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Archive for August, 2014

School Week 4: Building (1) School Community + Digital Learning Ecosystem

Posted by jturner56 on August 30, 2014

LO4This week saw the first Learning Technologies Council get together for this school year.

In small group forums school leaders, teachers, students, digital services providers, curriculum developers, parents and guidance discussed how well we are doing with all things digital and where we should be looking to go next.

This is the first of many such conversations that will spread across the school community over the next couple of months, culminating in  recommendations and plans for adding more value to the school Digital Learning Infusion approach. Through strengthening school community, digital ecosystems can be built.

This brings to mine this weeks reading of Bain and Weston’s (2012) The Learning Edge: What technology can do to educate all children. Putting aside for now the fundamental flaw in their book that is based on research supporting standardised testing as the definitive measure of learning value (which I’ll leave to a future post to talk more on the required balance with personalised learning devices in a connected learning world), the book nevertheless includes some worthwhile insights into how, what they call Type-B schools, can achieve so much more when they build with an eye to both research and connected inclusion of diverse elements and preferences.

Both will be in play as we continue build into the future.

Week 1: Bridges
Week 2: Busyness
Week 3: Beliefs
Week 4: Building (1) School Community + Digital Learning Ecosystem


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School Week 3: Beliefs underpin student and teacher contribution at the heart of school

Posted by jturner56 on August 24, 2014

This week we settled into the routine of school. This included starting our fourth year of our Digital Ambassadors‘ program,da2 where each Middle Year’s class contained students who volunteered to support and connect on all things digital. Belief in student voice, and belief by students that they can contribute, underpins a strong school culture.

Also important is teacher belief that students have an active role to play. I’m sure, though, that as teachers caned students in the 60s they (in most cases) thought they had their students’ best interests in mind. If not, I hate to think what might have been their rationale.

In more modern times, yesterday I overheard in a coffee shop a teacher considering their students primarily in terms of what problems and homework needed to be set (to be answered on paper), judging by “what works for me” and observing that “only some kids can self-monitor.”

John Hattie’s oft-referenced research identifies teacher mindframes as one of the most important issues for school education. So as one considers student-centered learning (AITSL 2014) one should know that teacher inclusion is required if anything worthwhile is to be achieved. External “solutions” cannot succeed (and have not succeeded for many years) if teachers mindframes are not taken into account. Using common mindframes as justification can lead to segmented thinking. Team development needs to be integral to any organisation building worthwhile capacity, as recognised in a recent Forbes article. School have a role to play by leading by example.

Understanding why or why not digital works in a school ihas a lot to do with teacher mindframes and how they interact. Perhaps a good reference is Levitt and Dubner’s (2014) Think Like a Freak that identifies several steps to help move forward. These include “learning to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day.”

Finally the importance of leadership was reinforced this week by research into online professional development. It found that while self-discipline, motivation & self-regulation are known to be success factors for online teacher professional development, school Principal expectations are equally as important.

Beliefs matter! So does strategy!

Week 1: Bridges
Week 2: Busyness
Week 3: Beliefs



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Start of Year Questions to ponder for a school committed to Digital4Learning

Posted by jturner56 on August 16, 2014

  1. Where is the overview of the school’s digital approach?
    (At heart and mind level?)
  2. Where is your Digital Literacy Curriculum?
  3. Where are the support, feedback, measurement and assessment systems for digital development?
  4. Are Digital Services and Support sufficient?
  5. How are students actively involved in all aspects of your Digital approach?
    (If not, why not?)
  6. Where is your Teacher Learning program?
  7. How do you incorporate personal digital learning devices for students and teachers?
  8. Where are the student and teacher digital constructions that express, connect and bear witness to learning progression?
  9. How do you balance teacher diversity with system streamlining to ensure curriculum value?
  10. Where is the bridge support for new students and teachers?
  11. How is effective change management maintained?
  12. Do your leaders (at all levels) lead by example?

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School Week 2: The Busyness Blanket

Posted by jturner56 on August 16, 2014

As first the teachers returned to prepare for the new school year, closely followed by students everything quickly took on the momentum of School. A busyness to be ready dominates.

We should be thankful for the chance to re-boot the brain, as Daniel Levitin reminds us, a crucial requirement if we are to be ready for such demands.

The bell goes and each classroom becomes it’s own world. Focus tightens. Hopefully with doors open, reflecting an openness of heart and mind.

To add value we therefore should look to build and support teams, connect through weaving new ideas, and making space available for queries and ideas. As Joanne Orlando highlighted, changing teachers’ changing practices with ICTs  must take into account that that such change is personal and complex.

So we continue to look to how best to sustain purposeful relationships, support valuable risk-taking, taking opportunities to new levels through utilising the power of digital to communicate, clarify, cooperate, collaborate and contribute to learning.

Week 1: Bridges
Week 2: Busyness

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School Week One – Welcome, Bridge, Support and Focus

Posted by jturner56 on August 10, 2014

School Week One is about welcoming new teachers, helping them bridge across to school requirements, and providing access to avenues of support.

Time to start planning what we will be focusing on this year

Each year bring new challenges, new opportunities, new demands for adaptability and catering for diversity. Supporting leadership at all levels to break through boundaries to add value.

Building with research and thinking that includes

Taking Morozov’s commitment to working with narrative imagination to counter “technological solutionism”

Welcome back one and all to what I wish is a great year.

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