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Learner = Driver & Digital Technologies = Vehicle

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Started by Hamish McLean 26 Aug 2014 7:23pm () Replies (18)

In the "Digital Literacy Progressions" thread we got off topic, but had some good discussions.  So created this topic to let us discuss how to enable eLearning pedagogy in schools to, how to move forward dropping off irrelevant education content....  Digital Educational Philosophy...


  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 26 Aug 2014 8:34pm ()


    Do... will parents truly realise what is at stake?  When will parents truly embrase 'Modern teaching and Learning'?    Because only then will politicians begin to respond.  Only then will there be a commitment to education.

  • Abbie (View all users posts) 26 Aug 2014 9:19pm ()

    Over the past year I have begun hearing: "I know things are different from how we learnt them." I was excited because I only rarely heard that from parents.The biggest context this is understood in is that maths is taught differently and that there are lots of digital tech.

    I think that as parents begin to see the results, including student engagement particularly, that things will slowly begin to change. It also comes back to our professional understanding of the pedagogy behind what we do and why we are making those choices. Can we actually translate that into parent friendly talk? 

    Even more so, I often consider the following: you know these things Abbie. You have the pedagogical understanding and curriculum knowledge to implement your practice to th R in the SAMR model (although you only ever have to the M at a stretch). Do you practice what you know? Are you practicing this to your best ability? Is this causing change in the classroom? 

    Are you just using a traditional approach with shiny toys? Is it the best time to use those shiny toys (I mean learning devices), or is it better to get out a glue, paper, scissors and a pen?  How is your practice altered and how is this impacting student learning?

    Do your parents understand what you are doing? Are the kids going home and saying: "I played on the iPad all day" (NOT true) or "I learnt my basic facts on the iPad today! I made a pic collage about the lunar cycle! I worked out a problem with my friend?"

    Parents will always be parents. Upon reflection I wonder what is my hidden curriculum (haven't used that term for years) teaching the students about what learning is and how it is done? Because the messages they take home are going to play a significant part in how the parents view education. 

    At the end of the day I can't force a parent to 'get' modern teaching and learning, no matter what I call it. What I can do is ensure my practice is sound and that I can explain what I am doing, why, and what the results are to whoever asks: politician, colleague, parent or student. 

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 26 Aug 2014 9:27pm ()

    Great post Abbie!  

    For the majority, its what I hear my children say they are doing at school, that informes me of what is happening at the school, and what its like.  We can't change what parents think or how they perceve education with a pill.  We have to do it one parent at a time.  We have to use social media, vlogging, posting pictures and comments about what 'their' child is up to at school.  

    But first.. we start with us as the learner and teacher.  We have to develop our 'agency' and ensure we constantly reflect on it and push ourselves and our coworkers..  

  • Maria Persson (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2014 8:44am ()

    Morning Hamish and Abbie!

    Thank you for moving this discussion Hamish - I was feeling a bit guilty supplying info not related to the question/topic Embarassed

    I'm a parent - of adults now - but I hear my own daughter telling me that when my grandson starts school (4 years time) she doesn't want him in a school that has too much tech!  This is coming from a 28 year old!

    I'm a 'geeky' teacher and love tech and teaching combos but students who love to engage in their learning will do so, with or without the tech, if we know where we stand in terms of our pedagogy (your quite right Abbie) and if we are willing to place ourselves in a learner position (agree with you Hamish).  

    Parents usually come on board if you can concretely demonstrate that the learning of their child is being positively affected with the incorporation of tech! This conversation will not exist in 5-10years time Laughing Who still talks about the introduction of the blackboard and or using a feather pen?

    Thanks Hamish for this great learning conversation!

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2014 9:01am ()

    Hi Maria,

    Do you think your daughters perspective is because her primary education was 'traditional'?  (15 years ago now)

    My wife 36 years old (even dispite all my ranting) still doesnt want our children to use digital devices at school to much.  When I talk about their future, she then says... "oh yeah I guess.  Thats probably what they will be doing eh".

    I presented to a group of parents and teachers last year, and part of my talk I mention these quotes

    • From a principal’s pub­li­ca­tion in 1815: “Stu­dents today depend on paper too much.  They don’t know how to write on a slate with­out get­ting chalk dust all over them­selves.  They can’t clean a slate prop­erly. What will they do when they run out of paper?”
    • From the jour­nal of the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Teach­ers, 1907: “Stu­dents today depend too much upon ink.  They don’t know how to use a pen knife to sharpen a pen­cil.  Pen and ink will never replace the pencil.”
    • From Rural Amer­i­can Teacher, 1928: “Stu­dents today depend upon store bought ink.  They don’t know how to make their own.  When they run out of ink they will be unable to write words or ciphers until their next trip to the set­tle­ment.  This is a sad com­men­tary on mod­ern education.”
    • From Fed­eral Teach­ers, 1950: “Ball­point pens will be the ruin of edu­ca­tion in our coun­try.  Stu­dents use these devices and then throw them away.  The Amer­i­can val­ues of thrift and fru­gal­ity are being dis­carded.  Busi­nesses and banks will never allow such expen­sive luxuries.”
    • From a sci­ence fair judge in Apple Class­room of Tomor­row chron­i­cles, 1988: “Com­put­ers give stu­dents an unfair advan­tage.  There­fore, stu­dents who used com­put­ers to ana­lyze data or cre­ate dis­plays will be elim­i­nated from the sci­ence fair.”
     Be interesting to see what educational professionals will say about our comments here... Surprised

    I saw this last year, and have been following IBM's supercomputer.  Might want to check out what is happening now, and what will be happening in 3,5 10 years time.


  • Chris Dillon (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2014 10:46am ()


    I'm coming to this discussion as a Teacher of Digital Technology (emphasis on Computer Science) so I don't regard myself a luddite.

    To allow full reflection on this topic I'm posting a couple of links that I think are worth reflecting on, that do not support the implicit use of digital technology:

    Not directly related but interesting is the about face being made in places like NSW where some schools are rejecting their current iPads and replacing with laptops. The concepts models are still relatively new. We're taking baby steps into the new (digital) environment. Mistakes will be made, and successes expounded...

  • Maria Persson (View all users posts) 28 Aug 2014 11:44am ()

    Awesome links Chris! Thanks for sharing.

    I think I understand where my daughter is coming from and in fact being no technophobe myself I do wonder what some of us might do if there was a mass power outage!

    Funny to think about but I'd still have a 'self directed' learner environment, real books, pens and other resources to ensure my students could still tap into their creative, imaginative, collaborative and communicative selves!

    I also watched another doco that invesigated similar outcomes on tech on young brains.  This is also a good read:


    Especially like that the point of view it comes from is that of parents!

    Cheers all. Must work now!

    Couple of other links some might like to have a look at:



  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 28 Aug 2014 7:36pm ()

    Thanks Chris.  

    I read those articles, and perhaps my perspective is too rose coloured?  

    The articles use works like 'studies show' and now 'studies prove'  which doesnt really mean a lot.  Also I saw an arguement for using pen and paper to 'write down physical goals' is 33% more effecitve to achieve those goals.  Because printing out the goal is still having a 'physical goal' so is the same thing.  

    Also of note is using a pen to form letters, adds greater connections for letter and word formation over typing.  But it doesnt discuss using a digital device to form a letter or words with your finger as many junior apps do.

    I'm not trying to pick the studies apart... perhaps I am?  haha...   

    I do agree that mistakes will be made, and thats just a fantastic part of the learning process   Sealed

  • Nathaniel Louwrens (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2014 11:56am ()

    Thanks for moving this discussion, Hamish. I too thought about doing that yesterday, but you put action to the thought!

    Great questions too!

    I think that a lot of the issues we have with parents (and perhaps a number of teachers too) is exactly what you've said. Firstly, the traditional is how they were taught. It worked fine for them then, so why would we want to do things are different way? Secondly (and this is perhaps more focused on the teacher) is the whole "what I've done for the last 20 years has and is working fine... my students are achieving. Why do I need to change?"

    I think sometimes, when it comes to school, we/parents do tend to look back on how school was for them because that's what they know. That makes sense to them. Perhaps what is forgotten is how much time they spent using a computer or other digital device in the past week and quite possibly how little time they had a pen/pencil in their hand!

    Do parents need to be reminded that it's not just office workers that use these tools now. Plumbers, builders etc are (and have been for some time now) taking photos with their phones of problems and sending them to colleagues for discussion etc of how to best proceed. Been to the dentist lately? The technology that is used there is amazing compared to even just a few years ago!

    I think as we continue down the teaching and learning with digital technology route, we are going to make mistakes, as Chris mentioned, and we might find that devices that we had one year are not going to be the best for us 2 years down the track. That's just a part of living in the 21st century at the moment. Change is happening constantly around us. Parents I believe are aware of this, but perhaps need reminding that schools also need to keep up with this change and preferably stay one step ahead for the benefit of our students.

  • Chris Dillon (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2014 2:36pm ()

    Then again as Google suggests Knowledge is pashttp://www.eweek.com/database/transactive-memory-applies-technology-to-free-up-your-mind.html

    a taste of the article from end of p2 "...we can spend our educations on learning how to think and build things as well as understand concepts without spending all our time memorizing formulas, dates, names or facts of all kinds. Because those will always be right there with us at all times, available for instant recall. In some ways, this transformation of how the human mind works through the outsourcing and collectivization of human memory is probably the most profound change technology will bring to our species in our lifetimes."

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2014 4:42pm ()

    Hi Nathaniel, Maria, and welcome Chris.  Good to see you here.  I'm hoping this is a thread where we can post any questions or comments we have about eLearning pedagogy.  

    I'm lucky to be part of a school that 'actions' new initiatives, and trys new ideas regularly.  Our view that we want students to make mistakes in order to learn about themselves, so we should do the same.  If it doesnt work, then hey... we tried... lets try something else now.   We also have our PDL sessions in a classroom during school time so students can see it happening.  So they know we are learners too.  

    What things are you doing?  Thanks.

  • Maria Persson (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2014 5:15pm ()

    I'm in the tertiary sector working with students from all faculties trying to come to grips with their tertiary studies. I mainly work with pre-service teachers actually.

    More and more are coming with 'odd' tech incorporated into their assessment tasks and I'd hate to say this out loud but they resemble the 'S' from the SMAR model unfortunately!  The tech becomes so overwhelming that students are forgetting to get across their thinking and the learning takes second place.

    I'm primary trained (still registered) with a couple of other quals but lately I've been itching to get back into a classroom but jobs are difficult to come by where the attitude is like you describe at your school Hamish!  

    I have a couple of resources here - not sure if they are of any value to anyone but I like reading and trying to gather resources to help get a better picture of potential changes I could make - if I ever get back...

    This doc is a great rubric (with the folder that contains posters that work alongside) that helps to point out areas/tasks that teachers and students could be responsible for in their learning/teaching and gives 'levels' to aim for.  It has a SMAR feel to it, developed with CORE in mind (American curriculum) but still useful.  I have included the links from the blog that this all comes from - no copyright issues here - stick to the rules of.



    This article (very excellent well researched read - Niemi et al., 2014) touches on some of the very ideas we have chatted about so far; developing ways of thinking and moving forward in terms of developing skill areas for future work environments (don't like using the word 'jobs') and exploring 'digital storytelling as a vehicle for learning:

    • creatively
    • critically
    • problem solving
    • decision making
    • collaborating (globally)
    • communicating (globally)


    Thanks for being here!


  • Janet McCarroll (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2014 8:40pm ()

    Wow Hamish,

    I love the idea that you undertake your PLD during school hours, visible to the students, who then witness their teachers as co learners. I love it!  

    Ive always wanted to invite our parents to our 'Horizon hours' or whole staff PLD. 

    If we educate our parents to levels of understanding, that we know they can be true partners in the learning process, or equal stakeholders, there must be merit in this idea? I understand that inviting parents to all PLD sessions would not always be appropriarte, however, some generic PLD sessions, where we are looking to advance student learning outcomes through conceptual shift, e.g. examining a 'growth mind set as compared to a 'fixed mindset', must be advantageous to both parents and teachers in improving student learning.




  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 28 Aug 2014 7:41pm ()

    Ok.... Question 2:

    What kind of curriculum is going to be best suited to developing the minds and identities of our young people, so that they will be able to prosper in the 'real' world?  (Got the idea off Guy Claxton)

  • Maria Persson (View all users posts) 29 Aug 2014 3:27pm ()

    So Hamish you are stirring I see!

    I don't believe in a one size fits all curriculum!  I best be careful now because I may never be employable again but it's true - I've been listenting to Sugata Mitra and the work he did with children in India (see link below) and there was no curriculum - just a desire, hunger to learn. He points out quite nicely that the future of learning may not be in the gaining of knowledge - it may even be obsolete?

    View this at 16.23

    "I think what we need to look at is we need to look at learning as the product of educational self-organization. If you allow the educational process to self-organize, then learning emerges. It's not about making learning happen. It's about letting it happen. The teacher sets the process in motion and then she stands back in awe and watches as learning happens. I think that's what all this is pointing at."

    I think that this is not curriculum as we know it today? Where is the awe, excitement and curiosity for/of learning? That's the curriculum I believe in!

    Check out the concept of SOLE : http://solemodel.wordpress.com/



  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 01 Sep 2014 1:28pm ()

    Yeah... the more you get to know me, the more you'll come to expect sturring!  : )

    We started our student week of 'no formaised lessons' but the students and teachers are offering workshops in areas that students have requested.  i.e. groups identified the following areas they want support with:

    Made award videos, speeches, communication, coding, milestones (student focused areas).  Here is a snip from the timetable

    Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 1.25.06 pm.png

  • Maria Persson (View all users posts) 01 Sep 2014 3:15pm ()

    Awesome stuff! 

    I would so love to work with your team! Have dreamt of a school like this in NZ.  I know there are one or two..I modelled my primary classrooms based on the principles of this model!

    Here is the High School I graduated from and you'll understand why I appreciate the very worthwhile direction you are going:

    Bishop Carroll HighSchool - Calgary, Alberta, Canada 

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