Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Signing out

Thanks Wayne, Niki, and everyone on the course.  Feels good to have everything done!

Enjoy your final term and the summer holiday to follow.

See you all next year!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Learning Reflection 4

    This course has been quite a different experience from the previous courses that I have done through extra mural study, with the main difference being around that uncertainly that I have had in my own mind with exactly what I have needed to do to complete assignments.  However, this has led to the process being more rewarding through finding my way through assignments 1.1 and 1.2 relatively successfully, with, hopefully, this being the same case for 2.1 and 2.2.

    I enjoyed the structure of the SP4Ed programme, with the variety of readings (although I did find it a little overwhelming at times, with the daily requirements over the course of the programme).  I particularly enjoyed the use of Twitter for micro blogging, as I believe that Twitter is an underutilized tool in education.  I can see how Twitter is very effective for sharing ideas through class Twitter feeds (instead of the usual blogs), as well as a tool for reflecting on learning and building connections between home, students and teachers.  My own research aims to demonstrate how Twitter can be beneficial in a blended learning environment.

    I found scenario planning to be a very worthwhile process for schools to use as a means of preparing for the future.  In my own experiences I have made some poor decisions, with the decisions being made based on expected futures and current practice, without looking at potential future and unexpected events.  One such example has been as a senior manager investing on net-books and a computer suite full of desktops at a time when there was the rumored development of tablet devices.

    In regards to scenario planning, the most enjoyable task that I have completed for the course was the writing of the newspaper article looking at possible futures.  This really did encourage me to reflect on what the future might hold, while at the same time thinking about how so many of the predictions that I can remember being made 20 years ago not having come to light, with many classes still being run the same way that they were decades ago.

      The one overarching question that I do have around digital and future learning relates to the previous paragraph; this being, does the future have the big changes that so many are predicting around the implementation of ICT to support future learning?  I have been on the receiving end of two ICT clusters, and it is difficult to see what impact these clusters had, if any, regarding the integration of ICT in class programmes, this being despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars that supposedly went into upskilling teachers.  I believe that the lack of accountability in these clusters led to a relative few receiving almost all of the professional development, then not passing on to those who needed the support for their own development.  Any future such programmes will need considerably more planning and thought, as well as accountability on those who are leading the development.

      Although I am now aware of change processes, and have focused on the Concerns Based Adoption Model for assignment 1.1, an area of learning for me is still around successful long term change and implementation.  I am hoping that the initiatives that I have set up in my school, stemming from both EDEM627 and EDEM630, have long term viability, especially as we are bombarded with exciting and new ideas and information everyday.  I need to ensure that I focus on what's important to my own school community, while taking into account the many opportunities that are available for creating the best possible learning environment for the students at my school.  

        Wednesday, September 25, 2013

        Learning Reflection 3

        The E Learning Maturity Model has been the focus of my most recent reading for this course.  This model looks at a structured and systematic approach to analyzing the ability of an institution to sustain technology development within a school.  The idea of structure and systems is one that I find appealing, as it provides a foundation from where an organisation can look at and prepare for scenario planning.  This is particularly relevant to me, as I have been involved in new technology implementations in the past for which there has been, at best, limited sustainability after a key person in the process has left the school, or moved on to other things.  One such example of this has been class blogging through Twitter in my previous school.  After I left and was no longer driving the programme, the number and regularity of posts reduced dramatically.  This tells me that I should have put in place process to ensure that the programme had long term viability and sustainability.

        In regards to the E Learning Maturity Model, I believe that there is almost too much to focus on in the analysis.  I have recently read the book Insanely Simple, which is based on the success of the Apple Company after the 'second coming' of Steve Jobs in 1997.  The book highlights many examples of the success of Apple being the direct result of Job's aversion to an over focus on detail, preferring to focus on a few simple things, both in the overall structure of the company, and in the finer details of particular products.  In the case of the overall structure of the company (Segal, 2012), Jobs removed many items from the product line; in the case of a specific products, Jobs wanted the operation of an iPod Touch to have just the one button.

        From my own perspective, in the school that I am working in, I would like to focus on a few questions in any strategic analysis.  I believe that too many areas of focus, such as in the E Learning Maturity Model, will lead to the analysis being done in a way in which, ironically, the finer detail could be missed, as areas are paid scant attention to.  Conversely, when the focus is on fewer areas, there is more likely to be more attention paid to each of these areas; analysis by depth, as opposed to breadth.

        Having stated the above, a way that I would work around it would be to look at only one of the seven areas of the E Learning Maturity Model at a time, as was the case in my previous post when the Learning process category was used to analyse a tertiary course that I participated in some time ago.  In the case of the research / case study that I am doing for EDEM630, this could be around the Support process, looking at the level of support that I, as manager, provides to the organisation in regards to using Twitter as a means of engaging with students with their learning, and families to involve them in the learning of children.


        Segal, K. (2012) Insanely Simple, The Obsession that Drives Apple. New York: Penguin Group.

        Monday, September 16, 2013

        eMM Intuative Assessment

        I am conducting an intuitive assessment of the processes L1, L2 and L3 based on my knowledge of, and participation in, a course restricted to the delivery dimension. I have selected an undergraduate course for which I was an extramural student as part of a Certificate in Fitness Studies programme.

        I will be using the eMM capability assessment scale of: 

        • Not Adequate (NA); 
        • Partially Adequate (PA); 
        • Largely Adequate (LA); or 
        • Fully Adequate (FA)

        L1. Learning objectives are apparent in the design and implementation of courses.

        LA: Formally stated learning objectives normally provided in course documentation available prior to enrolment but are missing in some cases or inconsistently provided in the range of course documents.

        LA: Most, but not all, assessments and learning activities contain explicit linkages to course learning objectives or restate learning objectives using different wording.

        LA: Learning objectives are linked to wider programme or institutional objectives in most but not all courses, or only stated subsequent to course design and development.

        PA: Learning objectives dominated by recall with few addressing other outcomes.

        LA: Learning objectives and course workload expectations are linked during the design and development of most, but not all courses.

        L2. Students are provided with mechanisms for interaction with teaching staff and other students. 

        PA: Interaction between staff and students provided only through a limited or informal mechanism or only through face to face contact.

        FA: Course documentation contains clear and consistently presented lists of teaching staff email addresses repeated in suitable places.

        LA: Technical support is provided to students to assist them in making effective use of the available communication channels, but support is not actively promoted or provided to all students.

        L3. Student skill development for e-learning is provided.

        FA: The relationships between all key course components and activities are conveyed to students formally and consistently.

        LA: Formal opportunities for students to practice with e-learning technologies and pedagogies provided after commencement of courses, or only cover some technologies and pedagogies or some courses.

        PA: E-learning skills support and training is provided informally and depends on the teaching staff skills and availability.

        NA: No provision for feedback beyond the marks assigned for assessed work.

        Value Judgement of my Reliability:
        This analysis is based on my subjective memory of a course that I completed several years ago (2002). As this is to be an intuitive activity only, I have not gone back to check details on the above-mentioned criteria. It is based purely on the recollections and memories of my participation as an extramural student. I do not recall having completed an evaluation of the course, and have not had access to any formal course evaluation done by other participants.  I do have some confidence in the validity of many of the assessments, as the course is one that I enjoyed, with the enjoyment and engagement enhancing my memories of many aspects of the programme.

        The above assessment is based only on my own memories, recollections and perceptions. There is no evidential basis and it has been compiled as part of formal coursework.  It is not to be used as valid assessment of any real course.

        Saturday, August 10, 2013

        Learning Reflection 2

        Recent work on EDEM630 has been based around scenario planning, a concepts that I hadn’t previously been aware of or known about.   

        I see the difference between the strategic planning and scenario planning as the difference between predicting the future (strategic planning) and preparing for the future (scenario planning).  Predicting the future looks to focus resourcing and thinking more specifically towards likely outcomes based on recent history, current trends, and expected futures.  Preparing for the future looks more towards uncertainties that may happen, with strategies in place to address all uncertainties, should they come to light.

        Having been in senior management in schools for some time, I have been involved in countless strategic planning sessions; looking to set the direction of the school to best suit the needs of students.  I now feel that the scenario planning approach is a more effective means for long term forecasts for strategic decisions.  It goes beyond the ‘all eggs in one basket’ approach that, I believe, is the case with strategic planning.

        In creating scenarios it is important to be creative in both the scenarios, and the procedures and systems to meet the identified outcomes (Sargent, 2011).  Lack of imagination can lead to too much similarity, meaning a strategic planning predicting approach may as well have been used.  From my own perspective, I will be looking towards the learning the processes that are used to identify possible futures in the scenario planning process.  I often go into situations with predetermined ideas that I find hard to waver from.  I need to be able to put my own limited thoughts. ideas and opinions aside to look towards a broader range of scenarios.

        I found the newspaper article activity to be the most enjoyable and valuable of all that I did for the SP4Ed programme.  This really encouraged me to reflect on a possible future scenario for learners, as well as the events and uncertainties that led up to the possible future I identified.  In doing so I examined my own beliefs, as well as the skills and knowledge that I believe will be needed to have a future impact and role in education.

        I found the Horizon Report on trends to be absolutely fascinating, enlightening and affirming.  The two trends that I focused on for a blog post; social media and cloud computing; are areas that I have been following for sometime, and have tried to embed in the schools that I have worked in.  The Horizon Report will provide me with evidence that I can use to, hopefully, convince others that both are areas worthy of implementing.  

        A key question that I have related to scenario planning is based around having too many areas of focus for the future.  Preparing for a number of uncertainties could potentially spread resourcing thinly, particularly if scenarios prepared for are too outlandish and simply unlikely to happen.  Perhaps there are benefits in predicting and resourcing towards the more likely future, based on careful analysis of recent trends.

        I found the scenario matrix activity extremely challenging, and relied on those who did the task before me for support by looking at their matrixes.  Having finally completed my own, a question I have is ‘what next?’.  Do I take the preferred outcome and focus on that; but still acknowledge the lesser desired outcomes, or do I focus primarily on the least desired outcome, knowing that if it does eventuate my organisation is at least prepared for it?

        A key part in implementation of scenario planning will be convincing others of it’s worth. Miesing and van Ness (2007) discuss the need to focus on the right issue, otherwise considerable time, effort and resources could be spent on a focus that has only minimal impact on the overall direction of the school.  I will need to identify a significant issue, then bring other key stakeholders in to work through the scenario planning process to convince them of it’s worth.

        Ways and Burbank (2005) outline a systematic approach for scenario planning.  However, knowing what to do and actually doing it are two quite different things. I need to now take the knowledge that I have acquired and implement it, something that I will do through the process of participating in EDEM630.

        Miesing, P., & van Ness, R. K. (2007). Exercise: Scenario Planning. Organization Management Journal (Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.), 4(2), 148-167.

        Sargent, K. (2011). scenario planning. Contract, 52(5), 60.

        Ways, S. B., & Burbank, C. (2005). Scenario Planning. Public Roads, 69(2), 1.

        Friday, August 9, 2013

        Newspaper Article: Students take over the 'classroom'!

        Teachers are a thing of the past; children have taken over the classroom to design their own learning programmes.

        Education has changed a lot in recent times; students are no longer following a timetable and lesson plans set by their teacher within the four walls of a classroom.  They are now planning their own learning and doing it anywhere; at home, in the local library, or even in the park on a sunny afternoon!

        Since the introduction of online learning programmes and the availability inexpensive hardware to access content, there has been a significant change in the way that many students are going about their learning.

        With the nationwide availability of ultra fast broadband and inexpensive throwaway mobile learning tools, personalized learning is available to just about anyone who chooses this means of education.  However, there are 'losers' in this story; those teachers and educators who didn't prepare for the future back as far as 2013 and start to up-skill themselves and future-proof their schools to meet the needs of the next generation of learners.  The teachers and schools who saw where education was heading, and took the time to participate in professional development, are now in high demand to plan learning environments to meet the needs of the independent learner.

        This news is significant and newsworthy as it shows how what was once seen as the only way of educating students, this being in a traditional school environment, can change through the use of new technology and a change of mindset.  Other organisations need to beware and forewarned; if it can happen in schools, it can happen in hospitals, the armed services; nowhere is 'safe' from the growing reach of new technologies.

        Back in the early part of the century many aspects of using computers and ICT technology were quite complicated, often beyond the reach of primary school children.  A significant change happened with the introduction of the iPad and the app system that ran alongside it.  Since then technology has become increasingly accessible to even the youngest child.  No longer were children required to know complicated computer code; they now had access to a huge range of learning tools at the press of a button.

        Around the same time as the iPad was introduced there also came a wealth of online courses that enabled students to participate in personalized learning programmes.  Remember the Khan Academy?  At the time it seemed to be groundbreaking, but only a few 'tech savvy  teachers were prepared to use it in the own classrooms.  Now teachers who don't utilize online programmes are seen as old fashioned relics who are trying to hold onto a system that is long past it's use by date.

        Children are now able to design their own school curriculum with the aid of online tutors and quality interactive online learning programmes.  Children are working at a pace that suites them, and are no longer having to wait for their slower paced peers to catch up with them before moving on to a new concept. Virtual classrooms are now being set up all over the world, with New Zealand students in the same 'class' as children from Switzerland, Argentina, South Africa and anywhere else there are others with similar learning needs.  Students are now truly 'global independents' who are able to participate in their learning at anytime that suites them, not just simply between the hours of 9.00am and 3.00pm.

        There hasn't been a new school built in New Zealand since 2020, and many schools are losing students in droves to online learning environments.  This has led to huge cost savings for the Ministry of Education, with funds now being targeted directly to teaching and learning, and away from bricks, mortar, administration and auxiliary staff wages.  This has enabled the Ministry to fund resources for every child moving to online schools, meaning that the latest technology isn't only available for those families who can afford it.

        There are some who oppose the move towards student centered online learning.  Members of the Luddite School System have gone on record stating that children are losing their ability to interact with others in a normal face-to-face way.  The Luddite Charter School System strictly forbids the use of any modern technology in their classrooms, preferring their students take part in teacher led, practical hands-on activities with other children in their age group.

        It will be interesting to see which education approach will win out in the long term.  However, at this point of time the move towards student centered online learning environments is attracting more students everyday.  It is clear that those who saw this type of learning as a possibility back as far as 2013 have had the advantage of being prepared for the future that has now happened.


        Thursday, August 8, 2013

        Scenario Matrix - What will education look like in 2033?

        What will education look like in 2033? This is based on three uncertainties:

        1. the role and impact of technology for learning in the future;
        2. where learning takes place for students; and
        3. is the learning teacher centered or student centered?.

        Four scenarios

        1. Learner centered and technology enhanced - globally based and independent.  This group is called the Global Independents.
        2. Learner centered with limited technology - locally based and independent.  This group is called the Local Independents.
        3. Teacher centered with technology - globally based and reliant.  This group is called the Global Reliants.
        4. Teacher centered with limited technology - locally based and reliant.  This group is called the Local Reliants.

        Global Independents
        The Global Independents take responsibility for their own learning, with learning taking place outside of the traditional classroom environment.  Students identify the learning topics, areas, and focus that best suits their needs, goals and aspirations.  These learners may be guided by a facilitator, but the agenda is largely set by the student.  Technology resources are used extensively to access resources globally to support programmes.

        Local independents
        The Local Independents also take responsibility for their own learning, with learning taking place outside of the traditional classroom environment.  Students identify the learning topics, areas, and focus that best suits their needs, goals and aspirations.  These learners may be guided by a facilitator, but the agenda is largely set by the student.  Local Independents utilize local resources to support their learning, focusing on community needs and events, and basing their learning around addressing local issues.  ICT resources do not play a part in their learning, preferring traditional hands-on and practical learning experiences.

        Global Reliants
        A teacher has the responsibility of setting the learning agenda of Global Reliants, with learning taking place in a traditional classroom environment.  The teacher will identify the learning topics, areas, and focus that best suit the needs, goals and aspirations of the student, guided by a centralized curriculum.  Technology resources are used extensively to access resources globally to support programmes.

        Local Reliants
        A teacher has the responsibility of setting the learning agenda of Global Reliants, with learning taking place in a traditional classroom environment.  The teacher will identify the learning topics, areas, and focus that best suits their needs, goals and aspirations of the student, guided by a centralized curriculum.  Technology resources are not used, with the schools choosing more traditional approaches for curriculum delivery.