Estonia Cycle 1 – PD 1

Date and time: 14.01.2011, 15.00-16.00

Participants: 3 teachers from a secondary school in Tallinn (800+ students)

  • english teacher who is active user of ICT and experienced teacher trainer
  • biology teacher who is experienced in creating digital learning resources
  • head teacher who has a good overview of situation in different subjects

Researcher / Designer: Hans

Scenarios discussed: Outdoor study projectsPractising research skillsRecognizing informal learning

Scenario 1: Outdoor study projects

  • The first impression was that this is a realistic scenario. However, teachers didn’t understand how the chosen topic (population of ladybirds) is connected with geography.
  • The teachers had impression that actually there are more activities inside (analysing the data, writing scenario, editing the movie) than outside. They estimated that the whole project could be carried out during four lessons.
  • It is complicated to carry out this kind of project with a large number of students.
  • Interviewing local people is complicated with younger students (the population of ladybirds is a suitable topic for grades 6-7).
  • It is important that the teacher must do a preparation work and find an authentic and realistic study problem for the project.
  • It is important to plan the movie scenario beforehand in groups. Only then the students will be able to film and edit their parts and the final result would still look consistent. “If every student will do part of the scenario and part of the movie, then the outcome will be a mess”.
  • In the current national curriculum teachers do not have time for this kind of projects. In autumn 2011 the schools will start transition to the new national curriculum that should reserve more time for study projects. However, the teachers were not sure if in reality the new curriculum will guarantee sufficient amount of time for study projects.
  • The scenario doesn’t specify what kind of measurement equipment (such as thermometers) the students use and if it is possible to capture the numerical data automatically to the computer.
  • This kind of project could be repeated during several years in order to compare the results.
  • The teachers have created videos with their students and published in Web 2.0 environments such as YouTube and FlixTime. Teachers do not think that publishing videos to YouTube? will rise privacy issues in this kind of projects. “The students are proud if their work is publically available”.

Scenario 2: Practising research skills

  • Online safety is mentioned in the first paragraph but no further details are given in the following sections.
  • In Estonia the school librarians responsibilities are limited to managing books. The librarians are not educated about digital literacy issues and majority of librarians are not ready to advise students in these topics.
  • How can the students learn to evaluate the quality of resources when they are given access to “repositories that are recommended by their teacher or the librarian to ensure the quality of the research resources”?
  • Othervise this scenario is quite realistic and all three teachers could imagine themselves in the role of the teacher.
  • The most complicated part with this scenario is to involve the school librarian.
  • The technical solution (repositories, wikis) looks simple for the teachers. They all have experiences with wikis (but that cannot be said about all Estonian teachers).
  • The scenario should continue with presenting the student works. This is important part of doing research and getting feedback.
  • All the wikis should be grouped/linked together. It would be good to refer to good examples from previous years when doing this kind of research projects.

Scenario 3: Recognizing informal learning

  • The teachers are afraid that majority of Estonian teachers do not understand the concept of e-portfolio and are not able to create their own e-portfolios.
  • Teachers like the scenario but think that it is the most difficult one to implement in the Estonian contect.
  • A lot of hobbies do not fit under one subject and therefore it is complicated to decide which teacher will assess the evidences.
  • What will happen with students who do not have specific hobbies? A lot students are just “sitting behind the computer” or “hanging out on the streets”
  • Informal learning can be wider than just hobbies. It may include going to theatre, watching a movie, etc. Students could write reviews of theatre plays and movies they see, books that they read, etc.
  • How the teachers will notice students with hobbies that are close to their subject? Should they browse through all 800 portfolios?
  • It should be class teachers responsibility to keep an eye on her students’ portfolios and suggest teachers who could review the evidences.
  • Teachers think that the most complicated part is to notice interesting portfolios. All teachers in Estonian schools have lack of time.
  • There is already a number of students who blog about their hobbies.
  • In their school the teachers already have several project days in a year. Presenting the informal learning could be part of these project days.
  • Teachers find it strange that Paulo is presenting his willing to present his portfolio to the teacher but doesn’t want to share it with the parents. Otherwise the teachers find that it is good, if the students can limit access to their porfolio. Some hobbies may be quite personal (writing poems, etc).

Teacher’s assumptions on what we are doing in iTEC

  • An environment with wikis, blogs and tools for sharing learning resources / media files.
  • Every student has a personal space in that environment.
  • This solution could have two benefits compared to using open Web 2.0 environments: everything is in one environment and it is easy to set access rights for the content.
  • These three teachers have no problem with using several Web 2.0 environments but they agree, that for students it would be easier to access everything from one URL.
  • e-Portfolio will be the main component of this system.
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