Wednesday, June 13, 2012

School Visits

We seem to have a lot of visitors through our school. Over the past 3-4 years, this number has increased dramatically and I believe it is because we are a school who have always been at the forefront of new learning, new ideas and new initiatives. I have written previously about leadership that empowers, and I seriously believe that with leaders who have real future thinking and vision for change in education, then a school will move forward, grow and change constantly, fostering growth, excitement and change in its staff and students. Because of our school being one that has embraced innovation and change, specifically in eLearning, we seem to have lots of teachers and school leaders visiting us.

They come to look, they come to question, they come to observe and listen. They see learners engaged in purposeful learning and teaching that supports and nurtures this. I am lucky to be able to step back from my class while they self-manage and collaborate around me, to talk to these visitors. But more than that, my students talk and explain their learning to the visitors. There is nothing quite as powerful as 'student voice'. They communicate their thinking, they speak easily about how they are discovering, what they are curious about, why they have chosen certain tools to help them. They discuss what is important in their learning, how they specifically like to learn - whether with others or alone, whether they are a visual learner or a problem-solver and so on.

Visitors come with the expectation that they will see computers, ActivBoards, iPods, iPads and gadgets and gizmos. But they leave knowing that these tools are only the tools. They are NOT the learning. And our students can still collaborate, think, problem-solve, problem-create, self-manage, communicate and much, much more, without the tools and regardless of what gizmos there are available. But they can also use all of these skills to create, present, collaborate, think, organise, interact, communicate, resolve, evaluate, self-assess with a huge variety of tools and apps too.

(image/diagram above from http://www.tki.org.nz/ )
Our visitors come with an expectation and I think they leave with a bigger picture. Our students all around the world are going to be able to use a million amazing apps and tools that we know nothing of, but the skills we teach them towards our Key Competencies with ensure that they are truly broad thinkers and lifelong learners. 

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