The ‘School Portal’ of the Secondary College I work at has been going through a continual evolution for ten years now. The evolution of this space which serves both students and staff has reflected the development of educational technology, our understanding of how technology can be integrated, the needs of the teaching staff , and our pedagogical changes.Most big design decisions are based on what is discussed in meetings between staff, including; Leadership, IT teams, ICLT committee, Academic leaders, informal ‘corridor conversations”. Not many formal conversations happen with the students.
This digital space now consists of the original LMS with a few additional LMS linked on to provide choice and to incorporate those programs that have been stipulated by the overriding educational organisation. The IT department led by the Network Engineer have always made an effort to customise this LMS to serve the needs of the school community. They have been receptive to teacher’s ideas.What eventuated was a reasonably functional space that provided a choice of mediocre LMS that were all similar.Sometimes the users struggle to keep up with the changes and hence don’t use the tools.
Over the last ten months a greater focus has been placed on teaching and learning and decisions are being based more on current teaching and learning pedagogies like Hattie’s principles of Visible Learning (2013), the Flipped classroom strategies (Bull,G., Ferster,B. & Kjellstrom, W., 2012) , collaborative and student-led learning. The IT team along with selected and interested teachers have begun a more measured testing and trial of an alternative LMS. The IT team and leadership has come to realise how important it is to collaborate with an engage the interested and entrepreneurial teachers to try new things out (and develop new designs or prototypes) These recent activities look a lot more like Design Thinking then previous previous decisions and actions regarding our school’s digital learning space.
- Hattie, J & Yates G. C. R. (2013). Visible learning and the science of how we learn. Routledge.
- Bull,G., Ferster,B. & Kjellstrom, W. (2012) Inventing the Flipped Classroom. Learning & Leading with Technology, Vol.40(1), p.10(2).