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Derek Wenmoth's discussion posts

  • Derek Wenmoth 28 Sep 2015 12:48pm () in MLP or just Effective Pedagogy

    Just picked the reference here to Cuban's work, Neill - definitely correct in terms of the educational thought leader's drive for open spaces - but usurped by the political demand for testing etc. 

    Re your comment about MLP and NZC - I'm not sure (a) there needs to be a difference or (b) if there needs to be there is one. MLP is a conceptually broad idea that was around when the NZC was envisoned and developed - and that's what we have to celebrate in NZ, the permission we have through the NZC to pursue the ideals of MLP in ways that are much more aligned with the policy and assessment regimes that underpin it. Problem is that, by and large, we don't. Seems to me that's the root cause of so much angst - as Argyris and Schon call it - the gap between espoused theory and theory in practice. 

  • Derek Wenmoth 28 Sep 2015 12:38pm () in MLP or just Effective Pedagogy

    Hi Neill

    have held off responding but feel the need to as I am using your set of questions as the basis of a presentation I have to give tomorrow, so thought I'd make some notes here.

    Love your provocation in this question - I hear these comments and questions all over the place and it's important that we are engaging with them. Rather than enter into a full response (you're collecting some useful examples and input in the rest of the thread) I thought I'd make a quick reply to the points in your original post that don't seem to have been questioned... 

    Can't be about technology- not that modern (they were part of the rationale for the move to open plan units in the 1960's)

    Interesting perspective - certainly the interplay between technology and pedagogy goes back to the cave drawings - and was really brought into its own during WW2 and the emergence of Educational Technology as a discipline (ref. Edgar Dale et al) - but there's no doubt that the accelerated pace of change that is occurring in society as a result of technology is having a significant impact on education. The recent OECD report makes clear the fact that schools simply haven't kept pace - “The reality in our schools lags considerably behind the promise of technology.” So in this regard, perhaps it is about technology (at least to some degree)?

    Re the open plan units in the 1960s - not sure about technology as an identified driver - it was certainly something people took the opportunity to leverage in the new spaces, but my reading of the political and policy drivers at the time suggest it was more to do with leveraging system efficiencies and implementing structural changes. 

    Can't be about student centred learning... being around for ever!

    While references to SCL have been around for a very long time (ref. Socrates) it certainly hasn't been a characteristic of the current 'education system' which has emerged out of the 'factory model' for producing students with a specified set of skills and knowledge, expecting them to pass through a system at the same pace etc. So many of those factory model characteristics remain in our system today (classrooms, bells, subject silos, age-based groupings etc.) Certainly, our own Education Act makes scant reference to learners or learning at all - so the very foundation of what we do in our system is focused instead on structures, systems, teacher pay rates etc. instead of students. I'll not argue that individual schools and teachers are making every effort to address the needs of their learners as individuals, however I believe we'd see a radically different approach to what happens in schools if we genuinely placed the learner at the centre of it all. 

    Can't be about having a shared vision, values and beliefs...they are not pedagogies or practices

    You're quite right - they're not pedagogies or practices, they're values and beliefs - the thing is you can't divorce the two. Our practices are inevitably linked to our beliefs, and they in turn determine the values we work from and to. Whether we like it or not, or realise it or not, our current system is underpinned by particular ideologies, reflecting the prevailing political, social and personal agendas of those who are leading it. This was the point identified in the work of the OECD at the turn of the century in the development of their 'six scenarios' for the future of schooling. Unless we revisit our beliefs and values, and make explicit what these are and work to develop a shared understanding of and commitment to them, we are destined to continue practices that are based on a mix of the prevailing socio-political agendas and the experiences that have shaped each of us individually. 

    Is it about preparing children for their future- I think thats just part of our day to day job (effective pedagogy?)

    Doing that is certainly a part of the essential 'raison d'etre' of schools - problem is they don't do it that well. There's emerging evidence in so many quarters suggesting teachers and schools as organisations have yet to grapple meaningfully with exactly how you do prepare kids for their future - what it is, what is changing, what skills are required etc. The continual debates about curriculum and assessment and what should be 'covered' etc are testimony to this. The current emphasis on the development of a graduate profile is a move in the right direction - but only when the ECEs, primary schools, intermediates and secondaries through which the learners pass collaborate to build a collective vision for this that is learner-centred (as opposed to being focused on making the particular school look good) will we really be making progress towards preparing kids for their future. (not our past)

    If it is about pedagogies I am wondering if there are some new modern pedagogies I am missing?

    The term I use is practice, deliberately avoiding pedagogies. It's difficult to argue what's 'new' - particularly as there are so many was of interpreting pedagogies - from the 'meta' level (i.e. a constructive approach used in science) to the 'micro' (i.e. I use behaviourist strategies for my slower readers). Certainly it's time we hauled the whole pedagogies discussion out of the closet as a profession and really engage with what it is about. In the work I'm doing currently with Michael Fullan for instance we're emphasising what he's called 'new pedagogies' in relation to the emergent opportunities and affordances of technology to enact and enable the deeper engagement with knowledge, completion of tasks and connections with others as a part of the learning process. 

    Perhaps it is about Collaborative teaching? If so lets call it that. But that seems confusing because you can go on a course to do MLP in a traditional classroom?

    I think you'd be one of the first to agree that collaborative teaching doesn't necessarily imply working in the same physical space - there've been excellent examples of collaborative teaching that have taken place for years in traditional spaces. However, it is definitely something that can really take off and fly when the opportunities and affordances of open, connected and collaborative spaces are available - the epitome of connecting pedagogy and space. 

    While on this point I think it important to acknowledge that another key driver here is not simply about collaboration (which is itself but a manifestation of the deeper change) - but about the 'de-privatisation' of the teaching profession - because it isn't about the individual teacher and her/his class, but about the group/team of teachers and their collective responsibility for the cohort of individual learners they have responsibility for. 

    Be cool if it was about culturally inclusive practice (that's quite modern) but I don't think it is?

    There are many ways I could respond to this - but I'd have to agree with you that culturally inclusive practice certainly should be a part of the mix in MLP - for a whole heap of reasons. One of these is simply that we have to consider the significantly changing nature of our society and the steadily increasing number of children from other backgrounds and cultures who are now represented in our schools - and our communities. If a part of being 'modern' means being 'for now' or 'for this time' then we need to be taking account of these changes and ensuring that attending our schools for these children isn't a socially or educationally excluding and isolating experience. 



  • Derek Wenmoth 01 Oct 2014 10:28am () in Inviting your school community onto the modern learning practice (MLP) waka

    Morena Tamara - this is indeed a massively big question! Here are some quick thoughts...

    We are seeing drivers of change at many levels:

    economic - it costs money to provide an education - it features in NZ as one of the top three areas of government expenditure. We have spent decades adding more and more to the education budget, and so inevitably there is pressure to make savings or get the best return on investment. The downstream impacts here are the decisions around class size, viability of small schools, targetting of PLD to specific areas of need. In the end it becomes a case of being prepared to pay for what we want - and in the case of some of the higher socio-economic areas we're seeing that occur with parents paying directly for their child's education - but what of the kids and families at the other end of the socio economic spectrum, where public money is the only source?

    cultural - the place of formal schooling within society, the changing expecations of parents and learners and the 'valuing' of eduation are all aspects of the culture of our schooling system that are changing. Increasing student agency and voice changes the nature and experience of learning in the classroom (and beyond) as well as our thinking about curriculum, assessmenet etc. Schools were once the places of authority within our society, the providers of quality teaching, resources and authoritative in their role - but all of that is being challenged, as learners now have access to alternative sources of these same things. 

    structural - the notion of school as a place, bounded by fences and walls is being challenged nowadays. Whether it's the emergence of more open and flexible learning spaces within a school (breaking down the egg crate classroom mentality), the use of technologies to enable more virtual learning experiences or the acceptance that school is only one of the physical places that learning occurs (leading to greater links with community resources - home, library, business etc.) - all of these changes are putting pressure on us as educators to think differently about the structures we use to support learning - classrooms, timetables, allocation of teacher time etc.

    political - we're certainly at the whim of political decisions - whether that be to do with class size, charter schools or performance pay. All of these are characteristics of policitcal systems that are keen to demonstrate that they are (a) maximising the investment of the public dollar and (b) leveraging success for learners from this - particularly in preparation for the workforce (and thus contributing to  thriving economy etc etc). 

    Around the world, and in NZ, we've seen a focus on a massive accountability system around schools. What they've failed to do, in the meantime, is build an engagement system within them. As a result we're making matters worse by handing our most talented and engaged teachers manuals on how and what they should teach. Teachers aren't failing us; instead, the system they're forced to work within is failing us and them.

    There's heaps to add here I'm sure - but those are some quick thoughts to get the conversation going - interested to hear what other may contribute here...


  • Derek Wenmoth 29 Nov 2012 3:36pm () in Happy Birthday, Enabling e-Learning!

    This is a stunningly good info-graphic - well done Tara, Tessa, Karen et al. What a great way to celebrate the end of the first year of this truly inspiring online community!

  • Derek Wenmoth 17 Dec 2011 7:17am () in Links and readings

    The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has just released the third and final monograph from its three-part 2011 Compendium, titled “Small Size, Big Potential: Mobile Learning Devices in School.” The monograph explores the growing use of mobile learning devices in schools and how such initiatives are positively impacting student achievement. In its examination, the monograph provides detailed examples from districts across the United States that are pioneering this innovative transformation of the 21st century classroom.   

    Read Entire Press Release

  • Derek Wenmoth 30 Nov 2011 3:23pm () in Links and readings

    Here's another useful reading: 10 benefits of using iPads in schools.

    Nothing startlingly new or inspirational, rather, a useful starting point for thinking about what your list of 'benefits' might be - not necessarily for iPads, but for any form of BYOD device. If you have a list of benefits, why not add them here - perhaps we could end up creating a compelling case for this in our schools?

  • Derek Wenmoth 23 Nov 2011 11:50am () in Links and readings

    A link mentioned in the BYOD workshop referred to the FAQ document released by the Ministry of Health containing information about wireless. The National Radiation Laboratory, a specialist unit of the Ministry of health has released on their website that WiFi is not harmful.

    A link to the article can be found on the TorqueIP wesbite.

  • Derek Wenmoth 17 Nov 2011 11:28am () in Why BYOD? What do you want to achive

    Hi Robert - thanks for your post. I think your statement sums up the 'pure' view of a BYOD environment very nicely - I personally see that as the long term strategy here. Of course, there will be small steps that some will have to make to get there that may involve a more controlled environment, which, if it's properly thought through and decisions made for justifiable reasons (in the short term) then I can agree - but not if it's for the sake of 'control' and 'management' only. The kids will soon subvert it. 

  • Derek Wenmoth 17 Nov 2011 11:23am () in Links and readings

    While we're at it, here's another I bookmarked a few weeks back - the 7 myths about BYOD debunked - found it a useful read.


  • Derek Wenmoth 17 Nov 2011 11:20am () in Links and readings

    thought it might be a good idea to share some of the links and readings we come across regarding BYOD - to get the list started, here's a link to an interesting e-book you can gain access to from the techLearning site: 


    You will have to subscribe to the TechLearning site - but worth it for the material that they share there.