At the start of this year, I was a little taken back by a question from a new staff member, "What do you actually do? What is your role?"
It is a question often asked at many schools of their ICT / eLearning / Digital Learning / Digital Technologies 'person', whether it be at an integrator, leader, head, or director level. Before we start, one thing for certain: for me, it wasn't about the shiny new gadgets or the latest version of so and so app. So I decided to map out the what, where, how, and when of my work, and where I like to see us heading in fostering a culture of learning.
With the guiding principals on top, and our reference questions to the right in green, what transpired was a four-year plan that depicts sustainable transformational change. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither should this be. As suggested by John Kotter, successful change management involves creating a climate for change, as well as engaging and empowering each and every individual in the organisation to ensure its ultimate success.
Sounds fancy so far, doesn't it? But will it work? I mean, we have over 150 teaching staff, and 1200 students that I work with, that's a rather big classroom to differentiate and cater to each individual. How might the professional development of staff and students scale, built around best pedagogical practice, and is consistent across the school? Two ideas I'm hoping to introduce are:
Without giving everything away, how do YOU plan and foster a culture of learning in your school? I would love to hear from you and connect. Below is an updated version of my Project Kaizen graphic as well as the slide deck of my presentation I gave on this topic at the National FutureSchools conference.
PDHPE staff took the deep dive and became students again to emphasise with challenges our boys face when completing an assessment task. Tinkering with the implications of their Year 7 Young Consumers unit on teaching, learning and assessment, staff walked away with a set of strategies and teaching activities that could be used in the classroom the following day.
These activities included:
More details about the workshop, as well as all the resources used, can be found in this website.
Other workshops in this series include:
“How might we leverage technologies to make learning visible?” That’s the big question our Languages Department tried to unpack during their half-day curriculum workshop with me. Not only did teachers discover the difference between ‘doing a project’ and Project Based Learning by designing cupcakes and being Masterchefs, they also trialled a variety of Digital Learning tools which will allow students to showcase their knowledge & understanding during Poetry Night in Term 3.
More details about the workshop, as well as protocols used can be found in this website.
Other workshops in this series include:
Brenda (Science teacher) had a dilemma: “is there sufficient scaffolding in our current project design to ensure all students are successful at some level? What are we missing that would make this a stronger experience for all students? What do we need to strengthen or add onto the Science of Separation unit?" The Science department investigated and unpacked these dilemmas in a half day workshop recently led by me. And together with the Library team, supported her through using structured protocols to introduce a researched focused ICT task that is authentic, challenging, and engaging.
Activities used during the workshop included:
This website was our home-base and contains all the protocols and activities from the day.
Other workshops in this series include:
Updated - 13/9/17
Below is a presentation I gave recently, titled 'Apollo 13', reflecting on the subject so far this year.
What is The Lab?
It is a new elective for Year 9 & 10 students at my school, being introduced next year, that I've been fortunate to be a part of. The idea of moving away from traditional schooling and having a subject that foster creative and critical thinking that's based on real life context is extremely exciting.
The Lab: Creativity in Practice
We often talk about the box (by the way why is there a box? Why is it not a tube? Why isn’t it a hat?)
We talk about thinking outside the box, thinking creatively, in finding new ways of doing things, in lots of areas of life, technology, sport and business.
The Lab is the course where we look at creativity in all of its forms and puts you at the centre of that. It cuts across and incorporates traditional subjects and looks at what it means to be outside the square. It will teach you and ask you to think about the ways we can approach problems and will ask you to create, solve, build, manufacture and experiment, to be creative in new and different ways.
It will teach and ask students to apply creative problem solving skills to a range of problems, and teach students how to identify the problems around us that need to be solved.
Areas of Study
At a recent #PubPD organised by Craig Kemp, I again explore the notion of giving teachers more autonomy and explain simple ways to redefine teachers' professional learning, these can include:
I'm keen to hear ways you've seen schools changing the ways professional development are ran.
What does it mean to be an educator in the 21st century? What part does technology play in the orchestra that is education? As learning, mathematics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) theorist, Seymour Papert notes, "nothing could be more absurd than an experiment in which computers are placed in a classroom where nothing else is changed". This is a presentation I gave recently which discuss the pitfalls of being innovative in education as well as exploring the journey of discovery through passion, fear, and failure.
Aim: For a group of students to identify an issue about sustainability within the school/local environment and respond by developing a plan for action. (Newington Learning Framework)
Challenge Based Learning:
Is an engaging multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that encourages learners to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems. Challenge Based Learning is collaborative and hands-on, asking students to work with peers, teachers, and experts in their communities and around the world to ask good questions, develop deeper subject area knowledge, accept and solve challenges, take action and share their experience
You can find out more about the project via:
What does it mean to teach in a way that achieves strong academics while fostering dispositions (like persistence or curiosity) that students need for long-term success?
"We must let go of having learners acquire our meanings and have faith in the processes of individuals' construction of their own and shared meanings through individual activity and social interactions." (Costa & Kallick, 2014)
"When students are sufficiently challenged, they give meaning to the work, produce new knowledge, and draw on the thinking dispositions" (Costa & Kallick, 2014)
Below is a hands-on workshop I ran at the TeachTechPlay Conference exploring the idea around:
"How might we facilitate meaningful and engaging professional learning"
You can learn more about the SQUID activity here:
You can learn more about empathy maps here:
Whilst it's still a relatively niche technology to integrate in an educational context, I have been exploring the role of drones in teaching and learning for the past 3 years. Below is a presentation I gave at the National FutureSchools Conference to discuss my successes, failures, and anything in between...
At the recent DigiCon 2015 conference, I gave a Spark talk titled 'Eating meat pies with chopsticks'. Spark talks are:
DigiCon Spark is a series of mini keynote presentations by aspiring thought leaders set to inspire, enlighten and provoke. Each presentation takes on a similar style to a keynote with one take home message about a topic which the presenter is passionate about. Presenters will generate awareness, share big ideas and call people to action through short bursts of dynamic, powerful and motivating thinking. This is an opportunity for presenters to enlighten delegates with a rich storytelling experience and to build confidence in presenting in a lecture style format. Delegates will be inspired by a number of thought provoking presentations, with a diverse range of stories.
It was a great chance for me to reflect upon some of the topics of conversation in teaching and learning and relate that to my own personal experiences.
Please find attached my slides:
My quote of the past year.... What's yours?
It was a privilege to have been asked to keynote for DLTV's Pre-service teachers conference. The topic "Challenges for teachers in the 21st Century" was an interesting and thought provoking one!
What do you think are some challenges we educators face? Love to hear your thoughts!
On Monday 7/7/14, a new web-show, 'Teach Tech Play', was born. Hosted by Eleni Kyritsis (@misskyritsis) and myself, it is a show where the audience gets involved and teaching ideas are shared, all within the space of 30 minutes.
Teach Tech Play is about
Each presenter is given 3 mins to share something they are doing in their classroom, and the audience will vote for their favourite presenter who will be crowned Play King/Queen for the month.
Teach Tech Play will be a monthly show airing on the first Monday of each Month at 8pm AEST.
Below is the first episode:
Eleni and I are looking for new presenters so if you are interested please contact us. Constructive feedback are also welcomed :)
Hope you enjoy our show and turn in on the 2nd episode airing Monday 4th August 8pm AEST.