This is the website of Chris, Ingrid, Gavin, and Malcolm. We've called ourselves Group 4 in honour of the Group 4 sciences that we all teach in IB.

Please feel free to browse through the materials on this website, which reflect our learning and collaboration in the MITE 6310 course.

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Recent Session Posts

  • Summative projects In session 3 we focused on the teachers role at introducing innovative ideas inside the classroom. My session 3 posting focused on two summative projects and how the teacher was ...
    Posted Oct 20, 2011, 9:13 PM by Gavin Hopwood
  • Reverse Teaching in Physics To Read detail of this innovative practice see Session 3 post (click here). It is interesting that when going through the list of students' role in the innovation outlined by ...
    Posted Oct 18, 2011, 8:49 PM by Chris Spielmann
  • Students' roles for Poets and Authors Following on the innovative activity developed by the Malta-based and Scotland-based teachers for which I reviewed the role of the teacher (click here to read this posting), I ...
    Posted Oct 16, 2011, 9:05 PM by Ingrid Kopke Donado
  • LiveScribe SmartPens and Book Clubs - Student Role The role of the teacher for this innovation was described under Session 3 posts on this site. In that post the innovation itself was also described n detail. Here follows ...
    Posted Oct 14, 2011, 8:30 PM by Malcolm Drew
Showing posts 1 - 4 of 4. View more »

Final Modern Case Study


    Posted Dec 3, 2011, 11:30 PM by Chris Spielmann
  • A Background of this Case Study's School
    The School’s background

    The Diocesan Boys’ School (DBS) is a School dating back more than 140 years. It has a long history as an educational system of the most diverse form: has been the site of an orphanage, hosted war prisoners and at present is also a boarding school for those who so choose. It is recognized as a prestigious school within the Hong Kong Schools, and has earned much of this prestige for the self-fostering nature it endorses: Current students at the school (current boys) as well as former students (known as old boys) pride in the school’s traditions, thus there is a great reticence towards any form of change:

    The school has had the same school rules for several decades, (with slight variations to accommodate or fit into current legislation) and these rules seek to foster order and discipline in the most traditional sense. There is a perception of teachers as authorities, with the Headmaster recognized and viewed as the uppermost authority and the potential commencing and end post for any and all decisions. (A simple evidence of this is that all correspondence to the school must be addressed to the headmaster). Teachers have traditionally lead groups of about 40 students, in classes separated into the traditional subjects and delivered following the most traditional approach of lecturing. Microphone usage is common in order for teachers to be heard in class, and as with many other Hong Kong schools, a great proportion of the student body assists their study with out-of-school tutors. For the most classes are traditional in the sense that content is delivered and the majority of the formal assessment relies on a final examination or a set of summative assessments. Formative assessment takes lower importance and students prepare for State exams in order to –eventually- gain entry to University. There is a large emphasis and pride in sports and the school has a mandatory number of students admitted on the basis of their sports achievements, academics taking a secondary role.

    The setup of the school evidently works for its purposes: be it because of the connections between current and old boys or because of the actual traditional setup whereas by students comply with the examination requirements, a large proportion of students attend some of the most prestigious universities, both locally and abroad. In this enterprise, the traditional setup works and there seems to be little need, let alone desire to implement innovations. Risk-taking is not a favorable condition nor one that is looked upon with respect from most of the community.

    Needless to say, it comes as a surprise that a school such as this, for which tradition is so important, results in determining to establish an International Baccalaureate Section. It is suggested here, and only as an opinion, that this was more the result of a need to become competitive with other schools, rather than a pedagogical shift in paradigm so as to what education should be in the school. The International Baccalaurate Section of the school, which is the focus group of our case study, was perhaps implemented as a response to those “global changes [which] have continued to provide the contextual backdrop for the strong impetus to change education systems” (Law et al, p.217).

    It would be both fair and unfair to state that this innovation has been disruptive in the current school system: after all the IB section holds less than 100 students of the almost 2000 student body of the school. Nonetheless, it has been disruptive in the sense that it has brought about tensions, forced re-evaluation and stressed relationships amongst current and new teachers.

    In order to implement the IB, an original approach was taken whereas by traditional school teachers, very savvy of their subject areas were asked to develop curriculum guidelines for the new IB section. The result was a lot of work from these teaches, but little realistic outcomes, as the curricular guidelines were developed based on the traditional vision and mission of the school, rather than those of the IBDP. The school ecology, as such, had per se an immense breach between what had been established for decades and what the school aimed to establish as new, an despite the positive attitude from some of the teachers who were asked to breach this gap, the lack of connectedness between the traditional school and other IB schools resulted in a failed attempt to develop an adequate IB curriculum.

    With this in mind, the school further employed a set of teachers with substantial experience in the IBDP. These group of teachers, who could be referred to as the early innovators (Rogers, 1995), brought with them certain expertise and followed a different mission and vision to that of the traditional school. This resulted in a successful implementation of the programme, but created a collateral effect: the mission and vision of the former and new programmes were not aligned from the start, and thus the aims, objectives and approaches from the –now two- school sections, often clash between each other, rather than aligning.

    It Is an interesting ecology for a school in which two strategies cannot obviously share the same competitive niche. Although professionally the opposite is said, the two school systems do compete with each other (which one gets the best students, which students are admitted to the best universities, etc.) and informally speaking, many of the traditional teachers desire for the new section of the school to “fail”. Although not ripe enough yet, this follows a simple principle of competitive exclusion, whereas by a lot of managerial and PR magic has had to take place in order to ensure competition of resources from both sections is minimum, and that despite them sharing similar fundamental niches, to ensure that their realized niches are different enough in order for the school to survive.

    In terms of ICT, this has implied, for example, having to set up two separate e-platforms for communications and student management system. It has also implied having to modify former school rules (computers are not allowed) to allow for a curriculum which promotes the use of computers. These modifications have not come without costs, as from both sides, teachers of the traditional school and teachers of the IB section view these modifications as either necessary or absurd, depending on the point of view –the end matter being that there is no consensus.

    Despite all this, it has been the implementation of the IB what has allowed for some ICT innovations to take place within a small student body. Being mandatory, implementation of this innovation has been made easier, as in this kind of educational setting where “musts” are more important than “shoulds”, will most likely foster innovations that at its core attempt to cater for a mandatory requirement, than those who are catering for a less pragmatic end and even less for those which seek a paradigm shift in pedagogy.

    Here we discuss one of these innovations, the IB Group 4 Project.



    Law et al. (2011) Educational Innovations Beyond Technology: Nurturing Leadership and Establishing Learning Organizations, p. 217 DOI 10.1007/978-0-387-71148-5_11,

    Rogers, E. (1995). Diffusion of Innovations (4th Edition ed.). New York: The Free Press.

    Posted Nov 14, 2011, 3:59 AM by Ingrid Kopke Donado

    Posted Dec 3, 2011, 11:32 PM by Chris Spielmann
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