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Mark has been lecturing,
providing teacher seminars, workshops and speaking at national and international conferences for over fifteen years. He has worked on numerous school wide projects across a wide range of areas including curriculum, information and communication technology, teaching pedagogy for the 21stC, authentic assessment, competencies in the 21stC, wisdom and values. He travels widely and is renowned for his humorous and informed style, and has worked with hundreds of education and business groups looking at applications of technology to the classroom and the workplace.
Mark is a Director of Dataview; a hi-tech company based north of Auckland, which focuses on working on developing technology solutions for companies as well as for education authorities and schools. Dataview is involved in several Ministry of Education projects which centre on the interoperability of Student Management Systems (SMS’s) and Online Learning Environments (OLE's).
Mark writes on a wide range of issues including curriculum implementation, technology integration and assessment and is in the final stages of publishing his fourth book entitled "Learning: The New Education Paradigm and the New Renaissance" to be released internationally later this year.
The last 2 years has seen Mark overseeing a team of specialists in producing an Online Learning Environment for schools known as the KnowledgeNET. Over 120 schools are now using the KnowledgeNET. Details of this are available from the web site
Mark has also been developing a comprehensive “thinking pedagogy” and researching the transition to the second education paradigm and notes and research material for this project are online at
The new dawn - Te hapara hau
The second Renaissance and the education paradigm which will accompany it
We are in the midst of a global Renaissance underpinned by a web-based, learning/communication environment. This is causing a paradigm shift in teaching and learning pedagogy, how education is perceived and “delivered” in a global community. The second renaissance, “Nouvelle Compréhension [The New Understanding]” will not be confined to several tens of thousands of wealthy people in the historical European context but rather it will be global and will include billions of people. “Nouvelle Compréhension” will have a profound effect on education and will power economies and societies for the next 20-50 years and underpin the second workplace transformation from the dominant service sector a dominant creative sector following the 20th century transformation from the dominant primary sector to the now dominant service sector.
The paradigm shift which is giving rise to this second Renaissance allows learners new flexibility and opportunities, providing a simple underlying architecture for creativity, innovation and ingenuity through the provision of rich information and communication environments. Within these environments educators and learners can instantly create dynamic learning communities which are based on an end point in the learning process of understanding and wisdom, rather than the historical end-point focus on knowing and remembering.
Many of our young people have already adopted this new paradigm and sit in our classrooms every day and we wonder why they are disengaged and why they reply to every question and statement with the one word summary of their frustration; “whatever!” It does not matter how much money governments pump into present education systems, they will see no net benefit for their investment until they adopt the second education paradigm. Once they grasp the critical nature of this and invest in transitioning educators into second education paradigm, only then will they enjoy an unparalleled measure of success which up to now has simply been an impossible dream.
The Nobel prize-winning physicist you Murray Gell-Mann was once asked what he considered to be the most significant capability required of any learner for the 21st century. His response was immediate and concise “synthesis!” Synthesis is the capability to draw on our complex nodal learning network, use it to access information and knowledge and then take the resultant plethora of knowledge elements and weave them into a single, concise understanding and subsequently present that understanding to others.
In this session Mark will introduce the potential of this transformation and how New Zealand is setting itself up as being a global leader in its adoption. Mark will discuss the changes which are necessary within our teaching and learning culture and the infrastructure that is required in order for our education system to be prepared for the second [modern] paradigm shift, given that the last time this happened was 450 years ago.
21stC Teaching and Learning:
Teaching practices and the curriculum for the 21st C School
“We are in danger of training the spinners and weavers of the 21st century: another generation of highly trained people who will not be able to apply their specific skills to anything…The skills that are likely to be the most important over the next 30 years are likely to be generic skills. They will include the ability to reason, collect, assess and organize information, to prepare and deliver presentations that are well researched and analyzed, and so on. Perhaps a better description of the skills would be ‘generalist’ skills.” [P Sheldrake 1997]
The first book-based education paradigm is operating at full efficiency and in order to increase efficiency of the education system a new paradigm is required. The history of curriculum development is convoluted and varies considerably from country to country and state to state. The present curriculum is largely historical and there is an urgent need to develop new competencies, skills and capabilities that are more in tune with the needs of 21st century learners both for their social place, play place and work place requirements.
The curriculum has been added to over the past 40 years in an ad-hoc manner and in tandem with this, communities have been outsourcing traditional parental roles to their local school. Schools have tended to take on these new roles without fully realizing the amount of time and effort that they are required to put into meeting these new needs. As a consequence the curriculum has been squeezed in terms of time being able to be allocated to traditional core content. There have been additional pressures from these transitions which are needed to be made in order to meet the challenges of the new paradigm. These include the refocusing of the end point of learning on understanding rather than knowing via the use of the inquiry learning process which in itself requires additional time in order to deliver less historical content. In order to focus on understanding and in order to create learners who have the capability to become knowledge and creativity workers many changes are required.
John West-Burnham from Hull University has developed a very powerful rubric which allows the creative enterprise environment to be fully utilised so that we can migrate through shallow learning and develop deep learning and the creative enterprise environment can provide us with the capability for profound learning. It is these ideals that educators have strived for over centuries and they are fast becoming a reality.
Likewise group work, self assessment, the use of e-portfolios, a greater range of more personalised learning contexts, an emphasis on innovation and ingenuity along with a move to oral reporting all place pressure on the ability to deliver the historical content which communities have come to expect from schools. The result of this has to be a contraction of the content which can realistically be provided by schools. But what content should be removed and what should stay? How do we communicate these changes to our community and does the new curriculum, scheduled for implementation in 2008 reflect these realities? This session will explore these dilemmas teachers/schools are facing and also looks at an auditing process to explore what historical content could be removed without critically affecting a learner’s capacity to build essential conceptual maps of understanding.
Infrastructure requirements for the 21stC:
Two cans and a piece of string: What cans should we buy and what do need the string to do?
The second education paradigm requires significant infrastructure which needs to be coordinated at a local and national level. Therefore before we describe the infrastructure, it is imperative that we recognise several key transitions in the way in which the Internet is changing the way we do almost everything. The most obvious transition is that we are increasingly using the Internet to access resources, share ideas and make use of synchronous and asynchronous online communication tools. What is less obvious but none the less inextricable is the shift towards hosting applications outside of the traditional school network on remote servers and accessing those applications via the Internet. This is just one of the major mental mind shifts we are required to get our heads around in order to create appropriate teaching and learning environments for the 21st century.
In this session Mark will examine the software infrastructure and how almost everything we do within education resourcing will be Web orientated or will result in Web friendly file formats. He will also examine the hardware infrastructure within the school and the classroom to see how different year levels require different combinations of hardware and software as well as different levels of access to the network and to the Internet. With hardware technology capability levelling out, we are now able to confidently predict solutions which will meet school needs of the next 3-5 years. With the results of Ministry of Education research we can also advise, with confidence as to what technical infrastructure should be leased and which should be purchased. This also enables us to now advise with some degree of confidence which technical roles should be carried out within the school in terms of repair and maintenance and which technology maintenance roles should be outsourced to external providers.
Thinking, wisdom & Values in a 21st C school:
Can I really see pictures in my mind and is it possible to teach wisdom?
We know so little about thinking processes and yet a critical part of our business as educators is to teach young people to think, so how is that possible if we ourselves are struggling with our own understanding of what thinking is? In doing "Six Thinking Hats" have we taught "thinking" or is thinking something greater than using a particular tool to solve particular problems? How does living in a mediated (media saturated) environment affect our thinking and which competencies, tools and skills should we be assisting our young people in developing so that they will be able to carry out inquiry learning processes so that they have the capability to be critical thinkers within a very complex world? Whose values should we be teaching and is there a difference between attitudes, values and qualities? Should schools even be teaching attitudes values and qualities? What is the purpose of school in the 21st century?
What is required now is an overarching model of thinking which we can apply within the classroom with confidence. The overarching model needs to have a place for thinking tools, thinking processes, thinking processors as well as providing guidance for creating a rich thinking environment. During this session Mark will facilitate a journey within which participants can discover just such a model. This model will allow you to fit into the thinking jigsaw puzzle the various thinking skills pieces you have learned and have possibly been teaching over the past few years.
The session will also investigate teaching for transfer. One of the greatest assumptions within education is that if we teach a particular process/knowledge/concept, within a particular context, within a particular room, then the learner will able to take that process/knowledge/concept and apply it to a different context, in a different location and end up with a satisfactory result. The truth is that this is almost never the case. So how do we teach in order to maximise the possibility of transfer so that when a learner leaves a maths class and has to draw a graph in a science class, they are actually able to do it!
This is a fascinating journey and will turn your understanding of what thinking, teaching and learning are upside down; yet another education paradigm shift!
Online Resources, Web Environments and Effective Data Use in a 21stC school
There is now a wealth of resources on the Internet for educators and learners. In particular, there are now millions of high quality, Digital Learning Objects/Resources which educators can cut, paste and edit into the Online Learning Environment. This session will introduce the components of an Online Learning Environment and how they will integrate together.
The implementation of an Online Learning Environment and its effective use within the school environment is now within reach. Schools need to be aware of this development and ensure that any major software procurement fits in with this overall framework. In keeping with the second education paradigm it is not the software which will provide us with issues and implementation barriers but rather the teaching practices which educators will need to adopt that is the greatest possible hindrance in order to maximize the benefits and increases in effectiveness which this paradigm offers.
In this session Mark will introduce the Online Learning Environment, is various elements and the impact it will have on how schools function.
A New Curriculum, a New Paradigm and a New Approach to Assessment
“We are in danger of training the spinners and weavers of the 21st century: another generation of highly trained people who will not be able to apply their specific skills to anything...The skills that are likely to be the most important over the next 30 years are likely to be generic skills. They will include the ability to reason, collect, assess and organize information, to prepare and deliver presentations that are well researched and analyzed, and so on. Perhaps a better description of the skills would be ‘generalist’ skills.” [P Sheldrake 1997]
This course will look at the changes the draft curriculum is potentially introducing and what the new learning landscape may look like in light of this. What are the competencies and why are they important? How do they fit into the emerging new paradigm for education and how do they relate to the essence statements and the learning intentions they contain? How will all this be assessed and how can we realign assessment systems so that we can accurately assess formatively as well as summatively and diagnostically using tools such as AsTTle, electronic portfolios, metacognitive reflection of the learner and formal testing? Rich, Internet based learning environments are increasingly allowing us to personalize both the contexts being used and also the learning program which we are able to offer.
The curriculum has been added to over the past 40 years in an ad-hoc manner and in tandem with this, communities have been outsourcing traditional parental roles to their local school. As well as this many new aspects have been introduced to the “curriculum” putting pressure on the present curriculum and the assessment processes which are presently being used to measure “success”. The time has come for an audit of what really needs to be taught. How can we structure such an audit so they we remove extraneous content but keep the essential knowledge this is required for building strong conceptual frameworks of understanding? The session will address these issues and point the way forward as to how this can be achieved.
The nature of the curriculum is changing to one that is based around the development of conceptual frameworks of understanding which requires educators to re-look at how units of work are developed and how they will be assessed. There are some incompatibility issues surrounding the expectations of NCEA at senior levels via NZQA and the outcomes as presently described by the draft curriculum. These incompatibilities are expected to be “sorted” by the time year 10 students move into year 11 following the schools uptake of the curriculum in 2008/09. For this reason the day will primarily focus on years 9-10 and the transition to the senior school
During this day long session Mark will present a context for the new curriculum and explain why the changes are necessary. Mark will examine the vision and the competencies and their relationship to each other as well as how they may be implemented, monitored and reported on in the classroom.
Mark will present possible solutions that schools can implement and a range of emerging technologies that will allow this to be managed effectively and efficiently. The rationale for the introduction of competencies will be examined, along with the role of values and principles which now take on a significantly greater and explicit role. Mark will also discuss the potential of schools to craft their own unique curriculum based of the framework presented in the draft model.
Mark will also evaluate the potential for each school to develop its own unique curriculum based on the framework outlined in the draft and how this draft can be customized to meet local needs and strengths. This is the most exciting time to be an educator and the draft curriculum provides New Zealand learners an insightful and forward thinking approach to learning and teaching. With the focus shifting from knowing as an endpoint for the educative process, we are now looking forwards to building conceptual frameworks of understanding, based on essential knowledge bases of information and exposing students to a range of different contexts with the ultimate endpoint being the wise use of understanding to develop innovative and creative opportunities for our community and ourselves.
Historically assessment has been seen as “to both inform and guide instruction. Using a wide variety of assessment tools ...” but within this new assessment paradigm the purpose of assessment has been redefined to read “The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student learning”
Assessment can be divided into three major categories and these categories are defined well by the University of Bradford.
Diagnostic Assessment provides an indicator of a learner’s aptitude and preparedness for a unit or programme of study and identifies possible learning problems.
Formative Assessment is designed to provide learners with feedback on progress and inform development, but does not contribute to the overall assessment.
Summative Assessment provides a measure of achievement or failure made in respect of a learner’s performance in relation to the intended learning outcomes of the unit or programme of study.
These approaches to assessment need to be reconciled with the purpose of assessment and the practical management of assessment in the classroom. It is also necessary to “develop an architecture” for assessment that will provide a framework for the formative assessment processes within the classroom and throughout the school. Shirley Clarke describes feedback as the central theme of formative assessment and notes “yet it is the element most laden with a legacy of bad practice and misguided views”.
The purpose of assessment is to improve the learning that takes place within the context of the learners’ lifelong learning journey and to this end it is important that assessment is not something which is done to a learner or is given to a learner but rather assessment processes are structured so that they provide additional learning experiences which assist the learner in directing future learning progress.
“The purpose of assessment is to assist with planning the next step of learning for students, reporting to parents, and planning for the most effective use of resources.”
Having learners self-assess has also become a recent possibility with new technologies and a renewed openness to focusing on assessment as a methodology for improving student learning.
“This may sound like the inmates are running the asylum. But it's only by listening to and valuing the ideas of our 21st century students that we will find solutions to many of our thorniest education problems.”
Almost every government wants to increase the educational achievements of their young people and almost all governments have statements concerning the necessity for all citizens to be lifelong learners. However, changing the curriculum, building better buildings, writing better textbooks and buying lots of computers will not change any of the required outputs in a substantial way. What will better align the capabilities of our young learners and the demands being made of them is a change in the way educators, learners and the community view education and how we collectively prepare them to be lifelong learners. Critical to this is the capacity of the learner to reflect on their own learning and know how to improve their present performance and then apply that understanding in creative and innovative ways in order to provide people with richer experiences and a more fulfilled life, both in the workplace, and the social/societal place.
Assessment is a fundamental key in building a more competent society. There are a range of formative and diagnostic assessment areas that this presentation will address:
What is formative assessment?
What is diagnostic assessment
What is being assessed?
How can we build increase the capability of educators and learners to asking rich, open, rich, clever and higher-order thinking questions?
Can we better develop inquiry learning models of teaching to integrate more closely with new assessment tools and approaches?
What is the role of new formative and diagnostic assessment tools?
Should parents/caregivers/whanau be able to access a broad range of assessment information?
What are the assessment implications for educators
What are to the assessment implications for learners
what is the required ICT infrastructure in order to manage this new environment and approach.
In the book “Formative Assessment in Action: Weaving the Elements Together” Shirley Clarke identifies formative assessment as consisting of four basic elements:
Sharing learning goals
Self and peer evaluation
The qualities surrounding assessment centre on using assessment as a critical element of the learning process. It should be noted that the focus of assessment is about how, in conjunction with why it is collected.
This session will assist educators and re-evaluating the role of assessment as an effective teaching and learning tool and it will explore emerging technologies and interoperability between student management systems and learning management systems and potentially diagnostic tools such as e-AsTTle.
Education Briefing sessions
With almost constant and never ending changes to curriculum, teaching pedagogy, inquiry learning, ICT infrastructure, assessment…it is difficult to keep up with, let alone keep ahead of the changing education environment. In order to keep senior management teams up to speed on what is happening Mark will host a half day briefing session once a term through 2007 and provide an overview of some of the aspects of education which are changing and how schools can keep abreast of these changes. Mark will also, where appropriate, provide resources to support schools in these areas of change and these resources will vary depending on the context of the changes concerned.
The term one briefing session will focus mainly around curriculum and in particular around competencies introduced in the draft curriculum and how these might be implemented throughout the curriculum, although other aspects may be discussed as well depending upon the events of the time.
Marks notes are available online at
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