I write recently of the work of Mr Rees and his Year 9 Maths class who decided to look at some of the maths behind sun dials. Mr Rees then put on his technology hat, and has class members making their own sundials. To 'cap it off', these students then proceeded to teach a Year 7 & 8 class what they had learned in one of those magical moments of tuakana teina. The students shared their blogs with the class, and these younger students have since been commenting on those blogs. The engagement is outstanding.
But it hasn't ended there. Members of the class emailed Dr Frank King, global expert on sun dials. They sent him photos of their work, and commentary on what they had learned. On Dr King:
Dr King who is the university bellringer at Cambridge and the keeper of the sundial on Great St Mary’s Church, said those with sundial expertise could design spaceships and power driverless cars - because the mathematical insight is akin to the one used for GPS technology.“Whilst we can live without sundials, I’m worried we cannot live without communication satellites and someone needs to have the knowhow to do that,” he said.“I don’t think education coming through schools these days is satisfactory to replenish people writing code for communication satellites or driverless cars or the rest of it.”
He replied. A global expert, communicating with Year 9 students.. this is truly outstanding. Here's what he said to them:
Dear Austin, Brielle, Faith, Jhermaine, Michael, Paige, Rykin, Shawn, Sophie and anyone I have missed out,
Thank you very much for the most interesting photographs and blogs about sundials. You have all learnt lots about sundials. Perhaps, one day you will make some other designs that other people can enjoy.I attach a photograph of a sundial that I designed for someone in Saudi Arabia.Can you see that the numbers go round the 'wrong' way for New Zealand? Why do you think that is?Very best wishes
Chairman, British Sundial Society
This is authentic learning. This is an authentic audience. Mr Rees tells us the class is working on a response to Dr King. This is creative excellence in the teacher's design of the learning, creative excellence in the students risk taking, their application of 'Learn Create Share', and their engagement with community. And it is another wonderful illustration of the impact of the Manaiakalani pedagogy and the use of Chromebooks on learners.
This is one view of what authentic learning can look like. It is yet another view of what 'Learn Create Share' looks like, and it is certainly a view of what 'creative excellence' could look like.
Ka mau te wehi