It was certainly exciting that we have been given more time to develop our ideas and hopefully implement some of them. It means that we can test some of our ideas before seriously embedding them in the programming for the five schools.
For Turramurra, our plan is to produce at least two units of work for Year 7 history based on the new Australian Curriculum. Although it is not the obvious place to start, we are going to start with Egypt as this will give us the opportunity to ‘try it out’ and perhaps make modifications where appropriate. As we will be trying new ways of creating and delivering content, there will be a few mistakes along the way and changes to be made.
While much of the content of the new curriculum is quite familiar, the introduction to the emergence of civilisation generally and that of Egypt, specifically, is actually quite new. It creates (at last) a context for the emergence of civilsations including that of Egypt, thus facilitating the ‘big picture’ approach to history.
The biggest hurdle for the moment is changing the mindset of teachers away from content and towards inquiry based learning. We have completed some planning for Egypt and we have had to re-examine some of it as it is too content focused- it does not really seem in tune with the 21st century learner. History is an ideal subject area to ask the big questions and get students to ask those questions for themselves, thus directing their own learning paths.
The integration of ICT may also pose hurdles as Year 7 do not currently have widespread access to devices. In the last week Turramurra took receipt of a class set of ipads for the library and we are also planning on purchasing some ipads specifically for the history department. Our programming will incorporate the use of these devices and in lieu of this I have been asking questions of other teachers concerning the capabilities of the iPad. One of the issues I foresee is that content cannot be saved in the generic sense.
For me at this stage, much more time needs to be spent looking at the big picture more than creating content. We need to be thinking about how to seamlessly integrate our pedagogy with our content with our technology to avoid being tokenistic about any one of those. The planning day we have shortly will address some of this and will clarify the path we want to take.
Looking forward to it!