If you’ve been involved in education circles for any length of time, you would no doubt be aware of the work of Jamie Mackenzie. Jamie is probably best known as the creator of the Webquest concept, but also does a lot of great work with higher order thinking, and the use of deep questions to deal with complexity and encourage kids to really think. I was fortunate to be invited to attend a two day CEO workshop with Jamie Mackenzie over the last couple of days and I found it really worthwhile. Like a lot of good information, you find yourself marvelling at the sheer simplicity of his ideas but still wondering why you’ve never thought of this stuff yourself. It was great to meet the guy in person after having heard and read so much about his work over the years.
His workshops focussed on the use of deep questions to encourage deep thinking, with some great hands-on examples of using primary sources of information to investigate suppositional questions about interesting topics. We also looked at a lot of great ideas for developing visual, textual and numeric literacies. It’s amazing how things change when you use Jamie’s simple approach, especially the way all the concerns about plagiarism just become suddenly irellevant! It’s so true that if we don’t want kids to have a cut-and-paste mentality then we as teachers have to rethink the way we ask kids to do things.
We also had a few workshops about some “hot topics” like podcasting, smartboards and Web 2.0. It’s clear to me that there has been a major shift in committment to technology within the CEO… well, not so much a shift for the technology itself – that committment was always there even if it was not always well executed – but there was a real sense, from the top of the organisation down, that the times they are a-changin’, and that there was a real imperative for schools to change as well. I heard a lot of good talk coming from the bigwigs of CEO, as well as a lot of enthusiasm from the teachers, so I was very encouraged to see some fundamental thought shifts about education taking place. It was one of the reasons that I left the CEO schools a few years ago, that lack of vision.
It’s good to see it’s finally starting to appear!
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Questions are the Answers by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.