Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Distractions will come and go...

What an interesting few weeks! Classes have continued, the world didn't stop and I met Lee Crockett! Now into Week 6 of Term 2 the year is really starting to take off. Nearly all our students are 1:1 and the technical issues for the large part seem to be all ironed out. What we do with the 'stuff' is the real issue now and for the next 3-4 years. Whenever I try to imagine what our middle years buildings 12/13 could look like in a PBL environment I get jittery. No really, quite jittery because the environment would be so different to what we have now that it would represent and I hope this doesn't sound too 'grandiose' but a significant role change for the teacher as we know it now.

This role change is something I've read about for years in educational literature. It was there underneath the talk of new technology, new age students, multi-modal text and more. Unfortunately from the beginning of education to now the role of the teacher has been as a whole untouched. Technology has entered the room; chairs and desks have become more comfortable and we've been able to access the whole world with 1 click of a button.

But what of these changes have really meant the teacher has to do something different to what they've been doing for the last 5-10 even 15 years? If you compare other industries and look at Silicon Valley then you'll see education has not really moved itself to what we need in 2011. Silicon Valley had Microsoft and for years MS were happy to provide you with software...at a price. Personally I was never really interested in walking into a MS office during my teens in the 90's. Why? Because I knew although they had big fancy computers, the work place, the environment would be like the typical office I might see in a big company here locally.

Google came along, Twitter came along and of course Facebook. What Google, Twitter and Facebook have done is make it cool to love technology. They've also made it cool to work at a Silicon company. Take it from me and my visit to Google two months ago now, Google offices are not like your typical offices. The environment in those offices breeds unbelievable talent and products. Products that makes Microsoft often look 'behind the game'.

Now let me ask you to ask someone not in education this question. "Describe a typical classroom in 2011". Here is the response my friend who finished high school in 2001 gave, July 2011. In fact I rang him 5 mins ago and gave him the question once (when he answered) and then told him I was going to record his response and what you just heard was his raw impression of a classroom (he later told me he was referring to a high school room) now in 2011...someone who has not stepped into a classroom for 10 years.

So what really has changed inside the room? What are we doing differently? Does a student have to feel anxious simply because they are walking into 'maths'? Are we simply narrow skill training our students for specific occupations without realising it?

We have the architecture and technology to transform how a school in 2011 should look like. We have the architecture and space to create massive social change in our area. We have to make sure not to get distracted by thinking 'stay traditional, add technology = magic will happen'. Because it really won't.


  1. Thank you once again or a most insightful read. Reckon for me it is about skilling the staff - remember most of you very new to the "art and science"of teaching such that they are confident enough (and also reasonably well skilled in content and pedagogy) to move to the great unknown - and manage it when it goes very pear shaped as it will- please re- read your earlier blogs.
    Can we trial one autonomous/pbl learner group for core subjects - who, what year level , are we skilled enough ourselves yet?

  2. Thank you again Lynne for your input. Definitely agree with a trial group and I'm putting a mammoth amount of energy in the planning behind it.

    I'll talk to you more about that soon!


Thank you for commenting! I'll endeavour to reply back within a few days.