“Education… needs to be radically rethought partly to stop the boredom, but mostly to blow the lid off learning, whereby students and teachers as partners become captivated by education day in and day out.” Michael Fullan

Fullan sums it up perfectly I think. The need for change, of some description, to encourage and foster learning that looks like and relates to the year 2015 and beyond is essential, especially if we are wishing to eradicate that ‘boredom’.

After having attended a workshop just this Monday passed regarding Fullan’s ‘New Pedagogies for Deep Learning’, I was strongly encouraged and even more so motivated to be part of this relatively new initiative.

In short, the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning initiative is a global innovation partnership linking students, teachers, leaders and schools across the world to essentially re-design what teaching and learning looks like to ensure student lead more successful lives.

From this partnership students from the world over will be encouraged and engaged in deeper learning experiences that will provide them with the skills to be life long learners, creators, connected citizens, and collaborative problem solvers.

My new College is one of 80 schools within the DET who are involved in this global partnership that is looking at how deep level learning can shift that paradigm towards students, teachers and the wider community to become more connected towards active learning scenarios.

The workshop I attended was a ‘101’ based event and certainly gave me the background information that I needed to be up to speed with this program. In saying as I have already, that I walked away motivated and encouraged by what I had been part of, I was also very much intrigued as to how something of this magnitude would play out.

The video below gives a good overview of NPDL and how it’s 4 dimensions of,

– pedagogical practices

– learning partnerships

– leveraging digital

– learning environments

… as well as the 6C’s (competencies) of,

– collaboration

– critical thinking

– creativity

– citizenship

– communication

– character

…all foster and develop authentic engagement via this notion of deep learning.

One of the first tasks that we were tasked with doing was to complete a good old ‘Y-Chart’ with the focus being on “What does Deep Learning…”, as seen below.


Would you agree with what was recorded? What else would you add?

What goes hand in hand to support this initiative are the support materials, resources and papers that have been designed to assist students, teachers and leaders.

One of these resources is the Education+ paper written by Michael Fullan and Geoff Scott, which can be accessed HERE.

This is a short yet highly thought provoking read and I encourage you to please do so. One quote that resonated, partially as I have blogged about this type of thing very recently, was;

“It is learning that looks at the world from many different perspectives, cuts across the disciplines (after all we live in a trans-disciplinary world not a mono-disciplinary one), learning that is relevant to real world interests, needs and challenges of our students, is (inter) active and which concentrates on developing the capabilities that count not only for today but for a sustainable future”Fullan & Scott 2014.

Again. Beautifully said.

All of this, knowing there was an assessment component to this program left me with thinking how do educators involved assessment because honestly, how does a teacher assess and even plan for deep learning?

And then just when you raise a question, BANG, the answer, or part there of appears. Another paper, written as part of NPDL by Hill and Langworthy titled – ‘A strategic approach to the assessment of deep learning’ is also an excellent read and certainly goes some way to answering the above.

Like the ‘Education+’ paper, this is also short but again full of deep thinking for yourself. The big 3 (pedagogy, curriculum and assessment) of course play a large part towards reassessing just what student assessment should look like. Personally I do feel that assessment, and the data that goes hand in hand with it, are the core tools that we as teachers have. It is assessment and data that drives what we do, what we plan, and how we teach to that plan. A whole paradigm shift in assessment of student learning needs to perhaps not to occur, but a rethink in educational settings as to what we assess, how we assess it and what we do with the results of that assessment is needed.

Lastly, and before this turns in to a novel, i’ll finish up with this…

We were asked / tasked with writing our dream scenario of what would we as teachers absolutely love our classrooms to look like, if NPDL were fully incorporated as part as tools of all planning and action. What would your ideal, deep learning classroom look like?

Mine went along these lines;

“My NPDL classroom would be full of inquiry. Learning tasks would be rich and cross curricula and the larger of the focus would be on application, not skill. Students would drive their own learning and the teacher act as an advisor or facilitator. Student focus would be to take action with their newly acquired knowledge and skills. For that action to benefit others outside of the college / school setting. My classroom would be technology rich with students creating content for others, not simply consuming information. They would foster the 6C’s and encourage the use of those skills in others. Students would seek knowledge from outside of the classroom, or the school for that matter, to assist in building on their prior knowledge. They would use experts in their field, relatives, friends and students in other settings. Assessment would have purpose and drive the teaching. It would also drive students to use the data from those formal, adaptive assessments to set their own learning goals and agendas.” 

(I could probably add more…)  🙂

What would your ideal classroom look like? And how would you integrate NPDL?

This is certainly a global initiative worth keeping an eye as the results that come from it I believe will be outstanding.

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