Welcome to my Blog for FET 5601

Here is my blog for FET 5601. I will try to keep all of my Moodle postings here as well as keep a track of my study as I progress through this course.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Instructional Design Competencies

I do start with content but only after my class has had a period of what we call 'front loading'. Front loading is the children's chance to explore the central idea which in my Radio company's UOI, is "Effective communities are managed by responsible citizens". Once the students have had a chance to make sense of this statement (we used our own school as the prime example of an organization) then we looked at the lines of inquiry which were:

• Roles & responsibilities in organisational structures.
• What makes the community effective?
• Resolving conflict in small communities.

To address this we brainstormed our company's name, mission statement, jobs and job descriptions for JPEG Radio.

We will further explore these inquiries when we visit a real radio company next week. We will even get to have some on air time.

So how effective will these experiences be? I must make continuous assessment or formative assessment. I will observe how my students cope with inquiring at the radio station, applying for a company job, learning how to do that job and how to work together to produce a series of broadcasts. My students will also write reflections about these experiences.

Sounds complicated? Not always. My class has one last UOI to do before the end of this school year. It's all about wants and needs. I have recently been made aware that about 90% (unbelievable but true!) of my Grade 3 class can't ride a two wheel bike yet! I'm thinking that maybe we will learn to ride a bike! Would you agree that knowing how to ride a bike would be considered as a child's basic need? Of course I will need to investigate further. I would like to integrate it into the sport program.

Hmm ... a Bike Trek would be fun to organize too.


What Flexible Learning means in my context.

What does flexible learning mean in my context?

Well, as I work using the inquiry cycle there is a fair amount of flexibility given that inquiry starts with what the students want to know. Not just with what the teacher wants the students to know! I have to explain here that it is Inquiry and not Enquiry. Inquiry means 'a request for information'. The IBO has coined the term UOI or Unit of Inquiry.

John Dewey's (1859-1952) philosophy states that education begins with the curiosity of the learner which is the most common beginning point of the inquiry cycle. Note that it is a cycle and not a procedure. That's very flexible in my opinion. I have included the inquiry cycle that I use with my classes for your reference.

I have been teaching using inquiry based learning for the past 5 years. The hardest part is getting used to 'letting go'. To facilitate a UOI the teacher must remain flexible as you need to give time for student inquiry. The way that we teach is of course not flexible to the point of no control but we cannot plan too far ahead as it is the students that drive the inquiry.

Inquiry Page Project 2007, Inquiry Page [online], Available from: [Accessed: 27.03.08].

Me the Mobile Learner

I must take a moment to reflect on how far I've come in this Masters program. When I first started I was printing out all of the readings and reading it off paper. Some courses meant piles as thick as telephone books were being printed. This year I purchased a Macbook Pro. Now I save all of my readings on the hard drive. I am able to read them when ever I want as I take my MacBook everywhere I go. Jakarta's communication systems are improving so I am often able to study online from Starbucks and Internet Cafes. I can also take my computer to the salon and catch up on my reading whilst having a creambath. Best of all, reading off the screen is starting to stay in my head. I feel that I am becoming more and more like a Digital Native everyday.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Inquiry Planning

Bruce asked me to elaborate on a post that I made about ID...

Thanks for your feedback. I must always plan in a team. That means that reflection is done together as well. To further illustrate I'll copy from the JPEG Radio planner. I've only just started it. The planner is made up of different sections:

1. What is our purpose?
To inquiry into the following:
Theme: How We Organize Ourselves
Central idea
An organization has many different departments that work together to achieve a common goal.

Summative assessment task(s):
What are the possible ways of assessing students’ understanding of the central idea? What evidence, including student-initiated actions, will we look for?
We will assess the students as they work through the UOI. They will need to complete a CV and portfolio for the company interview. These tasks will have an assessment rubric. Each worker will participate in the production of a series of radio broadcasts. Department updates will be posted on the blog. Heads of departments will be given author access to the blog.

2. What do we want to learn?
What are the key concepts to be emphasized within this inquiry?
Responsibility, function, connection, reflection and form

What lines of inquiry will define the scope of the inquiry into the central idea?
• Role and responsibilities in an organizational structure.
• What makes an organization effective
• The relationship between the different departments of a company

What teacher questions/provocations will drive these inquiries?

What will the mission statement of our company be?
What jobs and jobs descriptions are needed for our class company?
Who can we ask to help us learn about radio broadcasts?(primary resources)
How can we get our jobs done properly?
How must the company workers work together to make the radio shows?

3. How might we know what we have learned? (Assessment)
4. How best might we learn? (Experience related activities)
5. What resources need to be gathered?
What people, places, audio-visual materials, related literature, music, art, computer software, etc, will be available?
Using Garageband to edit the tracks and to host the podcasts. The blog will be used to host the show links. The class will go to visit Heartline Radio 100.6 FM in Jakarta (2nd April) to meet with the different radio departments and station manager. We will have time on air to discuss our class radio project and promote our radio blog. (Class parents pulled some strings to make this happen)

How will the classroom environment, local environment, and/or the community be used to facilitate the inquiry? The class will have different 'office areas' and parents will be encouraged to help with the different departments. Training for parents will be run by the class teachers. Our radio station will serve the school community and promote the school.

6. To what extent did we achieve our purpose? (Students and teachers must complete this section)

7. To what extent did we include the elements of the PYP?
(Key concepts, transdisciplinary skills, learner profile and/or attitudes.)
8. What student-initiated inquiries arose from the learning?
9. What student-initiated actions arose from the learning?

You can see that it is quite detailed and we've only just started to work on this. Of course not all teachers use so much ICT integration. That would depend on the individual.


A Response to Jan's Question

Hi Jan,
I've been teaching this class since early Aug 2006 which was the beginning of the academic year here. My students are Indonesian and for most of them English is their second language. I am the inquiry teacher (UOI - unit of inquiry) and English teacher. There is a class teacher who does Math and Indonesian language. We teach UOI together. Our class blog is

Last year in Grade 3, I made a company that created and sold gemstone jewelry. We would go to the Jakarta Gemstone markets to buy in bulk. We made a profit of US$500 with which we bought a computer for the classroom. By the end of the project, the kids were running the market days themselves. It was very successful but didn't really have much ICT integration except that we wrote the story of the inquiry and published it as a book using the brand new computer! (A parent printed the book for us)

I love inquiry learning! I try to make it as real and enduring as possible. It is so immediate and perfectly suited for Digital Natives. The hardest part is running around scoping out the primary resources.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

ELearnspace George Siemens

Elearning is the marriage of technology and education, and most often, the instructional designer's greatest role is that of "bridging" concepts between the two worlds.
ID is to serve the learning needs and success of students through effective presentation of content and fostering of interaction.
Personally, I think that these two statements are key statements. So many times I have witnessed the inclusion of ICT in education forced over the existing learning. In my own school we have digital portfolios but the context is merely digitalized paper-based work.

What I think Instructional Design is:

I’m sorry to be a bit of a late starter in this course. I have just finished the 3rd Quarter at my school and was involved in the Easter Celebration yesterday. Now I have a short break in which I intend to catch up.

What I think Instructional Design is:

Looking at the guiding statements I think that Instructional Design means a learning experience that is planned and tailor made to suit a class of students. I feel that it is what I do already as a teacher.

An example of this would be:

At my school we use the inquiry process. We have to make a plan for each Unit of Inquiry. During a school year we must complete 6 units, which focus on different subject areas. I am currently planning my next UOI (Unit of Inquiry) that is based on the theme “How We Organize Ourselves”. The 6 themes have been determined by the IBO. Every time I start a new theme, I must start with what I predict my final or summative assessment will focus on. As I am just starting a new UOI I'll use it as an example.

I am planning for my class to become a company – an Internet radio company. The assessment will be based around the students’ ability to work together to produce a series of broadcasts. My formative assessment will be partly based on checklists and partly anecdotal. As the educator I must lead the inquiry by determining what my students already know and design a series of experiences to lead them to what I need them to understand. The IBO encourages the use of Primary resources over Secondary so we will visit a local radio station to inquire about how the company is run.

Part of the learning process will be the formation of the company itself with students applying for a job by way of a formal application and interview. We have already chosen the name of JPEG Radio and you can see our blog at

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Thinking About Teaching

Hi Everyone,

I have read all of the posts with interest. The posts are quite diverse and this paper has sparked a lot of thought.

The points made in this paper that I can most identify with are:

Universities must maintain their core values that include research-based teaching.

Teaching does not invent its tools; it uses those invented by others.

Using technology in teaching doesn’t make it innovative unless the tool enables a richer experience.

Teachers must become reflective practitioners.

I teach in an IBO school, which uses the inquiry method central to all teaching and learning. That means that the students pursue their learning through investigation. Reflection and making connections are key components. We follow a simple cycle of Choose-Act-Reflect. The teacher is the facilitator not the expert, but we must make sure that the curriculum scope and sequence has been covered.

Both of my classes (Gr 3 and 5) integrate ICT across the curriculum through using keeping blogs, creating websites and maintaining offline digital portfolios. The challenge is to create digital artifacts and not just digitalize paper-based learning.

My experiences so far with my current Masters online (my most recent experience of 'higher learning') have been really similar to the inquiry model that I am using at my school. In the courses that I have done so far I have been encouraged to choose, use it/practice it with my students and continually reflect on my learning. I have already started a blog for this course and it is at


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Getting Started

Today I started reading the first reading for this course about teaching and learning at university level. I am keen to post my response as a Mind map so I will use Kidspiration. I have a concept map program in my Mac but I like Kidspiration better as it has lots of clip art.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Welcome to my Blog for FET 5601

Here is my blog for FET 5601. I will try to keep all of my Moodle postings here as well as keep a track of my study as I progress through this course.