Definitions revisited

I do like exploring the subtle changes in the nuanced interpretations of different terms and how they are used in everyday life. It is sometimes their misinterpretation that leads to misunderstandings and heated debates. So, a good definition, is always welcome. I am not convinced of the use of the term digital learning though; it is a term much more connected to computer skills and less to connected learning.

online: focuses on the connectivity of the learning; it implies a physical distance; less desirable for those who prefer social interaction and don’t who have limited access to stable internet/ virtual: the term suggests that the level of engagement required compared to a physical experience will be similar but different; however, virtual is linked to inauthentic and therefore is less desirable for those who want to experience a ‘real’ education event/ digital: inextricably linked to data storage but has evolved into meaning ‘related to the use of computer technology’; digital is also offline; digital learning doesn’t have any negative connotations like the other two terms.

blended: most prevalent term of the two; it implies different modes of delivery and/or student engagement; for others, it is a mix of onsite-online(digital) learning activities/ hybrid: the use of this term implies that students have a greater degree to choose how they engage with their learning; it implies agency

distance: it is a term that was in use before the widespread proliferation of digital approaches to learning (courses were taken through correspondence); refers to communication style/ remote: the term is used to avoid any reference to mode of communication and limit discourse to physical distance

References: Building a Taxonomy for Digital Learning, QAA (from a Stephen Downes post available here)

On “Digital learning environments, the science of learning and the relationship between the teacher and the learner”

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Under what conditions do these technology tools lead to the most effective learning experiences? Dο they serve as a distraction if not deliberately integrated into learning activities? When these devices are incorporated deliberately into learning activities, how are students using them to make sense of ideas and apply them in practice? (…) It is much more complicated and difficult to develop an environment that can facilitate learning in complex conceptual domains (…) while adaptive systems have taken some forward leaps, there is still some way to go before these environments can cope with the significant diversity in how individual students make sense of complex ideas (…) Depending on how students structure related ideas in their mind, that structure will limit the way in which new information can be incorporated (…) The problem with providing personalised instruction in a digital environment is therefore not just about what the overall level of prior knowledge is but how that knowledge is structured in students’ minds (…) Technologies that are and will continue to impact on education need to be built on a foundation that includes a deep understanding of how students learn (…) teachers are constantly navigating a decision set that is practically infinite (…) The question becomes one of when and how technologies can be most effectively used, for what, and understanding what implications this has for the teacher-student relationship (…) there are two central narratives about what learning is: the first, acquisition, is vital but the second, participation, is even more powerful for learning (…)

There are several key areas helping students work with technologies:

  • Informing the development of and evaluating new technologies: research examining the effectiveness of the tools lags well behind the spread of their use (…) there is a clear need to draw on principles of quality student learning to determine how best to effectively combine the expertise of teachers and power of machines
  • Helping students to work with technologies: it is critical to determine how best to support students to do so in the absence of a teacher to help with this
  • Determining how technologies can best facilitate teaching and learning: the science of learning will assist in understanding the changing student-teacher dynamic in education is through the implications on broader policy and practice (…) The increased use of these technologies in classrooms must be driven by what is known about quality learning and not about financial or political motives.

Full article available here

The ‘Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning’ program

Full report available here

The project team for ‘Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning’ ran by the Chinese Ministry of Education reviewed the international literature relating to skillful remote teaching, identifying some of the characteristic challenges that needed to be addressed. The Chinese project team advocated schools designing a blend of synchronous and asynchronous teaching and identified four essential technologically enabled pedagogical techniques that should be used in combination:
Live-streaming teaching (lecture format)
• Online real-time interactive teaching
• Online self-regulated learning with real-time interactive Q&A
• Online cooperative learning guided by teachers

For each method, associated benefits and risks were identified – such as the fact that live streamed lessons were technologically challenging and that the real-time class discussion in a synchronous ‘lesson’ could be of a poor quality (…) To recreate the learning atmosphere of a face-to-face classroom, three pedagogical priorities were promoted: Building a sense of belonging to a community/ Providing timely feedback to learners/ Encouraging learners to relax and not be preoccupied with competitive achievement.

Stephen Downe’s quick tech guide for creating online work sessions and courses

Schools and Universities keep closing because of Covid19 and a shift toward online learning practices becomes increasingly more relevant. Therefore, I am re-posting Stephen Downe’s guide for creating and coordinating online work sessions and courses. I take this opportunity to encourage academics worldwide to introduce interactive tools for inter-communication and exchange with students. Students can create blogs in weebly, wix, wordpress or tumblr (they worked great for architectural and urban design studios for us at NTUA). Messenger and Slack can be valuable for online revisions as well. I know its crazy to have to prepare all this last minute, but please don’t be discouraged: however grim the cause of this sudden need, I promise you it is worth the try.

Student resistance to curriculum changes

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Sometimes, when we talk about learner independence, active learning or agency, we forget that this is not always for granted. Student consensus can not be considered a given. Trying out new things in a course (changing formats, layouts or mediums) produces changes that can be met with resistance and suspicion and it usually takes time until the cohort is convinced that what you are doing is actually working for them.

Student-Centered Learning and Student Buy-In article in Inside Higher Ed shows the results of curriculum change in a Biology course over a period of four years in relation to student satisfaction and acceptance. Pre- and post- course surveys show that student resistance decreased over the years and while grades did not change, the students’ perception of their gains has.

I remember that when we first introduced networked practices in an undergraduate design studio, students were terrified of the idea that their preliminary research and drawings would be published online for everyone to see. When talking about this, some expressed the fear that their ideas would loose their originality or that by the end of the semester everyone would converge to a single design idea/concept. Of course, none of this happened: in fact, it was quite revealing to see how diverse the research approaches and their respective representations actually were from a very early stage in the design process.

But there is also another interesting aspect in this article: the very fact that there was no single teacher but 13 of them. Now, I think this severely enhances the idea of a learning community. It’s not just about changing the format, it is about how you do it. By opening up the curriculum to more researchers and more teachers and by presenting the students with a course that is founded on a collaborative effort you ultimately denounce the idea of the expert and what comes along with that. And it is not by chance that grades have nothing to do with this. The very act of learning and being part of a learning community luckily can never fall into the hands of assessment.

Networked Learning

NETWORK LEARNING

The network is a network of people: networked learning aims to understand social learning processes by asking how people develop and maintain a ‘web’ of social relations used for their learning and development (de Laat)

Networked learning does not necessarily involve ICT, though in specific cases it may make use of technology. What makes learning networked is the connection to and engagement with other people across different social positions inside and outside of a given institution.  The network is supportive of a person’s learning through the access it provides to other people’s ideas and ways of participating in practice as well as of course through the opportunity to discuss these ideas and ways of participating and to potentially develop nuanced, common perspectives (Carvalho and Goodyear)

Networked learning may utilize ICT but it might me also supported by other means such as physical artefacts or artistic stimulation of senses and feelings while connections may also be drawn spontaneously by the learners themselves (Bober & Hynes)

The network is a network of situations or contexts: connections between the diverse contexts in which the learners participate as significant for understanding learning beyond online learning spaces, and, indeed, within them as well. This is the sense in which the network, under-stood as a network of situations, supports learning: by offering tacit knowledge, perspectives and ways of acting from known situations for re-situated use in new ones. Networked Learning’ on this under-standing is the learning arising from the connections drawn between situations and from the resituated use in new situations of knowledge, perspectives and ways of acting from known ones (Dohn)

The ‘network’ is one of ICT infrastructure, enabling connections across space and time: The support for learning provided by the network is one of infrastructure, i.e. the ease of saving, transporting and retrieving content for future use. Learning, it would seem, will be ‘networked’ whenever it is ICT-mediated, by that very fact; perhaps with the proviso that the situations of learning should indeed be separated in space and/or time so that the infrastructure (the ‘network’) is actually brought into play. This proviso would differentiate the field of networked learning somewhat from the field of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), where many studies concern ICT-facilitated group work between physically co-located students. The re-search field of Networked Learning is characterized, not only by focusing on ‘networks’, but also by taking a certain approach to learning, focusing critically on aspects of democratization and empowerment (Czerniewicz and Lee)

The ‘network’ is one of actants: consisting of both human and non-human agents in symmetrical relationship to each other. It is a systemic approach to learning, where individual learners’ interaction and learning may be analyzed as a result of socio-material entanglement with objects and other people. The network supports learning in the sense that any learning is in fact the result of concrete socio-material entanglement of physical, virtual, and human actants (Wright and Parchoma; Jones)

 

References

Bonderup Dohn, N., Sime, J-A., Cranmer, S., Ryberg, T., & de Laat, M. (2018). Reflections and challenges in Networked Learning. In N. Bonderup Dohn, S. Cranmer, J-A. Sime, M. de Laat, & T. Ryberg (Eds.), Networked Learning – reflections and challenges (pp. 187-212). Switzerland: Springer. Research in Networked Learning,
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-74857-3_11

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Networked Learning and the perils of Personalized Learning Environents

Diagram_of_a_social_network

NETWORKED LEARNING DEFINITIONS

  • Goodyear, 2005: Networked learning is learning in which information and communications (ICT) is used to promote connections: between one learner and other learners, between learners and tutors; between a learning community and its learning resources.
  • Ryberg et al., 2012: the ideas of relations and connections suggest that learning is not confined to the individual mind or the individual learner. Rather, learning and knowledge construction is located in the connections and interactions between learners, teachers and resources, and seen as emerging from critical dialogues and enquiries. It seems to encompass an understanding of learning as a social, relational phenomenon, and a view of knowledge and identity as constructed through interaction and dialogue
  • Jones, 2008: networked learning aligns well with social practice, socio-cultural or social learning theories that also situate and analyse learning as located in social practice and interaction, rather than as a phenomenon of the individual mind.

PLEs perils in regard to

  • Experience: may threaten or loosen the shared experience of studying a course
  • Exposure to diversity: may encourage a narrow private view
  • Privacy: user behavior may adapt to the perceived requirements of a sytem
  • Content: it overemphasizes delivery of personalized content at the expense of communication with others (Dirckinck-Holmfeld and Jones, 2009)

 

References

Ryberg, T., Buus, L., & Georgsen, M., 2012. Differences in understandings of networked learning theory: Connectivity or collaboration? In L. Dirckinck-Holmfeld, V. Hodgson, & D. McConnell (Eds.), Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning (pp. 43-58). Springer Science+Business Media B.V., DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-0496-5_3

Image available here 

Use of VLE for threshold concepts

DS AS LIMINAL SPACE

First Year students/ 30 students – one tutor/ Phase One

collage workshop – evaluation of learning through anonymous post-it notes:

  • what did you grasp today? what’s still a bit confusing? (if a student didn’t understand something, however small and seemingly inconsequential, it would be
    heard (anonymously) and acted on.)
  • whose work did you find successful? ( to remind students that whilst their drawings grow from personal values and engagement, they succumb to the viewers’ interpretations)

collage workshop – online summary from the session was prepared

  • The online space of the VLE with content structured in the form of a tutorial session served to allow students to repeatedly go over moments of uncertainty or trouble from the workshop.

The demands of project based learning are rigorous: the need to generate elements of work continuously (or fear falling behind) puts pressure on students to sidestep conceptually difficult elements by creating works that seem correct yet do not demonstrate a grasp of the underlying principles

First Year students/ 30 students – one tutor/ Phase Two

learning orthographic projection – evaluation of mistakes & omissions

  • double approach: hand design and CAD design of the same process_images looked right but were not right in both design environments

learning orthographic projection – online tools for tutoring

  • fifteen minute podcast and sample sketchbook as online handout

Removing activities from the scheduled studio sessions offers a strategy for responding to a stuffed curriculum and frees up time to focus on elements of transformative learning

 

References

Williams, J., 2014. The design studio as liminal space. In Charrette 1(1) Summer 2014.

Image available here 

Videotyping

KHAN ACADEMY

 

Khan Academy: type of a screencast that records the pen-tip of the presenter on a digital drawing board.

 

  1. classroom lecture with instructor on the blackboard
  2. talking head of instructor at desk
  3. digital drawing board (Khan-style)
  4. slide presentation
  5. studio without audience
  6. computer coding session

Two types of screen movement: static or dynamic/ Two types of narrative: explicit and implicit

Proposed taxonomy of videos based on human embodiment and instructional media from the digital to the physical. The proposed taxonomy: 1) holds the predictive attribute, 2) provides a fine-grained spectrum of typologies, and 3) is complemented with a visual representation of the existing and potential video production styles.(Chorianopoulos, 2018).

 

References

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014, March). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of mooc videos. In Proceedings of the First ACM Conference on Learning@ Scale Conference (pp. 41-50). ACM.

Sugar, W., Brown, A., & Luterbach, K. (2010). Examining the anatomy of a screencast: Uncovering common elements and instructional strategies. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 11(3).

Chorianopoulos, K., 2018. A Taxonomy of Asynchronous Instructional Video Styles. In International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning  (IRRODL)Volume 19, Number 1

Image available here

Visitors and Residents, White & Cornu

VISITORS AND RESIDENTS

Visitors and Residents’ is a continuum of modes of engagement which has been well established as a valuable way to understand how individuals engage online (…) a Visitor mode of engagement was likened to people using the Web as a garden shed which they went into to select a tool for a particular purpose. Having completed their task, they shut the shed door and left no visible trace of their entrance or use of the tool behind them. A Resident mode of engagement, on the other hand, was likened to inhabiting a part or parts of the Web. Social media platforms, in particular, offered opportunities to ‘meet’ others, to chat and converse, and to develop relationships. Key to this mode of engagement was the fact that it leaves strong evidence, visible traces, of personal presence through, perhaps, creating a profile, or posting photos, or interacting and communicating with others in a variety of ways

Mapping the range of ways in which individuals engage with the Web, taking into account not only their modes of engagement but also what sort of activities they do in what context and to what extent was the subject of inquiry for two programs dating back in 2009 (Isthmus-Open Habitat project). But with the 2014 “The challenges of Online Residency” program, 17 institutions  were brought together in an attempt to pilot the mapping process in a more formal way (…) the project was designed to help teaching staff better understand the way their students were engaging online (…) The result, after having removed maps we considered to have been created without a proper grasp of the process, was 345 maps from across a broad range of disciplines, educational levels, and higher education providers.

Overall it is clear that engagement genre is not significantly contingent on discipline, level, age, or any other factor. The way people choose to engage online is highly personal, just as their approach to learning is. However, even in this convenient sample a number of broad patterns emerge. Among others:

  • Social Science and HSC have the most Resident-only activity in the institutional portion of the maps
  • The most obvious data pattern is the prominence of the V–R genre, or a map in which every quadrant had some activity in
  • Much of the activity in the IR quadrant is based in fairly mundane platforms such as the VLE and e-mail

 

Full article and Image available here

Define ‘blended’ PART II

blended-learning-in-education

Blended learning is the inspiration of much of the innovation, both pedagogically and technologically, in higher education. By innovation we mean significantly rethinking and redesigning approaches to teaching and learning that fully engage learners. The essential function of blended learning is to extend thinking and discourse over time and space. There is considerable rhetoric in higher education about the importance of engagement, but most institutions’ dominant mode of delivery remains delivering content either through the lecture or self-study course modules. Blended learning is specifically directed to enhancing engagement through the innovative adoption of purposeful online learning activities. (Vaughn, Innes, Garrison, 2013)

Blended course designs involve instructor and learners working together in mixed delivery modes, typically face-to-face and technology mediated, to accomplish learning outcomes that are ,pedagogically supported through assignments, activities, and assessments as appropriate for a given mode and which bridge course environments in a manner meaningful to the learner.is the integration of classroom face-to-face learning ,experiences with online learning experiences. (McGee and Reis, 2012)

Blended course delivery:  First is the most narrow and commonly used form in which students meet on campus and participate in asynchronous online activities. Second is the ,more broadly articulated framework of online courses that utilizes synchronous meetings and social network technologies blended with asynchronous work and possible face-to-face meetings to structure a course. Third is a combination of campus based and online students who interact but are physically separated. (Macdonald, 2006)

Blended education regards a much broader, multi-level view of the educational process, including micro-level teaching and learning processes, meso-level institutional innovation and enabling strategies, and macro-level governmental policy and support structures. (https://nidl.blog/2017/11/23/developing-a-european-maturity-model-for-blended-education-the-embed-project-gets-underway)

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Virtual Communities/ VCs, Porter 2004

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VC Definition:

a virtual community is defined as an aggregation of individuals or business partners who interact around a shared interest, where the interaction is at least partially supported and/or mediated by technology and guided by some protocols or norms.

VC Typology:

The proposed typology of virtual communities includes two first-level categories: Member-initiated and Organization-sponsored (…) At the second level of the typology, virtual communities are categorized based on the general relationship orientation of the community. Relationship orientation refers to the type of relationship fostered among members of the community. Member-initiated communities foster either social or professional relationships among members. Organization-sponsored communities foster relationships both among members (e.g., customers, employees) and between individual members and the sponsoring organization.

VC Attributes:

The literature suggests that five attributes could be used to characterize virtual communities:

  1. Purpose : or discourse focus
  2. Place: as in a bounded location (structural) and a sense of shared values (socio-psychological)_ a virtual space is comprised by both a sense of presence and location
  3. Platform: determines synchronicity which in turn enables real-time interaction, focuses only in the technical design of interaction
  4. Population Interaction Structure: 1. VCs as computer supported social networks/ 2. VCs as small groups or networks/ 3. virtual publics versus VCs
  5. Profit Model: tangible economic value

 

References

Porter, C.E., 2004. A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research. In Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10 (1), Article 3.

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