I wonder Greg how your blog has developed? Are any ‘changes’ that stand out to you? Has your practice over ten years always been the same? Would love to know.
This is far from just a story about a haircut. It's also a story of the inevitable tension between powerful school councils and the communities they serve. Should a school pursue a change agenda it thinks will benefit the community of tomorrow if the community of today – and yesterday – isn't happy about it? To what extent should today's students and parents dictate the direction in which a school heads?
It's also a story about the ongoing struggle at schools everywhere between pursuing academic success and the health and happiness of their charges. And finally, it's about people power, 21st-century style: how a group of children and their parents used a combination of traditional and social media to force those at the top of their institution to listen. Shocked to find that, despite paying up to $32,000 per student in annual fees, they had no power over the decisions of the council and principal, the school community went rogue, enlisting the power of the media to assert their claim – and win.
Spearheaded by year 12 leaders, the campaign is feverishly adopted by students across the senior school. Adept with technology, the kids set up an online petition, which quickly gathered more than 6000 signatures, and an Instagram account with even more followers and its own hashtag, #bringbrownieback. A co-author of this piece, Henrietta Cook, has the electronic invites to her wedding hacked and a message added for some of her guests: “Evict … the school council and principal.” Choppers hover over the school as TV journalists stake out spots at the entrance for their live crosses.
Bruce Dixon adds his own commentary on this, especially in regards to power and agency.
The Trinity case offers an insight into the current state of education, with a balance between wellbeing and academic results, as well as private verses public:
Striking the right balance between students’ wellbeing and academic results is something every school worries about. Dr Mark Merry, the head of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia and also the principal of Yarra Valley Grammar, says the rise of performance data, including NAPLAN and ATAR league tables, has made schools more publicly accountable than ever before. Choosing between a focus on intellect and identity is fraught with tension. “Are you getting the balance right? Everyone agonises over this,” Merry says. “You can’t hold your hand on your heart and say you got it right all the time.”
It is also a story of old boys and old power holding onto the past (and their blazers):
Parents might not rank alumni as a top priority, but the old boys’ network – which runs events, helps with fundraising and has a network of sporting teams – plays an important role in the lives of many former students, including Thomas Hudson. The 29-year-old corporate banker with curly red hair feels deeply about his old school. “I care about Trinity because I want others to have the same experience that I did,” he explains. Hudson was among dozens of former students who squeezed into their school blazers for a community meeting at Hawthorn Town Hall. It was here that the old boys threatened legal action if the council didn’t resign.
Cook shares the extremes that people go to get people into these schools:
Parents at similar schools around the country have been known to try enrolling their unborn children – using the day of their scheduled C-section as the date of birth – only to be told that the child does in fact need to be physically born. Even the review of Brown’s dismissal had a top-end-of-town flavour. This was no little internal inquiry but an external investigation headed by a former Federal Court judge and a commercial barrister. Would public interest in such a spat be as high if it had unfolded at a state school in Melbourne’s outer north, or in Sydney’s far west?
Interestingly, the rush to ‘private’ is supposedly flat-lining.
When students choose what universities to go to, two key trends can be seen in Howard Gardner’s latest research, revealed at the International Conference on Thinking. Some go for transactional purposes — to get a good degree and pack their CV full of things so that they can head into ‘real life’ in the best possible way. Others go for transformational reasons — they see university as a chance to evolve from being a high schooler into something new, to reinvent themselves.
In dog classes, the dog owner cannot simply send their misbehaving dog to the trainer to be ‘fixed.’ There are a few reasons for this, including: 1) the problem is likely to exist between the owner and the dog and possibly centres around the lack of respect in their relationship- therefore sending the dog to the trainer will not address the heart of the problem and 2) it is not long term sustainable to offload the problem to another person -when the dog and the owner go home, the trainer will not be there to rescue them.
In it, Leung reflects upon the experience of going to dog training school. She then compares this with ‘training’ in the classroom. She explains that no-one, dogs or humans, learns when under stress. What is important then is creating the environment and investing in an ’emotional bank’s.
Amanda Heffernan, Scott Bulfin and David Bright of Monash university discuss their experiences of completing research degrees while teaching, and offer advice for anyone considering pursuing a research degree while still working in a school.
— Aaron Davis 🏘️ (@mrkrndvs) May 11, 2014
Still not sure I’m any closer though.
If we are looking at learning across the lifetime today, we need to think beyond the teacher/student and schooling constructs. Education is already larger than that. This is no different from recognizing that health and wellness is about so much more than a patient/doctor interaction. These professionals do and will continue to play a valuable role, but limiting many of our conversations about education to these formal contexts is inadequate for the challenges and opportunities of our age. In fact, it has always been inadequate. Formal education has a role to play today and in the future, but it is one of many spokes in the lifelong learning wheel.
If much of formal education is structured around a teacher coordinating and directing the learning, to what extent is that preparing people for the type of learning that will be commonplace for the rest of life?
What are promising examples of schools that appear to be best equipping people for this sort of lifelong learning?
Given this incredibly diverse array of experiences that contribute to a person’s learning, what does an educational ecosystem look like that helps all of us look beyond diplomas and degrees?
How can we help people tell a more complete story about their learning and connect with other people and organizations that resonate with part of that story?
How might new forms of credentials help to tell this story through the structuring of rich and mine-able data?
More specifically, what are the benefits and limitations of AI and algorithmic solutions to connecting people with other people, organizations, and employment opportunities through rich and ever-growing data sets? To what extent might this help us move beyond credentialism? How might it help is address issues of access and opportunity?
How can we leverage AI, learning analytics, and adaptive learning to amplify the quality of learning that people experience throughout life? What are the exemplars today for truly personalized and adaptive systems that optimize learning for individuals and what will it take for us to reach the next generation of this work?
Since so much of life is and will be focused upon learning/re-learning/un-learning, how do we infuse and elevate the human-ness of these experiences by tapping into incredibly powerful phenomenon like wonder, awe, curiosity, mystery, adventure, experimentation, truth, beauty, and goodness? How might historic and emerging insights about these phenomenon help us think about and design the lifelong learning ecosystem of the future?
Given that people are constantly learning and will need to do so even more as technology (and especially AI) creates massive shifts in types of jobs and the nature of work, what are some of the more promising platforms, environments, and resources that help people grow and learn?
Formal education solutions are clearly inadequate and misfits for the type and nature of lifelong learning that I am describing, at least for the majority of situations. As such, how can we nurture and expand our conversation about education to see it as a much larger and more integrated system, one that we do not inhibit by the narrow constraints, schooling metaphors, educational practice ruts that shape much of how we think about teaching and learning today?
I wonder if this is a part of the second wave of MOOCs?
I’ve been researching the sociocultural implications of MOOCs for six years. It’s not surprising that the second wave of MOOCs is getting brought around at the same time as another ‘you don’t need to go to college’ wave
— Rolin Moe (@RMoeJo) May 22, 2018
The rapid proliferation and deployment of smart mobile, pervasive computing, social and personal technologies is changing the higher education landscape. In this presentation I will argue that new media present new opportunities for learning through digital technologies, but that such opportunities will require new literacies. This is not just my view - it reflects the views of many other commentators including Lea & Jones (2011), Beetham et al (2009) and Lankshear & Knobel(2006). Essentially, the traditional literacies that have dominated higher education in the past are thought to no longer be sufficient in the face of recent changes. I will explore a range of new 'digital literacies and competencies', discuss the concept of 'digital fluency' and highlight some new and emergent pedagogical theories, including connectivism, heutagogy, paralogy and rhizomatic learning, that seek to explain how students are learning in the first part of the 21st Century.
Steve Wheeler is a Learning Innovations Consultant and former Associate Professor of Learning Technologies at the Plymouth Institute of Education where he chaired the Learning Futures group and led the Computing and science education teams. He continues to research into technology supported learning and distance education, with particular emphasis on the pedagogy underlying the use of social media and Web 2.0 technologies, and also has research interests in mobile learning and cybercultures. He has given keynotes to audiences in more than 35 countries and is author of more than 150 scholarly articles, with over 6000 academic citations. An active and prolific edublogger, his blog Learning with 'e'sis a regular online commentary on the social and cultural impact of disruptive technologies, and the application of digital media in education, learning and development. In the last few years it has attracted in excess of 7.5 million unique visitors.
More about Steve Wheeler https://steve-wheeler.net/
Critical literacy is one of the key perspectives that informs my teaching, research, and thinking. It informs all of the work that I do, and fundamentally impacts everything from the ways in which I view the world, to the very tweets that I send out on a daily basis. It plays a role in guiding my research…I even built an entire digital literacy & education program based on the tenets of critical literacy.