Author Archives: sharon tonner

ICT For Teaching Assistants⤴

from @ TecnoTeach

Galloway, J and Norton, H (2011) ICT for teaching assistants. Oxon: Routledge.

http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415583077/

This book is not just for teaching assistants but for those involved in teaching children ICT skills and ways to use ICT for learning. The hardcore ICT skills associated with Word Processing, Data Handling, Creating and Presenting and Control and Modelling, are touched upon in this book. It does not provide sequential lesson plans but more of an overview of the main skills required to 'work' the software alongside some ideas how to use the software.

Do not expect step by step instructions to help plan lessons. Instead expect to use the book as a resource to develop your own knowledge of the skills that need to be taught for various ICT software.

What I do recommend from this book is the Inclusion' chapter where it provides clear instructions how to adapt computers to make them accessible to all learners.

ICT For Teaching Assistants⤴

from @ TecnoTeach

Galloway, J and Norton, H (2011) ICT for teaching assistants. Oxon: Routledge.

http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415583077/

This book is not just for teaching assistants but for those involved in teaching children ICT skills and ways to use ICT for learning. The hardcore ICT skills associated with Word Processing, Data Handling, Creating and Presenting and Control and Modelling, are touched upon in this book. It does not provide sequential lesson plans but more of an overview of the main skills required to 'work' the software alongside some ideas how to use the software.

Do not expect step by step instructions to help plan lessons. Instead expect to use the book as a resource to develop your own knowledge of the skills that need to be taught for various ICT software.

What I do recommend from this book is the Inclusion' chapter where it provides clear instructions how to adapt computers to make them accessible to all learners.

Solomon, G. and Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0 new tools, new schools.Washington: ISTE.⤴

from @ TecnoTeach



When I first purchases this book in 2008 I immediately placed it on the reading list for the student teachers who were undertaking the ICT Elective module.  The book explained clearly the difference between Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and what the 'new' tools were and how they could be used.  For those students who had no understanding of what a blog and a wiki were this book met their needs.  

Now four years on I find this book a little too elementary and a little outdated.  The unfortunate thing about technology books is that they become outdated once they are printed.  With that said, there are still some aspects of the book that are worth sharing.

The digital native debate:
Solomon and Schrum sway to the digital native term used to describe today's generation of learners and how education should adapt to meet their needs.  Back in 2008 I was a great fan of Marc Prensky's 'digital native' term where I was quick to use the thinking behind this term as reasons to embrace technology in Education.  I believed that all students coming to University were technology savvy.  This thinking changed greatly when it became clear in ICT inputs that many of out so called 'digital natives' were competent users of email, instant messaging, Facebook etc but were not competent users of computer technology.  My change in view was noted in a previous post 'Digital Natives of Digitally Naive' where I began to question Prensky's views.  Although there is a debate about the notion that 'digital natives' are of a specific age rather than a generation, I still agree with Prensky's analogy of learning where he refers to learning being similar to the Federal Express where 'you can have the best delivery system in the world, but if no one is home to receive the package, it doesn't much matter. Too often, today's students are not there to receive what their teachers are delivering' (Prensky, 2010:10).  

Communities of practice:
Alongside promoting the digital native terminology in their book, Solomon and Schrum also discuss the notion of communities of practice using online technology.  The social constructivist opportunities afforded by social technologies online, blogs, wikis, forums, social networks etc, provide platforms to enable users/participants to communicate, collaborate and create together.  It should be noted, as discussed in a previous post, that not all collaborative activities online need to have active participation by all members.  Larusson & Alterman (2009) refer to two types of collaborative activities online: tightly coupled activities and loosely coupled activities.

Tightly Coupled Activities - connect to create shared products.  Students must stay coordinated and focus on key materials.
Loosely Coupled Activities - connect but do not need an end product.  Not every contribution must be recognised.
'a space in which you can plan and reflect in depth on your practice, helping identify your strengths and find ways of building on these' (p.1).
OR
'a collection of materials put together in a meaningful way to demonstrate the practice and learning of an educational practitioner' (p.1).
An ePortfolio is NOT 'a random collection of materials and artefacts'.
They also stipulate three elements of an ePortfolio:
Reflection - Why something was undertaken a specific way.
Description - What happened?
Evaluation - How did this affect me?
For Forde et al. they see the purpose of an ePortfolio as:
* to illustrate achievements?
* to demonstrate ongoing developments of thinking and practice?
* to collect evidence?
* to provide a vehicle for reflection?



EPortfolios:
Finally, Solomon & Schrum discuss how blogs and wikis can be used for ePortfolios.  What is worth noting from their discussion of these two tools is what the purpose of a blog and a wiki are.  Too often these tools are mixed up and are not used for the correct purpose resulting in not be using appropriately and effectively.  Solomon and Schrum explain what I believe is an effective way of using these tools. Use a blog as a reflective diary or to share one's thoughts, ideas, things that are happening etc.  It is for the moment publication but can also be retrievable.  Similar to an online newspaper.  A wiki, on the other hand, is a place to store and showcase specific artefacts or to be used as an area for asynchronous collaboration (can only be synchronous if each user is assigned a different page).  A wiki is similar to a website but much similar to create and publish.

No matter which tool is used  an ePortfolio needs to have a clear education purpose and engagement.  It should not just be used!

In Forde, C., McMahon, M. & Reeves, J. (2009). Putting Together Professional Portfolios. London: Sage., they state that an ePortfolio is: 'a means of structuring, demonstrating and reflecting on your development as a professional.  At the heart of portfolio development is your learning' (Forde, 2009, p,13).

Their description of an ePortfolio is:


'a space in which you can plan and reflect in depth on your practice, helping identify your strengths and find ways of building on these' (p.1).

OR

'a collection of materials put together in a meaningful way to demonstrate the practice and learning of an educational practitioner' (p.1).

IT IS NOT

'a random collection of materials and artefacts'.

They also describe the purpose of an ePortfolio as a place:


* to illustrate achievements?
* to demonstrate ongoing developments of thinking and practice?
* to collect evidence?
* to provide a vehicle for reflection?


Where three elements should be evident:

Reflection - Why something was undertaken a specific way.
Description - What happened?
Evaluation - How did this affect me?


My Final Thoughts:
This book provides some insight into three social media tools that can be found in Scotland's Intranet educational platform, GLOW.  By reading this book, educators would have a greater understanding how to use the tools in GLOW effectively and appropriately.  Will I still keep this book on my reading list?  Yes!  Student primary teachers need to know how to use these basic web 2.0 tools.  Yes we now have Twitter and Social Network sites, but, the basics still need to be known.

Solomon, G. and Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0 new tools, new schools.Washington: ISTE.⤴

from @ TecnoTeach



When I first purchases this book in 2008 I immediately placed it on the reading list for the student teachers who were undertaking the ICT Elective module.  The book explained clearly the difference between Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and what the 'new' tools were and how they could be used.  For those students who had no understanding of what a blog and a wiki were this book met their needs.  

Now four years on I find this book a little too elementary and a little outdated.  The unfortunate thing about technology books is that they become outdated once they are printed.  With that said, there are still some aspects of the book that are worth sharing.

The digital native debate:
Solomon and Schrum sway to the digital native term used to describe today's generation of learners and how education should adapt to meet their needs.  Back in 2008 I was a great fan of Marc Prensky's 'digital native' term where I was quick to use the thinking behind this term as reasons to embrace technology in Education.  I believed that all students coming to University were technology savvy.  This thinking changed greatly when it became clear in ICT inputs that many of out so called 'digital natives' were competent users of email, instant messaging, Facebook etc but were not competent users of computer technology.  My change in view was noted in a previous post 'Digital Natives of Digitally Naive' where I began to question Prensky's views.  Although there is a debate about the notion that 'digital natives' are of a specific age rather than a generation, I still agree with Prensky's analogy of learning where he refers to learning being similar to the Federal Express where 'you can have the best delivery system in the world, but if no one is home to receive the package, it doesn't much matter. Too often, today's students are not there to receive what their teachers are delivering' (Prensky, 2010:10).  

Communities of practice:
Alongside promoting the digital native terminology in their book, Solomon and Schrum also discuss the notion of communities of practice using online technology.  The social constructivist opportunities afforded by social technologies online, blogs, wikis, forums, social networks etc, provide platforms to enable users/participants to communicate, collaborate and create together.  It should be noted, as discussed in a previous post, that not all collaborative activities online need to have active participation by all members.  Larusson & Alterman (2009) refer to two types of collaborative activities online: tightly coupled activities and loosely coupled activities.

Tightly Coupled Activities - connect to create shared products.  Students must stay coordinated and focus on key materials.
Loosely Coupled Activities - connect but do not need an end product.  Not every contribution must be recognised.
'a space in which you can plan and reflect in depth on your practice, helping identify your strengths and find ways of building on these' (p.1).
OR
'a collection of materials put together in a meaningful way to demonstrate the practice and learning of an educational practitioner' (p.1).
An ePortfolio is NOT 'a random collection of materials and artefacts'.
They also stipulate three elements of an ePortfolio:
Reflection - Why something was undertaken a specific way.
Description - What happened?
Evaluation - How did this affect me?
For Forde et al. they see the purpose of an ePortfolio as:
* to illustrate achievements?
* to demonstrate ongoing developments of thinking and practice?
* to collect evidence?
* to provide a vehicle for reflection?



EPortfolios:
Finally, Solomon & Schrum discuss how blogs and wikis can be used for ePortfolios.  What is worth noting from their discussion of these two tools is what the purpose of a blog and a wiki are.  Too often these tools are mixed up and are not used for the correct purpose resulting in not be using appropriately and effectively.  Solomon and Schrum explain what I believe is an effective way of using these tools. Use a blog as a reflective diary or to share one's thoughts, ideas, things that are happening etc.  It is for the moment publication but can also be retrievable.  Similar to an online newspaper.  A wiki, on the other hand, is a place to store and showcase specific artefacts or to be used as an area for asynchronous collaboration (can only be synchronous if each user is assigned a different page).  A wiki is similar to a website but much similar to create and publish.

No matter which tool is used  an ePortfolio needs to have a clear education purpose and engagement.  It should not just be used!

In Forde, C., McMahon, M. & Reeves, J. (2009). Putting Together Professional Portfolios. London: Sage., they state that an ePortfolio is: 'a means of structuring, demonstrating and reflecting on your development as a professional.  At the heart of portfolio development is your learning' (Forde, 2009, p,13).

Their description of an ePortfolio is:


'a space in which you can plan and reflect in depth on your practice, helping identify your strengths and find ways of building on these' (p.1).

OR

'a collection of materials put together in a meaningful way to demonstrate the practice and learning of an educational practitioner' (p.1).

IT IS NOT

'a random collection of materials and artefacts'.

They also describe the purpose of an ePortfolio as a place:


* to illustrate achievements?
* to demonstrate ongoing developments of thinking and practice?
* to collect evidence?
* to provide a vehicle for reflection?


Where three elements should be evident:

Reflection - Why something was undertaken a specific way.
Description - What happened?
Evaluation - How did this affect me?


My Final Thoughts:
This book provides some insight into three social media tools that can be found in Scotland's Intranet educational platform, GLOW.  By reading this book, educators would have a greater understanding how to use the tools in GLOW effectively and appropriately.  Will I still keep this book on my reading list?  Yes!  Student primary teachers need to know how to use these basic web 2.0 tools.  Yes we now have Twitter and Social Network sites, but, the basics still need to be known.

Futurelab: 2020 and Beyond⤴

from @ TecnoTeach

This post was written in November 2008.
Futurelab's 2020 report tries to predict what the future of education will be with a vision for more personalised education. They question:
  1. 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?
  2. To what extent are our future visions for education based upon assumptions about humanity, society and technology that are no longer valid?
  3. To what extent can we, as educators, help to shape the developments of technology in order to enhance human development?
To what extent can we, as educators, help to shape the developments of technology in order to enhance human development?
If educators are to shape the future they are the ones that need to be engaged with the latest and futuristic technologies at the early stages rather than wait for the top down approach where devices are placed into classrooms with no knowledge of the true purpose of learning.
Douglas Adams states:
'the best way we can predict the future is to build it'

This is where I think my role as a lecturer in primary education comes into being and one that I question every time I visit students in schools. I perceive my role as introducing future technologies and developing ways in which they can be embedded in education with my students, however, when I visit schools and see one antiquated computer in classrooms running Sherston's maths, two IWBs for the whole school in 'quiet' rooms, ICT suites with scheduled once a week slots etc, I wonder why I am bothering as the students will not be able to implement many of the tools and ideas we use at University. If I were to take the route of 'let's prepare them for what's out there' then I would not be 'building the future' but simply maintaining the past. Our students teachers are the ones who will change the future of teaching and their enthusiasm and ideas should be build upon not buried under the foundations of the past.


So what is the future? Personalisation and integrated technology are high on the list. By 2020 technology will be embedded and distributed in most objects. Mobile phones, MP3 players, PDAs etc will become discrete objects invisibly integrated into our clothes and accessories. How will this impact on education? Will we still be sitting in rows being tested on our knowledge within or will we be tested on our ability to use use tools to assist our knowledge and analyse it? Will the written or typed word still be seen as 'the' method of assessing learning or will children be allowed to choose their preferred method of showing their understandings? Will learning be still confined to the place called 'school' or will learning be at the time and place that meets the learner's needs?


'The future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed'. (Gibson: 30)


Many of the questions about the future are already being answered in small educational pockets in society where brave educationalists are willing to take the plunge and implement learning that moves away from the Victorian past to how our children learn in their present environment and in some cases how they could learn in the future. Tom Barrett's innovative teaching is one of the small pockets of present and future teaching and learning that is out there where Tom is creating vibrant environments for children and teachers to communicate, collaborate and learn. Time Ryland is another exciting educator who's futuristic learning is exciting, engaging and a place where children can truly connect.


Predicting the future is not simple and if it were we would be prepared rather than have it thrown at us. But that is what makes the future exciting: being unpredictable. If we knew what was around the corner we would maybe never go that that route. The future is about embracing and working with change to meet young learner's needs rather than ignore and stay in the past.

Futurelab (2007). 2020 and Beyond. UK: Bristol

Futurelab: 2020 and Beyond⤴

from @ TecnoTeach

This post was written in November 2008.
Futurelab's 2020 report tries to predict what the future of education will be with a vision for more personalised education. They question:
  1. 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?
  2. To what extent are our future visions for education based upon assumptions about humanity, society and technology that are no longer valid?
  3. To what extent can we, as educators, help to shape the developments of technology in order to enhance human development?
To what extent can we, as educators, help to shape the developments of technology in order to enhance human development?
If educators are to shape the future they are the ones that need to be engaged with the latest and futuristic technologies at the early stages rather than wait for the top down approach where devices are placed into classrooms with no knowledge of the true purpose of learning.
Douglas Adams states:
'the best way we can predict the future is to build it'

This is where I think my role as a lecturer in primary education comes into being and one that I question every time I visit students in schools. I perceive my role as introducing future technologies and developing ways in which they can be embedded in education with my students, however, when I visit schools and see one antiquated computer in classrooms running Sherston's maths, two IWBs for the whole school in 'quiet' rooms, ICT suites with scheduled once a week slots etc, I wonder why I am bothering as the students will not be able to implement many of the tools and ideas we use at University. If I were to take the route of 'let's prepare them for what's out there' then I would not be 'building the future' but simply maintaining the past. Our students teachers are the ones who will change the future of teaching and their enthusiasm and ideas should be build upon not buried under the foundations of the past.


So what is the future? Personalisation and integrated technology are high on the list. By 2020 technology will be embedded and distributed in most objects. Mobile phones, MP3 players, PDAs etc will become discrete objects invisibly integrated into our clothes and accessories. How will this impact on education? Will we still be sitting in rows being tested on our knowledge within or will we be tested on our ability to use use tools to assist our knowledge and analyse it? Will the written or typed word still be seen as 'the' method of assessing learning or will children be allowed to choose their preferred method of showing their understandings? Will learning be still confined to the place called 'school' or will learning be at the time and place that meets the learner's needs?


'The future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed'. (Gibson: 30)


Many of the questions about the future are already being answered in small educational pockets in society where brave educationalists are willing to take the plunge and implement learning that moves away from the Victorian past to how our children learn in their present environment and in some cases how they could learn in the future. Tom Barrett's innovative teaching is one of the small pockets of present and future teaching and learning that is out there where Tom is creating vibrant environments for children and teachers to communicate, collaborate and learn. Time Ryland is another exciting educator who's futuristic learning is exciting, engaging and a place where children can truly connect.


Predicting the future is not simple and if it were we would be prepared rather than have it thrown at us. But that is what makes the future exciting: being unpredictable. If we knew what was around the corner we would maybe never go that that route. The future is about embracing and working with change to meet young learner's needs rather than ignore and stay in the past.

Futurelab (2007). 2020 and Beyond. UK: Bristol

The way in which students are assessed fundamentally affects their learning⤴

from @ TecnoTeach


What contribution can technology make to the assessment process?  Is it just a faster way to gather in data and feedback results?  Is it just an electronic method of assessing at the end of a learning block?  Is it too clinical and not personal?  If you answer yes to the above questions then you have probably not had experience of using ePortfolios, blogs, wikis, simulation games, content creation applications etc.


The JISC Effective Assessment in a Digital Age publication explains the 'what, why and how' to integrate eAssessment into the learning process with an emphasis on the 'how' more than the 'what'.

Yes, technology has the potential to enhance/facilitate assessment but to be transformational it needs to have a clear educational purpose and engagement.  It should not just be used!


If using technology to assess it should have opportunities for:


  • Dialogue and Communication
  • Immediacy and Contingency
  • Authenticity
  • Speed and was of Processing
  • Self-Evaluative, Self-Regulated Learning
  • Additionality
Learners should have access to wide range of tools and choice of methods of presenting knowledge to encourage a deeper level of enquiry.  To become independent lifelong learners students need to develop self-monitoring and self-regulating against defined criteria to promote deeper and more effective learning.


The publication defines four broad perspectives on learning: Associative, Constructivist, Social Constructivist and Situative.  These four perspectives can work independent of one another or can be interconnected.  The table below provides an overview of each perspective and the assessment approach associated with it.


This publication hosts ten case studies that are set in Higher Education. Each case study employs different eAssessment methods and approaches depending on the nature of the learning environment and the purpose of the assessment.



JISC (2010) Effective assessment in a digital age.  Bristol: HEFCE.

The way in which students are assessed fundamentally affects their learning⤴

from @ TecnoTeach


What contribution can technology make to the assessment process?  Is it just a faster way to gather in data and feedback results?  Is it just an electronic method of assessing at the end of a learning block?  Is it too clinical and not personal?  If you answer yes to the above questions then you have probably not had experience of using ePortfolios, blogs, wikis, simulation games, content creation applications etc.


The JISC Effective Assessment in a Digital Age publication explains the 'what, why and how' to integrate eAssessment into the learning process with an emphasis on the 'how' more than the 'what'.

Yes, technology has the potential to enhance/facilitate assessment but to be transformational it needs to have a clear educational purpose and engagement.  It should not just be used!


If using technology to assess it should have opportunities for:


  • Dialogue and Communication
  • Immediacy and Contingency
  • Authenticity
  • Speed and was of Processing
  • Self-Evaluative, Self-Regulated Learning
  • Additionality
Learners should have access to wide range of tools and choice of methods of presenting knowledge to encourage a deeper level of enquiry.  To become independent lifelong learners students need to develop self-monitoring and self-regulating against defined criteria to promote deeper and more effective learning.


The publication defines four broad perspectives on learning: Associative, Constructivist, Social Constructivist and Situative.  These four perspectives can work independent of one another or can be interconnected.  The table below provides an overview of each perspective and the assessment approach associated with it.


This publication hosts ten case studies that are set in Higher Education. Each case study employs different eAssessment methods and approaches depending on the nature of the learning environment and the purpose of the assessment.



JISC (2010) Effective assessment in a digital age.  Bristol: HEFCE.

Moving Image Education: A Visit From Fife⤴

from @ TecnoTeach

This week at university students edited their movies which they will hopefully be sharing with you in the next week or two.  One student wrote an interesting post related to the technical steps of movies making where she discusses the pros and cons and how she would address these in the classroom: iTeach blog.

The majority of students then reflected upon the visit from Fife Local Authority related to what Fife schools are doing in relation to ICT.  Jim Birney, Fife's Education Adviser ICT, kindly came to University with three colleagues to allow students teachers to see the huge range of exciting ICT educational learning that is going on in schools across Fife.  Students reflected upon what they learnt from Jim and colleagues in their personal blogs.

The contextualised aspect of GBL was discussed by MissC who noted that ICT should not be confined to ICT suites but embedded into classroom learning.  One student, iRight, provided an overview of all games that were introduced with reference to Curriculum for Excellence's outcomes.  MissyMack provided a specific example of GBL using SuperTux and how Prensky's five levels of learning can be addressed through this game.

There are more post still to be written which I shall add later in the week.  If you read this post and have time, please read some of the students' post and give them some feedback.

Moving Image Education: A Visit From Fife⤴

from @ TecnoTeach

This week at university students edited their movies which they will hopefully be sharing with you in the next week or two.  One student wrote an interesting post related to the technical steps of movies making where she discusses the pros and cons and how she would address these in the classroom: iTeach blog.

The majority of students then reflected upon the visit from Fife Local Authority related to what Fife schools are doing in relation to ICT.  Jim Birney, Fife's Education Adviser ICT, kindly came to University with three colleagues to allow students teachers to see the huge range of exciting ICT educational learning that is going on in schools across Fife.  Students reflected upon what they learnt from Jim and colleagues in their personal blogs.

The contextualised aspect of GBL was discussed by MissC who noted that ICT should not be confined to ICT suites but embedded into classroom learning.  One student, iRight, provided an overview of all games that were introduced with reference to Curriculum for Excellence's outcomes.  MissyMack provided a specific example of GBL using SuperTux and how Prensky's five levels of learning can be addressed through this game.

There are more post still to be written which I shall add later in the week.  If you read this post and have time, please read some of the students' post and give them some feedback.