Just finished a busy second last week of term, and some good learning in various sessions outside the College.
It began with an ISV breakfast network meeting, with presentations from David Perkins et. al from Project Zero. I’m pretty well acquainted with the Visible Thinking work that Professor Ron Ritchhart has been developing here, and he’s worked with teams of teachers in Victorian schools for some time. The announcement this week was a new network opportunity for ISV member schools to connect up with Project Zero for some (mainly) online learning opportunities, interestingly intending to use Twitter and Google Hangouts in that mix. David Perkins talked about the big picture ‘through-lines’ that connected up learning in our schools and gave us 2 new thinking routines to work on that addressed a direction they’re really interested in: global competence. As our school is working pretty hard at Council of International Schools (CIS) certification this year, it was interesting to hear Project Zero’s take on internationalism. I liked his definition of global competence for its simplicity: ‘the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance’.
Later in the week I attended a new network of Curriculum leaders that we established last year. It’s always good to have a conversation with the person in another school who is doing the role you are; it’s great to bounce ideas off each other and share experiences. In this case we talked a lot about assessment and reporting and how we were responding to the demands of government as well as the learning imperatives in our own places. One take-away is that we all want to be able to measure and report on growth, not just achievement, and that’s hard. Our network is called LearningNet and we’ve been using MightyBell as the connecting online tool there, rather than FB etc. It’s worked well for our purposes.
Finally, I was lucky enough to be able to take a team of some of our best tech-teachers to hear Professor Stephen Heppell talk at the Lauriston Institute. I’ve heard him present before, and his strength is a real connection with the students and what they can bring to the conception of learning spaces. I was interested in his thinking about libraries and his answers to questions about students using mobile phones: ‘all screen time is not equal’. I liked the CloudLearn site he’s developed, subtitled ‘an end to blocking and locking’, which aggregates good practice in digital policy in schools and I intend to share his final report with the School Management Team later on. Heppell is witty, interesting, makes sense and comes from a rich experience in creating learning spaces driven by student passions. I also like the way he presents; moving (apparently) loosely around the Mac finder, bringing up web pages, videos, images and now a PowerPoint slide in sight.
It makes me remember how tiring learning is; gotta keep that in mind more as the term come to a close and try to build in a variety of energy levels appropriate to where the students are in that term’s journey. I also spent the week trying to re-acquaint myself with note-taking apps on the iPad, moving between Paper, Noteshelf, Notability and Penultimate. But that’s another post!
Above: Stephen Heppell writing on walls