INF532 Evaluative Report

a) An evaluative statement using the networked learning experiences documented on your Thinkspace blog as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of this subject

Educators need to understand the social nature of knowledge networks and the production of information to lead the members of their school communities on a process from being “knowledgeable to knowledge-able” (Wesch, 2010). Throughout this subject Knowledge Networking for Educators INF532 using my blog as a place of reflection, thought and creation I have come to understand more about the nature of information, social networks, information management, learning with digital tools and the value of a personal learning network.

In my first blog post for INF532 I wrote about being a student studying these new models of information (McQueen,2015 March 17) I wanted to attain more knowledge and skills about encouraging my learning community to create content, facilitating great learning (for all), preservation (& curation) of information and expand my Personal learning Network (PLN) and Personal Learning Environment (PLE). I have not been disappointed by the experiences that followed in this subject.

New models of information based on the technology tools of blogs, social media and global communication have had an exponential growth effect on content creation and seen the transformation of existing information formats. Blog posts now can be seen as credible sources of information for e.g. The Huffington Post (De Saulles, 2012). Blogs are going to form a major part of my future PLE in the future; using  the tool Feedly to follow blogs more effectively and strategically is a great starting point (McQueen, 2015 May 29).

Educators and our students are operating in a world where there is a new culture of learning. It’s a culture of learning where we can easily access unlimited resources and amazing technological tools, where learning can be ‘real’ in nearly every area of education and our lives (Thomas & Brown, 2011). This subject encourages educators to examine this culture and try to work out ways to cultivate it, helping others best learn and develop skills to continue learn in many contexts; digital, social and those that don’t even exist yet. I share many progressive thinking educators’ view that schools’ progression into this new culture of learning is being hindered and not supported by many aspects in our educational system (McQueen, 2015 March 21).

However as leaders in educational pedagogy we must take advantage of opportunities to show others how learning environments can be designed differently.  We need to take advantage of the diverse, collective nature of the new learning culture where others can learn from each other (Thomas & Brown, 2011) In Assessment item 2 for this subject I planned and designed a knowledge artefact to instruct my school teaching community about how a teaching team can benefit from developing an online community of practice (McQueen, 2015 March 22). The knowledge networking concepts that I addressed in the artefact were ‘communities of practice’ (Wenger, 2006), ‘participatory cultures’ (Rheingold, Participation Power, 2012), ‘networked learning’ (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011)and ‘social media literacies’ (Rheingold, 2010). The process of creating this artefact was time consuming, but the persistence in learning to use new tools was worthwhile in the end. I took time during this process to research instructional design techniques that were relevant to adult learners’ needs (Moloney, 2010). The exegesis about this knowledge artefact summarised the purpose and impact of my artefact in supporting knowledge networking in my school’s community of teachers (McQueen, 2015 May 31).The opportunity to observe and critique another colleague’s knowledge artefact provided feedback and access to these artefacts for further use and also practice in the art of evaluating instructional design elements (McQueen, 2015 May 27).

INF532 has facilitated many opportunities to develop a suite of new media tools for information management, content creation, content curation, collaborative work.  I have tried out new tools like Listly (McQueen, 2015 May 29), Feedly (McQueen, 2015 March 21), Pixabay (McQueen 2015 May 31), and persevered with some of my existing tools like groups Diigo and Pinterest to use them more widely. My ever expanding use of Twitter though has been the most influential in developing my PLN.   The power of participation (Rheingold, Participation Power, 2012)was recently made evident when some recent new ideas on the planning of a new Library spaces were amplified via Twitter. Linking information with hashtags and connecting with influential others makes the sharing of good ideas easy. Facilitating these connections leads to the feeling of being a ‘connected educator’ or even leader (McQueen, 2015 May 29).

Pariser’s (2013) talk about “online filter bubbles” highlighted the importance of not only the way networks are influential and monitored in the internet but also the place of educators and especially teacher-librarians to be content curators. Using social curation tools like Pearltrees, Listly, and Pinterest are ways for connected educators to curate and share at the same time (McQueen, 2015 May 22).

Taking time to consider a better future direction in education, so we can support connected learners led to a closer investigation of flipped teaching (McQueen, 2015 May 29) .Amplifying learning using digital tools like Skype, Twitter and Google Hangouts is a simple but effective way of engaging learners and broadcasting their knowledge and created content (McQueen, 2015 May 29). Augmented reality is another new form of engaging connected learners which warrants further investigation (McQueen, 2015 May 28).

INF532 and the reflective blog I continued to contribute to, has provided the networked experiences which have collectively and creatively have made me a much more connected educator.

b) A reflective statement on your development as a connected educator as a result of studying INF532, and the implications for your role as a ‘connected leader’ within your school community, and/or at district/state/national level

To be a connected educator one must first understand what it means to be a learner within our (digital) connected work and also examine them as educator (Nussbaum-Beach & Hall, 2012).  As a result of studying INF532 I have developed an understanding of how knowledge networks form, can be facilitated and encouraged to flourish and also examine myself as a (connected) educator.

In the beginning of INF532 I reflected on my status as a connected educator (McQueen, 2015 April 6). Whilst engaging in Nussbaum-Beach & Hall’s (2012)reflection activity I identified a need for me collaborate with a wider group of people more often especially those teachers and students  at my own school, engage students in real-life and global situations and make learning environments richer in technology.  I have always been a learner leader in my academic groups, school and district community but I obviously needed to connect more; outside (not just in an academic manner) and within my school community. I can say that I have become more collaborative through content creation, sharing and connective with others over the last semester. Throughout INF532 I have learnt the rules of good and effective content curation (McQueen, 2015 May 23), the power in participation to build a PLN (McQueen, 2015 May 29) and how my pedagogy that I bring to my practice has progressively shifted.  I recently checked in with my social media literacy skills (Rheingold, Attention and 21st-century social media literacies, 2010) and found that yes they are interconnected and more refined (McQueen,2015 May 31).

A big learning curve and confidence boost as a connected educator happened when I uploaded my very own knowledge networking artefact to YouTube: How can a teaching team benefit from developing an online community of practice , shared it in Twitter and then bravely with my own school’s teaching community. The process of writing the exegesis and assessing others helped reinforce the important of using such artefacts to lead communities in building knowledge networks (McQueen, 2015, May 31 & 27).

The mindset that “we must take up the challenge on designing the future of education” (rather than dream or dread it) can lead to exciting prospects for the future of leaning (2Revolutions, 2012). The future design of schools and education requires a shift from hierarchical to networked learning to be able to be lifelong learners. Connected educators and leaders who understand these concepts are needed in schools to ensure that learning that happens in their schools is future proof (Schravemade, 2015). Establishing and setting purposes for these knowledge networks is an important part of this process too(McQueen, 2015 May 23).

In taking up this challenge, I will need to continue to try new tools and strategies, expand my PLN, create new content, share and curate content, and support connected learners. At the end of INF532 I shared some ideas for my future endeavours; they range from more complex curating, to public blogging and amplifying learning globally (McQueen, 2015 May 30).

The implications for my role as a connected leader will happen in my classrooms physical and digital), school, district and even globally. Teacher-Librarians play an important role because “they are intrinsically linked to effective and responsive information curation and dissemination in distributed environments within and beyond the school” (O’Connell, 2011) I feel a responsibly to lead the design for change in my local and global communities. I am lucky I have a supportive Principal who believes teacher librarians can be game changers. I have always felt that Libraries and their leaders and staff have opportunities to be the antidote to those aspects that our education systems have not got quite right. The study I have done so far in this degree and INF532 has provided me with a seat at the table to join in and lead conversations about new designs for learning in our schools.

I listened with interest to Greg Green, the Principal who ‘flipped’ his whole school. It didn’t happen overnight. He connected with a small group of like-minded educators who could see a more effective way of teachers and students working together to facilitate better learning.  They were a  group of innovative educators, they tried out new tools, shared their ideas and success; others caught on (November, 2011). Now Green and his team have redesigned the learning and their students have developed life-long learning skills. This is knowledge networking and designing better education practices at its best.

As a connected educator who now has skills in creating knowledge networks I can design better education practices too and in the process support and lead connected learners on any scale: local to global. I can lead them in the use and organisation of information, sharing of ideas, learning and the creation of knowledge.

Bibliography

2Revolutions. (2012, March). The Future of Learning. Retrieved May 2015, from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoSJ3_dZcm8

De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In M. De Saulles, Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). London: Facet.

McQueen. (2015, May 22). ‘Beware of Online Filter Bubbles’: an important video to view. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/22/beware-of-online-filter-bubbles-an-important-video-to-view/

McQueen. (2015, May 29). A tool for gathering, organising and making the most of blog posts:Feedly. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/29/a-new-tool-for-gathering-organising-and-making-the-most-of-blog-posts-feedly/

McQueen, M. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 28). A case study: using augmented reality to amplify learning in the school library program. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/28/a-case-study-of-using-augmented-reality-to-amplify-learning-in-the-school-library-program/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 31). A check up on my 21st-Century social media literacy and participatory skills. Retrieved June 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/31/a-check-up-on-my-21st-century-social-media-literacy-and-participatory-skills/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 29). A flipped school!! Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/29/a-flipped-school/

McQueen, M. (2015, March 22). A knowledge building project. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/03/22/a-knowledge-building-project/

McQueen, M. (2015, March 21). A new culture of learning. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/03/21/a-new-culture-of-learning/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 27). An amplified learning idea to try out – connecting over books & reading. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/27/an-amplified-learning-idea-to-try-out-connecting-over-books-reading/

McQueen, M. (2015, March 15). Being a student -new models of information. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/03/17/being-a-student-new-models-of-information/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 27). Critique of Greg Miller’s artefact ‘using twitter to grow your PLN’. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog.

McQueen, M. (2015, May 30). It’s important to try new things…. Retrieved June 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/30/its-important-to-try-new-things/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 31). Knowledge networking artefact & exegesis. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/31/knowledge-networking-artefact/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 23). Knowledge networks: establishing and setting purposes. Retrieved June 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/23/knowledge-networks-establishing-and-setting-purposes/

McQueen, M. (2015, April 6). Reflections on “defining the connected educator”. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/04/06/reflections-on-defining-the-connected-educator/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 23). The ideal content curation practice. Retrieved June 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/23/the-ideal-content-curation-practice/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 29). The power in participation. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s reflective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/29/the-power-in-participation/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 29). Trying out a different digital curation tool – Listly. Retrieved May 2015, from Monique’s refective blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/29/trying-out-a-different-digital-curation-tool-listly/

McQueen, M. (2015, May 22). What pedagogical and content knowledge do you bring to your practice? Retrieved June 2015, from Monique’s Reflective Blog: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/22/what-pedagogical-and-content-knowledge-do-you-bring-to-your-practice/

Moloney, K. (2010). There is no excuse for bad instructional design. Training and development in Australia, 22-23.

November, A. (2011). Learn from a school that has completely flipped out – An interview with Greg Green on flipped learning model. [podcast]. Retrieved May 2015, from November Learning Podcast Series: http://novemberlearning.com/an-interview-with-greg-green-on-flipped-learning-model/

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

O’Connell, J. (2011, October). Teacher librarians are important. Retrieved June 2015, from Hey jude living in an online world: http://judyoconnell.com/2011/10/27/teacher-librarians-are-important/

Pariser, E. (2013, March). Beware online “filter bubbles” – Eli Pariser. Retrieved May 2015, from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w48Ip-KPRs&feature=youtu.be

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention and 21st-century social media literacies. Educase review, 14-24.

Rheingold, H. (2012). Participation Power. In H. Rheingold, Net smart: how to thrive online (pp. 111-139). USA: MIT Press.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of networked learning. In W. Richardson, & R. Mancabelli, Personal learning networks: using the power of conections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Moorabbin: Solution Tree Press.

Schravemade, K. (2015, May). From hierarchical to networked:ensuring lifeready and lifeworthy learning in the digital age. Retrieved May 2015, from katschravdigitalessayinf530: http://katschravdigitalessayinf530.weebly.com/

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). Arc-of-life learning. In D. Thomas, & J. Brown, A new culture of learning: cultivating imagination for a world of constant change (pp. 17-33). Lexington,KY: CreateSpace.

Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice a brief introduction. Retrieved April 2015, from http://wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/06-Brief-introduction-to-communities-of-practice.pdf

Wesch, M. (2010, October). From knowledgeable to knowledge-able. Retrieved May 2015, from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8&feature=youtu.be

A Flipped school!!

Listening to Greg Green talk about ‘Flipping’ his whole school was very interesting. The high school was experiencing socio-economic  issues with their students that many schools could relate to ; lack of technology, lack of learning culture and support from home, a difference of priorities, and an inconsistent level of access to technology for students at home. Greg Green and his staff came up with a simple but innovative strategy of flipping their lessons. I could relate to his process of engaging a small group of interested teachers, showing evidence of positive outcomes, stimulating conversation amongst teachers and then slowly growing the involved parties. I have used this strategy to try and change teaching pedagogy.

I found a blog post about ‘flipperatiated’ instruction. The three basic recommendations of

1. Begin with the end in mind.

2. Know the score. ( use of quizzes & data collection)

and 3. Re-frame your role ….are good beginning points to have a go at flipping instruction.

 

flipped

November, A. (2011). Learn from a school that has completely flipped out – An interview with Greg Green on flipped learning model. [podcast]. November Learning Podcast Series. Retrieved from: http://novemberlearning.com/an-interview-with-greg-green-on-flipped-learning-model/

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/fliperentiated-instruction-create-customizable-classroom-joe-hirsch

A knowledge building project

I described this idea to the leader of the Delivering Excellent Learning & Teaching strategy in the education organisation I work for . He thought it was a great idea. Let’s see if I’m on the right track.

Proposal: Knowledge networking artifact proposal

Proposed topic:

The Knowledge networking artifact will be an instructional text for the teachers in my school about how to collaboratively build a knowledge base about the teaching pedagogies that frame the school’s Delivering Excellent Learning & Teaching strategy.

Proposed digital tools and/or spaces:

A combination of a podcast created with Audacity, and slideshow of images(created in wordand/or PowerPoint) to create a video on Vimeo. This video will eventually be embedded on the school’s Moodle site.

Brief description of nature of artifact –

The targeted audience is the whole teaching community in my secondary school. The Leadership team, together with teacher-librarians will facilitate access to information about the learning and teaching pedagogies. The other teachers will make responses to the information, collaboratively building a knowledge space about these pedagogies.

The teaching community needs to engage with this information collaboratively, discuss, share ideas and resources and build a knowledge base together about the pedagogies that will allow them to implement the school’s Delivering Excellent Learning & Teaching strategies.

There is a concern that not all members of the teaching community will engage or see the importance of building this knowledge base. There is a variance in the teaching staff’s ability to work collaboratively and existing knowledge. There are a lot of new requirements being made of staff including goal setting and sharing professional practice and including the school’s Delivering Excellent Learning & Teaching strategy. The aim is to help the teaching community see the how this knowledge building activity will be beneficial and helpful for these new requirements.

Assignment plan –

 

 

Major Steps  Resources Projected timeline
Collate information about specific learning and teaching pedagogies in consultation with Leadership at school  Documents and Information about pedagogies Week 5
Learn how to use Audacity and Vimeo and set up accounts  Audacity and Vimeo online technologyColleagues on staff you have knowledge in this technology Week 6
Collate images for slideshow  Documents and Information about pedagogies Week 6
Write podcast to accompany slideshow and record podcast  AudacityReferences for podcast Week 7
Upload both podcast and images onto Vimeo  Audacity and Vimeo online technology  Week 7
Share Vimeo publically online and promote to teaching staff  Vimeo online technology  Week 8
Embed Vimeo on school Moodle page  School Moodle pageSchool IT staff Week 8
Upload information and collaboration tools on Moodle site. School Moodle pageSchool IT staff Week 8
Assess school communities’ response School Community Week 8/9
Write Exegesis. Collated information about use of Knowledge Artefact Week 9

Assignment 6 Part B:Critical Reflection INF536

The commencement of this subject ‘Designing Spaces for Learning’ correlated with opportunities at my workspace to put my design thinking skills to the test.  My Leadership team at my school were noticing that I had valuable insights to share and I was ready to join them on a design process to design some new physical spaces in the school.

Personally I have learnt the value of observing environments and people to make better choices and decisions. I appreciate good service, functional spaces and the value of listening to users.

The nature of the Blog tasks encouraged me to realise the potential in changing the learning spaces to encourage collaboration, creativeness and newness.

Very early in the semester after reading Kuratko’s The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking.(2012) I began to recognise the value in collaboration, involving stakeholders in decision making  and developing a common language  abut design.  In preparation for initial talks about our school’s new Library design I developed a Flickr page where all stakeholders could add and observe images of Libraries they liked. I also helped transform and guide their thinking by sharing the principles from Kuratko (2012) and Brown (2009). What eventuated were  new, varied and many ideas! My library assistant even came up with a complete design and was included in the discussions with the leadership team and architect. This was a great example of participatory design (Woolner, 2009).

Following on from this positive experience I then began to frame my ideas for learning spaces in a more defined manner. My first attempt was to write a design brief for the new library using Kurtako’s (2012) recommendations as a guideline. The next design brief I wrote was for the entrance of our school (Blog task 3): for the first time ever I used Stanford d.school’s How might we?… Method.  This simple change in framing the design brief really allowed be to come up with new ideas and contemplate the unknowns (Hatchuel,2004).

I have come to realise, partly through recently completing the Case Study on changes that have happened in our digital learning space that I can use my understanding of the design process, design thinking approaches, creative culture and the importance of recognising the influences and interactions of learning pedagogy, space and technology (Wilson & Randall, 2012) to reflect on past practices and make better decisions during future design projects.

Digital design is an aspect of education where I can see a lot of potential for innovation. The different online spaces like  McIntosh’s (2010)‘Seven Spaces’ , Thornburg’s(2014)campfires, watering holes, caves, life spaces and then Runnquist’s(2011) mountain-top spaces  has helped me identify new ideas that are yet to be integrated in our developing online spaces.

I feel more motivated now to facilitate a creative culture in my educational organisation and beyond. I know I am able to facilitate conversations about creative culture after a successful creative coffee morning. I do notice sometimes that the ’Status Quo’ and pragmatism  in education organisations can challenge one’s ability to be creative when changing learning spaces, but I think that a better understanding of approaches like design thinking will help me contribute to transforming the future schools that I work in and have an impact on student’s learning.

References

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organisations. Harper Business.

D.school, Stanford University, How might we?… Method Card: http://dschool.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/HMW-METHODCARD.pdf Accessed March 1, 2014

Hatchuel, A., Le Masson, P., & Weil, B. (2004). CK theory in practice: lessons from industrial applications. In DS 32: Proceedings of DESIGN 2004, the 8th International Design Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia.http://www.designsociety.org/download-publication/19760/c-k_theory_in_practice_lessons_from_industrial_applications

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation accerlation: transforming organisational thinking. Boston: Pearson.

McIntosh, E. (2010). Clicks and Bricks: How Schools Buiidlings Influence Future Practice and Technology Adoption. Educational Facility Planner, Volume 45, Issues 1 & 2.

Runnquist, A. (2011). Learning envrionments based on learning. Retrieved October 2014, from Vittrabloggen: http://vittrabloggen.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/vittra-telefonplan-environments-based-on-learning/

Thornburg, D. D. (2014, March). From the Campfire to the Holodeck, How Place Matters in Education. Retrieved October 2014, from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx1cAQREVls

Wilson, G., & Randall, M. (2012). The implementation and evaluation of a new learning space: a pilot study. Research in Learning Technology, Vol.20.

Woolner, P. (2009). Building schools for the future through participatory design process: exploring the issues and investigating ways forward. BERA 2009. Manchester.

Digital Space comparisons

A number of posts on this blog have discussed the evolution of the digital spaces at the school I teach at.

This is a picture of the ‘CommonPlace’ LMS and digital space which is our school’s current intranet.

CommonPlace

Figure 1: ‘CommonPlace’ student workspaces

Common place 2

Figure 2: A student workspace in ‘CommonPlace’

The next group of images are of sites developed on ‘Remodel’ to facilitate a flipped classroom, collaborative learning and strong feedback focused teaching and learning pedagogy.

science space  video

Figure 3: A video for students to watch for homework on ‘Remodel’

science space link

Figure 4: A link to online curated content from the school Library in a ‘Remodel’ workspace.

science space

Figure 5: Information about a subject’s content for the term in ‘Remodel’.

science space

Figure 6: The front page of a Science unit with an outline of the activities to be expected in ‘Remodel’.

As can be seen ‘Remodel’ has allowed the teachers to produce much more dynamic digital learning environments.

Pedagaogy, Space and Technology; a wonderful combination

Optimal educational learning spaces require pedagogy, space and technology to  enhance, use and support each other.  Below is a diagram that I have found helpful in illustrating how pedagogy, space and technology work together in learning spaces.

pedagogy, space and technology 2 radcliffe The PST Framework (adapted from Radcliffe, 2009, as cited by Wilson, G. and Randall,M.,2011)

Interestingly I found another version of Radcliffe’s framework on the Journal of Finnish University of Applied Science website(Wikström-Grotell, C.,2013).

PST framework 1

Finland has emerged as the leading OECD country in educational achievement . One key element has effected Finland’s success -excellent teachers using quality pedagogy(Sahlberg,P., 2010). Finnish schools also concentrate on equality, educational attainment , distribution of budgets, high quality and innovative school learning spaces.

Evaluating using this framework could allow  for quality evaluation and focused attention to the key interacting factors of pedagogy, space and technology.

References

*Jetsonen,S., Johansson, E., Nuikkinen, K. & Sahlberg, P. The Best School in the World. Musuem of Finnish Architecture.

*Sahlberg, P. (2010). The Secret to Finland’s Success:Educating Teachers.Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/secret-finland%E2%80%99s-success-educating-teachers.pdf

*Wikström-Grotell, C. (2013). Arcada – A Place For Space. Journal of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences, No 1 (2013).  http://www.uasjournal.fi/index.php/uasj/article/view/1442/1367

*Wilson, G., & Randall, M. (2012). The implementation and evaluation of a new learning space: a pilot study.Research In Learning Technology, 20(2), 1-17. doi:10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14431

Reflections on the evolution of a learning space.

I recently sat down with the Network Engineer from the school I work at to discuss the case study for Assignment 6. For five years now we have worked as part of the same team; we have shared ideas, helped solve problems (he usually solves more problems for me than I do for him), encouraged each other, provided feedback, learned new things and had fun together along the way. It has become evident too to surround ourselves with other like minded and entrepreneurial  members of our schools community (mainly teaching staff). The Leadership team have also begun to recognise the value of collaboration in the design process.We don’t often though put time aside just to reflect on the development of our learning spaces; we did for an hour a few days ago and it was ‘gold’.

The school’s digital learning environment has been developing for over ten years now. I have worked at the school for five years but the Network Engineer has been there right from the beginning of this evolution. He has an IT background and qualifications, but after working in an educational environment for so long he has a very good insight into learning, learning environments, the integration of technology and  it’s users.

The  following are my notes from our discussion. The names of the LMS have been changed for the purpose of this case study.

It seems that we have done a  a bit of a full cycle in the development of our Learning Management System (LMS).  Back in 2003 the school’s first digital environment was just a static website that the IT team developed.  A need was identified by the Network Engineer (together with the Leadership team) in 2004 to develop a digital platform to deliver information to the school community. The Network Engineer (along with the IT team) wanted to spread the workload of uploading information onto the site and also more staff wanted to use the environment. A number  of options were considered for this first intranet. The educational organisation that directs the school’s operations had no input into the choices that was made for the original LMS.

The first edition of ‘Remodel’ was considered in 2004, but it was evaluated as being too hard to use and cumbersome. Eventually the IT and Leadership teams choose ‘CommonPlace’ because was manageable, stable, easy to maintain, cheap and effective in delivering information. ‘CommonPlace’ also suited the growth factors of the school: the developers wanted to be able to add subject tabs and work-spaces.  ‘CommonPlace’  does include Web 2.0 tools like Blogs, Wikis and Threaded Discussion Forums but these are not easy to set up. When I joined the staff of this team( 2010) I had been using Web 2.0 tools successfully in online study,saw value in them and wanted to integrate them into the teaching and learning of the school community. A couple of staff were already doing this but most had not and were hesitant to do so.  The Network Engineer made a surprising comment that he doesn’t really like Web 2.0 tools (maybe as ‘CommonPlace presented them) – that they are messy : is this the nature of learning  and knowledge construction though, a little chaotic?

The Library team and I developed our Library webpage and linked it on to the LMS; this is an ongoing project where I feel we have not met our potential and it is a future goal to improve the Library digital space.

Over 2012 and 2013 a need for a more online classroom environment has been identified.  Some alternative LMS ‘Alive’ and ‘iSpace’ were added as links on ‘CommonPlace’. ‘Alive’ was mandated by the educational organisation. After discussion amongst the IT team, leadership and ICLT committee it was decided that we didn’t want to use ‘Alive’ because it was hard to use, the organisation of the site wasn’t satisfactory and it was better suited to Primary schools. The educational organisation have also ceased to encourage ‘Alive’s’ use, but it remains as a  unused link on the LMS as mandated by the educational organisation.  ‘iSpace’ too was mandated with the direction of the educational organisation, but it has had limited use too. So currently on ‘CommonPlace’  there sits a number of links and choices of alternative LMS that aren’t really being used. The past practice was to add the links early in the prototyping process and then train people to use them (access was sometimes limited to certain staff teams and students); this practice did not prove successful with ‘Alive’ and ‘iSpace’ learning spaces.

A lack of time for training, testing, and  a common language have been identified as barriers to the development of this learning environment. There is a huge variance too amongst staff (and students’) skills, attitudes and motivation.

However,this year motivations have become  more consistency high and attitudes are positive  in our school community to make our own choice and develop a online learning environment that works in with, directs and compliments the high quality teaching and learning that is happening in the classrooms.  We have come back to the LMS ‘Remodel’ which itself has been through developments and numerous editions. A link to ‘Remodel’ has not been placed on ‘CommonPlace’; instead select teachers have approached the IT team or been approached to use  ‘Remodel’ as a digital learning environment to complement and facilitate their good teaching and learning pedagogy and practice. Leadership teams have also been a positive driver in this focus and process.  ‘Remodel’ has been trialed and tested in a controlled but inclusive and participatory manner. This design process has been a very good example of ‘participatory design’ as it has been human-centred (Sanders, E., 2007).

Many positive aspects of this latest edition of ‘Remodel’ have been identified, like the opportunities and ease to allow for; personalisation, feedback, sequencing of learning activities, multimedia, engagement of students. These positive aspects of ‘Remodel’ match John Hattie’s principles of learning (2013).

The Network and Engineer and I also spent some time discussing the nature of  the ‘Status Quo’  approach versus ‘Experimental Spaces’.  ‘CommomPlace’ was initially chosen because it fitted with the way that the school was organised; departmentalised and structured. Attempts to use technology differently or organise learning environments in transdisciplinary ways is prevented by roadblocks like assessment strategies, timetabling,  pragmatic attitudes. It is through the efforts of the Network Engineer, the IT team and leading teachers that we are slowing challenging some of these ‘Status Quo’ assumptions.

At the end of this discussion we concluded that technology is not necessarily making our life easier as educators.We are a one to one laptop school and both the network Engineer and I had witnessed a culture where the students expect to use their laptop every day and nearly every lesson. Parents expect that the laptop is used too. Teachers feel an obligation to use the laptops  too; sometimes it seems that they are used too much. A need for more  handwriting and reading physical books is being noticed. Technology and digital learning environments can however greatly enhance and facilitate good teaching practice. We have valued being able to customise our digital learning spaces and have tried to match them to our user needs. The current design process of creating a better learning environment with ‘Remodel’ has benefited from the current trialing and testing phase and practice.

We have come  to appreciate the value of a participatory approach and team work in designing new spaces at our school and I look forward to seeing it continue and improve.

References

  • Hattie, J & Yates G. C. R. (2013). Visible learning and the science of how we learn. Routledge.

 

 

 

 

The Evolution of a Digital Space

The ‘School Portal’ of the Secondary College I work at has been going through a continual evolution for ten years now. The evolution of this space which serves both students and staff has reflected the development of educational technology, our understanding of how technology can be integrated, the needs of the teaching staff , and our pedagogical changes.Most big design decisions are based on what is discussed in meetings between staff, including; Leadership, IT teams, ICLT committee, Academic leaders, informal ‘corridor conversations”. Not many formal conversations happen with the students.

This digital space now consists of the original LMS with a few additional LMS linked on to provide choice and to incorporate those programs that have been stipulated by the overriding educational organisation. The IT department led by the Network Engineer have always made an effort to customise this LMS to serve the needs of the school community. They have been receptive to teacher’s ideas.What eventuated was a reasonably functional space that provided a choice of mediocre LMS that were all similar.Sometimes the users struggle to keep up with the changes and hence don’t use the tools.

Over the last ten months a greater focus has been placed on teaching and learning and decisions are being based more on current teaching and learning pedagogies like Hattie’s principles of Visible Learning (2013), the Flipped classroom strategies (Bull,G., Ferster,B. & Kjellstrom, W., 2012) , collaborative and student-led learning. The IT team along with selected and interested teachers have begun a more measured testing and trial of an alternative LMS.  The IT team and leadership has come to realise how important it is to collaborate with an engage the interested and entrepreneurial teachers to try new things out (and develop new designs or prototypes) These recent activities look a lot more like Design Thinking then previous previous decisions and actions regarding our school’s digital learning space.

References

  • Hattie, J & Yates G. C. R. (2013). Visible learning and the science of how we learn. Routledge.
  • Bull,G., Ferster,B. & Kjellstrom, W. (2012) Inventing the Flipped Classroom. Learning & Leading with Technology, Vol.40(1), p.10(2).

Blog task 3 -Design Brief – Entrance of a School

 

Background Information: The main entrance area of the school includes the administration, staff area and Library buildings. There is minimal gardens and seating area. It fronts the only car park and bus bay area. All the administration, staff area and Library buildings are scheduled for redevelopment over the next two years. We are not limited in the manner of which the original buildings are used or not used and the position of the buildings is up for rearrangement – new concepts for the purpose and design of this area can and should be considered, there is an opportunity to do something different.

Constraints: Surrounding classroom buildings, existing car park, bus bay requirements and limited monetary funds (as determined by management).

Challenge: To redesign the entrance of the school and create an environment that provides a connection point to home, a welcoming environment and a social meeting place for students (and staff).

POV (Point of View): In meeting this challenge we need to take a human-centred approach, and consider how students and staff interact with each other out of class time (and during lessons).

Pillars of the design: These project pillars are the focus points for this design (Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012) –

Welcoming and inviting Social spaces Student to student/student to staff/ staff to staff relations Flourishing and Friendly community Supervision and safety

 

For this new entrance area, “How Might We (HMW)….” (D.School, 2012)

Amp up the good: HMW develop an area like the Library is well used in its existing form by students before school to meet, complete school work, gain assistance by the staff, print, and have access to free tutoring before and after school. A Library that allows for these behaviours needs to be included in this educational space. As staff walk past the waiting area near the car park, they can be aware of how many students are still waiting for their parents to come and pick them up.

Remove the bad: HMW increase limited seating areas outside the buildings. The existing seating is also cold in the cooler months, with the wind moving freely through it. There is not enough room for storage of bags. Students also have limited undercover areas to wait for the buses and parents at pick-up. The Library where many students congregate before and after school is not right near the car park.

Explore the opposite: HMW design this area could be a meeting area where students and staff greet each other, choose to sit and prepare for the day ahead or debrief after the day. It has spaces for people to sit. It is seen as the place to be. Parents can find their children easily and everyone feels welcome. Staff are there as resources.

Explore the assumption; HMW know what students want to meet at the front of the school? What do they want to do there? What sort of resources are we going to provide? How is the connection to home life made?

Go after adjectives: HMW make the area welcoming, social, sheltering, warm, resourceful, motivating, good for learning and safe.

ID unexpected resources: HMW create a space where students can be easily supervised, after school activities can be facilitated and more interactions between the staff and greater community can take place. The students can form an ownership of the space.

Create an analogy from the need of context: HMW form a space that makes all students feel like it’s a second home or an environment where they feel supported to learn and get ready to spread their wings into the wider world.

POV versus the challenge: HMW encourage the adolescent students to use this space and interact with each other. What does the space need to make it seem welcoming, social but still focused on encouraging learning.

Challenge the status quo: HMW engage adolescent students who don’t initiate positive interactions with staff and make them want to socialise in the school environment.

Breaking the POV into pieces: HMW provide enough room for the students who need to wait for parents and get onto buses. HMW connect the Library, Admin, staff and transport areas..

Prototypes:

  • Both the Library and Admin buildings can be refurbished or rebuilt where they are, more undercover areas could be built to house student before and after school.
  • The Library could be shifted to the front near the car park and good signage will guide the community to the admin building. The Library will be the gateway to the school. A large undercover area will be out the front. More seating will surround this main community area.
  • Extend the Library and build its role as a community hub (place it at the front of the school), connect it to the staff areas.
  • Build a large undercover area including a community café, wellness centre including chaplain, senior hub

References:

D.school, Stanford University, How might we?… Method Card: http://dschool.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/HMW-METHODCARD.pdf Accessed March 1, 2014

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

Comments:

I have made a comment on these other design briefs

Jerry’s

Bec’s

Ronnie’s

 

Change a space, share the love- 1.1

The space I decided to change quickly was one of our large, freestanding noticeboards in the Library.

We were trying to think of a interactive activity/display for ‘Catholic Week’ where the school community recognises and celebrates what is special about learning and working in a Catholic School.  I liked the displays I had seen of people’s ideas or responses to discussions collated and displayed on sticky notes.

The board previously had some posters on it (which hadn’t been changed for at least twelve months and it was standing along side an underused wall (see Blog task 1). We shifted the noticeboard near the entry of the Library facing out to the main seating area. We then created a large heart , instructions and promoted the activity and display through an email to staff and students, announcements and informal conversations in the Library. We asked the community to write on a sticky note “what they loved about being in a catholic school’ and stick it on the heart. We got responses like a great sense of community, lots of friends, being cared for etc.

IMAG0512                             IMAG0513                IMAG0514

 

Did the change in the space encourage learning or increase engagement?  – Yes, I think so. It definitely received more attention than when it was sitting by a wall with posters on it.  A lot of staff said they really liked the idea and it was a conversation starter for both staff and students. The school community were hesitant to contribute to the display. I have found though that the school community is generally hesitant to collaborate or display their ideas in many situations. I would try it again though, the more often we do these kind of displays the better they will get at sharing, I am sure.