It's the final day of our Masters-level course on E-Pedagogy. We're at the Chalfonts Community College with about ten people who are each about to do a presentation on the projects ("interventions") they've been doing in their schools for this course.
Chris Higgins starts off by outlining how this fits into an MA - the CAEP (this element) counts as 3 units, and could be followed by Education Research, a module on Reflective Professional Development, a further Module choice (which could include individual study) and a 20,000 word dissertation...
Everyone is split into two groups and will present to others in the group about their intervention. Here's a rough outline of some of the projects - each is intended to be a Reusable Learning Object (ReLO):
- Year 10 English - World War One Poetry - at Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School;
- ICT capability in Year 7 MLD students (Talking Heads & Shady Writing) at Pebble Brook MLD School;
- Encouraging Active Learning - KS3 PSHE & Citizenship at The Amersham School;
- An E-Anthology for Buckinghamshire - across Buckinghamshire with Year 10 students from different schools (LA secondary English consultant);
- Using a Virtual Learning Environment to help prepare children for e-learning in the 21st century - Making a video for children who are about to join reception - Year 6 pupils at Edlesborough School;
- Student produced digital summaries in science (replacing traditional "write ups") at Brill CE Combined School;
- Investigating the use of the VLE on Attainment Standards (inc. work with Year 12 Economics students) at Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School;
- Developing speaking & listening skills using Podcasting & Forums with a primary school (LA primary ICT consultant);
For each presentation there are questions about reusability - how replicable each project and/or the materials involved is across other schools or the county as a whole. There's really interesting discussion going on about how working online with pupils/students is in practice, and some of the wider issues to do with school culture, the state of ICT confidence and confidence within schools, etc. etc.
Emerging Issues & Commonality
What's come out of the presentations? We're trying to summarise common themes or issues which are cropping up in many of the pieces of work:
- There's an emphasis on the cognitive side of the learning - a metacognitive approach i.e. "learning how to learn";
- Wondering about how much should we allow learners autonomy, and how much scaffolding did they need?
- Learners beginning to reflect and comment on each others work;
- Social learning - learning how to work in teams, give feedback, take responsibility - this emerges from problem-based learning;
- Students discovering their own methods of organising their work - this leads to a discussion on ePortfolios and the skills, understandings and higher order thinking, how Functional Skills might work and if "managing an ePortfolio" might be a functional skill;
- It's essential to build-in the face-to-face socialisation and time in class is a critical part of this;
- A number of groups have external "experts" or other people to give validity & authenticity;
- There's a perception that an external practitioner will always be a good teacher - this isn't the case and in some cases learners need to be aware of this and helped (trained?) to work with/around it;
We're now about to debate (in two groups, arbitrarily divided up) the statement:
The distinction between digital natives & digital immigrants is not a helpful description of classroom e-learning dynamics.
after reading the introduction to Marc Prensky's 2001 paper. We're talking creating false and emotive dichotomies, educational theory, the nature of interactions in classrooms, the use of games and play, and much much more.
That's the end of the formal part of this course, and parting thoughts include how we might run it next year. It'd start earlier, and I'm already thinking of people across schools in Bucks who would get something out of the course. I hope we run this again next year, I can't wait!