welcome to other EduTechians!

I hope you find our reflections on the concepts and presenters from EduTech2013 interesting or thought provoking. Feel free to help us build this resource by commenting on the posts. Feel comment on this post if you would like to help us improve our reflective practice.

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Ewan McIntosh: Building True Collaboration

Ewan suggested that if you want students to strive to bulid the best products they can then they need to be given choice in seelcting between challenges where the scope is so broad at the outset that no single student can solve it. After that, students will self-select into groups they are interested in contributing to, and the scope of the projects will force true collaboration, as without this, the requisite level of quality or depth will not be achievable.

For me, this will mean that I restructure how I organise my courses to provide more choice, but also to have much greater student voice in the construction of assessment in order to promote true collaboration, and deep learning.

Ewan McIntosh: Allow for students to share their ‘Aha’ moments

One really amazing example Ewan shared was from upper primary students from Brixton in London. These students were being coached to always be able to answer 3 simple questions;

  1. Where have you been (in your learning)
  2. Where are you now
  3. Where are you going

This type of self-awareness scores highly on Hattie’s effect sizes. The beautiful thing about the example was however, that the students were keeping an online journal / diary of these reflections that was open to the other students in their class. Ewan saw some students looking at other students diaries, and so he asked them

“What are you guys doing?”

“We are just looking at learning” they replied. These students were attempting to work out how some of the other students were learning better than they were.

This was a real eye opener for me about the power of enabling students to share their ‘aha’ moments.

Ewan McIntosh – The Importance of Feedforward as well as feedback

Ewan McIntosh suggested that feedback is extremely important to provide a guide for people to know how they are going, but even more important is the future focussed feedforward, as in what is required for future improvement goals. We saw some great examples of primary school students making suggestions about what they needed to do to improve their learning. I think this is a really important concept.

I think this has implications for PDP processes, as well as helping our students to become more aware of their position in their learning.

Dan Pink: The Importance of Purpose

Another of Dan Pink’s central concepts was around the importance of Purpose. Dan suggested that in order to maintain motivation staff and students need to always have a good grasp of why they are doing what they are doing – as in what purpose this particular process or¬†activity¬†has in the production of the thing we are aiming to create.

He suggested that a take away is to have 2 less conversations per week about how to do something and 2 more conversations a week about why to do something

Constrained tasks produce constrained thinking

Dan Pink gave a great presentation. He used a lot of rigorous experimental research to back his recommendations for schooling reform. One of his central points was how the school system seeks a lot of highly constrained work, and yet this type of work does not generally lead to the most creative outcomes. He cited a study where professional artists were asked to select 10 works of art they had created by commission, and 10 works created non-commission. When these works were pooled and assessed by an impartial group of art experts, they found that while all the work was of similar technical quality, the non-commissioned works were consistently ranked as higher in creative merit. ie – when the artists were working with a broad scope rather than within heavily defined boundaries, their work was more creative. Given Creative Thinking is more highly prized in information rich economies than simple algorithmic work this has significant implications for education systems that are trying to prepare students to be successful in these economies.

This theme of enabling students to create their own tasks which are meaningful for them was reflected in a lot of the other work during the day.