Virtual Learning Communities @ Perspectives on Learning

Taking Education into the 21st Century

One of the main concerns I hear from teaching staff in general, is that they do not have the time. I say, make time. If we want to make substantial changes so that our teaching and learning practices are more relevent with our students world, then we need to make it a priority.

Gave a presentation to our staff on the 29th of January about the need for change in education and our involvement with PLP. You can find the first 13 min of it here.
It was surprisingly well recieved by a majority of our staff and administration. There were two 'old' staff members who were very cynical however, and one stated, "this is all well and good, but content doesnt change, so all we are doing is just teaching new software." Clearly, he didnt 'get it' and completely missed the point. Another staff member, who has forged his teaching career on being the smartest man in the room, with his authoratitive chalk and talk lecturing style said, "so you mean i could go into wikipedia, edit any page and say 'i think this is a load of horseshit?' " Very sad that their are educators out there that are completely resistant to anything new.....

After talking about the transformative potentials of social networks, the collaborative powers of wiki use in education and the metacognitive aspects of having students/staff writing a blog, we had disussions with different faculties about implementation. I was very surprised at the motivation of staff. We had the Art Faculty wanting to learn more about Wiki's, a science teacher wanting to talk about how to use Skype to connect her students to University students, self-confessed techno-phobes wanting help with creating web2.0 projects, our Principal wanting to learn about podcasts/audiobooks for use with his English Literature class etc. Very, very positive start to the year.

But in saying that, we are still a long way behind. Still have staff members who struggle accessing their email, still have staff members who have been using the same photocopied handouts for 15 years and still have staff members who feel threatened by the potentials of emerging technologies. But, that is the reason we have become members of the PLP community. To drive change.

If the first week is anything to go by, we have significantly changed the thinking of a number of staff and have taken the first (small) steps to 'shifting' our school.