What’s right with this classroom?

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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.


6 thoughts on “What’s right with this classroom?

  1. This is an excellent example of what can happen in t a ICT integrated classroom! But I bet it isn’t NSWEDET. 😦

    I have always pushed that teachers should observe how students use /potentially will use technology and then try to use similar ways to engage the students in the learning. My School would not capture the engagement of such lessons and individual teachers who push such pedagogy in a school could be stigmatised by a negative rating. However if the entire school population was responding to student learning needs (both using technology and not!) it would have an impact on the “league table standing”, as well as the more important result – affecting student learning.

    Some may see this week as depressing and in some ways it was. particularly for those teachers doing their best at “the worst” schools. However at least education has the front page, it is being spoken about and some of the under performing teachers will now be less likely to get away with it (we all know they exist!). That to me makes it a good week – long term we will see benefits.

    • Well it could be DET -as Quest Atlantis PD is available inside the bubble – but it’s not. You can teach with QA – it has Maths and more in it – but if you are in High School – DET won’t allow any virtual world at all – so not too sure how the duty of care thing works … if you can use one in K6, which not one in K12? … because someONE doesn’t like the idea – and blocks it. Brain-missing.

  2. Guys I don’t mean to burst your bubble but I am not sure that this looks like an exciting classroom to me. Yes there is technology, yes the kids are using the computers and yes there appears to be no sign of a teacher at the front (or anywhere.)
    We all know that learning is a collaborative activity. Children, no matter what age, need to learn together, have the chance to talk and share what they are doing. The teacher needs to be a facilitator to their learning, not invisible. This would be a picture to rave about if there were small groups of children around two or three computers, talking to each other about what they see, completing a task that was real to their lives and having a discussion with a teacher who was enriching their language and their concepts about the world

    • Bubbles are made to burst. The students are working collaboratively and globally – they are talking – as they are working in Quest Atlantis.

    • @victeach I am the teacher in that classroom…I am behind the camera that took that picture…and believe me…those kids were collaborating, talking with, and working with one another…as well as teachers and students from other states in my country when I took this picture…and they were ENGAGED. One to One computing is my favorite way to teach. Very often when you set three students in front of a computer together, particularly middle school students, one or two of them end up sitting there doing nothing.

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