Hybrid Learning Space

Zeichner, K. (2010). Rethinking the connections between campus courses and field experiences in college- and university-based teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 89-99.

The author examines the work currently occurring around the country on the concept of hybrid spaces to more closely connect the campus courses and the field experiences in preservice teacher education programs. Zeichner states that many colleges and universities have been plagued for years for providing preservice teacher education programs that are disconnected to what is happening in the K-12 arena. He further states many reasons why the divide between campus and field-based teacher education has endured for so long, i.e., graduate students not interested in teacher education as a field of study, a new cohort of graduate students occurs each fall on campuses, few incentives for tenure-track staff to invest time in coordinating campus & field based components, outsourced placement process, etc. Additionally, there is a growing consensus that much of what teachers need to learn must be learned in and from practice rather than in preparing for practice (Ball & Cohen, 1999; Hammerness et al., 2005). Thus, Zeichner states that there is much disagreement about the conditions for teacher learning that must exist for this practice to be educative and enduring and offers the concept of a third space (hybrid space) as a lens to discuss various kinds of boundary crossing experiences (p. 91-92).

The idea of a third space comes from the hybridity theory and recognizes that individuals draw on multiple discourses to make sense of the world (Bhabba, 1990). Zeichner defines third space as the creation of a hybrid space in which preservice teacher education programs bring together school and university-based teacher educators and practitioners and academic knowledge in new ways to enhance the learning of future teachers (p. 92). Additionally, the author studied “boundary crossing” experiences at some college and university teacher education programs to highlight a more synergistic and transformative way that a hybrid space supports preservice teacher learning instead of traditional practices. However, this is a big shift from the days of John Dewey who argued against unguided school experiences and was a big proponent of planned and purposeful school experiences for future teacher learning. As highlighted by the author, with the growing contemporary focus on rethinking and redesigning the connection of college and university coursework for preservice teacher education programs, is a hopeful sign that the aged teacher preparation model is on its way out (Zeichner, p. 95).

Although this article did not address a digital or better yet, a technology-mediated environment to the hybrid space, the concept explored still has significant value for the changing face of learning that is modified by time, space, place and pace. In my opinion, a hybrid space is an “ideal”, nonhierarchical environment where students, professors, practitioners, content experts and mentors can come together to: 1) meet and hold conversations, 2) ask questions & make sense of theories & practical applications, 3) learn from each other – lessons learned, perceptions, thought processes, 4) have social interactions with a diverse and global audience, and 5) even press “pause” as needed to work through ideas and concepts. I feel a hybrid space is potentially transformative to the field of education. To me, it is a space where authentic learning can take place and most matches the complexities that make up the ecology of teaching & learning. Additionally, I think it is natural to begin occurring in higher education, but do wonder when the K-12 school systems will begin to think about hybrid spaces for their teachers and students.

Works Cited:

Ball, D., & Cohen, D. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. In L. Darling-Hammond & G. Sykes (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession (pp. 3-32). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bhabba, H. (1990). The third space. In J. Rutherford (Ed.), Identity, community, culture and difference (pp. 207-221). London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Hammerness, K., Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (2005). How teachers learn and develop. In L. Darling-Hammond & J. Bransford (Eds.), Preparing teachers for a changing world (pp. 358-398). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Other Works Researched (for learning purposes):

Caldwell, G., Bilandzic, M., & Foth, M. (2012). Towards visualising people’s ecology of hybrid personal learning environments. Proceedings of the 4th Media Architecture Biennale Conference, November 15, pp. 13-22.

Lynch, T. (2015). Teacher education physical education: In search of a hybrid space. Cogent Education, 2(1), 1-23.

Nixon, H. (2011). ‘From bricks to clicks’: Hybrid commercial spaces in the landscape of early literacy and learning. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 11(2), 114-140.

O’Byrne, W. I., & Pytash, K. E. (2015). Hybrid and blended learning: Modifying pedagogy across path, pace, time, and place. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 59(2), 137-140.

Wood, M. B., & Turner, E. E. (2014). Bringing the teacher into teacher preparation: learning from mentor teachers in joint methods activities. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 18(1), 27-51.

Video Podcasts in Education

Kay, R. (2012) Exploring the use of video podcasts in education: A comprehensive review of the literature. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 820-831.

This article was constructed as a comprehensive review of research on video podcasts over the past decade to guide educational practice as well as provide a path for future studies. Robin Kay quickly recaps the history and growth of video podcasts in education, types of podcast categories, ties to previous literature/research reviews, discusses the benefits and challenges of using podcasts, and the methodological concerns. The author also highlights purposes for podcasts such as for viewing an entire lecture in a substitutional fashion instead of or after a face-to-face meeting, viewing podcasts that have been segmented or chunked to support classroom instruction, and viewing podcasts to practice targeted skills or specific problems. One pedagogical concern raised in the article related to the relatively passive manner in which most video podcasts are viewed.

With flipped learning gaining steadfast momentum in the educational community, Kay’s literature review serves as a great first read by a novice researcher in need of baseline knowledge of video podcasts for educational use. Data collected through student surveys in the research evaluated pointed to some key reasons for using video podcasts in education including preparing for class, taking better notes, improving learning, using as a self-check for understanding the content, for missing a lecture, etc. Additionally, the literature examination calls attention to the student attitudes toward video podcasts as predominately positive, enjoyable and motivating. As with any examination of studies, attention must be given to methodological concerns as well as pedagogical shortfalls. Those highlighted concerns help researchers unify, improve and extend the quality of future research in this area.

This article has significant impact in my district. There are many teachers realizing the benefits of flipping lessons such as seeding concepts before being taught, segmenting or chunking learning with short videos for tough concepts, and students using videos as test prep. These same teachers are also reframing how they teach to support flipped learning. The teachers now realize that they no longer need to stand and deliver that instruction, but instead utilize a workshop model approach to address the individual needs of each learner or small group of learners. The students seem to enjoy being in control of their learning, like knowing about the content in advance of the class as well as having video podcasts available to study before a test. Additionally, my district has spent the last three years preparing the technology infrastructure by reshaping and increasing district broadband services, installing more robust wireless, offering video repository locations and student BYOD. I do agree with the passiveness component that video podcasts can have, but recognize that there are web tools to leverage student interactivity, video segmenting and other unique ways to get the learner actively involved, i.e., Blendspace, personalized playlists, LessonPaths, ThingLink, Nearpod, Pear Deck, etc.

Capturing Videos on Classroom Teaching

Kleinknecht, M. Schneider, J. (2013). What do teachers think and feel when analyzing videos of themselves and other teachers teaching? Teaching and Teacher Education, 33, 13-23.

Kleinknecht and Schneider present a detailed study about the specific effects of the types of videos on teachers’ cognitive, emotional and motivational processes while watching instructional videos. The researchers suggest that having classroom instructional footage allows the observers to draw multiple connections to their own practice and to achieve a deep level of engagement and involvement (p. 14). Furthermore, the analysis of classroom videos not only activates the cognitive processes, but it also impacts the teachers’ emotions and motivations. Through a quasi-experimental design, the authors conclude that teachers observing others’ teaching through video are better able to concentrate on critical situations and analyze sequences in greater depth versus viewing their own classroom videos (p. 21). Additionally, the study findings reveal that there is no significant difference with emotion and motivation regardless if a teacher is watching their own classroom video or watching another teacher’s instructional video.

I think research on this topic is very important to building capacity of teachers for professional purposes. As mentioned in the article, taking video of teachers teaching in their classrooms capture the essence of the teaching and learning process in an authentic manner and serves as an artifact that can be viewed by the teacher and his/her peers or the evaluating administrator one time or multiple times. According to Kleinknecht and Schneider, there are some limitations to their study, such as a small sample size that limited the generalizability of the results as well as limited video review conditions to a specific set of goals and instructions. Recognizing these limitations, the authors suggest that future video viewing processes should be tweaked to allow teachers control over how many times they view their videos and that it is important to prepare teachers for the analysis of observing their own teaching in individual settings to gain deeper cognition and the same level of reflection from watching others’ videos.

I recently participated in a national educational conference where a school superintendent talked about the teachers in her district videotaping their classroom lessons with the Swivl robotic platform to improve instructional practice and submit as proof for their teacher evaluation eportfolio. The superintendent felt that capturing and using video in a classroom setting is a powerful, authentic and safe way for teachers to reflect on their practice and motivated their teachers to try new ways to engage and instruct their students. I plan on sharing this approach with our district administrative team to consider implementing initially as an opt-in staff basis. Based on what I read and what was shared on this topic at my conference, I would probably extend this approach to include having the teacher find a trusted peer to share videos with for reflection and collaborative purposes, add in a Google Hangout component with an instructional coach to help facilitate deeper reflection and also offer any other needed supports to foster positive teacher growth.

Learning From Hypertext

Shapiro, A., & Niederhauser, D. (2004). Learning from hypertext: Research issues and findings. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed), Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology (pp. 605-620). New York: Macmillan.

This article provides a solid historical view of the primary affordances that hypertext on the web offered the teaching and learning environment over a decade ago. Shapiro and Niederhauser highlight just how complex reading and learning from hypertext can be online due to the fact that learners can access hypertext in a non-linear fashion, there are greater metacognitive demands to facilitate content acquisition, and also the many learner variables that influence learning outcomes. The authors clearly outline the role that learner prior knowledge and interest plays in supporting hypertext reading on the web as well as how well-defined or ill-defined structured learning experiences using hypertexts can support a variety of learner variables, skills and abilities.

Although the Shapiro and Niederhauser research is somewhat dated due to the ever-changing structure and function of the modern web, this article showcases the important role that hypertext played in the early stages of the internet with regard to the access of flexible, transferrable knowledge that could be gained from hypertext reading as directed by a teacher or initiated by a student. According to the authors, there is a potential concern for a reader to become disoriented while navigating through hypertexts on the web which can lead to potential intellectual indigestion, loss of goal directedness or even cognitive entropy (p. 614). The bottom line is though, if hypertext reading is treated like traditional reading for reading strategies, attention or modeling is provided for stronger navigational understanding, learning experiences are crafted to include teacher explicitness about the learning goal, and tasks or assignments have been appropriately structured to capitalize on learning, considering all of those factors can lead to a more positive learning outcome for students.

This article really opened my eyes about how little time is spent preparing our students to be successful with web reading or research activities, knowledge acquisition and assignment or project completion using the modern web. In the K-12 setting, it’s fairly well known that every teacher is a reading teacher because regardless of the subject matter taught, reading is always a critical element to gaining more knowledge and understanding. Now is the time to extend that same practice to web reading and research. The web is a great place to fact find, explore topics of interest, curate specific material and even develop web content. From a learning perspective, we know that for students to own their learning that they must use prior knowledge, deconstruct the knowledge they’ve been taught or found and then apply that knowledge to new situations to reassemble a deeper application of the content. The web is here to stay, so instead of just assigning web reading or research projects with little thought or preparation, taking time to craft online reading and researching activities appropriately for a variety of learner variables, sets the web experience and learners up for a successful learning outcome.

 

 

 

Educational Technology – Balancing Rigor and Relevance

Ross, S., Morrison, G., Lowther, D. (2010). Educational technology research past and present: Balancing rigor and relevance to impact school learning. Contemporary Educational Technology, 1(1), 17-25.

The authors provide a “wayback machine” view of the history of technology inclusion in schools from the evolution of the 16mm film to the early drill and practice programs through computer-assisted instruction to present day classroom technology usage. The significance of reviewing the past to gain perspective for the future of educational technology is best characterized as “Really Important Problems (RIP)” to solve in education due to the amount of technology currently available to students and schools (p. 18). Ross et al., carefully examine and evaluate the past contributions of educational technology research with a selected purview on uses of technology to increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning in schools while also recognizing that technology is not a homogeneous intervention but more of a broad variety of modalities, tools and strategies for learning (p. 18). Determining effectiveness as suggested by the authors, depends on how well the technology helps the teachers and students achieve the desired instructional goals through different uses including: technology as a tutor, technology as a learning aid, and technology as a tool. Furthermore, the article suggests that future educational technology research must achieve a balance between rigor and relevance while also focusing on meaningful topics that relate to current teaching and learning challenges.

There is great value in the way that this article has been carefully orchestrated in telling the educational technology research story. Rigor and relevance has been a part of the secondary conversation in K-12 schools for many years thanks to Dr. Willard Daggett from the International Center for Leadership in Education. Encouraging the robustness of that framework onto educational technology research will add a new dimension and provide a sense of purpose and urgency to future studies. By balancing internal validity with external validity through potential design options, will serve as a great starting point for researchers. Additionally, Ross et al., deliberately review a variety of important research designs in an easy-to-read manner by pointing out key ideas and issues that lead the reader down a path towards finding value in performing mixed methods research. Overall, the essential message from the authors is that it is extremely important that educational technology research design will have a limited future in informing K-12 practices if researchers aren’t selecting meaningful areas of inquiry or creating quality, relevant and rigorous studies.

I feel that this article perspicuously outlines a potential and achievable pathway to consider when constructing future educational technology research studies. Past K-12 school studies have been heavily dictated by the federal and state governments as well as any supplemental grants districts have been awarded. Continuing to only rely on traditional measures for validation, can provide an unrealistic data representation and/or create an artificial condition for informing instructional practice. As mentioned in the article, a survey to hundreds of U.S. businesses revealed that high school graduates are entering the workplace deficient in many 21st Century skills. Traditional curriculum, assessment, data and research studies do not measure or capture these needed workforce skills. This is a clear example of why we need to change our research practices in K-12 school systems. We are studying and measuring the wrong items that aren’t relevant to our global society’s needs. This article has given me great pause in thinking about what, how and why I might study an educational technology topic in the future. I don’t have the answers yet, but will probably read this article many more times throughout the year to hone my thinking and inspire my creation.

Does Technology Make People Smarter?

Salomon, G, & Perkins, D. (2005). Do technologies make us smarter? Intellectual amplification with, of and through technology. In R.J. Sternberg, & D. D. Preiss (Eds). Intelligence and technology: The impact of tools on the nature and development of human abilities (pp. 71-86). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Salomon and Perkins present an exceptional article by asking, “Do technologies expand our cognitive capabilities in any fundamental sense?” This clever approach in questioning extends the age-old question of “Do technologies really enhance the classroom?”, by providing a much deeper focus on the role that technology plays in cognition. Their schema uses a discerning lens to study three kinds of “effects” that technology has in learning: 1) “effects with technology”, when it is used to improve the intellectual performance while one is operating the tool; 2) “effects of technology”, when the use of technology may leave cognitive residues which enhance performance even after one stops using it; and 3) “effects through technology”, when the technology sometimes does not just enhance performance, but fundamentally reorganizes it (p. 72). Salomon and Perkins’ definitions of the “effects” of technology assist stakeholders in determining the affordances and also the limits of the role that technology plays in the classroom before, during and after integration into the learning setting.

Salomon and Perkins clearly provide a value-added pathway to determine in what sense a technology or technologies might make the end-user cognitively more capable. Their strategy of determining the role of technology using the effects with/of/through, can serve as a powerful system for planning, implementing and evaluating the sustenance of classroom technology tools, apps, web tools and standalone software. It should be noted though, that it would be quite easy to use the three buckets of “effects” individually to disseminate a technology tool’s effectiveness, but there should really be some flexibility applied when appraising how technologies support cognitive functioning. Salomon and Perkins also identify the importance of technology as an intellectual partnership where there is a distinct and appropriate division of labor by both the technology and the end-user. Furthermore, the authors skillfully compare the effects with/of/through of technology on cognition to determine the pace and magnitude of impact to anticipate how quickly such effects can emerge throughout the learning process. These comparisons help stakeholders solidify the individual pieces into one puzzle, thus offering a complete picture.

I think this article has tremendous impact in the field of K-12 education. There are so many ways in which technology can make us smarter, but there are also many ways in which technology can derail the learning process. As more and more technology tools, web-based programs and apps get folded into the classroom environment as well as students actively participating with their own devices through BYOD, there is a greater and more urgent need from all stakeholders to better understand the “effects” that technology is having to enhance programmatic learning, positive return on investment and long-term sustainability. In the future, I could see our district using a two-fold approach to implementing the Salomon and Perkins framework. The first approach could be initiated when making new building, department and/or specific classroom technology tool purchases by hosting a collaborative instructional team to work through a matrix of intended use, effects with/of/through, support to instructional strategies, etc. The second usage of the “effects” that technology is having could occur in the classroom setting with the students and teacher debating the technology uses from a cognitive and social standpoint. Although the second process is perhaps a little too cerebral for some grade levels, I believe it would serve as a compelling exercise for both the teacher and students to defend the technology tools they use. Personally, I performed this analysis on an app-based platform that our district has used for a few years. My evaluation served as a great reminder of why we selected the tool, the grade levels paired with the tool, the intellectual partnership that the tool encourages, the content residues that the tool affords and the inclusion of the 4C’s that we strive to achieve every day. Additionally, I think there is more leverage up front in having an idea of how the technology will benefit the learner vs. here’s the technology, now go build some impactful lessons or units of study with the tool(s) provided.

 

Educational Technology Research

Roblyer, M.D. (2005). Educational Technology Research That Makes a Difference: Series Introduction. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(2), 192-201.

This explanatory article provides a durable overview as to the need for more organized, evidence-based and strong pedagogical connections within educational technology research. Roblyer clearly outlines the reasons why educational technology research is so problematic by comparing the studying of the “easy-to-do-science” of physics, chemistry and geology to the “hard-to-do-science” of social scientists and educational researchers. Additionally, he deconstructs the challenges of educational technology research by highlighting that those types of studies deal with local conditions that limit generalizations and theory-building, have ubiquitous interactions with a large number of potential variables and require the necessary approvals and permissions needed to gain long-term access to classrooms. Roblyer diligently shifts his focus in the article to the need to consider key pillars for solid educational technology research by encouraging future researchers to make a clear and compelling case, create a study that is built on a foundation of theory, select a method that should be dependent on the type of problem that is being studied and the information desired as well as develop a structured abstract that has a lineage that looks to the future as well as builds on the past.

Roblyer’s article renders a call for a certain level of quality assurance in future studies within the field of educational technology research. Although it is quite obvious through this article that educational technology research is no walk in the park and study findings are usually not generalized for the entire field of education, but there still is a requisite to carefully construct research that is rigorous and incorporates the key pillars with the potential for a degree of replication in the future. Roblyer’s thinking is of great value and a reminder to any newcomer in the field of educational technology research that there is both an invitation and a challenge to carry on research that addresses past concerns and clarifies the directions for the future. The significance of this sensible approach to educational technology research just might be the inferential bridge that can foster a connection to the past, preset and future of educational technology best practices.

I appreciate the candor provided in the article and found this overview has an incredible amount of applicability to the work I do in my school district. As our district continues to forge ahead transforming the teaching and learning process, all new methods, strategies and programs receive input by a variety of stakeholders. As an organization, there is definitely a need to produce a series of metrics to support our instructional claims, curriculum and content adoptions as well as the return on investment in terms of student achievement and allocated resources. However, that is easier said than done because there are so many variable “contexts” in learning that make it quite difficult to pinpoint exactly the validity of those new instructional methods, content and technology-enhanced supports outside of using very traditional measurement methods. In fact, we are finding in our district that it is actually best not to use traditional measures of student achievement as a means to quantify our educational transformations because our population historically exceeds the state-mandated expectations and those measures do not represent the framework we are implementing. Instead, we are putting our energies into doing a better job of defining and developing a pedagogical focus for technology-enhanced components added at the classroom and student level. This article really gets me thinking about what is of value to research within our organization in order to support our desire to achieve transformational teaching and learning practices from an educational technology perspective.

Learning Sciences

Sawyer, R. K. (2006). Chapter 1 introduction: The new science of learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.). The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (p. 1-16). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Sawyer’s introductory chapter on learning sciences describes the influence of an interdisciplinary approach to studying the teaching and learning process. He defines Instructionism, a traditional approach to learning, with commonsense assumptions that were never scientifically tested and highlights the need to understand how the knowledge construction process works, known as Constructivism, for learners to grasp deeper meaning in their studies. Sawyer further defines the sciences of learning to include cognitive science, sociology, anthropology, educational psychology, neuroscience, computer science as well as a few other fields. Using key components of the learning science disciplines, classrooms can be reshaped into more effective learning environments by incorporating technology and offering social components to better support learner needs and increased student achievement. Overall, Chapter 1 of the Cambridge Handbook highlights just how complex it is to design effective classroom learning.

Sawyer sufficiently connects all of the key concepts together in this introductory chapter. The big ideas of instructionism, constructivism, authentic learning, complex representation, reflection and revisitation, socio-cultural approach and the powerful role that technology can play in transforming learning is paramount. Sawyer clearly outlines the processes involved in learning which include acquiring expertise, working with prior knowledge and promoting better learning through scaffolding and collaboration. There is great value in employing design science practices to analyze a learning environment, identify the innovations that are working and to separate out those classroom components that need improvement. The end of the first chapter was summed up quite nicely by Sawyer questioning whether education is an art or a science.

I am fascinated by the framework of learning sciences. Not too often in the field of K-12 education, has time been spent pondering better ways to design classroom environments and facilitate high-quality learning. Usually time, money and minimal resources hinder any transformative classroom revamping. With iGeneration students entering schools and the new skills demanded from the global workforce, school systems are finally feeling pressed to reconsider what type of students they need to graduate in order to be prepared for college and career readiness. In my current position as a Next-Gen Strategist launching Next-Gen Classrooms, I have the privilege of working closely with a relatively large group of teachers that have decided to reshape their thinking, instructional delivery methods, technology integration and physical classroom space. This article speaks to exactly how we’ve begun to transform about a quarter of our classrooms by employing new instructional strategies, offering students authentic learning projects, getting students to think across the curriculum domains, utilizing technology to facilitate scaffolding, collaboration, reflection and much more. I feel it is an exciting time to work in the field of education and to research new ways to transform the teaching and learning process.