Rethink Collective Practice or Rethink Schooling?

Early on in Module 3 #INF530 students are asked ….. Can we simply “update” things as we go, or is it time for rethinking of our collective practice?

Well, the answer is a resounding “YES! We need to rethink practice.” In the Video – Connected Learning: Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime Mimi Ito, informs us that expertise is widely distributed and “anybody can help somebody else get better at something.” This means anybody and everybody can play a part to play in the of education of a student. Now that everybody has a part to play, classrooms cannot deliver teacher centred lessons.

In Antero Garcia’s paper we read that learning is centered around youth interests in many out-of-school contexts and whilst this may not be new, what is new, are the ways youth expertise can be networked, accessed and even published globally with new digital media tools. Therefore, as part of our rethinking around practice, it needs to be acknowledged that each student has access to expertise and assistance way beyond what a teacher can offer within a one classroom.

With exponential increase of, and accessibility to information via mobile technologies comes the need to educate students to develop information literacy skills. Increasingly students need to become discerning about the sources of information and then appropriately use digital tools to gather, evaluate and use information. Thankfully, digital information literacy processes have been offered to teachers as early as 2007 via the ISTE standards (ISTE 2007). Recently, in Australia as part of the implementation of the Australian Curriculum General Capability for Creative and Critical Thinking (ACARA 2010) students are required to explore and organise information to generate ideas and actions. Furthermore, they are required to reflect by analysing, synthesising and evaluating learning processes.

The Guided Inquiry learning process (Kuhlthau and Maniotes 2012) is one that lends itself to promoting information literacy skills and offers a new way of practice which acknowledges the student as a co-creator of knowledge by framing their own questions. It is a process which has assisted teachers @materdeiwagga to engage in pedagogy which acknowledges the changed paradigm of learning offered by this new digital age. I can firmly recommend it.Guided-Inquiry-Poster-ymb3r2.jpg

According to aitsl’s 21st Century Education video (AITSL 2012) there is change to collective practice taking place around the world. For example in South Korea, digital textbooks are being mass produced to support anywhere anytime learning. In Denmark, students are able to use the Internet when taking exams; could you imagine that for the HSC? In the USA some schools are adopting personalised learning approaches which allows students to develop their own timetables with teacher time freed up to mentor and advise students. Is it time then to rethink schools? If students can learn anywhere, anytime, why can’t we afford them, in senior years at least, more time at home where online hours are registered as school attendance? Why can’t we give them the choice to use school travel hours as learning time at home? Whilst the students are at home, teachers could be at schools, working in teams, to design learning experiences that increasingly acknowledge the possibilities of a digital age.

Is it time to just rethink collective practice or is it also about rethinking schooling?

I would appreciate your thoughts.




Garcia, Antero, ed., (2014). Teaching in the connected Learning Classroom. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.

ACARA (2010). “Australian Curriculum.” Retrieved 24 April 2014, from

AITSL (2012). 21st Century Education. Australia, YouTube.

ISTE (2007). “ISTE Website.” Retrieved 22 April 2014, from

Kuhlthau, C. C. and L. K. Maniotes (2012). Guided inquiry design: a framework for inquiry in your school, ABC-CLIO.

One thought on “Rethink Collective Practice or Rethink Schooling?

  1. Hi Greg, Wow – great post! Very thought provoking, and great references. Very true about the need for information literacy skills to be taught at secondary schools – the earlier the better! They are not something that can be mastered overnight, instead they take time to develop…and will always need attention and improvement – life-long learning, I guess 🙂 Professor Tara Brabazon’s book: The University of Google (2007) is a good read when you get a chance. She goes into depth about the issues she faces with first-year university students. They are often completely oblivious to the reason why it is crucial that Google searching is only the first step towards effective scholarly research. Instead they generally believe what they read on the Internet to be true.. Critical thinking skills are, in fact, critical to the future of knowledge-building. Have you seen that University of Queensland offer a program called ‘Cyberschool’. Its a free program for secondary school students, to help them become familiar with the concept of scholarly research, and how to use the library effectively etc. Its aim is to improve the skill-set of the first-year student – hopefully increasing the awareness of how to search for peer-reviewed journals on online databases etc…and a lot of other cool stuff.

    Another reference you might like to take a look at is:
    Tyack, D., & Tobin, W. (1993). The ‘Grammar’ of schooling: Why has it been so hard to change?. American Educational Research Journal, 31 (3). 453 – 479. Stanford University.

    I started discussing this here, but then realised I should move it over to my blog and create a post about it all – Its a really interesting article, and has sparked a light for me about the beauty of the ‘connected learning communities’ concept of learning.
    Cheers, Sharon

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