Dr Jim Watterston

News, views and ideas in educational leadership

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Recent Reading – Quality Teaching For Personalised Learning

Report: Quality Teaching for Personalised Learning – Leveraging Technology for Exceptional Results

In this report there is a very refreshing feeling that it is the students who are driving the change, and that this study intends to “bridge the gap between student preferences and learning with the realities of the classroom”. In our fast changing globalised society, technology adoption by students plays a key role in shaping the future of education. Leading this change through “building capabilities within the profession” is the challenge of our time and this report provides exciting examples of Australian best practice. The highlights include:

  • Flexible learning spaces are being embraced as ways that we reshape education into a more collaborative, interactive and technologically enabled practice.
  • Use of peer-observation, group reflection and lesson analysis are key drivers of internal change and Roseworth PS – an Independent Public School in Perth – leads the change by utilising two one-way glass walled classrooms equipped with videorecording technology. Worthy of notice is also the fact that this “clinical observation” setup is the product of a University partnership.
  • Online interactive platforms such as Moodle are being successfully utilised to reshape the way curriculum is developed, structured and delivered. Moreover, these technologies have also been successfully used to redefine the confines of the classroom through virtual learning space, multi-media integration and remote access to resources and feedback.
  • Princes Hill Primary in Melbourne leads the change in terms of differentiation by using a combination of flexible learning spaces, or “learning neighbourhoods” as they call them, enquiry based learning, negotiated outcomes and technology to meet each student at his or her own level.

As these examples demonstrate, the key message of the report is that educational change is happening “now” and that there are important lessons to be learnt from these examples. To foster this change on a state-wide scale, the report’s “Blueprint For the Future” makes 15 thought-provoking propositions. To mention a few:

  • Rethink facility planning to accommodate dynamic, technology-enabled learning models
  • Adopt a clinical teaching, internship model of education as the standard for the nation
  • Build a national clearing house for great ideas and programs in professional capacity building for teachers
  • Develop strategic partnerships with the corporate and business sectors, and for international partnerships

Technology is not only redefining the demands of the teaching profession but also, when leveraged correctly, broadening the opportunities for school improvement. I am eager to witness the contagious nature of these changes.

President of the United States visits Campbell High School

On 17 November 2011 students at Campbell High School had a day they will never forget when President of the United States of America, Mr Barack Obama, visited the school during his trip to Canberra.

I also had the opportunity to meet Mr Obama which was a great privilege.

Students at the school were told of the visit only 20 minutes prior to his arrival and students in a journalism class were given the exciting, but daunting, task of coming up with some questions to ask the President.

Mr Obama was engaging and open in his conversation with the students and the students were fantastic ambassadors of Campbell High School, as well as the ACT public education system

Congratulations to Campbell High School Principal Heather Paterson and students for assisting in the visit!

All photographs on this post are accredited to Mr David Foote, AUSPIC

President of United States with Jim Watterston, Julia Gillard and school students

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