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Dream big, start small

It’s only the beginning…

October 12, 2017 by meghastie   

What can learning look like if we take always all the assumptions, if we broke free of the obsession with  high-stakes testing and actually focussed on learning to learn? A question that has driven me for many years, and that has led me through my Masters. I am keen to break free of the neo-rationalist paradigm on “preparing for the world of work” and ask how can I be involved in helping foster kinder, passionate, engaged and more creative young people? How can I be that myself? I have been reminded throughout this course that being a teacher means being a learner, means being open, willing to participate. This is the nature of digital scholarship (Weller 2011). It requires a shift in thinking about learning – it takes time, it needs prioritising, it means being willing to be vulnerable and be seen to make mistakes.

The Digital Futures Colloquium has reconnected me to education research and the broader community. The colloquia have been an essential time to explore theory located in practice.  Keith Dixon asked my favourite question- what is learning and why don’t we really know? His comments on spending time unpacking this concept as a learning community resonated, as did his provocation regarding misalignment between our practices and beliefs. This complex interplay between beliefs and practices is what I returned to in my final case study, situated in the context of ICT integration in my school.

I also was challenged by both Hourahaine’s exciting initiative, reconnecting me to the ideas engaged in during INF536, and the groundbreaking work of GELP (2015), Leadbeater (2012 ),  Mitra (2012) and Hannon (et al 2014). Hearing about one school’s journey towards transformation through Madelaine’s discussion of her school in the peer colloquia was both exciting and daunting. I have been continually reminded of the elephant-eating metaphor – one bite at a time.

 

 

The case study was a  wonderful and frightening opportunity to test it all out and put it into practice. Flexibility and adaptability became the catchcry! My initial case study focus was on the online NAPLAN readiness tests, but was crushed by the reality of context – my careful timetable was destroyed by a combination of the worst flu season to hit, external school events that impacted the calendar and staffing. Fortunately I was able to work one aspect of the study – a preexisitng survey on staff perceptions and behaviours on ICT integration into a longitudinal study, supported by other data sources. This was my initial area of interest, so the “accident of timing played into my hands and I am now left with some great directions ahead for my staff. Ultimately my final research focus has more direct impact and a greater capacity for implementing change than my original.

I have already begun my “post-study” reading list – all the interesting ideas that I came across not quite related to the current assignment or task, but looking interesting! I’m keen to follow up assessment in the digital world especially the work of ATC21S (Melbourne University’s Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills project) and to foster my Fullan fandom through rereading his works focusing on “deeper learning”  (Fullan 1992, 2011, 2013, Fullan, hill and Crevola 2011, Fullan and Langworthy 2014). I’m keen to learn more about games in education – I didn’t do this elective and everyone’s comments makes me regret it!!

from New Pedagogies for Deep Learning 2014

 

What does it mean to be open, connected and participatory, especially once the enforced discipline of the semester is gone? I have loved the challenge of the Gutenberg Parenthesis – ultimately we are social beings, and my challenge is to take the perceptions and beliefs, and to live them. The connection between philosophy and learning grows tighter the more I learn. For me, the big picture of the future has been reawakened, and the moral imperative to connect through learning has been reignited

 

 

References

Fullan, Michael (1992) Successful School Improvement: The Implementation Perspective and Beyond, Milton Keynes: Open University Press

Fullan, Michael (2011) Choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reform, Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 204, May 2011, accessed http://edsource.org/wp-content/uploads/Fullan-Wrong-Drivers1.pdf

Fullan, Michael (2013) Stratosphere: Integrating technology, pedagogy and change knowledge, Toronto: Pearson,

Fullan, Michael, Hill, Peter & Crévola, Carmel (2011) Breakthrough, Moorabbin: Hawker Brownlow Education,

Fullan, M., & Langworthy, M. (2014). A rich seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning. London, UK: Pearson.

The Global Education Leaders’ Program Innovation unit (2013) Redesigning education:Shaping learning systems around the globe, Booktrope editions[Kindle Digital Version] from http://www.amazon.com.au

Hannon, Valerie, Gillinson Sarah, Shanksm Leonie and Reza (2012) , Learning a Living: Radical Innovation in Education for Work , London: Bloomsbury Academic

Leadbeater, C. (2012). Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers around the World. WISE.

Mitra, Sugata (2012) Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning (Kindle Single) (TED Books) Kindle Edition, www.amazon.com.au

Thomas, Douglas, and Seely Brown, John (2011) A new culture of learning: cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change [Lexington, Ky. : CreateSpace],

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. A&C Black.

Wenger, E. (2011). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved from https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/handle/1794/11736

 


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