosted in Google Apps for Education.  Regular updates are shared via our ACCoS blog so that what we do is visible to the rest of Kāhui Ako in New Zealand. The shared expectation for our ISL is consistent in the initiative, each term all ASLs report initiative progress and 'where to next' with all the principals within ACCoS. ASLs also report what we do with our Boards of Trustees both in school and across schools.

Our ISL planning an across school event.
Masina from Parnell District School.
Andy and Emily from Auckland Normal Intermediate,
Ainsley and Belinda from Newmarket School
Students and teachers across the three schools at the end of the aMathing Race.

Recently trust and honesty have bubbled to the surface as teachers within the initiative have worked together to achieve several goals such as teachers and students sharing and collaborating across the three schools. This step in the process has been exciting as it has helped bond members across the schools. Some of the collaborative work has included creating an overview of Mathematics/Pāngarau across the three schools, planning for some of our students to work together using some of the effective strategies learnt in class, sharing professional learning group inquiries across the schools, and unpacking, analysing and sharing student attitudinal data gathered within school with Boards of Trustees and celebrating Mathematics/Pāngarau Week.

Highlights from our Maths Week

The lead ASLs of the initiative is currently undergoing peer review and have the opportunity to analyse feedback with our across school’s mentor and use this to further drive improvement in the Mathematics/Pāngarau Initiative. In School Leaders within the initiative will go through their own reviews as part of the cycle of collaborative inquiry. This process and documentation have been agreed to by the principals in ACCoS so the process is consistent across all schools.

As an initiative the team has worked to embrace more than just school leaders, teachers, and students but also parents and other leaders in the field. This final part exemplifies the original ACCoS AchievementChallenge 5 which is the focus on Parent Engagement and Participation.
The teachers in the Mathematics/Pāngarau Initiative have evolved from getting to know each other, to collaboration and working together, and soon to be co-responsible and accountable for results as data is gathered and analysed for the next phase of inquiry because ultimately the work that happens is for school improvement and student achievement.

Sharing at National Level

Soon members of the team have the opportunity to share at Ulearn, therefore, contributing to the national system where other Kāhui Ako come together to share. This will also be a chance to hear the voices of our ISL as they share the highlights and challenges they have encountered when working together across the schools. They welcome scrutiny and feedback from peers and the chance to make connections with other Kāhui Ako in New Zealand and to hear about their learning journeys.

Where to next for the Mathematics/Pāngarau Initiative
  • Our In School Leaders will be sharing our journey at Ulearn 2018 .
  • There is another across schools sharing session planned for term 4 for all teachers involved in the initiative from the three schools.
  • Coaching strategies have been identified as an area for further development.
  • An opportunity to share student voice has also been identified.
  • The effectiveness of the initiative will be measured, analysed and shared with the schools and their communities involved and then with ACCoS.

ACCoS (Ed.). (2015). Auckland Central Community of Schools Shared Achievement Challenge Plan 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2018, from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4XtRuzP2QPMUHRjMTcyNVdiWEk/view

ERO (Ed.). (2016). SCHOOL LEADERSHIP THAT WORKS. Retrieved August 19, 2018, from http://www.ero.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/School-Leadership-that-Works-Nov-2016.pdf

Killian, S. (2016, July 13). How To Know Thy Impact Using Effect Size. Retrieved August 20, 2018, from http://www.evidencebasedteaching.org.au/know-thy-impact-using-effect-size/