This is a photo of a virtual world. I’d like to highlight some of the pedagogical features of this room. Firstly, the IWB and projector is off. The teacher is not standing in front of it as the conduit between information and learning. Secondly the students are not using small netbooks, and using desks with a high degree of ICT-friendly ergonomics.
On the desks are pens and paper, so presumably the teacher has prepared some structure, instruction that requires writing and brain-mapping. The more tech-savvy observer will notice students are using Quest Atlantis – individually – yet collectively exploring a virtual world.
A year or so ago — this classroom, this pedagogy — this learning experience didn’t exist. The thing that changed is a teacher. Not a teacher attending some PD or being told to use some application — but a teacher who wanted to be better and took it upon themselves to invest the time and effort to learn. More amazingly – this teacher completely changed their subject and role – taking on a challenge that a year before wasn’t even something under consideration.
We do not need league tables, websites with statistics or netbooks sans-pedagogy – we need to recognise any teacher or school who does this for students – because they want to. This is the missing-website that the government is unable to conceptualise let alone make and spend millions promoting.
This classroom didn’t cost millions of course – Quest Atlantis is free, safe and pedagogically sound. It is blended learning with critical thinking and shared reality — motivating and compelling.
We need a website for ‘the league of ordinary-teachers’ in Australia, kicking-new ideas and leaning new skills — despite crap workplace conditions and Ministerial spankings.
A motivated movement that highlights the issues being faced – from poor training, lack of access and OH&S issues that demand refurbished learning environments and new work practices.
From this movement would come a better Bored of Studies and a truly authentic Virtual School – delivering advice, content and learning where is it needed most. The cost of doing this is zero. The number of bureaucrats and politicians needed to run it is also zero. Right now the legal, ethical and social debate of the HSC often rages unseen – yet the HSC itself is getting spanked over the way it operates.
This classroom — and this story, illustrates why spanking teachers and focusing on one exam undermines the very system that politicians are attempting to score capital from.
They should be talking about what kids are learning in a small town in Montana – because of one teacher. I just had to share this photo – it should be happening in all those schools who just got spanked.
What a totally depressing week in edumacation.