Saturday, July 30, 2011

South Korea digitizing educational material

South Korea has announced that by 2014, their educational materials will
be digitized, and by 2015, the entire school-age curriculum will
be delivered on an array of computers, smart phones and tablets.

It is estimated to cost South Korea's education ministry $2.4
billion buying the requisite tablets and digitizing material for them.

While we can envy this level of resourcing being spent on e-learning we would not want to go down this path as it is systematic of a 20th century learning model. Chalk (even if it is digital chalk) and talk. Rote learning and worksheet mentality.

At Freemans Bay School we are using Knowledge Net as our integrated Learning Management e-learning environment. Our use of Knowledge Net allows our students to reflect on their learning and thinking and have their peers/parents/caregivers and educators provide feedback on their progress towards their goals.

We believe our students should have opportunities to collaborate with others, self manage their learning through their use of habits of mind and reflect on that learning and thinking.

Some further resourcing from our Government to support 21st century learning would be appreciated as we would like to be able to have 1-1 netbooks and fibre instead of asdl to support our access to the WWW. However I expect this will be a reality in the next few years.

Meanwhile I do not believe that we will go down the path of South Korea but we will continue developing a pedogogy for the world of our students live in- this way they will be engaged and motivated to learn.

National Standards and Resourcing What Matters

One of the things that annoys me about National Standards is that I think it is a waste of valuable resourcing that could be spent on really making a difference to education in New Zealand where it matters.

The National Government sold the idea of National Standards to voters on the basis that our education system is in crisis and needs fixing.

However this was manipulative electioneering and as move into the next election continues to be so.

We have a very good education system in New Zealand - this is well proven by our results in OECD research. We are listed in the top countries for literacy and mathematics. However we do have a tail of underachievement. This tail comprises mostly of Maori and Pasifika students.

The National Standard policy is supposed to address this tail of underachievement. But it will not. How can continually testing students make them improve?

I believe that the money that is being put into National Standards would be better spent on a national strategy to address the underachievement tail.

Reversing the staffing cuts to early childhood centres would be a good place to start on this issue.

Imagine if all of the funding that is going into MOE officials hasseling principals and schools about school charters, the employees salaries that are tied up in the promotion of National Standards, training, media and the like went into a national strategy on addressing the real issues of underachievement.

Now that would make a difference.

Meanwhile the next meeting in Auckland for Boards of Trustees Against National Standards is to be held at Freemans Bay School on July 12. These Boards of Trustees and Principals are demonstrating courage around what they believe in: That we have a high quality public education system in New Zealand and that the resourcing that is being spent on National Standards would be best spent elsewhere to address the underachievement issue in our system.

Booking School Interviews Online

Student led conferences provide an opportunity for students to discuss their progress on their learning goals, where they are at with their learning and their next learning steps.

For our student led conferences this year parents are able to book their times online through

Up to 5 families are in the classroom at the same time.

If parenta need more time with a particular teacher they can arrange a separate meeting.

We think that this system will be convenient for parents and teachers and save a lot of school administration time setting up interviews by a snail trail!

We are looking forward to this celebration of learning at Freemans Bay School and are hoping that our parents will take the opportunity to book online.

Student Led Conferences 2011

In week two of this term we are holding our student led conferences.

This Prezi presentation encapulates the key ideas of why we believe student led conferences are important in helping students achieve their learning goals.

Student led conferences are about the student leading the discussion on their learning as we believe that by the students articulating their learning to people who are important in their lives, will sharpen their thinking around their learning goals and next learning steps.

Students will be presenting their progress on goals and next learning steps to their parents on the online learning environment - "Knowledge Net". Some students will also be presenting learning journals which we are trialling on Knowledge Net as well.

Parents are able to access their child's work on Knowledge Net and make comments about their child's progress towards achieving their goals.

Learning journals are collaborative , in that the child can comment on their work as well as teachers, chosen peers and parents. We will be doing more whole school development on this in 2012 when the next iteration of Knowledge Net is ready.

We are also launching our "Parent Portal" which will enable parents to access information about their childs learning, such as, attendance, assessment information, school reports and current goals that students are working towards.

We are surveying parents opinions on our student led conferences. The survey will be conducted online with the survey monkey online tool.