教城網誌 EdBlog


(Source: Fairfax NZ News - 4 August 2012)

Children’s brains may be developing differently as a result of exposure to digital technology, with profound implications for the education system, says the prime minister’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman.

Sir Peter made the claim to Parliament’s science and education committee, which in May kicked off an unprecedented inquiry into "21st century learning and digital literacy", examining in particular how schools may need to change in the wake of the Government’s $1.5 billion investment in ultrafast broadband.

The inquiry has pitched progressives, who want to see teachers quickly evolve into tech-savvy new-age knowledge brokers, against conservatives, who worry about the practicalities and believe there remains a big role for traditionally delivered classroom teaching.

Sir Peter argued that schools and parents splurged a lot of money putting computers into schools 20 years ago that "didn’t make much difference educationally".

e-LEARNER: Two-year-old Te Kohumira Paki is already an iPad whiz.

But he opened a new front when giving evidence to the select committee on Wednesday - appropriately, via video-conference - saying that today’s children were the guinea pigs in "a new world we don’t fully understand".

"Anyone who has seen a two-year-old playing around with an iPad knows what I am talking about. The digital world is leading to different ways in which the brain develops, different environments in which we learn . . . and it does seem to be having impacts on cognitive, social and emotional development."

Sir Peter said neuroscientists and teaching researchers in Britain and the United States were just starting to look at the implications for education but there was a lack of information and it was pointless talking about it being "good or bad".

"Whether it has any meaning - I think we should be careful."

He said, for example, that studies had shown that parts of the brains of British taxi drivers expanded when they memorised "the Knowledge", London’s inner city street map.

But what was evident was that the human race was going through a "radical change" in the way it communicated and achieved knowledge, he said.

"Whereas 20 years ago it was unequivocal [that] parents and teachers were the sources of information, now much information is obtained from the web or other digital media and the teacher’s role is becoming one of helping students interpret what is likely to be reliable or unreliable information."

New technology, such as the web, could lift education in rural areas and disadvantaged urban communities as well as help New Zealand meet its "moral responsibility" to assist education among its Pacific neighbours, he said.

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA), which represents 18,000 mostly secondary school teachers, said that although children now expected learning to be "ICT-based", it was going too far to say that today’s children were "wired differently".

"The focus on supporting 21st century students who are collaborative, open-minded, life-long learners is important but we are some way from dispensing with content-learning altogether," it said in its submission.

"There are few signs . . . that either parents, tertiary institutions or employers are ready to relinquish expectations that secondary students will have a sound knowledge in certain curriculum areas."

The same football is being kicked around in different ways by many of the 90 submitters to the Parliamentary inquiry. Margot McKeegan, learning adviser for the Greater Christchurch Schools Network, which is promoting collaboration between 100 schools in the city, told the committee that she did not believe teachers should be registered unless they had demonstrated they were capable of working in an "e-learning environment".

But the National Council of Women said it would disagree with that approach. Effective learning had always happened in a wide variety of environments, but the relationship between children and their teachers remained the most influential factor in a successful school, it said.

ECONOMIC Development Minister Steven Joyce signalled the Government had a strong appetite for reform in a speech to InternetNZ NetHui in June.

E-education would be "quite disruptive" and would turn on its head the concept of teaching and learning, changing the dynamics between educators and pupils, he said. "For those that embrace it, it is something that is going to be wonderful for people to be part of."

The Government will next year begin rolling out the Network for Learning, a $300 million to $400 million "closed" network running over the ultrafast broadband network that will provide secure access to online resources and internet access for schools on centrally-negotiated terms.

The initiative appears to have attracted widespread support, including from the PPTA, which said it was a "reasonable compromise" in tackling the problem that the education system had become "devolved and divided".

But there are doubts about how quickly the education sector will be able to grasp the nettle, given it remains a "people industry".

Albany Senior High School deputy principal Mark Osborne told the inquiry a leadership crisis in schools threatened to derail plans to reshape the education system to take advantage of ultrafast broadband and e-learning.

Ten thousand of the country’s 50,000 teachers were approaching retirement and between 30 and 40 per cent of newly qualified teachers were leaving the profession within their first five years on the job, he said.

"We are trying to replace an ever-increasing pool of leavers with an ever-diminishing pool of new teachers."

An Education Ministry spokeswoman said that although it was true its workforce was ageing, losses had fallen for several years and retention was increasing.

"Baby boomers" were staying in work longer than had been expected, she said. "The ministry has monitoring in place and is planning for the retirement of this group, when it does occur."

In the meantime, a proportion of teachers and schools are achieving educational stardom by positioning themselves on the crest of the digital wave.

Albany High School turned heads in the information technology industry when it opened in 2009 by eschewing Microsoft software and deciding to use only free open-source software, for example.

That meant the school could then encourage pupils to bring their computers to school, freeing up their own resources to buy computers for those who could not afford them, Mr Osborne said. "Proprietary" software, on the other hand, could not be installed on students’ computers without breaching suppliers’ licensing conditions, he said.

It is in addressing bread-and-butter matters such as this that the Parliamentary inquiry could make its mark.

Mr Osborne said only Albany High School and two other schools had adopted "creative commons" licensing policies that allowed teachers to share online resources they had developed with other schools, without having first to seek the approval of their boards. Other schools had "all rights reserved on teaching and learning resources".

Open-plan learning spaces that aided e-learning reduced disruptive behaviour, Mr Osborne said, because there could always be three or four teachers on hand to prevent children "taking on" an inexperienced teacher. They also meant teachers could learn from one another, which was important because the difference between the "best and worst" teachers in a school was always greater than the differences between schools themselves, he said.

Sir Peter said it was "fundamental" to put more money into research. "Scientists are no better at predicting the future than anybody else, which means they are bloody hopeless at it. We don’t know all the answers.

"But the inquiry has got to help design the teacher of 2025 or 2040, not 2012."

標籤: E-education, e-Learning, 21st century, digital technology, Creative Commons 檢舉







標籤: 教育局, 電子學習, e-Learning, 電子學習試驗計劃 檢舉



標籤: 教育局, 電子學習, e-Learning 檢舉





標籤: 香港教育城, e-Learning, 電子學習商貿平台, 電子學習 檢舉








標籤: 教育局, 電子學習試驗計劃, e-Learning, 電子學習 檢舉

Culturally inspired mobile phone games help Chinese children learn language characters


(Source: Human-Computer Interaction Institute - 19 October 2010)

Mobile phone-based games could provide a new way to teach basic knowledge of Chinese language characters that might be particularly helpful in underdeveloped rural areas of China, say researchers in Carnegie Mellon University’s Mobile & Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies (MILLEE) Project.

Earlier this year, researchers reported that two mobile learning games, inspired by traditional Chinese games, showed promise during preliminary tests with children in Xin’an, an underdeveloped region in Henan Province, China. The researchers from Carnegie Mellon, the University of California, Berkeley and the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported their findings at CHI 2010, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Atlanta, Ga. Subsequent studies this summer at a privately run school in Beijing likewise showed that students playing the educational videogames increased their knowledge of Chinese characters.

“We believe that the cooperative learning encouraged by the games contributed to character learning,” said CMU’s Matthew Kam, assistant professor in the School of Computer Science’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute and MILLEE project director. “The results of our studies suggest that further development of these games could make inexpensive mobile phones important learning tools, particularly for children in underdeveloped rural areas.”

The Chinese language is the most widely spoken language in the world, with more than 1 billion Mandarin Chinese speakers, but it presents unique challenges to language education. Unlike languages with alphabetic writing systems, the Chinese language uses characters that each correspond to a syllable or sometimes a word. About 6,000 characters are commonly used, but the shape of each character provides few clues to its pronunciation and different dialects have different pronunciations for the same character.

MILLEE researchers analyzed 25 traditional games played by children in China to identify elements, such as cooperation between players, songs and handmade game objects, that could be used to design two educational mobile phone games. In one game, Multimedia Word, children are required to recognize and write a correct Chinese character based on hints provided for pronunciation, a sketch, a photo or other multimedia context. In a second game, Drumming Stroke, children practice writing Chinese characters; participants pass the mobile phone one by one on the rhythm of a drum sound played by the mobile phone, with each player required to write one stroke of a given Chinese character by following the exact stroke order.

Kam and other MILLEE researchers are collaborating with Tian Feng, an associate professor in the Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, to further explore the potential of mobile phones as a learning resource for Chinese children. Field research on behalf of MILLEE was performed this summer by Ben Rachbach, a student at Swarthmore College, to determine the educational needs of low-income students in three schools in Beijing. The team is receiving curriculum guidance from Sue-mei Wu, associate teaching professor of Chinese at CMU and chair of Chinese learning in the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center, a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh that is supported by the National Science Foundation.

With the support of Nokia, MILLEE has developed mobile phone-based games for teaching English literacy to rural children in India and is commencing a controlled study involving 800 children in 40 villages of Andhra Pradesh, a state in southern India. MILLEE is also working with the University of Nairobi to explore how the games could be adapted to English literacy learning for rural children in Kenya.

Kam, a native of Singapore, said despite their small screens and low computing power by today’s standards, mobile phones could become a major educational resource as wireless carriers and mobile phone manufacturers move aggressively to extend mobile phone penetration across the globe. And if the educational benefits of mobile phones can be demonstrated convincingly, he added, consumers will have an additional motivation for getting mobile phone service, which could further spur mobile phone adoption in developing countries.

標籤: learning resource, learning tool, character learning, cooperative learning, mobile learning game, e-Learning, educational resource 檢舉


(Continue from previous article)
Web 2.0 glossary
Web 2.0 describes technologies and Web applications that allow people to access and create Web content, and communicate and collaborate together.

Examples teachers use:
Skype: Internet-based software that enables people to communicate through voice and video for free.

WebQuest: An inquiry-oriented lesson or format that is Internet-based. Teachers share lesson plans and designs on websites. Students learn critical thinking, problem solving, research skills and technology skills via web-based assignments.

Animoto: A video creation tool, free for educators, that allows teachers and students to create video book reports, capture field trips and help each other study.

Google Docs: A free Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form and data storage service that allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.

Moodle: Free, open-source e-learning software that helps educators create online courses and collaborative lessons.

Wikis: Software programs that let people create, remove and edit content on a Web page, or collections of information that can be edited by multiple people within a group. (Wikipedia is an example.)

Networking sites
Weblogs: Online journals created by a person or organization and often cover specific topics. By discussing and linking to each other’s posts, bloggers can form networks. Technorati is a popular search engine for blogs.

Ning: A website that lets you create your own social networks and place blogs, videos, photos, surveys and other applications.

Twitter: A microblog social network environment.

標籤: twitter, Ning, Weblogs, Wikis, Moodle, Google Docs, Animoto, WebQuest, Skype, Web 2.0, e-Learning 檢舉


(Extracted from Cincinnati.Com - 28 August 2010)

Nearly three-quarters of online teens use social-networking sites at least once a week, national polls show.

Now a growing number of teachers in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and nationwide are joining, rather than fighting, the tide.

It’s a new day for social networking in schools, experts say. Schools until recently were cracking down on most uses of online social networks during the school day.

This fall, more schools in the Cincinnati region are channeling YouTube, Facebook and other social sites to market themselves to potential students, parents and taxpayers. And more teachers are Tweeting, Skyping, blogging and "wiki-ing" with students for educational purposes that can span the world.

At St. Xavier High, for instance, a sophomore history class last May "Skyped" with a minister who lives in what was East Berlin. Talking face-to-face, he described his boyhood under Hitler, his adult life under communism and now, in post-Cold-War Germany. The sophomores, though born after the Berlin Wall fell, asked lots of questions, including his impressions the first time he saw bluejeans.

Principal David Mueller saw the class and wrote to parents recently: "I felt like I did when watching the live telecast of the first moon landing. I realized that we had crossed into a radically changed world."

Classrooms are changing, but it’s taking time and patience for educators to harness the many social networking - or "Web 2.0" - technologies that experts say can open students to educational opportunities around the world.

For now, those classrooms are still in the minority. A national survey last year showed 70 percent of districts still ban or block Facebook, YouTube and other social network cites.

"Right now, very few kids have adults in their lives who are teaching them how to learn in these (social network) spaces. They don’t need us to teach them how to use Facebook (aside from the safety aspects), but they do need models and opportunities to connect with other people from around the world with whom they can learn." says Will Richardson, an education technology expert, teacher and author from Flemington, N.J.

"There’s a huge interest in using these technologies in school, but the reluctance is from the work that it takes, how easy they are to use, and whether or not you might be opening up a security issue or a PR issue for your district," said Mary McCaffrey, CEO of a TH(i)NQ Ed, a Carbondale, Ill., company that markets such services and programs to schools.

Russell Fox, a Simon Kenton High English teacher, shows his classes YouTube videos of famous people - or historic re-enactors - delivering famous speeches. His Broadcast students produce YouTube videos of mostly school news, short skits and training videos.

"YouTube has a lot of garbage on it," he said, "but it also has a lot really good stuff on it… so teachers might as well guide students through the Internet morass."

As more teachers gain confidence using Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter for personal use, more are trying them for educational uses.

"You see a lot more teachers blogging or using Facebook as a tool," Wiegele said. "If we want to be able to relate to our kids, I think we kind of have to. We’re not all as curmudgeon-y as people like to think."

Susan Reinhardt, a German teacher at Moeller High in Kenwood, can get some social network benefits in a more protected environment. She plans to use Google Docs this year to let students collaborate and create versions of German fairy tales. Students can edit their shared documents without emailing back and forth, Reinhardt said, and she can see who is doing the work.

She also plans to use Google Voice to get students to leave her voicemail messages in German that she can grade and replay in class.

More schools should direct social networking and Web 2.0 tools toward education, Richardson says.

"In one sense, the Internet is a library," he said, "but … we’re not just checking out books; we’re writing them, in many cases together with people half a world away."

標籤: Skype, Google Voice, Google Docs, facebook, blogging, e-Learning, social networking, Youtube, Web 2.0 檢舉





日期及時間: 2010年7月15日(星期四)2:00pm – 3:00pm
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「學習是很快樂的事,不應有所侷限。」鄭緯筌說,1999年美國專家Jay Cross率先提出「e-Learning」這個名詞。到2010年,數位學習產生了很大的變化。科技的進步,帶動學習的節奏,尤以免費資源最珍貴。







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