My interdisciplinary connection map

Related imageInterdisciplinary Collaboration:

Andrews (1990) defines interdisciplinary collaboration as occurring “when different professionals, possessing unique knowledge, skills, organizational perspectives, and personal attributes, engage in coordinated problem solving for a common purpose”. Hardre et al ‘s (2013) study discusses many benefits in an interdisciplinary learning community. This includes innovative thinking, metacognitive awareness and critical practice.

My own practice:

Interdisciplinary practice is not something that has crossed my radar in my teaching career, so it was extremely interesting to read the articles in this weeks readings and reflect on if I had these connections in my practice and where to next to create this in my practice. As a primary school teacher, and specifically a senior teacher I have the chance to integrate and link curriculum areas together. Reading and writing has now become literacy where the links between reading and writing are taught, discussed and the purpose becomes the most important part. Literacy is also linked into our science, social studies and every topic that has is carried out. However, as the literature points out, interdisciplinary practice is so much more than just integrating and linking topics together.  To truly have an interdisciplinary practice I need to make sure that I am “combining two or more disciplines, pedagogical approaches, groups of people, and skills” (Mathison& Freeman,1997).

Below is a map that looks at my current and potential interdisciplinary practice related to groups of people and skills. The Red lines are Interdisciplinary_Connections

Near future goal:Conceptual model

A successful model of interdisciplinary practice needs 3 main criteria; attitudes, common goals and workplace conditions. A connection that I would like to explore is team teaching across the senior team. I have seen some fantastic examples of this practice in our school, with our Year 1 classes being team taught and also two of our senior classes team teaching this year.

For this to work I would need to have a shared vision, common goals and a similar attitude towards learning and teaching. Respect also plays an immense part in collaborating with another teacher as without this it would be extremely difficult to sustain. By finding someone in my team to collaborate with, it would help if they had also studied with the mindlab and had a understanding of the 21st century skills that we need to be integrating through our curriculum. Teaching with a collegue where the focus is on real life problem solving, innovation and project based learning would help create life long learners in the classroom.

After watching the video of Interdisciplinarity and Innovation Education, I think the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration definitely outway the disadvantages.  through applying this in the classroom students tend to become more engaged as rather than just your three core subjects, students are able to see the connections and apply social and emotional learning to these as well. It provides meaningful learning which connects to the real world and students interests. However, I do wonder that if the focus is on connecting all of our learning, is there a chance that students might miss learning core important skills and knowledge. How do we make sure that everything is covered and that students are given the opportunity to learn new things rather than just the few that interest them.



ACRLog. (2015). A Conceptual Model for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Retrieved from

Berg-Weger, M., &. Schneider, F. D. (1998). Interdisciplinary collaboration in social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 34, 97-107.

Hardré, P. L., Ling, C., Shehab, R. L., Nanny, M. A., Nollert, M. U., Refai, H., … & Wollega, E. D. (2013). Teachers in an Interdisciplinary Learning Community Engaging, Integrating, and Strengthening K-12 Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 409-425.

Jones, C.(2009). Interdisciplinary approach – Advantages, disadvantages, and the future benefits of interdisciplinary studies. ESSAI7 (26), 76-81. Retrieved from

Mathison,S.. & Freeman, M.(1997). The logic of interdisciplinary studies. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 1997. Retrieved from





Using social online networks in teaching or professional development


Graphic of a signpost with social-media directions

Social media has been seen as a negative in the classroom as it is generally assumed that if we allow students to use these in the classroom then all they will do it tweet, facebook and snapchat in the class rather than remain engaged and on task.

This however is not the case at all, as social media platforms are becoming an asset to create  personalised learning  for students which they can complete anywhere, anytime. They are also able to share this learning with a wider community which can provide a wider audience for their work.

Social media platforms are also becoming an essential part of any teachers professional development and planning process. Teachers are now not restricted to coming up with their own ideas and spending their precious time making resources. With social media we are able to connect, share and provide knowledge to other teachers, there is now no reason to ‘reinvent the wheel’.

In New Zealand, we are seeing the development of the importance of the use of different technology with ultra-fast broadband, the TELA laptop scheme, and the focus on enhancing the e-capability of teachers and leaders (Melhuish, 2013).

Having always taught in an e-learning classroom and being part of developing the use of technology in our school, I have used many forms of social media as part of my learning programme. The most important of these is Google drive, slides and docs. The students are able to use these devices to collaborate with others. This is a huge focus in my classroom, where students often choose to collaborate and share their work with a partner or group. Students are able to work on this project in their own time and all have access to it. This also provides easy access to myself when checking their work and providing feedback as they are able to easily share their work. We are now also using Google Classroom to share assignments with students, or links to sites. This is proving useful as it is easier to share with the whole class and give each student a copy.


social media map

In the past we used blogger as an e-portfolio to show students work and share progress with parents. This provided the anywhere, anytime aspect to sharing work and also meant parents had a better idea of where their students were working and what they were working on. We have now moved to work with Google Sites where we are working towards creating resources to share our learning with others and teach others. This also has the added purpose of letting parents know what learning is going on in class.

An aspect of social media that I would like to incorporate more into my practice is the use of twitter and skype to communicate with other classrooms or professionals. This form of communication with different types of people is providing students with an important 21st century skill. However, having trialled twitter in the past there are a few problems that can arise. This could include monitoring appropriate comments, what is appropriate to share, and who we communicate with. The biggest challenge I think I will face with this is being able to keep students on task and making sure they are aware that their audience may be larger and therefore they need to be extremely careful about what they say/post.

As Fullan (2006) states, “Social network sites may be enthusiastically embraced as the newest innovation, but educators may then proceed in ways that fail to embrace the deeper learning or may drop the innovation once something new comes along”. 

Overall, I feel that my use of social media in the classroom is enhancing students development of 21st skills and providing a bigger audience with larger learning opportunities.




Fullan, M. (2006). Leading professional learning. School Administrator,
63(10), 10–14. Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals


Melhuish, K.(2013). Online social networking and its impact on New Zealand educators’professional learning. Master Thesis. The University of Waikato. Retrieved on 05 May, 2015 from


Sharples, M., de Roock , R., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., Herodotou, C., Koh, E., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Looi,C-K, McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Weller, M., Wong, L. H. (2016). Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation Report 5. Milton Keynes: The Open University. Retrieved from





Trend influencing education in New Zealand or internationally

OECD (2016) discusses how trends are an extremely important part of education as itScreen Shot 2017-05-28 at 4.30.00 pm informs our idea the future holds and helps us better understand the changing face of education. It is said that looking at trends is not a science as trends that were once important may not be important in the future. Rather it is a way of broadening our horizons. They look at five different trends; globalisation, the future of nation-state, are cities the new countries, family matters, and a brave new world.

The trend that captivates my attention is mentioned by the National Intelligence council and the OECD, Technology. Technology development is rapid and unpredictable and has changed the way that we communicate, interact and learn. It is  to empowering to  individuals, small groups, corporations, and states. However, with the  positive impacts that technology provides us, it also comes with a range of dangers and risks; cyber theft, bullying, fraud.

How does this influence the education system?

There are many developments in technology that are starting to be adopted into schools Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 4.15.59 pmand changing the way that we teach. These include maker-spaces, online learning. These are expected to give students ownership  of their own learning and give more opportunities to create. Robotics and virtual reality are also becoming an ever increasing form of technology that is being used in the classroom. These new aspects of technology influences the education system in 3 ways:

Policy: The need to create policy where teachers transition into a facilitator rather than a lecturer. There needs to be support for teachers to learn new technologies and adopt student-centred pedagogies.

Leadership: Ongoing leadership around solving problems of the achievement gap. Lower income students might not always have the same access to technology. New Zealand teachers help each other identify and address at-risk learners through the Ministry of Education’s Investing in Educational Success initiative, and the complementary Teacher-Led Innovation Fund supports the co-design of activities that improve student success. (Adams Becker, Freeman,Giesinger Hall, Cummins,& Yuhnke, 2016).

Practice:  School cultures need to allow teachers to experiment with new approaches and collaborate with colleagues to try these approaches. Learning needs to be personalised as technology allows us adaptive platforms are introduced.

How do we address technology in our school?
As technology is ever changing and developing I feel that this trend will have an immense impact on education and my teaching practice. How do we keep up with the changing technology and teach our students the skills that they need to live in a world that changes at such a fast pace. This is where our 21st century skills of collaboration, self regulation, ICT, real life problem solving, skilled communication and knowledge, become an extremely important part of our New Zealand curriculum and teaching programme.

In our school, we have embraced technology and implemented it in the classroom. However, the changes within education have not been adapted easily by all staff, which I believe is due to the change not being implemented with the right amount of professional development. Without the skills and practice, teachers are not able to implement technology into the classroom and use it as a way to make sure that our students are ready for the 21st century world. Through professional development at the MindLab, I feel that I have the knowledge and support to approach the changing classroom but without support and a culture where we are encouraged to experiment and try new things, it is not implemented school wide.

To embrace technology we need to move away from the data-driven way that National Standards enforces on us. Limiting our students to a standardised measure in reading, writing and maths limits our students creativity and life skills that they need in our technology driven world.


Adams Becker, S., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Cummins, M.,and Yuhnke, B. (2016). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from

National Intelligence Council. (2017). Global trends: The Paradox of Progress. National Intelligence Council: US. Retrieved from

OECD. (2016) Trends Shaping Education 2016, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: (this publication can be read online by following its DOI’s hyperlink)