Daily Archives: November 3, 2007


One of the new things that I've been involved this year is the development of several Professional Development sessions for the wider South Australian education community. This evolved out of an increased flow of requests to have a look at our interactive whiteboards and how we are implementing and using them across the school. Earlier this year it was getting to the stage where I was hosting a different school every other week with my time ''to get things done" gradually getting eroded. Add the fact that I'm easily distracted and not naturally well organised and that requests seemed to be on the increase and it was time to design an alternative.

My principal, Ann, has had prior experience in managing requests of this nature and she suggested designing a program of training or information sessions that schools would pay for and book into. She gave suggestions on how it could be packaged up, created a flyer template and contacted several districts to "spread the word". Her help here was invaluable because I was completely lost on how to set this sort of venture up. We ended up with four sessions - two shorter information style presentations and two longer half day work shops. They were dirt cheap for attendees and only really designed to recoup my release time expenses but as Ann pointed out, we didn't really know what the market was like so it was best to start out conservatively. The sessions were "Planning and Implementing an Interactive Whiteboard Program in Your School" led out by my principal Ann from a leadership angle, "Why Promethean IWBs?" exploring my school's choice of platform with the third brazenly titled "iwb 2.0" which showcases the possibilities of melding IWB techonology with the Read/Write Web.

This past Monday, I held the fourth in this series titled "Inquiry Learning and IWBs". The idea behind this was to present our school's journey and to show the potential use of ICT to change teaching practice and present improved learning opportunities for our students. I was very nervous about this one as my tenuous grip on what constitutes "inquiry learning" has been really challenged in this space here in blog posts and many useful probing comments. Anyway, I decided it wasn't my role to provide training in the art of inquiry learning but to point out how our school had connected the dots using various frameworks and adding key resources into the mix. This is how I tackled the three hour workshop.

The Jigsaw Concept
Jigsaw analogy – just like a jigsaw, some pieces are put into place first but you need all the pieces to complete the puzzle. The school wide goal is to use IWB and elearning technology to transform teaching practice.

Some questions for the group to consider:

What is Inquiry Learning?
Why bother with technology?
How do the two go together?

Jigsaw Piece No.1

IWB program @ LNPS (Aug 2005 - )

  • 2 year journey for our school
  • 13 IWBs in our school, all students have access at some point
  • IWB utilises its own native software, other desktop apps and the world wide web
  • Can IWBs transform teaching and learning?

Jigsaw Piece No. 2

ICT skills of teachers / integrating ICT into teaching and learning in the classroom

  • information literacy
  • Resource Based Learning becomes Problem Based Learning becomes inquiry learning
  • Where SACSA fits in – looking at the SOSE Companion Document pp 10-11.

Jigsaw Piece No. 3

Inquiry Learning – Kath Murdoch

  • staff training
  • inquiry process / use of strategies
  • Key points re: Inquiry Learning

Finally, how we frame the inquiry up in the first place?

UbD – Jay McTighe & Grant Wiggins

  • Understanding by Design (stages and planning template)

3 stages of UbD.

1. Identify desired results. Some are pre-determined, but are also customized for the learners. What are the important ideas embedded in the goals?
2. Determine acceptable evidence.
3. Plan learning experiences and instruction.

  • Visit to Melbourne conference for key staff members
  • Influenced inquiry learning planning template
  • Moving into use of wiki to enable more teacher ownership

Quality Teaching Framework - Jenny Gore

  • teaching/ pedagogy
  • matched with IWB research to rate lessons and provide critical reflection

Jigsaw Piece No. 4

IWB classroom research – Flinders University

  • examines IWB use in our classrooms
  • role of the research participant
  • video and rating of IWB lessons
  • reflections and interviews
  • published research
  • participation in IWB professional development

Jigsaw Piece No. 5

Co-planning Inquiry Units

  • planning template – evolving from paper to digital
  • in learning teams
  • with co-planning partners

  • support from AP in Assessment and Planning
  • teacher-librarian involvement
  • the role of the internet – resource or platform?
  • JP – Community Helpers, examples from Teacher-Librarian.
  • MP – Unit on Water, from classroom teacher.

(1) Rocket writing
(2) Possible sentences
(3) Shared reading
(4) Assessment
(5) Interactive component

Jigsaw Piece No 6.Supporting teachers’ eLearning skills and methodologies

  • eLearning Day
  • staff ICT tour
  • eLearning committee
  • EdCap surveys and tailoring T&D to the appropriate level
  • Emerging use of Web 2.0 tools

Putting the pieces together. What pieces will you need for your school’s inquiry/elearning puzzle? How can IWBs help?


It was interesting how helpful my blog was in putting this presentation together. I pulled out key pieces that would have been hard to get just from memory and a lot easier than trawling through the files on my laptop. The other good thing is that the workshop is set for a repeat due to popular demand and a waiting list for 2008 has already been started!