“You’ve got a lot of coasting kids [in schools]. And the only way you’ll stop them coasting is to really just open the door and let them go. Learning got out of it’s boxes; out of the architectural structures, out of the subject structure, it’s out of the pedagogy structures - it’s just got out and I don’t think anybody put the genie back in the bottle. So we’ll be either left managing empty boxes or we’re going to go where the kids have gone.”—http://www.educationau.edu.au/stephen-heppell
Listened to Stephen Heppell (seen as Europe’s leading online education guru) who was asked to give a talk addressing the questions:
Given the reform in Australian education (school improvement, national curriculum and media-rich classrooms), what can we here in Australia learn from the UK and other countries’ experiences about creating learning institutions for the 21st century? What does this mean for student entitlement and the kinds of resources needed to support such a reform package?
"Teachers haven’t got their heads around the power of what’s possible [with ICT]" … "Technology has allowed us to do practically anything but the question now is then what would you like to do…?"
It seems boring at the start but the gold starts about half way through his talk and then the comments to questions from the floor. (there is an audio hiccup short way in for 5 seconds or so but it corrects itself).
Interesting to watch those students that have grown from the challenge of running or contributing to the radio station. Particularly the guitarist that dropped out of school but is now back and contributing jingles and editing sound bites.
Rather than a set of notes describing what happened with my thoughts attached (which, if your interested, can be read by some of the otherparticipants), this will be the answer to the final question, “What will I take away from the day”.
"The education system has more people hiding in it than contributing to it."
Mauricio Buchler evangelised the need for a better educational system. He contends that it’s not bad, it can just be soooo much better. I travelled from Adelaide to hear him speak and it was great to hear an educator that was passionate about improvement in education with a proper perspective on technology.
My current position with Behind the News has the potential to help teachers provide topical content in an engaging medium. Unfortunately I was hoping to gain some practical outcomes on ways to do that from Mauricio. Either programs/systems that are on the go that BtN could help with or successful classroom techniques that I could imagine BtN doing… or some other way we could disseminate/integrate BtN.
This is not to suggest that Mauricio’s talk wasn’t good though! I believe he understood who he was talking to. He was passionate about change and encouraged the audience to think more about education and it’s role. I forgot that not everyone there was thinking that way too ;) I was in total agreement with his talk the whole time. Mauricio considered his audience and delivered a talk that would deliver maximum shift, that would help cultivate his idea. We ned more educators that are this passionate.
I was able to chat shortly with Mauricio and hope to make contact again to see if there are any avenues that could be explored. I notice too that he has strong links with Moodle which I would like to hear his views about.
I intend to find teachers that are contributing to the system and construct teaching resources that will be fun to use. I intend to keep in mind the need to create content that respects educational outcomes but releases it from educational boredom.
Continue with My Education System. "The thing about the autistic mind is it tends to be fixated. Like if a kid loves race cars, let’s use race cars for math. Let’s figure out how long it takes a race car to go a certain distance. In other words, use that fixation in order to motivate that kid, that’s one of the things we need to do. I really get fed up when they, you know, the teachers, especially when you get away from this part of the country, they don’t know what to do with these smart kids. It just drives me crazy." Temple Grandin
It drives me crazy too. Having a son with a “verbal mind” means he exhausts the details out of any subject he absorbs himself in, and yet, that passion is not picked up by his teachers in class. Only once in his 4 years so far have I seen him get passionate about some work in class to continue it at home. The only way teachers can think of accommodating him is to give him higher grade components of the task, i.e. instead of yr 3 spelling words he gets yr 4.
Frustrated by this I had a think about what I would do if I was to create an education system and one night wrote out the plans I had swirling in my head (It’s actually still a draft in this Tumblr blog). One of the principle tenants is to inject new learning into whatever they are interested in at the time - just as Temple suggests.
Using Temple’s desire as my academic approval I will try and finish that draft and get it out there for critique, expansion or connection to established pedagogy. Hopefully this will either connect me to emerging methodology that I can draw from or contribute to the discussion for others to build upon.
Research Educational Methods Apart from the few I have heard of like Montessori and International Bacheloriate I don’t know of many others. A recent discovery has been the Taxonomy of Effective Teaching Practices. At TEDxMelbourne someone mentioned the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) which I will also check out along with other government initiatives. I feel like I need to have a historical & current understanding of what has been covered already to help better understand how Behind the News can facilitate.
TED Adelaide? I noticed there wasn’t a TED in Adelaide… I may consider the requirements and consider if I could arrange to do one. If you are from Adelaide and like the idea, let me know.
Finally, the day was great. I initially was apprehensive and didn’t know what I was getting into (group discussions!) but the organisers did a great job and the attendees were just as I had hoped - just as passionate about ideas worth spreading as I was.