Saturday 13 August 2016

Comparing Challenges and Issues of Educational Leadership Past and Present

My name is Emily MacLean and I am an Education Technology Coach at an international school in Singapore. Working at a private school gives me a very different perspective on schooling and leadership compared to growing up in a public school board. I am doing this course as part of my Masters of Education (Information Technologies) as my role provides me with a unique leadership position where I am not responsible for any teachers but yet responsible for supporting all teachers in their use of technology in the classroom.

  • What do you think may have been the demands, key issues and dilemmas facing educational leaders/managers when you were attending school?
    • Finances for resources
    • Equality
    • Parent expectations of their children
    • Political pressures for curriculum, class sizes etc.
    • Delivering content
    • Teacher -centred approach
    • Limited support for students with learning needs and special education students
    • Accountability
  • Reflect upon the current professional setting in which you are working and note down the demands, key issues and dilemmas facing yourself as a leader/administrator. Alternatively, if you are aspiring to leadership/management, list the demands, key issues and dilemmas facing leaders/administrators in your workplace
    • Parents as stakeholders (private school setting) - expectations and demands
    • Time (in general)
    • Professional Development for teachers - Staying current with teaching practice
    • Teacher shortage ( in public domains, international schools not facing this issue); Finding highly qualified staff
    • Continually upgraded technology resources (finances)
    • Technology integration
    • Diversity
    • Developing learning environments - flexible learning, finances
    • Developing skills not content
    • Student-centered approach - diverse needs, individualised
    • Strategic planning - forward thinking, backwards by design
    • Accountability - use of data driving instruction
    • School vision
    • Changing teaching roles to more of facilitators
    • Inquiry learning
    • Competing with other private schools for enrollment
  • Are there areas that you have listed that are the same on the two lists? What areas/issues/dilemmas have you listed that are different?
    • Budgeting and finances - resources, staffing, operational needs
    • Teacher professional development
    • Student behavior
    • Parent expectations- change in parent expectations from student to expectations of the school
    • Accountability - although changes to who school is accountable to
    • Staying current trends
    • Time

  • Reflect: What key events have occurred in the world and in our lives which may have led to these differences?
    • Some of the biggest changes have been due to the advances in technology. Technology has become more readily available and more affordable. Students have technology at home and now it’s been brought into the educational setting. This changes the learning environment by extending it beyond the classroom and also impacts how teachers must teach. Teachers are now facilitators in the learning environment supporting and co-creating with their students. No longer must teachers be the sole expert but one of many in the classroom. Teachers require more professional development as the educational setting continues to evolve in order to stay current.
    • Research is becoming more prominent and more available to educators. Many teachers are becoming researchers themselves as they document their action research. Because of the increase in educational research, educators must continue to stay current by reading up on best practice and again, ensure they are receiving professional development to help them put this learning into their classroom.
    • For many countries (like my home country of Canada), there have been changes in the government since I was in school. With the changes of political parties, there is changes to funding, teacher expectation, policies and even curriculum. This continues to be an area that educators have to be aware of to ensure they are aware of the changes as they occur.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Module 1: Designs for Social Learning

As I worked through the rubric identifying where I believed myself and the international school that I work at falls on, I was pleasantly surprised.

My shading fell under ‘more recent times’ and/or ‘new learning’ with blurred lines often between the two. I believe in empowering our students to learn what they want, where they want and when they want to. This is changing the institutional locations fo learning. Whether it’s students inquiring into their personal interests at home or in the community or supporting a younger student develop their learning of a topic, the four walls of the classroom are no longer stuck in place. Rather we have a global classroom at our fingertips as we can connect with other learners and experts from around the globe.

I am fortunate to work at a school with a plentiful amount of technology, allowing the tools for learning to be under ‘new learning’. What is most important now, is that we are asking the hard questions about what is happening with these technologies. It is not enough to just have them anymore. How we are using these devices for education and personalisation of learning environments is becoming more and more under the microscope.

I strongly believe students should have agency in their education. To see ‘new learning’ shaded for the balance of agency was not a surprise. Working in an inquiry school encourages our students to ask their own questions and seek answers to solve them. Students often take action through their inquiries and teachers are merely the facilitators of this learning. The responsibility of teachers is changing as they become one of many learners and experts in the classroom.

Saturday 6 August 2016

Module 1: Future of Learning Reflection

It was interesting watching Future of Teaching which was created in 2011 and comparing it to how today’s role of the teacher is. I believe that he is correct in saying that we need to use the tools we have to teach students more effectively. In our Early Years classroom, we have a set of 5 iPads per class and 4 iMacs. On almost a weekly basis, I hear one teacher saying that she needs more in order to do her job. But instead of asking for more, we should be looking at how we can use what we have and leverage this technology to benefit our students and facilitate learning. In the Early Years classrooms, students should have time for play-based learning, exploring and inquiring in the world around them. If every child had an iPad, it would be tempting to glue them all to them. In addition, with  the current iPads, how can we use them most effectively? Are we having students simply play drill and kill games? Or are we nurturing higher-order thinking through application and creation?

Personalised learning environments is something I am very passionate about and often use technology to facilitate this. By providing students choice and voice in how their learn content and demonstrate their understanding of it, they gain a deeper understanding of the content.

Introduction - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Hi all, 
Great to see familiar names/faces popping up in the introductions already :) Hard to believe the journey is coming to an end so quickly! I'm finishing off my last 2 courses for my Masters of Education (Information Technologies) this term. I'm also taking  Educational Leadership in Contemporary Organisations. I'm looking forward to reflecting over the past year and a bit and really seeing how my thinking and practice has evolved. 
I'm currently living and working in Singapore at an international school as the Education Technology Coach. I've been in the role a year now and prior taught Year 5 for 2 years at the school. I have also worked in Beijing, Toronto and briefly in Japan. 
Mishra & Koehler's TPACK has been a reoccurring theme in my courses helping us think about how technology is integrated and the need for multiple types of knowledge to ensure effective integration. Vygotsky has always been a key player in my educational career. It has been nice to look back on a lot of educational theorists such as Howard Gardner, Jean Piaget,  and then learning new theorists such as George Siemens and his connectivism theory. As an education technology coach, this helped me think deeper into how students, teachers, and our communities are connected locally and globally and how we can best use these connections to develop a broader and more meaningful understanding of topics studied. 
Congratulations everyone on making it to their last course and best of luck this term! :)