Noelene Callaghan           

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Practice what you Preach

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 4:30 AM

Practice what you preach. Something that I have certainly not done in all of the aspects of my working career. However, saying that, my working career does not only consist of teaching secondary students. I have dramatically grown my CV this year by taking on more challenges outside the school and participating in new ventures, professional learning teams and in higher education research studies.


Within the classroom, a massive push has been made to increase the literacy levels of my students. Using various types of resources and tools, I have done this quite successfully. Students have created projects, contributed to blogs and even read digital stories that increase their subject related vocabularly, increase their overall skill in the subject and hopefully lead to transfering these skills to other subjects. Unfortunately, the latter can not be measured. Blogging has been a huge task in my classroom and now that I have completed the bi-annual tasks of marking and report writing, I find myself in a position where I myself, have not blogged my experiences for some time. Providing samples to students of either your own work or past students work is a significantly important resource that will assist students in visually project what they are required to complete whilst providing them with a benchmark to exceed. I have found from personal experience, that students will always try to do 'better' than the example that you have shown them. This not only exceeds your expectations, but the students as well.


In terms of professional learning and higher order research, I have found that in order for other teachers/fellow staff to stay atuned to a goal, practicing what you preach is also of benefit. With luck, a project that my team is working on will be adopted by all school staff and demonstrate that digital change in a school that is ridiculously busy is possible. I say 'ridiculously busy', simply because I am fortunate enough to work at a school where every single teacher promotes change and works so hard!


So.....what do you practice?

The Opportunity of Holidays

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 8:25 AM

Many non teachers would look at this time of year and comment that "Teachers are on holidays again". When I am constantly reminded of this, I no longer feel guilty about the fact that I am not at school, I know answer quite proudly, "yes I am, and if you only knew what your child's teacher is doing right now". This response often generates a conversation as curiosity always gets the better of the person that I am conversing with.

 

Albeith we are on holidays, but we are also given the opportunity of "time". Time to catch up on that never-ending list of things to do that we had every intention on completing last term, but only in reality, are able to achieve now. Many of us are marking, writing reports, learning new computer programs and already programming for 2014. The rest of us are creating those worksheets that we know we will use during next term, planning formals and graduations or sewing costumes for the school play that was timed to be staged once the HSC is over, as on the school calendar, this appeared to be the best time of the year to hold this (werent we a little wrong).

 

Teachers ought to use these holidays and this time to create those structures that we require to facilitate our teaching and learning. Whether it be to create proposals for the Exec staff of a new idea that we would like to run at the school or a new online program that can be used to support collecting homework, these holidays prior to term 4 allow us to trial and error new ideas that we can test run toward the end of the year in order to determine its success for implementation in the future. This is certainly the time to take those risks that we are continuously asked to do at professional learning sessions and demonstrate our creativity to our school community,

 

Take the risk and be creative. Make the next 11 weeks count and a time for your efforts to be remembered.

Learning about the latest Educational Research conducted by Teachers

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 9:10 PM

On July 22, 2013, five teachers presented current research studies that they were individually conducting within schools at the Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (A.P.P.L.E.) held by The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales. These research studies were conducted as either a part of a postgraduate research degree under the instruction of a Supervisor at an Australian University or as part of a self-interest project.

 

The Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (A.P.P.L.E.) is in its fourth year and was held at Trinity Grammar at Summer Hill with the purpose of providing teachers an opportunity to present their research work to a learned audience within a school setting as well as giving the presenters the opportunity to liaise with other presenters, students, academics, staff, visitors and past students.

 

These awards were created to encourage excellence in research work and for presenters to compete for the $1000 "Guild Research Award" and $500 "Smart Teachers Research Award" which will be presented at the Teachers’ Guild of NSW Annual Dinner and Awards Evening on Saturday 7 September 2013.

 

This year, Nicolette Hilton from Uralla Central School won first place taking the Guild Research Award of $1,000 for her research which investigated “The Ideal and the Reality; Teaching Indigenous Perspectives and Catering to Gifted and Talented Students through the Science Curriculum”. This was a qualitative research study that explored the perspectives of a small group of Australian secondary school science teachers regarding resources and professional development opportunities to help them address two important cross-curriculum perspectives (CCPs); teaching gifted and talented students and addressing Indigenous perspectives. This study drew on in-depth interviews with practising science teachers to provide rich descriptions of current classroom practice, resources and professional development and to compare these to the resources that teachers are accessing and classroom practices and professional development they would prefer to be experiencing.

 

A very close second and highly commended went to Dr Kate Bertram from the University of Wollongong and Illawarra Christian School who receives the $500 Smart Teacher Award. Kate’s study into “The Cultural Architecture of Schools – A study investigating the relationship between school design, the learning environment and learning communities in new schools”. The judges were impressed with her ability to convey the systemic issues associated with school architecture and design and willingness to make recommendations related to policy and practice.

 

A commendation and the $500 Co-op book vouchers were awarded to Angela D’Angelo from the Catholic Education Office, Sydney for her ideas related to the take-up of mathematics by girls in the HSC in her study title “In search of a success equation for girls in mathematics….toward equity.

 

A commendation goes to Janson Hews from the University of Technology and the Powerhouse Museum for his research proposal “Enhancing learning through 3D Printing and digital fabrication”.

 

Facts for Learning Fun

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Finding resources that can grab a student’s attention (hooking them) is sometimes difficult and often time consuming. However, students love to hear about historical and current facts and it has actually been proven that ‘facts’ can be used to support any type of learning style regardless of a student’s ability level. Also, factual information can extend their thinking skills. So, if you are one for sharing information and facts, then this is the App for you. “5001 Amazing Facts” is a free App that can be downloaded from Google Play that contains thousands of factual descriptions that can be used in any KLA and in both primary and secondary schools.

 

 

How can I use Robotics in the classroom?

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM

With the Australian Curriculum to be officially taught in schools in less than six months, teachers are looking for new technologies to introduce into the classroom that can suffice its General Capabilities and Cross Curriculum Priorities. Robots play a significant role in numeracy as well as other key learning areas such as science and can be used by students of all ability level from K-12.

Overall, robots enhance creative problem solving techniques. When working with Blooms or any other cognitive taxonomy, this is regarded as a higher order thinking skill. Robots also prevent students from being passive learners as they become active learners, showing initiative, independence and ownership of their work. Additionally, robots allow collaboration and communication to occur between small groups and large groups of students.

How do I use robots in the classroom?

Schools that already use robots use either Lego or the RoboCup pack (which can be purchased through Modern Teaching Aids). These are well-known and easy to use resources that can be used for years to come. When using robots, students use hands-on activities to create their robot, that is to make them and use programming and computers (including devices such as iPads and tablets) to create movement activities such as playing soccer, dancing or rescue operations for their robots. In addition to programs that schools can purchase from reputable robotics distributors, there are numerous resources available online that have step-by-step instructions on how to use robots if you are a first time user. There are also opportunities of entering state and national based competitions if you feel that your students have the skill.

Why should I use robotics in the classroom?

Robotics provides students with the ability maximise their learning by having a key role in every stage of designing a robot. Perfect for 21st Century learning, robotics can be used in flipped classrooms, project-based learning and problem-based learning. In a science lesson, students can use robots to demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between mass, force, work, power and energy, whereas in maths, students can use logic and sequence when writing instructions for the robot to complete given tasks.

Where to next?

A number of opportunities exist when learning with robots. If your students demonstrate a natural talent in designing and building their robots, they may enter competitions such as “RoboCup Junior Australia” which are open to all Australian schools.

 

How to use a 3D Printer in schools

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 10:25 PM

The latest “Must Have” in Technology is the 3D Printer. A 3D Printer has the capability to create a three-dimensional solid object. Unlike the printers we use today, a 3D Printer will permit students to take their CAPA and TAS artworks and Engineering and Technology projects to a whole new level. It permits students to design the blueprints of their projects using sophisticated software and higher order thinking that current classroom practices are limiting in. At around $2,500, the 3D Printer unit is now an attractive option for schools to adopt. 3D Printers permit students to print in plastic and in metal. Both materials are relatively cheap to purchase as is the software to use. Starter packs for schools are also available from 3D Printer suppliers

Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age

Posted on August 7, 2013 at 7:20 AM

This is a great article for any teacher who is passionate of using Social Networking Sites in the classroom.

Source: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

 

 

Introduction

 

Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three broad learning theories most often utilized in the creation of instructional environments. These theories, however, were developed in a time when learning was not impacted through technology. Over the last twenty years, technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn. Learning needs and theories that describe learning principles and processes, should be reflective of underlying social environments. Vaill emphasizes that “learning must be a way of being – an ongoing set of attitudes and actions by individuals and groups that they employ to try to keep abreast o the surprising, novel, messy, obtrusive, recurring events…” (1996, p.42).

 

Learners as little as forty years ago would complete the required schooling and enter a career that would often last a lifetime. Information development was slow. The life of knowledge was measured in decades. Today, these foundational principles have been altered. Knowledge is growing exponentially. In many fields the life of knowledge is now measured in months and years. Gonzalez (2004) describes the challenges of rapidly diminishing knowledge life:

 

 

“One of the most persuasive factors is the shrinking half-life of knowledge. The “half-life of knowledge” is the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete. Half of what is known today was not known 10 years ago. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months according to the American Society of Training and Documentation (ASTD). To combat the shrinking half-life of knowledge, organizations have been forced to develop new methods of deploying instruction.”

 

Some significant trends in learning:

◾ Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.

◾ Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.

◾ Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.

◾ Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.

◾ The organization and the individual are both learning organisms. Increased attention to knowledge management highlights the need for a theory that attempts to explain the link between individual and organizational learning.

◾ Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology.

◾ Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed).

 

Background

 

Driscoll (2000) defines learning as “a persisting change in human performance or performance potential…[which] must come about as a result of the learner’s experience and interaction with the world” (p.11). This definition encompasses many of the attributes commonly associated with behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism – namely, learning as a lasting changed state (emotional, mental, physiological (i.e. skills)) brought about as a result of experiences and interactions with content or other people.

 

Driscoll (2000, p14-17) explores some of the complexities of defining learning. Debate centers on:

◾ Valid sources of knowledge - Do we gain knowledge through experiences? Is it innate (present at birth)? Do we acquire it through thinking and reasoning?

◾ Content of knowledge – Is knowledge actually knowable? Is it directly knowable through human experience?

◾ The final consideration focuses on three epistemological traditions in relation to learning: Objectivism, Pragmatism, and Interpretivism ◾ Objectivism (similar to behaviorism) states that reality is external and is objective, and knowledge is gained through experiences.

◾ Pragmatism (similar to cognitivism) states that reality is interpreted, and knowledge is negotiated through experience and thinking.

◾ Interpretivism (similar to constructivism) states that reality is internal, and knowledge is constructed.

 

 

 

All of these learning theories hold the notion that knowledge is an objective (or a state) that is attainable (if not already innate) through either reasoning or experiences. Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism (built on the epistemological traditions) attempt to address how it is that a person learns.

 

Behaviorism states that learning is largely unknowable, that is, we can’t possibly understand what goes on inside a person (the “black box theory”). Gredler (2001) expresses behaviorism as being comprised of several theories that make three assumptions about learning:

1. Observable behaviour is more important than understanding internal activities

2. Behaviour should be focused on simple elements: specific stimuli and responses

3. Learning is about behaviour change

 

Cognitivism often takes a computer information processing model. Learning is viewed as a process of inputs, managed in short term memory, and coded for long-term recall. Cindy Buell details this process: “In cognitive theories, knowledge is viewed as symbolic mental constructs in the learner's mind, and the learning process is the means by which these symbolic representations are committed to memory.”

 

Constructivism suggests that learners create knowledge as they attempt to understand their experiences (Driscoll, 2000, p. 376). Behaviorism and cognitivism view knowledge as external to the learner and the learning process as the act of internalizing knowledge. Constructivism assumes that learners are not empty vessels to be filled with knowledge. Instead, learners are actively attempting to create meaning. Learners often select and pursue their own learning. Constructivist principles acknowledge that real-life learning is messy and complex. Classrooms which emulate the “fuzziness” of this learning will be more effective in preparing learners for life-long learning.

 

Limitations of Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism

 

A central tenet of most learning theories is that learning occurs inside a person. Even social constructivist views, which hold that learning is a socially enacted process, promotes the principality of the individual (and her/his physical presence – i.e. brain-based) in learning. These theories do not address learning that occurs outside of people (i.e. learning that is stored and manipulated by technology). They also fail to describe how learning happens within organizations

 

Learning theories are concerned with the actual process of learning, not with the value of what is being learned. In a networked world, the very manner of information that we acquire is worth exploring. The need to evaluate the worthiness of learning something is a meta-skill that is applied before learning itself begins. When knowledge is subject to paucity, the process of assessing worthiness is assumed to be intrinsic to learning. When knowledge is abundant, the rapid evaluation of knowledge is important. Additional concerns arise from the rapid increase in information. In today’s environment, action is often needed without personal learning – that is, we need to act by drawing information outside of our primary knowledge. The ability to synthesize and recognize connections and patterns is a valuable skill.

 

Many important questions are raised when established learning theories are seen through technology. The natural attempt of theorists is to continue to revise and evolve theories as conditions change. At some point, however, the underlying conditions have altered so significantly, that further modification is no longer sensible. An entirely new approach is needed.

 

Some questions to explore in relation to learning theories and the impact of technology and new sciences (chaos and networks) on learning:

◾ How are learning theories impacted when knowledge is no longer acquired in the linear manner?

◾ What adjustments need to made with learning theories when technology performs many of the cognitive operations previously performed by learners (information storage and retrieval).

◾ How can we continue to stay current in a rapidly evolving information ecology?

◾ How do learning theories address moments where performance is needed in the absence of complete understanding?

◾ What is the impact of networks and complexity theories on learning?

◾ What is the impact of chaos as a complex pattern recognition process on learning?

◾ With increased recognition of interconnections in differing fields of knowledge, how are systems and ecology theories perceived in light of learning tasks?

 

An Alternative Theory

 

Including technology and connection making as learning activities begins to move learning theories into a digital age. We can no longer personally experience and acquire learning that we need to act. We derive our competence from forming connections. Karen Stephenson states:

 

 

“Experience has long been considered the best teacher of knowledge. Since we cannot experience everything, other people’s experiences, and hence other people, become the surrogate for knowledge. ‘I store my knowledge in my friends’ is an axiom for collecting knowledge through collecting people (undated).”

 

Chaos is a new reality for knowledge workers. ScienceWeek (2004) quotes Nigel Calder's definition that chaos is “a cryptic form of order”. Chaos is the breakdown of predictability, evidenced in complicated arrangements that initially defy order. Unlike constructivism, which states that learners attempt to foster understanding by meaning making tasks, chaos states that the meaning exists – the learner's challenge is to recognize the patterns which appear to be hidden. Meaning-making and forming connections between specialized communities are important activities.

 

Chaos, as a science, recognizes the connection of everything to everything. Gleick (1987) states: “In weather, for example, this translates into what is only half-jokingly known as the Butterfly Effect – the notion that a butterfly stirring the air today in Peking can transform storm systems next month in New York” (p. 8). This analogy highlights a real challenge: “sensitive dependence on initial conditions” profoundly impacts what we learn and how we act based on our learning. Decision making is indicative of this. If the underlying conditions used to make decisions change, the decision itself is no longer as correct as it was at the time it was made. The ability to recognize and adjust to pattern shifts is a key learning task.

 

Luis Mateus Rocha (1998) defines self-organization as the “spontaneous formation of well organized structures, patterns, or behaviors, from random initial conditions.” (p.3). Learning, as a self-organizing process requires that the system (personal or organizational learning systems) “be informationally open, that is, for it to be able to classify its own interaction with an environment, it must be able to change its structure…” (p.4). Wiley and Edwards acknowledge the importance of self-organization as a learning process: “Jacobs argues that communities self-organize is a manner similar to social insects: instead of thousands of ants crossing each other’s pheromone trails and changing their behavior accordingly, thousands of humans pass each other on the sidewalk and change their behavior accordingly.”. Self-organization on a personal level is a micro-process of the larger self-organizing knowledge constructs created within corporate or institutional environments. The capacity to form connections between sources of information, and thereby create useful information patterns, is required to learn in our knowledge economy.

 

Networks, Small Worlds, Weak Ties

 

A network can simply be defined as connections between entities. Computer networks, power grids, and social networks all function on the simple principle that people, groups, systems, nodes, entities can be connected to create an integrated whole. Alterations within the network have ripple effects on the whole.

 

Albert-László Barabási states that “nodes always compete for connections because links represent survival in an interconnected world” (2002, p.106). This competition is largely dulled within a personal learning network, but the placing of value on certain nodes over others is a reality. Nodes that successfully acquire greater profile will be more successful at acquiring additional connections. In a learning sense, the likelihood that a concept of learning will be linked depends on how well it is currently linked. Nodes (can be fields, ideas, communities) that specialize and gain recognition for their expertise have greater chances of recognition, thus resulting in cross-pollination of learning communities.

 

Weak ties are links or bridges that allow short connections between information. Our small world networks are generally populated with people whose interests and knowledge are similar to ours. Finding a new job, as an example, often occurs through weak ties. This principle has great merit in the notion of serendipity, innovation, and creativity. Connections between disparate ideas and fields can create new innovations.

 

Connectivism

 

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.

 

Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical.

 

Principles of connectivism:

◾ Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.

◾ Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.

◾ Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

◾ Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known

◾ Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.

◾ Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.

◾Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.

◾Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.

 

Connectivism also addresses the challenges that many corporations face in knowledge management activities. Knowledge that resides in a database needs to be connected with the right people in the right context in order to be classified as learning. Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism do not attempt to address the challenges of organizational knowledge and transference.

 

Information flow within an organization is an important element in organizational effectiveness. In a knowledge economy, the flow of information is the equivalent of the oil pipe in an industrial economy. Creating, preserving, and utilizing information flow should be a key organizational activity. Knowledge flow can be likened to a river that meanders through the ecology of an organization. In certain areas, the river pools and in other areas it ebbs. The health of the learning ecology of the organization depends on effective nurturing of information flow.

 

Social network analysis is an additional element in understanding learning models in a digital era. Art Kleiner (2002) explores Karen Stephenson’s “quantum theory of trust” which “explains not just how to recognize the collective cognitive capability of an organization, but how to cultivate and increase it”. Within social networks, hubs are well-connected people who are able to foster and maintain knowledge flow. Their interdependence results in effective knowledge flow, enabling the personal understanding of the state of activities organizationally.

 

The starting point of connectivism is the individual. Personal knowledge is comprised of a network, which feeds into organizations and institutions, which in turn feed back into the network, and then continue to provide learning to individual. This cycle of knowledge development (personal to network to organization) allows learners to remain current in their field through the connections they have formed.

 

Landauer and Dumais (1997) explore the phenomenon that “people have much more knowledge than appears to be present in the information to which they have been exposed”. They provide a connectivist focus in stating “the simple notion that some domains of knowledge contain vast numbers of weak interrelations that, if properly exploited, can greatly amplify learning by a process of inference”. The value of pattern recognition and connecting our own “small worlds of knowledge” are apparent in the exponential impact provided to our personal learning.

 

John Seely Brown presents an interesting notion that the internet leverages the small efforts of many with the large efforts of few. The central premise is that connections created with unusual nodes supports and intensifies existing large effort activities. Brown provides the example of a Maricopa County Community College system project that links senior citizens with elementary school students in a mentor program. The children “listen to these “grandparents” better than they do their own parents, the mentoring really helps the teachers…the small efforts of the many- the seniors – complement the large efforts of the few – the teachers.” (2002). This amplification of learning, knowledge and understanding through the extension of a personal network is the epitome of connectivism.

 

Implications

 

The notion of connectivism has implications in all aspects of life. This paper largely focuses on its impact on learning, but the following aspects are also impacted:

◾ Management and leadership. The management and marshalling of resources to achieve desired outcomes is a significant challenge. Realizing that complete knowledge cannot exist in the mind of one person requires a different approach to creating an overview of the situation. Diverse teams of varying viewpoints are a critical structure for completely exploring ideas. Innovation is also an additional challenge. Most of the revolutionary ideas of today at one time existed as a fringe element. An organizations ability to foster, nurture, and synthesize the impacts of varying views of information is critical to knowledge economy survival. Speed of “idea to implementation” is also improved in a systems view of learning.

◾ Media, news, information. This trend is well under way. Mainstream media organizations are being challenged by the open, real-time, two-way information flow of blogging.

◾Personal knowledge management in relation to organizational knowledge management

◾ Design of learning environments

 

Conclusion:

 

The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe. Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today. A real challenge for any learning theory is to actuate known knowledge at the point of application. When knowledge, however, is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill. As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses.

 

Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized. The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.

 

References

 

Barabási, A. L., (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks, Cambridge, MA, Perseus Publishing.

 

Buell, C. (undated). Cognitivism. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://web.cocc.edu/cbuell/theories/cognitivism.htm.

 

Brown, J. S., (2002). Growing Up Digital: How the Web Changes Work, Education, and the Ways People Learn. United States Distance Learning Association. Retrieved on December 10, 2004, from http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/FEB02_Issue/article01.html

 

Driscoll, M. (2000). Psychology of Learning for Instruction. Needham Heights, MA, Allyn & Bacon.

 

Gleick, J., (1987). Chaos: The Making of a New Science. New York, NY, Penguin Books.

 

Gonzalez, C., (2004). The Role of Blended Learning in the World of Technology. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://www.unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/2004/september04/eis.htm.

 

Gredler, M. E., (2005) Learning and Instruction: Theory into Practice – 5th Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson Education.

 

Kleiner, A. (2002). Karen Stephenson’s Quantum Theory of Trust. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://www.netform.com/html/s+b%20article.pdf.

 

Landauer, T. K., Dumais, S. T. (1997). A Solution to Plato’s Problem: The Latent Semantic Analysis Theory of Acquisition, Induction and Representation of Knowledge. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://lsa.colorado.edu/papers/plato/plato.annote.html.

 

Rocha, L. M. (1998). Selected Self-Organization and the Semiotics of Evolutionary Systems. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://informatics.indiana.edu/rocha/ises.html.

 

ScienceWeek (2004) Mathematics: Catastrophe Theory, Strange Attractors, Chaos. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://scienceweek.com/2003/sc031226-2.htm.

 

Stephenson, K., (Internal Communication, no. 36) What Knowledge Tears Apart, Networks Make Whole. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://www.netform.com/html/icf.pdf.

 

Vaill, P. B., (1996). Learning as a Way of Being. San Francisco, CA, Jossey-Blass Inc.

 

Wiley, D. A and Edwards, E. K. (2002). Online self-organizing social systems: The decentralized future of online learning. Retrieved December 10, 2004 from http://wiley.ed.usu.edu/docs/ososs.pdf.

 

     

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

 

How can my school increase its digital footprint?

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 4:20 AM

Many schools are adopting digital technologies as part of their lessons or as one-way communication means to execute information to their students and parents. However, schools are now creating teacher based committees who’s main objective is to ensure that all teachers are collaborating in the promotion of the school and its teaching and learning. Before any school adopts these technologies, it is recommended that the departmental policies and guidelines regarding the use of social media and the Internet are read and understood.

 

Schools are using standard web 2.0 tools to create informative websites that allows parents and guardians of their students to be aware of the latest school announcements. Websites and wikis are the most popular tools used by schools. Some schools incorporating e-commerce components which enable parents to pay school fees and order school uniforms online.

 

The more IT literate schools are taking their digital footprint to a whole new level and are incorporating social networking sites and various Apps into their promotions portfolio. Many schools have a dedicated Facebook page which also provides students and their parents of the latest school announcements and allow students to make contributions about events that took place at school. In these instances, school ‘promotions’ committees monitor Facebook ensuring that all material posted onto Facebook is appropriate. Schools whom have used Facebook find that there has been a significant increase in students returning permission notes and being more engaged in whole school activities. Schools have also found that parents are more engaged and more aware of all of the events that are taking place daily.

 

Schools have also begun using twitter to communicate to its students, parents and teachers. This micro blogging website has proven beneficial in reporting the successes of the school to its followers and to the general public. Many schools have also added a twitter feed on their school website so those parents whom do not have the latest mobile devices can still access the latest information.

 

Schools, such as Rooty Hill High School have embraced technology and have taken one step further and have created an App for apple and android devices. This App will provide Rooty Hill High School another means to communicate to students and their parents. The App permits its user to condensed access to information that is currently on the school website and Facebook page.

 

Schools can create a digital foot print with great ease. A committee that is responsible for its implementation is necessary as is a school population that is ready to embrace it.

Using a Healthy Eating App in PDHPE

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 4:20 AM

Are you a PDHPE teacher discussing the importance of an individual’s fitness level to your students? The latest App ‘Fitness Test for PE teachers and coaches’ allows its user, the student, to measure their own fitness levels without requiring a vast of sophisticated equipment in over 30 tests. Tests include the Beep Test and group tests, and it gives teachers the flexibility to create distance tests for their students. The Fitness Test App records all test result in a CSV file which can then be exported into an Excel Spreadsheet and data can be used to pinpoint areas of improvements of participating students throughout the school year. The Fitness Test App is available via the App Store for $0.99 and can be used with students at any age and any fitness level.

 

Go Pro Camera in Education

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Have you ever wondered how you can extend on creating digital stories or short films in your class? Why not invest in a Go Pro Camera that provides students with the ability to show life from their perspective? A Go Pro Camera is designed for fast moving real-life action video recording that captures your movements as you see them. Originally used in extreme sport, a Go Pro Camera provides students with new opportunities to record their actions, sporting events and events in a way that they have never been able to records before. Starting at $100 from most retailers, A Go Pro Camera uses a typical SD Card and permits editing via any software.

Where can I get more help regarding the Australian Curriculum?

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 7:35 AM

The Australian Curriculum is upon us and understanding all seven General Capabilities is critical. Termed as Learning Across the Curriculum (LAC), the 7 capabilities form the basis for all new Australian Syllabuses. Teachers in New South Wales, are also required to implement 3 Cross-curriculum priorities along with 3 other learning across the curriculum areas.


NSW teachers have been given additional professional learning time to prepare for the introduction of the Australian Curriculum in 2014. Many schools will have dedicated this time for teachers to develop programs which implement the General Capabilities into the curriculum. Although schools are attempting to implement this independently, there are a number of resources that are available to all primary and secondary schools to simplify the process.

 

 


ACARA (The Australian Curriculum And Reporting Authority)

The main website with information about the Australian Curriculum is produced by ACARA. ACARA provides school leaders and teachers with an overview of the draft syllabus papers which are under development, the General Capabilities and programs regarding assessment and reporting.

 

http://www.acara.edu.au/default.asp

 

If you are an avid iPad user, the “National Curriculum” App is designed by ACARA providing you with the information directly from their website. The App can be downloaded via itunes at:

 

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/australian-curriculum-mobile/id380266604?mt=8

 

 


Australian Curriculum

There ia an Australian Curriculum website that provides teachers with information, fact sheets and online mapping for the 7 General Capabilities. This website also provides teachers with a Learning Continuum that shows how students will develop from K-10 in every KLA.

 

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

 

Consultation papers are available for curriculum documents in development and teachers are invited to provide feedback. Access to these papers is available on the Australian Curriculum website.

 

http://consultation.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

 

The 3 Cross-curriculum priorities are also on the Australian Curriculum website. This provides educators with further information in pdf format that can be downloaded as reference material.

 

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/CrossCurriculumPriorities

 

 


Board of Studies New South Wales

The Board of Studies New South Wales website has information regarding the Australian Curriculum. A most valuable tool is the NSW BOS Learning Across the Curriculum (LAC) Filter that enables educators to map a syllabus by stage and by one or more LAC area. This filter will be critical in terms of programming and preparing lesson plans.

 

Board of Studies Australian Curriculum in NSW - http://boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/australian-curriculum/

Board Of Studies LAC Filter - http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/filter/

 

 


 

Teachers Connect

A relatively new website that offers to connect teachers and provide them the ability to share resources for FREE is now available. Teachers Connect allows teachers in Australia to register and network with others nationally to share and develop resources supporting capabilities of the National Curriculum.

 

http://teachersconnect.com.au

 

 

 


 

 

The True Feelings of Educators

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 6:30 AM

As an educator, we all feel as though time is against us. Although many, regardless of their occupation feel the same way, teachers particularly feel the strain with completing work in a desired time frame. We are bound by our own expectations, accommodating the needs of all of our students and complying with our schools direction. Many of us also have other commitments that require attention and, yes, for the majority of us, it for some reason, always conflicts with report season or marking season, or in my case, both. Please don’t misunderstand me. Im not complaining or trying to reinforce that ‘I am just so busy’, on the contrary, professionally, things couldn’t be going better for me. Like many others at my school, we thrive on demand and success. The more we are required to do, we seem to find even more tasks, excursions, extra curricular activities that we can add to our list. So why do educators work so hard? Especially when in the public eye, our education system is doomed to fail, our funding is diminishing and although we all give a Gonski, no-one seems too. Because, unlike any other occupation, we don’t ‘do it’ for us. We ‘do it’ for them – our students…to show our generation that our offspring, the new generation are better than us and can achieve more than us. Isn’t that what the new National Curriculum will enable us to do? Isn’t that what new pedagogies such as 21st Century learning, e-learning, flipped classrooms, project based learning, problem based learning and so forth are encouraging us to achieve in our teaching and learning space? As educators, we are more in tuned with what needs to be done within our educational settings and aren’t afraid to do what is needed. So, please attend as many professional learning sessions as possible, push your school leaders into developing better teaching practices and prove to those politicians that educators are much more than they give credit too…..for all we know, the next prime minister is facilitating a collaborative discussion with their peers in our classroom!

 

 

 

Facebook is losing millions of users

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 12:55 AM

 

More evidence......Facebook is losing its user base at a fast rate, with up to 9 million users leaving the world’s largest social networking site. The company has been losing visitors at almost the same rate for the last six months. Most of these users are said to be leaving Facebook to check out other new social networking sites such as the Path and Instagram.

 


In the last month, Facebook lost 6 million users in the United States, which is a 4 per cent fall. And the website lost 1.4 million users in the United Kingdom, which is a 4.5 per cent fall. Facebook users in other parts of the world such as Canada, Spain, France, Germany and Japan are also switching off their Facebook profiles.

 

 


“The problem is that, in the US and UK, most people who want to sign up for Facebook have already done it,” said new media specialist Ian Maude at Enders Analysis. “There is a boredom factor where people like to try something new. Is Facebook going to go the way of Myspace? The risk is relatively small, but that is not to say it isn’t there.”


 

How is Facebook trying to overcome this? Well, we have no idea. And are you one of the millions of people who are switching off their profiles?

 

Source: Guardian

 

 



Schools Are Using Social Networking to Involve Parents

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 7:40 PM

By Nora Fleming

Digital technology is providing a growing variety of methods for school leaders to connect with parents anywhere, anytime—a tactic mirroring how technology is used to engage students. Through Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and text messages sent in multiple languages, school staff members are giving parents instant updates, news, and information about their children's schools. Not only that, but a number of districts are also providing parents access to Web portals where they can see everything from their children's grades on school assignments to their locker combinations and what they're served for lunch.

 

Socioeconomic disparities in Internet access can make such digital-outreach efforts challenging and even divisive, however; some parents have many options for connecting digitally, and others don't. Yet some school leaders are meeting that challenge head-on by teaching parents how they can use technology to become more engaged in their children's education, and in some cases, by providing them with access to it in their own homes. "Digital learning levels the playing field among parents in a pretty profound way," said Elisabeth Stock, the chief executive officer and co-founder of CFY, or Computers for Youth, a New York City-based nonprofit that works with low-income communities and schools to improve digital literacy. "For low-income parents who feel they can no longer help their kids with learning as homework starts to become appreciably harder, access to high-quality digital learning content at home and the training to use it keeps these parents in the game," she said. "These parents can now easily find help online or learn side by side with their child."

Interest among school leaders in using digital tools to connect with parents in new and more cost-effective ways is rising across the country, educators say, in efforts to save staff time, ease language barriers through translation services, and provide opportunities to reach more parents than ever before, no matter their socioeconomic status. For those reasons, some of the largest districts have recently undertaken or expanded digital-engagement initiatives involving parents. This school year, the 1.1 million-student New York City system launched a new text-subscription service that notifies parents in English or Spanish of school news and a series of webinars on topics of relevance to parents. The 640,000-student Los Angeles school district hired its first-ever director of social media this past spring, whose main charge is communicating and sharing district information with parents and students via tools such as YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Those and similar efforts around the country are attracting the attention of parents. In the 182,000-student Fairfax County school system in Virginia, 84,500 people have subscribed to the district's enhanced news and information email and text service, the district's Facebook page has 26,000 "likes," and its Twitter account has 8,100 followers.

It's not only the biggest districts that are reaching out to parents digitally. Individual schools and smaller districts are also increasingly connecting to parents using a number of virtual tools, efforts often stemming from the vision of an administrator, such as the principal of the 600-student Knapp Elementary School, about 25 miles from Philadelphia. When Principal Joe Mazza took on his position six years ago, he made it a priority to use digital technologies to improve communication between the school and parents.

Today, the school—where 40 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and 22 languages are represented—has grown from its first outreach effort of an email listserv to communicating with parents through Twitter, Facebook, a parent-school Wiki, virtual chat, blog, and a Google text line. In addition, the school—part of the North Penn district—has its teachers use Skype to run parent conferences and airs live and archived video of all parent and teacher association meetings for parents who are unable to attend. Recently, Mr. Mazza and some staff members even brought laptops into a local mosque that a number of the school's families attend, and streamed live footage there of one of the meetings. "We have parents from all walks of life. The feedback we have from families has told us we can't provide a single communication means to engage them, so we provide a 'menu of offerings' they can pick and choose from," Mr. Mazza said. "Our goal is relating these family-engagement offerings to how we work with students, in a differentiated manner." Other school leaders have similar goals.

In California's 26,000-student Vista school district, 40 miles north of San Diego, Superintendent Devin Vodicka decided when he took the job this past summer to use social media to improve district communication with parents and staff members. Mr. Vodicka started a Twitter account and began making the rounds to schools, with the goal of reaching every classroom in the district and tweeting his experiences at each to his Twitter followers. Other administrators in the district have followed Mr. Vodicka's lead—now, 60 administrators have school-related Twitter and Facebook accounts, and around three-quarters of the schools now have some kind of social-media presence. Recently, a teacher told him, " 'I feel like I already know you from following you on Twitter and seeing what you see as you go around the district,' " Mr. Vodicka recalled.

Given that the level of access to and familiarity with digital technology can vary substantially among parents, some districts have made it just as much a priority to provide digital-literacy training to parents as to communicate with them via social-networking tools. To leaders in those districts, parents need to be familiar with such tools because their children continue to use social media and other technology tools for learning after the school day ends. The 203,000-student Houston district, for example, just launched a parent education initiative this school year around digital literacy; it targets low-income parents, most of whom do not have Internet access or even computers in their homes. More than 80 percent of the district's students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. With donations from the Microsoft Corp. as well as $25,000 from the local school endowment, the district created "parent super centers" on five school campuses. Each center provides classes and training to parents on office software, Internet use and safety, and the district's online grade-reporting system, among other topics. About 2,000 parents have already received training since the start of school this year, according to Kelly Cline, the senior manager of parent engagement for the Houston district. In addition, organizations such as the Boston-based Technology Goes Home and CFY are partnering with schools to provide parent, teacher, and school leader training and even computers for parents to use after completion of the training.

CFY, for example, has served more than 50,000 families in 13 years in New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The program, which works with schools where at least 75 percent of students are eligible for subsidized lunch, provides all-day training on weekends at school for parents to complete with their children. They learn how to use a computer, the Internet, and an academic platform that has lessons that are grade- and age-appropriate. Afterward, parents receive a refurbished, personal computer and are guided in how to get broadband Internet in their homes, which they can typically access at highly discounted rates. Ms. Stock said the organization often witnesses the leverage technology can have to repair relationships between schools and parents. Parents who felt the school saw them as apathetic suddenly feel more empowered to participate when the school provides them with technology and "enlists them as part of the solution," she said. One parent, Sadara Jackson McWhorter, said that until she completed the training with CFY in Atlanta over the summer, she didn't know even how to turn a computer on, let alone use the Internet. Now, Ms. McWhorter and her three school-age children use their new personal computer, the Internet, and the CFY content daily, she said. She's even using online tools to teach herself Spanish.

Wendy Lazarus, the chief executive officer and co-founder of The Children's Partnership, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based nonprofit that helped launch a school-based digital education initiative for parents in the Los Angeles area several years ago, said most of the attention around technology in education focuses either solely on schools or solely on the home. To have parents become both digitally literate and more engaged in their children's education, schools and organizations need to make bridging the gap between home and school a priority, she said. "New dollars aren't necessarily needed to implement a school-to-home model, but leaders would need to allow schools and school districts to blend funding from different sources," Ms. Lazarus said. "The model takes leadership, commitment, and a partnership sustained over time. And to achieve meaningful results, it needs to be available widely, not just in pilot efforts." But while more districts are seeing the importance of reaching parents digitally, in others, basic hurdles such as home Internet access are still waiting to be addressed.

When Sean Bulson, the superintendent of the 12,000-student Wilson County schools in a rural part of North Carolina, took his position last summer, he made improving digital learning in the district, where 60 percent of students are on subsidized lunch, a top goal. All middle school students now receive iPads to use at school and home, and the district hopes to provide all district students with devices to take to and from school in the future. But the impact of the technology is and will be limited, Mr. Bulson said, unless the district addresses the home-access issue: A number of families cannot afford high-speed Internet access, and it's not even available in the most isolated parts of the county. Students in those households can take their devices home, but they can't use them to connect to the Internet.

The Wilson County district is now applying for a federal Race to the Top district grant for $24 million to have its local fiber-optic-cable provider, Greenlight, connect families throughout the county to broadband. District families who couldn't afford to pay would receive free Internet service. It's the district's hope that once more families get connected to broadband, they can begin to do more digital outreach to parents, Mr. Bulson said, but right now access itself makes that an obstacle. Michael Searson, the executive director for the School for Global Education and Innovation at Kean University in Union, N.J., and the president of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, said addressing what technology is used, and where, is essential if educators continue to make using digital technology in schools a priority. "It's unethical to provide a robust digital learning program in school for kids who don't have access in their bedrooms and family rooms," Mr. Searson said. "As schools begin to integrate mobile devices and social media into education, the out-of-school equity issues have to be considered. Education leaders need to understand equity is not only access to devices, but access to the networks that allow people to get information."

Coverage of leadership, expanded learning time, and arts learning is supported in part by a grant from The Wallace Foundation, at www.wallacefoundation.org.

Facebook Is Losing Millions Of Users In The US And Other Mature Markets

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 12:30 AM

This is of particular interest to me at the moment as there was a recent article in an Australian Newspaper of similar trends happening in Australia:

 

Facebook has lost millions of users per month in its biggest markets, independent data suggests, as alternative social networks attract the attention of those looking for fresh online playgrounds.

As Facebook prepares to update investors on its performance in the first three months of the year, with analysts forecasting revenues up 36% on last year, studies suggest that its expansion in the US, UK and other major European countries has peaked.

In the last month, the world's largest social network has lost 6m US visitors, a 4% fall, according to analysis firm SocialBakers. In the UK, 1.4m fewer users checked in last month, a fall of 4.5%. The declines are sustained. In the last six months, Facebook has lost nearly 9m monthly visitors in the US and 2m in the UK.

 

Users are also switching off in Canada, Spain, France, Germany and Japan, where Facebook has some of its biggest followings. A spokeswoman for Facebook declined to comment.

"The problem is that, in the US and UK, most people who want to sign up for Facebook have already done it," said new media specialist Ian Maude at Enders Analysis. "There is a boredom factor where people like to try something new. Is Facebook going to go the way of Myspace? The risk is relatively small, but that is not to say it isn't there."

Alternative social networks such as Instagram, the photo sharing site that won 30m users in 18 months before Facebook acquired the business a year ago, have seen surges in popularity with younger age groups.

Path, the mobile phone-based social network founded by former Facebook employee Dave Morin, which restricts its users to 150 friends, is gaining 1m users a week and has recently topped 9m, with 500,000 Venezuelans downloading the app in a single weekend.

Facebook is still growing fast in South America: monthly visitors in Brazil were up 6% in the last month to 70m , according to SocialBakers, whose information is used by Facebook advertisers, while India has seen a 4% rise to 64m – still a fraction of the country's population, leaving room for further growth.

But in developed markets, other Facebook trackers are reporting declines. Analysts at Jefferies bank have developed an algorithm that interfaces directly with Facebook software and it "suggests user levels in [the first quarter] may have declined from peak", according to a recent note.

Jefferies saw global numbers peak at 1.05bn a month in January, before falling by 20m in February. Numbers rose again in April. The network has now lost nearly 2m visitors in the UK since December, according to research firm Nielsen, with its 27m total flat on a year ago.

The number of minutes Americans spend on Facebook appears to be falling, too. The average was 121 minutes in December 2012, but that fell to 115 minutes in February, according to comScore.

As Facebook itself has warned, the time spent on its pages from those sitting in front of personal computers is declining rapidly because we are switching our screen time to smartphones and tablets.

While smartphone minutes have doubled in a year to 69 a month, that growth is not guaranteed to compensate for dwindling desktop usage.

Facebook is the most authoritative source on its own user numbers, and the firm will update investors on its performance for the March quarter on Wednesday. Wall Street expects revenues of about $1.44bn, up from $1.06bn a year ago.

Shareholders will be particularly keen to learn how fast Facebook's mobile user base is growing, and whether advertising revenues are increasing at the same rate.

Mobile represented nearly a quarter of Facebook's advertising income at the end of 2012, and the network had 680m mobile users a month in December.

According to Pivotal Research Group, advertising revenue could be up 49%, driven by international expansion and the FBX advertising exchange, which uses Facebook to target advertising related to other websites surfers have visited.

The company warned in recent stockmarket filings that it might be losing "younger users" to "other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook".

Wary of competition from services that were invented for the mobile phone rather than the PC, founder Mark Zuckerberg has driven through a series of new initiatives in the last year designed to appeal to smartphone users. The most significant is Facebook Home, software that can be downloaded on to certain Android phones to feed news and photos from friends – and advertising – directly to the owner's locked home screen.

 

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

 

Concerns with Charging Laptops at School

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 9:35 PM

As the final DER laptop rollout is upon us, schools were required to select who would own the laptops; the school or the student. May schools have opted for the laptops to remain at school and be pooled by classes rather than giving them to their year 9 students for sole ownership and use. Whilst this option has its advantages such as providing the entire student body access to these devices that contain softwares that many school desktop computers may not include, a new set of concerns have emerged. The main concern surrounds charging these laptops securely and safely whilst making them readily available for the next class in the next period.

 

Some schools are purchasing laptop trolleys to secure laptops and connect them to a main power source in each classroom for charging, classroom teachers are still finding that obstacles of flat laptops or malfunctioned laptops exist when trying to execute an ICT based lesson. So, the big question in this instance is….who is responsible for charging laptops or fixing laptops? Is the Technology Support Officer (TSO), is it the Computer Coordinator, is it each and every teacher who uses the laptops or is it the Head Teacher of Technology? Depending on your school, one or many teachers may be responsible for this, however, as many teachers experience, whilst we all try to do our best with technology, many teachers are out of their depth when using laptops and its softwares or feel overwhelmed at the end of the lesson with the amount of work needed to do to pack up a technology lesson. Sometimes, it is simply not possible to be able to end a lesson, check that all of the laptops still work, shut down the laptops, pack up the laptops and connect them to the charging station (laptop trolley) whilst overseeing the actions of every student in your class.

 

In order to overcome such obstacles, other schools offer teachers and students with online booking services such as School Online Booking System (www.sobs.com.au) that permit them to ‘book’ resources such as a laptop or a group of laptops. These schools are also electing to have a central charging station where all laptops are charged and stored in a safe domain (typically within the library). This provides students to complete their classwork or assessment tasks should they lack computer access at home as well as give ownership to one person or a group of people to oversee the laptops. Further, it also gives students ownership of a laptop whilst it is in their possession, regardless of which year group they are in.

 

This model is proving successful in many Western Sydney Schools as overall they have recorded fewer incidents of damaged laptops, and fewer incidents of flat laptops. It also leads to increase in school retention, student ownership and collaborative learning whilst facilitating 21st century learning such as the Flipped Classroom or Project Based Learning.

 

Prezi for iPad

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 9:35 PM

With many students desiring to take their powerpoint presentations to a whole new level, many are opting to use Prezi – a much more sophisticated presentation tool that enables them to create interactive and engaging pieces of work.

 

Prezi is now available as an App that can be downloaded onto an iPad. ‘Prezi for iPad’ contains the same functionality of the Internet based Prezi but provides students with a much easier editing capabilities as it relies on the touch screen of the iPad. This free App allows the student to save the Prezi to their iPad which can then be emailed to the teacher or uploaded onto the school Learning Management System such as Moodle.

 

Technology and Teacher Preparation

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 4:55 AM

Aspiring teachers want more digital avenues for learning, says a new report from Project Tomorrow.

 

 

The findings are included in the report Learning in the 21st Century: Digital Experiences and Expectations of Tomorrow’s Teachers, prepared by Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow, which includes findings from the Speak Up for Aspiring Teachers survey of nearly 1,400 college students in teacher preparation programs during spring 2012. The data collected from the aspiring teachers was compared with the results of the surveys completed by 36,477 in-service K-12 teachers and 4,133 administrators during Speak Up surveys from fall 2011.

 

 

Since 2007, Project Tomorrow has collaborated with Blackboard Inc. to create a series of annual reports that focus on key trends in the use of technology to increase student achievement, teacher productivity and parental engagement. This new report is the latest in the series and provides new insights that will inform college and university based teacher preparation programs as well as the induction and professional development processes within K-12 schools and districts. Tomorrow’s teachers may have the keys to finally unlock the potential of technology to transform teaching and learning, but much depends upon their experiences in their preparation program and how well future school leadership can support their expectations for essential technology tools and resources.

 

 

Highlights from the report include the following:

 

 

Aspiring teachers are tapping into emerging technologies such as social media and mobile devices to self-prepare themselves for their future teaching assignments. For example, tomorrow’s teachers are leveraging social networking sites and discussion boards as informal professional development sources to complement their formal coursework.

 

In spite of their comfort with using technology tools, the aspiring teachers say that their field experiences as student teachers and observing their professors are the best way for them to learn about how to integrate technology within instruction.

 

School principals have high expectations for the pre-service technology experiences of their future teachers. The specific technology tools and techniques that the aspiring teachers are learning to use in their methods courses however do not match the expectations of those school principals.

 

Aspiring teachers place a high value on the role of technology to both impact student academic success and their own effectiveness as a teacher.

 

Thinking about their future teaching assignment, aspiring teachers consider access to technology tools and resources to support instructional plans as one of the top five factors that will determine their future success as a teacher.

 

Future teachers want more digital, mobile and social technology integrated into their training and, in turn, their future classrooms, according to a survey report released from Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow®. According to the report, nearly 50 percent of students in teacher training programs use online podcasts and videos and turn to social networking sites to self-train for future teaching assignments.

 

 

The tendency for tomorrow’s teachers to leverage technology is a direct result of their own experience as “active learners” – students who expect technology to extend teaching and learning. The report finds that over half of the aspiring teachers polled (58 percent) are taking online classes and nearly the same amount (52 percent) use digital textbooks as a part of their education experience.

 

 

The findings, intended to inform preparation and professional development programs for new teachers, also reveal that today’s principals have high expectations for the use of technology in classrooms. Over 80 percent of principals polled want their future hires to use digital tools to connect and communicate with students and their parents.

 

 

“Due to increased access to digital learning tools throughout their lives, aspiring teachers gravitate toward online collaboration, which translates to a more self-directed teaching approach,” said Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow. “The correlation between an educator’s familiarity with technology, and the strong likelihood of using that technology within instruction, is a good way to predict the future classroom.”

 

 

The survey also found that over 40 percent of students in teacher training programs sought career guidance online from educators outside of their institution, demonstrating the important role that access to and fluency in technology tools can play in their future success.

 

 

“In order to be effective in the classroom and create an engaging learning environment, a great teacher needs to realize that children today are exposed to a vast amount of technology outside of the classroom, and when they walk into a classroom, they are walking back in time,” said an aspiring elementary school teacher from Purdue University that participated in the survey.

 

 

To access the report, see http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/tomorrowsteachers_report2013.html

 

Traditional Classrooms v Constructivist Classrooms

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Technology and Teacher Preparation

Posted on April 6, 2013 at 3:45 AM

Aspiring teachers want more digital avenues for learning, says a new report from Project Tomorrow.

 

The findings are included in the report Learning in the 21st Century: Digital Experiences and Expectations of Tomorrow’s Teachers, prepared by Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow, which includes findings from the Speak Up for Aspiring Teachers survey of nearly 1,400 college students in teacher preparation programs during spring 2012. The data collected from the aspiring teachers was compared with the results of the surveys completed by 36,477 in-service K-12 teachers and 4,133 administrators during Speak Up surveys from fall 2011.

 

Since 2007, Project Tomorrow has collaborated with Blackboard Inc. to create a series of annual reports that focus on key trends in the use of technology to increase student achievement, teacher productivity and parental engagement. This new report is the latest in the series and provides new insights that will inform college and university based teacher preparation programs as well as the induction and professional development processes within K-12 schools and districts. Tomorrow’s teachers may have the keys to finally unlock the potential of technology to transform teaching and learning, but much depends upon their experiences in their preparation program and how well future school leadership can support their expectations for essential technology tools and resources.

 

Highlights from the report include the following:

◾Aspiring teachers are tapping into emerging technologies such as social media and mobile devices to self-prepare themselves for their future teaching assignments. For example, tomorrow’s teachers are leveraging social networking sites and discussion boards as informal professional development sources to complement their formal coursework.

◾In spite of their comfort with using technology tools, the aspiring teachers say that their field experiences as student teachers and observing their professors are the best way for them to learn about how to integrate technology within instruction.

◾School principals have high expectations for the pre-service technology experiences of their future teachers. The specific technology tools and techniques that the aspiring teachers are learning to use in their methods courses however do not match the expectations of those school principals.

◾Aspiring teachers place a high value on the role of technology to both impact student academic success and their own effectiveness as a teacher.

◾Thinking about their future teaching assignment, aspiring teachers consider access to technology tools and resources to support instructional plans as one of the top five factors that will determine their future success as a teacher.

 

Future teachers want more digital, mobile and social technology integrated into their training and, in turn, their future classrooms, according to a survey report released from Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow®. According to the report, nearly 50 percent of students in teacher training programs use online podcasts and videos and turn to social networking sites to self-train for future teaching assignments.

 

The tendency for tomorrow’s teachers to leverage technology is a direct result of their own experience as “active learners” – students who expect technology to extend teaching and learning. The report finds that over half of the aspiring teachers polled (58 percent) are taking online classes and nearly the same amount (52 percent) use digital textbooks as a part of their education experience.

 

The findings, intended to inform preparation and professional development programs for new teachers, also reveal that today’s principals have high expectations for the use of technology in classrooms. Over 80 percent of principals polled want their future hires to use digital tools to connect and communicate with students and their parents.

 

“Due to increased access to digital learning tools throughout their lives, aspiring teachers gravitate toward online collaboration, which translates to a more self-directed teaching approach,” said Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow. “The correlation between an educator’s familiarity with technology, and the strong likelihood of using that technology within instruction, is a good way to predict the future classroom.”

 

The survey also found that over 40 percent of students in teacher training programs sought career guidance online from educators outside of their institution, demonstrating the important role that access to and fluency in technology tools can play in their future success.

 

“In order to be effective in the classroom and create an engaging learning environment, a great teacher needs to realize that children today are exposed to a vast amount of technology outside of the classroom, and when they walk into a classroom, they are walking back in time,” said an aspiring elementary school teacher from Purdue University that participated in the survey.

 

To access the report, see http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/tomorrowsteachers_report2013.html