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Devils Advocate... Beyond BYOD

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Started by Pat Hargreaves 16 Sep 2013 3:28pm () Replies (10)

Having joined the VLN relatively a short time ago. I have noted a lot of discussion surrounding BYOD, Clouds, Apps and all sorts of wonderful technologies and the stories that go with them.

However, are we actually improving student outcomes with technology compared to traditional methods?

Or, in fact, are we simply maintaining the status quo but in a slightly more impressive manner? Like data projectors really just being a flasher version of OHP. Or worse, are we making the same mistakes but can now do it at twice the speed?

So this is the discussion I would really like (and will hopefully generate that creative tension with some gleeful disagreements...):

1. How have we actually measured the improvements that technology supposedly brings?

2. Looking beyond BYOD (and other buzz terms), how has 'pedagogy' been shifted?

Don't be shy...



  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 17 Sep 2013 2:01pm ()

    Wow, great questions, Pat, very complicated indeed. You've really got me thinking...Are we doing the old ways with new things? 

    1. How have we actually measured the improvements that technology supposedly brings?

    As we seek to find benefits/added value of technology to teaching and learning, we need probably also need to realise how complicated measuring the impact of e-learning/technologies/ICTs actually is.

    Maths / mobile device As we all know, New Zealand doesn’t isolate ICTs as learning area, but rather sees this as a transformational tool - within a rich, authentic curriculum. So, we’d have to ask, what exactly are we measuring?

    In the VLN thread, How do you know if ICT is making a difference - and does it matter? Community members have asked, do we undertake assessment of ICTs (making a difference) to guage the ‘bang for bucks’? (Annemarie), while others have commented on how this can be fraught with difficulty, with too many other related variables (Mike).

    I also asked, do we undertake to evaluate the benefits (or otherwise) to indicate impact on intended learning goals or outcomes and acknowledged Karen’s point of view about evaluating the use of e-learning tools to build on the Key Competencies – develop problem solving, reflective, social knowledge-builders and creators. Measuring the benefits of technology in isolation is just too complex.

    In the paper, Does ICT improve learning and teaching in schools, Steve Higgins (New Castle University), reports, that after 10 years of research in the UK, ICTs can help students learn and teachers teach more efficiently, but It’s not about having more access to computers, rather how these are being used.

    “More substantial gains in pupil attainment are achievable where the use of ICT is planned, structured and integrated effectively.” (P6)

    Quality interactions between the teacher, the learner and the tools will provide an opportunity for statements such as the following (Teaching and Learning dimension of the eLPF) to come to fruition:

    Learning programmes are negotiated with students to provide choice and personalization. Higher-order, authentic learning experiences explore content in learning area(s), enhanced by technologies.

    At a process level, Higgin's findings also showed,

    Information on computers can usually be adapted or changed quickly and easily and this makes it possible to evaluate these changes. (p.13)

    More examples of how e-learning can be used in literacy can be found in the Blended e-Learning Literacy Group and in NZ based research such as, Literacy teaching and learning in e-learning contexts (Sue McDowell, July 2010). More localised research around the impact of e-learning, can be found @ Research and Readings (Enabling e-Learning page in TKI) including The impact of technology_Value added classroom practice.docx.

     Children on laptop

         2. Looking beyond BYOD (and other buzz terms), how has 'pedagogy' been shifted?

    The ability to know when/what technologies and how to use these effectively in teaching and learning -remains a challenge for some teachers. Effective adoption and adaption takes a long time. At the empowering level of the e-learning planning framework in the Teaching and Learning dimension (Pedagogy strand) it reads,

    Pedagogy assimilates technology into blended, student-centred, collaborative learning experiences, based on evidence-based inquiry that reflects the principles of ako.

    Higgin’s paper also summaries how teachers have planned for individual or group instruction and deliberately used the e-tools as a communication tool to encourage students to think and talk about their learning. We know from Hattie’s effect-size data that teacher/student engagement has a huge impact on learning, as does timely, efficient feedback. These combined with the effective use of e-tools can help students improve thinking, creativity and understanding.

    My question is, how do we continue to strive for innovative practice in this way - while misconceptions about pedagogies and the 'new role of teachers' in an e-learning rich environment still exist?

    Taken from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Teaching/New-roles-for-teachers

    Last food for thought. Does this statement ring true?

    The rapid pace of change makes it difficult to evaluate technological innovations effectively and disseminate this information quickly.” (p 19). Does ICT improve learning and teaching in schools


    Maybe collecting stories of progress and positive change as case studies, digital stories or snapshots is vital - as we continue to grow a mental map of what effective e-learning pedagogy looks like in NZ and beyond.

    Does anyone else have a story to share, about examples of new ways with new things? We'd love to hear how e-learning is making a difference for you and your students.



    You might also be interested in:


    • ICT school guidelines – a thread unpacking the value/virtue of skills checklists and evaluation type methods for ICT.
  • Pat Hargreaves (View all users posts) 20 Sep 2013 12:21pm ()

    Thanks Tessa,

    Clearly a well thought out reply. And I love the links to research. I will have to follow these at home, the school proxy or somesuch seems to prevent them working.

    I am very keen to check out the 'new role of teachers' as well as dig a little deeper about the misconceptions (perhaps) of pedagogy.

    To outline my thinking on the above (bearing in mind I haven't accessed those links). I see a shift required not just for teachers but also students in terms of their ability to recognise where their learning is coming from, how to manage it and especially, to understand what type of instructional method they may need at any given juncture (Which demands the corresponding shift from teachers.)

    Essentially this type of student thinking is in line with concepts such as self-directed/ autonomous/ life long. However, we may need to shift both student and teacher thinking in terms of what education looks like and how it is delivered(not to mention parental thinking- someone 'Moos' has a great paper out somewhere about how 'mental models' of schooling affects and limits educational change ).

    Here is the problem though - implementing facilitative or supervisory practices (also more androgogical rather than pedagogical practice - which Technology is fantastic for) to students who are not at that stage of readiness may be detrimental to student outcomes. Ditto for sticking with Didactic practices (generally closer aligned with pedagogical practice) to those individuals who are more 'self-directed'. 

    So ignoring the evaluative side of technology for now.

    It seems to me that the 'beyond BYOD' is about actually taking deliberate steps to shift students towards self-direction in their learning and for teachers to recognise where students may be in relation to their learning ability. (and provide accordingly).

    I will look out a cutsie little diagram I had based on the work of a chap called Gerald Grow:


    I recommend a look. Whilst it might paint in broad brush strokes, the thinking behind is very sound (in my opinion) and perhaps explains many of the conflicts and issues that arise when trying to implement such things as BYOD.

    It also, funnily enough, perhaps might suggest what we should be evaluating - not the effectiveness of a given technology - but the readiness of students to enage in their own personalised learning.

    So one last blunt edge statement to finish on:

    You cannot personalise learning using pedagogical approaches...






  • Leigh Hynes (View all users posts) 25 Sep 2013 1:55pm ()

    Hi Pat

    Good to see you have joined this awesome community!  I had missed your initial post, so thanks to Tessa for bringing it to the forefront in the roundup.

    There are a number of things that I think need more discussion and clarification.  I am not shy so here I am jumping in.

    What student outcomes are you talking about for a start?  The NZC framework was developed for schools to adapt to a changing world, one in which technology plays and will play an immense part.  I know that often student outcomes are measured in terms of national standards or NCEA qualifications.  Are you referring to those outcomes? Or are you asking about the quality of learning?  I know that NZQA are looking at more innovative and responsive ways of assessing learning for the future.  For example,  the use of Myportfolio in assessment now allows for much more comprehensive use of multimedia as evidence.

    How many times have you gone to a prize giving only to hear the guest speaker say that he/she did not do so well at school?  I have heard dozens.  Surely that reflects that success is not necessarily  nor solely measured in these traditional “student outcomes”. The NZC framework is there to allow schools to build their own curriculum around the needs of the students.  This is to make the learning much more relevant for them. The world of work that they will go to is very different to the world you or I went into when we left school.  So you can see why it is important that I ask what outcomes you asking about?

    Themes for 21st Century Learning are well discussed in this report for the Ministry of Education, by noted educational  researchers,  Bolstad and Gilbert, et al , and include a chapter on personalised learning and another on rethinking teacher’s roles.  I also point you to page 70 regarding examples of the role of technologies in teaching and learning.

    I also would refer you to the SAMR model which depicts the way in which technology can used in the classroom, because it mirrors your example of the lowest level use of technology as substitution, rather than redefinition of learning.

    By the way, I would definitely suggest you ask the proxy controllers to free up the restrictions that stop you looking at research at school.  Tessa’s resources will give you plenty of food for thought.

    And finally, pedagogy – the art or science of teaching is totally in sync with personalised learning so I am amazed at where you are coming from with “blunt edge statement.”  The role of the teacher is changing to that of a mentor, supporter, facilitator of the student’s learning.  This is reflected time and time again in future oriented learning.  The relationship that students have with their teacher is what will help them achieve their goals.  Flipped learning (and I am not talking about Khan Academy here),  for example, is dependent upon that relationship.  It is definitely part of the 21st century teacher’s role to move away from the didactic practices (pedagogy is NOT all about that)  and support and guide their students to pursue an independent model of learning.

    Hope this helps you in your wonderings.  Cheers from Leigh

  • Jill Hammonds (View all users posts) 25 Sep 2013 2:38pm ()

    Hi Pat, Tessa and Leigh,

    This is a really interesting discussion and one I hope we will have time to continue in our face to face meetings on October 24.  When I read your first post before Tessa's wonderful reply with so much more to follow up on, I had an intention to respond when I got a moment.  Now the reply seems to need so much more response that it's become a daunting task.  However, with the thought that this can be part of a multi part response I thought I'd chip away at only part of the dialogue today.

    This whole business of evidence for the view that technology really makes a difference is one that I see as sonewhat fraught.  If we are looking for evidence, we only have the evidence of what has been tried so far, but I'm always left with the feeling that so much more is possible than has been achieved to date.  Therefore if we need to be evidence based, we may lose some of the ability to dream and see wider possibilities.  These possibilities require so much more than just the addition of technologies - they need a revolution in the way we teach, and they need to go alongside a pedagogy that puts the student at the centre with responsive teacher practice enabling students to achieve more.

    I think back to decades ago when the internet was seen as having value for teaching, but where many teachers looked to the vast body of text that was available for students to access more easily than the one book in the library.  For me, more text was not what the internet was about.  Rather it was about putting students in touch with people with the same interests, or with knowledge of the topic, or who lived in the situations about which we were studying.  Hence on websites I was looking for people to contact via the website to extend the learning through conversation made available through the technologies.

    In many instances, I noted that it was the glamour of the technologies that created the buzz, where for me I just wanted to use the tools for the learning I was engaging in with my students.  Making a video or creating a voki never spun my wheels, but being able to use the video camera to capture and replay for further enlightenment certainly did.  It was not about being able to use the tools for doing what we had always done just in another form, it was about being able to do what previously we were not able to do.  In this, it required a new pedagogy in order to support the learning we want to see happen.

    As another example, it seems weird to me that we still employ reader/writers for students who need assistance with this aspect of sitting exams.  Why, when we have text read software, and eTools that enable us to talk our thoughts rather than always write them?  Surely it is cheaper to provide a quiet exam space for any assessments that require exam format (another big conversation LOL).  Oh, but then of course it would open exams up to cheating -but shouldn't that be what we reward rather than penalise.  Shouldn't students have to show that they can access information and use it to create an arguement/develop an opinion, or translate into creating a product.  Information is not the currency today - being able to use it in a timely manner to create something new is what we should be educating for and rewarding in our classrooms.  Imagine how successful TradeMe would have become if they had just set up an online version of the classifieds?  It's not about replacement, it about revolutionising how we teach.

    So, pedagogy / androgogy?  Teaching / learning?  I believe teachers will always be the most important technology in the classroom, holding the power to empower or disempower through the strategies they employ. More than ever we need to work in ways that make our students independent, resourceful, skillful, innovative, self motivated, collaborative, reflective AND enabled.  Students need our help and motivation for that.  We need to be in there boots and all with them.  We and they need to be intrinsically monitoring and assessing and  goal setting around the processes that will make them powerful learners.  The more we get into this mode of learning, the more we will start to create evidence for the potential of technology use in learning - however, I don't think it will be able to be reported unless we use the technologies beyond pivot tables. Wink

    Cheers, Jill

  • Jill Hammonds (View all users posts) 25 Sep 2013 2:41pm ()

    Oh, and I did intend to add on the end of that post, that we have Derek Wenmoth preparing a short presentation that just fits so well with this discussion, that will be shared during our sessions on October 24.  Something to look forward to, but I won't give away the show here.

  • Leigh Hynes (View all users posts) 25 Sep 2013 8:56pm ()

    And I forgot to point you in the direction of this awesome TED talk by Will Richardson which talks about the sum of all knowledge now being in children's pockets.

  • Pat Hargreaves (View all users posts) 27 Sep 2013 12:26pm ()

    Thank you for those now starting to weigh in on this discussion. I appreciate it.

    I guess also one of the points I haven't made is that my whole perspective is coming from a secondary perspective. I have given little thought or research to the earlier stages of student development. Not that it isn't important, it just isn't in my job description at this stage so to speak. 

    I'm seeing, although perhaps it is what I am looking for and might be actually missing the point altogether, a general theme where we talk about transformation/ revolution/ redefinition/ pace of change of education as a result of shifts in technology.

    If a transformation is what we need in education - and I use the term 'if' loosely (I believe definitely, but others less so - mental models and all that...) then we also need to ask - a transformation towards what?

    I would suggest towards a 'personalised' learning environment which is a far different approach to the general subject or course focused alignments that currently exist. As example, what type of educator would we need who could cater for multiple differing levels, areas of interest, timelines and outputs from multiple students. What type of student would we need to succeed in such an environment?

    My research on personalised learning turned up some interesting commonalities - essentially three major ones to create a shift towards personalised environments.

    Firstly is the need for student/teacher partnerships (including affected stakeholders, family, school etc). I use the word partnership deliberately over 'relationship' for a specific reason. For a partnership to be effective it generally has explicit agreements in place about who provides and does what in the partnership. It requires active participation from all parties, not passive submission which can (and does)if we focus just on 'good relationships'.

    Secondly, a greater level of understanding of learning is required by both learners and educators. (Basically meta-cognition if you like the big words). This is probably at the heart of the key competencies and certainly affects things such as 'feedback' in terms of effect sizes. As an aside, but relevant, the feedback Hattie talks of is the student feedback in terms of where they are at with their learning and where they need to head next. In my experience, when I talk feedback with teachers they usually explain it in terms of how they feedback to students. In Ka Hikitia, a definition of personalised learning suggests it is about students knowing where they are at, where they are going and how they will get there. A very nice and simple explanation which I like. However shifting students to think like this is an important task facing educators in my opinion.

    Lastly, but  not least, personalised learning does require educators to stop thinking courses or subjects and start thinking learning. This is perhaps the greatest shift - any maths or science teachers reading this? - saw some NZ research about these departments being the least likely to differentiate away from subject focused thinking. But I doubt they are alone. (Please don't hammer me for the actual research - I can't remember and this is just a discussion).

    Okay, so where is this going?

    Transformational shifts in education which technology can (and does) play a major role. As stated, the possibilities to create engaged learners are as varied and numerous as the learners themselves. But a transformation means ending up with something radically different to what was before.

    So why not a marriage of pedagogy and personalisation? Semantics really. It probably doesn't matter what you call something as long as it occurs, but continued use of the term where it has come to mean something different is probably not helpful in terms of creating a transformation.

    Because for it to be a transformation it needs to be radically different from the former. Pedagogy is the science of teaching children. It was formulated with and retains a power base of adult versus child/ Mentor vs learner. Personalising learning requires an adult to adult / peer to peer or better yet learner to learner partnership where each brings perspectives and experiences to the equation. Much like this forum.

    Like I say, just semantics really - a bit like partnerships versus relationships - pedagogy versus androgogy - but there are key differences between the two that can help shift educator thinking towards something radically different.

    Which brings me full circle:

    How are we assessing how technology is improving student outcomes? Are they able to access learning that wouldn't be available any other way? Are they able to do so within school structures? Has this shifted school structures? Are students skilled enough in terms of understanding learning to manage their own learning? Are they more successful in a technology rich environment - in all facets? Engagement, Assessments, happiness?

    Which all means, if we are asking these questions - what are we doing to improve outcomes for students with technology. Where do we have to shift towards in terms of our understandings of education.

    In perfect form, I have managed to talk incessantly without giving an actual answer. Enjoy and thanks again for the replies and hopefully we might see some more.




  • Rebbecca Sweeney (View all users posts) 05 Nov 2013 3:55pm ()

    Far out!! What a discussion! I am nervous to add more information to the plethora here but I definitely saw themes in the discussion related to:

    - future-focussed learning

    - SAMR

    - Adaptive expertise (which would help you sort through where to start to answer the intial question!)

    - UDL (Universal Design for Learning relates strongly to the personalised learning stuff and the feedback stuff)

    So as others have covered most of these things, I will just add a couple more links you might want to tap into for UDL and Adaptive Expertise:

    UDL: /pages/view/809171/udl-links

    Future-focus/hyper-change is coming your way! 10 min vid well worth a watch: http://www.teachingandelearning.com/2013/11/video-presentation-futures-thinking-and.html?spref=tw

    Adaptive Expertise (the expertise teachers and leaders and kids need to navigate through and select the right information in an information rich world) - see pages 7-9 of this paper about teachers learning to be adaptive experts: http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/120146/Learning-To-Practise.pdf

    Don't hit me!


    Becc :)

  • Leigh Hynes (View all users posts) 05 Nov 2013 4:15pm ()

    How funny!  I was just about to add Claire's video to this discussion and here it is popping up.  Thank you Rebecca!  Enough said from me, too!

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