EduTECH 2015: My Take-aways

A weekend has passed since Edutech and I’ve even been back at school for a day.   I think its important to let a little time pass after events such as this and then to also get back to your own reality, before reflecting on what it all means………in this way I’m able to combine the euphoria with the reality and hopefully achieve some sort of clarity and be left with the key messages that need to be communicated and upheld.

George Couros talks about the biggest game changer in education as being something that has to be internal – a change in mindset about how we think and grow.

 It is moving from that “fixed” mindset about teaching and learning, and moving to the “growth” mindset.  It is thinking differently about education and understanding that all of us as people need different things to succeed.  To some students, the “Flipped” model is hugely beneficial, while to some others, gaming is going to push their learning to a new level.  Some learn better in isolation, while others excel in collaboration.  There is no single “thing” that is a game changer. If there was, we would have figured it out and adopted it by now.  We have to stop looking for standardized solutions to try and personalize learning.  Our mindset towards teaching and learning has to be open to many approaches, not any single one .

I think this is all important.   EduTECH is never about the cool tools. It is never about the device.  It is never about the apps.   We get to listen to visionary leaders and educators who know that the nature of learning has to change.  And it has to change because kids matter.  The frustrating thing for me is that I have been listening to this for years and believing this for years……….and nothing much does change.  We head back to our schools where an industrial model still reigns supreme.   There are elements of change visible – of course – but the key elements of the past are still those that are held to be the most important.

Valerie Hannon from the Innovations Unit in the UK urged us to start rethinking how we view schooling. She said that we need to realise that our view is largely based on our intuition and our experiences from our own schooling.   We need to consider that the world our students are entering is going to be enormously different to today’s world and the world we walked into when we finished our schooling.   Students are going to be facing global issues that are going to be significant.  How can we transform learning so that we are preparing students for this and not for our past?

In a practical sense, Valerie urged us to ask – ‘What is learning for?’.  At a school level – ask ourselves this very question and start visioning.    Stonefields School in NZ did just this and from their vision statement they expanded this into vision essence statements.

Their website http://www.stonefields.school.nz/

What do I think the key actions out of EduTech might/could be?

  • We need a vision for learning that is collaboratively designed.
  • We need to place a heightened degree of importance on children rather than teachers – their comfort levels and perceptions of what schooling should be like.
  • We need to understand and appreciate the message of global educational leaders who urge an emphasis on skills that will prepare our students for a world that will be incredibly different to the world we entered when we left school.
  • Part of this must be moving away from a overly structured, crowded and rigid curriculum model to one that is based more on inquiry and real world contexts where there is depth, meaning and relevance.
Advertisements

Master Class with Eric

http://esheninger.blogspot.com.au/

This was a follow up to Eric’s Keynote that I attended on Wednesday at Edutech and was designed to allow for a lot of the ideas he went through quickly at the Keynote to be fleshed out.

Eric was at New Milford Hight School for a couple of years and then became principal.  When he started there there were many problems – including drugs to the point where the drug squad had to sweep the school twice a year.  This was 5 years ago and things have changed significantly and it is testament to the shift in culture and the fact that they were focussed on results and achievement that they did this.  They had the majority of the staff embrace the shift.

He told us about his obstacles which included:

  • state wide testing that took up 90 days a year
  • Student Growth Objectives – teachers were interviewed every year and expected to  monitor learning targets, track data and at end of year demonstrate that achievement was improved.
  • Principal had to observe and score teachers…….this and other factors went into cumulative scores.
  • Parents who had a general view that schooling should be like what it was for them.

What they Did to Move Forward

  • teachers – 5 observations a year each….in classrooms all day
  • Leaders can’t be afraid of feedback.
  • We need to know what teachers are doing and we need to know what support they need.
  • Considered ways to give their teachers more time.

If it is important to you, you will find a way.  If not, you’ll find an excuse.

Change does not have to come from someone who has the title of leader. Change comes from the example you set.

His teachers were the leaders.  The No Complaining Rule”  was initiated.  John Gordon – Don’t complain and if you do complain have two solutions.

They were constantly asking themselves about how their school has adapted to the every changing world.   We all did a Today’s Meet on how our own schools have adapted.

If you are not adapting to this landscape, you are becoming irrelevant to your primary stakeholders.

Is technology the equivalent of a digital pacifier?  Is there a reason and purpose behind the use?

We watched a video of a 7 year old uploading help movies to YouTube. We were asked “what are your youngest learners doing at home?”  Greatguy7.   These kids are playing minecraft and using technology and gaming because they are able to solve problems and create and make. These things are inspiring kids to be self directed learners.  

Schools and many educators are not changing. ………The system is at fault – we are more interested in control, compliance and rules.  They either can’t climb the tree or they don’t want to climb.   

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 7.21.05 pm

Technolgy affords so many different ways for kids to show what it is they know and what is it that they are passionate about.

ASK YOURSELF:  Would you like to be a student in your child’s classroom?

        Would you like to be a student in your colleague’s classroom?

         Would you like to be a student in your own classroom?

If we started talking to kids……we would get some answers.  A lot of challenges can be met head on by working with kids and getting their thoughts and their answers.

Traditionally school works better for the adults than the kids.   We need to do things differently….so it is better for the kids.

The thing that first changed for him – when a child said to him in anger:  “Thanks for making a prison out of a what should be a school”.   The next change:  Twitter and he saw that social media could help him and put him in contact with smart people.  He gradually moved from being a lurker on twitter to a learner.

“You can’t be a prophet in your own land”.  Don’t ask for permission.  We work for kids.

Video:  Ask how are we preparing kids for this world?

3 BIG SHIFTS

LET GO OF CONTROL 

WE NEED TO TRUST OUR KIDS AND TEACHERS

IT ISN’T ABOUT OUR LEARNING – ITS ABOUT THEIR LEARNING

This is how to frame your conversations…..LESS US, MORE THEM

Tool:  Polleverywhere

These tools = make sure they are integrated with purpose so they make a difference to kids learning.

Why social media?   it is a multi-dimensional tool.   You can involve, create, discuss, promote, measure.  As a school, they decided they needed to promote what they were doing.   Naysayers were promoted to change..

Question: How do we initiate sustainable change leading to transformation in the digital age?  what must leaders do to ensure success?

It needs to be primed for student achievement. 

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 7.31.17 pm

It’s the teaching and not just the teaching happens in the classrooms.  Focus on what’s going on everywhere and at every time and also beyond the school day.  This is when tech gives us the edge – extending learning beyond the walls.

THINK        KNOW     ACT       DO   four keys to college and career readiness

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 7.32.57 pm

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach – maybe we need to change the way we teach.

BUT lots of cool tools won’t make a difference – we need a foundation and we need it embraced by every one.     

WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR STUDENTS TO BE ABLE TO DO WITH TECHNOLOGY?

WE NEED TO HAVE A GLOBAL BROAD VIEW…….WE WANT THEM TO DO ALL THOSE THINGS BUT IN WAYS THEY CAN BE CHANGE-MAKERS.

Freedom, autonomy and permission – do our teachers have this?

Technology will never be a silver bullet……it is how we leverage tech to empower kids to take control over their learning.

Eric’s tool – change.org  allows children to drive change, take actions.  they can connect with an audience all over the world.

The school had a few non-negotiables……

  • no desks in rows…….doors open.
  • a tool is worthless unless it has a connection to learning.
  • What is your learning outcome? What is it that you want kids to be able to do?

PEDAGOGY IS THE DRIVER WITH TECHNOLOGY AS TEH ACCELERATOR.     

Why can’t you change the assessment?  Use a standards aligned rubric….ask for a list of tools….(twitter).  It is NOT ABOUT THE TEACHER LEARNING THE TOOLS.  It is about you knowing that the tool has the potential to allow the children to demonstrate their understanding…….

Using digital tools gives students voice, it makes them connect to the boring curriculum.

The kids had voice….they helped pick new technologies etc.

2004 and principal in 2007 – most of staff older than his parents.  They had been there for 40 years.

He did something that wasn’t popular – 5 favourite teachers – who shared his vision – got them in the room – this is where I think we could go……(real change comes from teachers and kids)…gave them whatever they wanted – release, PD,  hardware, the only catch was articulating how that was going to improve professional practice……those 5 succeeded more than they failed…….kids started talking, parents started talking, ….5 became 10, 10 became 20……etc.

They realised that they had to have to create evidence for the change……BYO

How did he give teachers time?   Google 80/20 time – teachers were given time to learn new things.

Duties?????   He cut them all in half for those teachers who could justify the use of more time………and when you deliver them time they deliver.   Admin did a lot of the duties……  Teachers created a learning portfolios which were looked at in their own end of year assessment……

Another non-negotiable – every teacher – had to make interdisciplinary connections and they had to connect the concepts to the real world.       Adobe Captivate, Educreations, Verso

It’s important to look at the skills you regard as important

Creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, media literacy, digital citizenship, global awareness, entreupenership.

Question;  HOW DO YOU CURRENTLY MEASURE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION TO SUPPORT STUDENT LEARNING? 

We need to have a VISION – PLAN FOR ACTION – A WAY OF MONITORING – FEEDBACK LOOP

  • Raising the bar
  • student products
  • student ownership
  • kids choosing the right tool

Cool Tools: edshelf, Instagrok, Today’s Meet, Poll Everywhere, padlet, trello, tozzl clipconvertercc (get clips downloaded for presentations).

Learning Spaces and Environments

School re-design that reflects the real world and enhances essential school sets

QuikBoost – laptop chargers

Hiring the people that fit into the vision. Laura was given permission and support over a budget. 

Most schools put the cart before the horse…….and this is when problems happen.

  infrastructue

  vision for mobile learning.  how do teachers see mobile devices, how do students……..PD before,    during and after the initiative.

BYOD is not about giving students access to tools 24/7.  BYOD has specific reason for how it is going to be used.

devices to conduct research.   teachers stopped asking low level questions

CyberSafety – parent programs

Devices need to support learning……not drive instruction/

http://sites.google.com/site/anytimepd

http://bit.ly/DigiLeadICLE15

http://bit.ly/CultureICLE

Digital Badges   worlds of learning@New Milford High School.  Badges to acknowledge the informal learning……which went into a digital portfolio. They had to demonstrate mastery ..

Digital badges in professional learning

http://worlds-of-learning

Information your stakeholders want:

news

meetings

events

students accomplishments

staff accomplishments

  • put your colleagues in a position to embrace change.
  • ownership vs control
  • transparency vs secrecy

Don’t stop Believing – final song

Stonefields School – New Zealand

Their vision and strategic plan is all about enabling learners for their future 

School website: http://www.stonefields.school.nz/

Stonefields School – started with 48 learners.  Now they have 415 learners.

Key question:  how do we prepare our learners for their future and not our past?  What might we need to abandon and what can we think differently about

Our vision:

  • Building Learning Capacity – strongly literate and numerate and knowing how to learn
  • Collaborating
  • Making Meaning
  • Breaking Through – fulfillment, satisfaction, personal best.

Ask always about the percentage of school led curriculum and student led curriculum?

From the vision – they expand them into vision essence statements.  They co-constructed these statements with a critical friend.   

Our beliefs and mindsets – why do we do it – because they are worth it.

Our Digital Pedagogy – learners being connected, empowered with the tech being invisible.

Always go back to the vision……what apps? What LMS – always back to the vision…..

Infrastructure

  • yr 3-7 have their own chromebook.
  • Year 2 iPads pilot
  • able to access the school wireless

Tech – how can we make the learning deeper?

Driving Change Momentum

Our Core Leadership Work

Ask what’s possible?  How do we want it to look? What are we needing in our curriculum?  What’s missing?

SAMR model – used as a scaffold to have a conversation…………………..

Looked at the apps……and how they could be used in the SAMR model.

Professor Starr – Chair – School Development and Leadership: Deakin University

Professor Starr was talking about the connection between the resources we have at schools and student achievement.  She discussed that the thing that makes the biggest difference is quality of teaching and time.

The most successful teachers work in teams with a clear purpose to their groupings……with a mixture of specialities, interests and competencies.  They are given a budget and they decide on their professional learning needs.  They work in teams to teach. They have more time and work for longer on tasks. The teachers have a reduced teaching load.   For the rest of the time they plan, converse, work on individual student needs.   

Valerie Hannon – Board Director – Innovation Unit UK

The above movie was shown to demonstrate one of the issues our children who we are teaching right now are going to have to deal with in the future.  Are we producing children who will have the skills, mindset and competencies to deal with this and other problems?

We are celebrating the extraordinary exposing of devices, tools, modalities.  It has transformed our daily lives and the issue is how can we bring this dazzling array to the business of learning.  How can we truly transform education?

We know that schooling was creating to cater for people throughout the Industrial Revolution.   We know this.   We know that without deep engagement – we won’t get deep learning.

If leadership is about facing the future – are we?????

What are we trying to achieve?   21st century skills?   In what way?

Richard Nobbs – “No Ordinary Disruption”  – the authors compare what is happening now with the industrial revolution but then there was one thing going on…..whereas now, we are facing four revolutions together.

We need to reset out intuitions which are based on our experiences of our past……..we as humans want the future to be like the past…..and it is not going to be.  We need to rethink our common sense of what schooling should be like.

Al Gore – The Future – this gives us a better idea of what the future will be like.   He came up with 6 drivers of change –

  • Globalised economy – shift of entire industries from continent to continent etc
  • Planet wide electronic communications
  • New political economy in which influence and initiative is shifting from west to east
  • Unsustainable population growth and resource depletion
  • Radially unstable relationship between human civilisation and the ecological system
  • Advances in biological, biochemical and materials science that enables human beings to reshape the fabric of life.

What is learning for??  No generations have ever faced this before…….

Other people can look away…….but we as educators can’t…….and can’t afford to.

4 levels 

  • planetary/global
  • national/Local
  • interpersonal
  • intrapersonal

Proposals – what skills do we need?   What do we need to do?

Planetary and global – to live within the earths’ renewable resources and to acquire global competence.

Naitonal and local – reinvent a democracy which is participative and authentic. To acquire the creative, collaborative, entreupenueial and metacognitive skills to ‘earn a living’.   To adapt to, and shape automated working environments with co-workers

INterpersonal – to acquire empathy, insight and respect and diverse and digitised societies.

to acquire sexual identities which do not harm but enhance and humanise.  to care fore and nurture others beyond the family.  to lead, to collaborate and to follow

Intrapersonal – to cope with increasing levels of technological enhancement.  To take responsibility for pesonal health and fitness over a long life.  To apprehend and create beauty.  To acquire self –  knowledge.

So much reform, so little change.  Charles M Payne

We need to ask ‘what is learning for?”

Claire Amos – New Zealand – Teaching as Inquiry

@claireamosnz   Teaching as Inquiry: a mechanism for leading meaningful and manageable change.

An article Claire has written on this topic

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 8.09.36 pm

A lot of her work based on Epson Grammar School and the work she has done there.

It’s a simple common sense process but done very explicitly and is completely transferable.

The future is unknowable, but not unimaginable – Ludwig Bachmann

With this above point – there’s no point sweating over the details but we do need to be willing to change.

We need to think about the things we can predict:

  • More information
  • More people
  • more careers
  • fewer resources

We are living in the age of change but more importantly – an ever increasing rate of change.

Moore’s Law:  “The only thing that is constant is change” –

Future focussed skills  – frameworks like the 21st Century Fluencies

communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, creativity, information and media fluency

Future Focused Pedagogy

Inquiry, at times self directed, problem based, personalised yet collaborative

Leading Meaningful and Manageable Change.

Solution is quite simple – adaptive experts also know how to continuously expand their expertise, restarting their knowledge and competencies to meet new challenges.

Essentially, as teachers we have to reframe our ideas of ourselves.  We have to accept that teachers need to be involved in action research and to be given the time and space to trial things, gather data about their effectiveness, to reflect on them and to share.

They need to focus the inquiry on where the students are at.  Get the data from the class.  They need to ask themselves what strategies (evidence based) are most likely to help my students learn.

Staff came up with their own eLearning Action Plan 

In this action plan – they defined what they wanted to improve or focus on .

The staff member is expected to research the ICT strategies that might be possible to use. We need to argue for each person to find the best tool for them.   Find the tools and intervention that best suit you.   Trial them and collect data.  Start writing a learning story.  Share their findings.   They did this in a learning cafe situation where sharing was done in groups of 3 or 4.   Sharer only allowed to talk.

So does this work?

Sigmoid Curve Model  – the best gains are made after you have started gains.

The model improved after one year.

We have to put teachers in the situation where they are taking responsibility for their own learning.

Eric Sheninger

Eric Sheninger is wonderful. He is one of those charismatic speakers who has you from the moment he walks on stage. He is unafraid to admit his feelings and talks clearly and loudly about about the need for radical transformation in how we run our schools in order to benefit our kids today.  I’ve been aware of his work for a couple of years and he is one of my favourite twitter follows.  His TL, Laura has also done wonderful things through being empowered by Eric to do things like Makerspaces.   I am spending the day with him tomorrow and I am feeling just a little excited about this.

http://ericsheninger.com/esheninger/home

To start with he talked about these key points:

  • Let’s not think about what is impossible but what is possible.
  • If it is important to you, you will find a way.  If not, you’ll find an excuse.
  • The world is changed by your example…..not by your opinion.  Paulo Coelho.
  • Leadership is action and not position.
  • If the leaders don’t get it, it’s not going to happen.

He talked a lot about leaders and leadership culture.  True leadership comes from the teachers, he said.   Great leaders remove the obstacles and they let others innovate.  We need leaders and we need all educators to get it.  Our students deserve better. The environment in which they learn is different.   Eric’s son is 10 – and what was he doing when he facetimed with him this morning – playing minecraft: creating a product that has value……its relevant and fun.  He’s solving problems, he’s collaborating with others………..NONE OF WHICH HE IS ALLOWED TO DO IN SCHOOL.

Reality – his two children hate school.   How can we prepare students for the future if we are stuck in the past?

Our classrooms – are we seeing fundamental shifts?  Are we preparing kids for the future?  How many principles adhere to conformity and rules as their main guiding principles?

We need to ask ourselves – What does school actually teach kids?  What do we want it to teach them?

Key Point 1 – Social Media is a Game Changer.  Twitter changed his life.  The people he connected with have made it possible to see other viewpoints and to get other ideas.  Social media is a catalyst for conversation with other educators. He took control of his learning and realised that his school worked better for the adults than the kids.

They learned that technology is not a silver bullet. True catalyst is how we harness technology.   Social media is like water and everywhere.   WE can ignore it and watch kids drown or we can teach kids how to swim.

Key Point 2 – CONTROL – GIVE IT UP.

Key Point 3 – TRUST kids

Key Point 4 – MORE THEM LESS US.

This is about our kids learning and not ours. Empower kids to take ownership.

If kids aren’t learning the way we teach – we need to change the way we teach……..is the instructional design right? How do we know that the technology is making a difference.

Pedagogy First, Tech Second if appropriate.

Pedagogy is the driver and tech is the accelerator. 

His school’s transformation took 5 years…..every time you use technology – is it making a difference?    He was in classrooms 70% of the day.  He wanted to make sure it was right.  The plan was created with the students and the teachers and the community.  We can’t be satisfied with isolated pockets of excellence.

They decided – No more desks in rows.  Kids brought their devices.  Every lesson had a defined goal. Feedback was a feature.

Real testament to change – transparency.  Let people go anywhere anytime.

Visitors went anywhere…….critical feedback was zero.  They worked on the foundation for years.   Kids learnt anywhere.   

Learning spaces and environment – school redesign reflects the real world and enhances essential skill sets.    put thinking games into common areas…..chess – this stimulated better relationships.

Makerspaces – his TL Laura – created makerspace and was empowered to make this change herself.

Went BYOD 5 years ago.   excuses or solution?   They focussed on how to use the devices and they had a clear focus.   

Tech should never drive instruction – it should support and enhance learning.    Engagement – this does not always equate to learning.   Are they constructing new knowledge? Are they applying new skills?  They focussed on student learning and the environment of the school. They focussed on teacher learning and decided it was no longer acceptable to be a disconnected nomad as a teacher.

What can we do tomorrow?

  • We need to create a PLN and build relationships. We should be helping each other because we are all in the business of helping kids to learn.

       Eric says he’s not smart…..just resourceful.

  • We need to think about how we communicate……
  • Ask – are we meeting our stakeholders where we are at.    are we engaged in 2 way feedback.  how are we interacting.  are we opening ourselves up?
  • Public relations – if you don’t tell your story – someone else will.
  • we have got to be willing to share…..create a brand presence.  it’s not about selling. it’s about building support for the amazing work we do. 

good leadership

share your vision

have the conversations

support change

embrace tech

learn from each other

model the expectations.

Digitally resilient – challenges, obstacles and excuses.   The person who says it can’t be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

Jane Hunter – Technology Integration and High Possibility Classroom

Jane is an academic at Sydney university.

She has done research – case study ethnographic qualitative research – using 4 high performing teachers and what they do to integrate ICT effectively into their classrooms.  http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781138781337/

PDF

She worked with 4 teachers across 4 schools and these teachers were extraordinary teachers who met certain criteria.  They had to be using tech  every day and had to be involved in research at some level.  They had to be a leader and using tech in innovative ways.

She was looking to find out if there were elements of their practice that she could identify and use to help others.

Teacher 1:  covering a 1/2 composite. She was interested in making learning public and giving students an authentic audience.  The students did a lot of performing –  and producing and creating these performances so they were quite polished little performers.   She saw this as giving their imagination an outlet.   She was focussed on this idea of ‘thick play’.   ‘Thick play’ is tied up with the idea of ‘flow’ – which is the opposite of teaching in little segmented time portions.  This is the idea that if they are working on something that is meaningful to them – they should be allowed to continue this work and focus on just this.

There were very few worksheets.  She showed a little movie which is similar to what we do with Explain Everything – the students demonstrating their understanding of ‘bossy e’.

Teacher 2:  Nina – wanted to focus on metacognition and learning about how children learnt.  She wanted  the use of tech  to enhance the children’s understanding of how they actually learnt.  Children used laptops 1-1 and this teacher used this same set of laptops with this class and other classes.  She did a lot of sharing of multiple screens through the projector so that children could see what others were doing.She liked film and did a lot of film making with her kids.  She used inquiry as an approach to learning.

She talked about herself and tech use and described herself as a bit like a mothership……sometimes she is out front and other times they are all together.

She worked with other teachers to build their capacity.

Teacher 3:  one of her interest areas was learning to code.  She was a very careful planner and considered that when students use tech they need to concentrate more in order to create a quality product.   She was very constructivist in her outlook.

Teacher 4:  secondary teacher with 99%NESL students. She was a digital media and visual arts teacher and understood the importance of the aesthetics.

ALL OF THEM – their work on authentic learning and authentic audience was clearly seen.

Jane’s work is based on the TPCK model – and the notion that teachers effectively using tech have a thorough understanding of pedagogy and content and then how to use technology.

Her model that is emerging from this research focusses on 5 factors.

  • theory
  • creativity
  • public learning
  • life preparation
  • contextual accommodations

Generally -successful teachers work in a constructivist manner.  They have sutided Piaget and Vygotsky.  They talked about playing and learning alongside kids.   They talked about technology matching the learning purpose.  Tech was used to shift the students’ thinking.   Real tasks and students questions were the starting point.

The classrooms were highly creative. They made different things and had choice and options.

Knowledge is limited but creativity circles the world

Albert Einstein

Her research also goes into the dilemmas.

  • Who is in charge?   – principle and practice
  • Getting into flow – the teachers who allow students to get into the flow and who take risks see the results. They see tech as empowering the students.
  • Teacher who don’t use tech are afraid to take the risk.

Standardisation is the death knoll of innovation.

NoTosh and Plans………

We spent the evening fleshing out further plans with NoTosh. Much of that involved just getting to know each other really. It was as important as they understand us as it is that we understand them. We talked to Tom and another of the team joined us as well – Hamish. Then, over drinks down at the Beach Bar, we met the whole team including Ewan Mcintosh, the found of NoTosh.

As part of this conversation we talked to Steve Borthwick (twitter: steve_borthwick) who is a principal from a group of school who have been working with NoTosh for the last 2 years as part of a project on design thinking. He discussed with us things they have put in place as a result of their work with NoTosh.

Specifics of their initial PD working with NoTOSH: one day face-face with all staff
one day with all teachers from each ‘stage’ together with Tom to do some planning.

Other things they have done:

20% time or Genius Time with three teachers taking a whole one day release per fortnight for each year level with each group of students working on student driven projects.  As a school we have experimented with this under the banner of The Legacy Project see here.

This project for this school actually takes up 10% of their time – resulting in students receiving day per fortnight of student driven learning and teachers having one day a fortnight of release at this same time. This was 2 thirds funded as in NSW they are entitled to 2 hours per week non-contact. This amounted to 4 hours per fornight with the rest of the one day topped up by the school.  This time for the teachers included an action research project of their choice. This was funded for a 6 week period and if there wasn’t work being done on this project, the time for this did not continue.  Many of their work is shared within a Google form….and we will be given information to enable us to access these resources.  Steve also talked about the opportunity for us to visit him and the other three schools in Sydney.

Can we do this? Can we work with our current model of release and justify giving children 10% of their time for an authentic inquiry learning model with design thinking at its heart?  Can this model be implemented alongside support from NoTosh as we use design thinking to get staff engaging with the curriculum and inquiry pedagogy in deep and meaningful ways?

Nicola currently provides 1 day QUEST and we have 2 other teachers doing this. We have non-contact provided in the form of Science. Can we do this? What kind of shift it is going to take to achieve this?

My first thoughts about what this achieves and what this brings together (from what we know and what we have trialled and what we know is important).

  • students being given the opportunity to work within an inquiry and design thinking framework – true motivators of autonomy, mastery and purpose visible here.
  • whilst in this framework, they are able to achieve ‘being in the flow’ which has been mentioned in literature as being important for learning
  • teachers being given the opportunity for  full day release and also action research. We know teachers being involved in action research is a key indicator for progression.
  • Teachers having time to share, converse and learn from each other is crucial and this model achieves this in a non-segmented way – full day release one day a fortnight.

High Tech High

The principal of High Tech High spoke at an afternoon session along with David Price.

This was an engaging chat full of encouragement to think of the world our students are going into and prompts to make us question whether most of our schools prepare them for this world.

The relevance of today’s schools should be seriously questioned.   The students in school today will have to solve the problems of the future. Will they be equipped to solve the issues of climate change or the population peaking at 10 billion in 2050?

We need to equip our students with the the skills they are going to need in their future.

Ask: How can I change our classroom practice so that I am making kids into the social entrepreneurs of the future?