Blog 2 #4daysreadingandblogging
What will learning look like at Rototuna Junior High School?
What will Technology Education look like at Rototuna Junior High School?
Firstly, Technology Education is just design, and design is just an inquiry. So learning @RJHS is just that – learning.
Despite this revelation, I believe that it is still valuable to unpack the baggage of the teachers’ toolbox of moulds; cookie-cutter moulds that are used to silo and pigeon hole chunks of learning. Firstly, I will look at learning, then learning in Technology, and finally suggest a pathway forward.
I believe that successful learning requires learning that meets the needs of the learner, the community, and its cumulative values. Furthermore, learning requires a curriculum that allows for student choice, an authentic audience, includes the learner in the assessment, and one that makes a difference to the community it serves. The curriculum must also enable personalised learning that caters for enrichment, extension, and learning support. However, if it is truly personalised then it will cater for enrichment and extension naturally and seamlessly which will avoid the detrimental labels that can be associated with enrichment and extension.
Integrating the curriculum is the ultimate and realistically achievable goal of breaking down the ‘cells and bells’ of traditional subject silos, the paradigm of one. Integrating the curriculum allows learners to access new knowledge and see the world from new perspectives. As teachers we need to embrace complex thinking and work collaboratively as a team of experts. This includes assessment, as evidence of capability is unlikely to emerge from traditional pen and paper.
Learning in Technology Education
Traditionally we would organise a teacher led programme of work where the students progress in complexity and skill level from year to year. Rototuna is a year 7 to 10 junior high school. We will be working with year 7/8 as one group and 9/10 as another group. I guess we can’t call them juniors and seniors! These means we have two programmes of learning; in reality the programmes of learning are exactly the same number as our student roll. We will need to ensure that our students acquire the technology skills that they need in their quest to ensure that inquiry solutions are fit-for-purpose (high quality).
The Achilles heel of outcomes is design; by working collaboratively with other teachers we can go deeper into design and have enhanced outcomes. Examples could be working with the Science teacher to design a tool to measure the water quality in the Waikato River. Working with the English teacher to make a graphic representation of a story or making props for a drama. Working with the maths teacher to gather data to justify a project, or making visual aids to represent concepts. Working with the Physical Education teacher to enhance leisure.
As a designer, leader, and teacher it is my role to lead as an expert maker. It is this continuing dialogue that explores the myriad of pedagogical tensions that include the ideas of fail often (an idea that I am uncomfortable with), finding a balance between skills and process, and ensuring that students achieve.
As a teacher I understand that knowledge is built by creating links with prior knowledge. As a technology teacher I know that to create requires an understanding of the socio-political-economic-environmental and sustainability issues. New knowledge is not de-compartmentalised; it must be real, engaging, and authentic learning that is student centric. It has to make a difference, provide opportunities to learn and encompass enough diversity so everyone can make a contribution. Students are given a context rather than an outcome, which requires them to use an inquiry approach to their learning. By working with the students and using effective questioning techniques the students are able broaden their inquiry
Technology education can be integrated into other learning areas by sharing the thinking and process of design thinking. This includes developing empathy for the users and understanding the complexities of socio-economic-political-environmental factors.
Technology Education is a constantly moving and evolving area of learning. In the past we have used contrived contexts to develop prototypes. Today students have the technology, capability, and ability to produce high quality outcomes for an authentic audience. Computers allow students to connect with experts locally, nationally, and internationally. They give the students the tools to ensure high quality professional marketable products. However, it is because of our understanding of learning, which allows the digital tools to be just that, tools.
Partnerships can include working with a community organisation or company on a problem. It is only a matter of finding a problem, developing a solution and then finding someone who will benefit in some way by either paying for it or providing the expertise or equipment to make it happen.
The Materials Technology room can be a resource and hub that supports all areas of the school. This could be Stage Challenge, school productions, Science Fairs, BP technology challenges, and students making resources for teachers or representations of their own learning. We could also create and host local competitions like design competitions or CO2 car races where the students are responsible for organising the event.
In Conclusion (which is actually my starting point for #RJHS)
- My students will work in a professional Technology lab
- Their outcomes will be working prototypes of marketable quality
- Learning will allow for student choice, an authentic audience, includes the learner in the assessment, and makes a difference to the community.
Please challenge my thinking on @beechEdesignz