As part of this capstone subject to the Master of Education program that I am in the process of completing, I need to complete a Case Study. My proposal is presented below:
Area of Interest: Student Personal Epistemologies and Technology Practices
Topic: Student beliefs about knowledge and how these beliefs affect their uses of mobile technology for learning.
Draft Research Question: What are Year 9 students’ beliefs about knowledge and how do they think these beliefs influence their use of technology when learning in a Year 9 science classroom.
Description of project including information, learning, social or organisational needs, problems or concerns to be addressed.
Education is short of classrooms that permit students to engage with technology in ways that prepare them to use technology in the real world (Ertmer et al, 2012). Teachers beliefs about knowledge influence how they integrate technology into the classroom (Ertmer & Ottenberg-Leftwich, 2010).
What students think knowledge is, is a critical component of student learning (Hofer, 2001) but there seems a paucity of research on how student knowledge beliefs influence technology use when learning.
Seeing through others’ eyes is one of the main tenets of qualitative research (Bryman, 2014). Therefore, this case study will explore students’ knowledge beliefs and how these students think their personal epistemologies affect their use of technology, in the science classroom.
Expected outcomes: –
Qualitative narrative data will be collected and coded using NVivo, a computer assisted data analysis tool (Bryman, 2012). Narrative data will be collected via a focus group to allow a viewpoint to be built up out of group interaction (Bryman, 2014). Emergent themes will be explored (Saldana, 2009). The outcome will be the researcher-practitioner critically reflecting on his own theory and practice. Starting from where the student is (O’Tools & Beckett, 2016 p.9) the goal is to “understand” (Bryman, 2014 p. 29) student relationships with knowledge and associated technology behaviors, thereby informing teaching practice in the science classroom.Case study plan
|Table 1: Case Study Plan|
|CSU STUDY Week||Date||Research Activities|
|5||7th August||Submit draft proposal (This document).
Post proposal to interact to gain peer feedback/comments.
Seek permission from Principal (Already done)
|6||14th August||Consult and review literature to seek further direction and provide solid theoretical foundation.
Begin to write interview questions for focus group.
Select student participants (4) and seek parental permission via CareMonkey & hardcopy.
Communicate to parents’ ethical framework to protect participant privacy.
|7||21st August||Continue brief literature review and refine research question
Design questions for semi-structured interview.
|8||28th August||Submit to School Principal proposed research question and questions for semi-structured interview.
Obtain final permission to proceed from school Principal.
(Assessment item 2 is due Monday 28th August)
|9||4th September||Away on Year 9 School Camp.|
|10||11th September||Complete group interview on Year 9 Campus.
Record focus group discussion digitally (video) for future transcription. (Focus group, 1hr)
Begin transcription of interview data.
|11||18th September||Input data in NVivo Software and begin thematic coding
Follow up with focussed interview if required (and time permitting)
(School term break 23rd Sept – 8th October)
|12||25th September||Continue coding/report writing.|
|13||2nd October||Continue with coding data/final writing.|
|14||9th October||Submit case study Wednesday 11th October/ END.|
Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: OUP
Ertmer, P.A., Ottenberg-Leftwich, A.T. (2010) Teacher technology change: How knowledge, confidence, beliefs, and culture intersect. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 255-284
Ertmer, P. A., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T., Sadik, O., Sendurur, E., & Sendurur, P. (2012). Teacher beliefs and technology integration practices: A critical relationship. Computers & Education, 59(2), 423-435.
Hofer, B. K. (2001). Personal epistemology research: Implications for learning and teaching. Educational Psychology Review, 13(4), 353-383.
O’Toole, J., & Beckett, D. (2013). Educational research: Creative thinking and doing (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Sellar, S. & Cormack, P. (2006, November). (Re)conceptualising Middle Years Pedagogy. Paper presented at the Symposium “Pedagogical Reform in the Middle Years” at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Adelaide.
the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.“the principles and practice of teaching”
I have been asked to respond to the following two questions:
What are your thoughts and experiences with ‘Communities of practice’ – theory and real life observations?
How important is it to belong to and learn with a community (#such as INF537). Given a choice would you prefer to work/learn alone? Why?
Communities of practice are groups of people who share concerns or a passion for something they do – and very importantly learn how to do it better via regular interaction (Wenger, 2011). The following few Twitter interactions, taken from one of many from my previous week of online interactions, demonstrate this idea very succinctly.
Earlier this week I reached out with a simple question:
Have you developed ideas on Open Pedagogy or anything similar?
— Simon (@aus_teach) July 23, 2017
I very quickly obtained a response that presented to me an ocean of ideas and possibilities that collided with mine, providing a rich learning experience.
— Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) July 23, 2017
My discussion also led to me bumping into the following tweet that provided an interesting viewpoint on digital pedagogies, which I have been exploring actively over the last few years.
— Naomi Barnes (@DrNomyn) July 25, 2017
Each of these chance interactions hints at a limitless exchange of ideas that can lead to very meaningful professional discovery.
Over the last six plus years of very active online participation, I have experienced first hand the networked contexts and encounters that I am currently exploring while being mindful of the digital futures of education and pedagogy. It is within these communities of practice where theories of digital learning become a reality. For example, it is where concepts such as connectivism (the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections), paragogy (Corneli & Danoff, 2011) and peeragogy (Rheingold, 2012) become part of my everyday practice and scholarship.
With the digital futures of education in mind, it is here that we need to take our peers and students to allow them to learn that good learning is social.
Corneli, J., & Danoff, C. J. (2011) Paragogy. In: Proceedings of the 6th Open Knowledge Conference, Berlin, Germany. Retrieved from http://metameso.org/~joe/docs/Paragogy-talk-PDF.pdf
Rheingold, H. (2012). Toward peeragogy. DML Central, 23 [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://dmlcentral.net/blog/howard-rheingold/toward-peeragogy
Wenger, E. (2011). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved from https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/handle/1794/11736
The intersection of these three approaches provides fertile ground for the transformation of practice ( Weller, 2011) -which I am thinking also applies to teaching practice in the secondary sector.
Via a comment below, you are invited to leave your thoughts on the following questions.
What do YOU think digital scholarship is?
Is digital scholarship a useful and practical term?
Is it relevant to your sector? How?
Will this model of Digital Scholarship lead to traditional pedagogies being challenged?
Or else, post a question if you are not sure of the meaning of the above ideas.
If you came here via twitter please retweet my tweet.
Weller’s blog is here, if you are curious: http://blog.edtechie.net/
Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. A&C Black.
I recently participated in an online group colloquia led by Bruce Dixon from Modern Learners, who are doing great things in the education space. Amongst other things, we discussed whether we thought that the schools that we taught in were catering for the modern learners that inhabit our classrooms. The resounding opinion was that they were not. This is no surprise as emerging scholarly analysis shows this loud and clear. In fact, much effort is now directed towards building explanations of why teaching practice is not shifting in response to the changing contexts of teaching. See here my own small amount of research that provides a brief background on this work, with a focus on teacher beliefs about knowledge. In summary, the dominant pedagogies that we all rely on have not changed in any significant way. We embrace the ubiquity of technology and then return to the didactic pedagogy of transmission of knowledge (Wright & Parchoma, 2011).
To prompt discussion, Bruce provided the following idea to reflect on, as first advocated by Seymour Papert. Perhaps we have forgotten that students in our care come to school to learn how to learn. What are your thoughts here? What does it mean to learn?
Why the lack of significant pedagogical change in our education system? I have written elsewhere on this blog about the paradox of innovation without change, which to be brutally honest, means there has been little innovation in teaching practice. It is time to be honest.
Within this context, it is worth giving time to the following ideas.
“Schools and schooling have a long history and practices that persist over time even after the origins of the practice are long forgotten” (Bigum, 2012). Drawing on Actor Network Theory, Bigum argues that past ways of doing things, play a role in not only what can be done but also on what can be imagined is significant. An online version of this paper is available below.
What tracks laid down long ago do you think continue to frame and shape present day pedagogies, so that predominantly transmissionist pedagogies persist in our classrooms?
Please gift me with your thoughts.
Bigum, C. (2012). Edges, exponentials & education: disenthralling the digital. In L. Rowan (Ed.), Transformative approaches to new technologies and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future Proofing Education (pp. 29-43). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Retrieved from http://chrisbigum.com/downloads/disenthralling.pdf
Wright, S., & Parchoma, G. (2011). Technologies for learning? An actor-network theory critique of ‘affordances’ in research on mobile learning. Research in Learning Technology, 19(3), 247-258.
And so here I am, nearly at the end of a Charles Sturt University, Master of Education – specialising in Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation. To finish this learning journey, we (myself and study peers) have been asked to navigate a unit on Digital Futures, designed to open debate and scholarship.
Is technology a threat to education? This provocation has been offered to us within an educational context where learning scholars acknowledge that technology is an integral element of contemporary education. And yet, while much of the education sector is now dripping in technology, there is little evidence to show that learning outcomes, as we currently measure them, have been improved by this technology.
What do you think the digital future of education entails?
Keep in mind that the rhetoric that surrounds educational technology does not match the messy reality – where many argue, little transformation of teaching and learning has taken place.
You might enjoy the following simple prompt:
I look forward to you joining in on this debate by posting here.
My response to Chapter 3: The innovator’s mindset: Empowering learning, unleash talent and lead a culture of creativity (Couros, 2015).
OK, so I haven’t blogged in many months, mostly because of the demands of teaching and study which I must admit is testing my resilience: – ) But alas, soonish (by years end) the M.Ed study will be done.
Resilience and innovation.
So, what do I make of Chapter Three of The Innovator’s mindset? This chapter has overtones of Design Thinking whilst describing innovators as needing to be: empathetic, problem finders/solvers, risk takers, networked, observant, creative, resilient and reflective. This description of innovation as a mindset is illustrated in the image that heads this blog post. The beauty of such a perspective is that innovation is viewed as a mindset rather than something external to us (teachers & students) such as a series of steps to follow. This is a vital idea to ponder as too often we try to externalize ideas such as innovation (or even the scientific method) as a recipe to follow, whereas the above view of innovation as a mindset encourages a very human-centered approach to innovation. Alleluia to handing a sense of agency to teachers/educators and ultimately students; Couros quotes “What we model is what we get – Jimmy Casas”
An aspect of innovation that I very doggedly focus on in my classrooms is encouraging students to be problem finders/solvers. Rather than handing recipe like questions to my students, via the use of active note taking strategies, I very persistently have them design their own questions about the material we might be covering. I have found that driving lessons via teacher led questions encourages students to passively focus only on answering those questions. They might be able to find information to answer the recipe like questions but in reality learn little by doing so. In our digital age finding information to answer questions is easy….designing questions is harder. Surprisingly, a more learner-centred approach that regularly demands students to formulate their own question is at the outset damn hard work. Such such an active approach requires a significant shift in our student’s thinking as they are not overly confident about making their own questions visible – remember the context of my teaching is at present all Yr 9 boys. Such a shift though is vital in building student centred pedagogies that recognise the 21st Century context we all live and learn in.
In previous posts, I have answered the chapter questions as posed by Couros but here I am going to pose my own:
- Does innovation come from within or should we apportion it to …umm, technology or our use of technology?
- Is education currently too focused on a deterministic view of technology that apportions innovation elsewhere; innovation in machines?
- As a head of eLearning in an educational setting, should I focus on bringing tools into this setting or encouraging innovative mindsets? 🙂
Please gift me with your comments.
Couros, G. (2015). The innovator’s mindset. Empowering learning, unleash talent, and lead a culture of creativity. Available from https://www.amazon.com.au/Innovator%E2%80%99s-Mindset-Empower-Learning-Creativity-ebook/dp/B016YTBZKO
My response to Chapter 2: The innovator’s mindset: Empowering learning, unleash talent, and lead a culture of creativity (Couros, 2015).
What keeps resonating with me is the idea that innovation is not about the stuff; it is a way of thinking (Couros, 2015). This is probably not surprising as my Master of Education journey is all about a deep exploration of knowledge networks and digital innovation with a focus on pedagogy, not edtech per se, which might be surprising to some edtech evangelists. 🙂
In Chapter 2, of The Innovators Mindset, Couros takes this idea one step further by describing the innovator’s mindset as the “belief that the abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed so that they can lead to the creation of new and better ideas” (Couros, 2015 Chapter 2, para 5). My reaction to this thinking is to interpret it as a call to action for educators to create something new with the knowledge that they have – to move beyond (as described by Couros) – an education that is provided for us towards something we create ourselves. Educators worldwide are taking hold of this style of learning as they participate in their own, self-created PD (blogs, social meets, wikis, twitter). Why can’t we show our students how to learn like this… which of course we can?
This outlook also takes me back to the writing of Gee (2005) where he argues that the theories of learning prominent in many of our schools bow to a content fetish and we need to look for new ways of doing. I have quoted elsewhere in my blog Gee’s words: know is a verb before it is a noun, knowledge. This is a stark and intelligent reminder that as we professionally learn by doing, we need to also design schools that acknowledge this learning by doing. We already know this.
One (there are many) important take home message fom Chapter 2 of The Innovators Mindset – within the contexts of my own professional explorations and experience – is to answer this call by designing and prototyping a very student-centred, constructivist pedagogy that recognises information is abundant and empowers students to create; with knowledge that is now at their fingertips. I see very clearly a way forward that sees educators developing and honing a pedagogy that is guided by frameworks such as those offered by design thinking, peeragogy, connectivism and an innovator’s mindset to drive innovation. This is a mindset that for educators demands that pedagogy comes first. After the development of this pedagogical framework comes integration of other technologies to support that pedagogy; otherwise it is my view that the technology, perhaps as a disciplinary technology, then controls the pedagogy and unintentionally leads to a strengthening of a content fetish.
With this in mind let me try to answer the Questions for Discussion given in Chapter 2: The Innovator’s Mindset.
What are some examples of innovation that you have seen within constraints, both inside and outside of schools?
The Astrophotography Awards as per my previous post. The museum organisation that I worked for offered many constraints (time, space, goals, cultural) but this learning activity saw its genesis after a serendipitous meeting at a teachmeet organised via social networks. This is a great example of informal networks promoting the flow of information and innovation (Kudashin, 2012).
Inside schools I see lots of innovation e.g. teachers experimenting with different ways of doing, such as flipped classrooms. I do not think flipped lessons are where schools should be headed but the method is an example of teachers learning by doing. It is an example of new ideas flowing into formal systems via informal networks that some teachers are becoming adept at building.
What questions do you think are vital to understanding those who we serve in education?
This is a damn hard question and depends on context. Four questions that I think are vital to build empathy and understand those we serve are:
- What are your passions?
- What are you good at?
- What do you like doing?
- What do you think about…?
What questions do you think are vital to ask students so as to build empathy?
If you were to start a school from scratch, what would it look like?
As shown in the image at the start of this blog post, the school that I would build from scratch would be what I call a “Pedagogy First” school. What does it look like? By way of an analogy, begin by picturing a traditional street intersection in a major western city such as Melbourne that is tightly controlled by visible technologies of control such as traffic lights, lane markings and road signs. Then view the embedded YouTube clip below. This video depicts, in an abstract way, my school.
Have you ever walked across a road in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city? For a westerner who is used to tight constraints and a need for order, this is a very scary experience but once you find trust in the system and embed yourself into it…flow happens. 🙂 This system, which is culturally alien to some of us, presents undeniable risks but it flows beautifully.
The “Pedagogy First” school that I envisage has less obvious constraints (technologies of control) but flow happens more readily than in a traditional school; flow of learning, ideas and innovation. This school assumes that all students want to learn. As hinted above my school is founded on a design thinking framework, peeragogy and connectivism.
How do we take what we currently have to create a better education system for our entire community?
Very briefly, keep building networks that allow for flow of information, ideas and innovation.
Thank you for reading, please gift me with your comments.
Couros, G. (2015). The innovator’s mindset. Empowering learning, unleash talent, and lead a culture of creativity [Kindle DX version]. Available from https://www.amazon.com.au
Gee, J. P. (2005). What would a state of the art instructional video game look like? Innovate: Journal of Online Education, 1(6), 159.
Kadushin, C. (2012). Understanding social networks: Theories, concepts, and findings. Oxford University Press, USA
Mr reflections and meanderings in response to Chapter 1: What Innovation Is and Isn’t (Couros, 2015).
Almost every sentence of Couros’ opening chapter is written to provoke deep thinking about learning. The focus of this opening chapter of The innovator’s mindset: Empowering learning, unleash talent, and lead a culture of creativity is to revisit and define innovation. This is a pertinent approach as the modern educator is regularly called upon to be innovative and build creative cultures whilst our places of work regularly badge themselves as being contemporary and innovative. Just over twelve months ago I replied to an advertised teaching position that called for an innovative teacher. Very recently, after having worked in this college for twelve months, I was asked by leadership personnel to give a brief assessment of the school. I challenged them by stating that they did not have a clear view of what was meant by innovation. This is not too harsh a critique but a common reality as innovation is a complex concept and the boundaries between concepts such as creativity and innovation are not that clear (Anderson, 2012). The challenge for all learning institutes and educators is that they need to solidify their understanding of terms such as innovation, creativity, 21st century and student-centred pedagogy. What do these terms mean? What do these concepts look like in actual day to day learning? If we ventured into a physical or digital space of learning what would we experience that fosters creativity and innovation?
With regard to innovation Couros (2105) begins – by defining innovation as:
…a way of thinking that creates something new and better.” (p. 378).
The stance taken is that innovation is not a thing, task, or even technology but a way of thinking. This view point is important to grasp but not absolute as other thought leaders do offer slightly alternative views of innovation. For instance, Donald Kuratko (2012) describes creativity as the set of thinking skills that help bring novel, acceptable ideas into the world. Design is the process that shapes an idea into an artefact – when we design something we bring something into the world for others to comprehend. Innovation is described by Kuratko as the extended process that provides the artefact to a wider audience. In summary, Kuratko’s publication on innovation and creativity notes that creativity generally focusses on idea generation whereas innovation also includes idea implementation; importantly creativity and innovation are integral parts of the same process. This stance is also expressed nicely by Anderson, Potočnik, & Zhou (2014) who write “Creativity and innovation at work are the process, outcomes, and products of attempts to develop and introduce new and improved ways of doing things.” (Anderson, 2014).
These varying ideas hint at a duality in how innovation is viewed i.e as a way of thinking or as a process (design thinking also suffers from this same duality) but they do coalesce with the stance adopted by Couros that to meet the idea of innovation something new or better must be produced.
In summary, we need to acknowledge that innovation is related to the ideas of creativity, design and entrepreneurship and these related terms influence each other. Upon reflecting on this opening chapter, my take home message is that within the context of education it is very helpful to view innovation and creativity as a way of thinking. Such a viewpoint at least serves to remind us very clearly that innovation, as stated by Couros in his opening chapter, is not synonymous with technology (Yeah!) and indeed a technocentric view of innovation is not sustainable (Brown, 2009). This is extremely important point: when building new innovative cultures of learning, educators need to design strategies that focus on innovative thinking followed by designed technology integration…not the other way around.
Professionally, I find these views of innovation, creativity and an innovator’s mindset liberating. If we intend to create innovative places of learning (physical and digital) then I suggest we can gauge our success by the ideas that are generated rather than the technological tools that we put in place. Innovation is about creating cultures of thinking and this is where we should focus our energies. Furthermore, in line with the idea that innovation is about thinking, I suggest that the deep shifts needed in education are in the ways educators view knowledge and learning as well as their professional place in the process of teaching and learning; indeed how they place themselves in physical and digital learning spaces. To be innovative educators, we must challenge our professional beliefs and assumptions regarding education to shift in response to rapidly changing contexts.
A point of interest: Couros uses the example of Starbucks as an innovative company that met with success by continually reinventing their business. Of interest, when Starbucks came to Australia and even my home of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) the company met with dismal failure as its business model, suitable for an America context, was not modified for the Australian context. To me, this is a stark reminder to never assume that what works well in one context is going to work in another. In education innovation needs to remain very focussed and adaptive to local contexts…even classroom to classroom.
Questions for Discussion, as posed by Couros; which have got me thinking about my past and present teaching practice.
What is an example of a practice that you consider to be innovative? How is it new or better than what you had before?
I want to document a few ideas here that in my mind demonstrate a few important points regarding innovation.
This digital report was made back in in 2009. The Victorian VCE Curriculum asked that Biology students submit a report of field work they had undertaken. In brief, I redesigned a traditional written task to allow students to build a narrated report. This was better on a multitude of levels but in summary, I had encouraged my students to research and curate information so as to create a new digital artefact that communicated visually and verbally their understanding of a number of complex biological concepts. I discovered that by building in the narrative component that the task demanded students take ownership of a number of key biological terms that they might otherwise gloss over in their learning. Very importantly creativity and innovation were also built into the task. The success of this one innovative idea was a turning point in my teaching career.
Astrophotography Competition (2013). This event was organised after meeting the Telescopes In School organiser at a Teachmeet. She was interested in telescope work and I was interested in night time photography via the use of SLR cameras. Through simple networking and the sharing of ideas we developed an idea to engage students across Victoria in night time photography. This idea was built over networks and eventually became a statewide endeavour that, although I am now back into classroom teaching, still continues. This project taught me that sometimes you need to work around the constraints of educational systems to let innovation bubble to the surface.
STEM Coding Classes (2016): This year I have initiated and run a STEM class for Year 9 boys. My STEM students teach themselves HTML by engaging with specific lessons on www.codecademy.com. I typically show the students how to administer code on their laptops by using Notepad++ or else Dreamweaver. Then I basically get out of my students way and let them engage with very student centred learning. Some students require my assistance with modified expectations but I build a culture where the students support each other in their learning coding. Peer to peer collaboration is strong and they also learn to search online for code. The buzz in the classrooms is vibrant and the students largely produce amazing web sites by manipulating code they have found and understand. (I will come back and post up examples of work..eventually). This unit of work ends with peer to peer presentations. We then incorporate robotics in the STEM experience bouncing off the same student centred collaboration. This is innovative in my setting as the classrooms are extremely students centred which leads to deeper learning and student agency. The pedagogical stance that I adopted, was to make deliberate use of knowledge networks, and make this approach explicit to my students. My position in that class is markedly different to that of other classes that I teach in…for various reasons 😉 – as I played with ideas of connectivism and constructivist learning theories.
How can you create opportunities for innovation in your leadership? In your teaching? In your learning?
As we are viewing innovation as a way of thinking that creates something new and better in my leadership, teaching and learning I think a solid strategy is to keep building networks within my school (build relationships) and also via social media platforms that allow for a flow of innovation – such as that experienced with the astrophotography competition described above. Such an open stance increases the chances of thinking in creative and innovative ways – for teachers and students alike. One of my teaching goals is to explicitly plug my students into solid knowledge networks.
Keep questioning the status quo and as suggested by Couros what is best for our (this) learner.
What has changed in our world today that not only makes innovation easier to do, but is also necessary for our students?
Technology and digital social networks! As stated in this opening chapter “Today’s technology makes it easy to quickly spread innovative ideas around the world.” (Couros, 2015 p. 445) This includes into and out of our classrooms.
*note to self…make future posts are shorter…but I wanted to dig deep here. 🙂
Thanks for reading, please gift me with your response.
Anderson, N., Potočnik, K., & Zhou, J. (2014). Innovation and Creativity in Organizations A State-of-the-Science Review, Prospective Commentary, and Guiding Framework. Journal of Management, 40(5), 1297-1333.
Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. HarperCollins e-books.
Couros, G. (2015). The innovator’s mindset. Empowering learning, unleash talent, and lead a culture of creativity. Available from https://www.amazon.com.au/Innovator%E2%80%99s-Mindset-Empower-Learning-Creativity-ebook/dp/B016YTBZKO
Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston: Pearson.
Food for thought: Creativity and Innovation (Could act as a pedagogical framework).