This week we finished our Term 4 webinar series. During the session I was thinking about how so much of the publications around integrating Digital Technology learning with your local curriculum have focused on this idea of being '2020 ready' (and we know, few if any of us were ready for what 2020 has actually brought).
Both Leading local curriculum design in the revised learning area technology and the DT implementation support tool describe four stages a school would go through as they are weaving digital technology learning into the school's local curriculum:
Not yet started
A school has chosen a leader for this change and is beginning to explore the revised curriculum content. While not explicitly stated in the above documents, I would expect the school to consult with their local community on how this new learning fits with the current local curriculum.
I prefer using the term Just starting, I believe this helps us all to recognise that some work is being done, but there is still more to do.
The school has recognised the new learning in their strategic planning; they have reviewed their local curriculum, compared to what is currently being taught and looked at the necessary changes; consulted with students and other schools, e.g. within the local kāhui ako; established teacher confidence and competence in regards to the new learning, examined current PLD practices and chosen suitable PLD to support their teachers.
Schools have DT learning in their strategic goals and planning, and have resource plans in place; they are mapping DT learning progress outcomes across the school's curriculum; are communicating with whānau and community on what has changed and why, and are finding real-life learning opportunities outside school to apply the new learning; teaching the revised curriculum content is trialled, student progress is measured and effectiveness of teaching and learning is measured; suitable PLD is offered to teachers and middle leaders, and the school leaders are actively participating, as well as checking on the effectiveness of putting learning into practice.
During this week's webinar I tried substituting this with '2021 ready', but this doesn't quite feel right. I believe the authors must have tried to say "this is what needs to be in place at a school that is ready to implement the revised technology learning area" (with a deadline of 2020) - and now that 2020 is almost over, is 2020 ready still the best term to use? Ready for DT learning sounds a little wooden - what would be a more eloquent phrase?
Leading and Innovating
A school has a digital resource plan to support DT learning; their local curriculum is a meaningful collaboration between school and community, future-focused for learners thriving in a transforming digital world; technology learning is cross-curricular, and learning experiences connect ideas across the breadth of the curriculum while developing students' KCs; PLD supports teachers to innovate alongside their students, relevant information about DT learning is shared amongst all across the school (staff, students and community) and records show how everyone's participating in ongoing PLD makes a difference to teacher planning, teaching and to student learning.
While the NZ education system operating under 'Tomorrow's Schools' leaves individual schools a lot of freedom in what and how they teach, for me this description include some of the most exciting indicators of what the Ministry of Education would like schools to operate like:
In collaboration with the community, schools will develop a local curriculum with connecting ideas and technology learning across the curriculum, teachers will be innovating with their students, and ongoing PLD will make a difference to planning, teaching and learning.
I realise not everyone might share my excitement about this, in fact I personally have had conversations with teachers who very clearly see Digital Technology learning in the realm of technology teachers. It reminds me of the discussions our profession have had about the place of literacy for example; once upon a time firmly the domain of English teachers, nowadays students can gather literacy credits at NCEA levels across a number of subjects.
I am wondering about whether all NZ schools will see 'Leading and Innovating' as the stage they want to achieve, or, with our national affinity to the Tall Poppy Syndrome, will they be happy to remain on the level below?
Where to next for schools:
Now is the time to plan what next year will look like. Start with a review of where you are at, and then select your next steps. We have created a simple template you can access here to help you.
While a lot of the Digital Technology PLD is finishing at the end of 2020, the strong connection to Local Curriculum and the importance of Digital Fluency mean that schools can continue to be supported in their PLD journey by applying for accredited PLD - feel free to reach out if you would like the Raranga Matihiko team to help you submit an application (https://rarangamatihiko.com/). We are also available to provide PLD outside the accredited PLD scheme.
There are many useful resources available online and as print copy from Down the Back of the Chair
Our Raranga Matihiko resource page
has recordings for all eight webinars under Leadership
(as well as many other useful resources).