Daily Archives: February 23, 2009


Back in 1999, started to look at concept of Paradigm Shift ; last macro paradigm shift was 500 years ago but we are at the start of a new macro paradigm shift. Mark works mainly with NZ, Ireland and Australia. In 1998, schools were struggling to put technology in but it didn't really make any difference to teaching and learning. However, technology has improved and costs have dropped. 500 years ago, the printing press was invented and lowered the cost of information, saw the emergence of schools, also sparked the Reformation, allowed people to present new ideas, traders travelling overseas brought back new ideas, some monarchies started to pay people to think.

Robert Branson looked at the paradigms associated with education, wrote paper called "The Upper Limit", pointed out that testing was about recall. Books were a finite resource so libraries were used to maximise this resource.

Big difference between knowing and understanding.

Internet dramatically lowers the cost yet again of knowledge - will mature in about 14 years (2020). Books were part of a resource scarce-environment, so we moved into teaching thematically which makes the copy / paste methods of "knowing stuff" very accessible and problematic in the internet era, as information is now anything, anywhere and anytime. What do we actually need to know? Curriculum is full of "stuff to be learnt". Internet offers new efficiencies and gains - it's now not about our teaching, but their learning. Kids need to leave us as lifelong learners - but one mistake we make is that we presume kids know how to listen and how to think.

Massive shift from the majority service sector to the Creative sector.

Thinking ~ we don't spend much time being logical, sensible and rational. We deal with people every day in the classroom so it is important to know that everyone has a unique world view. What concepts do we need kids to understand?  In NZ, the concept of concepts of subjects were kept (backlash from parents) and competencies were open for all NZ teachers to contribute their own ideas (ownership).

Concept > Learning Intention > Contexts > Content > Sustainability.

Personalised learning is all about who's in front of you. How do we get the data to follow the student? NZ uses a LMS (3 vendor options for NZ schools) for 24/7 access via a login and access to updated student data, reducing the need for teacher written reports. Pointed out that with today's swing back to high stakes testing there seems to be a belief that if something can't be assessed, it doesn't tend to be valued in schools. However, we need to explicitly teach CONCEPTS, not focus solely on the content.

The central vision statement in the NZ curriculum is "confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners".

Inquiry Learning - Mark demonstrated how inquiry is broken into a developmental process appropriate to specific age levels. He gave an example of kindergartens using mobile phones to pixt images to their profile on the LMS, the parents then get a txt message to inform them that their child's profile has been updated. Interestingly, Mark's model does not have the students searching the internet as teachers handpick sites for student use, in order to build up critical literacy, teachers need to review pre-chosen resources.

Final points re: inquiry according to Mark:

  • the process is the most important component
  • keep building on throughout the years in school
  • very social process, technological process
  • be aware of the developmental process of the kids - if you are running around too much, then what you are doing isn't really working.

FOOTNOTE: After stirring the pot with a few staff members re: the limited future of the book, I then bought my own copy of "Whatever" from Mark. Yeah, yeah, call me a hypocrite. I've been called worse.