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Restructuring Teaching (Three Short Papers 0033, 0129, 0229)


10:50 - 11:50 on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 in 8.60
0033 Promoting the use of Web 2.0 Tools in European Vocational Education & Training Tony Toole
0129 Providing structure and promoting personalised learning within an 18 day wilderness walk: Following a PebblePad pathway Brendon Munge, Lyn Doolan, Shane Sutherland
0229 Remodelling Computer Science Education to develop Metacognitive Adult Learners Lachlan MacKinnon, Liz Bacon
0033 Promoting the use of Web 2.0 Tools in European Vocational Education & Training Tony Toole

Background:

The SVEA* project is aimed at cultivating new training strategies and educational management processes through the use of Web technologies, open source software, cloud computing and open educational resources. It is a collaborative project involving five different European regions and is based on the belief that education, in seeking to ‘thrive in a colder and more challenging environment’, will adopt the cost-effective affordances of the Web as part of that process. It also believes that this is the logical direction for future educational delivery anyway.

Approach:

This paper describes how the SVEA project, funded under the EU Lifelong Learning Programme, aims to prepare the ‘teachers of the future’ to adopt and apply Web 2.0 technologies in the collaborative and learner-centred teaching of adult learners. It will present a sample of online training modules for teachers in the educational use of Web 2.0 tools and will briefly discuss how it has identified the best of breed tools for presenting educational resources online.

Reference will be made to previous work that explored the educational use of Web 2.0 tools.

Results:

The SVEA project is currently midway through its 2 year development. The delivery platform is in place and the draft training modules are complete. All partners met in Wales in January 2011 for a 2 day workshop that evaluated both the modules and the delivery platform. This paper reports on the outcomes of that process. The next phase will see the modules and platform tested with VET trainers in each of the five European regions. An external evaluator, Haydn Blackey from the University of Glamorgan, will be reporting on the quality and effectiveness of the outcomes.

Conclusion

The SVEA project is a practical attempt to promote the use of the affordances of the internet for the benefit of education. It aims to contribute significantly to cost-effectiveness and sustainability as well as guiding teachers in the use of Web 2.0 technologies in the delivery of effective collaborative learning.

*SVEA is the German Acronym for the project which, when translated, stands for ‘Promoting Web 2.0 Uptake in Vocational Education and Training’.

0129 Providing structure and promoting personalised learning within an 18 day wilderness walk: Following a PebblePad pathway Brendon Munge, Lyn Doolan, Shane Sutherland

Outdoor Education courses at La Trobe’s Bendigo Campus provide diverse opportunities for students to develop skills to work in the outdoors. One of the final activities that students undertake at the end of their first year Outdoor Education Degree is an 18-day walk in the Australian High country – The Long Walk. The walk is designed to facilitate the transition from student participant to a position of future educator and leader in outdoor education activities. The transitional process cannot easily be captured using traditional modes of assessment, and so this presentation details the use of innovative learning and assessment tools designed to support and record the learning journey resulting in highly personalised expressions of the experience which are both formatively and summatively assessed.

The new learning design was based upon authentic assessment (Darling-Hamond and Snyder 2000) constructed from the perspective of making things happen when preparing for an extended journey. This created a focus on social constructivist learning approaches which encourage students to make meaning of their own learning (Jonassen 2000) through a process of active reflection and integration (Kolb 1984) and individualised representation of their learning experience.

Students were engaged in developing a self regulated learning process (Butler and Winne 1995) through the development of personalised action plans within the PebblePad personal learning system. The Action Plan set personalised timelines for the completion of their tasks, including a preparation and research webfolio (eportfolio) that provided evidence of the completion of various tasks involved in preparing for the long walk.

A key element of the assessment design was the scaffolding of tasks (Sutherland, Brotchie and Chesney 2011) that engaged students in personalised representation of their learning through narrative accounts enriched by video, images, audio and comments from others. At the completion of the walk students returned to the webfolio to reflect on their experience and draw on information to finalise an authentic artefact of their experience.

This presentation further reports on the outcomes of the students’ and lecturers’ experience of engaging in the new learning design. Analysis of student feedback on the new assessment tasks indicates students thrived on the capacity to represent their learning in an individualised format and engage in self-regulated learning.

0229 Remodelling Computer Science Education to develop Metacognitive Adult Learners Lachlan MacKinnon, Liz Bacon

We expect our academic models to produce graduates who are adult in their approach to learning, with a constructed mental model of their own knowledge, and who are metacognitive in considering their learning and future development. However, evidence from our national statistics and employer feedback indicates this is not the case for all but the best students. Employers, in particular, are indicating that graduates are not continuing to develop their skills, take on new learning, or re-skill to move into new technologies, resulting in a growing skills gap in computing and IT [1], [2]. We would argue that our existing 19th century pedagogical model is at fault and that the primary goal of a higher education system should be to produce graduates who are metacognitive and able to carry forward their skills into lifelong learning, necessary to meet the demands of a rapidly changing and evolving knowledge economy. In order to do this effectively, we argue a need to change the educational model and to move to an andragogic or heutagogic approach, engaging with students as adults in charge of their own learning and at the centre of the learning experience, and acting as clients to a professional service offered by academic tutors. We would wish to free up resources for the learning and assessment process, by using appropriately designed learning objects in a monitored digital environment to provide evidence of student activity and progress, and giving the student control of the process through the production of an active portfolio and CV [3]. Evidence of student learning can be provided by a combination of monitoring information and verified on-line assessment, with appropriate controls in place to deal with plagiarism, personation and other forms of cheating. If we can free resources from traditional lecture and tutorial models, to support more interactive, student-led activities, and use current learning and communications technologies to support this, we can permit greater personalisation of the learning experience and wider choice for students. Building systems to support this approach will permit academic focus on intellectual and metacognitive development of students, and better prepare students for lifelong learning.