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Mike Perry's discussion posts

  • Mike Perry 20 Apr 2017 4:55pm () in Learner Agency

    Thanks Heather for getting this really important discussion underway.

    Karla, it’s good to hear that this is a focus for teachers in Upper Hutt and that you’re working to develop some common understanding about learner agency. As time goes on it will be great to hear more about any common practice that develops from that understanding.

    Karla and Deidre, I agree with your suggestion that students’ reflective and metacognitive ability (see Thinking KC) are fundamental aspects of learner agency. (‘how well they know what they are supposed to be learning; how well they know the path that they are going to take to reach their learning goals’)

    The videos stories that you have added Tessa, quite rightly (I think) emphasise the importance of guiding students towards independence in their learning, and providing an environment that gives opportunities for students to increasingly exercise that independence. (see  Managing Self KC).

    Derek Wenmouth, (Learner Agency: 10 Trends 2014) supports the Upper Hutt definition of agency as ‘the power to act’, and to be ‘actively involved in decisions about the learning’, to make choices about their learning’.


    So what decisions, or choices can (should?) learners be making about their learning as they mature?

    • Decisions / choices about WHAT they learn (curriculum / learning goals)?

    • Decisions / choices about HOW they learn (plans / strategies / tools)?

    • Decisions / choices relating to WHY they are learning (relevance / interest / motivation / initiative)?


    Perhaps just as important is the learner’s developing ability to reflect on those decisions/choices, and evaluate how effective those decisions / choices have been for their learning.

    I think Derek Wenmouth introduces some other challenging ideas to the discussion. Rather than seeing agency in terms of learner independence, he suggests it should be more about learning interdependence. He says ‘It’s not just about a learner in isolation doing their own thing and what suits them. Learners must develop an awareness that there are consequences for the decisions they make and actions they take, and will take account of that in the way(s) they exercise their agency in learning.’ (see Relating to others KC).


    He also suggests that agency includes an awareness of the responsibility of ones own actions on the environment and on others. So there’s a social connectedness kind of dimension to that.’ (Is the Participating and contributing KC relevant here?)

    How do we measure a learner’s progress with regard to agency? Thanks Tessa for making some practical suggestions here. I have little to add except that I believe, learner self-assessment, the student’s growing ability to make judgements about how effective their own learning has been, must be seen as fundamental and intrinsic to learner agency. I think one of the big challenges for us here is to help learners make valid critical judgements about the effectiveness of their own learning.

  • Mike Perry 27 Feb 2017 8:58am () in What’s happening at your place?

    I’ve noticed there hasn’t been much discussion in this corner of the VLN for some time,and it’s prompted me to do some pondering. As we get underway with a new year perhaps we can share some thinking about this potentially powerful approach to teaching and learning.

    ‘Inquiry learning’ sounds as though it should tick a whole lot of boxes when it comes to the NZC challenge to help students  .…

    • value ‘innovation, inquiry, and curiosity’ (Values)
    • develop ‘Intellectual curiosity’, ‘make decisions, shape actions’, and become ‘problem-solvers’ who ‘actively seek, use, and create knowledge’ (Thinking KC)
    • ‘confidently use ICT to access and provide information’ (Using language, symbols, and texts KC)
    • ‘establish personal goals, make plans, manage projects’ (Managing self KC)
    • ‘come up with new approaches, ideas, and ways of thinking’ (Relating to others KC)
    • become ‘actively involved in communities’ (Participating and contributing KC)

    Becoming ‘active seekers, users, and creators of knowledge’, seems to me to be central to what it means to be a ‘lifelong learner’. (Vision)

    So … what’s going at your place?
    What does ‘inquiry learning’ look like in your practice; in your school?
    Is ‘inquiry learning’ necessarily ‘integrated’, or does it have value within a curriculum area/subject? Secondary teachers, what’s your experience here?
    Is student ‘inquiry’ necessarily a collaborative learning activity, or, in your experience, can students carry out an inquiry independently?

    Research suggests that students need a lot of clear scaffolding when it comes to inquiry learning. The ERO Evaluation Indicators (Domain 4) make it very clear that teachers need to provide students with ‘explicit instruction in learning strategies (such as goal setting, self-monitoring and deliberate practice) that enable them to take control of their learning, develop meta-cognitive skills, self-regulate, and develop self-efficacy and agency’.

    So …. how do you go about scaffolding students’ inquiry learning?

    And on another matter, are teachers still confusing ‘Inquiry learning’ with ‘teaching as inquiry’? If so, how do we deal with that?

    Lots to ponder, what do you think?

  • Mike Perry 26 Aug 2013 4:04pm () in Introducing...the Central South community online

    Hi Nick. Welcome aboard. I know you have a lot to offer this group, but I hope it also enables you to see what other people are up to, and engage in some effective networking. I hope we can entice your school's other 'e-leaders' into this space too. Regards to all. 

  • Mike Perry 18 Jul 2013 10:50am () in UDL, access and creativity


  • Mike Perry 24 Feb 2013 6:00am () in Where could I find a primary school using google apps for education

    Greytown School has fully integrated the use of Google Apps for Education to support their Year 7 & 8 programme. When I recently visited them with the e-learning Lead Teacher from a school I am working with, they were very happy to share their experience.

  • Mike Perry 08 Jan 2013 4:42pm () in MLEs and Office 365

    Just wondering how Office365 sits with the use of Learning Management Systems, (Moodle, KnowledgeNet etc.) in Secondary Schools. Is it fair to say that O365 can do all that an LMS can do .... and more? .... and with more flexibility? If so, why would a school use an LMS? If not, what are the limitations of O365 compared to an LMS? Has anyone been exploring the complementary use of an LMS and O365? 

Mike Perry

Professional Development Facilitator - CORE Education, working with schools in the Hawkes Bay / Tairāwhiti region.