Saturday, 14 November 2015

Activity 6 - Contemporary issues or trends in New Zealand or internationally

Core Education identifies ten trends for 2015 and I have chosen two issues that I find most relevant to my practice.  

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(Image from Core Education Website, 2015)


The first issue is Learner Agency and the second issue is Maker Culture.  Both these issues are particularly relevant to my practice as I have changed my pedagogy and classroom programme substantially this year to a more student directed learning environment where my students have increasingly taken control of their own learning.  

Learner Agency
Core Education (2015) identifies Learner Agency as a shift away from teachers owning the learning process to students having more ownership.  “When learners have ‘the power to act’ in their learning, they have what is known as ‘agency’” (Core Education, 2015).  


A colleague and I made the conscious decision to establish a Modern Learning Environment at our school two years ago.  We changed our traditional classrooms, which were adjoined, into our own MLE with the blessing of our Principal.  Last year was the experimentation year where we tried various things but never really got to where we wanted to be; which was allowing our students to become self-directed learners.   As this year has progressed my colleague and I have made a concerted effort to establish a self-directed learning environment and mindshift in our students.  This is working very successfully now and we have had teachers from many schools visit our classroom with a view to doing similar things in their school.  Indeed this is in line with one of the three issues identified in an ERO report in 2012, “Issue One: The need to shift the focus to student-centred learning.”   Many schools, including EPS are now working towards providing Professional Development for teachers with a view to enable students to have more Learner Agency.


Maker Culture
“The Maker movement has grown out of a desire to use technology for active creation rather than passive consumption” (Core Education, 2015).  This is a huge issue in New Zealand education as technology becomes more available and advanced.  As an ICT Lead Teacher at my school, one of the concerns I have is the danger of only using technology to consume rather than create.  As I have grown in experience and confidence in ICT over the years I have made a conscious effort to use technology in my classroom for genuine purposes that enhance learning rather than just using it for the sake of it.  Many teachers are still learning how to use technology effectively in their classrooms. To prepare our students for the future in this 21st Century, we need to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to be able to use technology to create and help solve problems rather than just consume information etc.  


References


CORE Education. (2015). CORE's 10 trends 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
Retrieved 26 October 2015 from CORE Education: http://www.core-ed.org/thought-leadership/ten-trends


Education Review Office (2012).The three most pressing issues for New Zealand’s education system, revealed in latest ERO report - Education Review Office. Retrieved 26 October 2015, from http://www.ero.govt.nz/About-Us/News-Media-Release.

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