Tag Archives: learning design

Digital natives? Not at all! Digital afraid I would say

Personal thoughts to start

I am writing for my progression assessment, which has been a real struggle. Writing is for me a difficult act. I have been identifying some aspects of it so I can improve. It might be because I need to stop, find silence within me, and try to find words and a way to structure them so they make justice to my ideas and all the bits and bops that float around but are an important part of the process of ideation. So yes!! It is an agony I am afraid. But here I am, holding the space of struggle and moving forward I hope! Courage is not missing, so I guess, there will be a productive outcome, in what form, that is still to come 🙂
I am receiving an incredible support from @gconole, my supervisor Grainne Conole. Thank you for that!

My research interest and reflection in relation with exploring the present and not so much predicting the future

Reflecting on my work through my writing and some reading (@DonnaLanclos and @Lawrie) I did this morning I came to realise how important the first phase of my research is. To give this reflection a context let me summarise my research and then explain what I am saying.
My research is about finding ways in which the university, through its members of staff and their institutional vision, can support students to enhance, improve and sometimes even learn about digital literacies. I think digital literacies will and indeed already are, in some occasions, taking the place of literacy as we know them, but I will develop this idea in another post, although I already started to reflect on it here.
When I was thinking about the idea of my research I had already a potential answer or hunch solution if you will. Then came all the process of thinking about how this question could be answered and planning the design research that goes with it. In this process something was not feeling right, I was very uncomfortable, still at an intuitive level, with the idea of how to implement this ‘hunch’ or idea about improving students’ digital literacies. It was definitely not standing in front of a group of students and presenting to them “my idea”! Who am I to present to them ‘The Solution’ without asking them. That felt very uncomfortable, so much so, that I decided to stop for a while and give it further thinking and time to  mature.
I then had the chance to give a talk about my research in the National University Galway with @catherinecronin in CELT (Centre for the Excellence of Learning and Teaching), where I had very good feedback and a rich and fruitful 1:1 discussion with Catherine to share our research ideas and the literature we had been looking at. The result of both, the feedback and the discussion session was a CLICK, an AJA moment. It all suddenly fall into place and I saw the piece that was missing: Students voice, their current digital practice, where they are at in this particular moment in relation with their digital literacies. What was missing was the ‘present moment’ which Donna Lanclos describes very nicely in her article (referred and linked above). An interesting point she makes is not to base our research in an imagined future, instead we need to explore the messy and not so sexy but indeed interesting present.

Future thinking is unfortunate because in part it encourages a neglect of the complicated and messy (and interesting!) present. It’s easier to think and talk about a future where the current problems with which we wrestle are fixed (jet packs!). It is more challenging to confront the present.

This idea of the problems of the future being fixed is relevant and more so the challenge that lies in exploring the present -not an imagined present she says- in order to see what is really possible to do. The core of her article is how the ‘digital native’ cliche does exactly that, hands us an imagined present where young people, all in general, do technology, are experts, hence there is no need to improve nothing, there is no need to teach nothing but only let them do what they know best and in a way we are liberated of all responsibility not only with them, but more over with our own improvement of digital literacies.
This idea of exploring the present is also encouraged by critical thinkers of ed tech like Neil Selwyn and Martin Oliver. They are also informing my work. They argue that there is a need in ed tech to explore more the ‘state of the current’ how they call it in order to attempt to bridge the existing gap between the enthusiastic rhetoric and the not so happy reality happening in the classrooms. And this is exactly what I am doing in phase 1, mapping students current digital practice so I can understand what is what they can and cannot do with technology and where is support really needed. I am using the V+R approach (another explanation here) to map students’ digital practice and it has been eye opening for my research. It shows exactly the opposite of what Prensky has established. From 20 students I worked with only 3 have located digital tools for academic purposes in their V+R Map, and less than 1/4 of the participants feel safe and confident with the idea of exploring new tools in order to work in formal settings and improve their academic digital skills. I also had a big discussion with a  group of 30 students (between 23 and 45 years old) and only 3 knew the meaning of digital literacies. In my case the evidence contradicts Prensky’s assumption totally, and it reveals how passive this cliche results.
Next step will be looking at the different factors that are hindering students to use more digital tools for learning and studying available in the Internet. As Lanclos argues, there is a need to look at the complex interactions of factors that are restricting students from being masters of the Web and its tools for academic purposes. The idea with phase 1 is to be able to extract  relevant elements from the data in order to design a scaffolding structure that supports students to improve their existing and informal personal learning environments reflected in their V+R map.
It is only exploring and knowing how their present practice looks like that anything relevant can be designed  in order to support them in the process of improving and teaching the so demanded digital literacies.

Audience as designers! For designing a PLE?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T7a09v3bTM&w=560&h=315]
A little of the ideas of the author:
The audience as authors

Designing with instead of designing for
Finding a place where they (the audience) can collaborate
How you ignite the imagination of many? how do you get people engaged in something? What design elements have to be in the environment to trigger the best out of the students?
How can I let the students come in and be the protagonist of their own story, their own hero journey?
I am trying to build bridges between 2 worlds. It could be between the digital and the analog.
How can I move a story in a pervasive way that allows people to engage in it?
The story needs to be compelling enough that they want to do things with it

Reflexions on week 2

This week has been about the starting point for designing our course.
This consisted in drawing a scenario where our learners are involved in. Bringing to pencil and paper all of what happens in their learning environment. Considering not just external factors but also the ones that are internal of the learner, his/her characteristic. Getting in contact with all these details makes us, the designers, aware of all the things that influence the learning process weather in a positive or negative way. Some issues will constrain that process, other will enhance it. I am specially concerned with some internal factors that are very important in the learning process, namely the beliefs of the learners. A list of some important aspects regarding teachers beliefs:

  • Attitudes towards technology (Chang & Cheung, 2001; Choi, Choi, Kim, & Yu, 2003; Jeong & Lambert, 2002).
  • Self-efficacy (Hasan, 2006).
  • Perceived attributes of technology such as perceived usefulness (Dasgupta, Granger, & McGarry, 2002; Landry, Griffeth, & Hartman, 2006).
  • Perceived ease of use (Kiraz & Ozdemir, 2006; Klaus, Gyire, & Wen, 2003)
  • Complexity (Cheung & Huang, 2005).
  • Perceived influence and support from the environment such as facilitating conditions (Groves & Zemel, 2000; Gueldenzoph, Guidera, Whipple, Mertler,& Dutton, 2000).
  • Teachers’ pedagogical beliefs (Lim & Chan, 2007).

I think that the perceive ease and sef efficacy are really important when we design a course. We should take care to help with this issues considering a tutor in some face to face sessions and with the self efficacy the tutor and peers can help a lot.
There are many approaches to this stage: Scenarios, personas, force maps, situated learning, EoR.  In this OLDS MOOC we have prof. Luckin as part of the facilitators and she was the one who created the EoR framework, so I think it is very useful to try it out.
In my particular scenario many details, maybe to many, but it helped me to get involved with the technique. I further watched some videos to understand about the force map. I already have mine. I did something different regarding the arrows. I put in the post it papers referring to the different factor a – sign or a + depending if that factor was constraining or enhancing the learning process. I have to many so it was becoming a mess with the arrows.
Now I think I have my force map and my scenario clear. I am still struggling with the cicular scheme. I wiil figure it out over the weekend. I don’t get to know well the relations
My reflection: The learning environment is not only a condition for but also an important outcome of the learning process. This idea is embedded in the philosophy of Vygotsky (1978, 1986), giving its due importance to the interaction between the learners’ context and the learning that occurs as a result of the interactions within that context. Moreover if the context is build by the learner the interaction with it has a manifold effect. The difficulties that may arise while designing and building the PLE will provide an appropriate zone of proximal development, providing challenging activities that will induce the learner into the culture of her/his society empowering her/him as an autonomous learner (Becker & Varelas, 1995, cited by Luckin, 2008).