A few thoughts and ideas

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 – http://bit.ly/1rBN0vT. 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.

http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/quiet-susan-cain-approaching-introverted-students

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.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/students-taught-pseudo-scientific-rubbish-experts-warn-20160804-gql9v1.html

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

The Implementation Dip

The Implementation Dip

In schools we are often working within a process that asks our teachers and students to change their practises and routines.

At my school we have now been working for a few weeks on a whole-of-school initiative of making Learning Goals (LGs) and Success Criteria (SC) as visible and consistent as possible in every lesson.

I have been aware of some of the initial enthusiasm being eroded as our teachers work to embed the routine of writing and addressing LGs and SC. Consequently, I have made sure that our students and my colleagues know that they are very likely to experience the dreaded ‘Implementation Dip’. This is a well-known phenomenon and happens in all environments where there are changes in routines and processes.

I have warned teachers that students may complain about having to record LGs and SC, that some of our colleague teachers may feel that the practice is not as effective or as worthwhile as when they started using the initiative. The only way forward in these cases is that we must maintain and build the rigour of the process.

The concept of the Implementation Dip is similar to that of the ‘Learning Pit’ in that if we are prepared, determined, expect to feel the challenge and/or frustration of passing through the dip, and maintain our effort, then we will emerge successfully from the other side.

Automation and Futures

Automation Futures

Automation and the use of algorithms within all areas of human activity are phenomena that will have increasing relevance for the majority of citizens in developed and developing regions of the world during the next few decades.

Policymakers, legislators, leaders and innovators will increasingly need to focus on coping with the demands that automation places upon all aspects of society, industry and the structures of finance and commerce. Our current understanding of the issues of employment and careers, education, training, and even what it means to be a worthwhile member of society, will be challenged and need to change due to the interacting developments and effects of capitalism, automation and continuing globalisation.

Leaders in government, business, industry, education and social services will need to change methods, structures and processes in increasingly innovative ways to remain effective and relevant.

Automation has already had significant effects in various parts of our society. These effects give, and will continue to give, wildly varying experiences depending on how, where, why, and in what ways automation has been adopted.

The_Future_The exact nature of the effects of automation will be different in various parts of the world, in different parts of each society and even in different areas of the same industry. As William Gibson is attributed to saying, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” (discussion of the quote attribution here).

The uneven advance of automation throughout the world will likely cause policy makers to spend a great deal of time debating the causes, effects, likely certainty and efficacy of rapid and accelerating technology development and application. This political and legislative delay will likely exacerbate the problems that automation will bring along with its benefits. Read More

A Critical Approach: Innovation and the Relationship Between Pedagogy and ICTs

What use paper?

I have recently been reading some good blog posts on the relationship between technology and pedagogy when considering mobile device implementation in the classroom. Eric Sheninger’s ‘Why Pedagogy First, Tech Second Stance is Key to the Future‘ is a sound account of some of the issues to consider when implementing mobile devices, or in fact any technology, within classrooms.

A few points I would make about innovation, particularly related to digital technology use:

Successful implementation of technology needs to be well planned at both the strategic and the operational levels. In many ways, the strategic and operational should, and will, inform each other. However, during the planning and re-planning cycle of development it is useful to consider strategy separately to the issues that are necessary to consider during operational programming. Read More