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Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam

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William. D (2017) Embedded Formative Assessment: (Strategies for Classroom Assessment That Drives Student Engagement and Learning) (The New Art and Science of Teaching) : Second Edition. Bloomington, USA. Solution Tree Press. 

Dylan Wiliam is to formative assessment what Chris Witty is to Covid

I’m getting used to Dylan Wiliam - I think of him as the David Walliams of Education, the Will-I-Am of Formative Assessment.

I’ve been pointed at his webinars, sat through a keynote or two, read the book and the read pamphlet ‘Inside the Black Box: raising standards from classroom assessment’ which he produced with Paul Black in 1998 and established his reputation. 

In my first pass of note taking I had over 60 quotes and ideas here, not all from Dylan William. With some editing I’ve got this down to 19 ‘Top Tips’ which are all set out ready to quote. 

I’ll go back to the book if needs be for clarification. In this case it is an eBook which makes it very easy as the digital version will correlate to actual print page numbers.

This is how I learn. 

It’s a slow and repetitive process: skim read a book to get the lay of the land, read it with an open notebook, then transfer the notes to a document like this. Then edit the notes and where necessary go back to the original book. Most important of all - give it a go. Over the last five weeks I’ve had a chance to apply some of the thinking to both online remote teaching and in the classroom face-to-face.  

When a book strikes me as really important I am likely to have it in print and eBook - they read differently and you take different things from each. 

These notes are for me to browse, refer back to and use when I next have a formal rationale or observation to write, as well as for every day reflection on the learning and e-learning experience I am currently going through. 

Myth Busting

Wiliam puts the evidence of learning above myth and has a number of bugbears. 

Good teaching is difficult

It is relatively easy to think up cool stuff for students to do in classrooms, but the problem with such an activity-based approach is that too often it is not clear what the students are going to learn. (Wiliam 2017 p.94) 

Wiliam disregards learning styles, ‘which have no discernible impact on student achievement at all’. (Wiliam 2017 p.11 also Adey, Fairbrother, William, Johnson, & Jones, (1999). Rather - ‘as long as teachers vary their teaching style, then it is likely that students will get some experience of being pushed beyond it’. (Wiliam 2017 p.48) 

Nor is Wiliam a  fan of ‘performance of a learning task’ as a predictor of long-term retention of learning (Wiliam 2017 p.47 from Bjork, R.A. (1994) Any mention of ‘neuroscience’ as the panacea annoys him. (Wiliam 2017 p.50) 

There is no shortcut

Wiliam’s firm belief is that formative assessment improves performance. (Wiliam 2017 p.11) His view - ‘the use of assessment for summative purposes - grading, sorting, and ranking students - gets in the way’ of learning. (Wiliam 2017 p.56) Education is overly prescriptive with rubrics. (Wiliam p.93 in Alfied Kohn (2006)

No one can do the learning for the student who does not engage.

Our classrooms seem to be based on the principle that if teachers try really hard, they can do the learning for the learners. (Wiliam 2017 p.225) 

According to Wiliam there is little evidence that the following ‘tricks’ have any impact of student achievement:

  • Summarisation

  • Highlighting

  • Keyword mnemonic

  • Image use for text learning

  • Rereading (Wiliam 2017 p.225) 

Wiliam sets out five key stages of formative assessment : 

  1. Clarifying, sharing and understanding learning intentions and success criteria.

  2. Eliciting evidence of learning

  3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward

  4. Activating learners as instructional resources for one another

  5. Activating learners as owner of their own learning

The Assessment Reform Group puts it this way. Assessment to improve learning requires five elements to be in place (cited Broadfoot et al., 1999) (Wiliam 2017 p.61)

  1. Providing effective feedback to students

  2. Actively involving students in their own learning

  3. Adjusting teaching to take into account the assessment results

  4. Recognising the profound influence assessment has on student’s motivation and self-esteem, both of which are crucial influences on learning.

  5. Needing students to be able to assess themselves and understand how to improve.

Challenge them!

I like Wiliam’s thinking that ‘good instruction creates desirable difficulties’ - that we learn and retain knowledge through struggling with it. (Wiliam, 2017 p.11) I know from personal experience that the greater the struggle I am willing to endure, the deeper and the longer lasting my learning. It is when I can face the struggle … that I struggle.  Good instruction creates what he describes as ‘desirable difficulties’ (Wiliam, 2017 p.47) quoting Bjork (1994, p.193).

Pedagogy Over Curriculum

‘A bad curriculum well taught is usually a better experience for students than a good curriculum badly taught’. (Wiliam, 2017 p.11) I rather think we can apply this to many situations, for example, that pedagogy comes first - not EdTech. 

Formative Assessment above all else 

The Wiliam mantra is that, ‘attention to minute-by-minute and day-to-day formative assessment is likely to have the biggest impact on student outcomes’. (Wiliam 2017 p.42) He defines formative assessment as ‘the process used by teachers and students to recognise and respond to student learning in order to enhance that learning, during the learning’. (Wiliam 2017 p.59). Formative assessment, according to Bloom (1969) is a kind of evaluation - ‘a brief test used by teachers and students as aids in the learning process. (Wiliam, 2017 p.53 in Bloom (1969) It is ‘the process used by teachers and students to recognise and respond to student learning in order to enhance that learning, during the learning. (Cowie & Bell, 1999 p.32) It is ‘assessment carried out during the instructional process for the purpose of improving teaching or learning’. (Wiliam 2017 p.59 in Shepard et al., 2005 p.275) 

I like this : ‘Frequent, interactive assessment of students’ progress and understanding to identify learning needs and adjust appropriately.’ (Wiliam 2017 p.59 from Looney 2005)

And if you need more ways to think of it, try this: ‘assessment, for learning tells ‘us’ ‘what progress each student is making toward meeting each standard while the learning is happening - when there’s still time to be helpful (Wiliam 2017 p.62 from Looney 2005 (pp1-2) Stiggins (2005)

All kinds of formative assessment are not equal

(Wiliam 2017 p.62) 

‘The evidence is clear that the shorter the assessment - interpretation - action cycle becomes the greater the impact on student achievement’. (Wiliam, 2016). He continues, ‘short-cycle formative assessment has to be the priority for schools and teachers, because the impact on students is greater. (Wiliam p.75) 

‘ … regular use of minute-by-minute and day-to-day classroom formative assessment can substantially improve student achievement’. (Wiliam 2017 p.81)

Design backwards from the learning outcome

(Wiliam 2017 p.81 from Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (2000)

Three issues in the development of learning intentions and success criteria that may be useful to think about. (Wiliam p.95)

  1. Task-specific versus generic scoring rubrics.

  2. Product-focused versus process-focused criteria

  3. Official versus student-friendly language

NOTE :> By being specific about what we want, we focus the students learning too much. ‘He who never made a mistake, never made a discover’ (Wiliam 2017 p.95 quoting Samuel Smiles (1862 p.275)

There are a number of techniques which appealed when I read about them and I have used them. These are techniques to help students understand and achieve learning intentions. (Wiliam 2017 p.104 from Clarke (2001)

This is simple, these phrases work 

WALT ‘We are learning to … ‘

WILF ‘What I’m looking for … ‘

TIB ‘This is because … ‘ 

Student Engagement Techniques

The teacher asks a question, selects a student to answer the question and then responds to the student’s answer, which is generally some kind of evaluation of what the student said. (Wiliam 2017 p.124) Teacher-Led classroom discussion.

Try some of these:

  • Wait time

  • Evaluative listening

  • Interpretive listening

  • Questions shells

  • Hot-seat questioning

  • All student response systems

  • ABCD Cards

  • Mini Whiteboards

  • Exit passes

  • Discussion vs. diagnostic questions

  • Alternative questions

Pose a question, pick a student at random

Pose-pause-pounce-bounce

  • Pose

  • 5 seconds - pause

  • Pounce-random choice

  • Bounce-what do you think (Wiliam 2017 p.129) 

App or Lollipop sticks (Wiliam 2017 p.129) 

These techniques are used to ensure that all students realise that all are expected to tke part and that it is ok to make mistakes. If someone does not provide a response then come back to them and tell them  “OK, I’ll come back to you”.  (Wiliam 2017 p.132) 

Then seek Response 2 and 3 and then return to the person who gave no response and ask them which reply they liked the best and ask them why.

‘Engagement and responsiveness - are at the heart of effective formative assessment’. (Wiliam 2017 p.142) 

Managing Challenging Behaviour

To change the behaviour criticise the behaviour not the student. (Wiliam 2017 p.171) 

It is quality rather than the quantity of praise that is most important - teacher praise is far more effective if it is infrequent, credible, contingent, specific, and genuine. (Brophy, 1981 in Wiliam 2017 p.171)

The use of feedback improves performance when it is focussed on what needs to be done to improve, and particularly when it gives specific details about how to improve. (Wiliam 2017 p.180)

Motivation

“It's up to me, and I can do something about it”.  (Wiliam 2017 p.183)

When students have to struggled in the learning task, the quality of their performance on this task reduces, but the amount of learning that takes placed increases (Wiliam 2017 p.190)

Feedback functions formatively only if the learner uses the information feedback to him or her to improve performance. If educators intend the information fed back to the learner to be helpful but the learner cannot use it to improve his or her performance, it is not formative.

Motivation is not a cause but a consequence of achievement (In Wiliam 20176 p.234) from Garon-Carrier et al., 2016)

Like sports coaching, teaching takes time to master

It takes years for even the most capable of coach to break down a long learning journey from where the student is right now - to where he or she needs to be. (Wiliam 2017 p.193)

Feedback should cause thinking

Feedback for Future Action. (Wiliam 2017 p.194) 

To be effective, feedback needs to direct attention to what's next, rather than focusing on how well or poorly the student did on the work, and this rarely happens in the typical classroom.

The response from the student to feedback should be ‘cognitive rather than emotional’ (Wiliam 2017 p.205) In other words, feedback should cause thinking by creating desirable difficulties.

Peer tutoring can be more effective than one-on-one tutorial instruction from a teacher. This is because of the ‘change in power relationships’. (Wiliam 2017 p.209)

And regarding students online not using their webcams he believed you can see how a student is really taking it by seeing their faces (Wiliam 2017 p.209)

Student Reporter

Put students in a group towards the end of the class so that they can discuss then report back on what has been taught.

Two Techniques that work 

(Wiliam 2017 p230)

  1. Practice Testing 

  2. Distributed Practice

These received high ratings because they were effective with learners of different ages and abilities and were shown to boost students’ performance across many kinds of tasks, and there was plenty of evidence that they worked in educational contexts.

If students complete a practice test and get immediate feedback on their answers, students will get the benefit of the hypercorrection effect for those questions where they were correct. (Wiliam 2017 p.231)

Setting Goals

Students are more motivated to reach goals that are specific, are within reach, and offer some degree of challenge. (Wiliam 2017 p.236 in Bandura, 1986)

When the goals seem out of reach students may give up on increasing competence and instead avoid harm, by focusing on lower-level goals they know they can reach or avoiding failing altogether by disengaging from the task. (Wiliam 2017 p.236)

TIPS

  1. Think ‘how am I going to teach this and what are the pupils going to learn?’ (Wiliam 2017 p.79) 

  1. Having an in-depth understanding of the curriculum may be of more benefit to student progress than advanced study of a subject on the part of the teacher.

  1. Students don't learn what we teach. (Wiliam 2017 p.77) 

  1. Teaching the goal. Driving as teaching. (Wiliam 2017 p.78)

  1. ‘When the pressure is on, most of us behave as if lecturing works but deep down inside we know it’s ineffective’. (Wiliam 2017 p.80)

  1. The teacher’s job is not to transmit knowledge, nor to facilitate learning. It is to engineer effective learning environments for students. (Wiliam 2017 p.80)

  1. Learners of all ages need to understand what it is that they need to learn and be able to monitor their progress toward their goal. (Wiliam 2017 p.95) 

  1. Don’t simply plan the instructional activity, but also plan how you are going to find out where the students are in their learning. You need to be clear about what we want students to learn (Wiliam 2017 p.115)

  1. Ask questions either to cause thinkin and to provide information for the teacher about what to do next. (Wiliam 2017 p.126)

  1. Beware - those avoiding engagement are forgoing the opportunities to increase their ability.

  1. The most important factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows - the teachers job is to ascertain this and to teach accordingly. (Wiliam 2017 p.166) 

  1. Much of the feedback that students get has little or no effect on their learning, and some kinds of feedback are actually counterproductive. (Wiliam 2017 p.167) 

  1. Do not mix grades and comments, just stick to comments. (Wiliam 2017 p.167) 

  1. Oral feedback is best. (Wiliam 2017 p.174)

  1. Too often feedback is counterproductive. (Wiliam 2017 p.178)

  1. Don’t provide students with feedback unless you allow time, in class, to work on using the feedback to improve their work. (Wiliam 2017 p.195) 

  1. Feedback should be more work for them than you! (Wiliam 2017 p.195) 

  1. A simple approach to feedback. Pick out two things to praise, then express what they need to do a constructive wish. He calls the technique ‘two stars and a wish’. (Wiliam 2017 p.214)

  1. Teachers have a crucial role to play in designing the situations in which learning takes place, but only learners create learning. Wiliam 2017 p.246)

REFERENCES

Adey, Fairbrother, William, Johnson, & Jones, (1999) p.36 A review of learning styles and learning strategies. London. King’s College London Centre for Advanced Thinking. 

Ausubel (1968) Educational psychology. A Cognitive view. New York. Holt, Rinehart & Winston

Bjork, R.A. (1994) Memory and metamemory consideration in the training of human beings. In J.Metcalfe & A.P. Shimamura (eds) Metacognition : Knowing about knowing (pp.188-205) Cambridge, MA MIT Press. 

Bloom, B.S. (1969) Some theoretical issues relating to educational evaluation, In H.G. Richey & R.W. Tyler (Eds). Educational evaluation : New roles, new means, part 2 (Vol.68, pp. 26-50_ Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

Brophy, H (1981) Teacher praise: A functional analysis. Review of Educational Research, 51 (i), 5-32

Clarke, S (2001) Unlocking Formative Assessment. London, Hodder & Stoughton

Cowie, B & Bell, B (1999) A Model for formative assessment in science education. Assessment in Education : Principles, Policy and Practice. 6(1), 101-116

Looney, J (ed) (2005) Formative Assessment: improving learning in secondary classroom. Paris. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

Shepard et al., 2005 p.275 in L.Darling-Hammon & J.Bransford (Eds) preparing teaching for a changing world : what teachers should learn and be able to do (pp.215-326)

Soderstrom, N.C., & Bjork, R.A. (2015) Learning versus performance : An integrative review. Perspectives on Psychological Science 10 (2), 176-199. 

Stiggins R.J. (2005) Assessment for learning defined. 

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2000) Understanding by design. New York. Prentice Hall.

William, D. (2016) Leadership for teacher learning . Creating a culture where all teachers improv so that all students succeed. West Palm Beach , FL, Learning Sciences International.

William, D (2017) Embedded Formative Assessment: (Strategies for Classroom Assessment That Drives Student Engagement and Learning) (The New Art and Science of Teaching) : Second Edition 

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How do you get students to engage online?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020, 17:57

Digital Transformation in action : Part of WONKHE@Home Online Summit 

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Patrick Mullane, Executive Director, Harvard Business School Online >  linkedin.com/in/pjmullane

We teach digital transformation, it is NOT about platforms but about everything that wraps around it. The Covid experience may set us back as so many institutions rushed to get online and created a poor experience .

  1. Pedagogy > the way you teach when it is technology enabled. Lectures are dull in person, deathly online. Simply putting what you do face to face online will be dreadfully boring. 

  2. Leadership commitment > not a dip of the toe in the water, but a commitment to the path with money and time. 

  3. The Core competencies you need online are different to online> If you do not make digital marketing a key competency within the university you will not succeed/ There must be a robust marketing facility internally to let students know what there is. We made incredible platforms and spent a lot of money expecting students to turn up and they did not.

  4. Legacy > have realistic expectations. It won’t change overnight. It won’t reduce cost.  

  5. Restructuring for the new world > it is not enough just to have the technology. If you are doing something new it will be better to do this somewhere else. When successful, fold it back into the current structure … which may have to be blown up so that you can start again. 

You will be planning a path where there will be failure. 

Having a technology department is NOT the same as having people who understand pedagogy and can design student centred learning.

Harvard used the ‘Aristotelian - the case method’ in which a tutor leads a discussion and with the students you reach an ‘aha’ moment. Inductive learning required ways for students to take part, to challenge each other … 

Interaction is essential. 

A lot of support, in the community, makes for the overall learning experience. 

Simplicity for the students creates complexity in the backend. But the end objective has to be the simplicity for the student.  

Students know how to crowdsource answers to questions so once the platform has been created the faculty can walk away. 

Don’t let complexity get in the way.

Bespoke platform built by Harvard Business School online.

Have a clear idea of what success looks like at each stage and build on that. Commit to two or three experiments. Either commit and do it well, or fail. Certificates for example are inevitable.


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Reflections on a decade of e-learning 2008 - 2018

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Expectations in the first decade of the 21st century have barely been realised in the second, despite educational tools and platforms vying for space. Should we be surprised by the consolidation by the likes of Google Classroom, the rise of the educator as celebrity, and the slow transcendence from questionable digital dross to highly effective and smart learning Apps. How we learn must be better understood and applied in e-learning design. Speed, immediacy, volume and complementarity which make up much of what is digital needs to accommodate a human learning process that is slow, cumulative, experimental, experiential and organic. The greatest challenge is not a digital one, but a human one. New roles for teachers and new roles entirely and how these morph and coalesce into a new more collaborative working environment is the challenge. Just as disruptive technologies in retail and music put the client experience first, so too must the student/client experience be put first and systems created and adjusted around their needs, rather than both students and teachers having to accommodate themselves to the systems they are told to adopt.
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Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age - mind map

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 16 Mar 2014, 08:55

 

Mind map based on two key chapters from 'Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age' by Helen Beetham and Rhona Sharpe.

Click on the image for the Picasa Gallery and download. Created using the iPad APP 'Simple Minds'.

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An introduction to rethinking pedagogy for a digital age.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 16 Mar 2014, 08:25

An introduction to rethinking pedagogy for a digital age

Beetham and Sharp

This is my third, possibly my fourth read of the book Rethinking Pedagogy for a digital age. Now that I am in the thick of it working on quality assurance and testing for corporate online learning it has enormous relevance and resonance.

Reading this I wonder why the OU changed the MAODL to MAODE? Around 2000-2003? From the Masters in Open and Distance Learning to the Masters in Open and Distance Education.

Beetham and Sharpe have much to say about the relevance or otherwise of pedagogy and its teaching bias.

Pedagogy = the science of teaching not the activity of learning. (L460: Kindle Reference)

The term ‘teaching; denies the active nature of learning an individuals’ unique capacities to learn (Alexander, 2002) L477

How does e-learning cater for the fact the learners differ from one another in the way that they learn? L477

Guiding others to learn is a unique, skilful, creative and demanding human activity that deserves scholarship in its own right. L477

This quote is relevant to H807 Innovations in e-learning and other MAODE modules:

'Papyrus and paper chalk and print, overhead projectors, educational toys and television, even the basics technologies of writing were innovations once'. L518

I like this too:

The networked digital computer and its more recent mobile and wireless counterparts are just the latent outcomes of human ingenuity that we have at our disposal. L518

  • Learning resources and materials
  • Learning environment
  • Tools and equipment
  • Learning activities
  • Learning programme or curriculum

Designed for:

  • Practice
  • Feedback
  • Consolidation
  • Learning Design – preparational and planning
  • Investigation
  • Application
  • Representation or modelling
  • Iteration
  • Teachers tailor to learner needs
  • Tutors can ascertain who needs what
  • Validation
  • Process
  • QA
  • Review

Are there universal patterns of learning or not?

Pedagogical Thought

Constructivism – Jonassen et al 1999

Social Constructions – Vygotsky 1986

Activity Theory – Engeström et al 1999

Experiational Learning – Kolb 1984

Instructional Design – Gagné et al 2004

Networked and collaborative work – McConnell 2000

Learning Design Jochems et al 2004

I was wondering whether, just as in a story, film or novel requires a theme, so learning asnd especially e-learning, according to Mayes and de Frietas ‘needs to be based on clear theoretical principles.

E-enhancements of existing models of learning.

Technology enables underlying processes common to all learning.

Cf Biggs 1999 Constructivist L737

Teaching for Quality Learning at University Buckingham SRHE OUP

 

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What the Scandinavians know about children's literature

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Mariella%2520Fostrup.JPG

 

With Mariella Fostrup

I liked the comment from Professor Maria Nikolajeva when she quoted Leonard Helsing as saying 'all pedagogical art is bad art, but all good art is pedagogical'. So if you write a children's book from the point of view of creating good literature the learning will come naturally.

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Gamesmaker Training

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Feb 2012, 11:12

It's invaluable to be doing some e-training as compared to e-learning.

The Olympics lend themselves to actions and activities; learning goes on in your head whilst training involves your body as well as your mind.

It worked.

I know stuff about the Olympics and Paralympics that I did not know before. I have got my head around the role of Gamesmakers and have bought into the positive, inclusive, inspirational approach.

A workbook, a CD and links to a website is standard training fair. Tell them what you are going to tell them; tell them, then tell them what you told them would sum it up.

But why change a format that works?

Seb Coe introduces then a series of vignettes and activities take you through loads of stuff, from background to specifics, using video here, click and view there as well as deeper engagement with a few Q&As too or typing up some ideas. It took me 90 minutes.

Already I have some of this knowledge effortlessly embedded.

Could you teach a degree or postgraduate degree in this way? Why do I imagine that learning design should be any more complicated?

Good execution, simple design, not too flash, or cheesy.

Done for the right price with a practical feel to it. In the past my involvement in such things was to go out and shoot the video, often with green screens and actors, helicopters and composed music, 3d graphics and interenational travel.

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h800: 44 Week 8 Activity 2. On learner's emotional responses to technology

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 15:22
DSC00677.JPG

Pic from MMC Learning

'An approach to learning activity design (Sharpe et al. 2005) concluded that, as well as ICT skills, key issues were learners’ emotional relationship to the technologies they were offered – especially feelings of frustration and alienation – and issues around time management.'

In our tutor group and module forums we've gone through time management at length.

Understandably.

Though I suspect that for many of us time passing is the only certain thing in our lives. It has required therapy for me to downplay events when they DON'T go to plan ... that life as a Dad, husband, parent, portfolio-worker person, studying (two courses, this and sports related), as well as feeding the guinea-pigs, putting out the rubbish, sorting the recycling, putting air in the tyres on the car, fixing the fence ... collecting children from an event, taking them to the station ... let alone the other generation, four relatives in their 80s and 135 and 210 miles away.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

No schedule set for the morning, let alone the day or the week can be followed. (Which is why I get my hours in 4.40 am to 7.00am each early morning ... more pleasant with the sun joining me at last)

So, to the emotional response to technology.

I've come to apply the same kind of thinking to technology, yet more technology, especially if I don't like the look of it, as something that WILL, in the fullness of time, have value.

There is no point putting off engagement with it.

The same applies to a difficult to read text (there has been plenty of that lately). It WILL become clear, it just may take three or more attempts, could involve getting advice from others in the peer group, a search on the web and dare I say it a BOOK. I actually pick up copies of 'Facebook for Dummies' and 'Blogging for Dummies' as a matter of standard practice from the library (remember them?). These books are authentic, scurrilous and engaging. The body and mind enjoy the break from the computer screen.

I got 'Digital Marketing for Dummies' for my Kindle though ... how else can I read it in the bath while holding a coffee in my right hand (I am right handed) and 'the book' in my left, perfectly able to flick on through pages with my thumb.

Design isn't just programming when it comes to software.

Compare Mac to PC. Mac not only works, but it is obvious, intuitive and often beautiful to look at.

We are so used to the extraordinary simplicity of Google, YouTube and Facebook that we baulk if a piece of software, perhaps Open Source, doesn't have the look and feel of the familiar. It IS a DESIGN issue, as in creating a love affair with the object that has both form and function, rather than function alone.

Compendium; it is versatile, engaging and intelligent ... but could it dress better and be more intuitive and less 'nerdy' ?

Rethinking%20Pedagogy%20for%20a%20Digital%20Age.JPG

More from Sharpe and Beetham:

'The use of technologies can compound existing differences among learners due to their gender, culture and first language'. Beetham and Sharpe (2007)

I like this too:

Learners cannot therefore be treated as a bundle of disparate needs: they are actors, not factors, in the learning situation. (ibid)

And this:

They make sense of the tasks they are set in terms of their own goals and perspectives, and they may experience tasks quite differently if digital technologies – with all the social and cultural meanings that they carry – are involved. (ibid)

Perhaps we should be seeking advice on these feelings too, how they can get in the way of us tackling technology or a tough read/assignment. After all, if motivated, people will overcome such problems, but if we become demotivated it is habit forming.

REFERENCE

Beetham, H and Sharpe, R 'Rethinking Pedagogy for the digital age'. (2007)

p.s. This book needs an emotionally appropriate cover. Might I suggest a design from Helen A Dalby. Personally I'd like to see academic publishers make all book iPad friendly with illustrations throughout, maybe video and some interactivity too. Why stick with the rough, when you could make it smooth and cool. Video introduction from each of the authors please ... and links to their blog.

Sharpe, R, Benfield, G., lessner, E. and de cicco, E. (2005) Scoping Study for the Pedagogy strand of the JISC e-Learning Programme, Bristol: JISC. Online. Available. www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name+elearning pedagogy

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H800: 44 Week 8 Activity 2. An approach to learning activity design

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 26 Feb 2012, 06:08

Notes on Beetham Chapter 2 An approach to learning activity design.

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I've found this the chapter on ‘an approach to learning activity design’ from Helen Beetham profound and invaluable.

Helen Beetham is a Research Consultant to the JISC e-Learning Programme. Previously she was a Research Fellow in e-learning at the Open University.

The profound revelations I feel I have had concern three projects to 'reinvent learning' with interactive then web-based learning in the 1990s and 2000s that I am familiar with (I was in the production company or agency doing something else, or know the person and the project's history).

And the sense I wanted from MAODE of the history of education which I sum up as:

1 to 1 the governess and/or then tutor of the aristocracy. 17th century (and earlier, and well into the 20th)

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Samuel Daniel was a court poet and amongst others tutored Lady Anne Clifford. A copy of his miniature was inserted in Lady Annes 1646 'Great Picture' that told her life story/struggle.

1 to many in schools (both private and state maintained). (For wealthy families who couldn't afford the tutors ... the 'public' schools of Britain from the 16th century, followed by the Victorian & Edwardian schools for all).

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1 to 1 or many to many (depending on how you look at it) which brings back a good deal of the 1 to 1 that the likes of Princess Elizabeth might have had in the 16th century, through peer-support you have your time with a subject matter expert (if they will indulge you) ... and time with people with very different experiences and insights that can be better at giving your thinking a jolt ... or if we will indulge each other through 'social educational networking'.

I appreciate the history of education goes back further to Greece, Mesopotamia and even hunter gatherer societies on the plains of Africa.From Marketing to the Social Web. Larry Webber.

My feeling is that technology isn't as novel as we think; in fact it is enabling what used to occur in closer nit learning groups embedded in society.

I wonder if I should be looking at learning patterns from the Bantu in the Congo and apply that to teenagers wishing to learn using mobile devices in the 21st century, the urban jungle and chase replacing the forests, bore hunts and multiple relationships.

There is a lot to think about. I see learning design as akin to designing and growing a maize maze. One this is in place you have choices regarding whether guide an individual around your labyrinth by calling out ‘left!’, ‘right!’ or just ‘hot!’ or ‘cold!’ while others you leave to figure out their own way through. There will be graded outcomes that require exiting the maze, others where they never leave and yet others where they exit where right they came in – all depending on the activities, the learners and the desired outcomes.

The emphasis, from Beetham’s point of view, is that with learning design should be on learners, the activities they do (not tasks) and the outcomes. Beetham (2007).

Activities, not the tools used or the supporting materials, matter the most.

Whatever way you plan, develop and scaffold learners will do the activities their own way - in different contexts people learn in different ways which raises issues for activity design Beetham (2007).

I ask myself:

· How prescriptive should you be?

· How confining should the parameters be?

· What degree of latitude is offered?

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The learning activities may be any combination of associative, constructive or situative. Learners will develop their understanding as a result of consolidation and practice, drawing on their strengths and preferences and a repertoire of approaches. Beetham (2007) e.g. an apprentice learns in an associative way be rehearsing skills and concepts.

REFERENCE

Beetham, H, and Sharpe, R (2007) Rethinking Pedagogy for the digital age.

 

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H800: 22 Reflecting on H800

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 10 Mar 2013, 00:26

How goes it?

Like a roller-coaster, merrily going along, like the C4 ident:through the loops of a roller-coaster though the shapes I see are 'H' and '800' and '807' and '808' as I pass by.

Then I switch track and venue and find myself on the Mouse-Trap. Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Here there is a rise and dip where you are convinced you will hit a girder. I just did, metaphorically speaking. (Diary entry, August 1980)

Ilness changes things

Nothing more than a rubbish cold made uncomfortable by asthma.

It is a set back of sorts. I can sleep and read. But the spark has gone (for now).

To use a different analogy, if I often think of my mind as a Catherine-wheel, this one has come off and landed in a muddy-puddle.

We're in the week of metaphors for learning.

I can draw on any notes I've taken on this here and in my eportfolio. This is more than an aide-memoire, it favours the choices I made before at the expense of anything new. So I widen my search. The OU Library offers hundreds of thousands of references in relation to 'Education' and 'Metaphor' going back to 1643.

Gathering my thoughts will take time.

There are 26 pages (nearly 12,000 words) to read (course intro, resources). Far, far more if I even start to consider ANY of the additional references or reading.

Give me three months. We have, or I have left, three days.

My approach is simple. Tackle it on the surface, drill into an author or topic that is of interest and expect to pick up on and pick through this again later this module, later this year ... or next existence. (I believe in multiple existences and flux. We are transitory and changing)

As well as tapping into the OU Blog and e-portfolio the blog I've kept since 1999 might have something to say on metaphor. If I care to I might even rummage through A'Level English Literature folders from the 1970s, just to trigger something. Engaged and enabled by Vygotsky and others in relation to memory and learning I value this ability to tap into past thoughts/studying with ease.

(Ought others to be sold the idea of a life-long blog?)

Otherwise I have gone from learn to swim in the training pool, to swimming lengths in the main pool ... to observer/coach who will participate, but has a towel over his shoulders and is looking around.

The next pool? Where is that?

I'm not the same person who set out on this journey 12 months ago.

On the other hand, having a Kindle makes me feel more like a teenager swotting for an Oxbridge examination; I like having several books on the go. I'll be through 'Educational Psychology (Vygotsky) by the end of the day and am already picking through and adding to copious notes.

Piaget next?

Then a little kite-boarding as I head away from the swimming pool that has been an MA with the OU?!

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H800: 20 Wk2 Learner-Centred Pedagogy in challenging environments

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 12:31

H800 Wk2 Activity 5

BHUTAN

The Royal University of Bhutan has been established for 2 years. In some respect it is like the University of the Highlands in the UK, but students have to relocate so that they can study their chosen subject as they have no online technology beyond email exchange.

The issues in relation to introducing new teaching methods and technology include:

• sceptical of distance learning

• not used to the Western values of :

• +curiosity

• +rationality

• +creative approaches to learning.

The response to this should be to:

• Experiment with web-based solutions and wireless Internet.

• Nurture progressive and open education within the limits of the technology.

NEPAL

95% students attend Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu which has been established for 50 years. 89% of the population lives in villages with only 2% attending higher education.

Like Bhutan teaching methods are conservative with memorisation and exams. (Instructivist) and they:

• Can’t see worth of the degree.

• Scepticism

• Poor Internet.

The response to this has been to:

  • Experimenting with video links and wireless Internet

In contrast, in Africa, the University of Malawi has tackled the inherent problems of geography, demand, traditional teaching methods and poor resourcing with a willingness to try new things, championed by the Vice Principal (even if some of the rest of the senior management are negative). The result has seen a successfully adaption of more learner-centred approaches to teaching mid-wifery and agriculture, with more use of CD-Rom than unreliable Internet and digitised Open Educational Resources to overcome copyright issues and handling/storing/lending textbooks.

The University of Malawi UNIMA was established on independence in (1964). It has four colleges and a polytechnic. Demand for places has grown whilst access to physical and human resources is fixed for example, in 2009, 5,600 sat the exam for 1,152 places,

PROBLEMS INCLUDE

• A quota for spatial diversity (and its legal validity/value)

• Inadequate supply of copyrighted textbook leading to demand on reserve section of libraries and old books being rebound many times

RESPONSE

• Use of Open Education Resources (OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or released under a copyright licence that permits their use and or re-purposing by others).

‘To include full courses, course readings, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge’. (The Use of Open Education Resources at the University of Malawi (UNIMA)p2

• train staff so they can exploit e-learning strategies

• overcome problems related to large class size

• provide students access to affordable, quality learning resources. (ibid p2)

 

UNIVERSITY OF MALAWI COLLEGE OF NURSING

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The College of Nursing developed a course that would move students away from having a purely theoretical knowledge to being able to apply their skills and knowledge clinically.

• Aim for one third theory and two thirds practical skills

• Incorporate a problem-based learning (PBL) approach.

OVERCOMING PROBLEMS

• Support to teach in a different way.

• Minimised any dependency on connectivity by using CDROMs

KEY CHANGE IN PEDAGOGY

‘The final product included an orientation section, which introduced the PBL methodology and spelled out how student involvement was different from traditional learning methods’. (ibid p6)

PROBLEMS WITH CHANGE

Piloted in February 2010, the midwifery learning environment generated a high level of interest among students.

Uptake in using the materials was slow as staff and students had to adapt to a different methodology of teaching and learning. However, a second piloting of the course occurred between June and August 2010 with a group of midwifery diploma students.

‘Integrating the PBL methodology might take some time, but there is growing consensus at KCN that using OER is a cost-effective way of creating high quality teaching and learning materials’. (ibid p6)

However, problems with Internet connectivity often made access difficult. (ibid p7)

BUNDA COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE

• A series of writing workshops facilitated by OER Africa/IADP assisted

• BCA staff to source, analyse, and adapt a variety of existing

• OER to help craft the textbook.

Products and Outcomes

While it initially proved difficult to wean the writing team off their familiar copyrighted texts, the BCA team felt afterwards that there is a role for OER in the production of university texts.

ISSUES

• Time to search for and developed OER • Bandwidth at the college inadequate • Lack of senior management buy in • Lack of funding

SUCCESS DUE TO:

• Champion for ICT in Dr Emmanuel Fabiano

• Willingness to experiment and build on lessons learned

• Project funders OSISA, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Ford Foundation.

REFERENCE:

The Use of Open Education Resources at the University of Malawi (UNIMA) 2009

Author/researcher: Andrew Moore & Donna Preston.

Editor: Neil Butcher & Lindsay Barnes

 

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New Word : Screde

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 11:57

In the context of the superfluous legalese we are meant to read and agree to before buying something online.

Half an hour ago the FT journalist who was interviewed mixed the words 'script' and 'crede' to produce a new word: 'screde'

Something that is a corporate, rather that a religious beleif system i.e. a 'crede' that runs to several pages (six or more) i.e. script.

Result = Screde.

This kind of inventive, communicative English I applaud. The kind of language I've been reading recently on e-learning I decry.

'Elision can thus be viewed as an affordance of the tool, as well as a matter of individual approach. This affordance becomes more apparent as we move into the sphere of ‘dedicated’ e-learning tools, where LAA can continue even during LAR or LAR can be ‘rehearsed’ as part of LAA (as in LAMS’ Preview feature). The VLE project suggests that, as both design and delivery medium, VLEs invite this elision.'

This the verbatim response, I assume, to a questionnaire submited by a tutor in Business Studies and quoted in chapter four of 'Rethinking Pedagogy for E-learning' Rhona Sharpe.

I tried this having looked up these acronyms or 'initialisms'.

Does this make any more sense?

'Where Learning Activity Authoring can continue during Learning Activity Realization or Learning Activity Realization can be ‘rehearsed’ as part of Learning Activity Authoring (as in Learning Activity Management Systems’ Preview feature). The Virtual Learning Environment project suggests that, as both design and delivery medium, Virtual Learning Environments invite this elision.'

If something is not communicated clearly I suspect the person talking doesn't know what they are talking about.

 

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Paper technologies?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 12 Feb 2011, 19:07

I'm reading 'Re-thinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age' (2007) Rhona Sharpe. I came across this expression in relation to how e-learning will develop coming after hundreds of years of paper-based learning.

'When our education system is making sophisticated use of e-learning it will pervade everything we do, just as paper technology does'. Diana Laurillard.

'Paper technology?'

Sounds like origami or a pop-up book.

Have I missed something?

I guess she's saying e-learning will be as universal as paper and print by which time we'll have dropped the 'e', it'll all just be learning.

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Kindle 4

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 26 Feb 2012, 06:22

Far from saving me time, owning a kindle is obliging me to spend more time with the text.

There are no page numbers at all, they've been deleted, instead, it is done by line or word ... so (Location 870) might be how a highlighted piece of text is referenced. How I deal with this should I quote an author I don't yet know.

If it takes me as long to work through my notes and highlights as it took me to read the chapter in the first place ... then I simply accept that I have still got a heck of a lot to learn and that in good time, these points, squirreled away will bounce back into my life with a click of my fingers.

A book, for example.

Ask, a literary agent has asked.

Am I Kindled out? My contact lenses are stuck to my eyeballs and the skin under the pads of my thumb are chafed from scooting back and forth over a keyboard.

Am I learning anything though?

That a great deal of nonsence is written. That authors must be pillored if they use strings of abbreviations and terms that are not common place. Courtesy of Kindle and an e-book I was able to see, for example, how often LOM was used in the body of a book. Four times it turned out, and in three it had been written out in full and in the fourth as LOMS it meant something else.

This I my bugbear about the use of the highly technical descriptors: more, very, truly and actually.

Pedant?

That's me.

Kindle will drive some people crazy at is potential. I see a way into the minds of many authors. My son dismissed it. One of his friends, I can't get away from it.

Further insights?

There's a way to write for a Kindle. Ditch many diagrams and tables. Think in terms of graphics that would work on TV (in black and white). Write short sentences (these are good discipline).

Meanwhile I have generated 11 pages of quotes and notes (4,000 words) having so far only regurgitated my thoughts on the introduction and chapter one to Rhona Sharpe's 'Rethinking Pedagogy for the Digital Age' (2007). It's that kind of book.

Fun packed.

And valuable.

(Even if I keep disagreeing with the authors)

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