ICT reflective summary

It’s that time of the year to evaluate our outcomes and learning and look to 2012. It’s all about reflection. 

Here’s our reflective summary for ICT 2011. For our cluster milestones please refer to the Link Learning VLN group.

Ngatimoti School – ICT Reflective Summary

Background

Ngatimoti School is a rural, full primary school with a roll of 116 students. We are located 15 minutes from Motueka and are part of the Link Learning Regional Cluster, which is a group of 35 schools throughout the greater Nelson region.
Two years ago there were no student laptops at Ngatimoti School, now there are 20 and we have a handful of iPod Touches on the way. Consequently, our resource development is greatly impacting our ICT learning and direction.Aims and Purpose* Cluster goal: Support Lead Teachers in building schools’ and teachers’ capability to use eLearning to engage children and involve families.

* Schoolwide goal: Enhance eLearning opportunities to engage students and develop home-school partnerships.

* Intentions – Unpacking our goal
1) Support teachers to effectively integrate ICT into their classroom programmes
2) Using ICT to collaborate and share ideas within and across classes
3) Explore ICT assessment options
4) Develop our home-school connections and learning opportunities
5) Develop ICT to further assist administration processes between home and school

Interventions and Actions

1) Support teachers to effectively integrate ICT into their classroom programmes
– Reintroduced class blogs as learning hubs Room2 Blog
– Registered and trained teachers to navigate and use DigiStore resources
– Introduced techie time that was specific to the needs and goals of teachers
– Created a wiki to document and support our ICT learning path Ngatimoti ICT Wiki
– Assisted planning learning with a variety of media options

2) Using ICT to collaborate and share ideas within and across classes
– Created and used class gmail accounts
– Used Google docs for idea gathering, sharing and reflecting
– Used a variety of media to explore and share ideas – Garageband, iPhoto, iMovie, Voicethread, QR codes & Prezi
– Facilitated student-directed blogging for class or personal blogs
– Linked blogs to other classes and commented on others’ blogs regularly
– Some classes commented on blogs, emailed or Skyped contacts in other countries

3) Explore ICT assessment options
– Set up a new SMS: eTap and use data for improving student achievement
– Used E-asTTle for maths to assist in grouping, individual learning pathways and next steps

4) Develop our home-school partnership and learning opportunities
– Provided opportunities for students to learn at home through Cluster ICT – Photography Competition
– Encouraged parents to comment on class blogs
– Parents reflected on student-led conferences through ICT

5) Develop ICT to further assist administration processes between home and school
– Emailing newsletter
– Online banking options
– Texting for absences

Impact on students, teachers and whanau

– Teachers have been able to provide their students with a range of learning opportunities through ICT.
– Teachers’ confidence in their own abilities has increased and some see a different ‘ICT potential’.
– Teachers initiate ICT discussions and share new learning without prompting.
– Student engagement, interest in learning and self-direction has improved across the school.
– Student confidence in using programmes and technologies has improved.
– Student independence and research skills have increased.
– Parents enjoy knowing what is being learnt to assist at home (even though they don’t comment every time!!!)
– There is a significant increase in the number of parents using email, online banking and texting for day-to-day communication and administration.

Challenges

– It took time to for the teachers and students to master programmes
– Finite digital hardware resources – so we shared and booked ICT resources in advance of needing them
– Server and wireless problems – overcame with work from our school technician who knows our system
– Diverse needs and range of abilities of staff and students
– Wanting to align technical and learning components of eLearning
– Not all families with internet and only a few with broadband at home

Next steps

As a staff of lifelong learners we are going to now turn our ICT professional development focus in a variety of ways including:

– Continuing to collaborate on the wiki to document our journey
– Deciding on an ICT medium that interests us personally, become an expert in and share with the rest of the staff
– Using EduBlogs as part of appraisal in 2012. See here for a few ideas behind this.
– Continuing to reflect through Ngatimoti Lead Teacher reflective blog.
– Continuing to look for ways to develop home-school partnerships through ICT. Looking for opportunities to develop home school partnership by gaining ideas from the summary of ideas offered from discussion in the Home School Partnership Group on the VLN recorded on this Google Doc.
– Developing connections across the regional, national and global eLearning communities.

1:1 device discussion

I am fascinated by the current discourse around compulsory devices for students.

On one hand I can understand the benefits of having access to a wide range of learning and research materials online, student motivation and differentiated learning due to media opportunities. Students could potentially initiate and direct their own learning pathways, transforming their own learning. What types of scaffolding would need to be in place for this to happen? How does this tie in with the NCEA standards and requirements? Is this constrained to the secondary sector or could it be as beneficial in primary contexts?

On the other hand, how can consistent 1:1 device use provide significant opportunities for learning through social interaction? I wonder how much this shows us about the pedagogical models that we rely on. What about thinking interdependently? In his TED talk, Sugata Mitra shared some of his findings of the ‘hole in the wall’ project. He found that a ratio of 1:4 for a device was most beneficial for achieving learning potential. Is the interdependence with the device or the relationships with others that they can access through their device?

I wonder where it will all lead… How will learning devices be used in 10 years?

 

References

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html

The debate on 1:1 – ICT & Procurement, Vol. 2 Issue 5, Education Review Series, 2011.

Effective Feedback

On a learning journey how does one know they’re on the road to their goal?

A learning process is not necessary linear, but divergent and evolving with the learner. So what is it that closes the gap? What makes feedback effective? As part of my teaching inquiry I have been contemplating what effective feedback is. I would like to share some of my musings at this stage.

What is feedback?

Feedback has a times been seen as a component of formative assessment, something that focuses on the details of content and performance providing a formal or informal procedure from which to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment. Askew adopts a broad definition of feedback which “includes all dialogue to support learning both formal and informal situations”. Absolum observes feedback to be one of the key strategies that promote further learning which is intended to “focus attention on aspects of features of the learning context, to increase the salience of those features, to reduce the gap”. A recurring theme when looking at effective feedback seems to be ‘close the gap’.

What is ‘the gap’?

Feedback is evidence about what students are learning, why they are learning it and how they are going. The gap lies between what they are learning to do and achieving or mastering the learning goal. How they are going towards that learning goal is what assists us as educators to provide helpful feedback. Thus feedback is ‘just for me’ information that is communicated ‘just in time’ to be as effective as possible. It can be shared in various forms such as prompts, explanations or reinforcements.

Levels of feedback

According to Hattie and Masters, there are four levels of feedback.

1) Task level – feedback about how well a task is being accomplished or performed

2) Process level – feedback is about the processes underlying the tasks

3) Self-regulation – feedback is about the way students monitor, direct and regulate actions with confidence in their learning

4) Self – feedback is praise unrelated to task or learning

Effective feedback

Is there a time and place for each level of feedback or is there a specific level that we can be aiming to use?  From a constructivist perspective, different levels of feedback could be relevant for different stages in learning. For example, when a student is learning new material task-specific feedback could be of assistance. In comparison, when a student is has a high degree of proficiency self-regulated feedback may be more relevant. I wonder how autonomous this process could be.The degree of self-motivation and ownership that is possible in self-regulated feedback makes me wonder if predominantly using this type of feedback assists teachers to make learning more student-directed. Perhaps they’re not mutually exclusive, perhaps its a matter of a time, place and knowing your students. 

Reciprocal learning feedback

Askew et al introduce the idea that the teaching model being used drastically changes the type of feedback that is it possible to share. In a receptive-transmission model feedback is gifted from the expert to the learner to evaluate and help them improve. At the other end of the continuum a co-constructivist model provides expanded dialogue connecting participants reciprocally to “illuminate learning for all”.

So feedback then works both ways; it is simply another example of reciprocal teaching and learning in the classroom. Recently I modelled various ways of teaching writing then asked the students in my class how they preferred to learn about writing. At times writing had been fully integrated with our topic learning, at other times I had taught a writing group rotation system and my third example had been whole class modeling then I roamed and took groups when needed. I asked students what worked for them and why and was astounded at the degree of depth in which they discussed and debated how writing should be run and why. We realised different students preferred different styles and then came up with a new and improved model to trial and evaluate. Needless to say, I am endeavouring to co-construct this type of feedback on a regular basis and am interested in the possibilities it provides.

So after exploring feedback, where is its place? In the recent MOE Assessment Position paper it outlines the need for assessment to be used formatively. “Assessment not used formatively is not worth doing.” Perhaps this could be extended to say all assessment needs to be used formatively with the learner in a co-constructive way. This could inspire effective feedback that illuminates learning for all.

If you have read this far into my pedagogical musings around  feedback then …hmm let’s see, what type of feedback works for you as a lifelong learner? I would greatly appreciate any thoughts and ideas other educators have about effective feedback.

 

References:

John Hattie and Debra Masters – Visible Learning Plus http://www.visiblelearningplus.com/index.php/the-team

Michael Absolum – Clarity in the Classroom http://www.mightyape.co.nz/search/0/Michael+Absolum/?gclid=CIeD29X3xasCFUw0QgodAQ7h0A

Ministry of Education – Assessment Position Paper

http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/PublicationsAndResources/AssessmentPositionPaper.aspx

Sue Askew et al – Feedback for Learning http://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=sFrHGz2NcU8C&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=feedback+%22primary+education%22&ots=nIl62MZo-8&sig=BPcgzDFcoKsa6rkbzubPncwflog#v=onepage&q=feedback%20%22primary%20education%22&f=false 

Measuring assessment

Last week I was having a conversation with a student in my class about measurement or rather different forms of measurement. He commented that measurement had infinite possibilities, because everyone could come up with ‘gazillions’ of ways to measure the same thing.

Recently this comment has had me thinking about assessment for learning.

What is the point of assessment?

I think assessment is intended to be signposting along a learning pathway whose first and foremost function is to support the learner.

I have heard the sentiment among some teachers that “we’re doing … tests because they are fast to administer and easy to mark.” Is this what we really believe is best for the learners of today? Do we want assessment that measures where one is placed within a finite learning continuum in a specified area – a standardised or benchmark system? Yes we need to know where students are ‘at’ but how beneficial is the boxed system? Surely we have all see the limitations. I have seen students with learning difficulties struggle and become disillusioned with learning after gaining such labels. Is is worth it or is there another way?

The Role of Triangulation

Triangulation of information from various formal and informal assessment avenues sheds light on a larger component of a student’s learning. This Assessment Position Paper unpacks this in detail.

http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/PublicationsAndResources/AssessmentPositionPaper.aspx

I appreciate the balance of both informal and formal assessment in this context but realistically though – how many teachers actually collect at least 4 forms of assessment to make a overall teacher judgement? The lack of student direction in this context also concerns me.

Individualism

Can we take this a step further? Let’s pop back to the infinite possibilities of measurement idea. In measuring one’s height we deal directly with metric or imperial units, but we have other options. We can state one’s height proportionally compared to one’s height at a previous time, compared to another person’s height or in the number of one’s hand widths.

I wonder if assessment in education can become that divergent. Suppose that students created their learning pathways and are supported to create and reflect on the signposts along the way. Surely that is what student direction actually is, not just making up their own inquiry question. We can provide opportunities for students to collect their own evidence of learning, facilitate feedback mostly in the form of questioning so students can source their own conclusions, reflect and create their own next steps.

I would be interested to find out what this looks like in other teachers’ learning contexts.

 

Hello world!

Welcome to your brand new blog at Edublogs.

To get started, simply log in, edit or delete this post and check out all the other options available to you.

Also, if not already, please consider becoming an Edublogs Pro User – you can easily create and manage additional blogs (which also get extra themes and mobile blogging – perfect for students!), a massive storage space of 10GB for files, images, and videos, and access great features such as wikis and forums and many additional ‘Plugins’.

And you get premium email support and over 130 extra cool themes too.

Pro users are what keeps Edublogs running and providing free blogs for education, so give it a go today 🙂

For assistance, visit our comprehensive support site, check out our getting started with Edublogs guide or stop by The Edublogs Forums to chat with other edubloggers.

You can also subscribe to our brilliant free publication, The Edublogger, which is jammed with helpful tips, ideas and more.

And finally, if you like Edublogs but want to be able to simply create, administer, control and manage hundreds of student and teacher blogs at your school or college, check out Edublogs Campus… it’s like Edublogs in a box, all for you.

Thanks again for signing up with Edublogs!