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Showing posts from March, 2013

Edutour #1 Where we are going...and why

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One of the most exciting things about being on this establishment senior leadership team is the opportunities we have to travel and to visit key schools in person. In April this year, we are lucky enough to be traveling to Providence, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to explore Big Picture Learning and the Canadian Self-Directed Schools movement.

The aim of our first tour is to visit schools that exemplify one or more of our values and have succeeded at a delivering an education that genuinely goes beyond the four walls of the classroom, that stretches and challenges our notion of powerful partnerships and demonstrates how genuine self-directed learning can be realised.

Big Picture Learning - The Met School Our first stop is Providence, Rhode Island to visit the founding Big Picture School, Dennis Littky's Met School. The Big Picture schools describe there mission as:

"Big Picture Learning’s mission is to lead vital changes in education, both in the United States and intern…

The "novelty effect", "Hawthorne effect" and reflecting on ICT related pedagogical change

The novelty effect, in the context of human performance, is the tendency for performance to initially improve when new technology is instituted, not because of any actual improvement in learning or achievement, but in response to increased interest in the new technology.

The Hawthorne effect is a form of reactivity whereby subjects improve or modify an aspect of their behavior being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they know they are being studied,[1][2] not in response to any particular experimental manipulation.

Source: Wikipedia

As someone who is passionate about the potential for e-learning and Teaching as Inquiry to be real change makers, I think it is paramount that the potential for the "novelty effect" and "Hawthorne effect" to cloud our results and what we now believe to be true is openly discussed and considered.

Without question I believe that increased access to technology and the Internet have the potential to improve and a…

Developing the school of the future today...whilst arguing with yourself

Discussing potential week and term structures is an excellent way to torture one's romantic notions of what a future-focused school could or should be. This is not a bad thing, it simply presents you with a challenge that will ultimately result in A LOT of deep discussion, research, pragmatic problem solving and hopefully a whole lot of creativity.

It is incredibly revealing to go through this process, especially as your deep seated and often deeply repressed notions of what a secondary education should look like is dredged to the surface. Again and again I find myself engaged in an internal debate. The right-on lefty liberal self clashes with the WASPy rather conservative self. The one telling the other that we need to throw out the whole concept of a timetable (weehee - let's just run one big unconference! Now that would be groovy!) whilst the other retorts that this will only end in one thing - chaos.

What is it that drives this internal discourse? Is it the emotional vs.…