Sunday, 11 November 2018

The changing face of education

There have been a few things coming up in the media lately around the changes in education in New Zealand. Two have really caught my eye in the last week. One of them I kept reading and going, yes, yes, and one of them got me riled up about what people think we should and shouldn't do with education. That one inspired me to write this and put my own personal thoughts out there in the public forum.

Learning Revolution or Pathway to Ignorance?
Insight Article- link
Podcast link

I took a few notes while listening to this podcast. After reading the article I felt the real disconnect between many schools about where education is heading. There certainly is a divide and I'm glad I am on the side I am.
Hobsonville Point 
Most learning in 2 subjects done in modules of 2 learning areas together.
Deep understanding comes from links between subjects. Students and teachers co-construct contexts. Most schools the teacher decides the contexts. Can engage students more. They don't do NCEA Level 1. Some parents don't understand about what they are trying to do.
One student found it was a shock to do this style of learning, but was loving it. "Instead of just doing work for the sake of a grade and then get ranked, I was doing stuff that I was interested in and that meant something to me and my future".
It doesn't work for everyone. Lots of talk about why it doesn't work. It's up to the student to make it happen.
It's hard for parents to get their head around.

Haeata Community Campus
Working towards a model of students developing their own learning
Want the passion for learning, rather than being credit driven

Teachers have to be a facilitator of learning. Students need to have control of their learning.
Modern approaches in learning are widespread in Primary Schools but not so much in Secondary. Some have adopted the changes and some have not. Some think they shouldn't be moving this way.
Schools need to do more than just teach subjects to get students through NCEA
NCEA review results will be out next April - looking at having a project at Level 1 NCEA.
I think all schools would agree that involving students in designing learning, collaborating and use of technology are important factors in education.

Some comments made in the podcast that I want to say something about:
Teachers can't teach all those subjects in a transdisciplinary way
This is where collaboration between teachers is so important. We have strengths, we have areas of knowledge that are stronger so we need to team up with other staff to help our students get the depth and knowledge around areas we might not be so strong in. We also need to model that we don't know everything. This is an opportunity for us to upskill and learn new things and be passionate about learning. We need to facilitate learning, rather than be the fount of all knowledge.
Revolutions in technology have changed schools a lot
I am not sure many schools are using technology to change education. I see many just swapping the textbook for a pdf and pen and paper for a doc. I'm wondering how many are at M or R in the SAMR model. Perhaps this is something all schools should look at as an overview for use of tech.
You can't show a video or have open debate about things in the new Modern Learning Environments 
I would argue that, as we have breakout rooms and spaces if you need an ecnclosed space, plus we are often using our open spaces in small groups having debate and discussions and teachable moments. We often have debates and show videos, even in our open spaces.
Secondary schools are for learning specialised knowledge not for play
See my blog on Lifelong Kindergarten. I believe that we should be playing - we should be doing projects and that the specialised knowledge will be learnt as required. The old style of passing on knowledge from teacher to student is no longer applicable - the students can learn pretty much anything online if they want to. We need to be teaching them how to access that knowledge, then guiding them through projects into more depth.
Universities are finding huge gaps in knowledge I agree this will be happening - it has happened for a long time. From my own experience I know that in music, many students don't do the aural and theory externals (chosen by teachers to not sit them), but still go to Uni to do Music. There will be gaps in this area. What is needed is for the Universities to rethink how they are also delivering their courses and what they are expecting their students to do. We have so many graduates coming out of Uni not getting jobs. Why? Jobs are changing (check out this infographic). Employers are wanting more than content. They are looking for skills. Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity - the list goes on. Having a degree with purely content is not enough anymore. Workplaces have had to adapt - so does the education system.

The Futures of Learning
Education  Research and Foresight Working Papers by Cynthia Luna Scott
Report link

I read this and highlighted lots of things that I really believe in. I found it really inspiring and affirming that my beliefs about education are on the right track. It's a long document but worth a read if you are really interested in the future of education. Even if you just skim read the headings, it will give you an overview. This paragraph (taken from Pg16) sums it up for me:

"What adaptations can be expected in education in the near future? Teachers will remain, but their roles will be extended as mentors, mediators and guides, facilitators, learning coordinators, assessors, and designers and compilers of learning tools. Testing will most likely continue, but assessment will become more individualized and formative. Learning will become more personalized and customized to reflect students’ individual needs and interests, and informal learning opportunities will become recognized alternatives to traditional formal education. Transformed learning environments will encompass customized learning for each student, wider availability of diverse sources, and collaborative group learning (students will learn together as they work collaboratively on authentic, enquiry-oriented projects). Real-world experience will permeate learning activities. Most likely, schools will remain but classrooms will become more open to diverse learning experiences and instruction will likely move out into the community. Education providers will still offer face-to-face learning, but this will be supplemented by informal and virtual opportunities. Self-responsibility for learning will be essential and learners can expect to determine what their learning profile will look like. New tools for learning will be developed. Technology will support personalized learning processes and facilitate inclusion and equity."

This is what we are heading towards. This is what I believe in. This is why I am at Haeata.