Sunday, September 27, 2009

Study finds online learning more effective than classroom

You can access the 93 page report from the U.S. Department of Education
Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service through the New York times article by Steve Lohr, 19/08/2009. %20%20

So the doom sayers are at it again - just like the invention of the printing press, the computer is going to replace teachers - except I think the New York Times article is flawed because the writer has not actually understood the concept of effect sizes.

In 1999, before Internet use was as common as it is today, Professor John Hattie contended that computer learning influenced student learning outcomes positively with an effect size of 0.31. which is less that the mean of 0.4 for all interventions. (Hattie, 1999)

If you use the bookmark tool in this research document and scroll to key findings you will see that the results of this research is in line with Hattie's 1999 findings, which still seem to be relevant today.

The article fails to address the fact that e-learning is relevant for today's classrooms. How our students learn and what they need to learn, needs to be relevant to the world they live in. I think the following video clip reminds us that e-learning in our classrooms is not about computer instruction to reinforce old teaching methodology, its about teaching approaches that meet the needs of 21 century students.

I think the research in the US evaluation (2009) does highlight that e-learning will not improve traditional assessment results of student achievement, but what e-learning does do is improves learning, as it engages students and makes their classrooms relevant to the world they are growing up in.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, Washington, D.C., 2009.
retrieved from: 27 September 2009

Hattie, J. (1999). Computers in Schools retrieved Sept 20, 2009, from

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Fourth Estate beyond 2.0

Clay Shirky talks about how with WEB 2.0 tools groups of people do not only connect but they are also collaborating and taking action.

I am currently reading his book and he suggests some fascinating ways that people are already and could in the future organise themselves for social and political action without the support of any organisations.

Epic 2015 also provides a futuristic view of the "Fourth Estate". It suggests the print media will loose the media wars and that Google and Amazon will merge to form a collaborative news grid where anyone and everyone is the reporter.

I wonder what effect this will have on our society politically and socially given the control that the fourth estate has had on news items have been controlled by a few powerful organisations up to now.

As an educator I wonder what implications this has for teaching and learning in the 21st century.

Shirky, Clay. (2008) Here Comes Everybody. The power of organising without organisations. Penguin Group. New York

Integrating e-learning - leading the change

Integrating e-learning across a school is challenging and complex. It is really important that the principal and other school leaders understand the complexity of the change process. I have been principal of my school for 18 months and what we are trying to do to implement e-learning across the school actually challenges the existing systems and infrastructure on many levels. Change is always challenging - and can be quite an emotional journey with many ups and downs. I think this brilliant clip expresses what can be a stressful roller coaster ride associated when making changes to integrate e-learning in our schools really well.

Dean Fink (2004, p3) argued that: ‘Leadership for learning is not a destination with fixed co-ordinates on a compass, but a journey with plenty of detours and even some dead ends. Effective educational leaders are continuously open to new learning because the journey keeps changing. Their maps are complex and can be confusing. What leaders require for this journey is a set of interrelated learnings looking at school leadership in a holistic rather than reductionist way. These learnings can be deepened, elaborated, nurtured, abandoned, and connected and related to other learnings as the journey progresses.’

We have introduced deliberate changes with many detours to encourage our teachers to be reflective practitioners engaging in strengthening effective integration of e-learning with the new curriculum

At our school we are promoting as part of our teaching and learning philospophy:

  • Habits of Mind (Costa & Kallick 2005)
  • The school inquiry learning model
  • Assessment for Learning Pedagogy
  • Student Led Conferences

Incorporating ICTs into administration ( in 2009 we have introduced electronic register, remote access, changes to reports, remote access from home, new electronic smart boards, online calendars, timetables etc, Online Learning Environment )

While integrating ICTs into administration is seen as easier that integrating e-learning into teaching and learning what has been achieved in 2009 was fraught with technical difficulties and has caused many frustrations. Teachers and students will not persevere and continue to try to use equipment that is either faulty or difficult, so keeping the systems problem-free has been very difficult.

The extent of the changes that we have embedded over the last year to encourage integration of e learning into curriculum and improving pedagogy at our school has been wide ranging.
These include:

  • Making the change to the New Zealand Curriculum
  • Assessment for Learning whole school contract
  • Numeracy Catch Up whole school programme
  • Changing the school management structure to give the ICT / Curriculum Manager high status
  • Creating new roles – including e-learning team leaders, Assessment for Learning Team leaders – roles that support the curriculum development, pedagogy and e-learning integration
  • ICT team leaders, one person in a year across teams, work regularly and systematically with teachers in their team
  • A rigourous professional development meeting schedule that addresses what e-learning is, what it isn’t and why it must happen.
  • Changing resourcing to ensure equity of access to technology across teaching teams to support e-learning ( electronic boards, data projectors, COW, mini books)
  • Team planning meetings on Classroom Release Days to encourage collaboration and a culture of support
  • Team planning meetings emphasise pedagogy, integrated curriculum, habits of mind, inquiry model and e-learning
  • Rewarding the early adaptors – (with status and resources)
  • Supporting staff who are prepared to take risks – (opportunities to attend courses, showcasing work)
  • Fostering change through opportunity to participate in the digital classroom project
  • Changing the planning expectations to ensure learning opportunities are based on authentic learning opportunities, habits of mind, new curriculum , e- learning, integrated approach.
  • ICT / Curriculum leader and Deputy Principal (current Acting Principal) leading learning – attending planning meetings , leading discussions about pedagogy and learning
  • Insisting on student led conferences rather than teacher led conferences
  • Parent meetings promoting the pedagogy and learning philosophy (evenings on assessment for learning, habits of mind, e-learning, cybersafety and student led conferences.
  • Mandatory class weekly reflections on learning posted on Knowledge Net.

What we are trying to do is to create a learning environment that encourages a metacognitive and constructivist approach to teaching and learning and loading teachers with lots of professional development around the concepts that we want incorporated in teaching and learning.

In terms of ICTs our teachers have been involved in the following in 2009:

  • Skills development:( knowledge-net, school reports, cyber- safety, smart boards, remote access)
  • Communication tools: (e-mails, bulletin boards on knowledge net)
    Administration tools on the network and knowledge net: (Calendar, booking rooms, help files, minutes, electronic register, remote access and updating files and reports from school to home, cybersafety protocols, shared learning resources)
  • Workshops promoting the school vision, and understanding the nature of e-learning integration with teaching, learning and pedagogy
  • Reviewing curriculum statements and reflecting on planning practices
  • School appraisal system and observations focus on the school pedagogy philosophy revied.
    Management team have had professional development on mentoring, coaching through University of Auckland and Principals Leadership Centre and Assessment for Learning professional development.

Where to Next?

Dias (2007, 11) suggests that e-learning needs to be “used in a seamless manner to support and extend curriculum objectives in a seamless manner to support and extend curriculum objectives and to engage in students in meaningful learning. It is not something one does separately; it is part of the daily activities taking place in the classroom.

The Ministry of Education publication Digital Horizons: Learning Through ICT: A Strategy for Schools, This publication advocates “systematic opportunities to develop digital and information literacy, and enjoy using ICT creatively and critically in extending their horizons and growing as lifelong learners.” (2003, p12)

Cleaverley (2004) promotes the idea that schools have successfully integrated ICTs into their curriculum when they align higher order thinking skills and the teachers capacity to utilize a range of teaching strategies.

Moyle, (2006) advocates that “ a team-based approach to leadership, where the leadership capabilities of others are fostered and developed and the leadership responsibilities are shared was identified as a useful strategy for identifying the extent an complexity of the work involved in incorporating ICT into teaching and learning.”

Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009) in their TPACK framework for planning for e-learning integration suggest that teachers hold planning meetings to collaboratively develop the types of e-learning activities that support specific learning goals and pedagogy. This will provide a team approach to systematically improving focus on the pedagogy while improving the range of ICTs utilised for teaching and learning as a next step on our e-learning journey.

For example if the learning intention was around using descriptive language and one of the learning activities was to write a poem a set of possible e-learning activities could be:

  • Create collaborative poems on Google Docs or Knowledge Net – and include reflections on the success criteria and habits of mind
  • Class Blog of students poetry , where students post their poems and reflect on the success criteria for their own and partners poems. Include habits of mind reflections.
  • Use digital cameras to take pictures around school that relate to their poem, create a photo story presentation and include their learning reflections as above. Post on class blog.
  • Children present their poems on Movie Maker – followed by interviews by a partner to present their reflections. Embed in class blog.

Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009,7) TPACK “approach is designed to help teachers to plan effective, efficient, and engaging learning experiences for their students. The process is based upon a series of deliberate,balanced, and well-informed pedagogical choices, which, when taken together, can result in an instructionally effective plan for students’ learning that incorporates digital and non-digital tools and resources in appropriate ways.”

Following the planning, the ICT team leaders supported by the ICT co-ordinator can provide team based professional development at the team level around the chosen learning experiences, incorporating peer to peer workshops, observations and coaching to encourage the shift from the lesson planning to adoption in the classroom.

This logic of strengthing teacher planning aligns with the five critical elements essential for developing a culture of support for building a professional community in schools identified by Kruse, et el, (1994, p2): “Reflective dialogue, de-privatization of practice, a collective focus on student learning, collaboration and shared norms and values.

This revision of the e-learning development plan will address the commitment to meaningfully integrate e-learning with the new school curriculum and achieve our goal of embarking on an exciting journey – Utilising ICTs to transform learning : To ensure our school students are digitally capable and confident learners.

This support will go a long way towards challenging our teachers to make the changes needed and commit to the intregrating e-learning into teaching and learning and make it happen.

Cleverley, B (2004). Practical straegies to consident when integrating ICT
into new entrant classrooms. Computers in New Zealand Schools, 16(1),

Costa, A. & Kallick, B 2005. Habits of Mind, [accessed
2007, September 20]

Dias, L. B. (1999). Integrating technology: Some things you should know. Learning and Leading with Technology, 27 (3), 11 – 13, 21

Fink . D (2004) Best Practice: A technocrats dream. Article accessed from ICP

Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009). Instructional planning activity types as vehicles for curriculum-based TPACK development. In C. D. Maddux, (Ed.). Research highlights in technology and teacher education 2009 (pp. 99-108). Chesapeake, VA: Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (SITE).

Kruse, S., Louis, K.S., & Bryke, A.S. (1994) Building professional learning communities.Madison, WI: Centre on Organization and Restructuring of Schools

Ministry of Education. (2002) Digital horizons: Learning through ICT: A strategy
for schools. Wellington: Learning Media Limited

Ministry of Education. (2006) Enabling the 21st century learner. An e-learning
action plan for schools 2006-2010. Wellington: Learning Media Limited

Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media Limited

Moyle, K. (2006) Leadership and Learning with ICT, Voices from the Profession. [On-line] Accessed 24 September 2009.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The role of the ICT leader in Schools

This is an abridged version of the research I did into the role of the ICT leader. The readings blew me away - the role is perceived by ICT leaders or co-coordinators as complex and extremely difficult - and generally very frustrating. I thought that I would like to share some of the key ideas I found in my readings.

Research investigating the perceptions of their role as primary school ICT coordinators including exploration of their experience working within their role provides interesting incites. (Lynch, Wendy, Hobbs, Barry, Hollanders and Henry, 1999). This research suggests that the “ a picture emerges of highly unfavourable conditions making it unlikely that co-coordinators will be able to adequately fulfil their role.” (1999, p2).

This research goes on to identify three key areas for schools to be cognisant of. Firstly – the co-coordinators own anxiety around the challenges of the task. The levels of anxiety reported by ICT leaders in this study were high. Unless contained this anxiety can be transferred to others as frustration and criticism which is counter-productive to being able to empathise with the struggles of colleagues trying to come to terms utilising new technologies for e-learning opportunities in their classrooms.

The second feature identified was lack of training for the ICT coordinator. Training that is given tends to be around the technology, not around leading change in teacher practices.
Stratford and Brown (2002) suggest that there is a prevailing definition of ICT that is technocentric , rather than the leadership practices associated with the technology. New technologies themselves will not improve pedagogy of teachers or educational outcomes students . What is needed is professional development opportunities for ICT leaders around leading teachers to engage in e-learning pedagogy focused on improving learning and teaching.
“Successful implementation of change in ICT is not about equipment or software, but in influencing and empowering teachers, it is not about acquiring computer skills, but supporting teachers in the ongoing engagement with students and their learning.” (Leithwood and Riehl, 2003)
The third key area identified is the continuous pull into the role of technician and away from the role as ICT leader, leading learning. Many ICT leaders in this research reported that they were pulled in the direction of technician rather than leading learning. Most of the coordinators in this research had the belief that their priority was to work with staff to develop their confidence and competence but the reality was that their day was mostly spent troubleshooting. “The core need to keep the computers working and accessible to children meant that the time available for planning schemes of work and supporting colleagues was severely diminished.” This issue in turn increased the coordinators anxiety. “If his or her only way of dealing with the situation is either to succumb with inwardly held resentment, or to resist with outwardly expressed resentment at being put in such a position, the interpersonal processes that need to be understood if the role is to be properly fulfilled may be missed.” (1999, p 2).

However, the reality is that is important to ensure that everything that is working actually as it should be. While this task is non-educational it is still a vital part of the role. Teachers and students will not persevere and continue to try to use equipment that is either faulty or difficult, so keeping the systems problem-free is a means to enable the vision for ICT to become a reality. However this does not mean that the ICT leader should be the technician who is actually doing the troubleshooting. Schools may need to consider outsourcing technical issues to enable the ICT leader to fulfil their role effectively as well as training staff to take responsibility for simple day to day issues themselves.

Kennerwell et al report that ICT leaders often feel they lack the status of a school leader and that the size of the role should warrant. “They are usually appointed to the same level as the head of a small department, yet they have a very different and much bigger role……Furthermore, they feel that senior management does not understand the nature of ICT capacity, its place in the curriculum, or demands that its co-ordination makes on the post holder. (Kennerwell et al, 2000, p51). This research also reported that many ICT leaders had other roles in the school as well, such as full time or a significant class teaching load, many were either Deans, Deputy Principals, Team Leaders or Subject Leaders where they were expected to co-ordinate these roles as well as the complex role of ICT leader. An example of is given of a primary school teacher, “teaching a Year 4/5 class and co-ordinating special needs, PE, Games, Science, D & T and IT. The IT role was by far the most demanding and difficult to manage effectively. The school had two different platforms, unreliable printers, resistant staff and an old building whose layout and wiring encouraged teachers to point out the real organisational difficulties. No release time was available for the coordinator to deliver staff curriculum developments in the classroom, and there was little enthusiasm or incentive for teachers to remain after school to develop personal capability.” (Lynch et al, 1999, p2). The ICT leaders in this research considered they were undervalued in terms of resourcing their role and their status in the school, which undermined their ability to perform their leadership role. It was seen as an “impossible job”. (Lynch et al, 1999, p2). Kennerwell’s (2000) conclusion was that it was not the nature of the tasks that made the role difficult but the sheer number. “They do not see any one task difficult, but the fact that one person is often expected to do all of them, as well as being a specialist teacher either of ICT or another subject poses a challenge. They have inadequate non contact time, often no technical support, and frequently encounter a lack of understanding of the issues on the part of senior management.” (Kennerwell et al, 2000, p51)

In conclusion the role of the ICT Leader is the complex. Schools are different in the way they are implementing ICT in teaching and learning, but what is clear from the research is that the role of promoting and co-ordinating e-learning effectively in our classrooms requires careful consideration of how they are meeting the needs of the ICT leader. The role has competing demands upon time and resources. This is a high level leadership role, and should be resourced and rewarded accordingly. The ICT leader requires continuous support from both the principal and members of the leadership team. They require specialised professional development around leading a school culture that facilitates change in teaching practice. There also needs to be support given to ensure that the ICT leader is not the lead technician ensuring that they have time is to support teachers in leading learning.

Schools need to develop a better understanding and provide the support needed to meet the complex and increasing demands that are being placed on ICT leaders. The way students learn today has changed. The ICT leader provides a vital way forward for teachers to integrate e-learning in a meaningful way that engages and motivates our students as learners. It is important to identify exactly how supporting the ICT leadership role is best achieved in each school to enable this to happen.

The challenge is how do we do this within the resourcing and staffing that we have available to us? Any creative suggestions appreciated!


Kennewell, S, Parkinson, J & Tanner, H. (2000). Developing the ICT capable school.
London: Routledge/Falmer.

Leithwood, K.A., & Riehl, C. (2003). What do we already know about successful
leadership? Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

Lynch, W., Hobbs, B., & Hollanders, H. (1999, November). Dancing on quicksand:
The role of the ICT co-ordinator in the primary school. Retrieved September 3,
2009, from

Stratford, R. & Brown, M. (2002). Towards a political understanding of New
Zealand's ICT strategies. Computers in New Zealand Schools , 14 (2), 3-9.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just in Time Learning and Knowledge Net

At our primary school we are wanting to provide an ICT professional development model to encourage the use of our Online Learning Environment, (OLE) “Knowledgenet”. The purpose of this post is to discuss a “just-in-time” professional development model that draws on current research theory to build our teacher capabilities to utilize Knowledgenet for both administration and teaching and learning.

The Ministry of Education publication Digital Horizons: Learning Through ICT: A Strategy for Schools, (Ministry of Education, 2002) provides ways that schools can give traction to developing ICT integration through developing a school vision and action plans. This publication advocates providing “systematic opportunities to develop digital and information literacy, and enjoy using ICT creatively and critically in extending their horizons and growing as lifelong learners.”

Jamie McKenzie, ( McKenzie, 1998) advocates that the most effective way of providing systematic opportunities around the use of new technologies is to provide “just –in-time” ICT professional development. His view is that real learning takes place when the teacher has the opportunity to try new skills, with a support person and support network close at hand. The “just- in- time” learning logic provides a variety of support systems, including coaches, mentors, partners, study groups and time. “Just- in -time” learning gives teachers the opportunity to become confident in applying the ICT to their context.

McKenzie suggests that the “just-in-time” ICT professional development model has several components. Our current professional development logic around engaging teachers and students in the OLE draws on the experience of McKenzie:
• The ICT leader works with teachers to develop integrated ICT / curriculum plans to utilize the OLE
• Release time for participants to attend team (class year level) professional learning communities (Teams meet on CRT days with the ICT leader)
• Release time for micro teaching and development sessions with the ICT lead teacher as coach and mentoring (feedback and feedforward)
• The ICT leader works with selected teachers each term - this includes planning , modelling , coaching - working alongside the selected teachers in a digital classroom environment
ICT team leaders that work with the school ICT leader - to distribute the leadership and support each team
• School resourcing of the laptop lease programme to ensure access at home.

The advantages of this model include the following:
• The ICT leader working with teachers through microteaching and coaching helps to motivate each person to try new skills and tools
• The Quality Learning Circles empowers teachers to explore new and better ways of administration and teaching.
• Regular micro teaching tutorials will enable useful and immediate results.

• Observation of best practices through the digital classroom model enables teachers to grasp the impact of the OLE in other learning environments.
• Team ICT leaders provide just in time support for teachers and students learning the new technology, ensuring that help is available when it is needed.
• With the school resourcing the laptop lease for teachers, teachers are able to practice the emerging technology in the privacy of their own home – allowing them to experiment and practice without fear of others judging their efforts.

Ham, Gilmore, Kachelhoffer, Morrow, Moeau & Wenmoth, (2002) research findings into the New Zealand ICT cluster professional development indicated that most teachers supported these components of ICT professional development and the programme logic provided them with the opportunity to gain confidence in new technologies significantly shifted their practice in management and teaching programmes.

The potential disadvantages of this model are also discussed in this research. Teachers in the ICT clusters disclosed the following problems inherent in the New Zealand ICT cluster professional development model.
• The cost of staffing to release both the ICT lead teacher and the class teachers for the time and support needed out of their classrooms
• The cost of the laptop lease programme
• The time that teachers are taken out of their classrooms away from their students and the risk that the class programme will be compromised by relieving teachers.
• Keeping the equipment up to date is costly and time consuming
• The technical support and infrastructure is costly and time consuming - alongside this is the complexity of the role of the ICT leader and the pull to sort out technical problems

To conclude, the “just- in –time” ICT professional development model is a successful way to develop ICT professional learning. Adapting this model will bring about the success we need to engage our school’s teachers in the use of “Knowledgenet”, OLE . The challenge for our school continues to be resourcing the cost and infrastructure to implement this ICT professional development . “Just in Time” is an effective way to provide ICT professional growth and develop a positive learning culture, where teachers are able to try new ICT skills and apply them to both twenty first century management , teaching and learning.

Ham, V. (2008) National trends in the ICT PD school cluster programme 2004-2006 In Education Counts, Retrieved 30/08/08

Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H. & Fung, I. (2007). Teacher Professional Learning and Development. Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES). Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Treadwell,Mark. (2008). The conceptual age and the revolution school v. 2.0. Heatherton, Australia: HawkerBrownlow.

McKenzie Jamie. (1998) Creating Learning Cultures with Just-in-Time Support. Retrieved 30/08/08

Ministry of Education. (2002) Digital horizons: Learning through ICT: A strategy
for schools. Wellington: Learning Media Limited

Integration of e-learning

It was interesting reflecting on Tony’s study guide notes on “Changes In E-Learning”. He writes about the journey of schools use of computers. On reflection the early use of computers in schools parallels my own experiences of computers in teaching. I first had computers in my classrooms in the 1980s and have been using them ever since. I remember utilising the CD encyclopedias, databases and games prior to accessing these functions from the web. In the early 1990’s we were involved in the Telecom project where the students had regular contact with scientists working in Antarctica.

Kellow (2007,24) states “ Computing in education has changed dramatically since those early days when all we could do was basic programming and play a few games. Then the computer was mainly cast in the tutor role and used for computer assisted learning, Now the range of information and communication technologies being used has dramatically increased, the Internet being, in my opinion, one of the most influential”.It is the responsibility of every primary and secondary school in New Zealand to develop students into “confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners” (MOE, 2007, p4). To fulfil this responsibility every school needs to ensure that all students are becoming digitally capable, and confident.

The challenge for me these days as a principal of a large urban school is to facilitate the vision, motivation, school culture and resources to make this happen.

Dias , (1999,11), exploration of the typical stages teachers work through towards technical integration (integrated e-learning) and pedagogy is interesting to reflect on. Dias poses four questions that she contends are not commonly raised as school implement e-learning into their curriculum. Dias (1999), suggests that addressing these questions could assist schools to clarify their expectations.
1. “What is technology integration, and what isn’t it?
2. Where does technology integration happen?
3. What are the barriers to technology integration?
4. What are the stages of technology integration?”

Dais also makes the point that integration takes time. In my experience it is an iterative journey not only for the school but for each individual teacher. I believe it is up to each school to provide the vision, culture, leadership and resources to give the motivation for teachers to want to move forward on this journey. Dias makes the point that it is important to have clarity around what do the teachers see as important to define what e-learning integration will actually look like in their school.

These questions would certainly be useful when conducting a school review on this area.
Misha and Koehler (2009) article promotes a framework called TPACK which could be utilised to as a way of conducting a school review to establish a way forward in the integration of e-learning and pedagogy journey. “The TPACK framework suggests that content, pedagogy, technology, and teaching / learning requires continually creating, maintaining, and re-establishing a dynamic equilibrium among all its components. It is worth noting that a range of factors influences how this equilibrium will be reached.” (2009, p 67)

The implications of the TPAK framework for educators is to be able to clarify the professional development ( either content, pedagogy, technology ) contexts or their interactions both in terms of review and subsequent action plans to meet teachers needs.This framework enables schools to clarify what is needed to encourage a more ecological approach to e-learning practice.

Both these readings have given me ideas on how we can approach our review of our e-learning development at our school and the development of our action plan for 2010 – which is my focus for assignment 2 of this course. The challenge is how to bring these big picture ideas down to a framework that is manageable and useful in a way that will engage both teachers and learners!

Dias, L. B. (1999). Integrating Technology: Some things you should know. Learning and Leading with Technology , 27 (3), 11-13, 21.

Hunt, T. (2009). Study Guide 6: Vision and Policy for E-Learning, Part A - Integration of E-Learning. Retrieved September 17, 2009 from University of Auckland course, Edprofst 714: Educational Technologies in Practice

Kellow, J. M. (2007). Inquiry Learning in an ICT- rich Environment. Computers in New Zealand Schools , 19 (1), 24-31.

Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media Limited.

Mishra P., & Koehler M.J., (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technolgy and Teacher Education , 9 (1), pp. 60-70.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Literacy 2.0 - The baby or the bathwater?

”A million times a day someone tries some new social tool.: someone in Mozambique gets a new mobile phone, someone in Shanghai checks out the Chinese version of Wikipedia, someone in Balarus hears about the flash mob protests, someone in Brazil joins a social networking service. (Shirkey, 2008, p295)

Literacy is not a word that stands on its own anymore. Today we talk about many different literacy’s , such as math, music, research, science, and media literacy. Literacy is not just about reading, writing and doing maths any more. At the heart of the evolving nature of literacy is digital or web 2.0 literacy.

The quote from Clay Shirkey’s recent book reminds us that our students already are living in a digital world of online interactions. They live in a world where 2.0 media is part of their every day lives. The reality is that technology has shaped and is continuing to reframe our students literacy practices. Our challenge as educators is that we need to embrace both the pre and post digital traditions. We need to teach reading, writing, thinking, communicating and apply it to new contexts of web 2.0.

The communication tools of today provide authentic opportunities for students to collaborate, communicate, read, write, do maths, think, justify and persuade. However there is more emphasis on students being able to search, evaluate , summarise , interpret and think and communicate clearly.

As Jason Ohler states: “The pressure is on for students to think and write clearly and precisely if they are to be effective contributors to the collective narrative of the Web” (Ohler, 2009, p8). The implications for teachers of all curriculum areas is that it their lessons should include web 2.0 opportunities for students to utilise in their learning. Ohler writes, “What is the key here, is that these are now normal kinds of expression that carry over into the real world of work and creative personal expression beyond school”.

Students are already interacting online and they actually need their teachers to provide learning processes and guidelines to get the most out of their digital worlds.

Will Richardson, states, “ Teaching students to contribute and collaborate online in ways that are both safe and appropriate requires instruction and modelling, not simply crossing and fingers and hoping for the best when they go home and do it on there own.” (Richardson, 2008, p30)

Teachers should not be fearful about throwing the literacy baby out with the bathwater,. The traditional literacy skills are still needed as much as before, but they weave to facilitate learning of the new web 2.0 literacy’s. Our teachers need to embrace the challenge of engaging with students in traditional literacy’s and apply them to Web 2.0 literacy’s in their teaching and learning programmes.


Ohler, J. (2009, March). Orchestrating the Media Collage. Educational Leadership , 66 (5), pp. 8-13.

Richardshon, W. (2009, March). Becoming network-wise. Schools can do a far better job of preparing students for their connected futures onine. Educational Leadership , 66 (6), pp. 26-31.

Shirkey, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. New York: Penguin Press.

Engage them or enrage them

Engage them or Enrage them

The issue that I wish to explore is that the use of ICTs in both in our society and schools has changed the way that students engage in learning. If we don't engage todays students by making sure school is relevant to their world we risk them feeling enraged and disaffected by school.

Education now more than ever is at a rapidly changing time. The students have access to ICT technologies both inside and outside of school and this has changed the way they learn in our classrooms.

Mark Prensky’s article on Digital natives v digital immigrants has implications for educators , contending that traditional approaches to education are no longer relevant for today’s students. (2001).

The May 2008 Educational Leadership journal quotes Bill Gates contends that “the traditional curriculum neglects to challenge young minds . He a makes a good case that the traditional curriculum neglects to engage a generation immersed in digital culture, making learning irrelevant to those who must become the workers and citizens of a global society”. (2008: 7)

Mark Treadwell (2008) indicates that “There is an urgency for schools to make the transition to the new paradigm as learners have already made the transition and are becoming increasingly disengaged while they wait for the educational system to catch up to how they are learning outside of school.”

The Ministry of Education, e-learning action plan, (2006) describes a wave of change where students and teachers participate in a new education paradigm, becoming life long learners in a knowledge economy where the key competencies are practiced and applied in ICT rich contexts.

This video clip captures these sentiments very well>

The introduction of the new New Zealand Curriculum at the end of 2007 specifically identifies the requirement for schools to be teaching thinking skills as a key competency as well as fostering the values of innovation, inquiry and curiosity as well as community and participation. “Students who are competent thinkers and problem-solvers actively seek, use, and create knowledge. They reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions, and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions.” The need for students to be competent in ICT is also highlighted as a key competency; “They confidently use ICT … to access and provide information and to communicate with others”

The challenge for us as educators is to ensure that we are making the very most of the latest technology available to us to meet the aspirations of the New Zealand Curriculum and the learning needs and learning dispositions of our students.

Mark Treadwell (2008) explains that Inquiry learning in our schools is another significant shift of how students are learning in our schools today. “Historically there have been two types of answers: right and wrong. In the inquiry process it is not about getting the right and wrong answer, but rather about carrying out a process that builds understanding. This is a paradigm shift of enormous consequence and significance for both educators and learners and the scale of this should not be underestimated.”

Burns, (2006) contends that students in the 21st century are required to have the “thinking skills” to engage in the “digital age”. Students have access to an incredible amount of information. Todays students are required to locate and synthesis information and present it through a multimedia format to a much wider audience. The sophisticated skills required to do this process effectively need to be taught in schools.

Recent research of The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) entitled Technology and Student Achievement—The Indelible Link. (2008), advocates the importance of ensuring that students are provided with the technology and information skills and tools necessary for success in the 21st century. This research indicates that for successful implementation of ICTs with curriculum, the following factors need to be addressed:

“1. Effective professional development for teachers in the integration of technology into instruction is necessary to support student learning.
2. Teachers’ direct application of technology must be aligned to local and/or state curriculum standards.
3. Technology must be incorporated into the daily learning schedule
4. Programs and applications must provide individualized feedback to students and teachers and must have the ability to tailor lessons to individual student needs.
5. Student collaboration in the use of technology is more effective in influencing student achievement than strictly individual use.
6. Project-based learning and real-world simulations are more effective in changing student motivation and achievement than drill-and-practice applications.
7. Effective technology integration requires leadership, support, and modeling from teachers, administrators,”

Alton-Lee (2003) emphasizes the importance of having a school wide understanding of how ICT is used in the school. The Ministry of Education publication Digital Horizons: Learning Through ICT: A Strategy for Schools, provides ways that schools can give traction to developing ICT integration through by developing a school vision and action plans. This publication advocates providing “systematic opportunities to develop digital and information literacy, and enjoy using ICT creatively and critically in extending their horizons and growing as lifelong learners.”

The change in the way students engage in learning and the way teachers are required to teach is a significant shift. Engage students with the learning through the use of ICTs of their world and give them the skills to use these tools effectively or risk disengaging and enraging them!

Alton-Lee. (2003). Quality teaching for diverse students in schooling: Best
evidence synthesis. Wellington: Ministry of Education

Burns. M. (2006) Tools for the Mind. Educational Leadership. 63 (4) , 48-53

International Society for Technology in Education , (2008) Technology and
Student Achievement—The Indelible Link. (2008), Accessed online at

Ministry of Education. (2002) Digital horizons: Learning through ICT: A strategy
for schools. Wellington: Learning Media Limited

Ministry of Education. (2006) Enabling the 21st century learner. An e-learning
action plan for schools 2006-2010. Wellington: Learning Media Limited

Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media Limited

Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved 9 August 2008
from %20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Sherer, M. (2008, May). The High School Scene. Educational Leadership , 65 (8), p. 7.

Treadwell, Mark. (2008) The conceptual age and the revolution school v. 2.0
Heatherton, Australia: Hawker Brownlow

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I would be interested in your reflections

Although most of you were not teaching in the 1980s! I would be interested to know what your experience of ICTs in schools has been - either as a pupil or as a teacher. Did you have any computers in your classrooms and if so what were they used for? Did you see any shifts on how they were being used and what are your thoughts about how e-learning is happening in our schools today.

happy posting

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Digital Classroom Initiative

The aim of this initiative is to provide systemic opportunities for teachers to meaningly integrate e-learning with a sound pedagogy of teaching and learning.

This is the email I sent to my teachers at the end of last term inviting them to take part in a e-learning initiative - a digital classroom opportunity.

Hi Team!

Do you want an opportunity to ‘sharpen’ your teaching skills?

Do you like to share ideas with others and work collaboratively with other teachers?

Do you want an opportunity to reflect on your teaching practice with another teacher?

Do you want to use more ICT in your classroom practice and upskill your own skills?

Do you like to problem solve and try new things?

Do you like to challenge your ideas about teaching?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, then you would love the opportunity to work with our ICT / curriculum leader next term in an digital – e learning class and try something different with your teaching practice.

Email me and explain :
- Why you and your class would be suitable?
- Why you want to be involved?
- The curriculum area you would like to work on and why?

I look forward to hearing from you by Thursday 3rd June 4pm.



The learning intentions of this initiative:

(as developed by our ICT lead teacher and given as part of a handout that went to interested applicants)

Provide a ‘real’ model for the integration of ICT in collaboration with the classroom teacher and in consideration of Syndicate Long Term Plans, based on a sound pedagogy which promotes ‘thinking’. This is a whole package concept - includes a planning, management, classroom environment – displays, routines, behaviour management.

Provide leadership in the development and introduction of new ideas and technologies.

To establish pockets of best practice, based on an in-depth understanding of sound pedagogy.

· To build teachers individual capacity in the area of ICT integration through encouraging; student centred learning, inquiry-based learning, collaborative work and creative and critical thinking.

· To trial a variety of pedagogical approaches through the integration of ICT. (eg. Blooms Taxonomy, Action Learning and Gardiner’s Multiple Intelligences.)

· To further develop the concept of a lead teacher and develop pockets of best practise within the school that will lead whole change through the development and promotion of an alternative teaching paradigm.

Where are we at now?
We have selected two applicants and the programme has started. The teachers have planned their units of work with the lead teacher and they work with the lead teacher for 4 teaching blocks of 90mins a week.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Coming to terms with the terms

I have been thinking about the discussion Tony put up on study guide two around defining the terms used in e-learning. I agree that e-learning is about knowledge and processes that go beyond the computer or other technologies. After all we do not want teachers just using new tools to teach old ways. For example using a smart board as a modern black-board for whole class teaching. However I think that alongside teaching and learning processes we need to also emphasis thinking.

It is important that teachers align the use of ICTs with effective thinking models – such as enquiry learning and thinking skills models. Cleaverley (2004) promotes the idea that schools have successfully integrated ICTs into their curriculum when they align higher order thinking skills and the teachers capacity to utilize a range of teaching strategies.

The challenge is for teachers to be focused on both improving teaching practice which has a focus on thinking and learning processes through utilising rich e-learning environments.

Cleverley, B (200). Practical strategies to consider when integrating ICT
into new entrant classrooms. Computers in New Zealand Schools, 16(1),