We are often asked to consider what evidence we have to prove that our teaching initiatives are working towards positive outcomes for our students – sometimes it is easier to identify than others.
I am currently beginning a Professional Learning adventure – expanding my horizons and participating in the Professional Learning Flagship Program: Leading Curriculum Change run by Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). It is an on-line learning opportunity and an amazing mix of people have already begun the journey – class teachers, school leaders, primary, secondary and from all over Australia. One facet of the course is the on-line forum, a feature I am accustomed to from other online connections. I found it interesting to see that the participants in this course, mostly very experienced teachers and many with previous leadership positions needed to be coached in on-line forum etiquette and style. It makes sense as this is obviously new to many teachers as our learning has been conducted in different formats. The skills needed to participate in forums and collaborative learning spaces have not necessarily been practised.
I then thought about the 5 – 12 years olds at our school, they are already being coached, modelled and are experiencing on-line collaboration. They will be ‘naturals’ at this form of learning as they have started young. Equipping our students to be lifelong learners is one of our mission statements (and I know it is shared by many). Exposure to Web 2.0 tools that encourage co-operation and to projects like Quadblogging which connect learners and expand their horizons are part of our strategies. The evidence however, will perhaps not be visible to us while they are in their primary years, the evidence will be when they move to their future lives with such confidence, such familiarity in the ways of on-line learning.
We may not see the fruits, but we have planted the seeds.