Friday, October 8, 2010

Breakout 6 - Derek Wenmoth (Future Focussed Schools)

Derek Wenmoth presented a challenging talk (available on slideshare) on future focussed schools. OECD future schools sceanrio produced six possible sceanrios:

1. Status Quo - bureucratic systems continue
2. Status Quo - meltdown scenario
3. Re-schooling - schools as core social centres
4. Re-schooling - Schools as focussed learning organisations
5. De-schooling - Learning networks and network society
6. De-schooling - Extended market model

Of course, the likely outcome is a combination. However, if you could start from scratch, without constraint of inherited plant, existing buildings and dedicated real estate, you are pushed back to first principles and if you could do this what would you do? Knowlsey had an interesting approach worth reading about with their 7 schools, shutting them all down on Friday and reopening 4 community learning centres.

If we are condsiering future focussed schools five areas we could consider are:

1. Vision, planning and governance (there are competing philosphies e.g. instead of driving change technology enables, supports and accelerates change; instead of seeing education as broken we need to see it as an investment in the future, teachers are not a problem to be fixed but supported professionals, students are more than a future workforce...). "Organisations that are built to change have a clear sense of who they are and what they stand for" Lawler & Worley, 2009, p.193 (Built to Change). A book worth considering, an oldy but a goody, Beyond the Stable State - Donald A. Schon - the idea that once so and so happens/finishes then we'll be back to normal is a falicy.

Another great question is how do we become a learning organisation? They have five features:
1. awareness throughout the organisation,
2. environment - flatter structures with openness encouraged,
3. leadership - Shared and resources are committed to enable them to lead,
4. empowerment - locus of control shifts to workers,
5.learning - through learning labs which are small scale real-life settings (Again based on a book by Schon)

2. Curriculum - the effective pedagogies & key competencies are great but there are inevitable tensions with technology, cuuriculum, and pedagogy. Again work on TPCK explores these tensions.

3. Buildings and architecture - at the forefront, what are your learning principles and how do you want to learn? There are so many examples of new schools with craetive design approaches including Albany High School.

4. ICT infrastructure - should be flexible, agile, simple, reliable, sustainable, scalable - openness. Need to consider movement towards cloud computing, mobile technologies and personalisation of learning.

5... missed this, maybe it was interconnectvity with other groups?

Derek finished with a caution - dangerous enthusiasms, book reviewed by Otago University. It's not about going back and telling them the jobs they should be doing but instead inspiring them with the vision for the future.

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