Saturday, 27 July 2013

Reflections -1-

The journey for me so far has been staggered.  Not by design, but due to unexpected admin from my principal role, and a cold that just will not let up –oh, and a brief trip to Fiji J  While at the moment I am finding it frustrating, but I know the path will smooth out and a pace will be established and I will be able to get my teeth into these new concepts.

Initial learning has mainly been focused on finding my way around the course site, and its hidden levels.  I have to admit I find it difficult to navigate to and from the various portals that we are using – Learn/moodle – blogs – Wiki educator – but as my familiarity grows, and I gather a large amount of bookmarks, I know it will become easier.

Setting up a blog and using it to gather my thoughts, reading summaries etc.  has been positive and I am thinking that something along this line would be a great model to use as a personal record of professional development / performance agreement within my school as we create a similar reflection journal on paper.  I find it very positive to be able to read what others participating in the course are thinking as it helps to clarify my own understanding of readings and new concepts.  It also motivates me to keep on task and find aspects of the course I have missed as they discuss concepts in blog posts or the forums.   It is also positive to see some familiar names on this course from others I am doing / have done this year.  Knowing the supportive nature of my ‘classmates’ and the seeing the frequent posts of our lecturers reassures me that the struggles of the course will end with a positive learning outcome.

I found the initial articles intriguing.  The Arena of Change by Niki Davis, is an interesting concept of how all the different aspects or stake holders in education are interwoven.  Often when considering implementing innovations, I have not explicitly considered the influences of these varying levels.  They do, however, all impact decisions that are made.  

I am still re-reading the articles which outline models of change and trying to get my foggy brain to make sense of them.  So far, the main understanding I have gained is the need to plan for change and be prepared for how others will react to the change.  In my role as principal I have been able to easily implement and manage change as I have only led small schools.  However as my school has grown and I am leading developments within our local area, implementing change needs to be more intentional, thoroughly planned, managed and sustained. 

I look forward to clarifying the different change models that apply to working with new technologies, implementing positive change in my own classroom and school and learning with a great group of passionate educators.  

Draft Essay Outline - Task 2.2 & 3.1

Title: Changing classroom practice with online instructional video

Abstract: - summarise the topic (How does the use of online instructional video change the in-class learning activities in a primary school classroom?), key findings and conclusion (350 words)

Introduction: - p1 – describe the nature and characteristics of using online instructional video (targeted to learning needs, available outside class hours, use of ready made or self made)
- p2 – explain it’s importance and significance of the change for teachers and students. (accessable outside the classroom, repeat instructions, independent learning)
- p3 – describe the main idea / pov / question that the essay will cover (how it impacts on planning? the change in in-class teaching style? How to impliment and sustain the change in practice)
(300-500 words)

Section 1 – Clear description of change model that would be effective for implimenting this change(include at least 4 biblio sources)– identify the appropriate change model(s) that informs this problem – could include diagrams? – describe the model and how it connects to introducing instructional video into classrooms (use of video needs at least 3 biblio sources)
Section 2 – review implications of the change model for my class/Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School – what has happened / what needs to happen / effects of the changes - cover strengths and shortcomings (pros/cons) of the change model – include citations, -  describe how it could inform educational practice in Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School – include references to other studies
(2-3000 words)

Recommendations for future /next steps / lessons learned

(300 words)

Friday, 26 July 2013

The path to teacher leadership in educational technology

Sherry, L., & Gibson, D. (2002). The path to teacher leadership in educational technology. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education[Online serial], 2(2). Available:

This article considers how teachers’ ability to use technology and the support they receive impacts the ability to embed the effective use of technology in an educational institution.  While individuals may succeed in developing strong practice, the dissemination of that skill through to other classrooms is a complex task.  It needs not only the resources infrastructure, but also the support of administration, opportunities for professional development and opportunities to share experiences. Sustainability of innovations is also a concern.  If lead teachers with passion and skills are not celebrated and rewarded, they often move to a different school where they can further develop their skills.  The use of a Personal Learning Portal is suggested as a means to record the learning journey of teachers.

Impact :
Implementing effective e-learning as part of teacher professional development can enhance the learning opportunities of staff.  This can allow teachers to co-produce knowledge and lead their own development.

MOOC intro

Tēnā koutou 

This introduction is for the MOOC part of the EDEM630 course.  

I am a teaching principal at a rural school in New Zealand.  I am working towards my PostGrad endorsed in e-learning.  I am enjoying the challenge of working full time and learning, although it doesn't leave much time for anything else!

I am hoping that at the end of these courses I will be more confident, not only in using e-learning strategies within my classroom, but also establishing them within my school and beyond.  

This is my first MOOC course and will be a fun challenge to learn how to navigate a new environment and participate in a wider learning community than I have experienced in the past.  

I look forward to learning with you all.

Ka kite anō


Monday, 15 July 2013

Activity 2.1: Arena of change mindmap

Click here to see my brainstorm as a PDF.

My central topic of research is the effective inclusion of instructional video within multilevel classrooms.  While the use of instructional video is not new to education, the way it is being used is evolving quickly as access to such videos becomes easier through sites such as YouTube.  The way these videos can be used by independent learners is affecting the teaching methods employed in classrooms.  The potential for students to view, and review instructions prior to meeting with the teacher has the potential to enhance the learning opportunities of the students in my class.  This sustained implementation of this depends on a wide range of factors.  The mind map attached shows some of the aspects and how they relate to the Arena of Change as
developed by Niki Davis of University of Canterbury.

The varying layers of the Arena are shown in the purple level on the mindmap.  Different aspects need to be considered within the different layer that affect education; personal (in class), local (school), regional, national, and international.  These considerations are also organised within different quadrants.   Corresponding colours show if they are driven by commercial, political, professional, or bureaucratic developments. The ideas shown on this mindmap is the beginning of a list of aspects that need to be considered when implementing the use of instructional video into multilevel classrooms.  

Update: October 2013
Since completing this task I have changed my focus to include a wider range of possibilities.  I am considering how to embed the use of e-Learning strategies instead of focusing on a single tool.  The reason for this is ...
I have found in my readings that it is not the digital/eLearning tool that is the focus, but the pedagogy that is important  (Moskal, P., Dziuban, C., & Hartman, J. 2013)  It is also important that student have the opportunity to learn with more than it is for them to learn from technology (Ertmer, P., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. 2013).  I still think there is a need for students to have instructional material available online and certainly in a small school with multilevel classes the needs of the learners - and their abilities - is very different to those of tertiary students which is the level most research focuses on (Huett, K. C., Huett, J. B., & Ringlaben, R. 2011).
Ertmer, P., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2013). Removing obstacles to the pedagogical changes required by Jonassen's vision of authentic technology-enabled learning. Computers & Education, 64, 175-182.
Huett, K. C., Huett, J. B., & Ringlaben, R. (2011). From bricks to clicks: Building quality K-12 online classes through an innovative course review project. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 14(4).
Moskal, P., Dziuban, C., & Hartman, J. (2013). Blended learning: A dangerous idea? Internet and Higher Education, 18, 15-23.

Developing an infrastructure for online learning

Davis, A., Little, P., & Stewart, B. (2008). Developing an infrastructure for online learning. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The Theory and Practice of Online Learning, second edition. Edmonton: AU Press.
This chapter outlines some of this issues institutions need to consider when moving towards offering course content online.  The social context of education is evolving with the accessibility the internet provides and institutions need to be prepared to adapt as it changes.  It states that organisations also need to be aware of the realities of online learning systems.  While the ideal is possible, the reality is confined by restraints such as time and money and the systems developed may not reflect the ideal sought.  Any learning system needs to be considered from two distinct points; the needs of the learner and the intended outcomes.  Meeting these needs is essential for any system to be worth investing in.  Success of any system needs to have a sound infrastructure as there are many interconnected components to be considered.  Ensuring that the system will be robust and meet the needs of the course is fundamental.  As organisations move to a more open learning style, they also need to consider ownership of the discipline, as once content is available online, it is much harder to control access and maintain ownership.

This chapter highlights the need for organisations to consider many aspects of online learning prior to embarking on developing online courses.  The need to ensure that the infrastructure is sound is essential as well as the need to ensure that the reality of what can be provided is enough to meet the needs of the learner and the course goals.  The institution also needs to be aware that the social context of education is evolving quickly and that content available online is likely to be shared and used in a wider context that will question their ability to own the discipline they are delivering.  These are important aspects to consider in my own practice.  Not only will the learning management system meet my needs, but the use of my own content and the use of others to support the learning of my students.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Blending Makes the Difference - annotated bibliography entry

Senturk, A. & Uzun, A. (2010) Blending Makes the Difference: Comparison of Blended and Traditional Instruction on Students’ Performance and Attitudes in Computer Literacy. Contemporary Educational Technology, 1(3), 196-207 retrieved from

This study compared the learning outcomes for two university computer science classes. One class was taught in a traditional face to face lecture style, supported by slideshow presentations and lab time. This class was the control group.  The other class was taught in an instructed model where the class had a website developed for the course which included online lecture notes, simulations and online tutorials.  This site also enhanced students’ collaborative learning experiences through email, group questions and online student-teacher interaction.  Class time for this group facilitated discussions and lab practice.  The study noted no significant difference in student capability or attitude at the beginning of the course.  There was a significant difference in both student capability and attitude towards the subject between the two classes at the conclusion of the study.  Those in the blended class achieved higher scores in final assessments as well as demonstrating a more positive attitude towards the subject than the control group.

This study notes that the improved outcomes in both achievement and attitude are due to the multimedia and collaborative aspects of the blended learning environment.  The blended learning offers improved pedagogy, increased student access to instruction and knowledge, and encouraged social interaction between learners.   Because of this students are able to learn at their own pace and discuss questions arising both online and face to face.  Having access to online video tutorials allowed students to review instructions as needed as they worked through learning tasks.  By being able to continue learning and practicing new skills outside of the classroom lab time, students were able to work at their own pace and make better use of face to face time with the lecturer than in the traditional learning environment.  This study shows that having access to multimedia tutorials and collaborative online learning environments improves the academic achievement and attitude in university students.  For my own practice I would have to transfer this to be achievable at primary school level.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Proposed research topic

Proposed question…
How does the use of online instructional video change the in-class learning activities in a primary school classroom?

This is a first draft question and is likely to evolve as my knowledge grows and my thinking evolves.

The research topic is based around the use of mathematical instructional videos and how they impact what happens in the classroom.

I am interesting in this area as a means to improve my own teaching and to share improved strategies with colleagues who also teach multilevel classes.  I believe that if used effectively it may improve learning opportunities, as the students will have less wait time to receive instructions and will be able to re-visit them as needed.  I suspect though that either finding suitable resources or creative suitable resources may be time consuming and hard to sustain.  I know many of the tutorials that are already online are American based, and most of the ones I have looked at are aimed at more complex math skills than my students are learning.

Major questions include – does the use of instructional videos in math actually improve student achievement?  To me, this is the essential question.  If there is no benefit to the students – why change from current practice?  There is sure to be some questions/debate around the need for teachers if a video can do the job, but for me- the teacher needs to guide the student to the right ‘next step’ and expand on the introduction the video provided.  I think it will be important to consider the students’ viewpoint.  They are the key stakeholder in education, and if their feedback on the use of video instruction is as important as their achievement levels.

I feel this is a key issue in rural schools around the world.  Teaching in multilevel classes is always a challenge as there are so many learning needs to cater to.  This could be an effective way to modify pedagogy and teaching strategies within a multilevel classroom to enhance the learning taking place.

This is both an historic issue as well as current/future based.  The idea to use educational / instructional video has been around since the popularisation of television.   However it has not had the predicted impact on education, likely because the pedagogy hasn’t changed to support effective use.

Possible question development….

How does the effective use of online instructional video change the pedagogical strategies used in a primary school classroom?

Sunday, 7 July 2013


Tēnā koutou! 

I am Megan and I am a teaching principal on the West Coast of New Zealand. When I am not teaching or learning, I enjoy travelling around NZ, and the world, with my family.

My school, Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School is a small rural school.  I teach year 3, 4, 5, and 6 students (7 to 11 year olds).  This is a great challenge as I have to cater to students working at curriculum level one through to level three. 

I have used blogs previously in my classroom for recording learning, sharing some learning tasks and as a way to share classroom events with parents.  This however, has not been consistent.  Our school also uses a blog as an information portal for parents.  This blog includes notices, summaries of recent events, reminders and links to the latest newsletters. 

This blog is being developed to support and record my learning from EDEM630 - Change with Digital Technologies in Education. I would like to use my learning from this course to build my e-learning skills so that I can develop online learning support and extensions for my students.  I also aim to share new understandings with colleagues with my school and cluster.

Starting this blog was fairly simple as I created and maintain the school blog as well as my class blog.  I try to keep things simple and build and develop the blog as it progresses.  When I started my first blog I used the many  tutorials available on Youtube to help me. Here's an up to date one if you are struggling to get started. This link will take you to instructions on how to change your time zone - an important one to make sure you meet deadlines for this course!

Sunset on Hokitika Beach - taken by me :)

I am looking forward to meeting you all and sharing this learning journey with you.

Ka kite anō.