Category Archives: ESC515

Information linking to ESC515 – Classroom Technology

Social media in the VET classroom

VET inclass example of a twitter back-channel.
VET in class example of a twitter back-channel.

Social media for many means catching up with what friends are doing via Facebook or following the latest celebrity on Twitter. But is can be so much more than that for an educator who is prepared to put in some extra work to effectively use to Social Media within a class environment.

It is important to consider the affordances in relation to the learning program to determine if there will be of benefit to the students (Bower, 2008). There will always be resistance from some students when social media for a variety of reasons. Due to this resistance it is important to ensure that any learning done through this mechanism is duplicated elsewhere.

One crucial issue is of course age, with many social media requiring the user to be over a certain age to agree to the terms and conditions. For use in a VET classroom, as outlined by Roblyer (2013) it is crucial that appropriate social media site are chosen that will create a professional learning avenue for students. It is also important for students to understand this is a professional site and should not be linked to their personal activities. By utilizing the affordances outlined by Bower (2008) and the taxonomy of learning, teaching and assessing created by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) a teacher can provide supported pedagogical reasoning behind why they are choosing a specific social media platform in their classroom.

One interesting piece of research by McCorkle D.E, and McCorkle Y.L., (2012) focussed on the use of LinkedIn in a marketing class room. The article outlined the assessment program that stepped students through the very basic setting up a profile to building a professional network.

This strategy has been reflected in current practice in the 2014 Article in Training Matters which focused on the use of LinkedIn in a VET Certificate III in Pathology qualification. The lecturer used LinkedIn in a variety of ways; the initial use was a discussion forum between students and industry but then it branched out as a mentoring forum for alumni students; a employment and job placement area; industry announcement. The heavy ties with industry through LinkedIn gave currency to the course.

With any social media it is important for students to understand why they are being asked to participate. Twitter as a back channel for on topic discussion by students during a lecture or presentation can vie valuable insight into the understanding by the students. This can simply be as easy as putting together a hashtag for the class group to respond to. In Hew & Cheung (2013) article they outlined how one institution saw an increase in GPA’s in the test group using twitter which was put down to students engaging with lecturers and content discussions via this social medium. Being able to access this application through a mobile device or desktop meant that the students were able to continue to learn and reflect of critical points 24/7.

The implementation of social media in a VET classroom does warrant investigation as an avenue to support students who are often in the workplace or studying through a blended delivery approach.

References

Anderson, L., & Krathwohl, D., (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies.Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi:10.1080/09523980701847115

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4). doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Hew, K., & Cheung, W. (2013). Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice. Educational Research Review, 9, 47-64. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

Jelfs, A., & Richardson, J. (2013). The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2). doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01308.x

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1). doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

McCorkle, D., & McCorkle, Y. (2012). Using Linkedin in the Marketing Classroom: Exploratory Insights and Recommendations for Teaching Social Media/Networking. Marketing Education Review, 22(2), 157-166. doi:10.2753/mer1052-8008220205

Passion for teaching. (2014). Training Matters, (20), 17. Retrieved from http://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/employeesandstudents/training/otherinformation/trainingmatters/previousversions/Documents/April%202014/Training%20Matters%20April%202014%2017.pdf

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Instructional Software for Construction Pathways (VET)

The Certificate II Construction Pathways program largely consists of 16-18 year old males with high levels of disengagement with paper-based learning that have a preference for practical, ‘hands on’ activities. I have focused on this learning area to seek out resources for the Instructional Software 5 areas as outlined by Roblyer (2013).

In the VET sector we have been fortunate that the National VET eLearning Strategy funded a large amount of resource development that align to various curriculum documents.

Drill and practice; Tutorial; and Problem Solving.

Flexible learning Numbers Toolbox
Flexible learning Numbers Toolbox

 

Numbers toolbox

http://toolboxes.flexiblelearning.net.au/series14/14_01.htm

This is a multilayered resource that actually comprises of all the Instructional Software areas. It deals with numeracy with a focus on Certificate II in Construction Pathways to ensure students have an appropriate skill level in numeracy as outlined by industry. Within the toolbox there are drill and practice activities that if you house in a Learning Management System such as Moodle can track the students’ progress as these are all SCORM learning objects that report through to the grade book.

Note this is an interactive learning simulation which I am classing as a serious game that will support the construction trades.

 

 

 

Simulation

The White Card Game - entry page
The White Card Game – entry page

 

The white card game

http://www.whitecardgame.com.au/

Aimed at CPCCOHS1001A – Work safely in the construction industry

This is an excellent ‘off-the-job’ simulation that works them through critical choices within a workplace context in terms of safety.

It can become a little click here to level up but it is worthwhile for a lower level VET qualification to support students who are new to the workforce.

 

 

 

 

Instructional game

Estimating and Costing interactive game.
Estimating and Costing interactive game.

 

Estimating and costing carpentry jobs

https://nationalvetcontent.edu.au/share/page/document-details?nodeRef=workspace://SpacesStore/dfe8d668-bf05-4542-84ce-029915092f7c

This game has the user work through measuring a deck to work out the cost of the timber needed to replace the decking boards for the customer. It particularly good for low literacy and numeracy level students working in the construction area.

 

 

The Certificate II Construction Pathways program lends itself to a blended delivery approach, in-particular when students have block release to a Registered Training Organisation. These e-learning resources a supportive and provide valuable underpinning knowledge that the students do require when they are on work placement. These resources could also be used in a ‘Flipped Classroom’ (Sams and Bergmann, 2013) style class format which lends itself to having the student work through formative activities at home prior to working with the teacher in the classroom to ensure that while on block release the students use their teacher class time to greatest advantage.

References

Nationalvetcontent.edu.au,. (2006). National VET Content:Estimating and costing carpentry jobs. Retrieved 20 January 2015, from https://nationalvetcontent.edu.au/share/page/document-details?nodeRef=workspace://SpacesStore/dfe8d668-bf05-4542-84ce-029915092f7c

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Sams, A., & Bergmann, J. (2013). Flip Your Students’ Learning. Educational Leadership, 2013, Vol.70(6), P.16-20, Vol.70(6), p. 16-20.

The White Card Game,. (2013). The White Card Game. Retrieved 20 January 2015, from http://www.whitecardgame.com.au/

Toolboxes.flexiblelearning.net.au,. (2015). Flexible Learning Toolboxes – Numbers 14.01. Retrieved 20 January 2015, from http://toolboxes.flexiblelearning.net.au/series14/14_01.htm

Augment

For anyone who likes to be cutting edge there is always the Augmented Reality tool Augment to get your students using. Yes they will need some skills in creating graphics but there are plenty of free public libraries available that you can tap into for some brilliant free trials.

With Augment you can:

  • Use existing public libraries
  • Upload your own 3D models
  • Create your own markers
  • Link content on the internet to markers

There is a free version that I have used for a number of years, but you can pay for it and get higher end functions.

Plane create by scanning augment marker
Augment Spitfire Plane

 

This example is a custom marker created by a colleague that we both use in  demonstrations. You scan the marker with the Augment App which will load the 3D model of the plane. If you tap on the ‘web link’ option under the model displayed then it takes you through to a wiki page about the Spitfire plane.

We purposefully did this  so that the people we are training can see that you can use existing materials for AR, but to be honest the potential to create custom content is getting easier.

As you can see it is impressive to see the plane hovering in the middle of a classroom. The students (seeing through the device) can move around and continue to view the image at slightly different angles. But the user must keep the markers in sight otherwise the plane will disappear.

 

But the coolest thing is now you can have you students create engineering pieces in Minecraft and view them through Augment via some simple steps.

  1. Create object in Minecraft
  2. Open the Minecraft world file in Mineways on a PC and select a portion of the the Minecraft work (the piece they have worked on) and export as a 3D model.
  3. Import the 3D model into a 3D package like Blender (free) and save or export ready for upload into Augment  OR you can use a 3D printer to print (as long as the object is not huge).
  4. Zip up the model and texture files and upload into your free account at augmentedev.com
Example of 3D view of Minecraft section
Augment Minecraft example

 

You may say that this is for high end students but I had my 12 year old successfully follow the steps and created this image – this is a section of the top of the mountain. 

This is well worth investigating as so many students are getting valuable experience building in Minecraft, now you can get them to actually ‘see’ their designs in the real world.

Games are so very valuable for students to explore and Minecraft is definitely a way that we can engage and use new technologies to meet outcomes required. The added bonus, students will actually have fun while learning and exploring!

ESC515 final blog post: Personal position on the use of technology in the classroom

Technology surrounds us in our daily lives and it makes sense to incorporate it into a VET classroom. As adult students today see technology as a critical part of their learning (Jelfs & Richardson, 2013) it’s important to choose technology that’s easy to use and learners are familiar with (Luckin et al., 2009). The choice of technology and effectiveness of activity design are critical for remote learners to prevent students disengaging from the content (Hai-Jew, 2011).

Design of activities for adult learners needs to be authentic, active learning tasks which include scaffolding. Tasks using technology that are linked to the workplace, as in VET, allow for transference of skills into the ‘real-world’ tasks, allowing a deeper understanding of the content (Herrington & Parker, 2013). It’s critical to for teachers to be aware of their content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and personal level of technological knowledge, which forms the TPACK framework (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). A teachers TPACK will change depending on what curriculum and class cohort they teach. A TIPS process can help the teacher utilize their TPACK for designing an e-learning augmented program (Roblyer, 2013).

Being able to evaluate the technology using the affordances empowers a teacher to ensure technology being chosen links to curriculum. Technology use should be driven by the curriculum and design and not the other way around (Bower, 2008). Many Western Australian VET practitioners work in enterprise government agency Registered Training Organisations delivering training and, from time to time, are told a specific technology to use for delivery with no consideration to curriculum. Technology used goes through a stringent approval process in government, which does not guarantee access to technology requested for training, due to ICT department restrictions (Bigum, 2012). Using Bower’s affordance framework to outline specific needs for technology, such as the use of mobile technology or social media, means that ICT are informed regarding educational use.

Mobile technology and social media is starting to have a greater impact in the classroom. Many educators are harnessing Web 2.0 technologies to create engaging and student centric learning environments (Cochrane, 2010). There is a misnomer that all ‘digital native’ students (Prensky, 2001) know how to use mobile technology and social media to manage information for education (Callens, 2014). In her 2014 article Callens outlined Bloom’s Digital taxonomy in relation to social media and provides lessons on how to utilize social media in a classroom to augment students learning and exploration of content, which can be transferred into any adult training situation. For example a State Training Provider in Western Australia implemented LinkedIn as a key technology for their training (DTWD, 2014). As part of implementing technology an audit and quality assurance process to select the right technology is very important.

When choosing a technology it’s useful to implement a ‘use audit’ to understand technologies that students are familiar with for ease of integration into classes (Lukin et al., 2009). O’Brien & Maor (2013) concluded that teachers focusing on transferable knowledge by structuring authentic activities and using appropriate technologies enable adult learners to achieve deeper understanding of content and apply to their workplaces smoothly. A lofty ideal for VET, but one individual teachers can work towards.

 

References

Anderson, L., & Krathwohl, D., (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies.Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi:10.1080/09523980701847115

Callens, M. V. (2014). Using bloom’s taxonomy to teach course content and improve social media literacy. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 3(1), 17-26. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1636419730?accountid=10344

Cochrane, T. (2010). Exploring mobile learning success factors. Research in Learning Technology, 18(2). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v18i2.10758

DTWD. (2014). Passion for teaching, Training Matters, (20), 17. Retrieved from http://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/employeesandstudents/training/otherinformation/trainingmatters/previousversions/Documents/April%202014/Training%20Matters%20April%202014%2017.pdf

Hai-Jew, S. (2011). Structuring and Facilitating Online Learning through Learning / Course Management Systems. In V. Wang (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Information Communication Technologies and Adult Education Integration (pp. 257-274). Hershey, PA: doi:10.4018/978-1-61692-906-0.ch016

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4). doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Jelfs, A., & Richardson, J. (2013). The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2). doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01308.x

Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss1/general/article1.cfm

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1). doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

Luckin, R., Clark, W., Logan, K., Graber, R., Oliver, M., & Mee, A. (2009). Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning: practices, perceptions and profiles of 11-16 year old learners?. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439880902921949

McCorkle, D., & McCorkle, Y. (2012). Using Linkedin in the Marketing Classroom: Exploratory Insights and Recommendations for Teaching Social Media/Networking. Marketing Education Review, 22(2), 157-166. doi:10.2753/mer1052-8008220205

O’Brien, T & Maor, D. (2013). Pipe dreams or digital dreams: Technology, pedagogy and content knowledge in the vocational educational and training sector. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org/conferences/sydney13/program/papers/O’Brien.pdf

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Anyone for a comment?

Below are the links to the comments I’ve made on other peoples blogs as part of Assessment 2 for ESC515.

Kelly
https://kellystockeducation.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/module-seven-interactivity/comment-page-1/#comment-28

Rochelle
http://esc515blogbyrochelle.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/problems-with-ipads-and-imovie.html

Jane #1
http://jellem.edublogs.org/2014/12/10/how-do-we-know-if-the-use-of-technology-is-effective-for-learning/#comment-13

Jane #2
http://jellem.edublogs.org/2015/01/25/cybersafety-and-digital-citizenship/#comment-16of technological knowledge

Gary
http://esc407-gwh.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/lesson-planning.html?showComment=1422320340669#c6631982822371099645

Wendy
https://wendyteuma.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/cyber-safety-and-digital-citizenship/#comments

Areeya
http://areeya.edublogs.org/2015/01/19/planning-and-conducting-lesson-with-technology/#comment-4

Debbie
https://debbeneducation.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/planning-and-conducting-assessment-with-technology/comment-page-1/#comment-7

Iain
http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/iainhocknull/2015/01/26/learning-theory-and-classroom-technology/comment-page-1/#comment-21

Sandra
https://v3.pebblepad.com.au/alt/csu/Asset/View/rmMR5zcppgtcc67Rcd6mpmgg3Z

Uploads to class wiki page were on the VET wiki sub-page.

Interactivity analysis framework

Interaction on mobile devices
Interaction on mobile devices

In Beauchamp and Kennewell (2010) ‘Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning discussed the interactivity analysis framework which outlined interactivity areas that included; group interaction; authoritative interactivity; dialectic interactivity; dialogic interactivity and synergistic interactivity.

In my current context my students would be working in a Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) environment with a Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom (VC) integration. When the interactivity framework is applied to this learning environment there is the possibility that within a teaching term all areas of interaction could be achieved due to the nature of the software involved and the constructionist and collaborative pedagogical style (Bower et al., 2010; Laurillard, 2008 and Roblyer, p 40-50, 2013) that I favour for my teaching.

Group interaction: As Beauchamp and Kennewell (2010) stated group interaction can be hard to track as often the teacher is not present. By using the collaborative tools within the LMS such as collaborative group wikis, discussion forums, group database, and automatic recording of group work in the Collaborate virtual classroom allows the teacher the ability to track and monitor the groups work and the level of interaction between individuals. Something that can be problematic in a physical classroom. In my current context the class was split into 4 groups which had members from around Australia. The groups had to work together weekly on tasks. They had a group wiki to add their thoughts to for a written record and had access to the VC as moderators where they could record their session and take screen grabs of their work from the system.

Authoritative interactivity:  This is the ‘Sage on the Stage’ style of teaching where it is teacher directed, or content directed. In the LMS the content such as interactive multimedia (Roblyer, 2013) can be created that interacts with the grade book to record the students work through the interaction ideas can be clarified through a virtual classroom or text chat to expand on ideas that the student has worked through. In my current context I present ‘keynote’ style online sessions via the VC to my students that are linked to content in the LMS. In these sessions I expand on ideas and clarify points for my students.

Dialectic interactivity: Once the student has worked through the content outlined in the authoritative interactivity the teacher could then have the students work in groups around the key ideas. In my current context during a VC class the students are invited to use the Collaborates ‘whiteboard’ facility and chat area’s to respond to probing questions. It is very useful to use the whiteboard as it enables better group work in the class.

Dialogic interactivity: In dialogic interactivity the student has more of a voice in the lesson, with the teacher becoming more of the ‘Meddler in the Middle’ supporting the students in-class engagement. In my current context my students have had to present on topics such as effectively facilitating online where they have presented content and posed questions to the class group to facilitate the discussion around their topic. They then reflected on this through their wiki spaces and in the discussion forums

Synergistic interactivity: In adult education synergistic interactivity is often seen as the ‘norm’ rather than the exception. This is especially true with some users of LMS who ‘set and forget’ the course letting the students get on with their learning. Synergistic interactivity independent reflective activities that students do in a whole class setting (Beauchamp and Kennewell, 2010). In my current context the teacher becomes the ‘Guide on the side’ with students running sessions in the VC and facilitating discussions with-in the LMS to further develop their knowledge and ideas of  the topics being taught.

In my assignment there is a blend of all five points. However, I have focussed more on the group interaction, dialectic interactivity; dialogic interactivity and synergistic interactivity rather than the Authoritative interactivity.

References

Beauchamp, G., & Kennewell, S. (2010). Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning. Computers & Education, 54(3), 759-766. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.033

Bower, M., Hedberg, J.G., Kuswara, A., (2010), A framework for Web 2.0 learning design, Educational Media International, 47 (3), 177-190, DOI: 10.1080/09523987.2010.518811

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal Of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1), 5-20. doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

 

Western Australian – lesson planning and free resource sites

Example Moodle site design
Example Moodle site design

In Western Australia there are government divisions setup to support professional learning for both K-12 teachers and VET practitioners for both ‘traditional teaching’ and e-learning. Some very useful sites are listed below.

We have been very fortunate with funding and careful planning which has meant that have been many initiatives setup that support teachers and trainers in Western Australia.

K-12 resource sites for WA

Aboriginal education lesson plans and resources –

http://www.det.wa.edu.au/aboriginaleducation/apac/detcms/navigation/lesson-plans/?oid=MultiPartArticle-id-9197505

Curriculum council internet resources –

http://www.ceo.wa.edu.au/home/carey.peter/cfi4.html

VET resource sites for WA

Department of Training and Workforce Development various resources that relate to VET in Australia with a Western Australian focus on National initiatives –

http://www.vetinfonet.dtwd.wa.gov.au/Pages/Home.aspx

Sector Capability Moodle site is the Department of Training and Workforce Development free online resource centre that supports e-learning in the VET sector in Western Australia.

http://elss.dtwd.wa.gov.au/

WestOne Services free learning object repository (professionally developed resources for mainly the VET sector) –

http://tle.westone.wa.gov.au/content/access/home.do

Of course those these resources are available online does not mean I am endorsing their content, the mapping of resources, currency or the authenticity of the lesson plans or resources. It is always useful to take the prepared lessons and review them to your own context through methods outlined in documents such as Planning to teach an ICT lesson (Simmons & Hawkins, 2009).

References

Simmons, C.c & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. In Teaching ICT (pp.54-105). London; Sage Publications Ltd.

Thoughts on curriculum for Assessment 2

For the second assessment I am considering using a unit from the Training and Assessment Training Package – TAEDES503A – Design and develop e-learning resources from the qualification TAE50211 Diploma of Training Design and Development. The primary focus of this unit is the design and development of e-learning resources and reflects primarily the ADDIE instructional design framework. The prerequisite for this unit is that students must already hold the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and are currently training in a VET environment.

Person thinkingI am looking at utilizing a flipped classroom model (Sams and Bergmann, 2013) and will utilize a project-based portfolio as the final summative assessment, due at the end of the course. Content for the students ‘home’ learning will be housed in the Moodle Learning Management System. The affordances  as outlined by Bower (2008) in my previous post ‘Affordances of Moodle – a multiplatform application‘ show that this software it is a viable option for the flipped learning model.

In the assessment I am planning on incorporating technology into three sessions with each session being three (3) hours in length. These sessions are taken from the series of 10 that I would normally take to teach the whole unit. Students are expected to work through a small interactive SCORM  (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) learning object in Moodle prior to each session.

The principles outlined in the learning objects are reviewed and then the students implement them ina variety of project-based avtivities resulting in the following outputs:

  1. Moodle HTML page
  2. Learning Design Plan – overarching
  3. Storyboard first draft.

Software proposed

Moodle – Learning Management System. Free download and install. To run online with students needs to be installed on a Linux Server.

Learning Design Tool (LDT) – VET specific software that assists the user in creating a learning design experience for a learning resource. This is a free tool with the output being a Microsoft Word document.

Draw.io – to create flow charts that are required for two sections in the LDT. Very simple to use and looks very similar to outputs from Visio. This gives you the ability to save locally or to a Google or Dropbox account.

Microsoft Word storyboard template- to create story boards for online or multimedia resources.

Technology proposed

Class set of laptops – with internet connections

Teacher computer – with internet connection

Data projector – linked to the teacher computer.

References

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi: 10.1080/09523980701847115

Draw.io,. (2015). Flow Chart Maker & Online Diagram Software. Retrieved 19 January 2015, from https://www.draw.io/

Instructionaldesign.org,. (2015). ADDIE Model. Retrieved 19 January 2015, from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/models/addie.html

Ldt.eworks.edu.au,. (2010). Australian Flexible Learning Framework. Retrieved 19 January 2015, from http://ldt.eworks.edu.au/

Moodle.org,. (2015). Moodle – Open-source learning platform | Moodle.org. Retrieved 19 January 2015, from https://moodle.org/

Sams, A., & Bergmann, J. (2013). Flip Your Students’ Learning. Educational Leadership, 2013, Vol.70(6), P.16-20, Vol.70(6), p. 16-20.

SCORM,. (2008). SCORM Explained. Retrieved 19 January 2015, from http://scorm.com/scorm-explained/

 

Affordances of Moodle – a multiplatform application

Moodle

Moodle HQ home page
Moodle HQ home page

It is always difficult as an educator to locate tools that are both simple to use as well as giving a teacher solid insight into student behaviors. As part of the online learning journey or even as part of a flipped classroom experience a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle ( Moodle.org, 2015) can become a critical piece of technology.

Bowen (2008) discusses the importance of identifying the affordances of a technology to assess its suitability for particular learning situations.

Moodle includes the below affordances with a short explanation as to why.

Functional affordances

Media affordances: read-ability – students have content loaded into html pages, book and lesson modules, write-ability – students can use wiki, forums, blog, journal tools, view-ability – students are able to see and interact with images and content (where applicable), listen and speak ability – students are able to use plugin integrations for voice shat, teachers are able to post up sound bites and podcasts watch-ability – students are able to watch any video content either loaded or hyperlinked into the LMS.

Spatial affordances: resize-ability –using a mobility option within the LMS configuration for theme setup you are able to set a mobile theme which will resize the LMS interface, move-ability – interactive and non-interactive (text) elements can be loaded into a Moodle course and placed according to the learning design.

Moodle page on desktop computer.
Moodle page on desktop computer.
Moodle course on mobile device
Moodle page on mobile device

Temporal affordances: accessibility – as long as the students have access to the internet then they can access the LMS anywhere/anytime, , synchronicity versus asynchronicity – this is predominately an asynchronous software, but also has the ability for some synchronous work such as through live chat or through a virtual conference software plugin.

Navigation affordances: browse-ability – the content, once loaded by the teacher remains constant so can be browsed, search-ability –students are able to search content within the LMS, data-manipulation – the teacher is able to manipulate sort and sequence content and results.

Emphasis affordances: highlight-ability – the teacher can highlight sections of the content using inbuilt tools and course layout tools, focus-ability – similar to highlight-ability the teacher can give a focus on specific tools using the block area to focus students to a new point.

Synthesis affordances: combine-ability – multiple tools can be embedded, uploaded or created in a Moodle course to create a mixed media learning environment, integration-ability – other tools and systems can be integrated into the Moodle course.

Access-control affordances: permission-ability – a Moodle course site has many levels of permissions from the high end Moodle Administrator (effectively the owner of the site, this role can add users, content modify course site and themes) down to guest access where the site is similar to a website and interactivity does not work. Authenticated users on a Moodle site means that all activity can be tracked and reported on about that user on the whole Moodle site, share-ability –within a Moodle space more than one teacher can be added to a course site, also students have the ability to share content through forums, blogs and wiki assignments.

Non-functional affordances

Technical affordances: this software is multi-platform; depending on the level of interactive content or video links it can use relatively low bandwidth and speed required. For organisations that do not have a LAN to be accessed by all students (such as a prison) Moodle can be loaded on a stand-alone computer that does not point to the internet. Backup of a course created can be reloaded into the system by visiting teachers. The course can be backed up upon leaving which can include users, results and coursework. This can then be re-installed on a LAN enabled system for storage.

Usability: Teachers need to learn to create, manage and teach in a Moodle course. It is a fairly simple tool to use with the edit interface being the same for every resource being added. Students will have access to the resources and activities which are intuitive to use, however, it is recommended that a simple step by step screen grab guide is used for students unfamiliar with the system.

Example Moodle site design
Example Moodle site design

Aesthetics: clean and simple user interface and design. Themes within Moodle give the Administrator and possibly teachers (depending on how the system has been setup for teacher permissions) the ability to contextualize and mimic a website look and feel that will make the experience intuitive for end users.

Reliability: The software itself is robust, however, as it is a web tool internet connection via Ethernet cable, 3/4G or WiFi is critical and if dropouts are experienced this could cause issues. Firewalls of organisations could also cause issues on the initial use if ICT has not opened the port to allow this software to be accessed.

Issues and key considerations

Accessibility – the Government of Australian requires that all websites and web material meet at least level A WCAG3 requirements. The Moodle software is currently rated at a level AA. With the accessibility options enabled it also means that support software , such as screen readers can be used by end users on this site

The outlined affordances demonstrate the possibilities of Moodle in a VET or corporate setting. It allows teacher and presenters to push content out, provide avenues for synchronous sessions and enables the teacher to assess students via a wide range of assessment methods. This is then stored within the Moodle course site and can form part of the backup of the course for archival purposes..

Through the use of plugins this too can be a simple ‘vanilla’ out of the box version or a complex system that fully reports against many key performance indicators.

As this is software can be used across multi-platform, it is an ideal option to use within a VET classroom context.

 

References

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi: 10.1080/09523980701847115

Morgan, M., Butler, M., & Power, M. (2007). Evaluating ICT in education: A comparison of the affordances of the iPod, DS and Wii. Paper presented at the ASCILITE, Singapore.

Moodle.org,. (2015). Moodle – Open-source learning platform | Moodle.org. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from https://moodle.org/

Hardware in the classroom

It is interesting to reflect on what hardware I use in my classroom. As I present professional development to the whole of the Western Australian VET sector I train both face-to-face an in an online space. I will focus on the face-to-face training room for this blog post and will cover the variety of software in another post.

Technology old and new for the classroom.
Technology old and new for the classroom.

Face to face classroom

  • Interactive White Board
  • Data projector
  • Instructor computer (networked)
  • 24 networked laptops
  • WiFi hub for authenticated external users
  • iPad
  • Smart phones
  • Apple TV
  • Samsung tablet
  • Webcam
  • Microphone hub
  • Presenter clicker

Changes in the past 12 months

In the past 12 months the WiFi for external client use has been made available. This has made the teaching environment more flexible. This offers a BYOD option for all our face-to-face sessions and was done as a result of client feedback from sessions.