Gilberthorpe school

Gilberthorpe school

Monday, 1 June 2015

2020 Conference- Two school visits and Anne Knock from the Sydney centre for innovative learning

2020 conference , school visits and Anne Knock from the Sydney Centre  for innovative learning.

Our conference started with visits to two Christchurch schools- Thorrington Primary and Christchurch South Intermediate.  Thanks to both of these schools for hosting us.

Thorrington school
The experience here was fantastic and it was clear how much time, energy and thinking had been put into making sure that systems and structures had been well thought through before working in the collaborative environments.
Thorrington had a few key roles- Instructing teacher, working teacher and orientation teacher.  These roles were unpacked so that each knew the expectation when performing this role.  They also had designated instructing space, working space, meeting space, creating space, exploring space and a home base!  
I was also impressed by the level of detail taken to get to know each others likes and dislikes, something that if not brought up and discussed, could derail progress.
This was working well for the year 1 students.

We were also fortunate enough to walk through several rooms, this was about 30 adults at once and the kids barely flinched...most impressive and a testament to how well established routines and expectations were.

Christchurch South Intermediate
This was a great chance to fast forward to the other end of the school, intermediate. It was great to see many similarities, in terms of the organisational elements required to make this successful.
I was impressed at how engaged students were at this level, they were working on maths and there were using a huge range of strategies and methods to solve problems, great to see pen and paper out and about alongside ICT’s and class teaching.  Students here had an instructional space and then several breakout spaces and other rooms for the students to work in.  The acoustics within the building allowed this to flow with minimal interruptions.

What I took from both of these schools was that it is imperative to take the time to plan and prepare for what these environments will look like, what will happen in them, where and when it will happen and by whom.

The 2020 learner by Anne Knock from the Sydney Centre for Innovative Learning.

I want to start by emphasising that I found Anne to be one of the best speakers that I have heard and the conference was right on the mark for our current school needs.

Here were some key points :
A culture of learning should dominate all other cultures
Anywhere, anytime, ubiquitous learning
Naming spaces provides energy and enthusiasm, they used Manhattan and Barcelona for popular, shared areas
There were 3 key types of space- Physical, Virtual and Cultural ( as in the school culture)
Share, comfortable, open spaces are important
When approaching the process I loved the way Anne looked at it - “I’m a designer looking for solutions”
75% of space was shared

The change process
We must constantly look at this,  Sigmoid curve shows that we must re assess and make changes while still in a peak because inevitably this will decline, emphasising the importance of ongoing reflection of what we are doing and why!
Let’s prototype instead of piloting because prototyping is an iteration which means it is ongoing and reflective, piloting has a defined start and end date.
The analogy was given of  a DJ or sound technician, all of the levers can’t be on full at the same time to create the best music, we need to choose areas to focus on and get right before moving to another.

The OECD states that in order for schools to prepare 21st Century learners we need :
Strong leaders
Confident teachers
Innovative approaches

OECD also signalled that successful schools were using these strategies :
Grouping teachers
Grouping learners
Open scheduling of lessons etc…
Variety of approaches
Ownership of  their culture

Collaboration is often messy and uncomfortable but it is working!

“Great collaboration is when everyone has a voice and everyone is heard”  Anne Knock 2015.

HMW structure to help refine thinking was beneficial :
H- How, M- Might, W- We
e.g. HMW strengthen our school leadership  So that…. we have a strong culture of learning

What does this mean @ Gilberthorpe … What are our next steps?
  1. Slow down and breathe…
  2. Revisit the top - Our vision, values and practice, we need to get this right then everything else must align with this!
  3. Bring the community along with this process
  4. Then we look at how collaboration fits with this, what does it mean? what will it look like for us?

There is a lot to think about but this conference has provided a great opportunity to think about 2020 learners and how best we can prepare to educate them!


  1. Thanks for such encouragement. I had a great time with the Christchurch crew. There is so much opportunity in the coming years to make a difference in the community. I appreciated the opportunity to share with you and look forward to seeing your vision unfold.
    Anne Knock

  2. Great ideas, lots to think about here with the rebuild and exciting future ahead for Gilberthorpe.

  3. It is awesome to see that a lot of though and research is happening around this. I am glad that we are not being thrown in the deep end and we are slowing down to make sure we get this right!
    I think the school culture is building and students are gaining more of an understanding of expectations and how they can contribute to the space that is as much theirs as it is ours.

  4. The 2020 Conference was great in many ways. It highlighted to me how we are all on a journey through change and redevelopment of the teaching and learning in our schools.

    I enjoyed the fact that people from a variety of schools could come together and recognise the work already being done in schools and share ideas and thoughts about the work that is in progress and yet to come.

    The visit to Thorrington highlighted the need and the payoffs from thorough research, planning and preparation needed to help work and implementation of a collaborative learning environment. The focus here really was about the practice. Great inspiration here.

    Anne presented in a clear and concise way, having us hanging off every word. Her ideas and experience offered much food for thought allowing us to come away with clear areas to focus on at the stage we are at in our journey.

    Changes in so many areas with a bright looking future ahead.