Innovative Teaching to Promote Deeper Learning in Math - Waterloo Catholic DSB, Part 3

Research Question
One of the questions from our Technology Learning Fund Math Evaluation Project was:
What are the impacts of the TLF-M teacher professional development on student learning and achievement?
This report shares the results of one attempt at capturing the impact on students through use of pre and post tests. Description of Pre and Post Tests
Post tests were completed within 2 weeks of the last session on May 8, 2017.
A WCDSB Math consultant developed a pre-test for participating teachers to have students complete using a Google Form prior to implementing any of the new pedagogies in the classroom. The tests included transformation geometry thinking/application (only application for primary) questions from 2006-2010 - Gr 3 EQAO (13 qs) for Grade 3-5s. For participating Grade 7-8 students, Grade 6 transformation geometry EQAO questions were used (13qs).
All pre-tests were completed in class prior to session 3. The pre tests were analysed and individual and class results were used as assessments of learning to inform educator’s learning plans beginning in session 3.   

Innovative Teaching to Promote Deeper Learning in Math - Waterloo Catholic DSB, Part 2

As part of last year's Technology Learning Fund (TLF), we created a Video Series to showcase what 21st Century Learning looks like in different classrooms in our Board (see playlist icon in top left corner of the video embedded below).

This year, during sessions 7 and 8 of the TLF-Math training, a videographer accompanied a researcher from Wilfrid Laurier University to conduct interviews with students and teachers that participated in the project.
A series of short (an average 5 minutes in length) student interviews (n=27) were conducted during the class visits (each class visit was approximately 20-30 minutes) at 2 participating schools. Students were interviewed most often in pairs or in a group of 3 and sometimes alone if they were working on a project alone or if their partner did not have consent to participate.

Short teacher interviews (10-20 minutes in length, n=5 ) were conducted during the lunch breaks of the professional development session. The teachers consented for their interviews to be edited and shared publicly and for their quotes from interview data to be used in final reports of the TLF-M.
The videographer distilled the interviews down to a 10 minute video that is available to view below: “Innovative Teaching to Promote Deeper Learning in Math”.
Themes that are addressed and indexed in the video, through the words and actions of teachers and students include:

  • leveraging digital tools for student learning
  • student collaboration & critical thinking
  • student voice & meta cognition
  • teacher reflection on pedagogical practice
  • changing role of the teacher
  • student-led inquiry
  • leveraging digital
  • student choice in their learning - defining the problem
  • connecting the learning
  • innovation through iteration
  • the value of professional collaboration

Innovative Teaching to Promote Deeper Learning in Math - Waterloo Catholic DSB, Part 1

In 2017, the Technology Learning Fund – Mathematics (TLF-M) at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) bridged math curriculum learning and 21st century competencies spanning the junior division. Mathematics content knowledge focused on the curricular big idea of location and movement with a heightened focus on transformational geometry, through the use of math-tech enabled resources.

The goal of the cross-school network was to construct understanding of the curriculum expectations/big ideas and continuum of learning from grade 4 to grade 6, through job-embedded co-learning and reflections on both student and teacher learning.  The project aimed to build capacity of effective teaching and learning of transformational geometry through classroom embedded collaborative inquiry that incorporated different school contexts, 21st century competencies and technology.

Six elementary schools participated in the TLF-M network, with four junior teachers representing grades 4, 5 & 6, including combined grades and cross-divisional grades such as 3/4 and 6/7. 457 students participated in the project. There was a total of 23 educators that completed the professional development.

Through 2 full days of New Pedgogies for Deeper Learning (NPDL) training and 6 full days of job-embedded networked co-learning, teams of educators conducted in-class investigations of student work and lessons in classrooms, using a collaborative inquiry process (i.e. plan, act, observe, reflect). This process aimed to have participants identify and build knowledge about deeper learning. The WCDSB action plan for the Ministry's Technology Learning Fund included the purchase of licenses for 6 schools to receive training on the New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning (NPDL) framework. In February 2017, educators participated in two full day facilitated sessions with a NPDL consultant and participated in 6 more sessions from February to May of 2017.

NPDL is a global partnership, created by Michael Fullan, which includes 1000 schools in 10 countries (14 school boards in Ontario). Deep learning is mobilized by four elements that combine to form the new pedagogies; learning partnerships, learning environment, pedagogical practices and leveraging digital. The Deep Learning Competencies, (collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, citizenship, character) are the skill sets each and every student needs to achieve and excel in, in order to flourish in today’s complex world.

Below is the project plan which documents the collaborative inquiry and professional learning cycle for one of the schools that participated in the project.

Waterloo Catholic DSB Digital Learning Progress Evaluation

I have been meeting with a group of educators in the Waterloo Catholic DSB to participate in an assessment of our Board's implementation of our 21st Teaching and Learning Blueprint. The focus of our first session was to determine how we can use technology to best support teaching and learning in our Board. 

We used the North-Carolina-Digital-Learning-Progress-Rubric as a framework to reflect on our progress and to inform our next steps. This rubric contains five major areas: Leadership, Professional Learning, Technology & Infrastructure, Content & Instruction, and Data & Assessment. 

We will also give some consideration to methods we can use to include input from students about how we could use technology to promote critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and collaboration (a Board strategic priority). 

Below you will find the following documentation in support of this process;

1) Group ratings in a Google doc for each of the indicators in the ​five major areas: Leadership, Professional Learning, Technology & Infrastructure, Content & Instruction, and Data & Assessment.

2) The Realtime Board where we captured artefacts, evidence and the rationale for the ratings.

3) The Youtube video which captures the collaboration in real time.

During our next session, each group will have some time to present their ratings and for the whole group to discuss the rationale. Subsequently, we will establish priorities and make specific recommendations to move to the next level in each category. We will also discuss the format by which we will be able to obtain additional feedback from educators and students through the use of small, school-based focus groups.