Wednesday, February 15, 2006

An Integral Part of Learning?

More than 60% of year 11/12 teachers would consider using Integral Theory with their classes!

Yesterday Sue (my wife) and I had the privilege of presenting aspects of Integral Theory to 50+ year 11/12 teachers in a non-government school. In spite of being a warm late afternoon and the fact that we covered 8 concepts and associated 'jargon' in 2 hours we received very enthusiastic responses.

I was surprised to discover quite a few teachers had already read some of Ken Wilber's work and a couple had already used aspects of Integral Theory with their classes.

This was the first time we've presented Integral Theory to a larger group of teachers - I presented the same concepts to several classes (yr 11/12) last year. From the mixed teacher feedback for some sections the balance of breadth to depth needs some adjustment - although I still think that a reasonable breadth is necessary to appreciate the coherence of the integral framework. There was less time for teacher discussion than with students who had a 3hr session.

More than half of those present said that they thought the concepts would be useful/very useful in their teaching. Many requested follow-up discussion so that they can develop the ideas for their classes. Some of this will be done through on-line presentations and forums over the next few weeks (although I've discovered the forum link has broken over the summer holidays).

In the last 10 minutes we touched briefly on 'stages of development' and 'information/transformation'. In retrospect this may have been a mistake in such a short time - although one teacher indicated that this was the most important part of the presentation for them.

Next week I'll begin working with some of the classes of teachers in government yr 11/12 colleges that were involved in last year's trials. We are going to introduce students to Integral Theory from the start of the year (classes start tomorrow in Tasmania) and develop the concepts as they progress through their courses.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Things are looking up...

It's official - we've turned Senge's corner! I've just returned from the first State PY10 Curriculum Implementation meeting for 2006. The review process has moved into a new phase with new structures and processes to facilitate the emergence (letting come) of learning, teaching and assessment practices to meet the needs of today's year 11/12 students.

Key changes from the 2004/5 structure include new Regional Learning Teams supported by Regional Project Officers that sit between school/college curriculum teams and the Statewide Curriculum Coordinators Team. There is a new Principal's Reference Group representing both government and non-government schools/colleges with formalised links to their respective Principal bodies, the new Tasmanian Qualifications Authority and the State OPCET Steering Committe.

Much of the meeting was used to look at possible support and coordination processes at classroom, school/college, Regional and State levels for the many project ideas that have been put forward by teachers, and curriculum teams over the last year.

Some of the many ideas from teachers of one college incuded:
  • Global Learning and Leadership - International Student Program; Studies of Society and Environment teachers
  • Human Powered Vehicle - Materials Design and Technology; Sport and Recreation teachers
  • Science for the 21st Century - Science teachers
  • Personal and Social Learning Environments - cross-college
  • Integral Conceptual Frameworks - English teachers across 3 colleges
  • Jumpstart to Visual Literacy - Visual Arts teachers

All projects address the Values, Purposes and Outcomes of the new year 11/12 Curriculum Framework and will be supported by resources allocated at school/college and State levels.

And that's just one school. With so much happening I suggested that we might use blogging and aggregators to help communication across the State and across government and non-goverment sectors. I received quite a few looks ranging from the enthusiastic to the mostly quizzical or incredulous. Blogs are not really a teacher thing - YET :-)

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

You never know who's listening... and learning...

A few days ago I 'virtually' attended a local meeting for technology educators called MEGA at the Friday Institute in North Carolina, USA. Physically I was in Tasmania, Australia. One aspect of today's so-called "flat world".

David Warlick, a member of the group, was blogging the meeting live with ongoing comments and pictures and I was commenting on his blog as he did so. He later wrote about this exchange in another blog.

"Matt's presentation was followed by a fun session with Len Annetta, and his efforts to help teachers become video game developers. During the meeting, I was moblogging (mobile blogging), writing for about ten minutes in 2ยข Worth and then submitting, thanks to the facility's ubiquitous wireless access. About halfway into Len's presentation, I noticed that I had two comments on my blog. I pulled them up to discover an educator who had caught my ongoing commentary of the presentations in his aggregator. He was Googling some of the terms that I mentioned and included some of his insights about the term, stealth learning. As this exchange continued, he offering his AIM screen name so that we could strike up a chat during the presentation. I clicked the man's name to pull up his blog, holistic and integral education, and discovered that he was in Tasmania."

I found the experience fascinating - I actually felt I was there... whispering to someone in the back row. Many of my students would have loved to have been there to hear the speakers... As David says:

"I only just realized how much this exchange underscored the importance of the first presentation -- how important it is that we engage our students not only with highly interactive software, but engage them with the world that they are learning about, make them a part of the global conversation. The world is incredibly connected today, and we are still figuring out what that means. We're fairly sure, though, that in order to succeed and prosper, you are going to have to be part of that global conversation"

I left before the session finished - via a back door so I didn't disturb anyone - and re-emerged on the other side of our flatter world :-)

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