Posts in Category "Global Collaboration"
For some time now I’ve been looking for ways to reduce the hard copy side of my administrative workload. Whilst the obvious solution had been staring me in the face for some time, oddly enough it was only on a whim some eight weeks ago that I stopped into Form Central and began to investigate how I might streamline attendance and truancy compliance, which in our school is a nightmarish entanglement of checks and crosschecks amongst databases that don’t often talk to each other all that well, followed by a paperchase involving hardcopy handling by at least four people with no means of monitoring who had done what with what and leaving no long term record of actions taken for myself.
I have to say that I could not believe how simple it was to put an extensive form together from scratch. Reformatting our current truancy form, testing, debugging it, and sending off the first form to the respective recipients took less than fifteen minutes. There were some initial glitches but these were ironed out quickly.
So fast forward several weeks and it’s everything from student surveys to gauge the effectiveness of programs to individualized data collection for students requiring Special Provisions for Preliminary and HSC exams. Next stop, trying to show those higher up the food chain just what it is they are missing out on.
In other news………
Today also marks the official launch of ALIEN, the Adobe Leaders Information Exchange Network. It is envisaged that this network will enable Adobe Education Leaders in both K-12 and Higher Ed to connect and share ideas, information, resources, post event notices, moderate discussion forums, create networks and groups, post and link to content, create individualized pages and blogs, stream WordPress, post appropriate photographic and video content, share thoughts on rainy afternoons in a secure environment and more. Given the wealth and diversity of experience amongst the AEL community it felt like the time was right to step up and get this happening and contribute to growing the connectivity in the community at no cost to the users.
So step on board, it should be a good journey.
To submit a request for membership simply sign up and provide a link to your AEL profile.
During May and June we will be organizing the Global Video Battle 2013.
USA – Texas – Allen High – 3 teams - Dustin Parrish
USA – California – Valhalla High School - Mike Skocko
The Netherlands – Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam - Matthijs Clasener
We know when we have achieved successful technology integration: it is when we use technology without even thinking about it.
Adobe tools have sometimes seemed quite exclusive, solely for industry professionals. The need for teachers to up-skill has always seemed quite low on the priority list. The very hurdle of learning how to use the software can stand in the way of using the software to enhance learning. At my school Photoshop is only used in the Advanced IT course. Why is that?
I think Adobe have responded with new tools like Photoshop Elements/Premiere Elements and Muse. I am very pleased at the high uptake from my teaching colleagues and students alike. With minimal training and support I am beginning to see teachers integrating these tools into their daily workflows. As adoption of these tools increases it is evident that Adobe can go beyond enhancing learning.
Borrowed from an expert called Dr Rueben Puentedura the term “Transformation” as a result of technology adoption, is a stage you want to aim for in your journey of successful technology integration.
The SAMR model.
Dr Rueben Puentedura hit on a model which you should be familiar with. The SAMR model is a system which you can use to measure your application of technology, or it’s level of use.
The first level is the lowest level of use: Substitution.
Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with no functional changes. A common example is a type-writer being exchanged for a word-processor (albeit with a screen) and being used in exactly the same way. No cut and paste, no spell check, just direct substitution.
The second level is: Augmentation
At this level you are using the same tool with some functional improvement. Improvements may include the spell check or instant dictionary definition, cut/paste and placement of images etc. Already at this secondary stage we are seeing a much higher level of productivity from the individual.
The third level is: Modification
This level actually slightly alters (but doesn’t change) the task at hand. For example, beforehand your type-writer was being used to produce a text report. But now we have additional technology tools available, we could create the report in a spreadsheet. This would allow you to automatically calculate sums and create graphs for immediate visualisation of the information. We may choose to email the spreadsheet to colleagues instead of print it. Our report (previously a fixed paper document) has now seen significant task redesign. This results in substantial productivity increase.
The fourth level is known as: Redefinition.
At this level, we look beyond ways of just modifying the process **which still has the fundamental task at its heart**. Is this the best way to perform the task? The Redefinition level will use available technology to completely redesign tasks.
We are no longer producing a simple report. Information that would original have been compiled by an individual could now involve many contributors; collaborating in real time on the same document. An example might be to use a public document on Google Docs allowing for instant global collaboration on the project. The project could include photographs, graphics, even video, added from many different devices. Spreadsheet calculations will cascade through a document and be available for all decision makers in a moment. Immediately the task has seen the removal of multiple steps, and many more users are viewing and editing the document, increasing communication, accuracy, and productivity.
Applying this model into education is having astounding results. It is a fairly simple idea but one which has really helped me to evaluate where I am at, and what I could be achieving.
I would add that task redefinition can also remove constraints that may have existed before but were not addressed. At redefinition the task and its outcomes are clearer, the technology becomes invisible and the learning at hand takes priority.
With tools like Captivate and Adobe Connect it is very clear to see how Adobe are not only enhancing teaching practices but truly transforming tasks.
I encourage you to visit Dr Rueben Puentedura’s blog at www.hippasus.com to discover more.
I am a new member of this community. Thanks for Professor Tom Green who introduced me to the AEL program, and I’d like to share some experience with other members across the globe.
I am a lecturer of AnimationSchool, Shenzhen Polytechnic. Our college is currently ranking at the top place in China’s polytechnic education system. Every year, during the summer vocation, we hold training camp to teachers from other colleges across China. So I believe what’s happening in our college is typically what’s going on in the whole ofChina’s college/Polytechnic education.
China is currently upgrading it’s industry. Big cities like Beijing,Shanghai,Guangzhouand Shenzhen have moved manufacturing industries far away from the city. More new spaces are rebuilt for IT, culture and creative industries. The trend has driven colleges/universities to train more high quality students to satisfy company’s needs in human resource and skills. The key question we keep asking ourselves is how our student can adapt the company’s need after graduation.
I’ve summarised the method into the follow key points.
1. Investigate company’s need, establish connection with companies, particularly the leading companies of the industry.
2. Invite company staff to get involved in course syllabus design, to make sure what we teach is what companies wanted.
3. During teaching terms, we invite company technical key staff to give presentation to student on what’s happening in their daily work. Sometimes we lead students to visit the company, experience the atmosphere.
4. When designing a course/program, we try to design it as an integrated one rather than small pieces. Teachers must work together to make sure the knowledge they teach is able to put together to workout something useful. So when the student complete the whole program, they will be able to finish a completed work.
5. Encourage students to find job/internship early. Pay attention on their feedback. To know if what we taught to them is useful or not.
I remember 4-5 years ago, many teaching staff here were highly focused on teaching the tools command by command. The teaching content was largely functional oriented. Student can only learn bits and pieces in the curriculum and they have to put the knowledge together by themselves. The students by then were not interested in learning the software, and they were not sure what they can do with the software packages. Later, the college authority realised this is not a very good way to teach, so they pretty much forced teaching staff to change to the new way of teaching.
Looking back, I think inviting the company staff to join the development of new courses helps a lot. First of all, they can give good suggestions on what’s useful and should be taught. When the students doing their coursework, it has to simulate some typical work scenarios, so they understand the how and why. The ultimate goal is to let student’s work be close enough to the real-world task.
This type of teaching is becoming popular across China, but I think still the majority schools/colleges are sticking on the old way of teaching. It needs time to promote.
But nothing is perfect. Many Chinese students lack of independence and novelty. I think this is a very critical issue. Partly it’s because of the Chinese culture, but more importantly is to do with the social atmosphere and some industry’s old traditions. After all, Chinais still heavily relying on outsourcing project from overseas. Imagine when you take other’s money and do the actually work under command, it doesn’t allow you to raise many ideas, no matter good or bad.
So, I hope to do my work to patch it. To lead the students look around the world, exchange ideas with other academics, and find more creativity via collaboration. I guess the way I am doing is pretty new in China’s IT and creative design education. Welcome to give any suggestions.
Thanks for reading.
Labour, as its name would suggest, has shouldered its own burden through the ages. Elevating its noblesse or reducing its worth has pitted politicians, social engineers, economists, Marxist theoreticians and capitalists in a titanic ideological struggle that has resulted in labour being commoditised and reduced to the lowest common denominator. Clearly—the dominant western view enjoys a pan global embrace—putting labour, as we once knew and loved it, squarely at the bottom of the Darwinian food chain.
It stands to reason that value or worth inheres in something other than the proverbial “sweat” of our brows. Value now accretes around our ability to build and leverage connectivity and the accumulated social capital that is measured not in dollars and cents, rather in clicks and likes. Social platforms provide us the ability to form a vast and persistent wake or train of links to a constituency of people who maintain an ongoing interest in us and provide us with a basis of worth in the emerging economy. The prudent investor seeking to increase his or her “worth” in this environment, then, would be wise to invest in being highly social and joining the conversation around the water cooler.
There are many, and I would include myself in the many, who stubbornly cling to a sentimental notion of “work” and who view the “Social Thing” as a waste of both time and money (two very familiar friends from the old paradigm of work). This group sees internet use as a form of play at its best and distraction at its worst. We fail to see “traditional” value in it and many of us in law, finance, markets, advertizing, education struggle to wrestle this round peg into the very square hole we created for ourselves over the years.
Walter Ong asserted that the wired generation would enter into what he termed “Secondary Orality” Where being interconnected to the degree that we are forces us to be highly participatory and involved rather than isolated and detached. If you consider traditional organizational schemas pertaining to work, it was mechanistic and hierarchically and linearly structured with each cog doing a very specific job (valued in years of experience and levels of education) performed in relative isolation. It was the age of specialization.
We must then ask, what are the competencies for thriving in this new economy? Learning the Art of Conversation seems to be a crucial one. Connecting and conversing through Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and WIKIs and the like are a good start. Knowledge in this arena seems less proprietary and more of a multi-valent narrative much like going around a campfire circle improvising the lyrics as we move from one camper to the next. For this to work well you need to develop expert listening skills so that you can take what is offered to you, add to it, and pass it on—classic IMPROV theatre techniques that can be gleaned from the works of Sages such as Viola Spolin or Keith Johnstone. A good conversationalist needs to be a generalist so that you can engage with people on their own turf and terms. A good generalist should, naturally, be willing to assume a variety of roles. This ability to switch roles not only confers an adaptive advantage on the individual and the entities that they provide worth to it also helps to build a deep sense of empathy for others in similar situations—especially when you assume new and unfamiliar responsibilities—you understand firsthand what it is like to walk a mile in the novice’s shoes and gain an experience at a grassroots level that older, structured organizational forms cannot accommodate.
While most organizations recognize the sea changes that are washing over and around us, few have a clear vision of what they need to do in order to engineer a successful transformation that can effectively leverage the emerging paradigms of value. Part of the problem is the inability to wean the organization from traditional rubrics of valuation and organization. Most consider integration as being a scheme aimed at embedding a new technology into an existing structure with the least amount of disruption. The irony is that it is the disruptive aspect of these technologies that should be leveraged NOT mitigated! Often in these circumstances the irritation caused by the “integration” is grudgingly tolerated by decree. The points of contact in the organization are not in alignment with the natural tendencies of the technologies adopted and they often fail or fail to live up to unrealistic expectations.
Few storied organizations are flexible enough in their thinking to consider that a radical restructuring of the org chart is necessary in order to allow these technologies to revolutionize the way they do things. The real innovation, interestingly enough, is in the capacity to consider the sweeping cultural, organizational and economic changes that might be required—the technology simply acts as an accelerant.
I have been working for approximately 8 years on driving cultural change vis-a-vis technology in an applied education context and have encountered the tensions between maintaining the status quo and driving innovation. I can assure you that simply acquiring the latest greatest technology simply does not work without exporing new forms of organization that reflect the inherent tendencies of these technologies and the environments that they help to shape.
I have attached a dossier of illustrated PDFs that detail some aspects of the knowledge and media ecosystem, the competencies and relations between people working in these environments as well as a series of snapshots detailing moves that I have been making away from linear, factory models of organizational efficiency toward models that are more organic, self organizing, agile and adaptive in order to facilitate RISK-based learning (Rapid Integration of Skills and Knowledge) and effective engagement with emerging technologies and environments.
Hello James et al. A very interesting and thought provoking commentary on our ever changing quest for knowledge, albeit Canadian. I suspect that most teachers in western countries feel much the same. I pondered responding directly to your Tar Pit piece James but thought that an introduction was in order.
Before commenting, I would like to first introduce myself, mainly to contextualise my response.
My name is Deb Whittington and I am a Lecturer in vocational studies in the Printing & Graphic Arts Training Package at Central Institute of Technology in Western Australia. Training Packages have been created for all core industry groups at a National level in Australia in a partnership between Learning Providers, Industry and the Federal Government, and constitute minimum knowledge and skills required by industry.
They are at once both simpler and harder than traditional curriculum, and contain units of competence, each with their own elements of competence with criteria. Students are assessed both on-the-job and/or in a simulated workplace, as competent or not yet competent. There is no pass mark. Pure and simple – you can either do it, or you can’t. You either have the knowledge, or you don’t. The acquisition of knowledge, understanding and competence is overseen by workplace trainers and assessors with significant, high level experience and knowledge. I occupy that position with tenure.
Training Packages do not replace traditional high school, though many schools are now opting to deliver simulated workplace training and assessment as a vocational alternative to traditional, academic studies.
I must first say that I am by no means a traditional academic!
People talk about life long learning. I have been blessed with a moderately high intellect, and have been greedily learning all that I could on subjects that have fascinated me since I was 3 years old. I am now 57 and I still feel that I am in a lolly shop full of knowledge and there is not enough time to explore and learn all that I would like. But like many young people today, I need a better reason to learn than that it is “what is required”.
I’m fascinated by Jungian type theory and it’s role as a potential tool to understanding and nurturing aptitude and talent, with particular regard to left-brain/right-brain balance skills such as graphic technologies. In terms of MBTI and Keirsey’s Temperament Theory, my own preferences are towards INTP with balanced I/E, moderate preferences for T over F and P over J, and very strong preferences for N over S. I have no S preferences on testing.
With your indulgence I will later post some of my observations, hypotheses and discussions over the past 10 years relating to learning, technologies, design and type (as in typology) preferences. I believe there are some very interesting correlations between the epidemic, modern diagnosis of AD/HD and Dyslexia, and aptitude for learning, technology and creativity. This has been supported in discussion with a number of learning gurus.
In response to your piece James, there is a plethora of information available as a result of the technologies of today, BUT I believe our role as educators and trainers is to provide guidance through that minefield of often insufficient or inaccurate information, to teach students to question everything, have faith in themselves, to have the joy of curiosity (or as noted Nobel physicist, Richard Feynman’s book suggests – “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”), and to synthesise and provide context for their learning rather than pursue the old rote learning those of my age were often subjected to at school. We need to teach them to make informed decisions from a sound understanding.
At the beginning of each semester I ask my students who is there for the piece of paper, and who is there for the knowledge and understanding. Interestingly, to me at least, those who say they want the piece of paper, frequently do not achieve it. Those, however, who aspire to the knowledge and understanding, are often their own worst taskmasters, and rarely fail at achieving the piece of paper.
We must return I believe to where knowledge and understanding, and provision of sound reason for methodology, are again the prime target of we educators and trainers. The other will follow.
A few weeks ago one of our teachers I had trained came up to me at a science curriculum meeting and asked if there was any training planned for Adobe Connect Pro. She had been in one of my training courses over a year ago and quickly became one of our most avid users. Her IB class met for reviews before tests during after school hours and often collaborated with teachers and classes at other schools around the country. She had colleagues at Suncoast High School (one of the top public high schools in the country) that were interested in learning how to do the great things she did with her classes.
I told her I would create one and invite other schools and departments that had expressed interest. Within a couple weeks I had a class of 17 coming from diverse backgrounds and needs. My class is run online through our Moodle installation, but the actually training is done completely through Adobe Connect Pro. Participants log into the system and I use the desktop share to immerse them in the program as they learn about it. It increases their comfort level immediately when they see how easy it is to get started.
Before our third class an IB Economics teacher in the course called me with some questions about Connect. As we talked, she expressed that she wasn’t sure how she might use it in her class. I told her about my favorite use, bringing guest speakers into the class via Connect. We talked about contacts she had and found that a friend of hers works in the Federal Reserve. Suddenly, the lights went on in her head and the excitement in her voice told me that her class would be doing many field trips through Adobe Connect Pro. Recording a session like that can make the experience available for other classes and schools any where in the world.
A little over a week ago I was doing a short presentation about Adobe Connect Pro at another local high school. I mentioned the free app for Connect and within minutes several teachers were raising their IOS and Android phones in the air showing the online meeting. They were amazed that students that were out of school for extended illness or attending events could still participate in class with nothing more than a smartphone.
While Adobe has so many great products, I really feel that Connect Pro is the best educational tool in their arsenal. With it you can demonstrate any program as we often do with our AEL meetings. You can bring in guests to speak from any where in the world and excite students about topics with collaborative projects. Adobe has also made some very great pricing structures for K-12, making it a bargain in tough economic times.
Waiting for Superman
Schools across our nation are facing a dropout crisis. The cost to our nation both in loss of potential for learning, unemployment, government assistance, and becoming incarcerated is high. Creative student driven projects using technology tools provides them with a platform to develop their own voice, a self-concept, a reason to learn and grow and find personal success. The student may get an “A” out of the class he or she has a connection and passion for and carry this momentum of personal enlightenment all the way to graduation. However, many of these same students who find a spark buckle under the load of graduation requirements, academic, career/college, and personal/social challenges while in school. These same students may be identified as students at risk of dropping out, they may need additional school/community interventions to make it through school, and continued monitoring of their progress towards graduation. These vulnerable students may find a strong connection with a gifted teacher in real-time while in the classroom, helping them not fall through the cracks. However, the school system they may be connected with does not have the technological infrastructure and software products to help the whole school staff and the community to identify them at an early age, recommend interventions based in research, and monitor their progress towards graduation. A Superman and/or Superwomen (RIA) developer could be out there to bring real time information to the school system, develop an early warning system, provide a display system to monitor the whole student while in school, and link interventions to research. The idea is to put new innovative RIA applications in the hands of students, school practitioners, teachers, administrators, superintendents, and school board members. Most of our schools are using student information systems that display or report student data as an autopsy. Online standardized grades books may be the closest example of real-time data, but academic student monitoring is only one layer to a complex set of analytics needed to carry out and monitor a school improvement plan. Is the idea of mining data and exporting it into an excel spreadsheet to be real-time monitoring of student progress (graduation requirements, test scores, attendance, behavior, GPA)? By the time someone mines the data and exports it into a spreadsheet and gives it to a school principal, superintendent, or school board member, the data has become outdated. The students may have already dropped out. The frameworks of Ajax and Flex and tools of Flex Builder and CS5 may be the superpowers needed for the next superman and/or superwomen educator. I will keep looking up into the clouds, waiting for an education superhero to bring us a new set of applications that can run, monitor, and alert us in real-time.