Monday, May 14, 2018

Creating Greater Communication for our Gifted and Talented Students and their Teachers

Many of our gifted and talented students attend a one-day school and as teachers, we often don't really know what they learn there apart from following a blog, if the one-day school or student has one, or reading emails to keep us up-to-date with students' learning and progress.  If we don't make time to talk to our students about their days then we may not fully understand or appreciate what learning looks like for them at the schools or what their experiences are.  What are the alternatives? How can we make this a more valuable and connected experience for all involved?

As part of my research for my PhD in gifted and talented education, I've been thinking about ways to help create a deeper connection between the two learning environments.  When I was in the classroom I used Google Classroom and Hapara as a way of promoting learner agency (this is a great post from CORE Education), and making sure that my students had strong voices in their day-to-day learning and teaching, (I always see students as teachers as well as learners and vice versa for teachers).  A few years earlier I had a large number of students who attended a one-day school in Invercargill and they always had opportunities to run workshops when they returned so that they could share their experiences and skills with the rest of the class and school.  This, combined with using a tool like the Hapara Workspace could have many positive implications for our gifted and talented students and would really value their learning experiences outside of their home school.

Google Classroom

To test my thinking about this, I recently completed the Hapara Champion Educator Programme.  This is the first of three that you can complete increasing your skill level and expertise in using Hapara.  It is run over a few weeks and is completely asynchronous - great if you're a fan of any time, anywhere learning and need it to be flexible to fit around other commitments. The organisers recommend around 5 hours per week.

Through exploring the new features of Hapara which have changed quite a bit since I was using it in 2015, I can see that this has so many possibilities for being able to connect home schools with the one-day schools and to link parents and caregivers into the learning as well. 

For the third and final task, we had to create a Workspace as an example of what we'd learned and this was a chance to put into practice what I'd been thinking about.  My reflection on the 'Why' of the Workspace for Gifted and Talented Learners can be found here.

Gifted and Talented Collaborations Workspace

The next phase of learning about Hapara is the Champion Scholar programme.  I will be using this to see where the possibilities created in the first programme can lead.  At this stage, I may also look for schools who would like to try this idea out as part of my research.  I will keep you up to date with progress on here but if you're interested in any part of this, please don't hesitate to contact me or add a comment. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

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