Teaching Digital Natives.

Just listened to a David Puttnam speech from October 2008.

In Brisbane November 22 2010

In Brisbane November 22 2010

Very appealing to me as he is into sustainability as well as the connoisseur use of technology in teaching and learning.

The thesis would be that his vision of good educators are those who take digital learning technologies, contextualise and modify them to suit the learning needs of their digital native students. Central to this notion is kids pursuing their own interests, collaborative learning across many geographical sites and obviously the skillful use of the tools to do so. I particularly liked the way he said to just pirate stuff until the business model gets its act together to allow the free use of knowledge for learning. (Well that’s my paraphrase)

Seems to be embedded in the notion of digital natives (which is not exclusive ie: my children are hills natives not beach natives or city natives or Italian natives or vegetarian natives) Grounding a student in the singular concept of a mono nativeness seems a bit narrow. Also expects that kids know what their interests are. This too, particularly in the primary setting is a little too much to expect especially when considering Autism Spectrum Disorders and the impact of mental health issues on families. A huge part of primary education is in fact the transmogrification of students into selves that have a sense of what they like. Student experiences inform that process.

More futurelab

Media Scapes WOW! This is exactly what I have been trying to do for years with PowerPoint and Photo Story – LET ME AT IT!

Also FIZZEES awesome idea for keeping kids fit.

Key idea: Mobile learning is about the student being mobile and learning in the process. Technologies are therefore designed to afford such learning. “Learning in location and at the moment.” Using technologies to enhance ‘learner voice’.

Future Laps newsletter

Future Laps newsletter

Wow, whoever would have guessed that I’ve gone from a Google search on school building design to ‘Futurelabs’ whose passion is good teaching and learning. Lucky me.

Media Scapes:

  • Developed as an ‘app’ that can be downloaded onto portable devices. Think of museums that give you an ipod to walk around with as a virtual guide. Now imagine having Department of Education App (or school or local community based) that as you come into an area the GPS on your hand held (iphone / android device) triggers the commentary and imagery. For example, next years grade sixers will be the last in my school as it exists now. Imagine their year book being a guided tour with media of the old school buildings and examples of their learning in those sites. It remotely situates the narrative of their learning by virtue of your presence.
  • Puffing BIlly could approach students to develop a series of historical events that are triggered as the train moves along the track.
  • Students can give sustainability tours around the school in the same manner.
  • Weed and light audits can be conducted in the same way.
  • Kids identifying issues in their community can develop media scapes a tool for giving voice for social change.

School Building Design

With our new building about to take place I’ve made this little spot to collate some thoughts on building design.

Have a look at Dandenong High on the 7.30 Report.

The APPA website has some fantastic resources.

ABC‘s By Design is also very informative.

Details of the extension to Sydney’s Giant Steps school: for children with autism, designed by Mury Architects
Photographs: Brett Boardman courtesy of Mury Architects.

Should we include workstations that students stand at?

RUMPUS

Heppell has had quite an effect on the shape of learning in my classroom. Here is a neat little of example of layout ideas grounded in a pedagogical framework.

Particularly their show an a school designed for kids doing life with autism.

FutureLab is yet another example of the Britts taking this issue seriously.

This is the department of Education in (Victoria Australia) page on school design.

I’ve just been listening to Futurelabs Dr. Tim Rudd on building design. Once again, I’ve very impressed on the content – though he was not very concise in his delivery. Following is a slide I’ve lifted from his presentation which I think is most particularly relevant for our school at this time.

 

Responsiveness – short term changes
–Agility – e.g. environmental
–Flexibility – e.g. Moveable structures, furniture
–Adaptability – semi permanent but changeable
Diversity- providing variety of space types and sizes – responding to pedagogy/learning styles
Fluidity – how environment on the whole flows and whether spaces are organised in an integrated and blended way.
Open ended design – design incomplete – allow final shape of school to evolve by use. Over design – locks learning in
Reconfiguration – constant change and re-programming

The notion of reconfiguration I find very interesting – and most importantly, the idea of ‘co-design’ ie: ask the kids what they want.
Imagine a grid of 9 one foot squares laid into the ground like a phone pad.
Each square when stepped on makes a sound. It could be middle ‘C’ for example.
Kids then jump on the squares and make a tune – working together or individually or accompanied with other instruments.
Imagine if kids could program whatever sound the squares produced, three with nouns they’ve recorded, three with
verbs and three with adjectives.
Numbers could be used. The squares could even be of a material that represents the words (not a touch screen – a toe screen).

This is an example of kids designing their learning space and even the learning that happens. Actually, I’m sure there would be some sort of touch screen computer with a program like this already if not a “toe screen” setup too.

Here is the live presentation. – If you read the PowerPoint first, you’ll get more out of it.
Here is the PowerPoint.
Have a look at the list of videos from Futurelabs. There is some stunning and thought provoking ideas there.
Interestingly, the thought of Personalised Learning (PL) dominates as a reaction to the horrors of standardised learning.

Merely an evolution of a “Taylorist” world view, PL could easily become dressed up as a “Red X” or “Six Sigma” (building on the Fordist conveyor belt theme) Tayloristic
problem solving technique that appears to be grounded in the agency of the learner but is just an epistemological tool for the Structure.
What is missing in all of the discourse thus far is the notion of school design and pedagogy being grounded in the notion of LEARNER ADVOCACY.
This is built on the International Council of Nurses idea of the definition of nursing including patient advocacy.
I am suggesting a deliberate move away from a systems approach to school design, administration and pedagogy – and a strategic connection to the idea of experiencing teaching and learning as the ecological affordance of a relationship between learners and learners’ advocates.

Yada Yada

Hmm, I don’t know who you are reading this – but if you find any little bits of stuff that find a place in your world then that is great. As for me, this is a little collection of new stuff I hear and learn about and quickly forget where I learned and heard about it! I am forever doing things in my classroom out of response to some interesting research or idea – then can’t quite justify it or reject it without access to the original inspiration. Most of the themes I am trying to tie together include classroom design, student agency, teacher agency, pedagogy, ICT and school leadership and particularly sustainability education.

First up then is today’s podcast from All In The Mind.

Making Sense of Noise.

The US Standards can be seen here.

Project:

Be heard not seen.

Idea: A portable mic on in the classroom will lead to better hearing for all – better concentration and better learning.

Students learning to use the mic will develop public speaking and classroom leadership skills.

Idea Genesis: Overhearing a conversation in staff room about Karen helping hearing impared students with a audio set up.

Research: As above – RN program being a good summary.

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