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Showing posts from February, 2014

Measuring Success

The other day I got some feedback about a leading teacher position that I had applied for a couple of months ago. Although I had demonstrated the elements required in my application, it was suggested that I did not provide enough evidence in regards to my competency to lead change management. This got me thinking about what change that I had been a part of. The two things that came to mind were the introduction of the Ultranet and the roll out of interactive whiteboards across the school. However, in reflecting upon both of these situations I wondered if I was successful in bringing about change and how you actually measure such success anyway.
Change and TechnologyThe Ultranet was a learning management system developed by the Victorian State Government to support staff, students and parents by providing an online space to communicate and collaborate. It was also seen as the answer to ongoing student reporting and feedback. As a part of its roll-out, a train the trainer model was impl…

A Homage to Rhizomatic Learning

So, it is Week 6 of 'Rhizomatic Learning', the last planned week of the course, and the focus is how do we teach ourselves into uselessness? How do we empower people so they have the PERMISSION to learn without us?
What an interesting topic to end Rhizomatic Learning with, the notion of doing your job so that you are no longer required any more. Maybe the word job is the wrong word, but simply so that you are no longer a required commodity. The question then is what remains? I would argue that when all else has gone, we are left with learning. The problem with this is that so much of 'learning' is social, it comes from our connections with other, those clashes of ideas that once settled, develop into new beginnings. The first step then in making ourselves useless is to define who 'we' are. Teachers? Learners? Facilitators? Critical friends? Fire starters?
What is often missed in discussions about teaching is the inadvertent, incidental, non-traditional environme…

Curriculum as a Verb

In a recent post, I wrote about the idea that a PLN, whether professional or personal learn network, as actually being something that you do, a verb, rather than something done, a noun, I think that the same argument can be applied to the notion of curriculum. Too often when we discuss 'curriculum' it is as something stagnant, something finished, something complete, a document held in the hand. However, treating it in this way misses something, denies the reality that it is something that is constantly developing, growing, adapting, changing and evolving.

One of the reasons that we see curriculum as being something stagnant is that often the changes can occur over long periods of time so we do not consider it as something constant. For example, in my time teaching, I have seen three significant curriculum shifts. Firstly the transition from CSFII to VELS. This was significant because it moved subject based assessment to also recognising various interdisciplinary strands of lea…

One Size Doesn't Fit All - Community as Curriculum

I was faced with a new challenge the other day. With the choice of the new professional learning communities the group that I was allocated to was given an additional challenge, that we would in fact be leaderless, that we would work collaboratively to develop a focus and go from there. Initially, I was apprehensive, as I had concerns about where technology had been heading - the group was meant to focus on using technology to engage. However, what was interesting was the group did manage to develop a voice of its own, a collective voice, with everyone adding their own question and concern. This got me thinking again about +Dan Donahoo's keynote at ICTEV13 Conference that a community is not about everyone doing the same thing, rather it is about recognising the place of everyone in the village.  .
This led me to reflect upon a bigger problem that has developed in the past few years, the mix and match of different technological devices and platforms. The school I work at has an arra…

This, But Not That - A Reflection on the Consequences of Choice

It is so easy to get caught up wanting one thing, but not necessarily wanting everything that it may bring. Take for example, the following: Want an 8 cylinder car, but don't want to pay for the increase in petrolWant to use Google Apps/Chromebook at school, but don't want to invest in quality Internet and appropriate infrastructureWant to go on a holiday, but don't want to pay for accommodationWant writing proofread, but don't want to discuss any of the changesWant students to be at the centre of learning, but still as a teacher want to have all the controlWant a bigger house, but don't want to clean it or pay the increase mortgage repaymentsWant to have a big night, but don't want to put up with the hangover in the morningAnd the list goes on ... This happens in all facets of life, where there is a discrepancy between what we want and the reality of the full situation. However, it is becoming more and more pertinent in schools.
So often the 'next best thin…

In the Association We Trust

While attending the recent Teachmeet at Lt Markov, +Roland Gesthuizen posed the question, what do you expect from +Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria? It is a part of a bigger question that I don't believe we ask very often, what we actually expect from an educational association? It got me thinking about how these expectations have changed in the last few years. I remember when I started teaching over ten years ago, the association was the first place you went to for information and resources. However, in the last few years this pride of place has gradually been dissolved with the development of various sites and spaces. So here then are my thoughts about the place of associations today.
I remember as a graduate being inundated by my subject association with an array of sessions for this and that, I thought that every event was worth going to, probably because that was all that was on offer. The problem with this though was that schools never allow you to go to ever event due …

When Encouragement isn't so Encouraging: A Meditation on Rewards and Celebrations

I read a fantastic post from +George Couros a few months back about sharing a positive story a day. In a dark place personally after the death of his father, Couros decided to try and change how he was feeling by starting the day by tweeting something positive about someone else, and sharing it with the world. For this, he started a hashtag #365greattweeps. To me, this is really a part of a wider movement associated with celebrating the successes and recognising the failures. The question though that is often left unasked is whether celebrations and successes always have a positive consequence for everybody else?

Take for example the 'student of the week'. A staple of many primary schools. In another post Couros argues that such awards are often handed to the detriment of the students, rather than to their advantage. The reason being is that different items are often found for awarding students. For if such awards were based on academic results then they would often go to the s…

Is Books Making Us Stupid?

So, it is Week 4 of 'Rhizomatic Learning' and the focus is whether 'books are making us stupid?'. The questions posed are what the medium of print done to learning? What are the implications of this objective distance? How does it impact what we believe is valid in our society both inside learning and outside of it?

In a recent post, I posed the question, 'What's so Digital about Literacy Anyway?' One of my concerns was that in all of the reading practises that I have been a part of, digital texts are too often frowned upon, a poor distant relative to the exemplary printed text. The argument usually stated to me is that it just isn't the same to read a text on a screen as it is to feel the texture of the paper, to flick the pages. It just isn't organic. It is not how it is done. I couldn't agree more, it is not how it is done, it is different, but just because it is different, does that make mean that it is better or worse?
This brings me to my ot…