‘life long learning’ the most influential in educational thinking.

Lifelong learning, the recognition that learning may stretch out across a lifetime – is the new educational reality.

And what of ‘learning’? Learning is much bigger than education. Humans are born with an innate capacity to learn, and over the span of a life time learning never stops. Learning simply happens as people engage with each other, interact with the natural world and move about in the world they have built. Indeed, one of the things that make us distinctly human is our enormous capacity to learn (Kalantzis & cope 2010). The human brain is taken to constitute a new ‘grey capital’ to be set alongside the more familiar resources of land, labour and finance (Field 2006).

The development of influential educational thinking

The term ‘lifelong learning’ has been the most influential educational thinking for more than a century. Still today the debate surrounding, lifelong learning is complex, multi-layered and contentious. Everyday learning happens naturally, everywhere and all the time. Education – the institution, its curriculum and its pedagogies is learning by design. Educational policy makers, ONESCO and OECD (Knoll, 1998) among others, have endeavoured to embrace a societies educational need, economic growth and social inclusion through the rhetoric and encompassing the umbrella term ‘lifelong learning’. Within educational policy, ‘lifelong learning’ aims to encapsulate the challenges of economic regeneration and social cohesion (Ranson 2001). The term, predates the upsurge of interest in the 1960’s and 1970’s (Field 2006). The idea can be traced back to debate over the extension of citizenship, the rights of women and working class men, an educational committee in Britain argued in 1919 that:

Adult education must not be regarded as a luxury for a few exceptional persons her and there, nor as a thing which concerns only a short span of early adulthood, but it is a permanent national necessity, an inseparable aspect of citizenship, and therefore should be both universal and lifelong. (Adult education Committee of the Ministry of Reconstruction, 1919, 5)

Educational debate of the 1970’s were both far reaching and in the long term influential. The framework of the intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) preserved the debate over lifelong learning and in 1972 UNESCO fostered the global debate, leading to the publication of Learning to Be, chaired by Edgar Faure, a former French Prime Minister and Minister for Education (Faure 1972).

For many generations the sole purpose of education was to transmit values, knowledge and skills which the adult world recommended to, or forced on young people, in order to incorporate them in its society; hence, education could be wholly included in the State’s duties towards citizens, the school master’s transmission of knowledge to his pupils and the child’s relationship with its parents in the family.

The present-day world no longer warrants this confidence of a by gone age. If it be our hope at once to fulfill the promises of democracy and to establish man firmly in the scientific and technical revolution, both now and in the future, education cannot be entrenched within any particular social classes or age groups, or divided up into independent levels or streams; nor can it be reduced to a mere matter of State grants and family traditions. It must ensure a constant exchange of ideas between man and his social environment, and offer to everyone the opportunities of the learning society. The age, which Valery called that of the finite world, can but be the age of the complete man.

(International Commission on the Development of Education, presided by Edgar Faure 1972)

The Faure report was a turning point. Its essential humanistic concern, the ‘fulfillment of man’, flexible organisation of learning levels, recognition and widening of informal and formal access to higher levels of education, new curricular concerns; health, environment, cultural and the view that learning should last the whole life, not tacked on to a school or university. This broad visionary outcome became the basis for learning age, where the investment in skills and knowledge was moved in policy to ‘our whole workforce’ (Field 2006).

The 1990’s saw a global policy consensus for the concept ‘life long learning’ and entered the mainstream political debate.   This was embedded in one form or another in a number of policy documents and strategies across the globe; Jacques Delors, white Paper on competitiveness and economic growth (Commission of the European Communities (CEC 1994); 1996 European Year of Lifelong Learning; Appointment of Dr. Kim Howells as the first British Minister for Lifelong Learning; 1998 Green paper and White paper (Learning to Succeed) for post-education and training in England; series of policy initiatives to refashion the supply of educational and training opportunities to adults (Taylor 2005).

Changing course of life:  New Education, Learning and economic growth conflict

From 1990’s to today, it is argued that ‘lifelong learning’ is little but ‘human resource development’ (HRD) in drag’ (Boshier, 1998, et al Field 2006). The political rhetoric of lifelong learning is largely driven by economic pre occupations. Lifelong learning has come to mean human capital thinking and primarily thought as an economic source of competitive advantage (Field 2006). In the Australian context, policy has delivered this message for our Educational future strategies as stated in the 2007 Education revolution, stating that there is a growing consensus on the economic imperative of investing in human capital (Rudd & Smith 2007).  A substantial and growing body of international research shows that investment in human capital – educational programs from early childhood through to mature age workers – offers substantial social and economic returns for economies as well as individuals (Rudd and Smith 2007).

Beyond the economic changes and challenges, there has been an overwhelming rapid social change, which is having an undeniably significant consequence for learning and education systems. Where policy focuses on the economic concerns of lifelong learning, the theoretical and academic debate focuses on lifelong learning as emancipatory. The transformation of work in modern society has been profound and the implications for education and training- potentially and actual- are far reaching.

Today the world of work is significantly affected by social change; the very meaning of work has changed.

Social change in the last 20 years has been exponential (CSIRO 2010);

  • Occupations are less stable and predictable
  • We spend less time in paid work
  • Work is not central to ones identity
  • Ageing population
  • Life expectancies, workers stay in the workforce longer
  • Lifecycle is not linear (marriage, children, single households)
  • Variance in family structures
  • Women in the workforce
  • Impact of information technology
  • Transient population
  • Resource and environmental sustainability

 

In the 1990’s Gail Sheehy published a best seller called ‘Passages’, with the revealing subtitle: ‘Predictable crisis of adult life’ Sheehy, 1976. In this book, Sheehy endeavoured to identify common characteristics in particular stages in life, this theory was aptly named the  ‘the life cycle’ theory, for example on moving into adulthood, this coincided with marriage, homebuilding, consolidation of a career, search for career stability, children and evaluation of relationship etc. Sheehy was interested in identifying moments of predicable crisis for couples. Twenty years on from ‘Passages’ Sheehy’s new book showed how the boundaries between age and life stage had become completely jumbled up, stretched and pluralised (Field 2006). The overlap in the world of work, life journey, adulthood, retirement, periods of education, family structures, relationships, and complexity of the workplace scenarios, including casual employment, temporary employment, contract work and women in the work place.

 

The destruction of the set lifecycle had a particularly resonant effect on education. Much of the lifecycle theory underpinned formal adult education. The foundation of adult education is underpinned and dominated by economic and vocational concerns. Lifelong learning theory shatters the role of supporting learners into a thousand pieces (Field 2006). In particular if we think in terms of the broad definition:  ‘Lifelong learning’ includes people of all ages learning in a variety of contexts – educational institutions, at work, at home and through leisure activities.

 

The practice of life long learning: Proposals and Practice

 

Current approaches to lifelong learning aims to meet the twin challenges of economic regeneration and social cohesion (Ranson 2001). Lifelong learning is presented as having the potential to maximise the proportion of citizens able to contribute to their society’s economic and political well-being’ (Cohen and Leicester 2000). The mainstreaming of lifelong learning, the discussions and the policies are based on two main forms, Learning for work and Learning for citizenship (Rogers 2006). The recommendations from the ‘Inquiry into the future of Lifelong learning’ (Schuller & Watson 2007) based on the study of the UK’s current system of lifelong learning made 10 recommendations to meet the challenges of a lifelong learning strategy. The recommendations endeavour to respond to the major demographic challenge of an ageing society, and to the variety of employment patterns as young people take longer to settle into jobs and older people take longer to leave work.

 

  1. Base lifelong learning policy on a new model of the educational life course, with four key stages (up to 25, 25-50, 50-75 and 75 +).
  2. Rebalance resources fairly and sensibly across the different life stages.
  3. Build a set of learning entitlements
  4. Engineer flexibility: a system of credit and encouraging part-timers
  5. Improve the quality of work
  6. Construct a curriculum framework for citizens’ capabilities
  7. Broaden and strengthen the capacity of the lifelong learning workforce
  8. Revive local responsibility.
  9. Build local responsibility within national frameworks
  10. Make the system intelligent by information and evaluation, which is consistent, broad and rigorous, and open debate about the implications.

 

The practice of life long learning: Proposals and Practice in the Australian Context

 

Social and economic changes that have occurred over the last quarter of a century in Australia have far-reaching implications for education, learning and lifelong learning; our context is not dissimilar to other western countries. The requirement for ongoing learning is immediate and the Australian context mirrors the global trends (Wyn 2009):

  • Pace of change has meant that new skills need to be learned, with an increasing frequency, adapting regularly to new circumstances.
  • Digital technologies have enhanced our capacity to access information and have created the expectation that individuals will learn how to use successive waves of new applications and forms of new technologies in personal life and in work settings.
  • Challenges to sustainable lives with climate and environmental change.
  • Flexible and precarious work options to survive
  • Requirement for perpetual learning at all stages of life

 

In Australia, the idea of a totally pedagogised society (Berstein 2001) is taken for granted by many young people and they actively seek to learn from their experiences, regardless of the setting.

 

  • Formal education is only one site of learning
  • Developing repertoire of learning approaches and sites.
  • Young people have begun to transform the contemporary meaning of formal education and its relation to informal learning.
  • All areas of life are learning opportunities

 

With this in mind the conclusion, for establishing policy around ‘lifelong learning’ in the Australian context appears to be grim. The acknowledgement that institutionalised, predictable connections between formal education and post-educational outcomes are increasingly non-existent and have become less relevant to young people. Taking a snapshot of a section of our educational landscape, in regards to young people.

 

The elements of the education system in Australia that are currently taken for granted are becoming out moded (Wyn 2009) and appear to undermine the ‘lifelong learning’ model, nor do they endeavour to address the social challenges and changes in 21st century, as outlined in the CSIRO 2010 report. This was reiterated at the ACER Research Conference (2008) Touching the Future: Building skills for life and work (brought together researchers, policy makers, teachers, and other stake holders from around Australia);

 

  • Education systems have been slow to respond to changes in young people’s learning needs.
  • Some trends in contemporary educational approaches have further isolated education from broader social trends
  • Policies which contain standardised testing  are flawed
  • Ranking of school performance have encouraged the school system to adopt an inward looking focus, rather than focusing on the relationships with other schools, communities, diverse needs and other educational institutions.
  • Initiatives such as ‘school improvement’ movement disavow the relationship between schools and their social and economic context
  • Narrow notion of academic outcomes
  • New patterns of inequality outcomes based on class, gender, geographic location are formed, as some groups are able to draw on cultural and economic resources than others to secure success.

 

In concluding, educational policies have recognised the need for education to respond to social change, however they still tend to rest on traditional assumptions about preparation of young people to serve the economy.  This focus has created a disjuncture between educational policies that continue to frame education within an industrial model (instrumental and vocationalist) and requirements that young people and learners themselves have for the capacity to be good navigators through new economies to live well and to engage with complexity and diversity (Wyn 2009).

References

 

  1. CSIRO 2010. Our Future World, http://www.csiro.au/resources/Our-Future-World.html

 

  1. Cohen, J. and Leicester, M. (2000) The evolution of the learning Society. In J. Field and M. Leicester (eds) Life Learning: Education across the life span (London: Routledge Falmer (65-74)

 

  1. Edwards,R. (1997) Changing Places? Flexibility, lifelong learning and a learning society (London:Routledge).

 

  1. Field, J. 2006 Lifelong Learning: a design for the future, in Lifelong Learning and the educational order, Stoke on Trent: Trentham books, 9-45.

 

  1. Henry, K. 2009, The shape of things to come: Long Run forces Affecting the Australian Economy in coming Decades, speech to the Queensland University of Technology Business Leaders’ Forum, 22 October.

http://www.treasury.gov.au/documents/1643/HTML/docshell.asp?URL=QUT_Address.htm

 

 

  1. Kalantzis, M. and Cope, B. 2008.New Learning : Elements of a Science of Education, New Learning. pp 3-68. Cambridge Press, New York.

 

 

  1. 7.     Kalantzis, M. and Cope, B. 2008. New Learning; Web Source

http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-2-life-in-schools/keywords/ viewed 20th August 2011

 

  1. Rogers, A.(2003) What is the difference? A new critique of adult learning and teaching (Leiceter: NIACE)

 

  1. Rogers, A (2006) Lifelong learning and the absence of gender. International Journal of Educational Development 26 (2). Special Issue on Gender and Adult Education. 198-206.

 

  1. Rudd, K. & Smith,S 2007, The Australian economy needs and education revolution: new directions Paper on the critical link between long term prosperity, productivity growth and human capital investment. Australian Labour Party 2007.

 

  1. Schuller,Tom. & Watson,D. 2009, Summary of the ‘Learning through Life’ Summary:Inquiry into the future for Life Long learning (UK), NIACE, www.niace.co.uk

 

  1. Sheehy, G., Passages: Predictable Crisis of Adult life. 1976. Random House. New York.

 

  1. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO. 1972, Learning to Be, The world of education: Today and Tomorrow. Faure,E., Herrera, F., Kaddoura,A.R., Lopes,H., Petrovsky,A.R., Majid Rahnema, Ward,F.C., Paris,1972.

 

  1. Wyn, J. (2009), Touching the Future: Building skills for life and work, Australian Education Review report (exerpts) http://research.acer.edu.au/aer/9

 

 

 

 

 

Short Paper on ‘Change’.

Learning and Change

“What is this thing, ‘education’, that is expected to do so much? In its most visible manifestation is consists of institutions – schools, colleges, and universities. Education is also a social process, the relationship of teaching and learning, where one person helps another to learn. As  a professional practice, it is a discipline. As a body of knowledge and way of knowing the world, it is a science.”  Kalantzis & Cope 2008 p3.

or further to this,

“…we begin to hear more frequently that the function of education is to give children a desire to learn and to teach them how to use their minds and where to go to acquire facts when their curiosity is aroused…. before a group of English headmasters, by the Archbishop of York, that ‘the true purpose of education is to produce citizens.’ Eleanor Roosevelt (1930).

Defining Education, Change and Value.

How then does educational policy meet these all encompassing societal challenges, with the overlay of  ‘constant change’ within society and  the ever changing conflict of the value of education. For every moment in which a society is valuing knowledge and education more highly than it did in the past, there is another moment in which it appears that education is devalued (Kalantzis & Cope 2008).   This paper investigates education policy and rhetoric around the significant challenges of  teaching and learning (an education)  to meet the  ever expanding  expectations and demands of our educational, financial and societal landscape. In particular, the focus will be on the ‘Education Revolution’ (Rudd & Smith 2007) and how this paper fulfils or comes up short in redefining an education system that will make Australia the;

  • most educated country
  • most skilled economy
  • best trained workforce
this will be lead to long term growth fulfilled by productivity growth fueled by human capital investment ( Rudd & Smith 2007).

Setting the scene.

What does the past look like?

Firstly, we need to view the social, financial and  historical landscape and the educational framework that was reflective of these periods of time. Kalantis and Cope ( 2008)  explore the notion of learning for work within 4 dimensions; Technology, Management, Workers’ education & skills and markets & society. The modern past ( 1945-75) reflected a didactic education, machines and the system designed by the skilled few, operated by many unskilled workers where society reflected a cultural conformity and uniformity.  How different our world looks today. New Learning (Kalantzis & Cope 2008) in the 21st century depends upon new and constantly changing knowledge requirements which are initiative, show flexibility, innovation, creativity and there is a premium on interpersonal capacities such as collaboration. Education is transformative and central to the economic and social life of the knowledge society.

Historically, a constant state of flux and paradigm shifts, the role of government policy in social and financial playing fields.

After the second world war we entered a huge economic growth, where governments played an active part in the economy. The US was a creditor economy and created a democracy, governments supplied and guaranteed the welfare of the society, including health and educational stability. The establishment of the welfare state. However, within 25 years after the postwar boom, around the 1970’s,  there was a paradigm shift and governments could no longer solve the problems of world economies.

In the 1970’s International Monetary fund philosophies begun, reflecting the inequality of wages and a raising household debt world wide. This was mirrored in Australia. An aging population, polaristation of salaries, debt bubbles, drop in work force and the impact of the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

In 2008, the Great Financial Crisis ( GFC ) brought about a complete shift in the great economies.

Throughout the 21st Century significant paradigms have taken place. The tiger economies and their significant education spending in places like singapore, South Korea  have seen their educational outcomes be measured above traditional european standards.

Today, the world we live in is an unfolding measure of change. No longer are the substantial domestic western economies dominant. The economic ripples, unlike the 1980’s (3rd world crisis)  and 1996-7 (Great Asian financial crisis) , the 2008 GFC economic crisis and indeed the 2011 crisis, are world wide and far reaching across almost all the world economies. The world stage and the well-being of our citizens has changed exponentially.

Reflecting  on Australia in 2011 economically, socially and educationally.

Henry (2009) stated  as a result of recovering from the 2008 GFC, there will be the most profound change in our financial position than any other point in Australian history. Henry (2009) goes on to reiterate the the 4 forces affecting the Australian Economy;

  • population ageing
  • Climate change
  • ICT revolution
  • The re-emergance of China and India and Australia’s Terms of Trade.
Henry (2009) summarises Australia’s high level of national investment as reflecting a deficit of national saving, due to a large mining sector and a relatively small manufacturing and tourism sectors. What this means for the Australian Economy, we  will be importing capital – and therefore running a substantial current account deficit- for many decades to come (Henry 2009).

Rudd & Smith (2007) argue that Australia’s current investment in human capital is inefficiently low, and in the long run Australia’s productivity growth will fall behind that of other countries. Australia needs to lift its productivity growth  to sustain economic prosperity, and this can be best achieved by improving our economic resources through investment in human capital. Investment in human capital can be measured by the spending on education.  Australia’s overall investment in education is 5.8 percent of GDP – behind 17 other OECD economies (OECD figures in 2006-7 and OECD Outlook 2006).  Couple this with 10 per cent of primary school students not meeting literacy benchmarks, a growing skill shortage, and the poor rating of of Australian Universities compared with our counterparts in North America, Europe and East Asia.

Rudd and Smith (2007) propose a case for change and it is encapsulated in the economic value of human capital investment. While this appears logical, almost superficially simple, the “education revolution” falls very short in identifying the real global changes that are taking place. The forecast of Australia in 2050 as highlighted in Henry ( 2009 ) and the CSIRO March 2010; Our Future World: An Analysis of global trends, shocks and scenarios compiled by Stephen Hajkowicz and james Moody, including the input from over 50 CSIRO scientific and business development staff, paint a clear picture of the ‘state of play’ needed to deliver the outcomes of the Education Revolution proposed by Rudd & Smith ( 2007).

The CSIRO: Our Future world  ( 2010) paints the picture;

Essentially, the 5 multiple trends ( Megatrends) which will impact on global citizens;

  1. More from less (A world of limited resources)
  2. A personal touch (Personalisation of products and services)
  3. Divergent Demographics (Older, hungry and more demanding)
  4. On the move (Urbanising and increased mobility)
  5. iWorld (DIgital and natural Convergence)
and Henry (2009) outlines the times of great structural change and how Australia will look in 2050.
  • An older, larger population
  • A considerably larger mining sector, relatively smaller manufacturing and tourism sectors.
  • Different sorts of cities, different housing patterns, different patterns of population dispersion.
  • A population connected electronically, to the rest of the world, but in important ways as far away as ever.
How do we construct some educational parameters that meet our needs for going forward.. is it genuine ?
In reflection, we should revisit the idea ‘what is the purpose of an education’, if we were to reflect on Rudd & Smith (2007),  Australia’s prosperity  is manifested in human capital investment. Where does this meet the needs of our citizens?. I would argue that the ‘education Revolution’, while  outwardly appeared to refocus on the relationship of a nations prosperity and educational investment, it falls short and  gives a limited view of education and its purpose to our contemporary world.
Is it  a revolution? or just another way of creating a burearcratic model of accountability, testing regimes and the narrowing of the curriculum away from delivering citizens with an education system, which will thrive into the future and meet the demands of the ‘megatrends’ ( CSIRO 2010)  and the changing nature of our contemporary world. The 2050 data tells us that investment in education will be essential, however the view of education must look different from that presented in the Education Revolution.
The ‘education revolution’ relies on lifting standards, through testing, efficiency of systems (Education institutions) measured by targets, by improving public infrastructures, building human capital where the greatest opportunities for further productivity lie ( Rudd & Smith 2007).
The failing to address the essential components of ‘learning’ itself. In education today we need a broader view of learning- of what people need to know and do in a contemporary world outside the walls of formal educational institutions, regardless of what their teachers might consider good for them in their usual teaching practices, and beyond what practitioners of the discipline of education might be in the habit of describing from their  books of received wisdom (Kalantzis & Cope 2008).
With the  National Curriculum looming (as a result of the education revolution),  the Building education revolution  and the Digital Education revolution. One must question  how this policy will meet the megatrends identified by the CSIRO. The education revolution fails to identify some major underlying conundrums facing the Australian economy. How does narrowing the curriculum to deliver publicised benchmarks affect our working life of Australian citizens, our age profile, our grand children,our growing educational inequalities,  the movement of peoples, climate change,  and the exponential information technology world.
New learning, charting the directions?
The New Learning (Kalantis & Cope 2008) suggests we develop strategies to meet the needs of communities of learners living in social conditions that are changing dramatically.
Professional educators of tomorrow will not be people who simply enact received systems, standards, organisational structures and professional ethics. In this time of extraordinary social transformation and uncertainty, educators need to consider themselves to be designers of social futures, to search out new ways to address the learning needs of our society, and in so doing to position education at an inarguably central place in society. (Kalantzis & Cope 2008). 

 

References:

Dr. Kevin Connelly. Australian Conservative.  Web reference http://australianconservative.com/2011/06/australia’s-education-revolution-how-kevin-rudd-won-and-lost-the-education-wars/  Viewed 28th August 2011.

Dr. Kevin Connelly. Australian Conservative.

http://australianconservative.com/2010/04/under-examination-the-education-revolution/   Viewed 28th August.

CSIRO 2010. Our Future World, http://www.csiro.au/resources/Our-Future-World.html

Dewey, John. 1916 (1966). Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: Free Press. pp. 21–22.

Garrett, P. (Minster for School Education) and Principals speak at the National Conversation with Principals 2011 in Canberra. http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/Programs/NationalPrincipalsForum/Videos/NationalConversationswithPrincipals/Pages/PrincipalsForum2011Highlights.aspx

Harvey, D. 2010. The disruption (Chapter 1) the enigma of Capital: And the Crisis of Capitalism, Profile Books, London.

Henry, K. 2009, The shape of things to come: Long Run forces Affecting the Australian Economy in coming Decades, speech to the Queensland University of Technology Business Leaders’ Forum, 22 October.

http://www.treasury.gov.au/documents/1643/HTML/docshell.asp?URL=QUT_Address.htm

Heynes, A. 2002, Australian Education Policy, Social Science Press, Wentworth Falls, pp. 62-87

Kalantzis, M. and Cope, B. 2008.New Learning : Elements of a Science of Education, New Learning. pp 3-68. Cambridge Press, New York.

Kalantzis, M. and Cope, B. 2008.New Learning; Web Source

http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-2-life-in-schools/keywords/ viewed 20th August 2011

Reid,A., McCallum,F. & Dobbins,R.1998. Teachers as Political Actors, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education Vol. 26, no. 3, pp 247 – 259.

Robinson, Ken. ‘Bring on the revolution. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html Viewed 27th July 2011

Roosevelt, Eleanor. 1930. ‘Good Citizenship: The Purpose of Education.’ Pp. 4, 94, 97 in Pictorial Review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher Engagement is that the first step?

A research proposal which I am toying with is  “student engagment” through the implementation of a teacher mentoring project. The ideas for this are underpinned by the champion model.

The report, The impact of e-learning champions on embedding e-learning, has been released by the national training system’s e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework), and looks at the use of e-learning champions as a change management strategy.     http://deniselofts64.edublogs.org/champions/

Interestingly, this presents issues within a secondary school environment. The hierarchy of curriculum HTs and the implementation of curriculum requirements is imperatively grounded in the effective leadership demonstrated by HTs. And often the presence of an effective 2 IC who supports the Head Teacher. We all know the story of the ‘Leadership and the dancing man’, http://vodpod.com/watch/3036649-leadership-lessons-from-dancing-guy?c=lofts1964&u=lofts1964  it is not necessarily the leader that makes the movement happen, but the second and third who follow the leader to start the movement. This has never been so true in a secondary school context.

The uptake of ‘Edmodo’ is the story in action. It is not the first one who introduces the idea, it is how that then is taken up by the followers.

This for example.

The uptake of edmodo at RBSC has been like a rolling snowball. Initially, I introduced to our (then Year 9 in September last year) gifted selective students as a way for me to communicate to them on a project we were doing “beyond the swell”, they then went onto present to staff at a staff meeting (yes blew our staff away). However, but implementation was slow.
The HSIE faculty, took up the challenge, which was led initially by a leading learner as a easy to access tool for kids to use & easy for teachers. The HT then mandated in year 10 that all work was electronic, no more books and that teachers would communicate all work, marking, sheets etc through edmodo.
The pivot point is HTS as leaders of their faculty. With a supporter as the ‘I  will give that a go’.
The take up was slow, however just recently we have had a real rush on. I have once again re-introduced to HTs at exec. And endeavoured them to lead their faculties. We are now on a real growing snowball.
I realise why.
1.It is easy & fun!
2.It is unblocked by DET
3.In our school, there is support in each faculty who have been using Edmodo with great success.
4. Staff who were reluctant, almost have got no choice, but to get on board, as HTs have begun to use with curriculum delivery and almost as a mandatory tool for collaboration in their faculty.
And your tips are great. I shall add to our wiki!
http://litehouse4skools.wikispaces.com/12.Eating+edmodo

This story has made me realise the slow uptake of the PLN and even the use of READERS for RSS feeds, bookmarking, blogging and naturally twitter. We are minus, a real advocate, or the follower to stand up and start dancing about the benefits of having a PLN.

This is where I see schools needing to implement ‘Mentoring/Menteeing’ programs for both HTs and teachers. HTs are the pivot to change.

Therefore I am proposing to ‘research student engagement’ underpinned by supported mentoring programs. Some may say that, yeh yeh we know that is done and has been done. Informally, it happens in educational institutions all over the world. Naturally, we are microscopic  learning communities. However, should it be mandated as a way to support learning change for the Chasm we all need to jump to turn our classrooms to completely different paradigm.

How do we make the ‘paradigm shift’ toward ‘student engagement’ for whole school change. We need a deliberate, whole school, whole DET mentoring programs. At the moment Mentoring is lipservice to support professional learning for teachers.

As schools we need to focus on our teachers and give them the support they need.

http://vodpod.com/watch/3578037-what-great-principals-do-differently-?u=lofts1964&c=lofts1964

‘What are we really doing about student engagement’

I am very interested in ‘student engagement’ through leading quality learning environments led by learners ( teachers ) using mentoring protocols.

Problematic; How successful has the ‘skill up’ for teachers as learners to create quality learning environments using technology been effective or is the chasm or paradigm shift too immense.  I will be frank, and will not guild the lilly, so to speak.  The DET has been clever in the selection of Year 9, as these are often the years of ‘disengagment’ of students. However, the greatest aspect of any classroom is the facilitation of learning ( ie The teacher).

Context: Roll out of Netbook computers to all Year 9 ( now year 10 and Year 9) students in State schools to enhance learning. My school is a large co-ed partially selective state high school which provides an excellent cross sample of cultures, religious, learning abilities and socio-economic diversity. Our teaching staff also represents diversity, from newly appointed teachers, mid career and long serving staff. The leadership of implementation of the laptops has been my school leadership responsibility, including professional learning (including emerging technologies in social networking, innovative platforms etc), hardware, program implementation etc.  We have been innovative in our professional learning, leading with champions, collaborative online spaces, we are measurably further ahead of most schools. The netbooks have been in the school for almost 3 months now, with our now present year 10 students, we expect 2010 Year 9 delivery week 2 term 2. Mid April, the data reveals some interesting insights.

1) Survey of teachers, indicates, if they ( the students) have a computer in front of them, then they are ‘engaged’. A concerning observation.  Is it just the hardware? ummm.

2) Survey of students, indicates they are not (generally)  doing anything different in their learning and generally has not changed, activities such as copying from the blackboard, individual work, watching videos etc. There are spikes in some classrooms where, the ‘mavericks’ are using collaborative tools web 2.0 & 3.0 such as  Edmodo, wikis, blogs etc. DET are launching blogEd tomorrow. So we have these tools at our disposal.

I am very interested in getting to the bottom of what is really happening, not lipservice, in our classrooms, and if engagement is happening, Why? and what do we do to get all our teachers through that Paradigm shift of ‘what our classrooms’ are really going to look like, and what mentoring/support structures do we need to provide for our teachers.  I keep telling my staff, we teach from the back of the room, a hard concept for ‘control freak’ teachers who rely on ‘workbooks’ and ‘busywork’.

Your ideas are much appreciated.

Do I focus on the teachers (I am presently introducing a mentoring project focussing on elements of the Quality teaching framework), or do I focus on the students for the answers of what they want good learning to look like.

I am all ears.

As a added perspective.

Laptops have sat in Private schools for a long time and when you take into consideration socio-economics etc of ‘like schools’ the difference of achievement in statewide testing to their state counterparts is negiable. Therefore it is not about the hardware, as some are to believe.  It is about the pedagogy. Many leaders in schools already understand that fact, so, what is it going to take to make that paradigm shift in classrooms. Thank goodness we have these tools in state schools to really push NSW students ahead. On a huge scale we are forced to stop and analyse, the impact and the projection forward for the learning and education of NSW students.

Consideration when starting again

Building skills in teacher professional learning to support literacy strategies for learning.

Reflections: Totally agree with you Cathy. Ann applied the QT framework beautifully in the context of Mount Austin, with particular reference to her aboriginal students. The way her leadership allowed staff to have ownership of the change that was needed was very inspiring. Her considered approach which was built on her experiences of Canterbury but was in turn a very different model and that was very much a new model adapted for the new learning context.

A Starting point before moving and starting again.

With teacher learning the ‘Tuning protocols’ was used to remove the emotional connection and deal with the improving teaching strategies.

Examine the data, Naplan, SC and HSC and get staff to sit the test, and see how the needs can be built in. One solution was a

Student Mentoring Program involving Peer reading program from a local TAFE.

6 week training program of Year 9 boys. Librarian and English teacher trained as tutors to teach Year 9 boys could then teach somebody to read, trained in other mentoring strategies as well as just reading. 20 mins in the library in the morning.  Expectations of the tutor; punctual, admin inregards to the being a tutor.  The Year 9 then year 10 students mentoring year 7 students, noticed a great difference with the reading results and good interactions in the palyground as a lead on from this program. Then we moved to a wider reading scope, faculties were asked the question to create a “create’ a critical word list with explanation which was the then explained to the mentee.

Skills for all mentor and mentee program, relunctantly leave the tutor program. Welfare and literacy benefits were immense.

Starting again.

1.Honour what was past, PMI plus minus and interesting, observations in the first instance. Need to trust professional judgments of the present staff.

2.Evaluate the existing situation;   decided completely different and needed a different model. Survey staff about whether they were happy with the literacy policy/program.

-team building, leadership program was completed, covey exercise, looked at data, staff and survey their own literacy needs, empower staff  and put into teams ( action research team led other teams). Literacy, brought in understanding of Aboriginal English, teach to the different way students recieve the information. Quality teaching model and looked at the issues, attendance: so the area of connectedness, cultural significance, and social support.

Actually, had look at the resources and adjust to meet the needs of students. Modelling of literacy, talking and then into the written phase.

Look at building particular

BLIS model  and work on a model. Mismatch, and then begun to believe that all teachers are teachers of literacy. Continually survey staff and give feedback to staff. Very important to do this.

Lead management in the classroom, new model of teaching, we (teachers) are the facilitators of learning. We all, as teachers recognise that we are not fonts of knowledge. The Glaser model lends itself to that mode of learning. Research the model which best suits your situation.

Leading Literacy

Reflection: Leading Literacy.

The two Principal presenters, while they presented different aspects and approaches to improving literacy in their schools. What is coming through strongly for me is the unrelenting focus and energy on the identified need for improvement and the focus improving teaching and on the teacher learning. Each Principal had invested time and direction to lead staff to ‘buy in’ to the project, they led with passion and high expectation which was resourced with support structures and vision. Whatever is the focus or as Chris describes, ‘finding the point of leverage’ and then all ‘hands on deck’ to meet that outcome. Then the second, part of focus for me is the collaboration of the staff to share, cooperate and model for their colleagues. The principal appeared to be the ‘factor’ that created this support and sense of community to achieve the focussed outcomes, and in turn built the capacity of others to lead. I am midway through a ‘champions’ model whereby staff share the learning journey with their mentee,in turn as mentors to others who will begin the learning journey for implementing quality teaching using technology to improve student engagement. However, one thing i have learnt today is to revisit the original idea, “why bother”? I will be asking my team on monday to revisit our learning needs/directions and ask the question, why are we bothering, and then really find that point of “leverage”. I liken it to those points/steps of evaluation that Ann spoke about in the leading change. What point are we at, what is the data telling us since the project begun and which gains to we need to identify and mark to lead the next phase of change. “its not the wind that achieves the journey, but the way we position the sails”. I need to check the compass!


Case Study by Principal Ian Chambers.

The 8 elements are

standards and targets

-key issue was to have a common language to describe the progress, and the some strategies; analysing work samples, we need to know the common standards and teachers are able to talk comfortably about what are the standards. Measure against the standards. Semester tracking of the individual students and the evaluate to realign if we think it needs to be reviewed.

monitoring and assessment

-semester tracking, assessment rubric etc

classroom teaching programs

-analysing the needs of the students and then aligning the programs to the learning needs of the students, constant talk of the learning needs of the students.  Continually build the capacity of staff.

professional learning plans

school and class organisation

-classes are organised in grades,  Supported with planning days, learning support team involved in welfare as well, how it is organised to best meet the needs of the students.

intervention and special assistance

-experienced staff mentor other teachers

home, school and community partnerships

leadership and coordination

-School works with the grades, coordination within and across the grades, organisation.

Change mechanism; essence of successful change is using the data to identify the need and then to guide the change. As the Principal, you need to resource the mechanism and then guide and support the change. It is not a static thing it evolves.


Professional Learning and Literacy learning for Students at Crown Street, Public School Principal Val Martin.

Looked at the Literacy Needs of students, in particularly Narrative writing.

Increase teachers confidence in the use of teaching strategies for literacy.

Establishment of teachers confidence and then leading to a sharing and mentoring program, and ‘critical friend’ concept from Sydney University important in modelling this strategy.

Skills of teachers were already present and then we were able to be used to help other teachers who joined the team.

Learning support team, met  and evaluated needs of the students.  Teachers followed yearly assessment overview were going to be needed for the students and classes were smaller in infants. Helps address the learning needs of the students, district office  were called upon the learning supports that are available to you.Syllabus knowledge and skills is imperative. Guided reading sessions happened 3 times per week and all teachers were involved.

Focus on Quality Teaching Framework, focus on the framework with the university of sydney. Robyn Ewing academic partner, working with the staff, developing trust and over time the trust developed immensely. Working to improve teaching practice for the teachers and learning of students.  Academic partner created a trustful environment. We realised we could mentor other teachers, national schools networks and there are ways that you critique each others work.

Worked with Academic Partner developed strategies to improve the narrative text type and the developing teaching strategies and the modeling of the academic partner.  Strategies using reading/literacy  circles and readers theatre.   Once the AGQTP project begun, teachers began to take a lot more leadership of the professional learning focus on the l

Principals role is in the background,  area of support and submission writing of the initial submission.

More evaluating our strategies would be more helpful. Outside evaluation as an effective, way for recommendations and directions. And other conducting of research and evaluation, helps build big picture and what is really happening.  Need to be clearer in the start about the process of action learning.  the professional learning of the teachers was the focus, the learning of the children is also important. The excitement of the teachers learning was the first instance and the change for students is slower, as students outcomes will be slower to show improvement. The professional learning of the staff is the most upmost of importance and this is imperative that the improvements.

As the Principal, professional learning to the teachers, people are not getting too stretched, needs are being address, that the communication of the process, ear to the ground, talking to people etc.  The principal needs to be aware of the ongoing adrenalin and the too much, long term project needs.

Lessons about change and leading change, be aware that things do not always be as you plan, may need to change focus, keep options, open to other ways of doing things, remain positive. Be prepared to take risks, support, but high expectations of staff and must keep balance with expectations.

The support of the team structure, and some work better in teams than others. Principal supports the team and structure.

At the end, to have fewer outcomes, find that point of leverage and then focus on that point.


Leading Change

Reflections on leading and Sustaining Change.

It is amazing to stop and think about what is sustained when you leave a school and move to another. In other words did the change process and the improved learning outcomes become, as Chris called “institutionalised”. It has been 3 years since moving from a school where I had been a long standing Creative Arts Head teacher, I see staff from that school from time to time and they tell me your faculty is still going well. I feel comfort in that, however, after listening to chris, I would like to think that the learning of students is still their focus, and not that change takes a high level of energy and realignment. It will be good to hear that things are also moving on, ie that the very first question we must ask ourselves and the team, Why bother? “why bother factor” plays out in this scenario.
At this point I reflect on my present school, the ‘rationale’ , the reasons for action must be built upon the decisions to make the lives and learning of the students and teachers better. It is the crucial idea that will drive the action, energy and capacity of the team.


Reflections from Ann McIntyre Introduction to Leading Change.

Key questions that underpin the change process in any school.

So the key questions that actually guide our work as educators in student learning also are quite useful to guide our work as leaders in looking at

implementing change.

The key questions,where are we at now,where is it we want to be and how do we set those targets and also then following through and thinking what is it we need to know, understand and be able to do differently in order to achieve different results to the results we’ve had in the past? Then the final question, how will be know when we’ve been successful? Therefore we have 6 key questions;

6 key questions….

1.why bother? why do i need to put in the effort to do this….if we do nothing where will we be.. looking at the rationale why we need to take action.

2. Is an individual and a team thing,  what is that I need to do differently, with discussion and looking at other schools, observations of the way others are doing things to improve the educational outcomes of their students. Look at other schools and teachers that  are doing things differently and how I build this into my practice.

3.How will I actually learn the new things, how do we change the practice, focussing on our own learning and building the capacity of the team.

4.Is this place genuine?, What support will I get?  how will I get  support for this process of change, realign strategically the resources to meet these targets. All energy needs to align all resources

5.How will I  know that I am achieving.  What are the milestones and stepping points, stages? What are the measures along the way, How will we measure and see the success on the journey. What steps/process will be in place  to measure our success along the way.  Clear idea of what success will look like. And based around the processes of teachers as the steps. Shared among the whole school

6. Sustainability of the change, how do I maintain the steps, how do we support the development  of the processes to sustain. What support structures are in place to continue to support the change.  We must ask the questions. What do we want our students to know, understand and be able to do. And what is it that we want our teachers to know, understand and do.

Leadership, making a Difference and Sustainability.

The role of the Principal and leading change. Day 1. Online Conference.

My how the role of the Principal has changed in our complex system. Once it was about just your own back yard, Principals today lead across communities of schools to make a difference.

Firstly it is not about change in itself but it is about the process and the people. A good Principal gets people on board (the ship) then they as a group look at what matters in the first place. Referencing Fullan.

Chris Simmons states “the best schools focus on what that key point is that is going to make a difference for the lives and the learning of those students” .

Secondly, the implementation which is driven by an unrelenting focus, a team effort and the capacity of all the team to make a difference.

Lastly, institutionalisation,  where the driving focus and change is sustainable and grows. We may call this ‘building sustainability’.

‘Beyond the Swell’ GAT4DER

A snapshot

“beyond the Swell” Lighthouse project at Rose Bay Secondary College.

The Light House project based on an elearning design called “beyond the Swell” and  its implementation for  the uptake of the new software on the Lenovo S10e Net books which are being distributed to every year 9 student in NSW State Schools as part of the Digital Education Revolution. The project is centered on the learner’s exploration of the content (ie the new software) circles from personal reflection (cognitive experiences) to collaborative (social experiences). In the briefing stage a collaborative wiki is featured as the resource and edmodo http://www.edmodo.com/home/ (educational micro-blogging) and twitter hashtags and One Note are used to share and collaborate knowledge.

Appropriate social and technological supports are integrated into the learning environment through the important role of the moderator ( the Teacher) and inclusive of access to online discussion, synchronous online meetings and asynchronous mentor support & technical support.

By selecting a group of Gifted learners to explore the educational possibilities of such a elearning model within the class room taps in to the needs of the students to be independent, self-paced online learners resulting  in the students  feeling connected and in control of their own learning. They were readily able to transfer their personnel WEB 2 tool experience into an educational setting. Collaboration and instant access to other student ideas within the learning environment engaged them in learning. Many gifted students visual-spatial learning style is not well accommodated by the audio- sequential learning style of most teachers.  The interactions that can be provided within an online environment will allow opportunity beyond the set curriculum. Enrichment opportunities to create knowledge, challenge ideas, reflect & discover new knowledge through social and cognitive experiences was the overwhelming consideration for the an elearning model to meet the learning needs of gifted students.
The ‘Authentic task’ of presenting their discoveries to teachers, ensured, the real life experience of F2F presentation of their learning.

Background

‘Beyond the swell’   e-learning design

‘Beyond the swell’ is an Elearning Design for Adolescent ‘Gifted students’ in a social constructivist and cognitive learning environment that uses the phases of Blooms Revised Digital Taxonomy to move students to deeper learning.

Moving minds beyond the Swell an elearning model for gifted Adolescent is dependent, firstly not only a hierarchical system of cognitive categories and levels, but is underpinned by a circling of learning phases from Individual experiences to Social experiences. The moderator is imperative to guiding the learner through the phases of learning; the learner is circling through cognitive and social experiences.

As a student moves up the hierarchy (LOTS-lower order thinking to HOTS-higher order thinking) through the cognitive categories/ activities, the cycle is balanced within a social elearning object. The balance of learning experiences, environmental factors and social interactions will move the Gifted student beyond the ‘Swell’ of their own inhibitors.

Designers Summary

The learning environment is centered by a collaborative group wiki and reflects heavily the phases of Blooms updated digital taxonomy (Church 1997), the social and cognitive experiences are guided by the moderator who plays a significant role (Salmon 2005) in the creation of new knowledge by the subtle and appropriate guidance of resources and supports given to learners. The implementation of the model is being trialed with Year 9 leading learners, students who are in the selective stream at Rose Bay Secondary College. The learning content is based on the uptake of the new software on the Net books (Digital Education Revolution) which are being distributed to every year 9 student in NSW State Schools. The learner’s exploration of the content circles from personal reflection (cognitive experiences) to collaborative (social experiences). In the briefing stage a collaborative wiki is featured as the resource and edmodo http://www.edmodo.com/home/ (educational micro-blogging) and twitter hashtags are used to share and collaborate knowledge. As the learner gathers knowledge there is a progression to the final phase of the learning design where the student is required to reflect on experiences through individual and collaborative spaces in which students create their own knowledge based on their experiences and publish to online spaces (wiki’s http://www.wikispaces.com , blogshttp://edublogs.org/).

Appropriate social and technological supports are integrated into the learning environment through the important role of the moderator and inclusive of access to online discussion, synchronous online meetings and asynchronous mentor support & technical support.

Information provided by Denise Lofts DP RoseBay  Secondary College.
Full elearning paper can be found on Denise’s Blog
Blog; http://deniselofts64.edublogs.org

Feedback

From John Evans | D.E.R Regional Manager – Sydney Region

Hi all

Today Sal and I had the pleasure to witness, first hand,  an outstanding DER NSW Light House presentation by a group of Year 9 students at Rose Bay Secondary College.

They presented their ideas on how the Digital Education Revolution could and should be used in the class room. Their audience,  a tough one,  consisted of their class room teachers and others.

During the presentation each student showcased some vey simple but effective tools that could be used to engage students while allowing them to  collaborate and share information with their teachers and class mates.

They demonstrated how to set up accounts, create  groups and blog posts in a WEB based program called Edmodo and how Student Response Network (SRN )could be used in a class room to evaluate the knowledge gained from the lesson.

Another student demonstrated the effective use of shared One Note pages within a class environment, where students could add content to a topic in real time. The same student demonstrated how he had set up One Note to record his notes from lessons and his use of Free Mind to map what they had learnt  as well as  areas of further exploration.

All this was made possible with the Net Books. If a school,  that has not yet received their allocation,  can have students demonstrate the above to a room full of teachers  I can only imagine the outstanding stuff that is happening in our schools, state wide.

Figure 1 Thanks to the program, we were able to use

6 Net Books to prove how successful they could be used to engage us

Research Paper

Denise Lofts   e-learning Models Task 2

Presented as Part of Masters of Education University of Technology

‘Beyond the swell’    e-learning design

‘Beyond the swell’ is an Elearning Design for Adolescent ‘Gifted students’ in a social constructivist and cognitive learning environment that uses the phases of Blooms Revised Digital Taxonomy to move students to deeper learning.

Moving minds beyond the Swell an elearning model for gifted Adolescent is dependent, firstly not only a hierarchical system of cognitive categories and levels, but is underpinned by a circling of learning phases from Individual experiences to Social experiences. The moderator is imperative to guiding the learner through the phases of learning; the learner is circling through cognitive and social experiences.

As a student moves up the hierarchy (LOTS-lower order thinking to HOTS-higher order thinking) through the cognitive categories/ activities, the cycle is balanced within a social elearning object. The balance of learning experiences, environmental factors and social interactions will move the Gifted student beyond the ‘Swell’ of their own inhibitors.

Designers Summary

The learning environment is centered by a collaborative group wiki and reflects heavily the phases of Blooms updated digital taxonomy (Church 1997), the social and cognitive experiences are guided by the moderator who plays a significant role (Salmon 2005) in the creation of new knowledge by the subtle and appropriate guidance of resources and supports given to learners. The implementation of the model is being trialed with Year 9 leading learners, students who are in the selective stream at Rose Bay Secondary College. The learning content is based on the uptake of the new software on the Netbooks (Digital Education Revolution) which are being distributed to every year 9 student in NSW State Schools. The learner’s exploration of the content circles from personal reflection (cognitive experiences) to collaborative (social experiences). In the briefing stage a collaborative wiki is featured as the resource and edmodo http://www.edmodo.com/home/ (educational micro-blogging) and twitter hashtags are used to share and collaborate knowledge. As the learner gathers knowledge there is a progression to the final phase of the learning design where the student is required to reflect on experiences through individual and collaborative spaces in which students create their own knowledge based on their experiences and publish to online spaces (wiki’s http://www.wikispaces.com , blogs http://edublogs.org/).

Appropriate social and technological supports are integrated into the learning environment through the important role of the moderator and inclusive of access to online discussion, synchronous online meetings and asynchronous mentor support & technical support.

Context & Content

Description of the Setting

The educational context is a large coeducational secondary City high school with 25 % identified[i]* Gifted students. The school community, both teachers and parents have identified some disengagement by students and in particular Gifted Students where some are not achieving outcome levels that would be expected from a cohort of gifted students. The model will be underpinned by the opportunities that will come from the Federal Government Digital Education Revolution and the 2009 roll out of Netbook computers and the wireless online networking.

Educational Challenges identified at the beginning.

One of the greatest gifts we can give a gifted student is the opportunity and the encouragement to risk temporary ‘failure’ in the secure environment of a classroom which encourages all students, including the gifted, to let their reach exceed their grasp. (Gross 2004)

Underachievement and disengagement can result in some students not achieving their potential. Underachievement is often the result of ‘lack of interest’, lack of cognitive challenge and hence disengagement that is often a direct link to pedagogy that does not address the needs of gifted students.  Have we left our gifted students to fend for themselves?  Have we held them back because of the lack of scope in the outcomes of curriculum? Do we need to move them beyond the curriculum to truly meet their needs?

The challenge was to create a model that created the structure where students could move, with the help of their facilitator ‘beyond the swell’.

Initial Justification for considering e-learning approach.

Gifted learners generally prefer independent, self-paced learning and online learning, they prefer advanced, complex content that can be self -paced. Online individualized learning has shown substantial academic effects, including the accurate retention of greater knowledge for gifted students when used in mathematics or science and, to a lesser extent, with foreign languages and other subjects (Rogers, 2007). Many gifted students visual-spatial learning style is not well accommodated by the audio- sequential learning style of most teachers. The interactions that can be provided within an online environment will allow opportunity beyond the set curriculum. Enrichment opportunities to create knowledge, challenge ideas, reflect & discover new knowledge through social and cognitive experiences was the overwhelming consideration for the an elearning model to meet the learning needs of gifted students.

Potential worth of e-learning approaches

Like all educational tools e-learning provides a structure to be an active learner, access and analyse information, achieve insight and develop skills. It can provide motivation and access to mentors, and foster collaboration with others of similar ability. However, the focus must be on higher-order thinking skills, analysis of information and cross-disciplinary knowledge. Elearning is most valuable when used as a tool in conjunction with other forms of learning and communication to foster gifted students’ cognitive development and encourage reflection, analysis and evaluation (McVey 2008).

Review of the e-learning Model

The e-learning model cycles through the Cognitive elements of Blooms Digital taxonomy map, utilizing social media, social networking tools, Web 2.0 tools and needs/interests of the learner. First, beginning with the elearning community micro-blogging tool ‘edmodo’ to invite participation and the establishment of a personal learning network. The teacher/moderator will invite the learners, guide the process of emersion & establish protocols. Then learners will be encouraged to participate in the elearning community, feel comfortable with the community. The elearning will be modeled (UNDERSTANDING) on a teacher wiki,  http://rbscleadinglearning.wikispaces.comstudents will then be guided to the establishment of their own learning wiki (APPLYING), collaboration of ideas. This will lead to the community sharing of ideas and the collaboration of understandings on the wikis (ANALYSING) with Class sharing and collaboration.  The learners will then evaluate performance (EVALUATING) with posts to blogs, survey monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/ to collect data and establish identity to be then move to creation (CREATING) of their academic Blog and the structure to which post comments validate understanding and the creation of new knowledge.

From this point the facilitator will re-engage (RECYCLE and RE-ENGAGE) learners to become mentors and establish an e-learning community to meet gifted learner needs and facilitate networks beyond the test case to meet the identity and needs of the learners. The moderator’s role in the summarizing of e-tivities will be re-engage direction for the learners to lead the cycle of learning.

Version 1.

Version 1

Version 1

Process of Development & Implementation of ‘Beyond the Swell’

The elearning design development in the implementation Phase and the Support Reference Group.

The support /reference group for the e-learning model was a combination of the technology team (lighthouse school team) teachers, Professional Learning Network inclusive of ‘Twitter community’ #GAT4DER, Gifted Education Consultant and University lecturers and University students.  The lighthouse group range across all KLA’s.  This group of teachers assisted in the collection of data, i.e. survey of year 9 students and teachers. They acted as moderators to the learners and advised the designer.  Toward the end of implementation I scheduled a teacher/student meeting for both students and staff (the wider staff). It was interesting to see the perceptions of students from what they originally expected from the experience. The students shared their experiences of the learning cycle. During the meeting they shared their wiki space, explained the collaboration process on edmodo and the creation of new knowledge. The students outlined what they have learnt and how it worked in our context. The teachers were quite intrigued by this opportunity to hear from the trial, to feel how it might work in the larger implementation phase.

The Implementation:

Including two modifications; 1) The Significance of the moderator; and 2) importance of Authentic tasks.

Remembering (Cognitive experiences)

Phase one involved setting up of the learning community through edmodo and the leadership wiki, including the establishment of the significant role the Moderator (Salmon 2009). The learners began to experience the formalisation of collaboration through edmodo, in turn the alignment to the perceived outcomes and ideas about the project i.e. investigation of the software on the laptop.

Understanding (Social Experiences)

At this stage it was quite obvious that the establishment of an authentic task needed to be put into place. The feedback from Lighthouse group reiterated this. According to the Woo, Herrington, Agostinho and Reeves 2007, a learning environment built around authentic activities, students have their own roles similar to those found in a real team at work, at play, or in other collaborative social contexts. The instructor (the moderator) acts as coach and facilitator, supporting students as they accomplish authentic tasks. With this idea the ‘beyond the Swell’ learners became a consultative team operating an action research project in the school gathering in-class data to present to teachers their findings about the new Netbooks.

Applying (Cognitive Experiences)

Once the Authentic task was established the learners immersed themselves in sharing, experimenting and applying knowledge in their consultative group with the moderator establishing the structure for the task. Weaving and Summarising (Salmon 2009) are paramount to the ongoing mashing and validating of the learning with the learners.  Online meetings (edmodo) and F2F were used in this phase. Appendix 1.

Analysing and Evaluating (Cognitive and Social Experiences)

The learners were now at the stage were they created their online spaces where they evaluated their experiences and sought comment, feedback and established wider networks beyond the learner groups. The learners established their own analytical position and moved toward creating their knowledge for the authentic task.

Creating (Social experiences)

The learners created and communicated new knowledge with a combination of local and global Blogs.  The learners prepared an evaluative and reflective online space and established viable production of new material. The resources will be used to support the in class experiences with recommendations for other students and teachers.

Recycle & re-engage (Cognitive)

The learners recommended the establishment of directions for the implementation of the software for the remaining cohort and the focus for whole school use of the software. The Learners are now become leading learners and champions to other students and staff.

Design directions and modifications as a result of discussions with support groups.

The reference group consulted in a number of ways. The use of educational blogs enhanced the evaluation of the design and the use of educational wikis.  Edmodo, has been used at the collaborative meeting tool and proved extremely productive.  Appendix 2. Edmodo example. Appendix 3. Blog example. Appendix 4.Educational Wiki.

Implementation of the model reiterated the significant role of the online moderator as being pivotal in giving students the confidence/liberties to edit/contribute the group wiki and was highlighted as an initial hurdle to engagement. The students are ‘willing to please’ and some degree of reluctance (politeness) was the initial stumbling block holding back their own knowledge creation.

Another element for consideration and modification: Gifted education; cannot predict the responses, setting a structure that allows the ‘letting go’ of control by the moderator/online teacher.

Lastly, the consultative team reviewed and analysed the role, function, and skill of the moderator as vital to support the learning design.  It is apparent that the role and function of the moderator be clearly defined, with specific strategies to support online learning is developed to support the successful role of the moderator to underpin overall design implementation.

The Blue Print and development

The model is underpinned by the use of Web 2.0 tools in the online environment. To use the term ‘Web 2;0’ is not helpful, rather in the words of Alexander (2007), digital strategies to enhance learning. Ultimately, the label “Web 2.0” is far less important than the concepts, projects, and practices included in its scope. A wise person just told me, make learning social, expect students to collaborate and expect them to share, working alone is mid last century.  However, it is essential to establish the role of the moderator and structure the learning around authentic tasks. These modifications have been included in the final design.  The Final Design has maintained the properties of the Digital Taxonomy and the Social/Cognitive experiences. However, consideration has been given to the advocacy of authentic tasks. Herrington (2004) proposes that authentic activities be shared to improve the quality of online pedagogy and to date still continues to need development.

Version 2. Prior to the modification of authentic tasks and The Facilitator (Moderator)

Version 2

Version 2

Version 3. Final Version. Beyond the Swell: Elearning Model for Gifted Students

Learner moves through the cognitive and Cognitive activities,

Moderator (catalyst) focusing on the developing of skills and knowledge based on Revised

Blooms Digital taxonomy (Church 1997). Authentic Tasks are established.

Final Version

Final Version

Design related issues and unexpected outcomes.

Challenges

Managing the group work successfully and the importance to help students learn from negative experience. The solution was to use those with online experience to mentor others and help the group progress.

Comparatively high workload to keep the discussions online aligned with the outcomes of the content.

Facilitator Issues and the role of the online moderator and the ability to maintain focus and provide opportunities for collaboration and creative solutions to group work did create some issues. The use of F2F at some of the stages is imperative to redirect and support learning.  Identified importance of defining the role of the moderator (facilitator) and the need for careful and deliberate skills. It is important to participate regularly in the student interaction process. The facilitator needs to be a role model. Ensure that student thoughts and resources are shared regularly. Update all online work regularly, to ensure currency.

Unexpected outcomes.

The most unexpected outcome was the ability of gifted students to adapt to problems that arose. They had developed solutions to problems beyond the expected outcome and were able to share openly with other members of the group. Motivation was high within the group, and the students openly and collaboratively created new ways of creating knowledge. The success of the student engagement was partly to do with the ‘newness’ of the project content beyond any other school experience.

Design Directions

Changes

For full implementation of the model a structured set of strategies would be established for the moderator. These would be couched in four headings, pedagogical, social, managerial, and technical (Berge, 1995).  Weaving, archiving and summarising are key tasks for e-moderators and add much value to e-tivities (Salmon 2009).  The imperative need for good facilitation over poor facilitation online has been one of the worst issues in hindering success in the online educational environment and ongoing aspects of online learning in this area are under deep scrutiny (Woo, Herrington, Agostinho and Reeves 2007).

Student engagement.

To follow is a list of future directions that will contribute to student engagement that would be considered in the ongoing development of and use of this elearning model.

  • Enabling elearners to choose or suggest their own project
  • Collaborative teams in which they make all decisions about projects and take on specific responsibilities decided by the team.
  • Encourage student to examine their own ideas on collaboration, the design process and they’re past learning experiences.
  • Talk about learning, good and bad.
  • Encourage learners to reflect on their own experiences, both individually and collaboratively.

The ‘beyond the swell’ model while meeting social and cognitive strategies to improve learning, the role of the moderator appears to be problematic in terms of time and productivity. Further development in this model would see other support structures put in place including peer support, online learning objects and media tools, and the building of the personal learning networks to support the acquiring of higher order thinking skills.

Appendix 1.

1.Sample of Online Collaboration using Edmodo for student learners.

Sample of Online Collaboration Using Edmodo with Students

Sample of Online Collaboration Using Edmodo with Students

Appendix 2.Sample of reference group collaboration.

Collaboration with Support/reference Group

Collaboration with Support/reference Group

Appendix 3. Educational Blog Collaboration.

Educational Collaboration with reference group

Educational Collaboration with reference group

 Blog for Educational Collaboration

Blog for Educational Collaboration

Appendix 4.Educational Wiki for ‘beyond the swell’

Educational WIki space

Educational WIki space

Footnote.


[i] Identified through the Selective schools unit of the Department of education and Training. The identification is assessed by a series of tests at primary school.http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/learning/k-6assessments/selectiveschools.php

References

Aldrich, C. (2004). Clark Aldrich’s Six Criteria of Educational Simulation. Available:

http://www.e-learningguru.com/wpapers/sixcriteria.pdf [accessed: 15 July 2009]

Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning?

EDUCAUSE Review 41(2):33-44. Available:

http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0621.pdf [accessed: 15 July 2009]

Bennett, S. (2002). Description of A technology-supported constructivist-learning environment that uses real-life cases to support collaborative project work. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from Learning Designs Web site: http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/exemplars/info/LD1/index.html

Berge, Z.L. (1995). Facilitating Computer Conferencing: Recommendations From the Field. Educational Technology. 35(1) 22-30. http://www.emoderators.com/moderators/teach_online.html (accessed 7 Nov 2009)

Champion, S., Faulkner, R., Geddes, M., Gibb, S., Gill, N., and Lofts, D. ‘edutweet’, A model for e-learning in a collaborative context based around the social networking tool Twitter. Retrieved 15th October 2009. http://edutweet.wikispaces.com/

Creating and sustaining effective professional learning communities (May 2005).

Research Brief, Brief No RB 637. Department for Education and Skills (DfES), General

Teaching Council for England (GTCe) and National College for School Leadership

(NCSL), UK. Available: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RB637.pdf

[accessed: 15 July 2009]

Davies, A., Ramsay, J., Linfield, H. and Couperthwaite, J. (2005). Building learning

Communities: foundations for good practice. British Journal of Educational Technology,

36(4): 615-628

Herrington, J., Reeves, T. & Oliver, R. (2006) Authentic Tasks Online: A synergy among

Learner, task and technology. Distance Education, 27(2): 233-247.

McLaughlan R.G. & Kirkpatrick D. (2005) Online Text-based Roleplay-Simulation: The

Challenges Ahead, In Proceedings of SimTecT 2005 (Simulation Technology and

Training Conference), Simulation Industry Association of Australia, Sydney.

Available: http://www.siaa.asn.au/get/2411856278.pdf [accessed: 15 July 2009]

McVey, Stephanie (2008) Computer technology and the gifted. The Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, 17 (2)

Nichani, M. (2002). Empathic Instructional Design. elearningpost. Available:

http://www.elearningpost.com/articles/archives/empathic_instructional_design/

[accessed: 12 July 2009]

Rogers, K.B. (2007). Lessons learned about educating the gifted and talented: A synthesis of the research on educational practice. Gifted child quarterly, 51, 382.

Salmon, G. 2002, e-Moderating: The key to teaching and learning online, 2nd ed., RoutledgeFalmer, Oxon

Salmon, G. 2009 Running e-tivity plenaries – 5 Stage Model, E-tivities – The Key to Active Online Learning. Viewed online on 4 May, 2009 at http://www.atimod.com/e-tivities/5stage.shtml

http://www.atimod.com/e-tivities/resources.shtml

The Learning Place – Education Queensland’s e-Learning environment

Available: http://education.qld.gov.au/learningplace/ [11 July 2009]

Woo, Y., Herrington, J., Agostinho, S. and Reeves T.C. (2007). Implementing

Authentic Tasks in Web-Based Learning Environments. EDUCAUSE QUARTERLY,

30(3): 36-43. Available: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0735.pdf

[accessed: 17 July 2009]

Beyond the Line (learning & the bush)

Beyond the line

…is an initiative by the DET to allow executive to experience the life of a rural teacher, in particular a role they want to play in leading learning.

It is an experience in action…. what awaits..

Reflections… on the experiences to “woop woop!”.

From the Foreshores of Coogee.. to the rural communities where opportunities abound.

On sunday at 9 a.m.  I sit off the east coast floating about….7 hours later I am amidst our Sunburnt country..

Dubbo….Time to Create, play, work and learn.

The variety of opportunities.. from small primary schools of 50 students, K-12 central schools of 125 students, thriving central schools in excess of 350 students,  Junior and Senior College structures with state of the art technology to enhance learning opportunities for all students with particular emphasis on closing the gap for Aboriginal students.

Off shore on the East Coast.

Off shore on the East Coast.

Beyond the line.Beyond the line….

Mendooran Central School..Learning... the focus...

Mendooran Central School..Learning... the focus...

'Gil', Gilgandra Central school, High Academic achievement and Student Well-being.

'Gil', Gilgandra Central school, High Academic achievement and Student Well-being.

The experiences have been overwhelming positive. The breadth of experience, sense of belonging and ‘at one’ with the community is certainly the over riding emotion communicated from teachers and students…. i love my job and I love my community was repeated over and over.

The surprising and impressive things i saw, was the amazing facilities, the ability of school leaders to access professional learning  to enhance teachers experience, the sense of community and passion for their communities.

I was only concerned about some of the specific harder  issues were glossed over. The problems faced by rural communities are not dissimilar to our city issues.

I had questions about health facilities,   teaching resources and professional learning opportunities which definitely were answered.  The focus on Learning was spelt out over and over.

I have decided that I am really very interested in the opportunities that may exist and will endeavour to pursue some of the opportunities.

What really came through clearly, was the quality of the schools and the quality of the staff.

Moving beyond….My short snippet of ‘beyond the line’ ….

What I need to do now is “talk to my school” share the experience and encourage others to explore the opportunities. It appears that teachers benefit from changing regions, schools is immense professionally, and personally.

Pre-visit ideas and thoughts.

What do I anticipate to be the major learnings of my experience “Beyond the Line” ..

1.The opportunity to see how learning is enhanced by technology no matter what the distance or isolation issues.

2.To see leaders and leadership opportunities within communities and ‘ communities of schools’ to enhance ‘student engagement’.

3. To gain insight to the workings of rural communities and the connections to their school communities.

When I consider the issues/ and highlights of what this opportunity provides for me.

I consider the following things as questions I need to ask….

What opportunities exist to achieve high learning outcomes for students.

-this area is where i am most interested, what , how  and when do students access ” gifted programs” and extension experiences. The top 10% how do we stretch the top.. how do we really enhance their learning outcomes.

What do I rate as my concerns for a rural posting.

1.Health care

2.Unsure about how the DET will assist executive in the transition.

3.Opportunities to maintain existing relationships.

I rate the likelihood of securing an executive position as reasonable high.

The possibility of securing position is  good, because I have faith in the present staffing systems and how the system endeavours  to match the “right candidate” to the school. I have to believe in the systems equity, matching Quality candidates.

Seeking executive positions is all dependent on timing.

Opportunities that may come my way must exist in a crucial timeframe. Matching opportunity to the timeframe.


Questions

Where to from here!! A little group brain storm!

1. Concerns:appointments are very much a closed shop! What follow up and support will come from this trip ‘beyond the line’.

2. Support: What support will be given on the journey to a the life change in the bush.

Questions & Answers.

A program that is being developed is “Professional Exchange Program” to allow exec to swap positions.  To allow for those who are not confident about the real change.  ..