Building Education and Technology Competencies for a Changing Society
This post is prompted by the need to master the chapter of the same name in (Wang, 2014, pp. 331-342) written by three women working at Auburn University in the United States (Witte, Wohleb, & Skinner, 2014). Whilst American in focus, the material embodies a high level of relevance for Australian K-12 and tertiary education.
American college students’ success is being challenged by 3 factors:
These factors are reflected in 3 trends:
To assist this, K-12 educators need to incorporate the everyday use of technology into classrooms to maximise good habits that will assist with lifelong learning. Demonstrated to have a positive effect on tertiary students are these 5 habits:
Educators at both tertiary and secondary level need to teach 5 skills:
Competent tertiary students need to be:
Adaptable(Witte, Wohleb, & Skinner, 2014, p. 332)
And they need to graduate with the following 12 skills:
(Witte, Wohleb, & Skinner, 2014, p. 336)
These skills can be developed by K-12 teachers incorporating the following tools into their lesson design:
Learning Management Systems
Virtual Chat Rooms
Skype or FaceTime (Witte, Wohleb, & Skinner, 2014, p. 332).
Technology tools should be capable of assisting teachers to instruct, monitor and assess within a learning environment that is both engaging and motivating for their students (Witte, Wohleb, & Skinner, 2014, p. 333).
The processes that result from such a scenario should be more
Dynamic(Witte, Wohleb, & Skinner, 2014, p. 333).
In all cases the aim should be to reflect the positivity relating to technical incorporation, and such action should be linked to learning, as using appropriate tools is the critical link to student success (Witte, Wohleb, & Skinner, 2014, p. 335).
Wang, V. (. (2014). Handbook of research on education and technology in a changing society. IGI Global. London: IGI Global.
Witte, M. M., Wohleb, E., & Skinner, L. (2014). Building Education and Technology Competencies for a Changing Society. In V. (. Wang, Handbook of Research on Education and Technology in a Changing Society (pp. 331-342). IGI Global.
Personal development of instructional design for my students:
As our students are equipped with devices whole new ways of learning open up to us. Over the last few years I have exposed my students to PLN construction through offering lunchtime introductions to Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as using these tools, Facebook, and access to learning materials in online spaces.
In our region Internet provision is patchy and until recently I have used this as an excuse not to develop too much online material. Aaron Sams in:
For a number of years, I have experimented in a somewhat ad hoc manner with flipping my classroom using a class wiki and exporting lessons from my interactive whiteboard software and adding links to other materials. In the last two years, as senior students in my History Revolutions class have had access to devices I have given them blogging as a means of accessing and reflecting on material.
In the last 12 months, in addition to student technology, there have been a number of improvements to Microsoft Office products that have sped up the process of adoption. The most impact has been achieved with the collaborative OneNote app, which, as a Microsoft school, allows me to seamlessly add my students to a class notebook. In image 1 below you can see the different sections, and part of the name of my first student, with the rest of the class along the top in alphabetical order. The notebook offers me a space to create their “textbook” type materials, (teacher notebook) and each one of them gets their own “exercise book” for working in (you can see Harry’s tab), and we all get access to a collaborative space where I can set up work for them to do together.
In the collaborative space you can see who has added or altered which contribution by the colour-coding, and the student’s initials which automatically appear.
The options within a collaborative OneNote notebook
Sharepoint home page for History Revolutions
Using Sharepoint I have been able to set up a Mosaic Live Tiles page (which still requires work) that is like a website but is only accessible within the school. This gives me the option of collecting any video clips I make and add to YouTube; any photographs that I have taken, and podcasts I create. This is a space that I am still conquering but which will allow seamless collection of data for student access.
The learning from INF532 has pushed me to develop a greater range of supporting materials to assist my students to master their material. Referring to the table below I can now see a holistic and valid reason for using as many combinations of the different types of learning models in order to assist all learners and learning styles.
Module 6: Curriculum and learning design in a connected world.
The title for this post comes from Julie Lindsay’s blog and her follow up comments in another post. It was, therefore, imperative to find out what fishbowl technique actually is, and whether the concept might be useful for C21st educators to apply to their real or virtual learning experience design.
There is definitely a place for such a tactic in student-focused classrooms and also for adult participation in professional learning experiences. Designers of meaningful lessons based on Mystery Skype or Skype and author use a similar technique – allocating roles to participants to enable the process to unfold smoothly for the connected groups, and sharing the workload in a collaborative fashion. Fishbowl structure presents domination of any one individual during a debate or discussion.
The spelling in the title of this post is based on a pun of Julie’s during the development of her post when she believed that Karl Fisch was the creator of the technique. Knowledge networking resulted from this mistaken belief, with Karl participating in the online debate about the technique – and other connected learning experiences.
Theory and practice of connectivism in flat, global classrooms, are clearly dealt with real-world examples of different types of activities referenced. At about the 7-minute mark, Julie uses a new word: GLOCALISATION to sum up the type of knowledge networking involved. Cultural sensitivities must be considered when engaging with classes overseas.
At about the 10-minute mark, Julie comments that going global is a mindset, not a plane ticket.
Google I/O 2013 – Building an Online Education Platform using Google Technologies:
This video shows the range of considerations and developments Google has been working on to enable blended or flipped classrooms. The basis for driving this agenda come from the belief that the art of lecture is lost – we now have the ability to go back; lots of things about a book are better than a lecture; video production for supporting learning allow the luxury of rewinding and replaying until the process demonstrated or information presented is fully understood.
Jen Jonson explains what makes learning blended:
These terms are considered further in my next post.
They contribute the following ideas to the discussion:
Perspectives of knowledge and knowledge production are seen as situated, embodied and distributed p.24.
ANT = a such a perspective challenges expertise to acknowledge its own mechanics. p.25.
It is dangerous to assume that competence resides in an individual p.26
Competence is an effect p.27 and is passed through organisations as a result of minute translations at mundane levels of everyday knowledge flow patterns p.28.
Activity is organised through the order or sequence which is applied to carrying out tasks p.28.
Unpacking is a means of making sense of the information that has been gathered p.30
Knowing is more a form of interacting and experimenting than a re-representation of information p. 31
Are we part of one world, or multiple worlds in which we dwell? p.32
Global redistribution is challenging the concepts and flows of information and adding new layers of control and definition of what constitutes knowledge. Multiple ontologies are not equally powerful and the impact of dominance of some over others needs to be monitored p.33
“Knowledge cannot be viewed as coherent, transcendent, generalizable and unproblematic; knowledge and the real merge together”
Knowledge can no longer be seen as a rhetoric of conclusions, but rather a rhetoric of contentions p.35.
Recognition of human and non-human linkages that are not stable, predictable or identifiable neutral or linear tunnels of knowledge flow but multiple interconnected forms requiring analysis and consideration p. 37.
Conflicted knowledge is often developed simultaneously, added to, modified and adjusted by a variety of people 37.
Acknowledging ANT assists with avoiding exclusion and privilege in terms of knowledge p.37.
And going beyond the recommended chapter:
Logical meaning of concepts and processes applied to analyse education are less important than the investigations and analyses of educational processes that are carried out p.144.
Whichever way you look at it, it is important that these aspects of knowledge networking and learning are continually evaluated and assessed in order to ensure that knowledge development is sound and achieving the desired goals.
This post assesses the ways in which personal knowledge management works according to 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/ viewed 9 May 2015
“This is not a linear process, as in from information we get knowledge, which over time becomes wisdom. Gaining knowledge is much messier than that. …
Even today, we cannot become complacent with knowledge and just store it away. It has a shelf life and needs to be used, tested and experienced….
Knowledge shared inflows over time can help us create better mental pictures than a single piece of knowledge stock, like a book, can ever do.”
Collecting and curating knowledge is only part of the equation. In order for knowledge to become wisdom it must be used, compared against other sources of information related to the same topic, experienced. Developing a sense of knowledge flow within a classroom, school, or business can assist all co-workers to create a better understanding of the issue at hand.
This sense of creating a knowledge network (or ideas network, or a community of practice) will lead to enhanced serendipity and increase the value of personalised information seeking and understanding.
Goals or opportunities, what are your drivers?
This diagram is interesting because it indicates that some modes of information sharing may be more valuable to organisations.
Collaboration is seen by Jarche to be goal oriented and structured, communities of practice combine collaboration and cooperation; social networks are more informal and are based on cooperation. Jarche contends that innovation thrives in environments where social connections are weak and diverse. Strong social ties, on the other hand, enable the sharing of complex knowledge.
Some critical questions to consider: Are innovation and goal orientation mutually exclusive?
1. Are innovation and goal orientation mutually exclusive?
2. Are innovation and goal orientation mutually exclusive?
3. Does being driven by opportunity preclude innovation?
Knowledge development, as well as knowledge management, is a social and connective activity that is no longer easy for organisations to control. In this digitally connected world, anyone can gather content, curate it according to their own needs and share it with others regardless of where people live or work. Company (or school) control over information is almost impossible to achieve, even if it is still seen to be desirable.
Collecting and Connecting
Source: McInerney & Koenig. p. 10
For most schools the situation varies from classroom to classroom, teacher to teacher and subject to subject. Traditional learning/teaching models fall very strongly into the top left-hand space, and the continuing dependence on textbooks, and focus on content, ensures that this will continue for many colleagues and their classrooms.
Giving students the power to find and evaluate information results in a much richer learning environment, in which the teacher becomes a co-learner, both modelling information that is considered reliable and ethical, questioning what makes such sources valuable; and additionally, it allows for the vibrancy of serendipitous encounters.
These concepts present us with a great learning idea – having students search the same keyword and comparing what they get back could be very powerful.
Where is your personalisation coming from?
Problem with filter bubbles problem is we don’t get to choose what gets in and we don’t even know when things are being collected.
Should we be grateful or concerned?
How do we decide?
6.54 We are now back in 1915 on the web because we are being exposed to a selection of information over which we have no real input.
Information curation and knowledge networks could either enable filter bubbles or break through them.
It is our role to educate our students so that they know how these websites work and what they collect and present to each one of us separately. The way in which our actions are summarised and utilised differs depending on the website we are using. Comparing this to the way in which our library catalogues respond is a worthwhile educational exercise. The speed at which information is being added to the web in combination with these mining algorithms is a critical C21st skill, and one we should be including in our overall education programs.
To balance information or to personalise it?
The issue of who has control is the answer to this question.
Khan Academy, digital artefacts and The One World Schoolhouse
One of the best-known names in terms of digital artefacts and education is Salman Khan. His book: The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, presents his vision for an education that is free, world class and available to anyone working anywhere in the world (Khan, 2012, p. 1). In its 257 pages, it outlines the events and experiences that led to his development of the Khan Academy as a theory and in practice. It has resonated with my study of Knowledge Networking for Educators in many ways; starting with one of his selected opening quotes from Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet. This sums up one of my concerns when observing the preparation and presentation of colleagues over the years I have been teaching: “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time” (Khan, 2012, p. vii).
Using a range of digital resources made available to twenty-first-century educators, or specifically created by them, or presented by their students, is one of the most positive aspects of access to technology and Internet connections. Such resources enable a range of teaching goals to be met through media that can be easily personalized, incorporate feedback mechanisms and be accessed anytime, anywhere, as often as required by the learners who use them.
While teachers must meet the requirements set by a mandated curriculum and assess within a standardized structure, they must also accept that no two learners are exactly the same (http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/index.aspx). Standardizing works with curricula but not with the human brain (Khan, 2012, p. 52). Changing the system is difficult because it is the normality to which we are accustomed (Khan, 2012, p. 61).
Sugatra Mitra believes our current education model was designed in an era where civil service was a desired career, hence the skills were designed to assist with passing the entrance examinations. His proposed alternative, based on his wonderful hole in the wall experiment is described by him here:
Khan compares it to the Prussian model, which he acknowledges as revolutionary in in its time, but partly designed for the purpose of turning out tractable citizens who were imbued with the value of submitting to authority (Khan, 2012, pp. 76 – 77).
Mitra and Khan both consider teachers as integral to the learning process due to their unique gifts (Khan, 2012, p. 74). The difficulty for teachers in terms of avoiding the “Swiss Cheese” effect (where students have gaps in their earlier learning that cause them to “hit the wall” later) is their inability to provide sufficient time for all students to develop deeply functional understanding, due to the pressure of needing to have students ready to take scheduled tests (Khan, 2012, pp. 86-89).
How do teachers fulfil the needs of the students and those of the curriculum at the same time? What is the role of homework in this equation? Khan quotes a student who says, while he gets less homework than at his previous school, he spends more time working on harder tasks and feels a real sense of accomplishment when he completes the tasks (Khan, 2012, p. 107).
Khan’s video library academy has successfully provided access to learning materials that have been used successfully by students all over the world. While not designed with the intention of supporting “Flipped Learning” models, it has been used in this manner, which Khan sees as a double edged sword (Khan, 2012, p. 117). Despite the focus of flipping being to free up class time to delve into topics in a more stimulating manner using the advantages of face to face interaction, it is still based on the basis of the Prussian model of age based cohorts moving through topics within a set time frame (Khan, 2012, p. 118).
In his reflection on the differences between pedagogy and andragogy, Khan considers the importance of the emphasis. In the former, it is on the teacher; in the latter, the learner (Khan, 2012, p. 175). The key difference between the two, is, of course, the focus on choice: adults who want to learn are making that choice for themselves. Sugata Mitra, in his hole in the wall experiment, has demonstrated the power of children pursuing something because they want to know about it. Khan also poses the question: is andragogy appropriate for everyone (Khan, 2012, p. 176)?
Khan presents a broad view of the value of technology, nominating an enlightened approach as crucial (Khan, 2012, p. 123). He rightly emphasises the need to alter the whole learning process: the methods, goals and assessments and thereby liberate teachers from the mechanical chores and replace them with human to human interaction (Khan, 2012, p. 123). If school is to continue as the place where education occurs, it must offer something beyond what can be done from textbooks or online; the obvious difference is the face to face social interaction which teachers in classrooms can facilitate. Davidson, C. N., & Goldberg, D. T. (2010) consider some of the aspects of this in their work focussing on the way in which institutions should be different in this digital age.
There are some schools which are challenging this paradigm of education: Templestowe College Bridgemary Community School in Gosport, Hampshire, UK, and Hodgkins School, Adams County, USA, are examples of this. Unfortunately, the effects of such changes will emerge over time and for many in leadership the risk is too big a requirement. Hybrid models which are enthusiastically recommended by those who have set up such learning programs, occupy the middle ground. Northern Beaches Christian College in Sydney is an example of this.
Templestowe High School, Melbourne’s Principal, Peter Hutton describes the teaching and learning program as:
“We have deliberately removed many of the restrictions that “traditional” schools place on students, such as year level structures, single age classes and authoritarian hierarchy structures. We do have a vibrant and productive learning atmosphere, scheduled class times, a uniform which is worn with pride and very high standards of respect shown for one another”. They are still meeting the curriculum requirements for the Australian Curriculum Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (n.d.).
Bridgemary Community School in Gosport, Hampshire currently has classes with mixed age ranges based on ability. Currently, this is based on a two-year age gap. Head teacher, Cheryl Heron states:
“This is stage four in a five-stage process which we hope will end with the school open 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We want it to be a true centre of learning for this community and this is just a step along that path. Eventually, this school will be open to adults and youngsters offering them courses and lessons they want to do when they want to do them.”
Adams County School District moved from age-based grouping to standards-based learning, three years ago. This belief is founded on the principle that every child learns in different ways. Hodgkins School Principal, Sarah Gould, states:
“Every single student is getting an individualized education. We are giving our kids exactly what they need when they need it.”
CNN televised a report on this process with the unfortunate title: School lumps by ability not age:
Northern Beaches Christian School in Sydney has created a model that is somewhat hybrid, falling ideologically between the examples above and the traditional model of school. Their Principal, Stephen Harris is proud of the project based learning embedded into their curriculum, describing students as authors of their own learning journey, co-creating their learning with teachers as mentors, experts, and guides.
In all these examples, the issue of effective teaching (dependent on a combination of attracting the right people, and successful teacher training) is paramount. The following table indicates the skills and practices required:
Khan proposes a change to the way in which teachers are deployed, not a reduction in teacher numbers. His solution to the loneliness and isolation of conventional classroom practice is to see teaching as a team sport and facilitate this by placing between 75 and 100 students in a large space with 3 to 4 teachers (Khan, 2012, pp. 197-198). He also postulates that school would better serve its purpose of educating young people if it became a perpetual offering, much in the manner that Cheryl Heron foresees at Bridgemary Community School. The fluencies of C21st learning are well suited to this type of model (Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. 2011). Khan is putting into practice some of the theories postulated by those such as Lemke (2010).
Where does all this leave teachers debating the value of digital artefacts? Like any resource, there is a time, place and student whose learning will benefit from viewing such a production. Effective teachers will apply their skills to selecting artefacts recorded by others and making appropriate examples themselves. As with any other tool, digital artefacts will provide an addition to a personal toolbox developed since these teachers began their professional training.
I started thinking about this task from the perspective of where our staff are at with their ICT. In order to confirm my intuitive understanding, I created and circulated a survey using Google Forms. The results can be found here. Our school is a relatively small, regional college offering both curriculum and co-curriculum options equal to those conducted by far bigger schools. This means our teachers are incredibly busy, and professional learning needs are thinly spread to cater for our diverse programs.
We have had interactive whiteboards and tablet PCs provided in our workplace since 2007 yet the change in pedagogy has been minimal. There has been an assumption by some of our leadership team that ICT does not need further professional learning opportunities because the need has already been met. Given the nature of the changing technology and software programs, this means that teaching and learning through technology has primarily been focussed on presenting and processing.
Since 2012, year 9s have been issued with a tablet PC with digitised pens similar to those used by staff. The power of the pen is something that has been seen as critical by the team choosing the device (and research is now starting to support this decision). The students new to devices, years 6 to 8, will be issued with an iPad. In order to prepare for this, all staff working on the senior campus have now been issued with an iPad so that they can prepare for next year.
This decision has been met with concern, and there has been a groundswell of discussion about why our current devices are educationally appropriate, and the new devices will not offer the same power or flexibility. It is this educational future that I wished to target with the design of my artefact.
When we commenced work on our digital artefact, Powtoon was the first platform I investigated, and the content I included summed up what I was hearing from my colleagues. The clip is incomplete in terms of content, as I ran out of time – an issue with using free versions of such software! I have not attempted to add a voice over – just wanted to set the scene.
I also investigated the new Office Mix add in for PowerPoint as an option. This would work well for teachers who have a number of already created PowerPoints and would like to revamp them for the digital world. This option allowed me to use some beautiful images but the recording of voice plus music wasn’t obviously possible and the end result was not well rendered. The mobile quality was very poor. This is the lower level of computer quality which was better. Note how the transitions make the voice over patchy.
The third option was using screen capture software to create a film of something that was on my computer screen. For this I learned how to use Microsoft Lync recording. This is the Internet based phone system in our school, and offers webinar capabilities and screen casting. Last year I used the meeting capability for my Creative Coffee morning to include two of my classmates from CSU (Liz and Deborah) in our local event. You can read about it here: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/msimkin/2014/09/15/creative-coffee-inventive-format/. The list of conversations between the two external participants was exported straight from the Lync “chat”.
This is what the screen capture option looks like. You can see why I rejected this option as unsuitable for this task: I could cope with my name and school appearing at the start but the “looks like you’re the only one in the meeting” did not convey the professional finish I required. I believe I could have edited this out, but I ran out of time to work out how.
The program chosen affects the end product. Several scenarios were considered during the design phase: a circus type theme (ladies and gentlemen… plus drum roll); magic potion or superhero; and the selected beginning – and animated smile and voiceover inviting participation. This was considered more authentic, easier to deliver and more inclusive. It is important to have a story that allows the audience to feel included, and which quickly indicates why the message is important for each individual (Air, Oakland, & Walters, 2014, p. 34). That’s why some of these examples are so different from the finished product.
So, in summary, teachers wishing to make digital artefacts need programs that offer the easiest option for creating and publishing the end product. Our role is to assist with the learning process, and too much time taken away from our primary focus is a disadvantage to our students.
Summary of pros and cons:
I did have problems rendering the scribe to film, and I contacted @Sparkol and @VideoScribeApp via Twitter. They advised me to lodge a ticket with support and provided the link to do so. I was really pleased to get a punctual reply. Unfortunately, it was too late to save my original production, which I had altered dramatically in order to meet the deadline for this task.
This reflection is on the process and programs that were used to create my artefact which you can find here. The reference is produced by the VidoeScribe team and is useful for any type of digital artefact, although it is based on scribing as the presentation device.
Air, J., Oakland, E., & Walters, C. (2014). Video Scribing; How Whiteboard Animation Will Get You Heard. Sparkol Limited.