Monday, 26 May 2014

How do we engage every student in deep learning for success?

I have just returned to school after an inspiring term on leave thanks to the New Zealand Ministry of Education's Primary Principal's Sabbatical study award initiative.One of the requirements for taking this paid leave is to produce a report from your professional learning activity.

Thanks to the valued input from respected colleagues and educators (their feedback below might engage you in wanting to read the report ), I have now completed the report and have been encouraged to share this with a wider audience. The Whitestone Learning and Change Network will support my presentation to other South Island networks at the Regional Networking Day in Christchurch on Thursday 5th June.

You can access a copy of the report by clicking on the title link here  How do we engage every student in deep learning for success? 

My next challenge is to learn to prepare an engaging video version to share with our community and I am open to any ideas or suggestions. Being open to learning laterally and collaboratively, from the 'expertise in the crowd' (Price page 27 Open: How We'll  work, live and learn in the future) is empowering.

Preview of videoscribe video ready to present in Wellington 27th June

How do we engage everystudent in deep learning for success?
Read feedback about this report from respected educators:

‘I loved reading this report for a number of reasons - the main one being that you represent an important practitioner-voice in articulating what learning and change networks are all about…. Many folk are still waiting to be supported into the future - you're just getting on with it, like many students are - our most important challenge is manufacturing future-focused learning environments for kids that are constrained to just get on with new ways of learning.   You've grasped and articulated in your report ways of addressing that challenge.  Well done Jenny.  I'd also recommend you submit your report in article-style to SET for publication.’
               Dr Brian Annan,
               Director Research and Development, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland

‘Many thanks for sharing this Jenny. You have produced such a powerful document which has the capacity to change things!  Key strengths for me are the composure and clarity of the writing: succinct and questioning.  I will attempt to pare my writing down similarly in the future....
                Mark Moorhouse,
Headteacher Matthew Moss High School, Rochdale, United Kingdom

‘Once I started to read this paper I couldn't stop. My coffee went cold! You have done an amazing job of describing deep learning and the infinite, current and future possibilities for all students. Your personal experience provided excellent examples of the points you were making…. The story as it is, is gripping and immediately useful for teachers, students, families and communities. Sounds as if your network has fully embraced the essence of LCN. Please publish this so that it is shared with others. All the best with the next venture.’
              Dr Jean Annan,
              Strategy Development Advisor, Learning and Change Networks, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland

‘Please consider publishing the report as it has the potential to help shape thinking around engagement and the Innovative Learning Environment direction education needs to move.
I would like your permission to send the report to some of my MOE colleagues who are grappling with ‘networking’ and future thinking as I believe it will help shape their thinking on a policy level.’
             Rob Mill 
Lead Regional Development Advisor (Central South and Southern Regions) Learning and Change Networks, Ministry of Education, New Zealand

‘Firstly I have to say I was engaged with your paper right till the end!!!... I have read many sabbatical reports and I was really engaged in this one and the way you are learning and changing in your own practices. Have you thought about presenting this to a wide audience?
                Mary Wootton
                Lead Facilitator, Learning and Change Networks, Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, 19 May 2014

After reading Chapter 2 of OPEN we will be informal....

At the end of my last post I spoke about  promoting informal learning for staff and students after reading Chapter 2 of OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price

What does informal learning mean?

This is when we learn socially rather than on our own. We choose where and how we learn according to our interests rather than a predetermined curriculum. Meaning is made and shared through experiences and the expertise of the group rather than being reliant on one expert, the teacher. Price shares an excellent table showing formal versus informal learning on p27.

In Chapter 2, we read about the free, online, open learning course that had to introduce peer assessment to cope with the large numbers of students enrolled. Learning for these students in the social space through technology, where they have choice in their learning, is much more engaging and successful for them than in a traditional school setting. p24

Price explains that it's not just the technology but 'it's about behaviour shift as well'. Many e-learning school classrooms have the flash, shiny technology but are still using these with 'traditional face-to-face methods of teaching and learning'. p28
Social learning can't be ignored as the open learning phenomenon sweeps the globe. Price shares an example based on the powerful learning experience of his own son, Jack in 2005. 'From years of face-to-face apprenticeship, to just a few weeks of online study' his young son mastered Tuvan throat singing !! p29

The shift is moving from the way we teach to the best ways to learn - 'the rise of informal learning'. The teacher/student relationship is changing from 'vertically downward (expert to novice) to horizontally networked (participant as expert and learner).'p34 

Price challenges us by asking why the students who are the end-users of formal education should attend school five days a week, using technology that's slower than what they could use at home, when their 'passion outside school is to develop skills, learning alongside people of all ages, effectively organising their own curriculum.' p37

Price then shares examples of 'tacit learning' (learning through osmosis) and the benefits of 'action learning', working with others on problems, acting and then reflecting on those actions. p41

He concludes by stating that we need to create 'the right learning environment, culture and context, which brings people together to learn from each other' p41

How can we apply this in our own setting ?

I believe it needs to start with our staff. We need to create the optimum informal learning conditions for our staff to experience 'tacit' and 'action' learning and allow time to reflect on these actions. 
A focus on 'learning to learn' ourselves through exploring social media and sharing our learning with each other are part of our 'informal' staff sessions this term.
Our ability to let our students and each other see us as learners is key.
We can't understand how to create the optimum learning environment for our students until we are open to experiencing being 21st century learners ourselves.  
After reading Chapter 3 of OPEN we will go SOFT.Next week I will share how we can go SOFT.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

After reading Chapter 1 of OPEN I will radically change...

In my last post I spoke about radically changing the way we communicate with our community after reading Chapter 1 of OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price

In Chapter 1, Price talks about 'the rise of  disruptive, facilitative technologies' in relation to news about social and political movements in 1848 and 2011.

In the mid 19th Century it was the press and newspapers. In 2011 the disruptive technologies were digital with 'social media and citizen journalism at the forefront.'(p10)

Price foresees the job market of the future and talks of 'digital mediation' where human  intermediaries are replaced by 'user-generated, online connections.' eg. TripAdvisor and LinkedIn.(p17) He explains that a not-for-profit company model is emerging through a new 'sharing economy' eg. Airbnb and Streetbank. (p20)

Ultimately 'we have to be open to radical shifts in how we work, live and learn.' (p21) If we are open, 'it accelerates the speed at which we solve intractable problems and we can turn off TVs and enter into community with each other.' (p22)

Last week at school we published our final, full school newsletter. If we want to prepare our students and families more fully for the future, we need to lead the way by sharing our news using 21st Century digital technologies and social media.

This week our News and Learning blog will go live and will be promoted through Facebook and Twitter. We will support our families to transition to this new approach via a one page hard copy flyer. This will be distributed weekly at the same time as our newsletter and will also contain links to learning blogs and sites at school for our students, their families and our community.

After reading Chapter 2 of OPEN I will promote informal learning for staff and students. Learn more in my next blog.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

After reading the Introduction of OPEN I will create....

In my last post I spoke about creating a 'learning commons' at school after reading the Introduction to OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price

What does this mean?
This link shows where the term 'commons' originated :
The village green, or “common,” was traditionally a place to graze livestock, stage a festival, or meet neighbors. This concept of social utility underlies the philosophy of the modern learning commons, which is a flexible environment built to accommodate multiple learning activities.
This link takes it to the next level :
“The Learning Commons liberates the exploration of ideas and concepts; encouraging inquiry, imagination, discovery and creativity through the connection of learners to information, to each other and to communities around the world."

In our St Joseph's 2013 ERO report, the review team recognised our reflective staff culture as a strength
The staff culture is one of cohesion, openness to change and preparedness to trial new ideas

Our 'super' staff are constantly inquiring into their own teaching, exploring how to create the optimal learning conditions for every child to engage in deep learning for success. They ask other staff to observe them teach, they listen to the children and collaborate with parents, they research and they adapt. They have a learning commons mentality. Without this, the most modern of  Modern Learning Environments (MLE) would lack soul. Learn more about MLE's on these excellent sites: Mr Theo's blog and Emma Winder's blog

Our staff are creative and innovative within the refines of our traditional buildings and are actively creating a learning commons by opening up doors between rooms, team teaching, utilising BYOD, removing furniture, sharing learning on sites.Here are 3 of our sites to help put you in the picture:
St Joseph's 21 Century learning including action research and SOLO development Year 8  Year 7

After reading the Introduction of OPEN, I will co-construct a vibrant 'learning commons' for our wonderful staff and give them a 'sabbatical' away from staff meetings. This will free time for our teachers to become even greater designers of learning by 'creating the context and culture for innovation to flourish' (p174 ).

After reading Chapter 1 of OPEN I will radically change the way we communicate with our community. Learn more in my next blog.

Thanks to Mr Theo and Emma Winders for allowing me to link to their blogs. I follow them both on Twitter.