I have just returned from a very wet Brisbane where I was honoured and excited to be asked to facilitate a 4-day workshop for four schools who are involved in a Tablet PC pilot. Having spent 12 months exploring software from the fabulous Heulab people in Singapore, the focus for this workshop was that scary topic ….pedagogy!
Although there are many learning theories to choose from, I decided to concentrate on Understanding by Design developed a four-day, task based course, and I had spent some weeks developing the necessary materials on wikispaces.
Despite some early panic, the four days went better than I could have hoped, and my concern about running out of things to talk about dissipated quickly when I realised I could make use of my Google Reader, and grab relevant, as-it-happens conversation. Each night I opened the browser and right on my iGoogle desktop the most wonderful stuff just kept turning up.
On my first night I discovered two guest writers on Scott McLeod’s most informative site. This caught my eye,
“Looking at Wiggins and McTighe’s ……. approach to curriculum and unit design we liked how big “essential questions” and “enduring understandings” had helped us plan and design units when we were teaching math and social studies. What if this same “best practice” approach could be applied to the way technology was used and talked about in the classroom?”
And how great to see that they were going to keep this discussion going for the period of my workshop. Thanks for sharing your ideas Justin and Dennis. And of course I can’t forget Kim over at Always Learning, who has collaborated with Justin and Dennis to create the model they are developing so nicely. One of Kim’s earlier posts outlined the background for us and clarified it with
“Our goal was not only to show the process for embedding technology, but also to ensure that teams use the backward design process in their unit planning.”
These well-respected references helped to reinforce my efforts and all participants took on tasks associated with backward design of next term’s programs with focus and determination. And then, during the week Miguel popped up with another gem ….A Day at the Zoo – Schooling by Design, allowing us to widen the concept.
Then just for good measure I threw in a discussion starter from Sylvia at GenYes. and add to that the invaluable ideas and advice from the inspiring LG who is always one step ahead of me and such an important part of my personal learning network and you can see that I was far from alone.
Being something of a neophyte at all of this, I took great comfort from the support provided by my ever-widening network …….. and I made this very visible to the participants. I expect we will have some new faces on the edublogscene very soon.