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Effective Multidisciplinary Cohesion
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Technology is big business in Education. Laptops, data shows, interactive whiteboards and hand held data devices are becoming increasingly common in schools across the globe. The progress is inevitable, but not equitable and in many cases the technology is lying idle as teachers with limited technological expertise and/or interest struggle to use the technology to its maximum potential.

It is an interesting fact that teaching is an isolating profession and yet one in which you are constantly surrounded by people. The problem is, teachers can see their students as foes to be overcome, wild horses whose spirit must be broken before they can be useful or simply a daily test of patience in order to live from weekend to weekend.

Successful teachers combine successfully combine two aspects of their teaching to create interesting and engaging lessons for students. These are content competence and pedagogical craft. Elsewhere referred to as CPK, this overlap between the pedagogical and the content provides students with meaningful experiences in which they control their own learning and can display their inquisitive nature. Personally, I believe this is no better exemplified than in Science. The entire purpose of teaching Science is not to encourage the fascination with dinosaurs or engender success on trivia night, it is to teach a way of thinking. It is a rational approach that includes observations and weaves the known and unknown into a coherent story or explanation.

Everywhere around the globe, Science teachers are producing stimulating lessons that no one but their students get to enjoy. This is the isolation. You may meet colleagues for coffee if you don't have a playground duty but your classroom is your own domain. Despite this, teachers are experts at 'paying it forward'. Sharing resources, passing notes, collaborating on exams are a natural part of the job for many teachers. It's not the pride of demonstrating how many after hours hours you've spent preparing your resources nor, necessarily, any altruism directed towards your colleagues. It is the joy that comes from student learning. Whether directly or indirectly, teachers get excited when students have light bulb moments. The glint in the eye of comprehension, when before there was only confusion. That's why to Sir with Love and Dead Poet's Society and their more recent brothers and sisters resonate with future teachers. we may not all get a song sung to us or an "O Captain, my Captain" honour, but we feel the same when one of our students has performed above their personal expectations.

Technology has thrown a third ring into the mix. Now teachers must weave technological expertise into their Content Pedagogical duet. Performed well, technology can produce an Effective Multidisciplinary Cohesion. Students get to demonstrate how they can use the skills they gain from one subject area to improve their performance or increase their understanding in another. Teachers can demonstrate how to apply knowledge across a range of situations. Educational games can be played and learning becomes more robust.

As technology reaches further into schools there is an ongoing need to keep the flow of resources dynamic. Quality programs can be free, inexpensive or overpriced. Such is the potential offered by new technologies. You do get what you pay for, but what is a teacher's after hours time worth anyway? And who has time to develop a range of technology based tools for use in lessons? Perhaps it is time to breakdown the walls of isolation and allow more ideas to flow between classrooms, between teachers and across systems. Maybe it's time more teachers started passing notes. For more information, go to passingnotes.com.au.

 


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