My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

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Creativity and Innovation – MakerSpaces

Course Reading:

Resnick, M. (2007). All I really need to know (about creative thinking) I learned (by studying how children learn) in kindergarten. In Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI conference on Creativity & Cognition (pp. 1–6). New York, NY, USA: ACM. http://dor.org/10.1145/1254960.1254961 (This link is updated from the course outline.)

  • in a society characterized by uncertainty and rapid change, the ability to think creatively is becoming the key to success and satisfaction (learning to come up with innovative solutions to unexpected situations)
  • kindergarten approach to learning should be applied to all other levels (spiralling cycle of Imagine, Create, Play, Share, Reflect)
    • children imagine what they want to do, create a project based on their ideas, play with their creations, share their ideas and creations with others, reflect on their experiences – all of which lead them to imagine new ideas and new projects
  • as students get older, their materials need to change (digital technologies can play a transformative role here)
    • materials need to be multipurpose and not too specific that it directs how kids are supposed to engage with it
    • provide kids with more opportunities
    • more open ended materials where kids have to be creative
  • PLAY
    • plan and learning CAN and SHOULD be intimately linked
    • focus should be on ‘play’ and ‘learning’ (things you do – active learning) rather than ‘entertainment’ and ‘education’ (things that other provide for you – learner is passive)
    • generally received less emphasis in later years of schooling
    • focus in Reggio Emilia, Italy is the way their encourage children to reflect on their design process  and thinking process (shown in drawings and pictures on the walls)

My Experiences:

How do I engage students in this process in my context?

For the past 5 years I have taught some combination of grades 1, 2, and 3. Ever since the beginning, I have strongly believed in the inclusion of play in the classroom. Early on in my career I was doing a lot of free play once a week – and kids viewed it as an opportunity for ‘free time’. As I have gained experience and understanding, I have included it into my practice daily, as well as integrated it into as much of our academic content teaching as well.

This year I teach grade two and I decided to alter our morning routine. It used to be a worksheet activity last year, but this year I wanted to provide students an opportunity for a gently entry in the morning as well as an opportunity to connect with their peers. So each morning this year I have set out activities for the students to engage in. These materials I have been collecting over the years and throughout the year I have added new ones and taken out other ones that don’t seem to capture their attention.

For literacy, I have started engaging students in creative thinking and story ideation with loose parts. This is a tactic in which you provide students with a variety of materials with the hopes that it will help them create a visual of their story, so they remember it, and gain creative ideas for new stories. I started this by modeling my own and having them recreate a story. Then we transitioned into creating visuals a part of their weekend, and then finally have been moving into more creative stories of their own.

For our Units of Inquiry (Social Studies and Science curriculum) I have also worked in some form of creation for them to show their understanding of the concept. In the past I have done:

  • using materials provided, move a LEGO man 1 meter and explain the forces that are helping him move (Content: Force in Motion)
  • create a story of a water droplet moving through the different parts of the water cycle (Content: Water Cycle)
  • create a way to share tourism information about a province of your choice – using  low tech or high tech materials  (Content: Regions of Canada)

For math, I have found that students really need to manipulate materials in order to develop a concrete understanding of number sense. A routine that I continually come back to is called Counting Collections. It has students gather a collection of the same materials (# is dependent on the level of understanding). Students then use their understanding of number to find ways to skip count and reach the total number in the collection. They complete this routine in partners. This way, it ensures students are discussing their mathematical thinking and collaborating on ways to solve the problem (how they are going to count, who is going to do the counting, who is going to do the grouping, etc.).

I am by no means and expert in this, and I am always inspired by my primary colleagues at my school and across districts!

I strongly believe that in order for students to develop a solid foundational understanding of concepts, they need to move through the process of imagine, create, play, share, and reflect.

What materials do I use?

  • LEGO
  • blocks
  • Keva Planks
  • Magnatiles
  • Geometric shapes
  • Marble Run
  • Kinetic Sand
  • Water beads
  • Paper and Paint
  • Loose Parts (popsicle sticks, buttons, feathers, sea glass, small blocks, leaves, tile, corks, mirrors, peg people, felt mats, etc.)

My Perspectives:

How could maker-spaces support creativity and innovation in my learning context and/or project?

As you can tell from my answers above, I think the use of maker-space activities can help support the development and acquisition of creativity and innovation in all learners. As mentioned by one of our guest speakers this week, we have so much content to get through in a week – especially in intermediate grades – so it’s important to integrate play and exploration into already existing content acquisition across the subjects.

What kinds of digital tools encourage creativity and innovation?

I do not have much experience with using digital tools to encourage creativity and innovation other than platforms to show their understanding of a concept – where they can create a presentation of some sort (e.g. Adobe Spark Video, Book Creator, etc.).

The article mentioned the use of Scratch as a way for students to create a story using code.

I would LOVE to hear any other suggestions of digital tools to engage students in the creation and innovation realm of learning!

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making Reflection

Below are some of the learnings that I took away from the course readings, activities and class conversation this week:

Galileo (2019). Designing Learning. Retrieved from https://galileo.org/designing-learning/ (Inquiry and Design Thinking)

  • Teachers as designers
    • improving curriculum and pedagogy (long before the term became popular)
    • an opportunity to really change what teaching and learning looks like in the classroom (Dr. Doug Clark)
    • Its hard to change when you have seen 20+ years of examples around you (13 years of K-12, few years of undergrad, few years of graduate, and a few years of teaching)
    • what is the problem you are trying to solve and how you can go about doing that? (important to reflect on the needs of students during the learning process and then adjusting teaching to better meet those needs)
  • Students as designers
    • in the past it has been more of a passive role
    • now there is a lot more information and ways to access it
    • design thinking provides them the skills (what are the problems that we want to solve? how can I go about find the answer?

Hans Rosling: The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen

  • Until you see statistics shown in a visual way and actually moving over time, you don’t really understand what the data means (visuals make it easier to understand)
  • Great way to visually show data and the change over time (would be a great resource for students to use to make meaning from the data they are finding)


What kinds of digital tools promote and encourage critical thinking?

Google Trends (TOTALLY NEW TO ME)

  • Students/teachers can explore trends by term or topic to find out more information


  • Allows students to visual map their thinking (groups of students can be working on it at the same time) and its FREE!


  • sharing data and code behind some of their articles and graphics (students can visually see results of polls and where the information has come from and how dependable it is)


  • data sets that are open to the public

Canadian Open Data

  • Open data collected and approved by government


How does critical thinking influence narratives and perspectives?

People (kids most definitely) are extremely influenced by the adults around them and often take on their internal and external narratives. Kids often hold the same perspectives that their parents do. And parents hold the same perspectives that they grew up with and/or have interacted with in their lives. It is important to get well rounded information and data from a variety of sources before taking on a narrative or perspective. Especially in the digital age, there is so much information found on the internet. And a lot of it is misguiding and misinforming people. It is important to develop skills in students to think critically about what they are reading, seeing, and hearing.

Credible Resource Reflection – Crap Detection

Information from the article that got me thinking:

Through reading the article provided by this weeks topic, I am learning the importance of thinking critically when searching for information online. When searching for information, it is important to not just look at the first thing that comes up as the answer. But delve deeper to determine the validity of the site(s). When assessing credibility of sources, here are some things to consider, based on Rheingold’s (2012) article:

  • Who is the author?
  • What are the authors sources – triangulate by checking three different credible sources
  • Popularity of site
  • Professional reputation/offline reputation
  • Previous experiences with the site
  • Proof of neutral affiliation
  • Tone of the writing
  • Elements of style used

Our ‘infotention’ is often pulled in a variety of directions. It’s important, as a generation that is online for a large portion of their daily lives, to manage their attention on information. And to make sure that the information that they are paying attention to is easily accessible and accurate.

The filter bubble – search engines use precise information about your interests and search history to customize your searches (e.g. liberal vs. conservative viewpoints on current event articles). This is something that I vaguely knew about, but have not paid too much attention to.

How do digital filter bubbles affect the information that we consume about the Global Covid-19 pandemic?

During this time of uncertainty and almost constant stream of information, I am realizing that the information that I am being fed has already been predetermined for me. Ben, one of my Masters course classmates, posted a screenshot of the results when he searched ‘Coronavirus’ using a Google search engine. Cheryl then posted hers and it was so interesting to see there was a difference. My sister and I then just did the same thing and I was amazed to see the difference.

Ben’s Screen                                                                                        

Cheryl’s Screen (same day but later)

My Screen (a few days later)                                                                           

My Sisters Screen (on the same day as me)

Doing this little experiment really showed me how little I know about the information I am consuming and how it is pre-directed to me. As this crisis evolves, I look forward to searching out my own information using the suggestions from the article above.

Reflection Questions:

How can our digital bubble as educators filter the stories we hear and believe?

It depends on how we are engaging with the digital world. Most educators now a-days are using platforms such as Twitter to engage with teachers around the world and get inspiration from other teachers around them. However, the information that they are receiving is only determined by who they are following and who those people are following. It is important to build the collection of who you follow around what you value and want to see on a day to day basis.

Digital platforms such as Twitter can be a great place to connect people and collect inspiration from others. However, it can also be a place where people share their personal opinions and views that do not necessarily align with yours. During particularly difficult times (e.g. pandemics, global tragedies, political unrest, union negotiating) it can become a particularly negative place (depending on who you are following).

What kinds of digital tools expand filter bubbles in your learning context?

  • Variety of search engines/resources – allows for me to collect a variety of information on a topic of interest
  • Twitter – help me engage with teachers around the world
  • Instagram – helps me engage with teachers around the world (I have a personal private account where I can limit what I see and a public teaching account where I am open to seeing and sharing more information)
  • Facebook – help provide ideas and learning prompts for structured play opportunities
  • Conversation with people – help to provide opportunities and information that I have not heard through my usual searches

What are you doing to ensure students are using a wide variety of digital resources ?

In my context, I have conversations with students about digital resources and reliable information. In term two, I looked up some information about Canadian provinces and territories with my Grade 2’s. Together we looked at sites and their authors to determine which would be good sources.


“Every (wo)man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him (them).” —Ernest Hemingway, 1965



Rheingold, H. (2012). Chapter 2 Crap Detection 101: How to Find What you Need to Know, and Decide if It’s True. In Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. (pp. 77-111). Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press.

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


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.



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


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


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



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


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


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


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.


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.


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=

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=

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

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