Melvin posted an update: 2 years, 1 month ago
Better copy ready on 16 April/ assign 1
Case Study:: 708 / Assignment 1 Melvin Din
Google Community of
Electronics and Digital Technology Steering Group
that can be reached through
<http://groups.google.com/group/edtsg edtsg@ googlegroups.com
The group was formed to address some urgent needs due to changes taking place in the NZ Curriculum, delivery of Technology Education in particular. There was total lack of support system from the Ministry of Education/NZQA and technology teacherswere left to their own devices to come up with units of work. Ross Petersen,the national education manager at the Electrotechnology Industry Training Organization ( ETITO) saw the need and initated to address the issues arising by forming a Steering Group. The group comprised of 10
hand picked experienced teachers of Electronics Technology and Graphics. I was also invited to become a member.I have been involved in the Technology Curriculum development and deliveryas one of the pioneers since 1992. I am an independent consultant and run hands-on professionaldevelopment workshops for Technology and Science teachers.
There are 10 core members and 10s of technology teacherwho can access information on recent curriculum development.
( 37 full members on 8 /4/11).
According to Lave and Wenger, in a CoP, a newcomer learns from old-timers by being allowed to participate in certain tasks that relate to the
practice of the community. Over time the newcomer moves from peripheral to full participation.
Wenger E ( 1998) expects a CoP to be mix of experts and newish learners to connect, debate,argue,and share knowledge in a structured manner. In my view it can be done by placing a lead or a thread, setting reasonable constraints then inviting feedback and responding to each feedback.
Etienne Wenger [Published in the "Systems Thinker," June 1998]
Background Information and Specific needs.
The New Zealand Curriculum has gone through major changes in recent years. It has caused someupheaval among teaching community. Though some curriculum areas needed cosmetic uplift and examplars of units of work were made available in early 2010 but the Technology Curriculum document was not finalised till September 2010.In many respects it is still in a fluid state and educators are still developing an understanding for common national standard assessment activities. Allocation of resources and decile rating makes it harder to do so. Internally assessed work mean more workload for teachers. On top of it the changes in NZQA framework regarding Unit Standards and Mandatory implementation of Achievement Standards with respect to Alignment Matrix and New Zealand Curriculum at level 6 has caused lots of concerns among high school principals and at NZQA.
We found that many teachers are not willing to re-write programmes according to
Achievement Standards ( AS ) to suit NCEA levl 1 and level 2.
They have their reasons ( workload, lack of professional development, appropriate resources ……).
Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly
Teachers take time to develop a voice online because creating and managing content is a complex skill set. There is a growing need for teachers to develop ‘real-world’ technology skills such as working with social network technology.We need to ‘go to where the learners are’ so need to move beyond the institutional Learning Management System.
Many teachers are waiting for help to arrive from the heavens in form of pre-moderated activities and some have decided to keep their heads in the sand for the rest of the year 2011. They want to retain old 2010 teaching programmes for 2011 but many principals want them to startmandatory implementation of AS for NCEA at level 1 this year. School principals recognise the need
for this urgency as it will be better to introduce AS at Level 1 this year, otherwise there will be a "double trouble" next year when delivering level 2 will become mandatory for year 1012.
To remain relevant, education needs to align with the needs of learners and the changing climate of work. Courses are not effective when the field of knowledge they represent is changing rapidly. We need to respond to these changes in a way that meets learner's needs and that reflects the reality of knowledge required in the work force. George SiemensOctober 17, 2003 ,http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/learning_communities.htm
EDTSG is constantly looking at providing some practical help and suitable resources for level 1 -3. Teachers will then be able to add their flavour to set up meaningful assessment activitiesfor their learners. In my humble view an E-community is no different than a sustainable living community.
It must have elements of trust, co dependency , interdependency and a mechanism. Each and every memeber need to participate at their level with their special skills. As Conner (2009) suggests a community can't be forced but it can be fostered.
An environment of timely inter-connectedness through sharing knowledge , even in bite sized chunks helps.
Gallagher-Lepak, Reilly and Killon, 2009, expect an educational e-community need to have have shared goals.
At EDSTG , the membership is countrywide and they all actively addressing matters as they arise through blogs and responding to postings . ( similar to the MIT blackboard type setup)
•Write up pre-moderated assessment tasks.
Locate suitable resources that fit the budget and needs of the learners
•PD workshops to up-skill teachers.
Technology as an enabler of learning…and of creating connections. The Internet has revealed that large fields of knowledge are given value when connected.
Technology in communities is essentially just a means of creating fluidity between knowledge segments…and connecting people.A community is the clustering of similar areas of interest that allows for interaction, sharing, dialoguing, and thinking together.
Progress so far
The group has made good progress in such a short time and at a minimal cost.These are the gurus of electronics education with 1000 years of teaching experience among themselves. Lots of concerns raised by younger teachers has been addressed by providing a bank of suitable resources and advice. Classroom material needs in the light of new Achievement Standards have been discussed.
Finding PCB materials.
Better and safer techniques for making PCB
Sourcing PCB has been a concern even among us experienced teachers.
Through networking it was resolved and I was able to get 2000 PCB made locally for a school project at a very reasonable cost.
We need to bring elements into the learning experience that allow for extension beyond classrooms…and integration with "real life" Purpose and Membership
I personally have gained a lot about delivery of Digital Technology Curriculum ( a new integrated electronics technology strand)
Now I have a better understanding of the constraints and issues that are holding back many teachers.
As a result of this I am encouraging computer teachers to use their existing ICT skills and teach their learners towards gaining credits in at least two Achievement Standards. I have come up with a product that will help solderless electronics education .
An attractive robotic kit that student will make and then use programming to make set tasks. This resource has been getting trialled and evolving to keep the learners interested. Other members are also placing assessment ideas and examplars of work.
I have initiated some discussions , placed feedback and , suggested some pedagogy, asked for assistance and argued my opinion.
In some cases I have mentioned to the moderator ( Ross P ) to steer the forum , when some discussions started to go outside the scope of this Google community group.
Effectiveness of the EDTSG
So for response has been great. Participants are airing their opinions with an open minded non threatening environment. The moderator ( Ross P) replies to all threads once they get one or two comments from the members. This proves worthiness of the thread for furtherdiscussion. We call it a topic at that stage. Simplicity ( old KISS Rule ) has made it possible not to get distracted, afterall we are steering group for Electronics and Digital technology education.
I have repositioned my self and making some changes in my teaching areas. for example
I have started to allow some select groups tp bring Phone CAMERAS on certain days. ………………………….
( as my department has only one digital camera to be used among 5 teachers and most of the time betteries are not charged)
Graden said the school district often has a hard time keeping up with technologicalinnovations given the cost is so great to implement
hardware updates across the school system every time an advancement takes place.
That’s why he finds it appealing students might be able to bring their own devices one day into the classroom."
Backroad Connections Pty Ltd 2002, Effective Online Facilitation (Version 1.01), Australian Flexible Learning Framework Quick Guides series, Australian National Training Authority
How it works
Only members can view group members list
People can request an invitation to join
Only members can postnly members can view group content
Through these interactions come resources that are more appropriate and meet the needs of the learnersas well fall within the NZ curriculum. Out aim is to make internal assessment almost standardised. After reviewing any resource submitted for assessment, we debate and then We try to reach a conses .
When we place a thread or any members replies to any current topic the whole community gets a private email copy almost the same time. This way we get encouraged to reply or read new posts.This helps us not to forget that we are member of a very worthy steering group that is trying its bit toenhance learning of the 21 st century learners. Group is finding it way around addressing following constraints.
It is not easy to engage teenagers into subjects like Electronics and Science.
Schools are short of funds, trained teachers and have time constraints.
Literacy, numeracy and motor skills are major issue in mainstream classes.
: A gathering place for diverse people to meet
Nurturing place for learning and developing
A growing place – allowing members to try new ideas and concepts in a safe environment
Integrated. As an ecology, activities ripple across the domain. Knowledge in one area filters to another.
Connected. People, resources, and ideas are connected and accessible across the community.
Symbiotic. A connection that is beneficial to all members of the community…needed in order for the community to survive.
Some usual Technology related glitches:
Like so many other elearning comunities EDTSG also experiences annoying glitches here and there.
Some have been very funny glitches and we are learning to buffer some ICT problems.
for example we also use Dropbox for sharing resources. It often gets emptied out.
Multimedia and some graphics are missing at this stage but I am sure some smart Alex of the groupwill sort out some thing on those lines very soon.
Bearing in mind that it takes more than tools to build community, although tools certainly do help and are required ( Connor 2009)
At the moment site is using relevant links and group is constantly evolving.
Perhaps an assistant moderator will hurry up the resources. Keeping the size to a manageable number may keep the group focused on set goals. In my expereince the e-communities with a large membership become less productive. medium sized ecommunities exhibit more intellectual bonding. Though I have not seen an argument against it.
Communities of practice arise as people address recurring sets of problems together.
So claims processors within an office form communities of practice to deal with the constant flow of information they need to process.By participating in such a communal memory, they can do the job without having to remember everything themselves
Etienne Wenger [Published in the "Systems Thinker," June 1998] ).
Some examples of good outcome through the site
technology matrix 2011
Etienne Wenger [Published in the "Systems Thinker," June 1998
Hi Melvin there is some really valuable info in your assignment about what can be done to improve the teaching of Electronics/Technology in schools in general. You highlight the reluctance of teachers to initiate new learning materials which in part could be attributed to a lack of skills, background knowledge and funding. The integration of ICT with Electronics/Technology cannot be emphasized enough. Once again it is a very specialist field of teaching and integration will actually help both teacher and student.
You will probably find a few glitches in some areas of Technology/Electronic teaching, but that is to be expected. It comes with the territory. The setup of a website where students can interact and where they can find help, is a big plus as the comments won’t be seen by the whole world and students won’t fear that everyone can see their work and make some stupid comments.
Many Thanks Anthony
Change is something us teachers do not like at all. I suppose same is true in the industry.
We are trying own our own to pave a way forward without any assistance from the MOE. I am burning the canle from both ends by investing my time and gold coins in developing teaching resources and doable elctronic kits.
I have not seen yout assignment for feedback.
Please send a copy asap. i go to bed at 11 pm , all by myself. melvin
As Anthony highlighted you have identifies some real issues in regard to the teaching of technology in schools. What you descibe also brings up the issue of lack of time and resources for teachers to make the transition from a current way of teaching to a new way whilst having to deliver the current curriculum. Good resources added in your assignment.