Sunday, February 2, 2014

2014 - a year on...

This is the first for 2014 and I will definitely be making a more concerted effort to post some reflections a little more frequently than once a year!

When I look back at some of the pieces of the puzzle that we wanted to see come together for our schools teaching and learning programme is it satisfying to say that all the facets I identified in my last post are all in play today.

Some big steps were taken in 2013 in what I'd call a journey of our 'desire line'. Instead of following the set path made by others we have forged our own direct route and in doing so made our our decisions our own. This is important for any school and some decisions and timelines will always be different depending on a schools context - where they are, where they want to be and how they think they might get there - which is important for all school communities.

Fibre connection & Ruckus Wireless - thanks to Focus Technology Group we were able to get our rural fibre connection, along with our Ruckus wireless infrastructure up and going within a managed solution!

Ultranet - Became the new home on the web for our parent connection. Inside the school we began this journey across the senior school classes (Y3 - 6) and it really came together when we took the step of classes closely collaborating in their teaching and learning programmes. Ultranet then helped provide the connection across the two classes of the shared learning programme. It meant that students could upload media, work on their set tasks and collaborate no matter what learning space they were in or what teacher they were with. As this shared philosophy grew across the school its also starting to develop across our junior school. 

Google Apps - It began with moving our school domain under the Google App umbrella for our school google site (our whole school framework), shared google docs (basically everything we do) and gmail (completely browser based) and then it morphed into a natural extension for our senior students learning. Shared google docs can be embedded straight into the ultranet page for collaborative student work. Something that an Ultranet page is not great for.

Solo Taxonomy - The SOLO framework as introduced to us from the work of Pam Hook became a natural progression of our thinking curriculum framework. We wanted to use our enriching curriculum to develop our student's thinking, and not make it all just about knowledge. We wanted to show our students and parents that being smart isn't about luck - it's about how hard you try and that no matter where your thinking is at there is a next step for you to take it further. This philosophy has underpinned our inquiry programme and we continue to resource teacher time in their teams to embed this practice together. 

We've also used it to underpin our development of each student's learning management. Our licence levels example how independent a student can be with their learning and is applied across our school. Each stage is aligned with the SOLO steps so it's a consistent framework for our students to work with.

Pam Hook is also coming to our school in early February for a whole day with our staff to challenge us on where we are and help us set the course for our next steps in this exciting curriculum development.

iPad mini's - with our thinking curriculum developing nicely, the fibre connected, wireless up and running and learning platforms put in place we needed the actual tools to connect it all together. For 2013 that saw the leasing of 80 iPad mini's across the school. We wanted to show how these tools were used in our learning programme and felt that if this was seen as authentic then, over time, the growth of personal ownership would grow naturally. This has been the case. 

Looking forward this choice of leased tool by school will became more of a combination of iPad mini's and Chromebooks as each is better at different tasks.

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