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Journal Article

Personal Learning Journal — Course Design for Using Weblogs in Higher Education  pp189-196

Stefanie Hain, Andrea Back

© Nov 2008 Volume 6 Issue 3, Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz, pp161 - 254

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Abstract

This paper examines the impact of weblogs on individual learning processes in a university environment. It outlines experiences with weblogs as an instrument of learning reflection or a learning journal. This paper presents an innovative didactical concept based on the Web 2.0 paradigm and evolving technologies. Weblogs have emerged with the paradigm of Web 2.0 and user‑generated content and have gained in importance through the various evolving application contexts, for example, the transfer of knowledge within enterprises, the communication and exchange of experiences with customers, and even the acquisition of projects by power bloggers. In this paper, weblogs are considered in the specificity of learning journals that focus on two objectives: first, supporting individual learning by means of reflection as the most effective method of individual learning; and, second, multiplying these efforts through interaction and discussion within a group of individuals with common interests. The latter is based on contribution‑based pedagogies that maintain that collaboratively creating learning resources and sharing them with others are promising practices through which students can learn. Additionally, it is argued that this style of teaching relates to a growing trend in higher education in which the focus of learning is moving away from building a basic knowledge store and toward emphasizing a wider range of skills. We successfully applied the weblog approach to several academic courses during which qualitative and quantitative data were collected in an empirical study. This paper reflects our experiences with weblogs as a support for university lectures and is based on four semesters of exploration and adaptation. Within the scope of the research approach of design research (Hevner et al. 2004), it provides a structured method to support individual learning processes within a learning community realized by a weblog in the specificity of a learning journal. Verification with students and experts has led to a holistic method through which lecturers and coaches can successfully integrate weblogs into academic courses or even professional trainings. This paper addresses both academic learning and professional education management initiatives. Essentially, it aims at in‑house trainings in enterprises, vocational schools, and universities. Interviews with experts will also reveal how to successfully align this method with professional trainings. In conclusion, this paper suggests a method with which to design a learning environment by means of learning journals to enforce increased individual learning. More specifically, it reveals that learning journals enable the achievement of level three (transfer to and application in the working environment) of Kirkpatrick's (1994) four‑level model, which was generated to evaluate learning programs.

 

Keywords: Web 2.0, weblog, learning log, learning journal, learning reflection, contribution-based theory

 

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Journal Article

Building the Future Students' Blended Learning Experiences from Current Research Findings  pp133-140

Amanda Jefferies, Ruth Hyde

© Mar 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEL 2009, Editor: Shirley Williams, Florin Salajan, pp51 - 208

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Abstract

Between March 2007 and February 2009, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) funded a Learners Journeys project at the University of Hertfordshire. This was part of their second phase of investment in research into the Learners' Experiences through their E‑Learning Programme and was known as LXP2. STROLL (STudent Reflections On Lifelong e‑Learning), as the Learners' Journeys project was known, researched into the experiences of current undergraduate students in Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) primarily through a series of diaries constructed by student volunteers. Using video and audio recording to capture students' own reflections on their learning and their use of technology over the 2 year period the project data has offered many reflections from students on their use of technology for both learning and leisure. Building on this and other recent research data, the authors now suggest that for many HE students, technology has become a ubiquitous part of their lives to the extent that they may own or access regularly multiple items of personal technology that are used interchangeably for learning and leisure, including their computers and their mp3 players. At the University of Hertfordshire access to technology enhanced learning has included use of the managed learning environment (MLE) which is called StudyNet. This MLE has been highly praised by the campus‑based undergraduates and especially those participating in STROLL for making their learning accessible wherever and whenever they want to access it. In this paper we explore how academics might learn from the experience of these current students and their reflections on becoming effective learners supported by technology. This research indicates that technology can be a vital support for students in their complex balancing act between their busy studying, working and personal lives and the students have enthusiastically reported that technology is a key enabler for them. This paper presents the ways in which students use technology in HE and raises the questions of how institutions might support some of the diverse needs of future students.

 

Keywords: student experience, blended learning, technology use, reflection

 

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Journal Article

Using Action Research to Investigate Social Networking Technologies  pp115-123

Lisa Worrall, Katy Harris

© Jun 2013 Volume 11 Issue 2, Editor: Roy Williams, pp80 - 167

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Abstract

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Keywords: action research, reflective practitioner, social networking technologies, continuous professional development

 

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Journal Article

"Digital Futures in Teacher Education": Exploring Open Approaches towards Digital Literacy  pp193-206

Anna Gruszczynska, Guy Merchant, Richard Pountney

© Aug 2013 Volume 11 Issue 3, ECEL 2012, Editor: Hans Beldhuis and Koos Winnips, pp168 - 272

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper reports the findings of a project "Digital Futures in Teacher Education" (DeFT) undertaken as part of the third phase of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) UK Open Educational Resources (OER) programme. It builds on previous work (Gruszczynska and Pountney, 2012, 2013) that has addressed attempts to embed OER practice within the teacher education sector, and which has informed practice in teaching and learning in the school system involving digital literacy (Burnett and Merchant, 2011; Davies and Merchant, 2009). A framework for digital literacy is outlined, drawing heavily on socio‑cultural models of digital practice (Merchant, 2011), that has the potential to re‑imagine teachers and teaching, as well as learners and learning and which, at the same time, address the 'why' as well as the 'how' of digital literacy. This framework takes into account current debates (primarily within the UK but of relevance to European perspectives) focusing on issues of ICT, digital literacy and media literacy in the curriculum, which reflect a tension between digital literacy as a set of skills and competencies on the one hand and understandings that arise from socio‑cultural and communicative practices on the other. Current understandings of digital literacy in the context of teacher education and OERs are explored and the potential for digital literac(ies) for openness is examined. This draws on data collected in the context of the DeFT project and includes meanings and perspectives on digital literacies as expressed by project participants. The effectiveness of a methodology that prizes reflexivity and participation is examined including a range of voices, including children's voices, in the meaning‑making process and recommendations on the basis of the findings are made. In terms of a digital future for teacher education the paper highlights the need for practices, learning packages and tools to continue to evolve, in close cooperation with their potential users, and linked directly to classroom and schools as the site of this production.

 

Keywords: Keywords: digital literacy, reflexivity, ICT curriculum, pedagogy, open educational resources

 

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Journal Article

Student experiences and perceptions of digital literacy skills development: engaging learners by design?  pp207-225

Marion Hall, Ingrid Nix, Kirsty Baker

© Aug 2013 Volume 11 Issue 3, ECEL 2012, Editor: Hans Beldhuis and Koos Winnips, pp168 - 272

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper reports the findings of a project "Digital Futures in Teacher Education" (DeFT) undertaken as part of the third phase of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) UK Open Educational Resources (OER) programme. It builds on previous work (Gruszczynska and Pountney, 2012, 2013) that has addressed attempts to embed OER practice within the teacher education sector, and which has informed practice in teaching and learning in the school system involving digital literacy (Burnett and Merchant, 2011; Davies and Merchant, 2009). A framework for digital literacy is outlined, drawing heavily on socio‑cultural models of digital practice (Merchant, 2011), that has the potential to re‑imagine teachers and teaching, as well as learners and learning and which, at the same time, address the 'why' as well as the 'how' of digital literacy. This framework takes into account current debates (primarily within the UK but of relevance to European perspectives) focusing on issues of ICT, digital literacy and media literacy in the curriculum, which reflect a tension between digital literacy as a set of skills and competencies on the one hand and understandings that arise from socio‑cultural and communicative practices on the other. Current understandings of digital literacy in the context of teacher education and OERs are explored and the potential for digital literac(ies) for openness is examined. This draws on data collected in the context of the DeFT project and includes meanings and perspectives on digital literacies as expressed by project participants. The effectiveness of a methodology that prizes reflexivity and participation is examined including a range of voices, including children's voices, in the meaning‑making process and recommendations on the basis of the findings are made. In terms of a digital future for teacher education the paper highlights the need for practices, learning packages and tools to continue to evolve, in close cooperation with their potential users, and linked directly to classroom and schools as the site of this production.

 

Keywords: Keywords: digital literacy, reflexivity, ICT curriculum, pedagogy, open educational resources

 

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Journal Article

Knowledge Sharing: Exploring Institutional Policy and Educator Practice Through Eportfolios In Music And Writing  pp138-148

Diana Blom, Jennifer Rowley, Dawn Bennett et al

© May 2014 Volume 12 Issue 2, ECEL, Editor: Mélanie Ciussi, pp126 - 226

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Abstract

Abstract: Many higher education institutions have embraced e‑Learning and urge, or make compulsory, engagement by academics. Despite this, it is often the educators themselves who take the initiative to engage with innovative e‑learning approaches. These approaches, in turn, can influence both peer‑ and institution‑wide thinking about e‑Learning. This paper focuses on the introduction or extension of ePortfolios within the creative arts at four Australian universities. Each educator adopted the ePortfolio for a different purpose, and in doing so has influenced, or is at least being monitored by, their university. All four studies have resulted in the growth, development and enrichment of teaching and learning because of the ePortfolios facility to engage students in such activities as reflection, ongoing student‑teacher dialogue, collaborative essay writing, peer evaluation, identity formation, and the documentation of skills, competencies and graduate attributes for career awareness and employability. I n sharing this knowledge the studies have also influenced curriculum design and e‑learning policy. The academic literature notes institutional interest in ePortfolios in relation to career preparation, demonstrating and assessing student learning, academi c advising, and addressing public accountability concerns by facilitating internal and external departmental review and accreditation. Within this paper we discuss the bi‑directional impact and sharing of knowledge about ePortfolio use as it occurs betwee n institution and educator. The study findings inform future development of curriculum, policy and practice for creative arts students and academics in a variety of higher education settings. Further, the findings suggest that ePortfolios provide an effic ient and transparent means to archive and access student work, and that they facilitate internal and external departmental review and broader institutional assessment.

 

Keywords: Keywords: ePortfolio, creative arts, curriculum enhancement, reflective practice, institutional knowledge sharing

 

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Journal Article

The Playful and Reflective Game Designer  pp271-280

Gunver Majgaard

© Jun 2014 Volume 12 Issue 3, Special Edition for ECGBL 2013, Editor: Carlos Vaz de Carvalho and Paula Escudeiro, pp227 - 311

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Abstract

Abstract: A group of first‑semester engineering students participated in a game design course. The aim of the course was to learn how to design computer games and programming skills by creating their own games, thereby applying their game‑playing experien ces to gain knowledge about game design. The aim was for students to develop a more critically reflective perspective on video games and game design. In applying their game experiences, they developed their own digital prototypes and participated in refl ective discussions on the concept of games: what makes them interesting and how they are constructed. The students used the GameMaker programming tool, which can be used without any prior programming knowledge. The tool allows for the easy development of 2D game prototypes.The didactic approach was based on play as a lever for the design process, and on constructionistic and reflective learning philosophies. Playing games constituted an integral element of the design process; new code added to the program was tested by playing the game. The students were constantly alternating between playing and adding and revising code. The learning environment where games were played and developed could be considered to be a sandbox where experimentation was a motivati onal factor for the students, as they could make mistakes and try out creative ideas. Although the constructionistic learning approach promoted creative and innovative learning, it did not develop competencies in articulation and analysis. The aim was for students to reflect on games in order to promote explicit knowledge. Based on the theory, we consider retrospective reflective discussions in the classroom and their programming experiences reinforced the learning process. In summary, we present the stud ents' first progression from native consumers in the game world to becoming reflective designers. Along their journey, they developed a reflective practice and an understanding of the profession they were entering. The article also throws light on the ver y dynamic and fruitful relationship that ex

 

Keywords: Keywords: Learning, play, constructionism, reflection, game-based learning, game design, serious games, university pedagogy

 

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Journal Article

Teaching Scientific/Academic Writing in the Digital Age  pp43-54

Arna Peretz

© Jan 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp1 - 81

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Abstract

This paper describes a graduate‑level scientific/academic writing course for non‑native speakers (NNS) of English at Ben‑Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel, which is taught in a technology‑enhanced or blended learning environment. The use and integration of electronic discourses, such as email and Powerpoint, on‑screen marking techniques, and submission of written assignments and writing consultancies by email, and asynchronous online discussion forums are described. Features of the HighLearn course‑supporting WEB site, which enable the integration of discussion forums into the writing course, are explained. Results of teacher‑initiated student evaluations and advantages and dilemmas of teaching scientific/academic writing in the digital age are discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for future research and suggestions for the further integration of ICT in the scientific/academic writing course.

 

Keywords: scientificacademic writing, technology-enhanced learning, CMC/ICT, e-learning, asynchronous discussion forums, EFL

 

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