21st Century Education Reform


Below is an animation adapted from a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award, explaining why there is a need to change how we teach children.

The need for reform in education has been further fuelled by the fast pace of changing technology, and the momentous impact ITC has had on society, study, work, and play in recent decades.

"The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing." Horizon Report 2011


Below is a video featuring Mark Treadwell, author of "The Perfect Storm,"  explaining the challenges that new technologies  present for modern teaching and learning.

In a world where we can’t predict what will come next, people need to become life-long learners – and teachers need to make changes in the classroom to prepare their students for this.

However, most educators are struggling to keep up with this change.
Common complaints include:  inadequate professional development and learning opportunities for educators; not enough support for struggling and isolated teachers; weak ICT skills and difficulty integrating ICT into lessons; and a resulting high quit rate of new teachers.

Nearly two-thirds of Australian teachers are considering quitting their jobs for a new career – with 51% blaming a lack of support or sense of school community, and feelings of isolation. [ Centre for Marketing Schools Survey , Sydney Morning Herald: "Rookie Teachers Quitting", The Age: "More Teachers but Fewer Staying the Course" ]

As if teachers didn't already have a difficult and stressful enough job  – now they have a steep learning curve to aquire and embed new ICT and pedagogy skills! Most feel ill-equipped to deal with new technology, and particularly how to incorporate it into the National Curriculum.

Educators can't do it alone.

For education reform to occur – as it clearly must -  we have to support teachers as they acquire and deploy new skills, knowledge, and resources, and empower them with the freedom to create 21st Century Classrooms in their schools.

I am pleased to say we have been hearing about outstanding schools, teachers, and initiatives that are breaking new ground in this area – and we will share more about them on this blog. And of course, PLANE is also being developed precisely to address these issues and support teachers on a number of levels.

If you'd like to know more about PLANE and the features that will support teachers, please have a look around this blog, and also share your ideas with us – as it is you we're wanting to help.

Global Transformation in Education

The PLANE Team recently made the below short video to explain why there needs to be a huge shift in how we teach.

The Global Transformation in Education addresses the forces of change that are causing educators globally to rethink what education for today’s students should involve. Mark Treadwell author of The Perfect Storm discusses the collision of three “storms” that are now rocking the world:

  1. The arrival of new technologies and a shift to the internet.
  2. Changes to how we learn.
  3. Ability for people to use their own creativity to do their own learning.

In a world where we can’t predict what what will come next, people need to become life long learners – and teachers need to make changes in the classroom to prepare their students for this.

This video is published under Creative Commons. Please use it and share it with others!

How are you and your school transforming your practices to cater for these changes?

Meeting with Mark Treadwell – Part 2

Thursday 30th March brought Mark Treadwell into our air space again.

After our last visit with Mark where he shared with us his thoughts on involving teachers and prospective users at all stages of our journey, we set to work and began to bring in use case scenarios to inform the technical needs of the program.

Through the creation of use case scenarios we have been able to bring together a clearer understanding of what professionl learning needs PLANE will provide and how the platform will need to look, feel and sound like to support these.

After a debrief and discussion of the last 6 weeks since we met Mark, we moved on to chat about avatars in virtual spaces. Should Avatars represent the real world persona, or should they be fantastical creature allowing exploration of a different persona? Turbulence was a little strong around this topic, but it was great to have such a deep conversation with the crew, passengers and pilots about various literature and evidence from the field.

After the lunch cart whizzed through the room we moved on to hear from Mark about conceptual curriculum, federated search engines and communication tools as components of a possible framework. His depth of knowledge around brain and cell learning behaviours engaged the whole PLANE. Once again he left us with a host of conversations to be held over desktops and coffee cups.

Once again Mark’s discussion has given us some more runways to discover and airports to explore. It is great to have someone who is able to provide these opportunities to us.

Below is a movie of some of the conversations recorded during our meeting. Participants in the discussion are Darcy Moore (Dapto High School), Clarinda Brown (Cumberland High School), Leanne Steed (National Partnerships) and others from the PLANE Crew. The movie is a rough mash up of the day and by no means an indication of the whole conversation, rather a mere snapshot of the discussions held.

Thanks again to all who made the flight possible.

Meeting with Mark Treadwell, our critical friend

Today we welcomed Mark Treadwell into the PLANE team as our critical friend. Mark is an educator from New Zealand who has worked extensively within secondary and tertiary sectors in Australia. Much of his work has been to support professional learning of teachers and to innovate classroom practice. The PLANE team is delighted he can join is and provide some critical insights to the project and to keep us focused when the turbulence gets a little jumpy.

After cruising down the runway discussing the weather and the world, we headed out for lift-of by asking the big question – What do we want teachers to experience in PLANE? How can the learning drive the project? What are the outcomes for teachers and educational leaders participating in PLANE? What will work best for each sector? Mark suggested we include teachers as creators and developers from the early stages of the project, The PLANE team is determined to make this project as collaborative as possible so his affirmation of this was welcome.

Off we flew….discussion continued as we all considered the similarities and differences between needs across all the sectors. The necessary professional learning needs of staff in Catholic Education Commission, Association of Independent schools and NSW Department of Education and Training environments as well as the needs of pre-service teachers preparing to enter the teaching profession..

Our Project manager, Roisin O’Reilly led Mark through the process a teacher may follow as they take a journey in PLANE. From the entrance area to the self-evaluation tools, immersive learning environment, multi-media learning environments and the research and library area. The more we hear about the journey staff will take and participate in, the more real it becomes. We also spoke about the integration of social networking into the environment and how this could support communication and collaboration. It was very important for us to hear Mark’s valued opinion on the concepts we have so far developed.

Once we had leveled out to cruising altitude, Richard (Learning Platforms Leader) shared with us the different platforms and options. Mark’s knowledge and experience with developing professional learning gave us valuable insight into the instruments and procedures we need to be aware of as we build our PLANE. We discussed Open SIM, Reaction Grid, Second Life, Unity, Canvas, Moodle, Sloodle, Jokaydia, Jibe, Quest Atlantis, installs, plugins, servers, logins and other technical specifications. The need to have smooth transitions as we passed from one area of the PLANE to the other was also discussed at length. This will be a challenge.

As we began our descent into the airport we introduced the team to planejourney, the Twitter, Yammer and blog world of planejourney. Twitter usernames were exchanged and a strategy for future communication established.

The taxi back along the runway was filled with discussion of communications strategies between the stakeholders and team. A decision to create a community in Yammer was made. We felt this was the best port of call for sharing resources, continuing the discussion, raising issues and building a team. We can’t wait to have this focal point to meet and share set up and working.

The mini-journey traveled today was a great opportunity to meet, share and hear from our critical friend, discuss in greater depth the needs of all sectors, revisit the focus of the program and to further get to know team members.

Today’s flight was smooth and on-time, perfect for one of our first missions….stay tuned for the next.

AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by bhollar / License this photo on Getty Images

AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by bhollar / License this photo on Getty Images