Working with diverse groups of learners in the digital age - Notes
University of Wolverhampton 17th October 2011
I attended an ESCalate Teacher Educators' Workshop at the Wallsall campus of University of Wolverhampton on Monday - sadly, probably the last of these events. Contributions and presentations included:
Graham Lowe, Birmingham City University firstname.lastname@example.org
Computer Simulation: bridging the theory/practice divide
Graham began by exploring the definition of Simulation - an activity similar to reality - and noted that, although simulations using video had been feature of teacher training in the past, they were now little used.
Much used in health education, e.g. Virtual Case Creator (VCC) presents scenarios of clinical practice for nurses. In nurse training, they are driven by ethics - trial and error is not acceptable in a real world nursing context.
Not an issue in ITT? Graham and colleagues adapted VCC for ITT students - defined a 'case' based on a Y2 child who has just moved house and is feeling isolated. The simulation created a shared experience leading to better discussion by trainees.
Key research questions:
• Do students value theory?
• Can simulation have an impact?
The research looked at the relative importance to trainees of UBT and SBT, including learning from discussion with peers and discussion with mentors. The trainees ascribed twice as much value on experience in school, but students rejected notion of tutors being out of touch as they valued discussion with them. Discussion with school-based staff was not valued much more. Trainees thought simulation was a good approximation of reality, but did not rate it highly as preparation for reality. They value actual practice much more.
Trainees were positive about simulation activity because of novelty value, 'a better way of learning theory' and emotional engagement because of the response of particular characters in the simulation.There is an ethical rationale for simulation and simulations may be more successful if there is emotional engagement.
Birmingham City University has gone on to create Shareville - http://Shareville.bcu.ac.uk - which features problem-based scenarios in a virtual town used by faculties across the university - includes a virtual primary school. It is freely available for use outside BCU and the primary school scenarios provide experience of working with parents.
Other professions require competence in a virtual world before practicing in the real world (e.g. Pilots, surgeons) - what about teaching?
Moira Savage, University of Worcester
Digital portraits of trainee teachers' pedagogical decision making when using learning technologies in the primary classroom
How can I best facilitate learning for trainees with diverse ICT histories in the face of ever changing technologies? Locate PGCE Primary trainees in their technological history and focus more on pedagogy rather than capability - use quite simple technologies, e.g. Audio recorders
Move to a digital portfolio - 3 aims
- Develop capabilities to publish in digital media
- Disseminate good practice via web
- Transformative reflection on professional use of ICT on placement by creating media rich deconstructed narrative accounts
Practical tasks carried out in school deconstructed in the e-portfolio - presented digitally as a hyperlinked narrative with explicit safeguarding rules. Portfolios include an example from practice of communication with audio, video, animation, etc. to mediate learning and examples of children creating media. Key element of portfolio is peer review.
Evaluation of project suggested that trainees could be more honest with each other when peer reviewing online. It also increased confidence when they could compare their work to that of others.
Less confident trainees were more ego-centric in describing their relationships with technology, rather than focusing on learning. Analysis of trainees' reflections revealed three different types: Content, process and premise focused. The last focusing on the 'why' of learning.
Allen Crawford-Thomas, JISC
Making the most of mobile devices
Focus on 'computer in your pocket' - mobiles and tablets (PODs = pupils own devices)
Example of an emerging technology with possible implications for education: potential of NFC devices (near field communication - technology used by Oyster cards on London Transport) to provide augmented reality experiences in locations, e.g. Commentary for an art gallery exhibition.
QR cards and readers have similar potential. Also Using games-based scenarios in teaching and learning.
What you can do with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets:
1. PDF read along features - all PDF files can be read aloud by the software, so students could listen to lecture notes on smartphones, for example.
2. Listen to podcasts
3. Capture evidence
4. Apps with educational content
5. Access to online content
6. Cloud and synchronisation
7. Connectivity - wifi and Bluetooth
9. Revision material
10. Flexible learning spaces
11. Audience response using PollEverywhere.
Kathy Wright HEA
Tech-savvy trainees: developing 21st century teachers
Presented using Learning Score - www.learningscore.com
Trainees use ICT for socialising, but limited use for learning. Presentation focused on developments in a PGCE Secondary programme.
How to get trainees to learn online interactively?
- Use PBWorks PBWorks.com - a wiki for interactions by professionals;
- Use Diigo www.diigo.com for information management and social book marking;
- Use Yammer as a professional alternative to Facebook - https://www.yammer.com
Trainees placed in cross-subject groups to work in Virtual Schools - Series of tasks based around creation of school websites, including evaluating technologies - linked to experiences in real schools. Websites contained documents created to address Standards and used online tools, such as Voki (http://www.voki.com) and Xtranormal (www.xtranormal.com).
As a whole, the day confirmed the view that technologies can transform trainees' (and children's learning) and the effective embedding of learning technologies into programmes requires a commitment from all staff not just the techie and/or committed. The day also provided an opportunity to see the building where Robert Plant played his first gig back in 196? .....