This morning we have the pleasure of listening to Dr. Elizabeth Murphy from Memorial University of Newfoundland where she is an Associate Professor of Education-Technology. Her presentation began with a review of the changes that are taking place in the digital world. The background was a look at “then” and “now”.
She then moved onto discuss her study of e-learning in Newfoundland using activity theory to guide her study. She interviewed 18 teachers who had various experience with e-learning and in teaching. The theory is based on Constructivism
There were 8 themes that came out of the study that she did. The first was the move from a classroom of learner to a community of learners. Building a sense of community with the students that are taking part in the class is different but essential in online learning. There needs to be time to bring the individuals together to share and work. The second is the shift from the teacher is the instructor to teacher is the designer. - Inf2f we learn a variety teaching strategies that we can use at different times and, when we have a particular situation, that is what we do. However, in online environments, the teacher does not have that opportunity - to make sure the student is paying attention so the emphasis shifts to engaging the student.
Next, teacher centered to student centered focus. - Illuminatelive - used to bring student and teacher together is still a very controlling
environment - teacher is still in control while the internet provides the student with more options and allows the student to direct the learning while still allowing the teacher to be along as guide. This leads to the next theme which is to move from teacher control to student responsibility. In a f2f class the teacher can see the students - can see them on or off task and can bring them back while in an online environment that is not there so there needs to be a change from teacher directed to student responsibility where the student is responsible for their own learning.
Teacher preferred tools to student preferred tools - this could be a way to get students really involved. Students like IM, allowing them to use the tools from the internet gives them the ability to communicate in a manner in which they are comfortable.
Student learning time - being independent time. This theme is a reflection that what the students are doing is not homework but learning opportunities that go beyond where they are at the moment, asking them to create something from their understanding.
The next theme, one teacher voice to multiple student voices, looks at the f2f of the classroom which is teacher controlled opposed to the online environment where they can IM while instruction is going on. The idea that students can multi-task and still be learning.
The final theme that came out was that of the structured and controlled classroom to democratic learning environments - which allow for learning that would go veyond where they are now through the interaction.
Another YouTube video - Learner-centered e-teaching practices in high school - teaching music over the internet which really showed the use of the internet in teaching. Take a minute to view the video.e-learning video
I think that many of the people at the conference were able to get some good ideas from this presentation. For me, it was a repeat of what
I and many others have been discussing for months. The examples were good but it really didn’t answer the question of how to get the transition to go from a drip to at least a steady trickle.