The Technology Integration Planning Model

This week in the unit I’m studying on Online Learning, we’re looking at effective ICT integration planning models, focusing on the Technology Integration Planning (TIP) model.
There are many ways that educational institutions plan the integration of ICT. Some of these can be divided into two main areas of focus. Does the institution first plan how it sees learning happening, then acquires the technology systems to enhance that? Or does it allocate a budget for ICT and then ICT systems are put in place and then learning activities are designed around what the ICT allows? Warren McCullough (2011) has outlined these differences here.

Because of these fundamental differences in emphasis between infrastructure and curriculum, it is essential for educators to have an understanding of well designed integration planning models. The Technology Integration Planning (TIP) model is one such model, developed by Roblyer (2006), and adapted by Finger, et al (2007). It describes 5 phases:

1. Determine relative advantage
2. Decide on objectives and assessments
3. Design integration strategies
4. Prepare the instructional environment
5. Revise integration strategies Finger, et al (2007) p. 155

Below is my adaptation of the model:

TIP model adapted

At all points in the framework it is essential to ask questions which keep a focus on why ICT is being integrated into the activity or unit of work. If the integration of ICT is not being used to enhance the learning experience in some way, but is merely a substitution for existing techniques, then opportunities to improve the learning experience are lost. It is also important for teachers making a change to integrate ICT that they see its benefits.

References

McCullough Warren (2011) http://www.wazmac.com/teaching_learning/school_planning/planning_vision.htm

Roblyer, M.D (2006) Integrating educational technology into teaching, 4th edn, Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Finger, G., Russell, G., Jamieson-Proctor, R., & Russell, N. (2007). Transforming Learning with ICT: Making it Happen. Pearson Education Australia.

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Evaluating Web 2.0 technologies

This week in our unit on Online Learning we are evaluating the use of online resources in our learning environment. I’ll use a rubric to display the evaluation of course content in Moodle.

The abundance of Web 2.0 tools available today is astounding, and can be overwhelming when attempting to evaluate and choose a resources for students to use to develop their learning. The collection here gives an indication of the sheer number of resources which are in operation and is constantly growing – and that is just collection of e-Learning applications.

We’ve been asked to choose 7 considerations to keep in mind when choosing and evaluating online resources, and to rank them in order of importance. The 7 considerations that I consider most important are (nominally in order of importance – after 1 and 2, the order can be interchangeable):

1. The resource performs reliably and safe for students to use
2. The resource provides timely and relevant feedback to students to help direct and motivate their learning
3. It challenges students’ current knowledge and skills and gives them valid choices
4. Activities are relevant to the students learning needs
5. Activities enable students to use a variety of learning styles
6. The resource is affordable, financially and in its time requirements for development and maintenance
7. Instructional design allows for students to progress at their own pace and choose their learning path

Below is an example of a simple rubric evaluating the effectiveness of course content placed on a Moodle website (http://rubistar.4teachers.org/)

RubiStar
Rubric Made Using:

//

Multimedia Project : Evaluating Moodle course content


Teacher Name:

Student Name:  ________________________________________

CATEGORY
1
2
3
4
Organization
Content is well organized using headings to group related material.
Uses headings or bulleted lists to organize, but the overall organization of topics appears flawed.
Content is logically organized for the most part.
There was no clear or logical organizational structure, just lots of facts.
Sources
Source information collected for all graphics, facts and quotes. All documented in desired format.
Source information collected for all graphics, facts and quotes. Most documented in desired format.
Source information collected for graphics, facts and quotes, but not documented in desired format.
Very little or no source information was collected.
Permissions
All permissions to use graphics \”borrowed\” from web pages or
scanned from books have been requested, received, printed and saved for
future reference.
All permissions to use graphics \”borrowed\” from web pages or scanned from books have been requested and received.
Most permissions to use graphics \”borrowed\” from web pages or scanned from books have been requested and received.
Permissions were not requested for several graphics \”borrowed\” from web pages or scanned from books.
Content
Covers topic in-depth with details and examples. Subject knowledge is excellent.
Includes essential knowledge about the topic. Subject knowledge appears to be good.
Includes essential information about the topic but there are 1-2 factual errors.
Content is minimal OR there are several factual errors.
Attractiveness
Makes excellent use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance the presentation.
Makes good use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance to presentation.
Makes use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. but occasionally these detract from the presentation content.
Use of font, color, graphics, effects etc. but these often distract from the presentation content.
Date Created: Sep 05, 2011 02:38 am (UTC)

Copyright
©
2000-2007
Advanced Learning Technologies in Education Consortia
ALTEC

To view information about the Privacy Policies and the Terms of Use, please go to the following web address:
http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php?screen=TermsOfUse

Moodle Rubric  – the rubric saved as an Excel spreadsheet.

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A Safe Internet Environment for Responsible Learners

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have numerous resources to help schools develop plans which promote responsible and critical use of the the internet and social media tools. They recommend a ‘holistic approach to cybersafety’ wherein they recommend that schools establish a cybersafety group and provide 18 points to consider when guiding the group to take a holistic approach.

Stephen Harris (2010) writes that ‘Today’s students are immersed in a world of technology from birth. It is natural for them to live within the internet, rather than using the internet as is likely the case for their teachers and parents.’

Innovation and change can produce fear of the unknown in some people. There are views that the internet is ‘bad’ because ‘bad’ things van happen on the internet. This contrasts with the view that technology is value-free and that it is how technology is used which determines whether it is a positive or negative influence on students’ lives. Tom Johnson has created  a blog ‘Adventures in Pencil Integration’ where he parodies the integration of Web 2.0 tools with that of using pencils in classroom settings. It serves to highlight the fears some may have about the social nature and inherent possibility for danger in Web 2.0 tools.

Given that the internet and social networking tools can provide both support and danger for students, it is important that schools develop policies which promote students’ learning and independence, while at the same time protect them and give them the skills to deal with inappropriate content or communication.

Cybersafety Policies

ACMA list available National and State cybersafety policies here. In the section on strategic planning, they list the important factors to consider when developing a plan.

‘Schools preparing an ICT plan need to understand:

  • their overall strategic plan, including its vision, objectives and priorities for teaching and learning
  • their administrative needs
  • the opportunities offered by ICT for supporting and improving teaching, learning and school administration
  • the strategic priorities and policies of the school system or sector to which they belong
  • their current level of readiness against the appropriate ICT planning framework
  • the financial, human and other resources available to them.’

Cyber Bullying poses a threat to all students. ACMA describe cyberbullying as:

  • ‘Abusive texts and emails
  • Imitating others online
  • Excluding others online
  • Tagging others inappropriately
  • Posting unkind messages or inappropriate images on social networking sites‘ (2011)

Because the person who is bullying does not need to be in the same physical space and time as the person being bullied, it is contended that this makes bullying easier to accomplish. The threat of cyberbullying should be made explicit in learning and pastoral programs, so that students can relate their experiences and develop skills to deal with it if it occurs to them.

What does social media afford  students?
‘Here Comes Everybody’

Clay Shirky’s 2008 book ‘Here Comes Everbody’ has a central argument that social networking tools make group action possible in ways that were not previously available. By utilising the ‘anywhere, anytime’ nature of social networking tools, individuals can communicate and form groups in much faster time and over greater geographical distances than was previously possible. This means also that groups can form and act in response to an event or initiate action very quickly. Clay Shirky elaborates on these ideas in this presentation:
http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Conclusion

Given the ubiquitous nature of internet-connected devices, and students access to them, emphasis should be placed on helping students develop their responsible and critical use of the internet and social networking tools. Schools may implement web filters, but any students with a 3G enabled device can bypass those filters.

Cybersafety programs should be an integral part of learning programs in schools from Kindergarten onwards. Learning and pastoral programs should have an emphasis on developing students who are aware of the benefits and dangers of the online world, and can make responsible decisions when encountering inappropriate content or communications.

References

Australian Communication and Media Authority. (2011). ACMA. Retrieved August 18, 2011, from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/

Harris, S. (2010). The Place of Virtual, Pedagogic and Physical Space in the 21st Century Classroom. Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning.

Johnson, T. (2011). Retrieved August 19, 2011, from Tom Johnson’s Adventures in Pencil Integration: http://pencilintegration.blogspot.com/

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Creative Thinking and Authentic Instruction

One definition of creativity, from the video series ‘Everything is a Remix’ – the path to creativity is to first copy, then transform, then combine.

Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

I find this useful as it leaves behind the idea that creativity is some kind of magical inspiration, only available to a few of us. By developing copying, transforming and combining skills, students can develop their creativity. Ford (2010) refers to Csikszentmihalyi who states ‘we can no longer think of creativity as ‘a luxury for the few…(as) by now it is a necessity for all.’ ‘

Funcke (2009) supports the notion of creative thinking as something that can be developed over time. He identifies five phases in the creative process: Preparation, Incubation, Insight, Evaluation, Elaboration (p 14 – 15).

Authentic Instruction

Challenge Based Learning (CBL) is one tool used by some educators to combine creative thinking with authentic instruction. In ‘Challenge Based Learning: An Approach for our time’, Johnson, et al state ‘challenge-based learning brings relevance to class work . By giving students the opportunity to focus on a challenge of global significance, yet apply themselves to developing local solutions, challenge-based learning creates a space where students can direct their own research into real-world matters and think critically about how to apply what they learn.’ (p 7)
There are educational communities which explore the connection between creativity and technology. The ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition is one example: http://dilab.gatech.edu/ccc/

There are many educators who take up the challenge to help students make their learning relevant to their lives now. Chris Lehmann is one. This is his blog post about his closing keynote address at this year’s ISTE Conference. Technology can facilitate authentic learning by ‘flattening’ the learning environment – allowing students to be able to learn, share and collaborate beyond the confines of the physical classroom and the 9am – 3pm time constraints of traditional school learning.

In my own current experience, I’ve just seen Year 5 students conclude a unit of human rights by having a ‘Night of the Notables’. They each bring together their learning by assuming the character of a notable human rights activist, preparing a booth with artefacts associated with the person, and remaining ‘in character’ while members of the school’s parent community move amongst them, asking questions and engaging in conversation with them. As a follow-up, students may look at how they can convert their learning into action in their own lives.

References:

Everything is a remix Part 3 by Koby Ferguson http://vimeo.com/kirbyferguson/everythingisaremix3

Ford, R. (2010, November). Teaching the Three Rs? Try using the three Xs. Teacher , 20-23.

Meusberger, P., Funke, J., & Wunder, E. (2009). Milieus of Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Spatiality of Creativity. Springer.

Johnson, Laurence F .; Smith, Rachel S .; Smythe, J . Troy; Varon, Rachel K . (2009) . Challenge-Based Learning: An Approach for Our Time.    Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium

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A Common set of ICT skills – how and why?

A few years ago I was involved in establishing a ‘checklist of ICT skills’ for teachers and students in a primary school. While it is useful to know what teachers and students can and can’t do with ICT, the checklists themselves did not prove popular or useful – too much detail and too much information to manage was a common response.

In the meantime I looked around for something simpler and more relevant to the roles of teacher and learner, something that focused on the skills needed to participate effectively in contemporary learning situations. I came across a list compiled by Tom March, which seemed to address the issues of simplicity and relevance. Thanks to Tom for giving permission to adapt the list and post it here – the Term ‘Foundation Contemporary Learning Skills’ is his.

The most important and hardest question to answer here is ‘what are our common benchmarks for student and teacher skills in ICT?’. The approach taken was to look at what is already happening in the school, and then apply that to the idea of what effective and creative teaching and learning looks like in 2011. As always, it’s a starting point for discussion and provides a focus for direction.

Foundation Contemporary Learning Skills

A set of common expectations for using ICT to innovate learning.

Teachers:
Maintain an Online Classroom Presence

  • Regularly update class web pages on the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) as an integral part of classroom practice
  • Add activities, post new information
  • Insert media, files, images
  • Add links to websites
  • Manage what the students do and don’t have access to
  • Use forums and wikis to encourage active student involvement in the page

Use the IWB to organise and deepen learning

  • Be familiar and confident in your use of the IWB and its tools
  • Use online resources and colleagues to actively explore new ways to use the board to extend and deepen learning
  • Use the software provided with the IWB and other software when it offers learning advantages over paper based activities
  • Encourage students to create and share learning using the IWB software
  • Create learning activities that the students can use independently of the teacher

Have Routines for Accessing and Sharing Online Resources

  • Develop ways to organise useful online resources – eg Google Reader
  • Share online resources with colleagues – (eg through email, LMSpages, Share Drives, Twitter, Delicious, Scootle)
  • Use Atomic Learning to help with ICT skill development where needed

Use Technology to aid Thinking and Creativity

  • Use software to make thinking ‘visible’ – eg Smart NoteBook, Wikis, Forums, Mind Maps
  • Encourage students to represent their thinking visually using these tools on the IWB and on computers

Teachers and Students:
Student use of Moodle (will vary across year levels)

  • Students contribute through comments or adding content
  • Students access LMS pages from outside school to further their learning
  • Students take on tasks like assessing the usefulness of links and activities on the LMS
  • Encourage students to share interesting resources with the group eg links to related activities on websites
  • Teachers create opportunities for students to meaningfully contribute to the learning space (LMS page)

Student use of IWB (will vary across year levels)

  • Students are familiar and confident in their use of IWB tools
  • Where possible and appropriate, students download IWB software for use at home
  • Students use the IWB in small and large group activities, with and without teacher intervention
  • Students create activities using Smart IWB software

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UK schools ‘innovation’ – look at the focus

Great big grand new initiative – putting teachers at the centre.
And look what their first bullet point is!
‘powers for teachers to improve discipline, and trialling a new approach to exclusions’
Doomed from the start

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The Searchers vs The Rememberers

I’ve been having some good conversations with younger and older people around what’s worth committing to memory and what’s not.

Best told by sharing bits of those conversations…

I have an iPad with many, many apps which I have put into folders (like Games1, Games2 and Games3). So they’re organised, but of course I still forget where every single app is. When I’ve been methodically opening folders and looking for that elusive app, more than one 8 – 10 year old has calmly said ‘Why don’t you just search for it?’. To which I respond, ‘It’s OK, I know it’s here somewhere’, and keep opening folders, and keep looking…..

I was at an BBQ recently and some of the younger people had some music on which sounded like Bollywood disco to me – another adult said ‘What is that music?’. Quickly taking out my iPhone, I fired up Shazam and had the answer in about 10seconds (I still find this a form of magic by the way). Move to the next day when the Narnia movie ‘Prince Caspian’ was on at home. At the end, as the credits scrolled, we listened to a simple but moving song. My wife wanted to find out the name of the song, so we waited while the credits scrolled by, waiting for the name of the song to appear. An 8 year old in the room said ‘Why don’t you just Shazam it?’ She had made the link between how we found the name of the song at the BBQ the day before, and the use of that tool to help us now find the name of the song. Needless to say, Shazam gave us the answer before the credits had finished.

Parallel to these conversations I’ve been chatting with fellow adults who are lamenting that children don’t have to remember much these days, they just ‘search’. This has opened up some intriguing ideas about learning and what is worth learning.

So far my impressions are that the kids are applying skill in recognising the mass of available information and dealing with it by ‘searching’. I think some of us adults apply the knowledge environment of our youth – the adults in the house, the local library, the encyclopedia in the home, the TV, newspaper and the radio. Much of it unsearchable and only available when someone else decided to send it you. They apply this model to the current knowledge environment, see the kids searching instead of committing to memory and perceive it as a retrograde step in education.

Sometimes there is also an apocalypse scenario – “What if Google et al collapse – how will the kids know anything then?” Reminds me of how pocket calculators were supposed to result in an innumerate generation….

So my take is that there are easily enough smart kids out there already using their minds to get the mass of available information to work for them.

And one last point: who says they don’t commit a lot to memory? Maybe they just don’t limit themselves to remembering discrete facts (Shazam one day, wait for movie credits the next day – which is how I was working) but also focus on linking information to get it to work for you more quickly (the 8 year old who made the cognitive link: Shazam helped us yesterday, see if it can help us today).

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