SITE 2017 – Austin, Texas, 5–9 March

Last week I attended the 2017 international conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) with support from the USQ Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts where I work in the School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood. I’m thankful for that support and for the patience of students in my classes who may have experienced oddly time-shifted responses to queries resulting from the time zone differences and long haul flights.

With my retirement locked in for 31 December this year and accumulated leave to be taken from early July (77 working days to go) I anticipate that this will be my last visit to SITE and likely my last conference in any working capacity. I’ve attended SITE each year since 1998 (20 times). It has been my core professional community and a major benefit in my work as an academic. Whether I would have the motivation and fortitude to attend a conference beyond my years of paid employment remains to be seen but I’m doubtful.

(more…)

Read More

Muddling in Moodle

Those of us involved with developing and teaching courses hear a lot about the desirability of consistency which sometimes seems to be interpreted as just short of uniformity. Historically that is based on student responses to a survey conducted a few years ago which was interpreted as students wanting to see the same features in the same locations in different courses. An alternative interpretation of the data I saw might be that students wanted more consistency in the availability of staff in courses. At times it has seemed as though having courses appear too similar has confused students about where they are leading to questions being directed to the wrong staff. Nevertheless, there is probably value in looking for consistency at a high level such as exists among different web browsers or word processors in respect of essential features.

(more…)

Read More

Creating digital solutions in EDP4130

It’s late January. I started writing this earlier in the month, soon after I was back in my office and thinking about first semester courses. After a couple of years working with the most recent iteration of assessment in EDP4130, a project-based design challenge, it was time to consider a change. In 2015 and 2016 students created teaching resources for the two Australian Curriculum: Technologies subjects, Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies. With more than 150 students each year that’s in excess of 500 teaching resources, many of which were very good quality. Having so many examples from past years out there means that there may be as many as are needed, it will be more difficult for students in 2017 to innovate in those areas, and it may be tempting for some to ‘borrow’ work that has been done in previous years. (more…)

Read More

It’s time to MELLO

For one thing I’m about to go on annual leave for 3 weeks and plan to mellow out a little after I’ve dealt with a couple of tasks that just didn’t make it to the top this week despite my plans.

For another, and the real point of this post, we are beginning our publicity push to recruit participants in our MOOC for Enhancing Laboratory Learning Outcomes (MELLO). We is Alexander Kist, Andrew Maxwell, Victoria TerryLindy Orwin, Ananda Maiti, Hannah Jolly and me at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). Toward the end of 2015 we secured an extension grant from the Office of Learning and Teaching to develop a MOOC that would extend on a previous project about planning for laboratory learning. The project also has support from the Global Online Laboratory Consortium (GOLC).

MELLO is designed to assist educators at all levels, from school to university, to improve the quality of laboratory experiences in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Experienced educators seeking to review and revise current practices or beginning educators are all welcome to participate. Everybody can benefit from reflecting on practice and there is much to be learned from other practitioners at all stages and levels.

MELLO is designed in six modules, each of which can be completed in a couple of hours or less for a total of 10 hours of activity. Information about the modules, which address all phases of laboratory classes from planning through implementation and review, can be found on the MELLO website. Registration is through that site and the MOOC itself has been developed on openlearning.com.

The MOOC is being offered in 2 modes. It can be taken in a self-paced mode by those who prefer to work independently at their own pace with occasional asynchronous exchanges with other participants. For those seeking a more structured experience there is an action learning option that will include small group interaction to support work on a personal laboratory learning project informed by the MOOC content.

MELLO is scheduled to begin on Monday 16 January 2017 and run for 6 weeks. Further information and registration is via the MELLO site.

Read More

Open Education Resources & Practice

I’m working on a project with a colleague from UQ and two others here at USQ to explore how we can open up practice and resources within and across institutions. We are each working on courses that address the Australian Curriculum: Technologies alone or in concert with The Arts.

I’m feeling just a bit guilty that I’m once again late to the party. I had good intentions yesterday but … In no particular order here are some thoughts from our discussions on Wednesday and Thursday that might have some bearing on our project and writing. Institutional takeup of OER/OEP Despite rhetoric and some action […]

via Bringing up the rear — OEP @ UQ & USQ

Read More

SITE 2016 – Savannah, Georgia, 21–25 March

I attended SITE 2016 with financial support from the Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts. I’m grateful for that support and for the patience of students in my classes who experienced slower than usual responses to queries via email and the LMS. While at SITE I was involved in four presentations and a couple of organisational meetings as well as informal interactions with colleagues from around the world.

(more…)

Read More

Coding & photos – vacation rumination

Coding has become a hot topic in educational circles. In a previous post – The second coming of coding: Will it bring rapture or rejection? – I responded to some comments posted by Bron Stuckey and concluded that a key challenge would be the limited experience that most teachers, and students preparing to be teachers, have of coding in any form. In my view it will not be sufficient to provide teachers with some basic instruction in coding and resources for teaching it. They will need to have experiences that make the usefulness of coding in daily life apparent if they are to embed it authentically in their teaching.

Since that time the Queensland Government has launched Advancing Education, an action plan for education in Queensland, with coding featured as a key component marked by its own hashtag – #codingcounts. The website notes the highlights as fast-tracking of the new Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies subject from 2016, creation of a coding academy, and incubation of future entrepreneurs. Robotics is proposed as a key component and professional development is to be provided for teachers.

(more…)

Read More

Teachers, design and technology

David Jones (@djplaner) posted a piece, Teachers as designers of technology enhanced learning?, earlier today. Although he didn’t identify us, I am one of the colleagues he referred to in his introduction and I was tagged in his tweet about the post. I’ve been doing some reading of my own, intending to write with David and elsewhere, and felt a need to comment as I read his piece. Eventually the somewhat random thoughts I had amounted to more than a simple comment or two so here I am.

David commented on Kirschner’s (2015) observation that Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is not new because teachers have been using technologies since the invention of the printing press. The truth is it started earlier than that and probably before Socrates famously railed against the invention of writing. At least some of the marks made on cave walls probably had an instructional function. As David notes, the question then is whether digital technologies are sufficiently different to break that historical line.

He refers to Kay’s identification of the computer as metamedium and has previously written about the protean nature of digital technologies. The implication is that digital technologies are shape shifters and the ground we are standing on may move beneath our feet.

(more…)

Read More

The second coming of coding: Will it bring rapture or rejection?

Coding, aka computer programming, made it into the headlines earlier this year when Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, asked Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, whether he would “support coding being taught in every primary and secondary school.” The Prime Minister initially derided the idea with a comment about kids going to work as coders at age 11 but later confirmed that the Government was already supporting the concept in the national curriculum.

Those of us who have been around schools for long enough will recognise this as at least the second coming of coding in the classroom. It was there when computing first began to appear in the mathematics curricula of the mid-1970s but the first big push was when Logo became available for Apple Computers in the early 1980s. (more…)

Read More