WHAT DO WE WANT OUR STUDENTS TO BE LIKE WHEN THEY GRADUATE FROM OUR CLASS?

Author: Brett Salakas
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EdTech Café

EdTech Cafe
 Standford EdTech (Author)
EdTech Café is a podcast series produced by the educational technology team at Stanford Medicine.

One of the early
influencers on my understanding of teaching in the digital age was, fellow Australian,
Allan Carrington. His work in the university sector had led him to clearly
consider the characteristics that he wanted his students to graduate with. What
could he do to directly influence and enhance the characteristics in his
students that would make them more employable and more productive members of
society.

After formalising his
understanding of the concept of ‘graduate capabilities’ Allan created the
Padagogy Wheel. It was through the Padagogy Wheel that I came to meet Allan. I
happened to be teaching in one of the first four schools in Sydney trialing 1:1
iPads in my systems very first BYOD program. My co-teachers and I we looking
for established pedagogical models that married quality teaching and
technology. That is when we found the Padagogy Wheel. Allan was also kind
enough to join us in several skype sessions. Through these conversations a
genuine friendship between Allan and I was forged. Allan and his Padagogy Wheel
have impacted on my understanding ed-tech pedagogy and I am proud to pay
tribute to his work and his impact on me by referencing the Padagogy Wheel
several times in this book.

But how did Allan come to
understand the concept of graduate capabilities?

As and academic, Allan
traveled to various universities and it was while he was at the University of
Western Sydney (UWS) that he hear Professor Geoff Scott. Professor Scott was
the Director of Sustainability. His work focused on not environmental
sustainability but sustainability in Higher Education.

Professor Scott described
Educational Sustainability as having four pillars that of Social, Cultural,
Economic and Environmental. These pillars support the key functions of a
university which interact with the four functions of a university, research,
teaching, engagement and operations.

“Students graduate into a
transdisciplinary world not a monodisciplinary one; a world of continuous flux,
where technical and human factors constantly interact in complex and unique
ways. It is a world where unpredictability and change are always in the air and
our graduates’ capability is most tested when the unexpected happens, an
unanticipated opportunity arises, when things suddenly go awry or they are
faced with a ‘wicked problem’ or dilemma (Rittel & Webber, M, 1973) – a
‘forked road’ situation in which there is a range of potentially relevant ways
to go and they have to decide which is likely to be the most productive. “

Transforming graduate
capabilities & achievement standards for a sustainable future Key insights
from a 2014-16 Office for Learning & Teaching National Senior Teaching
Fellowship – Geoff Scott

Clearly the focus of
Professor Scott’s work is not simply how to help a student obtain a
qualification from a given institution, but more importantly how to help
prepare that student as best as possible for the workforce so that they can
succeed at work and be a positive contributor to society.

Based on his work and
international studies Professor Scott has named the top 15 capabilities that
are required to work in a vast range of industries, including elite sport.

  1. Having
    energy, passion and enthusiasm
  2. Being
    willing to give credit to others
  3. Empathising
    & working productively with diversity
  4. Being
    transparent and honest in dealings with others
  5. Thinking
    laterally and creatively
  6. Being
    true to one’s values and ethics
  7. Listening
    to different points of view before coming to a decision
  8. Understanding
    personal strengths & limitations
  9. Time
    management skills
  10. Persevering
  11. Learning
    from errors
  12. Learning
    from experience
  13. Remaining
    calm when under pressure
  14. Being
    able to make effective presentations to different groups
  15. Identifying
    from a mass of information the core issue/opportunity

Allan Carrington took these
capabilities and built an ed-tech friendly pedagogical model that has these
capabilities at its core. Despite the fact that these capabilities, and the
Padagogy Wheel itself, were originally designed for Higher Education the
implications for younger students are clear. As educators we all follow the
universal truth that we want to best prepare our students for the world and we
want them to be a positive influence in the world.

With this in mind I think
that we as educators are challenged to ask three questions:

How can I design activities
and assessments to develop these capabilities in the graduates/students?

How can I enrich and strengthen learning opportunities and expose students to real or virtual challenges where they can hone these capabilities?

How can I help my students develop these capabilities? What strategies or learning environment would work?

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