Friday, June 20, 2008


Have just facilitated a workshop on ICT Infused Inquiry with Gail (National Library) at the Waimarino cluster conference. Thoroughly enjoyed it and think those who attended did too. Had thought I would return to Rotorua afterwards but realised that would be crazy so have joined Allanah's workshop on podcasting. As often happens I am off on a tangent and exploring ways of recording Skype conversations for editing and playback so we can revisit some of the great learning conversations we are having in class. Searching the net I have come across these:

Pretty May is absolutely free download tool which records both incoming and outgoing conversations as .wav or .mp3 files. The maximum recording time is 30 minutes.

Pamela 2.0 Professional: Downloadable - $24.95 Download

You can use Zamzar to convert your photostory to a version that can be uploaded into podomatic. Zamzar uses 4 easy steps.
  1. Select the file or URL
  2. Choose the format to convert to
  3. Enter your Email
  4. Click convert. You will receive an email with the link that you can go to to download the converted file There is an amazing resource of music here and all royalty free.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I've been pondering the place of pedagogy as opposed to andragogy within 21st century learning environments. Is it a case of either/or both within the classroom?

The trigger for this was in watching a group of teachers observe a classroom setting. The children were away on the task to hand, engaged, interdependent on their fellow team members to uncover new ideas. The majority of the observers were unable to resist and they inched their way forward until they too became involved. The interactions within the groups now changed. The children, instead of looking and talking with one another, now focused their attention, often for the reassurance that their answers were correct, on the teacher.

My thoughts? How much faith do we really have in our children's ability to learn?

Pedagogy is described as the art or science of being a teacher. From the Greek "to lead a child," pedagogy relates to the science of teaching children.
Androgogy, the science of teaching adults.

Pedagogy is generally teacher-centred, Androgogy learner-centred.

Pedagogy has the teacher deciding who should learn what, when and how.
Andragogy has the learner in charge of their learning.

Historically I can see that there would have been clear distinctions. After all adults knew it all, and students were subservient within these understandings. Yet, I wonder now if those distinctions are no longer clear, that perhaps the two are battling or merging within today's 21st century world, with a match winner in Andragogy.

Popularized by Knowles, Andragogy assumes that adults, unlike children,
- enjoy learning which has relevance to real-life tasks
- are self directed, can self-evaluate
- provide a rich resource for one another (because of their experiences)
- prefer learning to be organized around life/work situations rather than around subject matter
- prefer problem-based learning which is applicable to their lives.
- have internal motivators for learning: self value, recognition, better quality of life etc

Following an Andragogical approach, a teacher becomes the facilitator of learning, providing materials and resources, assisting to keep discussions in the right direction, staying out of the way to let learning happen

Pedagogy on the other hand includes a wide variety of theorists e.g. Bloom, Dewey, Vygotsky, Piaget, Steiner, Montessori and extends to a wide range of practices. However, from what I have read pedagogy seems to fall very much within the traditional approach to classroom practice.

The student's learning success is dependent upon the Teacher...
- telling them what they have to learn in order to advance to the next level
- directing, controlling and assuming responsibility for what is taught and how it is learned
· evaluating the learning.

"How does a connected, constructivist learning environment where students often have as much if not more knowledge than the "teacher" about the process, tools or matter of learning, fall into a "pedagogical" framework?" I wonder...

I a rich,real and relevant learning environment would androgogical practices provide better success?

I suspect a framework of andragogy is far more relevant. Perhaps the "age" for androgogy has descended. Perhaps it may
simply be a definition of when someone becomes an adult learner - the age of maturation so to speak.

Androgogy can be used with children. Perhaps too pedagogical approaches can also work with adults. After all this is the framework which has supported us to become teachers.

My concern is whether this still works for today's students and in today's world and if indeed it ever really did work for the large number of students all over the world who have not gone on to become teachers....

I guess it comes down to the faith we have in ourselves to "make a difference" and in our own children's ability to learn and do the same.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


I wish that I made reading other's blogs more of a priority. I learn so much from others...

I have made a resolve that when I do drop by another's blog that I let them know. Recently I found out from a colleague that they regularly visited a wiki I had created and, because I had bumped into them and we were talking on the subject, they told me how helpful the resource had been to them and those around them, that they had used it for this and that...

Well, How good was that?! I was stoked. Yet, do you know that I was thinking that the time taken had been wasted. I was considering pulling the plug on it?

A strange feeling came over me. I felt like someone had come into my home, ignoring me while they did a quick flick around, their eyes glinting as they took out all that could have been purposeful and then left without even saying hello. As I considered this strange feeling, I have resolved to say hello as often as I can to those whose blogs I visit, to acknowledge how they have made a difference. And on that note I am off to add a comment to
Konrad Glogowski


...through our cluster. It has been great to see the enthusiasm and connectedness these tools are creating in our classrooms - and beyond them.

The question is "Why?" "How Are These Blogs Deepening Our Learning Experiences to Truly Make A Difference?

While learning is often a social interaction, could it be that sometimes the social can overtake the learning? Many blogs like facebook and bebo are just that. How are our classroom blogs different?

In his article "The Blog of Proximal Development" Konrad Glogowski talks of just this.
  • "It’s not enough to know how to grow a blog, to pick a topic and keep contributing to one’s blog. Our students must also be aware of the class communities in which they learn. They have to have opportunities to think and respond to other writers. They need opportunities to engage in and sustain conversations about their own work and the work of their peers. Blogging is not about choosing a topic and writing responses for the rest of the term. It is about meaningful, thoughtful engagement with ideas."
While I realise this is more geared towards students older than those we work with, I think many of us are considering these same ideas. For this reason I will continue to quote Konrad...
  • "I find that for so many of my students blogging often becomes a race to publish, to write entries and receive comments. (Most of them measure the success of their blog by the number of comments they receive, and the content of the comment is often not as important as the mere fact that it is there). They rarely look critically at their own writing, preferring instead to judge their own work by the traffic that it attracts to their blog."
  • "In order to engage in truly reflective thought about their work, students must also have opportunities to analyze who they are as bloggers and writers. They must have opportunities to look critically at their own work and see how they fit into the class blogosphere."
I do think we need to really explore ways that we can facilitate our students into a deeper awareness of the impact in both submitting and commenting in a blog. I am very aware of the benefits that I have gained personally from making my own thoughts explicit and in receiving responses to exposing these. Both actions without a doubt have helped to take my thinking into new fields.

I wonder if our students are feeling the same..... ?


Our Cluster Journey Together Into New Horizons.