Thursday, May 24, 2018

Digital Passport

­­­ In March of this year I completed the Digital Passport through Mindlab and the Next Foundation. TheDigital Technologies Curriculum was launched at our school last year on June 7th 2017. The Mindlab Press Release explains clearly what the Digital Passport is.

“The Digital Passport is made up of four video-based workshops and 12 supplementary modules, and teachers are guided by experts through key progress outcomes as laid out in The Ministry of Education’s new Digital Technologies Curriculum. Each workshop and module is accessible for all educators, covers key topics in a real world context, includes practical examples of learning activities, can be consumed at any time and any place there is an internet connection, and is accompanied by downloadable resources.” 

By the end of March, I had registered for the online session and gone on and completed all the modules. I was excited to be the first educator at my school to receive my Digital Passport. 

Recently I was asked to consider the following questions in regards to what I learnt during the process and I thought I would share these with you.

How do you think education and teaching will change once the digital curriculum is fully implemented?

The use of the digital is fully integrated into learning and has shifted from using the tools for games. There is a shift from product outcome to design process and thinking.

The Digital Technologies Curriculum will ensure that learner agency is much more transparent in learning. Global citizenship is much more likely to be part of classroom practice rather than an extra. Greater connections between the relevance of learning and not just classroom learning but what happens in everyday life. There is a stronger focus on integration with other curriculum areas. There is a move away from consuming to creating such as using Minecraft or Osmo or Bloxel and there is an opportunity for the design thinkers to shine. The way the DTC is changing the curriculum is designing learners who can think, design, construct, create, collaborate, reflect, evaluate, trial, justify and share the process. They have the option of narrating their learning and are not afraid to share both the fails and successes

How do you incorporate digital technology into your school already?

Digital technology is fully integrated into classrooms, into teachers planning, into our strategic plan and direction. It has been one of our goals for as long as I can remember. It is about working collaboratively not just within our schools but across our schools, and across the world. It is about sharing our journey through a variety of ways such as through presenting or via social media. The staff have been open to the thinking and the embedding into the Newmarket way. 

- What were your favourite/least favourite things about doing the Digital Passport?

Least favourite or the challenges with the initial sign on was a setback. Trying to log in took a while to sort out. Then when I completed each module, the system stated that I had not completed the task, even though I had. So I had to redo them which was frustrating. I was thankful that the support from Mindlab helped me sort out the early issues with access.

Favourite: Completing modules Years 0-3 built my confidence because I knew most of what was required. Most sections were already familiar. I also though the DT was fabulous professional learning for building my knowledge of transitioning between levels and sectors so I could see where we are going with learning. I also liked how my own content knowledge was developed from completing the optional sections. I found relevant learning that I could do now such as with staff and with students. For example I loved the idea of the Kanban Board and I could see how I could implement this immediately in my work with learners. 

- What would you say to teachers who weren't sure about whether they will have time to do the Digital Passport?

Completing the Digital Passport is about personal development. I would rather be well informed now about what is required and how relevant it is to us. We already use digital technologies and apps and these are well implemented in our school of Newmarket. I believe it is to the teacher’s advantage to do this and it is asynchronous learning so could be done in bite sized achievable timeframes. Teachers don't have time to NOT complete this learning. It is like saying we don't have time to research for our Professional Learning Groups (PLGs). How do we improve our learning and how do we improve student achievement if our own learning is not up to date? As learners we should be learning all the time especially using online learning where we are exposed to the way our learners learn. 

- How has your teaching changed/Has your teaching changed at all since you've completed it?

My mindset is changing and how well the Digital Technology is integrated into the curriculum. I could make links between the relevance of not just classroom learning but what happens in everyday life. As leaders we would not ask our staff to engage/participate/complete any new learning if we were not willing to do so ourselves.

- Anything extra you can think of that might help others who want to know more about the Digital Passport?

The video tutorials were easy to watch and learn step by step at my own pace. There was a great flow of information and a regular review of what was covered. There was an overview of expectations and an application of the learning into our own situations. 

In summary, if I had not worked through the Digital Passport offered through Mindlab and the Next Foundation I would not be aware of the expectations required at each year level. This learning provided me with the opportunity to learn in my own time and pace. At Newmarket we make digital technology learning a part of our teaching programme. We ensure that all our learners have these learning experiences, to prepare them for a world where digital skills are increasingly valuable to the economy and wider society. The new Digital Technologies Curriculum emphasises the importance of people and how they communicate. I can see the importance of ensuring that our learners understand the why so that we can shift them from not just being consumers of digital technologies but to being creators. 

I think the positives of completing the Digital Passport online through Mindlab is that digital technology is getting our learners to think at a deeper level with or without using computers. 

If you want to know more about the Digital Passport then visit

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