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Technology to support personalised, collaborative, or lifelong learning

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Greg MacLeod

on 16 May 2011

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Transcript of Technology to support personalised, collaborative, or lifelong learning

Can technology and the associated tools motivate students to attain, acquire and share knowledge? Digital immigrants versus digital natives and the changing state of education 21st Century education The main purpose of this study is to discuss:

1. what influence ICT has on student motivation for knowledge sharing

2. 21st century technology and the changing face of education Technological change - is technology or teacher pedagogy the fundamental element of change?

What technological tools are available to increase student motivation?

Digital natives versus digital immigrants - can the digital immigrant cater for the digital native or are they a hand-brake to progress? Outcome

To determine if there is evidence to support the belief that ICT improves student motivation and acheivement Outcome

To determine the features of a 21st century learning environment and discuss how ICT facilitates this changing environment Shroff and Vogel (2009) describe intrinsic motivation as an individual being able to demonstrate competence, to be highly engaged in activities because of personal interest and curiosity and to have a desire to be masterful at an activity (p. 60). Ericksen (1985) discussed the importance to depth of learning. Erickson’s discussion further supports the active integration of these web 2 tools e.g. wiki, blog to facilitate and extend depth of understanding. Web 2 tools need to be used as the medium or platform of communication, facilitating collaborative depth of understanding and knowledge.

“The process of learning is one of active engagement by way of elaborating, integrating, organizing, coalescing, and consolidating new material with what is already known- the transformation of shallow meaning into a deeper level of understanding thus, rehearsal is the key factor for retention.” Ericksen, 1985, p7 Motivation Shroff and Vogel (2009) Research Model Shroff and Vogel's study (2009) found that there is some difference between online and face-to-face discussions. In partcular, they found that the subjects were eager to get involved with the discussions in the virtual classroom, on the other hand, the face-to-face participants were not so eager and showed resistance towards participating in the discussion.

They also identified nine areas of need to develop intrinsic motivation in students. In her memoir, Joy Cowley (2010) shares her experiences of trying to teach young children to read,

"Edward and the other children I worked with in the mid 1960's were my teachers, and the lessons I learned are still relevant today.
There was no point in presenting these children with the books they were supposed to be reading. They had met with failure too many times and were not going to put themselves at risk again. Their body language was eloquent: elbows in at their sides, stiff posture, avoidance of eye contact. Many had been arbitrarily labelled dyslexic, and while I am sure that condition exists, I am equally sure it did not affect any of these children. If I was being forced to learn Greek I would probably also write the letters back to front. No, these children had simply switched off to the mechanics of reading." (p.168).

Cowley goes on to describe her method to inspire these children to read. Her methods were unconventional and while they did not include the use of ICT (this was the 1960's), it does pose a valid question, how do we motivate students to want to learn? What is motivation?

What does it mean to be intrinsically motivated?

Can technology alone improve the motivation of students to suport personal, collaborative and life-long learning?

Online communication - the benefits and disadvantages In this video, Sir Ken Robinson challenges the idea of the traditional educational model. It particularly relates well to our study as it poses the questions:

What will the future look like for our children's education?

How can we challenge our itraditional deals to motivate and inspire learners? Shroff and Vogel (2009) describe ten points to a motivationally supportive environment, through structure, autonomy and involvement. They include:

The need for competence
Perceived competence
Perceived challenge
The need for self-determination
Perceived choice
The need for relatedness
Perceived interest
Curiosity What is motivation? What motivates people?
“We propose that when people work with a wiki they have to see if their own individual knowledge matches with the information the wiki provides. This matching process can lead to different results
If people feel that the wiki’s information is congruent to their individual knowledge then people do not need to accommodate or assimilate internally or externally.
If people feel that the wiki’s information differs from their own knowledge there is a need for equilibration, which can satisfy the processes of internal or external assimilation or accommodation.
If people feel that important elements are missing they will externalise and perhaps add to the wiki.
If people find that the wiki’s information describes aspects which are not part of their individual knowledge they will develop new knowledge by internal assimilation.
If people find that their knowledge and the wiki’s information are basically incongruent they will accommodate their knowledge or revise the wiki article.” p117

Motivation is based on incongruity between the individual’s knowledge and the wiki’s information and the relevance and value with which they view the topic. p117 Strong, Silver and Robinson (1995) conducted research into student engagement and meaningful, depth of learning, they asked two key questions of teachers and students. What kind of work do you find totally engaging? and What kind of work do you hate to do? Their findings are particularly relevant to discussion on enhanced motivation and engagement through the use of Web 2 tools. Strong, Silver and Robinson state “Students who are engaged in their work are energized by four goals – success, curiosity, originality and satisfying relationships.” (p. 8). They suggest that success is the need for mastery, curiosity is the need for understanding, originality is the need for self-expression, and relationships are the need for involvement with others.

Strong, Silver and Robinson cite P. Schlecty (1994) to support their discussion, stating that students who are engaged exhibit three characteristics: (1) they are attracted to their work, (2) they persist in their work despite challenges and obstacles, and (3) they take visible delight in accomplishing their work.
Strong, Silver and Robinson, (1995, p. 8). Strong, Silver and Robinson’s article expresses the need to enable the learner, depth of engagement in learning with an authentic audience or purpose. Web 2 tools facilitate authentic engagement, creativity, originality, collaboration and the development of depth of understanding. What does it mean to be intrinsically motivated? Can technology alone improve the motivation of students to suport personal, collaborative and life-long learning? Online communication - the benefits and disadvantages Shroff and Vogel's (2009) research found that participants in online discussions were far more willing and able to participate in discussions than their face-to-face counterparts. They aslo found that the percieved choice available in an online environment like 'Blackboard' enabled the learner to be more intriniscally motivated because of the ability to enter the virtual environment at will.

The study also indicated that there was no evidence to support their hypothesis that online learning environments increase perceived challenge, feedback, perceived interest, and perceived curiosity.

So, can we argue that a healthy mix of online and face-to-face learning environments would prove optimal? Hendriks (1999) notes that, "Again, if individuals are not motivated to share knowledge, it is not likely that they are motivated to use the tools facilitating knowledge sharing." (p. 91).

This supports the argument that good pedagogy is the fundamental aspect of knowledge sharing. Technology can be the vehicle, however, there must be present that inner desire to want to aquire, attain and share knowledge. A paper prepared on the effectiveness of ICT as a learning resource, Neal (2005) interviewed Australian students. One student reflects on the 'hands on' nature of computers, "A computer...it's just more fun. In a book...just the way they pronounce it it's really boring, but on a computer it's like really colourful and stuff. Some of the web pages and everything, you can click on things and they pop out on the page, instead in a book it's just a page with writing." (p. 12).

Students live in saturated information environments, harnessing this type of communication is essential. It does however have its pitfuls. One student expresses their concern with searching for information on the Internet, "Well it's a good thing (the Inernet) if you know what you are looking for specifially, but if you're just hoping that something will come up, it's really hard to find stuff. Lai (2008), cites Postman's (1992), information chaos term when student surf the internet with no purpose or direction. The online Oxford Dictionary defines that, motivation is:

1 a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way:
escape can be a strong motivation for travel
[mass noun] desire or willingness to do something; enthusiasm:
keep staff up to date and maintain interest and motivation" Blended learning is defined by Oliver and Trigwell (2005: 17) as, “The integrated combination of traditional learning with web based on-line approaches.” (p. 90)

Barrett and Sharma (2007: 7), describe it as; “Blended learning is the combination of the face-to-face part of a course and the ‘appropriate use of technology’.” (p. 91)

With the advent of web 2 we have seen a massive increase in the availability of tools that can potentially be used in a variety of different ways to blend regular classroom practice. Blended learning is more purposeful with contexts for learning (on-line communication, authentic material and context of learning, able to link into real life experiences), students have more options within learning directions and engagement – web 2 tools.

Focus is on interaction in learning at collaborative and individual level. E.g. wiki/blog providing link of interaction with purposeful context – high motivation and engagement – improved learning.

Range of tools that enable students to be social in all sorts of ways – textually, orally, visually and aurally.
Opportunities for collaboration through using wiki – reflect on peers work

Self-paced learning, learning can be processed in different ways following individual learn preferences. Students can revisit learning using learning tools like moodle, blackboard.

Technology gives opportunity for the length of time on task to be considerably extended and allows for considerable variation in the ways the learner can approach their study.

Focus is on teacher pedagogy and use of tools rather than the tools in isolation
“Teachers have available sophisticated toolkit consisting of web 2 technologies, their knowledge of content, their understanding of methodology and the needs and desires of their learners. They can bring all these together in blended learning.”p89

Teacher chooses technology that fits with purpose of session/learning, pedagogical practice and teacher’s knowledge of student needs. Technological change - is technology or teacher pedagogy the fundamental element of change? What technological tools are available to increase student motivation? Digital natives versus digital immigrants - can the digital immigrant cater for the digital native or are they a hand-brake to progress? Can 21st technology bridge the achievement gap in our schools? Prensky argues that current pen-paper teacher directed classroom doesn’t provide engagement and motivation to the 21st century learner. They need a say and input into their learning and engagement with 21st century tools.

“We need to incorporate into our classrooms the same combination of desirable goals, interesting choices, immediate and useful feedback and opportunities to ‘level up’( to see yourself improve) that engage kids in their favourite complex computer games.” (p. 2).

Prensky is very strong on the discussion between digital natives (today’s students) and the older generation (teachers) digital immigrants and suggests that we (teachers) can not keep up with digital natives as they will continue to evolve and change so rapidly.

He suggests students should be involved in design of their learning. “We need to include our students in everything we do in the classroom, involving them in discussions about curriculum development, teaching methods, school organisation, discipline and assignments” (p. 2). And that, “Adaptivity, along with connectivity is where digital technology will have its greatest impact on education” (p. 3).

“Teachers must practise putting engagement before content when teaching, they need to pay attention to how their students learn, value and honour what their students know.” p2 Evolution - 21st Century Man As a digital immigrant can we honestly teach the digital native? Lai (2008) states that, "the learners often do not have the searching skills to locate relevant information, or the evaluation and critical reading skills to determine its accuracy and appropriateness." (p. 223).

Therefore, we must assume that the digital native may well be highly proficient at navigating and using 21st Century technological tools, however, they still need scaffolded to interpret information and develop higher order thinking skills. Teach? No, facilitate - an interdependent relationship. Dvd's - subtitles
web 2 - knowledge construction and ownership
Tablets, touch screens
Interactive whiteboards
Scanners, cameras
Mobile phones, 'pxt' and 'txt'
Internet - interactive sites, hyperlinks, databases, real-life
Social networking, facebook etc.
Software - speech recognition
Virtual worlds, simulations and games, Aldrich (2009)
Computer supported, collaborative learning environments (CSCL) (Lai, 2008) Wang (2008) emphahsises that, "Teachers need to plan thoughtfully before they start ICT
integration into a curriculum. For instance, they have to choose the correct ICT tools for
particular learning objectives or contexts, modify existing resources or develop new learning environments to engage specific groups of learners, or decide scaffolding strategies for
student-centred learning." (p. 411) Wang's (2008) Figure 3. Illustration of the usefulness of a system - online discussion. "The interactivity in a learning environment can therefore be simplified into learner-content, learner-people, and learner-interface interaction" (Wang 2008, p. 414) ICT makes possible new forms of classroom practice, (Crook, Harrison, Farrington-Flint, Tomas, Underwood, 2010).

1. Reconfiguration of space – patterns of mobility, flexible working and activity management
2. New ways in which class activities can be triggered, orchestrated and monitored
3. New experiences associated with the virtualisation of established and routine practice

ICT creates the possibility of a wide variety of learning practices –

1. Exposition– opportunity to invoke rich shared images, video and plans
2. Independent research- extended by the availability of internet search opportunities
3. Construction – ready-to-hand ICT-based tools Lai (2008) supports the value of computer supported learning environments, in that they can;
bring real world problems to the classroom,
simulate environments to problem solve,
aid the inquiry model of learning,
allow students to access information and resources,
aid knowledge building in a community. It appears that while ICT can increase motivation in learners, the fundamental point to a learners ongoing success (regardless of the technology available) is, good pedagogy. Teaching and learning that demontrates and understanding of the learner and their community, and an understanding of the 21st Century learner and how the available tools can facilitate their learning and knowledge building. We are in a technological saturated environment. Learning in the 21st Century has changed and evolved. However, it appears that we are still trying to teach in the post industrial revolution public-style of education model. At a recent TED conference,Sir Ken Robinson sums up this changing state of education and puts forward a challenge to today's educator's and policy-makers. Visit www.thesandpit.wikispaces.com to look at our group ramblings and bibliography.
Greg MacLeod, Vicki Mcintyre and Megan Graham.
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