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  1. 1. “Will you place it there?" development of distance learning and use of learning management systems at the upper secondary level in Iceland June 12th 2010 Valencia EDEN 2010 Annual Conference Sólveig Jakobsdóttir, Associate professor, University of Iceland – School of Education, soljak@hi.is Kristín Helga Guðmundsdóttir, manager, Fjarkennsla.com, Iceland, samvil@simnet.is
  2. 2. A Summary of Headings (ASH) • Few facts: Iceland, Internet use, education • Introduction to the study • The main focus of this presentation • Results from interviews with 25 teachers 2007 • Trends from 2005 to 2009 – Results from interviews with 31 administrators • Summary and Discussion
  3. 3. Few facts: Iceland, Internet, Education • Population 320.000. • The size is100.000 sqkm. • Latitude – northerly 61-66°N. • Reykjavík capital • 93% of Icelanders reported using Internet, 100% age 16-34, 2009. • 31 upper secondary schools and half of the schools are in the capital area where the majority of the population lives.
  4. 4. Context • Rapid changes in distance education 1997-2008 – Students registered as distance learners at the upper secondary level in Iceland increased from 2%, 1997 to 24% 2008 and 22% 2009. – Government policy 2001, 2005 facilitate distributed learning – study anytime, anywhere. • Some have questioned the quality of distance education (programs mainly run online) at this school level.
  5. 5. Study: Mapping DE changes • A. Principals or key DE admin,2005, 2006, 2009: – all 29 schools, fall 2009 same schools plus two new ones – 31 total. Telephone interviews – Information: overall picture, technology, changes, advantages, drawbacks to use of DE and LMS • B. Teachers and students 2007 – Six schools (location, type of school, LMS). – 25 teachers and 53 students interviewed (most via phone) from six schools. – More in-depth view of teaching and learning
  6. 6. Results reported earlier Jakobsdóttir, S., Jónsson, S. F., Elfarsdóttir, T., & Jóhannesdóttir, S. (2007). Regatta for life and learning? Trends and blends in distance education at the secondary level in Iceland. In A. Gaskell & A. Tait (Eds.), The 12th Cambridge International Conference on Open and Distance Learning. Jakobsdóttir, S. (2008). Waltzing from needs and necessity to comfort and convenience: Online and distance learning at the upper secondary level. In J. Luca & E. R. Weippl (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications..
  7. 7. Among earlier results • 2005-2006 Big range: • “DE groups” 1 to 5 • LMS’s, videoconferences • Blends: online+f2f • Increase in use of LMS’s, and DE • Students: number and type • 2007: student voices: why DE – needs and necessities to comfort and convenience
  8. 8. The focus of our paper • How do teachers regard distance, online and blended learning and/or the use of LMS for teaching and learning? • What are the main changes in the schools concerning distance, online and blended learning and the use of LMS's at the upper secondary level in Iceland from 2005 to 2009?
  9. 9. Results from interviews with teachers, 2007 Attitude regarding distance education (DE) Benefits  • Increased opportunities for small schools in rural areas. • Increased flexibility - coordinate residence, family, work and study. • Students learn new practices. • Increased freedom for teachers and be labor saving in the long run.
  10. 10. ... Attitude regarding distance education Drawbacks  • Increased workload for teachers and isolation. • Insufficient teacher-student interaction and student-student interaction • Is not for everyone – not all schools or learners. • Greater risk of students: cheating and dropout. • Technical problems. DE requires self-control and maturity in students.
  11. 11. ... Attitude regarding distance education Improvements • Plan the DE programs well in the beginning. • Get teachers´ team who teach the same subject to design DE courses. • Increase communication in the courses. • Improve teachers' knowledge in information technology. • Increase technical assistance in the schools. • Develop student assessment further.
  12. 12. LMS and its role • Teachers are beginning to use LMS to manage the courses taught both in face to face programs and in DE programs – Putting teaching material in LMS, communicate with students, using interactive tests and ratings of students. – Mostly using only part of the built-in features.
  13. 13. Modified teaching methods – blended learning • Use of LMS appears to affect teaching. • Changing from traditional learning to blended learning. • Rethinking use of f2f lessons • Rethinking student assessment – more continuous throughout the course
  14. 14. Modified teaching methods – blended learning Teacher: “Face to face students often ask. Is this in LMS, will you place it there?” Teacher: “teachers are using LMS and the kids are beginning to becoming addicted to this ... It is a pressure on teachers ... I understand that time is changing...“
  15. 15. Administrators attitude regarding the use of LMS’s • The administrators tended to be very pleased with the use of the LMS’s. • LMS improves information flow between teachers and students both in DE and in face to face teaching. • Financial cuts in relation to DE after 2008.
  16. 16. The choice of LMS 9 11 7 5 3 10 11 10 3 3 2 22 3 11 14 12 2 0 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 2005 2006 2009 2010-11 (projected) Commercial Foreign Commercial Icelandic Homemade Icelandic Open Source Moodle None
  17. 17. Choice of LMS 2006 • The language (Icelandic). • Access and user-friendly interface. • Development and adaptions. • Connection with other systems. • Cost. • Timing/history (best system when chosen). • Eexperiencee. • Ideology (open source). 2009 • COST • Experience of others
  18. 18. Effects of the Financial Crash • Administrators in schools with DE students were worried because DE financial cuts (50%). • Some were trying to minimize the effects for the learners involved –even if it cost the schools money, hoping that the situation would improve within a year or two. • Main DE groups affected were distance learners from the lower secondary level – who had been doing very well (low drop-out); and/or adult learners
  19. 19. • DE and use of LMS’s have been thriving at the upper secondary level in Iceland. The financial crash is having effects in various ways on that development. • Issues of quality are important. • Collaboration between schools should be explored.
  20. 20. Summary and Discussion • Most participants were positive towards distance education and although they think it does not suit everyone – not all schools or learners. • Schools are starting to rely on LMS’s and there is increased use of them in all schools among learners, teachers and administrators. • Clear trend towards the use of open source software is evident probably to a large extent as a result of the financial crash.
  21. 21. Project Leader • Sólveig Jakobsdóttir, Associate professor, University of Iceland – School of Education, soljak@hi.is Other Researchers • 2009: Kristín H. Guðmundsdóttir, Fjarkennsla.com • 2006-2007: Sigurður Fjalar Jónsson, Sigurbjörg Jóhannesdóttir, G. Þórhildur Elvarsdóttir • The study was supported by the Iceland University of Education (IUE) Research Fund. IUE merged with University of Iceland (UI) July 2008 to form the UI - School of Education.
  22. 22. Acknowledgement Thanks to you – our audience To all of our study participants