Leveraging Technology to Transform Education

Leveraging Technology to Transform Education

Is it Magic or is it Technology? Enchanted Spaces and Enchanted Objects was the focus of Karlen Chang’s presentations at the recent Toronto Mini Maker Faire (2014).  His company creates situations that provoke social emotional relationships between technology and people, through things like his interactive kinetic sculpture, and his sound-sidewalk that plays like a piano.  His presentation reminded me of the relationship that many face with technology (Mixmotion.com, 2014).  For some it brings a sense of wonder and possibilities, while for others it brings a sense of fear and worry.

After watching this presentation, and thinking more on the ideas of digital fluency, I began to rethink how digital technology could be better leveraged to transform the relationships and roles of learner, teacher and content.

Introduction

Students, teachers, parents, administrators and politicians, generally all want to see improvements to education.  While each of these perspectives is not necessarily unique, they do bring elements that are distinctly their own, which in turn can affect the speed of reform.  Educational reforms and practices appear to be evolving at a slow pace, encumbered by tradition, a rigid curriculum, red tape, special interest groups, various perspectives, and a general lack of understanding of what the future goals of education should be.

Technology itself, is changing at an exponential rate.  People sometimes fear technology as they become more dependent on it.  While we need to consider technical, social, informational and epistemological features, the possibilities technology provides for education are almost limitless.

In this paper, I hope to explore how digital technologies can be best leveraged to transform education, examining digital fluency and issues regarding the fear of technology in our society.

Current Situation

In much of our world, we have a traditional industrial model of education (Robinson, 2006).  Students are lumped into age specific categories, put into rows, in classes, with one teacher at the front.  In Ontario, there is a Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum, with little mention of digital technology.  Standardized tests are used to make sure that curriculum standards are being met, along with teacher written report cards.   While there is discussion around 21st century learning skills, there is little implementation at this stage in classrooms, as our educational institutions have not reached any consensus about the meaning of 21st Century learning.  Students often use personal devices ubiquitously outside the classroom, but the  utilization of personal devices in classrooms to support learners (BYOD) is often classroom specific.   School computer labs can be used, but sometimes are not large enough to house an entire class or are hard to access due to time limitations.  In many schools, there are structural issues, such as space or the age of the building, that impede the use of technology effectively (Graham & Richardson, 2012). At my own school, there is limited access to electrical outlets, and the cost of adding more is expensive (~$1000 for one).

Problems

To move effectively into a 21st Century learning model, there are a number of problems that need to be overcome.  How can digital technology be used to influence transformational change in learner-teacher-content relationships from traditional to those of 21st Century learners, given technological issues, anticipating future societal needs and expectations through the lenses of all interest groups? Can e-pedagogy/e-andragogy meet 21st Century individual needs of learners to help them into the future? Can we move to more Techno-pedagogical competency? Can we use technology to make sure that there is accountability in learning opportunities? Can we use this technology to address social injustice? Can we use technology to reduce resistance to itself in education?  So many questions, with varying answers.

In examining these questions, there appears to be a lack of focus about technology in education and fear about its use.

Digital Fluency

At Provincial Schools several years ago, my students participated in active research on Reading Fluency for comprehension (Sickkids, 2014).  Fluency was being examined as a measure of comprehension.  Students sounding out words will not have the same comprehension as those with strong sight vocabulary.  While I enjoyed studying French in highschool, I found I could not think in French.  I had to think over my words in English and then translate them into French.  I may be somewhat literate in French, but I will never be fluent, unless I fully immersed myself into the French culture.

While Wang, Wiesemes, and Gibbons (2011), suggest that digital fluency is a “developmental process” where a user develops their understandings through personal interests, purposes and the limitations of their mobile devices in their setting, I believe that this can be the case for all types of technology as well.  Learners and teachers alike can become digitally fluent in the competencies of educational technology including the use of hardware and software, the ability to efficiently retrieve information, to interact with others online, and to be able to create online problem solving opportunities (Desjardins, Lacasse, & Bélair, 2001).

If our society set a goal for all of our teachers and learners to become “Digitally Fluent”, we are more likely to see a transformation in the roles that the learner, teacher and the content play in education.  The line between learner and teacher would blur, as the learner would be the teacher at times, and the teacher a learner.  The content would shift along with the learner.  Thinking about the SAMR Model, digitally fluent teachers would be able to more easily see opportunities for redefining learning with technology, than the more typical substitution practices that are often seen in classrooms.

To help support learners to reach technology competency, individual/ differentiated learning opportunities need to be put into practice. Kitchenham (2006) who looked at transformative learning theory examined the development of teachers in education with respect to technology.  He found that the four main factors that supported this “perspective transformation” were: “collaboration on all levels, administrator support, time practising ICT skills and strategies, and funding targeted in consistent ways the teachers saw as important.”  He also noted that “the presence of a gauleiter (someone who is authoritative, overbearing, and megalomaniacal), an absent or weak infrastructure, and administrator pressure to engage in ICT for reasons other than the promotion of student learning” negatively affected this transformational process. The “EdCamp” model, recently gathering in Peterborough, Toronto and Barrie (September, October 2014), might be an excellent way to facilitate that, allowing staff to choose what they want to learn.  This model might help to motivate more students to utilize technology for learning as well.

As part of this digital fluency goal, technological criteria could added to the criteria used for hiring new staff. Universities could ensure that all teacher candidates were very technologically competent, as opposed to making technology an elective.

Fear

A big obstacle of educational transformation by digital technology is fear of technology, by educators, learners and society in general.   In considering fear, we have to consider factors that might affect teachers and learners more specifically, and what might help them move towards digital fluency.

Mordini (2007) in his paper, “Technology and fear: is wonder the key?” discusses how humans have long been afraid of new technologies throughout human history.  He shares the story where people were once afraid that light bulbs might blind them.  In 2012, a number of teachers in Barrie were concerned about health risks with respect to wifi in schools.  Even though health units and scientists have indicated low risk with wifi, it remains a fear for some teachers and families as reported in media (Brown, 2012).  Mordini (2007) observes that people respond better to technology when narratives are used to help integrate it into their culture and society, addressing “symbolic meanings, rather than relying on pure rational arguments.” To combat the fear, he suggests using wonder and curiousity as well.

In investigating “wonder”, I found one article that examined wonder as a learning approach in contrast with behavioural approaches.  L’Ecuyer (2014) stated that “learning would start from within…”.  In this approach, she also notes that repetition is not necessarily better for the learner.  Ecuyer made me think further on the anthropological ideas of nature versus nurture,  where learning is based on the internal workings of a person, and influenced by a person’s surroundings.

Gupta et al. (2012), states that we need to examine our relationship with technology as we become more dependent upon it.  They suggest that sometimes we are influenced by what we perceive as threats, and not what is really risky.   Other researchers have also reported that computer anxiety adversely affects the using of technology and can include avoidance of use (Sivakumaran and Lux, 2011).  I know that I have met a number of teachers that avoid technology use as much as possible, saying that they don’t like it.  While I understand that school technologies are not always accessible and reliable, I have recognized anxiety as a factor.

Societal fear of technology is also a factor.  Technology has to be seen by all as a tool that supports and enhances learning.  It is not just a fad.  It has to be seen as a way to improve the future prospects of individual students.  This also has to be seen as measurable.  Hopefully, it will be seen as something less fearful.

To get things started, big technology based pilot programs could be done and the results shared, so that eventually it would spread to all.  Advertisements by ‘big’ names in the technology world, such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, or Bill and Melinda Gates, could use social media, digital media, online learning opportunities, and provide funding.  They could also help create community technology spaces, including Makerspaces and they could showcase technology related events, such as Maker Faires.

Availability and accessibility of resources still need to be addressed in this model. Crowdsourcing to get funding for schools at low or no cost to the province or school boards; a massive reuse and recycling program to get more technology into schools, complete with tax credits; leveraging free opportunities through open-source, free web 2.0 tools, and utilizing and supporting Creative Commons (based on discussions with UOIT peers, 2014).

Beyond Digital Fluency

As we move towards digital fluency, other issues such as the use of standardized testing and the social divide could be addressed more readily.

Authentic assessment would be done in the form of digital games, which would accurately measure student performance, share results with families and schools, and would engage, not stress the learner.  Assessment would be ongoing, and throughout the year as students were learning new concepts.  These games would be programmed to consider learner experiences, to make connections with them, and remove biases based on lack of understanding by lack of experiences. Serious Educational Games or Digital game based learning, “can allow learners involved in the game to accomplish specific learning goals and learn effectively” (Chen et.al. 2012). We would also need to advocate for a culture that values more than marks as part of this process.

Ideally, education should meet the needs of all learners – whether teachers or students.  It would meet Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (McLeod, 2007) for learners – allowing for “cognitive needs”, “aesthetic needs”, “self-actualization needs”, and “transcendence needs”. Students/teachers could think critically about their own learning and set goals for themselves.   This could be accomplished more effectively with technology, though it is important that pedagogy and technology work together, and that technology does not come before the pedagogy (Graham & Richardson, 2012).

Connecting with the world outside could see the creation of Educational Learning Centres, where the community could share the resources at the school to facilitate the technological proficiency of the community members and increase their acceptance.  It could also lower social divides.

Conclusion

The traditional role of teacher-student-content would be significantly altered with the use of technology allowing many possibilities.  Self-directed learning using mobile devices, elearning, blended learning, flipped learning and other forms of evolving education models, allow the teacher to be a facilitator of learning.  Students become directors of their own learning, and the content becomes more  personalized, meaningful and connected.  We can use digital technology to influence transformational change in learner-teacher-content relationships from traditional to those of 21st Century learners, by setting goals to be digitally fluent, addressing technological fears, and supporting educators and students.  Hopefully, the educational world will look at things through technological lenses of wonder.

Acknowledgments

Thank you to my course group, Bridgette Atkins, Colin Ng, and Andrew Peacock, along with my classmates, and our professor, Francois Desjardins, for their thought provoking ideas and discussions which contributed to this paper. Additional thanks to my reviewer, Alissa Bigelow, who gave numerous ideas in a thoughtful and supportive manner.

References:

Brown, C. (2012). Teachers’ WiFi warning causes waves. Barrie Examiner. Retrieved from http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/2012/02/13/teachers-wi-fi-warning-causes-waves

Cheng, Y. M., Lou, S. J., Kuo, S. H., & Shih, R. C. (2013). Investigating elementary school students’ technology acceptance by applying digital game-based learning to environmental education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(1). http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/submission/index.php/AJET/article/viewFile/65/34

DeGennaro, D. (2010). Grounded in Theory: Immersing Pre-Service Teachers in Technology-Mediated Learning Designs. Contemporary issues in Technology and teacher education, 10(3), 338-359.

Desjardins, F. (2008). Implementing PBL online as a collaborative learning strategy for teachers: The COLE. In Proceedings of the 11th IASTED International Conference (Vol. 614, No. 097, p. 85).

Desjardins, F. J., Lacasse, R. A. Y. N. A. L. D., & Bélair, L. O. U. I. S. E. (2001). Toward a definition of four orders of competency for the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education. In Proceedings of the IASTED International Conference, Computers and Advanced Technology in Education(pp. 213-217).

Graham, R., & Richardson, W. (2012). Leveling the playing field: Assistive technology, special education, and a Canadian perspective. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 2(1), 6-15. http://www.aijcrnet.com/journals/Vol_2_No_1_January_2012/2.pdf

Gupta, N., Fischer, A. R., & Frewer, L. J. (2011). Socio-psychological determinants of public acceptance of technologies: A review. Public Understanding of Science, 0963662510392485.

Hart, D. J. (2012). Public Attitudes Towards Education in Ontario, 2012: The 18th OISE/UT Survey. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/oise/UserFiles/File/OISE%20Survey/18th_OISE_Survey/OISE%20SURVEY%2018.pdf

Kim, S., Chung, K., & Yu, H. (2013). Enhancing Digital Fluency through a Training Program for Creative Problem Solving Using Computer Programming. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 47(3), 171-199.

Kitchenham, A. (2006). Teachers and technology a transformative journey. Journal of Transformative Education, 4(3), 202-225.

L’Ecuyer, C. (2014). The wonder approach to learning. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 8.

McLeod, S. A. (2007). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved 8 November 2014, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Mixmotion.com,. (2014). Kamiko « mixmotion.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014, from http://mixmotion.com/2014/09/19/kamiko-an-interactive-kinetic-sculpture/

Mordini, E. (2007). Technology and fear: is wonder the key?. Trends in biotechnology, 25(12), 544-546.

Robinson, K. (2006). Changing education paradigms. Ted.com. Retrieved 8 November 2014, from https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms

Sickkids.ca,. (2014). Current projects. Retrieved 24 November 2014, from http://www.sickkids.ca/LDRP/What-we-do/LDRP%20programs/Current%20projects/index.html

Sivakumaran, T., & Lux, A. C. (2011). Overcoming Computer Anxiety: A Three-Step Process for Adult Learners. Online Submission.

Turner, J. (2013). The difference between Digital Learning and Digital Literacy?-a practical perspective.

Wang, R., Wiesemes, R., & Gibbons, C. (2012). Developing digital fluency through ubiquitous mobile devices: Findings from a small-scale study. Computers & Education, 58(1), 570-578.

 

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A Work in Progress :)

For my course, Learning with Technology (EDUC5101G) at UOIT, we have been using the Problem Based Learning format of examining educational issues.   Here is my first draft of my paper examining the question as outlined below utilizing this model as a framework.   I welcome any thoughts, comments or suggestions that might help me.
Many thanks!
Cat


Paper question: Based on the scenarios studied in class, and considering all four basic issues (technical, social, informational and epistemological) how does or can digital technology be best leveraged to transform the traditional pedagogical/andragogical relationship between learner, teacher and content in order to avoid the four major problems raised in the course?

A look at Transforming Current Educational Practices into the 21st Century using Technology

Introduction

Students, teachers, parents, administrators and politicians, all want to see improvements to  education.  While each of these perspectives is not necessarily unique, they do bring elements that are distinctly their own, which in turn can affect the speed of reform.

Educational reforms and practices appear to be evolving at a slow pace, encumbered by tradition, a rigid curriculum, red tape, special interest groups, various perspectives, and a general lack of understanding of what the future goals of education should be.  Most would agree that technology should be a big component of this change.

Technology is changing at an exponential rate around us and its evolution and related innovations are less hampered by red tape, public opinion, and those afraid of change. While we need to consider technical, social, informational and epistemological features, the possibilities technology provides for education are almost limitless.

So is education and technology a good pair?  Perhaps the rapid evolutionary pace of  change of technology will pull education forward to meet the needs of the 21st century learner despite all the resistance.

In this paper, I hope to explore how digital technologies can be best leveraged to transform education.  While the ideas and concepts discussed could be applied globally (hopefully), I will focus on Ontario, Canada.

Current Situation

In Ontario, our model of education is one that Sir Ken Robinson best describes as from the industrial era(Robinson, 2006).  Students are lumped into age specific categories and are put onto a conveyor belt that cycles them through classes with one teacher and lots of students.

According to a recent survey conducted by the University of Toronto around education issues (Hart, 2012), researchers found that “Despite the improvement in satisfaction levels and, more recently, grades given to schools, public confidence in schools remains relatively low; 44% in 2012” … “The contrast with satisfaction levels suggests that in the midst of positive views of the current situation, uncertainty about future directions persists.  That said there is evidence of some growth in confidence over the past five years.”

In Ontario, there is a standardized curriculum in all subject areas from Kindergarten to Grade 12.  There is sparse mention of digital technology in these documents, even the Science and Technology document, has limited references to technology.  Standardized tests are used to make sure that curriculum standards are being met, along with teacher written report cards.

While there is much discussion around 21st century learning skills, there is little implementation at this stage in classrooms.   It is likely that we have not reached any consensus about the meaning of 21st Century learning yet.

Educators, students, parents, administrators, and politicians have varying attitudes/visions about education and technology, and these groups have a rwide ange of technical confidence.

There is also a  social divide amongst all groups – including education,  and socioeconomic circumstances, which has an affect on learning in our schools, whether through education or socioeconomics or circumstances.  This also adds to the digital divide we see.

Coincidently, there is a growing movement to utilize personal devices in classrooms to support learners (BYOD), but this is often classroom specific.  Students often use personal devices ubiquitously outside the classroom.  School labs can be used, but sometimes are not large enough to house an entire class.  Time to use technology is often limited as well.  In many schools, there are structural issues, such as space or the age of the building, that impede the use of technology effectively (Graham & Richardson, 2012). At my own school, there is limited access to electrical outlets, and the cost of adding more is expensive (~$1000 for one).

Problem

How can digital technology be used to influence transformational change in learner-teacher-content relationships from traditional to those of 21st Century learners, given technological issues, anticipating future societal needs and expectations through the lenses of all interest groups?

Within this larger problem, we also need to consider other key issues.  Can e-pedagogy/e-andragogy meet 21st Century individual needs of learners to help them into the future? Can we move to more Techno-pedagogical competency? Can we use technology to make sure that there is accountability in learning opportunities? Can we use this technology to address social injustice? Can we use technology itself to reduce resistance to itself in education?

Desired Situation

In an ideal world, education in Ontario could be more functional for learners. It would meet Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (McLeod, 2007) for learners – allowing for “cognitive needs”, “aesthetic needs”, “self-actualization needs”, and “transcendence needs”. Students could think critically about their own learning and set goals for themselves.   This could be accomplished more effectively with technology , though it is important that pedagogy and technology work together, and that technology does not come before the pedagogy (Graham & Richardson, 2012).

Students could all be employing 21st century learning skills and strategies.  Students could connect globally with other learners. Learning could be 1:1, in small groups or large groups depending on the activity or needs.  Learning could occur in various learning environments (home, school, almost anywhere ).  Individuals outside the traditional classroom might be used to support learning, and the community might come into the classrooms more, whether supporting their own learning or that of others.

The curriculum content could be shared digitally, be more open and allow for seamless evolution.  There could be more technology education in the Science and Technology curriculum document.  Curriculum could be individualized based on experiences in and outside of our schools.

Parents, teachers and administration could be technologically competent to understand the processes of learning new and evolving technologies.  It would allow them to converse with students more readily using all kinds of technology and social media.

Authentic assessment done digitally could accurately measure student performance, share results with families and schools, and could engage, not stress the learner.  Assessment could be ongoing, and throughout the year as students were learning new concepts.  These assessments could consider learner experiences, to make connections with them, and remove biases based on lack of understanding by lack of experiences. There could be no confusion on an EQAO standardized test about what something like “Fly Fishing” might be.

There could be ubiquitous use of technology in as well as outside the classroom supporting all types of learners with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment.  The schools could be ‘tech-friendly’ with charging centres, and free wifi everywhere.  Much like university libraries, not only would technology be readily available, technology support for learners could be given.

Society could shift to see social media as a collaborative learning and communication tool.  It could see serious educational gaming as an engaging format to keep education fun and a stress free way to give standardized testing.

The traditional role of teacher-student-content would be significantly altered with the use of technology allowing many possibilities.  Self-directed learning using mobile devices, elearning, blended learning, flipped learning and other forms of evolving education models, allow the teacher to be a facilitator of learning.  Students become directors of their own learning, and the content becomes more  personalized , meaningful and connected.

There would be no student dropouts, as each person would feel their needs were being met. Parents would be happy in turn, and the administrators and politicians would be supporting learners.

Knowledge and Resources

To help bridge the gap between the desired outcome and the current state, we need to consider the available knowledge and resources we could use to make it successful.

Teachers, students, parents, support workers, administrators and politicians would be invaluable along this path, especially those with expertise in leadership, e-pedagogy/ e-andragogy, and technology.  Outside groups, such as People for Education, and unions also have resources and strategies that could be shared by teachers through professional development.  School boards could also support this process with the release of control of technology so that the needs of the individuals could be met.  Teacher Technology consultants could share ideas of how to help teaching staff.

Open source resources would be cost effective support and social media could be used to support change in schools. Student personal devices should continue to be a resource in the classroom – BYOD should be encouraged.

Large and small corporations and organizations could support school reform through technology initiatives such as Google Classroom and Apple iTunes U.  THey could also provide direct support through  funding, or opportunities like code.org (free online learning opportunity to learn programming).  Universities could do research to provide resources and knowledge.

How do we cross the gap?

In order to cross the gap from our current situation and journey to our desired situation, we need to take many steps.   Technology has to be seen by all as a tool that supports and enhances learning.  It is not just a fad.  It has to be seen as a way to improve  the future prospects of individual students.  This also has to be seen as measurable.  To get things started, big technology based pilot programs could be done and the results shared, so that eventually it would spread to all.  Advertisements by ‘big’ names in the technology world, such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, or Bill and Melinda Gates, could use social media, digital media, online learning opportunities, and provide funding.  They could also help create community technology spaces, including Makerspaces  and they could showcase technology related events, such as Maker Faires.

In discussions with my peers, we have talked about:  the idea of using crowdsourcing to get funding for schools at low or no cost to the province or school boards; a massive reuse and recycling program to get more technology into schools, complete with tax credits; leveraging free opportunities through open-source, free web 2.0 tools, and utilizing and supporting Creative Commons.

To help support teachers, administrators and parents to reach technology competency, individual/ differentiated learning opportunities would need to  be put into practice. Kitchenham (2006) who looked at transformative learning theory examined the development of teachers in education with respect to technology.  He found that the four main factors that supported this “perspective transformation” were: “collaboration on all levels, administrator support, time practising ICT skills and strategies, and funding targeted in consistent ways the teachers saw as important.”  He also noted that “the presence of a gauleiter (someone who is authoritative, overbearing, and megalomaniacal), an absent or weak infrastructure, and administrator pressure to engage in ICT for reasons other than the promotion of student learning” negatively affected this transformational process. The “EdCamp” model, recently gathering in Peterborough, Toronto and Barrie (September, October 2014), might be an excellent way to facilitate that, allowing staff to choose what they want to learn.  This model might help to motivate more students to utilize technology for learning.  Technological criteria would be in addition to the criteria used for hiring new staff. Universities would ensure that all teacher candidates were very technologically competent.

The curriculum would have an inquiry based learning focus. In schools, going paperless would force collaboration using technology (although there would be natural opportunities to use paper, in areas like visual arts classes).

Authentic assessment would be done in the form of digital games, which would accurately measure student performance, share results with families and schools, and would engage, not stress the learner.  Assessment would be ongoing, and throughout the year as students were learning new concepts.  These games would be programmed to consider learner experiences, to make connections with them, and remove biases based on lack of understanding by lack of experiences. Serious Educational Games or Digital game based learning, “can allow learners involved in the game to accomplish specific learning goals and learn effectively” (Chen et.al. 2012). We would also need to advocate for a culture that values more than marks as part of this process.

Connecting with the world outside could see the creation of Educational Learning Centres, where the community could share the resources at the school to facilitate the technological proficiency of the community members and increase their acceptance.  It could also lower social divides.

In Conclusion

We can use digital technology to influence transformational change in learner-teacher-content relationships from traditional to those of 21st Century learners.  Considering the viewpoints of all stakeholders, giving more education to these groups about the value of technology in education, or at least a belief that schools are making plans for a digital future, then we will see change happen at a quicker pace.  Hopefully making plans, and utilizing our resources and knowledge, we can overcome the resistance we are seeing now, and it will happen.

Acknowledgments

Thank you to my group, Bridgette Atkins, Colin Ng, and Andrew Peacock, along with my classmates, and our professor, Francois Desjardins, for their thought provoking ideas and in class discussion which contributed to this paper.

References Cited:

Cheng, Y. M., Lou, S. J., Kuo, S. H., & Shih, R. C. (2013). Investigating elementary school students’ technology acceptance by applying digital game-based learning to environmental education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(1). http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/submission/index.php/AJET/article/viewFile/65/34

Desjardins, F. (2008). Implementing PBL online as a collaborative learning strategy for teachers: The COLE. In Proceedings of the 11th IASTED International Conference (Vol. 614, No. 097, p. 85).

Graham, R., & Richardson, W. (2012). Leveling the playing field: Assistive technology, special education, and a Canadian perspective. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 2(1), 6-15. http://www.aijcrnet.com/journals/Vol_2_No_1_January_2012/2.pdf

Kitchenham, A. (2006). Teachers and technology a transformative journey. Journal of Transformative Education, 4(3), 202-225.

Hart, D. J. (2012). Public Attitudes Towards Education in Ontario, 2012: The 18th OISE/UT Survey. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/oise/UserFiles/File/OISE%20Survey/18th_OISE_Survey/OISE%20SURVEY%2018.pdf

McLeod, S. A. (2007). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved 8 November 2014, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Peopleforeducation.ca,. (2014). People for Education | Home. Retrieved 8 November 2014, from http://www.peopleforeducation.ca

Robinson, K. (2006). Changing education paradigms. Ted.com. Retrieved 8 November 2014, from https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms

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How can technology be used to help transform “standardized assessment” practices? How can we make change happen faster?

How can technology be used to help transform “standardized assessment” practices?

Some terrific presentations this week from my peers.  I know that each presentation shows a lot of discussion and thought around this issue from the different perspectives – student, teacher, parent, politician, and administration.  It is not too surprising, that there was a lot of alignment between the perspectives for the use of technology –  individualized authentic assessments, decrease student/teacher anxiety, give feedback, reflect 21st Century learning, and other ideas.  It would be difficult for each group to go about making big picture changes to standardized assessment on their own and without considering the varying opinions of the other players.

It did make me wonder….

How about EQAOs perspective?

How we can make change happen faster than we see now… does something radical need to happen first? what would that be?

Cheers

Cat:)

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Education needs more individualization.. and technology can make that happen

This gallery contains 3 photos.

http://www.homegrownlearners.com/storage/standardized-testing-comic3.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1366066191994 Education is not meeting its own objectives. It is not always relevant, and is a reflection of past practice which is based on an efficiency model. To me, the biggest problem I see in our education system in Ontario, … Continue reading

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Podcasting in higher education: what are the implications for teaching and learning?

Colin and I worked on this podcast and blog together for EDUC 5105
Enjoy:)

Tech Diffusion

So Catherine and I decided that it would be great to put together a podcast episode, recording our conversation about the article – about Podcasting in higher education. We would discuss and analyze the study and take a look at it considering various models of diffusion of technology.

We also thought it would be fun to try this out to get a sense of what the instructors in the study we looked at may have experienced when creating their own podcasts for their University.

It’s not overly edited, so the audio recording of our conversation is pretty true to life…real and raw. Don’t expect any academy award level acting here (we will accept any nominations though… ).

We also included some show notes here on the blog with some of the more detailed info just in case you wanted to take a closer look.

For our classmates…we sent out a…

View original post 269 more words

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Started watching Rick Lavoie Videos again…

If you start watching these, you might want to have a box of tissues.

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Tech Times at Ely’s High

Ely’s High School

This activity reminded me a lot of one of those dinner mystery theatres.. and the game Clue.  “The Teachers, Principal and Board Facilitator… used the iPads…. in the School…. to help students learn…” What a terrific concept to learn about and understand Ely’s Conditions of Change.  Congratulations to all the creators for our course this week!

For those unfamiliar with this activity, we were asked to read over a school scenario, where the lucky high school was to receive enough iPads for everyone – staff and students – in their school for one year.  If they were to be successful, then other schools would get the opportunity.  For this assignment, my peers and I got to help them implement the use of the iPads in the school through interactive blogs. http://elyhigh2.wordpress.com/

Roles:Mrs. Elise Changer – Principal of Ely High, Evan Wells – Teacher at Ely High (Early Adopter role),  Joyce MacDonald – Teacher at Ely High (Reluctant Teacher role), and Francine Facil – Board Facilitator

For the purpose of this assignment, I was asked to blog with Francine.

Initial Analysis of the Board Facilitator

I must admit, that I did not have the best opinion of Francine at first.  She was really only worried about keeping a job at the board office, not wanting to go back to the classroom quite yet.   She made a plan on how to start up things, but not how to continue working with staff.  In September, she sent out an email to staff outlining the pedagogical implication of the iPad, research and Ministry documents.  She made a September Powerpoint and a FAQ sheet. Francine didn’t really want to interact with the staff other than through: a one-size fits all presentation, email and phone calls.  Francine did not want to ‘hold the hands’ of staff or differentiate for different staff learning needs – she only really wanted to work with the ‘keen’ teachers.  She did not seem very committed to working with the principal (who she secretly calls Mrs. Challenger) or those who are not already on board.  Deferral of responsibility was another avoidance strategy.  Overall, Francine wanted to keep her board office job with a minimal amount of work, with the most benefit for her professionally. 

Happily through suggestions of my peers and myself through this process, I think Francine sees her role differently, and has started to embrace things that might better the success of the project.

Using Ely’s Eight Conditions of Change Model, I categorized the suggestions I made with respect to building the use of iPads in the schools.

Ely’s Eight Conditions of Change

1. Dissatisfaction with the status quo

The board recognized a need to “increase literacy and numeracy skills, make students’ learning more relevant and meaningful and in turn raise standardized test scores.”

The principal, Mrs. Changer, did all the paperwork to start the process of getting the iPad grant for her school. (It is too bad that she did not involve her staff in this process, as it may have brought in more staff at the early onset of the project)

Generally I think teachers like to change things up in their programs to make them more interesting for them and for their students.  This of course is not always the case.

2. Sufficient knowledge and skills

  • suggested that Francine learn how to use the iPad to teach with and share this knowledge with the staff
  • suggested that she focus more on those who needed support like the “Joyce”s than than the “Evan”s of the school
  • suggested Student Technology Ambassadors – in a Coop/Technology course creating  potential student helpers in the class for teachers as needed
  • differentiate PD to meet the needs of the teachers (allow for signups)
  • suggested the building of a school wiki for definitions and app ideas that could be accessible on the iPad
  • suggested that all materials she generates be accessible on the iPad (no more paper!)
  • suggested websites that recommend apps that high school teachers might like 
  • to Joyce – I suggested some iTunesU podcasts  (general overview of the iPad, and assistive tech), some websites, and some apps that she might use with her class, and suggested that she might find some things on iTunesU

3. Availability of resources

  • I suggested that she help in making sure that supports were in place – availability of equipment and network
  • suggested Student Technology Ambassadors built through a credit course, which would potentially allow teachers to ‘sign out’ coop students as needed 
  • suggested the building of a school wiki for definitions and app ideas that could be accessible on the iPad
  • suggested that all materials she generates be accessible on the iPad (no more paper!)
  • to Joyce – I suggested some iTunesU podcasts  (general overview of the iPad, and assistive tech), some websites, and some apps that she might use with her class, and suggested that she might find some things on iTunesU

4. Availability of time

  • suggested that email and phone contact is difficult for staff during the day – that she spend more time at the school than she initially thought (initially 1 Friday a week.. went up to 4 at the end of our blogs)
  • suggested that all resources on the iPads for staff – this would also allow them to work at their own pace through the materials, could even take it home to work with it personally
  • Professional Development
  • I wish that I had added the idea of release time in small groups to allow for divisions to meet and devise lessons using the iPads

5. Reward or incentives

  • Francine is motivated by the idea that she keep her role as a Board Facilitator, so I suggested that she create a blog of all the cool things happening for the school – which could be added to her portfolio
  • suggested that working with early adopters might keep her motivated
  • suggested blogs and twitter could be used to highlight the cool things happening in the classes (thought this might act as a motivator for teachers who wish to share what they are doing with the iPads)
  • Student Technology Ambassadors could earn a credit for their time
  • to Joyce – I suggested some iTunesU podcasts that she might find useful for herself even into retirement
  • although I did not suggest this, the new iPads themselves could be seen as a reward for staff and students 

6. Participation

  • suggested that Francine work with not only the early adopters but also those that are not so keen
  • suggested that she encourage the Principal to use the iPad to help model it and show her involvement
  • suggested that she create and send out a survey to find out what teachers are concerned about and any thoughts they want to share (good way to create PD from too)
  • suggested student involvement in the process through trained Student Technology Ambassadors (coop/technology course) 
  • suggested Francine set up the idea of Twitter being a good format to share information between staff members, for questions and answers with everyone 

7. Commitment

  • suggested student involvement in the process through trained Student Technology Ambassadors – even through a coop/technology course – could help with maintenance – having the availability of a student helper in the class for teachers
  • suggested she spend more time at the school than just one day a week
  • suggested she model the use of the iPad

8. Leadership

  •  suggested indirectly that she might need to take on more leadership roles than she initially thought (Francine kept saying things like she did not expect to be ‘hand holding’, or certain things were not her job) even though she was in the best position to coordinate things, and the only one who could devote themselves 100% to the implementation of the iPads.  Think she expected the principal to do more in this area – while the principal wanted to continue running the school
  • suggested she differentiate PD to meet the needs of the teachers (allow for signups, suggestions for inservice)
  • suggested she spend more time at the school and use the technology with the staff for PD and support
  • suggested that she support all learners not just those that are early adopters

I would have probably made more suggestions.. but the first time I wrote her, I seemed to overwhelm her – lol.  My peers did an excellent job of vetting out things that I had not addressed anyways.  The conditions really need to work together to make the change happen. Fun assignment!

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Part 2 – Looking up information about Ely’s Model

In trying to find out more about Ely’s Conditions to Facilitate Change, I came across Rachel Finken’s (2012) contribution to the wiki – Breaking the Mold: An Educational Perspective on Diffusion of Innovation/Ely’s Conditions to Facilitate the Implementation of Educational Technology Innovations in wikibooks.  In this wiki, Finken discusses the findings of Surry and Ensminger (2008) who looked at the application of Ely’s ideas to different Educational systems and the business world.  This included the K-12 school system.  I took a look at that study too. I was a bit intrigued to see if what I thought would be important in a school would be the same.  From this study, they created a chart that outlined the conditions in importance for each group.   For a High school, the order would be as follows:  dissatisfaction, resources, time, commitment, participation, skills and knowledge, leadership and reward.

Finken writes: “For educators, the study indicated that resources, participation, and skills and knowledge were closely grouped as the three most important factors in facilitating implementation for the education group. This showed the education group perceived that in order for an innovation to be successfully implemented, workers need supporting resources, a sense of ownership in the decision making process, and the skills and knowledge necessary to use the innovation effectively (Ensminger & Surry, 2008).”

I was pleased to note that ‘Reward’ was the least important condition in all three groups examined.  While I understand the benefits of extrinsic motivators with learning practices, it is not my favourite motivational tool – but I do admit that giving teachers food can be a big motivator! lol  The leadership part also did not surprise me too much – as teachers generally see themselves as leaders in education, and life long learners. 

Finken also shares a “Guide for the Educational Change Agent” that can help work an institution through the change.  I wish I had seen this wiki prior to doing my blogs with Francine – lol – but now that I have it, it will be a good resource to share with my staff.

So.. at the end of it all, I think I have a pretty good idea about Elys’ Conditions of Change Model – where each condition plays a part in the adoption of a technology.  Francine the Board Facilitator seemed to change over time.. and happily I think much better of her and rather like her now.  She will do an awesome job as well as will the other cast members.  I think there is hope for the implementation of the iPads at Ely’s High School.. now if only this could be real! I volunteer my school!!!

Cheers

Cat:)

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I ran across this game awhile ago.. it is a little like this simulation that we did for this class – The Diffusion Simulation Game. It is free.

https://www.indiana.edu/~simed/istdemo/

(The Diffusion Simulation Game was created in the Department of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University Bloomington. This Web version was led by Dr. Ted Frick with designers Barbara Ludwig, K. J. Kim and Rui Huang. The DSG is based on a board game originally developed by Dr. Michael Molenda and Patricia Young, and is based on research on diffusion and adoptions of innovations.)

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References

Sites.google.com (1976). Overview – Ely’s Conditions of Change. [online] Retrieved from: https://sites.google.com/site/elysconditionsofchange/history [Accessed: 12 Mar 2013].

Correia, A.-P. (2012) (Ed.). Breaking the Mold: An Educational Perspective on Diffusion of Innovation. Wikibook/textbook, available at: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Breaking_the_Mold:_An_Educational_Perspective_on_Diffusion_of_Innovation/Ely’s_Conditions_to_Facilitate_the_Implementation_of_Educational_Technology_Innovations [Accessed: 12 Mar 2013].

Ensminger, D. C. & Surry, D. W. (2008). Relative ranking of conditions that facilitate innovation implementation in the USA. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(5), 611-626. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet24/ensminger.html

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