Centre for higher education studies professional learning

The challenge

In April 2022, in partnership with the Department of Education Victoria, the project team hosted a design summit for primary and secondary teachers and school leaders. The aim of the summit was to identify the professional learning needs of teachers of high-ability children:

Schools and school communities* don’t feel equipped to recognise, plan for and support high ability students to learn (within the classroom and beyond).

*with acknowledgement that students, parents, teachers, school leaders, etc. are integral to a school community.

Project overview

The project has moved through a number of stages. In 2022, the project included a design summit, course design and pilots with focus groups and participants, in addition to a scoping review of the literature into high ability teaching and learning. The scoping review has since been published in Gifted Child Quarterly and is available via Open Access: ‘Meeting the Needs and Potentials of High-Ability, High-Performing, and Gifted Students via Differentiation’.

Included in this scoping review is an infographic of 15 approaches to differentiation that teachers have effectively used with high ability learners over the past 20 years:

In 2023–2024, the project has continued to include course delivery and data collection and analysis, seeking to address the challenge identified by the key stakeholders.

Outcomes

The project team have worked in collaboration with various stakeholders from the Department of Education Victoria to design, develop and deliver professional learning courses focused on supporting school-based staff (primary teachers, secondary teachers and school leaders) to better meet the needs and potentials of their high-achieving and high-ability students.

Delivery occurs via the newly established Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES) using a ‘Hy-Flex’ (hybrid-flexible) delivery model. Hy-Flex is a learner-centered model of class delivery that combines face-to-face and online learning. The use of innovative technologies including gamification technologies and 360-degree video of classroom practices ensures that those on-site and those participating virtually across Victoria have an equitable learning experience.

Course participants become members of a professional learning community who conduct their own research projects within their school contexts and share their learnings via an interactive online virtual platform, contributing to a resource bank to which all attendees have ongoing access.

Project team 2024

Dr Maria Nicholas (Chief Investigator, School of Education)

Associate Professor Andrew Skourdoumbis (Co-leader, School of Education)

Dr John Cripps Clark (School of Education)

Dr Sophie Mckenzie (School of IT)

Dr Guy Wood-Bradley (School of IT)

Project team 2023

Dr Maria Nicholas (Chief Investigator, School of Education)

Associate Professor Andrew Skourdoumbis (Co-leader, School of Education)

Miss Ondine Bradbury (School of Education)

Professor Linda Hobbs (School of Education)

Dr John Cripps Clark (School of Education)

Dr Seamus Delaney (School of Education)

Dr George Aranda (School of Education)

Dr Shaun Bangay (School of IT lead)

Dr Sophie Mckenzie (School of IT)

Dr Guy Wood-Bradley (School of IT)

Funding

Department of Education and Training Victoria.

$406,708.60

Timeline

26/04/2022—31/12/2024

More information

Maria Nicholas, Andrew Skourdoumbis & Ondine Bradbury (2024). Meeting the Needs and Potentials of High-Ability, High-Performing, and Gifted Students via Differentiation. Gifted Child Quarterly, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/00169862231222225

Keywords

professional learning, technology, high achieving, hy-flex, gifted education