Authentic Challenges

Another full on week at HPSS where I really focused on continuing to make sure the learning was authentic. This was the next step up as I try to continually improve the learning occurring and much of what happened in the week was due to what had occurred the previous week.

The Galileo Educational Network have an awesome inquiry rubric that I regularly refer to. This image below is of the section on Authenticity that I have looked back on whilst reflecting on the weekend:

Galileo Authentic Inquiry Rubric

Galileo Authentic Inquiry Rubric

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An Acclamation for the Maker Community

You may have noticed in recent posts that I have been spending a lot of time making and playing with robotics lately. This is a new interest and definitely not something I had any skills in (in fact my partner would gladly tell you about how useless I generally am at stereotypical manly making type skills). I have, however, been learning rapidly and this is due to the awesome help I have been receiving from others.

This post is primarily a thank you to those who have personally helped me and my students but also indirectly to share the awesomeness of the global Maker community who exemplify a culture of helping others. Instead of guarding their inventions and tinkering privately, they share instructions, the code that makes it run, have help forums and openly encourage people to take them and try to improve them. In this manner, the community is self-perpetuating and constantly improving itself.

My interest was initially sparked by seeing and hearing about the tinkering of Mark Osborne and Stephen Lethbridge. Continue reading

Excited Puppy

Source unknown

Original Source unknown

Over recent times I have gained the nickname “Excited Puppy” at work and even been given the picture above by a workmate to represent me. This is because I seem to be amped all the time about the awesome stuff happening at Hobsonville Point Secondary School or whatever the latest book/article/blog I read has taught me.

A week ago I wrote Warm and Demanding about how we were working through some challenges at school. That post cleared my mind again and helped me to see that we are going to figure out solutions and reiterate processes based on our vision. Since then I have been in a strong “excited puppy” phase again as I have been able to focus on all the great things occurring.
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Bias Towards Action

Elements of a Design Thinking Mindset from dSchool K12 Wiki

Elements of a Design Thinking Mindset from dSchool K12 Wiki

A bias towards action is the element of a design thinking mindset that resonates with me the most and what I see as really making this such a powerful pedagogical approach. Yet, the bias towards action is bizarrely an aspect that has seen some teachers question the appropriateness of design thinking as an approach for all learning areas. For me, the bias towards action is what makes this an authentic inquiry process rather than just another project producing a poster. Continue reading

Bringing Discovery Back

On Friday I was invited/gatecrashed a visit by our Deputy Principals to see the Mind Lab in Newmarket. It is an incredible space that really empowers people to discover science, technology and engineering. We are having a large MakerSpace built in our new school so were looking forward to seeing some ideas for how it could be set up and used plus work out what the Mind Lab could offer above what we could do in future.

Chris Clay met us and showed us around the amazing space while explaining what each area is used for: film special effects, 3D animation, robotics, coding, science…it was incredible as you can see from the photos below:

What a Science Lab can look like

What a Science Lab can look like

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The Coding Room and Corridor down to Robotics

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Great Competitions You May Not Have Heard Of

I have come across some great competitions for NZ students over the past couple of weeks and wondered how many new about them. All 3 of these provide great, engaging, provoking tasks that Im sure at least some of your students will love!

The Barbara Petchenik Childrens Mapping Competition is an international competition that occurs every 2 years. It aims to promote children’s creative representation of the world in graphic form, to enhance their cartographic awareness and to make them more conscious of their environment. There are 4 different age groups and the maps can be made in a wide range of forms. More info is available here.

The Eggs Prize Competition is being launched at the Makertorium in April at Te Papa. It is a team competition to design a machine that can transport an egg. Teams are open to create a machine using any technology they choose (barring explosives) be it simple or complex. As well as an overall judged “best machine” there will be awards, such as most humorous, fastest, best technically, most efficient and most eco friendly. See more on the Makertorium website here.

Mix and Mash is a chance for students to get creative mixing up creative commons digital content into new stories. It will teach digital citizenship skills as well as letting them get creative. I saw this 2 days ago and we have already worked the first round of it into our Year 10 accelerate Social Studies programme – it is that great! Read more at

What other great unknown competitions are out there!?