Tech is just a tool… isn’t it?

Throughout the years I have worked with students, teachers, school leaders and served on national policy groups, I’ve frequently heard comments to the effect that “technology is just a tool, it’s what we do with it that matters.” In the early days I even heard myself saying that from time to time. After all, there’s nothing special about a hammer or a saw until it is picked up and used by someone with the ability to use it to achieve something they have determined to build or create. Continue reading Tech is just a tool… isn’t it?

Four Scenarios for the Future of Schooling

As education systems around the world continue to adjust to the realities of “Life after COVID” attention is continuing to focus on what the future of schools and schooling might look like. This thinking is driven in part by the need to build resilience with the prospect of further crises that may force the closure of schools again into the future, and also by the recognition gained from the experience of the COVID lockdowns that there are aspects of our current structures that don’t suit all learners and indeed contribute to inequities in our system and society. Continue reading Four Scenarios for the Future of Schooling

The case for re-invention

It’s really time for us to be asking afresh the question of “what’s the point of schools and schooling?” This is a question not adequately addressed over the past couple of decades of emphasis on school improvement. No matter how it is dressed up, that focus has, in so many circumstances, led to actions and changes in our system designed to “lift achievement”, or “raise standards” etc. Such agendas, while well intentioned, build implicitly on the existing assumptions about how our system operates and how we measure its success. They do nothing (of any substance at least) to address the deep-seated racial, ethnic and cultural prejudice that fashioned those assumptions in the first place. Continue reading The case for re-invention

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