This evening I attended an Apple Distinguished Educators’ local event at a school in Sydney. The focus of the evening was considering how the use of technology in a 1:1 environment has provided opportunities to enhance the teaching and learning outcomes in the classroom. As a passionate proponent of great pedagogy and meaningful assessment and reflection, I was inspired by the insightful and articulate reflections by the teachers who spoke with such passion about the learning that takes place in their classroom.
I watched a showcase of presentations from teachers in English, LOTE and Religious Education departments. Even though the disciplines are quite different, the one thing that remained common was that the school wide pedagogy was apparent in their presentations. They were speaking the same language. They valued opportunities for students to explore and discover new ideas and skills along the journey. The fabulous English teacher talked about the tension that exists in balancing the time she allows students to “spend in the sandpit” with “the demands and deadlines placed on teachers in their day to day work.” by allowing “time in the sandpit” she openly values that informal, unstructured learning time, where students an make mistakes and learn from them. Just looking at the student films based on a novel study, it was clear to see how emphasizing this time and valuing it, can really promote great opportunities for creativity and learning.
In all, after spending three days of planning with my department, today just capitalised on the already wonderful few days of discussion, debate and dialogue with my own department, talking to ADE’s and to other teachers and other educators at Apple just ended it beautifully.