Sunday, August 07, 2005

Improving schools

Our school is looking at changes it needs to make to keep up with the pace of change in the world today. Last year a review was done where all members of the school community had a say: students parents, teachers and all other staff. It was very wide ranging and there were surveys done, focus groups, and all the staff elected to go into one or other review team to look at different aspects of the school, such as pastoral care, learning and teaching, assessment and reporting and various other facets of a school. This year some of the staff has elected to be in working parties looking at ways of implementing the recommendations of the review. It is an intense and on going form of Professional Learning. On a student free day next month the teachers have been asked to do some research into alternatives, either from other schools, perhaps shadowing a teacher for the day, or research at a Uni or other institution or even in another kind of workplace or industry. It is called shadow day and promises to be an interesting way of spending some time. Of course, for the last six months I have been looking at using various forms of technology in education, hence my exploration of blogging, both for me and my students. I have been keeping up with a myriad of fascinating blogs, articles and websites and feel that I have been travelling in another country. Listening to podcasts makes the learning seem a lot more immediate and ideas have been infiltrating my classroom on a daily basis. I love it. But when I try to talk to my colleagues at school about this, I am finding that they don’t share my enthusiasm, and perhaps I am speaking another language. Some see blogs as ephemera and not worth the effort, that what they contain is trivial. I ask one staff member, L. if she had ever read a blog, but she said she didn’t need to, and anyway she didn’t have time. Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all I suppose. But with all the focus on education with the review and the working parties and the learning I am doing online and in my research for my Masters, I feel my head is nearly bursting. What I particularly liked this week was from Will Richardson:

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the transparency of all of this early thinking about how we can use these tools (Moodle, blogs, ePortfolios) in new and interesting ways? Way too much fun.

That is what I like as well. That and having the students at the centre of our thinking about education and collaborative and transformational practice that these new technologies have the potential to encourage.

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