Redeveloping EDP4130 Technology Curriculum and Pedagogy

This semester I have some time set aside to work on redeveloping the course that I’ve been offering to 4th year Primary specialisation students in the BEd since 2011. The course, EDP4130 Technology Curriculum and Pedagogy, is intended to prepare students to teach the Technology Key Learning Area. It is offered on 3 campuses (2 in 2012 because of low numbers on one campus) and also entirely online.

For now in Queensland the Technology curriculum area is defined by Queensland Studies Authority documents based on the 2003 syllabus but the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority is working toward development of Australian Curriculum documents beginning with 2012 consultation around a draft shaping document.

I have good intentions of recording the development process here but how far that goes is yet to be seen. I had intended beginning this record last week after meeting with the Learning Innovation Teaching Enhancement (LITE) team to discuss my plans but was not well and also busy with other stuff. The LITE Team seemed to think that my existing course was in good shape. The notes they provided following the meeting included these comments:

This course is exemplary and references most of the AITSL and QCT standards relating to ICTs as well as the Good Practice Guidelines.  Learning activities and assessment tasks develop appropriate concepts and metacognitive skills.

Personally I might not rate it so highly. There are some parts of the course that appear to work well and some of those were borrowed from a previous course (EDU1471 Technology Education) that was offered from 2002 until 2006 to prepare students for the same curriculum area. Other parts of the course did not work as well as I had hoped in 2012 and some students expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of the course in the evaluations. Some of those were changes made from 2011 to 2012 to address issues with the distribution of grades and other matters from the 2011 offer. There is work to be done to improve on what was offered in 2011 and 2012.

In addition to that, the ACARA shaping document includes digital technologies as about half of the content alongside the more traditional Technology KLA ideas around design. The digital technologies element would introduce basic ideas about computer science, including the rudiments of programming, for which our graduates are not being prepared at present. It would be prudent for any redevelopment of the course to address those aspects and I’ve already made changes to course objectives to accommodate that.

I’m also interested in what can be done to move the pedagogy of the course forward. I’ve been providing recorded lectures but I’m not sure how much use those attract from students in a course with no final examination. Perhaps it’s time for a change in that department. It’s certainly time to think about more flexible access to course materials and activities with increasing numbers of students having access to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. I’m also interested in what might be done with gamification, specifically through the use of badges or similar approaches as part of the assessment regime.

That provides me with plenty to think about as I wrestle with redevelopment. One of the first things I’ll need to do is consider what has worked well and should be retained, perhaps with some adaptation, and what has not worked so well and should be dropped or subjected to major renovation. Beyond that I’ll need to think about what new developments might be possible in the time I have to work on this.

2 Responses

  1. G’day Peter,
    There’s a lot here that resonates with me. The LITE have also indicated similar positive vibes about 3100, while I’m more negative/realistic.
    Will observe your thoughts and outcomes with great interest. What follows is where I’m up to.
    I’ve also wondered about the rise of “computational thinking” in the Oz curriculum and wondering what, if any role, 3100 should play in that field. If it’s becoming core…. But also wondering whether a week on Scratch or similar will make any difference. Though I’d been thinking about including something like this even with out the Oz curriculum move.
    As you know, I’ve done away with the lectures for online students and used the ramble idea instead. Some students loved it, some hated it and I’ve done some re-design. It’s still early days, but the re-design combined with activity completion in Moodle 2.2 seems to be a possible positive step.
    But the maintenance of the ramble is going to be a concern. I’ve spent a bit of time this semester fixing broken links. I’m not sure the tool support is there yet to make this an easy task. There’s also the problem that the tools don’t encourage/enable students to contribute to the rambles.
    I’m also interested in badges/gamification. I’m increasingly troubled by the impact of the 70% 2nd assignment in 3100 and wonder if a portfolio approach where students are regularly required to engage with ICTs throughout the term, perhaps combined with badges might be more appropriate both in terms of assessment and pedagogy.
    But again, I wonder about the tools that are available and the extra work involved to take these steps.

  2. Hi David
    I think the LITE Team may have been more than a bit aware that their mission to get ICT integrated more effectively in courses might have involved offering gratuitous advice in some cases. Concentrating their efforts in areas of perceived greater need is probably a reasonable strategy.
    The Technology KLA course has been a little thin on content so I’m thinking that I can carve out about half the ‘tutorial’ time and a proportion of the ‘lecture’ time to tackle the digital technologies or computational thinking element. I’m certainly thinking of Scratch and some similar visual tools as a way to tackle it but there may be scope for robotics and some other bits and pieces.
    On the badge front I’m wondering if I can find a way to use Mozilla Open Badges or something similar. That might help with maintaining more distributed assessment than is likely to be approved by the ‘powers that be’.
    That gives me plenty to think about in the next week or two.