Posts Tagged ‘School Curriculum’

Project Based Learning and More …

There are many variations to the term Project Based Learning (PBL), so it can get a bit confusing as to what this really means within a classroom.

The Buck Institute of Education (BIE) works to help teachers and students be successful. For teachers, BIE offers professional development on how to design, assess, and manage projects that engage and motivate students. For schools, BIE helps bring coherence to PBL practices across grade levels and subject areas, and supports the creation of school-wide processes and structures to support PBL.

What is in the name … PBL …

This post by John Larmer, Editor in Chief at the Buck Institute for Education, entitled ‘Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL‘ might help you to understand what PBL is and the variations to the theme.

Then to see PBL is action, watch this video from the Manor New Technology High School where they have an unwavering commitment to a schoolwide PBL program.

Learning in the future?

Students are the future, but what’s the future for students? To arm them with the relevant, timeless skills for our rapidly changing world, we need to revolutionize what it means to learn.

Education innovators like Dr. Sugata Mitra, visiting professor at MIT; Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy; and Dr. Catherine Lucey, Vice Dean of Education at UCSF, are redefining how we engage young minds for a creatively and technologically-advanced future. Which of these educators holds the key for unlocking the learning potential inside every student?

BYOT implications for schools

The move to have the students bring their own technology (BYOT) into the classroom is largely inevitable. The BYOT tsunami is fast coming over the horizon, with the pathfinders already having made the move.

In researching the new book on BYOT, Mal Lee has identified the implications of the development for schooling, teaching, the choice of personal technology in schools, school resourcing and your own operations.

BYOT is most assuredly not simply a technical development.

In a one hour webinar, BYOT: Understanding the inevitable and its implications, Mal will examine what is and is not BYOT, why all schools will eventually use a model of BYOT, the plethora of educational, social, organisational and economic opportunities opened by the development and the very considerable implications for your situation.

The Lewisville Independent School District video provides some insight into how BYOT has brought about change for schools in that district.

Join Mal Lee on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 for a one hour webinar, BYOT: Understanding the inevitable and its implications.

Mal is an author and educational consultant who has written a series of books for ACER Press and a myriad of articles on the impact of digital technology on the evolution of schooling, teaching and the school library.  Mal currently writes the education and technology columns for The Australian Educational Leader and Education Technology Solutions.

He will build on the international research he has undertaken in preparing for the new ACER Press publication he is writing with Martin Levins on Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT).

Mal is a former school principal, director of schools and technology company director. He brings a unique holistic
perspective to educational development.

Mobile devices, resources and digital literacy

As identified in the Horizon report: 2011 K-12 edition, there are three major factors driving role changes for all educators:

  • The increasing amount of resources and social networks available for learning;
  • The increasing ubiquitous nature of mobile devices; and
  • The increasing need for digital media literacy so that students can utilise the above resources and mobile access for learning and knowledge creation.

“The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators” (Johnson, et al 2011, p. 4. ) This key trend highlights the importance of why school libraries need to function effectively in the school community.

The abundance of resources adds to the complexity of the information environment in which students work. It highlights the need to continue the highly effective practice of collection development undertaken by teacher librarians to support the curriculum across different platforms on which resources are available. As an example, in an always-connected world, the recent announcement by Apple to introduce iBooks 2, iBooks Author and New iTunes U (Apple Events 2012 ) identified that there are already 20K education iPad apps and 1.5 million iPads in education institutions. Teacher librarians know which apps are free and trustworthy and can then recommend these to staff and students. The same collection development skills used to evaluate “traditional” resources to determine which are current, relevant, authentic and authoritative, are also applied to online databases and web sites.

The mobile devices students use to access these resources are multi-functional and make it easily accessible via the Internet. As indicated in the Horizon report: 2011 K-12 edition, “mobiles have moved to the near-term horizon because of the rise of a new class of devices, led by the category-defining blockbuster that is the Apple iPad” (Johnson, et al 2011, p. 14 ). The multi-functionality of tablet devices heralds the convergence of several technologies that lend themselves to educational use. With always-on Internet it is imperative that the skills required to assess the relevancy and credibility of information, and to then make sense of this information, is paramount.

“Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession” (Johnston, et al 2011, p. 5). Digital media literacy can be defined as the ability to locate, access, organise, understand, evaluate, analyse and create content using digital media (Wikipedia ; Australian Communications & Media Authority ). Even though this level of literacy involves knowing how to use technology it is “less about tools and more about thinking” (Johnston, et al 2011, p 5.)

The general capabilities in the Australian national curriculum, especially “critical and creative thinking”, provide a vehicle for teacher librarians to be active in the delivery of digital media literacy skills through inquiry based programs. For example, research pathfinders encourage active engagement in the interactive information seeking process. Pathfinders provide a starting point for the generation of questions, discussions and identification of suitable and relevant resources. Collaborative knowledge building environments such as wikis can facilitate the inquiry based activities that allow students to engage in collaboration, construction, knowledge sharing and creation. The school library is an ideal environment to engage in conversations about digital citizenship, the impact of a student’s digital footprint, ethical use of information and social responsibility in an always-connected world.

The vision is to go beyond school libraries being perceived as repositories of information artefacts to being flexible, dynamic learning environments; “centres of inquiry, discovery, creativity, critical engagement and innovative pedagogy” (Hay & Todd 2010a, p. 40 ). To make this vision a reality is a challenge for school leadership so that the best learning environment, resources and learning is available for all Australian students.

Flipped classroom phenomenon

It looks like becoming a “flipper” will be the catch cry for 2012.

This short video provides a very practical overview for why you would flip your classroom.

Two teachers share how their flipped classroom was born.

Then there is The Flipped Classroom Network, which focuses on vodcasting in the classroom.

Wondering what a flipped classroom is all about…where would I be without an infographic ;-)

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media


Do we need policy makers in education?

Sir Ken Robinson expresses his thoughts on the role of policy in education. Follow this link to the interview.

  • education is the most important gift we can give to people
  • education is transformational
  • create a climate in which innovation is possible & self-determination is encouraged
  • politicians will not be doing this
  • responsibility lies with principals, teachers, students and parents
  • it has to be customised to suit the community
  • IT is the game change….it is the means by which education can change.

Schools and digital citizenship

Did you know that the ‘first use’ of the Internet is about age 5?

The interim report from the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-safety, High-wire act: cyber-safety and the young (June 2011) has included some startling statistics on young people’s use of the Internet.  The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s submission to the
Joint Select Committee on Cyber-safety (July 2010, No. 80, page 3) states the following:

“The ACMA’s survey Media and Communications in Australian Families (December 2007) indicated ‘first use’ at about age 5, but there is anecdotal evidence that children are going online at younger and younger ages.

The ACMA’s Click and Connect (July 2009) research found that as children age they spend more time online:

  • Children aged 8 to 9 years use the internet for an average of 1 hour, 6 mins every two days.
  • Young people aged 16 to 17 years average 3 hours, 30 mins on the internet every day.
  • Younger children are more interested in individual activities online, such as playing games—83 per cent of 8 to 11 year-olds reported online gaming as the most popular use of the internet.
  • By comparison, young people aged 12 to 17 use the internet mainly for social interaction—81 per cent of 12 to 17 year olds nominated social networking services as their main reason for going online” (page 3).

There is strong evidence that cyber-safety needs to be introduced into schools at a very early age.

In the following video, Andrew Churches from New Zealand outlines the six underlying facets that students need to understand.

Add to this the nine themes of digital citizenship and you have the makings of a great starting point to explore how to integrate this into the school curriculum.

Advocacy – Identify a memorable message

In recent days a number of reports have been released and national decisions made about learning and curriculum in Australia.

For example, PISA 2009 research results were published on 7 December, so it is important to take a look at the implications for Australian education.  Then, on 8 December the education Ministers endorsed the Australian Curriculum and the joint transcript provides some interesting perspectives from each of the members of the Ministerial Council.

So, for me it is time to revisit what advocacy really means as I believe an advocate’s approach will be crucial over the next couple of years, particularly, as the Australian national curriculum is implemented across the country.

One point I wish to make is, there is a difference between advocacy and lobbyingAdvocacy is about working on activities that will influence policy whereas lobbying is about asking the policymakers to take a specific position on a specific piece of legislation.  Subtle, but essential to define.  Wikipedia provides a good definition to consider.

So that individuals can feel comfortable with and a part of any advocacy activities I’m going to spend the next few weeks covering seven crucial strategies and also hope to get you involved in providing more commentary on each topic.

Strategy 1: Identify a memorable message

It is important that you decide what your message is going to be.  As an advocate you will need to repeat it many times in different ways to get it to stick.

Here are some examples:
Our school library provides a vital service.
I make a difference to student learning.
Our school library evolves to meet the students’ needs.
Our school library is a solution to …..

What is the memorable message that you continue to address on a regular basis so that your school community gets a clear idea of what you are doing for them and the school? What is it that you want to keep in front of everyone’s minds?  What relevant and up-to-date impression do you want teachers and students to experience? What perception do you want them to have?

Curriculum integration

I had the pleasure of writing the foreword for the recently published booklet, Curriculum Integration by Ross J Todd, which is one of the booklets in the Learning in the Changing World series.  This is a joint publication by the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).

My foreword – “In an information-rich, technology-oriented world there is a real need to focus attention on the quality of the teaching and learning experience for young people. Quality teaching is the biggest influence on improving learning outcomes for students. A constructivist and inquiry-based approach emphasises the need to engage students in real-life learning experiences that challenge and stimulate the intellectual agility and social maturity of the learner, enabling them to develop knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live. The instructional model of Guided Inquiry, outlined in this book, focuses on the importance of designing programs that connect the learning with the curriculum through an inquiry-based approach to learning that is supported by an instructional team and a well-resourced school library.” – captures the essence of the content of the booklet.

A dynamic component of the booklet is the Curriculum Integration Matrix.  As Todd states, “the Curriculum Integration Matrix presented in this document is based on the constructivist instructional framework of Guided Inquiry and underpinned by the research-based Information Search Process model, both developed by Kuhlthau.”

The Learning in a Changing World series presents the core areas for all educators and school leaders to consider for 21st century learning: the digital world, virtual worlds, curriculum integration, resourcing and the physical environment. All are essential elements to enable and empower students to be lifelong learners and active participants in our society.

This is a must buy for schools.

National curriculum and teacher-librarians

Visit ASLA online to contribute your comments to my recent post to the forum.   Here’s a copy in case you need a prompt….

On the first of March the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) released the draft K-10 Australian Curriculum documents for English, History, Mathematics and Science.

It is important for the teacher librarianship profession to consider the implications of this new curriculum on the library and information services of the school library.

What evidence is there of the inclusion of an inquiry based learning approach supported by a rich resource collection to assist students to development deep knowledge and skills?  Within each curriculum document there is reference to “general capabilities”.  This section in each document is a “must read” for teacher librarians as well as the “cross curriculum” – Links to other learning areas.

Have 21st Century learning skills be adequately captured?  We need to clearly see evidence of metaliteracy being covered – for example, literacy, information literacy, media literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy, cyberliteracy, information fluency – to attain the educational goals for young Australians.

The close of the consultation process is 23 May 2010.

BTW – I’ve attached a document entitled Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy to the forum post.  Well worth the read.

ATTENTION teacher librarians
and school librarians

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What people say …

We have already used a lot of the information from the education webinars, most recently in a meeting with the Head of Teaching & Learning. I can't begin to tell you how useful the webinars and your website have been to date and will be to the future of our work.
Jan Kaye, WA.