Sparkly Steph

On a quest to find hidden technological & teaching gems

Week 32 – Activity 8: Changes in my Practice


Reflective practice has been defined by Osterman & Kottkamp (1993) as a Experiential Learning Cycle where it begins with a problem that may not be able to be resolved with standard, traditional practice. This cycle is shown below:

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Upon reflection of this 32 week Mindlab course I have come to realise that what I thought was a a solid understanding of collaboration was in fact more a definition of cooperation. Cooperative tasks involve students working together to “act in conjunction with another person or thing, to an end purpose, or in work” (Richards, Elliot, Woloshyn & Mitchell, 2001, P.63). Collaborative tasks have been defined by Gouseti as “to work jointly with others either face-to-face and/or online to create and produce something. This entails creating situations where students can engage in team-work and interaction, with synchronous or asynchronous, give and receive feedback and guidance, edit the work of others, and disseminate the content produced to a broader public, that is, the classroom” (Gouseti, 2014, P.167). This was exemplified by the ‘Atoms Collaboration Task’ that I carried out as part of my Digital and Collaborative Inquiry four months ago. The task is briefly shown below:Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 7.45.16 PM.png

I further critiqued my innovative practice but reading earlier research and gaining feedback from colleagues and I realised that I need to work on developing my understanding of true collaboration and how to use this to facilitate meaningful learning connections for the students. I started on this journey by structuring the guidance I gave differently in order to encourage creative freedom and inquiry. I also went about focussing on ‘student lurkers’ as defined by Gouseti (2014) – students who have little knowledge with digital tools resist getting involved in a group setting. I believe that this compliments Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice. I also further developed my professional learning and personal practice this year by attending the #edchatnz unconference, becoming involved in a number of twitter chats, being an active member in the Mindlab Google + community and sharing how I use Microsoft tools in the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program.

The second criteria I believe I have made some growth in is Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning. In the Leadership in Digital and Collaborative learning paper I chose to develop a change initiative that was based on raising the quality of student examination answers through the use of tasks that scaffold student responses. On reflection of this change initiative I have come to realise that I am only just beginning this journey of leadership development. It appears that “transformational leadership can be taught and learned” but I do wonder who am I learning from? (Bass & Riggio, 2006) Who was my transformational mentor? (Clair, 2001)

In hindsight I also thought that I should have adopted the Pacesetting style of Transformational Leadership in order to gather more quantitative data in a short amount of time. This pacesetting style can be seen in a direct and driven leader (Bass & Riggio, 2006). It may have also established expectations of equal commitment by all team members during the initiative. At times I felt that I was doing an unfairly large chunk of the development of the resource of which we were meant to be collaborating on. Being more directive in terms of setting more solid timeframes and checkpoints could have prevented this.


My next dream is to explore and develop some of the other criteria’s, especially ones that relate to the wellbeing and academic success of all ākonga.


Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational Leadership (2nd ed.). Mahwah: Taylor and Francis.

Clair, L. S. (2001). Transformational Leadership And Mentoring: Theoretical Links And Practical Implications.


Gouseti, A, 2014, Digital Technologies for School Collaboration. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators. California.Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from


Richards, M.,Elliot, A., Woloshyn, V., & Mitchell, C., 2001, Collaboration Uncovered – The Forgotten, The Assumed, and the Unexamined in Collaborative  Education. London: Bergin & garvey.

Week 31 – Activity 7: My Interdisciplinary Connection Map

Prior to this activity I had little knowledge of what ‘interdisciplinary’ in an education context was. Through research I have come to the realisation that interdisciplinary collaboration is about combining ideas from a variety of learning areas so that students can create meaningful learning connections. Mathison and Freeman define it as “it has clear objectives that include both critical-thinking skills and in-depth content, and is typically teacher directed but may welcome student input” (Mathison,S.& Freeman, M, 1997, P.12). I believe that interdisciplinary collaboration compliments the movement of 21st Century learning and is future focused.  Continue reading “Week 31 – Activity 7: My Interdisciplinary Connection Map”

Week 30 – Activity 6: Using Social Online Networks in Teaching and Professional Development

My Personal Social Media Use

I have several personal social media accounts. In order to  distance these accounts/pages from my teaching career I have established significant privacy settings on them and limit what I share and post. I also follow the advice of the my school’s ‘Staff Manual 2016’ which states that teachers should act online as they wish students to do as well. Continue reading “Week 30 – Activity 6: Using Social Online Networks in Teaching and Professional Development”

Week 29 – Activity 5: Legal and Ethical Contexts in my Digital Practice

After some research I have developed an understanding of ethical dilemmas within teaching in a digital context. From the ‘Code of Professional Responsibility for Educators’ a section states that there is a “Responsibility to the Profession: The professional educator, in full recognition of his or her obligation to the profession, shall: Conduct himself or herself as a professional realizing that his or her actions reflect directly upon the status and substance of the profession; district policies, or laws” (Ethical and Professional Dilemmas for Educator: Facilitator’s Guide, 2012). I think this is important to take note of as in our position as a teacher we should make conscious decisions to act responsibly and positively through our actions and choices. We have significant influence on our student’s and families lives on a constant basis. The above code of personal responsibility compliments the latest ‘Code of Ethics for Certified Teachers’, which purpose can be explained as “teachers certificated to practice in New Zealand are committed to the attainment of the highest standards of professional service in the promotion of learning by those they teach, mindful of the learner’s ability, cultural background, gender, age or stage of development” (Education Council New Zealand). There are four pillars to the code which define professional interactions – Truth, Responsible to Care, Justice and Autonomy. Justice can be defined as “to share power and prevent the abuse of power” which stood out to me as significant as per recent news articles about New Zealand teachers possibly abusing their position of power (Education Council New Zealand). Continue reading “Week 29 – Activity 5: Legal and Ethical Contexts in my Digital Practice”

Week 28 – Activity 4: Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Responsiveness in my Practice

The school that I work at currently embraces and develops indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness. In terms of my own cultural intelligence I completed the self review in cultural intelligence survey, as adapted from Te Toi Tupu’s website. Within this I felt that I had developed and am now confident in the area of ‘behavioural cultural intelligence’ as I can think of recent situations where I I intuitively change verbal communication styles when interacting with culturally diverse others. One such situation is when I travelled to China in July to teach English and had sought advice from more experienced ESOL teachers on how to improve my verbal communication style to be more effective and appropriate. I was conscious of the pace at which I spoke and of selecting words that were more common and easy to explain the definition of. Furthermore, I have continued this style of communication back at my current school. The China experience and my general experience as a teacher has made me develop more of an awareness in how I communicate with all students regardless of their culture. Continue reading “Week 28 – Activity 4: Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Responsiveness in my Practice”

Week 27 – Activity 3: Contemporary Issues or Trends in New Zealand or Internationally

The Education Review Office (ERO) has identified three key findings in the report titled ‘Evaluation at a Glance: Priority Learners in New Zealand Schools‘ (Education Review Office, 2012).The three issues are; Continue reading “Week 27 – Activity 3: Contemporary Issues or Trends in New Zealand or Internationally”

Mindlab Week 26 -Acitivity 2: Current Issues in my Professional Context

The school I teach at has had mixed academic results and has been involved in a number of initiatives in the past. I believe it is on a pathway to establishing a positive school climate and this is starting to be reflected in our NCEA achievements. The school that I teach at has a positive school climate based around the development of students into lifelong learners. Within the idea of life long learning is the skill of leadership.  Earlier this year the school held a ‘Sir Peter Blake Leadership’ week which involved the announcement of a student lead design project of the quote ‘I touch the future. I teach’. Another purpose of the week was to celebrate and acknowledge teachers as leaders of a profession. Continue reading “Mindlab Week 26 -Acitivity 2: Current Issues in my Professional Context”

Mindlab Week 25 -Activity 1 – Communities of Practice

In this week’s reading I came across Wenger’s explanation of the three elements of a ‘Community of Practice’. The first element was of ‘joint enterprise’ and this was defined as members being joined together by a “collectively developed understanding of what their community is about”(Wenger.E, 2000). Continue reading “Mindlab Week 25 -Activity 1 – Communities of Practice”

Mindlab Week 20 – Teaching as Inquiry Plan


For this week I have been reflecting on a teaching as inquiry plan. Week 20 was an introduction to the concept of teacher-led research. This inquiry plan will be a continuation of Flipped Learning as this is what I explored in my Literature Review.

Continue reading “Mindlab Week 20 – Teaching as Inquiry Plan”

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