I’m back. Finally. It’s been a while.
Yesterday i was lucky enough to meet Scot Aldred, a Lecturer from the University of Queensland. Scot was down in Victoria to deliver a report on a study that he had conducted on PBL (Problem Based Learning). Whilst down our way he also had the opportunity to visit several schools and was put on to us by Steve Boyle, our Regional Network Leader with whom Scot had done some previous work with.
Scot obviously had a passion for Problem based Learning and Digital Pedagogy and it was great to hear his views on both of these things in which we at the College also have a passion for. I took Scot on a tour of the College and primarily focused on our 1:1 laptop program in year 7 and 8 areas as well as the DEECD iPads for Learning Trial which we are involved in with our year 5 cohort.
As we walked through the Learning Spaces he made reference to the way in which our 1 year old learning houses were set up and how they allowed for that teacher and student interaction, mainly from class to class. Scot spoke about another school had visited that week, Silverton PS, and it’s excellent teaching and learning set up where up to 4 teachers look after and share 4 classes in an open plan learning house. At Manor Lakes we try to replicate that within our own Learning Houses and it has been great to see our staff open to the idea of team teaching in more flexible learning areas.
Once we had reached our year 5 classes Scot was impressed to just how engaged our students were with their iPads in hand! It was great to see just how focused the students were and the ways in which they were working. We saw students at tables, on the floor in small groups with their teacher, working individually on the floor, and in pairs around the room. All students appeared to be on task and even once the bell for recess had gone the student continued to work on! That was impressive and a credit to both themselves and their teachers.
Scot and i then spent some time talking about various online tools which we had both utilised to foster Digital Pedagogy and Digital Learners. Scot showed me an excellent ePortfolio Tool called Mahara. He showed me just how he himself uses this tool as well as how it can be used as a Student ePortfolio as well. Something i am certainly going to have to investigate further. Another tool which we looked at was SPARK. A tool for self and peer assessment where students can anonymously assess their peers against what a peer has assessed them self. This appeared to be a great tool and Scot mentioned that he would be trialling this and would keep me informed of it’s progress.
After Scot had left and we had said our farewells it made me think of the Digital Pedagogy happening our my College and if this could be improved and of course the answer, as i imagine it would in most schools, was yes. This led me to the recent Peer Coaching Professional Learning that i was undertaking and how this could assist me in improving Digital pedagogy at Manor Lakes College! I’ll keep you posted!