Monday, September 16, 2013

Its not the journey...but the destination

Innovation and Leadership in eLearning

My teaching and learning practices have evolved through my teaching career as I find myself continually searching for the best for my learners. Why, is a big question I have always asked. Students being at the centre of their learning and being in the driving seat, is the heart of my pedagogy. I see my role as a facilitator of their learning and creating an environment for this philosophy to flourish is an exciting journey to be on. In a 'traditional' classroom (four walls, one teacher), students developed their own individual learning programmes where I let go and the students took back control over their learning. Students decided how and when they were going to learn, as I offered workshops to cater for their needs and wants. This was hugely successful, as my learners became increasingly self-managing. This year, has been a huge change. I have been in the lucky position to help start at new 21st century school. This modern learning environment has allowed us to create a culture where the student has not only taken the driving seat, but also building their own vehicle. As a team, we have challenged not only what learning looks like to our students and community, but what our learning looks like.

eLearning had been a great carrier for being creative and innovative in my classroom practice. From starting out with basic devices (a couple of computers and iPods), the world really was our oyster. We (my students and me) began to explore a vast amount of tools, uncovering a community of learners from blogging to Wikispaces to Twitter and beyond, we had a wider audience that included family and ever growing friends around the world. Our digital toolbox grew to including numerous tools that allow us to create and innovate - aurasma augmented our classroom reality, the writers club gave us a competitive writing experience, Movie making competitions (e.g. I AM MAKING Movies, One Day on Earth) gave us the scaffolding to explore animation, acting and legomation to name just a few.

Alongside my journey, it has been great to take along supportive staff who are mostly willing to come along. Finding innovative ways to introduce new devices and tools has been interesting, to say the least. Most students are always excited and motivated to see the latest gadget, adults can take a little while to discover the excitement. From leading the introduction of over 100 iPads to putting on my Google Certified Teacher hat and looking at GAFE products to showing a cool tool (e.g. an app), I try to be creative, responsive and supportive to staff needs (and wants). Running causal drop-in tekkie sessions to speaking at conferences (and UNconferences), to parent workshops, to having a complete open door classroom policy (online and physical), paying it forward is my way of repaying the good ideas I have used from many others.

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