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Archived Posts from “Pedagogy”

Knowledge sharing via web2.0

19

July

The ease of knowledge sharing via web2.0 is continually prompting me to see it as the main driver for educational in the new paradigm. Many educators are questioning if the industrial age institutions we work in are ready for the kids of the digital communication revolution. As we begin to understand that moncultures are unsafe as models for access I find I keep returning to a quote by Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales when he was in Perth recently.

We need to learn to contribute and disagree in safety.

If “knowledge sharing is the lubricant behind the knowledge community” as Mal Bryce postulated in the panel discussion, then the engine of web2.0 is beginning to be used by educators as the agents of change. We are beginning to see a culture of sharing and creativity which is not based upon market exchange but rather an intellectual exchange.

“Professionals” in any field come in two flavors: Knowledge Sharers and Knowledge Hoarders. The hoarders believe in the value of their “Intellectual Property”(IP). The products of their mind must be carefully guarded lest anyone steal their precious ideas. But let’s face it–if our only “strategic advantage” is our ideas, we’re probably in trouble.

Quote and image below via the post Mosh Pit as Innovation Model on Creating Passionate Users:

Progress/Innovation

Mark Pegrum from UWA writes eloquently about the panel discussion here:

Mark Pesce (whose podcast and slides are available here) argued that the question “What is the truth?” has now become “Who do you trust?”. There is a potentially a clash of cultures between the Wikpedia model and the older encyclopedic model; has the culture of expertise, he asked, been out-evolved by distributed authority? He concluded by predicting a coming war between elites (who’ve traditionally possessed knowledge), special interests (who try to shape knowledge to their own ends), and communities (which are just becoming aware of the knowledge latent within them - and are beginning to use tools like wikis to harness that knowledge).

During the Perth panel discussion (a podcast of which is available), Mal Bryce, of IVEC, suggested that knowledge sharing is the lubricant of the knowledge economy, adding that information which is shared is information which is enhanced. Control freaks, he claimed, have no place in the emerging order. He agreed with comments made earlier in the day to the effect that more than anything else, it’s about changing the culture rather than grabbing the tools.


Prensky and Digital Colonisers

29

May

Sitting here at the Duxton in Perth while Marc Prensky engages us with his ideas on the “New Paradigm”. Predicated on the notion that the majority of approaches to current education are not created with the modern learner in mind, these assumptions and assertions filter through:

  • Digital Natives - grew up in the digital world - without a guidebook and without guidance.
  • They have developed an ‘e-life’
  • Current students challenge traditional tools of education - but embrace the critical and social constructivist pedagogical assumptions.
  • Young people create as much as they consume (Q: degree and complexity is questionable)
  • “Growing up in the light” - metaphor.
  • “You have to slow down when talking with teachers” - a student quote.
  • The well known native/immigrant discussion.
  • To engage we must enagage WITH students - we must be part of the journey.

So far the description of the “New Paradigm” seems to be an iteration of Dewey and others who recognised that learning is done by learners. And that learners can include “teacher” - social constructivism and critical pedagogy… modes of input are interactive - output becomes multi-modal.

  • Evaluate quality - an essential part of the work done by teachers and students in learning - especially in a digital context.
  • About allowing learners to “DO” - set them loose on a task… where only the goal is defined.

Student panel revealed interesting (if not unfamiliar) attitudes.

I take on board some of the criticisms I heard uttered at the event today - that the oversimplification of the material is potentially harmful. It assumes a rich understanding of pedagogy and and a willingness to make a significant cultural shift that is probably not evident - the biggest risk is that studnets will be set loose without guidance.

That said, a lot of the material that Prensky offers is a digitally contextualised restatement of older studnet-centred, social constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. From my point of view it was quite refreshing to hear that the way I endeavour to teach in schools is being touted as valuable. Shifting quite comfortably to the meddler in the middle, I enjoy the processes that offer me a chance to be engage and extend my own understandings and knwledge along with the students.

One of the concerning factors, and I did pipe up quite loudly and unceremoniuously to challenge one teacher who seemed to be seeking a co-option of all of children’s play as some extension of formal learning. While Marc was talking about Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, we saw the emergence of the Digital Coloniser

And I got to thinking about this notion of digital colonisation - a well established tradition of those with willingness to believe in their own power wanting to gain dominion over the new place they have occupied. We saw it with the great colonial nations of the past and I suggest we are beginning to see it now. While Marc was talking about becoming a learner alongside students I felt I was witnessing a very different mindset developing from some on the floor. We all know that many teachers are very conservative, often never having taken a risk… what I experienced today was someone desperately trying to maintain some sort of imagined power base. It showed a lack of respect and regard for the culture of young people, and no understanding of the iomportance of play in child development - it was rather an exercise in trying to co-opt the digital culture of young people to the existing paradigm of the teacher concerned. 

Like the colonialism of our history there is a risk that the teacher’s and education system’s control of resources for digital learning will foster a relationship of subjugation - that the lack of regard for the emergent cultures of our young people will see them pushed further and further from engaged critical pedagogies and self-direction. What is the point of giving lip service to all this technology engagement if our attitudes as tecahers remain constant. Who is willing to embrace the adage:

“Take your ideological hammer and smash your cherished values and at their foundation you will find nothing”?

Or the (allegedly) Hebrew proverb

“Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born to a different time”

The task undertaken with a student and 4 university academics to plan a mechanism for learning that did not allow for lecturing was engaging - our young helper was interested in a Drama approach and by unpacking a seemingly simply task to create an original performance we discovered enormous potentail to engage with virtually every learning area. I’ll unpack the program more fully elsewhere.


Interfaces in 2012?

10

March

As interactive white boards gain more traction in the educational technology market is this where we are heading? Jeff Han demonstrates the possibilities in the video below via here - great to see that Google Earth and Wikipedia are included - some logevity in those tools perhaps. The multi-touch display is remarkably like a giant iPhone interface and will keep teachers very fit as they move around. Will students be able to interact from their seats with a Wii like interface communicator?

Jeff Han's demo

Appendix: Tongue was firmly in cheek as I wrote this post.

Update: Thanks go out to my colleague Tanya for putting me onto this more detailed video of the interface as shown by it’s creator Jeff Tan at the TED Conference.


“Inconvenient Truth” declined by Mobil funded US science teachers

25

January

UPDATED POST: via information by Ellen Finlay (ScienceVictoria):

“An Inconvenient Truth DVD offer to all Australian Secondary Schools

Paramount Pictures have announced that all Australian secondary schools will receive a free DVD copy of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. The DVD will beInconvenient Truth released today and Jackgreen International with Jon Dee will be faxing every secondary school in Australia with the offer to receive the free DVD. The school will only need to fax back their contact details and mailing address on the bottom of the original fax.

As well as the DVD, schools and students will be able to access study guides designed by ATOM (Australian Teachers Of Media) to accompany the DVD and will be given access to an interactive website hosted by Jackgreen and Channel 10 with tools to enable students to calculate their carbon footprint. Standout schools will be recognized in a Channel 10 feature event based on the commitment of students and their families to make changes to reduce global warming.

This sounds like a fantastic opportunity for schools and science departments. Whether you agree with the contents or not, the movie is an excellent basis for debate and further exploration of facts.

More information can be found at www.climatecrisis.net. If you are unable to locate this DVD in your school in the next few weeks I suggest you contact Jackgreen International: www.jackgreen.com.au

This article determines that US Science teachers will omit one side to the global warming debate from the curriculum, because of Exxon Mobil funding. The company behind Al Gore’s film had decided to make available 50,000 free DVDs to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). But Science teachers said they saw “little, if any, benefit to NSTA or its members” in accepting the free DVDs.

Still, maybe the NSTA just being extra cautious. But there was one more curious argument in the e-mail: Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.” One of those supporters, it turns out, is the Exxon Mobil Corp.

That’s the same Exxon Mobil that for more than a decade has done everything possible to muddle public understanding of global warming and stifle any serious effort to solve it. It has run ads in leading newspapers (including this one) questioning the role of manmade emissions in global warming, and financed the work of a small band of scientific skeptics who have tried to challenge the consensus that heat-trapping pollution is drastically altering our atmosphere. The company spends millions to support groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute that aggressively pressure lawmakers to oppose emission limits.

Source: Washington Post 2006/11/24

Australian Jo McLeay has some links to other edubloggers discussing “An Inconvenient Truthhere. Watch the trailer here.


ePortfolio - dead concept or holy grail in education?

14

December

OpenAcademicI am impressed with the way OpenAcademic unifies powerful social-software technologies - the learner centred experience of Elgg, the community functionality of Drupal and Moodle’s course management + a Media Wiki. Refreshingly though, openacademic.org isn’t just buzz - it is actually happening. Coincidently, listening to a webcast the other day, some North American educators were discussing the prospect of a tool that unified various education focussed open-source social software technologies; I realised later they were talking about OpenAcademic. This discussion on EdTechTalk about ePortfolios in schools was of particular interest. It totally changed my understanding of what an ePortfolio should and could be.

I firmly believe the future of the ePortfolio as a concept is central to a future system-wide SOE (Standard Operating Environment) based on a social-software system (hopefully flexible and open-source) such as is mooted at openacademic.org. Perhaps beginning at the end of the decade? We teachers are currently attempting work with unsuited technologies, trying to achieve e protfolios we know have advantages for students, parents and teachers alike. What we really need are collaborative social-software systems hosted on the Internet in relatively open yet still safe and secure networked environment. WordPressIn the real-world, I accept this is some way off as an SOE, but still similar systems are within reach at the moment - a hosted version of Moodle, or as a simple content management system, WordPress for example: take the interface for the writing (blogging) system which is simple in form - *the emphasis with social software tools is on student produced content, and collaboration* - not WordArt - if I may just highlight an odd primary school example that some of my esteemed colleagues see using ICTs as meaning. MoodleIn keeping with the focus on learning content and collaboration, the filing system and presentation online is automated - these two large stumbling blocks are removed to allow the building of effective ePortfolios. In fact even the Moodle and WordPress interfaces are simpler than those of offline business/office tools we currently contort to fit educational needs such as Word, PowerPoint and Publisher.

In terms of the efficacy of ePortfolios as a ‘reporting’ mechanism in a K-7 setting there is definitely potential for a social-software e portfolio to be of great use. The time-saving aspect of a system utilising Elgg, Moodle, MediaWiki, Drupal or WordPress will appeal to Drupalteachers; for example they can easily be set-up to categorise writing and multimedia into Learning Area archives - for planning, reflection, negotiation, debate and again *collaboration* with teachers, cohorts and even external input (eg. schools overseas). In terms of assessment tasks, and avoiding the paper chase, they would are automatically archived to the database and saved as learning snapshots (writing, video, music, art, Kahhotz etc) because the students (with assistance) will have selected the appropriate learning area assessment “tag” for their work. Drafts can be saved and not displayed until publish is clicked. Teachers can moderate all collaboration via their in-box by clicking on approve, edit or delete when comments or completed tasks are published. An interesting discussion in the webcast above was the North American New Hampshire District model; ePortfolios documenting the learning journey and assessment linked to competency modules (our outcomes), and the association of projects and matching those with competencies (our Elgglevels). It would be awesome to have the Curriculum Framework integrated into such a system here. I’ve noticed Math is rarely included in the discussion on ePortfolios for obvious reasons - but for example, in a Primary School setting a screenshot could be taken of a score achieved in Year 3 Math Measurement at http://rainforestmaths.com/ for example - students could then blog (write/type) about their understanding in relation to the score displayed in the screenshot. Acheivement certificates from Mathletics could also be used. Maybe online maths syllabus tasks will in time become part of a social-software based SOE ePortfolio.MediaWiki

Possibly the greatest benefit of a such a social-software ePortfolio system is it’s usage for the duration of a student’s school life. Samples of learning difficulties could be recognised and collated by means of URI’s. Social-software e portfolios will have the bonus of ownership too - students will take pride in their work and be impressed by it’s volume and searchability for future reference. Different teachers over the time of a child’s growth, from Year 3-7 for example, could easily refer to the yearly archives to gauge the development of understanding, expression, past themes covered, etc.

[Cross-posted] This post was initially a response to an email by Peter Trimble to the eChalk email list.


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  • Melanie: Thank you Kim! I will definitely check out this link and see the developments for higher education on the SLED.
  • Kim Flintoff: We have been using Second Life in a range of situations. Built a Wound Care Clinic with Curtin University for training nurses about wound care and the relationship between hand-washing and infection in a...
  • Melanie: Hello Paul, I am wondering, have continued to utilize SecondLife? Do you find that it has better user-friendly features? Do you find that your courses are easier to teach in this format? Is the VLC classroom a...
  • Melanie: We may agree to disagree on the instant gratification society term, however when you look at new social network devices that are connected to mobile devices – there is an urgency that is attached to those...
  • Kim Flintoff: "instant gratification society" - I'm not sure I'm part of that society. Educational institutions do not make decisions - people do. Which people in educational institutions will cling dearly to email? Email...
  • Melanie: I agree that email is outdated in most settings. However, many educational institutions will cling dearly to email due to the aspect of "waiting before sending." Email is still a resource and an appropriate tool...
  • Maryjane: This is incredible and we need to spread it to school districts. It was posted two years ago and I've not seen new policies or classroom innovations happen since then. People are afraid of what the kids might do....
  • Suzanne: I cannot help but think that this trend, while reflecting archetypal youth rejection of all things "adult," is also related to the digital immigrant/digital native thing. The young are very flexible, very willing...
  • Maryjane: This made me laugh outloud. School districts are still discussing whether they'll give access to students for email; do all their business by email instead of walking next door and talking to someone; and wonder...
  • Nick Smith: This video was exactly what I needed/wanted to hear. As a student working towards being a teacher, I find it great to not only revolutionize teaching, but to re-invent it all together. One woman mentioned...
  • Scott Merrick: Hey there, feel free to unpublish this comment--it's more or less for your own info: This is to let you know that Digital Chalkie has been nominated for Blog-o-the-Month at the Blogger's Hut on Second Life...
  • Laura Seabrook: I have one other question, which I can't find answer to on the Murku wiki (no doubt the answer is right there and I keep missing it) - where/how does one get it?
  • Laura Seabrook: Murku looks really interesting (and I shall definitely try it), though the examples could do with some improvement, as per my comments above. Positioning can be important - see the Blambot article at...
  • Kim Flintoff: Murku is designed to facilitate the construction of comics based on content in a Second Life TM, ie SL, environment. Murku will be of interest to those who have always dreamt of creating their own comics but...
  • Laura Seabrook: Actually there was a typo in my previous comment. I meant to write wouldn't be, not would as far as being the first to do an SL comic. I discovered Plywood shortly after starting my own, which can be found...
  • Kim Flintoff: Hi Laura, The example in the article wasn't intended to be a highly refined product - it literally took me 60 seconds to create with some random images grabbed from my hard drive. The points you make about...
  • Laura Seabrook: I started doing Second Life comics late in 2007 ( though I didn't use Comic Life - rather I drew bits, used screenshots and put it together using PaintShopPro and Fireworks (for speech balloons etc). I knew...
  • michael chalk: Great stuff Paul .. lots of good points here. You are right about the ABC - they're really leading the charge into the new era of digital participation aren't they! My favourite thing they do is the way they...
  • Ken Allan: Kia ora Kim! I don't think it is anything to do with HOW we communicate. It is more to do with how kids see email. It is simply to do with the age-old feature of youngsters avoiding ANYTHING that is associated...
  • Aaron Fisher: This is very cool! It is amazing how those principles from long ago are relevant today, just in different forms. Students do learn better by doing, no matter the subject. We teachers need to do a better job...
  • Julie Carney: Thanks for this post, and for posters like Paul who have linked and commented on resources for educators to use. As is the case with most things, it seems the right combination of educator/program/developer...
  • Debbie: I, too am upset that this website has been taken off-line. My special education students loved it, and I knew I could always find an activity geared their levels and abilities. I hope that it will soon be running...
  • Andrew Westerman: Each LO costs $20 000. So, if 20 students use that learning object for 0.1 of an hour (6 minutes), that's 2 student / hours @ $10 000 per hour. If 2000 students use that LO for 0.2 of an hour (12...
  • Cathy Nash: Learning Objects are one of the tools in a good teacher's toolbox. It is simplistic to lay them aside as past it. A poor teacher can make a pencil look dull and a great teacher may just achieve great things...
  • Suzanne: I am so upset that this site has been removed, however I fully understand why. My Year One children and my pre-primary children loved using the site and it catered for all ability levels in my class. i do hope...
  • Julie: I am sorry that Rainbow Maths has been forced off the web. My daughter loved it so it is missed. Any idea when Jenny may put it back on the web with added security measures to prevent it being copied etc?
  • Jen Zupp: I totally agree with Jenny's reason to take it off. I have spent thousands of hours keeping my website up which is pretty much a directory of quality websites I find online. If I had created a masterpiece like...
  • Kristy Dickson: I agree with Paul, $20 000, $80 000, or whatever they cost, kids are losing interest. I think they have their place for a bit of drill and practice occasionally, but I wouldn't pay for them. Motivation and...
  • Ingrid: I'm distraught that rain forest maths is not available. My 3/4 kids loved it. My kids loved it and it is so easy to cater for their abilities with the different levels. Anyone know if there's a chance it will be up...
  • Azam Ali: my kids love this site, they come on rainforest to learn. Anyone trying to stop kids education is playing with our future. Shame on people who are greedy for money and dont care for the future.
  • Bryn Jones: Channel 4 in the UK has £50million to develop new media content. Ewan McIntosh has some role in it as Digital Commissioner for Scotland. Jobs open now! http://www.4ip.org.uk/
  • Thomas Goodwin: Paul Reid has pointed educators in the right direction (create and collaborate) however he started from an incorrect premise; The Learning Federation's Digital Resources are completely different from the...
  • Patricia Corby: Phew, what a terrific wealth of useful info here! Thanks Paul. In reference to this comment "They need to move from static to dynamic in form" as an overall comment it is relevant but being fair some are...
  • Paul Reid: If everyone's Math is correct the Teaching & Learning Federation pays $20k for jpeg pictures Learning Objects! eg these ones shown here http://www.thelearningfederati on.edu.au/for_teachers/what...
  • Janice Millard: its not fair that my class can't go on rain forest maths because of other people copying we were going to do a test on it but it was closed down my class was very upset not very happy!