Viva La Revolution – Using Tests to Break Education Paradigms

Tom's ETS article, April/May 2016I’ve enjoyed writing for Education Technology Solutions and they have decided to make my latest article their cover story for the April / May 2016 issue.  How great – thanks!

As the “Director of Innovation” at Hobsons Edumate, combined with the Australian Prime Minister’s recent focus on Innovation, I thought it worth reflecting on why we haven’t seen any real innovation in the our K-12 classrooms.  If this piques your curiosity (or throws its intended gauntlet), please have a read and add your comments below.

A Day with Stella Maris


stella1Today is a full day of professional learning with the whole staff of Stella Maris College.  As the starting point for everything, we’ll see what people see as the Challenges they face.


Here’s a list of the main points we’ll focus on for today:

  • Understanding the challenges we face
  • Defining how we see our job
  • Setting a clear, indisputable and shared vision of our goals for students.
  • Using technology to facilitate authentic, engaging and personalised learning
  • Considering what’s needed to revise the curriculum to support 1:1 Digital Learning

Activity #1: Your Greatest Challenges

Brainstorm (anonymously?) the greatest challenges of your job


Activity #2: What is your Job?

  1. Work in your small groups to discuss this question.
  2. As a small group, compose one sentence that best captures your group’s thinking?
  3. One at a time each group will modify a compilation description:

What is your Job? One Sentence Essence

When you are not the “modifying group,” you will engage in Activity #3 below.

Activity #3 – Explore “Look to Learns”

While your colleagues are modifying the “One Sentence Essence” of your job, please explore the links below. After this “discover immersion” session, You will be asked the following questions:

  1. What are the key components of the activity format?
  2. What do you think the purpose of these activities are?
  3. What would be the educational value of such activities?
  • Also – Explore the latest Look to Learn’s in the Stream or Archive

Morning Tea

Activity 4 – Review & De-brief


  • Challenges: Logistics or Learning?: Wordle and Word Doc
  • Review – 20th vs 21st Century Schooling?
  • Presentation on Learning?

Our Job

  • Review the One Sentence Essence & its evolution.
  • Our Job: Teaching or developing successful Learners?

Activity 5: Our Mandated Job – Learning in the 21st Century

Presentation – How 1:1 Changes “School”

Melbourne Declaration

“The development of the Australian Curriculum will occur over three broad timeframes and is guided by two key documents: the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (pdf) and the Shape of the Australian Curriculum (pdf).”

from the opening paragraph on the Curriculum page of the ACARA Web site.

Validation from the Shape of the Australian Curriculum:

The curriculum development work of ACARA is guided by the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, adopted by the Ministerial Council in December 2008. The Melbourne Declaration emphasises the importance of knowledge, skills and understanding of learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities as the basis for a curriculum designed to support 21st century learning.

The Melbourne Declaration’s vision of “successful learners” (what would you add?)

Where’s the Teaching?

Activity 6 – Look to Learn


Look to Learn

Edge-ucators Way

  C E QA LL / Seek all!

Self-managed Learning Framework for students