Sunday, March 29, 2015

One week on.....future planning

One week back on deck from my two week 'adventure in Aus.'  Where is my thinking at? Where is my school at? What plans are in place for the next week...month..term...year....?

I made a list on notepad as I was leaving Future Schools Conference two weeks ago. What we could change now, this term, this year, next year. It looked like this -

Things to change now
- encourage staff to flip the classroom
- weekly sharing of Yr 9 class docs - via Google Docs
- any staff who want to trial different furniture - get it!
- look for further integration - not just the MLP trial going on now

Short Term  

- remove walls where we can 
- plan for vertical forms

Long Term 

- one year's warning / notice possible change to school day - two shifts
- evaluate pastoral care system - time/value
- IT teacher support - investigate 
- add solar power, extend undercover - change the building
- de-isolate SLT from rest of the school 

However....a colleague reminded me that we should be using 21st century thinking and that I should just not be diving in and ploughing ahead (nothing like mixing metaphors) with what should be the final stage of any 'design thinking process' (thanks Mr O)

So....we have a framework for out TOD in June.

Looking forward to working through the process ...and then diving in...

Time and Title

8.45 – 9.00

Define the Problem / (Solution needed) OL/CL
In order to solve a problem we need to clearly define what the problem is first. We must decide exactly what needs to be solved, and give proper context to the problem.
Discover – Feedback from teams from Melb/Sydney/Chch/Auck/Tauranga/ModCurDes/ MLP trial etc
This is the stage of researching and gathering, and analysing clear knowledge about the problem. This helps us to give the problem context so that we can identify with it easier.
(This is where we record and document all our professional learnings from conference, keynotes and professional readings over the last 18-24 months. This is the groundwork that has been done - visits to MLE schools in Auckland, Edutech conference, Melbourne conference, future schools conference, PPL last year etc)
10 – 10.25
Morning Tea
10.30 – 12.25
Set venues
Dream cross curricular teams (readings provided beforehand)
Here we open up the heart and mind to the possibilities and visions of a Modern Learning Curriculum at Rangiora High School the way we wish to see it. This phase is all about imagination, extrapolation and visualisation.
(This is where we put everything on the table, dream big, see how much of the dream we can fit in. )
12.30 – 1.00
Debrief - Dream – feedback

1.00 – 1.55
2.00 – 3.00
Set venues
Design – Learning Teams – extended learning episode Term 4
This is basically the workshopping phase. Here the actual mechanics of the Modern Learning Curriculum begin to take shape. It will require amongst a number of other technical requirements - consultation, critical analysis and evaluation, financial forecasting, timetable models, trials and further evaluations. (This would be the perfect phase to be the main part of workshopping in the TOD April 20? TOD could then be part of the 2 year process of gathering information about where we are going and allow staff to co-construct the MLC look for RHS based on the problem/solution as stated in phase 1 and the gathering in phase 2 - it would make the day highly targeted and productive to producing an outcome for MLC at RHS)
3.00 – 3.20
Debrief – Design  – feedback

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Choose your own adventure - Australian Science and Mathematics School

The Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS) is focussed on providing a vibrant, future focussed curriculum for students who have a passion for Science and Mathematics. 390 students through Yr 10-12 (our 11-13) choose and pursue their own adventure in open plan, flexible, colourful and unbelievably quiet spaces. 80% of the students go onto tertiary studies.

Pillars and coloured seating are used to delineate individual spaces within the whole - the pastoral teams have 'team areas' for Learning Studies - the pastoral care curriculum. Purple seating designated non assigned areas in all spaces.  The design will look familiar to those of us who have visited Albany Senior College, Ormiston or HPSS, as ASMS hosts many visiting educators. Part of their school 'brief' is to 'support educators in changing their practice,vimproving student learning.' 

Two students to me in a tour of the school, which covers two floors and an aviation lab in the adjoining Flinders University Campus. As I mentioned earlier, one of the things I noticed was the 'quietness' of the space during the learning times. During recess and lunchtime, the noise level rose considerably. Another thing was that the teacher spaces were fully open to the student spaces, unlike the models we have seen in NZ. If needed, there were rooms where quiet conversations could take place. 

the green team teacher space 

The curriculum is divided into Yr10/11 and Yr12. Unlike us, Australia has only one level of national examinations, in the final year of school. Which makes the system very high stakes. However, this affords a deal of flexibility in the two years prior to this. I guess this was the school with the curriculum that most resonated with me - not just the integrated thematic approach to Yr 10/11. but also the formalised pastoral care curriculum. 

For set periods of the day the Yr 10/11 students work in mixed groupings on 'central studies'. Over the two years they cover 8 broad themes, which focus on real world problems and include 'new sciences.' The slide below is from a presentation shared with me by Andy Stone, one of the schools Deputy Principals - showing the broad themes for the Central Studies courses. 

 Each topic has a 'Fertile Q' - which is then worked on collaboratively by a group of up to 12 teachers. Most are involved facilitating central studies, but Languages, Drama and Music are addressed in 'Adventure Space Time'. The question drives ;the feel' of the unit - then the teachers will decide how the specific aspects of curriculum delivery will be addressed or approached. There is responsibility for curriculum checkpoints and assessment checkpoints within the group. Teams are built around expertise and who would work well together - a balance is created between who creates what work and between teachers' individual contexts and delivery.
Below is an example of a 'fertile question' and the curriculum contexts that evolved from it.

The Fertile Question

The disciplines that sit underneath the fertile question are essential for mapping the curriculum. The 4 central studies are designed so that the essential elements of Science and Maths are covered across the two years. This programme was not designed overnight - Andy mentioned that it had taken a number of years to get these programmes 'right'. One of the key benefits, apart from student engagement, was the time saved working in teams, the willingness of staff to share - but also be prepared to see things change. Understanding by Design (Jay McTighe) provides the framework for unit design, and all documents refer to this planning framework One of the big shifts is that assessment also needs to be interdisciplinary as well. He asked the question - if the kids are learning, do the need to be assessed all the time? I must say that most of the schools I visited were aghast at the fact we had a 3 year examination system.

Central studies form only part of a Yr 10/11 timetable -Adventure Space Time (individual - choose your own adventure topics) and Learning Studies Groups, make up the rest of the timetable. 

Learning Studies Group is the formalised pastoral care programme. The students are divided into 4 teams (designated by colour). Each group had no more than 18 students, and one tutor, and a team leader. An overall Learning Studies Leader coordinator developed the programme in conjunction with the 4 team leaders. Term 1's programme was about making ASMS 'work for me'. These sessions were 40 minutes a day. As well as the structured programme helped monitor and map each students individual curriculum plans  linking to their academic . Sometimes the groups regrouped into Yr levels. Term 2's programme revolves around the neurosciences. Lots of planning time was provided to ensure that this programme ran smoothly. 

Toby and Sion, my student tour guides, talked extremely passionately about their time at ASMS - but it was not all rose tinted glasses! Interestingly the commented on the things they'd like changed in the labs! More sink spaces, as it was annoying to have to wait to wash gear! They felt that they could be a lot more independent at complete work stations. 
I wonder if we have asked our students about this! Both students were taking Psychology as a major - but as ASMS (and I presume South Australia, it sits under the Science, not Humanities umbrella. They reiterated a number of times, that what they valued the most, was the fact that there were no boundaries to what you wanted to learn. An 'innovation space' on both the timetable and in a physical space, allowed students to follow a personalised project - for which funding was available, if required. They also liked the fact that formative assessment work was not compulsory - as students were at different stages - if you needed to do it, you did. They saw this as ultimate differentiation!

For me the innovative curriulum design; collaborative team teaching approach and the focus on Learning Coach model of pastoral and academic care were the key. Obviously the building and learning spaces were impressive. Part of the school's founding philosophy is that they are tasked with providing professional learning opportunities for their own staff, local staff, regional staff and international staff, like myself. 

Thanks ASMS team for your time and willingness to share ideas and resources. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Work like a scientist - John Monash Science School - Chris Harte

John Monash Science School is a state 'selective' school catering for 690 students across Yr10-12. Selective means that they selects on specific criteria, in their case, passion for Science, Maths and Technology. Last year they had over 3x the number of students apply, as were spaces in Yr 10. One student I spoke to travelled 2 hrs each way to school -  2 trains and 2 buses each way! The school is located on John Monash University Campus, and they have a close partnership with the Science Faculty at the university. The buildings are a complex of spacious, open plan areas with double sized labs, catering for 2 classes ( 50 students) at a time. Smaller tutorial rooms are available and 'bridge' areas are where non lab specific classes take place - with also up to 50 students operate in a team teaching environment.

The staff workspaces are house based and cross curricular - tied into the pastoral care system

All of the houses are named after working scientists, all of whom, have now visited the school.

While I have heard a lot about the  high stakes ATAR exam system in Yr 12 (our Yr 13) the upside of only one year of a national examination system is evident at JMSS, allowing students to follow their passion, to work like a scientist. All Yr 10 students select elective units from 'emerging sciences.' These include such topics as nanotechnology, bioinformatics (genome coding), quarks to quasars (astro and quantum physics) ....  As well, all humanities are on offer and 42 languages are taught through distance education. 

The school also delivers curriculum through an online live platform. Twice a week, 2 teachers deliver an  emerging science elective to 150 students state wide. Makes our national correspondence school look worse than obsolete!! 

What the online students see.
The teaching space and technical support for the online platform.

The online lessons count as part of each teachers allocation. 

Team teaching is the norm at JMSS - teachers are allocated classes and spaces - they might suggest who they want to work  with, but the timetable fits them in. I sat in on a Yr 10 Specialist Maths session with 50 kids and 2 teachers. It was interesting to watch the natural flow of the teachers. If I had mapped their movements it would have looked like a star or a petal - circulating out as individuals and then coming together regularly to confer ascot when to move the students on. Team teaching has lots of positives -support, learning from each other, deprivatisation of practice, shared workload etc. However, if the teachers are not comparable, it can be like an 'arranged marriage'. Things to think about when we are planning our team teaching work.

Technology is fully integrated into all aspects of learning. The school is BYOD multiple devices - the main device must have a keyboard and a second device for fiilming, photographing and uploading images for assessments. Yr 13 Physics were carrying out an investigation called 'Tarzan's Swing' - groups were filming the swing of the pendulum and the trajectory of the weight, this was then being uploaded into an app that measured something I did not understand!!

The rulers mark out the x  and y axis for alignment when uploaded

The Yr 10 Maths classes I sat in in were working collaboratively on a problem solving activity. 50 students were in the space, all discussing the equation/problem. After a couple of check progress whole discussions, the students could carry on with the data set problem, or their individual work - which was all on Google Classroom. Self-paced and personalised. 

As a science specialist school, workable lab spaces are essential. An interesting design feature were the powered tables - the bar in the middle us activated when the plugs are rotated, cutting down the issue of cables everywhere. 

Max, the senior lab tech, also talked about the need for draining racks, fume cupboards in technician spaces, and the issue of having floors power boxes in spaces that could potentially flood. At JMSS all the labs could potentially be senior Chem labs, but not all had access to gas. 

Double lab space, used by one class while I was there

Like a number of the schools I have seen, the 'Learning Coach' model (or a variation of) forms a large part of the pastoral care system. Teacher mentors track academic progress and a Empowerment Team of students and a range of staff, ensure all students integrate smoothly into the JMSS way.

The pedagogy is based around a design thinking framework - where reflection is split into a focus on content (demonstrate) and on learning skills (reflection). All lessons start with an 'engager' and follow a clear cycle. 
Learning Lab display images.009.jpg
Learning objectives are clear and students have time to construct and demonstrate their understanding. 

The school has been 'cloud based' since its inception with very few installed programmes. The students have high speed unfiltered access. 

Looked like a fabulous place to be science loving student.

Thanks Chris and staff who spent time talking with me.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

McKinnon Secondary College - with Ashley Evans

McKinnon  Secondary College is a large (1950) coeducational state school in South East Melbourne. It is a highly successful school in terms of State and National Assessment rankings. The school's zone is the smallest in Victoria, pushing up prices for in zone housing.

McKinnon was recommended to us by Cyclone, our IT services provider in NZ, as an early adopter of GAFE and a Google 'go-to' school. 

The school 'switched' to GMail about 5 years ago and encouraged staff who were 'interested' to have a look at the possible applications of the collaborative tools in Google's suite of apps. They also benefitted from the federal governments 'laptop for all' scheme - opting for a reduced number of the higher spec machines.

They are now in the process of rolling  out BYOD and have opted for high end chrome books. Community consultation (staff, parent and students) reinforced the idea that the devices should be able to do 'most of what most kids need most of the time.' Two year levels (7 and 10) will buy the devices over three years. The school also keeps a 'fleet' of loan machines if students devices are damaged and awaiting repair.

Considerable investment of time has gone into up-skilling staff in the use of Google tools. A Tech Support Team of 5 provide ongoing training (some of these are funded through a Tech Support in Schools Programme, some from general staffing) and professional development. A Google checklist of about 20 'must dos' was created and linked to the appraisal goals. 11 consecutive weeks of after school PD ran and staff could check off the tools as they became familiar with them. All tools are  linked to a really simple teaching application. As teachers have become more familiar with the basic tools of forms, docs, and classroom, some have looked beyond just the basics. Two test seem useful are kaizen enabling teachers to add oral feedback to documents rather than written feedback (free and speeds up feedback process) and Pair Deck for instant feedback on student learning and testing ( $). The safety net of paper versions of admin 'stuff' is slowly disappearing - no paper calendar; all appraisal online; sign ups for things such as immunisation online and all relief not just booked online - but staff notification of relief no longer on paper. 

The school's philosophy is around continual improvement - how do I move my teaching along? How can I use technology to innovate with purpose? Ashley referred to this using a Carol Dweck - staff make 'upward comparisons' - 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Academy of Innovative Learning (AIL) - Birdwood High School - Steve Hicks

Today I was the school's official 1000th visitor (complete with bubbles) since Steve and his staff began the transformational change of introducing a project based personalised learning programme. 

Birdwood HS is situated in the Adelaide Hills, about 50km northeast of Adelaide. It has a roll around 500. The school has an agricultural component and runs a brewery and vineyard. It boasts a amazing automotive training centre and a commercial bakery. The 4 local high schools collaborated and each one took responsibility for a tertiary career pathway area. No seniors ( Yr12) have allocated subject time on Weds- they can come to school to work in the Senior hub if they choose to, they could be at a TAFE (our gateway) course etc. this flexibility in senior timetabling was also a feature of a number of these innovative schools. 

Auto workshop

Steve has been Principal at Birdwood for 6 years. He had always been aware that in the  middle years (8-10) engagement - lack of - was a real issue .

When kids aren't engaged no matter how long you make them sit there in rows doing the same thing over and over, they're never going to get it.

All the things that we've know about students and schools today sit behind Birdwood's decision to make radical changes to curriculum and curriculum delivery 
- schools no longer need to provide information 
- kids communicate in many ways
- employment possibilities are changing
- one size fits all will no longer work 

The change to an integrated approach to the Yr  8 was initially optional - and Steve and the team were initially surprised that 2/3 of the kids opted for an integrated approach to their Yr8 schooling. After 3 terms of this approach, all data sets showed significant positive shifts in the integrated classes results - literacy, numeracy, attendance, engagement - interestingly the same teachers were teaching both courses!!

Refitted Yr8 space - student designed and made the furniture - with supervision from 'techies'

Since then all of Yr 8-10 curriculum, that's our 9-11 has shifted to 'problem based learning' -  initially as part of the 'Big Picture' schools, more recently as part of the 'Learning Frontiers'. For a large chunk of the week all the Yr 8 students are together in AIL generally working on PBL. The same for Yr 10 and 11. At other times they are multilevelled or on taster courses (Yr8). Students,  community and teacher feedback is overwhelming supportive of the changes that have been made. Attendance, which was always high, rose to 96%. The 'time out room' clients dropped by 85% in the first two years - and the room has since been closed at staff's request. 

I was lucky enough to see some of the presentation practices from the Yr 9 students - 

The main learning was around the history curriculum content of the Industrial Revolution - set content. However science (the chemistry of developing photos using a pinhole camera) and technology (building a machine that incorporated movement and showed the develoment of something that came from the industrial revolution era) and the skills of oral presentation were being assessed using a multi-curriculum rubric. 

Michael's piece was not quite finished but he explained that each box held a picture, some taken with the pinhole, was lit up and showed the develoment of sound. He had made every component - and was working through recesses to complete it. 

He was part of a group of three who presented - a key part was the 'warm' and 'cold' feedback given by both teacher and the audience of peers. The group reflected on the feedback as part of the presentation. This is seen as a key part of the learning process.

Other structural changes have taken place. The library (which was huge compared to ours) has been down-sized and more compact shelving installed. This has created a spacious and interesting Yr9 learning area. Some walls have been knocked out; students redesign their spaces; Yr level school camps have disappeared and have been replaced by 'immersion activities' linked to student interests; Faculty structures have been dismantled and a different approach to leadrship has replaced them and what we would call the 'learning coach model' (advisory teacher) was introduced. This was a common amongst all the schools I visited and the ones we saw at conference. Each teacher has a group of no more than 18 students, they meet daily for a good chunk of time (4 hours a week) that  is part of the teaching allocation. It's more than just roll, notices and uniform. It's about ongoing learning conversations and tracking of achievement, curriculum goals and pathways. In a PBL and personalised learning system, this advisor is essential. The staff have become better at these since their introduction. 

The school is not an overly affluent one and Steve openly admits that they have done things on a shoestring! But this does not matter - the kids were calm, engaged and willing to discuss their learning. Even with a fair few relievers in the mix! Collaboration both between groups of teachers around planning, and with students around the learning is evident - and this has challenged and changed teachers' around 'deprivatising' their practice - for the better.

The Birdwood  HS staff and students that I spoke are incredibly proud of what they have achieved and passionate about continuing to look for improvement. They believe there is a lot still to work on -like getting 'truer' integration in the senior curriculum.

I really appreciated the hospitality of Steve, his wife Ngaire and family, Georgia and Liam. The evening I spent with them highlighted the passion and dedication they have in searching for continual improvement.

Kia kaha! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Exceptional Leadership

Merrylands East Primary School
On Friday we went out to West Sydney, to visit two school campus and meet their leaders.

We had spent a lot of the after function on the first night of the conference speaking with John Goh, Principal Merrylands East Primary School. I believe he fits the 'courageous model' of leadership. He has introduced radical changes at a systems level - including changes to the school day and refusing Ministry money because it would not build what the school and community needed. His school features regularly in state and national media - for good reasons (unlike he tells us many other news stories that focus on his catchment area!)
You can read about his 'win' in 2012 - where he managed to take control of what was meant to be a standard template building programme -

Instead of just a standard hall, Merrylands Primary gained a hall with a commercial kitchen, toilet block, school wide wifi upgrade - amongst other things - and I'm pretty sure he said it came in under the original 'hall' budget. As well as this classrooms have been 'de-walled, a range of furniture 'collected' - and to top it off, John has no office - works out of his 'phone'!!! Even more revolutionary, the school day has been rearranged - after full community consultation - 

The staffroom has a range of furniture - couches, standard chairs, leaners and casino bar stools - because 'why wouldn't you?' John says he has no trouble finding staff - the last job he advertised had 160 applicants. And listening to John, why wouldn't you want to work with him? His passion, enthusiasm and vision are exciting.?He spent an hour sharing the work of his staff, student and himself with us - something he does regularly. The students worked in 'refitted' traditional classes, technology was in abundance and the senior students were working on their EdVenture projects - they willingly talked to us about these. It was a wonderful hour. 

John lives the mantra - make a change, others will come to look, and then they will make changes too......

Merrylands High School 
John had organised for some of our group to spend some time at the High School many of his students go on to- he has a close partnership with the school. We met with Alice Leung, Head of Science and Lead Technology Teacher; Lila Mularczyk, Principal and two wonderful students - Ali and Nadia.

I took away a number of really clear points - initially the total availability of the Principal - her office (where me met) was totally accessible to both staff and students. There was a constant feel of 'busy-ness' around the admin area. Secondly, there strong committment to ensure ongoing learning - both students and staff. Alice's entire programme is based around supporting staff to implement the use of technologies in their classroom. She had targeted subject areas and Yr levels that she was working with this term. As well as this she was responsible for organising a team of 30 student 'digital' leaders. Amazingly two full time teachers were allocated to as 'engagement experts' - they are available every period to work out of the library with seniors around assessments. 
The 'money' for these positions from the 'unstaffed ' funding that comes into the school. Interestingly a committee decides where this funding should be spent - based on community, student and teacher input. The Principal does not sit on this committee.

The high school also had different timetable structure. Senior classes started at 7.30am and most senior classes did not run past 12.30pm - some went till 1.30. This gives the seniors time  to pursue any number of things - work placement, tertiary short courses or volunteer work. Junior classes ran till 3.30. Yr 7 classes run fully integrated curriculum. In Yr 8 and 9 classes integration was more around subject pairings. They would like to integrate Senior courses more, but under the national exam system (ATAR), where students are ranked according to their results, this is more problematic. Definitely a lot for us to think about.

In the short time that we spent with them, Lila and John both appeared to me to be exceptional Principals - Lila leads the NSW Principal's Association and John is consulted regularly by the NSW  equivalent of the Ministry - helping to lead change state wide.  It was an invaluable morning spent in their schools.


Had to add one last picture .....!!!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A brief introduction to the future of learning ....

Change - for most of us change is subtle and sneaky.

What does the future hold for our children? We have no context for the rapid development that they are facing. 

How do learn to live in this age of fast paced changed? 
We have to deal with the reality of now BUT we also have to focus on what is the near future.

Thinking in future tense .
Teachers need to think from the future back - teachers are driven by the here and now. But we how do  get them ready for the future? 

What will learning look like in 2027?
- learning will happen in anywhere anytime ( not 2x4x6) - student teacher classroom do not have to be same place, same time
- learning will not be confined to a single time 
- just in time vs just in case - shadow model of education 
- learning will not be confined to a single teacher  - infowhelm - all aspects of the community need to be involved in them
- learning will not be confined to human teachers - it's not either or - how they support each other 
- not just confined to paper based information 
- not confined to memorisation 
- from specialist to generalist
What are you measuring and not measuring in your classroom?
- learning will not be confined to linear learning - start anywhere, follow own cognitive pattern
- learning will not be confined to the intellectual elite - new illiterates
- learning will not be confined to a separate subject area 

How do we get from here 2015 - 2027?

Erick Hoffer 

"In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists"

Margaret MeadNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. 

Helen Keller - The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

The Mercy Centre - learning space

A diverse school - academically. Interested in the dropout rates of rural students at university.

Major investigation - lots of Qs
- what  did  senior students want from school - quick access to staff 
- what do parents expect schools to do to support ther senior students 

Redesigned buildings- large technology centre - decentralised library area - resource staff for learning hubs - these staff work with teaching staff in the hubs - quite a shift in pedagogy 

Lots of white, writeable walls.
Flexible standing tables with whiteboard tops. Open, no doors, staff room area. 
Teachers come 'out on the floor' to take lessons.
Rule around lockers - weekly - out by 5.00pm Friday. 
Student leaders coconstruct the rules for the space with the rest of the cohort - they then self regulate the space.

Timetable to the space, but not for a specific room. Negotiate the space. 
No central focus in the room. 

How learning spaces act on learners - aren't they just 4 walls

Dr Ken Woodward - where are you?? Actually what are you? Very peculiar presentation!

How do we act in each setting? We came in, sat down and did not talk to the philosophy behind us!

Think about how you want to deliver? Direct instruction? Ongoing group work?

In the 1950s - space was just 4 walls
In the 1970s - space was a socially constructed entity
In the 2000s - space as a trajectory - - projection of where people a going

How is space different to place?

Students have  territory - a desk
Teachers have territory - a classroom

Why change a space? To satisfy a certain learning need. 

How does your timetable restrict the place that you want to learn in. Handing over some control over the learning dolce, they can find a place that suits them. Scaffolding learning spaces - hand over control - with control comes ownership - with ownership comes responsibility.

Redesigning learning in a connected environment - Delaney College

Delaney College -  450 students - lowest SES in Parramatta Diocese - 38 nationalities - Yr 7 - 12 - a traditional approach.

Timetable has been thrown out -  100 mins every morning communication and navigation (Eng. and Maths). Textbooks have gone - even in Maths - concepts and procedures in navigational Maths. Any tool is OK. 

Mentor teachers - 5 for Year 7 - academic counselling and pastoral care. These 5 teach in a multidisciplinary way. Deep learning - non Googleable questions.
Collaboration around dual screens. 

In a flexible learning space, heads in or heads out - can easily tell who is part of the conversation.

Drive the car - take control of your own learning! Individualised plans also needed. 
Team work essential - investigate 
 5 teachers in a team, but includes a team leader.

Student learning, staff learning, leading change

Learning design 
What's the reason?

21st century skills -  4Cs

Radical timetable - consolidated approach 

Rooms - form follows function - Kenzo. whiteboards at every table.
Flexible spaces for learning - technology to support the learning. Videoconference capture the learning.

Ian Jukes - Round Table

21st Century Skills 

Always interesting to hear Ian Jukes. The acoustics were not great for a round table discussion though. 

9 'I's include - 
Information skills
Creativity Skills - anyone can be taught to be creative
Innovation creative skill
Internet citizenship skills 

Ian Jukes - filters daily all educational change articles - free access to 5570 articles on 80 or 90 topics - curation of huge amounts of material - free - add email address and free access granted -

Students who are physically there - but totally disengaged - use the images to hook them in.

Ted McCain - Teaching for the future 

How do you write an engaging curriculum?
- what are the things you have to do on one side
- on the other side the 21st century skills - the 9 I's 
What's your baseline?
What's the curriculum? 
What's the assessment ?
They need to be side by side - not an add on - anywhere, anytime, any problem

Content and process - Velcro learning - here's the recipe - take what you want from the content aisle, take what you want from the assessment aisle add the 21st century skills - there's the learning. 

Where in the world will I find the people who are doing the skills on this sheet? Looking for the connections? Why in the world why I want to learn this?

Tips to make kids read below the line
- don't use all caps
- images in bottom right
- justify left - hang right
- serif font ( tails that signify continue read) - hand outs - curly on end - eye looks at the letter and beyond 
- never put lines across the page

Design Thinking - leadership,pedagogies, classroom

This was an interesting presentation around the 'design thinking' process.

The team is very important - you need to make the 5 stages very important.
Some people will want to go straight to the evolution, some will want to be in discovery forever.
Empathy is a big word in Design Thinking  - the momentum of a project maintained by thinking and time to meet
The language of the process needs to be imbedded
The strength of each phase is based on the strength of the phase before

- opportunities and enthusiasm to create new ideas. This includes presaging your research, gathering inspiration 
- always use visual reminders - pin boards, whiteboards 
- whole school perspective -schools often have many big projects - often at different stages of the design thinking process - who has the big picture - a number of projects in evolution stages
- what are your 

- how to look at all the projects through your school's eyes 
- school context essential
- has to be situation based
- perspectives and understandings change
- need to involve a lot of people in this stage 
- lots of questions - how can we support the teachers to make a change...

- re technology, not the shiniest objects , but the fit for purpose
- follow on from the Technology curriculum - design process 
- generate and refine ideas - expansive without constraints 
- include experts in this section
- convergent to divergent thinking
- more detailed brief - end product
- documenting the design process 

- run the trials
- stakeholder interest 
- plan to fail and grew 

- positive and negative feedback loop 

Games design and development - create an educational game based on indigenous stories 


Case Study - Paul Whitehead - letters from a small stage

An fascinating and  interesting look at a small school doing something amazingly different - Bold Park Community School -

Reggio inspired -
100 languages
Nature based 
Socio constructivist
Respect ( no discipline policy)

What you'd see at Bold Park
Every class is multi range - 3 levels right up to Yr 12 
No bells
First names - all teachers all students 
40% of class time spent outside
No shoes except for sport and science lab
Outside play spaces  - lots of freedom - fire pits, no internal fences 
Staff write a personalised letter to every student twice a year
Half a day professional development a week - close early every Weds
2 teachers in every room - 1 trained, 1 in training 

Paul recognised that it is Hard to break down the silos of the secondary school - however as a school they were determined to do - this became the forensics unit - including the collaborative writing of a novel over a 3 month period -

'Positive Girls' - fabulous Health, Media and English based unit 

Total belief in the need for community involvement! 

Reach every student in every class - Jon Bergmann

One guiding question - what is the best for my students in my classroom?


His flipped classroom came from necessity - students had to leave to go to various activities. 
What is the best use of your face to face time? 

The connections teachers make in the classroom are what makes great teaching! So how can we rethink schools? The days of teachers holding the knowledge is gone. The world has changed! Relationships focus of everything.

Most teachers grew up in an information scarce world - we live in an information rich world. 

How do we shift the focus from content driven to higher order thinking activities. 

Traditionally we  send the kids home to do the hard stuff - this is wrong! Not all kids grow up educationally privileged. Solution - flip the Blooms classroom - most of the class time should be spent on applicant and analysis. Direct instruction done outside the classroom.

Research shows not only improvement in engagement but also grades. Exhausting for the teacher but best for the kids. 

A common misconception is that it's about the video. It's not about the videos - if the teacher is not interacting with the kids the next day, then the pedagogy is still wrong. 

What are the hurdles?
- Internet capability and access
- What if they don't do it? ( any different to what they don't do now ) 

Biggest mistakes
- length of video - keep them short
- teach them how to watch the video - teach them to take notes 

Curate or Create 
- make your own videos 
- increase active participation with self made content - trust - you are their teacher 

4 key strategies to flip a school 
- flip the thinking of the teacher - flip what school looks like
- it takes time - give the teachers time to do this 
- technology support 
- train ourselves and our students 

What is the best use of face to face class time? 
Students need help with the hard stuff!

Information is cheap today.

Bergmann - 'Flipping the classroom allows me to talk every student every day' 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Leading innovative change - Simon Breakspear

Why do we need to change?
Many of us are on the ground doing it now - we don't need to know why we need to change, we've had a few years if this! We need to know the how! 

How are we going to do this? Everyone is having the same conversations.

We need to .....
Defer judgements
Encourage wild ideas
Take risks and be curious 

How can we make a measurable impact in the 20% of time we have to make a change!
Students and parents don't always respond to the desire for change.
Schools are unique contexts -.they are complex and adaptive - they generate unexpected outcomes

Don't delay the change!!
We need to accept that there are done things we are stuck with - play the game, but run another system - agile leaderships

Key messages 
Better all the time - keep trying to get better - always looking for the next level
Always keep building - take from everyone and personalise to your own place. 
Honour the past - and move your school on a journey towards a compelling learning future. 
Relationships are still the killer app for learning 
Join the evolution - embrace the creative tensions of living in two systems 
How do teachers find the time to actually change their pedagogy? Time to unlearn and learn - when do we get time for this?

Agile Leadership
Clarify - if you can't say it clearly you don't understand it yourself - worldwide shared vision for learning -what will be different in  practice in 2017 ; less is better - too many short lived with little impact ; change one thing - what would you change? Do one thing well, for two years  - don't just add something else. Change the practice, not the person.

Mobilise - how do we change old practice to new practice - how do we make it work for us? What is working  for whom under what set of conditions? Give teachers a licence to create, to solve the problems themselves. Work in the 'white spaces' with the people who 'already believe' - start with minimal changes- think about inquiry- think about a frugal way of testing your assumption 

Amplify - spread what works and accelerate through partners - feedback on your own practices - how do you spread effective practice? Spread with the speed of trust! How we need work with staff that we are not aligned with? Always reference the work of other people's gifts.

Never stop the learning......

Students shaping their education and igniting innovation - Ricky Campbell-Allen

Interesting presentation from the 'Foundation for Young Australians' -   acting for educational change.

How can students not just benefit from education, but have a say in what it looks like? 

Use of social media platform to collect data - Student 'shout out' - what happens when you ask students what matters in their education-

Why wouldn't you give the students a voice - there are 3 and a half million of them in NSW!! Competitions ran on social networks to garner information. So far behind NZ on this! 

From here a group of students went to ACT to speak to Senators. Lots of learning around how to engage students in school governance and decision making?

Data showed that young people wanted to be engaged - 34% of respondents saw engagement as most important compared to 3% saw literacy and numeracy as important. Equity also a key concern - 25%.

Parents, governments and teachers hardly registered student engagement - they saw literacy and numeracy as most important. Student views are not represented by the other stakeholders, clearly. 

Globally there is a move to include stakeholder views in education policy. 

Interestingly - when used alone, student surveys are more reliable than observations. Also the lowest cost form of teacher evaluation. Observations, surveys and test data slightly higher when combined.

#voicematters -  student voice matters because the students know what needs to be discussed in schools

Create the future - nothing is impossible - J Goh and L Sov

John Goh is an amazing leader - listening to his school and community's story was inspiring - looking forward to visiting there Friday (very early!!!) 

My conversation with John Goh began on Twitter -
So it was great to hear him present in our session today. 

Merrylands East - 90% non English speaking, 20% refugees so it is impossible to run an homogenous programme - the students come in at so many levels - how could you possibly follow an aged based curriculum?

It was clear that cultural capital needed to be taken into account. Changes were made to school day based on extensive community consultation - parents do not work 9-5. There was no model for this - Merrylands became the researchers. Teachers become the researchers - a research paradigm. Really clear that John 
Is prepared to challenge the status quo to get the best possible outcomes for his students. School now starts at 7am

He asked us a fundamental  question - What can the children do at school that they cannot do at home - if they can learn it outside school, why do they need to be there??? 
I think it would be challenging to actually see what this looked like if we 'mapped' the answers at RHS.

5 key principles 
- real world authentic problem solving
- driving questions
- personalised learning
- backward mapping of outcomes
- technology as a process tool
- ongoing assessment 

Teachers live collaboration - teams  of 3 teachers in shared spaces and interestingly  students have become owners of their own spaces - they decide which furniture is best for which year level or work plan. 

EdVenture Time 
Developed on the back of Google 'genius hour' - scaffolded 'passion learning'
Students drive the process and the learning.
Low academic students are performing well in this model. Students bring their own devices - learning is seamless from home to school - and  reflection a key part of the learning ( another common theme in innovative schools)
Students are exposed to the syllabus it's not a secret - the curriculum is not limited - but rather selective!!  The students have become the teacher in a number of instances - especially around new technologies. 

John's statement - Don't let standardised assessment drive what you do received a large round of applause. 

Where have we learnt? 
Student data shows a lot more engagement. 
Boys in yr 4-6 engaged in reverse of national trends.
Bottom 10% literacy has been reduced. 

PBL- as a  key to engagement 
Driving question followed by aspects of learning, team jobs had to be applied for - team managers have become school leaders.

What's my paradigm?
Have you changed as a teacher from when you graduated?
He has no office - the school has no bells
'Somehow they know when it's time.' They can eat whenever - why do we eat to a bell? The staff never say 'time to pack up' if the kids are engaged in learning!

'The more I let go, the more my teachers create, the more my teachers let go, the more the students create'

Inspired leadership 
John's Blog is here -

You'll be able to read more about his school after we visit there on Friday.