Friday, 31 December 2010

What sort of learning benefit might we expect by using technology?

In Puentedura's presentation (2006), he asks "what type of things improve performance". This was to try to obtain a 2 standard deviation (SD) improvement for EVERY student, following his presentation of the result of US students in the OECD PISA Report. These tests emphasised performance rather than what courses the students take in each country. Conclusion - Commonwealth countries (and Japan, Korea, China, Finland) do better than average, most of Europe and the USA are in the average category.
He quotes Bloom's work from 1984 into research on how to accomplish improvement - conclusion that one-to-one tutoring by experienced tutors produce a 2 standard deviation gain in learning. But other aspects give improvement too (warning - not additive):
1.20  Reinforcement
1.00  Feedback-corrective (Mastery Learning)
1.00  Cues and explanations
1.00  Student classroom participation
1.00  Student time on task
1.00  Improved reading/study skill
0.80  Cooperative learning
0.80  Homework (graded)
0.60  Classroom morale
0.60  Initial cognitive prerequisites
0.50  Home environment intervention
0.40  Peer and cross-age remedial tutoring
(Bloom 1984, Walberg 1984)
All these are interesting and I will follow up this work, but, but, Puentedura maintains that Computer use will produce AT LEAST 0.4 SDs and up to 2.0 SD. This work was done in Mathematics.
You have to do things well to achieve these results, thinking in terms of the SAMR and TPCK models.
He highlights four technological avenues to transformation (here transformation being used specifically to produce these types of radical improvements in learning):
Visualisation and Simulation
Social Computing
Digital Storytelling
Educational Gaming.

Combining two models for designing learning with technology

My previous post introduced the TPCK model of teacher knowledge which helps us examine the types of knowledge a teacher needs when designing learning with technology. The best explanation of this model, and how it combines with Ruben Puentedura's SAMR model of technological use, is given in his presentation available on I-Tunes ( "As We May Teach: Educational Technology, University of Maine").
He describes each intersection of the TPCK model in detail and is worth listening to. In this link he lists exemplar resources to illustrate each intersection. 
Puentedura's SAMR model enables us to classify technology used in teaching depending upon whether it SUBSTITUTES, AUGMENTS, MODIFIES or REDEFINES the task. He depicts SA as Enhancing the learning and MR as Transforming the learning, where the technology allows for learning tasks which would not have been possible before.

Ruben Puentedura describes the SAMR model in this slide show from presentations given at a conference in 2006.
This model may enable us to classify the technology used in schools and to allow us to question the value of technology in a particular area. 
By value I think we should mean whether learning is enhanced, made more accessible, more interesting, more motivating.
It is possible that learning could be enhanced at the pure substitution level. The model does not seem to imply that learning is improved per se - just that technology is substituting traditional tasks/methods. 
By definition, the model considers improvement from A onwards.
If we start to consider each course we prepare in these terms, it will allow us to determine the value of the technology to be used - is it improving the learning?
In the conference slide show, Puentedura explains where his model originated. He developed it to describe the uptake of technology by firms in a study. Interestingly, he maintained that those where the technology Redesigned the way the tasks were carried out, had the greatest return on the technological investment. In a way this makes sense.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Searching for a model for learning with technology

It is tempting but futile to try to answer questions on educational technology just by looking at the latest technology available. Equally, it is futile to keep doing the same things (buying the same things) - see my earlier post on the Capital Budget.
How should we be using technology in learning and teaching?
What models of learning with (through? assisted by?) technology exist?

In 1986 Lee Shulman introduced the idea of considering the teacher's SUBJECT knowledge (the content) and the teacher's PEDAGOGICAL tool kit (my terms) together, and not as separate entities. He illustrated it thus:
He stated that these areas were treated as mutually exclusive entities in research and in training teachers. The crucial intersection, that of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), is often ignored:
"This knowledge includes knowing what teaching approaches fit the content, and likewise, knowing how elements of the content can be arranged for better teaching. This knowledge is different from the knowledge of a disciplinary expert and also from the general pedagogical knowledge shared by teachers across disciplines. PCK is concerned with the representation and formulation of concepts, pedagogical techniques, knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn, knowledge of students’ prior knowledge and theories of epistemology. It also involves knowledge of teaching strategies that incorporate appropriate conceptual representations, to address learner difficulties and misconceptions and foster meaningful understanding. It also includes knowledge of what the students bring to the learning situation, knowledge that might be either facilitative or dysfunctional for the particular learning task at hand. This knowledge of students includes their strategies, prior conceptions (both “na├»ve” and instructionally produced); misconceptions students are likely to have about a particular domain and potential misapplications of prior knowledge." (from, accessed 29Dec10)

This makes perfect sense and it is how we think about preparing learning in schools. As a mathematics teacher I consider the content knowledge of what I am about to teach, the pedagogical knowledge in its broader sense AND the specific teaching knowledge regarding the mathematical content. This latter, often gained by experience over time in an iterative process each time I prepare to teach it.

The same type of model exists for technology, introducing Technology as a new interacting domain.

Here is the diagram now that we include Technology: (diagram from TPCK)
The point is that each intersection deserves attention. An excellent presentation about this is done by Ruben Puentedura - it is worth listening to on I-Tunes -  "As We May Teach: Educational Technology, Maine Uni". He does this as the introduction to SAMR - an item for my next post.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Adult learning vs student learning

Came across a discussion regarding the difference between adult learning/teaching (andragogical learning theory) and student/child learning/teaching (pedagogical learning theory).
This was interesting - and relevant to educational technology - since it deals with who has the responsibility for learning to take place.  In andragogical learning theory it is the adult learner who has the responsibility for the learning to have taken place, whilst in school based learning, the educator is assumed to have that responsibility.
Where does the pedagogical/adragogical change occur? We talk about developing study skills in students, of having less directed time for older students, but it seems that school based educators never lose that responsibility for the learning to have taken place.
Should this be so? When should young adults take over that responsibility?
And should the adult educators (lecturer is the normal title - telling indeed) not have some of that responsibility?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Gazing into a crystal ball - what is the platform for the future?

Many schools must be going through the same process as we are - deciding what to include in our capital budget. Times are sufficiently tight to have us questioning every item.
We have to replace some laptops in laptop carts and others that have definitely seen their "consume before" date; we want to expand the Macs available in our Learning Resources Centre and provide some replacement PCs; we need to provide some additional computers to new staff and classrooms. All in all a fairly large bill.
But where is the technology going? Are we ready to have more students in Secondary with a laptop? But are laptops the way to go? What about platforms that handle social media well? Mobiles?

Ravit Lichtenberg has a track record of accurate predictions and her article "10 Ways Social Media will change in 2011" is particularly interesting.

Here are her predictions: (in bold what I think applies to schools)
1. Social media will be supersized - social media solutions will be everywhere.
2. Companies will integrate social feedback into their decision making processes - "Expect to see a rise in companies who, by end of year, will be recognized for socially-informed innovation, customer focus and work environment, —much like Zappos and Amazon were a few years back." Schools need to see how to encourage and manage responsible commenting to get parent, student and staff opinion.
3. Mobile will become our gateway to the world - now, this I think is happening already. Many e-mails that I get are I-Phone or Blackberry generated. I have used mine when away from the desk and found it acceptable for many things (not for inputing - I could not have done this post on my mobile without great difficulty if at all). But, given that Blackberry Messenger seems to be the communications medium of choice amongst students, couldn't internet enabled mobiles be the thing? We are using Facebook for some announcements - much easier to receive these on a social media mobile phone.
4. Video will be everywhere - well, it is already. What used to be the exclusive report back system for students - Powerpoint - is now digital video (live or animation).
5. The next big Online Social Network will not be a network at all - the rise of community platforms and applications. Diaspora is quoted as an example. I think Google Apps for Education is one already....
6. ROI will be redefined - "ROI metrics will go beyond counting Likes and Comments" - yes, but how else would you measure the impact your social media platform is having?
7. Psychology is shifting - wow! I found this interesting - new levels of cognitive flexibility - brought about by changes in social interactions brought about by social media. Clearly there are changes at the relationship psychology level - but could there be brain plasticity in action producing students whose brains are changing and adapting and being reskilled? Wow!
8. Citizen activism back brings purpose and power - (back? why back?) - should consider students activism and also such activism working against a school's direction.
9. Social business intelligence will heat up and so will privacy - the mapping of our activities, preferences and choices may not be welcome - do we all share Mark Zukerberg's naive view about Facebook profiles? Should schools run their social media behind a firewall?
10. The role of the social media strategist will be changing - and what companies want from them will be much more informed and demanding.