Vocational net pedagogy

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Vocational net pedagogy

  1. 1. Pekka Ihanainen VOCATIONAL NET-PEDAGOGY Background A development project for cultivating vocational e-learning in vocational schools, implemented in 2007-2009. The responsible coordinator and developer in the project was HAAGA-HELIA School of Vocational Teacher Education (SVTE). Pilots and partners for the project came from an upper secondary vocational school, vocational adult education institutes and a University of Applied Sciences (UAS). The project was financed by the Ministry of Education in Finland. Project implementation and methods The purpose of the project was to develop e-learning practices in authentic study and teaching environments of vocational schools, institutes and universities. The developer partner (i.e. SVTE) actively participated in real courses and programmes in vocational fields, where the goal was to develop the e-learning included in them. Practical development contexts were: - a combination of school based and on-the-job learning supported by ICT and online guidance counseling in a nursing programme - authentic work experiences and facilitated interaction in a company training programme, - production and use of video clips in hotel, restaurant and tourism UAS studies, - mentoring and peer learning in courses implemented by the Virtual University of Applied Sciences in Finland, - phases of educational use of e-learning in a vocational teacher education programme, - production and use of a hotel business simulation, - a model for practical web-supported, on-the-job learning in UASs. The development activity carried out by HAAGA-HELIA SVTE focused on - participatory individual and group counseling in pilot projects, - organizing workshops for teachers and developers in pilot projects to share experiences and to create and renew practical knowledge in e-learning, - producing seminars with contemporary e-learning themes, e.g. on the use of social media in vocational education, - collecting experiences and data from the pilot project through questionnaires, interviews and analyses of them. The project produced three reports (in finnish) - The results of the development activity in the pilot project, - A visionary review for further steps in the development of vocational net-pedagogy, - Challenges in the development of vocational net-pedagogy for people with special needs
  2. 2. Results Practical development targets and contexts for vocational online pedagogy based on findings and experiences in pilot projects are the following. 1) Support of both teachers and students to move from traditional study/teaching methods to new orientations in which online activities have a real role. The most important factors connected with this support are attitudes and skills of management to make e-learning possible (financing, training of teachers and students etc.). 2) Collaboration of teachers. Online education is impossible in vocational institutes if teachers do not start to work in e-learning teams to organize and implement online education. 3) Interactive methods. Successful online education requires methods, which use both guided and peer based interaction of participants. The application of content resources and assignments connected with them is not enough. Different kinds of dialogues and collaborations are absolutely necessary. 4) The essential role of guidance counseling. In vocational education guidance counseling (facilitation, moderation, negotiation etc.) is the basis for active and goal-oriented interaction and collaboration. Without guidance counseling, online studies have a strong tendency to collapse. 5) Self-direction of students. In vocational virtual studies students have to possess a touch of self-direction. In practice, students are not all capable of online activities in advance, and they need support in strengthening their self-directive skills. In the project a model for the online guidance counseling was developed. The main elements of the model are - synchronous and asynchronous guidance counseling, and the rhythm of the emphasis of the both of them, - transfers from guidance counseling carried out by a teacher to self-directed (and/or peer supported) learning activity, and vise versa, - the amount of interaction has effects on the need for guidance counseling; when interaction increases, the need for guidance counseling decreases, and vise versa. - the quality of online activity. When the focus is on interaction, the guidance counseling should be targeted towards perceiving and understanding the nature of interaction (1), in cognitive, social and advisory contents of interaction (2), and in supporting individual and multiple participation in interaction (3). When the focus is on peer interaction, the guidance counseling should be ”peer-like-behaviour”, in which personal experiences and skills are shared equally. Toward a (new) vocational net-pedagogy In the project a conceptual review was developed in order to reach new steps in the progress of vocational net-pedagogy. The review consists of three fundamental factors, which are 1) basics, 2) context, and
  3. 3. 3) pedagogy. The pedagogy can be understood in vocational net-pedagogy only in connection with the basics and the context. Figure 1. Fundamental factors of vocational net-pedagogy Basics Bodily identity A use of body is a fundamental factor in vocational activities. Nowadays also the use of one´s body is highly connected with an ICT usage. Especially mobile technology has enlarged the modern ”bodiness”, which has the effect that our bodily identity consists simultaneously of physical, virtual and social entities. It is important to realise that there cannot be any split between physical and virtual. They are unique and one world. Vocational pedagogy has the possibility to empower this new understanding of up-to-date bodily identity.
  4. 4. Interaction When people work and study online, the experiential situation many times is that ”I´m here” and ”the others are there”. In a way it is an alone together –situation. From this comes the argument that in online education and training it is very important to emphasize supported interaction. To be together and to collaborate is necessity for living online encounters and especially for learning and pedagogy that successfully can take place in online environments. Also, experiences in practical development endeavors in e-learning pilot projects verify the essential role of interaction for vocational net-pedagogy. Networks Nowadays work is located more and more in different kinds of networks. Individuals become increasingly real as workers in networks of colleagues, customers and partners. A subjectivity develops in multiple networks. Work communities (work places) are more networks or communities of networks than traditional permanent and place dependent communities. Learning takes place increasingly in networks; learning is learning in connections between people, places, events and resources. Context When one sharpens the gaze, especially in realms of vocational fields, s/he finds three essential factors which one must see and understand. They are skills, competence and work. Skills Skills refer to concrete acts, which are needed in all vocational activities. Skills are based on people´s bodily identity and awareness in respect to those activities to be done, and on the continuous development of them in authentic practices. Skills include both physical, social and virtual elements. Competence Competences are sets of certain skills, but there are no exact borders between different kinds of skills sets. It is possible to speak about human competences, which are general for all professions (e.g interaction and communication skills sets) and about more vocational or position specific competences, for instance construction and nursing competences, teacher and physician competences, and leader and team member competences. Work Work is a unique environment for physical, virtual, social and human behaviour and activity, in which skills and competences are put into practice. It is also the authentic situation for developing them. Skills and competences are constituents of a certain labour, and that work simultaneously designs the skills and competences relevant in it. Skills, competences and work form an authentic context for vocational activities and pedagogy. It is important to look at and to scaffold vocational pedagogy endeavors from this
  5. 5. triad-context perspective. Pedagogy Vocational net-pedagogy roots itself in teaching, guidance counseling and peer activity. Teaching The teaching in vocational net-pedagogy means that a teacher has a kind of traditional expert role, but it focuses on the production, sharing and assessing of multimedia. Guidance counseling The guidance counseling is a modern role of a teacher, which first and foremost means supporting of learning by cognitive, social and advisory/introductory facilitation acts. The guidance counseling is not direct giving or demonstration of something. The guidance counseling is, in practice, the teacher´s activity in which s/he is embedded in overall learning performances and behaviors. The guidance counseling is a part and parcel of human functionality in online interaction and collaborations contexts. Peer Partnership The peer relations emhasizes equality of participants. It means trust in learning in itself, which takes place in interactions of peers. The peer partnership as a pedagogical principle and practice also means that teachers behave as peers with students. This does not mean that teachers are not more competent and experienced than students, but the equal attitude and orientation of teachers in encounters with students. In an online environment the peer partnership is a quality of participation and activity in the use of social media. To target the vocational net-pedagogy in its key factors the question is about skills and competences to produce and use multimedia, social media and human supportive online facilitation. Vocational net-pedagogy and skills and competences of a teacher and a student Teacher A teacher has to be capable of using multimedia (images, animations, figures, audio files, video clips etc. combined together and with relevant texts). This means the skills to produce multimedia and to pedagogically use it. The teacher also has to be able to critically assess multimedia resources for vocational education and training. Teachers also have to understand the culture of social media behaviors. This enlarges bare multimedia skills as social media competences, which are especially equal and peer-like participation skills, courage and the honest will to work interactively, and a release of control over learning. Guidance counseling and support of learning are connected with teachers´skills to encourage
  6. 6. and help peer activity, to assist in sharing of findings, knowledge and experiences. The actual online facilitations skills of a teacher are bound in abilities - to make and present instructions, - to be personally present both as a peer and an expert, - to assist in the understanding of contents, social interaction and working in online environments through guidance counselling. Student The vocational net-pedagogy skills of students are the abilities - to use mobile tools for producing and sharing multimedia in learning and working environments, - to apply web based platforms for linking mobile contents in platforms, - to work interactively in mobile and web environments. If students do not have these abilities, the first task in vocational net-pedagogy is to motivate and support students to learn those skills.
  7. 7. and help peer activity, to assist in sharing of findings, knowledge and experiences. The actual online facilitations skills of a teacher are bound in abilities - to make and present instructions, - to be personally present both as a peer and an expert, - to assist in the understanding of contents, social interaction and working in online environments through guidance counselling. Student The vocational net-pedagogy skills of students are the abilities - to use mobile tools for producing and sharing multimedia in learning and working environments, - to apply web based platforms for linking mobile contents in platforms, - to work interactively in mobile and web environments. If students do not have these abilities, the first task in vocational net-pedagogy is to motivate and support students to learn those skills.

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