I attended the CORE efellows presentations this morning. The e-Learning Fellowships Initiative was launched in 2003 by the NZ Ministry of Education. Each year, ten teachers in early childhood, primary and secondary ‘released’ from the classroom to conduct research on using technology in teaching with academic support and mentoring from CORE Education.
The five ‘fellows’ presented their research (some of which are still in progress). Several of the projects were related to mlearning and eportfolios which made for interesting sessions and an opportunity to find out more from a school based perspective. It was great to see classroom practitioners being provided with the opportunity to work on projects that have important applications their own teaching contexts.
- Energising education with Matt Tippen
What effect does the creation and the use of ICT-based energisers have on
student engagement? An interesting & pedagogically sound way to incorporate ICT & ‘brain gym’ into the classroom. Matt’s students are formed into groups. Each group then comes up with a name & a sequence of actions that helps them energise themselves between classes. The sequence is videoed & the kids follow the video in class when ever an energiser is needed! As the ‘brain gyms’ are student produced, they become motivated to use the energisers.
- Reaching the potential for mobile phones in education with Toni Twiss
How can mobile phones be integrated into authentic classroom learning activities
to develop effective information literacy skills? This provided me with good background from the secondary school perspective. The majority of schools in NZ ban cell phone use so working with mlearning is going to be a challenge from the school organisation. One important finding was the lack of information literacy skills in both year 9 & year 12 students. They all tended to type in the whole question into Google & then rely on the first link that appeared as the most reliable one!!
- Maximising the formative benefits of e-portfolios with Nick Rate
What can teachers do in order to maximise the formative learning benefits of
online? Another good integration of the research done on eportfolios into actual practice. Nick uses eportfolios in a primary school & the eportfolios are used in an integrated way to meet many of the strands in the NZ school ‘key competencies’.
- Effective blended e-learning in secondary school teaching with Mark Callagher
How can student interactivity and historical thinking be enhanced through the use of a blended learning approach? Mark used the Moodle discussion board to springboard learning about contemporary world history (World War 2) with year 12 students. Main learning was that the ‘lower ability’ students were drawn into the discussions and this enhanced their learning.
- Towards a better understanding with Michael Fenton
How can students use mobile sensor technology to create authentic learning?
Michael made use a form of mobile learning to help students ‘play’ in order to learn. A variety of projects using RIGEL as a form of data logger was presented. This included student directed & teacher directed activities including treasure hunts, robots and car maintenance. An innovative way to introduce students to ICT (interested in conversation & thinking!).
With all of this activity going on at the primary & secondary school level, it is even more important a the tertiary level to build to the skills students have attained at school to help enhance their learning experiences beyond school.