Welcome to my Professional Learning blog.
My name is Matt Nicoll and I am a high school teacher in New Zealand, interested in improving the classroom experience for my students. I am open to trialing new approaches and hope to use this blog to reflect on my ideas and practices.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

My Brain wants to Explode!

It is a while since I sat down and wrote, and in the meantime I have visited four very different schools in Melbourne and been involved in some wonderful #edchatnz discussions via Twitter, so I am going to publish a few short posts inspired by what I have learned recently.


My current school is K-13. We are initiating a BYOD/One-to-One Computing programme with our Year 9 in 2014, phasing it in for the entire Secondary School over the next five years.

The Preparatory School (Years 1-8) was only recently rebuilt, and there are some wonderful learning spaces in there, as well as "traditional" classrooms. In saying that, the classrooms have large glass sliding doors which allow the rooms to be opened up to incorporate the corridor and other shared spaces. I really like the flexibility of this idea, and our Preparatory School teachers seem to use their learning spaces very well.

Since the earthquakes, our Secondary School buildings have been strengthened, but not redesigned. This is not a surprise, as there was a level of urgency for us to be able to get back to the business of teaching and learning as soon as possible after the shakes. With this strengthening, we are very restricted in what we can do in our largest (four-storey) building and there is no way our Science/Mathematics block will be redesigned in the near future either. Therefore, in the Secondary School, we are a little restricted with what we can do with our learning spaces by the buildings themselves.

However, we have a Senior Leadership Team made up of people who are well-informed when it comes to both traditional and more contemporary theories on education, who listen to us teachers who want to pursue Professional Development opportunities, and who listen to us teachers who want to "shake things up" a little. We do things well, but want to do things even better...

In October this year, I was allowed to go to Melbourne with my Head of Department and the 2014 Head of Mathematics. We went to four very inspiring schools: Camberwell High SchoolJohn Monash Science SchoolDandenong High School, and St Leonard's College. We all agreed that we learned a lot from this visit. There were things we wished we could do, but our architecture will not allow that in the same way as the schools we visited. There were also a lot of things we thought we could adapt and/or adopt without needing to change much at our school.

Here are some images from our visit:




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