Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Let’s talk leadership well-being"

"Let’s talk leadership well-being" was a great topic chosen by #ldrchatnz.

Well-being is an important topic for education, for students, for teachers and for leaders alike. Too often leaders focus on the well-being of those around them and forget about themselves...

I really valued the input from leaders around New Zealand in this discussion. Here is my Storify:

A leader has to make a difference and is often the one who has to lead change. In order to accomplish that they have to take care of themselves by having 'me' time and... they have to be pro-active.

A resource to look at: Wellbeing at School | NZCER

~ "A leader is someone who demonstrates what is possible." - Mark Yarnell ~

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Writing a Literature Review (Week 19)

Researched and Community Informed Practice (R&C) - Writing a Literature Review

A handy tip is to search for resources in Google Scholar.

The journey of seeking out research articles and to critically interpret and evaluate research reports and findings is a lengthy process. Sorting them into appropriate 'categories/themes' is time consuming, but critical evaluation is important.

Once satisfied with the number [and range] of resources and ensuring that the materials are relevant to all the aspects of the research question(s) I will be able to analyse and evaluate them. Then... time to start writing...

~ "Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words." - Mark Twain ~

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Using Research as a Practitioner (Week 18)

Researched and Community Informed Practice (R&C) - Using Research as a Practitioner
This is the week to focus on my understanding how to search for and locate education research and how to critically interpret and evaluate research reports and findings. Then to choose and define a research area inquiry topic that is investigated in literature.

Learning Objectives for this week from the portal:
  • Understand the different types and formats of education research
  • Know how to search for and locate education research
  • Develop skills to interpret and critically evaluate research

1. Undertake some general background reading on the topic, familiarizing yourself with the topic and some of the key ideas and issues.
2. Create research questions and key words
3. Identify possible sources (also consider 'grey literature' - which is academic material that has not been formally published)
4. Organize and keep track of resources

How to interpret and critically assess literature?

It is important when you read research literature that you are critically engaging with it. Critical reading requires you to:
Interpret: understand the significance of the data or findings
Analyse: examine the text in detail to determine its meaning
Question: interrogate the assertions and assumptions presented in the text
Reason: develop your own point of view on the text
Evaluate: judge the credibility or strength of the text based on its reliability, validity and generalisability

My chosen area for a literature review is to focus on the 'Community' (Parents and Whānau)
I am choosing this topic to demonstrate the benefits of digital learning opportunities
The purpose is to make parents/whānau realise the benefits to students when they engage in digital learning opportunities

Now to think about the research question(s)...

~"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" - Albert Einstein ~

Friday, March 18, 2016

Introduction to research in education (Week 17)

Researched and Community Informed Practice (R&C) - Introduction to research in education
And with this the first week of the formal (8 weeks) online course starts... through readings I am reminded that research plays an important role in education.  

Learning Objectives for this week from the portal:
  • Understand what education research is
  • Recognise the various roles that research plays in education
  • Understand what is meant by research-informed/evidence-based practice and what this means for your practice.
  • Understand the principles of Kaupapa Māori how they relate to research

The three key areas education is divided into are: research, policy and practice. Unfortunately research and practice are not always connected. This diagram shows how research, policy and practice can informed each other in an ideal world.
What is research?
  • Research is systematic, critical and self-critical enquiry which aims to contribute towards the advancement of knowledge and wisdom. … Discipline research in education aims critically to inform understandings of phenomena pertinent to the discipline in educational settings. … Critical enquiry [is] aimed at informing educational judgements and decisions in order to improve educational action. This is the kind of value-laden research that should have immediate relevance to teachers and policy makers, and is itself educational because of its stated intention to ‘inform’. It is the kind of research in education that is carried out by educationists. (Bassey, 1999, 38-39) 
  • Educational research is not just a way to come up with new ideas about teaching and learning, but most often it is a way to convince us that the ideas we already have are worth exploring—that they are worth buying into (Morrell and Carroll, 2010, 2).

There are 3 steps to follow in research:
1. Pose a question.
2. Collect data to answer the question.
3. Present an answer to the question.
(Creswell, 2011, 3)

For more information look at the first chapter of Creswell's Educational ResearchMain things from this reading:
  • What research is and the roles that it can play
  • The basic steps in the research process
  • The nature of quantitative and qualitative research
  • Different types of research design in education

Reflecting on the principles of Kaupapa Māori with the following questions:

1. How can Kaupapa Māori inform research?
The Treaty of Waitangi is interwoven into our New Zealand Education system, through the NZC and PTC. “A seminal study in this area is Huygens’ (2007) research into how collective Pākehā consciousness can change in response to learning about the Treaty of Waitangi.” Engage with the community and involve them in the research to bring change in the educational experience for Māori. Consider tikanga that underpins the ethics and nurture culture and needs by relating to the principles of kaupapa. The researcher should look that what they intend to research benefits Maori and will be making a positive difference. It also creates a sense of accountability for the researcher within the context of end goals. (Alex Barnes, 2013. Pg 12 & 23).
All this includes a wide range of research methods.

2. How can the principles of Kaupapa Māori relate to my own practice?
It helps me to think about what I want to do within another cultural context and to have active relationships with stakeholders. Teaching and learning is one with Māori and does not stand alone. Here I remember what an e hoa once said to me: "If it works for Māori, it will work for others."

The aim for the following 8 weeks will be to become a critical consumer of research relevant to practice/field and following a deep understanding. It will be about formulating key research questions in a field of study relevant to the community.

~ "Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose." 
- Zora Neale Hurston

Friday, March 11, 2016

Future Focussed Learners and GAFE at Connected Rotorua

In the first Connected Rotorua meeting for 2016 the following topics have been discussed:
1. Engaging future focussed learners in an Authentic Rotorua context
2. GAFE (keeping the learner at the center)

We were fortunate to have had Hancine and Helen leading the discussions and it was a privilege to be MC on behalf of the Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Learning Team.

      ~ When dealing with children there is greater need for observing than of probing” 
                                                      - Maria Montessori ~

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mobile Learning / WYOD/ Brain Sensing and Research & Community Informed Leadership (Week 16)

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Mobile Learning / Wear your own device/ Brain Sensing
Introductory Quotes for the session (Source Credit: MindLab)

Mobile Learning: “Mobile learning describes any form of education or training that is delivered using some kind of mobile device...the special characteristics of mobile learning, including ubiquity, convenience, localization, and personalization, give it unique qualities that help it stand out from other forms of learning.”
Source: Parsons, D. (2007). Mobile Learning, in D. Taniar (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Mobile Computing and Commerce, IGI Global, 525-527.

Wearable Technology in Education: “The emergence of home computers brought us eLearning, and the proliferation of mobile and smartphones have brought us mobile learning. Both of these technological advances have fundamentally changed how we look at learning and performance programs. Another technological advance is coming - one that will once again change some of our definitions and how we address performance issues: wearable technology.”
Source: Kelly, D. (2015). Why Wearable Technology Will Change Learning Forever. Paper presented at Learning Technologies 2016, London , UK.

Brain Sensing in Education: “The combination of educational data mining and brain sensing techniques has the potential to facilitate the detection of critical cognitive and motivational states during use of an online learning environment”
Source: Keating, S., Walker, E., Motupali, A. & Solovey, E. (2016). Toward Real-time Brain Sensing for Learning Assessment: Building a Rich Dataset. Proceedings CHI ‘16.
Group Activity: Mobile Learning
Our group used the Aris app (IOS device) and Sense-it app (Android) to navigate to locations around the immediate area, taking environmental measurements with our multiple devices.

Interesting activity, but not yet sure how this can be used in my classroom...

Group Activity: Wearable Devices
We looked at a various of resources to post our thinking on the G+ community
The Father of Wearable Computing - Dr. Steve Mann
- Ted Talk on controlling someone else's arm with your brain
Spark NZ article on wearable devices

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Research & Community Informed Leadership
In this part of the session we looked at what research is (to help us with the next part of our study) and what makes a good research question.
- Research can be very rewarding, but can (in the same time) be an intimidating process
- Find resources specific to your topic, but also assess each source's credibility
- Try to make it narrow, not broader

Participating in the problem solving test was quite an eye opener and confirmed [for me] to be aware of an author's possible bias. 
The group engage in the 'What Makes a Good Research Question' discussion using Today's Meet.
An interesting exercise was the Online Plagiarism & APA In-Text Referencing Test

"You can't teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it." - Seymour Papert ~

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Games in Education and Gamification in Leadership (Week 15)

Watch as many of the documentary as you can: BBC Horizon - Are Video Games Really that Bad (2015).

Thoughts from the video:
Play is fundamental to who we are and we're now [just] doing it through technology, but some video games stands for making people violent or causing addiction (which they are not). Putting that aside, it appears that there is growing evidence that suggests that video games may help in keeping the brain sharp. It could revolutionise how mental decline can be prevented as we age.

This video answered many questions around issues of addiction, etc., but has now been removed from YouTube and is no longer accessible. An 'alternate video': Gaming can make the world a better place.

Homework reflection:
Bad/good depends on the game

Identify ways in which games have had a positive impact on you:
Social skills and able to 'fail' in a safe place
Good negotiations, sometimes there are family bans in place - not playing certain games together
Work together, problem solve

Digital & Collaborative Learning (DCL) - Games in Education
"The link between games and learning is not a contemporary phenomenon, nor a digital one. ... Froebel's invention of kindergarten in 1840 was premised in large part on the integration of learning through games and play." Salen, K. (ed). The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning. cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press

Conclusion: Good games challenge and engage, and help people to succeed with the challenge

  • What type of player are you? Decide if you are a killer, achiever, socialite or explorer...

Pair activity: Play a mobile or online game your pair recommends to you.
I found the game I played to be not engaging at all, but I couldn't see any good/bad in it. Found that it could be considered as hard - you only get a certain amount of 'lives' and if they're up you have to start again, or buy more. Very repetitive. Mindless game.

Choosing games with an Educational aspect

Check out the game 'free rice' where rice is being donated through the World Food Programme for every right answer.

Serious games have been used to gamify serious issues. For example the Sparx game to tackle depression from the University of Auckland, and then move through to the Quest2Teach viurtal world games for teacher training. 
Good video games incorporate good learning principles, principles supported by current research in Cognitive Science. 

At a deeper level, however, challenge and learning are a large part of what makes good video games motivating and entertaining. Humans actually enjoy learning, though sometimes in school you wouldn’t know that.
Which one should we be?
'Johan Huizamen' recon we should be Homo Ludens. It is important to focus on playful learning.

- Concept, which is not exclusive of education
- Some researchers generically defined it as "the use of game design elements and game mechanics in non-game contexts"
- Broad definition has been further refined to reflect the most common objective of gamification: increase user experience and engagement with a system
[Source: Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R. & Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: defining gamification. In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference (pp. 9-15)]

In 2014 Gamification was one of CORE Education's 10 trendsGamification is everywhere...

Group activity:
  • Design a game narrative with an educational purpose

Remember: Intrinsic motivation - Flow Theory

James Paul Gee discuss Games & Gamification in Education,what games are about and the theory behind them. 

Leadership in Digital & Collaborative Learning (LDC) - Gamification in Leadership
TED Talk - Building a game layer over the world. Consider one of the four game dynamics he introduced and think about how you would design an educational activity to incorporate this specific aspect of games.

1. Appointment dynamic ('Happy hour '- drink until he's cute, Farmville,) 
2. Influence and status dynamic (social issue to solve)
3. Progression dynamic (linkedin, world of warcraft)
4. Communal discovery (Digg - use society to solve problems) 

The next decade is the decade of games.

Fun theory: Put an element of fun in it and people will do it.

Group activity: Design a school (photo), resources on Quest to learn

Tip: Use games to engage boys in learning.

- Games connect with learning many ways
- Game design elements can be found from variety of practices
- Students can even design their own games

- What skills would be addressed by getting students to create games? 
- Do even just playing (strategic multiplayer) games give an opportunity to develop most of the Key Competencies and even Leadership Skills?

~ "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." 
- Albert Einstein ~