Tamaki College maths teacher, Noelene Dunn has set up a Google site for her students to support a flexible and inclusive approach to learning. She and her students explain how they use it. Students value having "a lot of different activities to choose from, everyone can do what they like to do”.
Noelene: Google sites is used for students to access all their learning. Lots of the resources are interactive.
Student: Because there's a lot of different activities to choose from, everyone can do what they like to do.
Noelene: So if they choose to work in a particular way there's usually a site for that. Students accessing their learning, the first place they go to is their teacher’s website and they click on the calendar, the calendar will itemize on each day and at each time what the learning intention is. Once the students have checked on the calendar that they're doing a particular topic or a particular standard, if it's a senior student they click on senior school and the resources are patiently waiting for them.
Student: On our calendar it says that we're doing Expand and these are the Expand activities that we have to do today.
Noelene: The good thing about calendars is that if the student has been away for some reason they can go back to the days when they were away and still access their learning.
Student: Everything's all online and you can work at your own pace.
Noelene: The good thing about having a variety of resources, if one doesn't excite them they've got to use common sense and just find another one. Students are personalising their learning using Google, because we no longer stand up and dictate notes for them. They inquire into their learning about a particular topic and they create their own notes.
Student: So we put everything that we learn, like new information and maybe some questions on to our documents so she knows that we're actually learning. She gives us feedback on our docs, like our previous doc she's given me feedback through commenting on my work.
Noelene: Assessments and NCEA; we have been trialling online exams with NZQA. It went extremely well. That was for NCEA level 1, this year NZQA is working with some NCEA level 2 standards. Lots of our internals are online, we've also trialed something called Workspace. Workspace allows them to build up as much resource as they like. Every now and then I give students what we called Creative Maths, they can find other creative links or resources. Extra support; students can access either from the teacher’s website, they can access via Youtube, they are skilled at finding resources on Youtube and on Google and for our senior students we do cater for achieved, merit and excellence, so those who need to be extended can.
Student: At home, like exam or revision time you can just hop on the SYS online maths instead of waiting for the next day so it's really good because all the resources are on here.
Noelene: Because our parents have access to whatever work students are doing parents can comment. Our students do share information with each other when it is collaborative learning.
Student: When I work with a buddy or someone we usually sit together and get given a mini whiteboard, maybe if one needs help there's a sharing option on the document.
Noelene: They also readily create resources quite often you'll see students walking around the school with iPads filming each other talking about their learning.
Student: It's fun to use online activities because it gives you more of a chance to get the answers as soon as you get a question.
Noelene: Using the site students are definitely more engaged because they're not waiting for the teacher to stand up to explain the learning intention, what they will be learning and how they will be learning. They can access this at any time.