Woodend School Deputy Principal, Adriene Simpson, explains using the spiral of inquiry as a framework to identify how to move forward with innovative learning practices and learning with digital technologies. She highlights the importance of their e-leaders in this process.
Adrienne Simpson: As a school we are moving towards innovative learning practices and we’ve spent a lot of time working on the pedagogy behind that. So that, while our teachers are still by the vast majority all working in single cell classrooms, we are working towards the pedagogical change towards an innovative learning environment where students are more in control of their own learning, where they are more self directed, and where there is a lot of focused teaching in groups, and then there’s independent learning time where the students have got must do’s and can do’s that they need to complete during that time. So the whole shift towards that environment is more pedagogical at this stage. We don’t have the change in the buildings. That’s coming at a later date. And we wanted to be able to embed the pedagogy before we actually got the buildings.
We’re using the spiral of inquiry as a framework to look at how best to move forward in this area of both innovative learning practices and learning with digital technologies. At this point in time, we’re spending quite a lot of time in the scanning stage. This is where we’re looking at what’s happening for our learners and once we have got some information around that we’ll look in more depth for the next stages of the spiral of inquiry. It seemed to be a better framework than teaching as inquiry because it was far more focused on the students and outcomes for them.
The e-leaders’ job within that is to make sure that within the context of this innovative learning environment that technology is being used to enhance and to extend the learning of our students. We established the e-leaders team last year and we wanted representation across the school. So each team from the school, or each level of the school is represented in that team. We looked at the people who were already keen and eager and showing that they were using technologies in an innovative way in their classrooms and asked them if they would be part of the team. We knew that they would be involved in some professional development this year with the Katote Cluster and the Learning with Digital Technologies [PLD] and we wanted them to be the people that were going to be able to institute the new learning from the ground up.
Mike Crawford: We started experimenting with Google docs at the end of last year. Now everybody is up and running on Google docs. We’re creating plans, we’re sharing things, resources. We’ve got folders that anybody can access within the school. It’s a massive change and its making collaborative reporting, planning that much easier.
Adrienne Simpson: A lot of the introduction of new knowledge for the other staff members has come from these particular e-leaders trialling things within their own rooms.
Mike Crawford: We present an idea like, “Hey I’d like to try this in my classroom and a small focus group, let’s see what we can do with it”.
Emma Neyon: We help the other teachers in our syndicates mostly through, we have syndicate meetings and also in our daily briefings. In that case, what we’ll do is, there’s some teachers that need more support with Google docs and things like that so they’ll have one-on-one sessions with me and they’ll ask if I can come help them in different arenas. And what we do, sometimes