The good news about timetables? We’ve created them, so we can destroy them.
The goal isn’t credit. The goal is change.
Just because Japanese restaurants wanted to serve exotic recipes to American customers from day one doesn’t mean that American patrons were ready to eat them. Instead, attracting interest and long term commitment meant creating recipes that introduced change incrementally, one new and interesting ingredient at a time.
Templestowe College, or TC as we call it in Victoria, Australia, was built to accommodate 1,000 students. At the start of 2010, those numbers had dwindled down to just over 200. Peter Hutton took on the challenge of rebuilding the school, despite severe challenges. Today, you will get to hear the story of the past 7 years, and how Peter revolutionized one school by testing assumptions and changing the way they thought about education.
One take-away from the recent #EngageMOOC was that such negotiation and dialogue needs to happen at multiple levels. I think sometimes this is the challenge. We might generate conversation at the classroom, but it is not being had at the school level, something you touched upon in a past post. Also, the link between institutions and education systems seems stretched at times with the current neoliberal obsession with realism and the way it is.
We are much more able to embrace the beautiful chaos of schools if we have a strategy, a team and an ongoing, intentional and publicly stated understanding about our role and responsibilities. Each of these elements might change over the course of time but for a given period (say a term or a year) we can build an effective environment that allows chaos to run its course, channelled into purposeful outcomes or released into the space of irrelevancy.
If we ignore the reality of relationships, current structures, culture and all those other facets of school and attempt to force change anyway, it’s like asking one of our students to begin a swimming race then suddenly emptying the pool of water before they finish.
Blogging In and Out of the Classroom
It is often argued that learning needs to be redefined, transformed into something different. Going beyond what that change may be, a powerful tool that can help drive this are blogs. Originally designed as a means for logging information on the web, blogs have come to take many forms and purposes. This session is about harnessing the power and potential of blogging to develop learning inside and outside of the classroom. Whether you are confused about where to start or what possibilities blogs can offer, this session is for you. Aaron will provide a range of practical tips and tricks associated with the differences between platforms, how to build a blog from scratch, as well as a range of examples and ideas of how blogs can be used in schools. The reality is, developing creative learners often depends on providing a place for them to shine and blogs is the perfect platform for this.
Creating, Making and Visualising: Integrating Technology within a Classroom that Works
Many schools are going through the process of implementing and adapting instructional models only to be left wondering the place and purpose of technology. Rather than somehow seeing these two things as being separate, technology is best seen as an accelerator, making deep learning more doable. Whether it be visualising thinking, creating non-linguistic representations, taking notes, developing summaries, engaging in debate, providing feedback or working collaboratively, this session is for you. Aaron will unpack the positives and negatives associated with a range of digital platforms and programs, including Google Apps, Canva, Verso, Padlet, Edublogs, Paper53 and Adobe Creative Cloud. In addition to this, he will discuss some of the things to consider when introducing various applications and managing change across a whole school. Too many create a divide between digital technologies and deep thinking. Believing that somehow they need to sacrifice technology for the learning to go deeper. The purpose of this session is to provide an overview of the platforms and programs which made deeper thinking more possible and more doable. In addition to this, it will discuss some of the limitations and things to consider when implementing such change across a whole school.
Collaboration, Communication and Creativity – Exploring the Tools for Change
Blurb for the session:
How many fantastic ideas or initiatives have failed not because of the strength of the idea, but because it failed to be heard. Change need not be restricted to the lone nut. This session is about using the power of technology to transform ideas into movements. Whether you are trying to develop a team in a school or connect a network of people, Aaron will provide a great array of practical examples for how to build change from the ground on up and why technology is the leverage that every idea needs to go from being good to great.
Here is a link to my notes.
Ignite the Learning in Your Classroom by Leading the Way
Blurb for the session:
This session will provide you with another point of view on how to flip learning. Often we talk about changing our classrooms, putting students at the centre, connecting with authentic audiences and flipping instruction. However, the first thing that needs to be flipped is the role of the educator. Instead of focusing on being a teacher, we need to go back to the beginning and become learners once again. From using social bookmarking to connect with a community, to keeping a blog to share thoughts and reflections, this will be a hands on session focusing on taking the next step in and outside of the classroom. Throughout, Aaron will provide examples of how today more than ever technology allows us to be the drivers of our own learning.
Here is a link to my notes.