Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.Benjamin Franklin
Pedagogy refers to the approaches you may take to teaching. While teachers are generally free to use whatever approach they professionally feel best suits their students and themselves, sometimes groups of teachers, schools and systems decide to focus on a particular approach to teaching. While curriculum tries not to emphasise particular pedagogical approaches, Technologies Education does tend to support a Constructionist approach (as an application of Constructivism) taught through Project Based Learning, but is also supported by many online tutorials that adopt more traditional approaches such as Direct Instruction.
While there are many pedagogical approaches to teaching, in this course we will focus on the two most common approaches, used in combination, for teaching the Technologies learning area. The Constructionist learning theory supported by a Project Based Learning pedagogy, and the Instructivist learning theory supported by a Direct Instruction pedagogy and Instructional Design models.
This week we will be exploring approaches to teaching the Technologies learning area.
Behaviourism Constructivism Cognitivism
If you would like to explore Pedagogy in some more detail, the Ertmer paper provides an overview of traditional pedagogies, while the literature review introduces you to more recent developments.
(Remember that shaded sections are optional, and provided for if you are particularly interested in a concept)
Direct Instruction ---- Activities ---- Projects ---- Discovery
Innovations in Pedagogy
Technologies Education has been involved in reforming the pedagogy used in schools, largely because it has also been something new, but more importantly, because the nature of teaching Technologies Education has encouraged different approaches to teaching.
Project Based Learning
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation
Innovation and Adoption
Play Based Learning
Girls and Technology Education
Activity Based Learning
Elemental Learning Design Model
At the start of a learning sequence, we wish to hook the learners and pique their curiosity about the learning to come. This learning hook can come in many forms, it could be a short video, a question, an image, a puzzle or any other prompt that promotes thinking and curiosity.
So, if we were tackling algorithms with Grade 3 (ACTDIP010 - Define simple problems, and describe and follow a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve them), we might put a set of instructions to make a boiled egg on the board, missing out one key instruction, and then give students 3 minutes to discuss which instruction was missing and why this was important. This is a simple, quick activity to help learners start thinking about the importance of algorithms and giving instructions.
Once learners understand what and why they are learning, there may be some learning input that will provide new knowledge. This could be a teacher or student modelling to the whole class how to create a simple algorithm in Scratch before the learners attempt this themselves. It could equally be a video tutorial, peer learning or exploration. The core commonality is that the learners acquire new knowledge, which they will be able to use to construct deeper understanding.
The teacher shows a flowchart on the projector screen that gives a set of instructions on how to make a jam sandwich. The teacher has put some deliberate mistakes in the flowchart and while they are talking through the process, asks the class to keep an eye out for any errors. This way, the teacher is modelling both algorithmic thinking and a focus on accuracy. There is also an opportunity to focus on the key language from today’s lesson; algorithmic thinking and flowcharts.
Once we have engaged the learners with our learning hook, which starts to help them understand what and why they are learning, we need to reinforce the what and why by looking at our learning map. Our learning intentions help to contextualise the learning in the bigger picture of our progress and also give us specific outcomes for today’s learning sequence.
One way we can help contextualise today’s learning is to share the appropriate Technologies curriculum descriptions with the class (perhaps in a graphical child-friendly version as a wall or digital display) and to describe how today’s learning fits into the bigger picture of progress through the curriculum. Learners being able to see how their learning fits into their overall progress can be very motivating.
In terms of the specific learnings from today, you may wish to co-construct these with the learners themselves. Often we talk about learning outcomes in terms of the knowledge that the learners will acquire in a period of learning. While building knowledge is extremely important, we can validate and enhance other learning outcomes in the form of Thinking Skills or mindsets used and developed, skillsets practised and toolsets used. In particular, we can draw the example mindsets and skillsets from the list of General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. By referencing these outcomes, we are able to reinforce positive learner behaviours, and if we share this language across our school, we can then look at mindset, skillset and toolset development in a cross-curricular and cross-age group manner.
When co-constructing learning outcomes, we may wish to define the knowledge set to be learned in that lesson, but we may also discuss and negotiate with learners the thinking skills, mindset, skillset and toolsets to be used. This allows for a level of ownership and also for differentiation. It can be very useful to revisit these learning outcomes throughout the lesson, especially towards the end of the day's learning sequence so that learners can see the progress they have made towards achieving the outcomes.
You could put up a slide like the one below and add or remove elements as agreed by the learners.
Learning input should always be paired with learning construction. This is time when learners are actively constructing their understanding by doing. This is an opportunity to play with new knowledge – to experiment, push boundaries, fail and retry – and is essential in creating connections between new knowledge, which is the foundation of genuine understanding. An example of learning construction could be 'sandpit time' where learners are allowed a period of time to simply play and build using the software they are learning. This is the very premise of Minecraft, one of the most successful computer games available. Learners can then reflect on their play and share any new learning they have uncovered that may be of use to others.
Students are given a set period of time to put together an algorithm for making paper planes, in the form of a flowchart. They then give their algorithm to another group who try to build a paper plane using the instructions. There is an excellent example on code.org with some unplugged to try.
In order to make their learning explicit, we should provide all learners with the opportunity to participate in a learning demo where they demonstrate their understanding of the knowledge set we determined in the learning outcomes. This is important not only for the learner to have the opportunity to share what they know, but also for you as a teacher to gather data on progress and make decisions about the next steps in learning: do you need to cover something again, are the learners ready to move on to the next stage?
In teams, learners write an accurate algorithm for a simple task in the form of a flowchart and then demonstrate this algorithm to another team who are acting as critical friends. In their demonstration, they must use the term algorithm and represent their algorithm as a flowchart. The teacher can circulate and check on the levels of understanding demonstrated by each team, keeping a note of how successful the learner progress has been so as to adapt the next lesson.
The final element of learning design we will discuss is learning reflection. This is the opportunity for learners to reflect on themselves in terms of their mindset, skillset and toolset development. The ability to meta-reflect on one’s own development as a learner is an incredibly powerful capacity in a world where the cognitive demands upon us are such that we are constantly forced to reconceptualise and think elastically.
In the lesson idea Computer chatter, the learning reflection uses a PMI to assist students to think about how well their network operated and what changes made a difference. Plus, Minus and Interesting provides a useful scaffold to gauge what students have learned during the task.
The Elemental Learning Design Model, as illustrated above should not be seen as a simple algorithm. When designing learning, you may wish to have learning input, learning construction, learning demo and learning reflection happening numerous times within a sequence of learning. It is up to teacher pedagogical skill and knowledge of learners to adapt this model to best suit your situation, remembering that while each element is important, some elements may be very brief while some may take up most of the lesson. Just remember to include them all in some way so you have all of the ingredients of great learning, but in the right balance for your class.
Project Based Learning
Project Based Learning is built into the structure of the Technologies curriculum.
Project Based Learning can be approached in several different ways.
· ePBL, where the motivation is extrinsic, external to the student, is represented by worksheets or instruction guides, step by step tutorials, etc. where a problem set by the teacher, instruction guide writer, or tutorial writer, to produce a predetermined solution that students will replicate.
· iPBL, in which the focus is on intrinsic motivation, permits students to choose how they go about solving a problem, with different solutions to their peers, and can also give students the choice of the problem they will solve, and thus have not only different solutions, but solutions to different problems, than their peers.
There will usually be a progression, from ePBL to iPBL as students’ progress in grades through the Digital Technologies curriculum.
· F-2 students plan with teacher support, simple steps and follow directions to complete their own projects or manage their own role within team projects.
· In 3-6 increasing responsibility for specific roles within a project with increasing levels of collaboration and teamwork.
With a shift from teacher to student project management, this changes the role of the teacher in the classroom, from instructor to facilitator.
Student understanding of how ICT can be used in solving problems should also be developed, such as digital timelines for planning and managing project stages, and communication and collaboration tools to manage group work.
Collaboration and teamwork are essential 21C skills and students need to be taught how to
work in teams, the advantages of doing so, and the roles of leadership and followership.
· In F-2 students should manage their own role within teams.
· By 3-8 students should take responsibility for specific roles within a project with increasing levels of collaboration and teamwork.
Students should develop an understand that teams bring:
· a broader range of skills;
· a variety of viewpoints and increased adaptability to ways of solving problems;
· can be more efficient - everyone working to their strengths; and
· can build acceptance of diversity and difference.
They should be aware of the challenges of teamwork such as resistance to change, communication difficulties, social dynamics, and general classroom management.
Positive conflict, can lead to healthy competition, spur creativity and motivate students, bring to light and highlight problems, so that they can be addressed, identify issues of importance and passion, and build self-esteem and resilience.
Team formation and dynamics can be challenging for students at all levels, but students should progressively take responsibility for these roles and develop leadership in managing them.
Team selection, based on project needs over social groupings can be supported through application processes, resumes of skills useful to the team in solving problems, assigning team leaders, student selection panels, anonymous voting processes, or external team selection bodies.
Parallels with sport and drama selection processes can assist, where the project goal is the focus.
Collaboration can include seeking out assistance, from another student's, teams, their teacher, other teachers, other adults, experts, and organisations, locally and globally.
Students should gain increasing experience in outsourcing and remixing, allocating some aspects of their project to others, and including the work of others as components of their project.
Problems should not always be framed as negatives but also opportunities to do new things, be innovative, and entrepreneurial.
Solving for X is a different way of thinking, that attempts to change the world through developing innovative solutions to significant problems, often using the latest new technologies.
· xProblems address huge problems, not simple ones;
· xSolutions propose radical new ways to address xProblems;
· xTechnologies are breakthroughs that permit new opportunities to develop xSolutions to xProblems;
· xProblems develop in scale, from issues affecting themselves, their family, or close friends, to include their classmates, neighbours, school community, local neighbourhood, country, and then to envisioning solutions at an international and global scale;
· xProblems develop in scope, from affecting only themselves, or a few people, to being useful to everyone on earth;
· xProblems develop in time-frame, from solutions to immediate needs, to those in the near future, through to those that may affect them during their lifetime, and then for future generations; and
· xSolutions develop in ambition, from making small incremental changes that slowly improve technologies and processes over time, to big, revolutionary changes.
Moonshot Thinking is envisaging a change that is 10, 100, 1000 times better than currently solutions.
Moon Shot thinking involves risk, they fail, and fail often. Schooling trains students to be risk averse, framing the taking of risks as a negative - especially through assessment. To encourage Moonshot Thinking, assessment should reward risk, and in PBL this is possible, by focusing on the process, rather than the product or solution
Students should be rewarded for identifying risks in the solutions they propose, and for taking them anyway - in the considered hope of overcoming the challenges involved and producing a solution beyond what they are certain of achieving.
Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development theory suggest learning most often occurs when students attempt to do things beyond which they already know how to do.
Teachers should set high expectations to what students might achieve, and assess in ways that reward rather than penalising students doing likewise.
Classrooms can learn from innovative industry practice, where high expectations are set - Moonshots, and while most will fail, through the process involved in trying, the learning that occurs as a result, and the outcomes from those that do succeed, they change the world.
Challenge Based Learning
Challenge-based learning (CBL) is a framework for learning while solving real-world Challenges. The framework is collaborative and hands-on, asking participants (students, teachers, families, and community members) to identify Big Ideas, ask questions, discover and solve Challenges, gain in-depth subject area knowledge, develop 21st-century skills, and share their thoughts globally.
Provide Feedback on Lesson Plans
In tutorial small groups you will provide feedback on the lesson plans shared this week.
Submit a brief summary of the feedback you received and provided during the tutorial by the next tutorial. You can use dot points. It counts 0.5% towards your Log of Learning Activities.
Attend the tutorial to further explore the concepts presented this week and practice teaching them.
Digital Technologies Lesson Plan
In tutorial small groups you will share the Digital Technologies lesson plan you have developed for this week.
Submit your lesson plans developed for this tutorial by the start of this weeks tutorial. It counts 0.25% towards your Log of Learning Activities.
Share Lesson Plans
Digital Technologies Activity
In tutorial this week we are going to explore project based learning and digital computer interfaces. Using a Makey Makey kit you are to develop a solution to a problem. The Makey Makey website can provide you with ideas, but ideally you will identify a Moonshot xProblem that a computer interface could assist in solving and think through the process of developing a solution or prototype to your problem.
- Makey Makey interface kit
- Wire connectors
- USB connector
- Play Dough
- Conductive Tape
- Sheets of Card
- Graphite pencil
Design and Technologies Activity
This week in tutorial we will explore the design cycle and the concept of iterative improvement.
Conduct research on paper plane designs, then using 3 sets of 3 different weights of paper/light cardboard, create three versions (different paper weights) of a paper plane design. Test your design using the paper plane launchers. Learn what worked and what did not, modify your designs and test again. Again, modify your designs a final time, and prepare your plane design for a final competitive flight against your peers.
Paper sheets (3 different weights)
Paper plane launchers
Preparation for Week 4
Create two lessons plans, both for Design & Technologies OR for Digital Technologies. One of the lesson plans should be for Activity Based Learning, the other should be one stage of Project Based Learning (Designing, Building. etc.). You will share these in tutorial next week and conduct simulated teaching of your lessons. Together, these count 1% to your Log of Learning Activities if submitted before the start of next weeks tutorial.
While you are free to develop Lesson Plans on any Australian Curriculum: Technologies topics you wish, if you are stuck for ideas, prepare a Digital Technologies lesson to teach using Ozobots and Makey Makey kits, and/or prepare a Design and Technologies lesson involving the use of Paper Plane construction.
Week 4 Digital or Design Technologies Lesson Plan
In tutorial small groups you will share the Digital or Design Technologies lesson plan you have developed for next week.
Submit your Digital or Design Technologies lesson plan developed for the Week 4 tutorial by the start of next weeks tutorial. It counts 0.5% towards your Log of Learning Activities.
Week 4 Design or Design and Technologies Lesson Plan
In tutorial small groups you will share the Digital or Design and Technologies lesson plan you have developed for next week.
Submit your Digital or Design and Technologies lesson plan developed for the Week 4 tutorial by the start of next weeks tutorial. It counts 0.5% towards your Log of Learning Activities.