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Why Peer Learning?

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  1. Why Peer Learning? • Research evidence is impersonal and conditional • No one has the answer in technology in schooling • Together we do have the answer • solutions are immanent: within the system • Peer learning matches what we know about change • Zone of proximal development • Social networking and knowledge building • High probability of critical questions • Addressed contingently and collaboratively • A good context for the construction of new knowledge • Changing roles enhances empathy, objectivity and conditions for learning

  2. Why not? • Amateur • Context-bound • Anecdotal • Subjective • Costly • Recycles mediocrity

  3. P2P: Peer Reviews and Observatory on Policy and Practice in ICT • Complements other actions, e.g. ICT Cluster, eTwinning • eLearning Call 2003 theme 1: peer reviews • January 2004 to April 2006 • Partners • EUN Partnership • UK: Open University Learning Schools Programme • Finland: Helsingin yliopisto Psykologian laitos • Netherlands: Inspectie van het Onderwijs • UK: Nottingham University School of Psychology • UK (Northern Ireland): Education Technology Strategy Management Group • Finland: National Board of Education (Opetushallitus) • France: CIEP (for ministry of education) • Switzerland: CTIE-EDUCA E-Pilotage-CH (self-funded)

  4. Aims • To identify and transfer excellence in the policy and practice of eLearning in school systems • To monitor and stimulate change in ICT policies and practice • Three strands: policy, practice, inspection

  5. 1: Policy Peer Reviews • Success chasing?

  6. Approach • Three countries sharing many constraints in common, BUT in historical, cultural and institutional contexts - transformation versus transfer • Role reversal • Limit core team to 8 members • Before: • Country report on Insight (http://insight.eun.org) • Identify a systemic challenge facing policy-makers • Scaling up, Sustaining, Selling • Plan an agenda • Three three-day visits • With structured support and co-ordination • Triangulation and reflection • Reporting and analysis

  7. What should the process yield? • Tacit knowledge made explicit • Multiple perspectives + searching enquiry = conditions for abstraction and more general understanding = conditions for exploration of connections, explanations and reasons in informal as well as formal systems - i.e. a more detailed systemic view

  8. In Northern Ireland peers noted: • Curriculum reform a key lever • ICT critical to its implementation • Key issues in innovation in assessment • Homogenous well funded action • High investment in close centralised co-ordination of different actors and agencies • Strong partnership with private sector • Innovations in public-private partnerships integrated into everyday practice • High recurrent costs of PPP • Centralisation key to implementation and conditions for transfer • Leadership of school leaders • An online learning environment

  9. In France peers were struck by: • How to leverage a large system • Going beyond the innovators • ICT infrastructure and support in a large system • Keys to decentralisation and de-concentration • Top down measures • Assessment of ICT competencies: locally defined criteria within national framework • Bottom up measures • Stimulate local production of content and practice within a framework of national accreditation and dissemination • Importance of a common learning platform • VLE design and functionality: local solutions within a national framework • And of good content • Positive impact of inspection on change • Develop new functions as part of professional practice within the system • Effort to ensure shared vision and to engender local production

  10. Finland impressed for: • Trust in teachers • Highly qualified and respected teaching force • Abolition of inspectorate and ‘down-loading’ expertise • Accountability through testing for final summative purposes only • Clear separation of individual assessment, institutional evaluation and national, system health checks • Highly distributed system of responsibility and regulation reflected in national approach to systemic innovation in schooling • De-centralised, coordinated responsibility for curriculum planning, implementation and assessment - crucial role of trust • Every child matters: one online course per student • A school improvement ethos, rather than control through inspection • Consensus around socio-constructivist and an active pedagogical approach • Consistency between schools • Flexible curriculum

  11. But what transferred? • Specific documents: • The translation of the French quality label • Collaborative work of Finland and NI on quality criteria • Finnish virtual school project in NI • Not so easy as initially thought: a lot of people have to be convinced • Finland • implementing teacher and head teachers training as it exists in Northern Ireland • tuning the Finnish national educational portal as regional virtual learning environments as in France • France • Takes time to assimilate, need to return and keep in touch Valuable professional development for policy-makers themselves Improved understanding of innovation and transfer Inspiration and admiration, some surprise, some criticism A useful mirror to better evaluate their own education system

  12. 2: Practice peer reviews The curiosity model

  13. Methodology • 14 schools identified in four countries • Paired at workshop • Mutual study visits • Support and co-ordination • Reporting framework for review • Analysis of process and outcomes • Gallery and good practice collecting

  14. What did I get out of this? • An insight into another school whose schooling system is different • The opportunity to broaden my thinking about uses of ICT • An opportunity to challenge my thinking • The opportunity to benchmark the practices in my school against those in Lycee Molière • Reinforced existing good practice but challenged chosen direction and priorities • Gave a good example of children being responsible for their own learning • Showed an example where government supported priorities with finance

  15. What impressed me? • Whilst the pedagogy was quite different to my experience it was impressive to observe the individual drive of the staff to develop ICT for teaching and learning. • The culture of independence of teachers tested staff to be creative and proactive about their style of teaching and personal development. • The desire to make ICT a part of student centred learning on part of the teacher and to be able to exploit its use as a management tool • Development of initiatives especially with regards to ICT should be considered more in a European forum – together we can do much more • Other visits between the schools would be essential to widen and deepen the experience and result in more valuable learning

  16. Personal Gain • I felt challenged in relation to what we do as a school • The experience made me think about how and why we do things • The process of justifying, explaining reinforced the positive aspects of the work we do and made me think about others • The development of a professional and personal relationship with our French counterparts. • Immense gain in my leadership role in that through the challenge I had to reflect on myself and what I do

  17. Evaluation of P2P visit • Few examples of practices to adapt in own school • But: impact on decision making • Feeling of facing similar problems helps • Sense of confirmation • More awareness of own work • Starting point for closer collaboration • Sharing of professional practice and social aspects of the visits that made it easier to do so.

  18. Model for examining schools • Goals of the school • Leadership • Features of teacher community • Working culture in the school • Pedagogical practices • ICT resources • Conclusions • best ideas during the examination • practices to be implemented in own school

  19. Self Presentations: P2P schools gallery • Building an easily accessible and inspiringknowledge base of school practices across Europe • http://insight.eun.org • http://p2p.eun.org • Structured template • About your school • The ICT infrastructure in your school • ICT support (pedagogical and technical) • School’s vision using ICT • Innovative ICT practices • Your school and the peer learning visit

  20. Role of the model • Useful but some school reports had different structure • Teachers are not used to examining other schools • Closer contact between researchers and schools needed • Model should be supportive but not prescriptive • Systematic approach is needed • Model has been evaluated on the basis of P2P and can be further developed for future peer to peer projects

  21. Some conclusions • Flavour of the school culture and facilities • Difficulties: • To learn from each other, • To adapt own practice, • To evolve new practices, • To implement changes… • Putting facts into the countries’ context • Workload in schools • Language problems • Missing guidance and personal contact • Subjectivity: presentation vs. reality • Factual information vs. entering a reflective process

  22. Outcomes • “National school system has a strong impact on the practices at individual schools that attention concentrates on these larger issues during the school visit that are different to your own system”. • “Difficulty to single out features typical of that school and transformable to your own school regardless of the school system culture in the school”.

  23. Conditions for successful peer learning between schools

  24. What the literature says • Clarity of purposes • Peers involved, close relationship • Own, manageable focus • Agreed, manageable observation approach • Time for reflection and feedback • Systematic frameworks for data collection, with training

  25. What were the purposes of peer review? • Professional development • improving understanding of ICT • an ‘evaluative edge’ • was there enough of relationship to allow this? • To disseminate innovations? • As basis for future classroom projects?

  26. Role of co-ordinators • Model 1: strong direction and co-ordination and involvement of co-ordinator • Model 2: detachment, giving room ‘to do own thing’ • Combined model: direction and support

  27. Matching • How are schools matched? • Match schools on: • People • School general characteristics • School ICT characteristics • Focus

  28. Matching process • Arranged marriage • limited time • need to maximise impact • Dating agency or speed dating? • time to get to know • possibility to change pairing (multiple meetings) • eTwinning process

  29. Matching peers • People • True peer • Seriously engaged (professional) • Wanting to learn (mutual) • Schools • General match • ICT level • Focus • General (ICT or ICT and leadership) • Shared or negotiated focus

  30. Visit • Welcome • Engagement • Social element • Time to discuss • Match of focus and programme arranged • Responsive to developing needs • Reporting

  31. Recommendations • Clear purposes • Help to schools with peer review process • Shared understanding across all levels • Time for schools to initially know each other • Multiple visits • Multiple partners or visits to different schools • Mutually shared language • Don’t underestimate effect of country system differences • eTwinning links

  32. 3: Inspectorate peering The working together to solve a shared problem model

  33. Approach • Two triads in six countries • 6 peer reviews, 31 school visits • School visits • Common framework development • Core team of 12 inspectors • Involvement of some 45 inspectors • Briefing [policy, context, ict] • School visits [observing, questioning and participating] • Debriefing • [similarity and contrast] • [things to improve and things to take home]

  34. Outcomes • Adoption of common framework • Extension to other inspectorates • Adding detail to framework • Adapting to make it an action plan for change • RecognitionInspirationProfessional dialogue with peersIncreased understanding of ICT’s place in learning

  35. Reflections • Dissemination to others • Comparing is difficult… *Different roles *Different mandates *Different instrumentation *Different contexts • Respect for each other’s position • Common tasks regardless of differing contexts • Similarities and differences need to be balanced • Concrete deliverable in the form of the common framework

  36. Proof of the pudding improving national practice [based on feedback from visitors] introducing new ways of working [based on what was observed abroad] using common criteria [as a replacement or in addition to existing national ones]

  37. Shared framework Building on existing criteria and instruments • questionnaires, self evaluation forms, classroom observation forms etc. Open and flexible Open enough to be used in different contextsFlexible enough to be used as a whole or in parts