Category Archives: ESC515

Information linking to ESC515 – Classroom Technology

Educational Technologies research and the impact on teaching and learning

Education Technology IT research can been seen and is a moving feast or an ever changing environment.  IT technologies are forever evolving and Cox (2012) highlights the challenge of education research  because of this shifting sands environment. The author outlines thirteen (13) elements to considered to achieve  a greater reliability in research outcomes and most specifically that research “focuses on specific identifiable IT uses instead of trying to measure all of IT and its impact” (Cox, 2012, p. 17).

What is interesting is that in the VET sector the move to obtaining and accepting digital badges  as evidence for Recognition of Prior Learning for ‘skill sets’. This is bridging that gap between the formal and informal world of learning using technology as part of the evidence trail. As technologies evolve the lines between formal and informal learning will blur further, which logically will impact on formal research into educational technologies. MOOCs and informal learning programs that give ‘just in time’ learning are fast becoming the norm. for workers wanting to up-skill quickly in a piece of software for example which often rely on a teacher taking on a ‘guide on the side’ role rather than the traditional ‘sage on the stage’.

Moving forward the evolution of informal online learning to augment more formal training will increase. The VET sector must become more agile to ensure that it engages in deep learning whether it is formal or informal..

References

Cox, M. (2012). Formal to informal learning with IT: research challenges and issues for e-learning. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(1), 85-105. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00483.x

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium

TPACK framework

TPACK image
The TPACK framework and its knowledge components from www.tpack.org

As part of my delivery I present training sessions on both designing and facilitating vie digital technologies. Thanks to this I have heard and worked with TPACK for the past few years.

Harris, Mishra & Koehler (2009) stress the importance that all three domains technological, content, pedagogical should be viewed as interconnected and not in isolation as these interactions create the ‘sweet spot’ or the TPACK zone in the center of the three domains.

The heart of TPACK is meeting students needs so every class will look different even though you as the teacher is the common denominator as the PCK needs to be considered on an individual class by class basis. By being able to integrate knowledge from all three domains an expert teacher bring TPACK into play when ever and where ever they teach.

Due to the diverse nature of my work and that I am no longer just a classroom trainer I do sit more towards the middle (or the sweet spot).

The TPACK philosophy has been of great benefit to me in the development of my skills and expanding my lesson plans to a new level to ensure that the training sessions I present .

An interesting article that delves into TPACK in relation to the VET sector is:  Pipe dreams or digital dreams:  Technology, pedagogy and content knowledge in the vocational educational and training sector O’Brien, T. and Maor, D. (2013). This paper discusses the need for professional development programmes to develop the VET practitioners knowledge across all TPACK domains.

Another interesting journal article, though not directly linked to the VET sector, but does contain many lessons to learn from is: A framework for Web 2.0 learning design Bower, M., Hedberg, J.G., and Kuswara, A.. This article talks through the conceptualization of Web 2.0 enabled learning design, which can be then applied to the VET sector.

 

References

Bower, M., Hedberg, J., & Kuswara, A. (2010). A framework for Web 2.0 learning design.Educational Media International, 47(3), 177-198. doi:10.1080/09523987.2010.518811

Harris, J. & Mishra, P. & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal on Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), pp. 393-416.

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

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

Digital native or immigrant?

I vividly remember seeing a presentation by Marc Prensky about his research into Digital Natives and immigrants. It was then an eye opener but research that I have always felt went to compartmentalize society into pre and post the digital technology revolution.

Driving simulator with digital immigrants
Testing the text and driving skills of a client in classroom.

By my age I am a digital immigrant, however, I have to say I do understand and use technology better than many digital natives that I know. I train VET practitioners in the use of digital technology in the training environment with a variety of skill levels.

The majority of people are not always very good at  assessing their level of expertise when using technology  (McFarlane, 2014). I rarely look at a persons age to be a solid indicator of their digital skill set, but have learnt that age does not mean that the person either does or does not have the skills.

I am currently the Chairperson of an Independent Public School in Perth, WA and often find it amusing to sit in meetings with the teaching staff and hear them complain about technology and the lack of professional development to teach them how to use it. I then reflect on students, who rarely get professional development to use any technology but muddle through.

It is the negative attitude in the VET sector that sometimes comes from left field, with the comment (often from trade areas) saying that technology is going to take their jobs. I often will point out it is there to augment their work and if they are a good facilitator then they have nothing to worry about. I also make it perfectly clear that technology will do nothing to improve ineffective teaching and will not turn a sows ear into a silk purse, but in the hands of someone who wants to augment their training then it can become a tool to assist in life long learning.

 

Jasinski, M. (2006). Innovate and integrate: Embedding innovative practices. 1st ed. [pdf] Canberra: DEST, Commonwealth of Australia. Available at: http://flexiblelearning.net.au/wp-content/uploads/Innovate_and_Integrate_Report1.pdf [Accessed 6 Oct. 2014].

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

McFarlane, A. (2014). Authentic learning for the digital generation (p. 27). New York: Routledge

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

Greg Whitby reflection post

When taken out of context Greg Whitby’s comment that the focus on technology is a ‘waste of time’ and if you focus on the technology you ignore the central problem and the central issue, could easily be seen to be inflammatory. However, Greg merely is saying that as educators it is very easy to jump on the most popular o newest technology band wagon without thought for the teaching. Primarily I believe that teaching and the students are the primary focus and any technology should augment what you do as a teacher, not the other way around.

Rowan & Bigmum (2012) outlined in Chapter 2 Schools and Computers : Tales of a Digital Romance one critical pattern that schools and institutions alike go through with the adoption of new technologies. With the constant need of upgrades schools and institutions find themselves in a never ending cycle of upgrades to ensure that the students or client base have access to the latest and ergo the best. Often the push can be detrimental and in fact sometimes gets in the way of the students learning.

As Cammy Bean outlined in her article Avoiding the Trap of Clicky-Clicky Bling-Bling there is a seduction factor of using the most sparkly and new technology only to discover that there is not much learning to be found behind the glittery exterior, which is what Greg Whitby was driving at with the above statement. We MUST think of the learning outcomes and not the technology. After all good facilitators have never let textbooks drive lesson planning so why with the advent of digital technologies are we allowing technology to dictate our lessons.

As educators we do need to be aware of technology and how it can be implemented into our classrooms and training, but not to the detriment of the learning. As educators we do need to critically reflect on technologies that we are wanting to use in the classroom and decide if they are they critical to the students achieving standards set out in the curriculum we are teaching or are just glittery ‘extras’ that just add fluff to the teaching.

 

 

Bean, C. (2011). elearn Magazine: Avoiding the Trap of Clicky-Clicky Bling-Bling. eLearn Magazine, an ACM Publication. Retrieved 30 December 2014, from http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=1999745

Rowan, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.). (2012). Transformative Approaches to New Technologies and Student Diversity in Futures Oriented Classrooms : Future Proofing Education. Dordrecht, NLD: Springer. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Why we should use technology in the classroom?

As educators it is always important to understand what is happening outside the classroom in the ‘real world’ in terms of being able to contextualize lessons to reflect current attitudes and utilize contemporary tools to achieve our desired outcomes. In the Australian VET sector training packages are now on a continuous upgrade cycle to reflect current industry practices which means that students expect that technology will form part of their learning.

When you review the dramatic changes over the past 5 years that the VET sector has undergone it stands to reason that information and training methodologies that we once held close to our hearts are now outmoded.

Banning mobiles in the classroom sign from RTO in Perth.
Banning mobiles in the classroom sign from RTO in Perth.

The Industry Skills Councils and industry in general demand as part of the training packages that trainers have and maintain currency in chosen fields. This includes the use of current technologies within the industry space. Therefore not only do our students expect to use technology but the curriculum documents ensure that as trainers we must.

The Waldorf philosophy of not utilizing technology within the classroom or training environment it is not practicable for a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in Australia. For a training organisation to not to accept that they need to train students with current workplace skills using technology to fulfill some of that requirement would be a critical issue. Adult learners learn is different ways to school students and bringing in ‘life experiences’ including the use of technology is and always should be just another way to ensure that the students needs are being met.

All RTO’s do need to build skills and abilities in their staff and students with technology. Being aware of the E-Standards for Training is critical to ensure that digital literacy skills are addressed as part of the training that students receive from an RTO.

For me it is critical that we do establish solid digital literacy for our VET clients/students, with solid skills to evaluate, find use, share and create content using technologies and the internet. Without these digital literacy skills we are not equipping our VET students and practitioners with the ability to operate in the relevant industry areas.

E-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au,. (2014). E-standards for Training. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from http://e-standards.flexiblelearning.net.au/

Training.gov.au,. (2014). Skills: training.gov.au. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from http://training.gov.au/

Short look at Yvette and my education background

Yvette emailing from mobile
Yvette hard at work – emailing clients

Welcome and thanks for taking the time to look at my first blog post for ESC515 – Classroom Technologies

As you will be able to see this blog has formed part of my learning journey through the Master of Information and Communication Technologies (Education) and holds a wide variety of information on topics relating to education and elearning.

I started out as a high school teacher, with English, Drama and Music as my major study areas. I moved into the international film and theater industry where I worked on many famous faces and enjoyed the exciting years that this work area provided. I was offered the opportunity to lecture at Edith Cowan University in WA at WAAPA which was fantastic and renewed my interest and enthusiasm in teaching once more.

While working in the theater and film industry I maintained an interest in education and ran a small training organisation as part of my film company to up skill my employees and to teach as a special guest artist in high schools around Western Australia.

I was offered a position in a large WA TAFE in 1999 and worked as a casual lecturer/facilitator for them for over 10 years. This was around the time that the organisation was moving baby steps into the world of elearning. As I was working casual while running my own company I negotiated to become one of the first facilitators to offer online classes to my students. My first student groups were made up of mature aged ladies wanting to return to the workforce as teacher assistants, many of these people had very low computer skills and minimal experience in learning. Together we forged the new frontier together and had an amazing group learning experience.

From this first group a huge amount of students followed all having a unique and interesting experience ineffectively using an online classroom. From this wealth of experience I became a Learning Technology Mentor in the TAFE and helped other facilitators move into the elearning space using Learning Management Systems, podcasting, vodcasting etc way before it became mainstream. I was seen as cutting edge and ‘out there’ by my fellow facilitators.

I was offered a role presenting professional learning sessions for elearning and project managing the build of elearning resources for the WA VET sector for the Department of Education and Training, which has since become the Department of Training and Workforce Development. I was fortunate enough to become a project leader for the Australian Flexible Learning Framework and the National VET elearning Strategy (NVELS) which saw me working across Australia with the implementation of elearning in Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) in the VET sector.

With the demise of the National funding the NVELS the WA team (all three of us) still present training and consultations across WA, but also online sessions that anyone can access.

It is a fun and very challenging environment and with the ever changing landscape of technology it is amazing that I have a job that allows me the ‘play’ and the teach other how to use cutting edge technology such as Augmented Reality in their training spaces and to help people how technology can fit within a classroom using a blended or flipped approach no matter the circumstance.

This is an exciting time to be an educator and I am really looking forward to working with you all over the summer.