Module 5: Teacher Professional Development – Forum Post

At numerous points in my study so far I have noted the importance of professional learning (PL) for teachers to successfully integrate technology. I think I have noted in another forum that part of what led me to my study was the evidence in the school I was in at the time that many teachers were unsure what to do with technology in their 1:1 classrooms beyond internet research and word processing. People often struggle to see beyond what they know and therefore, PL to provide exposure to new pedagogies using ICT is essential (Tondeur, Forkosh-Baruch, Prestridge, Albion, and Edirisinghe, 2016). The need for ongoing, meaningful PL is consistently acknowledged amongst the readings; I think what is sometimes lacking clarity for those planning PL is the form it should best take to support teachers as learners (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). 

I think many schools have moved on from the model of the ICT presenter who sweeps in, shows a new tool and leaves (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). Such a model of PL does not sustain ICT integration as it is transient and not necessarily timely or connected to the context (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). Internal, peer-led PL is becoming more prominent (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007), making use of the teachers as resources – they understand the local context, they are there to answer ongoing questions and coach their colleagues and provide the just in time learning and modeling that is needed for sustainable action. 

Drawing the readings together, the key points are: 

  • PL needs to be relevant to the teacher, but also the school context (Armfield, 2011) 
  • The pedagogical value and purpose of PL should be clear (Tondeur et.al,  2016) 
  • PL needs to be differentiated, tailored or personalised in some way 
  • Practical, hands on and collaborative PL processes will support improved integration 
  • PL needs to be ongoing 
  • Peer coaching and/or train the trainer models as well as Communities of Practice are likely to be most successful (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007; Tondeur et.al, 2016)  
  • Reflection of learning and success is essential (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007)  

One aspect of my role is to facilitate professional learning both in formal and informal settings. As an example, we started the year with a PL session on using OneNote. Much of this initial session involved demonstrating the specific skills required to set up and use the software, so it was initially skills based, but modeling the tool’s pedagogical capabilities had to be front and centre for people to be motivated to transition to a completely new platform (Armfield, 2011; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). This one-off event may have got some staff going but it was necessary to offer a series of follow up processes (Armfield, 2001) to make a sustained integration more likely (Matzen & Edmunds, 2007). We made video tutorials, infographic instructions, held drop-in sessions after school and offered further 1:1 coaching where needed.  

Without these subsidiary offerings, much of the initial motivation may have fallen away and implementation for some teachers may have seemed too hard (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). In terms of measuring the success, we are planning to survey Heads of Departments this coming term to get their sense of the impact of this and other PL activities. A process that includes students in the review of TPL would be good (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007) and may be an option for the future. 

References 

Armfield, S. (2011). Technology leadership for school improvement. Planning, designing, implementing and evaluating technology, pp. 109-128, 2011. in Technology and Leadership for School Improvement. Papa, R. (Ed) California :Sage 

Lawless, K. & Pellegrino, J. (2007). Professional Development in Integrating Technology into Teaching and Learning: Knowns, Unknowns, and Ways to Pursue Better Questions and Answers. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 77, No. 4 (Dec., 2007), pp. 575-614

Matzen, N. J., & Edmunds, J. A. (2007). Technology as a Catalyst for Change: The Role of Professional Development. Journal Of Research On Technology In Education, 39(4), 417-430. 

Tondeur, J., Forkosh-Baruch, A., Prestridge, S., Albion, P., and Edirisinghe, S. (2016). Responding to Challenges in Teacher Professional Development for ICT Integration in Education. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 2016, Vol.19(3), pp.110-120 [Peer Reviewed Journal] 

Module 4: TPaCK framework and using technology in a meaningful way – Forum Post

I have been aware of the TPaCK model throughout my study and have considered the implementation of the holistic structure quite extensively in my current and previous work environments. The TPaCK framework is a useful model, drawing together essential components of a successful contemporary learning environment where one element cannot survive without the others. I like the idea that where when one component – tech, pedagogy or content knowledge – is reduced, then the others must step up to compensate (Mishra and Koehler 2006).

I have been thrown in the teaching deep end in recent years, moving out of my content knowledge comfort zone into the depths of teaching digital tech in a new school without a department, relevant colleagues or support network of any kind. I built an emergency PLN out of local and global (Twitter) connections in order to swiftly build my capacity in T and CK elements, as hanging on with pedagogy alone was pretty tough there for a while! Amongst the challenges of this experience, I learnt that I did not need to have every element of TPaCK nailed down in order for great learning to happen, and that designing inquiry learning experiences can have incredible benefits for students (and teachers like myself who needed the chance to practice outside the box). 

Having said that, I have been very pleased to have now learnt enough to create more of a balance, but the experience was definitely a valuable learning experience and one that has allowed me to experiment and explore with far less trepidation.

References

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054

Module 3: ICT Integration and pedagogical change and approaches – Forum post

Watson (2001) investigates ideas about the focus of the ICT in education issue, and postulates that ICT is still an outsider and “imposed” in educational settings. To what extent do you think this is accurate in both your own setting, but in general now that we have had 10 more years of ICT integration. 

My recent experience would refute Watson’s (2001) idea that ICT is an outsider, however my perspective may well be affected by my circumstances. My previous school required a high level of proficiency with integrating ICT for learning and my current role as a Technology Coach, supporting others to integrate technology for learning has provided evidence that most of my colleagues are ready and willing to integrate ICT. I am seeing significant growth across the school as systems are more seamlessly incorporated. These two roles have repositioned my perspective, but may be isolated as I have sought learning environments where integration of ICT to enhance and transform learning is a priority. 

Whether technology is “imposed” on the other hand, is an interesting question in this discourse. As Watson reflects, teachers may be (rightly) reticent to accept change where it does not tangibly improve learning outcomes – if the rhetoric is deeply flawed (Watson, 2001, p. 261), why would educators get on board? Perhaps this has created a catch 22, with educators reluctant to invest in a pedagogical shift without first seeing evidence of its worth. 

To some extent, IT systems have been imposed on teachers in most school contexts including mine; however, despite the cognitive overload that comes along with new learning, the merit of improved, more successfully integrated systems has become evident and therefore accepted by the staff over time. Over the past two years at my school, Microsoft Office 365 including OneNote Class Notebook has been recommended as a learning tool allowing for multimodal, collaborative processes for teaching and learning, alongside the scope for differentiation and formative assessment. In this space, dialogue is enabled between teachers and students and new scenarios are opened up by ICT (de Aldama and Pozo, 2016) 

Initially, there was uptake from a minority, however in contrast to Watson’s (2001) finding that cascading change has little impact, a shift has occurred amongst our staff and OneNote has now been incorporated into most department areas as evidence of the pedagogical value has filtered through the staff community. Such examples of rich learning tools where educators can see learning potential as well as measures to save time and effort are likely to influence a more successful uptake than that described by Watson. 

The Tech Coach model at my school provides a pathway for modeling initiatives and supporting learning and the development of confidence for other educators. Although there is some overwhelm with systemic change of ICT, the staffing model may help teachers to feel supported and less that technology is unreasonably imposed. 

What shifts in thinking and approach in a pedagogical sense are needed to ensure the appropriate approach to the integration of ICT into education for learning? 

de Aldama and Pozo’s (2016) discussion would indicate that teachers need to shift their beliefs about teaching, learning and knowledge acquisition before they will be prepared to invest in a significant integration of ICT. This is consistent with Bain and Weston’s assertion that teachers struggle to move beyond their own schemas (2013), and therefore may need to experience or witness integration in action to shift their beliefs and change their approach. They need to know it is likely to work and they need to be supported by school leadership to try new approaches.  

Watson outlines Morin’s seven knowledges. These reflect a more holistic view for ICT integration than just the supply of devices, with a broader pedagogical focus including soft skill development. Where ICT integration incorporates a pedagogic and societal focus, repositioning technology as a tool and not a catalyst (Watson, 2001, p.264), transformation of learning with ICT is more likely. 

At mine and many other schools, 2017 has seen the introduction of the Digital Technologies Curriculum which is rich with an emphasis on sophisticated skills, including critical, analytical, computational and design thinking; requiring creative and collaborative solutions to design problems and challenges. Although the segregation of ICT to its own learning area is questioned by Watson (2001) and Somekh (2008), this curriculum framework provides considerable scope to open discourse on transdisciplinary learning opportunities, where STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) through project based learning could tick many of the Australian Curriculum requirements both for the Digital Technologies curriculum as well as the ICT General Capabilities, alongside criteria for other subject areas. This transdisciplinary opportunity is something we are currently planning for our Year 7 cohort later in the year. 

References

ACARA. (2017). Digital Technologies Foundation to Year 10 Curriculum by rows – The Australian Curriculum v8.3. (2017). Australiancurriculum.edu.au. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/digital-technologies/curriculum/f-10?layout=1 

ACARA. (2017). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability – introduction – The Australian curriculum v8.3. Australiancurriculum.edu.au. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/introduction 

Bain, A., & Weston, M. E. (2012). The learning edge: What technology can do to educate all children. New York: Teachers College Press.  

De Aldama, C. and Pozo, J.I. (2016) How are ICT used in the classroom? A study of teachers; beliefs and uses. Electronic journal of research in educational psychology, September 2016, Vol.14(2), pp.253-286 [Peer Reviewed Journal] 

Somekh, B. (2008). Factors Affecting Teachers’ Pedagogical Adoption of ICT. International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education. J. Voogt and G. Knezek, Springer US. 20: 449-460. 

Watson, D. (2001). Pedagogy before technology: Re-thinking the relationship between ICT and teaching.” Education and information technologies 6(4): 251-266.

Module 2: The History of ICT Integration – ICT lack of impact – Forum Post

What are the main reasons for the lack of impact given by the authors of these articles? 

  • Disparity between ICT use at home and at school (purpose and connectivity) (Somekh, 2004: Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001) 
  • Access to computers and digital divide (Somekh, 2004: Cuban et al., 2001) 
  • Constraints of system requirements and teacher capacity, including risk averse and litigious social context (Somekh, 2004) 
  • Open and unregulated nature of internet vs heavily regulated school systems – “institutionalised resistance” (Somekh, 2004, p. 171) 
  • Silo orientation of subjects including ICT limiting capacity for transdisciplinary and integrated use of ICT (Somekh, 2004: Cuban et al., 2001) 
  • Lack of differentiation – varying skills and experience not considered in preparation of curriculum (Somekh, 2004). 
  • Not enough time for teachers to learn (Cuban et al., 2001) 
  • Teacher turnover/burnout (Cuban et al., 2001) 

Has education always been resistant to new technologies? Why/why not? 

Perhaps people are often resistant to change and therefore yes? Plato is quoted as concerned for the future of memory if people were to record information in writing (Shaban, 2016), so apprehension about change in education is nothing new. Many of the prescribed authors’ observations about resistance to technology integration reflect apprehension and uncertainty – fear of failure, of the unknown, of perceived error, criticism of employers or parents etc. – I suspect apprehension is not unique to contemporary education.

To what extent does this lack of impact resonate with you in your educational setting? 
Five years ago, my experience was consistent with the lack of impact the authors’ record; however my more recent experience supports more movement and development. At the risk of being one who sees “the inevitable victory of technological progress” (Cuban et al., 2001, p. 829), I think the “slow revolution” (Cuban et al., 2001) is evident overall in my school. Teachers are seeing the worth of incremental change as it is modeled by colleagues. 

I would agree with the assertion that larger scale change would require fundamental changes in “how schools are organized, how time is allocated, and how teachers are prepared.” (Cuban, Kirkpatrick, & Peck, 2001, p. 830). Inspiring models like High Tech High, as represented in the 2015 film, “Most Likely to Succeed” have invested in these (amongst other) core perspectives to bring about wholesale redefinition of schooling. 

References 

Cuban, L., Kirkpatrick, H., & Peck, C. (2001). High access and low use of technologies in high school classrooms: Explaining an apparent paradox.  American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 813–834. 

Most Likely To Succeed. (2015). Information available at: http://www.mltsfilm.org 

Shaban, A. (2016). How to change teacher resistance in using technology into teacher resilience. [online] Academia.edu. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/31672052/HOW_TO_CHANGE_TEACHER_RESISTANCE_IN_USING_TECHNOLOGY_INTO_TEACHER_RESILIENCE.

Somekh, B. (2004) Taking the sociological imagination to school: ananalysis of the (lack of) impact of information and communication technologies on education systems, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 13:2, 163-179

Module 2: Historical Debates re: ICT in Education

What are the historical debates outlined in Wellington that you still observe in your own educational setting?

Writing in 2005, Wellington made pertinent points, noting incongruity between ICT use and learning outcomes. Some of these concerns are still prevalent and needing attention.

Preparing students for their future is still a feature of educational rhetoric. The introduction to the 2016 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards states:

It’s not about using digital tools to support outdated education strategies and models; it’s about tapping into technology’s potential to amplify human capacity for collaboration, creativity and communication.

This motivation to refocus education technology from digital tools to broader skills is aligned with Wellington’s warning about “situated cognition” (2005).  Desiring a shift from a narrow, skills-based approach, current ideologies also emphasise the need for soft skills – problem solving, creativity, collaboration, empathy, adaptivity (Crockett, 2013) – skills which may transfer to new and evolving circumstances.

Many schools and systems still focus on gaining a body of information (Wellington 2005) and testing students’ memory rather the application and transference of understanding to demonstrate higher order thinking – the “grammar of schooling” (Tyack & Cuban, 1995) that Wellington sites, where content-driven curriculum and standardised testing “straight jacket” (Wellington, 2005) teachers and schools into compliance can still inhibit transformative use of ICT.

To what extent do you think past policies such as the Digital Education Revolution and current policies such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or your own local policies address these debates?

Wellington (2005) and Bain and Weston (2012) cite concerns about the discontinuity between home and school and the limitations of ICT use outside of IT lessons, however in the schools I have worked in since the Digital Education Revolution, these issues have largely been addressed by the introduction of 1-to-1. Cloud-based systems and BYOD have further provided a seamless integration for technology between home and school. Further again, the capacity for independent learning online is a growing affordance – a number of my own Digital Technology students have independently taught themselves to program robots or code websites and my own kids have taught themselves to play guitar via YouTube or to speak Swedish via DuoLingo. Providers of online learning (often free of charge) and peer learning have changed the paradigm (Richardson and Mancabelli, 2011).

To what extent do you experience some of the faulty assumptions about ICT in schools/educational settings and how do these manifest?

Putting technology into the hands of every student and teacher does not revolutionise teaching and learning. The authors’ observation that money was spent on technology without evidence of a significant impact on teaching and learning (Bain and Weston, 2012; Wellington, 2005) is consistent with my experience during the rollout of 1-to-1 where largely, students researched digital encyclopedias and regurgitated information into digital notebooks. However, my subsequent schools demonstrate the benefit of hindsight. I had opportunity to work in a new school with a pedagogical focus on creative and collaborative processes, using ICT to transform learning through interactive and diversified learning experiences and my current school, whilst in some respects traditional and challenged by ingrained practice, has invested in staff roles to lead and encourage the integration of rich learning opportunities using ICT.

As alluded to by Wellington (2005), it is imperative that educational leaders continue to question purpose and practice of ICT integration – what is the value? Is there a tangible impact? Amongst the ongoing analysis, support for teachers to adapt curriculum and develop skills for effective integration is important; however as Bain and Weston (2012) contend, professional learning initiatives have often missed the mark. Perhaps of more impact is the access to and sharing of self-initiated learning through broad professional networks and ongoing coaching (Nussbaum-Beach 2012).

References

Bain, A., & Weston, M. E. (2012). Education and technology. In The learning edge: what technology can do to educate all children (pp. 1-24). New York, NY. Teachers College Press.

Crockett, L. (2013). Literacy is not enough: 21st century fluencies for the digital age. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8DEeR1sraA

International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). Retrieved from ISTE http://www.iste.org/standards/standards.

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Introduction: The power of networked learning. In Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Tyack, D. & Cuban, L. (1995). Tinkering toward utopia. Cambridge MA and London Harvard University Press.

Wellington, J. (2005)., Has ICT come of age? Recurring debates on the role of ICT in education, 1982-2004. Research In Science & Technological Education, 23(1), 25-39.

Module 1: ICT Affordances and Use

Forum questions:

  • What are the primary justifications in these readings for the integration of ICT into educational settings?
  • According to Selwyn, social and democratic issues need to be considered in this process – what might this mean in your context?
  • Given the idea of affordances discussed in Conole and Dyke’s article, what sort of relationship do you see between the percieved affordances of ICTs and the way ICTs are actually used in your educational context?
  • In your organsiation or educational context, what does the use of ICT invite or facilitate, and what does it lends itself to and what can it can do well?
  • What justification is given in the policy document you have chosen for the use of ICT for learning?
  • To what extent are issues of social justice and democracy, or affordances of technology for learning integrated into this policy?
  • How much is “improved learning outcomes” a focus of the policy?

These readings urge movement beyond an assumption that ICT will inherently improve teaching and learning and for educators to consider the ways and means to invest in structures and strategies to promote learning outcomes. The affordances that emerged most strongly for me include:

  • Non-linear structures that allow for improved differentiation
  • Need for development of digital literacy skills, where students have the capacity to decipher quality information and sources.
  • Capacity to make use of extended opportunities to connect with a broader network, including diverse cultural opportunities, subject matter experts, multi-sensory learning materials.

As Matt Ives (2017) indicated, the implicit consumerism of device ownership and the potential for devices to be status symbols is present in my context, however from a college perspective, funds are not invested in ICT without an overarching consideration of value for learning and a meaningful trajectory for the use of programs and products. Improved learning outcomes are central to my workplace and therefore considering the learning value of all ICT initiatives is front and centre.
Leadership at my school have worked hard in recent years to implement initiatives and develop staffing structures that will provide a solid grounding for leadership and momentum, merging perceived affordances with the “state of the actual” (Selwyn, 2010, p. 70). Investing in staff roles (like mine) to guide and coach colleagues in meaningful use of technology is improving the confidence of staff to try new approaches. Guided by PYP principles and with structured collaborative planning sessions in the junior school, robust conversations are encouraged to discern the most effective means to include digital technology with a focus on valuable learning outcomes.
This does not mean there is not a way to go; in a successful school context it can be challenging to convince educators that there is a reason to shift their paradigm, so for many it is a slow burn where we are working hard to lead by example.

References
Conole, G. and M. Dyke (2004). What are the affordances of information and communication technologies? ALT-J 12(2): 113-124. http://primo.unilinc.edu.au/CSU:CSU_ALL:TN_doaj_xmloai%3Adoaj.org/article%3A1f16a6337fb1406b996a116ed45f5ffd

Ives, M. (2017) EMT503 forum post March 11, 2017.

Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assted Learning, 26(1), 65-73.
http://primo.unilinc.edu.au/CSU:CSU_ALL:TN_wj10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00338.x

Module 1: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants and 21st Century Learners

Forum questions:

To what extent has the idea that there are learners who are  “Digital Natives” or “Digital Immigrants” manifested itself in your educational context? Is this assumption obvious in any of your organisational policies or programs? Is it a useful or an assumption that hinders the use of ICT by teachers and/or students?
 What do you think is a “21st Century Learner”? Given a century is a long time, and given they will still be “21st Century Learners” in 88 years time, why do you think we like to label our students in this manner? How might these labels impact on the way we lead the implementation of ICT in our organisations?

I find Prensky’s 2001 Digital Natives/Digital Immigrant terminology and the inherent generalised assessment of teachers vs students unhelpful. Stereotypes are a dangerous position as they shut out a well-considered analysis of any situation.

Whilst I would agree that growing up using technology is a divergence from previous generations, it does not equate to adept or consistent skills or creative use. If we invest too trustingly in Prensky’s terms, we risk overlooking those students who feel overwhelmed by technology. Supporting new Year 7s as they have started their high school journey just recently reinforced this thinking for me. To assume they get it, shuts out an awareness that:

1. many have not had the exposure we may anticipate;

2. some find the context of networks and digital connections at school completely overwhelming and

3. some kids really dislike that much of their world has moved online; just because they have grown up with tech does not mean it provides their preferred learning tools.

Whilst I would agree that education is a shifting paradigm and that ongoing change and evaluation are needed, I think a more successful approach is to consider the use of technology in education in more authentic ways. Tech may allow a differentiated classroom approach where it is normal for students to work in independent and different ways to support their own learning; rather than a wholesale and complete adoption of technology in the classroom.

As for digital immigrants, the 3 schools I have worked in over the last 5 years have all been very interested in developing a “growth mindset” in students. To take on a perspective of individuals born prior to 1980 as digital immigrants could prohibit teachers’ own growth as learners with an assumption that they can’t compete or keep up and that their own evolution as a learner is defined by their generation. The language of Prensky’s article sets two generations at odds with one another and whilst urging for change, it does not promote common ground. I enjoyed the Bennett, Maton and Kervin proposition that Prensky’s position reflected a level of moral panic and sensationalist language.

However, Prensky’s position has been a catalyst for debate and conjecture and whilst his notions may be flawed – they have given rise to necessary discussion and consideration for a valid position. Discussion, evaluation and evolution of teaching and learning are critical elements for ongoing success.

I think we need to drop the term, 21st Century learners. Our digital context really requires that we are all learners, so I think more useful thinking is the (perhaps also overused) concept of life-long learning. It’s time we used language that embraces learning for all, where all participants seek to connect with diverse networks to extend ourselves and embrace the diversity of literacies that technology allows.

References

Bennett, S. Maton, K. & Kervin, L. (2008). The “digital natives” debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the horizon, vol.9(5).

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 2: Do they really think differently? On the horizon, 2001, vol.9(6), p.1-6

Network literacy evaluative report: The INF532 Travelator

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Image Attribution: Londoners in transit by Sacha Fernandez. Retrieved from Flickr. Creative Commons licence.

With recent travel experiences fresh in my mind, the analogy of the airport travelator echoes my INF532 journey. Sometimes the travelator moves you along at the same pace as the traditional walk, other times it takes you further with less effort and other times, when you move yourself along as well, the travelator takes you much further down the pathway than the walk might have done.

Commencing my sixth unit of the Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation Masters, I had made a considerable start to my connected educator journey. Prior to INF532, I was engaging with a personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter, making effective use of social media and practicing a do-it-yourself learning mentality (Nussbaum-Beach, 2012, Skip Via, 2010, Alex Couros, 2010). I had explored a range of curation tools and selected those I found most useful (Plenty, 2016a), and made a commitment to seek opportunities for global education connections. In some respects, I have continued learning as I would otherwise; in others INF532 has given me the motivation and means to expedite my learning progress and move further along.

My most significant learning and progress over the course of my INF532 study include:

  • Consolidation of my PLN through social media
  • Recognition of the power and importance of blogging
  • The process and production of the artefact
  • Connections with experts for learning
  • Development of my understanding of instructional design
  • Improved information management and use of curation tools

Collaboration, Twitter and PLN

Jennifer Gonzales ideas about open-door classrooms and the facilitation of observation through the physical environment resonate with my experience (Plenty, 2016b). Having recently worked in three diverse school environments (Plenty, 2016j), I see the physical limitations imposed on school-based connections by the structure of school buildings. Leadership may actively address this through ongoing planning for architecture and infrastructure but also through the encouragement of other modes of connection. Despite diversity in the roles, I have been fortunate in my two most recent jobs to have the scope to connect with my colleagues, previously in a school where team teaching was an emphasis and now as a technology coach, working with others to support their technology integration (Plenty, 2016b). Both of these positions have been unique opportunities to learn from and with colleagues.

Whilst observation and connection with one’s colleagues (Couros, A., 2010) are vital ingredients for growth, external connections are necessary to really cross-pollinate perspectives, develop creative approaches and avoid stagnation (Jarche, 2013). Steve Wyborney (2016) and Todd Nesloney (2013) both discuss the revolutionary impact of Twitter on their practice and their findings align with my recent experience. Since commencing ETL523 (the first of two units studied under Julie Lindsay this year) in Session One, I have been encouraged to foster my online PLN, and since commencing INF532, my efforts to become more of a participant have resulted in some significant learning growth through my Twitter connections. However, as Rheingold (2010) notes, discernment skills in who to follow and how to refine PLN connections are also necessary. Action in this regard has tailored my feed, making it relevant and packed with potential for learning. I have had to find balance using Twitter as a flow, the more people I follow, the more I miss. Finding the balance to check the ‘rolling present’ (Rheingold & Weeks, 2012) regularly, subscribing to the blogs of those I do not want to miss and recognising the need not to overload and induce “edu PLN fatigue” (McGilvray, 2016) have been essential new skills.

Since starting INF532, I have regularly participated in Twitter chats. Involvement in organised chats such as #AussieED, #DigitalEDchat and #MSFTEDUchat has provided opportunity to connect more closely with others to share ideas (Lindsay, 2016) and subsequently engage in ongoing conversations, moving my interaction more into a networked community of practice (Wenger, 2012). Such chat opportunities test my thinking, provide new or divergent perspectives and refine my knowledge (Archer, 2009).

The learning potential of a tailored PLN has been evident for me during INF532 with learning that I have sought, but also learning acquired directly. I needed to know more about flipped learning and creating video resources, I connected with Joel Speranza. I needed ideas about creating animation for my artefact – I happened upon Richard Wells Keynote tutorial tweet. Planning ideas for staff PL, I connected with Craig Kemp about his Techie Brekkies. Planning to commence a school-based student tech team, I was contacted by Larry Baker in the US who is building a resource and making connections regarding that process.

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-6-10-50-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter messages used with permission (2016)

Tweet – example of professional learning through Twitter

The Power of Blogging

Documenting an ongoing record of my thinking is proving a useful reflective process; as articulated by Joel Speranza, it is a chance to sort and consolidate ideas, share thinking that may unexpectedly be significant for a reader, and connect with a larger PLN when shared through social media. As “one of the people formerly known as the audience” (Shirky, 2010, p.64), I am motivated by the fact that networks amplify my voice, allow me to connect with experts and potentially allow me to support the learning of others.

Examples of Twitter interactions

The requirement to review the blogs of others has empowered my learning; for example, Kathryn MacGilvray’s ideas added a different perspective to my own. Connecting with one another through our blogs has helped to consolidate learning and fill knowledge gaps (Siemens, 2013). Reviewing the artefacts of others was also a rich professional learning experience (Plenty, 2016f).

INF532 has required a more extensive investment in the blogging process than other units (Plenty, 2016c). This has helped me recognise the importance and potential for professional growth available through the process. Despite the time I often take to blog (Plenty, 2016d), the visible learning value of reflection (Muncher and Ellickson, 2012) and my own curated ideas (Press, 2016) is an aspect I have come to value more during this session, motivating me to continue the blogging process. From here I intend to keep working between curation, Twitter and my blog to synthesise my learning (Weisgerber 2011) and to continue developing my personal information style (Bawden, 2009).

Artefact Learnings

Wanting to make something authentic, I was challenged to assess the needs of my new workplace (Plenty, 2016e).  Inspired by the timely connection with Joel Speranza through the AussieED network on Twitter, I decided to make video elements that could be used in my school alongside their inclusion in the artefact. Speranza’s “Tech Tip Tuesdays” and flipped classroom videos have helped to formulate my perspective and inform direction for progress in my work.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-10-16-12-am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter messages used with permission.

Twitter – #AussieED chat response.

Instructional design

Already aiming to generate more connections, the investigation of instructional design raised my awareness of design to maximise learning. The exploration of distance learning and instructional design flowed on from Rosenthal Tolisano’s blog posts (2011-14) where I was impressed by the care taken to structure effective learning experiences. Extending from this investigation, a highlight of my progress in this session was the opportunity to connect students with experts for project-based learning (Plenty, 2016g), and rather than a sole focus on the connection itself, I prepared these opportunities carefully with students so a holistic learning experience was possible.

The investigation of instructional design was also applicable for staff professional learning. Considering Wenger, McDermott and Snyder’s (2002) findings that communities of practice need diverse modes for connection, I have carefully considered how to prepare learning opportunities for staff that are meaningful, necessary and varied and this inspired the variety of inclusions in my artefact (Plenty, 2016).

Curation tools and information management

The requirement to investigate curation tools is an aspect of INF532 that I could have explored in more depth; however, at this point in my study, I have already explored a range and whilst not closed to new possibilities, I have processes in place for curating and connecting that work for me. I am wary of diluting my information management by including too many things (Plenty, 2016h). However, as Jacques Du Toit noted (2016), a working system for curation can lose its structure and I have now started using Peartrees (Plenty, 2016c) to invest in a more visually oriented curation method.

Where to from here?

Richardson and Mancabelli define four steps for networked learning (2011, p.12):

  1. Understanding the power of PLNs
  2. Becoming a networked learner
  3. Implementing a networked classroom
  4. Becoming a networked school

My study and experience through INF532, indicate a developing understanding of the power of PLNs. I now recognise that my own knowledge is best constructed through interaction with others – primarily through Twitter, university studies and with my work colleagues (Mundker and Ellickson, 2012). Knowledge is no longer static and I can make use of my networks to test the currency and validity of my own position (Jarche). I have become a networked learner and have forged connections beyond my real world.

Siemens advocates the need to develop an eye for networks (2008); this increased awareness will not happen without an effort. My study has shown me that networking is a deliberate choice, requiring a cultivated attitude to learning (Rajagopal, Joosten-ten Brinke, Van Bruggen, & Sloep, 2011) and an ongoing effort to curate and keep the network alive. It is necessary that I maintain a sustained involvement, not dropping the connections between units of study, but rather keeping the connections and blog active and ongoing.

In a knowledge society it is imperative to discern, filter and manage the overload (Bawden & Robinson, 2009) so that information empowers, not overwhelms (Brown & Dugoid 2002), whilst acknowledging that the an industrial model of education is no longer relevant for students needing preparation for new models of work in the 21st century (Plenty, 2016k; Adams Becker, Freeman, Giesinger Hall, Cummins, and Yuhnke, 2016). These are important considerations in planning meaningful learning for other educators to support them in their own paradigm shift whilst avoiding learning fatigue (Bawden & Robinson, 2009).

As a staff member with responsibility to prepare and deliver professional learning opportunities for colleagues, the investigation of instructional design has provided considerable direction. Care to plan, design, implement and evaluate learning opportunities is vital for the sustained success of professional learning (Merrill, 2002). Kunkle highlights the ADDIE model, where design thinking gives structure to the process. This is an area for investment to ensure important learning opportunities do not miss their mark.

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-10-06-41-pm

(Kunkle 2011, slide 4) 

Motivated by my artefact process including PLN inspiration (Plenty, 2016i) and with consideration of the need to provide diverse learning opportunities (Wenger, McDermott and Snyder, 2002; Jisc, 2013), I have started creating video tech tips; but will structure their delivery, considering timing, need and a sequence with care. Moving forward, I plan to share more of my learning through Twitter, as the quick tips of educators like Richard Wells have inspired my learning. As my own following has grown with my participation, I am increasingly aware of the importance for me to ensure my own PLN contributions are worthwhile and of benefit to others (Rheingold, 2010) and therefore the responsibility to create and share quality content is an imperative for my ongoing participatory practice.

Effective new models of leadership and support networks have been identified as significant needs in a contemporary context to progress educational paradigms into a networked future (Adams et.al, 2016); with this in mind, it is the last two of Richardson and Mancabelli’s points where my efforts now need to concentrate. Through my work and online networks, I have the scope to work with others to support development of networked classrooms and will now use the momentum of my study to guide and inspire increased global connections for a more networked school. Despite the many challenges, small steps are progress and I am motivated to create and extend connections as we travel towards an increasingly networked future.

 

References

Adams Becker, S., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Cummins, M., and Yuhnke, B. (2016). NMC/CoSN horizon report: 2016 K-12 edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Archer, N. (2009). Classification of communities of practice. In N. Kock (Ed.), E-collaboration: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications (67-77). Hershey, PA

Baker, L. (2016). Student tech team hub [website]. Retrieved from http://techteamhub.weebly.com/

Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies. Journal of Information Science, 35(2), 180–191. http://jis.sagepub.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/content/35/2/180.full.pdf+html

Brazil, J. (2011). P2PU: Learning for everyone, by everyone, about almost anything. Dmlcentral – Digital media + Learning: The power of participation. Retrieved http://dmlcentral.net/blog/jeff-brazil/p2pu-learning-everyone-everyone-about-almost-anything

Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (2002). Limits to information. In the social life of information (pp. 11-34). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Couros, A. (2010). Developing personal learning networks for open and social learning. In Veletsianos, G. (Ed.), Emerging technologies in distance education (109–128). Athabasca University: AU Press.

Jarche, H. (2013). PKM in 2013 [Blog post]. Life in perpetual beta. Retrieved March 8, 2014, from http://www.jarche.com/2013/01/pkm-in-2013/

Jisc. (2013). Enhancing curriculum design with technology: outcomes from the jisc institutional approaches to curriculum design programme. Retrieved from http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/5335/1/Enhancing_curriculum-final.pdf

Kemp, C. (2013). What is a techie brekkie [blogpost]. Retrieved from http://mrkempnz.com/2013/03/what-is-a-techie-brekkie.html?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork

Kunkle, M. 2011. Basic instructional design principles – a primer. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/MikeKunkle/basic-instructional-design-principles-a-primer

Lindsay, J. 2016.  The global educator: leveraging technology for collaborative learning and teaching. Hawker Brownlow Education. Moorabbin, Victoria.

McGilvray, K. (2016, October 9). The power of feedback. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mtnf/2016/10/08/the-power-of-feedback/

Meiser, E. 2016. A 30 second strategy for improving student and instructor productivity. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/elearning-30-second-strategy-student-and-instructor-productivity

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50 (3), 43-59. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/218022684?accountid=10344

Mundkur, A. & Ellickson, C. (2012). Bringing the real world in: reflection on building a virtual learning environmentJournal of Geography in Higher Education, 36:3, 369-384.

Nesloney, T. (2013, September 23). My PLN saved my career. Nesloney’s adventures: Thoughts from an elementary teacher . Retrieved from http://nesloneyflipped.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/my-pln-saved-my-career.html

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Oliver, R. (2000). When teaching meets learning: design principles and strategies for web-based learning environments that support knowledge construction. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/coffs00/papers/ron_oliver_keynote.pdf

Pegrum, M. (2010). ‘I Link, Therefore I Am’: Network literacy as a core digital literacy. In E-Learning and Digital Media, 7(4), 346-354.

Plenty, L. (2016j, July 13). New culture of learning. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/07/13/new-culture-of-learning/

Plenty, L. (2016b, July 18). Moving towards connected education [blogpost]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/07/18/moving-towards-connected-education/

Plenty, L. (2016k, August 2). Network literacy 3.1. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/08/02/network-literacy-module-3-1/

Plenty, L. (2016g, August 31). Connections for learning. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/08/31/connections-for-learning/

Plenty, L. (2016e, September 4). Not drowning, waving …I think. Retreived from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/09/04/not-drowning-waving-i-think/

Plenty, L. (2016, September 18). Is your learning really personal [blog comment]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mtnf/2016/09/18/is-your-learning-really-personal/

Plenty, L. (2016f, September 21). Musings on the artefacts of others. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/09/21/musings-on-the-artefacts-of-others/

Plenty, L. (2016i, September 22). Connected education: INF532 artefact and exegesis. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/09/22/connected-education-inf532-artefact-and-exegesis/

Plenty, L. (2016h, October 9). Forum 1.2 post (July 2016). Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/10/08/forum-1-2-post-july-2016/

Plenty, L. (2016e, October 5). The ups and downs of writing for an online audience. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/10/05/the-ups-and-downs-of-writing-for-an-online-audience/

Plenty, L. (2016c, October 9). Forum post – module 7 (october 2016) [blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/10/09/forum-post-module-7-october-2016/

Plenty, L. (2016a, October 9). Forum 4.1 post (August 2016) [blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/10/09/forum-4-4-post-august-2016/.

Plenty, L. (2016). Connected education: starting your collaborative journey. Retrieved from spark.adobe.com/page/bIryxL0EHtrDx

Press, A. (2016, October 5). The ups and downs of writing for an online audience [blog comment]. Retreived from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/10/05/the-ups-and-downs-of-writing-for-an-online-audience/

Rajagopal, K., Joosten-ten Brinke, D., Van Bruggen, J., & Sloep, P. B. (2011). Understanding personal learning networks: Their structure, content and the networking skills needed to optimally use themFirst Monday, 17(1)

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Rheingold, H., & Weeks, A. (2012). Participation power. In Net smart: How to thrive online (pp. 111-145). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Online full-text available via CSU Library

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Introduction: The power of networked learning. In Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Rosenthal Tolisano, S. (2011-2014). Framing a skype learning experience. Langwitches blog. Retrieved from http://langwitches.org/blog/2011/02/06/framing-a-skype-learning-experience/

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Speranza, J. (2016, October 5). I heart blog. How blogging changed my practice [blogpost]. Joel Speranza. Retrieved from http://joelsperanza.com/random-musings/heart-blog-blogging-changed-practice/

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Forum Post – Module 7 (October 2016)

RE: Module 7: The future – digital learning tools and strategies

What tools and strategies will YOU be using in the future? Can you identify at least 6? Can you share ways that you may plan to adopt these and how you will be using them for your own professional workflow and/or for learning with students?

At the risk of committing myself to a few challenges, these are the areas that I would like to work on further:

Curation – Like Jacques, I am needing a better system for curation. I have been sending things to OneNote, but need from there to categorise and this has gone out the window. I have a Pearltrees account and was recently checking out Heather Bailie’s Pearltrees and think being a visual person, this might be the way forward for me.

Notes and workflow with colleagues – OneNote – we are using Office products quite intensively at my school and despite their limitations for Mac, I am finding OneNote to be my preferred note taking tool. Our team are documenting processes via OneNote and it is a great record of our work and a resource for the next time around. Great to be able to use it on my phone/tablet when I am out and about and I think of things to add.

LMS – At the moment we don’t have a specific LMS, but rather teachers upload assignments etc to an internal Sharepoint site. I am interested to see how Microsoft Classroom goes, as it is a likely next step.

Blogging – I am making a commitment right here that I am going to be a better blogger! This is the first unit since my first one (INF536) where regular blogging has been an assessment requirement and it has got me more in the mode of using this process. I am finding it really useful, to the point of recalling earlier experiences and wishing I had recorded posts about them, as I think much of my learning could be better consolidated by writing more often.

Global connections with students – This was a goal at the end of my last unit (ETL523) and I have made some progress, although now that I am not in the classroom, it is more a matter of helping and facilitating such experiences for others. Definitely a goal to work towards more.

Flipped classroom/instructional videos – motivated via my artefact, I have started making quite a few videos for my work. Noting Andrew Press’ Youtube channel set up I think I will set my channel up a bit more officially and upload my videos.

Forum 4.4 Post (August 2016)

I have added this forum post to my blog so that it may be referenced for my current INF532 assignment.

You’ll be wanting to explore and use a range of curation tools. Try investigating tools that are new to you. Think about the techniques and workflow. If you already use some curation tools, you may like to try something else for comparison.

Record some of your discoveries, experiences and/or evaluations on your blog.

Through either my study or work, I think I have tested out a significant range of content curation products. I have pruned my use over time and now regularly use Twitter, Tweetdeck, Facebook (the ‘save link’ function is really useful), Instagram, Padlet, Pocket, Goodreads, Feedly, Flipboard, Pinterest, Evernote and OneNote. I am finding the “share to OneNote” a really useful function when I find resources, articles etc on Twitter, saving them to my OneNote for future reference and have probably now replaced my use of Pocket with OneNote.  I started an assignment in Storify last year (which regrettably I only remembered when I tried to set up a new account recently!!) and switched to Tackk.

Things I will investigate more …. I would like to investigate Storify more and I am also interested in IFTTT but have not got further than signing up. Symbaloo also looks useful.

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