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Technology and the Transformation of Learning


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Rosamund Sutherland

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Technology and the Transformation of Learning

  1. 1. Technology and the Transformation of Learning Rosamund Sutherland Graduate School of Education University of Bristol Stellar Network of Excellence
  2. 2. ICT is not an IT The modern computer is a multipurpose tool which incorporates (at least) the following potentialities: productive tool information resource communications tool entertainment device
  3. 3. ICT literacies “Being able to use these ICT configurations is reliant on a variety of competencies and literacies [ ] this much broader view of multi- literacies sees individuals requiring the language, number and technical skills which give them access to the evolving digital world, alongside a set of creative and critical skills and understanding required to productively engage with technology use in their lives” (Selwyn & Facer, 2007, p 11).
  4. 4. A person-plus perspective on learning The environments in which humans live are thick with invented artefacts that are in constant use for structuring activity, for saving mental work, or for avoiding errors or they are adapted creatively almost without notice. These ubiquitous mediating structures that both organise and constrain activity include not only designed objects such as tools, control instruments, and symbolic representations like graphs, diagrams, text, plans and pictures, but people in social relations, as well as features and landmarks in the physical environment” Pea, 1993 p 48
  5. 5. Symbols and material objects
  6. 6. Learning The socio-cultural perspective foregrounds the idea that all learning is mediated by tools. Tools can be: • digital (e.g. word-processor, dynamic geometry software, music composition software, e-mail, interactive whiteboard) • non-digital (, paper and pencil, ruler, dictionary).
  7. 7. An ICT tool potentially transforms But People have to learn to use the tool in a transformative way.
  8. 8. ICT is part of our Culture
  9. 9. The computer in the kitchen
  10. 10. What do we know about learning? • Living is learning • Learning involves learning to use new tools • People actively make sense • All learning is influenced by previous learning • Learning is social — and language is the master tool • Teachers orchestrate ‘learning’ in schools — intentional learning
  11. 11. Living is learning
  12. 12. Learning involves learning to use new tools
  13. 13. People actively make sense
  14. 14. People actively make sense It has four sides they are like train tracks they are parallel it’s the colour turquoise it can be a diamond
  15. 15. All learning is influenced by previous learning Teach: It’s not real, it’s like a simulation.So it’s a bit of a… James: It’s a bit like a game Teach: It is a bit like a game Sunita: Don’t die we gotta beat people
  16. 16. Learning is social — and language is the master tool Nabil: Ehi Sam look at this! Sam, it turns around…… because it’s going minus isn’t it so it goes the other way .. so it… if say ..if we … wow…….It’s running away Sam! It’s running away! Teach: Oh, it’s running away! That was an interesting thing. What happens when you do a negative? Nabil: It goes the opposite way.
  17. 17. Young people’s learning out-of-school
  18. 18. Resources for learning • Time • Playing and experimenting • Interacting with people • Creative copying • Learning from texts • Working alongside more knowledgeable others • Families and friends as knowledge building communities
  19. 19. Time Boy1 School's boring because you're not allowed to ... Boy2 School's more limited. Boy3 Yeah. Because they say 'Right, you've got to do this, you're not allowed to do this this and this ...’ Boy 1 And you've got a certain time but ... my mum gives me a certain time and I say 'Oh, can't I have 5 minutes more?' and she gives me about 5 minutes and I keep on getting 5 minutes
  20. 20. Playing and Experimenting Janine Yeah I do. I like poking around with them to see what it looks like. I like to change them to bright colours. I don't like the boring screen savers like the dinosaurs walking across the screen, I'd have asteroids walking across the screen or something like that. Int And how do you find those? Janine I just look. We go to the control and it gives us a list of like colours and mouse controls and things like that. Just look in and see what they do.
  21. 21. Interacting with people Boy 2 I got to learn how to use a computer by my brother. He was telling me ‘You use it like this’, ‘Do that’ and “Do this’. Boy 3 And PC magazines often have good advice and that. I’m always like looking up things, how to do things. Boy1 My uncle, he is qualified in IT something, and he comes once in a while from Birmingham and teaches me a little bit of stuff.
  22. 22. Working alongside more knowledgeable others Int: Do either of you use Excel at home (Alan shakes head)? Ray: Sometimes. My Dad uses it for his paper work Int: And when you use it what do you use it for? Ray: Umm, he uses it, cos when he’s got paper calculations and some are hard like for him, he puts it in Excel and then he puts, he circles it and then presses the equal button and it tells him what the sums are. Int: What do you use it for? Ray: Maths homework. Alan: Cheat.
  23. 23. Creative copying Alistair Well I was sort of fiddling around with it. I was trying to figure out how it worked but I never succeeded until I got this one book out of the library and at the beginning it gave a small list of a Basic program. Int And you put it in did you? Alistair Yeah, it sort of told you how to write some text to the screen and how to ask for input from the user. That's what I'd been searching from for ages. And from that I could read a bit more in the book, how to use maths in my programming.
  24. 24. Constraints of informal learning The diversity of young people’s activities with ICT out--of-school tends to be constrained by their personal interests In the home, learning could be characterised as ‘deep’ rather than ‘broad’. Could schools help overcome these constraints by providing access to diverse activities?
  25. 25. ICT and Learning At Home At School Young person Teacher chooses chooses activity. activity. Time for exploration. Insufficient time for exploration. Learning is the Learning is incidental. purpose. Expertise celebrated. Expertise not recognised/rejected Extensive resources. Limited resources Depth model Breadth model
  26. 26. Designing for learning — orchestrating ‘intentional’ learning • choose a focused area of the curriculum which students normally find difficult to learn • use widely available and yet under-utilised software • design a learning environment which is informed by research • evaluate the learning initiative — using digital video • re-design
  27. 27. Students are motivated by using ICT in schools • Analysis of video data showed that in schools young people can work with ICT for long periods of time, investigating their own questions and experimenting with ideas. But • There is a creative tension between incidental and intended learning.
  28. 28. Creating a knowledge world •To enter the world of science you have to learn to speak, to theorise, to act with the tools of science. This is the same for music, for English, for mathematics, for geography, for history…….. •People are central to the creation of these knowledge worlds which are constantly evolving because of the invention of new (increasingly digital) tools.
  29. 29. Professional development is key Most of us when we look at ICT we go for what’s safe. We go to what we know. Whereas this sometimes is not particularly safe — I like that. Have a go and get it wrong. The video was the important thing — watching myself teach and being able to see kids when I’m not there. I had a very negative attitude to being observed — OfSTED and others — but this allowed me to sit and watch and be comfortable with’s an important process. I can now refine my teaching…sit back and reflect properly. I never had the chance and video made it happen. Teacher-partner in InterActive Education project
  30. 30. Professional development as risk taking Int So why do you think you took the risks? Marnie Because I could, because I actually had an excuse to, without messing up. And also the time factor. It’s very very hard with the curriculum to take any bits of time out….and risk them……but what it seemed to show me was that by hands on they learnt the subjects anyway. –
  31. 31. The teacher is central “No educational reform can get off the ground without an adult actively and honestly participating — a teacher willing and prepared to give and share aid to comfort and to scaffold. Learning in its full complexity involves the creation and negotiation of meaning in a larger culture and the teacher is the vicar of the culture at large. You cannot teacher-proof a curriculum any more than you can parent-proof a family”. Bruner 1996 p 84
  32. 32. Professional development? “Professional development requires a ‘breaking out’ of set roles and relationships in which researchers are traditionally seen as knowledge generators and teachers knowledge translators or users”. (John 2006).
  33. 33. Knowledge Building One of the major roles of leaders is to create the context (and culture) conducive to sharing and creating knowledge. Much valuable knowledge is tied up in people in the form of so-called tacit knowledge. Capitalising on these individual riches requires a culture that fosters exchange and collaboration.
  34. 34. Professional development as sharing knowledge You will remember from school other students preventing you from seeing their answers by placing their arm around their exercise book or exam paper. The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale. Somehow the more you give away the more comes back to you. Ideas are open knowledge. Don’t claim ownership.
  35. 35. The collective wisdom of crowds (Surowiecki, 2004) The members of the organisation need to: • feel independent of one another. •be diverse enough •sufficiently de-centralised There needs to be some formal or informal means of turning independent judgement and information into collective decisions.