Category Archives: INF532

Knowledge network for education

Participatory culture, do we dare to partake?

Though personally I really like the simplicity of Scratch and how engaging it can be, without the right direction and support it can turn into a classroom nightmare and turn students off a brilliant way introduce students to coding.

Mitchel Resmick- the director of the Lifelong Kindergarten MIT Media Lab says Scratch “teaches kids to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively”. It is very important for our students to learn lessons from being able to fail in a safe and supportive environment. Game Based Learning (GBL) can support teachers in providing a safe space for students to work and learn from failure. But, this must come with a caveat attached, for students to fail and learn, teachers must at least have an idea of how to support students to succeed within the GBL environment. Prototyping methodology as outlined by Drew Davidson can be a powerful tool set in the hands of learners, especially if a teacher has taken the time to support students to develop their computational and design thinking skills. However, not all students start out on an activity with the same skill set, including problem solving, creativity and critical thinking skills so be must build their capacity first to assist them to achieve.

Support forms an important part of a GBL environment.
Support forms an important part of a GBL environment.

Recently I was invited into a classroom in Perth to watch a practicum student teacher present a session on coding to Year 8 students – the invite was from the practicum student as they know my background in mentoring technology in the classroom. Unfortunately for the practicum student teacher the lesson did not run according to their plan. Ultimately the session outcomes were not met key reasons for this were: there was only a little introduction to the topic; a very small amount of task description which was given verbally only to the students; no scaffolding; and poor support skills from the practicum student. The students in the classroom became frustrated as they really did not have a solid foundation for the task or what the teacher wanted them to achieve, this then resulted in the students becoming disengaged mid-lesson.

At the end of the session (after the students had left) I debriefed with the supervising teacher and practicum student about the session. My worry was the practicum student had become increasingly frustrated and angry with the students during the session as they became disengaged. The frustration stemmed from the students not grasping what was required of them and that they did not seem to have the skills to complete the task. I asked the practicum student about previous lessons that the students had in using the software and quickly discovered that this was the very first time it had presented to students and the practicum student was using a colleague’s lesson plan. As our conversation progressed about the topic I also realized that the key difference between how this lesson ran and her colleague’s lesson was that her colleague had taken the time to learn the software, worked up an example for the students to get an understanding of what was required and put in some solid learning outcomes.

With effort the story completed with an excellent ending.
With effort the story completed with an excellent ending.

Now from this story there is a happy ending. I was invited back to support the practicum student in presenting another session to the same group of students – this was at my suggestion. We really took the time to structure an example, demonstrated the techniques that were required to be used to create the digital output (ie. wire frame, story boarding and coding skills) gave the students a solid understanding of what was required for them to achieve. The practicum student and myself then became guides on the side for the remainder of the lesson to support the students as required. The result for the practicum student was that the class achieved all the outcomes, a complete turnaround to the previous. All the students had achieved and were excited to continue on with the next lesson. By investing the time to support and engage with learners and to demonstrate prototyping learning design.

To me this basic failure of the teacher to use effective teaching strategies just because she was using technology was the primary issue. I do believe however, that we need to support teachers in learning how to play and engage with technologies as well as support them to develop their own computational thinking and design thinking skills. By investing in our teachers we are investing in the students.

Creativity forms an important part of computational thinking and design thinking.
Creativity forms an important part of computational thinking and design thinking.

Students still find it difficult to creating new technologies and expressing themselves with technology. We need to support students to develop design thinking skills to support them in creating in new and different ways. Students will become familiar in technologies without a teacher always standing over them to make sure that they are using the technology exactly the same way the teacher would.

Recently I have encouraged a peer to reform a Community of Practice for the Adult Literacy and Numeracy area of the WA VET sector, which has been launched because of my support. This is exactly what peerography represents for me.

I think Samuel Beckett sums up the need to build resilience and safe failure into our teaching with his thoughts on the necessity of failing to eventually achieve:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Are we there yet?

Pip Cleaves presented recently to the CSU MEd INF537 cohort about her journey leading learning and she mentioned the Diffusion of Innovation (Rogers, 2003). Tom Fishburn from Skydeckcartoons.com captures the Diffusion of Innovation cycle perfectly in his cartoon that primarily deals with the cycle of new product adoption, but the same cycle works for the adoption of technology in the classroom environment.

Diffusion of innovations - this model can be adopted by many sectors from marketing through to education.
Diffusion of innovations – this model can be adopted by many sectors from marketing through to education.

This made me reflect on what category I naturally fall into and I would say possibly the early majority group is where I fit best. However, the challenge for me is that I’m in a job role where I have to be an innovator and early adopter so that I can mentor others in the uptake. To be honest when I first started I felt like a fish out of water having to take risks, learn rapidly and eventually share widely. But I can say the more that I have been challenged in my role the more comfortable I am.

This is the difficulty and the challenge that I face when I am training VET practitioners from all around Australia in the ways technology can support and augment their training. Through the wide variety of programs that I have put together we now cater for people from early adopters all the way through to laggards.

Resrouces, Infrastructure, Poeple, Policies, Learning, Evaluation, Support.
The RIPPLES Model (Surry and Ensminger, 2005)

The RIPPLES model that  Surry, Ensminger and Haab (2005) created and Jaskinski (2006) used as the basis for the VET sector research project Innovate and integrate: Embedding innovative practices, has formed the basis for much of the professional learning series of sessions around elearning implementation and modelling of a champion model that I develop for organisations and for the Department of Training and Workforce Development. RIPPLES is the acronym for the seven components of the model: resources, infrastructure, people, policies, learning, evaluation and support.

The champion model picks up the innovators and early adopters and encourages these individuals or groups to share their stories with others. The E-learning Quality Model developed by the National VET E-Learning Strategy in 2014 and helps our champions by defining quality expectations of elearning more clearly. It is designed to help RTOs and to give them a competitive advantage. But it does assist practitioners in aligning their resources to a framework.

Review and reflection should become commonplace as best practice to improve teaching.
Review and reflection should become commonplace as best practice to improve teaching.

In my dynamic and technology rich life it is interesting to reflect on my teaching to see how I am tracking against my peers with integration of technology to support my pedagogical practice. This personal reflection is something that we as teachers need to do often to ensure that we are still meeting the needs of our clients (the students), to ensure that they are going to have the lifelong skills to succeed in this New World.

References

Jasinski, M. (2006). Innovate and integrate: Embedding innovative practices. 1st ed. [pdf] Canberra: DEST, Commonwealth of Australia. Available at: http://tle.westone.wa.gov.au/content/file/b2abda95-f95b-4366-afb6-7e3e401fdf72/1/Innovate_and_Integrate_Report1.pdf

Fishburne T. (2007, Februaru, 26). Brand Camp [Image]. Marketoonist. Retrieved from https://marketoonist.com/2007/02/new-product-adoption.html

NVELS (2014). E-learning Quality Model. Accessed from: http://webarchive.nla.gov.au/gov/20141215081514/http://www.flag.natese.gov.au/quality_model

Rogers E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press

Surry, DW, Ensminger, DC and Haab, M (2005), ‘A model for integrating instructional technology into higher education’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 36 (2), pp.327–329.

Learning Analytics – who is watching the watchers?

We leave footprints where ever we go online.
We leave footprints where ever we go online.

The digital footprint of our students/users gives a better picture of how people are using the systems and the content held in those systems.
Internally for the government department that I work for this means that we are able to see how well content presented in mandatory training is put into practice. Managers can access how long team members have been working through content prior to attempting the tests, which could have impacted on the scores that team members received.
My concern about this is how soon will the length of time someone has spent learning within mandatory course work be used as a measure in performance development meetings by a crackpot manager who does not have the capacity or capability to understand learning styles and the simple point that people learn at many different rates.
Upon saying this I do not feel that learning analytics are bad, but they do need to be used with caution. It would also help if organisations developed strategies around learning analytics to be able to use them in the best to support achieving improved outcomes for students and clients. The Charles Sturt University Learning Analytics Code of Practice  is a good example of documents that bound an organisation to how this valuable data set will be used.
Another exceptional use is an example from the Western Australian TAFE sector. Recently I was discussing learning analytics internally with our ICT department, especially the LMS that we supply the WA TAFEs and how users are enrolled into online courses. From this discussion a new building block was created by out ICT team which I was discussing with a client from a TAFE. He had used this new building block (as well as other reporting functionality) to view how staff were using the various tools within the LMS. The client discovered that staff seemed to be enrolling students individually more than by class rolls. There could be a wide number of factors including rolling enrolments where a cohort could have new people added adhoc over the course of the study period. But what this has highlighted for the TAFE team is that they can tailor training for staff better as they are able to watch the watches and support them to become better online trainers.

Digital users be aware.
Digital users be aware.

This does beg the question, who exactly are watching the watchers?
Recently in the agency that I work one of our mandatory courses grade books had been tampered with by a member of HR staff. Corporate Leadership team requested an independent review by a team external to HR who knew how to interrogate the system logs to determine who had access and tampered with the course grade book (as it is a mandatory regulatory course that all staff must complete and pass to maintain employment). I was able to track back through the logs that the HR team were unaware of, locate how the issue came about and reported back to Corporate Executive with recommendations regarding restrictions to the higher level access functions to ensure that this issue did not happen again as well as rolling the course back to the last backup date as no members of staff had been employed in the period that was impacted, which removed the problem. For the future I noted in the system the issue and why the reset had happened so there was a reason to my wiping a month of course logs. As part of my final report I also suggested further training of the HR team was required which has occurred.
In this instance the watchers were completely unaware that they were being watched and monitored until after the fact. I personally feel that this is not the way morally that we should be using this technology. It should be above board and everyone aware that they can be tracked, no matter what.

Simply a Code of Conduct policy around the use learner analytics is so very important for any organisation.

References

Charles Sturt University (2015). Code of Practice. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/2160484/2016_CSU_LearningAnalyticsCodePractice.pdf

Welsh S. (2016). INF537, Colloquium 1, Learning Analytics [PowerPoint Slides and Connect recording]. Retrieved from https://connect.csu.edu.au/p65jlka06d6/

A new age dawns

It is easy to think from my perspective that technology has always been there, for a large portion of the population it has. My job would not exist if it were not for technology as I am a technology mentor and professional presenter of everything elearning. I remember when I first started working (all those years ago) and suggested that I would like to do some training on computers for my professional development. My boss at the time was sceptical as he really didn’t see the trend catching on but let me do it anyway, fortunately for me that professional development has become a lifelong career.

Technology is now everywhere almost insidious with how it has wriggled into every aspect of our daily lives, but the real trick for educationalists is to know how to harness technology to augment teaching and learning for the betterment of students.

In certain situations the use of technology can be harnessed for teaching the theory behind a topic. However, in the VET sector (and any other sector for that matter) there are just times when for safety reasons the learner needs to have a teacher, trainer mentor or workplace supervisor standing with them to see that they are safe.

Students need to be mentored physically for dangerous jobs. Morguefile image by Sergey81 http://mrg.bz/07ac96
Students need to be mentored physically for dangerous jobs.
Morguefile image by Sergey81 http://mrg.bz/07ac96

For instance the very first time a student uses a metal lathe should not be after they are watched a video created by their tutor then move out unsupervised into a workplace to work on the equipment. It is a recipe for disaster, that being said in a well-constructed course then a student will has the skills and abilities (thanks to working with a teacher/trainer/mentor etc) to achieve a physical component of assessment.

The most is important thought for teacher and learner alike in this new age is that everyone must become lifelong learners. Admittedly this can be confronting for some, but being open to learn from anyone is a very important skills set to obtain. In reflection of what has been happening in the VET sector in WA over the past few years, to be honest, this is not always the case. Some lecturers have their “happy place” and do not like to be challenged or even asked to move outside of their comfort zone to improve their teaching for the betterment of students. Yes there is a requirement that VET trainers all must have a certain amount of professional development a year, but nothing stops them from walking into a room signing on the role then sitting there doing nothing. They get the credit for attending but no actual learning.

This is not to say that there are some very good practitioners who are doing amazing blended and technology enhanced lessons. I myself when I was a VET lecturer had to foresight to let my students help “take control” of their learning.

Morguefile image by Arundo http://mrg.bz/848126
Morguefile image by Arundo http://mrg.bz/848126

I was training education assistants in a face-to-face environment who were due to go out on their block placement, the students had heard that I also trained online and begged me to setup an online site that they could stay in contact with each other for support throughout their placement. I was dubious but set it up and sat back to watch what would happen. Many students posted in what was happening and the positives of their placement, others posted up questions for help finally other posted up problems they needed help with. Not one topic was not course related and the students became a very close knitted group who managed together (with the help of myself) to get through their placements and secure jobs. The highlight was that this group did over 1000 discussion forum postings, all on topic and all supportive in nature when required within a 3 month period. These student were all seen as “technology challenged” by other trainers, but took to this system like ducks to water because they had the support of not only myself but of my students as well.

It is said that everything old is new again perhaps it is true of this new paradigm. After all we are adjusting our mindset to view things in a different way, much like when any major new system or way of thinking is introduced. We are in the settling period, but eventually education will catch-up to everyday life.

The future is bright. Morguefile image by Sergey81 http://mrg.bz/b1de09
The future is bright.
Morguefile image by Sergey81 http://mrg.bz/b1de09

The superhighway is at our doorstep and as long as we have the imagination and the willingness to grasp hold and be willing to learn the really the future is a bright one, maybe so bright you have to wear shades.

INF532 – Information environments

Trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Morguefile image by impure_with_memory http://mrg.bz/5387c4

Is there too much of a good thing with the amount of content that you can find on the internet? Not only is there an overabundance of good content but it is fast becoming like the proverbial “needle in a haystack” for a user to locate quality information quickly and efficiently amongst the bad, tragic or just mediocre content on offer in our digital smorgasbord.

With the fast approaching world of Web 3.0 and the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) means that the internet and its horizon is an ever-changing and evolving landscape that can provide personalised information to the user and about the user. You do have to question if this is always a good thing.

2016 NMC Technology Outlook.
2016 NMC Technology Outlook.

The 2016 NMC Technology Outlook – Australian Tertiary Education noted that learner analytics and location intelligence, which information is a form of big data, are areas that will have an impact in the next few years.

Big Data and meta data (data about data) have become a key focus with regards to who is creating, storing, using and most importantly selling data about you and what you look at. Think about the last time you searched for anything and you will have been prompted with possible fee-for-service products that might be similar to what you have been looking at.

We live in a social world.
We live in a social world.
Morguefile Image by lauramusikanski http://mrg.bz/89b2a7

Another form that this takes is when you are on social media sites such as Facebook™ you will notice based on your searches, friends and groups that “sponsored” sites appear as suggestions you might like to follow. You will also be aware (if you are using a desktop that there is an advertisement stream that is tailored for you. How does it know what you have been looking at while you are not on Facebook, simply it is from the cache in your computer or smart device and your browser history.

But when you consider the importance of how you can use learner analytics and learner actions within your site to track what they have been reviewing to ensure that the content of the course is meeting their needs then bib data is not seen quite so much in a horrible tracking light – stalking your movements around the internet, but a useful tool to support and help students.

Big data is as important for education as it is for business.
Big data is as important for education as it is for business.
Morguefile Image by Prawny http://mrg.bz/b2f87d

With the increase in the cost of creating print products and the speed that these products become redundant saw the rise of Web 2.0 technologies that enabled user-generated content simply easily and cheaply. This power to the masses revolution of technology has meant that often we do forget that the internet is ‘forever’. Need proof that this is the case, then please feel free to review the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

It is interesting that with the increase of the individual’s ability to have a voice on the internet has seen many companies fall-by-the-wayside as they have not adapted and changed their business structures to compensate for the new market place. Some may argue that if you do not adapt to the market place to survive then you do not have the right to survive.

Educators need to think if they are going to continue as a sage on the stage or move to a guide on the side facilitator role.
Educators need to think if they are going to continue as a sage on the stage or move to a guide on the side facilitator role.
Morguefile Image by pippalou http://mrg.bz/8afa17

So with that thought where does this leave educators? In this brand new world are we expecting teachers to become technology experts to guide students to some mythical promised land of better understanding? I would say that at best we need to encourage our teachers to become the facilitators of tomorrow. This means that we must move away from the “sage on the stage” mentality to perhaps taking up the guide on the side role where technology plays a helpful hand in supporting and augmenting learning for students. Technology can support student outcomes but should never dictate or drive the learning.

So the future is looking bright, but is it looking as bright as it once was or are we seeing it through a binary code induced haze? Time will tell.

References

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

Kellmereit, D. and Obodovski, D. (2013). The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things. DnD Ventures 1st edition, California.

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

The New Media Consortium. (2016). 2016 NMC Technology Outlook Australian Tertiary Education. Retrieved 7 July 2016, from http://www.nmc.org/publication/2016-nmc-technology-outlook-australian-tertiary-education/

INF532 – Knowledge Networking for Educators

I am excited and barely can contain how much I have been looking forward to this unit.

Onions have layers
Onions have layers.
Image by svklimkin #2504c7ce70bcb5e91c30bec56aa397962 http://www.morguefile.com

To me you can say that this unit will have many layers, just like onions or parfaits (which ever you prefer).

Parfait
Parfait flickr photo shared by song zhen under a Creative Commons (BY) licence

 

 

 

 

I have a keen interest in instructional design and training VET sector lecturers the key principles of design and how to implement them specifically for online enhanced learning (blended delivery).

Check back to see my thoughts as I move through this unit.

The hype and trends of technology

With technology becoming more pervasive in our everyday lives and being prevalent in classrooms it is interesting to stop and take stock and reflect on technology trends from the past to inform us on what worked well and what didn’t. By reflecting on this I believe that I can fix my sight on the future and move forward with knowledge.

Let’s look at the facts that not that long ago it was standard modern practice to use acetate overhead project sheets and Gestetner copies.

It is always the risk, should you be an early adopter of a technology on the forefront trying to work out how to fit it into a class, or should you sit back and wait for it to become mainstream and are forced to use it because your organisation has created a user policy. The key question to ask, as an educator is; Why should we use technology in the classroom? (Drager, 1, 2015)

As a teacher it is always important to think about the affordances to technology that you are considering implementing in the class. Bower (2008) outlined an affordance classification system, that is incredible useful to work through when deciding on technology for the classroom, a process I went through for the Moodle Learning Management System (Drager, 2, 2015).

As a trainer when I go to use a new technology I will put it through an affordance review and also reflect on my own TPACK (Drager,3, 2015) with the technology to ensure that I am not just using a trendy new technology for the sake of it but there are solid links to curriculum.

Reflecting on technology trends from the past 10 years has been an interesting undertaking, especially in relation to what I personally used in education. It is interesting that though LMSs have been around for over 15 years that they still remain a critical part of the e-learning landscape, but the question is for how long (Conole, 2012)? I can map how I have taught by the technology that I used personally. Some key highlights from the years include:

  • 2006 learning to develop web content for my Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) which opened up an awareness of digital creation and curation.
  • 2007 the year of Virtual Worlds and social networks, with exciting projects such as ‘Virtual World’s – Real Learning’ from the then Australian Flexible Learning Framework inspiring people from the VET sector which opened up a huge new realm for me.
  • 2010, mobile media tablets changed workplace training due to the simplicity of use and ease of integration.

Gartner every year puts out a Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. 2014 shows types of technology that have been around for a while but appear simply because they’ve gained mainstream attention, such as gamification.

Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014 (Gartner, 2014)
Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014 (Gartner, 2014)
Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2012 (Gartner, 2012)
Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2012 (Gartner, 2012)

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies should be studied with a critical eye own in relation to education but linked to other important reports such as the Horizon Report to identify critical trends that will indeed support teaching and learning. When you compare 2012 to 2014 Hype Cycles you are able to see that BYOD was at its zenith in 2012, but does not even rate a mention in 2014. What does this mean to us in education and the trends in technology? Simply if there’s enough ‘hype’ around technology it can very quickly be adopted into mainstream and education.

 

References

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

Conole, G. (2015). Designing for Learning in an Open World (1st ed., pp. 47-63). Dordrecht: Springer. Retrieved from http://csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1030803&echo=1&userid=Kw3jR%2bAhgEwAdjjiAfq0LQ%3d%3d&tstamp=1427684336&id=99B29BF9A978474F0ED16153A21450DBF7961F02

Drager, Y. 1, (2015). Affordances of Moodle – a multiplatform application. Yvette’s Reflective journal – A site of Discovery. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/yvette/2015/01/19/affordances-of-moodle-a-multiplatform-application/

Drager, Y. (2015). TPACK framework. Yvette’s Reflective Blog : A site of Discovery. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/yvette/2015/01/12/tpack-framework/

Drager, Y. (2015). Why should we use technology in the classroom?. Yvette’s Reflective Journal – A site of discovery. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/yvette/2015/01/12/why-we-should-use-technology-in-the-classroom/

Gartner,. (2014). Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2012. Retrieved from http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2124315

Gartner,. (2014). Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2014. Retrieved from http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2819918

The New Media Consortium,. (2014). NMC Horizon. Retrieved 30 March 2015, from http://www.nmc.org/nmc-horizon/

Web.archive.org,. (2007). Australian Flexible Learning Framework – Virtual Worlds – Real Learning!. Retrieved 30 March 2015, from http://web.archive.org/web/20070613001430/http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/flx/go/home/projects/2006/newpractices2006/pid/368

Wikipedia,. (2015). Transparency (projection). Retrieved 30 March 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparency_(projection)

Wikipedia,. (2014). Gestetner. Retrieved 30 March 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestetner

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.

Less screen more green – an adventure in blended delivery and games

Less screen more green flickr photo shared by CMIMMJYT under a Creative Commons (BY) licence
flickr photo shared by CMIMMJYT under a Creative Commons (BY) licence

I am fortunate enough to work with VET professionals to develop and implement methods for using elearning as part of a blended delivery program. It’s always a challenge when putting together a professional development session to ensure that there is a good blend of theory and hands on work to ensure that the participants go away with a solid understanding of the content of the session and how to use that content in their specific context.

I was asked recently to put together a blended delivery session that would engage TAFE lecturers from a variety of portfolios for Polytechnic West lecturers from Balga and Thornlie campuses. I really wanted to build a blended delivery session that made participants use personal learning networks, technology and had a game based element to it. What evolved was a very interesting and well received session that was engaging and really made the participants understand that technology can support all training packages.

The brief outline of the session was “So you are keen to engage your online students but do not like the thought of just getting them to sit at a computer. This face-to-face session will work through ways to motivate your online students to ‘experience’ the real world and not to rely just on spoon fed online information.” Being held on two campuses I made sure that sessions ran as close to concurrent as possible as my co-presenter and I wanted to split the participants into small groups with the groups being a mix of representatives from both campuses. The participants were placed in teams prior to the session commencing – based on the roll, however the groups mix was  tweaked in the session when it became apparent on the Thornlie campus that we had a mix from a third campus.

Participants began the session in a computer lab at both campuses with a short presentation and briefing from me and my co-presenter about what we were going to do in the session and the key learning objectives. The participants were then given a physical live task to perform at each campus, and needed to work as a group across both sites to achieve the end goal. Participants were given access to a virtual meeting room space in Blackboard Collaborate and could also use mobile devices to communicate with the other site. The workshop ended back at each “basecamp” for debrief and to un-pack the learning from the activity.

It was important to make the physical activity an authentic learning activity which was a learner centric learning design that supports a higher level of learning by participants. I used a mix of both synchronous – Blackboard Collaborate and asynchronous – sms messaging and Google documents, which enabled collaborative learning (Laurillard, 2008). This supported a dynamic learner centric learning process for the participants (Herrington & Parker, 2013), which is essential for adult learners.

As the professional development was for adult learners who benefit from real-world relevance (Herrington, Reeves, Oliver and Woo, 2004) the live physical activity linked to the Employability Skills Occupational Health and Safety area of training packages as well as a ‘get to know the campuses’ orientation. This ensured that the participants were not doing an activity just for the sake of it and could see the context in that related to training packages and their training.

The activity was a Scavenger Hunt around the two campuses with focus questions that the groups had to work together to answer, within a 40 minute time frame. Cunningly the Scavenger Hunt was designed so that general knowledge would take them so far and they actually had to physically move around the two campuses to get the information to complete the questions.

The teams firstly had access in the physical classroom to Blackboard Collaborate and worked through as much as they could together and formulated a plan of action; they identified what questions might relate to each campus and then worked out a way to chat to each other outside the class. Some of the mobile technologies teams used were: sms messages, Facebook instant messages, Twitter and one team setup a Google document live to add findings to. During the session I acted as an instructor, a guide and an evaluator (Hanghøj, 2013) to enable to participants success in game play and facilitated groups through to a successful conclusion of the activity.

Once they had collated the answers they nominated a team member to fill out a survey monkey quiz that replicated the scavenger hunt questions, which enabled the two presenters live to demonstrate how the answers and statistics show in this system. The team then had to email the presenters that they had finished. Two prizes were awarded:

  1. First team finished
  2. Team with most correct answers

The participants thoroughly enjoyed the game element to the session and as part of the session debrief unpacked how this type of activity could inform their future training. The blended element of the delivery, though technically challenging having two big groups online working at the same time, it was extremely rewarding for the participants.

Participant guide – Less screen more green

 

References

Hanghøj, T. (2013). Game-based teaching: Practices, roles, and pedagogies. In S. de Freitas, M. Ott, M. Popescu, & I. Stanescu (Eds.) New pedagogical approaches in game enhanced learning: Curriculum integration (pp. 81-101). Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-3950-8.ch005

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 607-615. doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Herrington, J., Reeves, T., Oliver, R., & Woo, Y. (2004). Designing authentic activities in web-based courses. Journal of Computing In Higher Education, 16(1), 3-29. doi:10.1007/bf02960280 Retrieved from http://link.springer.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/article/10.1007/BF02960280

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

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!