Relic or really important? Challenging the relevance of current school culture, learning and design to today and tomorrow

Is it a relic or really important? I posed this question to a group of educators, encouraging them to take stock of what they think, see, hear and experience around them everyday. We can become desensitised to our environment and it seems part of human nature to hold onto elements of the past, rather than [...]

7 steps to differentiated learning through empathy: Walking in their shoes

Being able to differentiate learning is considered important for enabling engaged and empowered learners. Approaches such as project-based, problem-based and enquiry-based learning are vehicles that can support differentiation, but there is greater benefit when the design of learning is overlaid with empathy, seeking to gain an understanding of student motivation and concerns. This post contains [...]

Paradigm shift: from solo-teacher to teaching team

My professional focus is the future of learning and learning environments. I see that the design of the spaces where learning occurs, plays a significant part in providing the context for the education our students need today. The innovative learning environment (ILE) enables an array of opportunities for student learning, supporting a variety of learning [...]

Relic or really important: Should students call their teachers by their first name

“Sara", the student shouted down the corridor, "do you have a key to this classroom?” Often when I visit schools in Europe, we are hosted by students who show us around and tell us about their school. On this particular occasion, we faced a locked door. The student noticed the principal at the other end [...]

Teaching-teams not Teaching-solo: The secret to retaining Gen Y teachers

Recently, I spent some in a school with teaching teams comprised of early to mid-career teachers who fit neatly into the *Gen Y demographic. These teachers were passionate and committed, they loved the kids and loved their job. Within the shared learning spaces, the content was well-structured, teachers had clear roles throughout the learning session, [...]

Change is in the wind, it’s time to unfurl the spinnaker and set the course in a new direction… I have some news.

One of my favourite things is to watch the yachts on Sydney Harbour, small and large, dashing and gliding. While I prefer to have my feet firmly planted on terra firma I am captivated by these vessels. I remember one Boxing Day at Nielsen Park on the harbour foreshore, braving the crowds at the start [...]

Creating an innovative learning environment anywhere: Start with what you have.

Well, It’s been a while since I put finger to keyboard for a post. I am currently knee-deep in data collection, interviewing, writing and lots of thinking for my PhD. I’m looking at how to support and equip teachers to transition their thinking and practice in innovative learning environments. Recently, I came across an article [...]

Growing a team culture for collaboration

I always ask myself the question… Are you sure you need to spend so much time on this section? The Design/Engage workshop is based on the idea: Design <insert> to engage <insert>. For example: Design professional learning to Engage teachers Design strategy to Engage your team Design a presentation to Engage your audience And of [...]

“We want to increase student engagement.” The intersection of three elements

I think we've all heard this said, "We want to increase student engagement." What do we mean by 'engagement'? Amidst marriage proposals, military operations and turning up for dinner, the relevant definition in Merriam Webster relates to “emotional involvement or commitment”.  This article “School engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence” by Fredericks, [...]