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Pedagogy Ponderings

The Story of Work

We were fortunate enough to have Mark Church from Harvard Project Zero come to our school for our PD day. We spent the day engaged in a variety of activities mixed with provocative questions and excellent scenarios. What I enjoy most about days like this is being at mixed tables with staff members I don’t normally get the chance to work with. We had quite a lively table and some thought-provoking conversations.

One of his questions that still sticks with me is ‘Are we teaching the kids who are going to do it anyway or are we teaching everyone else?’ The idea being that in every institution at every level, there are students who are going to do whatever is put in front of them–even if it’s boring, even if it’s not engaging–and do it well. If we gear our education to the students who will do it anyway, where does that leave everyone else? How do we engage the rest of the class? How does technology help us to reach everyone? Who is education for in your class and what does it look like? Change thinking, change learning, change working.

These ideas are in line with much of the current conversation around changing education. (See Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms). What I like most about these conversations is that technology is finally coming to the forefront. The conversation is no longer about ‘should we use technology to enhance learning?’ but rather HOW can we use technology? We have to already assume that it’s part of the picture–embedded and intwined. The conversation switches towards good practice and is about teaching and learning rather than about the technology on it’s own. Finally!

Pedagogy Ponderings

Fitting it all together: ATL, ISTE and more

Today my group of fabulous Digital Leader teachers worked together with me to attempt to fit the new  2016 ISTE Standards for Students (which btw are much better) under the Approaches to Learning for PYP (ATL–formerly ‘transdisciplinary skills). I have long believed that there is no need to have loads of separate documents for tech and library media because the ATL seems to house most of it–it’s just not clear on the details. So, we began. We went old-school today and I printed out the ATL statements on strips of paper and stuck them onto individual sheets of paper.This gave us room to move things around, write in questions and ideas and document our own thinking. I handed out the new ISTE standards on strips as well and in teams we began laying them under the ATL we thought it best fit with.

Lo and behold, we were able to do it. We had a convenient sheet called ‘OTHER’ where we stuck any ISTE standards that didn’t have a natural fit. As expected, what was leftover were the ‘Innovative Designer’ standards. In our conversation afterwards, we agreed that these should come up as part of our units of inquiry and be recognised there, but we’ll continue that conversation.

Our next steps are to flush out more detail for what the ISTE Standards look like across the grade levels and include samples and ideas. By the end of this school year we hope to have a document that is both relevant and used across the primary school to document and map our use of the ISTE Standards in relation to the ATL. Watch this space….

Pedagogy Ponderings