Pedagogy over e-asy

The other day @MRsalakas challenged us to write a post reflecting on the Sunday night #aussieED chat; Pedagogy before technology. Now, as I think about it – as per usual I have been brewing it in my head since Sunday night – the title can have two meanings:

1. What was pedagogy like BEFORE the introduction of technology?

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2. Pedagogy should be the forefront of any teaching and learning environment and technology should be a tool to facilitate it.

The Sunday night #aussieED chat was centred on the second meaning as @Mr_Kuran’s diagram reveals…

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Needless to say it was a fast moving chat – your eyes water and ‘bobble’ trying to keep up until you realise there’s no way you can. So just look out for what gets your attention and respond or ponder on that instead. You then spend the next week revisiting the archive cause, YES, that’s how long it takes. This week’s chat is in two parts  just to show how popular it was.

Anyhow back to the two points I made above. There was chatter all about how technology fails at times, what with bad reception, wifi not connecting, and how it kills the best laid plans. BUT, we are all teachers and teachers ALWAYS have Plan B, C & D or as @MissBelfiore mentioned, even Plan D, E & F! Here’s one that made me LOL!

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There were lots and lots of ideas about how educators use tech as a tool but I think the one thing we ALL agreed on was that, YES! Pedagogy ALWAYS comes first.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines pedagogy in two ways “the function, work or art of a teacher” and “instruction”. The root of pedagogy for me is the teacher. We will never go out of fashion, we will never become obsolete as long as there are learners around no matter what age. In fact, we are all learners. Are we not? AND as long as there are learners, there will be teachers.

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At the beginning of the Australian school year I offered a post, in celebration, revealing some of my journal entries. Go ahead, click and read  – I’ll wait – it won’t take a minute….

You’ll notice I did not mention tech in any of them but I did talk relationships, getting to know students, learning yourself as a teacher, learning as a holistic experience. You see, relationships are the key in any pedagogy -they help with the function, work and art of a teacher. I’ve said it many times in tweets and elsewhere – “without relationship there is no learning.”

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It’s the human side that gets learners hooked – the technology is ONE tool that allows it – there are many, many other tools in the box – and, as with food – all in moderation.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Love to hear your take on things please feel free to comment.

What do we teach for?

Last week I got to hear Charles Fadel speak on 21st Century education. I really enjoyed listening to what he had to say. He has one of those accents that really soothes and you kind of ‘get hooked’ in before you know it. There were many things he said that resonated with me and that I really and truly believe are very important at this time. I was chuffed to hear him say things that I have been trying to say for ages, though not as eloquently as he did the other day. Along with Fadel we also heard comment from the Principal of Haileybury and the Head of Mathematics at John Monash. Between them and the audience there were many comments I thought worthy of publishing below:

  • Alvin-Toffer-on-21st-century-learningFuturists describe the world as VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous
  • to be successful in the 21st Century one will not need knowledge as much as they will need skills and character attributes
  • “Assessments are not a bad thing,” says Fadel, “bad assessments are stupid. How and what we measure makes a difference.”
  • The ATAR score is the brick wall of education
  • Humanities and Arts is what makes your life worth living!
  • Core subjects get you a job BUT the Arts get you through it!
  • STEM could become STEAM with the addition of the ARTS!
  • Let’s get rid of AusVELS and introduce a superVUCA curriculum!
  • It’s not enough to just depend on what kids know about technology, we must be their moral and ethical guides.
  • There is a need to break down the resistance to allow kids to be creative in maths. Sadly the VCE Maths study guides are full of content and allow very little scope for creativity.
  • Take the risk. Teach kids creativity and thinking and they will ‘get’ the knowledge regardless.
  • Teach kids to ask questions.
  • Teach kids to SYNTHESISE as they already know how to ‘get’ knowledge but how to bring it all together and make sense of it? That is what they need to learn.
  • We are not working fast enough to get kids ready for the 21st Century world!

21st CenturyAnd then there are these questions, some others asked, some are mine.  I’ll leave them with you to reflect upon- feel free to respond below…

  1.     What do we teach for?
  2.     Are we adequately preparing our kids for this world?
  3.     Why does there seem to be a disconnect between employers and educators?
  4.     WHAT should students learn?
  5.     What will we do with all this computer power?

Fadel ended with this: “We as teachers are sitting in the driver’s seat – make it happen! Seriously.”

Smart is cool!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Learning from autistic children

As promised:

This week’s post is all about Craig Smith’s demonstration session – “Learning from Autistic Children in Supporting Boys to Really Learn” at the NBEC.

Craig’s presentation was very inspiring and made me want to get out there and try these strategies not just on kids with autism but on kids generally. I think that what he had to offer would be most beneficial for ALL kids.

kids with ipadsCraig presented a wonderful journey through a program used at Autism Spectrum to engage autistic kids in learning. It focused on knowing how to best support the kids in everything they will face throughout their schooling. He explained that because these kids have poor communication skills 90% of the data presented is taken in visually. They need a focused interest and for it to be successful it needs to be something they are interested in. For this reason Craig says that the iPad is the tool that can help bring the teacher to the student. This is supported by research that you can read more about here

One study in particular reports the following:

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) (2013) recently undertook research to investigate the effectiveness of using iPads for developing core competencies in students with ASD. The researchers also reviewed the teachers’ perspective on the usefulness of the technology. The results identified that teachers reported that the iPad is a useful pedagogical tool which is valuable as a motivational device for learning and increasing class inclusivity. The findings showed that student educational goal achievements can improve when compared to what the teachers would expect when using traditional teaching methods. The results showed that student achievement levels improved more than teachers expected in:

  • o Behaviour goals–increased by 67% (30students)
    o Communication goals–increased by 45% (58students).For more information on this project, please see the media coverage about Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) (2012) Proloquo2Go app trial here.

The main message here in getting autistic kids more engaged is  VISUAL – VISUAL – VISUAL.

imovie-110310-1Craig then explained a wonderful program they run where the goal is to make a movie. The kids have to plan, design, film, make trailers and posters to advertise their movie using iPad apps including sketchbook, storyboard strip designer, iMovie, Final Cut Pro among others. This project got kids shining, one success story is that of Jackson Miller who loves music and  entered one of his songs in Triple J’s competition. He came second!!!! He likes being famous so click on his name to listen to some of his terrific music mixes.

The boys also used iBooks and iBooks Author to make an iBook teaching others what they know. This is challenge based learning where kids can work at their own pace and develop as learners in their own right.

Evernote and Penultimate are also good tools because they are less inhibiting than paper and for autistic children this is great because they can wipe the board clean and start again. TalkBoard is also an excellent tool as it turns your iPad into a communication aid and visual prompt board and you can easily use your own pictures and symbols to personalise the app.

Craig encourages us to see the iPad as a blank canvas. Remember though that we need to show our kids how to best use the apps – oh wait – maybe they could probably teach us that!

So those of us who have iPads in schools and there are many, why not try some the apps and get autistic kids buzzing and while you’re on it why not get all kids buzzing!

logoASAFor more information on autism visit their website’s facts sheet page.

 

Have a great week 🙂