For once, I’m actually finding it a pinch difficult to keep on top of things…so much learning, projects and writing happening for wordgirl right now. The majority of my posts at the moment are related to the MEd in Academic Practice I am studying. Tonight, I’m recalling the first session of the Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching (TELT) module with Mark Hetherington. I’ve already spoken about the themes and ideas from the pre-reading for the first session, which examined themes of flexible learning, student honest in terms of engagement with learning activities, learning activity design, an introduction to technology-enhanced learning environments, learning through online discussions, and finally learning, resources and mentoring in the cloud.
Session one was very much about getting to know each other – those on the course – and getting to know “where we are now?”. Mark began by giving an introduction to the TELT module and the session, stating the module aims:
- Develop your skills and experience in evaluating and reflecting on good practice in relation to learning technologies
- Applying technologies appropriately to curriculum models
- Underpinning the use of technology with appropriate learning, teaching and research tools
- Creating and authoring of a media rich artefact
- Evaluate options for enhancing learning, teaching and assessment with the technology in their own subject, and represent their approach in Learning Activity Design diagram
- Design and create a TELT artefact
- Critically reflect on the process of teaching and learning online with particular emphasis on the skills of e-tutoring
- Demonstrating an understanding of key areas relating to technology enhanced learning teaching and assessment
“Learning is a personal journey, which is achieved through the involvement of action, reflection, feedback and evaluation. This is an activity rich module…sharing experiences, thinking about change, reflection on old and new practices, more sharing, collaborating in class and online.”
TELT has been designed with blended-learning as its CORE. What is blended-learning?
- Combing or mixing web-based technology to accomplish an educational goal…
- A lot of activities to interact with the students more such as an online quiz, activities before the session on Moodle…
- Combining theories/paradigms (e.g. constructivism, behaviourism, cognitivism) to produce an optimal learning outcome with our without instructional technology
- Weave of different modes of learning to promote flexibility within a student group..it’s the weave is important…whatever he weave is doesn’t really matter
- Combining any form of instructional tech with face-to-face tutor-led teaching
- Mix of traditional teaching methods with technology
- Combining instructional tech with actual job tasks
- At its heart, is learning how people learn and trying to tap into…how much does a student actually get from talk and chalk?
- It’s more than just delivery!
“If the term blended learning is to have longevity…we must extend its use beyond technology. It must be as much about varying learning methodology as it is about training delivery. We must understand more about what motivates learners, what support they need and how these supportive interventions can take place in practice. Only with this understanding can we get the “blend” right.” – Martyn Sloman (2007: 318)
Blended Learning is a mix of:
- Pedagogical approaches – combining the effectiveness and social aspects of the classroom with the enhancement of online learning
- Paradigm shift – teaching to learning – encouraging greater interaction between the tutor and students, among students
- Enhanced mechanisms of feedback – integrating formative and summative feedback to boost students’ learning experience
To create a “community of enquiry”…
- Social presence – the social glue and the willingness to critique someone on a group environment. Allows for open communication and group cohesion which enables risk-free expression and encourages collaboration. Create a climate of trust and open communication that supports interaction, and establishes a sense of community and a cognitive presence (Garrison and Vaughan (2008))
- Cognitive presence – critique each other and explore avenues. Allows for exploration, integration and resolutions through information exchange, connecting ideas and applying new ideas. Moving from problem definitions to exploration (content, ideas, solutions).
- Teaching presence – hardest one, about environment, the space…encouraging the social presence to lead into the cognitive presence. Design and organisation of learning, facilitation of discourse and space. Facilitation of social cognitive. Bringing them together to ensure that the community is productive. Not easy to design.
The Flipped Classroom (a blended learning model)…the traditional way of doing a lecture of session if providing content and send them off to apply the thinking, analysis and synthesis away from the classroom. For the flipped classroom, we make it easy for them, we flip the process, to encourage deeper learning inside the classroom.
The first group exercise was an on the spot introduction to each other, including our name, role, job, faculty, professional and personal interests…then introduced to an online platform called ‘Padlet’ that I did not know. I like the way the first email you receive from Padlet post-registration says ‘You signed up for Padlet. That’s beautiful. You’re beautiful.’ This is my kinda website.
Innovative and creative…the online platform allows you to layer and map responses, texts and knowledge…to build an understanding of a subject, in this TELT session, each other! It is accessible through a webpage, so all students and users can get access. It also expands as content is added. The only thing is it doesn’t archive changes made to the page so content can change rapidly and content lost. It was a clever ice breaking activity as it helped you to make sense of who you were and why you were on the course, also visualising what skills your brought to the TELT table…and it’s one diverse group, I’ll tell you that. From this exercise, we were divided into Action Learning Sets that we will remain in for the remainder of the module.
What do you know already and how can that help you in relation to TELT?
As a starting point for the Action Learning Sets, we were asked to populate the TELT wiki site with examples of theories, models, paradigms, approaches that will help with the formation of our learning and understanding on the module…
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Social Constructivism – Lev Vygotsky….mutual scaffolding, peer work and learning from each other…reaching another level
- Digital Literacy Theory/Constructivism – Paul Gilster
- Andragogy – adult versus child learners
- Heutagogy – self-determined learning
- Connectivism – comes from Constructivism and directly relating to digital learning, for example MOOCs…each learner constructs their own knowledge
- Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT)
- The seven elements of Digital Literacy (JISC)
Building on the pre-reading for session one, we were asked in our Action Learning Sets, What does ‘flexible learning’ mean?
- Chameleon learning…changing and adapting the way you teach in alignment with the changing needs of the students
- Open to adjustment to meet the student needs
- Timing, location/space, technology, commitments, personal circumstance, study/teach (full-time, part-time, distance learning)
The definition from The Higher Education Academy (HEA) is:
Flexible learning focuses on offering students choices about when, where and how they learn. It can give valuable advantages in an increasingly competitive HE environment as greater flexibility can help meet the needs of a diverse range of students. Flexible learning is accessing education in a way that is responsive in pace, place and/or mode of delivery. It is often supported by the use of credit accumulation and transfer.
Flexible learning can include:
- using technology to provide remote or online study
- work-based learning and employer engagement
- part-time learning
- accelerated or decelerated programmes
- distance or blended learning
Flexible learning benefits:
- help meet the needs of a diverse range of students
- enable part-time study that could be attractive for sponsors
- allow students to combine work, study and family
- enable students to develop skills and attributes to successfully adapt to change
Through padlet, we completed an exercise that examined Moderating Online Potential Issues through a number of different scenarios. Shown below are two of the five scenarios and some of the answers. Answers could be posted anonymously or named, so allowed for a certain freedom of speech…useful in terms of gaining multiple perspectives and potential solutions. I’ll definitely be using this tool!
- Scenario One: The Dominator
There’s a student in your group who replies immediately to every response made by yourself as the moderator, and to every other student. At the start you don’t mind this as it seems to be making your online forums seems really active, but as the weeks progress you spot that fewer and fewer people are posting to the forum. How can you re-energise the forum, and how can you contain the ‘enthusiasm’ of the ever-present poster?
Scenario Five: The (very) Reluctant Learner
Early in your module a student posts the following message. “Hiya, putting cards on the table I don’t want to be on this module and I don’t want to be taking part in this forum. I have been told by my employer that I have to attend. I will do the minimum I need to pass this module. Please don’t put me any ‘Action Learning Sets’ or online groups, I learn best on my own and don’t work well in groups” How could you respond to this posting?
Through this activity, I was made more aware that I often do not have boundaries in terms of being accessible online for support, responding to student’s needs at all hours of the day. In part, I feel this is due to the culture of the students who I teach, specifically Chinese students, and from my experiences of working in China, as they widely communicate through WeChat (the Whatsapp/Facebook of China). Through using this app, it allows me to breakthrough communication boundaries and achieves a new level of engagement with many students. Moving forward, I need to establish these boundaries from the start of the academic year, communicating this to students through our discussion of expectations for the learning journey ahead.
A closing activity was to map out our instincts and aspirations…where do you think you are now? Your concerns and where you want to be by the end of the module…also stating our awareness of various technologies – formal and informal – available to you and the roles they play in relation to TELT; confidence in the effectiveness of your skills and interactions with technology, and current professional development in relation to technology, education and practice. In addition to this, we had to map our journey towards flexible learning, specifically marking where we are on the spectrum between rigid and flexible learning, and face-to-face and online. To facilitate teaching sessions, in addition to more conventional formats of face-to-face lectures, presentations, reading groups, activity sessions, workshops, seminars and student presentations, I have used a variety of digital methods including pre-recorded video presentation/audio presentations, real-time video conferencing and live forums. I have dipped my toe into using Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or Course Management System (CMS) such as Moodle and Blackboard (usually through or with the help of colleagues), however I am not confident in their use or potential, which I know is vast since completing session one of the TELT course.
I did feel a little overwhelmed by the possibilities, yet excited by the potential. Also, I concerned that certain technologies may be difficult to technically learn (there is a little technophobe in me ha ha!) Another concern is the applications of certain technologies to practice-led and practice-based arts education, or learning and teaching in the arts. This latter concern has been somewhat positively answered through being introduced to Padlet, apparently ‘the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world’. It showed me a potential way in which to facilitate group work and projects with students through any digital device, also acting as a tool for documentation. It also helps to build digital literacy and language skills, to me working best when facilitated on large screens and devices to see the multiple collaborators and responses.
Let’s see what the next session brings…in the next blog post!