Saturday, February 14, 2009

Leading Change

This last week I've been thinking a fair bit about HOW we get staff to come on board with shifting pedagogy and meaningful integration of ICTs. One of our team focuses this year is increasing the number of our staff with formal recognition of their integration of ICTs under the department's Smart Classrooms strategy.

I'm very lucky to be in a school already equipped with Computers4Teachers (C4T) laptops so all of us have a department issued laptop. We're also spoilt and have projectors in almost every room, so the majority of us are using technology to deliver and facilitate our lessons - even if it is in the most basic of ways (and there are some who still don't check emails regularly despite the bulk of our communication relying on it). So, why is it so few of our teachers haven't yet been recognised as working at the first level of the Smart Classrooms Professional Development Framework? We have a growing number of teachers who are working at the second level of the framework too, but there seems to be some resistance to the next step - collating a portfolio and submitting it to the moderators.

A lot will say they're too busy to do it, and admittedly putting together my portfolio did take a fair bit of time, but the process is incredibly valuable. The reflection alone made it worth the effort - you're expected to really assess your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher. One of my projects within the school this year will be to help as many staff members as possible on the journey towards the first and second levels of the Framework.

Yesterday, I got a chance to see four different colleagues working with their Year 11 classes on the wikified English unit - and I found it revealing, especially in light of this goal. So, some of my observations:
  • The teachers who were willing to work with their class through the activities I took them through were far more excited about the unit after my sessions.
  • The classes where the teachers actively participated in the tutorial tended to be more 'switched on' and aware of the task and what they have to do.
  • The classes where the teacher didn't even have their laptop open (let alone participate in the activities or even take notes) seemed far less lively, far less engaged, far less eager to communicate.
It was interesting, and what I've seen is definitely making me more determined to help my staff take the next steps in their digital journeys.

In my last post I spoke about the snowballing effect that the use of wikis is having in our senior school currently. Given that I'm still finding some pockets of resistance I thought this video could serve as a warning to those teachers resisting taking the next step in 21st century education:

Photo: "On Being a Mother", by ilmungo @flickr

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