This year, our school is receiving a large amount of funding through the National Learning Partnerships program, to improve outcomes for students and professional standards attained by the teachers.
Under the program, all the staff who participate receive relief from face-to-face teaching for four periods. The four periods are split so that two periods are spent working on the Quality Teaching model and the other two on improving student outcomes. Each staff member has had an interview with the Deputy Principal who then works out how the individual learning goals can be allocated between the two initiatives.
I'm quite excited by the program as it is flexible enough for me to pursue my own goals over the course of the year. I believe that those goals are in keeping with the aim of the program. From the students point of view the aim of NLP's is to improve literacy, numeracy and engagement in the classroom. From the Quality Teaching model I will be improving my own understanding of the pedagogy as well as improving other teachers understanding of the resources available to them that will assist them in their goals as well.
So, what would I like to achieve this year?
All the work last year on Personal Learning Networks and Web2.0 resources really impressed me on the potential audience that blogs and blogging provides. I feel that this may be the hook necessary to engage students in improving their literacy skills as they communicate their understanding of their studies to a much bigger audience than just their teacher.
Goal 1. Get some students using blogs as a their learning journal.
The amount of useful tools on the Internet is amazing and there are some wonderful applications that are so much more interesting and satisfying to use than the usual MS app suite. I've already had some interest from other staff after demonstrating various gadgets and hope to share more of that with some of my colleagues
Goal 2: Help staff and students become proficient users and creators within the various Web2.0 tools available
I am getting an interactive whiteboard in my classroom and whilst I am familiar with the software suite that comes with it , I haven't fully explored the potential that an IWB offers a mathematics classroom. I want to make sure that it becomes an essential component as opposed to a useful gimmick.
Goal 3: Become a proficient user and creator of IWB materials relevant to mathematics
I have a senior mathematics class this year and am hoping that I can maintain interest in the subject (through my achievement in the above goals). My experience in the past is that the students get a little disheartened with the amount of work involved and give up, either changing to an easier mathematics course or giving up the subject altogether. I am attending one of the extension classes so I can observe my Head Teacher in action and also brush up on some maths that I just haven't used on a regular basis for several years.
Goal 4: Reduce the normal attrition experienced by our senior maths classes by maintaining interest and understanding in the subject through the use of technology and active engagement.
I've already signed up a fellow teacher who is exploring youtube and wanting to learn a little more. I'll post a notice in my staff common room to see if I can drum up a little more interest.
I'm also a member of our ICT and PBS (positive behaviour for success) committees and will be able to offer some solutions to problems or opportunities that arise in those forums.
I'm hoping to adapt the 23things program offered a few years ago by the Virtual Services Task Group (SJPL & SJSU staff), who modified The Learning 2.0 program designed by Helene Blowers, Technology Director, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. I've read through most of it and think it has a lot to offer anyone who takes it up. I know that I will benefit from actually doing it as I am still only a little way into my own learning journey.
So wish me luck and, as always, please feel free to send suggestions or offer corrections