Today we celebrated the conclusion of our PoLT Action Research Projects at school with champagne and nibbles and wonderful stories about the projects undertaken by the team. This is the third year in a row that I have led a PoLT team, and each time I have been so proud of our staff and the innovative ideas they’ve put into practice.
This year we worked on Principle 6 – Learning connects strongly with communities and practice beyond the classroom: 6.1 supports students to engage with contemporary knowledge and practice; 6.2 plans for students to interact with local and broader communities and community practices ; and 6.3 uses technologies in ways that reflect professional and community practices.
With the support of our energetic ICT Coordinator, we had a huge focus on ICT. We’ve had a web site about authors, an email exchange with a school in NZ, preps peer tutoring each other to learn Kidspiration, and a ‘What am I?’ book for our forthcoming Book Week celebrations – made using digital microscopes. ‘Expert groups’ in years 1 & 2 studying Australian Animals, and Year 4s making travel brochures for a study of Australian States did the most amazing things with ICT, including complex file management that many adults can’t manage! Our ESL teachers engaged the community with a visit to the home of some of our Afghan students, enjoyed a scrumptious lunch and then made PPTs about it, complete with audio narrration.
The most satisfying thing about this is that it’s sustainable change. Already I can see that the strategies these teachers have trialled are becoming part of their teaching practice, because the kids are so engaged in the learning. Schools like ours that implement PoLT properly, providing support and resources for professional learning teams to experiment with projects that really matter to them, are going to make a huge difference to the way their students learn!