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

Global Competencies

A new generation of students requires different skills from the generations that came before. The world is changing fast. Boundaries—literal as well as figurative— are shifting and even disappearing altogether. The culture that once lived halfway around the world now lives just down the block. The ability to thrive in this new and rapidly changing environment is grounded in a globally focused curriculum. Continue reading Global Competencies

Teaching a perishable skill?

With the familiar structures, support and surroundings taken away, and the online environment used as a substitute, many thousands of educators were asked to ‘shift their practice’ into completely uncharted territory. The unplanned and rapid move to online learning – with no training, insufficient bandwidth, and little preparation – created the perfect storm in terms of challenges to the way we operate normally and the toolsets and experience we had to call on. Continue reading Teaching a perishable skill?

Educating beyond the classroom

As we are about to venture into level 2 of the COVID-19 response, and with schools and many of these community spaces opening up again, perhaps in our re-imaging we can include those in the GLAM sector in our thinking, and consider how we might make something like a portal that provides a single point of access to these virtual worlds and tours etc a reality that we can include in our curriculum approaches moving forward? Continue reading Educating beyond the classroom

Rising to the challenge

This post is really a tribute to the thousands of teachers who have simply stood up during the COVID-19 school lockdown period and done what great teachers so often do – innovate to find solutions to the challenges they face. As we have embarked on working with our learners remotely we are hearing a lot about the difficulties being faced by students and their families, and the ways in which schools, the state and their school districts are working to find ways of supporting them – but spare a thought for the teachers too! Like their students these educators are … Continue reading Rising to the challenge