Friday, February 6, 2015

Update - Reflection

Yesterday I had cause to think about 'learning environments' and innovative teaching and learning. As various school embark on new buildings and look towards what that may look like as well as the challenges and questions faced. I thought I would share some thoughts based on my experience as a classroom teacher at St Andrew's College (StAC) and based on my inquiry on MLE.

  • It is not about the shiny new furniture or how big the classroom is. Innovative teaching and learning which has collaboration and knowledge building/creation can happen in any environment. The design of the environment can enhance or make this easier on the students and the teachers.
  • Wireless to me has been key. I am lucky enough to teach in a school with sound wireless and access to devices for students and 2 year levels of BYOD. I teach in an Office 365 school and this year all of my classes are using the Class OneNote for classwork, planning and draft assessments. Assessments will be submitted into Moodle as well as handing in a paper copy. 
  • I use a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with a miracast in class (I appreciate how lucky I am to have this technology)
  • @justintarte
  • My students including the BYOD class have books and pens to write in! It is not a case of rows of screens but how the devices are used. Keep in mind the SAMR model. 

  • Amazing support from HOD and Senior managers who support the teachers in their practice, that help, encourage and recognise what teachers are doing in the classroom and encourage them to try new things
  • When looking at designing the classroom or creating new buildings I encourage you to think about your school, your students, your traditions and values as a community.  How are you going to support the teachers and how are you going to encourage teachers to help/support each others. It is about encouraging innovation, collaboration and knowledge building/creation for students and teachers.

What does my classroom look like?

  • The teacher desk and chair has gone.
  • Whiteboard at front and a movable board
  • Desks, chairs that are more circular and allow for varying size groups
  • 4 bean bags
  • a couch that changes shape depending on the needs of students
How I use the space
Usually students arrive in class and sit at at desk. They are given instructions and then move to an appropriate space. The lessons for the day is in the class OneNote and available for students prior to the lesson. All whiteboard work is done on the OneNote using the Surface tablet. I am not restricted to the front of the classroom. All lessons are then put into an archived section in the class OneNote.
My Year 10s this term come into class and get out books and pens and spend the first 6mins writing on anything of their choice anywhere in class they choose. I do have starters which are on the OneNote for those who are unsure. As a teacher I am constantly moving around the class sitting at the student tables or with them on the couch. Marking is done on OneNote and I keep a record of when I have given feedback to students. 

I post on my other blog about my classroom practice

Visiting other schools
After visiting several schools I really gained the most from visiting SCIL. They are working with changing single cells classrooms. I also really liked their approach with staff.

I also visit a university in Adelaide. As a high school teacher I was interested to see what the tertiary sector where doing. This university has built a new building and are changing the way tertiary students learn.

Both these schools I have written about in earlier posts:

A few ways StAC is encouraging innovation and supporting teachers

Sam McNeill has created a blog which shares what staff at St Andrew's College are doing. This is great as it shows us what is happening in our school. It also builds relationships as staff go to other staff for ideas or guidance in trying something new.

On our Moodle site we have a list of blogs that teachers within our school have. This is another great way of building a community and sharing knowledge/ideas.

We also have a professional learning group on innovation. Cheryl Diog has been running these and to spend a couple ideas sharing and developing ideas has been refreshing and motivating.]