Friday, 29 April 2016

The iLearn Showcase


Team Time’ is a time in each grade in the Primary School when the DLC is available specifically to a  team to facilitate collaborative and individualised (Hixon & Buckenmeyer, 2009) teacher-generated opportunities to learn from and with each other (Pickering, 2007). These shorter, smaller and more frequent meetings are the kinds where collaborative work is more effective than larger, infrequent meetings (Cordingley et al, 2005; Devereux, 2009).


Most weeks these are informal affairs, that provide a forum for collaboration; teachers are able to discuss technical and curriculum questions, classroom management issues and assessment practices, as well as how to use available technology, and share tips and short cuts they have learned with/from their students (Ciampa & Gallagher, 2013). One teacher’s efficacy (often a 'Tech Mentor'—a teacher designated as having a particular role in the development of ICT within the grade level or department—but not always) with a particular tool can quickly became ‘viral’ with two or three other teachers eager to learn from a colleague’s expertise, very much imitating the way they observe their own students learn from each other.

The problem in a school as large as ours is finding ways for these powerful practices to expand beyond the bounds of one grade, to impact teaching practice in other grades as well. And so it was the 'ICT Showcase' was born, although iLearn Showcase would probably be a better name.


Photographs courtesy of Dave Caleb, DLC - East Campus



The annual showcase effectively extends ‘Team Time’ from grade to school level, including subject specialist teachers. All teachers attend and share by ‘mingling’ in small informal groups about the ways they have been integrating digital technologies - opportunities for purposeful talk are plentiful, and focus on specific aspects of technology enhanced learning (TEL) and the specific types of digital tools that they feel have proved effective in realising this. Plans for further development, or repurposing of other team’s uses of ICT are facilitated by the teachers themselves, who are currently using these ICTs, importantly not the DLCs, who act purely as mediators to facilitate learning conversations around what can be possibly be achieved with ICTs, in other grades and contexts.

If you'd like to see some of these examples, please view the relevant videos below, each one is about 10 minutes in length, and gives a good indication of the ways technology is currently being used at that grade level. Bear in mind we still have more than one term to go before we end this year, you can be sure there will be many more excellent examples at each grade level by then; many of them as a direct result of this showcase.


References

Ciampa K and Gallagher T L (2013). Professional learning to support elementary teachers’ use of the iPod Touch in the classroom, Professional Development in Education, DOI:10.1080/19415257.2012.749802

Cordingley P, Bell M, Evans D and Firth A (2005). 'The impact of collaborative continuing professional development (CPD) on classroom teaching and learning. Review: How do collaborative and sustained CPD and sustained but not collaborative CPD affect teaching and learning?' Research Evidence in Education Library London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. 

Hixon E and Buckenmeyer J (2009). Revisiting technology integration in schools: Implications for professional development. Computers in the Schools, 26(2), 130-146.