Saturday, October 5, 2013

Final Reflection

Having never studied change models before, the initial focus of the course eluded me. This being the last course in my postgraduate studies, I have to admit that I experienced a fair amount of anxiety: because of my naiveté, I felt that I was going to have trouble making connections between my research interests and the change models. Although I didn’t quite see the big picture at first, I took some advice from a mentor teacher I once worked with and told myself to “trust the process.” In doing this, the clever design of the course led me to begin to understand the models of change and how they could relate to digital technologies.

In the beginning, I was fixating on having studied about the benefits of ICT and e-learning over the course of two years and yet still feeling powerless to help facilitate positive change in my own context. I was asking myself: what is the big picture? How does e-learning and ICT in schools relate to what is truly important to our students – how is it relevant in their context and how can we get teachers on board?

In discovering the models, especially Roger’s Diffusion of Innovations and the Technology Acceptance Model, I found myself frustrated that I hadn’t been exposed to this aspect of e-learning and ICT in schools until now. My own experience with change in digital technologies has been working in an environment where PD around e-learning, ICT and especially new initiatives like and LMS have been well-intentioned, but scarce and often inadequate or poorly facilitated. I found myself wondering if utilising these change models could have improved the rate of adoption amongst my fellow teachers and improved the overall outlook on ICT and e-learning.

As I said before, much of the content was completely new to me. I had never heard of scenario planning before, and working within the mooc was an incredibly new experience as well. However, the way participation has been organised in this course has shown me that I can be engaged online in a way I thought, for me,  was only possible through face-to-face environments.

I appreciated the video signposts and mind mapping activity – having everything available only through readings would have made it more difficult to get excited/passionate about some of the topics. It brings home the important of including a variety of resources for our students when learning online/through an LMS.
Having never done research on this scale before, locating/remember where the pertinent information is in the articles has been difficult. Colour coding has helped, as well as the search function in adobe reader. However, I still feel that there is so much out there for me to still discover and that it won’t be until the course is over that I discover those perfect studies/quotes/insights.

I can see the connection of the change models to all aspects of change for education. Though I am at the start of my career and don’t have experience working at many schools, I am surprised that these change models are not common knowledge among educators and senior management teams across the world. I also feel that the models are not necessarily better or worse than each other, but that they could be used in tandem to give schools a breadth and depth in their perceptions of change with digital technologies.

The most significant thing about this course has been the feeling of empowerment that I have gained. I feel informed about the issues around e-learning and digital technologies in schools and I feel inspired to keep reading research, participating in forums, discussing and staying abreast to what is happening with technologies in schools. But even more so than that, I feel that I can help make a difference – both on a small and larger scale – to help the educators I work with appreciate the complexities as well as the value of change with digital technologies.

Thanks to Wayne, Niki and everyone for making this a fantastic last course in my postgraduate journey!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Reflection - Assignment 2 Prep

Wow - the end of term and my brain feels a bit more free to delve back into all this new (and re-reading some old) material!

In my feedback for my first assignment, Wayne suggested that I tighten up my research question, as well as include sub-headings and define independent learning. I think this is great advice - I have found some new resources to include by searching around the following questions: can independent learning improve engagement in the classroom? what do teachers think of it? how do we implement it? etc.

I also was reminded in reading Niki's comments that I can sometimes get so passionate about an idea that I forget to look at both sides of the story. For example, I have been passionately exploring my research question, but through the lens of: isn't independent learning the best and we should all be doing it and it is the future and why isn't it happening more get the idea

So, in realising this about myself, I am making a concerted effort to find research on the limits or downsides of independent learning.

I would also like to say thanks to all of you for your blog posts these past couple of weeks. Even if I don't reply to all of them, when I read I always gain heaps of insight and ideas.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reflecting and Brainstroming

As I prepare to start the bulk of my writing for my research paper, I am stuck on how to put my "problem" into words.

I would like to continue to explore the issue of teacher and student buy-in being connected - how a technology will be more likely adopted by a teacher if he/she can see that it will benefit students and also how teacher guidance and buy-in can then positively affect students use/adoption of a technology.

My research question has been: will using Moodle to cultivate independent learning increase teacher and student adoption of the LMS as a new technology.

I'm not sure how to translate that into a problem - any ideas? Help!

Thanks in advance for any replies :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Assignment 1 - Reflection

Both parts of assignment 1 are officially submitted and out of my hands - a bit scary really! I feel like I could have spent about another month developing my ideas and reading more research - writing and re-writing until my.

I suppose that is a good thing - scenario planning has been eye-opening for me as I imagine what the future could bring for education, and the models of change have helped me visualise solutions and strategies to implement important new technologies with success.

After this first portion of the course, I feel like there are real paths forward for education. It is easy to focus on the issues and frustrations, talking about how we need an educational revolution, but it takes real imagination, inspiration and strategy to start looking at how we achieve this.

Monday, August 12, 2013

W6 - Reflection


I feel like I have been in a whirlwind the past two weeks!

The mOOC was definitely a new and wonderful experience for me. I felt like everything I read flowed so well into the next thing. My initial anxiety and slight frustration at getting all the "pre-learning quiz" questions wrong (except for the last one, on a guess) turned into curiosity and passion for scenario planning. I am a believer for sure!

I felt myself wanting to read and watch everything (as well as take notes), which is probably why I fell behind a bit at times. I found it hard to "skim" or pick and choose what resources to digest. Alas, as it was part of the process, I did cull it down a bit and was able to finish, albeit still a couple of days late.

Reading other people's blog and forum posts has helped me heaps, and I am grateful for such an open and encouraging group of classmates. I have felt more connected to my classmates in this course than in any other online class, which is so great.

I am feeling excited about completing my official assignment for the course, though still overwhelmed as usual, more so now in a positive way, if that makes sense!?

Hope everyone is having a great week - it has been raining on Waiheke, which means water in the tank, so I am having a good start to mine :)


W5 - Article; "Let Them Learn"

Let Them Learn

Today outside the Ministry of Education was the third in a series of protests by young men and women left behind by NZ’s education system. These young people are all in their late teens to early twenties and many of them have not been inside a school building for five or more years. You know some of them; the lucky ones have managed to get jobs in retail and the service industry in their communities. However, the majority are living at home with their families, wondering what their future will look like.

In 2020 it was made mandatory for all new university entrants to have achieved at NCEA level 4. This change had been expected for many years prior and was finally pushed through by the Ministry of Education ten years ago. Since then the expectations of NCEA on students has risen and the workload has increased. With level 1 starting at year 10 and 30 credits per course now the average, even the most gifted high school students are struggling.

I had the opportunity to interview Maureen, a young woman at the protest. She was holding a sign that simply read “Let Us Learn.”

Why are you here today, Maureen?
I couldn’t stay silent any longer. I worry about my younger siblings in this system where everything is about tests.
Did you finish school?
No. I worked hard and made it to year 11, but after two terms of year 12 I was forced to leave school. My mom said they used to only expel students for bad behavior, but now all it takes is a couple of not achieved credits and you risk losing your place in school.
What about your friends that finished school? What are they doing now?
Most of them are at university still, but the ones who graduated recently are in job training or apprenticeships. Schools don’t teach any skills that employers actually need, so most kids end up having to start from scratch in internships and stuff. My dad is an engineer and said it’s pretty bad. He has had to budget money in his business for heaps of on-the-job training.
What about the global information and communication networks? Can’t you get access to school online?
We can, but it is usually aimed toward adults. When I was in school we were only allowed to use our devices when it suited the standards, so I’m not even sure how to do the whole “online learning” thing, and either way, your whole CV is based on the external exams, so a lot of kids just feel like they don’t fit into the system but don’t have any other choice.

It seems that the entire education system is blind to the needs of our society and the realities of our global community. The fact that nearly 30% of students are forced to leave school before the end of year 12 because of their academic record illustrates this; not to mention that the crime rate has risen parallel to this figure. Students are equipped with technology we never could have imagined twenty years ago and they have access to the globe’s information, but they now lack the skills to put these things to use in society. If our content-driven and standardised system continues down this path, we will experience a drop in skills so severe that some organisations may not be able to hire their next generation of workers.Creative and hard-working young people like Maureen are being left behind and if we don’t do something about it soon, we will all face the consequences.

Friday, August 9, 2013

W5 - Reflection, Realisations

As I have been working to prepare and brainstorm for my news article, I have been reading and commenting on other blogs, and I realised that I misunderstood the matrix assignment a bit!

I was focusing on the axis points and not the scenarios themselves. After brainstorming further, I found the analogy process very difficult, but this is what I have come up with.

Scenario 1: (Content & Individualised) - In The Corral

  • Content based learning is somewhat restrictive in that it does not allow the students to explore and discover meaningful skills.
  • Students are, however, being assessed as individuals on their knowledge of the content and therefore enjoy a certain amount of freedom and support.

Scenario 2: (Content & Standarised) - In The Barn

  • Content based learning is somewhat restrictive in that it does not allow the students to explore and discover meaningful skills.
  • Students are assessed in a standarised system and therefore there is not room enough for all students to be assessed effectively.

Scenario 3: (Skills & Standarised) - Being Herded

  • Students are free to learn meaningful skills as part of their education
  • Students are still assessed in a standarised system and therefore some still stay from the herd, so to speak.

Scenario 4: (Skills & Individualised) - Grazing The Open Field
  • Students are free to learn meaningful skills as part of their education
  • Students are assessed in a individualised system, leaving room for everyone to have a meaningful learning experience.

I will have to go back to Creately and change my graphic,  but hopefully that makes my scenarios a bit more clear!