Affordances of PicCollage

piccollage2

At this time, I have chosen PicCollage as one of my technologies for Assignment 1. As I’ve only begun playing with it, I’m sure this list of affordances will grow as I become to know more about it. I completed the following list using Bowler’s E-learning categories of affordances (pp.6-7).

Media – Visual content can be easily added. Youtube clips can also be inserted. Text can be added in a range of fonts. Chosen images can be easily inserted into range of pre-organised templates.

Spatial – Images, text and stamps can be easily resized with finger controls and also moved and put down into different areas on the collage.piccollage1

Temporal – Accessibility with internet connection. Finished Collages can be saved onto devices camera roll for further viewing or reaccessed when logged in to your personal PicCollage account.

Navigation – there is the ability to move among different PicCollages that you are working on with easy finger swiping. There is the ability to click on different menu options or return to other sections by finger taps on the icon or collage.

Emphasis – users have the ability to choose different tools that enable highlighting of particular elements such as texts or images, for example, changing the text colour or adding a border stamp.

Synthesis – users can upload images from their devices camera file.

Access-control– users have the capacity to publish their collages for public viewing or keep them private. Collages can also be shared by email and directly onto social networking sites.

Technical affordances – PicCollage can be used on both Apple and Android devices.

Usability – PicCollage appears extremely user friendly. Fingertip controls are easy to use and quickly react to touch. Simple menu boxes that are easy to read. Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars in Android’s Play store.

Aesthetics – provides a range of templates, stamps, colours, backgrounds, text choices for use. Greater range is available for a fee. Users can also see what can be achieved in the gallery which can be inspiring for future collages.

Reliability – At this stage, I have never had a problem with accessing the software, either on my iPad or on my Smart phone, so it appears a reliable resource.

References

Bower, M. (2008) Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies, Educational Media International, 45:1, 3-15, DOI: 10.1080/09523980701847115

Advertisements

Researching the use of Technology in the Classroom

The issues raised by Cox (2012) offer food for thought. I hadn’t really considered how difficult it would be for researchers to gain accurate results regarding the use of ICT within education but the views expressed do make a lot of sense. We know that many of our students have access to large amounts of technology out of school time, however, how do we really measure how this access is impacting their learning? Cox discusses the situation that surrounds ICT in education includes:

  • teacher and student engagement with e-learning is still limited to a small range of IT technologies; • the focus of e-learning use in education has changed from purposely designed educational e-learning resources to commercially focused resources, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web, with timeless use; • there is a growing digital and cognitive divide across communities and even within schools impacting upon IT use and experiences (p.16)

With these very open perimeters that exist, it appears obvious that researching could be problematic. I think these perimeters show just how important it is for schools to continually conduct school based research of their own individual students, teachers and the ICT tools they use in order to develop accurate understanding of what is happening demographically and also what is working/not working within the school community. For instance, the school that I work in runs a ‘Learning to Learn’ program for all students in years 7 and 8. This was designed after there were gaps between how we wanted the students to work and the way they knew how to work in the classroom. It was interesting to see the evaluation of this program at the end of the year. It was encouraging to see what types of learning was identified at the beginning of the year and how our students have progressed throughout the year. This type of program works from school based research and has helped us teach the students how to use technology effectively to develop more higher level thinking skills.

The day I read these articles, I had just participated in a workshop on Flipped Classrooms. To me it appears quite a natural thing that, with so much technology being used, this will have an effect on how teaching occurs within our classrooms. Both Cox (2012) and Voogt, Knezek, Cox, Knezek, & Brummelhuis (2011) discuss a greater need of professional development opportunities for staff members to become more confident to be able to use ICT in the classroom more effectively. According to Voogt et. al (2011) ICT leadership can be successful when there are clear learning goals that can be accomplished with the help of technology, there is the creation of a learning environment for teachers and a designated ICT support system for teachers (p.5). When teachers feel supported they will be more likely to use ICT within the classroom.

Cox, M.J. (2012), Formal to informal learning with IT: research challenges and issues for e-learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00483.x

Voogt J., Knezek G., Cox M.J., Knezek D.&ten Brummelhuis A. (2011) Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? Acall to action. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 15 November 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00453.x.

Hardware in the Classroom

The types of hardware that currently exist in my classroom at present are:

  • My own laptop
  • My own iPad
  • A tv/dvd cart with speakers that we use to connect to our laptop

The school I work at began 2014 with a BYOD policy with all year 7 students beginning the new year with their own iPad. Schoolwide we have seen more digital projectors placed into individual classrooms however, in the artroom we are happy with our current TV cart. I think there is always pressure on schools to use new technologies, especially due to parent expectations. There are a number of schools in our area and technology can be a major selling point for parents when they are comparing schools for their children. Yes, I think in some subjects it has made big differences to how the subject is taught, however, how the students are learning is much harder to quantify. We haven’t had much in the way of professional development opportunities in terms of using the iPads for our specific areas and this appears to be a major reason why staff have chosen to continue working without implementing them within their specific subject areas.

TPACK Framework

I first came to know about TPACK early in my Masters of Education course. I see it as a way that can assist teachers in the planning of their lessons by considering some of the key components of the lesson to be taught.

TPACK involves three areas – Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge & Technological Knowledge. Where it can be useful is in contemplating where you fit into the model in regards to these knowledge areas which can help to identify areas that my require further research, ‘button-bashing’ or assistance to create a lesson that incorporates all areas successfully.

In terms of where I sit in this model, as a teacher with 15 years classroom experience, I feel confident with my Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Knowledge of Visual Arts Teaching. The Technological Knowledge would definitely be dependent upon what type of technology I was going to be using within the classroom. Something that I have used before and I know has been successful in my teaching programs prior, I could comfortably sit in the middle of the diagram; however, with new apps or software, I’d have to do some playing and experimentation first before fitting the new technology into my classroom.

tpack-contexts

I found the following article that discusses the use of TPACK in assessing mobile apps for the Visual Arts classroom:

Katz-Buonincontro, J. & Foster, A. (2013). Integrating the Visual Arts Back into the Classroom with Mobile Applications, Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 30:2, 52-59, DOI: 10.1080/21532974.2013.10784727

By using the TPACK model, the researchers assess 16 Visual Arts apps and conclude that overwhelmingly these applications failed to develop and sustain learning opportunities for students in the Visual Arts beyond a “click and view” approach. This made for an interesting read as I am considering reviewing a Visual Arts focussed app for the first assignment.

Digital Immigrant……me?? Pftt!

I overheard someone using this terminology in the staffroom the other day and I had to laugh that people still refer to it…..yes, perhaps you are born to a particular era but that doesn’t mean you are stereotypically more likely or less likely to use technology successfully. I think we need to remember that Prensky decided to write about these stereotypes in 2001 and I think many people, whether regarded as native or immigrant, have been required to use more and more tedigital immigrantchnology within their day to day lives. Individuals within these ‘eras’ come from a range of cultural, geographical and social backgrounds which can effect the accuracy of the stereotype dramatically. By viewing our students as ‘Digital Natives’ we forget that they are individuals and in terms of learning, their skills may differ widely. Bennett, Maton & Kervin (2008) write that even though there is some research that points to a high proportion of technologically adept young people, there is also a significant proportion of this so called ‘digital native’ generation who do not have the high levels of access or skills in technology (p.779).

As teachers, I think we have all seen evidence of this within the classroom. My students are great at playing Clash of Clans but still require some coaching on finding and understanding information, or even presenting information effectively using ICT tools.

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008) The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.

Should we or shouldn’t we???

Like I mentioned in my last blog post, I think there are definitely times when ICT is not required in the classroom. As I have said already, there are many times where, as an art teacher, I’ve asked for iPads to be left outside the classroom so as to limit distractions and just because they are not needed for the task I have chosen for the lesson. The Silicon Valley Waldorf school has taken drastic measures to limit technology, however, would this really be detrimental to the students? Many of these students (as referred to in the article) are the children of some of the top tech executives in the world. One would question whether these children get enough opportunity to use technology outside the classroom, that limiting it within it, would not cause them limitations. Even though technology and developing good digital literacy and citizenship is important, I don’t think we can forget the bare mechanics of education – writing, reading, basic maths, creativity. I also think its wonderful to have diversity in education so that if a parent sees the need to send their child to a school that has certain religious beliefs, creative or sporting pursuits, or a technological emphasis, they have the choice to do so.

Terry Heick (2014) penned the following definition of Digital Literacy “Digital literacy is the ability to interpret and design nuanced communication across fluid digital forms.” (taken from: http://www.teachthought.com/technology/the-definition-of-digital-literacy/). This article offers some interesting ideas regarding the changing definition of digital literacy. Literacy is about understanding and digital literacy relates to making sense of the digital world around us. In the classroom this can take place by students learning how to make sense of digital information, not just website based information, but information found on social media or from apps. I see a major part of teaching digital literacy in the classroom as trying to eliminate the ‘cut and paste’ culture that has become so entrenched in our students, but is really limiting there ability to understand and prove their understanding of information.

Why the focus on Technology?

techIn the Future Tense audio (ABC,2012), Whitby suggests that the central issue regarding technology in education shouldn’t be the technology itself (relating to the amount and type of technology being used) but the quality of the teaching and the quality of the learning. He suggests that teachers need to learn to utilise the tools effectively to acquire quality teaching and learning. I agree. I think one must always consider what is the best tool for the job and consider, should technology actually be used? Why should we use the technology if it does not lead to the best learning outcomes for our students?

Many in education today believe that giving students technology will not miraculously improve educational outcomes.’ We have moved forward from Marc Prensky’s ‘digital natives, digital immigrants’ debate from 2001 to understand that technology should not be used just because our students have been born within a technologically rich age. Bain & Weston (2012) state within their Faulty Assumptions about ICT and Schools that “increasing access and use of ICT has no effect on student achievement”(p.9). As current teachers, I believe we have all seen evidence of this within our own schools. I know in my school, all year 7s began the year with an iPad each but for what is intended to be a tool used to enhance their learning, has also proven to be fraught with problems.

We have also seen many criticisms regarding the effects of technology on children and this will only put more pressure on teachers to ensure that the technology they are choosing to use within the classroom is positively effecting teaching and learning. An example of this can be found in this online article that refers to the late Steve Jobs and his decision to give his children a technology free education (http://nextshark.com/why-steve-jobs-didnt-let-his-kids-use-ipads-and-why-you-shouldnt-either/).

Early in the Future Tense audio (ABC,2012), when Philip Calill is being interviewed, the idea of technology taking away children’s creativity is discussed. Calill suggests that the iPad is not a creative tool and that open ended learning is often taken away. This is discussed further in this article found on the Huffington post site (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nate-hanson/the-last-generation-of-ki_b_6139504.html).

As teachers we have all seen technology being used well and technology being used not so well within the classroom and I think there are many reasons why an emphasis continues to be placed quite highly on ICT in our classrooms. For one, we now have the technology there. For many of us, the schools have put the money into getting the hardware, the apps, the infrastructure; so we may as well use it. In my school I can now use technology because its easily accessible. I no longer have to book my students into a designated room but can access technology like the web, in my artroom via their own iPads, making online research quite easy. I also use it because my students enjoy it and if it can be used (especially in my year 7 and 8 classes), in a way that turns it into a game-like experience, the boys I teach are easily engaged. The challenge here though is to bring what they are doing in line with my program outcomes.

I also know why I don’t use it and have my students leave their iPads in their bags in the hallway outside. As an art teacher, I want my students to be engaged in the creative experience of making their artworks. I want to give them the experience of getting messy creating paintings and sculptures and sometimes, their iPads do get in the way (1 – I worry about the device getting damaged, even if they don’t; 2 – some will try anything to sneakily play their favourite game).

I believe Saettler (Roblyer & Doerring, 2013) has a similar attitude to Whitby with his comments relating to computer information systems as being used to reflect concepts, hopes, beliefs, attitudes. As teachers we are required to use what is available to us, be it technology or otherwise, to enrich our students’ learning. Watson (2001) also referred to technological change in education similarly by suggesting that intervention is needed with educational ideas, not simply technological ones (p.264).

So, yes, I do agree with Whitby that the central issue is the quality of teaching and learning. I agree that ICT offers us many amazing tools to use within the classroom, as teachers we just require the means, the confidence and the knowledge to use them effectively.

References

The ABC. (2012). 21st century education. Future Tense. Retrieved 25 November, 2014, from http://www.cshe.unimelb.edu.au/resources_teach/framework_teach/docs/9principles.pdf

Bain, A. & Weston, M.E. (2012). The Learning Edge. New York: Teachers College Press.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston, Mass: Pearson.

Watson, D.M. (2001). Pedagogy before Technology: Rethinking the Relationship between ICT and Teaching. Education and Information Technologies, 6(4), 251-266.

Assessment Task 5 – Part B CRITICAL REFLECTION

My view of the role of the Teacher Librarian has changed dramatically since beginning this subject
When I first began the course, I really had a very limited understanding regarding a TLs role. I believe, even just in a matter of weeks, but with the extensive reading completed throughout the course, my ideas concerning the role has dramatically grown.
I believe that my initial understanding of a TL’s role came from my own personal experiences, both in my own education and during my teaching career. I developed a view based upon the best teacher librarians I had seen within an educational context – the highly enthusiastic, wide readers, who make creative links between the curriculum and written texts. It looked like lots of fun! I hadn’t really considered such things as the growth of electronic resources, collection development and policies, role verification, information literacy, collaboration and search processes. I saw my entry into this course as a new way that I could deal with students (without the ‘shhhhhhh’ stigma of course!). I also saw it as an exit out of the traditional classroom environment and into a new and different line of work.
It has been difficult at times to understand fully the role of the TL, due mainly to the fact I have no actual experience in this area. I found Lamb’s (2011) article that referred to the ‘palette’ of roles carried out by the TL to be a key reading in providing me with some understanding on how diverse the role is. It also provided me with some very practical ideas.
I understand that the role of the teacher librarian is one that will constantly change for years to come. Dependent upon many criteria, the role may be different from one TL to another. Aspects such as the school one is employed in, the constraints the TL must deal with in terms of budgets and environments, as well as the expectations from other teachers and the principal, can all affect how the role is carried out.
A completely new term for me was Information Literacy and due to the large amount of definitions out there, I found it hard to get my head around what it actually consisted of. I understood it to be an understanding of Information, but had little idea of how it could be taught, learnt and assessed. I found Barbara’s mindmap (2013) on Information Literacy extremely beneficial in explaining these factors. Being a highly visual learner, the presentation of a mind map made the facts much more concrete.
When looking at Information Search Process models, I became extremely confused and I found Assignment 2 to be incredibly difficult. Researching the two models was like searching for a needle in a haystack – there was so much to be found on Kuhlthau (and much written by herself) but I found it really difficult to find information on the NSW DET model of The Information Process. This confusion is apparent when you read my blog 2 task (OLJ, Blog Assignment Task 2), as I believed that Guided Inquiry and Kuhlthau’s ISP were one and the same. It wasn’t until I read a couple of the forum questions in the assignment forum and BC’s answers that a realised these two things are different. This fact had me rewriting half my assignment again, but it also made things a lot clearer.
When I reflect upon the last semester of study I have definitely found the subject worthwhile. I have really enjoyed learning and reading about teacher librarianship and about some ideas that were extremely new and unknown to me. I have found the CSU interact site interactive and have found the forums of extreme help. The subject leads me to ask myself the question – By learning more about teacher librarianship, has this made me want to be a teacher librarian? I’d have to say no, but it has opened my eyes to what I do want to achieve in my teaching career and its highlighted to me the immense responsibilities that teacher librarians have in the teaching and learning of information in the contemporary school environment. I think that by learning these things, I will have more of an appreciation of teacher librarians, especially when things are taught correctly (which is no easy task).
REFERENCES

Coombes, B. (2013) Information Literacy Skills Mind Map, Retrieved May 2, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL401_201330_W_D/page/06ace263-10c7- 4bcf-00da-c0e3cdbc4c48
Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.
Taylor, K. (2013, May 7) Blog Assignment 2 Implementing a Guided Inquiry Approach Retrieved from: https://dripsonpages.wordpress.com/

BLOG TASK 3: Information Literacy is more than a Set of Skills

Information Literacy is so much more than a set of skills. Information Literacy involves a process. It is a means of developing skills in critical thinking and in problem solving, it is the means of developing a life long process of learning. Abilock (2004) further reiterates this idea, by stating that information literacy is “a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate, and use information in various forms to create for personal, social or global purposes”(p.1).
It is easy to get bogged down in the huge amount of definitions of Information Literacy. Obviously it is not an easy term to define. A definition of Information Literacy that I have found which is concise and covers the major ideas is from The Stanford University website. The website defines Information Literacy as forming “the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning”. The terms in this definition that appeal are the sense that it is common to all disciplines& environments and is the basis of lifelong learning.
The terms “set of skills” conjures up definitions of skills achieved and set outcomes. Information Literacy is more than that, it is about moving through a process which involves a beginning, but the student may not come to a scheduled ‘end’. Information Literacy appears to require revising and reassessing information, selecting and discarding, as well as being able to produce a reflection of this process. But that process may not end there – for someone who is information literate, the process continues.
According to Eisenberg, Information Literacy requires structures that develop relevance and transferability in students learning. We see this transferability referred to in the Stanford University definition which states that the process is common to all disciplines, learning environments and education levels. Someone who is Information Literate can take the same skills they use to research one subject, into another. From one level of education into the next.
The NSW DET model shows this transferability by illustrating the model in a circular diagram with double ended arrows, meaning one can travel backwards and forwards throughout the process. Although the NSW DET model does provide a set of objectives – these objectives do not refer to the final product. They are merely a way teachers can assess that a student is actually moving through the process.
In conclusion, information literacy is not just a set of skills to be acquired, it is a continual process of acquiring experiences that allow for a development of skills, attitudes and behaviours. This development of skills will lead to a process of life long learning that can cross a multitude of situations.

REFERENCES
Abilock, D. (2004) Information literacy: an overview of design, process and outcomes. NoodleTools. Retrieved from: http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Eisenberg, M.B.(2008) Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), pp.39-47.

NSW DET (2007) The Information Process. Retrieved from: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/index.htm

Stanford University (2013) Definition of Information Literacy. Retrieved from: http://skil.stanford.edu/intro/research.html

Blog Assignment 2

3D Character and Question MarkIMPLEMENTING A GUIDED INQUIRY APPROACH

Guided Inquiry is a planned and supervised process which aims to guide students through curriculum based inquiry units that build deep knowledge and deep understanding of a curriculum topic, and gradually lead towards independent learning (Kuhlthau & Todd).
Guided Inquiry is grounded in the constructivist approach to learning and is based on extensive studies of the Information Search Process (ISP) developed by Kuhlthau in 1985. (Kuhlthau & Maniotes, 2010)
Guided Inquiry, which has been described as a journey by Scheffers, is a process that allows students to learn to think for themselves, make decisions and develop the skills and expertise that they will be able to use in further situations within their lives. It allows students the opportunity to become actively engaged in their own learning.
Examples of Guided inquiry in practice in schools like Broughton Anglican College (Sheerman, 2011) and Caddies Creek Public School (Sheffers, 2008), provide evidence of the positive results that can be achieved through this process.
Guided Inquiry involves 7 key stages of learning that are used to guide students through the researching process. These are Initiation, Selection, Exploration, Formulation, Collection, Presentation and Assessment.
A key component leading to the success of such a program (and further proven through the examples written about by Sheerman and Sheffers) is the importance of collaboration. These positive results were only possible due to the collaboration of a team of teachers working together to assist the students involved. For Guided Inquiry to work effectively there is a need to advocate for a whole school change, where all staff are involved, and providing a whole team approach to learning. The vital role of the teacher librarian as an active member in the teaching and learning team was also apparent. Kuhlthau (2010) describes Guided Inquiry as providing scope for a ‘synergy of ideas’ (p.19) as it allows teaching team members to share their expertise, and share planning, teaching and supervisory roles.
Collaboration can also include individuals outside the school with the possibilities of community members and other experts who can offer students even further information (Kuhlthau, 2010, p19). This allows for the learning experiences to be real, allowing links to the ‘wider world’ and making this approach a more significant experience for students.
What is the role of the Teacher Librarian in regards to Guided Inquiry? The ISP model allows the Teacher Librarian to be both a teacher and resourcer of the curriculum. By working with the teaching team, classroom teachers may learn more about Information Literacy from the Teacher Librarian (therefore fulfilling the role of TL as school leader) and the Teacher lIbrarian will also be able to assess student’s on their information literacy skills (Kuhlthau and Maniotes p20).
Collaboration, being so important in the Guided Inquiry approach, may mean TL’s are required to put in the ‘hard yards’ in order for every one within the school to see that the approach is of benefit to students. In schools, where teacher directed learning is the norm, it may be difficult to change some teacher’s opinions and allow them to lose some control typical of teacher directed instruction. The evidence shows that Guided Inquiry is a beneficial approach for most students, allowing for even lower ability students to achieve (Sheerman, Little & Breward, 2011,p 4).

References
Kuhlthau, C. & Todd, R. accessed icwc.wikispaces.com/file/view/Guided+Inquiry.doc
•Kuhlthau, C. & Maniotes, L. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18-21.
•Scheffers, J. (2008). Guided inquiry: A learning journey. Scan, 27(4), 34-42.
•Sheerman, A. (2011). Accepting the challenge: Evidence based practice at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(2), 24-33.
•Sheerman, A., Little, J., & Breward, N. (2011). iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare: Guided Inquiry at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(1), 4-5.