Two key changes in my practice, influenced by my research informed practice in MindLab, relate to the development of a mathematics programme using Khan Academy and secondly, reflection on my use of new technology with students. These changes reach in to many of the Practicing Teacher Criteria (PTC) in e-learning, but I have focused on several key criteria for each.
The first key change in my practice is the full conceptualisation of an authentic mathematics programme utilising online maths tutoring for skill development and the community for authentic context. Part of this idea was conceived 5 years ago when I was teaching full-time, but it was without the online component. As part of our MindLab research assessment, and in collaboration with my colleague Erin Yandle, we developed a reflective portfolio based around the viability of such a programme at intermediate level. This process involved critical inquiry into the pedagogy of authentic learning in math, and required working through a number of issues around bringing in community professionals in an educational setting.
Although we were unable to implement the learning programme this year, Erin is running an abridged version with her team, and I have adapted the programme to my gifted on-line students. My online students are being asked to respond to a number of project briefs e.g. design a vegetable plot, set up athletics markings on a field etc, outline potential real-life problems and generate possible work-throughs, often involving mathematical elements. We have both responded to the needs of our particular students, and our teaching situations, and both scenarios will help develop the full programme in 2018.
- Criteria 12: Use critical inquiry and problem-solving effectively in their professional practice.
- Criteria 6: Conceptualise, plan, and implement an appropriate learning programme.
- Criteria 9: Respond effectively to the diverse and cultural experiences and the varied strengths, interests, and needs of individuals and groups of ākonga.
The second key change in my practice is the realisation that technology needs to support the pedagogical approach of my teaching, not determine its focus. I knew this, and even promoted it to others I worked with, yet during my MindLab digital assessments, the focus unconsciously twisted to the undesirable. The project I had outlined to my students lost its true focus (the patterns of human settlement) and became a tedious exercise research content for slides on particular settlements to use with Aurasma, which as it turns out, could not be used in conjunction anyway. I feel that even though this ideas is one teachers know theoretically, we need to continually question our programme to ensure the end justifies the means - time is a valuable asset in the classroom!
- Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice.
Regarding future professional development, I am thoroughly enjoying working in education yet being outside of full-time teaching. Opportunities to develop authentic learning is a dream, whether it is in a more established environment such as the Green School in Bali, or in less structured settings such as part of a gifted programme. Either way I am sure what I have taken onboard during MindLab will be an important part of my journey.