Monday, July 4, 2016

Agile Methodology in Education

I originally thought about teaching Agile as an effective process of project management to enable students to land projects on time. However, this blog makes me rethink the fundamentals of the content and processes of my Digital Technology projects:

The blog encapsulates the student first approach through collaboraboration and rapid prototyping of fail fast and fail often to fail smart, This links in with Carol Dweck's "Growth Mindset" research of embracing setbacks as part of the iterative process of learning and improvements - rather than the fixed and static judgement of 'failure'.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

L2 & 3 Database assessments

L2 & L3 students,

Old Skool DATABASES!!!

Back in the noughties, like 2009, we taught databases using software like Excel & Access - rather than web apps in the cloud that run on PHP & MySQL. However, many of the basic fundamentals are the same, so there is still much to gain from them.

Here are the help files you will need for Databases, don't forget you will need to attend lunchtime and after-school tutorials to complete your work. Use these database links to do homework.

PHP & MySQL resources for 2.41 / 3.41

Dynamic DB driven websites with PHP / MySQL need a web server. There are options such as: 

  • - cloud based IDE
  • - free hosting
  • Dreamspark Azure - free for students - ask about a serial no.
  • XAMPP - you can run local web server on your PC / Mac etc.

YouTube Video Tutorials:

Other Resources:

3 years ago, when I did the teacher PD with Andy Able from Yoobee (Natcoll) and read through their book on PHP & MySQL I was struck by the thought that it would too difficult for the average Y12/13 student and they may lose interest with the textbook / lecture format. So I put PHP/MySQL on a back burner to concentrate on teaching web dev, relational database management and programming separately.

However, having studied Blended Learning and flipped classroom models I now think that this could work really well to combine these three areas of web dev, programming and relational database management - if they are supported by good interactive resources. 

This list is by no means exhaustive - but I think these resources are more than sufficient to support teaching Y12 & Y13. I don't expect all of these will work for all of your students' preferred learning styles and I don't expect you should scare them off by tring to do all of them, however, I think combining some of them will work well.

1) Watch & Do these REALLY good Video Courses from with interactive quizes (BTW these ones are FREE but you can subscribe for all courses)
ALL FREE ones:

2) Do these interactive courses on

3) Support the learning with SOLO Learn Interactive mobile learning quiz apps for iOS or Android etc


Bucky Roberts is awesome! is Youtube channel and website The New Boston are packed with CS goodness:
SQL database:

For Online reference tutorials on PHP and MySQL check out:


  (you can filter your search to FREE courses)
Thorough Video based courses (passive learning):

Monday, February 29, 2016

Javascript Programming Posters

I found a series of programming posters on ComputingAtSchools which showed programming concepts visually with Python code and The Simpsons. I have updated these posters for my students who are learning JavaScript for Y11-Y13 via

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Mind Lab by Unitec Blog: Teachers learning how to make the best use of tech...

So much Social Media to choose from... :)

The Mind Lab by Unitec Blog: Teachers learning how to make the best use of tech...: Tablets, smart phones, applications, animation and building games like Minecraft are ubiquitous in households..... but how do teachers get t...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Activity 10: Summarising your Postgraduate Learning Journey and your planning for the future

I wrote and published an extensive answer to these criteria. For some strange reason the Blogger software timed out and my post was only saved in its draft form. I only realised this after I had made a PDF of the blog and uploaded it to the portal for marking.
Once the other work is uploaded I will rewrite this post from memory. Perhaps the learning experience is that I should write offline and copy & paste into the blog software.

The 12 Teacher's Criteria are listed here:

and are as follows:

Practising Teacher Criteria

Professional relationships and professional values
  • Criteria 1: Establish and maintain effective professional relationships focused on the learning and well-being of all ākonga.
  • Criteria 2: Demonstrate commitment to promoting the well-being of ākonga.
  • Criteria 3: Demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa / New Zealand.
  • Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice.
  • Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.
Professional knowledge in practice
  • Criteria 6: Conceptualise, plan, and implement an appropriate learning programme.
  • Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment.
  • Criteria 8: Demonstrate in practice their knowledge and understanding of how ākonga learn.
  • Criteria 9: Respond effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga.
  • Criteria 10: Work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa NZ.
  • Criteria 11: Analyse and appropriately use assessment and information, which has been gathered formally and informally.
  • Criteria 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.

Ākonga is inclusive of all learners in the full range of settings.

Activity 10: Summarising your Postgraduate Learning Journey and your
planning for the future
Create a blog post where you reflect on your personal 32 week learning
journey through the whole postgraduate programme with regard to the 12
Practising Teacher Criteria (RTC) in e-learning . Think about which of the
criteria you have met and briefly give examples from your practice. You
can also refer to previous (DCL, LDC, R&C or APC) assessments that you
now have as evidence. Plan and justify two main goals for your future

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Activity 9: Evaluations of cultural responsiveness in practice

A koru banner I designed for SBC to reflect their commitment to multi-cultural akonga in Te Awa Kairangi,

St Bernard's College has been proactive with staff PD. This excerpt from the Strategic Plan covers diversity and inclusivity:

"Cultural Diversity St Bernard’s College is a multicultural city college comprising 15.7% Māori, 18.7% Pasifika, 14% Asian 4.1% other, 47.4% European.... 
Our Catholic character is reflected in the commitment to fostering positive cultural relationships...

The College values cultural diversity and treats all students equally and equitably. The Management Procedure on Equity Regarding Learning Programmes ensures this for students of all cultures.
The college has well established and effective whanau/parent consultation groups for Māori, Pasifika and Filipino. Tikanga Māori & Te Reo Māori The school works to support instruction in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori for full time students whose parents ask for it....
The college management procedure on Treaty Goals and Objectives ensures that the intent of the Treaty of Waitangi is fulfilled and that knowledge of and respect for Māori values are fostered."
(St Bernard's College, 2015) 

My own input:

Maori ICT poster
One of seven Bi-lingual Te Reo Maori & English ICT Vocabulary posters which I made and shared to schools across NZ via NZACDITT
I attempt to pronounce all Maori words and names correctly. I have tried to incorporate Maori and Pasifika topics into my lessons naturally. For example, when doing a project of PC systems vocabulary I research the bi-lingual equivalent and made posters of Te Reo Maori ICT vocabulary posters which I shared to all schools in New Zealand via the NZACDITT listserve email.

I helped SBC to rebrand as multicultural and inclusive with a koru pattern (see above) which symbolises our place in the Lower Hutt valley near to the rive Te Awa Kairangi and updated the website and yearbook with the koru banner and tagline Te Kura Tuarua o Hato Perenara. In the SBC school yearbook I made sure the typography would correctly include macrons in Maori words.

Gordon Walters' art lesson
using Adobe Illustrator
In terms of learning activities I attempted to promote positive cultural identity by paying homage to the artwork of kiwi artist Gordon Walters, whose work combines European modern abstract art illustration and Maori koru designs, in an Gordon Walters Adobe illustrator exercise worksheet. 

For a desktop publishing activity, I also encouraged them to make bi-lingual websites and posters with Maori proverbs (whakatauki) with English translations. The best of these posters would be printed and displayed throughout the school.

Maori pedagogy - I try to foster collaboration, team work, modelling a shared learning space where the ako can teach / learn with the teacher with respect and co-operation. I encouraged student peer review and encouraged the akonga to do project based learning for a client from their whanau or communtiy so their work will be authentic, and valued

Indigenous Knowledge - a balanced perspective?

My wife is currently studying a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainability and Permaculture from Otago University. As a result of this she has become involved in The Epuni Food Forest project which is part of the Common Unity Project Aotearoa (CUPA). I have bceome aware of what they are doing by helping her with their social media marketing and graphic design.

The CUPA charity organises community gardens and up-cycling of resources. They also aim to improve diet and nutrition of the socio-economically deprived communities which have suffered from obesity and diabetes. This has involved teaching tamariki (children) and ako (students) from the local iwi (groups of peopleabout sustainable hortculture (or permaculture) to reconnect the school children with their parents' and grandparents' knowledge of living off the land, cooking and preparing their own food. The abundance of kai (food) created is shared through the koha (donation) kitchen. Local food businesses are encouraged to donate their short dated food which would otherwise be thtrown away. This is similar to the Garden to Table project in its aims to get students to taken an active role in the growing, preparation, cookin and most importantly eating of healthy seasonal food.

These projects are growing in popularity, however, due to economic and time pressures of the working whanau, they are not actively supported by the local parents of the Epuni school children, who are busy keeping down multiple low paid jobs. The volunteers who participate are often from outside of the community and are commonly pakeha. The aim is that the local community can get involved and gradually take control and stewardship. One of the activities is for elders in the Maori and Pasika community to teach traditional making, cooking and medicine skills. A key message of this is the herblore of indigenous plants for food and medicine. 

Whilst Western reductionist science perspective tends to ignore that which it has not studied. It may be tempting to dismiss herb lore as 'old wives' tales', however, the observed efficacy of certain plants leads them into being used in medicine. That being said, not all herbal remedies are real and efficacious.

I am skeptical of most things, including the claims of 'big Pharma' which has been shown to have a positive publication bias towards only publishing favourable peer reviews of drugs trials which skew the apparent efficacy of new medicines. This has been adroitly explained by Ben Goldacre in his book "Bad Science", (Goldacre, 2008) which on balance also warns the reader of being wary of bold (and unsubstantiated) claims from alternative medicine and homeopathy. Goldacre makes a clear case that Western science is not a complete body of knowledge but a process of checking and testing for repeatable evidence that can be tested and verified. He explains how robust experimental methods can test for significant effects to compare results against chance or the placebo effect. We should be wary of claims which are supported by the reputation of person wearing the white coat and should instead review the evidence.

It's all good...?

Richard Dawkins argues in The God Delusion that humans are 'pattern seeking' and by our very nature we try to make sense of the world. Part of this process of understanding is to create narratives and to infer cause and effect. The consequence of this is humans are (like many other creatures) susceptible to superstition, such as the post war John Frum movement 'Cargo Cults'. (Colishaw, 2015) Even pigeons have been shown to be superstitious. (Dawkins, 2006) So, we need to be aware of our our biases and temptations to make mental shortcuts or lazy thinking.

For example, I am aware of the popular dichotomy of Western World view vs Indigenous World view. It is clear that the free market capitalist system is a major contributing factor in climate change and environmental damage. However, we should be wary of painting a black and white image of one good / one bad. It is a popular idea to recognise Maori guardianship and conservation of the land (tangata) with a concept called Kaitiakitanga.

It is also a popular trope to think of the sins of the modern world as being new. It would be a mistake think that the grass was always greener in 'The Good Old days'. We should be wary of viewing (reconstructed) history with rose tinted spectacles. For example, whilst we can recognise the abhorent treatment of African slaves in the industrial revolution, and recognise the many abuses of colonialism, we should not consider slavery to be unique to Western 'civilisation'. Nor should we imagine that just because knowledge was indigenous that it was all better and all 'in balance' with nature. For example, it has been claimed that in Aotearoa, the indigenous moa were hunted to extinction by the Maori tribes 600 years ago. (Morell, 2014). It would also be a mistake to imagine that before colonialism all indigenous peoples lived in peace. This would be to ignore evidence inter tribal warfare. (Te Ara, 2015)

However, please do not take the observations above as a sign that I am disrespectful of Maori custom and tradition. I am aware of my responsibilities to the Treaty of Waitangi and the bi-cultural nature of New Zealand Aotearoa. I am aware of Kaupapa Maori and Te Noho Kotahitanga 

"The elements of Te Noho Kotahitanga are:

Rangatiratanga : Authority and Responsibility

Wakaritenga : Legitimacy

Kaitiakitanga : Guardianship

Mahi Kotahitanga : Co-operation

Ngākau Māhaki : Respect"

(Keelan J, 2015)

Colishaw, S. April 19 2015. Vanuatu Cargo Cults see cyclone aid as a sign. Retrieved from Common Unity Project Aotearoa, November 2015. Retreived from
Dawkins, R. (2006). The God delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co..Epuni Food Forest, retreived from  
Goldacre, B. 2008. Bad Science. Published by Fourth Estate, UK. Retreived from
Kaupapa Maori, 2015. Retrieved from
Keelan, J. Teaching and Te Noho Kotahitanga. Unitec wiki.spaces Retrieved from 
Morell, V. March 17, 2014. Why did New Zealand's moas go extinct? Retieved from
St Bernard's College. 2015. Strategic Plan. Retrieved from
Te Ara, The Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Kaitiakitanga. Retrieved from 
Te Ara, The Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Pre-European Society. Retrieved

Activity 9: Evaluations of cultural responsiveness in practice

Create a blog post where you share your own views on your indigenous
knowledge and culturally responsive pedagogy and then evaluate how you
or your school addresses cultural responsiveness in practice in two of the
following areas:
● vision, mission, and core values
● policies,
● goals,
● communication methods,
● decision-making,
● planning and assessment,
● learning activities,
● school-wide activities,
● resources