Centre for Educational Multimedia
     
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DEEWR

Professional Learning

Research Focussed

The teacher who coordinates the e-Learning team is called the "e-Learning research coordinator" which highlights the nature of the professional development team as something which focuses on learning through research. The coordinator is released from teaching every week to work with colleagues and to support their individual action learning cycles.

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Every classroom teacher on the team goes away and trials what we learn and then we come back and discuss what works for us, what didn't, and then we trial it again. (e-Learning coordinator, St Pius X School )

The research focus of the e-Learning team is changed each year. At the time of this study the focus was on multi-literacy, in the previous year the focus was on student and teacher reflection. The research focus is not specifically to do with technology but rather the technology is seen as the enabler of improved outcomes.

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Each year in e-learning we have a research focus. Last year we did it on reflection... This year we're doing multi-literacies and that will continued into next year. (e-Learning coordinator, St Pius X School )

The teachers and the principal cite improved student outcomes due to the using technologies with a specific research focus.

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e-learning has improved student outcomes across the school. I'm in the middle school team so I find that I see a lot of outcomes improved there. (e-Learning coordinator, St Pius X School )

The following quote from one of the teachers at St Pius X School highlights the way in which the e-Learning professional learning community helped him to focus on student learning and not just on the technology. Indeed, this teacher pointed out he would be using ICT in the classroom regardless of the e-Learning professional learning community, however, he argues that he would not have been as focussed in improving student outcomes.

I would be using ICT in the classroom and there's no worries about that. I'd probably be using iMovie but with the E-learning team and just having those meetings... it allows you to narrow the focus, and it also allows me to refocus and think I should really, you know hone it down to one specific area, to really develop the students. ... So for me the e-Learning is really like refocusing me, and getting me really narrowed down on one specific element. Rather than just, okay the kids are on the computers. They're doing IT, which is - that's not true. Yeah, they've got to be thinking. They've got to be engaged and they've got to be working ... I think it also gives a purpose - a real clear focus and purpose on why you're doing what you're doing. You're not just doing it because we've got a computer in the classroom. You're doing it for a purpose and it's worthwhile for the kids. I think that's the good thing about the E-learning. (Teacher Year 2/3, St Pius X School )

The way in which St Pius X School encourages all teachers within the e-Learning team to collaboratively challenge, research, reflect and share their practices is strikingly similar to the process of action learning (Revans, 1980, 1983) . Action learning is a well known professional learning model which involves small, collaborative groups of people who engage in a cyclical process of action, reflection, and planning. It is closely related to action research but emphasises individual action: "In action learning, each participant drew different learning from different experience. In action research a team of people drew collective learning from a collective experience" (Dick, 2002) . In both learning models reflection is the necessary precursor to effective future action. The following section looks closer at the way in which St Pius X School engages in the process of reflection.

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