missmillerslearningjourney

My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

Emergent Session #2 Reflection – Online Learning in the K-12 Classroom

The two readings for this week were focused on online learning in K-12 classrooms in Canada. This perspective provided more insight for those of us that live and work in that context. I have used a ‘What?-So What?-Now What?’ critical reflection framework to guide my thinking on the topic based on the assigned readings, annotations on those readings, and class discussion.

“CoderDojo Linz” by rainerstropek@yahoo.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What? 

Online learning is becoming a more prevalent option for students because of the increase in technology application pedagogy, and understanding and Canada’s low population density (Blomgren, 2017). The online learning model allows students from remote communities as well as students that do not fit into the regular classroom, for whatever reason, an opportunity for equitable access to education.

One of the major points that Blomgren (2017) brings up in the article is that in order to strengthen the understanding of online education, there needs to be a refinement and agreement on terminology in this field. The language used to refer to online education and the frameworks that help to build their platforms, differ from province to province in Canada. Therefore, how is there supposed to be growth when there is no common understanding or direction for learning? I guess I was naive in the fact that there was a common language being used. I assumed that because Canada is often a leader in the field of education, the provincially and federally, the language within the context of education would be the same. Because of this, there is change being made and research being done in isolation in provinces but there does not seem to be federal plan or goal that educators are moving towards in the field of online education.

Therefore, it begs the question, is online learning becoming the ‘food back of education’ rather than an appropriate quality alternative? In order to be an alternative instead of a choice, there needs to be research into how to create learning platforms and frameworks that provide the same (and more) opportunities for learning as in class. In order to develop effective online learning opportunities, educators have to  take into account specific teaching practices that are different from classroom teaching (Crosslin, 2018). Below is a list of  her suggestions based on research in the field:

  • spending time and resources to create a high quality learning experience
  • creating lessons that focus on more active engagement and less on passive content
  • shorter course duration’s with simple, straight forward organization
  • less focus time on videos to watch and/or text to read per week
  • one topic or module per week
  • complete the entire course design before the start date
  • utilizing networked learning and interactive activities
  • instructors that participate in the social media outlets and discussion forums
  • listening to and responding promptly to participant concerns
  • connecting content with current events and current life experiences of the learners (time built into the schedule for educators to do this)
  • well written goals/objectives/competencies accompanied by content and activities that align well with them
  • clear communication for ALL aspects of the course

The communication piece is key, especially more so in an online learning environment. As Crosslin (2018) notes in her article, there are many different communication types that educators can be utilizing in their teaching (see below)

From (Crosslin, 2018)

As Leanne mentioned in one of her annotations for this week, she has a hard time as an online educator being able to monitor where students are at in their understanding as so much of the information we as teachers gather from students on a day to day basis in the classroom is based on our observations. She has noticed that there are a few assertive students in her classes that will reach out if they are encountering issues, however, others do not. In order to ensure all students are supported and are successful in online learning platforms, there needs to be a baseline and a general understanding of ‘best practices’.

Online learning programs and frameworks might be a great first step in some of the remote communities in Canada as it allows for flexible time and spaces. However, due to continuing issues, there seems to be a lack of connectivity and buy-in in some communities in Canada (Blomgren, 2017).  Due to historic atrocities, there has been a systemic lack of care and support for Indigenous communities by the government (Episkenew, 2009).

So What? 

The big question that has come out of these readings, for me, is how can there be systemic change when there is different language used across the country on the topic of online education? If there are different institutions running different programs and talking about education in different ways, it creates a fragmented general understanding. Technology is already an ever changing domain in which educators often do not feel competent in their understanding. So how can we expect educators to just jump on board when there is really no guidelines or safety nets? And especially for administrators, it is not fair for us to be asking our staff to be moving in a direction that is so unknown and with very little support. We are currently seeing push-back from teachers on this in Ontario based on the new proposed graduation criteria (Mauracher, 2020).

Connected to the lack of direction for online learning, there also seems to be a growing concern in this realm about ethics and privacy. Educational technology changes so fast and educators often want to embrace the newest toy in order to engage their learners. As a result, students are engaging on platforms that are not protecting their information and identity online. This puts children at risk.

Another question that came out of the reading and came up in small group discussion, was about the possibility to have a meaningful classes without grades. Elementary schools in British Columbia are testing out alternatives, such as a proficiency scale, use of a digital portfolio, and different descriptors but it is coming with limited success. Based on my own experiences, the younger students enjoy descriptive feedback and understand the proficiency scale, but as they get older, parents are still concerned with letter grades and percentages as they are getting ready to transition into post-secondary. Parents and students often compare the scales and feedback to letter grades anyways the emphasis continues to be on the number as opposed to the skills and content knowledge they have acquired. And this definitely has an effect on students learning.

Now What? 

I am currently a grade two teacher in a district that does not have online learning opportunities provided to students. Therefore, there is not much that I can apply to my educators toolbox in regards to effective online teaching practices.

However, what I can take into consideration in my role as a classroom teacher and Vice Principal, is to be more conscious about the technology that we bring into the building. We need to ensure that we are teaching them skills that they would not know otherwise, but doing it through ethical technology and platforms that will keep their privacy secure. My school district is now starting to take things on at a more district level (e.g. iPad apps are now uploaded and sent out from district IT and any new apps have to be reviewed by an ethics team). At a school level I can remind teachers about the importance of this, as well as model it through my own teaching.

 


References

Blomgren, C. (2017). Current Trends and Perspectives in the K-12 Canadian Blended and Online Classroom. In N. Ostashewski, J. Howell, & M. Cleveland-Innes (Eds.), Optimizing K-12 Education through Online and Blended Learning. Information Science Reference. 10.4018/978-1-5225-0507-5 http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=https://www.igi-global.com/gateway/chapter/full-text-html/159551

Crosslin, M. (2018). Effective Practices. In M. Crosslin (Ed.),Creating Online Learning Experiences. Mavs Open Press. https://uta.pressbooks.pub/onlinelearning/chapter/chapter-5-effective-practices

Episkenew, J. (2009). Taking back our spirits: Indigenous literature, public policy, and healing. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Mauracher, J. (2020, January 22). What is e-learning and why does it have some Ontario teachers concerned? Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/6444006/e-learning-in-ontario-schools/

Module #6 Reflection

What?

Siemens, G., Gašević, D., & Dawson, S. (2015). Preparing for the Digital University: A Review of the History and Current State of Distance, Blended, and Online Learning. Retrieved from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website: Pages 199-230 http://linkresearchlab.org/PreparingDigitalUniversity.pdf

  • Focus on: Future Technology Infrastructures for Learning
    • exploration of future technology infrastructures are required in order to help higher education prepare for next generation learning opportunities
    • this paper explores four factors that influence future technologies: who has control, how well are the technologies integrated with other tool-sets and the experiences of learners, who has ownership of the data and the technology, what is the nature of learning structure in terms of centralization and decentralization
    • knowledge has become an easily accessible commodity, resulting in greater emphasis on learning opportunities
    • the technologies selected by teachers will determine the quality of learning, the scope of teaching practices, and ultimately, how well learners are equipped for both employment and engagement in democratic and equitable models of modern global society (just like any other choice of material in a classroom)

Selwyn, N., Hillman, T., Eynon, R., Ferreira, G., Knox, J., Macgilchrist, F., & Sancho-Gil, J. M. (2019). What’s next for Ed-Tech? Critical hopes and concerns for the 2020s. Learning, Media and Technology, 1–6. http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=https://doi.org/10/ggc9w2

  • It is clear that digital technologies are a significant factor in the ways in which our day-to-day lives are different from 20 years ago
  • Therefore, will probably be a significant factor in how the future is shaped
  • Education is still struggling with the same problems (even before the computer was introduced) – deficiencies in resourcing, inequalities of opportunity, poor quality teaching, curriculum and school organization (likely to continue to plague the education system)
  • 6 substantial challenges that the authors expect critical educational technology scholarship to meets as the new decade progresses
    • new forms of digital in/exclusion – individuals who are well resourced and have strong educational backgrounds are most likely to benefit the most from digital education
      • tried to aid this by improving tech in school and homes (this focuses on responsibility for their position in society on themselves, and this response treats technology as an inherently ‘good’ thing
    • platform economies in an age of artificial intelligence
      • people are hungry for data as a result
    • ‘Divisions of learning’ across humans and machines
      • machines now seem capable of learning our habits and influencing our choices in unprecedented way
    • IT industry actors as a leading educational force
      • should major tech corporations continue to exercise ‘soft power’ in influencing and shaping education decision-making, while all the time profiting from the decisions being made?
    • Reimaging forms of EdTech suitable for an age of climate change
      • digital technologies have been excessively consumed and discarded over the past 20 years in the name of ‘innovation’
    • Finding alternatives: solidary economies, convivial technology, respectful design

Downes, S. (2019). A Look at the Future of Open Educational Resources. International Journal of Open Educational Resources, 1(2). Retrieved from https://www.ijoer.org/a-look-at-the-future-of-open-educational-resources/

  • This article explores the impact of four major types of technoloogy on our understanding of OER – cloud infrastructure, open data, artificial intelligence, and decentralized networks
  • A web page today is not just somewhere to find information, but a dynamic resource – connected to live data generated by cloud services
  • New models of open educational resources  will be more like tools that students use in order to create their own learning content – learning happens through the use of the content (not the consumption of the content)
  • licensing issues fade into the background? – learning resources distributed through decentralized networks
  • creators of OER will need to reflect and be cognizant of the learning environment (and experiences within that environment) that they are creating – will require practice and application on new learning design

So what?

  • Where is the most significant and influential learning happening in our societies? – this is a very interesting question (depends on the context and purpose)
  • Is there much movement into critical EdTech research?

Now what?

  • (From our breakout session) How do you develop OpenEd/MOOC spaces and balance the online platform and connection/interaction between students engaged in the program?
  • I always come back to this question – who is going to make the change? (where does the push come for the move away from colonizing technology – consumers?) *if that’s the case, what is their incentive to change?

Module #5 Reflection

What?

Funes, M., & Mackness, J. (2018). When inclusion excludes: A counter narrative of open online education. Learning, Media and Technology, 43(2), 119–138. http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2018.1444638

  • Key questions:
    • Is participation in open education social media environments inclusive?
    • Does open online education succeed in breaking up exclusionary structures?
  • This article states that the outlook on open education is one of aspiration and not based in reality
    • Pasquale (2016) suggests two potential approaches for dislodging mainstream ideology
      • critique cumulative research and challenge the premises of the mainstream narrative to cast ‘suspicion’ on its givens (confirm own theories with research and disregard relevant dis-confirming literature)
      • move outside of the mainstream ideology by offering a counter-narrative

Knox, J. (2019). What Does the ‘Postdigital’ Mean for Education? Three Critical Perspectives on the Digital, with Implications for Educational Research and Practice. Postdigital Science and Education. http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-019-00045-y

  • Intention of this paper is to highlight the need for educational practice and research to pay more attention to the ways digital technologies are shaping the core of education
  • Three different perspectives on shifting relationships with digital technology, with specific relevance for educational concerns
    • economic rationales underpinning educational technology, focusing on the platform and assumed benefits of sharing (digital as capital)
    • role of the digital in educational policy
    • increasing attention paid to issues of labour and the exploitation of natural resources required to produce digital technologies

Caines, A., & Glass, E. (2019, Fall). Education before Regulation: Empowering Students to Question Their Data Privacy. EDUCAUSE Review, 54(4). Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2019/10/education-before-regulation-empowering-students-to-question-their-data-privacy

  • privacy violations have whittled away consumers trust when it comes to data online
  • in order to better understand how your data is collected and the potential risks of this collection, consider these questions:
    • What types of personal data do you think are collected through your use of digital tools for educational activities?
    • What value does your personal data have for different contexts and entities?
    • Who owns your personal data, who can sell it, and who can use it?
    • Do you have concerns about how your personal data can be used? If so, what are they?
    • Are there aspects of your identity or life that you feel would put you in a place of special vulnerability if certain data were known about you or used against you?

So What?

  • How is the counter-narrative going to help improve the flaws in open education?
  • The concern about how technology is changing the ‘humanness’ of the world = postdigital
    • There is no moving away from technology right now, it is infiltrating every part of our lives, so what is the point?
    • seems very altruistic and not based in reality

Now What?

  • Conversation came up in class about how even as adults we are unaware of how much personal information is shared online
  • We are not getting away from technology…so what are ways in which we can equip students to be more aware of what they are sharing and where?
  • Are people really aware/scared enough about sharing their information? (lots of companies, school districts, and universities do not have restrictions on what/how information is shared online by their employees)

Module #4 Reflection

What?

OPEN SCHOLARSHIP

Veletsianos, G., & Shaw, A. (2018). Scholars in an increasingly open and digital world: Imagined audiences and their impact on scholars’ online participation. Learning, Media and Technology, 43(1), 17–30. http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2017.1305966

  • More and more scholars are using social media for a variety of teaching, learning, and professional activities (e.g. share and disseminate research finding through their own blogs or on dedicated sites like ResearchGate, LinkedIn for professional branding, or use of Twitter to cultivate networks to connect, support, and share resources)
    • only a few post secondary institutions have clear and accessible social media policies in regards to engagement and sharing online
  • Being acutely aware of ones audience is an essential aspect of communicating effectively online
    • rely on limited cues
  • When engaging on social media for professional purposes, recognition of blurred personal and professional boundaries
  • ALL academics engaging online reflected on these: SHARING, FILTERING, and PROJECTING
  • Study adds to increasing evidence that scholars online participation is intentional and thoughtful

OPEN DATA

Atenas, J., Havemann, L., & Priego, E. (2015). Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Towards Transversal Skills and Global Citizenship. Open Praxis, 7(4). https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.7.4.233

  • Open Data is the name given to datasets which have been generated by international oganizations, governments, NGO’s and academic researchers, and made freely available online and openly-licensed
  • These datasets can be used by educators as OER to support different teaching and learning activities
    • good for developing critical analysis of data sets

MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES (MOOCS)

Rohs, M., & Ganz, M. (2015). MOOCs and the Claim of Education for All: A Disillusion by Empirical Data. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(6). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2033/3527

OPEN ACCESS RESEARCH

Couture, M. (2017, July 12). Academic Publishing at a Crossroads. University Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/academic-publishing-crossroads/

  • There are 5 publishing giants that now publish the majority of academic papers – in excess of US$10billion
  • Librarians are hard pressed by finding cuts and subscriptions cost increases well above the inflation rate – but still need to meet demands of researchers

So What?

  • Teaching students about developing their online portfolio
  • How does the imagined audience impact what and how you interact online?
  • Developing of academic capital by engaging with a variety of people and providing insight on a topic over a period of time (George Curous talked about this in our summer course) – how to create a presence online
  • OpenData makes learning more relevant to students (information is real and not ‘made up’ for the purpose of doing the work)
  • Why would publishers move to open access when it is a profitable business right now? Pressure from users?
  • Librarians are big supporters of open access

Now What?

  • If we had not had the opportunity to see each other and connect over the summer, would our interactions in this course be different? Would there be as much discussion and conversation synchronously and asynchronously?
  • How can we use Open Data in the elementary context? Is there relevant, accessible, and easily understandable data out there for kids? How do we know it is valid and reliable?
  • Using OpenData to develop global citizenship – compare and contrast data from different areas and have conversations about the reason

Module #3 Reflection – Open Educational Practices and Learning Design

“Learning is Hanging Out” by cogdogblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This week’s readings are about open educational practices and learning design for online education.  I have used a ‘What?-So What?-Now What?’ critical reflection framework to guide my thinking on the topic based on the assigned readings, annotations on those readings, and class discussion.

What? 

When it comes to educational philosophies, there are many theories that help teachers determine their thoughts and beliefs about students needs, abilities, and the way they learn best. These approaches have always been discussed in terms of traditional classroom teaching. However, as times are changing, it is important to review pedagogical approaches and schools of thought when planning and teaching in a digital world.

To teach online you have to have the same skills as a classroom teacher – it is the same. This comment riled up the conversation in our large group discussion like never before. Initially I had the same perspective and thought that a good online educator had to have the same skills as a classroom teacher. However, through conversation, I learned that it takes those skills and more. Leanne and some of her other U-Connect colleagues shared that there is so much that they have to think about as online educators that classroom teachers just intuitively do when face-to-face with students (e.g. formative assessment, classroom management, time spent on task, access to technology, testing, pacing, and accessibility of units of study.

The role of an online educator is changing and it has now become a facilitator, content expert, manager, pedagogical expert, socialite, technical guru, and quality assesor (Shé Ní, Farrell, Brunton,  Costello, Donlon, Trevaskis, & Eccles, 2019). Shé Ní et al. (2019) completed research that clearly noted the competencies that characterize effective online teaching. See chart below.

Conole et al. (2004) thoughtfully mapped out key learning theories, their main characteristics, and how they might be effective in the context of online learning. Two of the most interesting approaches were activity-based and experiential learning.  Activity-based theory is a recent realization that the development of content alone does not lead to more effective learning and that there is a need to structure and foster learning environments to enable communities to develop. By using the web as a networking tool, learners have more diverse access to different forms of expertise, experiences, and collaborative groups. An experiential learning approach in online education could be the use asynchronous communication. This offers a new form of discourse which is not bound by time, allows opportunities for people in a variety of places equal access, and offers increased opportunity for reflective thought before participation.

However, over the past ten years, researchers have found a lack of application of models and theories by educators in the field of online learning (Conole et al., 2004). They speculate that is due to overwhelming array of perspectives. Which I totally agree with. Even through my experience in my undergrad education courses, there were so many different philosophies and approaches to teaching and learning. And we just noted which ones were similar to our own beliefs of children. But on a day to day level, it is not something that I think about and/or reference when planning my teaching. So I can understand how it would be the same for teachers teaching online.

But I also understand the importance of understanding and applying a few of the approaches in an online teaching environment because there is often a lack of structure everywhere else (e.g. communication, grading, communication, etc.). Through the research, it has been found that toolkits are and effective way of having teachers consider and plan with theoretical concerns in mind.

“By mapping and aligning learning theories, it will be possible to outline the features of theories in a way that scaffolds users’ engagement with these ideas; in addition, representation of this process using the model provides an opportunity to make the relationship between theory and practice more explicit” (Conole et al., 2004, p. 22).

Another approach to designing programs for online learning is presented by Dabbagh in 2005.  She presents a theory-based design framework for e-learning that focuses on the  interaction between pedagogical models, instructional strategies, and learning technologies (Dabbagh, 2005).

This frameworks reminds me of the TPACK framework that is released in 2006 by Mishra and Koehler. Both models take into account the physical technology, instructional strategies, and peoples personal pedagogical constructs in order to build effective and sustainable practices.

Learning design has also emerged in the last 20 years as a new methodology to help educators make more pedagogically informed design decisions that make appropriate use of digital technologies. There are a variety of learning theories that can be used to promote different pedagogical approaches. Each emphasize different ways to foster communication, collaboration, and reflection as well as different types of blended learning approaches (e.g. experiential learning, embodied learning, multiliteracies, and gamification) (Conole, 2018).  Digital technologies can be used to implement these approaches, however they require new approaches to design. Learning Activity Management Systems (LAMS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) are tools for designing, managing, and delivering online learning activities and content.

So What? 

My number one question that comes out of these readings is – what does mapping pedagogy for e-learning look like in elementary schools? I would assume that at a district level, the superintendents reflect on their personal pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning as well as research based on what is best for children. And then based on their (and their team’s values) they push out information and opportunities to their employees. However, I have a harder time when it comes to individual schools. Each educator is going to have a different pedagogical approach. I have been thinking about different frameworks to share and discuss pedagogical approaches with our school staff in order to develop a school-wide technology plan. And I think that by discussing pedagogical approaches, it will ensure for more buy in, and therefore, a more sustainable plan.

Through readings and class discussions, we have come to the agreement that teaching online is, in fact, different than classroom teaching. However, why are we not educating our online teachers in a different way? The U-Connect teachers have had the same education that classroom teachers have had. And the only additional training they have received on LMS’s has been through their own district or school-based professional development. Who is teaching these new approaches to design? Is it part of the undergrad programs within the education department now? And how are we teaching teachers that are already in the field? These are all questions that I still have around online education. If we want the community to see it as a valid alternative to a classroom environment, then we need to ensure that teachers feel competent and confident. And this means putting the time and money into changing some post secondary programs to include more education on e-learning. The community will buy in when they see the the movement is supported by the education system as a whole.

Shé Ní et al. (2019) has provided a framework that notes the most effective way of delivering professional development to online educators. See graphic below.

Another conversation that came up in class discussion was on the topic of Learning Management Systems (LMS’s).  LMS’s are platforms that are used by teachers to organize, manage, and share content for online courses. There are only a few out there that are widely used by educational institutions (e.g. Blackboard, Moodle, etc.). They seem pretty static and have been relatively unchanged over the past five years. Some questions that came up and do not really have a definite answer are:

  • Who is providing input on LMS? Are we getting parent/student feedback in order to update systems?
  • How often are systems updated to integrate new technology?
  • How are LMS’s using artificial intelligence to support students and provide more detailed information to teachers teaching online? (e.g. tracking eye movements, etc.)

Now What?

Now, how does this affect me? I am a grade two teacher and Vice-Principal at my school site. Throughout these readings, I thought about how I, as a leader, could start mapping out a technology plan using a pedagogical framework as support. I hope to start by having a conversation based on the ISTE standards and which ones they agree that they are doing well and which ones are important and need more time being spent on it. I am hoping that that will start to give me an idea where peoples pedagogical approaches are within the context of educational technology.


References:

Conole, G., Dyke, M., Oliver, M., & Seale, J. (2004). Mapping pedagogy and tools for effective learning design. Computers & Education, 43(1–2), 17–33. http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2003.12.018

Conole, G. (2018). Learning Design and Open Education. International Journal of Open Educational Resources. Retrieved from https://www.ijoer.org/learning-design-and-open-education_doi-10-18278-ijoer-1-1-6/

Dabbagh, N. (2005). Pedagogical Models for E-Learning: A Theory-Based Design Framework. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 1(1), 25–44. http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.475.4593&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Mishra, P. & Koehler, M.J. (2006). Technological Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108 (6), 1017-1054. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.523.3855&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Shé Ní, C., Farrell, O., Brunton, J.,  Costello, E., Donlon, E., Trevaskis, S., & Eccles, S. (2019). Teaching online is different: Critical perspectives from the literature. Retrieved from Dublin City University website: https://openteach.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Teaching-online-is-different.pdf

Module #2 Reflection

What?

Below are summary notes of concepts and topics covered in each article. Following that is how it is important to the field of Educational Technology and me as a teacher and administrator in BC.

Friesen, N. (2009). Open Educational Resources: New Possibilities for Change and Sustainability. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(5). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v10i5.664

  • results of an informal survey about collections of online educational resources (specifically longevity and attributes associated)
  • some downfalls from old open educational resources  in regards to lack of sustainability
    • none prioritized open content through creative commons licensing
    • not limited to specific subject area (too broad)
    • started between 2001 and 2003
    • lack of ongoing funding
  • Therefore, these things need to be in place for a new platform to have more hope for long term usage

Conole, G., & Brown, M. (2018). Reflecting on the Impact of the Open Education Movement. Journal of Learning for Development – JL4D, 5(3). Retrieved from
http://jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/314

  • Critiques the rise and impact of the Open Education movement (primarily in higher education) – in terms of impact on learning it focuses on three aspects: open educational resources, e-textbooks, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) in regards to learning, teaching and research
  • Describes three frameworks that help structure the implementation – 7 C’s of Learning Design, the SAMR model, and the ICAP framework
  • Open Education definition: “resources, tools, and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide” (Open Education Consortium, n.d.) *evolving term that covers a range of philosophies and practices aiming at widening access to learning
    • Not a new concept, but new tools due to new digital technologies (especially social media)
    • They aren’t all good – depends on how they are used
  • Benefits of Open Education (from the OpenEdOz project, 2016)
    • economies of scale through collaborative co-production of learning resources
    • opportunities to raise the quality of learning at decreased time and financial cost
    • enable provision of learning materials that are richer and more appropriate to the contexts and styles of learning of an increasingly diverse student community
    • opportunities to provide learning to disadvantaged communities in remote and rural locations
    • promote greater collaboration between universities in fostering peer review and collegial development of learning materials
    • when used appropriately, they facilitate greater levels of transparency into the teaching process
  • in order to effectively implement digital technologies to support open learning, teachers need to adopt new approaches to learning design (7 C’s, SAMR, ICAP)
  • 7 C’s of Learning Design (see visual from article below)

  • ICAP Framework (Interactive, Constructive, Active, and Passive) *defines cognitive engagement activities
    • this hypothesis predicts that as students become more engaged with the learning materials, from passive to active to constructive to interactive, their learning will increase
  • SAMR Model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition)
    • framework for designers to create optimal learning experiences
    • learning activities that fall within the substitution and augmentation classifications are said to ENHANCE learning, while learning activities that fall within the modification and redefinition classifications are said to TRANSFORM learning

So what?

  • SUSTAINABILITY – 6 of the sites listed in the resources are no longer available
  • Online educational coursework is available through MIT, but you cannot get a degree unless you pay to be a part of the program (This is becoming more prevalent – eg. MOOC’s through UBC)
  • Tracy had a great comment of Hypothesis – “Why limit myself to a collection when I can google what I need and source from there?”
  • Use of site with collections of online material for teaching (TeachersPayTeachers) – there is so much out there already, there is no need to reinvent the wheel unless you have to
  • How to make MOOC’s accessible to all yet differentiated for different types of learners (what does mass produced really mean?)
  • E-Textboks allow learners to access their learning resources from anywhere
  • E-texts also help to decrease students environmental impact (no need to print and reprint texts based on updated information)
  • Makes learning accessible to a wider demographic
  • lack of understanding in the post secondary world about how to recognize learning through OER and MOOC’s

Now what?

  • Hard for some teachers to move away from textbooks and online (especially with the ‘new’ curriculum – not a lot of resources provided) *teachers have to work harder to collate and develop their resources *easy for them to move through the chapters (but this limits access and students understanding of concepts)
  • How are we getting devices into the hands of less privileged demographics in order to level the playing field of access to education?
  • Class discussion about the digital component of high school courses in Ontario
    • good for students to start developing the skills and strategies to independently move through course content online
    • is there a conversation about balance of digital vs. classroom teaching and learning (how much time are students spending online per day – inside and outside of the classroom?) *some of the teachers at my school right now are struggling with this issue*

Module #1 Reflection: History of Open Education

Below are short summary notes of each reading along with my reflection on some of the major topics, why they are important, and how it affects my personal perspective and approach to teaching .

What

Weller, M. (2018, August). Twenty Years of Edtech. EDUCAUSE Review, 53(4). Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/7/twenty-years-of-edtech

  • EdTech is a fast changing field
  • Over the last 20 years, here are the most popular edtech topics:
    • Wikis – a jointly editable website
    • E-Learning (primarily post-secondary focused)
    • Learning Objects
    • Standards for E-Learning platforms
    • Open Educational Resources (OER’s)
    • Blogs
    • LMS (Learning Management Systems)
    • Videos (e.g. Youtube, Vimeo, etc.)
    • Web 2.0
    • Virtual Worlds
    • E-Portfolios
    • Twitter and Social Media
    • Connectivism
    • Personal Learning Environments (PLE’s)
    • Massive Open Online Communities (MOOC’s)
    • Open Textbooks
    • Learning Analytics
    • Digital Badges
    • Return of Artificial Intelligence
    • Blockchain

Weller notes that technologies in education tend to come back around. For example, Learning Objects were the first step to making teaching content reusable; and the ideas that were generated from learning about them lead to the creation of Open Educational Resources (OER’s). He states the importance of anyone working in the field of educational technology to understand the history in order to use and improve ideas to move forward.

Zawacki-Richter, O., & Naidu, S. (2016). Mapping research trends from 35 years of publications in Distance Education. Distance Education, 37(3), 245–269. http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2016.1185079

This article maps out trends in education by analyzing the titles and abstracts of research papers on the topic of distance education over a 34 year time period (1980-2014) in five year intervals. So much has changed over the last decade in educational technology, yet not much is documented or remembered as things change and warp so fast. The trends are dictating that OER’s and MOOCs are an evolving part of the distance education field.

Peter, S., & Deimann, M. (2013). On the role of openness in education: A historical reconstruction. Open Praxis, 5(1), 7–14. https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.5.1.23

Peter and Deimann review the history of openness in education from the middle ages to the present. In the middle ages, open education began with student universities and public lectures.  Then moving on to coffee houses, open universities, and more recently MIT OWC, MOOC’s, and Coursera. There is much to be learned from the history of open education in order to continually develop the current space of open education.

So What

As discussed in our class meeting, one of the comments in Wellers article seem to be counter intuitive – things have changed massively, yet nothing has changed. Through conversation we came to the agreement that the structure of education is still the same, but the ways in which we interact and engage students is changing.  For example, new technology is always being  introduced into classrooms and they are often engaging students in a different way, however, it hasn’t changed education as a whole. And that the technology revolution is more about managing the experience of education, not changing the education system as a whole.

One of the important tidbits of information that came out of these articles was the fact that learning about the history of open education is important in order to figure out what has been done before and how to implement that  in the future. As we looked through the list of past open education resources, things have tended to repeat themselves. So the question for new innovations in educational technology is to develop sustainability in open communities. There are often so many new ‘toys’ or applications that come and go. But how can we ensure that they are going to be effective and sustainable long term?

Another topic that came out of the class discussion was how to open source education and research. How/why would researchers spend time on a project if they weren’t getting compensated in some way. So in turn, what company is going to provide resources free of charge from people who are providing them free of charge?! It is hard to get people to do work and then give it away for ‘free’.

Now What

Here are some questions that are going to help guide me in my technology implementation:

  • What open education resources do I use and take advantage of?
  • What open education resources do I provide for staff and/or students?
  • How can I choose open educational resources that will sustain? Are there indicators based on historical research?

Reflection on Technology Handbook Summaries – What’s in it for me?

What issues were the most interesting for you and why?

It is clear across all articles in this book, that knowledge has not increased at the same rate as technology innovation has. New technology applications and platforms are being introduced faster that teachers and students have time to experiment with and dabble in. The important thing that Information Technology leaders in schools need to remember, is that it is not the quantity of technology or even the usage of current technology, but how it is helping the learners in the space. Just because a platform or software is new, doesn’t mean that it is the best thing to support students. There is no perfect delivery system, it depends on the individual what is going to work best.

“good usage is the usage that matches instruction and gets the best outcomes for students”

Something that really stuck out to me from one of the chapters was the idea that just because students are exposed to a lot of technology at home, we should not assume that because they are competent technology users. I have seen this first hand as a primary teacher. Students self-report extended technology access and programming at home. This usually entitles video games and YouTube. However, these applications do not help students develop skills to use technology appropriately. For the most part, they do not know how to type, do not know how to search information, use technology to make life easier, or what applications are outside of the gaming ones they are always on.

One thing that my district is quite interested in right now is assessment. As our curriculum in BC has changed, our assessment practices need to change as well. With the increase in technology, assessing the use of technology and using technology to assess has revolutionized assessment. As mentioned by one of the groups, assessment needs to be multifaceted. In our district, we have developed an assessment visual that shows the different things you need to consider when developing your assessments – insure its clear and intentional, timely and ongoing, inclusive, communicates student learning, and is a shared responsibility between student, teachers, and family.

Another aspect of technology that I found interesting was the use of game simulation to help solve real world problems. Students are building engagement through the use of this new approach and not only developing technology skills but also problem solving and collaboration skills. It is something very interesting in theory but something else in practice I think. I was in one of our Grade 6/7 classes last week doing coverage and I decided to bring in something fun. I decided to have the students do a Breakout EDU game. I made quite a few assumptions before bringing it into the class – such as, they had knowledge of breakout games and that they had strong problem solving and persistence. I was quickly shown otherwise. Students were quickly frustrated when the instructions did not tell them exactly what to do. And they did very little to move closer to the answer. I had to start providing hints in order to get them re-engaged and successful. For next time, I will ensure I start with an easier activity and maybe do one as a whole group before having them engage in small group work.

Technology is an interesting concept in elementary classrooms. There are so many opportunities to provide students in order to develop curricular and core competencies, however, it’s hard to know what is best.

 

Which issues have implications for you in your own personal situation (both in your current position and in your current research topic for your MEd project.?

I am coming to understand this more and more. I originally thought of my job as constantly bringing in new things to staff to explore. But that can be extremely overwhelming, especially for those staff members that are already uncomfortable with technology and are hesitant to change their ways. I am coming to the realization that instead, it is important that teachers feel that they have input, time to practice, and support from other teachers and admin in the building. Trevor and I’s chapter was all about Educational Leadership in the field of IT. The main message was about how to create the space for optimal learning and growing and how to foster that as a leader within a school staff.

This means spending time having discussions as staff about our pedagogy and values around technology in education. Until you do that, as a leader, you will not have a solid understanding of where the staff are coming from and will not be able to choose new technology initiatives that fulfill the schools needs, wants, and goals.

It’s also important as a leader, to understand what the possible factors for disruption there are, in order to mitigate as many as we can. There can be a lack of time given to staff to experiment and play with technology before bringing it into their classroom. As a result, there is a lack of experience which leads to being uncomfortable. And we all know that no teacher wants to teach from a place of discomfort. In addition, depending on what generation you grew up in – you may have more or less risk tolerance and self-help strategies when it comes to technology. Availability is a huge factor as well at schools around the world. It is a rarity that all students have access to a device. Therefore, it’s important to have some supplemental devices and activities that do not need to be completed online. And access to funds could either help or hinder this. In many schools in my districts, there are strong PAC’s which raise a lot of money to help buy and maintain technology. Whereas in other schools, that is not always the case. There is also the agendas of stakeholders to keep in mind. When  technology is introduced to a school or a district, there are usually already agendas that administrators have before presenting. It’s difficult to get buy-in from teachers when it is an initiative that is being done to them and for them instead of with/alongside them.

One thing that I really liked from the K-12 Tech Usage Report linked below, was the Batavia district strategy in regards to technology integration. It consists of 3 levels:

    • Core materials that get widespread use
    • Supplemental materials for remediation or enrichment
    • Materials that might just meet an individual school/student/teacher need *these are few and far between and often transition into the second section

This provides a good way to categorize technology apps and usage with staff in a way that is clear.

Something I would like to learn more about, connected to my M.Ed project:

  • How to use technology to enhance assessment – especially when job sharing/have multiple teachers?
  • How to use technology to share the learning that is going on in my classroom/community through digital portfolios for primary students?
  • Where is the balance between technology use in classrooms and place-based learning outdoors? What skills can we develop with the use of the one over the other? Or both?
  • How to harness students experience with social media/technology to share their outdoor learning experiences? (YouTube? Class Instagram? FreshGrade?)

Resources:

  • Voogt, G. Knezak, R. Christensen, & K-W, Lai (Eds.) Second Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education, pp. 3-12. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71054-9]

Models for Technology Implementation in Schools – TPACK vs. SAMR

My context is that I am currently a grade two teacher, the Vice Principal, and the technology support teacher at my school. The school district that I am a part of strongly supports technology use in the classroom and are often pushing out different types of opportunities. With the school and PAC funds that we have access to, our school is equipped with iPads and Chromebooks and students in Grades 4-7 are strongly encouraged to invest in a personal device. We also have dropdown projectors in all classrooms and a SmartBoard in our school library. I would say, for the most part, that the technology devices and applications that we use within our school have either been suggested by the district or apps that are gaining public popularity. As I applied for this Master’s program, I was hoping that it would help me to tighten up our systems, develop a vision for our school, and a structure to more thoughtfully reflect on what and how to implement ‘new’ technology into our practice.

Through these readings, I am leading more towards the TPACK model. There seems to be more research behind the implementation and use of the model to develop and create deep learning experiences for classroom teacher and students. As an administrator, it would push me to be extremely thoughtful and intentional with what I brought to staff. I would have to think about the content knowledge, technologic knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge of all staff.

“The basis of effective teaching with technology, requiring an understanding of the representation of concepts using technologies; pedagogical techniques that use technologies in constructive ways to teach content; knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology and help redress some of the problems that students face; knowledge of students prior knowledge and theories of epistemology; and knowledge of how technologies can be used to build on existing knowledge to develop new epistemologies or strengthen old ones” (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

Teaching is a complicated and confusing profession and with the addition of technology, it often just becomes an add on. In the past, I have found that our school brings in technology that is new and exciting but it often sits unused because teachers don’t have an understanding of how to use it, how it will assist in developing their pedagogical understanding, and how it will help enhance content knowledge – a perfect example of that is our SmartBoard. Something that could change the way that technology is perceived and understood would be to go through the different types of knowledge need to be developed before the full introduction of a new technology or application. Providing the research, having conversations with staff about our collective understanding and vision in regards to technology, providing sessions for educators to play around an explore with the technology, and building content capacity before introducing a technology to support.

However, I think the SAMR model also has a place in the school. I think it serves as a great reminder to implement a variety of technology in the classroom. We shouldn’t be spending all of our time at the bottom with substitution and augmentation and challenge ourselves to modify and redefine the learning in classroom with technology. The reference of the SAMR model with staff, could provoke thought provoking question and reminders about what we are doing in our classroom – such as why are we using what we are using in the first place? Is it the best thing to do? Is it going to have an impact on the learning? It provides a starting point to have conversations about technology. Based on the articles given for this week’s readings, there doesn’t seem to be much research about the process of implementing the structure and many questions surrounding the efficacy of the SAMR model. In the education community, there seems to be concerns around the contextual implementation of the model, rigid structure where activities are only supposed to fall within one of the four levels, and the primary focus on product instead of process of learning (Hamilton & Rosenberg et al., 2016). Therefore, I would start by moving through the TPACK model when implementing or introducing new technology, and use the SAMR model to facilitate discussion around what we are already doing and what we can move towards.

 

Resources:

Hamilton, E.R., Rosenberg, J.M. & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model: a Critical Review and Suggestions for its Use. TechTrends 60(5), 433-441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0091-y

Koehler, M. & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)?. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education.  https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/29544/.

Clark vs. Kozma – Media and Learning

Image result for technology fighting
The Clark versus Kozma debate on the connection between media and learning has been going on for decades.  It all started in 1983 when Clark stated that media “are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence students achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causing changes in nutrition” (Clark, 1983, p. 445).  Based on articles on the topic at the time, Clark made the definitive argument that there are no learning benefits to the use of technology and to not continue wasting effort on the question until a new theory was developed. He was hoping to start a conversation – and start one he did.

Kozmas response to these findings are that we should not have to change the question, but reframe it – not does technology influence learning, but will media influence learning? In his perspective, educational technology is not a natural science but a design science. That meaning that the relationships between the two might not yet be there because we have not yet made one.  As we have come to understand, learning is not a static activity or something done to us. It is “not the receptive response to instruction Image result for kids on computer with friendsdelivery, but an active, constructive, cognitive, and social process by which the learner strategically manages available resources to create new knowledge” (Kozma, 1994). Learning is the interplay between the individual and the environment – which includes the mode of instruction

As I reflect on this debate, I wonder what repercussions it had in the field of education. Did it stop schools from investing in technology? How did this affect classroom teachers? Was it an excuse for teachers? What was Clarks motivation for negating it in the classroom? What does he believe are the benefits of technology? How would  he suggest we prepare students for the world we live in today – which is primarily digital.

As we think educational technology in the 21st century. Many things have changed since this debate started. Technologies have changed, access has changed, families have changed, schools have changed, and the economic environment around us have changed. Although there remains to conclusive evidence that any one medium is more effective than the other, I believe technology plays an integral part in the education of young people today.

As our third perspective on this topic stated, “five decades of research suggests that there are no learning benefits to be gained from employing different media in instruction, regardless of their obviously attractive features or advertised superiority” (Becker, 2010). In my own experience, this has been the use of technology in the past. Educators have used technology as a way to improve student engagement on the conceptual topic. However, as times, technology, and the world around us have changed, students need to learn the skills to utilize technology to their advantage.

Image result for bc core competency visual

The new BC Core Competencies are the skill that we want students to leave our school system knowing and demonstrating. These skills will allow our youth to transition into successful roles and relationships within their communities. And technology is an avenue in which they need to be able to demonstrate those skills. Students need to learn how to be effective communicators, thinkers, collaborators, and connected to each other and their environment. All these things can not only be accomplished in the four walls of a classroom, but through the use of different applications and resources online. According to an article by Visual Capitalist, over the past decade, the technology industry has created more than 1 million jobs across the United States. Between 2010 and 2017 there was a job growth average of 6% – more than four times the national average across all industries.

Visualizing Job Growth in Top Tech Markets in North America

I agree with my colleague Rochelle’s perspective on the debate: When content is the goal I fully agree with Clark, media is not going to make a difference to the learning. However, when building skills and competencies is the goal, I believe Clark’s argument is outdated and no longer applicable to education.

The most impactful and truthful quote came at the end of the third article in;

“the truth of the matter is that technology, in and of itself, can neither improve or impoverish instruction. Instructional technology only works for some kids, with some topics, and under some conditions – but that is true of all pedagogy. There is nothing that works for every purpose, for every learner, and all the time” (Mann, 2001, p. 241)

This quote accurately describes teaching approaches clearly.  As educators, we try to use as much as we can that is available to us in order to both engage students and provide new opportunities for learning. This, all in the hopes that it will reach one of our students in the right way and push them towards learning in a deeper way.

Resources

Becker, K. (2010). The Clark-Kozma Debate in the 21stCentury. Paper presented at the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education 2010 Conference. Published under Creative Commons. (http://mruir.mtroyal.ca:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11205/143/clark_kozma_21century.pdf?sequence=1)

Clark, R.E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development. 42 (2),  21-29. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02299088

Kozma, R.B. (1994). Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development. 42 (2), 17-19. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02299087

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