Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Scenario Planning: Decision Making Simulation

The purpose of this blog post is to share from the perspective of decision-maker, my reflections on the  Learning in 2025 scenario from Knowledge Works.  

While I am studying full-time this year, I have selected the same context as my personal research context, to give this scenario review a greater sense of authenticity for my understanding of scenario planning to develop as well as the readers of this post.

My Decision Making Context:
I am reviewing this scenario through the lens of a classroom teacher of a Year 6-8 class in a 4 teacher school, situated at Tasman Bay, 10 minutes from Motueka, Nelson. The school is characterised by: low class numbers, supportive principal, staff who are open to using technology, good data allowance, good connection strength and speed, a 1:1 laptop ratio, an i-pad for each classroom, members of a local cluster specifically devoted to professional development in technology, participating in national conferences, a Board of Trustees member who has a degree of knowledge and skill to offer practical and technical support, a teacher aide/secretary who also can offer some technical support, and a local computer company who services the equipment. 

Overview of the Scenario: 
The scenario I have chosen to make decisions from is the Learning in 2025 published by Knowledge Works. The two uncertainties are as follows. The first is whether the future will be an abundance or scarcity of resources. The second is whether learning will be a collaborative, student led, community focused approach or a directed, standardised, regulated approach. 
While a scenario has been selected, I am hesitant to choose which of the four futures I believe most likely. 
The abundant, collaborative approach, titled "A Vibrant Learning Grid" is the scenario I will be making decisions from. The complete scenario can be found by clicking on this link. There is an abundance of resources. Innovation and entrepreneurial thinking are the norm. There are strong networks between communities, families, economies, businesses with good communication and therefore learning is open, transparent, and collaborative. Students are proactive, entrepreneurial, supportive, global learners. Learning pathways have become individualised or personalised with assistance coming from education advisors. Learning agents, including assessment designers, have replaced the traditional teacher role. The traditional physical schools have also been replaced, however some remain with the purpose of managing and maintaining access. For those who have the right conditions, the lack of boundaries or restrictions allow for a more co-operative based education.

List of Decisions:
As a classroom teacher I would:

  • Develop the required skills when working in groups.
  • Provide greater opportunities for collaborative and co-operative learning.
  • Invite E4E (Education for Enterprise) into the classroom and begin innovative thinking.
  • Develop problem-solving skills and encourage flexibility and new ideas.
  • Provide authentic contexts as much as possible.
  • Generate connections with other students through technological methods around New Zealand and beyond.
  • Develop independence and self-regulated learning.
  • Allow a greater range of freedom in decisions on what students want to learn
  • Encourage students' to have a greater level of involvement in their learning, assessment results and next step learning.

Two Decisions:
The two decisions that I would choose to implement into my classroom in preparation for the scenario would be to provide greater opportunities for collaborative and co-operative learning, and to encourage students' to have a greater level of involvement in their learning, assessement results and next step learning.
As the boundaries of the new school have expanded to now include businesses, communities, families, etc the level of skill in communication, negotiation, persuasion, leadership, being a team-player, social interactions, and such would need to be much higher than present. The supportive nature of the peer-communities will require students who know how to work in a team, sharing ideas, knowing how to be a leader and a follower would be also be important. Providing guidance and a greater number of opportunities for co-operative and collaborative learning will assist in students being capable of participating well in these situations.
Students having a greater level of involvement in their learning will assist in preparing them to be proactive learners. Students who can set learning goals and are aware of their assessment results can be very motivated. Student-led conferences are a visual demonstration of this approach being successful. Students are the ones who lead the parent-teacher conference, to the point where the teacher is practically redundant. Students inform their parents what they are learning and why, they can discuss their results, and share their next steps. The Assessment to Learn or AtoL contract was a vehicle that led schools in this approach.  

I think that the decisions I suggested would be useful in the other scenarios put forth. The degree of importance may differ.  There may have been other decisions that might have fit another scenario better but I believe the above teaching approaches to be valuable in mostly any scenario. Considering multiple possible potential futures, preparing our students as best we can with transferable skills is the best answer.

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