STEAM Learning can be challenging for teachers when they’re over a single lesson, a week or even a term. How does a teacher continue an authentic, engaging and multi-award-winning STEAM project for 5 years? We talk to Myles Webb, a teacher and DP in New Zealand who has some practical advice for schools wanting to make a meaningful impact on their students and community. Mark and Bex dig into ways we can approach teacher burnout with a fresh perspective and Rachel shares some new features inside Canva, the graphics, and multi-media tool that teachers can access with a free premium account! Listen to find out how.
– Myles Webb – Twitter Account
– Canva – Education Accounts
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Podcast Transcript Podcast Below
Mark Herring: 0:00
So for me as a leader, one of the takeaways is that number one, I need to know, what gives me joy and what gives me energy. And so, you know, one of the answers, I’m definitely like, I hope people aren’t hearing me and saying that teachers don’t work hard, because I think that teachers, you know, in schools, education sector, people do work really hard. And I think they are working harder than ever. But maybe part of the solution is actually for me to know the types of things that I can get energy from. And so I can lean into that. And then hopefully, by the end of the week, maybe there’ll be some better outcomes for my energy levels, and the school will actually get more out of me and fall into those spaces. The better mindset podcast. Welcome to the better mindset Podcast, episode 800, where I’m Bex’s conversations about leadership, learning and educational technologies. On today’s episode, we’ve got an inspiring conversation with a teacher about his five-year-long steam project with his class and counting.
We hear about some new features on Canva, that tool that keeps on giving. And we took our toes into a new approach to tackling that teacher burnout crisis that faces our schools everywhere. All right, thanks for making waves. today. It’s my turn to bring up the topic. And I’ve been thinking about probably what I think is one of the most, let me ask you the question, what would you say would be the biggest concern or stressor or thing that is concerning leadership in schools? Pretty much well, right? At the moment,
Bex Rose: 1:29
I would say the rapid shift in the way we teach and learn. And they’re all the changes in technology, just a massive disruption to how we teach and education right now.
Mark Herring: 1:41
Yeah, and the thing that that’s leading to that wasn’t quite exactly the answer that I was hoping for. Sorry. No, no, it all leads through the thing that it’s leading to as overwhelm and almost burnout. You know, like, I know that in some of the Australian states, there are, you know, incredibly high numbers of teachers, either resigning or leaving the profession or thinking about it, like I think it’s, you know, double the normal rate. I know that in the States, the same across the states there.
And then New Zealand, here, we’ve got a lot of principles, particularly in the New Zealand sector are leaving the profession. And that is the topic I wanted to talk about, I’ll give you the title of what I’ve put down, the title is called stop playing with the dead birds already. So it’s interesting, isn’t it? Stop playing with the dead birds. And I’ll show you exactly what I mean by that. It actually came from a conversation that I had with staff when I was running a teacher-only day in New Zealand at the start of this year. And I made the statement that I think that a lot of the overwhelm that a lot of us are feeling in education and burnt out nature that we’re in even though it was at the very start of the year, I said that one of the reasons I think that we’re feeling so burnt out is not that we’ve got too much work, but that a lot of us are doing the wrong kinds of work.
So what I’m what do I mean by the dead bird’s analogy, please, if you’re from the SPCA, or you’re a bird lover, please don’t, I’m not I’m talking metaphorically about birds. So I’ll just wind it back a little bit. At the start of this year, I had the chance to set the certification for the working genius, model and framework. And for those of you who have listened to the podcast all the way since episode one has come up a couple of times because the working genius model from Patrick Lencioni says that there are six letters to every job and six geniuses effectively. So everything that we have to do in schools, whether we’re planning and assessing, or whether we’re trying to, you know, do a curriculum refresh, or we’re running, you know, just anything in our classroom spaces or as a leader in our school. Everything has six leaders, six geniuses that you have to go through. So it all starts with a question that you asked. So that’s the genius of wonder. And then the the next role or the letter letter is that having an idea. So you have a wonder, then you have an idea, and then it moves through to the discernment phase. So somebody has to be able to ask some questions about whether that’s going to work or not, and make some statements, then you need to galvanize and then we’re talking about the genius of enablement and tenacity.
And so we’ll put a link in the show notes if you’d like to look into those geniuses a little bit later. But the the framework says that every job is a six letter word. And so there are six geniuses they have to go through and for every single person there are two of those part two aspects of that job that give us joy and give us life and we get lots of energy from them but then to that, that we are not so good at we might be good at it but we can’t do it for very long. It doesn’t give us joy. They called our work incompetent or frustration. Sorry. So those are the things that don’t give us joy. So two that are your strengths you give you joy and two that aren’t and for a lot have us in the roles that we’re playing in schools. Sometimes I know for me, I can be working the same amount of hours in a week.
And one week I can feel absolutely exhausted. And then the next week feeling energized, and I just want to keep going, and I don’t want to stop, you know, it’s all becomes something that i i come alive at the podcast is one thing, like I love, you know, jumping on these calls and, and interviewing because a lot of the things that we’re doing on these podcasts with we’re asking questions, and we’re talking about ideas, and we’re coming up with lots of different things that that give us give me joy, because my geniuses are wonder and invention. I’m a wi, in the framework. But for a lot of teachers, a lot of us and leaders and schools, we’re doing things in our schools that are robbing us of that energy and robbing us of that joy. So if I said to you, you know, what are your what would be your two frustrations in the working genius speaks, for me
Bex Rose: 5:55
is discernment and tenacity. So I hate having to think about all the bad things or how things could go wrong and an idea. And then I’m also really not that good at finishing things off. So those are my two frustrations.
Mark Herring: 6:10
Yeah. And so in any particular week, imagine if you had a week where you were chasing a whole lot of people to sort through some of the problems that they were having with things. And then you were having to chase up contracts and make sure that spreadsheets were completed and all that kind of thing at the end of that week, because those were the those are the frustrations, if your job was heavily leaning into those, then you would be exhausted. And I think for a lot of us, and I think of myself, and I’m almost the same, my frustrations are e and t. So if I had to support and help people do a whole lot of things, like I love to support people, but I just don’t like to, you know, be given a tech sheet of things I need to work through.
And so, you know, when I was a teacher in that situation, I’d get exhausted at the end of the day, if it was about me following someone else’s lesson plan, or if someone said, Hey, here’s the unit that I want you to do go away and run this unit with your classroom, that would just tire me out. And I think that for a lot of people, it can be the reverse. So if your frustrations, you know, in the planning phase, or coming up with ideas for lesson plans, or if you’re, and those aren’t your geniuses, then you’re going to be really tired about that. So the big idea behind the working genius is that you want it doesn’t mean that you don’t do those frustrations, but because sometimes you just have to that’s just the nature of work. But it’s about trying to get a bit of an 8020 You’re trying to lean into the things that we know, give us energy and bring us alive.
So for me, I’m always looking for opportunities to be creative, and explore those different parts of my classroom practice or the things in my school that I’m leading, what are the areas that I can look at that we can start to ask some questions about and you know, how can we get some teachers together to solve some problems, or some parents and some students and things. So the big idea is to have more energy, it’s not about doing less hours. It’s not about, you know, removing some of the things from my plate, it’s about me, maybe taking some of those things off my plate that don’t give me energy and giving them to somebody else, recognizing that not only will that give me more joy, but it might actually give them more joy because they might enjoy those things.
I really enjoy running that lesson plan and following up that spreadsheet and checking students assessment records, and all of those types of things. Those are the things that they really love. But the types of things that give me energy might not be their energy givers. So what does this have to do with the dead bird analogy, what it all comes out of the certification, one of the things that they taught us was that often what I do, because my geniuses are W and I, what I will often try and do is audit intuitively, I’ll just think, hey, let’s order let’s let’s, I really enjoy being creative with my planning or my assessment. So I’m going to pull some other teachers into that, because that will really enjoy that as well. And that’s like your cat bringing you a dead bird into the house. Because the cat enjoys the dead bird and thinks that you want it as well. And you know, if you’ve ever had a cat and you’ve been in that situation, it’s terrible because there’s feathers everywhere and goodness knows what else. Or if the birds alive, it’s flying around and flipping around.
Now the cat is really chuffed because the cat thinks that it’s bringing you something that you’re going to enjoy, and it’s going to give you life but for those of us who don’t live in cat world, or don’t think that we’re cats, that’s that’s a disaster. So for me as a leader, one of the takeaways is that I number one, I need to know what gives me joy and what gives me energy. And so, you know, one of the answers I’m definitely like, I hope people aren’t hearing me and saying that teachers don’t work hard because I think that teachers, you know, in schools, education sector, people do work really hard. And I think they are working harder than ever. But maybe part of the solution is actually for me to know the types of things that I can get energy from, and so I can lean into that.
And then hopefully by the end of the week, maybe there’ll be Some, some better outcomes for my energy levels. And the school will actually get more out of me. And if I lean into those spaces, but also as a leader, also, as a teacher in the classroom, when I’m thinking of the types of things that I know you, for example, get energy from, I’m not going to give you some jobs that I know will drain your, your tank. So I’ll look for the people, if I’ve got something on my plate that I think somebody else would want, I’m not going to take them a dead bird, I’m going to take try and give it to somebody who sees that as something that’s really life giving and is going to give them energy. So it’s twofold. It’s knowing about my own genius, and what gives me energy and looking for those things. But then also knowing what my team need, and the types of things that they’re gonna get life and energy from, and then enabling them to be able to lean into that. So it’s a real kind of a seesaw balance, isn’t it between knowing yourself and knowing others,
Bex Rose: 10:56
I’m thinking of staff room and meetings, and I’m thinking of events that you have to do for the school. So for example, say a cultural festival or some sort of parent evening or something like that. And in that staff, you should know, where they sit in terms of what gives them energy. So there might be some real clever clogs that are like Rachel, who talk about the Canva. And they will be the ones that design and create all the advertisements for it. But there might be someone that wants to create the Google Form of who’s who’s going to be developing the attendance who’s coming along that kind of thing. So I guess it’s kind of like, there’s a big task to be done. Instead of dumping it on one person’s desk, thinking about how that could be evenly distributed across the staff, so that everyone is working in a space that they find is a genius, so that they find they get the energy from rather than giving it all to one person where from where to go is absolutely going to drain them.
I mean, it’s even any any staff meeting, there may be a way that you could restructure the staff meeting so that people only attend where they sit where they best fit into that coordinate, or the conversation that’s going on. Because I do see on teacher Facebook pages, the amount of meetings and things like that, that they have to attend. And that’s one of the things that will drain lots of people. However, there’s some people that would absolutely love being at meetings, because they want to be completely over all the details. They want to know everything that’s going on. So that would make them feel better if they knew everything. So it’s has disruption. It’s disrupting the what we got what how we do things now. And right at the moment, our workloads and education is just growing rapidly, like the expectations on teachers the expectations on SLT.
So this is something that’s going to continue to happen. So how are we going to combat that? So that we don’t all end up feeling like we’ve just given out drugs by week four, like this is what I’m saying like by week, four people are absolutely stuffed. And so yeah, so it’s looking at ways like this framework that we can put people in the right places so that they’re going to get energized from tasks that have to be done. You can’t say no to them. Yeah. But giving the people the right jobs.
Mark Herring: 13:11
Yep, yeah. 100%, I think this is the conversation that needs to happen. So like, one easy answer to that is, is to have your whole team sit the working genius assessment. So there’s, there’s a series of questions that you can do, and then you’ll find out personally for you what your geniuses are. And there’s a lot of different things that you can do, to workshop and to discuss and explore what your geniuses are. And then to understand the different types of people on your team and what gives them energy as well on the types of things they they like to do. Because, you know, in a, in the corporate world, sometimes people’s roles change based on what their working geniuses are. And I know a lot of I’m hearing from a lot of other people who are working in different industries, you know, and you can change people’s roles and responsibilities based on those genius outcomes. But in the classroom situation, if you’re a teacher, you’re saying a teacher. So there are some things that you you just naturally have to do. But in a in an education setting, I think there are still lots of things that you can do to lean on the people next door to you, even if you’re a single cell teacher, you have one class or your high school teacher, and you have multiple classes that you’re working with. I think it’s it’s just realizing that there are, you know, teaching as a teamwork approach.
So we have to lean into each other a lot more these days. And so I think the days of a teacher seeing themselves as an island, and they’re not a part of a team of people, whether they’re in your faculty, or you know, a lot of modern learning environments where you’ve got the advantage of having different teachers that you can lean on, you can share those roles out. But even even leaning into your students to be able to share some of that workload would be an interesting avenue to explore as well. But yeah, big idea. Have a think about what types of work at your school you really enjoy. And how can I leaned into that more so that I’m looking forward to getting to work because there is an element of that. But then I think there’s more that we could do to that. And then what are the things that we’re doing in the school that I don’t really enjoy that really drain me, but I know that further down the track, you know, someone in the room next door to me, there might be someone I’m not going to pass off.
Like, for me, I’m not going to pass off all my assessment data to the person next door. But there may be some, some shared ownership that we could take, or some ways that we can have a chat about how we, how we work in the staff meeting, and particularly for leaders, it’s a really good conversation to start having with your team about how you can share some of that workload around and share some of those roles. Good conversations. Oh, my guest of the show for today, we’ve got miles wave, it’s good to have you on miles is the deputy principal at auto school, which is a very, I would always say small in terms of international size, but you’re a rural school and the Taranaki in the North Island of New Zealand.
And we’re excited to talk to you most today about the steam project that you’ve been working on, you know, for multiple periods of terms and years. And we’re excited to dig into that from a school perspective and find out some things that we can learn about that. But could you just explain your classroom? Tell us a little bit about some of the other steam projects that you might be doing in your school. Because I know that when I visited there before there has been some amazing stuff happening. Thank
Myles Webb: 16:17
Hello Mark, and hello Bex, and Kyoto everyone, yet, so I’m Myles Webb. I’m the Deputy Principal at odo a primary school in South Ternasky. I’ve been here now on staff for eight years. So we’re a score of 200 students were really, really lucky that though we’re very much rural, we’re a one-on-one iPad school and our senior year submit classes, we’ve got MacBooks MacBook is, I guess the biggest thing with our school is we are really, really lucky with the support we have from the community.
And also the sort of pedagogical approach here that we’ve got a lot of projects that are running and we’ve got, for instance, our PTA just going to authorize the purchase very shortly of a brand new industrial laser cutter for the school. We’ve got multiple 3d printers in the school, multiple devices and sort of our kind of one of our ethos is that we want to get the kids involved in well projects. And as myself as a teacher, originally, I’ve been teaching for over 20 years now. I originally started teaching in, I guess, inner city schools, which I absolutely loved. And so in Sydney, Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, and in Hamilton for time, both those locations but or myself, but my family, we wanted to look at moving somewhere different and we ended up somewhere rural. So I went from Teach Dec. And then the environment, we are in a city kind of things with them what I guess what we’d look at it to see kids to we have a school now with 200 students. But if we walked out onto the front of the school on the road that goes past, there are no cars, just because it’s just a quiet day and sort of farming and dairy farming in particular students and their families is the main driving force. So a lot of things that we do get tied in with that. So we’ve got a really good community, we are spoilt thanks to the community support for some of the projects that we do.
I like that tying in with a sort of steam side of things where, like, in the past, we’ve had students who had a year long project to build a full scale pinball machine, we’ve then used sort of online on stream competition for the students and things like that, which has been really good. So I had never worked to the school longer than five or six years. And I’m out. And then I started teaching, I was like five years, they’ve never got to do any more than that. Like, that’s all. Yeah. And I stuck to that. And then the other day, I was like, I’ve been here nine years, and you kind of go record. But I’m, like, one of the dentists for me as a teacher, I want to stay motivated with what I’m doing, I want to do something that excites me, if I’m behind, I think as pictures is there’s a challenge for us not to fall into a kind of a pattern or to or to do the same things over and over again. So I like changing gear levels. I like trying to do different things and trying to look at getting the students involved in things that are like, I guess, really worthwhile, but also really relevant to them. So that’s where that longitudinal STEM project where the longest one I’ve been involved in, sort of comes in with
Mark Herring: 19:17
Yeah, yeah, I think maybe just to help people give you a bit of context about your school to I don’t know, let’s call it you think we might think that community connection, the rural flavor, you know that that’s a real distinct part of the character of it. One of the things Beck’s you’ve been there as well is that you walk out Yeah, days and you’re on the main road. And there’s the beautiful mountain there. You know, that’s the sunshine, a massive icon, I guess that’s sort of sitting in the background of everything that you do. It’s so visible there on a good day whenever it’s not covered in cloud and that’s a beautiful, distinctive thing, among other
Myles Webb: 19:46
amazing and like, if I’m doing if we do a mystery Skype call or with Google anything out of school somewhere else, you know, or if we’re sometimes sharing photos. Yeah, we reference the fact that we have had them on I have a volcano next week. which is not wearing shoes and plants, or people in America.
Bex Rose: 20:06
And miles, I could you could feel sorry, I’m just gonna go back there because it is an incredible device and you can feel it the moment you walk in, and I think this has been integral to the success of your projects is that you’ve got this incredible community, that back what you do and support what you do, and help fund what you do. And this, in turn, has given these kids an incredible experience like I can I’m when we came out of them, but the visiting there, Nicole and I were just dumbfounded with the opportunities your kids get. We were absolutely blown away. They are so lucky. So yeah, I think that’s sort of the foundations in order to get where you are to get these projects. Yeah.
Myles Webb: 20:52
Yeah, it’s Yeah. Yeah, no, absolutely. And, you know, like, so the project, the with the sound blue sort of part of things. wasn’t supposed to be a long mile project. But we’re actually looking now at going and sort of five years. And now, in essentially, some of the students have now moved on through to high school, but sort of the main aspects is sort of still there. And so I’m kind of running it in a much more, I guess, hands off approach with that originally, but I think if you look at the sort of progression of it, and it’s experiences, I don’t know, because of the length of time if I necessarily want to do something like that again. But again, it comes back to that ethos of, for me as a teacher, I want to be challenged by what I do if then, before I started this thing, I dabbled a little bit since sort of electronics, but not to a major label. And I guess I’ve probably upskilled myself a lot. And then this, can we
Mark Herring: 21:52
go right back to the beginning. Because what you’re describing you started the sound law project that was a steam and integrated when we’re talking about STEAM. For those who aren’t aware, you know, we’re talking about an integrated curriculum approach where you’ve got like an inquiry and kind of a level problem that you need to solve, you’re working towards a solution that obviously connects with authentic real world application. So tell us how it all started for you.
Myles Webb: 22:15
Right back in 2017, and 2018, we had done a couple of projects to do with our local our local river. And when we were looking at those, we were looking at the fields that were blue duck, and which has been was has been previously in Terran ecchi. But as essentially been apart from very protected narrow, tech sub land, locally, it’s been eliminated, and it’s been eliminated predominantly by stoats or just introduced pest species into New Zealand. And so we did a study of sort of the New Zealand ecosystem. And for those people who don’t know, the New Zealand ecosystem is amazing, but through its geographic isolation, and the 1800s when we had the first sort of European settlement, they bought with them some particular animals and amongst those with the brushtail possum, which and we’ve we’ve talked about this, but so the brushtail possum and New Zealand is probably our biggest pest, whereas in Australia, it’s protected. But the at that time they’ve gotten some of the muscle and family which are the states the weasels and ferrets and where we live locally. So we liberally in the last two months, I’ve probably seen a thing pistol only three or four stoats predominantly shooting across the road as I’m as I’m driving to and from work and only live 15 minutes from work. But they and those animals are extremely aggressive and we had problems with them. And so the context for the problem originally was, you know, we were looking at this summative boot and whether we’d be able to introduce it. And then we were looking at some way to follow it up. We’ve got students in the farming environment who are actively involved in trapping and chatting of we’ve identified as pistes. Now areas, and again, that’s prom predominantly, but not exclusively those ones. So we have a large number of awesomes if as we were all although even some of Bernard sort of towns now areas still have them. And again when you’re looking at things like stage weasels and ferrets, so I’ve got students in my class and have students in my class at the time, that which vaping the council was very keen to get students involved in in doing extra things. And we were looking at something something extra and then at the same time I was trying to think of a way that I could tie in that stem approach because I had these kids who were traveling at home. We had units of study to do with the council when units of study to do with like resourcing Doc’s got some great resourcing. And I wanted some way to sort of tie it all together. And it I had a really like a really lucky moment where a person who worked for doc amazing guide came in and he gave me this little electronic box. And he said, I said, maybe your kids can make something like this. And it was just the little, what I described as a sound box says tiny little box that I could hold in the palm of my hand, it was set up with disposable batteries. It had a little light sensor on it, it had been like hot glue gum together. And it just basically they put it out with some possum traps, and made noise and some possums and shown interest in it the sort of was talking about that, that sort of was one of those moments where I knew because we had kids at school who had we had we done I was aware of some things like microbot kits, we’ve done some basic add, we know with with the stim.
And then I wanted to see how and the little bits kits as well, which are the same kinds of things. So there’s small like electronic things that the kids can put together make beeps and noises. And so I wanted to think of a way to get the students operating with some electronics, but instead of making something in the classroom that made some noise, to see if we can replicate this box and essentially put it out with a sort of conventional prepping thing because conventional preps, for those people who don’t know for stoats at the moment and Doc still do this, they use rabbit meat as as low. There are some variations and things going on. But it’s essentially how they do it. So it was that in for possums, the main thing is you’re using fruit and food and things like that. So that was sort of the kind of the, the genesis of it. And then as a teacher, because I knew nothing about electronics, I decided to I sat down with my class, who at the time was sort of a world where year five, and you’re six. And then they they were great, because I kind of looked at it and thought I think I could do that. But we’ll see. And then one of the kids in the very first meeting we had, because they were disposable batteries, and every three days they had to find this unit, which was take the batteries, throw the batteries away, put new batteries and change it over. And one of the kids just said, why don’t we do a little solar panel with it. And I see, whoa, he can’t get solar panels. And then one of the kids was like, what Bunnings or the warehouse, I can’t remember the all those little Oh, they’re still here, they’ve got those 521. Yeah. So it was like could somehow get that done, and have been used that to make the sound and then try and see what effect that would have. And I then started looking at some sourcing of funding.
Now schools really well funded. But I thought if I want to do this justice, I need to get involved with a sort of people whose skill set I might be able to adapt but bringing on the project. Because originally I was going to I’ve just ordered some parts on AliExpress. And I’ll just put some stuff together and I’ll make it no be great. I, after about a crash a couple of months, I’d resorted to ordering a recording box that was from a stuff like was a stuff near or something and you could record a message and put it inside via and then like a back on like a loop. And then so I tried like a real basic level and wasn’t really getting anywhere. And the kids were sort of having fun with it. And we’ve modified a couple of doorbells and stuff and changed some things around but it wasn’t really happening. And then I’d been involved in a science project before. We have internet at the curious minds project which is funded by venture teriyaki, which is amazing. And we were able to put a proposal together that got accepted that bank rolled it which was really good for my school because my scores would have been amazing and fantastic. But I was able to come to it and say they’re gonna give us X number of dollars and and it was a lot of money for the project and we had to manage all the costs. But that allowed me to then tap a couple of local experts. And from there, we developed a prototype which is solar powered, which essentially does the job that we wanted to do that’s programmable, the kids were able to put it together so it did require some installed as required some basic soldering, but we had the kids essentially making it and plus at the same time And the the trapping part of it, you know, the units were sort of there, and we were developing ideas and stuff. But we also had the kids that were getting involved with the trapping, and still in the trapping. Now I’ve got kids now, who they’ve, they don’t like the term farm kids, I don’t like people saying city folk or whatever. But we have children living locally, who are tripping actively at the moment, because that’s good for the environment. And my big sort of thing, the big kind of takeaway for the project for me, I’ve probably spent a few too many hours on it, and a little bit of my time. But my big mantra for me has always been, we want to upskill the kids, because it’s the kids in the future that are going to be the people with the mindset and the skill set moving forward to do things.
And if I’m getting these kids aware of things like costumes and the damage they do, or stoats and particularly, and the damage they do, they’ll carry that forward so that when they become adults, and they’ve got that skill set that mindset, so that was sort of how that all started. And as I said, we’ve got experts involved, you know, I, I could use a voltmeter a little bit. But I found a local electronics expert, who’s been amazing. And I’m still working with him now, five years later. It’s kind of a friendship that’s grown out of the project. But his expertise filled a massive gap I had the kids got involved in it, we got a little longer to tell us
Mark Herring: 31:34
about that miles, because that was one of the things that I think we started having this conversation when I was in your office, and I saw your trophy on the wall. Tell us about that.
Myles Webb :31:43
So we had we got nominated for like a regional environmental award. And so the children were able to go to the actual Council awards. And we were one of sort of four innovators nominated, which was great. And they got to speak in front of a few 100 people. We entered the 123 tech Awards, the title, tech Awards, which we won in 2020. With with this project, which was, yeah, for me as a teacher, yeah, I want these, like, it’s not just about a water that like water and stuff myself, but for the kids to be involved in like a nationally recognized project or an actual competition as a result of work that they’re just doing anyway, that was really, really awesome. And so they won that which was great. And it put us in connection. You know, it was it was a Spark has been some of these funny things. We were doing a thing about stoats at the start. And one of the kids said to me, I have found this person who has it, Waikato University who’s like a stone expert, I will just send them an email. And the lady actually had been responsible for writing an actual hard book text on Stokes, but she was happy to hear back from the kids getting involved with the kids give us feedback on what we were doing. The kids generally just been, I guess, barriers I’d probably put in place because like the solar powered pallet power thing is an example right at the start. It’s probably not something I would have thought of the students looked at it with their eyes when they said, well, haven’t you tried this? Haven’t you tried that, and it was things like that, but we’ve got working.
So it’s technically still an up got got ongoing project at the moment. But the good thing is the last couple of years, I’ve been able to slip away from it a little bit. And I’ve got a group of kids who are going to work on it, we kind of we spent a lot of time looking at getting the unit made originally and having the unit working originally. And we’ve got one prototype that’s now been working so effectively. Rotate, rotating, it’s it’s cycle now for four years, and it’s still working. We’ve got another batch units, we’re just running a test with at the moment, and we’ve got to go out with a field trip and just check how that’s working. And we’re getting ready next term to have a look at our students deploying the, you know,
Mark Herring: 34:02
it’s incredible miles. And I think one of the things that makes this project stand out is just the length of time that you’ve been working on it. You know, I work with a lot of schools that are trying to develop what we call one day or one month, or sometimes it’s very sort of timely to fit a steam project into a term. You know, it’s like the 10 week term magical wrap it up at the end of the term. And then we go on holiday and we’re on to the next thing. What is it? What is it about what have you been able to do to your approach managed to go over year after year? Because he said it’s been five years.
Myles Webb: 34:35
So the intention with that originally, and particularly with that first level of funding was to do one year and then be finished and COVID throughout the timetable completely because we’d had trips, you know, scheduled and things were going to happen and they closed. Apple school was closed and we had all these barriers put in place. I guess the other thing too is that we looked at when we started the project, and we’ve got that funding, the things that we got weren’t disposable. So because we purchased the kind of hardware, we still got the hardware from, you know, from the now and it’s still working. The other thing, I guess, for me, I can see that there are still very enthusiastic students at the school for it, because it’s something authentic to them. And something a lot of them are doing anyway, there, I’ve got, I’ve got one of them at the moment, who I need to get some gear to, and he’s in a really positive way, is kind of badgering me about it. But what he’s doing is just coming back to me and saying, right, you know, I need this, this and this, can you get this for me, and I’ve got the connections to get it for him. But I, you know, because it’s been established to him, and it’s been a bit crazy. And so he’s going to keep going, I’ve got several families where it’s like older siblings have done prepping, and it’s sort of passed through to the next kind of group of kids. So that’s been really good. I guess underpinning it, I wanted to see inclusion. And I’m not quite sure where that’s gonna go. Because the the child part of it has been great. I’ve really enjoyed the child part of it. That explained that we’d been more challenging in some ways. Yeah. So the the cats enthusiasts, and it’s been really great. Their ideas have been fantastic. They haven’t looked at certain areas or certain challenges, and they didn’t. And when I say again, I think it’s changing the word kids, I should say, students, but students involved have been from year five to eight, but this year, I’ve got a three, four class, yeah, if there’s been a problem they’ve done, they tend to look at it and say, Well, why can’t you do this?
Whereas No, you probably are a bit more guarded about things because you made me think, successful. That’s been really interesting. And the other thing too, is that sometimes, because I’ve got I’m using the students at my school, my students at the school are using some of the technology or some of the equipment, we’re not having to pre arrange things with anything else, you know, we’ve got that, like, I’ve done the paperwork, or I’ve got the preparation, the so they’ll go and do it. With some of the organizations I’ve been involved in, we’ve had to have pre meetings for people coming here, we’ve had to have sort of some things that that we can be discussed.
And we’ve had other influences in it. So it’s been, the kids have been amazing. And adults have been pretty good. We’ve met some just incredible people through so many different organizations. And that has just been phenomenal. And then you know, we’ve just had some other bits and pieces happen. And it’s been like, for me as a teacher, I’ve done bits and pieces for a few years with some things, but absolutely been the longest project that I’ve been involved in and I guess you want to make something definitive at the end and have an endpoint for it, but also for those years and therefore it becomes a self-fulfilling thing. I guess one of the enthusiasm of the students. Yeah, I think that’s a really key thing. You want to get something that’s authentic, you want to get something that’s
Bex Rose: 38:09
just going to touch on that, actually, because all I can hear right now is this student agency. It’s authentic, relevant learning for your kids. It’s something though, that I talk to schools all over the place, and they keep saying, Oh, we want to do stay, we wanted to stay when we end. That’s awesome. But then we seem to get quite a few barriers in quite a few like, oh, no, we can’t do this. Oh, no, this is or it’s not, you know, it’s not gonna work. How do you think, what what would you recommend to teachers? Or how could you endorse steam? Why would you want to have that in your schools? Like, what what is it? What is the magic that it has produced for your kids,
Myles Webb: 38:49
I appreciate that every school is different with the setup, and sometimes the values and sometimes the program. I and mean, I’ve been very lucky, in my experience, I’ve been a couple of times to overseas schools and seen some different educational systems completely. And I also know in New Zealand, depending on the school that you know, the values of the school and sometimes that the I guess the progression of the students can can be a really big thing. Like I said, if I go back to the start for me, I want to be motivated by things that interest me as someone who’s been a teacher of over a long period of time, I want to get my students motivated. I think if I’m motivated, my students will get motivated. I like the openness of the steam. You know, one of the examples I like to use with people with 3d printing, and I’ve done a bit of 3d printing over the years, but one of the things that I’m really even this year like, despite my advancing years, you know, I’ve got a three four classroom of students. I think, generally the mindset would not necessarily be that 3d printing, maybe it’s a little bit too much for them. But actually, I’ve seen some just fantastic stuff already for My new class and some of those kids are eight years old. And that took that, like, I liked them to have a little bit of a tattoo I like, like them to be able to play with stuff and do stuff. That creativity, those ideas that kids get it’s magic in a bottle. Yeah. Similar, and it’s not magic in a bottle. But you know what I mean, you have those moments. And me as a teacher, that’s why I want to keep teaching, because I want the students enjoy themselves. And as I say, I think, you know, Steam, you’ve got, obviously children who excel with everything, you’ve got some who excel in some ways, but that creativity, being able to harness that, and that way, is really good. It doesn’t work everywhere. I’ve worked in schools in the past with the approach that that I’m using now wouldn’t work. I’m very lucky that I managed. And as their pedagogy, I go back to the start, it’s one of the reasons I’m still here, then if I come up with a crazy idea, but no, I wouldn’t come up with a crazy idea. But something that could be challenging, or something that could be, you know, like, like approach, and
Mark Herring: 41:03
that is certain that is, I think one of the critical factors that make an environment at your school where this type of learning can thrive. And I think it’s testament to the leadership, you know, like, we’ve, you know, I’ve known Jared for a while and you know, as a principal, one of the things that you and you do in your leadership with, with the team as well, like, we often what I used to end my stain workshops, when I was introducing schools to It was around this whole idea of, you know, not so much seeing your classroom or your school is a factory, which is what we used to have in the pre industrializing industrialized area, we were kind of pumping students through a factory line. And sadly, I think a lot of our classrooms are like that. It’s like I’ve got this curriculum and kind of get them through, and we’re going to assist them at the end. But trying to encourage people to see their classroom like a garden. And so you’ve got to kind of look at all of the cultural aspects, the structure, the things that you put in place, to be able to help students thrive in that kind of environment, and steam is the perfect way for that to happen. I think that’s so good. One of the one of the things that I’ve picked up, just while you’ve been talking miles is that in that steam approach, you know, we’re often talking about how it starts with a problem, and you have to find a solution. And you’ve got a big overarching problem, which was, you know, for you, it was trying to find a way to help those native ducks Thrive back in an environment where they weren’t in it anymore. But then what happens is you’re trying to unpack that problem, then you start to starting to find all these other little problems along the way as well. It’s sort of like a problem chain, which it’s only just occurred to me, that’s exactly what happens along that process. And because you were able to keep going back to it, and because you’re able to guide the students through that problem. So solution finding process, you just kind of keep the momentum going, then yeah, yeah, yeah, we
Myles Webb: 42:45
did. And it was interesting mark, because it was things like the whole solar power thing, which we talked about, which came from like the literally the first conversation, it kind of took us about, like, what the, I had to eventually get the experts involved and make sure that it was going to be robust enough to work. And that ended up taking, I don’t know, a couple of years to get that perfected. But like, even in terms of knowing what to order, and how the unit needs to work and stuff. And with the benefit of hindsight, like, we obviously made some decisions to do with, like, bits and pieces, and it has worked out but there was there were things like that, that we get a lot of rainfall and winter here. So the moisture with units on the manga was a problem and how we’re going to keep that how that keep that working. The other thing too with it, some of the biggest stuff. So we’ve got hours of footage of possums and other pests interacting with these with these trips or with the lovers specifically, one of the things that we’re trying to do this year is to get some of the children interacting with some kind of audio experts so we can test the sounds that we’re doing but actually, like scientifically get get them used because some of the stuff we’ve been doing the kids, one of the things that we needed possum sounds right back at the start. One of my kids goes, Oh yeah, I can do that. And she kept she came back later with about 1015 Awesome calls and all these sounds and I’d ordered them. And I said where to get them from. And so she’d just been on YouTube. She had found people filming the audio Tim
Mark Herring: 44:28
How do I how do I do that? Like you wouldn’t even know where to start. A majority of teachers wouldn’t include. Yeah,
Myles Webb: 44:33
yeah. So yeah, it’s not well, that’s, you know like I’ve I, my, my long, long-suffering wife a few years ago asked me to a 3d printing project specifically to do with 3d printing. And I had to admit to at that point the spot, despite having kids in the point doing it for about five or six years in the classroom, I’ve never actually probably done it myself. jobs are one of the kids to do it. But skill sets really like to be that’s really important like that, because you see, these kids that are students that come up with this, these skills and these ideas. And
Mark Herring: 45:18
one final question, and this is, I think probably where the rubber hits the road, I’m keen to hear what you think about this. I know that for a lot of teachers, and a lot of leaders in schools, what, what this conversation has done, it’s probably broken the glass ceiling of what they thought was possible, because I think for a lot of people, and I was like this when I was a classroom teacher, you’re thinking and a term, you might be thinking a year, you definitely aren’t thinking of five year project. But we’ve just heard the value, right, and the impact that it’s had for your students, if you’re a teacher who wants to start a project, and they might be thinking five years, you know, or at least beyond the year, where where do you start? How do you find something that’s going to be authentic and will have enough legs over a period of time that wouldn’t, you know, not only it can capture something that’s going to be motivating for you, but more importantly, is going to motivate the students? Where would you start for me
Myles Webb: 46:07
with the sort of, I guess, how kind of the model I follow some a local issue or a local community based real learning experience, those those terms that, you know, I think it needs to be something that the students are able to maybe test or look or contribute to, not necessarily in the classroom environment, and the classroom environments really powerful. But anything that we can do that’s going to affect locally and affect, maybe the living will have an impact on that has got the potential to be really powerful. So I think local, it’s, to me, that’s a little bit of a no brainer that you want to think where you out locally and what’s affecting your students. And or, you know, what’s the and as I said before, that student voice about ideas about stuff, you the students have the most amazing projects and the most amazing ideas. And I just, you know, you tap into that and find out what, what they want to look at or what they
Mark Herring: 47:09
are so good. We’ll put a link to your Twitter account in the show notes, because I know that there’s lots of things that you’ve been sharing. And that was how you and I connected years ago, I remember you sharing some things, and we knew each other on Twitter for about four or five years before we even met. And several, we’ll do that. And if you want to check what Mars is doing out here, I recently have been posting some of the pretty amazing 3d printed material that you could have been working on. So that’s really cool
Myles Webb: 47:34
for people who are interested. So the other thing too, that was really important with the sound, lower parts of things. So I documented everything. I’m still, unfortunately, I am a creature of habit. So it’s just on a blog, but I’ll supply the link to that. So there’s various bits of information. And if there are people like one of the things right throughout the project, where I’m still wanting to connect with people who want to do trials and set things up. So if you have a environment where you’ve got, you know, that sort of issue with some students, if someone wants to get ahold of me, I’m more than happy to help out. We’re able to do the units for 30 $40. And the technology.
Mark Herring: 48:14
class would be quite happy to jump on a Google meet or a team’s call or Zoom call in and have a have a chat with that.
Myles Webb: 48:21
We could Yep, well, we’ve got tips. Yep, we’ve absolutely got kids with that expertise that will be available to do that. Same thing with like everything else. Sharing as teachers is really important. Just letting people know what amazing stuffs happening. And then, you know, no one wants to be a gatekeeper. We want to help so
Mark Herring: 48:38
good master. Just awesome. And it’s it’s an amazing story to hear as the firing spot. Oh, yeah. So good. Thanks. Everyone, I just wanted to jump in here with a quick message about an upcoming online program that we think you might be interested in. So if you’re listening to this message, this conversation with Mars and you have a teacher or you are a teacher, and you’re inspired to learn more about STEAM learning and the impact that it could have for your school and your classroom. Or you’re really teaching with this approach. Maybe you’d love to go deeper or across the school with this powerful teaching method. We have got a great program that we want to tell you about. Our certified steam Leader Program is starting its next cohort of teachers this May and it covers topics such as what a steam framework looks like how do you assess it? How do you overcome common barriers with your own classroom and with your team and so much more. It’s delivered over six months with a series of online modules that we send to you. You unpack them on six group calls, roughly one a month, month and then we work on that with a steam project alongside a coaching program that works to help you develop your classroom and your school steam learning program. If you want to find out more go to our website at UTB dot FYI forward slash steam go and register and all the information is there. So that’s UTB dot FYI, forward slash steam leader. Okay, we’ve got Rachel, one of our trainers in the North Island here to join us about Canva. And I know that one of the things about leadership and teaching in the classroom is there are so many features that are coming out with some of the tools that we’re using. Even if you’re really familiar with Canva, and you’ve used it in your classroom or in your school. Rachel, this is your chance to tell us some of the new features that are coming up.
Rachel Lelieveld: 50:29
Yeah, code. So one of the first new features that I absolutely love, it’s been around for a little while. But it’s slowly getting more than making it better just because of all the AI that’s kind of coming out and coming to the forefront. And that is the text to image total. Now, the thing that I love about this is that it can be used in so many different areas, but it makes your life easier for like those days where you just need like a writing prompt. That’s what I personally would use it for and have used it in previous last year when it first came out. It’s one of those great things. So it is one of the apps on Canva, which can be found if you’ve got a premium account. So teachers, if you need to get one of those premium accounts, it’s actually free, you can get teacher Premium accounts for crew, which is great. Everybody, especially teachers loves free things. And it’s one of the apps that’s actually you’ve got to plug into the apps on the side of your canvas, you’ve got all the templates, you’ve got all the elements, your projects and things like that. And then right down the bottom is apps now and that you will find text to Image tool which is right there and is like one of the top ones that you can find if you can’t to search through Canva apps and write text to image and it does pop up. So the thing that I love about this is it does give you a few sentences of inspiration for you to start off with. But you can enter it anything that you want. And it will generate an image whether it be a concept art photo, a painting, drawing a 3d image, or even like heaven, and it will go straight into your documents and also upload it so you can grab it from your images later on as well. So it saves it for you all in your camera account. I was having a bit of a play with this again before because it has changed. And it’s gotten out all the different art forms that you can do. So your photo, your 3d your patterns and things. fun one to do, if you want to have a bit of a trial with it is just use one of these sentences. Third one on the list is a panda riding a bike through a city with depth of field and you can hear the description there. So you can add as many words as you want, add as much description as you want. And then it’ll generate some kind of image, whether it be a square landscape or portrait. Or you can just pop it into whatever document you’ve got there. So I mean, you can use this not just for literacy, there’s so many other ways that you can use it and get students to start creating pictures. For anything. They’re doing presentations. So there’s a really fun little app just to have a bit of a play with and use within your scope. Give me something that you want to see what should we don’t go go Beck’s
Bex Rose: 53:10
snake climbing up a tree on Mars.
Rachel Lelieveld: 53:15
And we’ll push create. So you can put locations and you can put objects in there. It does take a few minutes to transform it. And don’t forget to There you go. There’s your eligible.
Bex Rose: 53:29
Goodness. So the whole like, I think that’s when I was in the classroom. And I had to draw that on the whiteboard. And all because we like peacock and it’s supposed to be a person, you know. So this takes all that out of
Rachel Lelieveld: 53:43
it. Right? So cool. Definitely. I don’t mean you think of this as well. It’s a piece of art where you get students recreating that artwork as well and using it to do different styles of art because you don’t only just have the 3d, you’ve got the sketching tools as well. So that’s what I love about it. You could draw from that. And so many different ways.
Mark Herring: 54:02
It’s not searching in Google is it for for those who aren’t quite aware of what’s happening, this is artificially intelligent, working behind the scenes to actually recreate images that haven’t been made. Could you say now create it in the style of Picasso?
Rachel Lelieveld: 54:17
It doesn’t respond like GBT or the thing does, you just have to kind of start digging in and put in some more words, but hey, there could be something that Canva is working on. Because that has said when you click onto this that these more works happening. Feedback. So there you go, Mike, why don’t we see in Canva that feedback and ask them to make a conversation rather than just start over at and this is key for
Bex Rose: 54:41
on steroids in my opinion. Like when Canva came out. It was so exciting because I was one of those people that would love to create awesome slides for the kids or like for my staff meetings or even I even developed our strategic plan and did that all on Canva as sort of a design tool, but this has come So far, and I can just see how it can make teachers lives so much easier and so much better. Because there’s so many templates on there already. I mean, there’s slideshow, Team places, Doc templates, there’s lessons that are already ready to go on there. So it’s one of those tools that really, you really need to dive into and have a play around and just see the opportunities are endless to use it in the classroom, and in schools, and even your senior leadership as well,
Rachel Lelieveld: 55:26
definitely. And I think the great thing about Canva is now that you can actually be sharing these assignments to Google Classroom. So if you’ve got a classroom integrated, these are options as well, you don’t just have the templates, and things like that it’s now sharing you can bring in on the apps is actually the option to bring in photos from your Google Drive. So I’ve got the Google Drive app there. So bringing your photos, anything that you’ve been doing that maybe you’ve saved your photos to Google Drive, you can bring them in to whatever you’re working on. It could be a jam board background, and you want to have a picture there and the brainstorming different things. Just use the app, put the picture in from Google Drive, and it just makes your life so much easier. And Canva is just there’s so many creative forms here that you can use. And it just makes things just so much more, I guess, I’m not going to say five alive units. So yeah, you’ve got the emojis and the Arabs, you’ve got, I know, teachers love to use the Bitmojis tone. So you can connect your Bitmoji and put your Bitmoji onto whatever you’re creating with your students. There is so many endless options, or there’s also Google Maps. So add in if you wanting to look at maps, geography and things like that snapshot from Google Maps, and that’s one of the apps as well that you can use toes. So yeah, so many
Mark Herring: 56:41
lots to explore. And I think jumping in there and having a look around and seeing all the features that keep getting added almost like weekly, you know, I heard somebody saying on one or an Instagram reel about how you can add text your bullet pointed out and then hit the text slides button, I haven’t found this feature in there yet. You just have to do a little play, but it will turn that text into a slide deck for you based on the templates. So if a teacher doesn’t have access to the free premium account, or the premium account that they can get for free, how do they go about doing that?
Rachel Lelieveld: 57:11
So you jump on to these a page Canva for education, and they can apply for it. Now lots of teachers in New Zealand, I don’t know if this is also across the world have been struggling a lot with getting their account verified to be a teacher. And so what we’ve figured out is like you can just kind of screenshot either a little bit of your payslip as long along with your registration, flip it to them, and an email with the email address that you’re using for the Canva free account. And then they should come back to you and give it to you for free. But it is available to be free for all teachers. And within that you can create your own Canva classrooms for your students, get them into the team, get them creating things as well. So yeah, don’t worry, if it declines you they will accept it, you just have to go around and email them and it will be on that camera for Education website tab as well. Yeah,
Bex Rose: 58:05
can I just add a little plug in the end here is that Rach is one of our incredible trainers in New Zealand. And you can get her free into the schools if you come through our Ministry of Education. PLD funding. So if you want help with this kind of stuff, this is what we do is their bread and butter. So come on out. Yeah, hit me up. And I’m happy to help. But that’s we work in New Zealand. We work in Australia working all over Southeast Asia now too. So we’re here to help. And yeah, hit us up if you want some more support with this kind of stuff, because that’s what we love to
Rachel Lelieveld: 58:33
do. Exactly. And I’m more than happy to do some online sessions with people as well, if that’s what they’re wanting. We don’t just do it in person. We do online sessions. And this is yeah, what a great tool to be able to utilize within your classroom or even within businesses to
Mark Herring: 58:47
cope. We’ll have a couple of links there for people to get in contact with Rachel or get in contact with their team. And we’ll have a link to be able to get the free camp. Thanks. Thanks for joining us, Rachel. Thanks.
Bex Rose: 58:56
Sorry. No worries.
Mark Herring: 59:00
All right, episode eight in the ken Vic’s final thoughts from you. All right. So
Bex Rose: 59:04
we have dived into two really exciting ways to enhance classrooms and schools today with Canva was Rachel I urge you to go and have a play around and I don’t blame me when you suddenly lose hours of your day go down those rabbit holes. And then hearing Myles talk about Stephens schools. If you want an authentic and engaging learning, this is the way to go. And he’s a wealth of knowledge. So feel free to use the links in the show notes to hit him up. Lastly, I just want to touch base on marks making waves segments. Please do take stock of your energy. If you’re feeling like things are feeling heavy or hard already identify something or someone in your life that can refill your cup. I’d also make this a weekly reflection a temperature gauge at the end of the week for you to be still and notice how you’re feeling and act on that. We’re in early and we’re early on in the year so putting practices like this into place will really help you see out the year positively.
Mark Herring: 59:57
differently. It’s it’s one of those things that’s a work on For all of us, I think and the more that we go through this year, the more that we can keep working on ways that are going to fill our tanks. So if you’re after some links or some resources from some of the things that were talked about today, whether you want to contact Myles on his Twitter account, or you want to have a look at his blog, particularly, there’ll be links in the show notes, you can go and check those out. We post every week and we’d also I’d love to have you subscribe to our channel if you want to find out some of the latest updates and things that are coming out. We’d love to have you joining us every week we post every Wednesday. If you know someone who get value from these episodes, we often encourage you to hit that share button and tag them on social posts, let them know, especially if there’s a topic that we’ve covered that you think they’d get a special value from. And lastly, if you’ve got questions or anything to share with us, email us as always at team at using technology better.com We’d love to chat with you. All hopefully see you somewhere soon and see you next week.