Noble, Karen and Henderson, Robyn (2009) The Flagstone experience: universities building stronger links to rural education communities through technological creativity. In: SPERA 2009: Education in a Digital Present: Enriching Rural Communities, 8-10 Jul 2009, Adelaide, South Australia.
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This paper outlines a collaboration between the students and staff of Flagstone Creek State School, a small rural primary school in the Lockyer Valley (Queensland) with an enrolment of 32 and a group of academics from the Faculty of Education at the University of Southern Queensland. The program engaged the school community in a research-led, technologically-enhanced, whole-of-school approach to teaching and learning, and had a positive effect on the university curriculum of pre-service teacher educators. In 2008 during Phase 1 of the project, Flagstone Creek State School underwent a process of pedagogical and curriculum renewal. In Phase 2, collaboration between the school and the academics from the Faculty of Education, with assistance from the University’s Media Services, resulted in the production of a series of artifacts (see Appendix) which are now used as resources for pre-service teacher education. The artifacts demonstrate how the creative use of educational technology transformed the school and engaged the broader local community. In 2009, the project has moved into Phase 3. This sees the university academics (authors) engaging pre-service teachers and novice and experienced educators from across the region in an Information Literate Teachers’ Group, drawing on the learnings from Phases 1 and 2. Major considerations of the project have addressed issues of rurality and the development of a community of learners within a rural context. Community connectedness and the recognition and inclusion of existing social and cultural capital within the education context provide solid foundations for curriculum and pedagogical design. The model has the potential to transform learning in other rural and regional contexts. This paper introduces the project, its successes and its potential for transformative education.
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