Technology in Education: An Overview

From blended learning to computerized testing, digital and online technologies are reshaping the classroom experience for millions of students.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.edweek.org

It is interesting to note that with all the developments that are happening in technology, we’re still far off from implementing these in our classrooms. There’s such a chasm between what technology is able to do and how teachers are able to exploit it for teaching… one keeps on wondering about what is causing the chasm, is it the rigid curriculum and syllabi we are burdening teachers with, is it the lack of resources and poor infrastructure or is it a matter of attitude and wrong perceptions? 

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The Psychology Of Gamification In Education: Why Rewards Matter For Learner Engagement

Check how the psychology of Gamification In Education makes learners come back for more, over and over again. The Psychology Of Gamification In Education!

Sourced through Scoop.it from: elearningindustry.com

This might come out sounding like learning requires the carrot on a stick but in fact, it’s more about making work that might be tedious and based on drill and practice a bit more fun and competitive. Learning requires a much deeper engagement than can in my opinion be achieved with gamification techniques. 

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The 8 Digital Skills Students Need for The Future ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Source: www.educatorstechnology.com

Speaking about the digital skills which teachers perceive to be important for the future of their students, even though this study is a bit dated now, I still don’t see the word ‘Critical’ anywhere – nor do I perceive any sort of message which sees the importance of being critical in today’s digital society. 

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5 Dimensions Of Critical Digital Literacy: A Framework

5 Dimensions Of Critical Digital Literacy: A Framework

Source: www.teachthought.com

I would also add Co-Creating – more often we – ‘the adults’ think of ourselves as those who just consume whatever is making the rounds online – we hardly ever really contribute – sometimes it’s the fear of having work which is criticised that may stop us. But being digital literate is also about putting your work out there, sharing it, and letting the crowds make something worth while out of it. Co-creation is a wonderful way of starting digitally literate and critical communities who are not passive but who are active contributors in the digital society. 

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MOOCs and OERs for web talent: A hybrid open panel at OER15

Europe is facing a shortage of a million workers in the web and technology sectors, while youth unemployment remains a persistent societal and economic issue. Are MOOCs the answer to these issues? Or are they one of many means to address the shortage in web talent – but as part of an ecosystem which includes free and paid courses, self-paced learning resources, learning communities, and formal education providers? Are current conceptions of vocational training, certification and acknowledgement fit for purpose, and are MOOCs challenging these conceptions or reinforcing them?

 

Our panel at OER15 will debate these questions. In the spirit of openness, we invite you to participate in this event by contributing to the online discussion. During the conference, we will conduct a live panel with some of the contributors which will be joining us in person or virtually. Panelists will refer to your contributions online, and we will use social media to facilitate live interaction with the audience outside the room.

 

The European Commission has highlighted the potential of web and mobile startups to boost economic growth and well-being in Europe. Yet this potential is threatened by a predicted shortage of over a million skilled workers. The MOOCS for web talent network was initiated by the EC’s Startup Europe initiative to address this challenge. During 2014, the network has run webinars, conducted desk research and a survey of employers, employees and MOOC providers, connected a workshop at EC TEL 2014, and a stakeholder meeting adjacent to Slush in Helsinki.

 

The aim of this hybrid open event is to share the findings of our work and open up the network to a wider community. Participate in the online discussion by clicking on one of the following emerging themes:

 

Certification, completion, and measures of success in a MOOC Attributes of an effective MOOC learner Appropriate pedagogies for massive open online vocational learningEmergence of new educational ecosystems 

 

At the OER15 conference, we will conduct a live panel which would draw on and summarise the online discussion. This panel will be attended in person by several contributors and virtually by others, and will also be webcast for remote participants and recorded for use as an OER.

 

Moderated by Yishay Mor and Laia Canals, the panelist include Allison Litlejohn,Carlos Alario, Tom Staubitz, Davinia Hernández-Leo, Mar Pérez Sanagustin, and Catherine Mongenet amongst others.

 

MOOCs are an important means to address the shortage in web talent – but as part of an ecosystem which includes free and paid courses, self-paced learning resources, learning communities (e.g. open source communities), and formal education providers. In order to create sustainable and effective MOOCs for web talent, which address the real needs of web and mobile entrepreneurs, industry, educational providers and MOOC platforms need to collaborate in dynamic and agile partnerships.

 

Web entrepreneurs and their current and potential employees need hands-on learning experiences, grounded in real-life problems – not abstract, passive learning experiences. In order to provide such experiences, providers need to work closely with eLearning pedagogy experts and industry partners. However, MOOCs using professional software development environments to provide hands-on experience to participants have encountered various challenges mainly owing to the varied levels of digital literacy among participants.

 

Employers (and potential employees) need mechanisms for validating the quality of MOOCs and other learning opportunities, and verifying the knowledge of participants. This could be provided by formal credit systems (e.g. ECTS), but also by portfolios and community credits (e.g. stackoverflow badges).

 

Related Readings:Final report for the MOOCs for webskills project.Press release and the full survey report, including policy recommendations.Outputs of the entire project.

 

Milligan, C. and Littlejohn, A. (2014) Supporting professional learning in a massive open online course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 15 (5) 197-213. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1855/3113  ;

 

 

Margaryan, A., Bianco, M., & Littlejohn, A. (2014). Instructional quality of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Computers and Education, 80, 77-83  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S036013151400178X

 

 

Milligan, C., Margaryan, A., and Littlejohn, A. (2014). Workplace learning in informal networks. Journal of Interactive Media Environments, special issue ‘Reusing Resources – Open for Learning. http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/article/2014-06/html

 

 

Milligan, C., Margaryan, A., and Littlejohn, A. (2013). Patterns of engagement in connectivist MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9 (2) http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/milligan_0613.htm

Source: openeducationeuropa.eu

The validation aspect is very important and one which is being currently discussed in a number of forums. I might add that the proposal of looking at different forms of validation and not just in terms of ECTS, would possibly ensure that the spirit of the MOOCs designed for lifelong learning is maintained.  As it is, if the validation is just accepted for higher education credit value systems, this might limit the MOOC possibilities for people not necessarily interested in higher ed. 

See on Scoop.itEffective MOOCs

From Visible Thinking Routines to 5 Modern Learning Routines

I have been a fan of Visible Thinking Routines which were developed by Project Zero from Havard, for a while now. I have used these routines with students, as  blogging routines and in professional…

Source: langwitches.org

A really wonderful representation of what being digital in this era is all about – learning in the digital era, is more of a contribution rather than a passive absorption of online information. 

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Using Bloom’s Taxonomy In The 21st Century: 4 Strategies For Teaching

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy In The 21st Century: 4 Strategies For Teaching

Source: www.teachthought.com

Quite an interesting insight which has made me ponder on some questions. In Malta we are trying to achieve much with a new learning outcomes framework that we are implementing in schools. My worries would be – are we trying to be quite ambitious in that? As a country I feel that we are too preoccupied with curricula, assessment, instructions, and standards and data. How can we hope to achieve a ‘real’ 21st century education that is focused more on continuous connectivity, communication, and active role taking if we don’t focus enough on changing mentalities and our perception of the ‘culture of learning’? 

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Are Tablets the Way Out of Child Illiteracy?

Give them technology that they may have never seen before, and students’ brains will work wonders

Source: www.smithsonianmag.com

This article really made me think about the way many of the tools and applications are introduced in the classroom. In our classrooms, teachers expect that they would be introducing these step by step to the children, telling them exactly how to use them. But I think we forget the importance of experimentation and how this holds an element of fun, whilst more importantly leading to a deeper form of learning. In Malta tablets are going to be introduced to 8-year olds. My 2cents about the matter is that it’s not the tablet per se, but it’s how this is going to introduced in the class, that would have an effect on the children’s learning. We, as teachers, really have to learn to, at some point let go and let our children learn! 

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#ectel2014 – Keynote 2: Uli Weinberg “From IQ to WeQ”

Prof. Uli Weinberg during his keynote on Design Thinking at EC-TEL 2014

Prof. Uli Weinberg during his keynote on Design Thinking at EC-TEL 2014

The second keynote by Prof Uli Weinberg from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, at EC-TEL was very inspiring and also a continuation and building up on Etienne Wenger’s first keynote about communities, and working together.

I think the phrase that had a stronger impact on me was “Moving from IQ to WeQ”. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to my mind – moving from celebrating the individual intelligence towards celebrating the collective intelligence. We are indeed living in a connected world. We have become a very complex mesh of connections. Whereas a couple of decades ago, the networks were still there, they were simpler and the way we taught in our schools and for our education was just about that… keeping it simple, adhering to the hierarchy. Prof. Weinberg’s talk struck close to home as he illustrated the way schools worked and still do. In schools we celebrate individualism – ‘Hate thy neighbour’, ‘Copying is cheating’, ‘Working together means that this in not your work’, ‘Avoid failure at all costs’. These are some of the phrases we push in our education, past and present. I think the one about failure is one of the most challenging and one of the most misunderstood phrases really. If I were to tell my parents that failure should be celebrated, they would of course be shocked. But so would some of my teacher colleagues. Failure is a taboo word, one that shouldn’t be even uttered. Failure is indicative of shame – of failure. But is it? If we look at games for example, failure is crucial. In the same way it is crucial for innovation and creativity. We cannot have something new, something creative, something innovative without having undergone an iteration of failures. In games, we achieve mastery by having gone through failures and persisted. Last week I had a conversation with my 5-year old who was harping at me to download more games on the iPad as he was at a challenging level for those he had. He didn’t want to fail any more. But I explained that persistence is key. To really be on top of the challenge, one needs to try, fail, try again and again, and finally get there.

But Prof. Weinberg’s talk was not just about that. It was about getting us to understand that whatever we do it’s not just about improving the technology – it’s about solving a problem in a possibly different manner. It’s also thinking about humans and putting their needs into perspective and focusing on an interplay of human values (desirability, usability), technology (feasibility) and business (viability).

He spoke about the importance of working in multi-disciplinary teams (the more complex the better) possibly having a balanced gender, and celebrating different ways in which they do things. He describes the 3 core elements for design thinking as being:
1. Multi-disciplinary teams
2. Iterative process (to involve the full power of every person involved)
six steps: understand, observe, define point of view, ideate, prototype, test
3. If you have the teams, and are using the process then you need the space, not just virtual but also physical.
These core elements can also be referred to as the 3 P’s – PPP – People, Places, Process.
Prof. Weinberg focused on two of the major principles for design thinking:
1. Building on the ideas of others – in schools, this is labelled as cheating.
2. Fail early and often – in schools, failing is not an option. Failing is a part of a process, what you experience when you start working on your first prototype. If you don’t succeed at the first time, keep trying. [It’s also what happens in games and how the best gamers achieve their best scores]
In summary, he also spoke about the challenges in design thinking. Getting a team together is the most challenging. Schools focus on the individual power not on the power of the team! We need design thinking because we are living in a connected world.
Some questions which come to mind are:
How can I lose the power of the individual to the power of the team? How can we be connected in technology but disconnected in the mind? My personal experience working in a team, has been quite limited. And I realise the need for getting together all the abilities skills and experiences to come up with something new and creative and innovative. We structure knowledge and reality in the same way – linearly.
Therefore we need a shift in paradigm.. from lecture space to shared space & from individual reward to collaborative power
And whilst the education system is preparing us to the Brockhaus (linear model) as opposed to connected thinking we need to develop ways in which to branch out from that which we are used to.
So we need to move from IQ to WeQ; harnessing the power of the collective; moving from individual to collaborative in the way we learn and live.