“eLearning: Rhetoric and Reality” DIT e-Learning summer school 2006 Opening Forum Margaret Farren Dublin City University
M.Sc. E-learning in Education and Training Management. Participants drawn from widely varying fields: Education: (primary, post-primary, further, adult, higher) Corporate training; Industry; Nursing; Government departments and state agencies. Programme modules - http://webpages.dcu.ie/~farrenm/ Context
What’s the gap between aspiration and actuality, and can we (or indeed should we) bridge it? • In scholarship and research, having a problem is at the heart of the investigative process….. • But in one’s teaching, a “problem” is something you don’t want to have…. (Hutchings, P. and Shulman, L. 2004)
Action Research Action research is a form of research in which practitioners reflect systematically on their practice, implementing informed action to bring about improvement in practice and add to knowledge.
Assessing quality in practice based research Action research can contribute to theoretical knowledge production as well as bringing about improved practice. (Furlong & Oancea, 2005)
‘Living Educational Theory’ approach • Expressing concerns when educational values are not lived in practice; • Imagining a way forward; • Gathering data; • Evaluating practice on effectiveness of actions; • Modifying plans in light of the evaluation; • Submitting accounts of learning to a validation group in order to strengthen the validity of the accounts of practitioner learning. Whitehead (1989, 2004)
Educational values • Pedagogy of the unique • Web of Betweenness
Educational value: Pedagogy of the unique ‘Pedagogy of the unique’ expresses my belief that each participant has a particular and distinctive constellation of values that motivates his/her enquiry and that sets a distinctive context within which their own enquiry proceeds.
Educational value: Web of Betweenness • Show how participants develop their own sense of being as they learn in relation with others. • Demonstrate how ICT can support a dialogic-collaborative approach to learning and help to bring us closer to the meaning of our educational values as they emerge in the course of our practice.
Web of Betweenness “True community is not produced. It is invoked and awakened. True community is an ideal where the full identities of awakened and realized individuals challenge and complement each other. In this sense individuality and originality enrich self and others”. (O’ Donohue, 2003, pp. 132-133)
ICT to complement and support the pedagogies of the self-study researchers • digital video to record teaching and supervision and reveal tensions and living contradictions when values could be lived more fully; • online learning environments that have sustained ongoing dialogue among practitioner-researchers with evidence of reciprocal educational influences in learning; • desktop videoconferencing that has opened up the classroom environment and provided opportunities to share our knowledge with others with reciprocal influences in learning; • multimedia and web-based artefacts with supporting text provide evidence of how practitioners are developing living standards of judgement through asking, researching and answering the question, "How do I improve my practice?'
References Farren, M. (2005a) How am I Creating my Pedagogy of the Unique through a Web of Betweenness. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bath. Retrieved from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/farren.shtml (12th June, 2006). Furlong, J. & Oancea, A. (2005). Assessing Quality in Applied and Practice- based Educational Research. A Framework for Discussion Retrieved from http://www.bera.ac.uk/pdfs/Qualitycriteria.pdf (4th June, 2006). Hutchings, P. & Shulman, L. S. (2004). Teaching as Community Property : Essays on Higher Education San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Whitehead, J. (1989). Creating a Living Educational Theory from Questions of the kind, How do I improve my Practice? British Educational Research Journal, 15.pp. 3-17. Whitehead, J. (2005). How Can We Improve The Educational Influences Of Our Teacher-Researcher Quests? Keynote Presentation to the 12th International Conference of Teacher Research at McGill University. 16th April 2005. Retrieved from http://www.jackwhitehead.com/ictr05/jwictr05key.htm (10th July 2005).