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Presentation (draft version) on autonomy - reAct final conference - Valencia Oct 10 2012
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Presentation (draft version) on autonomy - reAct final conference - Valencia Oct 10 2012

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This presentation will be given as an introduction to the round-table discussion on autonomy (in learning) during the reAct final conference on Oct 10, 2012. More info: http://reactproject.eu

This presentation will be given as an introduction to the round-table discussion on autonomy (in learning) during the reAct final conference on Oct 10, 2012. More info: http://reactproject.eu

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  • Img link: http://dogcareland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/dog-training.jpg
  • Link image: http://strambinha.files.wordpress.com/2006/07/jacksonpollock_autumnrhythmnumber30_1950_.jpg?w=500&h=251
  • 2 ends of the spectrum: Teacher controls procedures: is it really autonomy? example: project based learning as we know from literature Bottom line: the learner knows what is expected from him, and is conditioned to follow the path set out by the teacher in an autonomous way. We can ask: is this not another form of regulated learning? Chaotic learning environment Learner has to set its own objectives, make rules, plan, organize, develop, create groups, etc. Teacher facilitates all these processes, but tries to leave as much control as possible to the students Kaospilots image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f9/KaosPilots_Logo.PNG
  • Learning to learn: a major objective, in addition to increasing motivation to learn, is increasing the ability to learn. Your ability to learn depends not only on remembering stuff, or following procedures set out by a teacher, but to develop procedures and adopt tools that fit your personal learning environment. You need at least some freedom over setting procedures to be able to do that.Also, student motivation increases when they sense they have control over their own learning, without getting lost.
  • A generic outline -> leaving lots of freedom to the teachers to apply however they think is best in their situation. We have organized several teacher trainig days in the different countries in order to prepare them, and tried to organize frequent, informal communication through Facebook and email.
  • Img MIX http://www.mixacademy.nl/blog/wp-content/uploads/fly-pur-2-440x600.jpgImgBerlage http://www.fotomovo.nl/images/stories/berlage-scholengemeenschap-hdr-0615201513152215.jpg
  • intro MIX The reAct methodology is in part based on the MIX approach, so therefore we chose to evaluate it as well. what kind of students Many of them dropouts with problematic background. Not all of them however. what do they learn? Meta: learning to learn, developing an entrepreneurial mindset, learning about themselves/their qualities and interests Content: different art and design streams, techniques, market analysis Essentials of the MIX 3-year program in which they start with exploration, diverging, and narrowing to a specific area later in the program. Reflection, intervision, and self-exploration Creativity and the freedom to try things out Content - learning different techniques and theories Self-directed: you decide the direction of the learning
  • Some example/approaches to autonomy Patience: the most remarkable thing was that the MIX Academy had time to wait. It was deliberately not an accredited institution, so they had the freedom to really focus on the needs of the students, rather than the needs of the curriculum. The students did get all the time and opportunity to explore and find out what they wanted. Almost all of them went to a period in which they blamed the teachers and the institution for their discomfort, but all of them in the end found a way to be able to navigate through the chaos and freedom, and found a particular topic that they really wanted to explore. Motivation went from very low to very high, and that was sustained throughout the period. Overall perspective: Ralph was always able to explain the overall perspective and the reasons for doing it. He reminded them regularly. Structure, but lots of space for students to explore. Teacher/Expert feedback. No grades are given, only qualitative feedback is given, sometimes very honestly, about the work of the learners. Industry experts are regularly invited to hold sessions and share their experiences 'in real life'.\r\nTeachers are really facilitators. They are trained to wait, not to step in too early. Group reflection + p2p learning: at least once a week, an in-depth group discussion was organized in which the students were going to ask each other about their works, the meaning, and what they wanted to say with it. It was done because it helps the student going further, improving, get better. It also learns them to cooperate and to communicate about themselves and their work, something that is very difficult.\r\nAnother aspect is the p2p learning aspect. Students are supposed to help each other. Some students were not interested in sharing or accepting advice. But overall successful. Creativity as a central element from which conversation starts: artists are supposed to make things that make you think. The creation itself is resembles a thought from the artist, and that thought can be used to advance knowledge about oneself. When you are true to yourself, you are much better able to direct your own life and learning. Teacher open for change: request feedback from students, hold meetings to extract those from students. Adapt when necessary. Change of environment: very important to change the environment, go out regularly, be active physically. An interesting activity was organized during the Occupy protests, also in Amsterdam. Students were asked to go there, and find out about the image of the protesters. Next, they went into a very expensive shopping center, and looked around at the image of the expensive brands. Then they had to reflect about their own image or brand as an artist. Entrepreneurship: Each semester ends with a party and exhibition that is organized entirely by the students themselves (of different years). The exhibition takes about a week, and people can buy art work. Some students made a couple of hunderd euros.
  • Perceptions and expectations Description: If learners do not know why they are doing what they are doing, the motivation to continue can easily drop. There are cultural differences between learners with regard to what their perception is on learning and education. In a classroom, learners compare themselves with what they are taught, with their past, and what peers are doing. They are influenced by that, so if you propose something radically different, they might enjoy it, but they also might easily resist to the activity. Strategy: Ask students to define what a project looks like, about the processes involved. Point out that being able to self-direct one's learning is one of the most important skills one can possess. Explain the general objectives of the project - which is the process itself. Describe the larger picture: managing one's own life. Becoming self-sufficient. Becoming an entrepreneur. Img: http://www.disputeabout.eu/dwn/1003/26447en_USI_QuestionMark.jpg
  • Perceptions and expectations Description: If learners do not know why they are doing what they are doing, the motivation to continue can easily drop. There are cultural differences between learners with regard to what their perception is on learning and education. In a classroom, learners compare themselves with what they are taught, with their past, and what peers are doing. They are influenced by that, so if you propose something radically different, they might enjoy it, but they also might easily resist to the activity. Strategy: Ask students to define what a project looks like, about the processes involved. Point out that being able to self-direct one's learning is one of the most important skills one can possess. Explain the general objectives of the project - which is the process itself. Describe the larger picture: managing one's own life. Becoming self-sufficient. Becoming an entrepreneur.
  • Self-efficacy and confidence Description: One's confidence can easily diminish when you are supposed to do something different. This can affect the motivation and atmosphere. Not many students have the experience of doing personal projects. Strategy: Create an environment where one can ask questions and make mistakes by pointing out what goes well, and not focusing on outcomes. Also, adopt a gradual approach toward autonomy, making students more confident. Involve more advanced students to help out with the process. http://elizabethadebayo.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/simpsons_scared.gif
  • Self-efficacy and confidence Description: One's confidence can easily diminish when you are supposed to do something different. This can affect the motivation and atmosphere. Not many students have the experience of doing personal projects. Strategy: Create an environment where one can ask questions and make mistakes by pointing out what goes well, and not focusing on outcomes. Also, adopt a gradual approach toward autonomy, making students more confident. Involve more advanced students to help out with the process.
  • Interest and goal-setting Description: Does the learner know where to go? If a learner has no idea whatsoever what he/she wants to do, the potential of 'interest-based' learning is gone. Strategy: Time is necessary to develop a better understanding of oneself. If there is little time, let students explore different topics and create collages online or offline that visualize different interests. Ask them to choose from one. Are goals defined by the learner or the teacher? http://newspaper.li/static/2bceb608a2f4f9b2bb9905a1b32f21d5.jpg
  • (Meta-cognitive) skills and experience Description: How capable are the learners of planning, of developing procedures? Of collaborating? How much time do they need to develop these skills? Strategy: You can address the lack of meta-cognitive skills in different ways. First, you can structure the project in a way that they are less needed, so the teacher does the planning, procedures, learning environment design, etc. Or, you are flexible in the objectives, and focus on supporting learners to establish a personal learning environment. http://members.shaw.ca/donlockwood/images/metamap.jpg
  • (Meta-cognitive) skills and experience Description: How capable are the learners of planning, of developing procedures? Of collaborating? How much time do they need to develop these skills? Strategy: You can address the lack of meta-cognitive skills in different ways. First, you can structure the project in a way that they are less needed, so the teacher does the planning, procedures, learning environment design, etc. Or, you are flexible in the objectives, and focus on supporting learners to establish a personal learning environment.
  • Teacher readiness Description: Is the teacher experienced in facilitating projects? Does he/she have experience in project management? In fact, most teachers have difficulties outlining the basic steps of a project. What are the ICT skills of the teachers involved? Strategy: Develop and provide a clear procedure to teachers to follow, and define roles and activities that are essential to a process. Develop a minimal set of easy-to-use tools students can use for their projects and make sure the teachers know about them and their function. Students can of course diverge from those tools. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xUK4-D7N0HQ/TmI4qTFo6CI/AAAAAAAAASw/d3BOTq3PlrQ/s1600/are_you_ready_01.jpg
  • http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8atG94qG7VE/TznMapybXlI/AAAAAAAAASY/LzWykK9usU0/s1600/are_you_ready_03.jpg
  • The group(s) of students Description: the group size, its characteristics, and cohesion do matter when you want them to work and learn autonomously. Strategy: when dealing with a large group, try to work in smaller groups and employ collaboration techniques like defining roles for different students (for instance, a monitor who tracks progress with each group). http://www.planetfootball360.com/images/Pics_Team/EQUIPE_VALENCE.jpg
  • The group(s) of students Description: the group size, its characteristics, and cohesion do matter when you want them to work and learn autonomously. Strategy: when dealing with a large group, try to work in smaller groups and employ collaboration techniques like defining roles for different students (for instance, a monitor who tracks progress with each group).
  • Social environment Description: Students are easily influenced by their social environment, including peers, parents, other teachers, and friends. Integrate the social environment of learners as much as possible. Strategy: Involvement of other teachers, parents, classes is important because the project must be something that lives outside the classroom hours dedicated to it. Send out a leaflet to parents, organize a tea, involve other classes in the student projects (ie through research), try to steer toward projects that involve parents, other learners, etc. http://www.mindmapart.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/perceptual-influence-mind-map.gif
  • Social environment Description: Students are easily influenced by their social environment, including peers, parents, other teachers, and friends. Integrate the social environment of learners as much as possible. Strategy: Involvement of other teachers, parents, classes is important because the project must be something that lives outside the classroom hours dedicated to it. Send out a leaflet to parents, organize a tea, involve other classes in the student projects (ie through research), try to steer toward projects that involve parents, other learners, etc.
  • Physical environment Description: The physical environment can be either boring or stimulating. A stimulating environment increases the motivation and therefore level of autonomy. Strategy: More than once it was mentioned that a change of environment can really benefit the overall motivaiton and engagement, and thereby stimulating students to broaden their perspecitves, to go out and learn. Do not confine the project to a classroom, but think broader. Let students interview people in the streets.
  • Institutional environment Description: The institutional environment concern the implications of restrictions, rules and regulations that have to be complied, including curriculum alignment, grading and assessment, etc. It is about the freedom and time you have as a school or institution in allowing things to happen without restrictions. Strategy: If there are curriculum restrictions, there are various possibilities for organizing an autonomous learning project, including organizing it as an extra-curricular project, as a inter-class project, so spanning the different projects, or, you can just be very disobedient and disregard use your own interpretation of the regulations. http://thepeninsulairelandblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/restrictions.jpg
  • Institutional environment Description: The institutional environment concern the implications of restrictions, rules and regulations that have to be complied, including curriculum alignment, grading and assessment, etc. It is about the freedom and time you have as a school or institution in allowing things to happen without restrictions. Strategy: If there are curriculum restrictions, there are various possibilities for organizing an autonomous learning project, including organizing it as an extra-curricular project, as a inter-class project, so spanning the different projects, or, you can just be very disobedient and disregard use your own interpretation of the regulations. Management Description: Strong support from management is essential and truly motivates teachers to adopt a new methodology. Strategy: introduce the teachers into the methodology and refer to the 21st century skills and innovation in learning. Ask for at least 6 hours per week to work on the project, and access to high-quality ICT equipment.
  • http://www.digitalbirmingham.co.uk/uploaded_images/1231428369-Help.JPG

Transcript

  • 1. Balancing autonomy and structure Some outcomes of the reAct project
  • 2. Intro• Thieme Hennis – reAct project – Factors to address in preparation for an autonomous classroom• Ms. Davinia Hernandez Leo – QuesTInSitu (The Signal Orchestration System) – ICT-based orchestration of structured learning activity flows as a way to foster students‟ autonomy: a contradiction?• Mr. Juan Carlos González González – PROJECT ELVIN – A new approach to the practice of the target language in language learning• Mrs. Teresa Guasch – eLene2Learn – Exploring and promoting the contribution of ICT and digital media to the development of learning to learn competencies in lifelong learning.
  • 3. My Talk• Balancing structure and autonomy – What are factors we should keep in mind when designing for autonomy in the classroom? – How to deal with CHAOS!?
  • 4. 2 approaches to autonomy• Structured: • Chaotic: process procedures and less defined, more outcomes defined flexible, learners in by teacher control.
  • 5. Why important?• Learning to learn – Developing your own procedures, managing groups, personalizing your learning environment (PLE)• Motivation – Control over learning – Danger: „feeling lost‟
  • 6. reAct approach to autonomy• Project based• Interest based• Creative• Learner controlbut...• Adaptation to local circumstances  different implementations
  • 7. 2 pilots: MIX Academy & Berlage Lyceum• 2 entirely different schools in Amsterdam• How do they approach autonomy? What problems do they have? What can we learn from them?
  • 8. MIX Ac• Art Academy in Amsterdam, many dropouts• Key points – Learner identity - inter- dependence – From creative self- exploration to self- direction & expression• Topics – Art & Design – Entrepreneurship, branding & identity building, critical thinking, collaboration
  • 9. Is art education a good example of what education should be like?
  • 10. MIX Approach to autonomy“provide the overall perspective”“entrepreneurship: earning while learning”“be patient – identity doesnot develop overnight”“no grades – only qualitative feedback”“involvement of industry experts”“group reflection”“provide structure and rhythm”“change of environment”
  • 11. Berlage• Group of very demotivated migrant kids• Key points – Standard curriculum• Learners – Perception on education traditional – Learning difficulties and lacking basic skills in ICT, language, etc.• Key outcomes – Personal relevance, managing collaboration, setting expectations, project management support is needed
  • 12. Berlage approach to autonomy “starting with inspiration” “arranging interships based on interest” “using Social Media to communicate” “Prezi, Pinterest, Facebook” “More structured/pushy” “International exchange” “focus on creative expression”
  • 13. How to approach autonomy?• 10 lessons from the reAct experience
  • 14. 1/Perceptions and expectations from the project• Do I know what I am doing?• Does the student know what he/she is going to learn?• Cultural/educational values?
  • 15. Manage expectations• ASK STUDENTS – What they expect – What they already know – What they want• Curiosity: Point out inconsistencies in their knowledge – challenge them• Process: Keep a clear rhythm and link goals with their own objectives• Context: Provide the larger picture, illustrate with real life examples
  • 16. 2/Confidence• New situation: – Discomfort – Affects motivation and atmosphere (+/-) – Little confidence
  • 17. Open environment• Create an environment … – …where students can ask any question – … positive outcomes are reinforced – …with low thresholds and you can go step-by-step (scaffolding) – …p2p-learning
  • 18. 3/Interests? Goals?• Does the learner know what he/she wants?
  • 19. Finding (common) goals• Give some time for orientation, to explore, connect, reflect• Creative exploration (collage / Pinterest)• Create realistic goals based on interests and time
  • 20. 4/Experience and meta- cognitive skills• Students‟ capabilities?• What relevant/required experience (ICT, project management, collaboration)?
  • 21. More structure or more time?• More time – … to explore, learn necessary skills, develop understanding• More structure – … to streamline process, create output (and feedback)• Strategy depends on… – …time „available‟ – …skillset and diversity of the students – …objectives of the project/course
  • 22. 5/Teacher ‘readiness’• Teacher experience with project facilitation?• ICT skills of the teacher?
  • 23. Teacher training and clear procedures• Teacher should be prepared – Training – Manuals and guidelines to facilitate student-led projects – Practice with ICT
  • 24. 6/Group characteristics• What kind of group of students are you dealing with?• What is its size? Internal cohesion?
  • 25. Collaboration techniquesWith a large group…• …create smaller groups• …define roles (monitor, note-taker, &c.)• …match on similar or complementary skills and interests
  • 26. 7/Social environment• Influence by parents, peers, friends, other teachers.
  • 27. Involvement• Opportunities for projects to involve: – Parents (i.e. skills or knowledge) – Other classes (i.e. „do social research‟) – Friends (i.e. „Lifecasting‟) – Collaborate with other teachers
  • 28. 8/Physical environment• Impact on atmosphere and energy Nice example
  • 29. Real world & Change of environmentWhat is your brand?
  • 30. Change of context• Do not restrict students physically – Go out, talk to people – Visits and exhibitions – Internships• Regular change of context
  • 31. 9/Institutional environment• Rules, regulations, and restrictions?• How much time?• Official curriculum?• Management support?
  • 32. Be flexible & make friends..• Management support – Recognition (other teachers, students) – Sufficient time and space/equipment• Find a buddy• Curriculum restrictions? – Interdisciplinary: Mix & Merge topics – Extra-curricular activity
  • 33. 10/Technology• What do you want to do/support?• What facilities are there?
  • 34. Developing an initial toolset• Predict what is going to be needed ( develop scenarios) – Support – Collaboration – Communication – Creativity• Set requirements - Find tools (w. students) – Practice• Don‟t count on technology alone!• START SIMPLE (limited toolset)