To start off the third session, we had a quick catch-up from Session 2. We asked questions such as ‘Are theoretical frameworks useful?’ and ‘Are they more use to researchers than practitioners?’ and then addressed the question that was asked in the post from session 2.
We then introduced how we were going to do today’s session. We borrowed ideas from Sugata Mitra’s SOLEs, but instead of addressing a ‘large question’, we asked students to work on case studies.
We gave them an option of 5 different ones, but would also be happy for them to work on a different case study they knew about. The instructions that students were given are also on the Case Studies page on this blog.
The session worked very similar to a SOLE; some people worked in groups, others initially worked by themselves and then were integrated into groups. There was also some cross-fertilisation between groups.
After an hour of working on these case studies and creating SWOT analyses, each group gave a presentation of their case study that was followed by a discussion of the entire group.
These three case studies were covered during the session
- Khan Academy
- Florida Virtual School
By addressing these case studies, we went into the discussion of whether virtual schools would disappear, as well as the homeschooling debate, and whether the use of computers leads to learners spending time on fiddling around with software rather than researching the topic.
We also had more detailed discussions on whether virtual schools or online tutorials can replace teachers or schools as a whole, addressing some of the following questions:
- Can homeschooling through technology support students who are being bullied in school?
- Who contributes to these tutorials and is this representative to the listeners?
- Who funds these tutorials and how does that affect the content and sustainability of the endeavour?
- Are all of these programmes as universally accessible as they claim to be?
Next week there will not be a session, so we have a little bit more work for you to do than normally.
We ask you to upload the case study you worked on in class today to the blog as a new ‘page’ as described in Case Studies. Please make sure that you give enough information so that someone who wasn’t in the lesson today would also understand what case you looked at, an explanation of it, as well as a SWOT analysis.
We ask you to contribute one case study each (different to the ones you worked on in session 3) to the blog. This will give us a range of pedagogies, software, hardware, or anything else to explore and analyse to highlight issues and opportunities for technology enhanced learning. These can, and should, inform the design that will be done as a group as the final assessment for the module.
As always, there is a question for you to think about answer in the comments of this post. What is the greatest challenge that educators face when using technology to enhance learning? This can be addressed by exploring whether technology can be a barrier to group work, and whether technology may sometimes be a barrier to working in groups? Is the tangibility of paper, pens, and other materials are conducive to group work and aid in staying on task?