Sunday, November 22, 2009

Adaptive Schools - Just Like Me

This clip was created using the xtranormal text to move site - in order to help participants contemplating participation in the adaptive schools series.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Adpative Schools

I attended the first two days out of four of the "Adaptive School" session with trainer, John Clarke. These initial two days of training were thought provoking and powerful in stimulating a spirit of collaboration and inquiry. Each participant was provided with a Syllabus, "The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups" (Garmson & Wellman, 2009). Each table group was also provided with one copy of the companion book. For more about the session and sources, visit - from the Centre for Adaptive Schools web site.

What is an adaptive school? Garmson and Wellman (2009) contend the, "adaptive school is about developing strong schools in which collaborative faculties are capable of meeting the certain challenges of today and the uncertain challenges of tomorrow (p.iii). This topic is timely due to the current state of economic uncertainties in the province of Alberta and a desire to provide 21st century education for all students.

Some highlights from my notes regarding the "Adaptive School" session:
A variety of strategies for working with adult learners were modeled and used throughout the two-day session. The participants had numerous opportunities to connect, collaborate and co-construct learning with colleagues in the room. Some strategies I plan to try: Just Like Me Statements (stand-up), Give One to Get One (introductions/cue cards); Fractal Partners; First Word/Last Word Round table (share one idea from article); A-B read sections & identify key phrase; 100 pennies to divide among 3 topics; Gots/Wants post-it

I was amazed, that Clarke could identify every participant by name on the first day since there were over 100 participants in the room! As presenter and facilitator, he intentionally connected with all!

During one of our group activities we were asked to identify driving forces that require educational change. Once each table group brainstormed various ideas, our group generated a statement that encompassed our dialogue: "As society changes, we need to foster student-centered 21st century learning for all students through informed collaboration with all stakeholders."

Reflective questions for improving student learning
-Who are we? (identity)
-Why are we doing this? (attention to unquestioned habits)
-Why are we doing this this way? (who benefits)

The elements of professional communities:
-Compelling purpose, shared standards, and academic focus
-Collective efficacy and shared responsibility for student learning
-Collaborative culture
-Communal application of effective teaching practices and deprivatized practice
-Relational trust in one another, in students and parents
-Individual and group learning based on ongoing assessment and feedback

Productive group work requires practice in:
-Facilitating groups
-Developing groups
-Becoming a more skillful group member

  • Know one's intentions and choose congruent behaviors
  • Set aside unproductive patterns of listening, responding and inquiring (i.e. autobiographical, inquisitive, solution).
  • Know when to self-assert and when to integrate
  • Know and support the group's purposes, topics, processes and development
Five Energy Sources for High-Performing Groups - high performing groups are adaptive; they learn from experience and improve the way they work.
1.Efficacy - belief in group capacity
2.Flexibility - review from multiple perspectives
3.Craftsmanship - high standards; communications
4.Consciousness - continuous monitoring
5.Interdependence - value for internal and external relationships

Ways of talking - deliberately distinguish between dialogue and discussion
-Dialogue - reflective; ideas flow; suspend judgment; develop shared understanding; collective process; the outcome is shared understanding
-Discussion - macro centric perspective (balcony view); the outcome is the decision-making process

Promoting a Spirit of Inquiry - high performing groups/members infuse their work with a spirit of inquiry (purposeful, skillful inquiry)

The Seven Norms of Collaborative Work - result in cohesion, energy, and commitment to shared work; serve as guides or benchmarks in groups:
3.Putting inquiry at the centre
5.Placing ideas on the table
6.Paying attention to self and others
7.Presuming positive intentions

I look forward to practicing many of these strategies over the next couple of weeks before we meet again for two more days of training! I intend to pay close attention to my role in groups as facilitator and group member, distinguishing between dialogue and discusion and following the norms of collaborative work in promoting inquiry.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Antecedents for Educational Technology Leadership

It is well established in the literature that district and school based leaders play a critical role in amplifying educational technology (Chang et al., 2008; Jacobsen, 2006; McGarr & Kearney, 2009, Reeves, 2009). Moreover, various essential conditions for school leaders that may serve to foster successful innovation leading to 21st century learning have been identified by researchers (Chang et al., 2008; Ely, 1990; Jacobsen, 2006; Shuldman, 2004; Yee, 2001; Zhao et al., 2002). While reviewing current literature of essential conditions suggested for educational technology leadership for 21st century learning, four prevailing themes emerged. The antecedents for educational technology leadership include: (1) vision, (2) professional learning, (3) context of support, and (4) supervision. The four recurring themes are not intended to be a comprehensive or ordered list. The themes are interrelated antecedents for educational technology leadership which were apparent across recent studies that identified essential conditions for 21st century learning involving superintendents, principals and teachers in K-12 school districts.

Effective technology leadership requires leaders to develop and articulate a vision for innovation and change (Chang, et al., 2008; Hew & Brush, 2007; Wagner, 2003; Yu & Durrington, 2006). Hew and Brush (2007) claimed developing a shared vision is “an avenue to coherently communicate how technology can be used, as well as a place to begin, a goal to achieve, and a guide along the way” (p.234). Principals’ interpersonal and communication skills are necessary for technology leadership (Chang et al., 2008) and are certainly valuable skills in articulating vision and in working towards building a shared vision in a community.

The Change Leadership Group at Harvard’s graduate school of education focuses on systemic improvements in schools and districts. The group identified constructing a widely shared vision as one of the interdependent “Seven Disciplines for Strengthening Instruction”, considered central to instructional improvement efforts (Wagner, 2003). Shared vision is focussed on “rigorous expectations, the quality of student engagement, and effective strategies for personalizing learning for all students” (Wagner, 2003, p. 28, 30).

Professional Learning
Professional learning can serve to influence attitudes as well as build knowledge and skills pertinent to 21st century learning. There are a number of corroborative references in the literature that suggest school leaders require opportunities for increased awareness of their roles relative to educational technology (Deryakulu & Olkun, 2009; Flanagan & Jacobsen, 2003; McGarr & Kearney, 2009). In addition, McGarr and Kearney (2009) suggested alternative models for professional support are needed for principals and could include networking with other similar-sized schools and encouraging collaboration between schools to nurture professional dialogue and time for reflection regarding the possibilities of teaching and learning with technology.

Yee (2001) described a principal undertaking “adventurous learning” as a leader learning alongside the teachers and students. It is important for principals to participate in professional learning involving educational technology to understand the instructional changes required for teaching and learning with technology. Fullan (2008) argued fostering continuous job-embedded learning as one of the secrets of change to ensure learning at work is part of daily work for everyone including leaders at all levels of the organization. Likewise, Wagner (2003) described professional learning as “primarily on-site, intensive, collaborative, and job-embedded, and is designed and led by educators who model the best teaching and learning practices.” Reeves (2009) presented a narrative of a principal transforming an informational staff meeting into a professional learning experience for teachers and leaders:
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I have provided our usual administrative announcements in e-mail and written form, so we will devote the rest of our meeting to the following learning activity ….” (Reeves, 2009, p.66).

Chang et al. (2008) defined a technology leader as “one who leads the school in improvement or restructuring, and uses emerging technologies as the core resources for educational change” (p.241). One of the results in Yee’s (2001) investigation of Canadian, U.S. and New Zealand principals’ experiences in technology-rich schools found that principals need to develop personal competency and would value professional learning opportunities. Dawson and Rakes (2003) conducted an exploratory study with K-12 principals and found those involved in long term technology-curriculum integration training significantly influenced the level of technology use at the school.

Context of Support
Fostering adoption of instructional improvements for 21st century learning requires attention to context. Zhao et al. (2002) defined context as the (1) human infrastructure, (2) technological infrastructure and (3) social support. First, human infrastructure, refers to the people in the organization providing support for the innovation and includes on-site support as well as off-site experts that can be accessed (Jacobsen, 2006). Second, technological infrastructure is another aspect that continues to provide challenges for schools and districts and requires leaders to “develop robust conceptions of technology in education,” and allocate appropriate resources to impact student learning (Shuldman, 2004, p. 338). Third, social support among colleagues is best described by Fullan (2008) as leaders fostering “purposeful peer interaction,” which is another one of his secrets of change (p.12).

Supervision includes ongoing monitoring and research to promote investment in educational innovations. Wagner (2003) used the term supervision to describe monitoring that is frequent, rigorous, and focused on the improvement of instruction. He also stressed supervision is “conducted by people who know what good instruction looks like” (Wagner, 2003, p.28, 30). Similarly, Yee (2001) used the terms “constant monitoring” to describe an ongoing process of maintaining accountability. The Galileo Educational Network Association (GENA) is an excellent example of a professional development and research organization focussing on supporting all levels of the educational system at once. GENA professionals work with educators and leaders in providing current research and supervision of innovations to promote continuous learning and growth (Jacobsen, 2006).

It is also evident in the literature that transparent and frequent use of data to assess student’s learning and to identify effective instructional practices is warranted (Wagner, 2003; Fullan, 2008). Another secret of change described by Fullan (2008) is transparency, defined as a “clear and continuous display of results, and clear and continuous access to practice (what is being done to get the results)” (p.14). Furthermore, Fullan (2008) pointed out that systems learn on a continuous basis and systems learn from themselves which also supports the notion of internal involvement in ongoing supervision and research to support innovation for 21st century learning.

Four prevailing themes emerged from reviewing current literature and were discussed as interrelated antecedents for educational technology leadership: (1) vision, (2) professional learning, (3) contexts for support, and (4) supervision. Overall, there has been little research on the design, development, utilization, management or ongoing evaluation of professional learning programs incorporating essential conditions for district and school based leaders. In order to prepare current and future leaders for cultivating 21st century learning, it is recommended future study and research focus on professional learning for educational technology leadership.


Chang, I. H., Chin, J. M., & Hsu, C. M. (2008). Teachers' Perceptions of the Dimensions and Implementation of Technology Leadership of Principals in Taiwanese Elementary Schools. Educational Technology & Society, 11(4), 229-245.

Dawson, C., & Rakes, G. C. (2003). The influence of Principals' Technology Training on the Integration of Technology into Schools. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 36(1), 29-49.

Deryakulu, D., & Olkun, S. (2009). Technology leadership and supervision: an analysis based on Turkish computer teachers' professional memories. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 18(1), 45-58.

Ely, D. (1990). Conditions that facilitate the implementation of educational technology innovations. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 23(2), 298-305.

Flanagan, L., & Jacobsen, M. (2003). Technology leadership for the twenty-first century principal. Journal of Educational Administration, 41(2), 124-142.

Fullan, M. (2008). The Six Secrets of Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hew, K. F., & Brush, T. (2007). Integrating Technology in K-12 Teaching and Learning: Current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 55(3), 223-252.

Jacobsen, M. (2006). Learning Technology in Continuing Professional Development: The Galileo Network. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press.

McGarr, O., & Kearney, G. (2009). The Role of the Teaching Principal in Promoting ICT Use in Small Primary Schools in Ireland. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 18(1), 87-102.

Reeves, D. B. (2009). Leading Change in Your School: How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Shuldman, M. (2004). Superintendent Conceptions of Institutional Conditions that Impact Teacher Technology Integration. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 36(4), 319-343.

Wagner, T. (2003). Beyond Testing: The 7 Disciplines for Strengthening Instruction. Education Week, 23(11), 28, 30.

Yee, D. (2001). The Many Faces of ICT Leadership. In B. Barrell (Ed.), Technology, Teaching and Learning: Issues in the Integration of Technology. Calgary, AB: Detselig Enterprises Ltd.

Yu, C., & Durrington, V. A. (2006). Technology Standards for School Administrators: An Analysis of Practicing and Aspiring Administrators' Perceived Ability to Perform the Standards. NASSP Bulletin, 90(4), 301-317.

Zhao, Y., Pugh, K., & Sheldon, S. (2002). Conditions for classroom technology innovations. Teachers College Record, 104(3), 482-515.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Conceptualizing the Literature Review

Thank you to the group that provided feedback on my research ideas yesterday: Jean, Bob & Stephen! I really appreciated your comments and questions. As a result I made some editing changes to improve clarity and designed a concept map. Jean recommended a great open source program called Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) - that I was easily able to download and use right away! Constructing the concept map allowed me to recognize the areas that will likely be beyond the scope of the current literature review I'm working on and that I will need to incorporate into the dissertation. These areas are in blue on the concept map. Simply click on the concept map to see it clearly and let me know if you have any further comments or suggestions.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Preparing for Candidacy

A post candidacy student provided great tips in preparing for the candidacy exam and oral presentation:
-There’s no really good time for candidacy but it is helpful to know how you learn and write best before hand
-Become comfortable with endnote (or other reference software) early on in your program to keep resources organized
-Review current research articles of supervisory committee
-Pay close attention to the questions the supervisory committee asks when you meet informally
-Go back to original theory (ie. Papert, Vygotsky) & read original sources to make your own interpretations

Oral Exam:
-Review all the questions from the supervisory committee and formulate responses for each as they may be discussed during the oral exam
-During the oral exam, don’t review everything from your paper – the committee already read it
-10 minutes for a presentation; can include slides (chance to show what more you know/learned; expand on ideas from your paper)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grassroots Video and Research

...some thoughts about grassroots video provoked by a presentation today.

Digital communications have provided researchers with a plethora of “public spaces in which marginalized people’s narratives can be heard” with multiple points of contact available. I suspect with the new digital (public) spaces afforded by the availability of technology today, we are increasingly experiencing a shift from researcher or individual control to shared control, where the audience, spectator, participant or community at large has significant influence and voice on the impact of narrative inquiry. It is this shared control that delivers the narrative or message to those who need to hear it. I believe we should ask the question, how can the audience co-participate or share in public spaces in which marginalized people’s narratives can be heard even those who normally do not want to hear them?

The researcher needs to consider how the audience can play a significant role in contributing to collective action or participate in social change. Using the example of a YouTube video, personally, I will immediately view a YouTube video highly recommended by someone I know. For example, every time an audience member views a video clip, provides a review of the clip, emails the clip (or link) to someone else with a personal endorsement, discusses the clip with others in a social networking site, or tags the clip - it is the audience that shares in the voice with the researcher and it is the audience that engages and contributes to social change by networking with others and making connections. Hence, Chase (2008) observes that “we need to think more broadly about whom we write for and speak to – and how we do so” (p.84).

Chase, S. (2008). Narrative Inquiry: Multiple Lenses, Approaches, Voices. In Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials. N. K. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc

Ethical Considerations

What do you think is the epistemological concerns of the University of Calgary regarding doing research with human subjects?

Dr. Janice Dicken, the chair of the conjoint faculties research ethics board, describes the importance for the University is to ensure researchers are following ethical standards in an interview conducted by Natalie St-Denis, October 28, 2005. There is a risk of losing funding for the whole university from the three major Canadian granting agencies (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR), if a proper system is not in place to review all research for those who have current University of Calgary affiliation (i.e. student, faculty, staff). The Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics board (CFREB) is charged with reviewing ethics applications in education and is responsible for ensuring the Tri-Council Policy Statement guidelines, created by the three major granting agencies, are met. In regards to doing research with human subjects, the University of Calgary is concerned with meeting high ethical standards to protect the participants in research studies through appropriate ethical clearance and to foster a community of researchers whom take responsibility for compliance to ethical standards.

What are their main concerns in term of informed consent; harm to informants; representation and permission to publish; confidentiality and anonymity; ownership of data?
Prior to collecting any data, the researcher needs to have ethics certification; otherwise the data collected cannot be used. It is also necessary to receive ethics approval from school jurisdictions if the research involves participants in a school system. The main concerns regarding ethics applications as outlined in the “Information to Help Applicants” document from the CFREB include:

Informed Consent – The researcher needs to create a participant consent form for ethics approval which includes the design and methodology of the research in simple language and terms to ensure the consent process is free, informed, voluntary and an ongoing process that allows for participant withdrawal at anytime. If research includes children, then parents/guardians also need to provide consent. It is recommended to use a series of checkboxes (I agree to … and I disagree to…) to delineate the choices for participation. The Tri-Council Policy (2008) recognizes that “qualitative researchers use a range of consent procedures, including oral consent, field notes, and other strategies such as recording (audio or video, or other electronic means) for documenting the consent process. Evidence of consent may also be via completed survey questionnaires (in person, by mail or by email or other electronic means)” (p.113).

Harm to informants – The consent form also needs to include information about the potential risks for participants choosing to participate in the research. The researcher should explicitly state, “There is no known risk associated with your participation in this research” if this is the case. Otherwise, the researcher needs to anticipate the estimation of risk for the potential participants which should be no greater than what would be expected or encountered in everyday life. The CFREB members conduct a face-to-face meeting to discuss any applications that pose more that a minimal risk to participants and the researcher needs to make arrangements for participants to receive assistance to deal with any major negative effects.

Representation and Permission to Publish – The researcher needs to anticipate how the research will be represented in advance and request appropriate permissions from the participants. For example, if using photographs, the participants will need to have a choice of either being photographed for publishing purposes or not being photographed. Pink (2007) notes, “ethnographers have to make choices regarding if and how video footage will be incorporated into the publication of research” (p.56). Pink(2007) also reminds us the moral right of the researcher could be questioned if images are produced covertly (p.55). I believe it is important to receive consent from participants explicitly for purposes of publication when intending to use photographs or video for representation purposes in the public domain.

Confidentiality and Anonymity – Confidentiality is defined as the “obligation of an individual or organization to safeguard information entrusted to it by another” by the Tri-Council (2008, p.44). It is critical the researcher considers issues of confidentiality and anonymity (information is stripped of identifiers) during collection of raw data and in writing up final results. It is the responsibility of the researcher to describe the “extent to which privacy and confidentiality will be protected (p.6). For example, if anonymity is optional, the consent form needs to include provision for the participant to indicate if his/her name can be used or if a pseudonym is preferred.

Ownership of Data – The ethics application needs to include specific details about the security of data, who will have access to the data and plans for storage/disposal and retention of the data. Information about what happens to data if participants decide to withdraw from the study also needs to be included in the application. Pink (2007) also advises researchers, “to clarify rights of use and ownership of video and photographic images before their production” (p.59).

What would be the main decisions/considerations about the use of visual methods that would need to be made prior submitting a research project for ethics review?

Prior to submitting a research project for ethics review it is necessary to consider the appropriateness of how visual methods will be used. For example, visual methods could be used for representations or for processes during the research. Participants may examine and react to visual representations or may even collaborate in the production of visual representations; participants may be openly (overtly) aware of the use of visual methods or unaware in the context of public photography. Pink (2007) suggests, researchers should think through the implications of using visual methods and anticipate that visuals will be invested with different meanings (p.43). The researcher can employ a reflexive approach in making sound decisions about the use of visual methods in research by considering the context, the participants, social and cultural implications, and practical and technical issues.

(2008). Draft 2nd Edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics, Ottawa.

Pink, S. (2007). Doing Visual Ethnography (2 ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Literature Review Intent Revised

Thank you to all those that provided feedback! My revised purpose statement is:
The purpose of this paper is to review the literature discussing the essential conditions for curriculum integration of technology in K-12 schools.

Questions for research may include:
· How can a school district strengthen support for principals in effectively leading 21st century schools?
· How can a school district develop leadership networks and professional communities as contexts for supporting technology rich learning environments?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Literature Review Intent

This may change by tomorrow...

I welcome your questions/comments regarding the proposed statements I'm considering for my literature review.

  1. The intent of this paper is to review the literature discussing the necessary supports which strengthen the integration of technology in K-12 schools.
  2. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the factors which contribute towards the cultivation of technology-rich learning environments.
  3. This paper will review the literature on the factors which contribute to effective integration of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in K-12 schools.
  4. The purpose of this paper is to explore how schools and districts can become learning organizations for technology-embedded instructional improvements.

In the literature review I will attempt to identify a gap in the area of educational technology support for principals. Potential research questions: How can a school district strengthen support for principals in effectively leading 21st century schools? How can a school district develop leadership networks and professional communities as contexts for supporting technology rich learning environments?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


“All doing is knowing and all knowing is doing” (Maturana & Varela, 1987, p. 27) is a slogan exemplifying enactivism, a new philosophical world view.

I was particularly interested in Dr. Qing Li’s presentation today about enactivism and the article she shared with the class. I was drawn to the reciprocal relationship implied with enactivism. However, I’m wrestling with comparing enactivism with my understanding of constructivism.

In the article, the authors claim that enactivism means that “our mind, body, and the world are inseparable.” In addition, one of the criticisms of constructivism is that “constructivism is concerned only with cognitive knowledge. It does not explain unformulated or subconscious knowledge, it does not consider how things might be known intuitively or instinctively, and it does not consider how emotions are constructed or their role in learning” (Begg, 2000, p.2). Is it really true that constructivism is only concerned with cognitive knowledge?

In the article, objectivist, constructivist and enactivist assumptions are compared not to suggest one should be replaced by the other; but to provide a different lens to look through. Always referring to myself as a constructivist I was a surprised by the dualism comparison. I can’t say that I considered constructivists believing in a “knower vs. known” dichotomy and separating the physical from the mental. Personally, I think of everyone as a learner. When engaged in learning, there is potential for learning construction by all learners – teacher and student and others.

Enactivism implies the knower and the world are mutually specifying and co-emerging. This sounds a lot like connectivism. I would also be interested in seeing how connectivism contrasts with enactivism.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Definition of Educational Technology

Change is Constant
The evolving definition of educational technology is yet another personal and professional reminder that change is indeed constant.

I believe educational technology can be generally and simply described as two parts - technical and pedagogical. The technical component refers to the foundation of hardware, software, audiovisual and other media and functionality of the technical components. The pedagogical component refers to the processes and applications of technology in teaching and learning. Both the technical and pedagogical components are necessary and interconnected. For example, a solid technical foundation allows educators to concentrate on “how” technologies are used to create technology-rich learning environments. In small school jurisdictions it is common for one individual to wear many hats and have responsibilities which encompass both pedagogical and technical tasks. However, in larger school jurisdictions and post secondary environments the roles and responsibilities of an educational technologist and computer technician may be more transparent and distinct.

Similarly, Jim Cambridge, a research officer with the Centre for the study of Education in an International Context (CEIC) at the University of Bath - , describes the differences between technology in education and technology of education. Technology in education refers to the technical skills. An example of this would be installing software and knowing how to use the components of the software with other peripherals (i.e. technology as a tool). Technology of education refers to the technological pedagogical and content skills and the educational applications of knowledge (i.e. technology for teaching and learning).

It was interesting to review the history of the AECT definitions as a “snapshot in time” and think about the various influences, contexts, and rationales that changed each definition to reflect each time period. I noted in the 1963 definition the concept of media instrumentation was used to describe the significance of both people and instruments similar to my own definition. There is also reference to “method and medium” which reminds me of Marshall McLuhan’s famous line: “the message is the medium” and Jim Cambridge’s quote, “Let’s concentrate on the message, not the messenger” (Web-based Learning Presentation, 2002).

In the contemporary definition the identifying label reverted from “instructional technology” to “educational technology” as first used in 1972 and the definition demonstrates an increased attention to ethical issues within the field. Similar to the 1972 definition, the term “facilitating” learning reappears in the definition. There is a recognition of learner ownership and the role of educational technology being more facilitative rather than controlled. Another new feature in the 2004 definition is the use of “study” due to the increased interest in designing environments that facilitate learning through research and reflective practice instead of delivering learning.
(Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary, 2008, p. 5)

Can “educational technology” be described as key ideas, values, an abstract concept, a theory, framework, field, profession, job title, or temporary snapshot in time? I believe educational technology embodies all of these things and applaud how the AECT definition committee fittingly describe educational technology metaphorically as a “sphere of activity” in which people interact with other people, data and things in pursuit of improved learning (AECT Definition and Terminology Committee document #MM4.0, 2004, p.14). It is also evident the newest 2004 definition clearly aligns with the AECT mission: “to provide international leadership by promoting scholarship and best practices in the creation, use, and management of technologies for effective teaching and learning in a wide range of settings” (AECT Definition and Terminology Committee document #MM4.0, 2004, p.18).

Denis Hlynka provides a thought provoking analysis of the definition and identifies several problems that will surely assist the next writing committee in revising the definition (Educational Technology, 2008). Hlynka noted the intended audience for the definition should include everyone instead of being delimited to students entering graduate programs. I believe there are numerous purposes and audiences for a definition of educational technology and can attest to the usefulness of a definition with the following personal experience.

Recently, I accepted a new position as a district supervisor of technology. Family, friends and colleagues began asking many questions: What is a supervisor of technology? Does that mean you will ensure computers are working in schools? Will you be responsible for all hardware/software in the district? Most of the questions seemed to be infrastructure or technically related questions (i.e. technology as a tool). It was also assumed by many individuals that I would be situated in the Information Technology (IT) department in the district office building. Instead, I will primarily work with the Instructional Services department and focus on “how” technology is used for improved learning in K-12 schooling.

As I began to meet with senior district administrators and several consultants that will be part of my team and I continued to recognize the necessity to define my title as well as the role of the team in order to clarify our responsibilities. Subsequently, I engaged in discussion with the team of consultants and it was decided our team would be called the “educational technology” team and we would use the current AECT definition to help communicate the role of the team in the district. My new title is now supervisor of educational technology. I’m anticipating and hoping the questions that people ask about my role will change and their assumptions about my responsibilities will also change (i.e. technology for teaching and learning) by using the AECT definition:

Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. (Januszewski and Molenda, 2008)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Educational Technologists

I loved the quote that Dr. Jacobsen shared with us about educational technologists as it suitably describes how I felt as each doctoral student provided a self-introduction today:
“Educational technologist can be recognized by the stars in their eyes. They know they are sitting on the most explosive potential of the century. Theirs is the apex of innovative motivation. Whether they are fashioning learning environments, creating media, designing instruction or effecting research and theory, educational technologists have a dream- a dream that can sustain them, and those they touch, well into the next century” (Beckwith, 1988)

It was really exciting to meet so many outstanding individuals that are also on the doctoral journey in educational technology! I was fascinated by the variety of backgrounds and interests in the group and the connections to education and technology. The following diagram is a word cloud I created using Wordle to capture the topics that I found intriguing as everyone provided introductions during today’s class.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Doctoral Seminar in EdTech

I'm currently preparing to participate in a summer session doctoral seminar in educational technology at the University of Calgary. My blog will be used for reflection during the summer session.

About Me...
I have always been interested in the impact of educational technology on teaching and learning and started pursuing a PhD in Educational Technology in September of 2008 under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Michele Jacobsen. Originally, I am from Lethbridge, AB and received a B.Ed. from the University of Lethbridge in 1991 with a major in mathematics and minor in physical sciences. In 2000, I completed a case study research and thesis, entitled, “Technology Mentorship: A Staff Development Opportunity for Educators” and received a M.Ed. from University of Alberta. Currently, I am on maternity leave from the Calgary Catholic School District and will return to work in August as Supervisor of Educational Technology.

Throughout my career as a teacher, assistant principal and district consultant, I have been involved in creating technology resources, speaking at conferences, developing professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators and researching various aspects of technology integration. My experiences as an educator in the area of educational technology in two large urban school districts in the province, leading district initiatives for Alberta Initiatives for School Improvement (AISI) projects as well as technology projects funded through Alberta Education grants, developing research methods and analyzing data, have contributed to an interest in pursuing further research, specifically the professional development of administrators as educational technology leaders.

I am looking forward to the summer class and hope to explore, to grow, to take risks and to dream the possibilities!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Web 2.0 & Cloud Computing

“It isn’t a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for.”
- Benjamin Mays

When I think of Web 2.0, I think of innovative web-based tools such as wikis, blogs, social networking and social bookmarking sites to name a few. One of the common aspects that separate Web 2.0 tools from the first introduction of web sites is the provision for reading and writing content seamlessly. Thus, many refer to Web 2.0 as the read-write web. The Internet as we know it today, promotes information retrieval and contribution, connectivity, communication, collaboration and co-construction among users. Tools such as RSS feeds (really simple syndication) are used to alert readers when changes occur to specified web content to help retrieve data. In social bookmarking sites, users can store and share data according to multiple descriptive phrases or tags, providing a non-linear and non-hierarchical categorization or aggregation of data. In blogs, posts are archived and stored in chronological order by date. Generally, anyone can contribute, comment or provide feedback on blog entries. In a wiki community, users connect and communicate with each other. They can redo or undo each other’s work and collaboratively build collective knowledge. Connections are paramount in the construction of knowledge.

Where is all this data stored? The cloud can be used as a metaphor for the Internet. Cloud computing refers to the data centres that store all the common data that is not stored locally on your own computer. Whenever you create an account on many of the Web 2.0 sites, you are in fact storing your content off site or virtually. This is what many refer to as “cloud computing.” The images in the clouds seem to shape and define one another; they are often continuously joined images with various parts connected with no identifiable centre. A cloud based work environment is often used to describe technological tools that enable collaboration, connections and co-construction of knowledge, such as Web 2.0 tools.

How do Web 2.0 tools and cloud based work environments shape your narrative for 21st century learning? You may consider reading the article, Orchestrating the Media Collage by Jason Ohler (2009) and think about the eight guidelines provided for teachers in using Web 2.0 as a social web. The guidelines that can help teachers promote the crucial skills associated with digital literacy include:
1. Shift from text centrism to media collage.
2. Value writing and reading now more than ever.
3. Adopt art as the next R.
4. Blend traditional and emerging literacies.
5. Harness report and story.
6. Practice private and participatory social literacy.
7. Develop literacy with digital tools and about digital tools.
8. Pursue fluency.

I would also recommend viewing Learning to Change Changing to Learn – (5:35) Teacher Tube video clip about change. What is your narrative about 21st century learning?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Doctoral Journey Begins

I started my doctoral journey in September of 2008 but didn’t really feel I had started the journey until today. As I begin considering my research proposal it now seems real to me! I’m contemplating what I will do, how I will do it and why it is important. Since my field of study is in educational technology leadership, I will continue to use this blog to track my thoughts, ideas, findings throughout my journey and hopefully get some great feedback along the way!

If you are interested in providing any feedback on my starting point, let me know and I can send you a copy of my independent study exploring the following question: Why would an interpretive case study and methodological processes using visual methods support a legitimate exploration of the strategies used by educational leaders in order to cultivate teaching and learning with technology?

In the article I wrestle with the choice of qualitative methodological approaches drawing on literature in case study research, visual methods, and educational technology, along with my own personal experiences in conducting an exploratory research project in the proposed field of study from 2006-2008. This independent study was particularly beneficial for me in reflecting on my past research experiences and identifying how I can become a more reflexive researcher in the future. For example, in the article there is a hyperlink to the appendix where I included examples of how photographs were used for representation purposes in the past exploratory study I was involved in. I also discuss how the use of photographs could support a more collaborative approach in follow-up conversations with the participants in a future study. You may find reading this article helpful if you are considering case study as a method for inquiry or if you would like ideas in using visual methodological approaches for own research.