Saturday, October 5, 2013

Final Reflection

Having never studied change models before, the initial focus of the course eluded me. This being the last course in my postgraduate studies, I have to admit that I experienced a fair amount of anxiety: because of my naiveté, I felt that I was going to have trouble making connections between my research interests and the change models. Although I didn’t quite see the big picture at first, I took some advice from a mentor teacher I once worked with and told myself to “trust the process.” In doing this, the clever design of the course led me to begin to understand the models of change and how they could relate to digital technologies.

In the beginning, I was fixating on having studied about the benefits of ICT and e-learning over the course of two years and yet still feeling powerless to help facilitate positive change in my own context. I was asking myself: what is the big picture? How does e-learning and ICT in schools relate to what is truly important to our students – how is it relevant in their context and how can we get teachers on board?

In discovering the models, especially Roger’s Diffusion of Innovations and the Technology Acceptance Model, I found myself frustrated that I hadn’t been exposed to this aspect of e-learning and ICT in schools until now. My own experience with change in digital technologies has been working in an environment where PD around e-learning, ICT and especially new initiatives like and LMS have been well-intentioned, but scarce and often inadequate or poorly facilitated. I found myself wondering if utilising these change models could have improved the rate of adoption amongst my fellow teachers and improved the overall outlook on ICT and e-learning.

As I said before, much of the content was completely new to me. I had never heard of scenario planning before, and working within the mooc was an incredibly new experience as well. However, the way participation has been organised in this course has shown me that I can be engaged online in a way I thought, for me,  was only possible through face-to-face environments.

I appreciated the video signposts and mind mapping activity – having everything available only through readings would have made it more difficult to get excited/passionate about some of the topics. It brings home the important of including a variety of resources for our students when learning online/through an LMS.
Having never done research on this scale before, locating/remember where the pertinent information is in the articles has been difficult. Colour coding has helped, as well as the search function in adobe reader. However, I still feel that there is so much out there for me to still discover and that it won’t be until the course is over that I discover those perfect studies/quotes/insights.

I can see the connection of the change models to all aspects of change for education. Though I am at the start of my career and don’t have experience working at many schools, I am surprised that these change models are not common knowledge among educators and senior management teams across the world. I also feel that the models are not necessarily better or worse than each other, but that they could be used in tandem to give schools a breadth and depth in their perceptions of change with digital technologies.

The most significant thing about this course has been the feeling of empowerment that I have gained. I feel informed about the issues around e-learning and digital technologies in schools and I feel inspired to keep reading research, participating in forums, discussing and staying abreast to what is happening with technologies in schools. But even more so than that, I feel that I can help make a difference – both on a small and larger scale – to help the educators I work with appreciate the complexities as well as the value of change with digital technologies.

Thanks to Wayne, Niki and everyone for making this a fantastic last course in my postgraduate journey!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Reflection - Assignment 2 Prep

Wow - the end of term and my brain feels a bit more free to delve back into all this new (and re-reading some old) material!

In my feedback for my first assignment, Wayne suggested that I tighten up my research question, as well as include sub-headings and define independent learning. I think this is great advice - I have found some new resources to include by searching around the following questions: can independent learning improve engagement in the classroom? what do teachers think of it? how do we implement it? etc.

I also was reminded in reading Niki's comments that I can sometimes get so passionate about an idea that I forget to look at both sides of the story. For example, I have been passionately exploring my research question, but through the lens of: isn't independent learning the best and we should all be doing it and it is the future and why isn't it happening more get the idea

So, in realising this about myself, I am making a concerted effort to find research on the limits or downsides of independent learning.

I would also like to say thanks to all of you for your blog posts these past couple of weeks. Even if I don't reply to all of them, when I read I always gain heaps of insight and ideas.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reflecting and Brainstroming

As I prepare to start the bulk of my writing for my research paper, I am stuck on how to put my "problem" into words.

I would like to continue to explore the issue of teacher and student buy-in being connected - how a technology will be more likely adopted by a teacher if he/she can see that it will benefit students and also how teacher guidance and buy-in can then positively affect students use/adoption of a technology.

My research question has been: will using Moodle to cultivate independent learning increase teacher and student adoption of the LMS as a new technology.

I'm not sure how to translate that into a problem - any ideas? Help!

Thanks in advance for any replies :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Assignment 1 - Reflection

Both parts of assignment 1 are officially submitted and out of my hands - a bit scary really! I feel like I could have spent about another month developing my ideas and reading more research - writing and re-writing until my.

I suppose that is a good thing - scenario planning has been eye-opening for me as I imagine what the future could bring for education, and the models of change have helped me visualise solutions and strategies to implement important new technologies with success.

After this first portion of the course, I feel like there are real paths forward for education. It is easy to focus on the issues and frustrations, talking about how we need an educational revolution, but it takes real imagination, inspiration and strategy to start looking at how we achieve this.

Monday, August 12, 2013

W6 - Reflection


I feel like I have been in a whirlwind the past two weeks!

The mOOC was definitely a new and wonderful experience for me. I felt like everything I read flowed so well into the next thing. My initial anxiety and slight frustration at getting all the "pre-learning quiz" questions wrong (except for the last one, on a guess) turned into curiosity and passion for scenario planning. I am a believer for sure!

I felt myself wanting to read and watch everything (as well as take notes), which is probably why I fell behind a bit at times. I found it hard to "skim" or pick and choose what resources to digest. Alas, as it was part of the process, I did cull it down a bit and was able to finish, albeit still a couple of days late.

Reading other people's blog and forum posts has helped me heaps, and I am grateful for such an open and encouraging group of classmates. I have felt more connected to my classmates in this course than in any other online class, which is so great.

I am feeling excited about completing my official assignment for the course, though still overwhelmed as usual, more so now in a positive way, if that makes sense!?

Hope everyone is having a great week - it has been raining on Waiheke, which means water in the tank, so I am having a good start to mine :)


W5 - Article; "Let Them Learn"

Let Them Learn

Today outside the Ministry of Education was the third in a series of protests by young men and women left behind by NZ’s education system. These young people are all in their late teens to early twenties and many of them have not been inside a school building for five or more years. You know some of them; the lucky ones have managed to get jobs in retail and the service industry in their communities. However, the majority are living at home with their families, wondering what their future will look like.

In 2020 it was made mandatory for all new university entrants to have achieved at NCEA level 4. This change had been expected for many years prior and was finally pushed through by the Ministry of Education ten years ago. Since then the expectations of NCEA on students has risen and the workload has increased. With level 1 starting at year 10 and 30 credits per course now the average, even the most gifted high school students are struggling.

I had the opportunity to interview Maureen, a young woman at the protest. She was holding a sign that simply read “Let Us Learn.”

Why are you here today, Maureen?
I couldn’t stay silent any longer. I worry about my younger siblings in this system where everything is about tests.
Did you finish school?
No. I worked hard and made it to year 11, but after two terms of year 12 I was forced to leave school. My mom said they used to only expel students for bad behavior, but now all it takes is a couple of not achieved credits and you risk losing your place in school.
What about your friends that finished school? What are they doing now?
Most of them are at university still, but the ones who graduated recently are in job training or apprenticeships. Schools don’t teach any skills that employers actually need, so most kids end up having to start from scratch in internships and stuff. My dad is an engineer and said it’s pretty bad. He has had to budget money in his business for heaps of on-the-job training.
What about the global information and communication networks? Can’t you get access to school online?
We can, but it is usually aimed toward adults. When I was in school we were only allowed to use our devices when it suited the standards, so I’m not even sure how to do the whole “online learning” thing, and either way, your whole CV is based on the external exams, so a lot of kids just feel like they don’t fit into the system but don’t have any other choice.

It seems that the entire education system is blind to the needs of our society and the realities of our global community. The fact that nearly 30% of students are forced to leave school before the end of year 12 because of their academic record illustrates this; not to mention that the crime rate has risen parallel to this figure. Students are equipped with technology we never could have imagined twenty years ago and they have access to the globe’s information, but they now lack the skills to put these things to use in society. If our content-driven and standardised system continues down this path, we will experience a drop in skills so severe that some organisations may not be able to hire their next generation of workers.Creative and hard-working young people like Maureen are being left behind and if we don’t do something about it soon, we will all face the consequences.

Friday, August 9, 2013

W5 - Reflection, Realisations

As I have been working to prepare and brainstorm for my news article, I have been reading and commenting on other blogs, and I realised that I misunderstood the matrix assignment a bit!

I was focusing on the axis points and not the scenarios themselves. After brainstorming further, I found the analogy process very difficult, but this is what I have come up with.

Scenario 1: (Content & Individualised) - In The Corral

  • Content based learning is somewhat restrictive in that it does not allow the students to explore and discover meaningful skills.
  • Students are, however, being assessed as individuals on their knowledge of the content and therefore enjoy a certain amount of freedom and support.

Scenario 2: (Content & Standarised) - In The Barn

  • Content based learning is somewhat restrictive in that it does not allow the students to explore and discover meaningful skills.
  • Students are assessed in a standarised system and therefore there is not room enough for all students to be assessed effectively.

Scenario 3: (Skills & Standarised) - Being Herded

  • Students are free to learn meaningful skills as part of their education
  • Students are still assessed in a standarised system and therefore some still stay from the herd, so to speak.

Scenario 4: (Skills & Individualised) - Grazing The Open Field
  • Students are free to learn meaningful skills as part of their education
  • Students are assessed in a individualised system, leaving room for everyone to have a meaningful learning experience.

I will have to go back to Creately and change my graphic,  but hopefully that makes my scenarios a bit more clear!

W5 - Uncertainty Matrix

  • Content or Skills Based Learning: this axis is looking at whether learning will be more content or skills based in the future. In my context, this is important based on the fact that it directly effects how teachers would design their curriculum and what would be assessed in the classroom. Will the society of the future demand more skills-based learning so that the students going out into the job force are more directly prepared for their work/place in society? Or will the need for content-based education continue and perhaps grow stronger to ensure graduates have the knowledge to master certain skills later on in their careers?

  • Standardised or Individual Assessment: this axis looks at whether the skills or knowledge will be assessed using a standardised system, as many school have today - or with a more individualised approach to suit each learner's needs. One of the more common discussions among secondary teachers is if the standards of NCEA are beneficial to our students. Of course there are pros and cons, but at the end of the day, we wonder if a national standard will inevitably leave students out and leave them at a disadvantage in their adult lives. Will we continue to try and "fit" all students into this standard? Or will there be a breaking point (or perhaps an innovation) that tips the tables and makes assessment more individualised? Will all students eventually have an IEP that can be analysed against the curriculum and assessment set accordingly?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

W5 - Identifying Trends

  • Online and hybrid/blended learning are becoming more mainstream
  • Technology costs dropping and students bringing more devices
  • Globalization of education; access to language instruction from natives in their own country; access to education in rural areas
  • More students graduating from high school and wanting higher education – continued growth
  • Employer needs are changing – more flexibility/life-long-learning needed
  • Student expectations changing

Two major trends:
  • Student Expectations - students are expecting to be able to use modern technologies such as individual devices and cloud computing. They also expect to be able to utilise the wealth of information available on the internet.
  • This is important because if we want our students to be life-long learners, we need to be a part of their reality and guide them in using these technologies effectively, as well as give them the freedom to guide their own learning.
  • Globalisation - use of social medias and online learning opens up the potential for our students to be involved in a global community; sharing ideas and information as well as forming relationships.
  • This is important because there is no doubt our world is becoming smaller and being able to embrace that will allow people to be more successful and live more flexibly in society.
These connect to my topic in particular - as teachers have started using Moodle to enhance the learning of their students (and facilitate independence - i.e. not as much need for the teacher for things like hand-outs, learning tools, etc), students have quickly adopted it and have begun asking (or demanding in some cases) that all their teachers utilise it.

Further, as NZ is a very globalized nation with a high percentage of citizens who travel, the ability to connect online globally will allow students to make connections and open up life opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have had.

Additional Source Websites to the Horizon Report:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

W5 - Decision-Making Simulation

The scenario I am looking at is called “A Vibrant Learning Grid” from the Knowledge Works resources “Learning in 2025.” I am looking through the lens of a lead learning agent in a medium-sized rural community. The learning environment is no longer characterized by a local school, though the school buildings still exist for learning purposes.

In this scenario, learning is much more flexible and community based, with students enjoying individualised programs to suit their needs. The drivers of change here would have been a need for more individualised and flexible curriculums to prepare students for an evolving job market, as well as a need to move away from standardised learning where “one size fits all” and toward a more realistic and apprentice style approach.
Source Website:

List of recommended decisions:
  • Design initiatives in the community where students from low-income or at-risk homes (where the parents may not be able to be as directly involved in their child’s education) so that all children are still able to take advantage of the best possible resources and teachers/motivators.
  • Involve a variety of educators (“learning agents”) as well as community members in the planning and organisation of the community’s educational goals and values.
  • Establish a team of people to research and keep abreast to the evolving job market so as to inform the learning agents and best prepare the children in our community for their futures
  • Ensure that children in the community are able to both virtually and physically reach outside of the rural community and into the wider community (nationally and internationally).
  • Develop a plan where students are still receiving a well-rounded education amongst their more individualised learning.

My two most important strategic decisions:
  • Design initiatives in the community where students from low-income or at-risk homes (where the parents may not be able to be as directly involved in their child’s education) so that all children are still able to take advantage of the best possible resources and teachers/motivators.
  • Ensure that children in the community are able to both virtually and physically reach outside of the rural community and into the wider community (nationally and internationally).

I chose these because the first decision focuses on one of the major worries in this scenario – that education will not be available equally to all students. The second decision would be integral as this scenario’s education system is very community-based which could end up limiting students’ vision of where their future could lead.

Transferability of my recommended decisions for the scenarios alternatives:

Some of these decisions, such as the development of teams within the community, would not translate to the “provider” scenarios, but would be even more integral in the “Learners Forage for Resources” scenario (though here, they would be more difficult to implement). I think that in all scenarios, I would make it a priority to make sure that education is equitable so that children born into low-income or at-risk circumstances would still have every chance and the support to take charge of their life and education.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

W4 - Scenario Planning; To Boldy Go Where No One Has Gone Before!

I think that, based on the Shell scenario planning and DHL's proposals, it seems that scenario planning is something that every organisation would benefit from doing at least once. I think the advantages are obvious: that your business (and most importantly, the people involved) are prepared for multiple futures, which gives the organisation more confidence and flexibility in moving forward. 

The disadvantages are that it may be difficult for the people involved to open up enough in order to benefit from the process of scenario planning (or change a plan already in place). Further, if people end up getting attached to (or hopeful for) one of the scenarios in particular, the organisation might inadvertently plan for that future, narrowing their planning even further. 

I think scenario planning, or some form of it, should be deemed crucial for all levels of education - especially nowadays, when technology is evolving so quickly. Perhaps if we embraced more of the successful practices that businesses utilise, education would be more flexible as a professional organisation.

I keep hearing people talk the need for a revolution in education, and I couldn't agree more - but I think it is frightening to plan any revolution when you don't know what the future might bring. Will there be unrest and disorganisation, as there often is after a revolution? If we could plan for multiple futures - envisioning where we want education to go (and where we fear it is heading) with an open mind and consider all the factors in our "arena" that might affect those futures - we could move forward more confidently and more unified as educational professionals.

I hope to continue to gain knowledge and understanding about scenario planning and specifically, how it relates to education. I would also be interested in any scenario planning that has been done for education in the past. Overall, I want to explore how scenario planning could relate to my context (Moodle and independent learning) and use it as part of the "lense" of change for my assignments.

Friday, August 2, 2013

W4 - Important Skills for Scenario Planning

In his video on scenario planning, Oliver Freeman states that the three most important skills for scenario planners are first, the ability to assimilate/synthesise a variety of input on the issues or influences affecting an organisation. Second, they need to have the ability to "suspend disbelief" and be open minded when it comes to imagining futures. Third, they need to be able to see the importance of the "experiential learning" and how the process of scenario planning is just as, if not more important than the outcome of the plan.

L. Marines and K. Newcombe state that scenarios should be as objective as possible and "scenario planners should be alert for their own biases and emotional predilections."

Though I feel I still have much to learn and understand about scenario planning, if I had to sum up the three most important skills for scenario planners, I would choose these:

1. Open-mindedness and ability to be objective when looking at possible futures
2. Appreciation of the journey of scenario planning being more important than the destination
3. Ability to include viewpoints from many different players, including those outside the organisation

I can see how scenario planning would be a challenging endeavour for some, as it takes on a very artistic approach. As a musician and music teacher, I appreciate anything artistic or creative/imaginative, and think that this type of approach mirrors our humanity much more realistically. Some people are very afraid of the unpredictable and so an approach that allows them to predict and give them a seeming sense of control would be more attractive than SP, which would force them to accept the inherent unpredictability of our world.


Freeman, O. (2009). Scenario planning. Retrieved from

Marines, L. & Newcombe, K. (2009). Managing uncertainty through strategic thinking. FMI Quarterly, (1), 62-71

W4 - "Scenarios can’t predict the future, so what’s the point?"

My first response to this statement is, well, that no one can truly predict the future. However, that doesn't mean that we stop trying to improve our society through a variety of types of planning. 

In learning about scenario planning, it seems that the purpose isn't to predict anything, but instead to open our minds to possible futures and go from there. The simple act of opening our minds in this way will make us better prepared for the reality of an uncertain future.

Oliver Freeman describes SP as "engaging with the uncertainty of the future" and "thinking the unthinkable." Therefore, a person wanting to predict the future in the first place is never going to be satisfied with scenario planning. 

The point is to change your way of thinking away from predicting the future (which is impossible anyway) and begin embracing the uncertainty in order to move forward more flexibly and with a more comprehensive view of your own context/organisation.

Freeman, O. (2009). Scenario planning. Retrieved from

W4 - Reflection

This has been a busy week!

My NCEA music students just finished their performance assessment concerts, which meant two 15 hour school days for me, plus lots of extra rehearsal time with nervous teenagers.

I am just now catching up with the second session of SP4Ed and feeling a little behind. The timing of the activities also seems to be on the short side - it takes me quite a lot longer than just a few minutes to complete each activity (as well as do the readings and watch the videos, etc).

At the moment, balancing the large amount of reading as well as the activities is proving a bit stressful, but I am working through it and trying to find a better schedule for myself to be able to work through it all (and understand what I am doing). Hopefully I will be able to get caught up this weekend and be back on track!

I am taking notes in my Google Drive (what did I ever do without it?) and looking forward to some future "ah hah!" moments where all the scenario planning, change and adoption models, etc will all start to connect for me.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far!

Monday, July 29, 2013

W4 - SP4Ed and MOOC Declaration

Wow - a lot of new things for me in this first session of the SP4Ed MOOC:

  • First Twitter account
  • First time working in a MOOC
  • First time using WikiEducator (even though I somehow already had an account? haha!)

I think as far as change goes, I am experiencing a lot of it first-hand!

I am looking forward to this new and different learning environment, mostly because I feel like if I can get my head around it over the next two weeks, I will be inspired to utilise these types of courses again and again. Plus, I am now pondering the possibilities of blending something like this into my classroom teaching one day - how great would it be to involve teenagers in this type of environment?

One of my best friends shared this (music teachers, it is a part of our philosophy) but I started to see how this could apply to an online learning environment where students connect with people outside of their immediate class/community and are able to share and develop ideas and accomplishments.

I hope that maintaining a blog for this course will help me develop my ideas in an organised way - being able to reflect back on where my thinking was vs. where it is will allow me to move forward more effectively in my learning and understanding of the content.

Another thing I hope to gain both from EDEM630 in general, but also the SP4Ed, is connections with other people of various professions and experience. I do hope that I am able to keep in touch with the people I learn with here through social media (like my new Twitter account!).

Here's to new experiences!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

W3 - Learning Reflection

The last three weeks have been filled with new experiences for me in online learning. I started by feeling frustrated – having spent the last two years studying e-learning, I think I have gotten to a point where I want to know how these tools are going to help teach the actual skills our students will need in today’s society. Skills like creativity, problem-solving and independent learning are essential for success in an evolving job-market. This focus on the bigger picture made it difficult to focus on one tool in particular, therefore my initial research topic was incredibly broad.

Once I started reading the change models, I realised that I needed to narrow my topic in order to successfully carry out my research. It made sense to focus on Moodle, as I believe it to be a tool which will last for years to come (not just a fad) and it is constantly evolving, which fits in with the topic of change. In addition, in my own context, Moodle was just introduced as a replacement LMS at my school, which allows me to analyse how this change has affected the players in my “arena.” Wayne pointed out that the fact that Moodle is replacing Ultranet gives me a unique perspective on this change. I also decided to focus on independent learning as the main skill for my research. If students feel that they can successfully learn independently, they will be able to grow and learn, utilising new and changing technologies with confidence.

The adoption models got me thinking about how my school could have better prepared for the change and evolution of our technologies. It also inspired me to be proactive and try to be a more active positive influence to my peers/staff and my students. I feel like I still need to review these models and analyse how they connect to my context.

Overall, the organisation of the course has been great – I agree with Kevin that the use of the blog to organise my learning journey is quite different, but good in many ways. In the past, the use of forums made it difficult to look back and reflect on my learning and thought processes throughout the course. I prefer being able to follow the blogs of my classmates and be able to see their thought processes as well. The forums are still a good place for discussion, but not nearly as overwhelming as they have been in other courses.

I am looking forward to the experience of being a part of the SP4Ed and broadening my experience with online learning. One of the amazing things about the internet and all the tools we have at our disposal is the ability to share knowledge and learning with a wide variety of peers. Learning outside of a face-to-face environment has been a challenge for me, but now that I have done it, I feel like the skills I’ve gained will allow me to confidently take advantage of online learning in the future.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

W2 - Provisional Essay Plan

This is my provisional essay plan - I am starting to get through the initial "fog" of my research topic brainstorm and see more connections to change in my educational context. Any feedback welcome!


The aim of this essay is to demonstrate my knowledge on the models of change in asking "how can teachers cultivate problem solving, creativity and independent learning using Moodle in NCEA classes?" Through this essay, I will demonstrate my ability to apply theory to inform practice.

Information & Organisation:

Summarize the topic, key findings and conclusion

Describe my context of change and research question including:

  • The nature and characteristics of Moodle
  • An explanation of the importance and significance of the change for teachers and learners (i.e. the why?).
  • The research question/central thesis: How can teachers cultivate problem solving, creativity and independent learning using Moodle in NCEA classes?
  • Main question in my review of the diffusion of innovation: will knowing how to incorporate these "big picture" skills have a positive effect on adoption of Moodle by teachers at Waiheke High School?
Main Themes:

Here I will include a description/summary of the diffusion of innovation with connections to my topic and context. I will then review  implications of the change model for my own context (covering both strengths and shortcomings or pros and cons of the model).

  • How does Moodle size up using Rogers’s  5 Factors?
  • At what point in the diffusion process are the teachers at my school?
  • How can early adopters effectively influence teachers in cultivating these skills using Moodle?
  • How is our school social system effecting the rate of diffusion?

I anticipate that adoption will be increased as teachers gain confidence and become invested in Moodle as a tool for cultivating creativity, problem solving and independent learning (including recommendations for the future or lessons learned).

Friday, July 19, 2013

W2 - Further Thinking

As I have been mulling over the readings, I realize that my research topic needs a lot of focusing.

I feel like currently, I am delving into a bigger issue (perhaps too big) for me to be successful in my research - especially in this time frame.

In order for me to  “demonstrate knowledge of change with ICT in education and training contexts and be able to apply this knowledge within familiar ecosystem(s),“ I need to connect to my own context.

The new plan is: How can teachers use Moodle to help cultivate problem solving, creativity and independent learning in NCEA classes.

Moodle has been introduced into my school (after a bit of a failed venture with Ultranet) and the change, although it has been nearly a year, has been slow and many teachers are still not convinced/motivated to utilize the LMS.

This topic will allow me to look through the different lenses more effectively :)

Any comments/advice always welcome!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

W2 - Arena of Change Mindmap

I think that the answer to our technological woes in education lie far beyond how to effectively use a blog or an LMS or start a wiki. Of course, these tools are important and can be used in wonderful ways in the classroom. However, I feel that teachers are spending too much time talking about HOW to use these tools in the classroom that we don’t stop to think WHY we are using them, or what bigger skills they are helping our students gain. Chances are that when my year 9 students leave school in year 13, the programs I used with them will be long forgotten; but the skills they gain (especially the more abstract abilities they may have practiced), will last far beyond that course. I am talking about the ability to learn independently, to think creatively, and to problem solve. We know how crucial these skills are, and yet they are sometimes difficult to teach and to measure.
Technology is a part of our society, and I believe that it is not about helping our students “cope” with the rate that these technologies evolve, but about giving them the power to take control and utilize these technologies in ways that we may not even be able to imagine now. If “the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible,” than we need to give our students the foresight to do so (A.Clarke).
My research will be based on exactly HOW problem solving, creativity, and independent learning have been successfully combined with use of technology and implemented into classrooms with a focus on how these skills can be utilised to navigate evolving technologies.

The phrase “the big picture” keeps coming up as I brainstorm about the ecology surrounding this topic.
The students need to understand that when they are using a technology in the classroom (as in any other activity) that they are using it for a bigger purpose, and not just for the sake of using the technology alone.
The teachers need to feel that they are not being asked to teach with technology for technology’s sake, but that these tools can be used to cultivate creativity, problem solving, and independent learning.
The school administration and board of trustees needs to look at the best use of their time, money and resources in regards to technology with a bigger picture in mind. Just because a school is offered a good deal on a new technology, for example, does not mean that this will benefit the students.
At the professional level, the organisations offering PD in particular should be communicating with schools in regards to technology so that they can offer support in the best areas, not just the latest fads.

At the political level, there also needs to be more communication (perhaps via technology, as Pinelopi Zaka suggested) so that the people with the most power in regards to funding and driving national education initiatives are the most well-informed from all perspectives.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

W1 - Annotated Bibliography

Tillander, M. (2011). Creativity, Technology, Art, and Pedagogical Practices. Art Education, 64(1), 40-64.

  • Description: This journal article focuses on both how new technologies affect creative practices in art education, as well as these technologies are being used in new and creative ways. 
  • Evaluation: The information comes from a reputable source and is based upon observation and research into appropriate literature. This article was useful for my research as it helped support my idea that it is the creativity of a user that will determine the scope of the use of a technology, not simply the technology itself.

McGreal, R. & Elliot, M. (2004). Technologies of online learning (e-learning). In T. Anderson & F. Elloumi (Eds.), Theory and Practice of Online Learning (pp. 115-135). Athabasca, Canada: Athabasca University.

  • Description: This book chapter focuses on explaining a variety of e-learning technologies and their educational uses.
  • Evaluation: The information comes from a reputable source. This article was useful for my research in that it describes real, in-class uses for technologies. However, being written in 2004 makes the information somewhat dated and not completely relevant to the technologies being utilized in classrooms today.

W1 - Research Topic

How can teachers cultivate creative thinking and problem solving skills in the classroom in order to equip secondary-age students for the diverse, evolving technologies in our society?

I chose this topic because I want to use e-learning technologies in my classroom, but not simply just for the sake of using them. I want the skills my students learn while using e-learning tools to help give them confidence in navigating the diverse technologies we experience in the 21st century.
My opinion is that as teachers, we need to understand the skills our students need to be successful in a society where computer technology is a huge part of the way we live and work. For example, I don't think that students need to make a Prezi to understand how Prezi works; they need to have the problem solving skills to find new and interesting venues of presentation or the creativity to develop a program to do so.
It needs to be bigger than the programs alone. This area of education needs to be about how technologies can be used to better society and giving our students the tools and confidence they need to be a part of this.

So far, I have found relevant information from a variety of sources, including the Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia and Educational Technology Research and Development. However, most relevant I have found is not on this topic specifically, but on linked topics such as coping with technological change and important digital literacies in the 21st century. I am hoping to connect the research in these areas to answer my questions.
This topic affects students, teachers and wider society/employers and deals with all of their needs.

The main questions for this topic include: what skills are most sought after for jobs in the 21st century? How are teachers/schools already helping students gain these skills? In what areas are there gaps in skills? What does it mean to successfully utilize technology? How is creative thinking and problem solving beneficial to students in using technology successfully?

This is relevant at the local level (school) for the most part, but also at the national and international levels as it affects how young adults can be successful in a technological society.

I am still deciding on a scope for the “when” of my topic. Many of the relevant articles are more than 10 years old; therefore it might be worth looking at how things have developed over the last decade in this particular digital literacy (creative thinking and problem solving). However, I want to focus on the future as well and explore how I can best prepare my students for success when they leave school.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

W1 - Introduction

Hello Everyone!

This is Sarah McNabb writing from Waiheke Island!

I have created a blog before, but I have not always been good at keeping up with posting and updating. This time around I found creating the blog itself to be quite easy - Blogger is intuitive and I felt that there was enough choice in layout for me to personalize my front page.

In maintaining this blog, I hope to create both a visual representation of my learning as well as give myself something to reflect back on throughout; both my own posts as well what others will share with me in the process of this course.

I found the instructions on UC Learn useful, as knowing where to find "gadgets" wasn't clear just by looking at my main blog page. Once I was on the layout page, I could see the potential for making the blog my own.

For future learners, I would say that a combination of following the given instructions as well as exploration worked well for me. There is something to be said for trial and error in an activity like this one! I think one if the best ways to get used to a new program/website is to just simply have a go.

I am really looking forward to using the blog in this course. It will be a new experience for me to use a blog in a class setting, and perhaps this will give me the motivation to update on a more regular basis.

Have a great week everyone!