DEC Scan Journal : August 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 3 August 2011 30 monitor the impact of that pace of change, to be sensitive to how different teachers react, and to know when to apply the brakes to avoid burnout. • time The Broulee PS Principal summed up the imperative of having time within the networked mode when she noted: – cannot stress enough the need for TIME – time to become familiar with the new digital devices – time to look at the best way to deliver the curriculum outcome using the support of digital technology – time to share with like-minded educationalists – time to provide professional support to parents, grandparents and community members as we want to close the divide between us and them and not, potentially, increase this divide – time to continually monitor and reflect on above. Sue Lowe (2011) Comment made to author in focus group discussion The Assistant Principal ICT reinforced that call when he noted: In the end we need more money, to buy time to consolidate and reflect, than we have available. David Hounsell (2011) Comment made to author in focus group discussion • integration – Another crucial feature of the Broulee PS situation, as it is in its international counterparts, is the tight integration and interrelatedness of all the parts. – There is no hint of any silo like operations existent. Jacob Jawoski (1998) spoke in the 90s of seeking synchronicity in the organisation. Broulee PS is beginning to achieve that synchronicity. No one teacher, teacher librarian or school leader can engender this integration alone. – All of the elements represented in Figure 5 are tightly interwoven, as will any new ones. While primary schools have tradition- ally had a more holistic and integrated approach than secondary schools, the interrelatedness of all the in and out of school elements bears noting, particularly by those looking to move in this direction. The integration of the class and iCentre operations is particularly tight, helped unquestionably by the now normalised everyday use by all classes of their blog. Interestingly the speed of the acceptance of the class blogs by the teachers, children, parents and grandparents pleasantly surprised the executive. • normalisation of iCentre operations – A similar very pleasing develop- ment has been the speed with which the iCentre operations have become normalised. Granted, Broulee PS had been working unwittingly to this situation for some years, but the ready acceptance of the concept once it was made public by the children, the parents and the staff has been notable. – For the teacher librarians, the Broulee PS experience provides a telling insight into how, by closing the school library (Lee, 1996), they can ensure their future and also play an ever more integral value adding leadership role within the school community. • curriculum tensions – In moving into the networked mode and teaching collaboratively, Broulee PS and its community are beginning to slowly but surely ask serious questions about the current curriculum and the signifi- cant areas of learning not addressed or assessed. For example, the school is lauding the importance of collaboration, networking, working with others and teamwork as key skills for life and work, and yet none are accorded any recognition in the current curriculum or external student assessment. – The shift to the collaborative teaching model is also beginning to pose questions as to where key skills and attitudes ought be primarily taught and by whom, the classroom or the home. This concern is supported by the study by Grant (2011) for Futurelab in the UK that suggested certain aspects of digital literacy could be far more effectively and efficiently taught in the home and on the move than within a class setting. • on-going evolution By the time this article goes to press the model expressed in Figure 5 will have evolved significantly. The total school community’s expectations will have grown and the school will have moved on and added other parts to the aforementioned jigsaw. That is the way of networked school communities as they respond to the ever-evolving and often rapidly changing world. It obliges teachers to think very differently and to be constantly on the front foot. Broulee PS has consciously opened its operations for everyday online feedback to assist in shaping that evolution in that every class blog is accompanied by the facility for moderated comment, thus enabling its community to work in harmony with the school. That said, this new instant raw evaluation, while thus far being very supportive, is very different to slow filtered feedback experienced in the traditional stand alone school. • budgetary implications There are significant budget implications associated with the shift to the networked mode, in that any such move has to be self-sustaining if it is to be normalised. While the community is adding to the school’s riches, it still requires hard cash for the ongoing financing of many operations.