Scott McKenzie (senior syndicate leader) and Don McLean (principal) explain how they have been working towards their goal of building learner agency and using digital technologies to support that. Student, Lucy talks about her genius hour project and what she has learnt from it.
Scott McKenzie: Over the last three years, our strategic goal for our learners has been to build student ownership and student agency into their learning and how digital technology can support that and aid that learning.
Don McLean: What we’re working on at the moment is, what’s student agency going to look like at each level of the school, and then alongside that, where the students are being driven by the key competencies and managing self, relating to others, collaboration work, where does digital technology fit into that?
Scott McKenzie: So we spent basically three years, first of all setting up our pedagogy, our thinking behind what that might look like. Our focus has been really, how do we reduce the reliance on the teacher and how do the students own their learning? Using devices for the students to access the curriculum, that’s something we’ve really focused on this year and so again, instead of us delivering the curriculum to the students, they actually can get it themselves.
Lucy: For my genius hour project, I’ve made an app that tries to teach people art, or improve their art because I love art. I think that was a success and failure because I have never coded before. I sort of taught myself, and I was going to ask a few expert coders in the syndicate but I didn’t end up doing that, so I just went on the internet and searched up how to do things and that really helped me.
Scott McKenzie: We take the learning progressions, the literacy progressions, we take the maths progressions, we take the AO’s out of the other learning areas and we share them with the children through their Google Drives and then they can access them whenever they need to to self-assess, to plan, instead of us writing a little learning intention up on the board for the whole class, they now negotiate their own way through that curriculum. So we can’t do that without the digital technology, we couldn’t do it.
Don McLean: From our point of view, if we are attaching the digital technology as a tool to the strategic plan, to the pedagogy that we’re looking at, is a much better way to go. Rather than sort of saying that the e-learning is driving the learning, it’s not, it’s the tool. And at the point it is at the moment, I feel it’s invisible. Students don’t have to use digital technology to do what they want to do in their classrooms. They have the choice of doing that, they make the decision to grab an iPad if they want to do some research, or grab the Chromebook if they’re going to do a presentation. But the idea is that they have a variety of tools available to them and digital technology is an important part of that.