Integrating multiple, collaborative, and communication technologies—how can online, teacher education benefit from 21st century skills and pedagogies?Science teacher education, online or face-to-face, struggles with an epistemological shift generally required if pre-service teachers are to think about teaching in inquiry-based ways. Pre-service teachers also need to develop a pedagogical practice that leverages appropriate technologies that aid the production and refinement of 21st century skills (as noted by Tony Wagner in The Global Achievement Gap). Challenged by these needs, a science-education faculty member and an instructional designer set about to develop, implement, and later improve the online portion of an existing science-pedagogy course. This instructional team aims to strengthen stronger science-teaching outcomes and increase evidence of student self-reflection, agility, and effective technology communication by appropriately integrating several interactive technology tools and designing collaborative procedures into the course at the outset This course is integrating a significant number of technology tools, some used by the instructor in the past, and other used for the first time. As used already: Second Life is a place for class meetings, planning, and field trips to science islands; YouTube allows students to share microteaching lessons privately with the class and the instructor; Angel serves as a course management system. To foster more collaboration and reflection, different assignments will mandate shared development; use of a video/voice group share-space (i.e., VoiceThread) and across-distance concept mapping (i.e., Mindmeister); and creation of student blogs with reflection and peer review. Care is being taken to scaffold into the course the needed technology supports as well as ways to progressively meter the interactive tools that promote active student participation and reflection. In addition, they are adjusting the course objectives, assignments, and evaluation rubrics to integrate and value the technology, collaboration, and reflection, while maintaining the high-quality science lessons and reports requirement. Mindful of the reluctance of students may have to step beyond their “comfort zone,” this instructional team is closely watching the emerging course, making adjustments as needed, and keeping notes of the progress, improvements and insights gleaned within this highly, technology-integrated environment. They are collecting course artifacts and interactions captured in electronic videos, materials, and files. They are asking, and reporting: what aspects of the technology and the course re-design are really forwarding the objectives of creating high-quality science teachers who use technologies to enhance the pedagogy of self-reflection, growth mindsets and 21st century skills? What areas are not as fruitful as we anticipated? And, what lessons might this pilot offer to other educators? THE QUESTIONS: these are the questions that attendees might ask; attendees can range from educators to tech-support to admin; when the proposal is submitted you are prompted to add the questions: What was your biggest technical and implementation challenge for preparing students to use these technologies, considering that you were teaching at a distance? Did you find different learning outcomes as a result of this enhanced technology integration? What was different about students’ beliefs at the end of the course from previous times when the course was conducted? How did you instructionally design and assess the integration of Wagner’s “Seven 21st century survival skills” into your learning activities? \\\\\\How would you recommend that other faculty and instructional designers proceed if they want to integrate technologies to further and support collaboration? Within an online science education course, a faculty member and an instructional designer coupled interactive and communication-enabling tools with mandated collaboration and reflection to strengthen the learning outcome and to support the acquisition of 21st century skills, integrating video dialogs through VoiceThread, collective concept-mapping through Mindmeister, shared lesson-practicing through YouTube, and peer meetings within Second Life.
In order to tackle these charges, Eileen came to me last fall for instructional design assistance. As an instructional designer, it was important for me to understand the needs Eileen had and the problems she was trying to address within her teaching. Eileen is very interested in supporting the construction of 21st century skills within her curriculum. A main issue she brought up repeatedly during our conversations was this tension she’s observed over several years of teaching inquiry based practice to educators versus the traditional knowledge and current practice that exists within actual K-12 schools. Some of her students didn’t seem to hear/understand/retain this learning skill or simply reverted back to traditional practice by the time they were graduating from the MAT program. <click>This issue is certainly very troubling to Eileen and struck me right away as a classic theory to practice gap situation. I told Eileen I felt we could at least partially resolve this issue by revising some of her learning activities that weren’t producing the desired results by applying effective instructional design.
One 21st century skill we decided to focus on strengthening within her curriculum was collaboration. We kept in mind while revising her collaboration learning activities the realistic constraints that exist, like time limitations, reshaping traditional mental models/modes of science instruction. She wanted to try a new approach to collaboration–a teaching endeavor she felt she was not completely successful with in the past. She is aware how collaboration is such a critical 21st century skill that we need to be teaching our students and in order to do so, she herself needed to strengthen her skills in teaching collaboration.
So what were the problems she experienced in the past? Her issues were not unlike most others that talk about problematic past experiences with collaboration projects. You encounter <click> "hijackers" who may boss other group members around until they simply go along with his ideas or, he may take over and do all the work himself, or, <click> on the other end of the spectrum, ”hitchhikers” or <click> "couch potatoes" who are content sitting on the sidelines letting others do the work. Eileen had problems identifying problems in group dynamics and/or addressing group conflict before it was too late. She also saw some students in a project do good work but the overall product was poor because of another student's contributions (or lack thereof) and didn't feel right giving everyone the same grade. Does any of this sound familiar? Think of your own past experiences with facilitating group collaboration projects with your students and/or your own past participation in group work and I am sure you might find yourself nodding in agreement on at least one of these experiences.
I am not going to go into to great detail all the recommendations I gave and how Eileen revised this activity, as that in itself could take up this entire half hour we have slated for our presentation. I will tell those that are interested in revising their own collaboration exercises that the big takeaway for revising collaboration activities is that you can’t simply break students into groups and then expect them to know and understand how to work cooperatively together. Therefore, in addition to the original learning objective you have in mind for the collaboration activity, you must also teach your students how to effectively collaborate.<click> I highly recommend reading "An Overview of Cooperative Learning" by David and Roger Johnson if you haven’t already done so and also have your students read it before participating in any group exercise. In the article, they outline 5 essential components for cooperative group work like<click> -clear positive interdependence between students: "We sink or swim as a team!" (assigning and rotating Roles play a big part of this step!)-interaction between members (how, if you are located at a distance? One suggestion is to use a wiki & the comments/discussion area of wiki)-individual accountability: (it is important group participants agree to and draft a "Code of Collaboration for Group Work" upfront that they all promise to follow)-interpersonal and small-group skill (active listening!)-processes must be in place for group review to improve effectiveness NOTE TO EILEEN, I WON’T USE THE TEXT BELOW BUT AM KEEPING IT IN CASE FOLKS ASK ME ABOUT SPECIFICS ABOUT THE DESIGN OF THE COLLABORATION EXERCISE AFTER OUR TALK IS DONE(figure out a way to review periodically that there are no viloations to the Code of Collaboration. Could be a responsibility of the Observer role (see below). Also, after each meeting, each group participant fills out a quick 1 minute Team Reflection Form that is visible to all members of the group/class and the instructor (e.g., what are we doing well as a team? what can be improved?) )Choosing roles within a group and rotating them is also important. For example, each student should be in charge of drafting at least one article and also revising another. In addition, each student should pick another role, like one of these examples:Checker: checks on understanding or learning of group members by asking them to explain or summarize material just learned or discussed.Encourager: watches to make certain everyone is participating and invites reluctant or silent members to contribute.Prober: In a pleasant way, keeps the groups from shallow answers by not allowing the members to agree too quickly. He agrees when he is satisfied the group has explored all possibilities.Energizer: energizes the group when it starts laggingObserver: keeps track of how well the members are collaborating.It is important to note that students shouldn't simply divide the work and at the end come back together and simply paste their work together. Group members should all be aware of what they others are doing and learning. Having roles like the examples suggested above help mitigate that problem. Groups should be ideally no more than 3 in size. At the end of the assignment, each person fills out a two page collaboration analysis document:1st page:the student scores each participant, including themselves, on a set of criteria (e.g., willingness/flexibility to work on developing a schedule & attend meetigs, met deadlines, etc.). Then, each student evaluates the overall team performance, highlighting any member that did exceptional work or held the group back in a few sentences. 2nd page: writes a single page (using the J&J framework as a context for their analysis) discussing and analyzing his own participation, understanding of the content of the assignment, collaboration, the hardest part and best part of the project. The collaboration analysis document is so key because it allows you as the instructor to structure your grading of the assignment so that you can clearly assess understanding and reward those people that did good individual work but b/c of another poor performing member of his group, perhaps did not produce an A product. Eileen tried to use this approach this past spring and found some success but also experienced some problems. In our debrief discussion about how things went, she conceded that she didn't use all of the suggestions outlined above but can clearly see now how including them would resolve some of the issues she experienced. She is going to talk now about her experience with the collaboration framework this spring and what she plans to revise and include the next time she runs the course.
So Eileen took some of the recommendations we talked about and created her collaboration activity. What was really interesting, was when Eileen and I debriefed at the end of the course, she realized this<click> “aha moment” where she made some conclusions about the experience, which then led to additional insight about how she could improve teaching and learning outcomes in her class during the next term. She remarked how some collaboration aspects improved but she still encountered a few problems, admitting that she didn’t use all the recommendations we discussed from the Johnson & Johnson framework citing time limitations. She said was going to try and figure out a way to incorporate more of the recommendations as can really see now the benefits of using the whole model.However, then Eileen and I had this interesting moment where Eileen said to me that during this experience, it became apparent to her other ways she could resolve the tension between inquiry based instruction and real life practice-particularly through modeling, which she’ll discuss in more detail later in the presentation.
The instructional design helped her address some of the collaboration issues that existed, which helped provide room to explore new ways to resolve the theory to practice gap–that is what the practice of effective instructional design can provide. As an educator, you are never really done with instructional design–in fact, <click> it is a continuing process of revision cycles where you design improvements, implement your new design and then evaluate it to see what needs to be redesigned during the next cycle of revision.I am now going to turn the talk back over to Eileen and she is going to walk you through her process of instructional design and get into more detail of the discoveries she’s made during her instructional design revision cycle.
Reference to earlier work on visual case studies.
Integrating multiple, collaborative, and communication technologies—how can online, teacher education benefit from 21st century skills and pedagogies?<br />Eileen O’Connor, Ph.D.; instructor<br />Denise Snyder, ALM - instructional designer<br />Empire State College / May 2011 <br />
Problems to be solved: cultural shift / online format how can collaboration help? <br />Instructional designer & faculty member worked together; gathering a perspective and an approach to collaboration <br />Technologies used in the course<br />Insights from observations and ear-to-the-ground modifications and refocusing<br />Results, lessons learned, and next steps <br />Agenda <br />
How can you encourage inquiry-based science?<br />. . . when K12 culture works against it?<br />
And, how can integrating multiple communication tools & technologies help in this charge?<br />. . . what aid can come from 21st century skills & approaches?<br />
What’s the solution?<br />What’s the problem?<br />Theory<br />Instructional<br />Design<br />Practice<br />
Teams comprised of three or more <br />Avoided putting individuals together from the same geographic region shifted one to regional<br />Tried to group by content area (chemistry / physics had small #’s so they worked together)<br />Team results – first assignment <br />
A student-expressed concern encapsulates the issue with epistomology<br />It's not perfect but hopefully it's what you're looking for. I don't mind doing independent work however, teams are good to have. We feed off each other and help develop ideas. I think some people do have trouble with the inquiry concept and applying it. They are so used to feeding students info and facts that it's hard to break away from that. We were curious if anyone else had trouble with it as well? I understand what you're looking for and understand the concept but it still is difficult to grasp in such a short period of time.<br />
Therefore, the instructor modeled what wasn’t seen in the 1st lesson<br />
Online and ICT tools provide excellent insight and chance-for-adjustment for the perennial problem of shifting the K12 teaching culture<br />YouTube assignments show key weak/strong areas and served as an excellent area for modeling <br />Moving closer to the performances that must really be assessed – however, the paradigm of graduate-level writing persists<br />Outcomes<br />
Worked / improvements from the tech integration perspective<br />Worked<br />Areas to improve<br />Rich interactions <br />Useful tools to meet diverse application & diverse types of learners <br />More ways to assess what is happening <br />More ways to present and scaffold good teaching <br />Excellent modeling & skill building <br />Need to provide more than simply readings about best practices before launching collaborations<br />Rich examples can help (YouTubes, for instance) and lesson details<br />Need more time for collaboration after modeling w/ YouTubes<br />
More time was needed to assimilate inquiry<br />Must be clearer about what is best practice in ways that students remember (YouTubes)<br />Collaboration must be established after the cultural shift has been established, more firmly <br />The initial reports before the collaboration were evidently not sufficient <br />Lessons learned about collaboration to “change mindsets” <br />Must embed more effective pedagogical practices to enable the complex psychology involved in bringing about this change<br />