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Showing posts from August, 2013

What's so Professional about Relationships?

It's interesting, when you let go of the usual teacher/student hierarchy, as +Joe Mazza has with the idea of the 'lead learner', all else seems to slowly crumble around it. Take for example the notion of 'professional relationships'. I am not so sure which of the two words has had the biggest change. The profession to which everything has become seemingly so serious and accountable or the concept of relationships, which in the past were always so haphazard. Let me firstly look at the profession.
What's in the Name?Often people say that you don't always choose your family, I think that the same thing can also be said about colleagues and clients (that is what students are, right?) This may have been different in the past where a student could have been 'expelled', where they would be shunted off to the next school and then the next school until they eventually flunked out of school. The profession of teaching has changed, subsequently highlighting t…

Are SMART Goals Always That Smart?

Strength is in the WeaknessIn my view, the strength of any team is not in the leadership group, although having strong leadership is important, rather it is in the supposed lower ranks, those individuals and stakeholders deemed to be at the bottom, and their ability to carry the overall vision for the organisation. To use a sporting analogy, it is often the depth of the reserves rather than the strength of the seniors that a teams metal is truly tested. With enough money, any team can buy enough players to be a good side, but to be a strong and successful side, it is the ability to stand up against injury and adversity which often decides between winning a game and maintaining long term success. This same mentality can be applied to the day to day actions in any educational environment. Often effort and money is put into key areas associated with big data, such as NAPLAN. However, it is those areas found in the margins of the curriculum, areas which neither provide clear measurable d…

The River - a Complicated Metaphor for Education

Reform needs TeamI was in a staff meeting the other day, the start of which focused on auditing the curriculum in regards to a whole school initiative that had been progressively implemented over the last few years. The task was divided into year levels. As staff all sat down together, many looked at each other wondering who had sufficiently incorporated the different modules in their planning. There were a few cases of 'it doesn't fit into our learning in ...' and 'I just did it informally', while others simply had a blank look of 'what are we talking about here'. The one thing that did become apparent was the necessity to work as a team, crossing all learning areas, focussing on the student at the centre. The River of EducationBeing in a somewhat unique situation of having both 'Primary' and 'Secondary' classes in the same school - and having taught in traditional 'Secondary' schools in the past - it can sometimes give you an insi…

Better Schools Needed for Everyone

Too often in education we get caught up worrying about our own situation, our own students, our own children, our own resources. What the Gonski Review set out to do was to fix a system that was failing a certain group of students and failing them badly. If you look at the PISA results you will notice that Australia is above the PISA average in regards to the quality of the education provided. However, you will also notice that there is a significant drop off in regards to equity and access across the board. Australia has a large group of students who for a range of reasons are being disadvantaged when it comes to learning and risks creating a two tiered culture of those who have and those who have not.
What has been disappointing in the whole debate is that we often hear about who will supposedly be missing out in 'real' terms and so forth, but what is missed is that if a school were to 'miss' out, it would be because their need is not as great as that of another sch…

In Search of One Tool to Rule Them All?

This is a summary of the workshop that I presented at ICTEV13: IT Takes a VillageDiscovery often starts with a problem. My problem was the use of mundane exercise books and worksheets. After exploring different potentials (Microsoft Word, Evernote and the Ultranet), I finally introduced Google Drive.
Some examples of how Drive has been used to transform learning include: ·access everywhere. With student laptops often re-imaged, work is not only continually backed up, but also accessible from any computer. ·the opportunity to work collaboratively. Some examples have included adding to a single document for book clubs, sharing student goals to all relevant stakeholders and staff working together on a curriculum document. ·the ability to provide flexible feedback. Whether it is a teacher commenting on a workbook anytime, students posing questions on a presentation or using Forms to ascertain different points of information.
On the other side of the coin, there are always hurdles faced when i…