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Finding out where teachers are at

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Started by Enabling e-Learning 15 Jun 2011 10:15am () Replies (4)

In the thread discussing how to support people who might not be early adopters of technology, Allanah, Isaac and Innes touched on the importance of finding out people's existing skills, knowledge, interest levels and so on. Jan shared an experience of actually avoiding the 'tech' and getting to know the people on a personal level first.

So, how do we find the baseline? What have you tried?


  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 15 Jun 2011 1:39pm ()

    Firstly I start by trying to inspire people to want to try new things with the hook of making their work/life easier and maybe even saving some time and enhancing what they are already doing well in their classrooms.

    I start by asking what people want to be able to do. And then sitting side by side with my hand off the mouse/trackpad/touchpad helps.

    Sometimes excruciatingly slowly I let them find their own way about the computer- that tends to make the new learning stick. Being told to click here, click here, click here is a waste of time cos it's never going to be remembered.

    I know that I don't remember if someone tries to teach me like that.

    Then we set a target for what might happen after my support diminished.

    Then I try and check back to see what problems there might have been on their own.

    Then celebrate and build on their successes.

  • Jan Coleman (View all users posts) 15 Jun 2011 1:54pm ()

    It's the 2N rule for me. Nurture - Nudge - then Nag! And you wouldn't want me to Nag...

    Seriously though, when I have read the posts, I can't help thinking about what we do for slow/reluctant learners in the classroom. Do we attempt to label them and then treat them according to label? Talk about them in slightly derogatory/frustrated terms? Perhaps we do.  Are there similarities with the adult learners we are talking of?

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 21 Jun 2011 10:06am ()

    Thanks for sharing those ideas, Jan and AllanahSmile

    It's a tricky issue, isn't it? Do we drive with the tech, or the teach? To understand how to use a tool effectively, you do need to have had a bit of a play, to know what the capabilities/affordances might offer - but you also need to have a pretty secure grasp of the content and pedagogy, too.

    Whenever we learn something new, that new understanding is strongly influenced by what we already believe (Timperley et al, 2007). But often we don't know what we don't know about our own practice, we can't make our own tacit knowledge explicit. For example, why do we teach the way we do?

    So, for someone managing professional learning, how do we help surface that thinking?

    imageSource: Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H. & Fung, I. (2007) Teacher Professional Learning and Development: Best Evidence Synthesis. Ministry of Education. (Figure 2.2, p. 8)

    What activity might help us articulate - 'cue' - our prior knowledge so we can develop learning activities that build on that?

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