Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Creating Environments Focused on Learning

Teachers continue to amaze me at just how creative they are. These photos are examples of how teachers are intentionally creating a culture of learning within their own classrooms by activating thinking. In sharing these photos I wholeheartedly acknowledge the individual teachers at Red Beach School who have interpreted, made sense of and actively implemented the essence of the Powerful Learning Process within the daily life of their classroom. I salute you!

Activating Thinking using the Powerful Learning Process on PhotoPeach

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Visit to Nelson on PhotoPeach

Shirley and I were lucky enough to be asked to go to Nelson to share Red Beach School's change story. What a privilege to come to such a beautiful part of New Zealand. From the moment we were greeted we were put on a fuss. In 24 hours we have experienced fabulous people, fine food, breathe taking scenery, marvelous markets and art works, live music. Tonight we are off to the famous Boat Shed for dinner to try out the delectable seafood. There is no doubt I will be back.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wiki Educator Taster Session

I was involved in a really valuable session this week with Mark Osbourne who ran a wikieducator taster session for a group of our senior leadership. I whole heartedly agree with the vision and principles behind wiki educator, where content is added with the intent of contributing to a wider educational audience and where sharing and collaboration is encouraged through individuals being able to add to, shape, remix and blend content so that it potentially continues to evolve.
Check out how Warrington School is using wikieducator

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Planning for Powerful Learning

During a visit to Point England School at the end of 2009 Dorothy Burt inspired some thinking around a planning process she had been using with teachers within her Manaiakalani Cluster. It showed how a child created digital learning object can often live months after it's creation when placed in a blog, google site or wiki where it has potential to be commented on.
We have been grappling with how best to plan for powerful learning for some time, this motivated me to think about whether we could create something similar around our own powerful learning process.
The plan above is our first go at planning to activate thinking and learning experiences at different stages of the process.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

School designs - What's possible?

Image taken from Stephen Heppell's site
I was told recently that a trillion dollars is spent on education a year across OECD countries. The scary reality is there has been no significant change in educational outcomes for students in 60 years. This would suggest more of the same is not the answer. Thinking 'different' perhaps is! How do we maximise the evidence highlighted in John Hattie's recent Visible Learning meta analysis, about what works? What actually has an impact on student outcomes? How do we design learning to take into consideration opportunities where students self grade (1.4 effect size) and provide opportunities for rich feedback to be integrated into everyday learning.
With this in mind I am currently grappling with what impact does the traditional school design have on student outcomes if any. How do you flip the traditional on it's head and create the new, what might be possible? I am in a privileged position currently thinking about how one might design learning environments/spaces to ensure that learning experiences, opportunities and student autonomy is increased. Has the traditional classroom contributed to the no change in student outcomes?
More questions than answers as I sit and scribble how multiple learning zones and spaces might be organised/ furnished to maximise student ownership and autonomy and ultimately increased student outcomes.
The more I search the more innovation I find. Check out this cushion hub above that looks like it helps to make learning fun, comfortable and maybe maximises student outcomes!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Learners should work harder than their Teachers!

I was privileged to sit in on a session that Anne Davies facilitated at the beginning of this year. Anne is an assessment guru residing in Canada. One of the comments she made has resonated with me ever since. She said that we need to get students to work harder than their teachers.
The more I have pondered this the more I have to agree. She shared the importance of learners being involved in assessing peers learning and building their own assessment literacy to make informed judgments about progress and high achievement.
Whilst sitting in classes recently I have been thinking about the traditional mental model we hold about teachers providing the right stretch and challenge for each learner to reach their potential. To get the learner working harder we need to flip that on it's head and teach learners how to give themselves the right kind of stretch. I am wondering how one might motivate and empower learners to build a habit of extending beyond what they can already do.