NEW ZEALAND TARANAKI

RIGEL - Learning from Life:

Communities of learning via a connected curriculum

Michael Fenton, Ministry of Education eLearning Fellow, Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Teacher

The poster presentation and associated powerpoint slideshow reflects only part of the research carried out as a Ministry of Education e-Learning Fellow. A few slides from the conference in Kuala Lumpur are included here and the full research report critiquing the state of science education in New Zealand ...

Much of Michael's report highlighted and anticipated many of the issues covered in "Looking ahead: science education for the twenty-first century"  recently released from the office of the Prime Minister's Science Advisory Committee.

Every year Microsoft acknowledges exceptional visionary teachers who have introduced innovative technologies in imaginative ways into the curriculum to support students and improve learning outcomes for tomorrow.

Scientist and teacher Mr Michael Fenton was chosen as one of four teachers to represent New Zealand at the Microsoft Asia Pacific Innovative Teachers Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2009. The purpose of this event was to:

  • Recognise recipients of the Innovative Teachers Leadership Awards from participating Asia Pacific countries.
  • Promote international sharing of innovative practices of technology integration.
  • Provide networking opportunities among top innovators.
  • Focus international attention on the importance of technology innovation in education

The Real-world Interactive Games and Electronics Link (RIGEL) is a hand-held sensor unit invented by Michael Fenton. Apart from its obvious use as a low-cost high performance science data logger, the RIGEL pods can be worn by a student to connect to a 3D world projected into a classroom;

 

The use the RIGEL games and datalogger unit:

Innovation = invention x exploitation

The goal of innovation is positive change; to make someone better or adding value to existing processes or products

"Often the words creativity and innovation are used interchangeably. They shouldn't be, because while creativity implies coming up with ideas, it's the "bringing ideas to life" . . . that makes innovation the distinct undertaking it is."

Innovation in education

A high standard of innovative adaptation is achieved when computers

  • Combine many different kinds of data in a unique format
  • Connect new tools of communication with the learning process
  • Assist, expand, complement and accelerate human thought

RIGEL as a product of invention and exploitation...

  • Low cost
  • Open-ended… extends usefulness of existing technologies
  • Suits both student centered learning and expert teacher practical work
  • Assessment tool as well as learning tool
  • Relevant to all education systems supporting a science-based economy

RIGEL adding value to students and the learning process...

  • Electronic circuits used in non-electronics classes
  • Science covertly learnt in non-science classes
  • Significantly higher rates of engagement, motivation and enjoyment
  • Significantly higher identification of authentic knowledge
  • Game software connected with data logging makes game design software more useful, and real-world data sensing more fun
  • Readily available applications (mobile / desktop) plugged into
  • Takes computing out of cyberspace and back into the real world
  • Less 'cost'; in terms of teacher input to motivate and drive learning
  • Students show an increased willingness to be independent learner
  • Problem based learning for senior national examinations
  • Differentiated learning
  • Enables students with hearing or visual difficulties to engage in data monitoring and interpretation of science data.
  • Professional development tool for teachers; share data in real time experiments and discuss what is happening via the 'chat' facility.
  • Empowers indigenous cultures to participate in science-based learning using home and family as legitimate contexts for learning.
  • Cost effective
  • Use of calculator as remote control or data logger

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A RIGEL sensor unit on the exer-cycle is linked to the RIGEL 3D flight simulator projected on a large screen in front of the student …pedal to stay in the air…steer with the handle bars…look out!!!

Conference Theme: Empower, Enact, Engage: Becoming Agents of Change

Economic, ecological, social, political and cultural integration across nation states combined with the rapid advancement of technology have brought about transformations that are part of globalisation. Regardless of our location, we face a common destiny; where the unfolding of an event in one part of the world affects lives in other parts.

In such a new world order, our children and young people have to be prepared to be agents of change rather than just passive observers of world events. The Regional Innovative Teachers' Conference this year aims to engage its participants in conversations about such preparation in schools; and hence, the theme Empower, Enact, Engage: Becoming Agents of Change.

Engagement is paramount for learning success; where engagement entails mindfulness, intrinsic motivation, cognitive effort and attention. By undervaluing the rich and complex processes of learning for engagement, classroom activities that require active inquiry and deep conceptual understanding may become scarce in schools.

Learning for engagement then has to involve teachers and school leaders in empowering their students to critically examine real world issues and phenomena and providing them with opportunities to act upon them locally.

 

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The poster presentation and associated powerpoint slideshow reflects only part of the research carried out as a Ministry of Education e-Learning Fellow.

FULL RESESEARCH REPORT:

Michael Fenton's full Ministry of Education E-learning report can be found here: 2008 eLearning research report:

"Authentic learning using mobile sensor technology with reflections on the state of science education in New Zealand "

Much of this work highlighted and anticipated many of the issues covered in "Looking ahead: science education for the twenty-first century"  recently released from the office of the Prime Minister's Science Advisory Committee.

report cover
 

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