Archive for the ‘Teachers’ Category
Higher Education is currently undergoing some of the most profound changes in its history. Against a backdrop of increasing marketization, rising levels of student debt and far greater fully online offerings, the higher education lecturer is grappling with new ways of working and high expectations of teaching quality. This 3 year qualitative study based in The Open University UK investigates the ways in which HE distance learning lecturers are approaching professional development and learning, identifying what type of learning may be most effective in creating and sustaining an online teaching identity. The study also examines ways in which resistance discourse is shaping these identities and practices revealing emerging re-conceptualisations of what it means to be an effective and well-motivated distance learning lecturer. The investigation uses a framework for identity analysis which analyses professional identity via the expression of hegemonies, phenomenological, narrative articulations of identity, and a post-modern, constructivist view of identity which is shaped by social interactions and communities of practice. It highlights the importance of personal agency in identity formation. The results revealed a number of insights into the ways in which a combination of resistance discourse, professional learning and reflections from student interactions are shaping new understandings of professional knowledge in this context.
Earlier today I presented a short webinar about some of my favorite Web 2.0 tools for teachers. The webinar was on behalf of Ed Tech Teacher for whom I facilitate in-person workshops from time to time. This summer I’ll be working with them quite a bit. You can see the list of their summer workshops here. A recording of today’s webinar will be available here shortly. If you just want to know what tools I shared in the webinar, you can view the slides below.
I often begin my workshop on personal learning networks (PLN) for educators by asking these questions: Who is in your learning network? Who do you learn from on a regular basis? Who do you turn to for your own professional development? Some educators are lucky enough to learn from their coworkers or colleagues at their site. Far too many others feel isolated in their room or office, and need to meet with counterparts from other sites in order to have a professional learning experience. All educators (and learners) can benefit from extending their own personal learning network online – beyond the walls of their schools, the boundaries of their districts, and the limits of their experience.
Last year, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a law that requires all high school students to take some online classes to graduate, and that the students and their teachers be given laptops or tablets. The idea was to establish Idaho’s schools as a high-tech vanguard.
To help pay for these programs, the state may have to shift tens of millions of dollars away from salaries for teachers and administrators. And the plan envisions a fundamental change in the role of teachers, making them less a lecturer at the front of the room and more of a guide helping students through lessons delivered on computers.
Missouri lawmakers are proposing a law that would prohibit teachers and students from having “exclusive contact” through email and on social networking sites such as Facebook.
State Sen. Jane Cunningham, a Republican from St. Louis, sponsored the
law and argued that she only wanted to limit “hidden communications”
between teachers and students that could not be monitored by third
parties, such as parents or school administrators.
Numerous developing countries are currently executing or planning—pouring both hope and money into projects that introduce technology into their educational systems. This paper puts forth the assertion that developing world ICT-in-education projects will continue to disappoint until they are reconceptualized and redesigned to incorporate three transformative concepts: teachers play the key role in determining the success or failure of such projects; change is a years-long process and not a one-time event; and teachers need ongoing support to adopt the technology and should be treated as stakeholders in the innovation-adoption process. In the Macedonian nationwide computers-in-schools project herein described, teachers received extremely comprehensive advance training in both computer use and methods of actively incorporating technology into their curriculum and teaching. Still, the majority of teachers are not successfully employing technology in the classroom three years after the training and deployment were carried out. This paper applies the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (or CBAM, which describes how individuals’ concerns evolve as they undergo the process of change and how these concerns may be addressed over time) to Macedonia’s experience. CBAM serves as a lens through which to examine ICT-in-education efforts and determine whether they effectively match up with how teachers experience change and where there is room for improvement in such efforts.
This means that the one-and-done format of training, which had been employed, was not going to be effective. We realized that training needed to be ongoing, addressing the teachers’ concerns and needs as they arose, and that they needed support throughout the years-long process of change (which they weren’t getting). Principals and other key school administrators had not expressly received relevant training, and did not understand their key role in supporting the teachers through the change process – and therefore, were not performing this role.
I have often been asked for insights into what would ensure the highest degree of quality integration of technology into the classroom. There are a number of compulsory components that must be effectively addressed if we are to truly observe the full benefits to learners and educators. The one area however that seems to consistently perform weakly is in the area of teacher professional development.
The most popular answer to the question of how to improve the quality of schools and education in developing countries is: Invest in more teachers and more schools. But could this really be the solution to the educational problems in poor countries? I sincerely doubt whether this solution is feasible. I even fear it is completely impossible to solve the plight of education in the developing world by this route alone. ICT4E has the same problems as ICT4D. It is inconceivable that a solution to every local problem could be devised by a person sitting behind a keyboard in Western-Europe. People on the ground, locals, know what is needed and what is available.