Friday, May 09, 2008

Stephen Heppell - Question and Answer

{Again, blogged live... may edit later}

It is a stumbling block that we are still building 19th century schools for the 21st century. We have to ask the hard questions. Why do we ring a bell and expect 1000 children to be hungry all at the same time? Because it is convenient. Shouldn't have a counsel of despair but should ask the questions - talk to teachers and learners. For example, consensus document created in the Cayman Islands. You can't change the curriculum without changing the buildings. Gave example of allowing pupils to vote for the walls they want to knock down. He talked about children re-designing the toilets. They got rid of the special bullying ante-chamber. Got doors that fit fom top to bottom. Went unisex. - Bullying disappeared. 75% of school children try to get through the day without oing to the loo.

Can't do a "Dick Turpin style of teaching - stand and deliver". :-)

Use the school production as an example of collaborative cross-curricular learning - the models are there. Gave example of Be Very Afraid video on grammar rap. Is it music? ICT? English? What we can say is - it's learning.

Example of Classroom of the future (also from Be Very Afraid) - fibreglass classrooms. Open, colourful, spacious, lots of working spaces. Lots of examples of engaging pupils. E.g. classroom in darkness, children hiding under desk, archive film footage of goose-stepping Nazis, Teacher walking across desks shining torches... while the children read the Diary of Anne Frank. If Anne Frank had a mobile, what would she have txted?

Me, we, see. My stuff, stuff for our community and stuff we share. We need to see social networks like this. Places that re personal and places that are shared. {Way of avoiding the Creepy Treehouse Effect?} Gave example of closed Heads Together community where a forum on bullying filled up messages from head teachers being bullied. The "we" space in the community allowed them to discover things they didn't know - had no idea of the level of bullying going on.

Stephen thinks we need to let go of the productivity definition of education. He thinks that when we do let go, we see huge leaps in engagement and learning but acknowledges it is difficult to get people to let go. He thinks we need to find excuses to do it just now, but when people experience it working, they don't want to go back. Agility is the key.

If teachers were literate what would they be able to do? Asked children and they should be able to do? Said things like, post a clip to YouTube and comment on one. Manage a Flickr group (and spell Flickr). Switch on and off predictive texting. Find and use a safe online payment site.

See Photosynth. Creates a model of something by combing images from Flickr. The example from the video was a re-creation of Notre Dame Cathedral from people's holiday snaps.

If you search for "new university building" in Google images, you always get pictures of the outside. Example given of Loyds building which grew from a coffee house culture. New building is much more adversarial. Best examples are from successful new media start ups. Their spaces are flexible - agile. The physical design can stifle this or support groups coming together for a project and then disbanding. Not open plan, but flexible, reconfigurable spaces.

He gave two reports we should look up... I'll look them up and post them here later... probably. :-)


Chris said...

f teachers were literate what would they be able to do?
Do you mean literate in the conventional sense, or technically literate? (We need another word, I think!)

Prof Stephen Heppell said...

Gosh... did I say all that? Nice blogging thanks! I REALLY enjoyed the event - everyone seemed so engaged. Oh and by the way, a better link to BVA is this one:


Gareth Long said...

Interesting post - the work in the Cayman Islands does reflect a total holistic transformation of the entire education service, including considerable consultation of all education stakeholders, to students involvement in new flexible learning environments (not a Victorian style classroom in sight), and including student friwndly bathrooms!

Changing teacher perspectives and helping them 'let go' is just part of a planned professional development package.


Maybe of interest: