The Ruyton Reporter - Spring 2014 - page 2

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the ruyton reporter
The Future of Learning
Commitment to education always starts with a story
As Mahatma Gandhi was stepping aboard a train one day one of his sandals fell off
and landed on the track. He was unable to retrieve it as the train started rolling.
To the amazement of his companions he calmly took off the other sandal and threw
it on the track to land near the first sandal. Asked by a fellow traveller why he did
this Gandhi replied, ‘a poor person who finds a single shoe is no better off; what is
really helpful is finding a pair.’ Gandhi applied the wisdom of the moment; to own
one sandal is useless both for the finder and the keeper.
It was with this story that David Perkins launched the Harvard Graduate School of
Education Future of Learning summer course this year. I was fortunate to be a
member of a group of Principals from Independent Schools Victoria joining the
270 participants in this course, exploring three core developments that are shaping
the nature of learning in the societies of today and tomorrow: globalisation, the
digital revolution, and our growing understanding of the mind/brain. Repeatedly
over the following days we would return to this story and ponder: what do we
know? How might we rethink learning? What should we do? What will these
changes lead to? What do we need to let go of and what do we need to retain as
we rethink and reimagine learning?
As John Dewey, American educational reformist (1859–1952) noted,
‘If we teach
today as we taught yesterday we rob our children of tomorrow.’
The digital revolution
and continuing globalisation of our world are impacting on how we learn and the
learning environments in which we engage. As a school community we recognise
the need to evaluate, review and rethink if we are to prepare our students for
the reality of tomorrow. The transition to digital devices across the whole School
community this year is not merely about providing students with devices, but
about providing students with meaningful opportunities to engage in learning
experiences that promote creation, creativity and collaboration.
This era of education has enabled students to gain information easily, through a
variety of sources. As teachers and educators we are no longer the major source of
information but progressively we are the filter. There is an increasing responsibility
to teach our students how to validate, synthesise, leverage, communicate,
collaborate and problem-solve the information they access. As educators we are
rethinking the tools we use, the problems we solve, the sources we consult, the
networks we connect with, the ways we evaluate, collaborate and reflect and the
ways in which we can personalise the learning experience. This also means
rethinking our own role as teachers to incorporate mentoring, co-collaborating,
researching and coaching.
The learning experience now truly extends beyond school, as students and staff
understand the value of networking beyond the classroom and the opportunities
to learn anywhere and anytime. In this extended learning environment there is an
emphasis on personal responsibility, reliability and integrity. Devices are not merely
for entertainment but for enhancing powerful and meaningful engagement. They
provide one of the tools of learning for staff and students alike. Our challenge is
to ensure that learning experiences are relevant, challenging and engaging for
students, whatever tools and strategies are engaged.
Master Plan Progress and Capital Campaign
In Term 2 our Year 4 students moved into the newly refurbished South House with
great excitement, bringing to fruition the new Year 4 learning community focus.
The landscaping was completed in Term 3, providing external spaces and vegetable
gardens to enrich the learning opportunities for our girls as they explore and
discover their role as a contributing citizen in the wider community.
Work has commenced on the new Margaret McRae Centre with the excavations
well underway for the four-floor building which will cater for Years 7 and 8, Drama
and events, and Science.
The Ruyton community has been extremely generous in their support of the Capital
Campaign to raise one million dollars towards the new Margaret McRae Centre.
Only three months into the campaign our community has already contributed in
excess of $540,000. Mrs Kathryn Watt, President of the Board of Directors, Mr Peter
Kanat, President of the Foundation, Ms Tonya Peters, Director of Development and
I look forward to meeting with many more members of the community as we share
details of the new learning environments provided by the Margaret McRae Centre
and Hiscock Court. If you would like further information regarding the Capital
Campaign please contact Ms Tonya Peters on 9818 6929 or email
Value of World Wide Connection
We recently welcomed Ms Sarah Blyth as the incoming President of the ORA.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank both the outgoing President,
Ms Caroline Jarrett and the Secretary, Ms Natalie Pullan, for their years of
committed service to the ORA. The ORA is an essential component of the Ruyton
community, providing our alumni with a wide and supportive network as they
follow their individual paths beyond School. In August I was fortunate to meet
with a group of alumni in New York for our inaugural US reunion. Along with
women who had established successful and fulfilling lives in the USA there were
some recent graduates who were starting new jobs or studying overseas. Despite
the diversity of life journeys there was a strong connection through the shared
experience of a Ruyton education. Emily Lowell, who attended Ruyton as an
exchange student from Dana Hall, exchanging with Lucie Swinnerton (‘04) provided
the highlight by turning up wearing the Ruyton straw hat.
Ms Linda Douglas,
Principal
On our cover:Year 8 Camp surfing lessons
From the Study
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