I’ve been talking with colleagues about models for digital resources for learners. We have a curriculum with new priorities for learning; we have technologies challenging traditional publishing formats; and we have students who’ve adopted some of those technologies for themselves. These developments should mean big changes for educational publishing.
A few ideas then. Resources for students need to:
engage young people’s cultural and social practices
provide opportunities for transformative learning (a shift from filling students’ heads with facts to strengthening their key competencies)
build teachers’ capability around the seven ‘actions that promote student learning’ (pp34-35 NZC).
Publishers producing resources need to:
commission, write, design and curate across the range of media and in multimodal forms (avoiding treating web as an extra add-on to the publishing process)
plan for and predict likely interaction (how will young people want to interact? debate amongst themselves? engage with us?)
contribute an editorial or curatorial role that influences and creates community (set framing questions? bring people together?).
What do you think?
Learning is always a social experience for learners and their teachers, whether the artifacts involved are chalk, books, ICT and/or other minds. However, in an era when key competencies are at the heart of our curriculum, I think we can look to ICT to support transformative learning in ways that print simply can’t. Digital resources and software (especially, but not exclusively, social software) make available new opportunities for students to do things with their knowledge. Content is a means to this end (doing things with knowledge), not an end in itself.
An example … what learning could we make available if the fabulous Journal of Young People’s Writing were a blog? Instead of publishing completed student work in a fixed format, we could publish student work with great potential – with a great opening, a great ending or great dialogue. Invite writer David Hill to critique and explore. Invite other students to comment and illustrate. Invite graphic artist Ali Teo to respond to the illustrators. Draw comparisons and contrasts with work by other writers. Turn the existing model inside out by exposing the workings that are past and hidden by the time classrooms receive the print version.
There’s a role for the publisher: curating students’ work, modelling cognitive and social processes, influencing teachers’ pedagogical practice (including their own classroom blogging practices), responding to the interests and strengths that students bring to the project …
I don’t have to say much about this 3-page article New Learning from Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope, other than that it’s one of the better expressions that I’ve read of how and what we want learners to learn and of the changes required throughout the system to make that happen. The 8 dimensions address knowledge, learner agency, ICT, diversity, learning outcomes, institutional locations, pedagogical approaches and the role of the teacher. In New Zealand terms, just substitute ‘new learning’ with 21st century learning’ …
On the 25th of February ’09 I did a brief JRuby presentation on JRuby and how we’re using it at Boost. We’re really excited about some of the capabilities of JRuby.
We’re running a client deployment on Tomcat fronted by IIS, and it was really easy to get everything set up. We wanted to try another deployment on Glassfishv3 with no webserver in front. Unfortunately (and glassfishv3 is still in development) there were two barriers that prevented us doing so (more…)
I’ve been reading a little of the literature on 21st century learning, including an article by Gunther Kress called ‘Meaning and Learning in a World of Instability and Multiplicity’ (Stud Philos Educ 2008 27:253-266). It was recommended to me by Rachel Bolstad at New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
Aside: I’m doing this reading because I think that the justification for e-learning in teaching and learning is that it not only offers us powerful ways to enhance curriculum and pedagogy as it is currently practiced (eg self-paced learning, increased engagement, access to wider range of resources) but also to develop new kinds of curriculum and pedagogy that respond to and shape 21st century society. Namely, powerful ways to enact the new notion of knowledge as something you do rather than something you have and to support learners to learn how to learn. It’s my personal opinion that our focus should not be on bringing the technologies into the classroom as such, but on exploring young people’s cultural, social and ethical practices associated with these technologies, and what this means for new ways of learning in the 21st century. Anyway …
Kress talks about the ways that technology and changes in the traditional structures of authority have set learners free from the ‘church’ of education, which has historically mediated learners’ relationship with knowledge (see my blog post ‘The Digital Reformation‘). He says that the agency and the responsibility of the learner is one of the most significant aspects of the new environment of learning.
Just released this month – SITES 2006. This study by the International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement included 22 participating education systems, almost 9000 schools and over 35,000 science and mathematics teachers.
The study measured how well ICT helped teachers to teach 21st century skills, which were defined as students developing the capacity to engage in lifelong learning (self-directed and collaborative inquiry) and connectedness (communication and collaboration with experts and peers around the world). The study explored the relationship between the development of these new learning outcomes and new approaches to teaching.
Teacher practice can become more 21st century oriented when ICT is used (implication: ICT can be used as a lever for pedagogical change).
Students’ ICT-using learning activities are more strongly 21st century oriented than other activities.
Perceived impact by teachers of ICT use on students was largely positive.
This impact depends on how, but not how often, ICT is used.
When the teaching is ‘traditional’, teachers perceived no significant correlation with the extent of any impact on students’ outcomes, except ICT skills.
When the teaching has a lifelong learning and connectedness orientation, teachers perceived significant correlations with all positive learning outcomes, with the highest correlation shown for collaboration and inquiry skills.
Positive support measures were: professional development for teachers (priority: pedagogical ICT competence), leadership development in schools (including a vision for ICT use to support lifelong learning), technical and pedagogical support for ICT use, and infrastructure and support staff time.
Implications … Pedagogy matters! Policies and strategies matter too!
Contribute to discussion about this research on the e-Learning Research Network. You’ll find a presentation and executive summary of the findings there, also.
We had a great time with the e-fellows last week when they came to Wellington to kick off their fellowship projects. First, we met the Minister of Education, Hon Anne Tolley, and snapped a photo. (In the photo: Esme Sutherland, Sue Smith, Marilyn Small, Minister Tolley, Claire Amos, Helen Rennie-Younger, Tia Fraser, Virginia Mitchell, Robyn Hurliman, Marion Lumley, absent: Deidre Senior.)
Because the theme of the e-fellows’ projects this year is literacy, on the agenda was a discussion about what we mean by literacy. Sue McDowall from NZCER framed our thinking. Definitions of literacy are highly contested, and Sue’s list of ‘literacy is/is not’ is a useful starter for discussion:
Literacy is the way we communicate in different contexts or discourses (it is more than standard English).
Literacy is using the language and knowing the values of the communities we belong to (it is more than the ability to know how to do something).
Literacy is situated and multiple (it is not generic and singular).
Literacy is constantly evolving (it is not fixed and there is no end point).
Literacy is multimodal (it is more than print and word based).
The discussion with the e-fellows highlighted for me that while we want our young people to be proficient in the language of ‘success’ and of schooling (reading and writing in standard english), this is not the only literacy, it is constructed and value laden, and other literacy practices (social, cultural, ethical, digital, networked …) are equally as important for our young people.