The hype of hybrid learning

As schools in New Zealand and around the world reflect on what they have learned from the lockdown period(s) caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that the need for school closures may still occur into the future, the prospect of a ‘hybrid’ approach to schooling has been getting airtime from a number of commentators, as noted in a recent post on the TES site for example, which states that local lockdowns and self-isolating staff and students mean schools around the world must prepare for hybrid learning and all that it entails. During lockdown the primary aim of … Continue reading The hype of hybrid learning

Digital learning – six reasons we’re failing

Where these behaviours are tolerated and unchallenged, the impact on our system is significant, and the ability of that system to adequately serve the needs of the learners in it is diminished and so we fail yet another generation of young people at a time when we should be doing all we can to prepare them as ‘confident, capable and connected life-long learners’ as they grow up in an increasingly digital world. Continue reading Digital learning – six reasons we’re failing

What does ICT integration look like?

One of the key findings of that research was the need for a shared understanding of what was meant by the integration of ICTs into teaching and learning. Our observations in classrooms and interviews with teachers and students at the time revealed a very wide range of opinions, with very little in the way of agreement – and more particularly, no common framework for assessing that. As a consequence it meant that there no useful way to actually ‘measure’ the impact of the effort being put into teacher professional development at the time as any use of technology in the classroom may be regarded as either positive or negative, productive or time-wasting, supporting learning or hindering etc. Continue reading What does ICT integration look like?

Where’s the evidence?

I’ve found myself thinking a lot this weekend of someone who was a mentor, advisor, colleague and friend for many years. Dr Vince Ham would have turned 70 on Friday of last week had he not succumbed to the cancer that sadly took him from us seven years ago. While saddened by a sense of loss and missing having him around, the reminder of his birthday brought back a lot of memories of the incredible contribution he has made to our understanding of the value and impact of digital technologies in education, and the privilege it was to work alongside … Continue reading Where’s the evidence?

Lessons from Lockdown

The title of this post is ‘lessons from lockdown’. Seems that title is becoming overused at the moment – yet it is important for, as educators, we are used to thinking of lessons as being linked with outcomes. The purpose of a lesson is to provide an opportunity for learning to occur and to guide a learner toward a desired outcome. Unless, therefore, we are open to thinking about what the outcome of all the learning we can do from these reports might lead us to, then they’re not really lessons at all. Continue reading Lessons from Lockdown

Closing the digital divide – report

There is much we can learn from the experience of schools, students and families/whānau during the first period of emergency remote learning, and if virtual/online/distance learning is to become a more permanent feature of our education system moving forward, the insights we can gain from reflecting on that experience are invaluable to inform our planning and future system design. Continue reading Closing the digital divide – report

Rethinking Distance

We’ve all heard stories of students who, when participating online, are quick to hit the mute button or simply turn off their screen and focus attention elsewhere. This isn’t because of a problem with online learning – the same may be happening under our noses in a face to face classroom. It’s just that the students are often too polite to simply get up and walk out, and so stay in the classroom where their presence is mistaken for engagement. Continue reading Rethinking Distance

The Research We Need

Is distance education ‘better’ or ‘as good as’ face-to-face teaching and learning? Is there a place for it in our educations system moving forward? On what basis are we making such decisions and in whose interests are they being made? It seems I’ve spent many hours in recent weeks participating in or contributing to discussions, forums and webinars on the theme ‘lessons from lockdown’ – in which researchers and educators are seeking to capture the essence of what the experience of teachers, learners and parents/whānau was during the period of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The themes are … Continue reading The Research We Need

Putting Students First

How often have we heard the words ‘learner centred’, ‘personalised learning’ or ‘learner agency’ mentioned in professional conversations or policy documents in recent years? And yet, for all of the rhetoric, we don’t appear to have yet succeeded in achieving the vision of putting learners first to its fullest extent – definitely not as a whole system. I’ve just finished reading a book titled Putting Students First that tells the story of a large, diverse, public-school district engaged in creating and sustaining a student-centred education system for more than 30 years – not in individual classrooms, or even individual schools, … Continue reading Putting Students First