How has Web 2.0 impacted on the development of resources in education?
I will critically analyse how Web 2.0 has impacted on the development of resources in Initial Teacher Education, with particular focus on the teaching and learning of Primary teacher trainees.
Unfortunately, learning about technology is equivalent to asking teachers to hit a moving target. Teachers will never have “complete knowledge about the tools available, as they are always in a state of flux. (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich 2010, pp.260-261)
Hence Web 2.0 evolved; the term was first introduced in 2004 referring to the second generation of the World Wide Web, utilising new features and functionality allowing the user to collaborate with other users, manipulate (changing looks and content) and create and share files and other resources online (Murugesan, 2008). It is constantly evolving as new software and functionality become available, making the processes of evaluation and implementation of these tools and resources on-going and their impact therefore on the teaching and learning of Primary Trainees difficult to measure and assess.
The use and impact of Web 2.0 in Education varies from institution to institution and from individual to individual. For example, students on the same course setting up their own community of practice as a group on social networking sites, such as Facebook and twitter. Web 2.0 use can also be institution-led, such as the setting up and maintenance of webpages, blogs and virtual learning environments (VLEs) or platforms, establishing Communities of Practice (CoPs), sharing and creating resources collectively and creating wider community access to information and resources.
Some of the pedagogical implications of using Web 2.0 tools are the expectations that trainees will have computer and internet access and will engage with and utilise technological web-based tools for learning, often outside the classroom environment. This requires time and self-efficacy (Ertmer & Ottenbriet-Leftwich, 2010) and as so much professional work is completed via technology, it requires a skill set and apositive attitude reflecting and improving practice and a commitment to life- long learning. It is expected that each trainee and teacher will have independent learning skills or at least be prepared to practise ICT skills and to engage with research from professional bodies, engaging in continuing professional development (CPD) to improve their access, knowledge, use and manipulation of these tools in their own time. Blaschke (2012) agrees stating that emphasis should be placed on the development of learner capacity and capability, preparing learners for work places’ complexity, requiring both a positive attitude to life-long learning and to the evolution of technology. This ‘Heutagogy’, a form of self-determined learning with practices and principles rooted in andragogy, has recently resurfaced as a learning approach after a decade of limited attention. In a Heutagogical approach to teaching and learning, learners are highly autonomous and self-determined (Blaschke, 2012).
Aubessen et al., (2009) state that teachers who use ICT for their own learning are more likely to improve practice by incorporating ICT into their own teaching. These ‘digital native’ trainees (Ertmer & Ottenbriet-Leftwich, 2010) are comfortable at utilising a variety of technological tools. However knowing how to use technological tools is not enough to enable trainees to use the technology effectively in the classroom (Ertmer & Ottenbriet-Leftwich 2010, p.260).
Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) refers to the knowledge required by the teacher to integrate technology into any content area (appendix 1) (Schmidt et al. 2009, p.125). This knowledge, not only of technological tools but how they can be used to facilitate learning, needs to be developed with trainee teachers so that their TPACK can be improved and developed across the curriculum, enabling the full integration of technology within practice.
The implication for practitioners has always been to balance the needs of the learner and the system, as learning is a personal experience. Therefore the practitioner’s aims must be to build confidence with exploration of technology, providing choice with that knowledge; networks and pathways to support this exploration, with knowledge and an awareness of the safeguarding implications, policies and ethical practice. This would allow learners to ‘follow their own path’ making links, and using resources that best suit them within a context and can be characterised as Rhizomatic learning (Cormier, 2011) a plant stem which sends out roots and shoots that allow the plant to propagate itself through organic growth.
It is the responsibility of all tutors to model the effective use of technology within their subject. Kukulska-Hulme (2010) recognises that bottom-up change processes are more likely to be successful, with educators’ exploration and application of digital technologies, rather than institutions’ leadership engagement with the application of new approaches. Support should be provided that recognises tutors’ individual needs, sensitive to the learning culture, combined with staff development strategies that encourage ‘sharing of expertise’ (Kukulsk-Hulme 2010, p.4).
As the use of technology is often not a priority within institutions due to the context of the institution and the profession which shapes individual beliefs (Windschitl & Sahl, 2002) managers are reluctant to impose or enforce standards and assure quality of technology use within teaching and learning environments. Even ‘best practice’ models, guidelines and training on the use of a VLE are not enforced or encouraged. Many tutors are reluctant to recommend free online resources due to safeguarding implications. For example, ‘Sparkle box’, a site used by many primary school teachers providing a variety of resources, became barred by many school networks as a paedophile ring was uncovered at the centre of this site (Western Education and Library board 2010, online; TES online, n.d.). Other examples of free tools disappearing overnight as takeovers make businesses large sums of money, whilst teachers and trainees struggle to find their work that has now disappeared from the platform they were using. Many trainees cannot afford to be properly protected from online viruses, installing and updating appropriate anti-virus software and so put their accounts at risk. Hence an awareness of possible drawbacks, dangers, ethics and motives of ‘free tools’ needs to be embedded in the integration of these resources into ITE provision and time must be given to share expertise and maintain online resources.
In summary, the effective use and embedding of Web 2.0 resources in ITE within a teaching and learning culture requires an attitudinal shift by teachers, trainees and management. This requires persuasive use of effective technology in teacher education programmes and opportunities for trainees to use technology as an instructional tool with access to a wide variety of models and examples (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich 2010, p.266) underpinned by evidence-based practice.
Education has never had really effective links between research and practice. Education research is the great unreformed part of the system. Too little has an impact on children’s learning, and too few teachers use research evidence to inform their teaching (Morris, 2011, paragraph 9).
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Aubessen, P., Schuck, S. Burden, K. (2009) ‘Mobile learning for teacher professional learning benefits, obstacles and issues’, Research in Learning Technology. Vol 17. No. 3, Pp.233-247. Routledge: London
Cormier, D., (2011) Rhizomatic learning: why we teach http://davecormier.com/edblog/2011/11/05/rhizomatic-learning-why-learn/ online. [Accessed 05.05.13]
Ertmer, PA., Ottenbriet-Leftwich, AT. (2010) ‘Teacher Technology Change: How knowledge, confidence, beliefs and culture intersect’. Journal for Research on Technology in Education. Vol. 42, No 3, pp.255-284. USA/Canada.
Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2010). Learning cultures on the move: Where are we heading? Journal of Educational Technology &Society Vol 13. No. 4, Pp.4-14
Blaschke, L. M. (2012) ‘Heutagogy and Lifelong Learning: A Review of Heutagogical Practice and Self-Determined Learning.’ Oldenburg University and University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Online http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1076/2087 [accessed 23.05.13]
Morris, E. (2011) ‘Teaching schools are our beacon of hope’ The Guardian July 2011 online Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jul/25/teaching-schools-research [Accessed 23.05.21013]
Murugesan, S. (2008). ‘Web Application Development: Challenges And The Role Of Web Engineering’ Springer: London
Schmitdt, DA., Baran, E., Thompson, A. D., Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J., Shin, S. T., (2009). ‘Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK): The development and validation of an assessment instrument for preservice teachers.’ Journal of Researcrh on Technology in Education. Vol. 42 No .2 Pp.123-149. USA/Canada.
TES online Available: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6033403 [Accessed 29.05.13]
Western Education and library board (2010) ‘Report on the investigation into issues arising from the Sparklebox case’ Available: http://www.deni.gov.uk/welb_final_report.pdf [Accessed 29.05.13]
Windschitl, M., Sahl, K. (2002) ‘Tracing teachers’ use of technology in a laptop computer school: the interplay of teacher beliefs, social dynamics and institutional culture.’ American Education Research Journal SAGE Vol 39. Pp.165-205.
TPAC K Model (graphic from http://tpack.org).
I’ve chosen to use a Glogster to present to my peers tomorrow-for two reasons-1) I hadn’t used one before and 2) Like padlet/wallwisher I can envision how this tool would be useful in a Primary classroom for assessing learning on a topic or perhaps sharing learning/information with the community/parents. Therefore by my use or modelling of this resource with students I’d hope to have an impact on Primary school children’s learning in the classroom through my learners utilising it effectively.
Interestingly enough I discovered that I have done exactly what children do when using a new tool/programme-too much! I have put a lot of information on the Glogster –some of which I will have time to present or talk about tomorrow other aspects will impact other parts of the assessment for this module.
Unlike other presentation tools the order the different parts are viewed is not fixed-this has its advantages and drawbacks-I can choose where to go, what to show you quickly and easily and you can see all the parts of the Glogster on one page-however it also means that the presentation is less succinct without a presenter or perhaps numbers and arrows showing you which aspects to look at or view first.
The first item I uploaded onto the glogster was a video created on windows live movie maker depicting the +ve and –ve aspects of teachers.
I chose to evaluate teachers as a physical resource as I work with Teachers within teacher education, teaching trainee teachers and often this ‘human resource’ is overlooked and yet relationships underpin all teaching and learning interactions as both are human activities. They are, after all the most valuable physical resource in any classroom!
Also on my Glogster are a couple of pictures depicting my work as a VSO volunteer in Guyana- the reasons for these photos were two fold- Firstly although the classroom photograph may look very different to a modern UK classroom the actions of the teacher and learners are very similar to lessons I have observed last week- children with hands up, teacher at the front, pencil and paper being used by learners-large board by teacher! and secondly the other picture shows a group of teachers learning to make resources such as bunsen burners, condensers and photocopiers out of every day materials-as a great teacher will use the resources and technology available to ensure effective practice.
Guyana had a massive ‘brain drain’ in the late 60s/70s and many practicing teachers had had no training and had just left school themselves. Hence my role as a Teacher Trainer in the late 90s involved facilitating their teaching and learning and my first use of web 2- facebook and email sprung from my time spent there.
I’ve also embedded a You Tube video by Taylor Mali, an American ex English Teacher now ‘street poet’-his videos I enjoy and I have shared with students the one embedded- What Teachers make and the Speaking with authority one- check them out!
and finally-in preparation for summing up my thoughts of web 2 and it’s use in education, I created another video depicting some of my thoughts of my learning so far.
This image came through on an email before the Easter holidays and sums up some of my experiences whilst trying out many Web 2.0 applications and tools. The other thought I had is why does he want or need to look over the wall? The purpose of many of these tools/resources needs to be clear if we are to use them. Using Web 2.0 for learning the ‘Teacher’ still has to facilitate, guide, monitor and assess. Third parties can not get a full picture without knowledge of the learner. I remember many years ago my step daughter and husband thought they would ‘be helpful’ and mark my maths books whilst I was out. I returned to find them looking very pleased with themselves and had even written some comments in the books!One comment on a child’s book was ‘what happened here/neaten up’ due to the presentation of their work being much poorer than on the previous pages. The child in question had broken their writing arm and had completed the work correctly using their other hand-no small task for an 8 year old! Without the knowledge gained from relationships, be it virtual or face to face how can a judgement or/and learning opportunity/pathway be planned/made? Many computer programs analyse progress-pick out groups of learners that need intervention-highlight results and yet pen portraits are vital to accompany these. Children/students labelled as poor achievers and the Teachers as inadequate due to long term absences perhaps of students or illness or other identified need…Should children with cancer receive notice from the local authority that their attendance is below the National Average? Should teachers be put on capability due to student absence due to perhaps teenage pregnancy or a child protection issue? Yes Web 2.0 tools would aid teachers ‘bridge the gap’ in these examples and a good teacher would utilize resources to aid all learners but knowledge of the learners and relationships are key to choosing which resources to use, why and ensuring learners have the skills in which to be able to use them.
Take this blog for an example- this is the second time I’ve written it as I lost the first draft-which was better as I’ve lost some of the motivation I had an hour ago-trying to remember what I wrote!!
‘Innovative pedagogies that leverage these affordances support learner choice and autonomy’ McLoughlin and Lee 2007 http://www.dlc-ubc.ca/wordpress_dlc_mu/educ500/files/2011/07/mcloughlin.pdf Artificial autonomy when assessment is finite? Too much choice? I’ve now signed up for what seems like a million different web 2.0 apps/ CoPs/groups/ tools etc…I’ve been playing around with GlobsterEd, Windows media player, Whatsappmessenger and drop box on my phone-I’ve had to disable I-tunes to get my music onto windows media due to apple and microsoft’s competition for custom rather than approach to collaboration and compatability! What have I learned? Well I can problem solve some techie bits and pieces in isolation but still waiting on an email reply from a ‘more knowledgeable other’ to solve a problem I can’t suss out on my own. I’ve found some great online ‘tools’ that I could use or get students to choose to use. But I still have a problem with this so called ‘innovative pedagogy’-nothing that I have read as yet has changed the way I think. The principles of teaching/the art of teaching with or without technological tools remains the same. The problem with many of these technological tools/applications is sustaining them-keeping the levels of participation/engagement is much harder in a virtual world-however it is forever evolving-competition, new gadgets, plug ins -part of the motivation/the hook…Remember when we used to sit next to each other in the cafe/pub bluetoothing our phones….
Well I’ve learnt how to link to a document!!
Okay my understanding of web 2.0:
In the old Primary ICT curriculum, the ‘Making things happen’ and ‘Talking about the use of ICT’ aspects are where I see Web 2.0 making the most impact. The application of internet tools rather than the consumption of information.
This already has had a huge impact on ITE courses-use of forums on Moodle, use of facebook professional and social groups (Different CoPs but both beneficial to the groups of students), use of Wallwisher (now Padlet) for students and or for schools, blogging in schools-the list is endless and evolving at pace! This is where some of the drawbacks occur and exclusion.. what’s best to use for what? Who’s using what/when and why? The ability to connect to people anywhere-but how connected are they? How accurate and ‘real life’ are on line personas/information shared. Bombarded with information-likes/trivia-what about interpersonal skills? Just because lots of people say the same thing-doesn’t make it correct/true…