Saturday, July 30, 2011

eWrapper Conference

On the last day of the holidays I had the pleasure of attending the eWrapper Mini Conference at Everglade School in Manukau.  I was even more excited to have been asked to present a workshop by Rachel Boyd.  The choice for the workshops were huge! It was really hard picking workshops which ranged in topics from thinking, green screening, mobile devices, questioning and more!

The day started with a keynote presentation by Trevor Bond based on the notion that there shouldn't be such a huge focus on Inquiry models but rather more of a focus on the learner and their needs.  This looked like a fantastic keynote but unfortunately I wasn't able to be there for the whole keynote.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to see this at a later date.

I was fortunate however to be able to attend Trevor's Questioning workshop later in the day. This has been a big focus for me this year and he definitely threw a few spanners into the work and made us think and question what we are doing.  One of the quotes that he worked through was a quote by Edward De Bono - "Questioning is the engine-house of thinking."  He then worked through the notion that as teachers we shouldn't be so focussed on the 'fat' and 'skinny' questions but rather look at how student's questioning skills can be developed to be more specific and focussed.  He argued that sometime there is a high need for 'skinny' questions that prove them to be more than effective in gaining the information they require.  One of the participants referred back to "what every good marketer would know" that the use of a skinny 'screening question' is highly effective to find out if the person they are talking to fits their requirements.

A good question is one that:
- is relevant
- gets you the information you need
- can be taken from intelligent and non-intelligent sources
(Intelligent being people / non-intelligent being books, internet etc)

The idea of modelling to the students as questioners is a huge concept also.  What kinds of questions are we demonstrating to our students?

Something that really hit home from me and that I took from this workshop was the notion of what do we do with those questions that kids ask? The on topic questions? The random questions? The ones that we just can't answer right now?  I've always loved the idea of a wondering wall but then for me it's been the next step.  How do we answer these and really acknowledge that we appreciate and accept a range of questions that will develop our student's knowledge?  I've done a lot of thinking about this in the last day and I have a few ideas about how this could work in class.  So keep tuned to see where this goes.  I think this was my BIG takeaway from the day.  If you want to find out more about Trevor Bond head along to his website at ICTNZ.

I also went to a workshop looking at how the Key Competencies were being developed at Reremoana School.  There were some great ideas and really interesting to see how they had created their own Learning Competencies based on school and community feedback.  They had fantastic use of Learning Journals in their math's programme to set goals, question and reflect on their own learning.  There is more information about this on Lisa's Weebly.

Question Everything

Photo used under CC via Flickr: dullhunk

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