Reflective practice has been defined by Osterman & Kottkamp (1993) as a Experiential Learning Cycle where it begins with a problem that may not be able to be resolved with standard, traditional practice. This cycle is shown below:
Upon reflection of this 32 week Mindlab course I have come to realise that what I thought was a a solid understanding of collaboration was in fact more a definition of cooperation. Cooperative tasks involve students working together to “act in conjunction with another person or thing, to an end purpose, or in work” (Richards, Elliot, Woloshyn & Mitchell, 2001, P.63). Collaborative tasks have been defined by Gouseti as “to work jointly with others either face-to-face and/or online to create and produce something. This entails creating situations where students can engage in team-work and interaction, with synchronous or asynchronous, give and receive feedback and guidance, edit the work of others, and disseminate the content produced to a broader public, that is, the classroom” (Gouseti, 2014, P.167). This was exemplified by the ‘Atoms Collaboration Task’ that I carried out as part of my Digital and Collaborative Inquiry four months ago. The task is briefly shown below:
I further critiqued my innovative practice but reading earlier research and gaining feedback from colleagues and I realised that I need to work on developing my understanding of true collaboration and how to use this to facilitate meaningful learning connections for the students. I started on this journey by structuring the guidance I gave differently in order to encourage creative freedom and inquiry. I also went about focussing on ‘student lurkers’ as defined by Gouseti (2014) – students who have little knowledge with digital tools resist getting involved in a group setting. I believe that this compliments Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice. I also further developed my professional learning and personal practice this year by attending the #edchatnz unconference, becoming involved in a number of twitter chats, being an active member in the Mindlab Google + community and sharing how I use Microsoft tools in the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program.
The second criteria I believe I have made some growth in is Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning. In the Leadership in Digital and Collaborative learning paper I chose to develop a change initiative that was based on raising the quality of student examination answers through the use of tasks that scaffold student responses. On reflection of this change initiative I have come to realise that I am only just beginning this journey of leadership development. It appears that “transformational leadership can be taught and learned” but I do wonder who am I learning from? (Bass & Riggio, 2006) Who was my transformational mentor? (Clair, 2001)
In hindsight I also thought that I should have adopted the Pacesetting style of Transformational Leadership in order to gather more quantitative data in a short amount of time. This pacesetting style can be seen in a direct and driven leader (Bass & Riggio, 2006). It may have also established expectations of equal commitment by all team members during the initiative. At times I felt that I was doing an unfairly large chunk of the development of the resource of which we were meant to be collaborating on. Being more directive in terms of setting more solid timeframes and checkpoints could have prevented this.
My next dream is to explore and develop some of the other criteria’s, especially ones that relate to the wellbeing and academic success of all ākonga.
Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational Leadership (2nd ed.). Mahwah: Taylor and Francis.
Clair, L. S. (2001). Transformational Leadership And Mentoring: Theoretical Links And Practical Implications.
Gouseti, A, 2014, Digital Technologies for School Collaboration. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Osterman, K. & Kottkamp, R.(1993). Reflective Practice for Educators. California.Cornwin Press, Inc. Retrieved on 7th May, 2015 from http://www.itslifejimbutnotasweknowit.org.uk/files.
Richards, M.,Elliot, A., Woloshyn, V., & Mitchell, C., 2001, Collaboration Uncovered – The Forgotten, The Assumed, and the Unexamined in Collaborative Education. London: Bergin & garvey.