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Pam Hook's discussion posts

  • Pam Hook 13 Aug 2013 10:04am () in Using a SOLO assessment rubric with LEARNZ virtual field trips

    My pleasure - is great to see other ways in which SOLO is being used in primary and secondary contexts - as you suggest - using SOLO to help differentiate learning outcomes for a LEARNZ experience makes the diverse learning opportunities on offer visible in a nuanced way.

  • Pam Hook 12 Aug 2013 9:17pm () in Using a SOLO assessment rubric with LEARNZ virtual field trips

    I love the thought that has gone into SOLO differentiated generating success criteria for the preparation, during and after phases of a LEARNZ field trip. It will be so helpful in differentiating learning outcomes for the LEARNZ experience. 

    I believe your next challenge is to take this overview of the LEARNZ experience and simplify each bulleted thread it so it becomes something that students might embrace.

    In my experience teachers can cope with lots of text but students get overburdened. For example - preparation for a LEARNZ trip seems to involve - reading background pages, completing activities and asking questions - aka Functioning Knowledge. The HookED Functioning knowledge rubric generator   might help create success criteria for reading, completing and asking and allow student contribution in terms of effective strategies.


    verb; prepare for

    content: a LEARNZ feld trip

    context: to "X"

    Then add the preparation elements of "reading background pages", "completing activities" and "asking questions" as bulletted points in the first column. 

    Students can share their effective strategies for moving across levels



  • Pam Hook 20 Apr 2011 5:40pm () in The VLN - what is it and how can we use this space to engage learning communities and share effective practice?

    Thanks Tess, Karen and Jo

    I suspect Jo has captured the essense of what matters most in this discussion around the worthiness of the VLN when she talks about purpose.

    The VLN is what I like to describe as a "moral Delilah".

    If as you suggest the purpose of the VLN is to act as an online space where educators

    "come, communicate, connect, and get to know each other better over time. From that point on, the rest is up to you."

    then the VLN entices and betrays opportunities for teacher learning that makes a positive difference to student learning.

    I believe the VLN (like many other well meaning educational online learning communities) has a crisis of purpose. Its well meaning participants are like Amazon Mechanical Turkers - providing cheap access to an "on demand scalable work force" changed with completing Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) for which the big goal or end purpose is unknown.

    The VLN becomes a MoE initiative that lacks any explicit reference to what we know about teacher learning that results in improved outcomes for students.

    For example Prof Helen Timperley's work on promoting teacher learning in ways that result in improved outcomes for students is pretty clear - focussing on the activity (coaching) or structure (PLC) doesn't really count.

    There are many reasons why extending learning opportunities through PLCs (online or f2f) are not necessarily effective in translating into teacher practice that impact on student learning. Timperley's research suggests that without external expertise to challenge existing assumptions, places like the VLN will simply reinforce anecdote, opinion and ideology and serve us poorly as a profession.

    If you view Helen Timperley's ED Talk you will hear her quite clearly identify that the purpose of professional learning ought to be knowing what to teach next and that this will be informed by assessment information - how to assess students carefully and diagnostically and by interrogating our pedagogical content knowledge.

    This is addressed by challenging the social norms of a group. If the social networking friendship functions are anything to go by, the VLN seems predicated on building the social norms - on doing just the reverse.

  • Pam Hook 13 Apr 2011 6:34pm () in The VLN - what is it and how can we use this space to engage learning communities and share effective practice?

    Hi Karen - benefits and challenges is a good question to interrogate.

    What interests me is the purpose and architecture of the VLN.

    I am curious as to what extent it is yet another online space established in a way that overtly centralises and privatises. And we have seen a few of them launch and fail in the past ten years...

    In the VLN we have built a place where diverse individuals and groups are required to co-habit (and be seen to cohabit). And once you move across to this VLN place you find that the architecture controls the technologies you can freely use.

    This is difficult given that the milestone reporting requirements make membership in the VLN "social networking site" mandatory not voluntary for the ICTPD clusters [aka 3.2 Upload a succinct summary of your reflections into the VLN].

    The sadness is that the internet's original architecture was all about openness yet everywhere I look the available spaces are being privatised and centralised.
    There is a common reason why organisations seek to control the venues, technologies and tools an individual (or cluster) uses to share images, calendar, micro-blogging, blogging, message boards etc. online.

    It is usually about gaining power and or commercial success. Altho' claiming to eschew commercialism it is obviously easier to show case the outcomes from the adoption of e-learning across NZ schools to overseas interests if you require clusters and teachers to do this from a centralised space rather than their own individual spaces. And maybe that is not a bad thing.

    However, the arguments that persuade us to give up these individual freedoms and flexibility are usually framed around the greater reliability or efficiencies of centralised controls.

    So in trading "freedom to" for "freedom from" we limit our choices in how we host our own content. To embrace the VLN in a way that creates a living learning community requires that we abandon or duplicate other technologies already being used.

    Concentration and centralisation of services promises efficiencies of scale but always comes at a cost - in this case it lies in limiting the choices available to members when they create content, develop content and disseminate their content - AND it lies in our loss of control over content shared - we give the institution control - the option to pull the master switch and delete the whole site.

    I guess my question is -

    Is the VLN yet another nation state for educators -one that re-establishes that sense of "in" and "out"?

    Have we built another empire rather than a federation?

  • Pam Hook 20 Apr 2011 7:42pm () in The VLN - what is it and how can we use this space to engage learning communities and share effective practice?

    Hi Tess,

    This is much easier ... is thinking I did on Artichoke after ULearn06 - on the significance of second and third drink conversations in e-learning. (you will have to check out the original post to get the hyperlinks)

    During Lefstein's presentation I made many links to the challenges to "online communities" and "e learning" initiatives in tertiary education that fail to live up to expectations of knowledge building environments. Challenges raised on the FLNW tour and addressed with great insight on a whiteboard in Auckland by Stephen Downes.

    The links I made when listening to Lefstein were all underpinned by ideas of freedom, by Ellsworth's observation "...the call to dialogue is also an exercise of power, with its accompanying assumptions and expectations regarding teacher authority, communication norms, legitimate forms of participation, and privileged differences and identities ..." Ellsworth (cited in Lefstein 2006) - something that holds true for our so called online communities with their mandated and evaluative requirements as much as for the f2f interactions in classrooms

    I had to track down Lefstein's research paper by searching the Kings College site - having been unable to retrieve my password access to the ULearn06 site [a poignant experience given the stance taken by Downes on passworded communities on the FLNW tour]. From Lefstein's paper I was able to locate a dissertation by Alexander Sidorkin - An Ontological Understanding of Dialogue in Education, which introduces the three drinks metaphor for how we learning/ process of understanding.

    The first drink conversations establish a group, they provide "a common text, a shared experience, an initial conversational event. ....It establishes a common set of references, a shared language for the following conversations."
    The second drink conversations occur when individuals within the group, ".... challenge, deconstruct, actively agree or disagree with it, they commend and ridicule. We understand things by breaking them, turning them upside down, taking a bite, or dissolving with saliva-literally with edible objects, figuratively with texts. The idea is to enmesh the self into the text, to break down the whole, to salvage whatever is left from a common meaning for individual sense-making. We understand by trying to co-author the text, to interpret it, and to offer our interpretations to those with whom we listened together. "
    By the third drink - the conversations see individuals escaping the group identity "People take things lightly, they give up on convincing each other, they talk with their emotions, while often pretending to make sense of each other. ...Talking nonsense, and having a good laugh about it is obviously better than endless discussions and polarization of opinions. When people miss the third drink phase, their conversation ceases to be a source of happiness, and becomes a beginning of their misery. For different opinions to coexist, there needs to be a nurturing broth of a carnival, where all things seem to be possible, and all become laughable.

    How can we make our educational conversation dialogic? I am thinking that it is our insistence on group identity - the absence of second drink and more especially the third drink conversations (where group identity is loosened and then forsaken) in online communities and classrooms that condemns us to that endless hamster in the wheel activity (that is really inactivity) in e learning." Artichoke Blog Post October 1 2006


    A call for open spaces in the VLN is all about an exercise of power - is why those without power prefer anonymity or walled gardens

    Ellsworth's "...the call to dialogue is also an exercise of power, with its accompanying assumptions and expectations regarding teacher authority, communication norms, legitimate forms of participation, and privileged differences and identities

  • Pam Hook 18 May 2011 8:52pm () in The VLN - what is it and how can we use this space to engage learning communities and share effective practice?

    Hi Fastpaddy and Karen,

    RE: Am I correct in that the issue is that schools are now being forced to be part of the VLN? and Karen's response claiming that the site is community-driven and "The only 'requirement' is for a brief summary"

    "As with all these community-driven spaces (this 'network' happens to be funded by the MOE, and for some of us, our work brings us here), the tool that will suit the purpose will be determined by the teachers, and they will determine, too, the usefulness of the endeavours that may happen here. The agile, responsive approach of the developers is appreciated.
    The only 'requirement' is for a brief summary, of work undertaken across the country in the ICT-PD contract clusters, to be shared in this space (as opposed to another), summaries from which others may benefit. "

    It might be valuable to note another perspective - aka how the "only ‘requirement'" in this "community-driven" space is described in the ICTPD cluster contracts documents signed by the MoE and BOT's of cluster schools.

    You may find it differs a little.

    ICTPD Cluster Contract Reference 1.
    ICTPD Cluster National Programme Goal 5
    Schools will use e-learning to give effect to the New Zealand Curriculum / Te Marautanga o Aotearoa by increasing the capability of:- the sector by sharing online professional reflections to inform colleagues of the challenges and opportunities afforded by e-learning*

    ICTPD Cluster Contract Reference 2.
    Programme Goals and Success Indicators
    *In 2011 there will be an increased emphasis on professional reflection in milestone reporting. Clusters are required to develop their progress reporting (i.e. outcomes) for a national audience of their peers (i.e. Principal, teachers, and facilitators). These reports will be shared with the sector online in the Virtual Learning Network [VLN] (/). You will negotiate with your National facilitator the number and type of professional reflections you will complete as part of your milestone reporting in 2011. You should state the programme goals you will address, how often this will happen, and the format/environment that you will collate your ongoing reflections in (e.g. GoogleDocs, WikiEducator, VLN, Microsoft Live@Edu etc.). Summaries will be uploaded into the VLN in the form of an article with embedded and linked multi-media artifacts. Further information on this process will be provided by the National Facilitation team.

    Cluster Contract Reference 3.
    B. Roles or assigned personnel
    Note that there is a requirement for personnel in cluster leadership roles to participate and/or contribute to the Ministry's e-learning web presence (Currently in development on TKI and VLN) in addition to the revised online milestone reporting requirements.

    Cluster Contract Reference 4.
    3. Activities carried out and results achieved during the Milestone 3 period.
    3.1 Liaise with the National Facilitator assigned by the Ministry to this project.
    3.2 Report on your programme implementation during the milestone period and provide an explanation for variation from the planned programme as necessary.
    3.3 Upload reflective summaries of progress into the VLN website as per your programme plan.
    3.4 Provide a summary of progress towards cluster programme goals. Include any relevant information that is not recorded in your online professional reflections at this point.
    3.5 Provide detail of changes to programme personnel or roles.
    3.6 Provide a disbursement schedule showing expenditure to June 30th 2011 and provide an explanation for variation from budget as necessary.

    Cluster Contract Reference 5.
    3.2 Upload a succinct summary of your reflections into the VLN
    During the course of the year your cluster will have been reflecting online on certain aspects of your cluster programme. This abstract should give readers some clarity for the context that your reflection was created in, this may include:
    Year level
    Cluster type
    Research model used
    Impact on students/teachers/whanau
    Links to your actual reflection
    Links to classroom practice

    And then there are the 5 pages of notes provided for Clusters detailing how they should use the VLN, the setting up of a dedicated group and what their "brief summary" might include.

    5. What might we include?
    ● The context: year level? cluster type? context/situation?
    ● The focus: the programme goal? What is your summary about?
    ● The rationale: your intentions? why did you choose this? What evidence informed
    your decision-making? How did you hope to improve student learning?
    ● What did you do? - research model used? interventions? summary of the actions that
    made a difference? classroom practice and inquiry process?
    ● What happened? - what results did you get? What was the impact on your students/
    teachers/whānau? How successful do you think you were (use the self-review
    framework here)? What worked well?
    ● What did you learn?
    ● Next steps? What will you work on next? What would you change?

    6. What tools should we use - and how will they be shared?
    ● Your cluster leader needs to make sure your cluster has a dedicated group on the Virtual Learning Network (VLN): / . For support doing this, go to [link to come..]
    ● Your summary will be uploaded to your cluster's Group resources in the VLN using the Upload a Resource tool, so you can tag it. You may include links to other sites/resources elsewhere online that you have used as part of your programme.

    The newly skinned VLN may well develop into a community driven space for ICTPD Clusters but it certainly has not started as one - it has started as Goal 5 - Programme Goals and Success Indicators -Requirements for Roles or Assigned Personnel - Requirements for cluster leaders to set up dedicated groups - Requirements for the summary responses etc etc.

    When searching for clarity and common sense in all of this I note that that "only" as in  "the only requirement" and"brief" as in "brief summary" are in the eye of the beholder measures - they can and do look a little different from the other side.


  • Pam Hook 21 May 2011 1:05pm () in The VLN - what is it and how can we use this space to engage learning communities and share effective practice?

    Thanks Karen,

    Appreciate this is not the forum to raise and clarify issues around Programme Goal 5 and do not intend this. The cluster principals have been doing this quite successfully with members of the ICTPD facilitation team since the VLN was first mooted. It was a large part of our contract variation discussions in November.

    And I can see the intent. We have used the VLN resources provided to develop a BTG reflective summary template based upon the lead teacher PL and an assessment instrument based on Thomas Guskey so that our reflection provides a deeper understanding of outcomes for ourselves and for others reading the summary.  The word "brief" does not adequately describe the task of providing a summary. 

    I like to think of this as a space for "Silvio" conversation.  

    I can tell you fancy, I can tell you plain
    You give something up for everything you gain
    Since every pleasure's got an edge of pain
    Pay for your ticket and don't complain.

  • Pam Hook 19 Jun 2011 4:25pm () in How to help the 'technophobes'...?

    Hi Anne and Karen,

    I find this conversation thread to be very revealing - not in as much as what it resolves - rather in terms of what it exposes - it is worthy of deeper analysis in terms of unpacking the beliefs and attitudes espoused by those educators who identify themselves as "the change makers".

    We don't come off too well under Marris' analysis

    No one can resolve the crisis of reintegration on behalf of another. Every attempt to pre-empt conflict, argument, protest by rational planning can only be abortive: However reasonable the proposed changes, the process of implementing them must still allow the impulse of rejection to play itself out.

    When those who have the power to manipulate changes act as if they have only to explain, and when their explanations are not at once accepted, shrug off opposition as ignorance or prejudice, they express a profound contempt for the meaning of lives other than their own. For the reformers have already assimilated these changes to their purposes, and worked out a reformulation which makes sense to them, perhaps through months or years of analysis and debate. If they deny others
    the chance to do the same, they treat them as puppets dangling on the strings of their own conceptions. Marris (p166)

    Anne's challenge is along Marris' lines and drives Karen to ask - How do we help people build their knowledge of curriculum/pedagogy/technology so that they can be discriminating in their choices?

    It is a good question and is this context I take it as a question that assumes that building discrimination will lead to a greater integration/implementation of e-learning technologies which I am not at all certain is warranted.

    Where is the data that shows how effectively the e-thing is advancing children's learning? I am not alone in claiming that the data has not caught up with the claims we make. Juan Cristobal Cobo Romani's Oxford and Cardiff University 2009 Monograph  (pdf) and our own Noeline Wright's University of Waikato Lit Review 2010 claim much the same

    There is an international doxa about e-Learning’s inherent benefits to learners. It masks a relatively small amount of actual evidence about its relationship to improved educational and life chances for students.

    Englemann (cited in Hattie 2009 p253) challenges teachers and schools to ask four critical questions about the innovations we are asked to adopt in school. They are great questions for those who wish to be more discriminating in their pedagogical approach to teaching and learning

    • Precisely where have you seen this practice installed so that it produces effective results?
    • Precisely where have you trained teachers so they can uniformly perform within guidelines of this new system?
    • Where is the data that show you have achieved performance that is superior to that achieved by successful programmes (not simply the administrations last unsuccessful attempt).
    • Where are your endorsements from historically successful teachers (those whose students outperform demographic predictions)?

     When we are thinking about ICTs in teaching and learning they become:

    • Precisely where have you seen teaching and learning through ICTs installed so that it produces effective results in enhancing student achievement?
    • Precisely where have you trained teachers so they can uniformly perform within guidelines of this new system?
    • Where is the data that show teaching and learning using ICTs achieves performance that is superior to that achieved by other successful strategies used in teaching and learning?
    • Where are your endorsements from historically successful teachers – those whose students outperform demographic predictions for student achievement?

    So one way to help teachers become more discriminating in their practice might be to encourage them to ask questions like these - and to let the impulse of rejection play out ...