Category Archives: RTC 4 – Professional Learning
Another weekend away.
This time I was up in Auckland for an Apple Distinguished Educator camp. This was the first time that I had met some of the New Zealand-based alumni but ouch another trip away.
Could I really justify more time and money away from home?
Over the week I’ve ended up having a lot of conversations about work/life balance.
If I’m spending weekends away from homecoming working, how do I maintain any semblance of a personal life while teaching full-time teaching load?
That’s a good question.
Firstly a lot of these trips away I don’t actually view as being work. I like goofing around on my computer and talking about technology.
It’s part of my life.
Secondly with family and friends scattered in different cities, I often end up spending part of the trip nurturing those relationships.
Thirdly I tend to look on some of my trips as an investment in my career. The learning and contacts I’ve made help make me a better a teacher. At this juncture in my life, I’m happy putting my time and money into nurturing these relationships. If I wasn’t, I simply wouldn’t show up.
While for some peering in from the outside might wonder about my lack of work/life balance I prefer the concept of work/life effectiveness.
What might work for me won’t necessarily work for others. Moreover what might work for me now, might not necessarily work in 6 months time.
Do what makes you happy, life really is too short to be doing anything less…
It’s just over a week until applications close for the next Google Teacher Academy in Chicago. For those not in the know, every few months Google puts on a PD session for 50 teachers at a Googleplex.
You can read more about the academy here.
I was very fortunate to be selected for the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney earlier this year and would definitely encourage anyone interested in applying to give it a go. You’ll learn tons, gain an awesome network of educators and make chocolate unicorns Seriously my head is still in meltdown mode a month after the event.
The competition for places is tough but applying is one of the smartest things you’ll do today! The worst that could happen is they say no.
But what about the application you say?
The Google Teacher Academy application consists of two parts. This first is a form consisting of details about your teaching context and a series of written paragraphs. The next part is the video in which you only have 60 seconds to sell your application. I would rate the video application as one of the most challenging assignments I have undertaken since my Honours dissertation. At the beginning of the process I didn’t know how I would fill the time, by the end I was frantically cutting content to keep to the time limit.
Draw on the wisdom of others
Fortunatey the types of teachers drawn to applying for the Google Teacher Academy are also the types to share their experiences online. Watch some application videos, read blog posts, go to any hangouts. Even unsuccessful applications have ideas that will be useful for your application. Make sure you get someone else to look at your application before submitting it. A critical eye can change something from being so-so to awesome.
Be the purple cow
In a sea of black and white cows, you need to be the one people notice. Instead of focusing of buzz words or flashy effects, make sure you tell your story. You’ve only got 60 seconds, make them count. My video application was a decidedly low-tech affair that talked about a student project (although I remain in awe of Matt’s ability to pack a punch in 60 seconds).
It’s not actually about you
Student learning needs to be at the forefront of your application. In fact a lot of the content that I used in my video was stuff that the kids or I had created for other purposes. Treat your application as an oppourtunity to showcase what makes your classroom awesome (my students work is licenced under a Creative Commons licence) .
Ok lets be honest. Google isn’t throwing this hard-core geeking out session for educators for the LOLz (although rest assured there will be plenty of LOLz). The company is interested in how you are using Google the classroom. Your class might have an awesome blog or have created a huge global network but you do need to give Google some snaps in your application.
You don’t need to have a huge number of devices to be awesome.
My class isn’t even close to having 1:1 devices. Officially I have 8 classroom netbooks, 3 iPod touches, an iPad and a teacher Macbook. Nevertheless I like to think that my class and I punch aboce our weight in what we do with the technology. To be sure being a Google Apps school helps in terms of drawing on experience using all things Google but as far as I’m aware it’s not a pre-requisite for getting in. Forget about what you don’t have and focus on the awesome stuff you do.
Treat the application like a job interview
Getting into the Google Teacher Academy is not so much an award as an opportunity to gain knowledge and connections to make yourself a more awesome educator.
Please bear in mind that as a new Google Certified Teacher I have no idea why I was chosen as one of the 50 in Sydney. There are a lot of awesome and far more experienced teachers who missed out.
Which leaves one more thing.
If you don’t get in, try again.
The Google Teacher Academy.
I’m sure I’m not the only person to compare receiving the acceptance email to two days in a Googleplex with 50 other passionate educators to finding a golden ticket in your inbox.
After all, the competition for spots for the 50 spots open in the bi-annual programme is pretty fierce. I know there are many fabulous teachers who missed out on coveted spots and there participants in Sydney who travelled great distances for the event. Moreover besides being an Internet juggernaut, what glimpses I’d had of Google offices looked more like the fantasy of Willy Wonka’s chocolate room than a sterile working environment.
While I didn’t spot any Oompa Loompas during the two days I spent in Google’s Sydney office, I certainly spent time with my mouth open in awe of my surroundings like Charlie however I’d be lying if said there wasn’t some Augustus Gloop gluttony going on during the many meal breaks.
The pace of the two-day programme was nothing short of frantic and subject to rapid change. After we were placed in teams by the sorting hat it was straight down to work. I remember thinking early on in the event it must be close to lunch given the amount of content covered only to find that we had barely made it to morning tea. Unlike many teacher sessions, there was very little sit and listen. Instead most group sessions focused on fast-paced creative challenges which showcased how to use google tools to enhance student learning.
What surprised me event was how much I don’t know about the services google offers. I’ve been using google since 1999 and considered myself a pretty knowledge about the suite of products available. But even I was amazed at the variety of online tools in google’s toolbox: newspaper archive, Google Moderator, Google crisis map, the world wonders project to name just a few.
What I really found fascinating was a deeply unsexy topic, scripts. For me it’s exhilarating watching a google script do its thing. No more do I need to beholden to clunky learning management systems that don’t do what I want them to do. Scripts give me the freedom to manage my online learning environment a lot more effectively. What’s more it is easy for me to collaborate with other teachers as I can share my decisions and students work a lot more easily with my colleagues.
Google indulged any serious internet geek’s request for a tour of the facility. Unfortunately I can’t go into great depths about all the things I saw. However as I walked around the alcoves and colourful breakout spaces, I couldn’t help but feel that our schools need an infusion of some of google’s company principles.
Shouldn’t there be places in schools for kids to eat high-quality food whenever they are hungry?
Why do playgrounds only ever seem to exist outside school buildings?
Why are so many online student learning spaces closed off from the world?
Yes I know finite cash resources, breakages and administration are all cold hard realities to these ideas. That’s impossible and/or irresponsible you say. However in order to make something a reality, you must dream it first.
The true value of the Google Teacher Academy isn’t actually about the technology or the glorious environment, it’s the connections you make with other teachers. There’s nothing quite like being in a room filled with passionate educators, you can almost see waves of energy pulsing as new solutions to old problems are found and exciting possibilities unfurl during the conversations we had over those two days.
One of the most surreal aspects of attending the Google Teacher Academy is meeting people that you admire and respect online in person for the first time. It was really cool to meet people like Jay Attwood and Chris Betcher in person as what they’ve shared online has helped me so much in the classroom. I would remiss in my post if I did not do a huge shout out to the lead learners, Googlers as well as Allison and Danny from CUE for producing such an amazing event.
What was particularly cool was the strong New Zealand presence at this international event. Nine New Zealanders were selected for Sydney and our contingent was bolstered by the awesome Dorothy Burt and Fiona Grant who lead some of the sessions at the academy. There really are fantastic things happening in New Zealand classrooms and I felt incredibly humbled to be accepted into the Google Certified Teacher community alongside these awesome educators.
So for anyone reading this thinking to yourself,” nah there’s plenty of rad educators out there and I’ve got no chance of getting in.”
The worst that could happen is you get a ‘thanks but no thanks’ email and you can try again.
But maybe you’ll get a nod and get to spend an incredible two days at the Google learning with and from an amazing group of educators. But don’t just take my word for it, read reflections from other teachers who attended the event.
I’m out of adjectives to describe my week at the Apple Distinguished Educator institute in Bali. Seven days of hardcore geeking out with a spectacular group of educators in a breath-taking location is my nirvana. I frequently had to pinch myself wondering if I was *really* there and how on earth my application got accepted given the astounding level of teaching talent amassed at the event.
I didn’t know that much about the Apple Distinguished Educator programme when I applied. As result, this week was really a leap into the unknown. I was (and remain) a bit concerned about a company giving their seal of approval to teachers, when really I think teachers should be the ones giving the nod to good products.
However I liked that idea of learning with and from other educators passionate about using technology in the classroom around the Asia-Pacific region and I like using apple products in the classroom so I was quietly optimistic that I was in for a good week.
I was so wrong.
I was in for the one the most amazing experiences of my professional life.
At the risk of sounding like a cult member, the highlight for me was feeling like I was home. I spent my days and nights surrounded by people who share my passions and had me asking ‘show me how you do that.’
Which is really the point of the Apple Distinguished Educator programme.
Take a couple of hundred people who are already passionate about using technology in the classroom, throw them in a room together by day (and down the water slide at night) and you’ve got the makings of a tight-knit community of teachers dedicated to globally transforming education.
Because it was learning from other teachers which made the event special for me. I can often be found giving advice and helping people with using technology which I enjoy doing (after all I’m a teacher). However it can sometimes get exhausting being a source of information and advice for others.
Over the course of this year, I have been secretly fretting that my teaching was getting stale and that once other teachers figured out my bag of tricks, they’d also figure out that what I do in class isn’t all that amazing.
I was in need of some inspiration and ideas.
Now my brain is exploding with new possibilities and new passions. Everywhere I turned during the conference it felt like I was getting a glimpse into the future, of what might be mainstream in a few years time.
If I was going to make a prediction, it would be watch out for Multi-Touch literacy. I loved how seamlessly layers of video, audio and images could sit in one document. There’s something almost primeval in the ability to manipulate information using your fingers. Multi-Touch technology books makes work seem so much more real and engaging. Immediately I thought of all the video and images I have of my class and my students and had a go at creating a mock up of a student portfolio.
I was impressed by how simple it was to use and how I could create a really rich learning story for the child encapsulating photos, videos and text to stand alongside the PDFs of standardised test results (though for some reason I can only see the first page). The files could just be dragged and dropped in making it very child friendly to use.
No faffing around with embed codes and trying to make existing work fit into rigid templates that don’t work. The results are just gorgeous to look at and have the potential to be published to global audience.
My post would not be complete without a big shout out to the Apple education team. I tend to be a bit wary of big business influence in education and had a secret fear that the week was going to be an extended sales pitch by some dull conformist corporate types who have no idea the realities of the classroom.
In reality, the Apple education team are a creative, caring, diverse group of individuals dedicated to making the programme a success. I was particularly impressed by how many of the team, some of whom I had never met, asked if I was ok after I had asthma attack during the institute. Before I move on, let me give a quick shout out to the awesomesauce Meredith who looks after New Zealand.
It’s hard to believe the week is over and in a few days I’ll be back to reality. Finding the time to keep my projects going when faced with the demands of regular teaching duties, managing access to devices and being the sole ADE in Wellington city will be challenging.
However what happens during a conference is somewhat meaningless; what really matters is what we do differently afterwards based on what we learned while there. As my roommate at the institute, the fabulous @donnasmithnz, said we need to keep #ade2013 alive.
I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with other teachers at my school, #ignition2013, an ignite talk and also through educampZQN. To add to the nuttiness of my life, I’ve also got #educampwlg to organize and I have a few ideas to implement inside and outside the classroom in the pipeline.
So yes, I’m sure I’ll get a bit of a ribbing from some some quarters for selling my teaching soul to giant multi-national company and yes I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to work in a 1:1 environment. However I’m committed to using what I’ve learned over the week to improve the experience of students in my classroom.
Because really it isn’t about the technology, it’s what you do with it that matters.
On a sunny afternoon this week I ventured out with the rest of the teachers in my school to take part in a cricket skills workshop. I wasn’t particularly enthused by the prospect of spending time learning about cricket. I’m an avid gym goer and for the life of me can’t understand the reason why people would want to spend hours running around after a ball. Nevertheless, PE is an important part of the curriculum so off I trudged in the summer heat to learn more about cricket.
The workshop itself taught us just a few basic skills to get us started but there was something about learning how to throw, bat, catch and run between the wickets that seem to re-energize even the most adverse of ball sport participants. Which was the primary purpose of the workshop. If I’m not enthused about the prospect of ball sports, that attitude is going to show in my teaching. I can still cover the material but there’s no way I can fake passion.
One cricketing skills workshop hasn’t changed my outlook on ball sports nevertheless I did throughly enjoy myself. It wasn’t the game itself, but being outside with teachers learning a new skill, laughing at my own and others follies and getting some exercise that I really enjoyed. Cricket in this case just happened to be the medium but it could easily have been bullrush, flying kites or even catching bubbles.
As I was leaving the field I quietly mused how much we underestimate the importance of play in school. We know that play helps foster creativity, perseverance and team work in both adults in child. Yet is play something we value in schools?
To be sure most schools have play time. But isn’t the very fact that we need schedule time for the kids to play outside the classroom show how we little value play in learning?
Do we play with ideas or concepts or in the rush to make sure we cover all the necessary parts of the curriculum do we miss out time for ‘unproductive’ play?
Does teachers professional learning reflect the importance of play? How often do you play games or hear laughter during your professional learning? How much of your professional learning happens outside?
Because really shouldn’t learning be an excuse to eat an ice block for dinner?
Leave your clever at home – Conference presentations are often a great opportunity to highlight something successful that you’ve undertaken which can be applied to my class. But what is more awesome is when you talk about the difficulties and outright failures as a result of changing the way you do things. That way when us mere mortals listening to your implement ideas in our own class, we’ll know that we are going to have a few weeks of chaos during the implementation phase and it’s probably going to suck.
Embrace the messiness of learning – Yes I am one of those people conference organisers love to hate as I frequently didn’t show up to the sessions I booked. All of a sudden the person who sends out awesome tweets seems like a far more interesting and engaging option than a world-renowned expert I just had to see three months ago. Likewise a serendipitous meeting during drinks or on a plane or even a recommendation from someone else might see me wandering into different rooms.
Technology shouldn’t be used to replicate what we’ve always done - Twitter is like passing notes in class only way more awesome. While tweeting out quotable quotes from presentations and keynotes is good for those not attending the event to get a small window into the conference, more importantly twitter gives passive listeners a chance to respond to speakers in real time. Instead of sitting in a keynote silently seething at ideas I felt were wrong, I used twitter to connect with other attendees to respond to the ideas being pushed by the speaker. Post-conference drinks were easily organised by just tweeting out a time and place.
Collaboration makes things so easier – At the start of each keynote I watched as the twitter fairies came in and starting adding background information and links to other sessions on the keynote google doc making it look I had done far more work than simple note-taking. Bonus points go to the presenters and speakers who were using social media to connect with speakers before, after and during sessions. Could there be a conference wiki for people to add resources to one main point?
Make learning visible – From my own experience I know that students want to know what ‘good’ looks like, they borrow ideas. Do our current information systems, which are based on one account per child, actually achieving this? Is cybersaftey killing learning opportunities by keeping kids atomised even within their own class? Do we give multiple ways for kids to demonstrate learning new concepts outside of writing it down?
The importance of play – We know that sit down lectures are actually a really inefficient way to learn yet how much of conference is spent sitting around listening to lectures? What if the conference speakers flipped their instruction or had learning tasks for the audience to complete? What if conferences were more like school?
The days are starting to get shorter and stationary is starting to be bought which depending on your point of view is either the end of the holidays or the start of a new school year.
I’m going to go for a glass is half full interpretation and say it’s the start of 2013.
My holidays have been both equally manic and magic with 11 cities/towns, 8 border crossings and 3 cooking classes as I’m meandered around South East Asia in the space of five weeks. In my enthusiasm to dust off my passport, I left for the airport barely 12 hours after I waved goodbye to my students and will arrive just in time for the International Conference on Thinking.
Although most of my time has been spent marvelling at ancient and modern buildings in between eating copious amounts of street food, I did spend a couple of days in International Schools seeing the amazing teaching and learning going on there.
I know what you are thinking.
It takes a special kind of nerd to set aside time on holiday to do classroom observations but my time was PD on steroids. I have come back brimming with ideas to implement in the classroom and a love affair with the Primary Years Programme. As I look about my ideas around barcamps, impact projects and even the Daily 5 I can see how the programme gives some conceptual grunt to my ideas about effective teaching and learning. I would write more but I fear that such one-way gushing would be a bore to read.
These visits simply wouldn’t have been possible without twitter. Through twitter I had already virtually visited classrooms and met teachers. However while online is good face to face is so much better. You get to hear the conversations, the sights and yes even the smells of the classrooms. Nevertheless it is ever so surreal actually being in a classroom that you’ve been watching over the internet or putting a face to an avatar.
In other news I was pleased and humbled to have made it into the Apple Distinguished Educator programme. The calibre of the candidates who both made it into the programme and those who missed out is truly awe-inspiring. Alongside a digital community to join, I also have four days of learning and networking in Bali just before Easter.
2013 is looking to be an exciting year…
When I first became a stepparent one of my friends remarked that once you become responsible for a child, the days are very long but the years are short.
I was reminded of that comment as I was grabbing my belongings in my empty classroom and realised that although there were some very long days, this year has been incredibly short.
If the first session of the first day was the longest hour of my life, the lead up to the final day of the school year just seemed to pass in a blur.
Like my many of my students I couldn’t wait for school holidays to start. I counted the weeks, marked off the days on my calendar, and went down my list of things to get finished in the final hours. But now that the end of the school year has gone I’m winging my way to
Bangkok Burma I feel sad that I didn’t take more time to be in the moment with my first group of students.
As we watched some of the crazy videos we made this year, I looked out and felt very fortunate to have taught such a great group of kids in my first class. We’ve had our shares of ups and downs, messy projects that never seemed to run to schedule and yes there have been times of frustration we’ve I’ve wondered if I am actually making a difference. Sometimes in those long days progress can be hard to measure. But as one year ends another is just on the horizon and I’ve learned that empty classrooms are bookends, it’s what you do in between that counts.
Over the last week or so I’ve been gathering together all the photos and videos that I had on my hard drive and was staggered at how much digital content the students have created over the year. So much I couldn’t fit it onto a single DVD.
Putting together the content for my students reminded me that despite my many meltdowns into misery, my class has had quite a year.
We produced two awesome assemblies, had some fun with the Daily 5 in literacy blocks, set up individual blogs, we’ve read two novels out loud, made a youtube submission to parliament, redesigned our learning space, built an igloo, went to camp, had a go at some real-world maths, completed an impact project and a bar camp.
On a professional level, I really enjoyed participating in the educamps, ignition2012 and making a contribution to Teachers Council Social media guidelines. I wish I had more time and blog and my attempts at getting an educamp in Wellington were a bit of a F.A.I.L.
Next year I’ve been asked to be a keynote speaker at SocCon on the work that the class did on the digital learning submission. If feels good to be giving something back to the education community that has supported me in the last few years.
Over the last year I’ve had labels like, techie, creative or innovative attached to my teaching and frankly I don’t get it. Nothing I’ve accomplished this year has been as the result of any inherent talent of my own. I’m forever pinching ideas off people and adapting them to suit my needs. If anything this year has taught me the importance of nurturing those connections.
My main problem is that I seem to have far too many ideas and far too little time to implement then. As a teacher I often feel like I am being pulled in two opposite directions. Between those messy and crazy projects and all the must dos that need to be checked off. While I appreciate the importance of those signposts sure schools must be more than factories that spit out kids with NCEA credits at the end of it.
Because when all is said and done the students aren’t going to remember my lesson on inferencing or using place value to multiply decimals but I’m pretty sure they’ll remember the igloo or the day they showed up to find that half the desks had been removed or the year that they caught the reading bug.
It has been a good year.
Over the course of this term my students have been working on an impact project on the topic of sustainability. I must admit that I stole the basic idea from ASHS. I love the idea that even at this young age, students should be thinking about how they can use their own talents to help make the world a better place. However due to time and the need to cover the school’s theme, the students were specifically looking at society’s use of natural resources and then taking what they learned and using to make an impact on the community in some way.
Alongside our igloo making, I planned a provocation to get the kids thinking. I found a fascinating TED talk on Fair trade cellphones. A lot of the students struggled with some of the concepts in the talk , however sustainability minute I mentioned Avatar the penny dropped. There was a mineral that was being harvested by humans at great cost to both a society and an ecology. We then, went through and looked at the different ways we could build knowledge about the resource being used such as wikipedia, contacting the person who gave the talk and or companies that manufacture mobile phones to see if they knew where the raw materials from the cellphone come from.
Finally we looked at ways that could use our new-found knowledge to do something about this whether it be through consumer choices (such as only buying from companies that produce ethically produced phones), political power (such as writing letters or our representatives) or art like for example as igloo making or movies. In short I provided a model for the students to follow in their own inquiries.
And then I sent the students off on a similar journey. The students chose their own natural resource and then went about the process of building knowledge about how humans are using the resource. One of the requirements of this phase of the project was that the students needed to engage with an outside expert.
It was amazing how many of my students were apprehensive about this task. While much of the focus of digital learning has been on students being able to access information. As my students found out being passive consumers was one thing, actually contacting people out in the ‘real world,’ that was tough. Even finding the right people and organisations to contact took a while for my students to get their heads around.
However the pay off was that through contacting experts, students inquiries started taking off in different directions. One group was resourcing a precious metal, Through contacting a jewellery company in the United States that specializes in using recycled materials for their products they found out that there the resource wasn’t being recycled even though the production caused significant environmental damage.
If contacting the outside world was fearsome, using their new-found knowledge to make an impact was even harder. Most of my students decided to play it safe by defining their community as something around the school however one brave group decided to write a protest letter to a foreign government. Sure it might not change the world over night, but the point was that the kids were using their education to make an impact.
As a teacher I found this project incredibly challenging. There’s a fine line to be walked between authentic student inquiry and also trying to get the kids moving to where they needed to go. I frequently found myself asking ‘Why are you contacting this organisation?’ ‘How will your artwork/presentation make an impact?” “Are you sure that this message is going to the right people?”
Impact projects required a lot more deep thinking by the students. The purpose of the project to get kids thinking about what resources are used to produce the everyday items and more importantly what they as citizens can do to influence our use of resources was mostly accomplished. The process of creating these projects has made me realize that my students don’t really have a knowledge of how to learn something new and more importantly what do with this information.
Or perhaps they do. One of students remarked at the end of the week that they wanted to email an old teacher so that the students could see this student’s advice to the new year 7s. Building content, collaboration and connection hmm perhaps there’s a model in there for learning.
This year my maths programme has been rather mundane. I had delusions of promoting some sort of Daily 5 approach to maths but nothing really came of it. I was simply going through the motions teaching strategies but not really enjoying it. Maths was something I had to teach but the passion wasn’t there.
Last year I found a fascinating TED talk by Conrad Wolfram which argued that automation of maths could enable students to be able to develop a grasp of more complex mathematical problems at an earlier age.
I filed that thought away in my ‘nice idea’ file. Simply put I had no idea how to apply the principles of that talk to a classroom situation but I loved the essence of it, making maths real and relevant to the students.
A week ago while looking for an interesting hook into algebra, Matt posted about a programme happening over at Amesbury on what Wolfram argued was the corner stone of maths, posing the right questions.
One of Wolfram’s arguments is that schools spend far too much time on teaching kids computation at the expense of developing their skills to identify problems, come up with formula and then check it in the real world.
So I gave the problem-finding procedure that Matt was trying in my own class.
One of the keys to this programme is authentic contexts for learning. We had two problem-finding sessions over the week, the first was on buying new furniture for the school, the second on electoral maths.
Before the session I prepared a series of problems for the students..
Starting from easy problem, e.g how many tables does the school need to buy or if the polls close in Hawaii what time is it here in New Zealand through to more complex questions e.g which moving company should the school choose or did Nadar really influence the outcome of the 2000 election?
In order to be able to set up a maths formula, the students needed to ask me questions like for instance, what time do the polls close in Hawaii, through to which states did Nadar do well in?
The sessions were really corny. It may sound corny, but I was actually doing the maths. I was thinking about the principles I wanted to teach, where I might use it and ways I could apply what I was teaching to real-life contexts. Instead of setting texts I was engaging with the problems myself, thinking a lot more about exactly what it was the students needed to learn to solve the problems.
Over the course of the sessions I tried to video the students but there frequent interruptions from students trying to unlock more information to get to that next level. Yes the calculator function on their ipod touches came out. But they were also drawing recurring patterns, making guesses, exploring, using information they already knew to unlock part of the problem. It’s the most engaged I’ve seen my students in maths all year and were working finishing problems off at morning tea.
‘That was fun, can we do that again?’
A sure sign of a winning classroom activity.
Over the courses of the week I realized how these sort of sessions could be easily applied to questions around financial literacy.
How long does it take to repay your student loan?
Which kiwisaver provider or plan should choose?
Floating versus fixed rate mortgages?
The hidden costs of credit cards.
If I was going to make the programme a bit more upbeat I might give out QR codes instead of numbers and perhaps get the kids to answer via a google form. The students still have a bit of work to do around working with a team but it was interesting to see that the kids generally regarded as being ‘the best at maths’ by their peers aren’t necessarily the best problem finders.
For those who doubt the usefulness of real-world maths contexts, to student learning sure enough later in the week the question of what time it would be in Uruguay if it was 12 in Wellington came up. Why would my students be wanting to call Uruguay? Well that’s another post for another time.