Tom has been helping educators “work the Web” since 1994. You can read more about Tom or his past contributions, but his focus is on 2014 and beyond. With the sons into adulthood, Tom’s free to dedicate most of his time to the part of his job he loves best: working directly with schools and teachers to move into the Next Era of Education. What exactly does this mean? The professional learning and ongoing consulting topics below will give you a better idea.
Because he’s been around a while, Tom can be a little choosy about partner schools – what this means is that priority goes to schools willing to make the biggest commitment. So although one or two days focusing on things like “Vision Clarification” and “Taming the Australian Curriculum” can be useful, Tom knows that the best result comes from ongoing support where Tom essentially becomes an “adjunct” member of a school staff.
If your school is interested in support related to the topics below, please Contact Tom to set up a discussion.
Whole-School Professional Learning
The topics below are best suited to whole-school professional learning sessions. They create a shared understanding so that everyone is included in every step forward. Often these whole-school sessions then morph into working teams in faculties or year groups before re-convening to build on the shared understandings and purpose.
Vision Clarification: Sharpen Your Purpose
A half-to-full day session that results in a renewed sense of purpose because it draws on the input and participation of every staff member and focuses on what matters most: empowering student learning.
The Edge-ucators Way – New Routines for ICT Integration
Everyone knows that “chalk-and-talk,” “copy / paste research” and “Slacker’s Delight group projects” are poor classroom routines. Everyone wants learning to be more authentic and meaningful, but how? The Edge-ucators Way provides three evidence-based, pedagogical approaches that every staff member can being using right now!
CEQ•ALL (Seek-All) – Empowering Student-Managed Learning
A school can have the best teaching approaches, but how do you make the shift so that students manage their own learning? Other components include curriculum revision and smart online environments, but every school can begin today by adopting or modifying the CEQ•ALL framework that empowers student Choice, Effort, pursuit of Quality which yield positive Attitudes and engender a lifelong Love of Learning.
Taming Curriculum Standards
Many schools and teachers fear or tolerate the mandated Australian curriculum standards. Neither has to be the case. By taking a big picture view of the goals of the curriculum and coupling this with a design approach focused on developing deeper understanding, we tame what can feel like an overwhelming list of requirements by shaping them into meaningful & rewarding learning experiences.
Understanding by Design
Tom has recently joined Jay McTighe and Associates as a qualified trainer in Understanding by Design. This is a perfect match for furthering goals of a meaning and transfer-oriented approach to continuous school improvement that targets high student achievement. While “UbD” has been a “good idea” and fantastic framework for decades, now that schools move into 1:1 and BYOD initiatives, the accomplishment-based focus of Understanding by Design is essential if schools are to progress beyond one-size-fits-all delivery of learning.
Strategic Friend Consulting
Some schools need a “critical friend,” but all schools could use a “strategic friend” who has the experience of working with many schools and so has learned how to address common challenges. This is one of Tom March’s preferred roles: to help both teachers and the administration to target systemic changes that improve both the culture of a school and its students’ learning. Below are some of the main ways that Tom can serve your school as a strategic friend.
The Complete NextEraEd Readiness Check
While 20th Century education strove to produce uniform results based on a mass production model, in the 21st Century learners can surpass uniform results by pursuing and achieving individual excellence. This happens when learning is meaningfully personalised. Although realisation of this potential will take years, every school is already moving in this direction. The Next Era Ed Readiness Check is a systemic review that gives schools feedback on their process so far.
Curriculum Spot-check: Do your Strategies match your Goals?
Once a school has a clarified vision and some new routines to replace outdated pedagogies, sustained and systemic change will only come when the written, taught and learned curricula embody your goals. A Curriculum Spot-check identifies “red flags” that alert us to practices that should be stopped as well as “green lights” that might be happening in pockets but that are best shared across the school’s faculties or year levels.
Comprehensive ICT Review
Most schools have a range of online platforms and software that support their teaching and learning processes. These will change and over time. But what won’t change is a consistent strategy that sees ICTs as the vehicle to support students’ 1:1 learning and the related teaching approaches. A periodic comprehensive ICT review will save valuable resources and keep the focus on achieving your most important goals.
Curriculum Make-over: from seat time to mastery
Our current curriculum models are based on “teacher delivery,” not “student mastery.” Shifting from a calendar-based view of the curriculum to a competency-based one is daunting, but without it, every one-to-one or BYOD initiative is doomed to fail. Conducting this make-over will take years – that’s why leading schools are already underway and Tom makes such partnerships a top priority.
Tracking Change Management
Are the reforms and initiatives in your school bearing student results or wearing out staff? Attending to the processes of change is vital for multi-year strategic initiatives to be achieved. And every worthy goal is multi-year. Tom can partner with your executive to anticipate challenges and creatively solve problems so that school communities can grow and evolve in their desired directions.