Level 98 is a fledgling educational organisation which seeks to help transform the educational landscape. Although, for the moment, the “Us” in the “About Us” is aspirational – in the sense that Level 98 itself is currently just me, but we should all aim high! :-)… and Level 98 is already collaborating with others.
I’ve worked in publishing, IT and education (high school and university). My personal experience of education (as a student, and an instructor), as well as my childrens’ educational experience, has motivated me to seek change – and on a larger scale than I can accomplish as part of the organisations I’ve worked for.
I’ve brought about significant change within “regular jobs” and I’ll bring this expertise, and the breadth and depth of knowledge and skills gained in various industries, to Level 98.
The initial goal of Level 98 was to provide high quality online professional development for teachers, particularly focused on content knowledge and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK).
[However, in the process of setting this up, I’ve also turned to creating a High School Physics course for students, provided an introductory face-face session for for beginning physics teachers and helped a charity provide laptops to disadvantaged kids. Level 98 will take on whatever opportunities arise and can have the most impact.]
Why the teacher PD? (this deserves a blog post, but for know these few thoughts will have to do!)… for multiple reasons:
- When I studied for my Graduate Diploma in Education, I was surprised at the lack of content expertise of many fellow students. I was further surprised this did not ring alarm bells in those running the course. The course focussed on just about anything but content knowledge. While I would not dispute the importance of various aspects of teacher training, from classroom management to policy development, content knowledge and the ability to help others learn that content knowledge (effectively PCK) is at the sharp end of a teacher’s role and should not be ignored.
- Subsequently, employing graduates as teaching assistants at a university, I could see that simply graduating in a particular area does not provide the skills to teach in that area in terms of content or PCK – there are potential questions here about the efficacy and structure of degrees, but suffice to say, graduates in a particular subject still need significant support in terms of content knowledge / PCK in becoming teachers… let alone those in various other positions e.g. from those working in other industries who graduated some time ago and wish to move into teaching, to those who have been teaching for a long time.
- Having run teacher professional development sessions, I have found that teachers are crying out for support in this area. From those who are relative experts in their fields wanting to keep up to date with the field or push their knowledge further, to those who are (due to a shortage of content experts) teaching into a field which is not one they studied beyond high school themselves – and possibly even struggled with as a student.
It should be noted that none of this is the fault of the generally overworked teachers. There is a paucity of ongoing support and professional development in this area. Level 98 seeks to offer solutions to this, in the first instance by providing high quality online professional development courses – with further initiatives planned.
Why “Level 98”?
If you’re wondering, “What’s with the name ‘Level 98’?”. You can read this blog post.