Trans v. Inter Disciplinary – A Visual Guide

I’ve been busy preparing for my upcoming MYP workshop in Mathematics and I’ve been getting all ‘Presentation Zen‘ on the slides. Yes, it adds to the amount of preparation (I could just use some ‘canned slides’ for all workshop leaders) but this way

  • gives me ownership of the content
  • makes me really think about what I’m presenting
  • allows me to make something that I’m proud of
  • will be more helpful to my participants (I hope).

One of the ideas that I was really struggling to present was the difference between transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. I realized it was because I didn’t fully understand the nuances of them myself!

So, with the help of Twitter (@klbeasley, @amichetti, @stangey especially) and our Curriculum Coordinator, I came up with the following visual metaphors for monodisciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teaching and learning. I wanted something that people could recall in their head to help explain the differences between these terms.

All of the original images used were found on Flickr and licensed under Creative Commons. Please feel free to use or reuse them as you see fit!

I have included some brief explanations on the Flickr pages (each image links back to its Flickr page) for each image but have purposefully left them off here. I wonder if those images clarify, to you, the differences? If you go back and read the explanations, does that help?

Any comments or suggestions, either on the content or the presentation of the slides, are greatly appreciated!

Thoughts on the IB Virtual Community

The IB Virtual Community (IBVC) has just been launched and is currently rolling out to IB schools who request access:

The IBVC offers IB stakeholders the ability to connect, communicate and collaborate with one another. Tools offered within the IBVC include blogs, wikis, discussion forums, file uploading (documents, images, audio and video), individual profiles, the ability to form groups and other social networking functionality.

I’m very curious to get a look at how it is laid out. Thanks to Adrienne, I’ve got a minor interest in design and usability so it will be interesting to view it from that lens. Personally, I think anything will be an improvement over the current system the IBO has for sharing best practice and connecting with others.

The day before the IBVC was launched, ReadWriteWeb had an article on 5 Ways Tech Startups Can Disrupt the Education System. Way #2?

2. It should encourage grassroots adoption

Along with the right price comes the right marketing and adopt ion strategy. As such, many disruptive education technologies are aimed at the individual teachers and students themselves, rather than at the districts-as-a-whole. This is important as this grassroots approach means that the tools pass the “smell test” of teachers in the classroom, meaning that the tools are usable and useful. With a multitude of free tools to chose from, however, interoperability will be key so that educators don’t find themselves locked in to one product or service.

Or, as @surreallyno said on Twitter:

I certainly hope not. I think the IBVC offers a great opportunity for IB schools, teachers and students to connect to one another.

My hope is that this will make it easier to connect, much like facebook made it easier to stay in touch with long lost friends/acquaintancesĀ or joining a Ning made it easy to find people with the similar interests. I think this has tremendous potential in increasing the amount of collaboration between schools that, while working within similar frameworks, tend to do a lot of work in isolation.

My fear is that, because of this (hopefully) ease of access, teachers will not share their knowledge or experiences in more ‘traditional ways’ with teachers outside of that community, kind of like how people now post all of their personal updates on facebook and would never consider blogging or Flickr or Twitter. Because the IBVC is not an open community, this might mean that a lot of good ideas will only be shared behind that wall of the IBVC. I’m also curious to know what the terms and conditions for use are. The IBO is quite strict with respect to copyright and I will be interested in knowing their stance on materials that are posted by community members.

How do you feel about the IBVC? Is this something that you or your school will join?

Thing 11: Flickr and CC

Please excuse the brevity (and funny punctuation) of the next few blog posts. Being in Europe has its drawbacks: expensive internet cafes and funny keyboards.

I thought I”d include a picture of where I”m currently internet-ing. My family and I are on our big European holiday and we”re currently camping about 800 meters from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Flickr could be used in all sorts of ways in the classroom. A quick example: on day 1 of a new school year, have the students search Flickr to find photos that represent their summer holiday. It could be literal, such as my photo above, or it could be more symbolic.

Photo: Contrails and the Pisa Tower by ccgd