Innovative Education Experiences

There's been a lot of discussion among my colleagues at CORE Education recently about the nature of transformation, and what this looks like in education. Stories emerge daily in our media of how our existing education system is failing to adequately address the needs of current students such as this one about Auckland's education story or this one about our 'broken' assessment system.  So where are the stories of where innovation is challenging traditional educational systems and models in a practical sense? We do have some great examples of innovative practice here in NZ, as highlighted by the Prime Minister's excellence awards, or browsing … Continue reading Innovative Education Experiences

Does a MLE suit all learners?

Over the past few months I've received emails from a number of teachers, principals and university students asking me for my opinion about whether Modern Learning Environments (MLEs) are appropriate for particular sorts of learners. This weekend I received on from a Masters student asking for my gut feeling as to whether dyslexic learners in a MLE thriving or barely surviving? Inevitably my response is "it depends". Essentially, I don't find this sort of question helful. There are some more important questions that should precede it. That’s not to be dismissive at all of the fact that people will be interested in … Continue reading Does a MLE suit all learners?

Clever Classrooms

I've just been reading "Clever Classrooms", a report from the University of Salford. (PDF download) After studying 3,766 students and 153 classrooms in 27 primary schools across the United Kingdom, their researchers concluded that simple changes to classroom design can have a significant impact on a student's success. The schools studied varied widely in size and building age, and the researchers looked at a classroom from each grade in as many schools as possible. The size and layout of each classroom was recorded, as were various environmental measures like temperature and humidity; each teacher also filled out a questionnaire about their classroom experience. To … Continue reading Clever Classrooms

The disruptive power of collaboration

Collaboration is a hot topic in many areas of education at the moment. My work in describing and explaining the key changes for teachers as they develop their Modern Learning Practice places this pretty high on the list. So too with the work I'm involved in my home city of Christchurch, as school leaders and the Ministry of Education seek to explore more collabortive forms of 'school' and 'schooling' as they rebuild after the earthquakes here.  in the video interview above, New York University professor and author, Clay Shirky, explains the disruptive impact of technology on how people live and work. While … Continue reading The disruptive power of collaboration

Learning from the PISA results

I attended a meeting of the Minister's Forum today where we had further discussion around what we can learn from the latest PISA results, and implications for future policy and professional decision making in the NZ education sector.  We began the day by viewing a webcast from Andreas Schleicher, the international 'architect' of the PISA process (see video above). A key point he makes is that global comparisons such as PISA allow us to see what's possible in education – a useful perspective I feel as we begin to see the media frenzy begin.  An old colleague of mine, and … Continue reading Learning from the PISA results

Mapping the emerging educational milieu

I’ve been spending a lot of my time recently thinking and reading about future learning environments and how we need to be widening our horizons when thinking about the where and how our learners will be doing their learning. Traditional bricks and mortar schools have been constructed on the belief that learning occurs in a physical place, bound by the constraints of time and learners grouped together for instruction. Further, these assumptions are based on a further assumption that the knowledge students want/need is available only to them from that place or through/from those in that place who are able … Continue reading Mapping the emerging educational milieu

MLEs in the news

Interesting news item on the Campbell Live programme tonight, featuring footage from the Modern Learning Environments Expo that CORE Education ran in Christchurch a few weeks ago, and also from some of the new schools built in NZ in the past couple of years. The item was titled "Bringing the Kiwi classroom into the digitial age", and provides quite a good introduction to some of the thinking behind MLEs, however I'd see it as more than simply a response to the digital age. Much of what is illustrated confirms what we all understand to be effective pedagogy – stuff that … Continue reading MLEs in the news

MLE Expo a success

Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June will go down as two of the busiest in my schedule for a long time. These are the days that CORE Education hosted an expo in the Wigram Airforce Museum in Christchurch on Modern Learning Environments.  On Friday 7th we hosted a seminar for principals and BoT members of the schools in CHCH who are facing significant rebuilding work or are involved in the merger/closure scenarios. We could only take 100 places due to the size of the auditorium we were in and we had a full house! We were extremely privilged to have Stephen Heppell with … Continue reading MLE Expo a success

MLEs – library space

Last week I had the privilege of working with the staff at Auckland Girls Grammar School, where they've been working for some time on how they integrate digital technologies into their teaching and learning programmes. The strategic approach to their thinking and planning extends to the way they've re-designed their library space to provide a wonderful open 'learning centre' that provides a sense of 'flow' that embraces access to traditional paper-based books and resources through to a technology support area where students can book out netbooks and other technologies such as cameras etc. for them to use in conjunction with their … Continue reading MLEs – library space