Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Interesting isn't it how the technologies we use have the power to change us as users. Reminds me of the first ATM machines that were put inside the banks, alongside the tellers, available only as much as the human versions were. It took a while for the thinking to alter and the new ways of doing things to occur.

Similarly I wonder about the tools as I consider options for sharing e-portfolios. Google Docs has such potential and again I ponder how these tools may alter what we do now. My thinking then meandered on to consultation over the school curriculum ( I really must learn to sleep at night) and I came across Dr Cheryl Doig's work in this area. She talks about our schools perception around engaging with our communities. Check out Cheryl's voice thread on the subject

I remember years ago a high school my children went to engaged us as parents in a community consultation meeting. Not much consultation and very little opportuntiy for engagement. Made me think - not about what was presented but how they could even consider this "community consultation and engagement". It was simply a Show and Tell. How many schools still see this as consultation, I wonder. What does that form of consultation tell us about what the school values?

What is the role of the school in reporting to parents .... ?
- informing (one way conversation, school decides),
- consulting aka "selling" (two way relationship, school decides),
- involving - (discuss, school decides),
- collaborating - (school and community decide together),
- empowering - (trust based relationships, joint discussions and decisionmakers)


Cheryl Doig said...

I agree that web 2.0 tools are a great way of developing community engagement to become an ongoing conversation rather than selling and telling. Fendalton School is doing some interesting work using googledocs so keep watching their website for ideas www.fendalton.school.nz

Keep me posted re any ways you use tools or even better add them to the wiki http://communityengagement.wetpaint.com/

There is potential for really powerful connections to be made. What knowledge, skills and dispositions do teachers and principals need to accelerate this?

Lorraine said...

Hi Cheryl. Thnk you for joining my thinkings and popping in with your comments.

I did note in your voicethread that you said "it isn't an either or but all" aspects of dialogue that are needed as schools formulate their own curriculum.

I know there are certainly some interesting questions, self reflection, examination of beliefs and mountains to climb if we are all to get to the last one (empowerment). A sound vision for learning will be the required compass point.

Your last question reminds me of a visit to Russia recently. Talking with people there made me ponder. Here they were given a new way of doing and living - and thinking! and yet with very little preparation and education on the "how" of it all. Very confusing for them. Faced with the dilemma, mnay said they would much rather just go back to the old way and saw it as the preferred option. It was secure and seen as the better option.

Thank you for adding the links. I will certainly visit the Fendalton site to see what they are doing with googledocs.

As well as Fendalton, Google are doing some pretty amazing things too. I wonder if we might all be using these tools more quickly than we may suppose - especially if the MoE choose to discontinue the MS agreement for schools.


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