The end of the school year – yes! The end of planning changes – no! Last week an intrepid Powerful Learning Practice team at Joeys gathered to plan for their work in 09. Our day was about developing concrete steps forward, as well as sharing, dreaming, and wondering how to move forward.
Dean Groom came along for the day, and acted as facilitator extraordinaire – an outside voice always makes a difference. Best of all, Ross (Headmaster) came along for the beginning hour or two, and urged us to look for achievable gains..even if small to begin with. So, true to his intention, we have come up with some small but achievable actions to begin to turn the learning focus around.Our focus will be on Year 7 in terms of a whole school project, even though each of us will be doing things in our own classes, we figure that a full school focus will add that extra level change.
First up – we will introduce all Year 7 to their new school and their new life at Joeys via a Ning. Each boy will join the Year 7 Ning, and use it to build up their profiles, network socially within the school, and achieve what is traditionally done in Year 7 in terms of ‘introducing myself’ into a new school environment.
Second – the reason for this first jump into a Ning, familiarisation, and establishing connections is to move to the next phase of the project – digital citizenship. Again, the Ning will model online behaviours, allow for indepth work in the area, and expand the boys understanding of digital citizenship with a broader range of tools, so that the learning landscape becomes embedded in their online world. Amongst the tools chosen for early use will be Glogster – so that students can fashion their classroom projects (some of which will still be relatively analogue depending on the class they are in) and enhance their wikispaces accordingly. Hey, this will be a new take on the inevitable poster/powerpoint activity! I am going to use the new eduGlogster to set up accounts for all the boys in Year 7, and Anthony will set up the Ning.
Finally – we will of course use a variety of tools as the project progresses. But the idea will be to embrace digital citizenship and online learning as a normal part of schooling. Cool.
We are not sure how it will evolve – it’s a work in progress. The main thing is that we are embedding online learning as mainstream for these boys – so regardless of whether they are at school for study or at home for homework, they can connect and continue their learning and thinking. I hope that my work with my Year 7 English class (which I also asked for, so I could ‘do’ rather than ‘mentor’ all the time) will help us to better understand the possibilities for us at our school at our point in the learning journey revolution.
I have to thank my PLP team for being so keen to do this, given the remarkable constraints that the workload in a 24/7 boarding school imposes. We don’t get much time at all to participate in the PLP online Ning, but we do chip away at it at school, taking ideas and enthusiasm from the PLP project run by Will Richardson and Sherly Nussbaum-Beach which is empowering our transformation. We’ve embedded an official time each fortnight within our teaching schedules so that we can be guaranteed to meet and evolve our own understanding as well as our student’s learning. We have online collaborative tools that enhance our connectivity – Google Chat and Google docs are our mainstay at the moment. We will probaby also use Microsoft Onenote within school too.
Will we go into virtual worlds together? I certainly hope so, as there is such a strong interest emerging in Australia now, and Jokaydia is getting to be such a central hub for developments in the school and tertiary sectors.
Roll on 2009!