Here is what I wanted to find out about:
- What does a two day unconference look like? I wanted to experience how the succession of time slots complement each other. My only prior experience was with attending some Educamps and with running a immersed FrenchCamp last year.
- How are teachers accessing PLD in their schools? What if it has not been "planned for?" Some of the participants paid their own registration, others came as a school team but all came to share something with others beyond their school and all recognised that there is something to learn from one another. What are some models of "in house" PD? Thought to hang on to #1
- Is eportfolio part of the landscape, if so to what extent and how? I got asked about MyPortfolio beyond Dec. 2013 which I can't answer because I don't know and it is frustrating, but I am better off thinking happy thoughts. There was evidence of use by teachers, there was talk that it is too much for primary, there were also concerns that despite building the eportfolio in primary it was never looked at by the next teacher at Intermediate. There is a need for more eportfolio information. What is going to change the game here? Thought to hang on to #2
- I set out to feel very humbled as I expected to mix with a wide range of people "who are doing it" "who are walking the talk" and "sticking their necks out". I was right to be prepared and I hope not too many noticed my jaw drop at their awesomeness. I had not thought though that the format and above all the people would make this such an inclusive event. And such a provocative one. Phew and thought to hang on to #3
SO this is where it gets very messy!
Some general observations:
Emerging Leaders at #ignition13 are self directed learners. The conversations are about Teaching and Learning. Period. We are not exchanging resources here: this is big picture stuff.
All have a network outside of their schools, some outside of the country, ideas they share willingly, warts (very few...) and all, use social media to connect with others, read extensively, lean on research and best practice, tend to substantiate what they talk about, use ICT naturally, don't think in terms of eLearning as it is before anything Learning, want to learn and use Te Reo more and have an awareness that Culture is in Language and that Language is in Culture. Many present a side of themselves through Ignite talks and this adds to the respect and warmth and support.
The following words are used not because they sound clever simply because they are internalised, (maybe to various degrees but still no need to "unpack"!): Student centred Pedagogy, Assessment for Learning, Key competencies, Teaching as Inquiry, Student Voice, Co construction, NZC Vision and Principles, Te Tataiako.
NCEA is recognised for what it is: an opportunity to evaluate in this very context. Rapport with families and communities around their schools is built and taken into consideration in their work.
All participants' are encouraged to share Ignition13 experience beyond and across so spread ideas further and beat the echo chamber effect, to find "your way to change the world". Tall order for this isolated disinstutionalised cookie but I ll give it a shot here and there to start with.
About thought #1:
- do Professional Learning Programmes and PLD providers (Universities?) build self direction in their programmes? What tools can they use? Te Kotahitanga as an excellent model is caned for "costing too much?" What next? Rethink PLD all together?
- is the gathering of evidence of professional learning occurring systematically towards the key indicators of the Registered Teacher Criteria? (Could be collected from evidence gathered over Teacher as Inquiry and tagged according to the RTC?)
- do teachers actually get any "mastery" and "autonomy" to support their professional lives (one of those big "badaboom" questions that did not get answered!) Am I right to think the following happens: school principals align the school goals to the Ministry Goals, state them in their Charter, then Faculty/Departments/Learning Areas state goals in line with these goals and same for teachers who them make these Professional Goals their appraisal goals? Is this allowing for mastery and autonony? Why not?
About thought #2:
- What is the core purpose of ePortfolio? To film the learning occurring over time. A conversation I have re centers the core business of an ePortfolio: think Assessment for Learning, Co Construction, Student Voice. It makes learning visible, amplifies learning, connects learning, shares learning. That should be my pitch if I wish to continue investigating how I can make myself useful in the support of the adoption of the eportfolio approach in NZ schools. I need to bring this to the fore more prominently and convincingly: this is Why. And this is the reason why workshop PD does not work, because this needs discovery and conversations over time. I need to read and research more in this area in particular if I intend the "change the world" there!! And ought to use an inquiry cycle too. I know that ePortfolio will support the students' learning and the teachers' professional learning.
About thought #3:
- A series of sessions I attended complemented each other. The first piece of the puzzle was facilitated by a secondary teacher inviting to discuss Student's Voice and Co Construction and where we where at with that.
If schools were stripped down naked what would be the bare essentials to create an environment where each child succeeds and is equipped for his/her life ahead?