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Dream big, start small

October, 2014

  1. What have I learned – creating remarkable learning experiences

    October 14, 2014 by meghastie

      • Everyone can be a designer , when they’ve learned a few tools from the masters and work together (Brown 2009, Cross 2006, Seidel & Fixson , Sutton & Hargadon 1996, McIntosh 2014, Hastie, blog comment 44)
      • However, it’s easy to oversimplify the design process and assume that design thinking will always succeed and will work for everyone (Badke-Schaub, Roozenburg, & Cardoso 2010, Nussbaum 2011.)
      • Other design models especially ecological design, have great potential to further strengthen our understanding of learners, learning and their range of environments
      • Change needs to be focussed on the user, in their environment (Brown 2009, Hastie August 1, 2014, Hastie, Blog comment 22)
      • Think big, start small  – change does not need to be spectacular or expensive, it needs to be a contextually appropriate solution (Hastie August 8, 15 2014, Hastie 2014 blog comment 28)
      • Spending time thinking about the “big picture” the big ideas is exhilarating, but needs to then go somewhere – collaborating, engaging, planning, reiterating and implementation is needed (Robertson, Webb and Fluck 2007, Brown 2009, Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby 2012).
      • Learning how to innovate and experiment, and being willing for that innovation to fail is a crucial part of being a designer (Adams 2001, Brown 2009, Dyson, 2009, Cross 2006, McIntosh 2014, Hastie August 1 2014, Hastie )
      • However, quantifying both innovation and creativity is also complex and needs appropriateness (Atkinson 2000; Howard et al. 2008; Howard-Jones 2002; Mayer 1999)
      • Being creative does not doom you to a life of poverty – although if you are poor but happy that’s ok! (Graham 2006, Google, Pixar, Rees 2007)
      • We need creativity and innovation to not only solve the problems of the world but to live fulfilling lives.  Being makers is central to who we are as people (Parvin 2013, Pilloton 2009, Leadbeater 2010, Dougherty 2009).
      • Space has the capacity to inspire, to challenge, to excite us (OWP Architects 2010, Oblinger 2006)
      • Understanding the role of space in learning is contested; it’s a complex and dynamic concept (Woolner et al 2012, Kuuskorpi & González 2011)  – from McIntosh’s seven spaces to Wang & Chen’s (2011) 5 spaces of the online community, concepts of communities, niches and privacy must be explored
      • Changing space without innovation in pedagogy is expensive, (Woolner et al 2012, JISC 2006), more significantly innovation in pedagogy without careful staff training and change management is pointless (Owens 2012, Sutherland et al. 2013, Fullan 1991, García 2010)
      • As the built architecture reflects a range of pedagogical assumptions, there are times when teachers in traditional learning spaces have to work harder to change  the dominant discourse of the environment and the accompanying  student expectations (Woolner 2009, OWP Architects 2010, JISC 2006, Barrett, Zhang, Moffat, & Kobbacy 2012)
      • There are lots of ideas coalescing around education at the moment, that all seem to reverberate around metacognition, authentic, active meaningful learning, and learning how to learn, placing students in the centre of the learning equation (Hattie, 2008, 2011, 2013; Fullan 2011, 2013, Ritchart, Ron, Church, Mark & Morrison, Karin 2011, McTighe & Wiggins 2010, Marzano 2013, Ito et al.)
      • Getting lots of people involved in the creative process to challenge ideas around what learning looks like in response to this is crucial (Heppel 2004, Seidel & Fixson 2013, Yee, Jeffries & Tan 2013, McIntosh 2014, Hastie September 2014, Hastie comment 25, 25a)
      • It would be amazing to “do school”, do learning differently from what we currently can in Australia – to think active, real authentic alive and compassionate (eg Tully 2009, Dougherty 2013, Leadbeater & Wong 2010
      • There is a crucial clash in education between the desire to innovate, to explore and experiment with new ways of thinking, and government’s increasing tendency towards standardised testing to validate their own agendas (Campbell, Saltmarsh, Chapman & Drew 2013, Hastie October 2014).
      • Change can be exhilarating, or change can be frustrating and fail – it’s all in the way it’s managed (Fullan 2001, 1991, Stoll 1998, Blasé 1999)
      • Leaders have a big responsibility in framing school cultures, exploring ideas, setting goals, inviting everyone in and facilitating those around them to do amazing things (Fullan 2001, 1991, Stoll 1998, Blasé 1999)
      • Neither design nor education can lose sight of their focus – the people they serve.
      • FINALLY, 500 words aint much for a whole course – take out the in-text referencing and you’re about there…

      References… perhaps not in alphabetical order, but all there…

      • Rees, E. (2011.) The lean startup: How constant innovation creates radically successful businesses. London: Portfolio Penguin pp. 56-72
      • Brown, T. (2009.) Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Harper Business
      • Woolner, P. (2009), Building schools for the future through a participatory design process: exploring the issues and investigating ways forward. Presented at BERA 2009, 2-5 September, Manchester UK. Retrieved from:
      • Barrett, P.S., Zhang, Y. , Moffat J., & Kobbacy, K. (2012). An holistic, multi-level analysis identifying the impact of classroom design on pupils’ learning. Building and Environment.
      • Blackmore, J., Bateman, D., Loughlin, J., O’Mara, J., & Aranda, G. (2011), Research into the connection between built learning spaces and student outcomes, Literature review, Paper No. 22 June 2011, State Government of Victoria (Australia). Retrieved
      • Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. London:Routledge.
      • Hattie, J & Yates G. C. R. (2013). Visible learning and the science of how we learn. Routledge.
      • Herrington, Jan & Reeves, Thomas C (2011)  Using design principles to improve pedagogical practice and promote student engagement, Ascilite conference Hobart, 2011
      • JISC, 2006, Designing Spaces for Effective Learning: A guide to 21st century learning space design, accessed 1st September 2014
      • Leadbeater, C. & Wong, A. (2010). Learning from the Extremes. Cisco. Retrieved from:
      • Pilloton, Emily (2010) Teaching Design for Change, TED talk accessed 31st July 2014
      • Ritchart, Ron, Church, Mark & Morrison, Karin (2011) Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners, Jossey-Bass Teacher, Chichester
      • Rshaid, Gabriel (2011) Learning for the future: Rethinking schools for the 21st century, Lead & Learn Press, Englewood
      • Tulley, G. (2009). The tinkering school, Retrieved from:
      • Yee, Joyce, Jefferies, Emma & Tan Lauren (2013) Design transitions, BIS Publishers, Amsterdam
      • Stoll, Louise, 1999, School culture: black hole or fertile garden for school improvement? In School culture / edited by Jon Prosser, London : Paul Chapman Pub, 1999.
      • Blasé Joseph 1998.Micropolitics of Educational Change joseph blasé in A.Hargreaves et al. (Eds.) International Handbook of Educational Change, 544-557 Boston, Mass. : Kluwer Academic Publishers,
      • Thornburg, D. (2014). From the Campfire to the Holodeck, How Place Matters in Education. AACE Conference. Retrieved from:
      • Thornburg, D. (1995). Student-centered learning. Electronic Learning, 14(7), 18. Retrieved from
      • McIntosh, E. (2010). Clicks and bricks: How school buildings influence future practice and technology adoption, Educational Facility Planner, Volume 45, Issues 1 & 2. CEFPI. Retrieved from
      • Wang Yu-Mei & Chen Derthanq Victor 2011, Instructors as Architects- Designing Learning Spaces for Discussion-Based Online Courses Journel of educational Technology Systems, Vol. 39(3) 281-294, 2010-2011
      • Woolner, P., McCarter, S., Wall, K., & Higgins, S. (2012). Changed learning through changed space: When can a participatory approach to the learning environment challenge preconceptions and alter practice Improving Schools, 15(1), 45–60.
      • Monahan Torin  2000 Built Pedagogies & Technology Practices: Designing for Participatory Learning,Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference , ed by T. Cherkasky, J . Greenbaum, P. Mambrey, and J.K. Pors. Palo Alto, CA:
      • Kuuskorpi, M. and N. Cabellos González (2011), “The Future of the Physical Learning Environment: School Facilities that Support the User”, CELE Exchange, Centre for Effective Learning Environments, 2011/11, OECD Publishing.
      • Campbell, M., Saltmarsh, S.,Chapman, A. & Drew, C. (2013). Issues of teacher professional learning within ‘non-traditional’ classroom environments.I
      • Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.
      • Ito, Mizuko, Gutiérrez, , Livingstone, Sonia, Penuel, Bill, Rhodes, Jean Salen, Katie, Schor, Juliet, Sefton-Green, Julian, Watkins S. Craig,. (2013). Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design. Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, Accessed September 1st 2014
      • Owens, Tessa (2012) Hitting the nail on the head: the importance of specific staff development for effective blended learning, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 49:4, 389-400. The online version of this article can be found at: Accessed 5th September 2014
      • Pata  Kai 2009 Revising the Framework of Knowledge Ecologies: How Activity Patterns Define Learning Spaces
      • Normak, P., Pata, K., & Kaipainen, M. (2012). An Ecological Approach to Learning Dynamics. Educational Technology & Society, 15 (3), 262–274.
      • Buchan, J. (2009). Putting ourselves in the big picture: a sustainable approach to project management for e-learning. The Journal of Distance Education
    • Hastie M 2014 1:1 hammer rollout
    •                                 Anew adventure in virtual learning a work in progress

                                          Creative chat and celebratory consumables

  2. 1:1 hammer rollout

    October 14, 2014 by meghastie

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of this course has been exploring those who push the edges or challenge contemporary understanding of what learning can be.

    Whether it’s the beautiful design of the Lovett School’s story studio, or the practical and highliy engaging work of people like Emily Pilloton who has reinvigorated a rural community through her innovative approach, design has a lot to answer for.

    However, it can be seen that when design thinking comes from within the schooling context, there is the heightened capacity for successful convergence.  Pilloton’s work in North Carolina (TED 2010), the Lovett School Story Studio (as documented on their website and The Unquiet Librarian blog) in Georgia, and The Walker school in the UK evidence success (Engine Service Design & Walker Technology College).  Here, the design thinking process has been successfully implemented – in both Pilloton’s and the Lovett School’s circumstances, enacting the redevelopment of both learning spaces and curriculum, and in the case of the Walker school in the development of a design brief to guide the building of the school to support the educational aims.  Too frequently, however, there is a lack of coherency and strategic development across the three areas of pedagogical design to improving student performance, the development or reinvigoration of learning spaces, and public policy.

    More recently, it’s been reading and viewing DAle Dougherty on Makerspaces at ISTE EdTekTalks 2014.  His vision as making being central to our humanity, being a core part of who we are, in opposition to the media’ portrayal of our society as being merely consumers.  his challenge is not just about being adversarial, it captures who we are.

    Similary, those who dapture a new or different idea of what schools could be – Hardy’s dream school dream or Leadbeater’s learning from the poorest of the poor, we need to rethink what learning looks like.

    But standing in our way is the never-ending judgements and calls for measurability and accountability that increasingly stifles creativity, making schools and teachers afraid of innovation and risk-taking, because in the search for beauty and excellence there will be inevitable failures?

    Within the Australian context, as in other countries such as the United Kingdom and United States,education is being shaped by agendas of national testing programs, such as NAPLAN in Australia, discourses of teacher accountability and quality and greater expectations from employers and economic rationalist perspectives that aim for employment relevance within education. Much school change and development is being driven in response to the increasing quanta of data and measures of elements such as teacher quality, effectiveness and learner improvement (Hardy & Boyle, 2011).

    How we balance these competing agendas, where on the one hand as teachers we want to explore how we can help our students become remarkable creative problem solvers who care deeply about the people around them?

    How can we help them learn to be flexible, and able to adapt to the increasing rate of technological and social change?

    How can we help them fall in love with the world around them, and the joy of innovation?

    Give ’em a hammer



    Campbell, M., Saltmarsh, S.,Chapman, A. & Drew, C. (2013). Issues of teacher professional learning within ‘non-traditional’ classroom environments.I

    Hardy, I., & Boyle, C. (2011). My School? Critiquing the abstraction and quantification of education. Asia-
    Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(3), 211–222.

    The Lovett School, The Story Studio, (2013) accessed August 31st 2014

    Pilloton, Emily (2010) Teaching Design for Change, TED talk accessed 31st July 2014 

  3. A new adventure in virtual learning – a work in progress…

    October 11, 2014 by meghastie

    work in progress 

    The paradigmatic shift from teacher-centred to student-centred learning is a hallmark of contemporary education. It is been equally accompanied by both a desire to engage in the rich offerings afforded by the development of information and digital technology (IT) tools, and the emergence of e-learning has further assisted the implementation of a range of learner-centred learning processes.  Straddling these factors, however, is the increased need to re-educate teachers and to re-examine concepts of what a learning space might be, shifting the focus from the physical space to a greater awareness of the broader learning environment, and increasingly virtual spaces.

    But what does this look like?  Engagement with new technologies and media is a significant step in a school moving to contemporary practices and learning. I’m going to start exploring this delicate and sometimes unpredictable dance through one school’s journey along the road towards implementing a new Learning Management System (LMS).  This journey is one that has only just begun.  It’s a journey fraught with possibilities and pitfalls.  However, this post will look at one aspect – the background and then original plan for implementation. As this journey continues, more will follow…

    The school in question is an independent dual-credentialled (local state curriculum and the International Baccalaureate) school of approximately 850 students from Pre-K – 12.  It operates on the outskirts of a major capital city, in an environment that has clientele from semi-rural through to the outer suburbs, and a number of International students.  The school has a reputation of achieving excellent results in its matriculation results and is highly regarded in the surrounding community.  It has high ideals and is keen to adopt new pedagogies, as well as to keep abreast of educational advancements and social expectations regarding new media and technologies.

    However, the school itself has struggled to adapt to know how to authentically engage with new ideas regarding pedagogy and digital technologies.  Increasing demands regarding the documentation and compliance of the two credentialling study programs has affected staff capacity to engage in innovative practice, and the school has not managed the change to newer ideas effectively.  A shift in management style and structure has led to a movement away from in-house staff development or training. The large executive body in the school has increasingly taken over the decision-making roles of the school, so that a school that was once reasonably collaborative, is now more tightly controlled.

    In May 2012, in response to a whole-school parental survey that pinpointed the need for more effective communication with the school and more transparent ideas of teaching and assessment. the school’s executive leadership decided to change the school’s LMS.  It that was seen to be outdated and difficult to use, with low staff confidence, and to explore options for a new LMS that would support the school’s recently developed vision and mission that posited the education provided by the school would be “rigorous, contemporary and positive”.  Although this was not fleshed out, the process of developing the pedagogical  paradigm and practices was included in the school’s overall strategic plan.

    At this stage, the reworking the technological architecture was driving change, rather than the broader learning frameworks within the school. However, it was hoped that the introduction of the new LMS would act as a motivator to shift the pedagogical paradigm into the 21st century.   Consequently, there was no overarching discussion as to what learning should look like at the institution, or how that could be achieved.  One of the executive members with a personal interest in the area was to lead the exploration and implementation of the process. There was no surveying of staff or students to support the supposition, nor involvement in the selection process. THere was a limited showcasing of several potential LMS’s, However, a detailed implementation schedule was developed, that sought to delineate the process of introducing and adopting the new LMS

     Project planning

    To effectively implement the new LMS, a careful and planned effort in aligning processes, information and people into the new direction the LMS introduces is the key to success. Investment into a coherent planning program will aid in the achievement of the projects goals.

    Deployment (April to July)

    • Create roles & responsibilities (names/dates/milestones/controls/work breakdown etc)
    • Create HR plan auditing internal, vendor and key stakeholders
    • Create Communication Plan (focusing on key stakeholders/audiences)
    • Create Change Management, Risk & Security Plan
    • Hold Executive Review to monitor School needs
      • What leadership is needed to deliver project that meet expectations? 
      • What controls are needed to create a reasonable assurance of outcomes?

     Team of Champions (July to August)

    • Nominate Team of Champions (TOC) who following attributes:
    1. Understanding that ICT is integral as teaching/learning tool
    2. Confidence and competence in using web-based technology
    3. A desire to raise awareness of the system amongst other staff and share personal experiences
    4. A high level of personal credibility among colleagues
    5. The desire to make a difference
    •  Enable Team of Champions to fulfil role of:
    1. Generating confidence in the use of system
    2. Provide practical resources for using system
    3. Model innovation using system and leading pedagogy
    4. Provide first level support (i.e. setting up a page, uploading docs)
    • Provide your Champions support and an opportunity to:
    1. receive comprehensive training
    2. test and successfully incorporate LMS into their daily routine
    3. encourage and support other members of the School community to use the system extensively
    4. resources and time to run ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions to train other staff

     Training & resource development (July to September)

    • Create and populate Resource Manager
    1. Create structure
    2. Create some initial demo resources
    3. Create self-help videos for staff
    • Staff training schedule
    1. Create training schedule (P to 12 / JS & HS/ Faculty)
    2. Enabling/resourcing support mentors (i.e. staff teaching staff)

    Pilot program & Rollout (August to October)

    • Pilot program discussion with TOC – enable them to set goals and directions of pilot within broader aims of project
    • Provide data for initial LMS configuration, for pilot
    • Developing use case examples as a guide for broader implementation
    • Gathering feedback following the initial pilot
    • Evolve strategy following pilot based on feedback
    • Clearly communication (early and often) project aims, dates, expectations, and provide support for middle leaders for success of project
    • Management structure, leadership to enabling ongoing drive and direction of implementation
    • Continuous staff training & focus from learning leaders re: centrality
    • Showcases with students & staff for reasons for change and positives of LMS
    • Allow open feedback and flexibility, adIT Deptg to ongoing changes

    Rollout/ Implementation (October to January 2014)

    Clearly communication (early and often) project aims, dates, expectations, and provide support for middle leaders for success of project

    • Management structure, leadership to enabling ongoing drive and direction of implementation
    • Continuous staff training & focus from learning leaders re: centrality
    • Showcases with students & staff for reasons for change and positives of LMS
    • Allow open feedback and flexibility, adding to ongoing changes

    Ongoing Communication of Project (August to January 2014)

     Articulating aims of projects / benefits of LMS

    Establish clear and consistent message throughout Executive and Middle management regarding benefits of LMS project/LMS (ability to streamline processes, enable collaboration, improve teaching learning) focusing on the following positives:

    • Engages the whole School community through improved, online communication
    • Engagement of students in new and innovative ways
    • Provision of a safe and controlled online environment in which students can collaborate and learn with their peers
    • Students have a technology platform to display their best works using ePortfolio
    • Provides students their own personal learning environment
    • Offer teachers and easy to use, streamlined ways to communicate to support student learning
    • Placement of innovation and creativity back into teachers’ hands
    • Offers a consistent and accessible tool for teacher collaboration
    • Encourages parents to become involved in their students’ learning

    Awareness raising

    • Demonstrations to staff
    • Sharing good practice days
    • Use LMS as the place to go for other staff development like ‘Understanding Bullying’ or ‘OH&S updates’.
    • Use of online training or computer-based training to show people how to do things with LMS – handouts

     Campaign – Term 4 2013

    • Launch my.stpauls to students – last month of 2013 (posters/emails/demonstrations)
    • Direct mail/email communication from Principal
    • Online sub-site with information
    • Online information videos launching projects (aimed at parents & students)

    Some issues under still consideration…

    Calendar workflow    

    1. 1.         The LMS product allows teachers/faculties to construct class/subject calendars where students can see a range of dates applicable for their area of study. Currently we maintain an assessment calendar where HoH/teachers nominate assessment dates which are approved regarding assessment load and overall School calendar. The benefits of having these ‘micro’ calendars allow teachers to post and manage ongoing class related events.
      Questions were expressed regarding correlation of these calendars against the whole school academic calendar (i.e. teachers not keeping these up to date to reflect assessment calendar).

    Actions                    Executive                , IT Dept

    1. Auditing of current calendar audiences (who can read+write), functions (what is the calendar for) and data (what information does the calendar communicate)
    2. Decide if added calendar functions are to be enabled & if so, processes to be enacted


    Content approval

    1. Staff will be communicating with students (thus parents) using blogs and other news based items.
      Questions were expressed regarding ensuring simple grammar/spelling mistakes that poorly reflect on education product of School’s.

      Actions                            Executive

      1. Implementation of publishing protocols (procedures regarding expected checks/proofing)
      2. Implementation of spelling/grammar checks in LMS input editor




    Structures of the LMS

    1. 3.        For staff, data will be shared across in a folder structure so that year groups/faculties/class teachers can share learning activities & resources.

     Questions were raised regarding:

    1. structure of this data (whether we separate in Faculties/Yeargroups/Terms or Years/Faculties/Terms).

    Our School has used as is plagiarism application for over 6 years. The LMS provides a similar built in service ( ).

    Questions were raised regarding:

    1. feasibility in moving to new system (integrity of new system + change with staff vs workflow issues in coming out of LMS and into ‘Turnitin’

    LMS is a P to 12 LMS – however the application will look different in Infants to Upper Primary to High School.

    Questions were raised regarding:

    1. c.        Delivering content by class or by year, and the content / activity required at the levels of education

     Actions                              Executive, IT Dept

    1. Decide how staff best share learning activities & resources

    i.      Implement this in database

    1. Decide if ‘plagscan’ suits needs of School

    i.      Approve this integration in LMS

    1. Discuss needs in Infants, Middle & Upper Primary & High School

    i.      Resolve structure accordingly


    Expectations on staff

    1. 4.        Implementing the LMS involves the automatic population of class pages across the School.  Students will have access to a class page regardless of use/action by teacher. Risk of inconsistent use between classes/teachers could lead to difficulties with students & parents. Questions were raised regarding minimum requirements of staff using LMS in 2014.


    Actions                            Executive

    1. Discussion of ‘thin end of wedge’ opportunity for pedagogical change re: use of collaborative structures of LMS

    i.      Work through deliverables of desired classroom practice 2014/2015/2016 with expectations set for each year (Strategic Plan 1.i, 2i & 2ii).

    1. Decide expectations for staff for use of LMS for 2014


    Resourcing & Training

    1. 5.        To meet proposed deadlines of implementation School wide for 2014 (see attached chart), resources will need to be allocated in both training middle leaders (already invoiced and paid for 8 hours training of 30 people)


    Actions                              Executive

    1. Decide and nominate date and structure of LMS led training day

    i.      Nominate suitable staff to be trained (team of Champions)

    ii.      Nominate suitable date & venue

    1. Decide staff leadership of project

    i.      Nominate 2-3 staff to lead project across school

    1. Decide ongoing support

    i.      Nominate desired training days in Term 3 & 4 and Term 1 2014


    Where to from here?…

    This year has been a year of “play”, albeit live, and experimentation.

    Having come this far, we are at a critical stage in the project development. Most of the LMS has been rolled out – or will be in the next few months.  But more importantly, next year is our year for staff “getting serious”, and having to meet benchmarks for usage.

    Two critical events have occurred over the last three months that may have a significant impact on our immediate directions.  The project officer – the main driver of the LMS introduction and in charge of processes – has since left the school.  Secondly, the current leader of learning is also leaving at the end of the year.  This leaves opens many possibilities for the next phase of implementation.


    The initial hopes regarding pedagogical shift and effective implementation of the LMS may yet be achieved…


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