The Story of Work

We were fortunate enough to have Mark Church from Harvard Project Zero come to our school for our PD day. We spent the day engaged in a variety of activities mixed with provocative questions and excellent scenarios. What I enjoy most about days like this is being at mixed tables with staff members I don’t normally get the chance to work with. We had quite a lively table and some thought-provoking conversations.

One of his questions that still sticks with me is ‘Are we teaching the kids who are going to do it anyway or are we teaching everyone else?’ The idea being that in every institution at every level, there are students who are going to do whatever is put in front of them–even if it’s boring, even if it’s not engaging–and do it well. If we gear our education to the students who will do it anyway, where does that leave everyone else? How do we engage the rest of the class? How does technology help us to reach everyone? Who is education for in your class and what does it look like? Change thinking, change learning, change working.

These ideas are in line with much of the current conversation around changing education. (See Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms). What I like most about these conversations is that technology is finally coming to the forefront. The conversation is no longer about ‘should we use technology to enhance learning?’ but rather HOW can we use technology? We have to already assume that it’s part of the picture–embedded and intwined. The conversation switches towards good practice and is about teaching and learning rather than about the technology on it’s own. Finally!

Pedagogy Ponderings

The Padlet Love Affair Continues!

I have long been a lover of Padlet (even when it used to be Wallwisher). It is one of those apps that can be used across the board for so many things. It’s web-based and the iOS app is very robust as well. I’m still surprised at how many teachers don’t know that it’s out there–so here’s my push for Padlet!

What is Padlet?

Padlets are open walls where students can write, add pictures, links to sites, videos, etc.. Students can add to one Padlet created by you or they can create their own.

What do I need to do as a teacher?

Almost nothing. Go to and create an account. (account creation isn’t required, but there are benefits). Making a blank Padlet for students to use takes seconds. Once created all they need is the link or QR code from you. Bingo—they can start adding to the shared wall.

Why would I use this?
Where do I start? A better question is ‘Why haven’t I been using this all along?” 🙂

-Gathering ideas/brainstorming either individually or as a class or group —easy to see what everyone is doing/thinking all in one spot
-Gathering videos or websites into a bank of resources
-Sharing projects/ideas/plans— include photos, videos and even audio recordings as well as text

I have a HUGE list of ways teachers use Padlet. Let me know when you’re ready for that. One of my favourite bloggers, Matt Miller has an excellent blog post with 20 Useful Ways to Use Padlet In Class Now! He’s certainly someone to follow as his blog is full of great ideas. (Twitter: @jmattmiller)

Padlet Basics:
Below is a short video from a teacher showing you the brand new version of Padlet and how to use it as well as that it can do.

BEST PART: you just make the wall and give it a name—the kids fill it up!

Can I use this on laptops and iPads?
YES! On laptops the students would go to the URL you provide (via email, Google Classroom, QR code, or even writing it on the board). Padlet has an iPad App which is quite robust and works flawlessly. On the iPad, the QR code that Padlet gives you for each wall is one of the quickest ways to share it out—of course it can also be emailed or the link added to Google Classroom.

Final tip: Do have a look at the settings. I almost always choose the ‘grid’ option when using Padlet with large groups. It keeps it organised and doesn’t jump around when new people join.

Happy Padleting!

Tech Tips

Fitting it all together: ATL, ISTE and more

Today my group of fabulous Digital Leader teachers worked together with me to attempt to fit the new  2016 ISTE Standards for Students (which btw are much better) under the Approaches to Learning for PYP (ATL–formerly ‘transdisciplinary skills). I have long believed that there is no need to have loads of separate documents for tech and library media because the ATL seems to house most of it–it’s just not clear on the details. So, we began. We went old-school today and I printed out the ATL statements on strips of paper and stuck them onto individual sheets of paper.This gave us room to move things around, write in questions and ideas and document our own thinking. I handed out the new ISTE standards on strips as well and in teams we began laying them under the ATL we thought it best fit with.

Lo and behold, we were able to do it. We had a convenient sheet called ‘OTHER’ where we stuck any ISTE standards that didn’t have a natural fit. As expected, what was leftover were the ‘Innovative Designer’ standards. In our conversation afterwards, we agreed that these should come up as part of our units of inquiry and be recognised there, but we’ll continue that conversation.

Our next steps are to flush out more detail for what the ISTE Standards look like across the grade levels and include samples and ideas. By the end of this school year we hope to have a document that is both relevant and used across the primary school to document and map our use of the ISTE Standards in relation to the ATL. Watch this space….

Pedagogy Ponderings

Hello world!


I normally would delete the standard ‘Hello World’ WP post, but it seemed apt for the first post on this blog journey. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for ages. I’ve contributed to several blogs regularly and I write plenty for our school website and for teachers but had never found the time to put it all out into the world. So, here we go.

Last year our school had the pleasure of having Silvia Tolisano (who writes the Langwitches blog). She truly inspired me with regards to blogging, documenting learning and developing portfolios professionally and with students. Since then I’ve been actively working with our staff to improve our portfolios and have now taken the challenge to blog about my own practice. This will house my learning, reflections, ideas, inspirations, tips and wonderings. Let the journey begin…. 🙂