Friday, November 18, 2016

Innovative Learning Environments - helping us change the way we learn.

My final blog for the year takes our attention to the use of Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) where digital technologies are integral and how they enhance the learning of our students. St Joseph's will be constructing ILEs as a part of the new school in 2017 and it is important that the community understand what they are and why we are building these and not the individual and isolated classrooms of the past.

I came across an article which explains it well, of which this is a taster. 

"Innovative learning environments can be characterised as having very flexible physical spaces. So, you’ll actually find that within a particular place that you have got everything from large spaces for didactic teaching (where a teacher stands at the front and teaches everybody), through to facilities for group work, through to breakaway spaces for groups of say 10 students to move, through to very quiet spots where two people can sit and work, and even through to almost retreat-type huddle spots where a person can go and work."  (Prof Wesley Imms)

The full article can be found at The Research Files Episode 24: Innovative Learning Environments

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What a Standardised Test Cant Measure

At St Joseph's we are building a culture of learning, where students are inspired and motivated to learn at and beyong formal schooling. We also live with the reality that standardised testing is an imposed requirement and includes NAPLAN and others such as Progressive Achievement Testing (PAT). We have recently conducted the annual testing in Maths, Reading, Spelling and Social & Emotional/Wellbeing. This data is one piece of the whole child picture that can be used to develop a summative report at the end of the year.

Scores on a test can provide data on how a student 'performed' on that day in that context. Performance in such tests is a small part of and is very different to the whole picture of learning which is lifelong.  The following meme illustrates all the valuable aspects of a learner that standardised testing cannot. Importantly, it is these qualities and dispositions that research is showing more and more is what future success and employment are based on.

At St Joseph's, teachers are focusing more and more on the value of these qualities and dispositions and at the same time, considering the data of standardised testing. This is the very core of learning in a modern world where knowledge acquisition is not the end in itself, rather the learning processes which are ongoing. 

In our context of Catholic Education, we add to this list the personal response to God's call to service of the poor and marginalised.

Can you think of others?