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Welcome to Croatia, and to the 11th Networked Learning Conference

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Parallel Session 4 - Ban Mažuranić [clear filter]
Tuesday, May 15
 

12:05pm CEST

Professional development as a collaborative endeavour of networked learning in higher educational settings: Dissemination of knowledge among teacher training professionals
University teachers continue to strive to take up mobile and blended learning technologies in their teaching practices and universities continue to support this work through professional development courses for university teachers. At Mid Sweden University, two projects have recently been carried out with the objective to develop higher education practices supported by mobile and blended learning technologies in teaching in practice. Professional development for university teachers was expected take place using an iterative design comprising five features: participating in a competence development course, planning trials, conducting trials, evaluating teaching and participating in a pedagogical seminar. In this paper, the preliminary results of the final interviews with 12 teacher educators will be presented. The interviews were carried out to explore beliefs regarding changes in teaching practices, following the completion of teacher professional development project. The results showed that the teacher educators in this study experienced change in the use of mobile and blended learning in their teaching through dialogue, collaboration, dissemination and networked learning. Three themes were identified. The first theme was collaboration. Here, the teacher educators expressed beliefs which could be related to collaboration for learning to use mobile and blended learning technologies in their teaching, supporting conditions for networked learning. This involved working and planning new technologies in new courses together. In the second theme, sharing is caring, the teachers in the study expressed helping each other out and supporting each other in the work to learn and use new technologies in their teaching. Support through pep talks and taking on learning new technologies as a group was one example of gaining knowledge about new technologies. In the third and final theme, the teacher educators’ expressed beliefs regarding dissemination as a way to share knowledge and experiences. Beliefs expressed here included learning through seeing what others were working with and exchanging knowledge. The teacher educators’ in this study also expressed the need for continued learning through collaboration and dissemination, as networked learning in their community of practice. How universities continue to provide professional development to support teachers’ continued work together in communities of practice through networked learning will be of importance. These efforts in professional development will provide possibilities to push forward change in teachers’ use of mobile and blended learning in their teaching practices.

Speakers

Tuesday May 15, 2018 12:05pm - 12:15pm CEST
Ban Mažuranić Hotel Dubrovnic, Zagreb
  Parallel Session 4 - Ban Mažuranić, Short Paper
  • Key Words blended learning, collaborative learning, community of practice, higher education, mobile learning, teacher professional development

12:15pm CEST

Transforming professional learning through personal learning networks
For school teachers, effective, ongoing professional learning is essential, amid constant change, increasing complexity and accountability requirements in education. Traditional models of professional development are often discrete events, disconnected from practice and of limited impact. The literature suggests teacher agency, collaboration and active participation may create enduring changes in practice, yet despite these findings, there continues to be a disparity between what is known to be effective, and what is experienced by teachers (Edge, Reynolds, & O'Toole, 2015; Webster-Wright, 2009). This paper presents research investigating how personal learning networks (PLNs) may offer teachers self-directed, accessible and participatory learning opportunities, that meet diverse professional needs._x000D_ _x000D_ Anecdotal evidence and professional literature describing the nature of PLNs is quite extensive (Nussbaum-Beach, 2013; Warlick, 2009a), however few empirical studies investigate the experience of teachers who engage with PLNs for professional learning. One exception is a recent study, exploring teachers’ interactions through PLNs (Trust, Krutka, & Carpenter, 2016). Trust et al. (2016) reveal the potential for the dynamic and diverse nature of PLNs to meet the wide-ranging needs of teachers seeking professional learning, and their findings provide insight for my own research. However, a significant knowledge gap remains, associated with the variety and depth of learning experiences made possible when teachers blend collective participation, a connected learning approach and the affordances of social software. My research addresses this important aspect of professional learning through PLNs._x000D_ _x000D_ This paper introduces my research and presents preliminary findings. The aim of my doctoral study is to use a qualitative case study approach to investigate the experiences of teachers who have developed PLNs to enhance their professional learning. The research is informed by networked learning theory, connectivism and connected learning. The findings will contribute to an evidence base which will be useful for researchers and practitioners, and I intend to use these findings to underpin the future development of a conceptual model of innovative professional learning support. I envisage that this model will provide a framework to enable teachers to move from comparative isolation, to become connected teachers. I anticipate that when completed, this research will contribute to theory and practice of professional learning, and empower teachers to venture beyond the traditional professional development models.

Speakers

Tuesday May 15, 2018 12:15pm - 12:25pm CEST
Ban Mažuranić Hotel Dubrovnic, Zagreb
  Parallel Session 4 - Ban Mažuranić, Short Paper
  • Key Words Personal Learning Networks, Professional Learning, Teachers, Qualitative case study

12:25pm CEST

Critical Learning in the on-line classroom: An action learning approach to instructor development
Teaching in an online classroom is often new to university teachers which highlights the importance of training and development for faculty in on-line instruction in order to realise the promise of this burgeoning form of delivery. However, current research that examines formal training initiatives offered by universities tends to promote an ‘instrumental’ understanding of online facilitation and teaching. We argue that this promotes a narrow and mechanistic view, reducing successful online teaching to the mere acquisition of a set of technical competencies alongside the mastery of theoretical concepts and models of online learning. Networked learning which emphasises relational and interactional aspects of the online classroom, suggests that it is also important to recognize that teachers play a core role in helping students on their journeys to becoming critically reflective practitioners. From this perspective, facilitating learning in an online environment is not an emotion and value free task for which a set of skills can be easily learnt and later applied. Instead, it suggests the importance of dialogical approaches which pay attention to issues of power, voice, access and inclusion as well as the emotional dynamics which pervade the classroom. This then, unlike dominant forms of university training initiatives, depicts online teaching as a practice with its own ethical values and problematic issues in supporting online students' critical learning. While the argument that teaching online requires changes to conventional teaching approaches is not new, there is a dearth of research on instructors' perspectives on promoting critical learning in classroom relational dialogue. Against this background, and recognising the challenges of advancing critical pedagogies in general, this proposal explores the novel use of an action learning approach to online instructor development in the context of two management education programmes. Action learning, by emphasising learning by doing, represents one of the most commonly used forms of experiential learning. We suggest that the use of action learning sets offers novice instructors the opportunity to consider frequently taken-for-granted aspects of their practice such as the emotions and politics so crucial to promoting critical forms of learning and so facilitating students' journeys towards becoming critically reflective practitioners.

Speakers

Tuesday May 15, 2018 12:25pm - 12:35pm CEST
Ban Mažuranić Hotel Dubrovnic, Zagreb
  Parallel Session 4 - Ban Mažuranić, Short Paper
  • Key Words Online teaching, Instructor development, Networked learning, Critical teaching pedagogy, Action learning, Online MBA

12:35pm CEST

Teachers’ beliefs about professional development and the use of collaborative online tools in higher educational settings
Teaching in higher education beyond the boundaries of face-to-face education is an evolving practice including the integration of various technologies to support collaboration between learners and teachers. From a historical perspective the integration of such technologies in this practice has afforded different time- and location-related conditions for collaboration. This development has brought new conditions for the practice of teaching in higher education. From being a practice mainly located at the university, teaching is possible to occur elsewhere; e.g., on the move, or from the home setting. It has paved the way to introduce so called blended learning practices of teaching in higher education. Such practice has been an emerging trend in the 21st century with an overall impact on the design of university courses. Applications, devices and networks that initially were used in experimental distance education have later become natural parts of mainstream education, with blended learning as a standard concept in higher education. The rich plethora of information and communication technologies applied as tools to mediate learning and support teaching have created a need for teachers’ professional development. The aim of this study is to present and discuss university teachers’ perceptions and beliefs about how the supplementary training should be organised. Data were gathered by semi-structured interviews at a department for Computer and System Science where all seven interviewees teach in blended synchronous educational settings. The empirical material were analysed inductively by applying a thematic analysis method. Findings show that all courses have a basic common toolbox as well as an extended specific toolbox that both are continuously changing. This can be stressful and the formal teacher professional development is far from satisfying. Teachers cope with problems by consulting the collegium, a peer group where colleagues share experiences and assist each other in problem solving. Despite the constant pressure many teachers have creative ideas for a further development of the blended synchronous learning concept. Many of the teachers in this study see the continual attempts to implement these tools and experimenting with these tools in their teaching as possibilities in their teaching as well as a source of professional development.

Speakers

Tuesday May 15, 2018 12:35pm - 12:45pm CEST
Ban Mažuranić Hotel Dubrovnic, Zagreb
  Parallel Session 4 - Ban Mažuranić, Short Paper
  • Key Words blended synchronous learning, collegial learning, online collaboration, teachers’ beliefs, teacher professional development