I was working at Westmere School today it is a school where e-learning has really taken off in the last year. I have been working with the team for about 18 months now and in this school you do not just see isolated pockets of e-learning passion, it is rapidly seeping its tendrils into every aspect of teacher planning and into every class of the school, even the SMT are experimenting with social media as an effective communication tool. The school vision for e-learning states that:
“By 2012 Westmere School will project a philosophy and school culture of e-learning from the front door to the back gate.”
They want you to know from the moment you cross the threshold, something special is happening in school. Today a great leap was made towards that goal. I have been working with Mel all the time that I have been associated with the school and I have highlighted her great work before, you can see her e-learning innovations on her class wiki http://room14discovery.wikispaces.com Today Mel invited parents and grandparents into her year 1-2 class. Nothing unusual here, parents in class is normal. The difference here is that they were coming to learn. The students were going to teach their parents and grandparents how to use wikis, customise their computers, use Pivot Stick figure animator, Photostory3 and more. It was very powerful to watch and it was very empowering for the children. They were witnessing life long learning, the parents were engaged wanting to know about these tools and where to get them from. The students wanted the parents to know particularly about how to add content to the wiki as this has become a central plank of the student’s learning environment and they want their parents to be part of it, to engage with it. The embeded video shows the students in action, the audio quality is not good, the video was taken on my iPhone and the student voices were not strong, but the visuals tell the storyeloquently enough. These students are in charge of their computers and software and are empowered by it, empowered enough to be effective teachers. Long may this role reversal continue to be valued at Westmere, it was powerful stuff.