A New Spin on Learning

Talk about a teacher ahead of her time, Maria Montessori passed the baton to Bloom. She died the same time Blooms was developing his taxonomy and quoting Maria Montessori is how Brett Salakas of St Kevin’s Catholic Primary School Eastwood NSW (Suburb of Sydney) introduces why he and fellow teachers  Jacqueline Matta, Greg Salerno and Esther Sultana undertook an Action Research Project in May 2014.   This project was to research and report the results of a quite unique  teaching and learning experiment.

They gave 116 students the Padagogy Wheel to use to design their own individualised learning. It gets more amazing as these students were 11-12 years old and when I first heard of this I was speechless and that for me is unusual. These innovative teachers took a Professional Development (PD) Tool designed for trained teachers, gave it to students with very limited support (scaffolding) and said “go for it”. Why does this remind of the family TV remote and Mum or Dad giving it to their child and saying I can’t figure it out  you fix it!

Padagogy Wheel V4.0 English PosterBrett makes the point in the podcast episode, that the Padagogy Wheel became the driver that the children controlled and it empowered them. This was creative individualised learning and it worked.  The teachers set up an iTunesU course and the students used the Wheel to choose learning outcomes, activities and apps to complete these activities.  They were even encouraged to use better apps than the ones’  Mr Carrington has suggested. This is awesome, if I had known at the time they were doing this, I would have provided a prize for the student/s who discovered the best apps for the job that were not on the Padagogy Wheel. I’m serious, the Padagogy Wheel is not about the Apps it is about the learning process.

Another wonderful strategy the teaching team implemented and managed, was how they encouraged the students to use the colours of the Cognitive Domain Categories. Students colour coded their activities (pages) of their iBooks they submitted to the iTunesU course.  This colour coding was also helpful to encourage the students to choose more of the higher order thinking domain categories and although they started more comfortable with just remembering and understanding, during the course of the project they tended to move around the wheel into the evaluating and creating zone of the taxonomy.  For a teacher wanting trans-formative learning it doesn’t get any better than that.

In the podcast interview Brett explains in detail how they set up the research and carried it out and then goes on to explain the surveying and what they discovered.  Both the students and teachers were surveyed about the entire experience.  Students were overwhelmingly supportive of the process..

I asked Brett about this paragraph in the report which can be downloaded below. The research reported:

“Graph 1.2 shows that 82.38% of the students thought that using the Padagogy Wheel through an iTunes U Course helped them to learn better in comparison with previous Science and Technology units …. These results inform that every eight in ten students thought that not only was the Padagogy Wheel, combined with an iTunes U Course an effective way to learn, but it enabled them to surpass the amount that they learnt in Science and Technology, without using these tools.”

My only reaction to these facts was “Good grief”! I am just beginning to appreciate the possibilities. That’s 8/10 students in a sample of 116.  What if this ratio held over much larger samples and across different subjects and even different educational cultures using languages other than English?

Matt HarrisMatt Harris, Ed.D   says that the Padagogy Wheel should be on the wall of every classroom, Brett and the team of teachers from St Kevin’s, have evidence it is a good idea. Currently, Matt serves as the Chair-elect of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). He will take over as Chair of the Board in 2016, becoming the first person to hold the post while living and working outside of the United States. Here is Matt’s endorsement in full

“In my experiences as an EdTech leader, I find that contemporary educators are passionate about using technology to extend and deepen learning. Most recognize the changing landscape of “the real world” and the modern pedagogies needed to prepare students for that world. However, more often than not, they find challenges in applying these new concepts with specific tools. With Allan Carrington’s Padagogy Wheel Model, teachers have an at-hand reference that ties apps to specific learning outcomes directly connected to modern pedagogies and theories. They can easily sit with the wheel during lesson planning time to find tools that will best aid their students or use it during class time to extend or deepen learning towards a specific 21st century skill or content area. This connection of theory, practice, and application makes the Padagogy Wheel an invaluable resource that should be on the wall of every classroom”.

Matt Harris, Ed.D.
#EdTech Leader | Teacher| Mentor| Curator
http://mattharrisedd.com | [email protected]
Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mattharrisedd (@mattharrisedd)

Please listen our podcast time together on SKYPE and download the report and consider the possibilities with your own teaching.  We now know that the students have no problems with the Padagogy Wheel … they just “get it” and learn more as a result.

Podcast Episode:

Contact me if you would like to do more research in this area of  Technology enhanced Individualised Learning using the “pedagogical pedigree” (to quote Brett) of the Padagogy Wheel.

Online Resources

Action Research Report: Will Using an iTunesU Course with the Padagogy Wheel, result in effective individualised learning? Download the Report


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