Thursday, 26 June 2008

Collaboration in Education

Next week is the NZPF Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand. Principals and other educational leaders will gather for three days to focus on Learning Leaders, Leading Learning.
I will be challenging leaders to look more widely than their own schools, their own locality and the education sector. More than ever before, educators need to be able to scan the horizon, thinking about the needs of their students for the future. Those of you who are attending this conference are invited to check out the list of websites on the right hand side of this blog for some information to keep abreast of trends.

My first keynote presentation at this conference will be on the theme of developing Powerful Professional Learning Communities. Collaboration is the way of the future and the development of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools are a catalyst for deep changes in society. At no time since the invention of the printing press, has there been such fundamental change. This will make education different and we need to prepare for this.

One of the examples of this change can be seen on the website of Laura, just finished 5th grade in the USA. She has a wonderful blog, which she started as a result of her learning at school. It has now developed into an ongoing discussion with the world - this student realises that learning isn't a school event - it is lifelong and it can impact on others. Check out her her blog Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference.

Another way in which collaboration is occurring, and which can be used in the development of professional learning communities, is the development of Knowledge Cafes. These are events developed to enhance dialogue and share knowledge.

I guess my provocative question is: How do you develop powerful professional learning communities that are future focused, and make use of collaborative technologies to grow synergies with others?

Friday, 6 June 2008

The Future of Education

This week I have been talking with educators about the role of key competencies in developing citizens for the future. The web holds many possibilities for learning in new ways - collaboration is key in relating to others, and in participating and contributing.

Many educators seem unaware of the power of the internet and web 2.0 in changing the face of education for the future. One powerful presentation that may help to stretch thinking in this area has been developed by Anthony Williams. Wikinomics and the Future of Education explains some of the trends in ICTs (especially wikis) and some of the powerful ways in which these will affect the future of learning.

I was particularly interested in the development of Curriki - the development of an open source curriculum, "where all of us -- our community of educators, parents and students -- can work together to develop interesting, creative and effective educational materials that the global educational community can use for free." The ability of this wiki to deliver curriculum globally and involve everyone freely in the process - collaborating and sharing across networks - is just one way of thinking beyond your own back yard. What are you doing to broaden out your own understandings?