Posts Tagged ‘pd’
“Pedagogy before technology” is a refrain that I espouse. I say this in the context of integrating technology for learning and designing mobile apps.
So I was glad to read someone else write about why technical training for faculty is a waste of time. It is a good read!
Such training is a waste of time for many reasons. Teaching well is not important. Churning out research is more important. Technical training is not the same as meaningful, contextual use.
That aside, there are some faculty members who are passionate about teaching and changing with the times. With these folks in mind, there is a word missing from the title of that article. That word is “unless”. Such training is wasteful unless the pedagogical gains are made clear first.
Much of CeL’s training has been technical and this is a historical practice that is difficult to displace. When an outfit set up with only one academic staff member (me) and almost 20 non-academic members (my team), this makes the task of changing mindsets and practices even tougher.
So we began the journey of change.
One change was for my staff to rationalize WHY before telling HOW and WHAT. For example, why do I need to learn this new tool or method? Why is this strategy better?
Another was expanding our audience to include non-academic staff. This not only helped a previously ignored group, it also helped my team see that they need to appeal to the immersive use of the tool. It was another way of appealing to the WHY first.
Now we have revised some of our workshops and sharing sessions.
The academic staff sharing sessions used to be just that: Teaching staff would share their experiences and stories. In the sessions going on this week, academic staff share their practices (more of the WHY) while CeL staff follow up with the technical HOW and WHAT. We call this the half-and-half sharing sessions.
In a new Blended Learning series, we will offer pedagogical tidbits to academic staff in a bid to get them to bite. We do this by sharing blended teaching strategies in our collaborative classrooms with Web 2.0 tools and Blackboard.
There is at least one more strategy that we hope to implement soon. It has something to do with this…
by Nuno Ibra
This is one of the better articles on What it Takes to Launch a Mobile Learning Program in Schools. It is concise and comprehensive.
If there is any point that rises above the rest, I would cite #3 (professional development of teachers):
they must learn how to use mobile technologies to change teaching and learning, so that they are doing more than just replacing print resources with digital versions. A common pitfall in incorporating new technology into education is over-reliance on the technology itself to produce results. [Mobile learning researchers] Marie Bjerede and Chris Dede, for instance, found that podcasting in and of itself had little effect on teaching and learning. When played in the classroom, podcasts are just high-tech versions of age-old instructional practices of “teaching by telling, learning by listening,” previously accomplished with educational radio and portable tape recorders
Recently I read this interview at the Chronicle, Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion? I was nodding in agreement.
To simplify and summarize the interview, universities were in danger of losing their relevance if they did not realize that they were based largely on:
- the one-size-fits-all model
- one-time/place-learn-all practice
- the delivery of long, drawn out courses
All this in an age where people have already started looking for:
- individualized learning (and having different reasons for learning)
- anytime (convenient for me), anywhere (I want), any how (I want or need), any one (I wish to learn from)
- bursts of information consumption and knowledge creation
While I am not a full-time student any more, I am a lifelong-lifewide learner and I have the same needs in my personal and professional development (PD).
When I was a teacher, PD was conducted en masse, by vendors, and largely devoid of need or context. Now my PD is largely organized around my:
- RSS feeds
- Twitter stream and PLN
- Social bookmarks like delicious and Diigo
- Access to YouTube and Google Search
I call this my unprofessional development because it is informal and unsanctioned. It might also seem unprofessional of me to prefer this form of PD when my workplace offers or recommends prescribed courses.
Frankly, in most cases, unPD is more timely, convenient, and meaningful.
This is an old video created by Shelly Terrell to promote the use of Twitter and the hashtag #edchat for teacher professional development (PD).
It is not the centrally organized sort of PD most folk are familiar with. It is more along the lines of individualized PD. To echo what John Spencer mentioned in that blog entry, if we see the need for differentiated instruction we should also see the need for differentiated PD.
Twitter is not the only way to customize your own PD. You can do this with RSS feeds, Facebook and Google+. The point is that you get to choose what you want or need.
I am not the first to offer Twitter tips nor will I be the last. But I thought I should offer some tips, one educator to another.
What prompted this? A few educators new to Twitter found me online and via email, so I sent them some resources that I had archived in Delicious.
What really pushed me to write this was what I read yesterday at the Guardian: Tweeting advice for Gwyneth Paltrow. In my haste, I read this as Tweeting advice from Gwyneth Paltrow. Thankfully the movie actress wasn’t actually adding “social media consultant” to her CV; it was just a journalist trying to make headlines.
There are lots of advice and tips for using Twitter for marketing, advertising, public relations and feedback, but there aren’t many focused on education. The following are some tips for the education professional who wants to establish a personal learning network (PLN).
1. Identify yourself
When you get a Twitter account, two things to do immediately are a) replace the generic egg profile picture Twitter gives you with a clear and decent picture of yourself, and b) describe yourself or your purpose for using Twitter in 160 characters or less.
Show yourself: Twitter is a social platform and other people want to attach a face to a Twitter handle.
Describe yourself: Doing this shows that you are serious about using Twitter and lets other users know who you are and whether you are worth following.
2. Don’t play the numbers game
I mention this in the context of your follower count (who follows you) or following count (who you follow). Companies and celebrities are all about high follower counts. Both want as many eyeballs and as much attention as they can get. They do not really care if a follower is a bot, a marketer or a pervert.
Quality trumps quantity. If you follow too many people, you get information overload. You might be followed by many, but do you know who they are? See the next two tips.
3. Follow wisely
Don’t follow everyone that Twitter recommends. Follow the folks you recognize or come recommended by someone you trust. Then look at who they follow.
The Twitter system might make some recommendations based on some social algorithm and this might be useful as a first cut. But it is people that decide who they want to be friends with, who they listen to or who they get married to. Apply the same principle on who to follow on Twitter.
4. Cull if needed
There are two ways of looking at this: Unfollowing someone and blocking followers.
Don’t feel bad about unfollowing someone. You might have followed someone by mistake or you might find their tweets irrelevant. Think of your Twitter stream as a customized newspaper or news programme. Unfollow so that you only get the sections of the paper or news that you want. This also helps reduce information overload.
I block some 20 to 30 followers a day. Why? First, my Twitter name is @ashley so I get followers thinking that I am someone else. I do not want to further mislead the already misled.
Second, I get followed by bots, marketers, spammers, etc. The more seasoned Twitter user might refer to my list of followers to see who else to follow, so it is my responsibility to keep out as much trash out as possible.
Third, I tend to block followers who have locked or private accounts. A Twitter-based PLN is about openness and sharing!
But I tend not to block those who are teachers or in the educational technology line.
5. Find your voice
It is OK to lurk and listen for a while. You learn the ropes and imbibe the culture of tweeting. But like blogging, tweeting is about finding your voice and sharing your passions.
Twitter used to ask “What are you doing?” This encouraged inane navel gazing. Now it asks “What is happening?” This cast one’s eye from one’s navel to perhaps someone else’s navel.
Many educators on Twitter use it as a PLN. To contribute, you could consider answering these questions:
- What did you find?
- What did you learn?
- What can you teach the rest?
Share inspiring YouTube videos, informative SlideShares or thought-provoking readings.
6. Consume critically, then tweet or retweet
Before you tweet or retweet a resource, make sure that you have read, listened or watched it. Others are relying on your recommendation.
Where the resource is not your own, retweet (RT) someone else’s recommendation. This not only gives credit where it is due, it also amplifies to your PLN what is emerging or important.
7. Monitor or converse with #hashtags
This Google Doc contains a list of education-related hashtags that you can monitor. You can read and participate in conversations with educators all over the world. Locally, please use #edsg to contribute.
I have one more tip that is optional but highly recommended. Link your Twitter account with a social bookmarking service like Delicious or Diigo. This will help you automatically archive and curate all the wonderful resources and ideas you discover on Twitter. I recommend packrati.us to make this link.
What other tips might be useful for educators who want to take charge of their own professional development?
Depending on the context, PD could be short for many things. For me, it can be Parents Day, Publicity Daze and good old Professional Development.
I have tweeted what I wanted to say about NTU’s Parents Day on Saturday. Suffice to say that the label PD is more suitable for kindergarten.
After the Parents Day event was over and as I was on my way back to my office, I took a snapshot of this new poster in NIE.
I think that the text message is incongruous with the image. The message is about staying relevant. But the image shows a computer in the 1980s housing an iPad. Perhaps the message is meant to convey something like “old body, new mind”.
But I interpret this as putting new wine in old wineskins. The old wineskin will burst and the new wine will spill. So while the message might be about educational evolution or even revolution, it really should be about educational transformation.
Just sticking an iPad-like mentality in an 80s-constrained body or context is not going to allow education to evolve or revolve, much less transform. In my mind, the poster was a Publicity Daze.
I will have to deal with the mindsets of staff and teacher educators. The type of Professional Development that we need to conduct will be more challenging in that we at the CeL will not just be providing technical skills but pedagogical ones as well. We will also be addressing biases, preferences and values.