Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Group Activity 5 - Curriculum focus of a recent case

As discussed in the notes there are THREE types of curriculum focus:

- Single subject focus
- Thematic focus
- School-wide focus

We may study the IPPUT cases that have the above subject focus, and understand more about each type of focus first.

I suggest to use, again the Maine's "Laptop Program" case, and analyse it in terms of its curriculum focus.

New classroom developing

Any thoughts on ow the new classroom is developing? Will the learning space encourage or hamper innovation? What do we think HKU are trying to achieve with this room?

Review of Group activity 4

This week, we mainly discussed students' role in a case (http://www.edutopia.org/maine-project-learning-schools-that-work) in Maine.
All 17 roles have been discussed no matter whether we consider it is included in the case. Among the 17 roles, key points to innovation are included. Cooperation, collaborating reflection and presentation are mainly discussed in our activity. Basically, it is an innovative practice in education just as the teacher said in the video "students are not just learning, they are doing". Obviously, engagement is important to innovative practices.

After discussion on student role, Clive offered excellent resources related to the example to further explore the effects of attempt in Marine. What arousing wide attention is the assessment system. It seems that in innovative practice, it is hard to improve marks in standard exams, however, in this case, it did. But in New York Times article, they cast doubt on the results and pointed out the computer may not be made fully use of. Also, lots of limitations and negative effects are mentioned. We all felt unsatisfactory with the assessment system, but it seems that it is quite effective and easy to use. Perhaps exam itself is not a problem, but it can no longer be the only assessment tool in the innovative period.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Impact of one-to-one in Maine

Angus King, the ex-governor of the state of Maine who was instrumental in the mass roll out of the one-to-one laptop initiative in the state's middle schools characterises the benefits of the programme as follows:

to significantly improve writing scores
to improve behaviour and attendance
provide true 21st Century skill

and all for the same cost as the state snow-ploughing budget! http://goo.gl/FMRr9

It's interesting that even this (at the time) highly innovative project
had standardised testing in mind as an achieveable outcome, which, given the US obsession with test scores as a means of identifying teacher performance (see Race to the Top; http://goo.gl/yOltm ) is hardly surprising.

Of more surprise is that this objective was actually achieved.

"Analysis of these average scale scores indicated that, in fact, there was a statistically
significant improvement in writing scores after implementation of the laptop
program" (Silvermail 2007)

Although writing is only a part of the range of testing it was an area for improvement as noted by Angus King.

However, outside of Maine there has been a more lukewarm response to one-to-one initiatives, as highlighted by the New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/04/education/04laptop.html?pagewanted=all

The articles states that laptops have been ditched as they have "showed little, if any, measurable effect on grades and test scores at a time of increased pressure to meet state standards." Note again the stressing of the importance of standardized assessment scores.

But as Scott McLeod points out on his blog, the types of higher order, authentic, 21st Century Learning experiences that an innovative laptop programme should be looking to achieve are unlikely to create an atmosphere conducive to higher standardized test scores: http://goo.gl/N0l1S

He also highlights key factors in lack of training and support to help these initiatives achieve their true potential.

Silvermail, D.L., Gritter, A.K. (2007). Maine’s Middle School Laptop Program: Creating Better
Writers. Maine Education Policy Research, University of Southern Maine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A case to be analyzed for Group activity 4----Role of students

Some links to the case: Project Learning in Maine


Project Fun Way: When Project Learning and Technology Meet

A Computer for Every Lap: The Maine Learning Technology Initiative

An Entire State Commits to Laptops on Every Middle School Desktop

Laptops on Expedition: Embracing Expeditionary Learning

Perhaps we can identify the roles of students in this activity - do they have the roles S1 to S17 in the activity?

Session3 activity: Analyzing teacher roles in innovative classroom

Rayson said:
Analyzing teacher roles in innovative classroom

On the above 13 teacher's pedagogical roles, it  realizes that some are internal role who performs it inside the classroom-based. Some roles are external role that the teacher or the instructor performs outside the class. The external roles include the curriculum development, educational administration and school counselling work. But the class is a e-class, online learning and e-learning approach, there has only virtual campus. The teaching role (internal role above) become redundant and maybe vanished! Moreover, classroom usage and teacher's classroom duties can reduce. The teacher's role is completely changed. Their role maybe Q&A online to answer the student's question and give feedback on chat room, email or SMS/MMS. The advantage of innovative ICT can assist teacher to reduce their workload and can save much spare time when the online learning or e-class can fully occupy the class role of the them. However, the drawback is if this virtual learning can fully occupy for the teacher's role. The teacher's role may become a 'phase out' job title! This is a weakness or disadvantage for the teacher's role.  Moreover, when this technology become mature. That something like 'virtual teacher' this technology come out, the student just 'input their question on the system' and 'can get the answer/ feedback immediately'. Furthermore, the student just ask the question to a 'Robot' teacher in front of them and this machine teacher can answer them, coach them and lead them. The 'real' teacher become useless. The 'robot' teacher or answering teaching machine, they are innovation and creative, they are fully used the AI (artificial intelligence). When innovative educational technology become sophisticated, it remains only the document work and administration work for the teacher. In the future, the innovative ICT on education maybe a bonus to teacher's role but is also a nightmare to teacher!

Session2 activity: Exploring success in innovations

Rayson say:
Exploring success in innovations
According to Joyce Wycoff's 'Big 10 Innovation Killers', it can summarize the above 'killer' factors make the innovation unsuccessfully. If it want to success innovation, it should prevents the above elements occur. She points out 'Culture', 'Ownership', 'Process', 'Resources', 'Strategy', 'Fuzzy front-end', 'Diversity', 'Criteria and metric', 'Training' and 'Idea management', First of all, culture is important for innovation. A success company culture can let all the employee concentrate on one product/thing 'innovation', the working environment and the in-house design of a company also are the 'Culture' part to benefit on the innovation 'Process' and 'Strategy'. A good working atmosphere is a basic 'Criteria and metrices' can let the people easy to brainstorming for 'Fuzzy front-end'.

Then, on the 'Ownership', it explores me to think the intellectual property problem to affect the personal idea has stolen. Because nowadays, Hong Kong people are still weak on the copyright concept. The idea stealing are series barrier to affect the creative idea. People are still easy to get the software, books and other resources by using peep-to-peer sharing software such as BT and other 'download accelerator' software. It affects the intention of creativity about song composer, screenwriter, software developer and designer since their intellectual property has become public-sharing! The creative workers are lose confidence to the social culture when this 'free-downloading' activity occurs.

Moreover, this is a money-oriented world. Money-driven is the main purpose to the company, organization and enterprise. The boss always want get 'instant-money'. They need the revenue immediately. However, they want to cut the budget, cut the research and development (R&D) time for their product life-cycle. This can affect the quality of innovation also! Because the innovated product and invention need time, idea and capital. Reduce time and money can direct influence the innovation. I think this should be Joyce Wycoff's 'Resource' not enough problem to affect the 'Strategy', 'Process' and 'Idea management'.

Eventually, the staff 'Training' and product 'Diversify' are needed. Not enough training will let not enough knowledge and experience to generate a new idea. The product diversified is important, it cannot concentrate on one product's success. Such like Apple, their products are not sticking on one product, it covers a wide-range product line includes music player, tablet, laptop and mobile!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Group activity 3---Teachers' role in innovation

The main topic in this week is the teachers' role in innovation, which is tightly related to Steve Jobs' who unfortunately passed away several days ago.

I do not choose the grey apple, instead, the colorful one may well represent the contribution made by Steve since our world becomes more colorful owing to his great innovative practices.

However, it should be pointed out that innovation does not simply equal to educational innovation. One of the obvious reason is clearly stated by Clive in his "What if Steve ran your school?": examination. In other words, it is the assessment system that exert negative influence on innovative practice in education.

Looking back to what is discussed in class last week, we can see there are traditonal and emergent roles of teachers. Although the emergent role seems more attractive especially we are trying to introduce something new, the traditional roles of teachers should also be reconsidered carefully. To manage the whole class, to provide useful and selected resources, to assess students' assignment are all teachers' task. More importantly, the traditional role is the basic of other roles. If there is no well mananged class and satisfactory resources, the innovation is meaningless.

Finally, innovation is a kind of personal practice and the greatest advantage of Steve's products is that countless of possibilities are offered. While special personalities and abilities are expected to be developed in school, as a class, students may be well organized to do something together. So it is the teachers responsibility to explore to what extent should we introduce innovative practices in today's complex situation and assessment system which seems hard to change.

Session1 activity: education ICT innovation example & impact on practice

Rayson said:
Identify examples of educational ICT-innovation and their impact on practice

Innovative Teaching on the deaf students with ipad. Making the teaching and learning more fun.
The innovative teaching can apply to the disabled student such as the deaf or the blind students. They are needed the ICT technology to help them. There has many new ICT technologies developed to assist the disabled student.  In the above video, we can see the deaf students can learn the Science subject by using the ipad. Special education with hand-sign to the deaf students to help them to easy to understand the subject. Images, graphics and hand-sign are important to the deaf student because they can only learn by their vision and feeling without sound. Another technology I know, for example, the Voice-over technology, which developed by Apple Inc to help the blind student for target. When they listen to the song or some voice-clips, they just press the button and then the device can speak out the detail of the song or that voice-clips such like the song's name, performer and other information as well. 

What if Steve Jobs ran your school?

Or your place of work no matter what it is. What would the difference be?

Would it impact upon your role as a teacher? Could you be more innovative? Would there be an expectation for you to be an innovative educator?

A few thoughts from me.

Yes, Apple under Jobs designed amazing products that have seriously impacted upon people's lives. So much so that in using them one can take the view that Don Ihde's philosophy on the negative impacts of all technology inventions is complete twaddle. After all, whilst using my iPhone I can take a photograph of my son and send it to his grandparents instantly. I can't see the negative in that, Don!

But for Apple, and Apple shareholders there was always a bottom line. It's no good coming up with innovative designs and products if they don't sell (see the Lisa, Mac Cube, Pippin, Apple Quick Take camera, which my school had!). Apple's success has been built upon great, intuitive designs which sell well.

So, what's the bottom line in schools?

It's examinations.

The number of times I've heard that something cannot be done in a a school I've worked in because of exams, or tests, or assessments is extraordinary. This is nowhere as apparent as in the international school system, where schools are constantly being compared using examination data and where school leaders are obsessed to the point of paranoia regarding these tests, even for students in the primary age category.

So would Jobs have been concerned about exam results? Of course he would. The Apple shareholders would have insisted upon it!

There are various stories about Jobs, many of which have become legends (or myths) over the years, from sacking people in elevators to blunt assessments of projects; "that's a D". From an innovation point of view some of the more interesting ones focus upon when he had a viewpoint but was persuaded by his team that he was wrong... although they may have used a different word.

Apparently he was very keen on keeping iTunes as a Mac only project, not allowing it's use on Windows. However, the team around him persuaded him otherwise and iTunes on the PC platform is now very popular and drives much revenue to Apple through the iTunes store.

So, despite being a visionary leader he had the sense to surround himself with experts who sometimes questioned his vision and influenced his thinking. This is a key aspect of innovation as many "visionary" leaders simply surround themselves with those who think in the same way, so there is no questioning, no contrary view, so things are always accepted, and, in my opinion, innovation is dampened.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Analysing teacher roles in innovative classrooms

Below is my sharing after reading the notes and the M2 website.

Among the 13 pedagogical roles of the teachers, some are more traditional while some are more innovative. Group as five clusters, two of them: "facilitating exploratory learning" and "guiding collaborative inquiry" are more emergent in supporting students' learning.

In my opinion, whether the teacher's role in classroom is innovative not only depends on the teacher himself/herself. I think it is natural that teachers who are enthusiastic in teaching would take more innovative roles. However, I think the subject taught will also affect the role of teachers in classrooms.

Some subjects focus on individual logical thinking while some focus more on discussion and presentation. Just a comparison: Maths vs. Social science. When teaching Maths, teachers seldom "facilitate exploratory learning" or "guide collaborative inquiry" - there are few things to explore and few chances for collaboration among students. Pedagogies are limited to traditional type - present, instruct and assess students. However, for social science subjects, discussion and collaboration on social issues are common classroom practices. Teachers can play innovative roles during lessons.

It is also discussed that some pedagogical practices like "project work" are conducive to emergent pedagogical roles by teachers. I have an experience in teaching an I.T. subject which requires students to work as group to complete a group project. In this project, collaboration is achieved among students who are within the same group, or who are in other groups. During their presentation session, there is a Q and A session, and I assess my students through their participation in the Q and A. Students need to raise question to score some participation marks. I observe students did well and participated quite actively in their learning.

Looking back and while I try to relate the innovative pedagogical roles of teachers with my teaching, I think that to make the whole thing more innovative, I may also try to use ICT tools during students' project work or presentation, or put more emphasis on guiding students to inquire on the project matters.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Project Based Learning in Maine

Diffusion of innovation

The diffusion of innovation theory is a good description to explain how the connection between idea and technology.

Diffusion of innovation theory (below wordings and images from wikis): Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures.Everett Rogers, a professor of rural sociology, popularized the theory in his 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations. He said diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. The origins of the diffusion of innovations theory are varied and span across multiple disciplines.......

My collection on "Diffusion of Innovation":

Monday, October 3, 2011

An example of innovative practice in education

Attached is the outline of my design my individual assignment in last module (6024). In general, it is a DIY(do it yourself ) programm to the your dream university aboard. The purpose of this design is that students who mainly depend on travel agency and teachers may have chances to design their own journey with the assistance of ICT.

Aids to Innovation

Whilst there are many barriers to innovation, as discussed in the comment threads below, there are also some aids to innovation. At our school we use an online CPD portfolio to link school development planning to individual staff performance.

This online tool allows staff to measure themselves against a variety of performance criteria and categroies. It also allows for senior managers to provide targets for all staff. This has been a key driver of some innovation within our schools as all teaching staff are given a technology related target at the beginning of each year.

In some cases, it may be quite limited, requesting that the individual

member of staff uses an online resource repository to enhance learning, but in others, more complex. One member of staff was charged with collecting quantative data to show progress within a technology enhanced writing module.

Wycoff's point about making innovation part of the performance review process is definitely relevant here.

Like all school systems, the buy-in for Blue Sky has not been 100%, but in using it to initiate staff appraisals and contract discussions, the take up has certainly been quite apparent.

my risal account

My risal account: morli3

Group account: ---