Live 2 Learn

A few thoughts and ideas

Inquiry Learning and Habits of Mind

I think, therefore I'm dangersous

Image by John Eisenschenk

Over the last several months, my College has been working on ways to support student engagement, enduring understanding, and looking at ways to serve our students more effectively as they face a rapidly changing and unknown future as workers, learners and members of society. As a result, we are now building a teaching and learning approach which includes all the most effective and relevant parts of Inquiry Learning, Habits of Mind, Growth Mindset and many of the principles and methods presented by Marzano and his associates.

We have considered the pedagogical continuum that stretches from the most teacher-centric models of education through to the most student-centred methods of teaching and learning in the Primary and Secondary setting.

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Is gamification the answer? Maybe, maybe not.

A recent blog post was shared to me by a colleague. The short article stated that students are learning incorrectly and that gamification would improve student learning if used throughout education. See here for the online article from called ‘The way that students learn today is wrong‘.

The article makes the case that the stages that gamers follow in solving problems is akin to the scientific approach. This may be so, however, my initial response is to say that Read More

The AltSchool Initiative – Algorithms in Education


A colleague of mine recently sent me this link which presents a short movie clip showing the AltSchool initiative. This is a thought provoking piece.

AltSchool is developing a model of education that relies on modern technology to bring about tailored programs of instruction. The system marries sophisticated algorithms, resource development and adaptive instructional programs. It utilises algorithms that track student progress through ongoing formal, but predominantly formative, assessment and the use of quality teacher- and child-actionable feedback, built in to the learning process.  This is supported by the development and presentation of tailored resources, activities, assessment and experiences. Read More

First edit in Darktable

New Year's Day Sunrise

New Year’s Day Sunrise

Just for kicks, I decided to upgrade my computer so it can boot into Windows and Linux (Ubuntu). I use Adobe Lightroom for processing my photos under Windows, I wanted to try Darktable which is only available for Mac and Linux. This is my first Darktable edit. It isn’t brilliant but it still looks like the scene I pointed my camera at!

The picture is of the first sunrise of the year.

In Darktable I used parametric masking – which Lightroom doesn’t do in any great way – to adjust saturation, exposure and contrast. I also used colour reconstruction which is quite good, it allows you to put back colour in areas that are ‘blown out’, for example the disk of the sun.

What is it like to be your student?

Student Experience

The late Grant Wiggins (co-author of the Understanding by Design method of backward design with Jay McTighe) published this article on his website two years ago – It is the account of a teacher who shadowed Year 10 and 12 students for a couple of days. The takeaways stated by the author are very interesting and may be worth considering if you are reviewing your classroom practice and innovating within your schools.

What would it be like to experience being one of your students?

In the commercial world, in many industries and in IT-related systems and services, the experience of the user or client is a key factor in the design of products, services and customer experiences. It seems sensible that our students’ experience of their learning environment should be used as a key factor in designing the educational experience

This article and several of the comments are a worthwhile and thought-provoking read. Read More

A New Term for Authentic Forms of STEM/PBL Pedagogy

Incline Plane of STEM IntegrationDuring June I attended a STEM conference in Sydney. One of the presenters used this graphic (small picture at top left) to describe the range of ways that discipline-based sets knowledge and skills can be integrated.

It’s a good graphic and summarises the approaches that are taken. However, I think there may be a different approach which goes beyond the integration types shown. I also believe that you can exchange the word ‘STEM’ for Problem-Based Learning or Inquiry-Based Learning.

The new approach is what I will call Neodisciplinary (or Extradisciplinary if you are less of a rebel).

Neodisciplinary – definition: Where authentic, real world problems are addressed by using appropriate skills in combinations that, in a real-world sense, disregard the traditional silos of disciplines (effectively creating new categories of skills and knowledge networks).

Neodisciplinary model

I think it will catch on.  If it does, remember where you saw it first!


Educating Introverts

ThinkerA while ago I found this article. It has some worthwhile points to make on the subject of student introversion and follows on from a very important point one of my colleagues made about not judging introversion from an academic viewpoint when writing student school report comments.

I found the article very interesting from a professional point of view but also it resonated personally, bringing to the fore some memories from my childhood. The descriptions offered in paragraph 4 actually is me.

My teacherly opinion is that I think all students, regardless of their level of introversion or extoversion, should experience a wide range of circumstances, some of which put students outside their comfort zone. However, my experience of attempts by teachers to cure my introversion has occasionally been overly stressful Read More

Knee-jerk reactions to technology in schools

knee-jerk reactionI was recently contributing to an email conversation around the use of technology in schools. I made these remarks.

Regarding ASD and technology. What I have read indicates that children on the spectrum have a tendency toward addictive behaviour due to their comfort at doing a familiar task over and over. I think this, when twinned with the fact that apps are designed to be engaging, causes the problem. So the question is, do we train them somehow to moderate their behaviour and therefore cope more effectively in the world, or do we keep them away from technology hoping it doesn’t become a problem. Probably the answer is somewhere in between these, depending on the extent of the specific child’s abilities/disabilities due to their place on the spectrum. Careful and sensible management of students’ use of technologies such as tablets, laptops and phones is the way to go.

I don’t know enough about ASD to be able to comment in depth about the way we prepare them for a technology saturated world, but I generally push back against some articles I’ve seen that talk in terms of doom and gloom about technology use. These articles inevitably have an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to withdrawing the use of technology from education. Read More

Education, Coding and being Agile

CodingIn response to this LinkedIn post, I wrote a comment which turned out too long by a thousand characters or more!

Peter Grant initiates the discussion where Peter and the respondents make some thought-worthy points regarding STEM, particularly around the issue of coding. The discussion centres on the whether the promotion of coding and IT in universities is preparing students for the jobs of the future.

The comment I wrote went something like this…

Generally speaking, education is generationally slow to respond and often driven by federal, state, and local political agendas Read More

Learning Styles and the prevalence of saleable education products.

I wrote this in reply to an email from a colleague who sent me this link.

Informed educators have been pushing back against learning styles for years. Though you can use them in some low-stakes ways to enrich some teaching.

The use of educationally-related ideas to manufacture saleable products is a problem. Teachers who don’t have the time to filter the good from the ‘snake oil’ are sold millions of dollars of rubbish every year. Read More