Holmes oeb 2011


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Improving Teachers’ Professional Development in an eTwinning Online Learning Community

Online Educa Berlin, 2011

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  • Slide part time PhD student at the University of Lancaster in the UK European Commission in Brussels , where I am Head of department at the Executive Agency which manages part of the Lifelong Learning Programme My research on one specific case of an online learning community set in context of the EUs eTwinning initiative , which supports teachers to work together across Europe how I used action research and the Community of Inquiry framework to propose improvements to an online learning event Present some findings showing changes in cognition , social and teaching aspects , and draw some conclusions
  • Slide 1) Context for my research: online learning communities , describe the eTwinning initiative the research questions Methodology : and the theoretical framework research approach and methods Results and analysis: what the data suggests Conclusions: from practical perspective from academic perspective bibliographic references at the end of my presentation Slides available on slideshare 2) Start by looking at the research context
  • Slide 25/11/11 1) Why I am interested in online learning communities? They provide benefits to learners , by offering a rich social context for learning online – something that was missing from elearning for many years As this report from the Commission’s Joint Research Centre illustrates, written by Ala-Mutka online communities support formal and informal learning flexible learning , with learners observing each other , discussing and reflecting together they support development of key competencies and transversal skills like team work , intercultural dialogue they can provide opportunity for learning which is more equitable 2) As McConnell adds in his book online communities provide opportunity to further individual understanding through a group endeavour
  • Slide eTwinning is an initiative funded by EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme Supports teachers to work together on joint pedagogical projects using the Internet facilitates teachers ’ continuous professional development is basically a large online community of teachers . Recent innovation, Learning Events short dur ation, typically 10 days, teachers working with a group of peers focused on a theme , supported by a domain expert, usually a fellow teacher non-formal , learning-by-doing My case study: ‘ Exploiting Web 2.0: eTwinning and Collaboration ’
  • Slide In an eTwinning Learning Event (LE) for teachers’ continuous professional development: How does the online learning community influence the development of teachers’ competence and practice ? How do social and facilitation aspects influence collaboration and learning ? Believe the social and facilitation issues are somehow intertwined with collaboration and learning
  • Slide Methodology : and the theoretical framework research approach and methods
  • Slide Community of Inquiry framework by Garrison, Anderson and Archer – communities for educational purposes Three interrelated aspects or presences Cognitive presence : which they define as ‘ the extent to which participants in … a community of inquiry are able to construct meaning through sustained communication ’ this equates to active learners , constructing knowledge through interaction with their environment and their peers it is essential for critical thinking and meta-cognition Social presence , defined as the ‘ ability of participants … to project their personal characteristics into the community ’ in other words, the extent to which someone is perceived as real has a direct impact on the success of an educational experience Teaching presence , defined as ‘ the design of the educational experience ’ aims to support and enhance cognitive and social presence the design is often led by a teacher (eg choice of content, ) facilitation may be shared with learners
  • Slide Completed two cycles of action research 1. Initial LE, April 2010 , 156 teachers 2. Revised LE, Oct-Nov 2010, 142 teachers Participative research Worked together with the domain expert Tiina Sarisalmi Supported by the LE organisers, European Schoolnet, Participated as tutor in the second LE Data collection and analysis Conducted some initial and final interviews Final online questionnaire for all partcipants Coding of dialogue in the discussion forums using the Community of Inquiry framework
  • Slide Results and analysis: from the first LE changes proposed and why from the second LE
  • Slide Data and analysis from first LE suggested: individual cognitive activities helped participants develop expertise in use of web 2.0 tools, but not necessarily in their teaching practice social interaction good , but secondary and limited relationships developed, but not yet a community Increase further the social presence : Recognise the importance of addressing socio-emotional aspects by balancing the cognitive activities with social ones give more time for trust , shared values and reciprocity to develop between participants and community to grow Reinforce the cognitive presence : including specific activities to encourage critical thinking - encourage meta-cognition, give time for teachers to try out ideas in their own teaching practice and reflect with peers Strengthen teaching presence provide more tutor support and guidance at key points (what Dillenbourg refers to as orchestration)
  • What we actually did Scheduling of second LE is compared with the first Still 12 days for the cognitive activities Added time for practice and activities for reflection 19 days to try out in own teaching practice, 2 days of final reflection in the LE Encouraged sharing of stories , feelings and reflections Added a virtual staff room A place for informal discussion and reflection, available throughout the four weeks Tables of small groups of participants to foster stronger ties Increased facilitation Moderator/facilitator at key points to encourage and support Encouraged participants to support each other and to do their own facilitation Slide
  • Show some of the data, to illustrate results Plot of all messages in the staff room over time , over the full LE Participants in blue , tutors in red Frequency of participant messages related closely to the cognitive activities Also closely follows the messages of the tutors Almost no interaction in the staff room during the period for trying out ideas in teaching practice Purposeful communication, focused on learning Dies off when not needed Slide
  • Shows the results of the coding of a typical participant , named Edita . A teacher from Greece with some previous experience of web 2.0 tools and collaboration online. The graph shows all her messages over time , in the various discussion forums and in the staff room The early messages of Edita are at the lower levels of cognition , triggering event and exploration . Over time the messages move to the higher levels of cognition , integration and resolution , suggesting critical thinking We may also note that the interaction towards the end is taking place in the final reflection activity Other plots of messages do not necessarily reflect such an obvious progression as this one, especially with participants who were already experienced . However, the trend in all of them is upwards Slide
  • The comments of participants in the final questionnaire, interviews and discussion forums reveal how they perceived the event and how they have learned . Here are just two examples , the first is in response to a questionnaire concerning the benefit of having applied ideas in their teaching practice : It reflects success in trying out ideas and a positive impact on the motivation of the children. This teacher is now quite convinced about the value of using such tools in her teaching The second concerns a question on the value of the staff room : It suggests that he used the staff room to get ideas from other teachers and mutual support . It was a stable friendly place to go and find support, regardless of the individual activities However, comments also reflected frustration when collaboration didn’t take place And the tutor with whom I worked cautioned about going too far with our interventions , indicating that too much tutor presence can reduce the creativity and spontaneity of the participants Slide
  • Slide Conclusions: from practical perspective from academic perspective
  • From the perspective of the teachers Concerning the online community evidence suggests that the online community did support teachers’ professional development the community of peers offered mutual support and the exchange of experience however, the community was purposeful and lasted only as long as it supported learning Learning by doing teachers who were able to try out what they were learning in their teaching practice were motivated , gained confidence and were more convinced about the importance of what they were learning Guidance it was beneficial for learning to reinforce facilitation at key points , but back-off as the participant started to support each other Social interaction social interaction was important , participants felt more connected and this facilitated learning , i ncreasing satisfaction Slide
  • From an academic perspective Community of inquiry useful framework for the holistic analysis of a community focused on learning, looking at cognitive , teaching and social aspects and their interrelationship Facilitation and mutual support increasing the teaching presence (design of relevant activities and orchestration) had a positive impact on the cognitive presence and critical thinking Reflective practitioners there was evidence of competence development when teachers were able to apply and reflect with peers Social and community aspects social interaction was important and the community engendered mutual support , trust and sharing of stories, experience, etc but the community was ephemeral , focused on purposeful learning and dying when no longer needed Slide
  • Slide Here is a short bibliography of some of the key research material that I am using
  • Slide Here is a short bibliography of some of the key research material that I am using
  • Slide If you wish to follow my resereach , please take a look at my blog I’d be happy for you to post a comment Or for you to send me an email For now, Thank you very much for your attention
  • Holmes oeb 2011

    1. 1. Improving Teachers’ Professional Development in an eTwinning Online Learning Community December 2011 Online Educa conference , Berlin Brian Holmes, Lancaster University & European Commission with the support of Dr. Julie-Ann Sime, Lancaster University, UK Tiina Sarisalmi, Municipality of Orivesi, Finland Anne Gilleran, European Schoolnet, Belgium
    2. 2. Improving Teachers’ Professional Development in an eTwinning Online Learning Community <ul><li>Research context </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn
    3. 3. <ul><li>Study on learning communities supported by ICT </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits for learners: </li></ul><ul><li>Online communities support intentional and non-intentional learning </li></ul><ul><li>Participants can follow and observe life of others, encouraging reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Support active learning of all key competences and transversal skills </li></ul><ul><li>Online communities provide new opportunities for equality (Ala-Mutka, 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Greater individual understanding through a group endeavour (McConnell, 2006) </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn 1. Research context Online learning communities
    4. 4. 1. Research context Case study: an eTwinning Learning Event http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn <ul><li>eTwinning supports teachers across Europe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Joint pedagogical projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous professional development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thriving community of teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Learning Events’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short, intensive online sessions, in groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focused on a theme, led by a subject expert </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve teachers in hands-on, non-formal learning with peers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>My case </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Exploiting Web 2.0: eTwinning and Collaboration’ </li></ul></ul>www.eTwinning.net
    5. 5. 1. Research context Research questions <ul><li>In an eTwinning Learning Event (LE) for teachers’ continuous professional development: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the online learning community influence the development of teachers’ competence and practice? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do social and facilitation aspects influence collaboration and learning? </li></ul></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn
    6. 6. <ul><li>Research context </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn Improving Teachers’ Professional Development in an eTwinning Online Learning Community
    7. 7. 2. Methodology Theoretical framework http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn <ul><li>Cognitive presence active learners in a community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructing meaning through sustained communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Essential for critical thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social presence feeling a person is ‘real’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Projecting personal characteristics into the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directly contributes to success of learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teaching presence design and support for active learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Support and enhance cognitive and social presence for the purposes of learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design often led by teacher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitation often shared with learners </li></ul></ul>(Garrison et al, 2000, p.88) Communication Medium Community of Inquiry COGNITIVE PRESENCE SOCIAL PRESENCE Supporting Discourse TEACHING PRESENCE (Structure/Process) Setting Climate Selecting Content EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE
    8. 8. 2. Methodology Action research <ul><li>Completed two cycles of action research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. Initial LE, April 2010, 156 teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Revised LE, Oct-Nov 2010, 142 teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participative research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Worked together with Tiina Sarisalmi, a teacher and the domain expert </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supported by EUN, the LE organisers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participated as tutor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Data collection and analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial and final interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final online questionnaire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coding of discussion forums using the Community of Inquiry framework </li></ul></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn Cycle of Action Research (O’Leary, 2004; Koshy, 2010, p.7)
    9. 9. <ul><li>Research context </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn Improving Teachers’ Professional Development in an eTwinning Online Learning Community
    10. 10. 3. Results Recommendations from 1st LE http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn <ul><li>Increase social presence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More support for socio-emotional aspects (Kreijns et al, 2003, Zenios & Holmes, 2010) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give time to develop trust, shared values and reciprocity (McConnell, 2006) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reinforce cognitive presence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities for critical thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection in practice and meta-cognition (Schön, 1983, Kolb, 1984) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strengthen teaching presence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase facilitation and ‘orchestration’ at key points (Dillenbourg, 2008) </li></ul></ul>Meta-cognition: reflection on own practice and competence Web 2.0 tools and collaboration Cognitive activities ° Introductions ° What is web 2.0? ° Documenting the learning ° Planning and managing a project ° Sharing videos, presentations, photos ° Collaborative learning ° Conclusion and evaluation Social activities ° Introductions ° Social interaction ° Mutual support ° Feedback ° Stories
    11. 11. 3. Results The revised LE <ul><li>Added time for practice and reflection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>12 days for the LE cognitive activities, 19 days to try out in own teaching practice, 2 days of final reflection in the LE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encouraged sharing of stories, feelings and reflections </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Added a virtual staff room </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A place for informal discussion and reflection in practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tables of small groups to foster stronger ties </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increased facilitation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Moderator/facilitator at key points to encourage and support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encouraged mutual support and facilitation </li></ul></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn
    12. 12. 3. Results All messages over time in staff room http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn Frequency of messages related closely to activities and to the messages from tutors Almost no messages whilst applying ideas in practice
    13. 13. 3. Results Coding for cognitive presence <ul><li>Example of Edita: illustrates the progression in cognition for a typical participant </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn Cognition Critical thinking Coding suggests critical thinking reached in later stages Garrison et al (2001)
    14. 14. 3. Results Views of participants <ul><li>Applying ideas in practice … </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn ‘I was able to apply what I learned in the classroom and my pupils are very excited and they want to learn more’ (final questionnaire) Staff room … ‘most of my time was spent in the staff room, to get ideas, to get support, and to feel proud and happy when my work got commented on. i think the idea of the staff room was the best’ (final interview) Collaboration does not always work… ‘Well in the forum there is merely discussion and I understand that cooperation is a step further and collaboration even further, and I did not enjoy not being able to collaborate in my own group’ (final interview) Facilitation and feedback from the tutor is not always a good thing … ‘I think those are things that can very easily smother the flame of creative thinking and learning’ (email feedback from tutor) However ...
    15. 15. <ul><li>Research context </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn Improving Teachers’ Professional Development in an eTwinning Online Learning Community
    16. 16. 4. Conclusions From the teachers’ perspective <ul><li>Online learning community </li></ul><ul><li>The online community supported teachers to develop their professional competence </li></ul><ul><li>The community provided an opportunity for mutual support, exchange of experience and reflection </li></ul><ul><li>The community was useful for as long as it supported learning </li></ul><ul><li>Learning by doing </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers who applied what they were learning in their own teaching practice were motivated, gained confidence and were more convinced </li></ul><ul><li>Guidance </li></ul><ul><li>It was beneficial to reinforce facilitation at key points and to back-off as and when peer support emerged </li></ul><ul><li>Social interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Social interaction was important, it facilitated learning and engendered a sense of community </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn
    17. 17. 4. Conclusions From an academic perspective <ul><li>Community of Inquiry </li></ul><ul><li>The CoI model was a useful framework to analyse the interrelation between the cognitive, teaching and social aspects (Garrison et al, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitation and mutual support </li></ul><ul><li>Increased teaching presence had a positive impact on cognitive presence (critical thinking) (Dillenbourg, 2008; Shea & Bidjerano, 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Applying ideas in practice and reflection with peers reinforced competence development (Schön, 1983; Kolb, 1984) </li></ul><ul><li>Social and community aspects </li></ul><ul><li>The learning community engendered mutual support, trust and sharing (Grossman et al, 2000; McConnell, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Social ties were important for learning, however interaction remained purposeful and the community was ephemeral (Kreijns et al, 2003; Zenios & Holmes, 2010) </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn
    18. 18. References (1 of 2) <ul><li>Ala-Mutka, K. (2010) Learning in informal online networks and communities, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), J., European Commission (ONLINE - http:// ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pub.cfm?id =3059 - accessed 18.11.2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Dillenbourg, P. (2008) 'Integrating technologies into educational ecosystems'. Distance Education, 29 (2), pp.127 – 140 </li></ul><ul><li>Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T. & Archer, W. (2000) 'Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education'. The Internet and Higher Education, 2 (2-3), pp.87-105 </li></ul><ul><li>Garrison, D., Anderson, T. & Archer, W. (2001) 'Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education'. American Journal of Distance Education, 15 (1), pp.7-23 </li></ul><ul><li>Grossman, P., Wineburg, S. & Woolworth, S. (2000) What makes teacher community different from a gathering of teachers? , Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington </li></ul><ul><li>Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall. </li></ul><ul><li>Koshy, V. (2010) Action research for improving educational practice, 2nd ed., London, Sage publications Ltd. </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn
    19. 19. References (2 of 2) <ul><li>Kreijns, K., Kirschner, P. A. & Jochems, W. (2003) 'Identifying the pitfalls for social interaction in computer-supported collaborative learning environments: a review of the research'. Computers in Human Behavior, 19 (3), pp.335-353 </li></ul><ul><li>McConnell, D. (2006) E-Learning Groups and Communities. Maidenhead, Open University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>O'Leary, Z. (2004) The essential guide to doing research, Sage Publications Ltd Riel, M. & Polin, L. (2004) 'Online learning communities: Common ground and critical differences in designing technical environments', in Barab, S., Kling, R. & Gray, B. (Eds.), Designing for virtual communities in the service of learning, pp.16-50, Cambridge University Press </li></ul><ul><li>Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. London, Basic Books. </li></ul><ul><li>Shea, P. & Bidjerano, T. (2009) 'Community of inquiry as a theoretical framework to foster ‘‘epistemic engagement” and ‘‘cognitive presence” in online education'. Computers & Education, 52, pp.543-553 </li></ul><ul><li>Zenios, M. & Holmes, B. (2010), 'Knowledge creation in networked learning: combined tools and affordances', Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Networked Learning 2010, Copenhagen, pp.471-479 </li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn
    20. 20. Thank you http://www.slideshare.net/holmebn [email_address] http://holmesbrian.blogspot.com/