What Could Education Look Like In The Future?

A series of recent activities, events and discussions have seen me imagining a range of future education scenarios. So, this post is an attempt to write up a few possible scenarios. What could education look like in the future?

Annouchka.Su-

I have always been a large advocate of listening to what teachers have to say about education. I much prefer to read books by teachers or those who are working closely in/with schools over those who have lots to say but lack the authenticity of recent work on school grounds. The same with blogs – I’m a big ol’ nerd, who loves to read blogs of what teachers are thinking about and doing in their classrooms.

Teachers, though, have a very vested interest in the future of schools. Will those of us whose jobs depend on the system staying fairly much the same way it is now, really investigate all possible options for the system could shift? Continue reading

Education Act Update – It’s Time To Act!

The legislation that governs how education occurs in New Zealand is potentially undergoing a major overhaul. The Education Act, last updated in 1989, is about to be updated by the Government. As part of the way legislation works in NZ, we are now undergoing the first consultation on this update.

This means 6 weeks of public meetings and accepting submissions based upon a discussion document produced by the Ministry of Education. All the details can be found here.

Unfortunately the main discussion points I have heard teachers talking about with this though, is time: 6 weeks is too short, the time of year is ridiculous.

6 weeks seemed pretty short to me too, but my enquiries around this found that this is pretty standard for at this stage of legislation compared to the longer consultation periods during the Select Committee process. Now, I do get this time of year is ridiculous but give me a time of year when teachers aren’t busy? So I was disappointed to attend a local public meeting and find only 8 people there (and then to hear this is common across many of these meetings). Continue reading

Transformation and Discomfort

There is a lot of talk about transforming education or transforming schools these days. Many of the ideas or initiatives linked with this though leave me wondering whether we really understand the challenge we face to transform education in New Zealand. Many of the initiatives I have discussed with others lately are based around STEM and/or digital technologies, so that will be the slant of this post. All of these initiatives are truly innovative and are having great outcomes for students and teachers, but I wonder is it enough and are they focused on the right things?

In our experience here forming Hobsonville Point Secondary School, the hardest thing about change is the discomfort that occurs. This was also backed up in EdJourney where Grant Lichtman says that change is not hard, change is uncomfortable. To me, none of the innovations and initiatives trying to bring about change are really addressing this discomfort well. Continue reading

Natural Ecosystem of Learning

Schools that recognize the need to prepare their students for a changing world are knowingly or unknowingly in the process of converting from an engineered process to a model based on the laws that govern natural ecosystems

Grant Lichtman, #EdJourney p210

In #EdJourney, Grant Lichtman makes the link between schools that are effectively innovating and how natural ecosystems operate. He found that the schools demonstrating transformative learning were:

  • more dynamic – moving far away from one size fits all
  • more adaptable – functioning like outside world and adaptable to future change
  • more permeable – expanding learning beyond the four walls
  • more creative – moving past consumption of knowledge
  • self-correcting – based upon empathy, mindfulness and creativity

Using this, Grant proposes a model that shifts from Assembly-Line Education to a Learning Ecosystem. Continue reading

Google Thinking, Lone Nuts and Moonshots

Last week I was part of the 2014 Google Teachers Academy in Sydney. 50 teachers from across NZ and Australia had been selected to attend this 2 day experience at Google Sydney. Despite all our inherent differences – age, locations, expectations of the next 2 days, positions of leadership – we were all the same in that we all want change in education. Tom Barrett and Hamish Curry from No Tosh had assembled an awesome team of mentors from last year’s GTA to lead us towards making this change happen.

It started off like any other edu conference these days. People meeting outside the building (or in coffee shops just beside) some that know each other already, but the majority being those wonderful first f2f meet ups. Hugs, hand shaking and introductions out of the way we were then let into the Google buildings (yes, they have 3 in Sydney).

It was obvious from the start that this was not going to be like previous Google Teacher Academies. The first to be led by No Tosh, this was far more about Google thinking than Google products (much to my relief as this was what I had applied for – to push my thinking not for a 48 hour tool slam). Even when the mentors presented Google tools these were shared in 3 presentations through the lenses of community, curiosity and creativity.

The venue was amazing with all the Google expectations: a jungle room for relaxation, endless food, monorail cabin as an office, scooters and unicycles for travelling between offices, endless food, a games room, maker space and did I mention endless food?

Amy, Matt, myself and Suan in the Jungle Room image courtesy of Claire

Amy, Matt, myself and Suan in the Jungle Room image courtesy of Claire

Take your pick for moving between the buildings

Take your pick for moving between the buildings

But, the real highlight for me was the Design Thinking process we were lead through. Continue reading

What if assessment was replaced with evidence of learning?

I am just one of many who believe that the way forward for education is to have assessment that falls naturally out of the learning. This stops assessment being the driver and puts the important thing – the learning – back in focus.

So much of our education system here in NZ – and what I see, read and hear about from overseas – is happening the wrong way around. The importance of assessment in an outcomes based, quality assurance system that effectively pits schools against each other in competition means that we can’t make progress in getting the learning to be the driver.

I propose a shift. Lets stop talking about assessment and just start focusing on evidence of learning. In this fashion, the evidence should naturally fall out of the learning occurring. You may still choose to do this with a formal assessment. But now it’s an opt-in system rather than an opt-out system.

We all know the quality of learning that occurs when it can be focused on authentic tasks and this allows that to occur far more regularly. I wonder how long it will take for NZQA and other qualifications authorities to catch up?

This post was Day 4 of my Questioning Quest