Connected Learning

Jarrod Lamshed


Back to Basics

This year it’s back to basics for me. Now a few years into my first leadership position, I still manage to get caught up in the juggle between the ‘business’ of a leadership role and the demands of the classroom. In amongst this, I’ve slowly and unintentionally ‘let go’ of a lot of things that were successful in my classroom. With that now clearly in mind, it’s time to rectify the problem.

I don’t think that it’s bad to ‘let go’ of things. We all should be doing this. Paul Clapton-Caputo talks about educators aiming to to have 20% of their practice in a school year be things that you haven’t done before. What I’m talking about is keeping an established base of NEW or CURRENT basics.

A few years ago, Edmodo was the platform for my students to organise themselves and collaborate online, now we use Google Classroom. Even though Edmodo is no longer the right tool for us, the underlying idea of a collaborative and creative, safe, online space for students to work in should be one of these new basics. Connecting globally is another. Instagram, Twitter, Blogs… there a MANY tools that let us do this. The ‘basic’ is that our students develop an understanding of global thinking and collaboration. Having developed a community of educators online over many years, this isn’t a difficult thing to do. It just needs to be brought back into focus.

We all should be having discussions in our schools about what ‘the basics’ are. What are the base line skills and resources to we need to be offering to our students?

Getting ‘back to basics’ doesn’t end in the classroom. What are the basics for me as a professional learner? My goal for this year is to re-engage with my online learning network. These are a group of people that push and challenge my thinking yet, when I get busy, I disengage. Writing on my own blog is another thing that I KNOW helps to clarify my thinking. Again, I struggle to maintain momentum when things get hectic. George Couros talks about not feeling guilty about isolating some work time to do this. I will give this a try.

Having a default mode is normal. It’s what we do. The challenge is to keep moving this ‘default’ forward so we keep improving.

2 Responses to Back to Basics

  1. Paul Clapton-Caputo says:

    The first thing I want to say is that having you blogging regularly is a very good thing. 2&20 is a provocation for educators to be lead learners. Set a target of making 20% of your learning Design, your work as an educator consisting of things you didn’t or couldn’t do 2 years ago. 2 and 20.
    I think it is important that you make the distinction between new and current basics.
    So it could look like this:

    What is the intended learning and why is it important? 2&20: how am I including a carefully considered focus on technology integration, as an ICT General Capability, as Technology learning area in the Australian Curriculum, as the 2 subjects contained within this learning area, Design and Technologies and Digital technologies and finally the 3 types of thinking made up of Computational Thinking, Systems Thinking and Design Thinking.

    What do the learners bring? 2&20: they might be digital natives but this doesn’t mean they are using tech for powerful learning that engages them, intellectually stretches them and creates self-efficacy. That is our role, we can harness the tools and the spaces they use but not from a paper paradigm. We need to think collectively and digitally.

    What could the intended learning look like at this level? 2&20 This is where the Technologies learning area hits the ground. We are able to make use of a comprehensive and contemporary curriculum designed with an increased expectation of what constitutes the basic entitlement of a learner today. So I would encourage every educator to privilege this area of learning. Think flipped classrooms, online and connected co-construction, community engagement and authentic evidence of the learners’ change knowledge.

    What evidence will enable us to assess the intended learning? 2&20 Basically anything that prevents you from heavily inscribing over their narrative. Activate their voice, use tech to go from telling to asking. What do they think? Why do they think this? Who’s voice is absent, privileged? What would change your mind, what has changed your mind as a result of the learning you have done individually and collectively?

    How will we engage, challenge and support their learning? 2&20 Simple, co-construct it with them. Make use of the brilliant online networks and resources that are available to us. Remind ourselves that if they can YouTUbe it and here is directly from an expert or a peer, ask ourselves what is my point of difference and what is my role in progressing their learning?

    Design the teaching and learning plan 2&20 We are on to this is a big way in SA It is a process for, and a way of thinking about teaching and learning that shows what educators can do to connect the Australian Curriculum (the What, and the SA TfEL Framework (the How) to better engage learners and their achievement.

    Jarrod, I think I just blogged on your blog. As always you make me think. Thank you. I feel much better now. @pkcc1

  2. Feel free to blog on my blog anytime. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

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