Tuesday, April 25, 2006

bronwynhegarty doctorate meanderings

bronwynhegarty doctorate meanderings

I have been reading this work by Hope Hartman:

Hartman, H.J. (2001). Developing students’ metacognitive knowledge and skills. In H.J. Hartman (ed.), Metacognition in learning and instruction. Kluwer, 33-68. Academic Publishers: the Netherlands.

I like the models she proposes:
Executive management metacognition - plan, monitor and evaluate progress.
Strategic metacognitive knowledge – what (facts), when and why (context) and how (procedures).

These models would enable participants to use metacognitive strategies for the three tasks in their course. This would help them develop metacognitive control and knowledge and also reflect.

For each task participants will be asked to plan, monitor and evaluate their progress using self-questioning techniques and reflect using a blog.

Why do I like the models she proposes:
1. Discipline diverse - these models can be used in a number of disciplines as they relate to any type of learning. The examples in the chapter relate to reading, maths, science social studies, writing.

2. Self-questioning is used and this can be modelled to encourage learners to create their own questions. The answers of course are generated by the learner.

3. Critical thinking - the models encourage this and by scaffolding the learning, critical thinking questions can be developed by the students themselves.

I also like the components of the BACEIS model and the internal and external supersystems.
B = behaviour
A = affect
C = cognition
E = environment
I = interacting
S = systems

The cognitive system includes metacognition plus critical thinking, creativity and learning strategies. It would make it too big a project I guess to also look at motivation, affective self-regulation and attitudes (affective system) which are also part of the internal supersystem.

The external supersystem includes culture and instructional techniques as well as teacher characteristics etc as influences on thinking but they are not really relevant for this project.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Facilitating flexible learning

Today three of us ran a workshop about facilitating flexible learning: how to give great feedback and still have a LIFE.

Overall, I think it went well. Lots of discussion and questions and people were keen to make contact at the end of the class....always a good sign.

It appears that the title and the content offered were timely. There was a big contingent from one school who have a push on to put courses online. This was excellent. They did have concerns, however, about how to get their content online. They were advised to work with the programme developers, and offered assistance to have people work alongside them, but not do it for them. The mentality is still there to get stuff on Blackboard, rather than thinking how they would like to present content and activities, and what technologies could assist.

There was some discussion about models where content is handed over to a team to create resources. Leigh made a good point about models he had seen which didn't work and had cost lots of money. He believes it is best to start with finding resources which already exist and can be re-used...if possible. This makes a lot lof sense.

Some institutions which are heavily in to distance education - open polytechnic, UK, Athabasca university have production units but this makes sense. Open university in NZ used to do this as well, but has found it is more cost effective to enable staff to take charge of their courses and they have moved to Moodle. It would be interesting to talk to someone and find out how it is actually going.

The total number who enrolled was 13 but 3 people didn't turn up. The group were very interested and gave positive evaluations.

I started the workshop off with an overview of facilitating online learning...well I sort of took charge of it really...we did brainstorm how we would approach it earlier in the week, but the actual content we presented was up to us individually. At the 11th hour, I felt the need to slap together some slides...too many bullet points..but for next time I will develop some concept maps.Hey I can try out CMAP.

I will try and get them done before this group finishes their online discussion. This will continue on until the end of the second week in May. Easter in the middle sort of interrupts the flow. The timing for the next workshop will be better. And hey next time we will try out Elluminate for the initial session.

People liked the different cases we presented. Merrolee had lots of practical advice and talked about how she managed the online discussion. It is good for people to hear the nitty gritty stuff from someone so experienced...well I am too. I talked about how assessment was linked in strongly to the discussions. We gave tips for managing prolific postings and motivating people to go online. I really have to do something about the amount of content in the evaluating eLearning for best practice course though...I will definitely be going with the learner-generated model for next year. hopefully i will still be teaching it then.

Leigh gave a very insightful overview of alternatives such as egroups, and how they are very useful platforms for handing over ownership of material to students....giving them something they can take away with them when they leave their 3 yr programmes...when they are locked out of the institutional platforms. Some of the OTs were very intrigued with the idea of having a community of practitioners able to remain in contact about professional issues.

It will take time but the ideas are filtering through. All we need are enthusiastic staff who act as "hotpoints" in their schools and talk about what they are doing to others. I do love running workshops with staff, and seeing the lightbulbs come on.

The next offerings will need to be a practical show and tell with staff demonstrating what they are doing. Oh when to schedule all these? We have two visiting speakers coming in May and June, Peter Mellow (AUT) on the Study Txt mobile learning project - article. Also John Milne (Massey) who is coming to work with us on the TEC eLearning guidelines an ECDF project. Exciting stuff.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

innovation JISC online conference

Innovating eLearning 2006 JISC online conference
A couple of entries really caught my eye and very much match with some of the isssues our institution is currently facing. Peter Miller - University of Liverpool
pointed us to the idea of Shared Learning Contexts (SLCs) which are described in Scott Wilson's blog at http://www.cetis.ac.uk/members/scott/blogview?entry=20050210014657 The diagram of the SLC illustrates a learner-centred model using open source technologies.

Geoff Stead's statement summed it up really - "VLE fervor has put shackles on a lot of creativity from people like ourselves who earn a living using technology to service learning. Five years ago we were creating learning tools that assisted low-literacy learners to find their voice and publish themselves online. We created project-based environments to share problems and strategies for dealing with low maths skills. But these things are impossible within SCORM (the standard VLE materials need to comply with) Almost 100% of the demand we get for resources to support learning need to fit into the lowest common denominator of VLEs ... namely: a single thread of learning objects, each one insular, curriculum mapped, with no connection to the learning process, no inbuilt dialog / saving / thought origination for the student. So yes, they have provided an excuse for less adventurous staff to hide behind. But they have also imposed a set of standards on all purchasing that have ended out stamping out a lot of creativity that was previously embedded in the resources as well. And all with the best intent! "

Some of the replies to this statement, referred to the usefulness of VLEs for staff new to eLearning. My thought on this is that we have basically trained people up to expect the VLE or Learning Management System approach whereas if the use of a variety of tools could have been "sold" to staff early on - through really good resourcing and support - we wouldn't all be caught up in using the corporate, expensive, proprietary tools. Tools which suit the company not the teachers and learners.

There was a very good article on one of the discussions - an evaluation of the use of blogging in a course related to technology.

Reflecting on professional practice by Annette Odell, University of East London. "Applications of Learning Technologies" is an accredited professional development course. Assessment is by means of a portfolio of work built up during the course and a key component within this is a reflective log, kept online using a blog.

This presentation describes the use of blogs on this context; briefly discusses different uses of blogs; reflects on personal experience with using blogs for different purposes and why the 'reflective blog' appears to be a consistently successful use; discusses factors that promote success and problems to be oversome; and summarises the participants' perspective on the value of keeping a reflective blog within this course and as part of their professional development record.