Re thinking how to connect with today's learners

Online discussion on Networked Learning, Paula Williams and Stephan Rigdway, Sydney Institute of TAFE NSW 18th November, 2008
  • To what extent are we prepared, as a society and as educators, for the massive changes in human capabilities that digital technologies are likely to enable in the next 13 years?
  • To what extent are our future visions for education based upon assumptions about humanity, society and technology that are no longer valid?
  • To what extent can we, as educators, help to shape the developments of technology in order to enhance human development?

Curriculum and Teaching and Innovation

Visit 2020 and Beyond

This report explores predictions about developments in digital technologies over the next 13 years, examines the implications for education, sets out some future scenarios and suggests how we might harness the changes.

2008 Horizon Report

In the body of this report, each featyres technology includes specific examples. Each of the six areas will have significant impact in ANZ within next five years...
  1. Virtual Worlds
  2. Cloud based Apps
  3. Geolocation
  4. Alternative Input Devices
  5. Deep Tagging
  6. Next generation Mobile

Visit blog post by Paula Williams on Sydney Institute Blog

As Douglas Adams once observed, “the best way to predict the future is to build it”. We need to know the building blocks available to us as educators in the near future in order to know how we might use them and develop them for education.

How smart are we?...from whiteboard to smartboard but who is really the smart one?

"North is north and south is south and nor the two will meet"

Today's teachers have to learn to communicate in the language and style of their students. This can only happen if educators understand that the new emergent technologies are here to stay and are part of today's way of communicating. Why is it though, when it comes to teaching we use yesterday's tools though most teachers own a mobile phone and access the world wide web for personal or professional use. But when it comes to teaching its as though these technologies are not even considered. Yet today's learner because of their formative years exposure to the multi rich media technologies needs to be more stimulated than by the current traditional methods of teaching . We need to change the way we deliver so that we can improve learning options for students by delivering more dynamic lessons and looking more at the motivational aspect of putting back the fun into learning. Most of all we need to create a design culture that fosters a learner-centred approach to the way we deliver our courses to meet today's learners by implementing new learning options to improve student outcomes and best prepare our workforces for the challenges of tomorrow.


Why Don't You..........

'Putting Ideas into Practice'
Visit this powerpoint ( reference:Dan Sutch Futurelab, 2008)

Using Technology Wisely- How to model 'Good Teaching' with technology

Instructional strategies are the heart for integrating appropriate technology.
Modelling good teaching with technology listen to University of George Mason podcast which discusses about role of teachers today, professional development and modelling good lessons with good technology to achieve the learning outcomes.

Are there principles of instructional design that one should be aware of when developing my teaching materials? ( Ref:Macquarie University, 2008 )
Instructional design is the systematic approach to the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of learning materials and activities so that effective learning can take place (see Fardouly). This means that every component of the instruction, the content, its sequencing, the teaching methods you use and how you assess that learning has occurred, is governed by the learning outcomes of the unit, which have themselves been determined by analysing your learners’ needs.
An outline of the instructional design process is shown below (Fardouly, 1998). It is an extensive and complex process and there are extensive resources available to assist those who are novices.
Who are your learners?
What are you trying to achieve?
What knowledge, skills and attitudes need to be taught?
How much content do you need in your instruction?
Design and Development
What are your objectives?
What skills, knowledge and attitudes are you trying to develop?
What resources and strategies will you use in your instruction?
How will you structure the content of your learning material?
How will you assess the learners’ understanding and whether or not they have met the objectives of the instruction?
This may involve presenting classroom instruction, teaching learners how to make the best use of interactive learning materials, or coordinating and managing a distance learning program.
Provides the basis for improvement and development of the instruction.

Not all teaching staff having control or input into the curriculum design process. However, it is still important to be aware that historically your unit would have been developed through a similar process.

What you can do ?

Maintain a student focus. There is no point in proceeding with your own plans if students are not with you. Be prepared to modify your plans in recognition of your students’ needs, but remember to let them know what you are doing;
Refer constantly to the learning objectives for the unit and your own class sessions, and try to ensure that your teaching and assessment activities match what you are trying to achieve;
Include in your Teaching Portfolio your reflections about what works and what does not in your teaching. Share any doubts or concerns you have, or ideas for improvement with your personal academic development and improvements in the quality of your teaching practice.

Visit Strategies and tools (CLI)

The Net Generation expects that technology will be an important part of their education. This is nicely illustrated by Chen (2002) in his description of an encounter with a young Net Generation student:

genY.jpgRecently, I met some middle school students who carry laptops in their backpacks. One boy told me how technology should not be a machine you go to, but a machine that goes with you. He said, somewhat impatiently, "It's part of my brain. Why would I want to leave it behind in a computer lab?" (xxii)

The statement that the computer is "part of my brain" should resonate with everyone involved in education today. Computers and the attendant technology can no longer be considered desirable adjuncts to education. Instead, they have to be regarded as essential—as thinking prosthetics (Johnson 2001) or mind tools (Jonassen 1996). But, like any other tool, thinking prosthetics must be used properly to be effective. Many educators today have identified that there is a definite shift in learning styles associated with Net Generation students; Some have called it the Knowledge Building paradigm, which is described as a learning model particularly suited for a social environment in which cognitive prosthetics have become indispensable, as well as for the professional settings these students can expect to confront in their future careers.

Visit Kennedy et al

2007 WSI Workshop Program - Semester 2

Designing e learning approaches in Coursework

Teachers will learn how to transform and re-purpose their current coursework to meet a more learner-centred environment and to implement the emergent technologies as potential assessment tools to enhance student engagement. The purpose of this series of workshops is to explore the benefits of new VET learning theories. Teachers will be able to:

  • apply this knowledge to enhance student’s engagement with their learning
  • develop an awareness of how to use digital learning resources to support teaching and learning in VET
  • create learning design concepts and briefs for delivery that can be applied to the new competency based general education programs

It is anticipated that these workshops will help teachers to analyse and compare elearning technologies and their potential in regard to particular learning and assessment strategies. At the same time support tools and re-purposed existing learning resources can be strategically combined to provide targeted learning for recognised skills gaps. By skilling teachers to provide a diversity of learning methodologies such as the combined use of interactive online communication and resources it is anticipated to increase learner motivation and improve outcomes.

Particiapants will explore new learning theories and new approaches to learning in the 21st Century. The workshop will focus on new strategies that maximise the use of technology-based tools for educational delivery, support and assessment. The participants will be able to identify the competency required by the learner, the appropriate assessment tool and what e learning resource development will be needed for that unit in the future to match the required learning outcomes in line with the assessment guidelines.

Specific steps to work through will include:
  • Current learning design and learning theory eg student-centred learning
  • Different e-learning technologies
  • Appropriate e -learning strategies
  • Resource location and evaluation
  • Consideration of repurposing existing content, or developing new content, including appropriate e-learning technologies, activities and assessment to map with the content
  • How to make future resources shareable (eg pedagogical and technical considerations)

Resources for learning design and assessment
CLI Presentations:
Examlple: Accounting

These workshops anticipate on building creative learning design concepts with particular attention being paid to re-purposing content and making new sharable resources. Teachers will have the opportunity to pay particular attention to their learning and assessment strategies by:
  • analysing existing lesson plans/lecture notes
  • identifying particular competencies to use as an example
  • re-assessing the learning design and assessment tools used in the past to incorporate new technologies
  • documenting their planning by completing'learning and Assessment Design Briefs'

Next Workshop scheduled:
Presented by Paula Williams, eLearning Development Officer of Learning Technologies Unit (LTU)
Time:1:00 -4:00 pm Tuesday 26 June 2007
Computer Training Room BG25 Penrith Campus (117 Henry St.)

Visit full program:

Industrial Revolution to the 'Age of Transition'

The Age of Transitions is a new and as yet unappreciated wave of change that will combine with the already remarkable pattern of change brought on by computers, communication, and the internet to create a continuing series of new breakthroughs, resulting in new goods and services. We will be constantly in transition as each new idea is succeeded by an even better one. This will be the Age of Transitions, and it will last for at least a half-century.The Industrial Revolution and the Communications-Computer Revolution are both examples of the concept of the S-Curve (Gingrich, 2001). The S-curve depicts the evolution of technological change. Science and technology begin to accelerate slowly and then as knowledge and experience accumulates, they grow much more rapidly. Finally once the field is matured the rate of change levels off. The resulting pattern looks like an S.
Industrial schools were patterned on industrial-era factories; as businesses restructure themselves as learning organizations that work like knowledge-building research groups, the next generation of education will have to help students deploy appropriate skills. N-Gen students, having grown up in the presence of interactive media that have changed both their thought patterns and their expectations, already have some of these skills. They are accustomed to distributed cognition and virtualization, which demand a new way of approaching work and learning and open new possibilities for innovative work. Online learning environments such as Knowledge Forum, which helps students create new knowledge and new understanding in a collaborative manner and through diverse media, can prepare them to work in the distributed, virtual workplaces of the future.

Web 2.0

Students today in a way have been ahead of the teachers for a long time. Interestingly its where students have moved to and why teachers today are struggling to keep them engaged. In the past decade teachers had to deal with a small group of students who were technology savvy and a large group who were unskilled but maybe aware of the technology. However, the mainstream student today has embraced the internet and mobile phone usage not just the technos but now with the availability of web 2.0 such as blogs and wikis and RSS feeds it has lowered the threshold for any student to be able to produce information on the internet. Consequently, this service creates a far more collaborative approach to technology by students. As young learners use their mobile devices and their ipods to moblog and podcast it starts to demonstrate their ability to problem solve and be innovative in what they can produce in their learning. The challenges of tomorrow will need skills in critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration in order to sustain an employable future therefore, the tools today will teach learners how to learn than what to learn.

Did you know the latest stats?

This generation is unique in that it is the first to grow up with digital and cyber technologies. Not only are Net Geners acculturated to the use of technology, they are saturated with it. By the time he or she has reached 21 years of age, the average NetGener will have spent
  • 10,000 hours playing video games,
  • 200,000 e-mails,
  • 20,000 hours watching TV,
  • 10,000 hours on cell phones, and
  • under 5,000 hours reading (Bonamici et al. in-class preferences|2005)

This last statistic is the most alarming for the traditional ways of teaching. Therefore, all the more need to deliver differently to meet the new learning styles of today's learner.


If you don't believe the Shift is happening then click here..

We must strive for 'Teaching & Learning Innovation'

Technologies today are adopted at a faster rate in comparison to the elearning pedagogy rate (Jasinski 2006). However, the approach to pedagogy is really influenced by the way teachers were taught. If we go back to the principles of the 'Information Processing Model' then a teacher will use any tool be it new technology or old to facilitate this mode of learning. Therefore, elearning is not about technology innovation but about rethinking teaching and learning which is about education innovation requiring reconceptualisation of traditional teaching methods. This means that any tool that do not align to this approach of learning paradigm will be omitted as it will do little to improve the quality of the instruction and reduces the ability for knowledge transfer for the learner. (Visit mlearning- suggests each learning theory you can apply a mobile technology)

Is this a Gentle Hint to our current teaching methods..?.

26 August 2007

Too many young Australians are being left behind by our school education system, a discussion paper released today by the Business Council of Australia has found.

(Restoring the Edge, BCA , 2007)

"...there is a significant challenge in supporting and developing the quality of teaching and leadership in schools. Creative approaches are required to attract highly able people to
pursue teaching as a career. Teacher preparation programs must equip teachers with a body of professional knowledge and skill that is grounded in research into effective
teaching practices. Professional standards for highly accomplished teaching need to be developed and used as a basis for recognising and rewarding excellent practice! "

The paper highlights that Australia is at risk of falling behind countries such as Finland, Japan and Korea when it comes to measuring key education outcomes in areas including maths and science learning and attainment.In responding to this challenge, the paper identifies a five-point plan to overhaul school education so that every young Australian has access to a world-leading education system. Restoring the Edge

Strengthening the Teaching Profession for the Future

What are the implications to VTE if the Secondary Education is not preparing today's students for tertiary levels and continuing education for life long learning..listen to podcast

Interesting readings:

Innovate and Integrate

Marie discusses about education innovation. Great reading on innovation and integration by Marie Jasinski of 'Design Planet'

Student- Centred Learning (SCL)
Student- centred learning describes ways of thinking about learning and teaching. This presentation focuses on assessment design from University of Adelaide and outlines some useful decision issues for assessment formats. In week three we will be discussing learning and assessment design briefs if you read through this document you will be able to obtain some useful information about student-centred learning by Christine Ingleton et al University of Adelaide that can provide tips for teachers across a variety of teaching environments and disciplines.

The 2006 Horizon Report: a collaboration between The New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.
The Horizon Project expressly focuses on the ways that interesting emerging technologies can be applied to teaching, learning, and creative expression. The format of the Horizon’s Report is carefully designed to reflect that focus: the description of each of the selected technologies includes a discussion of its relevance to those pursuits, links to examples of how the technology is being or could be applied, and an annotated list of additional readings.

Beyond the horseless carriage: Harnessing the potential of ICT in education and training. by Gerry White While this paper acknowledges that curriculum reform remains a major imperative for the transformation of learning using ICT, the first step is the acceptance and exploitation of learning theory which is, technology enabled learning. However, there may be the danger that we ascribe to new technologies the characteristics of previous media and accompanying educational practices without development and reflection on new and better ways to support and evaluate learning outcomes.
Digital Natives, Digital Immigrant: Mark Prensky explains that younger learners have grown up surrounded by digital information and processes and that as a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today's students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. These differences go far further and deeper than most educators suspect or realise. "Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures, "says Dr. Bruce D. Berry of Baylor College of Medicine. This phenomenon has real implications to how and what is taught.