Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

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Case Study #1 - Bootcamp Unit

(Year 8 - Term 1 - Speaking Focus)



Personalisation is more than differentiation.


True - all kids some of the time & some kids all of the time need assistance in such decisions. It's easy for the teacher to "shepherd" those kids once the "Learning Landscape" is running!

It is about creating space, and agency, and structure so that each complex individual has what they need to grow and make progress. What a challenge!

The key idea I advocate is creating a web portal with instructions, options, videos, checkpoints etc that the students can consult to see what they need to do and what choices are available to them,

This isn't to say we don't run whole-class teacher-lead activities! Quite the opposite! And we can also target teacher attention just where it is needed.

The Web Portal

You can log in and explore right now. Click HERE. (Username - scilvisitor   password - design)

You could replicate this sort of site on your school's system or on with a website builder like Weebly.

This screen is actually just a table. In each cell there is a clipart picture and text heading that are hyperlinked (clickable) through to other pages.

A Little Bit Linear

In this unit we spend about 3 hours on each step above. When the students click on the step, they see this graphic below. It shows the steps for them to follow.

The graphic is clickable and links through to further pages. It's just like another table with options in it.

The first step is a live teacher-lead session - "Training". I've included two videos showing this happening. I think it is important for the whole class to work together regularly.

Video Instruction on Demand

Step #2 of the graphic says "Workout #1" and then later "Workout #2". Students use this time to do video practice with videos we've made.

The page they see has 3 videos and they can choose which video and which parts of the video to practice with - rewinding and pausing as needed. Students enjoy doing this in pairs.

Of course the videos mean that if kids are sick, or get behind, or want to run ahead, they can! And students who need help with pronunciation can get that help with a click. We create videos right through the High School program, with grammar explanations etc.

Choice Time

At step #5 of this process (which remember represents about 3 hrs class time), students opt in to challenges. These are on a clickable graphic - below - but you could replicate this with another simple table with clickable text titles. 

All challenges relate to exactly the same content! 

The rules of engagement work like this:

  • some students will arrive at "choice time" earlier, some later
  • some will complete one choice activity in depth, some multiple more rapidly
  • even while kids are "self-directing" the teachers are pealing off students for small group theatre sports, speaking practice, grammar explanations, etc. It's not all digital - the digital landscape just allows the teacher input to be much more personal, personalised, and relational.

The Process is Cyclical

For this unit, each of the 6 main modules lead to the same circular process which finishes with the same 6 choices. This way we establish a rhythm and routine that helps all the students feel safe and confident in what is happening and what their choices are.