As part of our #mosomelt cMOOC we have asked participants to write a contextual statement that they can use for their CMALT portfolio – so I thought I’d dust off one of my own…
My Contextual Statement:
The prime driver behind my research into the scholarship of technology enhanced learning or SOTEL (Wickens, 2006) is my own experience of developing as a tertiary lecturer. In my observations as an academic advisor, reflective teachers develop their own synthesis of various pedagogical models, choosing the aspects that align with their own learning and teaching style, and their ever developing understanding of the learning environment. This comes from reflecting upon teaching experiences, and aligning these with current learning theory (Brookfield, 1995, Larrivee, 2000). There have been several key influences in the development of my pedagogical outlook:
1. Constructive learning theory (Bruner, 1966, Weimer, 2002, Wadsworth, 1996)
2. Constructive alignment (Biggs, 2003)
3. Diana Laurillard’s Conversational Framework (Laurillard, 2001)
4. Social Constructivism in its many emergent forms (Herrington and Herrington, 2006a, McLoughlin and Lee, 2008b)
5. Communities of Practice (Wenger et al., 2005)
6. The concept of the Pedagogy-Andragogy-Heutagogy Continuum and student-determined learning (Luckin et al., 2010).
7. The SAMR framework of educational technology adoption (Puentedura, 2006).
These have resonated with my personal experiences of teaching and learning, and from these I have developed a synthesis that I have successfully used in teaching, in particular in utilizing technology to enhance the learning environment for myself and my students. My experience of establishing a wireless laptop scheme for students in my previous role of Audio Engineering and Music Production lecturer (Cochrane, 2003, Webster, 2004) convinced me of the transformative impact of mlearning in education. My experience of multimedia learning object development for my Masters Thesis also convinced me of the limitations of multimedia content delivery with its reliance upon specialised developer skills (Cochrane, 2005, Cochrane, 2007). Therefore I favour a student-centred, interactive, collaborative approach to developing a unique learning community for each different group of learners, enhanced by collaborative communications made available by technology. Wireless mobile computing and social software have matured into useful tools to facilitate this approach to learning communities within mainstream tertiary education, creating a foundation for student-generated content and student-generated contexts.
However this is not the norm in tertiary education, as Herrington and Herrington (2006b) observe, behaviourism and content transmission are still the dominant paradigms, which is supported by my own observations in 2010. Good pedagogy, as defined by Dewald (1999) focuses upon enhancing the student experience and the desired graduate profiles. Graduate profiles include student capabilities and how they will be expected to engage in the workforce community (Allen Consulting Group, 2004). Today’s graduates need to be life-long learners, and capable of critical, reflective, and creative thinking, able to work in and contribute to teams (Hager and Holland, 2006). Behaviourism focuses upon teacher-centred approaches in higher education (Dewald, 1999, Ally, 2008, Brown, 2006), whereas social constructivism focuses upon learner-centred approaches that model and facilitate the type of graduate profiles described above (Bruns, 2007, McLoughlin and Lee, 2008b). For example, Herrington and Herrington (2006b) critique the predominant behaviourist, knowledge-transmission pedagogies found in higher education, and present authentic learning as an alternative:
Typically university education has been a place to learn theoretical knowledge devoid of context… What employers, governments and nations require are graduates that display attributes necessary for knowledge building communities: graduates who can create, innovate, and communicate in their chosen profession. (Herrington and Herrington, 2006b)
I have been driven by a desire to bring about positive pedagogical change, informed by this research, in the areas of: professional development for lecturers to utilize and integrate mobile web 2.0 tools into their curricula to facilitate flexible social constructivist learning environments for their students, and facilitating the changes in institutional strategy and wireless infrastructure required to facilitate a student-owned wireless mobile device model of computing. Several factors have contributed to make this a possibility: the roll-out of almost ubiquitous wireless connectivity via wifi and 4G broadband, the maturing of smartphones into powerful mobile multimedia computers with unique affordances to augment how we conceptualise and interact with the world around us, the rapid development of mobile web 2.0, and the conceptualisation of new social constructivist pedagogies such as authentic learning (Herrington and Herrington, 2006a, Herrington and Oliver, 2000), pedagogy 2.0 (McLoughlin and Lee, 2008a, McLoughlin and Lee, 2010), connectivism (Siemens, 2004) and navigationism (Brown, 2005, Brown, 2006).
In summary I view mlearning as a catalyst of pedagogical change that can be leveraged by lecturers modeling the pedagogical use of mobile web 2.0 tools for facilitating reflective reconception of teaching and learning, moving from teacher-directed pedagogy to learner-generated content and learner-generated contexts.
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