RIP Seymour Papert

My post today is to acknowledge the passing of a truly inspirational leader in the field of educational technology – Professor Emeritus Seymour Papert, who died on Sunday aged 88. He was an educational-technology visionary and a founding faculty member of the MIT Media Lab. Papert was among the first to recognize the revolutionary potential of computers in education. In the late 1960s, at a time when computers still cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Papert came up with the idea for Logo, the first programming language for children. I used this with my students to program the movements of a “turtle” around the screen, … Continue reading RIP Seymour Papert

Leadership in times of crisis

Five years ago today, at 4:35 am, Saturday 4 September 2010, the Canterbury region was rocked by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. The next major earthquake was on 22 February 2011 at 12:51pm. On this occasion 185 people lost their lives. From 4 September 2010 until 4 September 2011, there were around 9,000 aftershocks and earthquakes. Some of these were very strong and caused more damage to buildings and land. Schools were closed for about two weeks after the Feb. 2011 earthquake. Over 12,000 students re-enrolled in schools outside of the Greater Christchurch area – almost 16% of the total number of students in … Continue reading Leadership in times of crisis

Welcome back… (not?)

I've spent every day this week in a variety of schools working with staff on their teacher only days before their students return to full time instruction. I have to confess that I really love this part of my job – it provides an opportunity to reconnect with that part of the 'chalk-face' where you see the passion and enthusiasm that exists within our profession, where plans are made for improving what is done for students, new ideas embraced and developed etc. One part of the culture of schools that is evident in the schools I've been working with is … Continue reading Welcome back… (not?)

Resolutions for 2014

As I've been preparing for my work with schools in 2014 I've been thinking more about the need to be 'transformative' in our thinking and to be looking at doing 'new things in new ways' in order to achieve the sorts of change in our system and practice that is necessary. After keynotes I give on this, or when facilitating professional development sessions, I'm often asked "So when can I start? What can I do to keep on with my professional learning after this session has finished?"  Well, in the digital world there are plenty of opportunities to engage in professional … Continue reading Resolutions for 2014

What are your big questions?

If you're looking for a great way to start your year in 2014 why not book now for the Learning@School conference to be held in Auckland on 22 and 23 January?  We all understand that professional learning isn't effective in one-off or stand-alone events – it needs to be connected to the ongoing inquiry that we active as educators, pursuing answers the the questions we have about our own practice and its impact on student learning. The annual Learning@School conference has always been promoted as a sort of "national staff meeting" of all of those involved in facilitating or implementing … Continue reading What are your big questions?

Mushy finds his voice

Last night I had the privilge of attending the year group prize giving ceremony at the high school my son attends. It was a proud moment for me as he received an excellence award in science, the subject area that he has been most interested in and intends to follow through next year.  Watching the assembled group of teachers and students, I was reminded, yet again, of the incredible investment of time and effort that is made by these professionals as they work tirelessly to shape and mould the young people in their care. The high quality of the musical … Continue reading Mushy finds his voice

Building better schools

This morning I had the privilge of attending a breakfast at the Beehive with a large group of principals, BoT chairs and other educators to hear Andreas Schleicher speaking about what we can learn from the PISA data. I've referred to Andreas' TED talk in a previous blog post – his breakfast presentation covered a lot of what is covered in that video, with specific reference to New Zealand in the discussion. Some of his recent PPT material is also available online from previous presentions.  For those unfamiliar with the PISA research the Auckland Primay Principal's Association has shared a useful summary … Continue reading Building better schools

Tribute to a friend

Today my very good friend, colleague and co-founder of CORE, Dr Vince Ham died after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was at home with his wife and family. Vince was one of New Zealand education's rare gems – both in terms his personal integrity as a researcher and educator, and in terms of his immense contribution to the educational knowledge base, nationally and internationally, around ICTs and learning.  Vince and I were introduced more than 20 years ago when I began work as a lecturer in educational technology at the Christchurch College of Education, and Vince was already there in a … Continue reading Tribute to a friend

The first web page

It's now 20 years since the WWW was brought into the world, and to celebrate,The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has recreated the website that launched it.  CERN is not only preserving the original site, but also a range of information and artefacts associated with the origins of the web, including Tim Berners-Lee’s original proposal for the web.  Preserving this unique piece of the world's history is really important. As Dan Noyes, the web manager for CERN’s communication group says: I want my children to be able to understand the significance of this point in time: the web is already so ubiquitous … Continue reading The first web page