Good morning ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming I am an educational technology lecturer at UoB I will be talking about professional development of teachers and some design factors to be considered if we are to get teachers to work together online.
I will start by defining what an evidence –based professional conversation is Look at the implications for conversation development form three theoretical perspectives: Communities of practice theory Computer supported collaborative learning theory Cultural historical activity theory A brief introduction to the professional friends programme
Teachers work together to solve a teaching and learning problem for the purpose of developing collective knowledge about teaching and learning.
Three conditions are associated with successful evidence-based professional learning conversations.
Quote: Timperley & Earl (2009), page 122 How can we find a way to make children that fail mathematics now be consistently more successful in the future?
It is not enough to want to know, we need to know how to be data-wise. Some teachers may need to develop data analysis skills.
These three conditions are critically important – they make it easier to conduct meaningful discussions. They make it easier to keep all members of a group engaged.
So far we have talked only about conversations that traditionally take place between teachers in school staffrooms. This slide shows some of the reasons why it might be worthwhile to consider having conversations online. Say a lot here…
Teachers already collaborate online but it tends to be for sharing information rather than for deeper discussion. In this example teachers in a school in Brunei are looking for information about how to use LATEX to create mathematical equations.
Practice will hopefully be underpinned by theory. Therefore it makes sense to consider theoretical perspectives that contribute to explanation of how online conversations work.
A way of modeling the structure and dynamic relationships in an activity system. The diagram highlights the complexity of online conversations with many factors possibly affecting the outcome. From Engestrom, Y. (1987) Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Lines represent tension between different components of an activity structure
This slide shows the CHAT framework as it applies to online evidence-based professional learning conversations
4 layers of tension to be considered when looking at online collaboration: CHAT theory suggests teachers are motivated to change by four layers of tension (Fiedler et al., 2009). The first layer lies within each of the six nodes. For example, a community may develop rules that are inconsistent with each other and this motivates the community to change in ways that mitigate this inconsistency. The second tension layer is one in which any two nodes are inconsistent. For example, too many rules may stifle innovation and creativity and insufficient rules to guide teachers may lead to loss of activity focus resulting in unmet goals. A third tension layer is one in which traditional procedures for completing tasks conflict with new approaches. For example, tech-savvy community members may be more inclined to adopt the use of online discussion tools while others prefer offline forms of communication. A fourth tension is that between different activity systems. For example, the goals of a learning community may not align with those of administrators in the wider school community as each group has different views about how to improve classroom practice.
CoP literature does touch on distributed networks, though it doesn’t call them online networks. Need to go through the 5 points above slowly.
Some quotes from various CSCL research sources indicates the CSCL perspective is focused on the need for learners to communicate effectively and at the same time this is quite difficult to do.
There appears to be a consensus that we need to look at what is happening while learning is taking place and not just on the end product.
In a single slide we can comment very generally how each of the three theoretical perspectives might contribute to an integrated theory for this type of online learning community.
This is a project that involves 50 teachers learning about how to work together in a community to create new knowledge. Teachers will get some training in the first of this 7 month training program, and after that the 10 groups will meet once per month to share their experiences with each other in a presentation day.
Uses Mixed methods and a range of data capture techniques – all online. All data will be captured online. Thematic analysis of transcripts is to be carried out using NVIVO, qualitative data analysis with SPSS and Social Network Analysis with UCINET 6. There are multiple opportunities to triangulate findings with data from different sources.
Taking evidence-based professional learning conversations online: Implications for teacher professional development programme design
Taking evidence-based professional learning conversations online: Implications for teacher professional development programme design Michael Moroney University of Brunei [email_address]
Itinerary <ul><li>Define face-to-face evidence-based professional learning conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Describe reasons for putting conversations online </li></ul><ul><li>Present theoretical perspectives that may shed light on evidence-based professional learning conversations can be developed and sustained. </li></ul><ul><li>Outline a research project designed to add to understanding of how geographically separated teachers might develop online evidence-based professional learning conversations. </li></ul>
Evidence-based professional learning conversations <ul><li>Teachers work together in teams (community of practice) </li></ul><ul><li>Follow conversation protocols, procedures and rules of engagement to achieve knowledge acquisition goals </li></ul><ul><li>Solve problems of interest to all in their learning community </li></ul><ul><li>Work closely with evidence </li></ul><ul><li>(see Earl & Timperley (2009) Professional learning conversations: Challenges in using evidence for improvement. Springer Science + Business Media: New York.) </li></ul>
Reasons for conducting conversations <ul><li>… real benefits can accrue from “getting to know” data as part of an ongoing process of educational change using it locally to investigate real issues in particular schools, as a way of deciding what to do next. </li></ul><ul><li>(from Earl & Timperley (2009) Professional learning conversations: Challenges in using evidence for improvement. Springer Science + Business Media: New York. ) </li></ul>
PD driven by teacher needs <ul><li>Earl (2009) also argued that evidence-informed, professional learning conversations are conducted by teachers in their own schools and that professional learning conversations are used to inform decisions about how to improve instructional practices that conversation participants can themselves use. </li></ul>
In a typical conversation… <ul><li>“ Differences between theories about the current situation and how to improve it are expected and accepted. If the theories and and their explanations are restricted to personal views and beliefs, however, the discussion may result in mutual understanding and a sense of goodwill, but they may still reflect individual impressions. To achieve deeper understanding about an issue, the agreement must be based on evidence that can be examined and tested.” </li></ul><ul><li>Timperley & Earl (2009) p.5 </li></ul>
A typical question a community might consider… <ul><li>Why are slow-progress students not achieving and how can we teach them more effectively? </li></ul>
Conditions for evidence-based professional learning conversations <ul><li>An inquiry habit of mind </li></ul><ul><li>Using relevant data </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships of respect and challenge </li></ul>
An inquiry habit of mind <ul><li>A willingness to want to inquire and learn </li></ul><ul><li>A disposition to be open to a range of interpretations </li></ul><ul><li>A personal quality </li></ul><ul><li>Although this is a personal quality, it is the commitment of a group to engage in inquiry that develops this disposition </li></ul><ul><li>“ seeking meaning in dynamic feedback loops” </li></ul>
Using relevant data <ul><li>A highly interpretive process needing multiple conversations about: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What counts as data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What counts as evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possibilities for use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Substance of inquiry is to search for meaning or the implications for teaching </li></ul></ul>
Relationships of respect and challenge <ul><li>Development of interpersonal dynamics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared responsibility for the work of teaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Belief that community contributions required to succeed in own work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidence in each others commitment and competence </li></ul></ul>
Online Evidence-based professional learning conversations Reasons to connect online
School – University conversation transcript <ul><li>“… As requested, you wanted to have a list of syntax that the teachers can use and look for in the case of teachers wanting to use the Latex for doing the mathematics equation . </li></ul><ul><li>I have compiled for you several documents for the teachers use and a few website links for them to use in the case of need. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further assistance… ” </li></ul><ul><li>… online conversation April 2010 </li></ul>
A way of modeling the structure and dynamic relationships in an activity system. The structure of human activity in Engestrom’s (1987) Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) framework
The structure and relationships of an evidence-based professional learning conversation Explanatory framework
<ul><li>Four layers of tension </li></ul><ul><li>The first layer lies within each of the six nodes. </li></ul><ul><li>The second layer is one in which any two nodes are inconsistent. </li></ul><ul><li>A third layer is one in which traditional procedures for completing tasks conflict with new approaches. </li></ul><ul><li>A fourth tension is that between different activity systems. </li></ul>
Community of practice theoretical perspective Wenger, E., McDermot, R., Snyder, W. (2002). A guide to managing knowledge: Cultivating communities of practice . Harvard Business School Press: Boston (see page 68) What are the triggers that catalyze evolution?
Triggers that catalyze evolution <ul><li>Moves on when it can combine a good understanding of what already exists with a vision of where it can go. </li></ul><ul><li>Communities thrive when members find value in participating. Need genuine trust, sharing knowledge that is truly useful, belief that the community has enough value that it will survive. </li></ul><ul><li>Clarifying community focus, roles and boundaries. </li></ul><ul><li>Shift from sharing information to organizing community knowledge and taking stewardship seriously. </li></ul>
Distributed communities of practice <ul><li>Distance makes it more difficult to remember the community exists </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed groups have more issues and less opportunity to discuss them </li></ul><ul><li>People may have different agendas – more difficult to settle on a common way forward </li></ul><ul><li>Less contact and so harder to build trust and online relationships </li></ul><ul><li>(Wenger, McDermott & Snyder) </li></ul>
CSCL “… In this approach, learning is conceptualized as a collective and participatory social process in which a series of multistranded interpersonal transactions mediate the exchange of knowledge” (Cole and Engestro¨m 1993).
A CSCL perspective <ul><li>Wegerif (2006) argued that mastery of dialogic practices formed the basis for the development of individual thinking skills. </li></ul><ul><li>"To understand phenomena related to learning, one must study the ways in which people interact with one another” </li></ul><ul><li>It is widely recognised as necessary (though not sufficient) that teachers engaged in professional development work in groups. When professional development is online the need for the group to adopt effective social practices is both necessary and more complicated . </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stahl, G., & Hesse, F. (2006). Social practices of computer-supported collaborative learning. International journal of computer supported collaborative learning, 1, 409-412. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
continued <ul><li>“ Supporting group learning activities requires an understanding of the process of collaborative learning” </li></ul><ul><li>Soller, A., & Lesgold, A. (2007). Modeling the process of collaborative learning. In H. Ulrich Hoppe, H. Ogata & A. Soller (Eds.), Computer-supported collaborative learning: Studies in technology enhanced collaborative learning New York: Springer Science + Business Media. </li></ul>
Combining 3 theoretical perspectives <ul><li>CHAT provides a way of examining a complex activity systems such as evidence-based professional learning conversations. </li></ul><ul><li>CoP theory highlights the need for the learning community to develop over time, and the challenges of distributed communities. </li></ul><ul><li>CSCL theory stresses the importance of mastery of dialogic skills and the need for new communication skills for online discussions. </li></ul>
Online professional learning - COINSET <ul><li>Research Focus </li></ul><ul><li>The overall objective of this research is to contribute to current knowledge of teacher professional development theory; specifically, how online evidence based professional learning conversations can be created and sustained to help teachers gain professional knowledge . </li></ul>
Participants & PD programme <ul><li>50 teachers from different schools in Brunei </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers form professional learning teams of 5 – called “ professional friends communities ” </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers learn how to work in an online learning community and follow a protocol for completing online evidence-based professional conversations </li></ul><ul><li>The programme runs for 7 months. Each month groups come together to share their professional learning conversation experiences and to discuss how conversations may be more effective. </li></ul>
Research methodology <ul><li>Phase 1. Multiple case study research </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 2. In-depth case studies of 2 purposely selected online learning communities </li></ul>
Analysis of data <ul><li>Content analysis of online conversation transcripts </li></ul><ul><li>Document analysis of online community artifacts </li></ul><ul><li>Social network analysis of tie strength </li></ul><ul><li>Web analytics </li></ul>
Possible limitations <ul><li>7 “snapshots” may not capture the dynamics of how groups change over time. </li></ul><ul><li>Limited to 50 teachers in this first programme </li></ul><ul><li>Coding of transcripts may be subject to bias as English is not the home language of many participants. </li></ul>