Having said that, and 'researched' Pearson, I worry about a company claiming to be the 'worlds leading learning organisation' and that I have may have been somewhat captured by the 'Rich Seam' document. Pearson make their money out of textbooks, testing and now technology. Making money is at the core - this education as a business.
(Check out John Oliver's show on standardized testing and Pearson's role in educational testing!!)
|A corporate takeover of education?|
Pearson's version of 'personalized learning' relies on 'data driven analytics' and technology to ensure learning. Some of the schools following a 'Pearson's approach' look more like high powered traditional schools with students learning through digital technology. My preference is the New High Tech approach, which is also referenced in the 'Rich Seams' document - a real world activity based school making use of a wide range of technology from carpentry tools to computers.
The issue of the 'new' Modern School Environments
I have found it worth the read and was interested to note that it states ' in our view new' (Modern Learning Environments) 'facilities are nice, but not a requirement for effective implementation of the new pedagogy model.'
Hard to argue with that.
One: the need for schools to really implement the intent of the New Zealand Curriculum and to move away from National Standards. Two:The need base learning on real world active
|To 'seek , use and create'.|
|Dewey would see technology as tools - a means to an end.|
Deep learning tasks must last long enough for students to plan and develop their work. Such tasks encompasses the intent of project and inquiry based models of learning. Chosen tasks must be defined by student purpose and allow students to demonstrate their learning giving students 'choice and voice'.
The teachers role in developing the new pedagogies is about 'igniting learning, to kindle student creativity and to light up the students' mind.' This requires teachers developing genuine learning partnership with their students moving away from being facilitators to work alongside their students to ensure all students achieve their personal best. Teachers need to help students learn through mistakes helping students to think about what they might do next time. This involves helping students define and refine chosen tasks and to encourage continual improvement. Through such means students are able to present final quality products or performances.
|Sir Ken is talking about developing all students gifts and talents.|
This new pedagogy highly values such non academic dimensions such as problem solving strategies and character elements such as as grit, tenacity, facing up to difficult tasks, and learning through mistakes.
Such an approach aims at the development of students who are self regulating able to develop their own learning goals , success criteria and to monitor their own progress.
Not clear to me, however, is how traditional literacy and numeracy is to be embedded in such learning. I believe that powerful learning experiences provide the motivation to develop such skills from an early age. Current ability grouped basic skills teaching takes up far too much time and develops to develop negative attitudes for far too many students.
Also not clear is how schools might be structured to develop such pedagogy - traditional subject teaching is no longer relevant. Maybe this is where Modern Learning Environments, based on collaborative integrated teaching, may solve the problem.
|Teachers then digital ctechnlogy|
After reading, and agreeing with, the pages about deep pedagogy I am still left wondering why the authors made no effort to identify educationalists that have been expressing similar ideas for decades?
Nothing much, as they say, is really new.
I would have also liked to have seen examples of how schools have organised themselves to develop cross curricula interdependent tasks. As mentioned I particularly like the approach developed by Larry Rosenstock's New Tech High Schools - where technology is used to support learning in very creative way and where public exhibitions of student project work have become part of the school culture.
|Larry Rosenstock - New High Teach Schools. Active learning making use of technology|
What is the New Change Leadership?
The leadership section might well be the most important aspect of the report if the required deep pedagogy is take hold in our schools. Their role is mirrors teachers releasing the potential of their students.
|Leadership about direction and trust|
'These new change leaders will have to operate under conditions of dynamic change We see the process as consisting of directional vision, letting go and reining in across iterative cycles. Such leaders will need to open up possibilities with directional ideas but not necessarily concrete plans'. The need to be 'open to new explorations while supporting people under conditions of ambiguity'. 'As the process unfolds leaders will need to help others identify, refine and spread what is working.'
This is a model of organic change and with the right conditions ideas will become 'contagious'.
|Good ideas are contageous|
Change leadership is about developing culture and capacity.
Changes , 'as new pedagogy takes hold it is neither top down nor bottom up change. It is both. The role of leaders is to simultaneously help the organisation "let go" and "rein in"'. 'It is about creating a 'risk taking' culture of yes' About 'creating a collaborative culture breaking down teacher isolation' by 'building up a common language' and by 'developing an 'inquiry based approach' to professional development.
It also requires developing new ways of assessing progress.that primarily focused on to supporting learning.
'Change leadership represents a huge challenge - one that is as attractive as it is daunting'. An ideal agenda for Communities of Schools?
What is the New System Economics.
This recognizes that as the cost of new technology is decreasing schools will able to deliver 'twice the learning for the same level of investment - 'technology that can dramatically expand the new pedagogies'.
Implementing the 'A Rich Seam is all about developing 'Rich Futures'.
The report concludes by reinforcing the need for a new model of education one based on new partnerships between teachers and students.
The authors believe 'we are at the early stages of a learning revolution to develop 'the citizen of the future as a knowing, doing person who can function productively in a complex world.'
Specific action lists are provided for students, teachers and school leaders to ensure school change.
|Creating conditions to risk things and share ideas|
'History shows us that what we can imagine we can make possible'. The new pedagogy, new change leadership and the economic availability of digital technology. 'The time has come to take advantage of this once in a generation opportunity. Whole System change has never been more achievable'.
'The ultimate goal is interdependent learners who have the abilities, dispositions and experiences to truly make the this most of the extraordinary world of information, ideas, creativity and connection that digital access opens up'.
At this point I still have this worry that it is possibly all too much about computers and not real world challenges making use of digital technology.
|Technology as a tool|
'Young people and adults alike have the natural instinct to learn and to create. This is what the new pedagogies can unleash'. 'The pedagogies model promises to drive out of our schools the boredom and alienation of students and teachers.'
'The next decade could be the most transformation of any since the creation of factory model schools 150 years ago'.
'Imagine a future where students and teacher can't wait to get to the learning'.
Sound like what was in the air in the 60s - let's hope that we will do it better this time - and ensure digital technology plays a supportive role.
I finish as I began worried about Pearson's agenda and Michael Fullan's role in it. Education is big business. The document is essentially all about spreading Pearson's digital learning agenda.
I did like the 'new pedagogy ( which isn't new) and the 'change leadership' model, and the need for new assessment models ( but not digital data mining ).
I remained concerned with an educational approach that might well replace reality with clever vicarious learning.
I am reminded of what Clifford Still ( himself a computer expert) said, in his book 'Silicon Valley Snake Oil', that for every hour facing a screen a person needs an hour siting under a tree to compensate.
I still believe that real world challenges are the basis of learning - supported by technology. A quote by Max Frisch is more relevant than ever . He wrote that technology is the 'knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it'. ( Max Frisch 63)