Archive for the ‘ICT leadership’ Tag

Connecting the dots…..

Connecting the dots!!

I’m just back from another two weeks on the road in Melbourne and Perth running professional development sessions for teachers.

There are many seen factors in a professional development session that help you to gauge its effectiveness. How do teachers react to your presentation? What does their body language tell you? What questions do they ask you?

However it is the unseen factors after your presentation that will determine whether you have really made an impact.

How much knowledge will teachers retain? To what extent will they process the information and skills you presented?  How motivated will they be to act on your great ideas? How will they behave after your presentation? Will they actually try to implement your ideas?

In other words, will teachers actively connect the dots between your presentation and the classroom?

Donald & James Kirkpatrick in their book Implementing the Four Levels: A Practical Guide for Effective Evaluation of Training Programs point out there are four levels that presenters (including eLearning Coordinators) need to evaluate when delivering professional development and training:

  1. Reaction – Did learners enjoy it? Did they think it was effective? Did they think it was a good use of their time?
  2. Learning – Did learners learn the knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes needed to close a performance gap?
  3. Behaviour – Did learners apply what was learned?
  4. Results – Was the performance gap closed? Was the investment of time and money in training teachers effective?

One simple but effective strategy that will help teachers to connect the dots is projects. In other words teachers are encouraged to initiate and design a project that puts their new found knowledge and skills into the real world context of the classroom.

Once your PD presentation is done and dusted, it is the context that teachers work in (not the content of your presentation) that will actually connect the dots and make a difference.

What strategies do you have in place to help teachers connect the dots?

What does ‘digital’ mean to you?

I have a problem with the word digital.

The word digital is used to describe technologies that digitise content e.g. digital cameras. No disagreement here.

Sometimes the word digital is bandied around to describe pedagogy. I have a problem here.

When schools promote a digital curriculum, are they referring to the technology being used? Or are schools referring to a pedagogy that facilities interactive learning?

A focus on technology as a means to distribute information is narrow and limits teaching and learning. PowerPoint is an easy way to sequence information into bullet points and distribute en masse – but a classroom as a place for bullet points is not teaching. A PDF is a convenient and easy way to distribute content – but it does not necessarily provide learning experiences which enable rich and engaging interaction.

The 21st century teacher advocates a wider view where technology is a tool that can be used to create conditions for interactive and collaborative learning. This teacher places a greater emphasis on the context – the learner (instead of the information) and the various ways he/she interacts with his/her learning and other learners.

This is when the word digital can used to describe and promote curriculum. No problem here.

Shiny new gadgets

There is an air of excitement in the various schools I have visited in the last few weeks.

The new technology has arrived. The boxes are now open and shiny new gadgets are in the hands of eager students and teachers. It almost feels like Christmas has been granted an extension until February.

Like any new gadget, our first inclination is to play and discover the realms of possibility. We press the all the buttons on our new toy and discover it’s cool features. Those of you using iPads for the first time will find an app for just about everything.

No matter how versatile your new technological devices are, it is the pedagogical thinking that will enhance the teaching and learning. As teachers we have to develop a very clear understanding of what we want learners to do with new technology, not what the technology can do.

We have to make new technology suit the learning, not make the learning suit the technology. Trying to make learning suit the technology is really a feeble attempt to justify why we purchased the shiny new gadgets in the first place.

How is technology used at your school?

Are students and teachers at your school really reaping the benefits of the Digital Education Revolution?

Below are some recent statistics on technology use in US colleges and universities:

  • Only 59% of students agree their institution uses its technology effectively?
  • 40% of students think their institutions don’t use the technology they have effectively
  • 47% of students agree that technology makes professors better at their jobs.

Source: Online Colleges Guide

How did students and teachers use the technology at your school this year?

More importantly, how will students and teachers use technology to facilitate powerful learning experiences in 2012?

Technology Use on the College campus

The curiosity of the circus

Ladies and gentlemen
Boys and girls
Step right up, step right up
Come closer, you won’t believe your eyes.

Today I went to the circus.

What makes the circus engaging is the spectacle of others performing the seemingly impossible. Acrobats defy gravity, magicians enthrall us with mystery and illusion, clowns captivate us with sight gags.

The circus engages our senses and stimulates our curiosity.

While not intending to trivialise our lives as a circus, how will you engage others in 2012?

If you are a teacher, how will you engage your students’ curiosity?

If you are an ICT integrator, how will you engage your teaching colleagues’ curiosity?

What will your colleagues and students learn in 2012?

What ‘circus’ spectacle will they perform that is seemingly impossible?

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