#Take5 #27 The Best Way of Blending Learning?

LESSONS FROM A TEACHER DEVELOPMENT PROJECT: One positive instance of using technology for student learning, rather than its own sake.

This guest blog explores the authentic embedding of digital practices within our pedagogic toolbox and has been prepared for #Take5 by Dr Paul Breen (@CharltonMen) who also shares, below, a link to his free book: Developing Educators for the Digital Age.

TEACHER IN PAUL BREEN'S PHD STUDY USING I PADS IN CLASSROOM

Image: Teachers in Paul Breen’s PhD Study using iPads in the classroom

The tools for the job

“SHOULD teaching take place within an academic bubble detached from the outside world, or should it make use of all that is new, authentic, engaging and multi-dimensional?”

This was a question raised by one of the participants in my recent study of teacher development within the context of an English Language Centre in a UK Higher Educational environment. In this case, the teacher argued that for teaching to be effective for today’s students we need to make maximum use of the digital age. In his own work, he drew on Guardian Podcasts as a means of inspiring Academic English students to go out and make their own recordings of real life events related to their specific subjects.

By getting his class to do this, he was actively engaging the students in demonstrating knowledge through content creation. Furthermore, students were now active rather than passive recipients of information and their knowledge was being tested in a way that was innovative rather than in a traditional one dimensional exam format.

Assess that – differently

Not everybody expresses their learning or knowledge in the same way, and this teacher’s work with podcasts was offering new outlets of expression for particular types of students. In this case, the greatest beneficiaries were perhaps those who learn by seeing and then doing, but arguably the challenge of this task would engage the majority of his students. New technologies had given these students the chance to be creative and expressive in a way that historically they might not have been able to realise quite so easily. They were putting into action skills that are vital in the higher educational environment – creativity, organisation, multi-tasking, plus elements of finding a balance between independence and interdependence.

TPACK: It’s Digital Literacy Jim…

Using technology in this way is also a good example of not simply using technology for technology’s sake, which is still a major problem on many courses and in many classrooms. If a particular tool just doesn’t add anything, then don’t integrate – just the same as if your daughter doesn’t like playing with dolls, don’t force her to just because that’s what little girls are expected to do.

This idea of not using technology just for technology’s sake lies at the heart of Punya Mishra and Matthew Koehler’s (2006) TPACK framework – Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge. This is a contemporary framework designed to ease the process for teachers who are integrating technology into their lessons. The goal is to achieve a synergy of technology, pedagogy and content during instances of teaching where such an integration is appropriate.

What this means in basic, practical terms is that there is an intersection of all three core components to produce what the authors’ term as ‘expert teaching.’ Though I don’t like that precise term, the example of creating podcasts is one where the teacher has met some of the fundamental requirements of TPACK. He has not pre-determined which technologies should be used. Rather, their usage evolved gradually.

In this case, he started out using podcasts as a means of helping students practice listening and research skills… and it became much more than that. Going back to the daughter and the dolls analogy, he didn’t set out with a prescriptive idea of particular tools that would be used and insist that certain toys had to be chosen because that was the norm.

Instead he let usage flow naturally, and then let subsequent usage flow naturally again from that. Having seen the enthusiasm that students showed for Guardian Podcasts he sent them off to make their own. In doing so, he found a way to motivate them further and build a deeper set of academic skills.

Emergence

Experimenting and allowing the value of the practice to emerge, allowed the students to discover their own learning identities, again like the child who starts playing with bridges in farm sets and then decides she wants to progress to Meccano next time around. By letting a child find their own learning style, in that case, you might well have planted the seeds of a future engineer, or even scientist.

In this case of learners making their own Podcasts, you have certainly created a student who is more capable of finding the balance between independence and interdependence that is essential to undertaking higher educational studies in the UK.

Reference

Mishra, P. and Koehler, M.J., 2006. Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers college record, 108(6), p.1017.

Bio: PAUL BREEN is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Westminster’s Professional Language Centre, and author of a recent publication on teacher development entitled ‘Developing Educators for the Digital Age.’ The book is available here in print form or as a free open-access download through the University of Westminster Press.  

 

Take5 #17 – #creativeHE 16-20 January – Join in if you dare!!

*** STOP PRESS: #creativeHE new run: 16-20 Jan!! ***

A new version of #creativeHE with a focus on creativity, play, narrative & storytelling and making will be offered by MMU’s CELT in collaboration with London Metropolitan University’s CPED 16-20 Jan 2017.

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Participants are invited from across the sector – such that colleagues from both institutions and elsewhere will have the opportunity to learn and develop together within a diverse and distributed community of higher education practitioners. Get together with colleagues who are involved in teaching, supporting learning or development of others with an interest in creative teaching and learning, who would like to explore innovative learning and teaching.

In #creativeHE practical creative tasks will be explored together with related pedagogical theory and literature. Participants will experience learning through play, games, models and stories and actively experiment with such approaches. This will help to further develop understanding, knowledge, skills and practices in these areas such that we all become more adventurous in our teaching.

Participants will be able to critically reflect on their practice and identify opportunities to design, implement and evaluate an imaginative and creative innovation that fosters curiosity, maximises motivation and meaningful active engagement and discovery learning. The teacher is challenged to be creative in order for creativity to be developed in the students.

The unit will be offered online as a 5-day block with further support until the end of the term. All MMU participants will be invited to a portfolio building workshop before commencing the unit.

The programme
■ Day 1: Creativity in HE
■ Day 2: Play and games
■ Day 3: Learning through story
■ Day 4 : Learning through making
■ Day 5: Celebrating creativity.

Join in for the whole week – or just come along for the sessions that you can use this time round.

Getting Credit
The unit is available for free to all practitioners who would like to participate informally in the open online version of this course.

#creativeHE is part of MMU’s FLEX programme – and can be taken for 15 or 30 credits. If you work in another institution and are interested in studying towards academic credits FLEX15 [Creativity for Learning] , please get in touch with CELT as there is a cost for this.

Participants from LondonMet can get recognition for participation as part of their CPD.

To join in with #creativeHE – just ask to join this Google+ group: https://plus.google.com/communities/110898703741307769041/

LondonMet staff are asked to book via Eventbrite if possible – so that we can let you know about follow up activities once the course is complete.

Take5: Blog#8: Digital Storytelling

The digital age is predicated on the notion of student as producer (of knowledge) – as opposed to earlier education ages that appeared to position the student (only) as a consumer of knowledge. If helping your students to become digitally capable and proficient, why don’t you set students the challenge of making digital artefacts and/or telling digital stories? Here are some strategies for developing Digital Storytelling that we have used.

SEE: http://edtechteacher.org/tools/multimedia/digital-storytelling/ – for school examples to inspire and resource your own practice.

Join #ds106 and sign up to the teaching blog roll
DS106 – or digital storytelling 106 – started as a MOOC, massive open online course, which created an international community of practice of educationalists interested in developing their and their students’ digital capacities in engaging and dynamic ways. The tutors have curated the website and its tasks and resources so that it continues to act as a meeting point for digitally developing edu-cationalists. #DS106 has Quickstart Guides, Assignments, Handbooks and Daily Create challenges – and you can use them yourselves or require your students to use the resources to become more active and powerful in digital media. Tip: Sign your class up to #ds106 and enrol their blogs on the blog roll: http://ds106.us/teaching-ds106/

Design engaging assessments: Digital Artefacts
For certain assignments or parts of assignments, rather than writing an essay or report; require students to produce a digital artefact that sums up their learning – or to produce a teaching and learning resource that would convey learning about the key issues on the course. To assist with this we have built the AniMet Challenge: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/animation/ – please use it if you feel it would be useful.

Resources from our PLN
One way that we inspired our students to get digital was to show them the follow-ing digital artefacts – and then ask them to ‘Develop a Digital Me’. That is, we asked them to set their own short digital project where they used an artefact to tell a story about themselves or about studying. The final activity on the Project was that they had to design a Poster for an Exhibition that would showcase their learning.

Join in: Make an Artefact
Before you ask this of your students, why don’t you explore the following arte-facts. Choose one – and create a short ‘story’ about any aspect of learning, teaching or assessment that particularly intrigues or engages you. Post the link to your artefact in your blog – and add the link to the Comments part of this one!!
 Terry Elliot’s Zeega: http://zeega.com/162387
 #ccourses collaborative poem: https://titanpad.com/sXgaTJMniP
 Alan Levine’s (cogdog) You Show project: http://cogdogblog.com/2014/12/15/you-show-show-notes/
 Angela’s thinglink: http://www.thinglink.com/scene/360982057624535042#tlsite
 Fran Monaghan’s VoiceThread – beautiful, gentle and a sort of low-tech, high-tech: http://voicethread.com/?#q.b4186028.i21377601
 And Ess Garland’s timeline – and now for something completely different!
http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/101035/Edmooc-Digital-Artifact/#vars!date=2013-02-28_06:07:26!
 Theo Kuechel’s PinBoard – if an ‘essay’ is a form of curation about the learning on a course –this is a very different form of curation:
https://pinterest.com/theok2/education-and-digital-culture/
 David Hopkins’ Prezi – brilliant images – excellently chosen clips! http://prezi.com/e9y6ipsovanb/digital-artefact-edcmooc/
 And his whole blog on the topic: http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/elearning/digital-artefact-for-edcmooc-wk-5/
 And from #edcmooc 3: https://storybird.com/books/what-may-be/

LOOK HERE
This is what our students produced when teaching themselves technology with the tools of their choice: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/posters-digital/ .
Have a look – explore the Posters and artefacts.
WE WERE VERY PROUD OF THEM!

Resources for the Future
Alan Levine is one of the leading lights of #ds106 and has curated these didacti-cal tools for developing our practice and our competences:
http://50ways.wikispaces.com/
And here is Alan Levine’s older iteration of that site: http://cogdogroo.wikispaces.com/StoryTools