A SCHOOL in Arizona where the students sit in office-like cubicles and learn online will be one of the destinations for Chantel Barnes when the Tasmanian educator heads off on a US study tour.
The PE teacher and head of junior school at New Norfolk High School has been awarded a prestigious Hardie Fellowship.
“I’m looking at how we create engaging, digital, innovative and personalised learning opportunities for students with a focus on innovative learning environments and alternative learning spaces — and how that contributes to improving student outcomes and engagement,” she explains.
Barnes, who will be visiting several US charter schools, is also exploring digital technology for personalised learning and assessment, and how 21st Century schools are challenging the traditional model.
“[I’m going to a] big open learning space (High Tech High School in San Diego) … that’s project-based learning and they’re doing that across all classes. As a comparison, I’m also going to a school where it’s cubicle-based (Carpe Diem Collegiate High School).
“The kids [learn at] computer desk spaces side by side … then, if there’s any discrepancies or they haven’t picked up what they’ve been learning that day they go and have tutorials with specialised teachers. Then the computer generates what they call a ‘playlist’ for them the next day.”
Barnes will also be visiting schools in New York and studying at Oregon University and Harvard University along the way.
She sets off in April. When she returns in June, as well as sharing her research and experiences with educators, Barnes is also looking at running PD, and working with beginning teachers on the importance of personalised learning and implementing technology in the classroom.
Hardie Fellowships have also been awarded to: Teresa Pockett, Jordan River Learning Federation; Donelle Batty, Riverside High School; Lisa Drinkwater, Ann Fedyk, Jason Gunn and Craig Woodfall, Kings Meadows High School; Jenny Buckingham and Jackie Witt, Learning Services South Support Team (Inclusive Learning Leaders).