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Build relationships

November 29, 2015
cramp bros

Build relationships

Selected reference

Hargreaves, A., Boyle, A. & Harris, A. (2014). Uplifting leadership: How organizations, teams and communities raise performance. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

English #WACE conversations

November 21, 2015

Last Tuesday’s visit to Shenton College – a teacher development school – meant opportunities to share practices. Resources mainly related to new WACE courses, including tasks, visible thinking tools and composing with composure presented by Ian Reid.


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Texts worth sharing

WANT coming of age connections?

Stand By Me linked to Jasper Jones at one school.

Lay that Trumpet in Our Hands was well received by students who also studied Mississippi Burning (and savoured the scent of orange blossom brought in to class, according to their teacher). A downloadable teacher guide can be accessed here.

  • Bite of the Mango explores survival and the individual’s refusal to be seen as a victim;
  • the SBS documentary Change My Race tackles body image and Australia’s perceived intolerance of multiculturalism;
  • racism and illegal immigration  are themes in TC Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain;
  • the unlikely combination of a Holocaust tale in graphic novel form encapsulates Maus: A Survivor’s Tale – this study guide is available, too.
  • Perhaps it could be considered in relation to Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.


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The lyrical beauty of Gail Jones’ novel Sorry was hailed both for capable students and as a poignant illustration of Keating’s Sorry speech.

Documentary? The Tall Man.

TV crime?

Composing with composure

…the difficult after lunch session – here come my notes:

Relevant guidelines

  • create a range of texts; versatility
  • Make innovative & imaginative use of language features

 Don’t be daunted

  • Regular writing exercise will lower anxiety
  • Develop confidence & yield fluency
  • Good writing is fundamentally akin to other forms (persuasive, expository). No waffling!
  • Insights can come from the study of literary texts
  • Pay close attention to reading


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The Making of Literature – Ian Reid – recommended resource for WA English teachers.

  • best words in the best order. Literature is made; luminary <——–> students in classes. Observant reading is a necessary first premise. Intricate interrelationship. Foster this in students.
  • Pay note. Encourage observation.
  • Integrate what they write with what they read.


Francine Prose

Reading like a writer: a guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them.

Comment about paying attention to the language – actual words and sentences that a writer had used.

I began to change the way I taught. No more general discussions of this character or that plot turn…[instead I adopted the method of] lingering over every word, every phrase, every image…

  • pay close attention to details to build confidence



Classroom activity

  • take a short story and read 75%. Stop – what possible ways of getting to the destination can they infer? Conjecture. Compare their own creative thinking with what the author chose.

You have to learn to read with close attention.

How do they develop their skills in basketball/ dance/ riding?



You need an editor in your head (not fussing, but before you move on)

Editing during the process – editor is there on the shoulder as the creative. Pick up mistakes eg conflicting details. Avoid derailing. Structure needs attention by having a sense of where they are going.

Pause for critical reflection…

 3 things:

content, structure & texture of writing.

 Editing suggestions

  • Beginning, middle & end? Yes, but not necessarily in that order.
  • Have you maintained the tension? Need tighter knit? Filtering though another consciousness? Any superfluities?
  •  Texture – nuance, language features, style, rhythm of prose or verse. Avoided cliches & verbosity? Phrasing repetitive? Enliven descriptive passages?

 Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass – Chekhov.

Writing well is arduous. There is no point in pretending otherwise. Hard for even the more accomplished writer. Demanding of your own writing like the editor in the head. Success = do not be too easily satisfied.

 Exam practice:

write a narrative from the perspective of one of the characters from the image below.

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Where are they? What is going on here? Woman as the focus. Consider undeclared inner resentment of distant persona. Impersonate! Invent a voice to put on the page. Inner monologue. Write with energy & invest her with emotional intensity. Encourage uninhibited exploration of possibility.

Pose questions: is a distinct voice emerging? Could something become a credible portrait? Could development occur? Something unexpected? Could the mood be dispelled?

Tip: displace their resentment into a fictional character. Explore resentment & revenge. Does not have to be human. Cat?


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 Work with point of view

Not the technicality. Impersonate a voice. Imagine that attitude. Differences are possible, but also possibilities are closed off by making choices such as first person/ third. Consider the potential. What does commitment shut down? Exploring immediacy – present tense. Try second person.

Find interesting examples; ask students what they find interesting, but rewrite first paragraph from a different point of view. What becomes possible? What is closed off?

Question on advising students in relation to prompts – develop? Sustain?  Need to be nimble & respond to opportunities. Practice! Attempt short bursts. How to grow confidence? Range of different short writing activities. Preferably in relation to their reading.


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 What is best for them in an exam situation? Is it a good choice to draw from the same well? Adopt an unusual angle. The real aim is to arrest the attention & gain the confidence of the person reading. Take care to avoid stock, familiar material. Write for a purpose – impress! Sustain attention. Do they know how to vary according to the genre?

Develop a repertoire. Journals!

  • What might be possible?
  • Practice within a constrained timeframe – deal with stress.
  • Make your story 100 words.
  • Aim for concise writing. Use word limits: this will stand you in good stead for the exam.
  • Get practiced in the art of concision. Flash fiction.


Promoting tenacity

November 14, 2015

academic tenacity

Selected reference

Dweck, C.S., Walton, G.M. & Cohen, G.L. (2014). Academic tenacity: Mindsets and skills that promote long-term learning. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved November 14, 2015

Enacting leadership

November 14, 2015

master craftspeople

Selected reference

Tomlinson, C.A. (2015). Thoughts on teaching: A collection of “one to grow on” columns from Educational Leadership. ASCD. Retrieved November 14, 2015

Rationale for eLearning #EDUC5608

November 7, 2015

One important goal of technology integration is enhanced student motivation (Pegrum, Oakley & Faulkner, 2013). Another is empowerment (November, 2010). As mobile connectivity enables new access to learning, “learning venues and expectations” will be altered (Rainie, 2013). 

Row of electricity pylons

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Similar enhancement can be achieved when leadership in a flexible dynamic is conceived

according to its function of facilitating organizational and operational processes, rather than defining and controlling them (Stringer, 2007, p. 34).

This is my aim; evolving practices are already generating change, and future directions remain open to imaginative reinterpretation. According to theorists, “revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies – it happens when society adopts new behaviours” (Shirky, 2008, p. 160). Moreover, the networked group

can be quite robust in the face of indifference or even direct opposition (Shirky, 2008, p. 210).


At the micro-level, then, where staff behaviour is enacted through collaborative enterprise, potential obstacles can be overcome by cultivating new pedagogical practices.

From a personal perspective, considering the leadership context for this proposed eLearning course spans local, national and global contexts, I anticipate engaging in multiple opportunities to build my own professional practice as measured against the standards for principals (AITSL, 2014), while undertaking knowledge creation with staff in my local context. The two aspects are interwoven. Simultaneously, implementation challenges exist – testing, accountability, privacy and surveillance will generate concerns.


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To avoid gimmickry, practitioners are advised to maintain a critical stance in relation to emerging technological trends (Pegrum, 2015). Although “Technology revolutions” may be driving changes (Rainie, 2013), building the trust which reinforces social relationships is pivotal.

As a corollary, school leaders will maintain awareness that quality teaching has a mutable nature which has become associated with misleading notions of performance; encouraging collaborative teacher activism becomes the means by which we as a profession counter the negative impact of neoliberalism, compliance and fundamentalism currently gripping the school reform discourse (Mockler, 2014; Sachs, 2003).

Outcomes – wider & longer term issues

Assessing the level of achievement of these outcomes depends on continual monitoring of praxis, and relies on student and staff feedback. Evidence of improvement is readily gathered during walkthroughs and coaching conversations. Student and staff engagement, for instance, will be visible to school leaders undertaking instructional rounds. This pattern is already evident, and will continue to evolve.


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As we focus on adopting strategies to promote digital literacies, “a whole new understanding of the usefulness and applicability of those new skills” will emerge (Cristobal Cobo Romani, 2009, p. 32). Unlike that barely recognisable beginning teacher who lacked suitable tools, I do not underestimate the difficulty of this continuing, mutable challenge to adapt.

The paradigm shift required to integrate digital technologies has been described as “really, really hard” (Daccord & Reich, 2015, para 2), which prompts consideration of whether any change effort in schools could be deemed easy; reformist change in education has been advocated for more than half a century, yet policy review indicates best efforts remain unsuccessful in improving students’ achievement (Levin, 2010).

If our goal becomes teaching in transformative ways, assessment involves effectively achieving modification and redefinition according to the SAMR model (Puentedura, 2011). Conceptual harmonising with reference to TPACK presents an additional avenue to evaluate teaching practice (White, 2013). Aided by these tools, our long term endeavour becomes sustained focus on attaining digital fluency.

International studies indicate that equity of access to ICT is a significant concern to educators seeking to gain improvements in students’ learning. Trend analysis clearly shows

…that in an age in which computers feature strongly in everyday life and in education, the minority of students who have little access to them, who use them little and who are not confident in using ICT are not performing well (OECD, 2005, p. 66).


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Recommendations include moving away from a policy emphasis of technology provision to address teacher training along with curriculum and timetable integration (OECD, 2005). These features are embedded in flexible, asynchronous and differentiated strategies outlined in the course proposal found here. What is lacking, however, is a planned method to overcome loss of momentum which is experienced from the impact of significant change-attendant inhibitors such as implementation dips, time pressures, and performativity demands. Complacency may also be perceived as a constraint.

In combination with neoliberal themes currently holding sway – new managerialism, hyper-accountability and audit culture – all of these features can negatively impact on staff morale and erode goodwill (Barker, 2010; Power, 2000). Perhaps a few critical uncertainties are inevitable (Rainie, 2012). For us at the micro-level, the single most important issue is technology reliability, in particular, ready access to wifi.

Dire warnings issued in relation to economic competition and the unpredictable nature of the future, uncertain job market contribute to drives currently proclaiming technology as a reform tool in schools (Cuban, 2001). While Twitter is rife with technological idealism, it is highly improbable that ICT alone can cure what afflicts our education system.


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Digital fluency skills, on the other hand, are conceived as an increasingly complex and important suite of essential 21st century skills enabling participation in “a globally connected society” (White, 2013, p. 3).  Overall, positive outcomes of heightened focus on improving students’ skill development while addressing specific curriculum content will be achieved by staff opting for fluidity.

Learning paradigms may have evolved since 1989, but one singular lesson resonates: Dynamic approaches are more likely to thrive.

Selected refererences

AITSL. (2014). Australian professional standard for principals. Retrieved October 22, 2015

Barker, B. (2010). Introduction – the dynamics of school reform. In The pendulum swings: Transforming school reform (pp. 1-18). Stoke on Trent, UK: Trentham Books. Retrieved from course materials online

Cristobal Cobo Romani, J. (2009). Strategies to promote the development of e-competencies in the next generation of professionals: European and international trends. Monograph No. 13, SKOPE publications. Retrieved October 20, 2015

Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Daccord, T. & Reich, J. (2015). How to Transform Teaching with Tablets. Teaching with Mobile Tech, 72(8), 18-23. Retrieved from Educational Leadership October 24, 2015

Levin, B. (2010). Governments and education reform: Some lessons from the last 50 years.  Journal of Education Policy, 25(6), 739-747. Retrieved July 5, 2014

Mockler, N. (2014). Simple solutions to complex problems: Moral panic and the fluid shift from ‘equity’ to ‘quality’ in education. British Educational Research Association, 2(1), 2-29. Retrieved July 15, 2014

November, A. (2010). Teaching and learning the structure of information. In Empowering students with technology (pp. 9-30). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Retrieved October 10, 2015

OECD. (2005). Are students ready for a technology-rich world? What PISA studies tell us. Retrieved October 19, 2015

Pegrum, M., Oakley, G. & Faulkner, R. (2013). Schools going mobile: A study of the adoption of mobile handheld technologies in Western Australian independent schools. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(1), 66-81. Retrieved October 5, 2015

Pegrum, M. (2015). EDUC5608 Integrating Pedagogy and technology coursework. UWA. Retrieved September 29, 2015

Power, M. (2000). The audit society – second thoughts. International Journal of Auditing, 4(1), 111-119. Retrieved October 11, 2015

Puentedura, R.R. (2011). A brief introduction to TPCK and SAMR. Workshop slides. Ruben R. Puentedura’s weblog. Retrieved October 2, 2015

Rainie, L. (2012). Learning in the digital age. Minnesota: Pew Internet Project. Conference slideshow retrieved October 2, 2015

Rainie, L. (2013). Networked learners. Raleigh Community Colleges retrieved October 23, 2015

Sachs, J. (2003). The activist teaching profession. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Shirky, C. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. Victoria, Australia: Allen Lane.

Stringer, E.T. (2007). Action research (3rd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

White, G.K. (2013). Digital fluency: skills necessary for learning in the digital age. Melbourne: ACER. Retrieved October 25, 2015

Course proposal #EDUC5608

October 31, 2015

Notwithstanding external and local pressures, our team of English and HASS secondary teachers is currently stable. As recent learning from our ecosystem suggests that continued practice will yield the best opportunities for leveraging change, and with a BYOD policy in place from 2016, I remain optimistic in aiming for ubiquitous technology integration.

According to commentators,

…we understand that we can connect and share and learn from one another. We are now coming to understand that it is actually very difficult to stop sharing and learning from happening, once we are connected (Pesce, 2013, para 18).


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Students are the focus and pedagogy is the key in our ecology. In order to succeed, two considerations will be addressed when designing future learning to “plan for a normalised state” (Bax, 2003, p. 24):

  1. Student needs and
  2. staff capacity to innovate.

Accessibility remains a source of likely tension shaping outcomes of this proposal.


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Firstly, the Australian curriculum outlines “five interrelated elements” as key ideas “in the learning continuum” when addressing ICT as a general capability (ACARA, n.d.,c, para 1). Furthermore, support and enhancement of student learning is explicitly reinforced across the learning areas with considered development and application of “ICT knowledge, skills and appropriate… protocols… to meet their learning needs” (ACARA, n.d.,d, para 1).

In short, as a curriculum leader, student needs will be best served by ensuring staff are supported in their collaborative design of learning opportunities which address curriculum: Applying social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT; Investigating with ICT; Creating with ICT; Communicating with ICT; and Managing and operating ICT.

These elements are interrelated:

ICT capability

Figure: Organising elements for ICT capability (ACARA, n.d.,c).

In accordance with our need to “go mobile”, applying a framework of digital literacies seems the most appropriate lens from which a shift in the existing learning dynamic will be achieved (Dudeney, Hockly & Pegrum, 2013; Pegrum, 2009; Pegrum, Oakley & Faulkner, 2013).

Second, “great teaching” will be the method by which staff collaboratively undertake to design learning opportunities which meet students’ needs (Hattie, 2003; Jensen, Hunter, Sonnemann & Cooper, 2014).

Third, maintenance of our community of practice – embedded professional learning (Timperley, 2015) – is the mechanism by which collegial innovation can be sustained as a curriculum leader.

My contribution to this community of practice will be conducted on a number of fluid and interdependent fronts:

  • With students online as well as face to face in classes;
  • alongside colleagues as well as asynchronously online employing web 2.0 tools and apps;
  • with senior leadership wherever opportunities arise;
  • and with others in my connected professional learning network which serves to uplift and enable since

…serendipity often occurs in social networks, where we unexpectedly encounter friends of friends or even total strangers who prove helpful (Hagel, Seely Brown & Davison Lang 2010, p.17).


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Feedback on praxis whilst leading and influencing change alerts me to potential pitfalls of any planned approach. Without scanning the horizon for emergent trends along with paradoxes, I risk loss of momentum (Deal & Peterson, 2010). Clear communication of intents and purposes is paramount. In order to make sense of the chaotic entity that is web 2.0 where research claims technology has potential to “transform education” (Clarke, Svanaes, Hasbrouck & Atkinson, 2015), and critics remain

unswayed by the arguments that we’re on the cusp of some sort of techno-utopia where all our problems are about to be solved by “connectivity” (Watters, 2015, para 27),

selective restructuring of resources is deemed necessary. As previously mentioned, I am also concerned that accessibility is assured.

Drawing on initial discussions during EDUC5608 coursework (Pegrum, 2015), and following conversations with staff at school, I have begun creating a website titled ImaginairE using Weebly to assist in developing a course of eLearning opportunities for staff and students.

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I have also initiated heightened connectivity with colleagues using Instagram.

To enable flexible entry points from the website’s landing page, I have linked Pinterest resources along with my Twitter stream. Pages will cache tools related to

  • Digital literacy,
  • Inquiry Learning,
  • Creating presentations and
  • Research.

My goal is to avoid possible alienation of non-Humanities teachers by ensuring the content is relevant across the curriculum, hence a focus on ICT as a general capability (ACARA, n.d.,c). Blogging and ePortfolios are the recommended online platforms for students and teachers to engage in eLearning regardless of subject specificity. This focus is intended to support inquiry and agency (Barrett, ongoing; Cambridge, Cambridge & Blake Yancey, 2009; Yang, Tai & Lim, 2015).


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As with BYOD, the range of pedagogical options available will render avenues of learning accessible to all.  For Year 7 students undertaking transition, for example, a Digital Passport will be designed as an initial learning opportunity to raise awareness to issues of online citizenship. I envisage that digital ambassadors will be able to earn tokens in a gaming environment to be adaptively developed using scope and sequence documents (ACARA, n.d.,a). Much will depend on teacher capacity to innovate. Integrated cross curricular learning opportunities will be promoted to build collegial support, save time, and increase the likelihood of skill transference.

For reasons outlined above, engagement in professional learning with staff as a course of action is essential. Already, employing Instagram as an invitational initiative to link classroom walkthroughs to pedagogy is fostering adaptation. With ongoing reference to current student work samples serving to illustrate changing practices, awareness will expand, and confidence should grow.

Traffic will eventually flow from Instagram images to ImaginairE where notes, thinking, frameworks, tools and strategies are readily explored via hyperlinks in readiness for collegiate discussions as well as classroom experimentation, thereby further shaping our ecosphere; consequences of networked learning include increased volume, heightened velocity, amplified vibrance and relevance (Rainie, 2013).

Face to face engagement with pop-ups, lunch & learn and TeachMeets will also assist in building our shared pedagogical repertoire (Solomon & Schrum, 2007), and serve as alternative avenues of staff engagement in a a community of practice to heighten technology integration. Applied understanding of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) will assist us in working towards normalisation of practices (Bax, 2011).


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Sustainable, transferable practices are the optimal achievement of this eLearning approach: Engagement of teachers in an ecosphere of connectivity enhances agency (Garcia, 2014; Timperley, 2015). Peer support, attunement to relevance, production centred classrooms and connected knowledge creation are all likely to flourish given the right conditions, as staff perceptions change, especially when aided by relevant, contextualised support structures (Garcia, 2014).

Time is needed for staff to learn and adopt different pedagogical strategies. Perhaps evolution will take years.  According to Bax, successful implementation depends on

…training for teachers, administrative and pedagogical support, integration into the timetable and so on…(Bax, 2003, p. 26).


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Based on awareness that knowledge flows in organisations are relative as well as difficult to measure, and that social media expands new knowledge creation, “Institutional leaders will need to play a critical role in this institutional transformation” (Hagel, Seely Brown & Davison Lang 2010, p.18). Accordingly, adaptive shift occurs.

Selected references

Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA). (n.d.,a). Scope of ICT capability.  Retrieved October 11, 2015

Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA). (n.d.,b). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved October 11, 2015

Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA). (n.d.,c). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability: Key ideas. Retrieved October 22, 2015

Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA). (n.d.,d). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability: In the learning areas. Retrieved October 22, 2015

Barrett, H. (ongoing). E-portfolios for learning. Retrieved October 30, 2015

Bax, S. (2003). CALL – Past, present and future. System, 31, pp. 13–28.

Bax, S. (2011). Normalisation revisited: The effective use of technology in language education. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, 1(2), 1-15. Retrieved September 30, 2015

Cambridge, D., Cambridge, B. & Blake Yancey, K. (2009). Electronic portfolios: Emergent research on implementation and impact. Stirling, Virginia: Stylus.

Clarke, B., Svanaes, S., Hasbrouck, H. & Atkinson, R. (2015). Transforming learning: Ethnographic observation and interviews – Stage 1. TechKnowledge for Schools:  Family, Kids & Youth. Retrieved October 26, 2015

Deal, T. E. & Peterson, K.D. (2010). Shaping school culture: pitfalls, paradoxes, and promises. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved October 12, 2015 from Ebook library:

Dudeney, G., Hockly, N., & Pegrum, M. (2013). Digital literacies. Harlow: Pearson.

Garcia, A. (Ed). (2014). Teaching in the connected learner classroom. The Digital Media + Learning Research Hub Report Series on Connected Learning. Retrieved October 10, 2015

Hagel, J., Seely Brown, J. & Davison, L. (2010). The power of pull: How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion. New York: Basic Books.

Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers make a difference: What is the research evidence?  Paper presented to Australian Council for Educational Research Annual Conference. Melbourne, 19–21 October. Retrieved October 6, 2015

Jensen, B., Hunter, J., Sonnemann, J. & Cooper, S. (2014). Making time for great teaching. Grattan Institute. Retrieved October 10, 2015

Pegrum, M. (2009). From blogs to bombs: The future of digital technologies in education. Crawley, Australia: UWA Publishing.

Pegrum, M. (2015). EDUC5608 Integrating Pedagogy and technology coursework. UWA. Retrieved September 29, 2015

Pegrum, M., Oakley, G. & Faulkner, R. (2013). Schools going mobile: A study of the adoption of mobile handheld technologies in Western Australian independent schools. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(1), 66-81. Retrieved October 5, 2015

Pesce, M. (2013). Re:thinking. Retrieved October 10, 2015

Rainie, L. (2013). Networked learners. Raleigh Community Colleges retrieved October 23, 2015

Solomon, G. & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0 new tools, new schools. USA: International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

Timperley, H. (2015). Leading teaching and learning through professional learning. Australian Educational Leader, 37(2), 6-9. Retrieved October 16, 2015

Watters, A. (2015). Technology imperialism, the Californian ideology, and the future of higher education. Keynote delivered on October 15 at ICDE 2015 in Sun City, South Africa. Retrieved October 18, 2015 via Hack Education

Yang, M., Tai, M., & Lim, C.P. (2015). The role of e-portfolios in supporting productive learning. British Journal of Educational Technology [early view]. Retrieved October 28, 2015

Setting for eLearning #EDUC5608

October 24, 2015

Our Humanities team  undertakes professional learning as a community of practice (Wenger, 1998).


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Weekly team meeting agendas are devised collaboratively with the aid of TodaysMeet, and the role of chair is rotational, with staff members leading colleagues in discussion of what is working in our ecosystem.  Visual images are cached using, and staff are able to include these resources in portfolios to document their collaborative processes against AITSL standards (AITSL, 2012a).

A culture of sharing is fostered asynchronously online, and reinforced daily in our classes. Instructional rounds are the means by which best practices are embedded; coaching conversations are conducted with reference to walkthroughs during which student work samples become reference points for learning (City, Elmore, Fiarman & Teitel, 2010). Ironically,

Most institutional leaders today will maintain with great conviction that developing talent is one of their highest priorities. Yet, as the continuing popularity of the Dilbert comic strip and the television series The Office shows, the stultifying effect of our work environments is very real. There is a wide gap between rhetoric and reality. Institutions designed for push cannot easily accommodate pull (Hagel, Seely Brown & Davison Lang 2010, p. 25).


This paradox can create dissonance for teachers: While expectations of compliance and passivity are pervasive (Timperley, 2015), processes of planning, reflection, teaching, assessment and moderation all appear as fluid components of student-centred pedagogy within our team; colleagues remark that the team processes are a source of uplift.

New managerialism and performativity, on the other hand, are experienced as unwelcome accountability measures (Ball, 2003). Over time – and with careful cultivation of trust – what emerges is continual learning about our student learners despite glocalised norms of quality teaching (Dinham, Ingvarson & Kleinhenz, 2008; Hattie, 2009; OECD, 2009).  The challenge remains as a leader

to change compliance to agency and passivity to deep curiosity (Timperley, 2015, p. 6).

Drawing on awareness of social learning theory, where new behaviour patterns are acquired either through direct experience or observing practice (Bandura, 1971), Humanities staff can be seen as both curious and engaged. Four graduates commenced this year, joining three experienced teachers, and bringing diverse experiences in relation to both pedagogy and use of technology. Potential for rich coaching conversations exists. Flexibility of approach is essential.

According to the literature,

Teacher pedagogies will determine the extent to which the possibilities offered by technology are realised in education settings (MCEETYA, 2005, p. 3).

In 2013, with possibilities for improving student learning in mind, we embarked on action research using the SAMR model to gauge levels of technology integration which existed (Puentedura, 2011). Review processes revealed substitution was the most common mode of usage. Staff expressed confidence designing learning activities which encouraged students to produce PowerPoints and Word documents, while the internet was accessed largely for research. Anxiety about change processes underway was expressed and, in particular, expectations of technology integration clouded the ecosystem with varying degrees of fear and awe (Bax, 2011).


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Risks were perceived as threats, and upheaval generated perturbation. Gradual movement from acquisition to participation metaphors of learning has taken time to build, and shift being made emerges from foundations of relational trust (Sfard, 1998).

At present:

  • Edmodo has been successfully incorporated into senior school curriculum delivery;
  • Twitter professional links extend beyond the school’s geographical boundaries to include colleagues who have moved on to other contexts, and Twitter for beginners lunch sessions promote connectivity online;
  • a few staff have participated in TeachMeet workshops,
  • and the majority are subscribers to relevant Connect online learning communities to access curriculum resources and updates.

These effective strategies indicate that motivation and engagement for staff as well as students are achieved with the aid of mobile learning tools (Pegrum, Oakley & Faulkner, 2013). Although mobile tools are still perceived as special, our team processes reveal that

together we “strive for normalisation” (Chambers & Bax, 2006, p. 465).

By contrast, ineffective strategies highlight challenges which remain.


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Failure on my part to ameliorate differences which existed in staff skill levels and confidence with technology serve as useful signposts to design future just in time learning opportunities. Considering these differences are apparent within a broader context where national standards of performance apply (AITSL, 2012a), and continual improvements are expected (AITSL, 2012b), further challenges emerge. For example, a team member who was revered for their pedagogical skills was also incapable of accessing department emails without support. Of what use to them was the Wiki cache of curriculum resources I had prepared to promote student learning?

Conversely, an experienced and technologically proficient colleague who had conducted peer to peer mentoring in previous roles was keen to transfer these skills into our context, and confidently drew on mobile presentation tools with students and staff. How could my persistent sharing of resources via Pinterest, WordPress and mitigate her feelings of being stifled by pedagogical emphasis of direct instruction?

Skillsets, stability, attitudes and expectations – these complex attributes persist and are transmissible beneath the tip of a school’s cultural iceberg (Bates and Plog, 1990), thus they demand attention if we are to build sustainable practices.

Selected references

AITSL. (2012a). Australian teacher performance and development framework. Retrieved September 10, 2015

AITSL. (2012b). Australian charter for the professional learning of teachers and school leaders. Retrieved September 10, 2015

Ball, S.J. (2003). The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18(2), pp. 215-228. Retrieved September 26, 2014

Bandura, A. (1971). Social learning theory. New York:  General Learning Press.

Bates, D. & Plog, F. (1990). Cultural Anthropology. New York; McGraw Hill.

Bax, S. (2011). Normalisation revisited: The effective use of technology in language education. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, 1(2), 1-15. Retrieved September 30, 2015

City, E.A., Elmore, R.F., Fiarman, S.E. & Teitel, L. (2010). Instructional rounds in education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Chambers & Bax, (2006). Making CALL work: Towards normalisation. System 34(4), 465–479.

Dinham, S., Ingvarson, L. & Kleinhenz, E. & Business Council of Australia. (2008). Teaching talent: the best teachers for Australia’s classrooms. Melbourne: Business Council of Australia. Retrieved October 8, 2015

Hagel, J., Seely Brown, J. & Davison, L. (2010). The power of pull: How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion. New York: Basic Books.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London and New York: Routledge.

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2005). Pedagogy strategy: Learning in an online world. Carlton South, Victoria: Curriculum Corporation. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from le.pdf

OECD. (2009). What makes a school successful? Retrieved September 12, 2014

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the édu flâneuse

"For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate observer, it's an immense pleasure to take up residence in multiplicity, in whatever is seething, moving, evanescent and infinite: you're not at home, but you feel at home everywhere, you're at the centre of everything yet you remain hidden from everybody." Baudelaire

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