Saturday, January 5, 2008

The changing educational context

What factors have impacted on educational institutions with which you are most familiar with?
Educational factors
Explosion in volume & sources of information
This relates directly to the more direct use of the Internet in the classroom as a resource both for teachers and students. Thankfully in my situation we are required to use Primary resources first. This helps students to make more informed choices about what to use from the Internet.
Pressures to teach more students, more flexibly, with fewer resources
Yes, this has noticeably increased for me in the past 17 years. I am seeing more ADHD and Autism in my classes. Unfortunately I am no better able to deal with this. I must rely on my own initiatives and experience. Autism is particularly difficult and I have had many kids with varying levels.
Teacher as facilitator not controller of learning
For me this is a happy transition. I no longer have to be the ‘expert’. My most challenging part of teacher as facilitator is dealing with the parents as only a few show up at the parent workshops at our school. They still see the teacher as the expert and cannot understand when I step back and let the students take over.

Technological factors
Increased availability of more powerful ICT tools
Increasing availability of more powerful internet connectivity
My motivation to take on this Masters has come about from the above two points. I felt the need to learn more about current technologies. Being in West Java I had little access to workshops about this. I have found even in the IBO circle that there are few workshops as a lot of teachers are behind in this area. I intend to apply to be a IB Trainer after completing my Masters so that I can change this.

Changing content
Change from learning facts and a stable curriculum to needing to learn how to learn.
This Indonesian curriculum is all about rote learning. That’s what makes it difficult to have a IB school in this setting. Unfortunately the government is not very supportive and my school still must run the national exams in Grade 6. These exams are based on the national curriculum. It has created quite a headache for us!

Knowledge is "static and universal" to knowledge is "changing and context bound".
This is central to inquiry learning. The emphasis in my school is the local area and the local primary resources. I really like empowering the students and assisting them to become the ‘experts’. I am only just beginning to help them to share their expertise with a wider audience via the Internet.
What technologies are people using to try to respond to these factors?
I am using more digital media than ever before. Using videos in blogs, podcasts, e-books, and digital portfolios. This year at school even the Year book will be a digital one. Hey, this saves heaps in printing costs!