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Ian Dickinson's discussion posts

  • Ian Dickinson 14 Nov 2013 9:19pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    Tania- I couldn't agree more! The phrase '21st Century Learning' is spoken about too often- in my experience from a teacher advocating something which de-skills teachers like Mathletics etc. I'm not sure where I heard this first, but we try to think about 'producers vs consumers' of information. We are aiming to make a shift from our students (and teachers) being immense consumers of media and information, and more about using ICT to develop and share knowledge and learning. The 'producers vs consumers' phrase is a bit simplistic, but a good starting point if you've got some of the teachers who belong to the powerpoint/ youtube clips generation!

  • Ian Dickinson 13 Oct 2013 3:36pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    I think my school have moved some way this year with finding and promoting ICT 'champions' in our school. There has been a shift from having the ICT PD delivered by one expert, and have identified pockets of excellent practice from teachers who have now started to take a lead. This has inspired a few others who have been keen to give things a go on the basis of 'if they can do it, so can I' basis. I'm very happy with this arrangement, and it has had the by-product of giving some extra teachers great leadership experience and enriching their CVs at the same time.

  • Ian Dickinson 13 Oct 2013 3:32pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    I'm with you Helen on your second paragraph. I don't just get a little frustrated- it is a massive issue with the reluctance of some people to change what they do- burying their head in the sand. The 4th of the registered teacher criteria is clear 'demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of personal professional practice'. I understand that coming into a new environment can cause issues with learning new systems etc, but even after being given access to great hardware, numerous PD opportunities, and being in an environment which utilises much of the same technology and software we provide for the students, some teachers find excuse after excuse not to move with the times. 

  • Ian Dickinson 13 Oct 2013 3:19pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    Hi Phebe- your DP sounds like a really go-ahead kind of bloke. 

    I wonder how we could take this type of engagement and take it one step further? I know there are some very progressive schools who are connecting planning modules to class sites so parents and community can view different levels of the teacher's planning- the parents get the overviews and AO's, whilst the system is able to filter child-speak versions of the AO's from learning progressions, and have these appear on the students' portal so they can see what their learning will be for the week. This is a connected approach. I guess (with the Twitter and Facebook accounts) the school are engaging with community and this has an important function in involving parents and learners, but they could ask the question, 'How is this enhancing student learning?'

  • Ian Dickinson 13 Oct 2013 3:14pm () in 2013: Leadership and strategic planning for e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 14

    I'm interested in Leigh's responses to Helen's points; 

    1- Introduction of new technologies. True, I can see this is an issue, but it's easy to get caught in a trap of 'short-termism' and trying to keep up with the school next door or one deemed to be at the forefront of the field. I think the key is to retain some flexibility, and deal with the big advantages that the technology brings. We have moved away from being tied too closely to one type of hardware, and have avoided fixed lists of software, apps or sites that are the supposed 'panacea'. We prefer to deal with the principles of portability and connectivity; a range of devices are encouraged that encourage movement and collaboration, and one key piece of software, as a portal for student learning- this software also being used for our stuff communication and organisation (so they are familiar with the tools the students use).

    2. Diversity and range. I'd say now that it is impossible to keep up with the innovations that are taking place, so why even bother! Focus on utilising student strengths in this situation if you can- the learners are far more advanced and confident, and this is a great asset in an intermediate school (I don't have to know everything, because I know I have students around me who know a heck of a lot more than I do- and they are up to date with the latest trends and fads). Take a bigger picture view; what is going to help students, and what is the key function of what they are doing? Are they accessing and searching for information? Is the tool a useful device to help them collaborate and receive feedback on their learning? Will the site enable them to share their learning and information with a wider audience? Does the app helps them practice basic, core skills they need to develop? I'm genuinely amused by some schools who decree a set list of sites, apps and pieces of software for teachers and students, and then discourage those who stray from the prescribed list- this is what causes frustration. Once the lists have been published and shared, they are immediately out of date. Stick to the principle of function is what I say- these are the values that don't change, even if the technology does.

  • Ian Dickinson 13 Jun 2013 9:28pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Caroline- I like what you've said- sometimes, we get bogged down trying to keep pace with every small innovation and development. I haven't had any formal ICT training, but I'd give myself a solid 7/10 in terms of my understanding, application and synthesising my understandings in order to engage and extend learners- I guess your words and quotes resonated somewhat.

  • Ian Dickinson 13 Jun 2013 8:36pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Hi Tina- this is a good point- it's very easy to get caught up with trends and fads. Much of the principles we are striving to keep in terms of e-learning can be applied equally to teachers and students. Collaboration, communication, openess, efficiency, portability, cost-effectiveness, simplicity are some words we are striving to put into action through a few simple practices, and enable teachers to keep pace with the students. We have used Google extensively with much of what we do- with both student and teachers. Mail, eportfolios, blogging, software for word processing and data handling, web-browsing, forms for self and peer assessment etc- it's pretty much endless. But what we do for students, we also do ourselves- our mail, minutes and agendas, staff eportfolios, calendars and shared resources for teachers are now also on the same platform- our daily interactions and infrastructure are performed in the same way that we expect our students to learn, which means PD with teachers kills the proverbial 2 birds. We are aiming for our students to use devices in the same way we do as teachers, and we have a platform so flexible, that the students bring in their rapidly evolving knowledge of the latest applications and software, and this interconnects with Google wonderfully. Teacher Dashboard then sits atop this system and provides teachers with a simple way of monitoring the actions and interactions of the students. It's very simple and effective- it's flexible and grows with our needs, and will provide us with an element of future-proofing that the fads and fashions don't.

    I think what frustrates teachers is the lack of strategic planning and the chopping and changing that takes place- how often do you hear the sentiment 'I just get used to *** and then we have to change it and get used to ***' The value of a good elearning/ICT strategic plan is immense- avoiding the minutii and aligning the goals in this area to the wider goals of the school- we're writing ours at the moment, and there may be some arguments ahead, but we'll come up with something that will be a bit of a challenge, and a little controversial. Going away as a senior staff to see some innovative practices in other schools was a good idea.

  • Ian Dickinson 13 Jun 2013 7:13pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    I feel that your comment about the wider issue of embracing change is absolutely spot-on. How many colleagues, either past or present feel threatened by turning over some element of control to the learners in their classrooms? The deficit model of I know everything and I'm going to transmit it to you at the pace I choose is very frustrating- switching the models of our teachers and utilising the strengths of those early adopters (including the digital natives in our rooms) and 'tekkies' on our teaching teams can be a better approach than the top down model of professional development. It is exciting, it is a challenge, and we can't hold back the tide- best to be on the crest of the wave than underneath it!

  • Ian Dickinson 04 Jun 2013 8:57pm () in Growing leadership of e-learning | NAPP Kōrero 6 - Resourcing

    Hi Justin

    I read your thoughts with interest, having just spent 2 days in Hamilton with our senior staff forming some thoughts about the new revision of our ICT Strat Plan, and one of the strongest things that has struck me (through the glittering fog and flashing LEDs of the latest gadgetry and digital devices) is the responsibility we have to our students to do 2 things;

    -Identify and appoint the right staff- skilled in eLearning, able to make the best of the resources we have, make authentic connections to real-life, purposeful learning.

    -Train and equip the teachers we have with the knowledge and skills to make the best of the resources we have, and then hold them accountable for its utilisation for the benefit of all our learners. I'm tiring of hearing teachers finding and becoming obsessed with barriers, and how technology is a barrier to their learning- all too often, it's a barrier to the prehistoric way they are used to teaching!

    It was a very eyeopening couple of days in some great schools- getting out of our little comfort zone is a good way of questioning our thinking, and doing some collective reflection!