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Becoming active learners using Learning Journals in KnowledgeNET

Tags: Assessment | Cross-curricular | English | Learning management systems (LMS) | Lower primary | Primary |

Students at Cornwall Park District School became reflective learners by using Learning Journals in KnowledgeNet.

"In our school, e-learning is part of effective cycles of reflection and assessment, involving the wider community."
eLPF 2014

Focusing inquiry

Teachers at Cornwall Park District School wanted to foster an environment where teachers and students had a shared understanding of learning. They asked, how would they know when students had learnt something, and what should students’ next steps for learning be.

Choosing a tool

The teachers recognised potential for KnowledgeNET , part of the  school’s online management system, to be used to:

  • support differentiated learning, and
  • provide opportunities to develop reflective thinking around goal setting, progress, and next steps for learning.

To explore this potential further they asked:

  • How well can our children talk about their learning?
  • What role does this play in being an effective learner?
  • What opportunities do we provide for students to engage in this kind of thinking?

Student Learning Journals  

Using writing, and other curriculum areas, the teachers instigated the use of student learning journals enabling:

  • teachers to open a journal and select one or more peers to comment
  • students to select peers to comment
  • parents and caregivers to comment.

“We decided that we needed to provide opportunities for student voice and to help our students become more focused on their role in the learning process.”

Student Voice

Students became more engaged in reviewing their progress and achievement through the subsequently increased use of self-assessment .

They found more opportunities to critique their work and achievement against success criteria or exemplars using the Learning Journals and benefitted from Learning Journal's ability to enable them to capture their thinking at critical times during the process.

As students became more confident to lead conversations about their learning, opportunities for caregivers, family, and whānau to comment and respond also increased.

Learning Inquiry

Teachers identified the following elements in their teaching and classroom environment that contributed to success:

  • Access and availability of equipment, being ready to capture the moment.
  • Good formative practice in place and students co-constructing success criteria.
  • Encouraging students to use modelling books to support them as they talked about their learning.
  • Providing time for students to update their Learning Journals as part of the learning process.

As a result of the teaching and learning the following questions for future teaching were identified:

  • How might effective teacher practice and student learning inform decisions about the use of Learning Journals?
  • What changes to the classroom environment could facilitate more independent and active engagement with Learning Journals to support learning goals?

Reflections

“We noticed the meaningful and delightful moments when students spontaneously and confidently share their learning in response to increased clarity and ownership of their learning.”

Through using Learning Journals in KnowledgeNet the school noticed that students showed:

  • increased confidence and independence in describing their learning progress
  • more purposeful goal setting for future learning
  • pride in their progress
  • improved development around routines and responsibilities
  • an increased sense of audience and purpose
  • motivation to access Learning Journals in response to learning rather than as a timetabled event.

The school recognised that teachers showed:

  • greater awareness of their strengths and weaknesses around formative practice
  • greater awareness of the importance of asking open-ended questions to prompt reflection and encourage students to lead the learning
  • greater awareness of the importance of demonstrating the learning process and the thinking involved.

Online discussions

Software types

Find out more about the software types used in this snapshot.

Learning management systems (LMS)


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