Critical Reflection INF537


Reflection is critical; it is critical to completion of the unit of study, critical to my own understanding of what I have sought to do.  It has taught me again the need for passionate objectivity in any research, especially that which is qualitative in its nature.

Things often make more sense when viewed through the rear-vision mirror than through the windscreen. I set out on this case study to try to discern how a leadership team goes about the introduction of light technology, embedding in in the school’s daily life, to improve learning. I am passionate about the capacity of technology to transform, or merely nudge a little, how kids learn in this day and age (adults, too!).

What I discovered, of course, is that any innovation, any work designed to change culture, requires the same sort of stroking of the community to realign thinking. Shocking people into a different place, mandating ‘new realities’ won’t work.

Leadership is complex and difficult. At the top of the mountain, the wind blows in all directions. School leadership is especially so and it is too easy a pot-shot to have a go and blame the leaders for everything that doesn’t work. Good leaders need good followers. But followers of all kinds need good leadership too.

What makes leadership good? Put simply, and probably too simply, it resides in knowing where the group is heading and why it is heading that way, in having a clear idea of what steps must be taken to make the journey and, cogently, in being able to take your community with you. They must want to go there and to invest scarce time and precious energy in doing so.

I suspect we have reached a delicate stage in this journey. We have spent a couple of decades throwing educational resources into technological innovation. But only a few have worked out what we are doing it for, what is the rich potential for learning that could be the harvest of our labours. Among those few are some missionaries who have brought the good news to life, and others who long to but cannot.

The missionaries who have been part of the colloquia in this subject have been essential to new understandings in our digital futures. We are just scratching the surface of what is possible in learning analytics, as Simon Welsh explained, and we need to be mindful of who we allow access to our data, or at least remain vigilant when someone else holds the key to its access. There are windows to the future of innovative professional learning, humanised by the work of Cathie Howe and MacICT. This image reinforces the brave new digital world where the future of learning lies.

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Harnessing the possibilities of accessible technology to enrich learning demands it be deployed as a means for creativity, for connected dialogue and exchange. Access to information is easy, but learning is now so much more. The participatory nature of this course has been the most enlightening and rewarding, as we learn from each other. Technology then, is a way for human relationships to move beyond the bounds of time and space.

All of which has strengthened my passion. My resolve is not weakened that this is the right way to go. Somehow, somewhere, this little missionary band of online believers will gradually bite into the difficult ground and the cart of new learning will roll gradually forward. And we can carry people with us.


Colloquium #4 Cathie Howe and MacICT

My favourite part of this colloquium was the realisation that for many teachers, pedagogy has become a four letter word! We’re not at uni anymore, they say.

I can’t imagine how they would react if their doctors said, sorry – not learning anymore. I know enough from my training 30 years ago to treat you now! Or the pilots who say, I trained on a DC3 so the A380 will be a snack….It’s no wonder schools have trouble articulating p_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

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MacICT design professional learning for teachers and schools that encourage collaboration and try to build capacity in teachers and in teams. The concept is to sustain change in pedagogy. They use a highly iterative process, according to Cathie Howe, their Executive Director. Focusing on computational and design thinking, maker spaces, take a strong stance on learning and aim to encourage teachers to be pedagogically fluent. (there’s that word again!)

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