Essay Plan #take 1

Essay Plan #take 1

Thinking about the plan for my first essay.
Not sure how if it’s going to be readable so I think click on the image and save it to see a bigger version. Running out the door now but will try to play with photo features when I get back and see if there’s a better way of viewing a pic such as this.

Success….even before leaving my chair! Click the photo to see a bigger (readable!) version.

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Research #3

Chau and Cheng. (2010). ePortfolio, Technology and Learning: a reality check. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 21(4), 465-481.

Description: Set within a tertiary education setting, the authors of this article explore the relationship between theoretical ideals in ePortfolio use for learning and assessment and actual classroom practice, namely the adoption and effective use of ePortfolios by students. To begin, they identified four key theoretical advantages to using ePortfolios – namely their ability to enable all types of learners to succeed; as a means of learner empowerment through authorship; as a tool to extend technology use and capabilities; and finally as a way to foster online communities and networks. These four key ideas were then explored with a group of students enrolled in an English as a Second Language course at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Results of this study indicated some inconsistencies between theory and practice a series of ‘checks’ were suggested, linked to each of the four key theoretical ideas. In addition, recommendations were made for future ePortfolio implementation in educational settings.
Evaluation: This research-based article is useful for my own investigation into ePortfolios as it takes a real-world, honest view and does not attempt to hide the mismatch between theory and practice. This is important for me to consider as any technological innovation is bound to encounter issues and if some of these can be acknowledged and planned for in advance it will likely help to smooth the path of diffusion. Particularly useful are the links drawn between student authorship and a sociocultural approach to learning as well as comments focused around what students did and did not like about the ePortfolios. These comments all tied in to the Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU) element outlined in the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and as such reinforced my thinking that TAM is an important change model for me to consider as both PEOU and Perceived Usefulness at a student level will be instrumental in the overall effectiveness of the innovation I propose.

Note to self when writing essay – the focus is not on why ePortfolios should be used in schools (already being done and done well!) but on why they should be used as the key assessment tool.

The Big Think…..learning reflection 1

I don’t really know where to start. Someone once told me a long time ago that a messy room = a messy mind. At the moment, I feel like this is the case, but in reverse, or maybe working in both directions. My mind is messy and as a result my study is messy….and vice versa. How to break the circle?! It’s not that there is too much work, but rather that my time management skills are not the best….or else I’ve just tried to take on too much in terms of full-time study, part-time work and also setting up a business. Hmmm….when I write it like that it does seem a lot. But definitely doable because I don’t have a family and absolutely am in awe of everyone who is working, studying and looking after families.

Even writing this reflection is somewhat difficult at the moment. I think maybe I’m worrying too much about having to do it ‘right’ or follow particular guidelines, so I’m now going to give up on that and do a big mind dump of thoughts and feelings. It may not make sense and it may be quite random to read, but maybe it will help sort out the mess in my head and lead me to some clear next steps or guiding questions.

 

What have I loved?

–          Communicating with people through the forums. I’ve also enjoyed doing this via blogs but found it a bit harder to get into as the forum setting is definitely something I’m more familiar with. Am I liking being challenged to explore change in this way? Yes for sure, but. That’s all so far, the ‘but’ remains undefined.

–          Seeing my blog start to grow, albeit slowly. I value this as a learning tool and it gives me ideas about how it could be incorporated into secondary school settings.

–          Finding a research topic that I really believe in and am excited about investigating! Getting the research bug is always fun J

–          Being inspired by other people’s blogs / ideas etc

 

What have I not enjoyed?      

–          Not being on top of things, and so having a rushed / flustered feeling.

–          The pressure I put on myself through internal dialogue

–          Being behind on deadlines for assignments

(Interesting how nothing here is actually content related!)

 

What have I learned?

–          That I need to work on this feeling I have that my learning process needs to somehow fit a particular expectation or should mirror that of someone else’s. Interesting, because as I reflect on this I can see that it has been a recurring theme for me, not only in terms of formal academic study but other types of learning as well.

–          That despite there being much research on change and many different models suggested, common to all is the acknowledgement that change of any kind is an on-going process and supporting people through this process is key. My own feeling here is that this support is what is often rushed through, or shortened as a result of various factors such as funding / time etc.

–          That if major change is going to be made – do it properly, once. Not kind of, with lip service, many times over.

–          That my time management skills at the moment are terrible. This is strange, because it’s unusual…..usually I’m very good at organizing time. I think perhaps I’m still not sure how to fit my topic within the context of the first assignment I’m making less progress ‘on paper’ than I normally would.

What questions do I have?

–          Do we use only one change model, must we use it in its entirety? Or can we pick parts out from two or three? I’m thinking Rogers’ diffusion of innovations, PU and PEOU from TAM and LAT may all be of use. Is this too much?

–          Am I going to look at my research topic from the point of it being voluntary or mandatory uptake? Does it matter? Does it have to stay the same between this first assignment and the final research topic?

–          What changes can I make to my internal dialogue and thinking so that I feel less pressured to fit a particular mould and more okay with the idea that ‘my learning is my learning and can weave its path as it likes’?

 Do I feel better?!

Yes, kind of. But I will feel better this afternoon once my draft essay plan is put together. I don’t know if what I’ve written counts as a learning reflection – it’s really not specific to the course material at all. But it has certainly been an interesting metacognitive task for me to do. What are my next steps for today……nutting out the plan for the first essay and putting up a welcome blog post for the sp4ed mooc. Am I still going to continue my current mission to give up coffee? Yes!

CBAM, LAT and TAM (loving these acronyms!)

After reading Sherry & Gibson’s article on the LAT method of change I think it is a clear improvement on the CBAM as it seems to be more simplified in a practical sense regarding the stages learners go through in adopting a new technology. I like the detailed strategies outlined in Table 1 as a springboard for further thinking and initiatives.

In terms of my own research project, I think (at this stage!) that the CBAM Innovation Configuration section will be relevant – I’m looking at a version of ePortfolios as an assessment tool and so for me, monitoring teacher use of this within the classroom would be an essential part of the moderation process.

I could see the LAT method being useful for me particularly in terms of initial trialling of the innovation, as there could then potentially be ‘Teacher Leaders’ already in schools when any widespread innovation was introduced.  I like how this particular article stresses the need for adequate training and support as I do think that is an area that is not necessarily overlooked, but perhaps not given enough consideration (for a multitude of reasons). Looking through the 2011 Ministry document on ePortfolios (available here) it is clear that there are a lot of schools already doing some very creative and innovative things with ePortfolios so already there are ‘experts’ who will likely start at a higher step on the adoption ladder, so to speak.

TAM – this is perhaps not such a useful overall change model for my context as I intend to explore an innovation that would not be voluntary in uptake. Shroff, Deneen & Ng cite Pearlson & Saunders (2006), saying that the use of TAM “is predicated on individuals having control over whether or not they use the system”. However, in saying that I think that Perceived Usefulness and Perceived Ease of Use are relevant and important nonetheless and should be considered when doing initial planning in order to help ensure a smoother, more effective diffusion and to help counter attitudinal negativity amongst teachers. Or, looking from another perspective, perhaps a better way to roll out an innovation like that which I’m considering would be to have school’s voluntarily opt-in initially. There are pluses and minuses to both, like with anything, and these are something that I will consider along the way…..watch this space! In that case, TAM may very well be a useful method. Another thought which has just crossed my mind as I think about the eco-system as a whole – perhaps targeting students as the initial ‘learners’ would be an interesting avenue to explore……after all, the ePortfolios would be reflections of their learning and so perhaps Perceived Ease of Use and Perceived Usefulness would be better looked at from the student perspective.

I can see how this is getting muddled, messy and going around in circles but that’s definitely part of the process in the way I come at things! In fact, what has actually been really good for me is to be able to freely and happily use this blog as a place to get lost in my own mind without worrying that there is someone over my shoulder assessing the ‘quality’ of my thoughts.

References:

Evans, L. and Chauvin, S. 1993. Faculty Developers as Change Facilitators: The Concerns-Based Adoption ModelTo Improve the Academy. Paper 278.

Munro, I. (2011). Digital Portfolios: Guidelines for Beginners. Ministry of Education: Wellington, New Zealand.

Ronnie H. Shroff, R.H., Deneen, C.C. and Ng, E.M.W. (2011). Analysis of the technology acceptance model in examining students’ behavioural intention to use an e-portfolio system, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. 2011, 27(4), 600-618.

Sherry, L., & Gibson, D. (2002). The path to teacher leadership in educational technologyContemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education

Research #2

Evans, L. and Chauvin, S. (1993). Faculty Developers as Change Facilitators: The Concerns-Based Adoption Model. To Improve the Academy (12), 165-178.

Description: This article focuses on how to lead, facilitate and support successful change process within higher education. The authors’ emphasize the importance of change being a process, not an event, and as part of this those involved will move through different stages of concern. Part 1 of the CBAM framework is used to help change facilitators identify and understand the different stages and develop interventions targeting staff concerns at each stage. Finally, a set of case studies is provided discussing applications of CBAM Stages of Concern in different contexts.

Evaluation: I read this article after having already read the National Academies’ summary of the CBAM method and watching the 4 intro videos published by SEDL so I already had a general understanding of the CBAM approach, and this article served to reiterate key points in terms of practical application of the method. From this, I realized that I should actually go through the ‘Stages of Concern’ process myself in order to see where my concerns lie. In going through these steps for myself, I feel I will gain valuable insights into where teachers’ key concerns could lie and as a result can consider what interventions could be used to help alleviate these. This idea of having interventions appropriate for each Stage of Concern is an important point that I took from this article, as is the emphasis placed on change being an ongoing process.

Research #1

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Attributes of innovations and their rate of adoption. In Diffusion of Innovations (pp.204-251). New York: Free Press.

Description: In this chapter Rogers outlines the 5 attributes of innovations and how these attributes relate to an innovation’s rate of adoption. These five attributes (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, observability) are explained in depth with supporting examples given across a range of different innovation types.

Evaluation: Rogers’ research and writings, of which this chapter is part, are reputable and highly regarded in the academic world, a fact clearly evidenced by the number of peer citations his work receives. This chapter was extremely helpful in guiding my research thoughts as it enabled me to explore my proposed change from multiple angles and helped me form a range of questions and next steps: exploring in detail how and why ePortfolios are better than what exists now, especially in relation to the Knowledge Age and 21st century skills; looking for existing research into teacher and student attitudes towards current assessment practices in NZ and ascertaining if there is indeed a feeling that change is needed; investigating the most user-friendly method of creating and maintaining ePortfolios; having a clear focus on support structures to aid smooth diffusion; and finally perhaps thinking of options of how to measure impact and results (although this may end up being outside the scope of this particular assignment).

As an aside, thanks to Wayne for introducing me to the ‘Categories’ feature of WordPress! 😀

Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations

After working through an overview of the Rogers’ material (and trying to keep a ‘forest for the trees’ perspective as Niki suggested!) I’ve done some interesting reflecting on my research topic.

When doing the Arena of Change I considered the fact that any major change in assessment has to come from the top down and so then became confused when starting to work through this next section. However, even if an innovation is type 3, an authority innovation-decision, and teachers are required to implement the change in a practical sense, the other elements still come into play (perhaps even more so). There will still be the bell curve of adoption in a mental / attitudinal sense. That is to say, there will be those who are “doing this because I have to” and those who take it and run immediately. What is interesting is to think about how to deal with and support this process within a school setting, and to think about when the innovation actually rolls out into schools. For example, can the ePortfolios be introduced as mainstream once the early majority are on board? This conscious ‘slowing down’ when introducing the innovation may well be quite important, rather than rushing a change through without properly allowing for processing, diffusion of information, trialling etc.

I also have a lot of thoughts after now just reading Chapter 6, but am not sure whether to put them here in this post, as part of my annotated bibliography, within the reflective post or as a whole new post all together!

Image source – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/