Friday, July 29, 2011

We don't know what we don't know!

'iPads in schools - are we missing the point?'

This is a great article that is well worth a read.  It examples the 'great divide' that can happen with the exponential shift in how some schools are 'doing' their curriculum and the community's understanding of how that change will benefit their children.  Some selected quotes are:

"Decisions about which tools to use – from school camps and calculators to iPads - become a lot easier to make when you understand the purpose and value of education, and the cost of not doing it well.  What this underlines is the inherent gap between educational research and practice on one hand and community conservatism on the other.
...Together, the Orewa debate and the NZ Institute paper highlight the disconnection between communities and the way schools implement New Zealand’s education policy...

A post from @markherring on his blog titled 'Line in the sand - it starts with purpose' looks at the different approaches schools are taking with their curriculum.  One example he gives is that of taking a more holistic approach - one that is trying to develop the whole child, not just the academic talent - by investigating different approaches and tools in enhancing the schools curriculum (this may even include iPads?!?)

This linked article also highlights the need for increased attention to maintaining and enhancing the partnership with parents.  A key part of this is communicating with our parent community just how school has changed and why it needs to keep changing to stay relevant to todays learners.  However at different times this communication and partnership can be approached differently depending on what outcome you are trying to achieve.  The illustration below from Lester Flockton's NZ Curriculum resource that he put out a couple of years ago with NZEI tells it well:
The iPad debate actually demonstrates that the idea of 'elearning' and its place in a child's schooling is still not understood by a major section of our population.  It is therefore essential to get the level of interaction right with out community so this 'disconnection' does not get worse.  Or is this a bigger issue of how the public perception of teacher and school professionalism has deteriorated over the years??  Some of this problem may be ours but it may also be those sound bites - 1 in 5??

"So when our teaching profession, working from the best research available and their intimate knowledge of the students they work with, asks what is needed to make sure all our learners can be successful, why is there such an emotional reaction against their advice? Do we not trust our teaching profession to know what is best for students’ learning? 

...If the community and the teaching profession were on the same page and had a common understanding and valuation of education, then the conversation would not focus on whether an exercise book or an iPad should be on next year’s stationery list at one school."

1 comment:

  1. Great post Tim. A lot to think about and reflect on. The model from Lester Flockton (he does some great stuff) is very interesting. I think with our communities we often inform and consult, but can forget to involve. I know this year when I was making large scale changes with e-learning it was critical to INVOLVE the Community to ensure they were informed and aware of WHY we needed to change. Once this occurred, change was easier and supported. The Orewa debate, not matter what side you are on, has made many people reflect and look at their pedagogical beliefs and review what they believe.
    Great work, Tim.