Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bringing Maslow screaming into the 2012s: Maslow's Model Rewired for Social Media

Peter Allen (The Learning Wave)  shared this great article, prefaced by the comment "Came across this interesting article ...  brings Maslow screaming into the 2012's.... ".

To give you a taster of the article here is a couple of paragraphs and the 'rewired diagram' (from Social Networks: What Maslow Misses by Pamela Rutledge :

"Needs are not hierarchical.  Life is messier than that.  Needs are, like most other things in nature, an interactive, dynamic system, but they are anchored in our ability to make social connections."

Maslow's Model Rewired for Social Media

"None of Maslow’s needs can be met without social connection....Maslow's model needs rewiring so it matches our brains.  Belongingness is the driving force of human behavior, not a third tier activity.  The system of human needs from bottom to top, shelter, safety,sex, leadership, community, competence and trust, are dependent on our ability to connect with others.  Belonging to a community provides the sense of security and agency that makes our brains happy and helps keep us safe".

What is being said here closely aligns with findings from a research study that is being conducted alongside the Virtual Professional Learning and Development programme (VPLD - you can find out more here if you are interested). If you have a look at this diagram (link here), you'll see that, except for the food, shelter, and sex part of the 'rewired model' all of these aspects are present - even if they are referred to with different terminology. What was also evident was that people entered the cycle (green boxes on the inside of the diagram), and all developed at different speeds. Wonder what the implications are for programmes of learning, and their design, facilitation and evaluation in the future?

Thanks for the thought provoking article, Peter.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The CAT amongst the pigeons: A reflective framework approach to personalised PD in open, flexible and networked learning

Traffic lights can have several additional lig...Image via Wikipedia
This is an initiative designed by John Clayton and Richard Elliott (Emerging Technologies Centre). Richard Elliott started the session by asking the question "is there a difference between education and training?". He then used the scenario - "if you had a daughter would you prefer she was having sex education or sex training?". The Competency Assessment Tool is embedded in a reflective framework.

The CAT consists of 5 modules, and has been used with people in a range of countries. The tool has been designed to enable people to assess their current competency in a range of defined activities. The response is designed around 'traffic lights', and at the end you have a pictorial carpet. There are then 3 steps that take the individual through the entire process. An ePortfolio is required as evidence of competent practice.

The tool is adaptable and can be used by pretty much any institution. (http://etc.elearning.ac.nz). Richard demonstrated the tool live, and explained that the tool has been trialled such that the language is not ambiguous, for example.

It is an approach that empowers learners to assess their own competencies and progress. The tool can be used in the appraisal process for staff as well. At the moment it is in Beta form, and the next step is to put a database behind it. At the moment you have to print out the results afterwards.
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The blending of blended learning: An experiential approach to academic staff development

TPACK frameworkImage by David T Jones via Flickr
Debra Bath and John Bourke spoke about the results of work they have been doing around a blended learning course at Griffith University. The University focus from 2008 onwards has been on blended learning, and to "...systematically embed BL approaches in the teaching and learning activities of all progams". A course was set up around blended learning to support staff, and four people were appointed.

In the first year there were about 38 enrolments. The course had to embody blended learning, and allowing the students to walk that walk with the facilitators. How can yo utalk and teach about blneded learning unless you give people an opportunity to do it? Two frameworks underpinned the BL course, including TPCK. The TPCK model goes beyond content, pedagogy and technology, but rather is a blending of all three components. The Community of Inquiry model was used to complement the course "avoids the tyranny of adopting clever techniques" (Garrison & Vaughan, 2007, p. 13). The social, cognitive (creating challenge, and searching for / integrating new ideas) and teaching presence were encapsulated in the design of the course.

There were 4 key learning objectives ranging from awareness of philosophies and upskilling in practical skills. The course was structured around 3 f-2-f sessions in non-teaching weeks, 4 x learning modules. and 3 x virtual turorial sessions (Wimba). The small group wiki was used for participants to develop a resource that then became a good tip user guide.

The course was evaluated in a range of ways, including via survey to evaluate the impact of the corse (http://communitiesofinquiry.com).
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Using insider research to study teacher engagement with video conferencing in first year classes

Video Conferencing ScreenImage by mikecogh via Flickr
Nicola Westbury opened with an overview of the background to the study, and highlighted some issues such as the danger of disconnestion in large classes (Nicol, 2010) and how educators respond to technology education. The researchers used insider research "an individual who posseses intimate knowledge of the community and its members" (Labaree, 2002, p. 100). While aspects identified in this definition offers some great benefits, there are also ethical considerations.

There were 4 large (800 to 1000 students in first year classes, 17 lecturers and 6 key informating, and the initiative was rolled out in 2011 semester one. The use of video conferencing was trialled to simultaneously connect four lecture venues in Auckland. There were quite a few issues, and the initiative has only run in semester 1.

Data was collected via a range of means including group interviews and videoing of the sessions. One of the thing that came out is that teachers are now expected to take on roles as technicians - often involving the carrying around the hardware. Uncertainty was a problem, and technical issues were a constant bugbear - sometimes the technology worked beautifully and other times it didn't. Emerging themes include changes as teacher, and identity.
English: System diagram: How vzRoom users comm...Image via Wikipedia

Insider research has been powerful and has allowed access to backstage areas of teaching. The repeated contact to collagues has been very positive. The use of implicit knowledge and credibility has grown and there has been a growth in credibility. There are, however, power relationships within the workplace. The data has not been used in an evaluative way, and this means making decisions around, for example, using the data outside the scope of the research study. Limitations also include being too embedded.
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Teacher engagement in a Web 2.0 world: Developing your online teaching and learning Community of Practice

Map of Online CommunitiesImage by D'Arcy Norman via Flickr
Ed Flagg and Diana Ayling spoke about the background beind the setting up a community of practice with practitioners at Unitec in NZ. As Ed said - it was 3 years work in 10 minutes. The Community was established online in Ning, based in part on the ICTELT model.

The Community in 2012 is vibrant and lively with over 13,000 views for the year. What Ed and Diana didn't bank on was having members from around the world, rather than only the Unitec practitioners. It is now the largest online CoP in education in NZ. 31% are female, and 34% are teachers. Only 57% of participants are confident in publishing their ideas online. Only 27% of people have uploaded a profile photo. There are 14 groups within the overall CoP. There have been 254 blog posts, with 88% posted by Ed and Diana. However, the presenters are observing that the modelling of posting and commenting helps increase confidence and model practice...which is gradually rippling through the rest of the community.

We sometimes overestimate our ability to participate. Only a small percentage of the community are creators of the community artefacts.. There has to be trust for an online CoP to work.

Findings to date:
  • Interaction on the site is slow but growing
  • There is a risk in duplication with other sites vs an opportunity to be linked to other sites
  • there is a need to balance the internal demands of staff and needs to share and communicate with the benefirts of interaction in a global learning and teaching world.
Some of the comments to date via a research project are: "This community seems to me to be q1uite includisve in its approach, but 2withoug pressure to either contribute or remain connected", "Fun trying to keep up though - not a negartive experiences at all...occasionally frustrating".

The presenters stressed that there is huge potential going forward and threw down the challenge to ASCILITE to facilitate to keep up a global CoP of learning and teaching.

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Distributed leadership for integration of information and communication technology

English: The five dimensions of meta-leadershi...Image via Wikipedia
Seng-Chee Tan first discussed the growing interest in technology leadership as an important factor of the effective integration of technology into education. The theoretical underpinnings include a more realistic vision of mult-level leadership in schools, so distributed leaders can be regarded as "a social distribution where the leadership funcion is strenched over the work of a number of individuals" (Spillane, Halverson, & diamon, 2001, p. 20). Luhmann's systems theory includes 3 proposals of segmentation (small identical units), stratification (hierarchies), and functional units (sub-unites that are interdependent). Luhman suggests that change is a result of the interaction of all three aspects proposed.

The research questions were around the way distributred leadership was used in 3 schools. It was a case study, and was part of a nationwide 5-year longitudinal study involving an annual survey of 110 schools and tracking the development of 12 schools. A survey was administered to 7,390 students in 2010. Seven items wre about the use of ICT for self-directed learning, and 7 around the use of ICT for collaborative learning. There were also interviews conducted with Principals and Heads of Department.

English: a good chiefImage via Wikipedia

In School A the Hod of ICT was the key driver to communicate ICT goals and initiatves to the teaching staff. she mde decisions around prioritisation as well. She made decisions around training for here teachers, thereby following the 'heroic' model of leadership - 1 central figure driving the whole change). School B had department-based ICT initiatives (maths using tablets, and the science department using reflection boards). In School B there was a segmentation distribution of leadership (separate units, not really talking with each other). In School C the principal and vice-principals examined the key MoE initiatve or dieraction and they did an envisioning exercist. The IT department has 4 directors. Other suject heads of department provided individual department plans. The teachers had the autonomy to design and implement their own ICT pedagogical practices. This was a bottom up form of leadership - functional differntiation form of leadership where almost everyone is involved.

Findings: School A was least successful in ICT integration, and School B there was some degree of experimentation, and school C had school-wide integration and was most successful. In the future there is a plan to explore why and how a distributed leadership is more effective in ICT integration.
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Scholarship, leadership and technology: A case study of embedding evidence-based practice

English: Glasgow Caledonian University new logoImage via Wikipedia
Linda Creanor opended by highlighting some of the issues that they are facing in Scotland. They have been inspired by examples from around the world and taken them back to their own context where they have been adapted. Linda is based at the Glasgow Caledonian University which is a post-92 institution, with 17,000 students, and 3 academic schools. There is a stong emphaisi on learning.
Some of the challenged include:
  • Maintaining staff engagement in the innovative learning and teaching
  • Career progression seems to focus on research rather than expertise in learning and teaching
  • The changing nature of learning and teaching due to technology advances is not always underpinned by pedagogy
  • There are pockets of excellence but making sure that they are mainstreamed is a challenge
  • Need to link various aspects of CPD, scholarship and technology together,and all with increasingly limited resources
Leadership is key in transformational change alongside change agent roles (Chapman, 2002). They came across the distributive leadership model (Lefoe, 2010)  "a dsitribution of power withing the sociiocultural context of universities and a sharing of knowledge, of practice and reflection through collegiality" (lefoe, 2007, p. 5). These ideas were then used to develop GCU's CPD framework for learning and teaching, and this was launched in 2008.

The Caledonia Scholarships and Associates model is competitive, peer reviewed, and supported by senior management. There is status attached to the roles and the criteria were linked to promotion. The projects are expected to be action research, evidence-based, and to embrace learning technology. This were influenced by scholarship (Boyer, 1990). There is minimal resourcing (2,000 UK pounds per scholar). The money the scholar gets could be used for conference attendence, or for data processing, for example.

Wanted to try to engage people in innovation, and provide opportuntiies for new and experienced staff to maintqain continuing engement with scholarly approaches to learning and teaching throughout their careers. Although they started with individuals, there are now small groups working together on projects.

Facilitation is through f-2-f meetings, an online community in BB, a blog, shared resources, methodologies and experiences.
English: Backstage Pass tour of the Metropolit...Image via Wikipedia

The findings indicate that the status and the role are as important as the project. Impacts include (over 48 associates over 3 years) 36 projects undertaken, minimal resourcing of a very effective initiative (including awards, promotion, and development of valuable research findings). "The Scholars and Associates Program has proved to be beneficial to participants in a variety of ways in the intiial phase" (external evaluator). There is continuing support, and growing evidence of scholarly activity. It appears to be a sustainable, cost-effecitve model. In the future they are moving toward strategic focussed - such as a new role of Caledonian Fellow has been approved by Senate and is under development.

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Leveraging technology for engaging learning design

English: Took the PNG version which was in Ima...Image via Wikipedia
Ashwini Datt and Trudi Aspden presented on leveraging technology for engaging learning design. They first looked at some strategies to encourage students to complete homework. The presenters identified some assumptions around digital literacy and technical skills, and then identified 4 elements for the learning design - authenticity, motivation, scaffolding and skills development (the main focus). Equity was a really important factor too.

The presenters unpacked a diagram that looked at the underpinning aspects of the design, and then gave the context. The course is a First year pharmacy course (p101), and they have about 100 students per year. There is a group assignment that rund through the mid-semester break with 4-5 students randomly allocated per group. A specific example of a student who had to travel to Auckland to complete the group assignment. Trudi had been to a workshop on Wikis, and Trudi had an ah ha moment where she felt that if they put everything online then the students would be able to complete the course requirements online.

Pharmacy,glassImage via Wikipedia

The final design of the assignments include an ePoster, and orapresentation of the poster, a sritten summary of the work, and provide 3 references with justification.All of these were completed online. The presenters wanted to provide flexible access to the resources and tools, to be able to mointor student collaborations in groups tasks and manage assessment of the assignment better, and they were also keen for students to develop some skills that they could use later on. Information and structure was provided through the course  website, and scaffolded inquiry was developed through the format of a webquest. Collaborative learning was conducted via a wiki (Wikispaces), and social bookmarking was encouraged. Exemplars were provided to help scaffold students.

The webquest was designed around a scenario which also aimed to have a social impact aspect rather than purely focussing on the various concerns around a specific disease. The process was outlined as a list of things students needed to do to complete a specific task, along with access to the rubrics that would be used to assess their assignments. Fifteen percent of the P101 course marks are allocated to this assignment. How To guides were provided around using some of the technologies, as well as guidelines for collaboration, confidence and familiarity with working with other people online.

Results: A pre and post assignment survey (54 out of 99 completed the assignment).77.8% agreed that the webquest added value, 51.9% agreed that the webquest contrained enough informaiton, 68.5% would be confident to use them in future assignments, 51.9% agreed that the assignment tasks helped them develop transferable skills, and 75% thought that the assignment developed their ability to work in a team.

Findings: Prividing the tools does not guarantee student engagement; and targeted strategies for fostering group work are needed beyond the provision of collaborative tools.

A really clear presentation that showed lecturers responding to student needs in creative ways...that ended up getting really good results :-) Will be interesting to see where they go next.
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Learner generated content as a pedagogical change agent

English: Schooner Appledore II under construction.Image via Wikipedia
Vickel Narayan started by exploring the notion of learner generated content and showed the extract of a video that showed how hip hop can be used to engage studnents. Vickel also showed some images which illustrated the use of mobile devices in this process, as learning can happen anywhere.

Vickel indicated that he does not believe in the Digital natives term, but has found the learners he has been engaging with are quick to learn.

The mobile projects Vickel has been involved in are very much driven by an ethos of pedagogy, participation and process. The skills being learned can then be applied outside of the classroom and in future jobs.

Vickel introduced the Electronics coourse where they used You tube, Google Docs, Buzz and blogger to enable students to develop their own content and to move away from a traditional paradigm where the lecturer is the sage on the stage. One of the things that was noticed was how quickly the students took over the learning space. As soon as students were encouraged to take ownership of the face-to-face space they completed changed the lay out of the desks and chairs.

Another project discussed was Boat Building. What they did was encourage students to blog and reflect on their experiences...especially mistakes. The lecturer in turn was able to step in and help where he could see where students were struggling. The students created a large repository of videos.

Marine technology was the next project. Vickel mentioned a specific student from Brazil "I've started the 2011 semester...we were tired of listerdning to our tutor talking for two hours every day" and the shift in focus made a large impact on this student who commented positively on the shift in practice.

 The smart shed design

The CAME project was mentioned as a shift in the teaching and learning paradign, and the final project was social learning technologies. Staff actually experienced Web 2.0 on this programme, and then explored the tools in their own context (see here for more detail).

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Benchmark yourself: Self reflecting about online teaching

E-learning short coursesImage by London College of Fashion short courses via Flickr
Maria Northcote kicked off by introducing the moobric (http://moobric.net) which has been developed to help people reflect about online teaching. She asked the audience what is 'good online teaching' and then showed the words that came up when she asked her own staff with including authentic, engagement, empowerment etc.

At Avondale College of Higher Education the staff are not that familiar with online environemtns and they often aske 'what is a good online teacher?' and that was one of the motivations to developing the moobric. The Moobric is underpinned by thinking by Oliver, Herrington, Kerns, Salmon etc. The function is to scaffold the identification of knowledge and skills in online teaching and online course design.

The audience was invited to take the moobric and adapt it to their own environment. Maria then showed us the Moobric site and interface, and an example of what it looks like. The Moobric is structured around 3 levels of skills (Muddler, Meddler, and the Mighty Moodler). The rubric is relatively interactive and you can go through and hide the descriptors that do not apply to you giving you a visual representation of where you are 'at' as far as skills are concerned. Very much a self-check tool, and it is the activities that happen before and after that would make it a self reflection tool, and as such it is not a stand alone tool.

It could be something that could be used as is, or modified for other environments. At the moment there are about 35 people in the faculty where Maria works, and they are planning to use the Moobric next year.

Well worth having a look at and could definitely provide a springboard to planning and identifying areas to work on.
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An integrated faculty model for engaging staff with online and blended learning

A spiral staircase inside one of the Vatican M...Image via Wikipedia
A quick context overview was given of the project and the reasons why they model was developed. The presenters are working at a small multidisplinery institution. They decided to go with a holistic model with four key facets: 1) Inform; 2) Engage; 3) Implement: Collaborative development of online units; 4) Support: community of practice for ongoing engagement.

In 2010 the Dean and Deputy Dean undertook a study tour of the UK & Western Europe. This led to a spark for development. One of the first things that happended was an upgrade in the LMS (summer 2010-11), and then two workshops were developed. Learning design teams were then formed to develop / redevelop online units based on Gilly Salmon Carpe Diem model. Teams can comprise discipline groups, learning designer, suject librarian, technology expert and others as required. The fourth phase involved plans to facilitate formation of CoPs around specific topics. Examples might include teaching large online cohorts, online assessment, and improving student engagement. As yet phase 4 has not been implemented.

Results so far: staff participation at scholars' sessions has been very high - 62% for Gilly Salmon, anmd 60% for David Nicol. In staget 2 the workshop programme 68% attended with a high uptake by sessional staff. Stage 3 (collaborative design was well recieved by participating stqaff, who enjoyed brainstoring their ideas, mapping out their unit, revising objectives, assessment etc. It is yest to be seen how much of the design is ultimately implemented. There are also quesitons around how success is going to be determing (ie one new activity?), or a fully implemented new design?

They have found that the sessions are really intensive and people are totally exhausted (but happy) by the end of the day. Factors for success was seen because it includes:
  • Faculty-wide model; and
  • Has high level support from faculty management

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Equipping lecturers for the iRevolution: iPads in action

English: iPad tabletImage via Wikipedia
James Oldfield presented on a project that both he and Thom Cochrane have been working on at Unitec. James started with a bit of an overview of the background to the project, especially around the question "what is the iRevolution". Thom and James started with a pilot using the iPads with James's students, and learned a lot which they have fed-frward to the subsequent projects.

The projects were underpinned by the affordances of mobile learning, as well as social constructivism and communities of practice. Previously students have struggled with the small screen size with mobile devices (Sharples, Taylor, & Vavoula, 2007), but with the iPad this wasn't an issue. It was important that the staff as well as the students were using the iPads. Like minded peers with a common interest were encouraged to work together (Wenger, 2005), and James took on the role of the Technology Steward (Wenger, 2005).

The Community of Practice (21 staff from two business departments - approximately 50% of the staff overall) were equipped with iPads, and the initial trial was followed by the permanent allocation of the devices for staff. This was an optional project and yet there was still a good turn out to initial sessions during the holiday periods. James developed a Moodle course to assist staff to work with the iPads. The Moodle course offered a place for community, access to a glossary of apps, as well as a one stop shop for trouble shooting. The results was the gradual development of capability, which could be seen by, for example, staff posting to the glossary of apps.

iPad!Image by beatak via Flickr
The overall results illustrated that the staff involved, even though they had started from a relatively uninformed position in relation to familiarity to the technology, they had definitely increased capability. Feedback indicated that the iPad is useful for many tasks, and now prefer to use their iPad to their laptop, which remains in their office.One area was highlighted by the following comment "Infrastructure is the problem. The other thing is the cost side, and you compare with the sort of student5s we have in terms of affordability. Or is ti freely available?". This has yet to be fully addressed at the institution.

The affordances of the device really appealed, and for most the iPad acted as an encouragement to look and consider a range of possible pedagogical changes. The duration of the initiative has also proven important.

The level of engagement has been high, and it is interesting that in this project the team has started with the tool rather than overtly with a focus on the design of the programme of learning, and integration with the alternative approaches into the curricula.

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Wins and hurdles - the ups and downs of providing professional development in eLearning

E-learning short coursesImage by London College of Fashion short courses via Flickr
Jacqui Kelly, Judy Schrape, & Kuki Singh highlighted a few of the most effective things that they do as part of PD at Curtin. The main PD is around a weekly programme over 8 weeks, and on top of this there is a module on eLearning, which are further complemented by a range of online resources. Regular eNewsletters are sent once a month to advertise the PD and what it offers.

The PD covers How to use the various tools. The satisfaction rates are quite high. The workshop feedback included comments around "What did you like best about our PD?" Jacqui showed a couple of videos where staff talked about the sessions. The first one was around having a nice safe closed space to experiment, and the second was that she liked the hands on aspect of the sessions where you work through a handout, and the two trainers in the room meant you could get help at any time. Also the follow up was important and knowing who to contact.

Attendance rates have been quite high over the last 3 years. The interesting thing is that more and more professional and development staff have been attending the training rather than only academics. Quite a few staff come to more than one session.

English: Diagram of technology-empowered profe...Image via Wikipedia

Hurdles: key thing they need to work out is how to contact more staff - emails often end up under 'delete'. The mixed groups have their own challenges, and staff are no remunderated for attending the eLearning training. A lot of staff book on to sessions, but only about 3/4 of staff who sign up actually attend. There was also a fear of using the technology, and this can create ongoing issues espscially if the technology then doesn't work, or what seemed simple in the workshop appears difficult afterwards. Time again was a big issue.

The workshops were activity driven, consistend, appropriately scheduled, and reflected the teaching styles of the various facilitators. Feedback has been pretty positive, and also included some helpful suggestions for improvement" "Perhaps you could do a needs assessment of participants before we get there to pitch it at the right level".

Elluminate is used for staff who are not based on the main campus, and they have found that participating in webinar sessions in this way gives them a lot of ideas around how to use the environment with students.

The conclusion is that the programme has been successful because it is constantly adapting.

The interesting thing here is the focus on the practical skills - I wonder how the skills were then interconnected with pedagogically sound design. Liked the notion of the immersion envrionment in the Elluminate experience.
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Understanding the reasons academics use - and don't use - endorsed learning technologies

Fruit with flying seeds (Hieracium sp.)Image via Wikipedia
Gregory Kennedy, Deb Jones, Dianne Chambers, and Jon Peacock started their presentation with a wee cartoon that pictured a person in front of a computer that read "either there is an error, or you are too dumb to use this computer". This introduced the research project that the team has undertaken around the question "What are the drivers of technonolgy use in teaching and learning at the University of Melbourne?". Shannon and Doube (2003, 2004) identified a list of barriers impacting the uptake of technology, and this has been extended by Birch and Burnett (2009) - reasons are categorised as institutional, individual, and pedagogical.

Gregory introduced some of the internal University tools available (Blackboard, Moodle, Turnitin, Echo etc), but these enterprise systems were then being extended by 'unsanctioned' technologies freely available on the Web. The team undertook a survey with staff, and the quantitative data was reported on. The survey was completed by 268 faculty members, and the demographics were unsurpising. Some of the trends in what they found included a high percentage of faculty used the institution LMS tools, followed by about 50% plus using things such as Turnitin, and then 60% and up of staff who have never used the institution tools...some of which they didn't actually know about. The non-University-based technologies included onlined video (48.4% using them). Interesting that one of the areas where they could make the comparison was the blog and wiki tools. In an area where people are not using many of the more advanced social media tools, there is a rough equivalence between institutional and non-institutional tools.

Polski: LOGO LAPTOPImage via Wikipedia

There are a number of reasons for people using technology, especially value for students. Using a factor analysis the data was analysed and the reasons for using the technology are innovation and learning, and the sencond factor was the convenience. For not using, the reasons included support and skills, and relevance and value where there were concers about how relevant it would be for both staff and students. The four scales were put through a cluster analysis which pulled together all areas that were 'alike'. There were four clear set of staff that emerged - Regular citizens (n=41)not strong dirvers for technology); Convenience driven (n=37) most value in the ability of technology to make things more convenient; Perfect citizens (n=72) not that driven by lack of relevance, motiavated to use technology based on value, relevance etc; Dedicated warriors (n=95) similar to perfect citizens are in it for the right reasons but still have another of concerns; Disgruntled pragmatists 9n=17) dominated by the reasons not to use technology.
Warrior (comics)Image via Wikipedia

"Although technology is now commun place in most higher education institutions - most institutions have invested in a...VLE and employ staff dedicated to support eLearning - there is little evidence of significant impact on teaching practice" (Blin & Munrol, 2008).

Time is a huge issues for staff. Strategies need to be developed to encourage more faculty to invest time and effort, and one of the key factors identified are professional development.

Some interesting findings - it would be interesting to hear how the findings from the data have been used. At the moment they have been sent through to the academic board at the University, and this will then go foward into practical strategies to tailor PD programmes in response to that.
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Building a scaffold for future learning: Whilst the demands increase and the directions change

Gilly Salmon's Tree of LearningImage by mikecogh via Flickr
Gilly Salmon was the first keynote of ASCILITE 2011, and her presentation was accompanied by a visual representation of the presentation as it was underway. She started by talking about her professional 'journey' around the topic of forge (to form or make through concentrated effort...). Gilly used to work for the Open University in the UK and even though the OU was ostensibly 'distance learning' there was quite a few face-to-face tutorials. This became a problem once they opened up programmes in Europe where students were geographically disparate and there was no way that they could drive into, say, Paris on a weekly basis for tutorials. This sparked some creative thinking around hwo to connect and communicate (prior to, for example, graphic user interfaces).

Sesame magazineImage via Wikipedia

Some of the things that Gilly learned on the way 1) if you want the future of learning to work you have to design it; 2) the actual role of facilitation is different to the design process; 3) if you want to know if it's working - ask your students!!

Between 1992 and 1995 Gilly developed a five stage model for productive learning forms around 1) access and motivation, 2 culture building, 3 co-operation, 4 collaboration, 5) development. Once students have forged relationships they are more likely to help each other, and there needs to be motivation to come back again and again...this in particular is to see of there is a message in response to something they have posted. This means someone needs to have posted a response, and the facilitator will need to build this culture. Little easy things should build toward a final larger task. The steps break into roles welcome, host, lead, facilitate and guide. The welcome should be around welcoming a person, and congratulated for coming back, leading is showing how being part of the environment and contributing to it will be of value to them.

Gilly Salmon 5 Stage Cycle for learning with t...Image by vickel_n via Flickr

Gilly broke down the eModerating roles as follows. She advised that you need to recruit people who are more comfortable as guides on the side, and who do not see elearning as a substitute for something better. She emphasised that it is important to train everyone beforehand before letting them loose in the online environment. It's also good if they have had experience of being an eLearning, and who have a 'reflective edge'. The training aspect needs to have aspects of 'weaving and summarising', as well as diversity - although this tends to come with experience rather than being something that you can train people to 'do'.

The five stage model becams a catalyst for many people who started using it to design learning experiences for students. This in turn impacted Gilly who herself started to design programmes in quite a different way.

A storyboard for an eight-minute animated cartoon.Image via Wikipedia

You can't design programmes on your own any more. This is something that Gilly has called Designing together: Carpe Diem which is a model for learing design that uses the five stage model as a foundation, and has since been developed further. The idea was that the session was run over a day, but it actually needs a couple of days. The first day focuses on the design, and the second on the build. Story boarding is a fundamental aspect of the process.

Gilly concluded that your own 'forge' needs to be grounded and practical, driven by needs and a purpose, addresses prior design and deliverly, and is adaptable and flexible.

While there was nothing new in the presentation, it was a superb overview of the development of eLearning and associated design and facilitation considerations...and the importance aspects of how to make 'virtual' learning effective.
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Harnessing the Smartphone Revolution

Picture of Nokia 770 on Finnish WikipediaImage via Wikipedia
Braden Turner (the innovations manager at Vodafone NZ) was a keynote speaker at the ICELF conference, and he spoke about smart devices, and harnessing the 'revolution'. He fronted up by saying that he is not an mLearning expert, and he will be speaking about network capability, and how this will impact education in NZ.

Smartphones have changed significantly in the past couple of years, and Braden reinforced this point by showing a short video. Much of the video focussed on the technology making decisions for you to "make life easier". It felt as though Braden was searching for links between his corporate presenation and how it may relate to education. Wonder if a little more homework might have helped :-) One suggested example was a student reading a text on their smart device, hopping into their car to get to lectures, and the device automatically switching to an MP3 to continue working with the text.

Apparently 33% of people would rather lose their wallet than their phone - you can always borrow cash, but you can't borrow someone else's phone for the day. Ninety one percent of phone owners will keep their phone within 5 meters of themselves 24/7.

Augmented reality is the concept of using your camera on your mobile device to interface with realtiy. For example, you might be reading a text about welding, and the phone will bring up a video about how to weld, and therefore enhancing the learning experience. Hmmm - someone just tweeted about "where is the human in all of this?" - tend to agree.
Person with PDA handheld device.Image via Wikipedia

We were treated to an overview of the future of  the Vodafone network (Long Term Evolution)...while it is interesting to be reassured that, in theory, the network will cope with heaps of students using their smartphone and from any location (e.g. rural locations)....hmmm - a Tui advert in the making ;-)

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eLearning and teacher education: Crossing digital divides

Hanalei: a real Digital Native on the iPadImage by Wayan Vota via Noeline Wright started the presentation with a reference to Prensky's notion of Digital natives and the fact that it was always supposed to be a metaphor, and has since be used in ways that he never initially meant. The notions of digital natives do not replace. for example intuition, good judgement, problem solving, and ability to discern patterns. Also, "in and unimaginable complex future, the digitally unenhanced person, however wise, will not be able to access the tools of wisdom that will be available to even the least wise digitally enhanced human" (Prensky). It suggests that delayed use of these types of tools will be impoverished use. Media should not be regarded merely as teaching aids or tools for learning. Education about the media should be seen seen an indispensable pre-requisite for education with or though media (Buckingham and Burn, 2007).

Critical thinking and metacognitive skills need to be present alongside engagement, intention, deliberation, self-monitoring, and self-regulation (MacDonald et al, 2011). The ability to engage often comes after the means to engage have happened. Engagement does not happen before the ability that they can work on the learning...that it is accessible. while we build self-esteem in students, and that sense of belonging, rather than working with the texts, it will only ever be social. The learners also need to have the confidence to have different points of view, to be able to agree and disagree with each other. "Extended cognition is a core cognitive process, not an add-on extra [because] the brain develops in a way that complements the external structures in ways that people who have not experience these types of interactions would be unable to do. There is a strong link between high achievement and metacognition, which "highlights the importance of learning the self-monitoring and self-regulating behaviours that will ensure task-specific meaning-making" (MacDonald et al, 2011).

The teacher, therefore, guides students through an analysis of the text type, working out what is conveyed, what can be deduced about the writer and/or the origin of the text, how the student located and collected information, and what produce they would create from it.

"Multimodal texts are fast becoming the dominant mode of communication...stdent need to be a discerning user of them" (MacDonald et al, 2011). If the key focus of education is to reduce the distance between a learner and a text, and for the learner to then make that their own - then the role of the teacher is to facilitate the process, and explicit teaching around critical thinking and inference.

Noeline gave some illustrations from initial teacher education, and when she shows them a Web page around a 'Guinea worm' there is often no curiosity or motivation to find out more...do they even exist? What are they? Why might they need to be eradicated? In other words there is little motivation to investigate what the text is.
Noelene closed by saying that what she believes is that there needs to be deliberate acts to teach metacognition, and critical thinking about all types of texts.
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Dialogic inquiry online

The Art of InquiryImage by Candace Nast via FlickrIt was really interesting that Jennie Swann started by indicating the synergies and overlaps between the previous 2 sessions and hers, although she is developing communities of inquiry rather than a CoP as CoPs take time to develop, and the course she works on is only 12 weeks in duration.

Jennie started with a 'conceptual artefact' "students never claimed to be digital natives and we spould stop beating them up for not being epxert online learners. Teach them" @easgill. This was the top tweet from the first day at the conference, and Jennie totally agreed with the thrust of the tweet, and used it as a segue into discussing experiences in MOOCs, in particularly the age of participants. The ones who participated effectively were the ones who have the skills. So there is a gap between Prensky's original assertion that the digital native's students' thinking patterns have changed, and the need to work with things that are familiar.
Students inside a classroom at a college (Miam...Image via Wikipedia

Learners in tertiary, also, are diverse. Research shows that students are skilled at using LMSs, Google, Wikipedia, emails, and mobile phones. Thye have littel familiarity with collaborative knowledge creation tools, virtual worlds, personal web publishing, and other emergent socail technologies. The students do not appear to have radically differnnt patterns of knowledge creation and sharing (Margaryan, Littlejohn, and Voijt).

It has been asserted that learners can, through social software can easily connetct and share with each other leading to conversations. But what do these conversations look like? And what do you do if they don't? Also, (and oft quited reason for not encoouraging coversations)how does the content get coverered?

Ways of knowing underping forms of intellectual and ethcial development in the college environment. Students often, for example, believe that knowledge is certain and it is the role of the teacher to cram this knowledge into our heads and we'll regurgitate this in our exams. Lecturers often feel the same - and the focus is on lower order thinkoing skills....Jennie wondered if that was because there is no compulsory teacher training in tertiary. Once knowledge is not seen as certain, then people can have different points of view on things...it's OK to disagree and discuss.

Contextual knowledge judged on the basis of evidence in context which promostes the applicaiton of knowledge in context and promotes ecaluative discussion of perspectice. In this discourse, teachers and students often critique each other.Lecturers can also use a range of open questions to help initiate discussions. The Web site (Networked Dialogue)  is openly available.

Jennie showed a site that scaffolds students through the process and structure of conversations - it takes them step-by-step., as well as indicating possible issues that might be faced.
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