My Learning Diary On MENTEP MOOC By Anna Laghigna

We are moving away from traditional four-wall classrooms to virtually open classrooms that embrace the world.

Technology allows the creation of new learning scenarios that foster collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity by empowering our students. Although this process of change might seem at times not fast enough, it is however happening thanks to innovative teachers who have chosen to integrate technology in their classroom.

Introducing Technology-Enhanced Teaching

European Schoolnet Academy MOOC Sept28 / Nov2 2015
Cover image of the MENTEP Course - Courtesy of EUN Schoolnet Academy

Hi! My name is Anna Laghigna.

I live in Udine, a small town in Italy situated to the north-east of Venice.

About me

I teach English as a foreign language, and sometimes German. My students are Italian-speaking teenagers ranging from 14 to 18-19 years of age.

I love teaching!

Before being a teacher, I worked long time as an interpreter/translator. It was so boring if compared to teaching!

Everyday is a new challenge in class. I like discovering new ways of doing things and love to think of myself as a lifelong learner.

About this course

I feel honoured to participate at this MOOC — this time not only as a student. I will contribute two videos about my experience in using the Learning Designer tool and a second one on Peer Assessment. I hope that my experience could be useful to other colleagues.

This MOOC is meant to be an introduction to a later MENTEP course. Its main objectives are the following:

  • Boost teachers’ competence and confidence to use ICT in the classroom
  • Increase the number of teachers able to innovate using ICT
  • Enhance the uptake of ICT in teaching and learning
  • Strengthen the professional profile of the teaching profession
  • Improve data on teachers’ digital competence and training needs
  • Promote stronger coherence between EU and national approaches to the assessment of Technology-Enhanced Teaching competence.

MODULE 1

Many teachers who have already embraced a technology-integrated approach often feel isolated and unsupported in their own schools. They would be more than willing to share their experiences and know-how but what is still missing is a mutually felt desire to innovate and adapt schools to 21st century requirements.

We need a completely new mindset! Probably — as sir Ken Robinson suggests — more than school reforms, we need a complete revolution.

Unfortunately, not enough teachers are willing to experiment new ways of teaching. Some are afraid of using technology, either because they do not trust themselves or because they are afraid of losing control over the classroom; others because they have always taught lecture-style lessons and simply don't know of any other way.

In the beginning I was myself afraid of using technology in the classroom for various reasons, among which the need of permissions and authorisations from school authorities and families in my country. What's more, I used to change school every year in the past, and it was at times difficult to adapt.

However, I managed to overcome my initial fears to experiment new approaches to teaching and learning when I realized how all teenagers — and in particular my students with special needs — were benefitting from it. I think that technology can add an extra kick to our profession. It includes all students, increases their motivation, helps them develop 21st century skills and gets them to work in a more active, creative way. This is my primary goal!

Technology is augmentative and inclusive. Moreover, it's great fun also for us teachers!

Anyway, I don't think that technology can be the miracle solution. As the recent OCSE PISA report reveals, just the use of technology does not ensure better school results. Pedagogy must always come first! And it is always the teacher that makes a difference!

We need to implement technology basically as a tool — probably a faster, more motivating and inclusive one for our students — through which we can improve our way of teaching. I think that a Blended Approach, in which traditional methodology alternates with eLearning and more innovative ways, could be the best way — at least at an initial stage.

— MODULE One

What is TET — Technology-Enhanced Teaching?

As MOOC moderator Caroline Kearney suggests in the introductory video:

"Technology –enhanced teaching can be defined as teachers' proficiency in using ICT in teaching, the ability to apply pedagogic and didactic judgment, and having awareness of the implications for learning".

What type of digital competence is needed specifically by teachers?

There are currently few frameworks that identify teacher standards at international level. One example was published by the International Society for Technology in Education in 2007, and is currently being updated. It is arranged under 5 headings:

  • Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity;
  • Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments;
  • Model digital age work and learning;
  • Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility;
  • Engage in professional growth and leadership.

I came across this article on Richard Byrne's website some time ago in which 21st century digital skills for teachers are described in detail.

Read with caution! You might be shocked the first time you see that list!!!

  1. Create and edit digital audio
  2. Use social bookmarking to share resources with and between learners
  3. Use blogs and wikis to create online platforms for students
  4. Exploit digital images for classroom use
  5. Use video content to engage students
  6. Use infographics to visually stimulate students
  7. Use social networking sites to connect with colleagues and grow professionally
  8. Create and deliver asynchronous presentations and training sessions
  9. Compile a digital e-portfolio for their own development
  10. Be able to detect plagiarized work in students assignments
  11. Create screen capture videos and tutorials
  12. Curate web content for classroom learning
  13. Use and provide students with task management tools to organize their work and plan their learning
  14. Use polling software to create a real-time survey in class
  15. Understand issues related to copyright and fair use of online materials
  16. Use digital assessment tools to create quizzes
  17. Find and evaluate authentic web based content
  18. Use digital tools for time management purposes
  19. Use note taking tools to share interesting content with your students
  20. Use of online sticky notes to capture interesting ideas

I think that teachers need qualified support to develop new digital skills. We cannot do it all on our own and in our free time! — as most teachers have done so far in Europe. To develop digital competence as teachers and be then able to teach our students to learn new skills in the fields of information, communication, content creation, safety, and problem-solving— as the DGICOMP framework states — we need adequate training, as well as the time to do it!

1.3 Games-based learning for teaching foreign languages

I must admit that I was very skeptical about using games in the classroom before I took the EUN course on Games in Schools last summer. It was really inspiring!

Playful Learning can make learning easier and helps release tension in the classroom. Games offer challenge, progression, reward, personalization and real-time interaction. Characteristics equally relevant to any 21st century classroom. In this respect, I find the following video more meaningful than thousand words:

Playing is useful because it simulates real life experience — both physical, emotional, and/or intellectual — in a safe, interactive and social environment. Games offer a competitive but non-threating environment; they allow to build positive relationships; they provide a common language between students and have cultural relevance to them. While children are playing, mistakes are easily overcome because thay are simply perceived as challenges!

Apart from a few linguistic games that are often added in the Appendixes to our textbooks, I had little experience of Games-based Learning. Although I am still not wholly convinced about the benefits of using commercially available videogames and expensive consoles in the classroom, I am now more willing to integrate Playful Learning in my teaching practice

This year I have even created a gamified entry test using TinyTap and a whole range of games using Brainrush, Quizlet and AppsforLearning. My students seem to appreciate!

1.4 Using Game Maker and Flash to teach programming and creativity

Coding is definitely not "my cup of tea"!

Although I am a technology enthusiast, coding is still too far from my teaching context. We do not have enough equipment at school, and I often rely on my students' own smartphones. Scratch and other Game-making programs do not even run on tablets without Flash Player.

Besides, being an English language teacher, I wonder how I could implement coding in my teaching practice, if not within the framework of a cross-curricular approach which would necessarily involve other colleagues' participation in the activities.

Again, pedagogy and clear learning objectives come first!

1.5 Using a Smartboard to teach literacy and numeracy

Smartboards are great tools but in my view they are far too expensive. It is true that they offer interactivity, but this is however limited to a small number of students that can work on the board. Often, smartboards are used merely as big screens while the teaching model remains transmissive. I think that on the whole they can be more useful in primary schools.

In my opinion BYOD can prove more efficient if our focus is on developing 21st century skills. By bringing their own devices, students can simultaneously work on the same task. Nearpod, for example, is an excellent tool to share multimedia materials with the class, but there are plenty of free, online tools in the Cloud that can be used to record lessons and share information with everybody in class, even to collaborate remotely.

Moreover, interactive whiteboards often require complex software which limits the possibility of sharing materials with students. In my school, teachers do not have their own room and must rotate during the day, even to distant buildings. It means that sometimes we are supposed to learn up to three different Smartboard softwares. What's the use if it?

An overhead projector connected to my tablet and the use of a free, interactive online software like Educreations, Explain Everything, Lensoo Create or Doceri can easily substitute a Smartboard to the double advantage that I can reuse the materials on any other device or IWB of a different brand, as well as prepare and share them from home.

1.8 - Learning Activity

These are the very last activities we did in class to celebrate the European Day of Languages on 26th September. If you click on the link below, you can see on my blog a Padlet and a video, which I had made for a past course on digital storytelling, and that I used to lead-in the project.

Four of my classes contributed to a common Padlet. More than 80 students could express their opinions and read about their peers' ideas. They then worked in groups, read some articles from their smartphones through Edmodo and answered questions I had given them in advance. All was done in class on their smartphones or from home for homework. I must say that their response was enthusiastic!

After brainstorming on our Padlet, students worked collaboratively both in class and from home to create various multimedia artifacts: a Prezi presentation, a Powtoon video animation, various Tellagamis and Fotobabbles.

Finally they created QRcodes, took screenshots of their projects and pasted them on a poster to be shown and shared with other schoolmates in the school corridor.

What was the added value of using technology for this teaching/learning task? What did it enable me/my students to effectively do?

When my students saw their final work, they were thrilled. It was amazing, considering that I'm a new teacher for them and still do not know all their names! We started school on 17th September and the posters were on show on 26th! We did everything in about 10 days.

Using technology enabled collaboration among people who don't even know each other! It smashed down all barriers and fears. We could work together as if we had known each other before! I think this is the greatest benefit of learning by doing: if you work and play with your students, they will stop perceiving you as a "distant" teacher and will look on you more as a coach or a guide. I love this feeling! It is essential to effectively learn languages. Kids should not be afraid of expressing themselves!

2) Did I effectively integrate the technology into my lesson plan, linking it clearly to the learning objectives and syllabus?

I did my best, considering the short notice. I wanted my students to actively learn not only by reading, speaking and writing but also by expressing their creativity. They also read some articles in English, but while they were busy planning their projects in groups, they did not even complain about their length (lol!) or was it because they were reading from their smartphone screens?

It was however a good opportunity to teach them about the importance of respecting copyright. They used only Creative Commons images and provided attribution in a decent way — though improvable. But "Rome was not built in a day", was it?

3) Was the technology used to its full potential, and did I and my students have the sufficient digital skills to benefit from it? If not, why not, and how might I make sure this is the case in the future?

No, technology was not used in full. There are way more things that we could have done! But this was their very first experience using technology to carry out a school task. In the future, I will try to make them responsible also for the planning and will let them free to choose the tool that they prefer.

Padlet & Tellagami 

4) Did the technology support learner choice and personalized learning? Did students use the technology to manage their own learning, by choosing the appropriate resources or tools to support their work?

No, unfortunately not, although some choices were all their own. They brainstormed the different components of their projects; they wrote all texts in groups; they selected all images and put the whole together. I was however very present and helped them with the video editing and the creation of QR Codes.

Powtoon video animation

5) Did the way I use the technology allow the learner to be a co-designer of their learning, and not only a consumer but also a producer?

Yes, they could use their smartphones for the first time not only to text on What'sApp!! They learnt about augmented reality and copyright issues. They recorded their own voice to practice pronunciation, oracy and fluency. Knowing ahead that what they were doing was going to be viewed online by many, created a wider audience and added on enthusiasm and their eager to do well.

Collaborative Prezi 

6) Did my use of the technology allow my students to go beyond learning traditional subject-based competences and develop more transversal 21st century skills such as collaborative problem solving?

Yes, at least to some extent! Creating something that is original and authentic motivates students to perform at their best. More than once they redid recordings or asked me for furher corrections and improvements. When I simply correct assignments or give back class tests, they sometimes don't even waste their time in checking what they had done wrong!

Thinglink with Fotobabbles

7) Did I allow enough time for students to work with the technology, and what could I have done to make the activity run more smoothly?

Time was short but we managed to finish our projects on time. Many students worked from home, because although there is a computer lab at school, it is too far from our building. Great experience!

MODULE 2

In this Module we are invited to reflect on the processes of self- and peer-assessment.

2.2 What are the principles of effective teacher self-assessment? How can teachers benefit from online self-assessment in their professional development?

In this video Janet Looney explains how teaching and innovating in class are strictly interlinked. While performing all the traditional roles in a classroom, teachers are also setting goals, deciding on the most effective learning strategies, tracking their own progress, responding to feedback from peers, and assessing their own progress. They start to innovate their teaching practice the moment they start asking themselves questions about:

  • how to integrate new methods in their teaching
  • how to assess the impact on their students
  • how to identify ways in which they can best help their students

2.3 How can teacher self-assessment support innovative Technology-Enhanced Teaching?

As Janet Looney says:

“When teachers self-assess in this context, assessment becomes part of their learning process and the process of innovation. They will set goals, test ideas, monitor their progress and then adjust their strategies – this is essentially a formative assessment process.”

She then introduces the concept of selfregulation which refers to the learner’s ability to set goals, use effective strategies for learning, monitor their own progress, get and respond to feedback, and to assess their own progress.

I feel this is an authentic challenge for today’s teachers. I understand that it is important for my own professional development, but also in order to find new ways of meeting my students’ needs. Integrating technology in the classroom is for sure a good way to innovate teaching and have a positive impact on my students’ learning.

I also agree on Janet’s statement that “people who are able to collaborate well are also more likely to benefit from their peer’s feedback and to manage and assess their own learning effectively”.

I think that technology could be of great help also for us teachers to facilitate self and peer assessment. I look forward to knowing more about online assessment tools and platforms that might ensure self-efficacy.

I like the idea of using e-portfolios. My own blog is sort of an e-portfolio for myself, in which I record and upload examples of my students’ final projects. In the very end, I think that they are also a record of my own work.

A couple of years ago I had my students keeping their own blogs. My goal was to provide them with a tool through which they could metacognitively reflect on what they had learnt and then be able to compare it with the initial stages of their learning, see where they have developed new competences, and identify areas for improvement or further learning.

My tenth grade students' blogs

For the future, I would like to further develop also the use of rubrics to help my students self-assess how their own work matches up the set criteria. They are using their smartphones and online rubrics these days, which I have created on Google Forms, to peer evaluate their classmates' presentations.

I have never used a rubric to assess myself though, apart while participating at moocs. I think they can be useful to identify areas in which I can improve and develop a strategy to do so.

I have recently tried to integrate more games-based learning in my teaching. I guess it can be efficiently used also for teachers. My only concern is that playing is immersive and therefore quite time-consuming!

On the whole I don’t like games, although I admit that simulations or multi-player problem-solving platforms could be helpful to figure out what approach to use in a demanding classroom situation. But really, who has so much time?

We would need 48 hours a day to cope with all that!

I really appreciated Janet Looney’s final top tips for online self-assessment, which I quote:

  1. Make use of online tools for self-assessment. E-portfolios, rubrics, exemplars, games and tracking tools all provide a way for teachers to gauge the quality of their work and to see where they might want to make improvements, see how far they have come, and where they want to go next with their learning.
  2. If you have the opportunity, take advantage of the fact that you are working with a collaborative online community. Peers will be able to bring new viewpoints and to provide feedback on each other’s work. The fact that there are many people engaged in some of the same challenges means that you’ll be able to benefit from the ‘wisdom of the crowd’.
  3. Remember that this is a learning opportunity. If you aren’t already, you’ll be able to get more familiar with online learning and to build your confidence in this area. You’ll also be able to test out new and innovative approaches to using new teaching, learning and assessment methods with the support of your online peers. Your self-assessment is an important part of that learning.

2.8 Learning activity

1) Why and how is self and peer assessment important to me?

I am often quite critical of myself. To some extent, I even resent the fact that in the Italian school system we do not have any form of teacher evaluation. It could be useful, although the risk of being judged by someone who is not competent enough or reliable does actually exist and shatters most of my colleagues, including myself.

However, self assessment is an ongoing process in my teaching practice. Although I do not do it formally and do not use rubrics, what my students think is of utmost importance to me.

Anytime I introduce a new topic or design a new activity I first ask myself this question: “If I were one of my students, would I enjoy doing this activity?”

I think it is very important to reflect on the impact that our teaching will have on our students. I always try to adapt to their needs.

I absolutely need my students’ feedback: they are the ones who can benefit or be negatively affected by my teaching.

Especially when we are trying to innovate and integrate technology in our teaching practice, we need to hear constructive comments in order to feel reassured that what we are doing is actually producing a positive impact on the kids.

What's more, asking our students for feedback shows that we care for them and that we are listening!

I always finish my lessons asking if they had enjoyed such and such activity. Or, if they have found useful that particular tool. Sometimes I launch a poll on Edmodo and ask them to provide anonymous feedback.

At the end of the year I also assign my students an anonymous questionnaire and ask them to evaluate my teaching through rubrics. They have always done that very seriously and have provided me with some very useful tips, which I could never ever have thought about without them.

2) When I have engaged in self and peer assessment about my professional practice in the past, what were the most useful benefits I gained from the processes and outcomes? To answer this question you can reflect on your short self-assessment you did in module 1’s learning activity, and any other self or peer assessment processes you have engaged in.

Reflecting on my teaching has been very useful to me, especially when I had the opportunity to compare my experience with that of other colleagues. Peer learning is definitely very effective on all levels! Certainly, one needs first to understand that your reviewer’s efforts should be however appreciated.

3) And what about the aspects I have found most challenging when engaging in self and peer assessment?

At the beginning, you do not grasp the purpose of so much work. Assessing can be very time-consuming. If you are doing that for a peer, you first need to delve into his/her teaching context and try to figure out how the lesson plan or teaching activity can be improved. That’s not easy if you are doing it seriously.

Moreover, one is often worried about hurting other people’s feelings. We are obviously used to evaluating our students and are not that willing to accept other people’s criticism. However, it is from constructive feedback that we can learn and improve.

4) How often do I take part in self and peer assessment? What stops me from doing this more often (is this due to time constraints, to a lack of knowledge about the benefits or how to go about this effectively, or perhaps a school culture which doesn’t encourage this?) There can be many factors, but identifying what these are will help you think about how you might overcome them to allow yourself the opportunity to benefit more from self and peer assessment.

I have had experience in peer assessment only while participating at professional development courses or Moocs. Never ever in my country and never in my school. It is frustrating, but unfortunately school culture and the unwillingness of other colleagues to participate even in planning the syllabus, let alone assessing themselves, is the main hurdle to do it more often. Self and peer assessment are probably the last steps on a long path that leads to innovation. Most Italian teachers do not question themselves and take it for granted that what they have always done in class needs only to be replicated. Amen!

So, at least for the time being, the only way is to proceed on self assessment or peer assessment with the help of international colleagues, in the hope that in the long run things will gradually change also in Italy.

5) ) Finally, what precise gains do I expect to receive from being involved in self and peer assessment, and how can I ensure I obtain them? And what are my biggest concerns and fears in this regard? How might I find ways to overcome these? Being involved in this course is a good start.

Constructive feedback is what I appreciate most from a colleague reviewing my work. Reflecting on my own teaching is equally important, because it can help me improve my points of weakness in my work. Trying to evaluate the impact that my efforts are having on student learning is the last step. What I would like to learn from a colleague is maybe how to integrate new approaches in the classroom by using the most appropriate tools.

Module 3

The learning objectives for this module are:

  1. Understand the design and objectives of the Norwegian and Greek teacher assessment tools aimed at monitoring the progress of a teachers’ technology-enhanced teaching competence;
  2. Appreciate the benefits and limitations of the Norwegian and Greek tools for helping a teacher monitor and improve their technology-enhanced teaching skills;
  3. Exercise your self-assessment skills by taking the Norwegian Teacher Mentor survey, keeping in mind all the self-assessment tips and principles discussed in the course so far.

As Caroline reports in her video introduction to Module 3, many teachers on the course said that they would like to engage in self and peer assessment on a regular basis, but there are various obstacles: a heavy work-load and lack of time; a lack of self-confidence and a fear of criticism; and a non-encouraging school environment that doesn’t always encourage reflection or collaboration.

I'm looking forward to discovering new resources, rubrics and online assessment tools that are specifically targeted at teachers with the aim of helping them reflect on their technology enhanced teaching skills.

The first tool presented is the Norwegian Teacher Mentor - an online survey tool available in English which measures teachers' current level of competence in relation to various aspects of technology enhanced teaching.

The Teacher Mentor is a free, online service for teachers aimed at guiding them in their self-reflection about how they use technology for teaching and learning. It is based on the Self-Review Framework offered by the National Association of Advisors for Computers in Education in the UK.

There are 4 areas:

  • Pedagogy and ICT;
  • Digital Production;
  • Digital Communication;
  • and Digital Judgement.

Within each area, there are 3 to 4 sub-areas. For example, under the area of Digital Judgement there are the following sub-areas: privacy, ethics, intellectual property rights and source evaluation.

At the end of the self-reflection survey, the system informs you of the level you are at in each sub-area, and offers you advice on the next steps to take to improve your level.

The framework is based on a 5-level scale of digital competence. By completing the survey, teachers can identify the stage of the process they are at, and what they need to learn to reach a higher level of competence. Each level (from 1 for beginners to 5 for advanced) contains several statements concerning teachers’ knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to a particular aspect of technology-enhanced learning.

Also available are graphs in different formats which visually illustrate in which areas you have a particular strength or need for improvement. The survey results are saved, so that you can go back at any time and review it. Teachers are encouraged then to re-take the survey once they have had the chance to implement the advice offered so they can see how much progress they have made.

3.3 - 3.4 Teachers' feedback on using the Teacher Mentor tool

In her video, Gro Caroline mentions the importance of ICT for her work on cross-curricular projects with her pupils. She also thinks the Teacher Mentor survey can give teachers ideas and motivate them to keep working, and that similar surveys should be developed for all subject areas. Finally, she says that she found it necessary and useful to discuss certain concepts in the survey with colleagues at school.

Andrej Rasmussen says that although at times too superficial, the Teacher Mentor provides a framework for ICT assessment and sets it in perspective.

3.5 The Greek B-Level Assessment Tool

The second tool presented for teachers' self-assessment is the Greek B-level within the Greek national curriculum. It has been developed to assess the competences of Greek teachers in the pedagogical use of ICT skills in their everyday teaching practice. The tool has been created to serve as part of the formal certification process of teachers who participate in the B-level teacher training programme. Although the tool has not been initially conceived for self evaluation, it encourages teachers' reflection on the efficacy of their practice. Unfortunately, it is not available to everybody online.

The B-level tool aims at:

  • understanding the conditions and the potential for the pedagogical utilization of ICT in education,
  • the active participation of teachers and students in learning communities,
  • skills for communication and collaboration among teachers and students,
  • a critical overall view of the existing ICT tools that can enhance teaching, like educational software, the Internet, specific web 2.0 services and tools, Learning Management Systems, distance learning platforms etc;
  • the ability to constructively use the above tools in the classroom,
  • the role of educational activities in the application of ICT,
  • the principles of designing an educational activity,
  • the efficient use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom, etc.

The tool consists of an automated part and a non-automated part. In the automated part, the teacher is presented with a set of 36 multiple-choice questions, drawn randomly from a much larger pool of about 1000 questions. The content of the questions varies from simple theory to complex “stories”, which describe a situation in the classroom. Emphasis is given to a holistic approach, so many questions require the mastery of several competences from various areas of the Greek national curriculum. For each question, the teacher selects the answer he considers to be the correct one, and in the end an overall score is automatically calculated.

3.8 Learning Activity

This is the MENTOR Report on my level of digital competence:

These are my reflections on the MENTOR self-assessment tool

What is useful and less useful about it?

It's been the first time for me to use a self-assessment tool for teachers. I have often used rubrics to evaluate my students performance as well as for peer assessment, but never applied the same technique to myself if not on Moocs.

It was definitely useful, although a bit abstract. Rubrics for students are generally more specific and task-based. I appreciated the fact that this tool aims at encouraging self reflection, but it probably remains too general and does not actually gauge the level of digital competence through simulations or in real teaching scenarios.

What did you find difficult or unclear, and why do you think that is?

The survey was not particularly difficult nor time-consuming. However, it was not very challenging, either. All is based on mere reading, with very little interactivity. Rubrics are quite long and detailed, with several overlapping statements. I would prefer shorter items, and yes/no questions that could clearly identify the level of competence achieved by a teacher.

It would have been really interesting to try out also the Greek system, which is apparently based on questions more than rubrics. I think their focus on simple questions and complex “stories” to describe authentic situations in the classroom could be a more objective approach to effective assessment.

Were you surprised at the levels you reached?

Not really, also because there is no expected surprise. The survey is meant to be a subjective reflection and it obviously lacks objective measuring. I was, however, surprised by the report and the encouraging suggestions provided. Honestly, I have never seen myself as a resource for my school, but for my students!

Did you find the advice offered useful?

Yes, to some extent! The invitation to make myself available to my school administration is easier said than done in Italian schools. Taking up an active role and being a mentor to other teachers sounds risky to me, as it might not be well received by some fellow teachers. Innovators are not that welcome in Italian schools! Newbies in particular are supposed to keep a low profile, at least in the beginning!

On the other hand, I found the advice to participate in national and international projects as quite relevant to my present state. After many years of continuous learning, it's probably time for me to get involved in international cooperation and a wider network of colleagues. I feel I might also be ready to take up a leading role.

What will you concretely now do in order to act on this advice to improve your level?

I will continue to share my knowledge with other teachers. This is something I have always tried to do through my blog, on which there is already a whole page dedicated to spreading inspiring ideas for teaching. I feel, however, that one had better not insist with others if they are still so skeptical and resist anything that sounds new!

I am aware that teaching others how to use digital resources will be inspiring also for me. I will try to offer my services also outside my school.

Set yourself a target by when you will implement these steps and retake the survey to see if you have improved your level.

I have been thinking of entering eTwinning for quite a long time. What has stopped me so far is that I have changed school almost every year. I will also try to use my teacher connections on Edmodo to start short-term projects with other schools abroad. This is my first target! As for the others, I don't really know... too many factors are involved, including Italian notorious, non-encouraging bureaucracy.

Similar self-assessment tools for teachers

Tiina Sarisalmi suggested a tool that is currently used in Finland. Cristina Ivaldi sourced also a presentation on Slideshare. Thank you both.

Module 4

4.2 - Teacher as a learning designer

Diane Laurillard, Professor of Learning with Digital Technology at the UCL Institute of Education, presents an extremely interesting insight into the nature of the teaching profession.

Design Science is different from Science in the sense that in Science you're thinking in terms of explaining the world, Design Science is trying to make the world a better place really.

What a fascinating, inspiring vision of teaching!

I completely agree! It is probably also one of the reasons why most of us love teaching! Doesn'it echo anything in your mind?

As Professor laurillard explains: "Teaching is not very scientific", because it is often unpredictable, neither is it simply an Art because in Art anything goes. Teaching requires precise designing . Teachers can be creative, which is actually what they desire to be — but what they do in class must help their learners enhance their competence.

The learning designer

The Learning Designer was created as a means to help teachers articulate their pedagogy. The focus is on the learning outcomes that students are expected to reach. It also encourages the sharing of resources among teachers. Each learning story can in fact be improved and adapted to individual needs. I like the idea of creating a virtual community of teachers all contributing to creating better learning opportunities for their students. At the same time, I must admit that I do not fancy to see others' ideas being exploited without crediting the author.

Diana suggests that a teacher might consider the LD like what a journal paper is to a Scientist.

Scientists communicate with each other, build knowledge by sharing ideas of their experimentation. You go and look up look at a journal paper, you use what it does, you take it a bit further, you experiment and then you give that idea back to the community. That’s exactly what we need in teaching as we are trying to build the knowledge of how to work with new technology in teaching.

Collaborative learning is at the heart of the Learning Designer, because teachers can use it in a flexible way, not just to build their own lesson plans but also to adapt what others have done to the specific needs of their students. By giving it back to the community, we are thus fully engaged in a collaborative process to which each of us contributes a bit.

The Learning Designer encourages teachers to "articulate their pedagogy. For each bit of activity that you get the learner to do you have to categorise it as being one of six types of learning.

There is a drop- down menu through which teachers can design if their students are:

  • learning through acquisition,
  • learning through discussion,
  • learning through investigation,
  • learning through practice,
  • learning through production or
  • learning through collaboration.

The pie chart offers a visual representation of how balanced activities are! If you realize for example that you are dedicating too long to acquisition and not enough to collaborative learning, you can decide that you want to add more of that to your lesson plan.

The pie chart shows if activities are well proportioned.

I find that the specific colour coding is very useful because it makes you aware of where your time is going. It helps me reflect more clearly on the type of learning experience that I am creating for my students.

Collaborative learning

I would like to get my students to learn in a more collaborative way. I will try to design more and more my lesson with the aim to empower them and make them more independent, also through online learning activities, i.e. Flipped Classroom. I agree with Diana when she says that:

If you get your students discussing things online prior to coming to the class, then they're doing something which puts them in a much better position to make the best use of the class based activity then they would have if they were just sitting reading something.

4.3 The Learning Designer experience of an Italian secondary teacher of English

On this MOOC I have contributed a video on my personal experience in using the Learning Designer. It's been a great honour to me!

I was a bit worried that my experience could be of little relevance to other teachers, let alone boring. I was expecting to read the colleagues' comments on the Padlet attached below my video with a mixture of thrill and anxiety. I am not a professional teacher trainer, but a teacher! So, thank you everybody for your positive feedback! I was delighted to read your comments!

4.4 The Learning Designer experience of a Turkish teacher trainer and secondary school language teacher

Reyhan Günes is a great teacher and an experienced teacher trainer. I admire her because she is very professional. In her video she shows also that she is techsavvy and very creative! Congrats Reyhan! I really look forward to collaborating with you in some future projects, maybe eTwinning.

4.5 The teacher as peer assessor and assessee

In the following video Professor Diana Laurillard illustrates the benefits of peer assessment and self-assessment.

"Peer assessment is a two stage process"

Diana's top tips to carry out effective peer reviews?

  • Use different rubrics
  • Make sure that the lesson plan has a good, well defined, learning outcome
  • Check that the learning outcome is well aligned with the activities that have been designed and also with the assessment of those activities.
  • Look for what kind of feed-back the students are going to get.
  • How good is that feed-back? Who are they getting it from? Is it from a teacher? Are they getting it from another student? Is it self-assessment, is it something coming back from a computer program?
  • If the students are really capable of doing the designed activities or whether they should be led in more gradually.

4.6 The peer assessment experience of an Italian secondary school teacher of English

In this second video I have tried to contribute the peer assessment experience I made on some previous MOOCs in revising other colleagues' work, and viceversa. Both were very useful experiences, I should say.

padlet

4.7 The peer assessment experience of a Turkish teacher trainer and secondary school language teacher

Reyhan's video is awesome. Although we have never met, she was able to strike to the point and put in her video information and criteria which I had not tackled in my video. Her focus is on rubrics and assessment criteria, which she says are essential to efficient peer reviewing. Great presentation, Reyhan!

Final assignment

For my final assignment I have chosen a topic which we have been dealing with my 12th year students right in these days.

As part of their preparation for the ESOL First Certificate, they are learning how to write a review. Instead of having simply write reviews, I have asked them to create TACKK webpages on their favourite film, complete with some copyright-friendly images and film trailer. Learning by Doing has been the perfect occasion to teach them also about Creative Commons licenses and fair use in web content creation.

They are working on their projects these days. So there is still a lot to be done!

They are also peer assessing each other, using an online rubric which I have created on Google Forms.

Their response is amazing!
Peer Reviewing fosters active learning!

They are learning collaboratively and exchanging valuable feedback! It is unbelievable!

After hearing the phrase peer review repeated at least a hundred times during this Mooc, I decided to make an extensive experiment in class. It's far exceeding my expectations!

  • This is authentic communication in the foreign language;
  • it continues beyond classroom walls;
  • it helps develop team spirit and build up self esteem among teenagers;
  • it integrates the use of various digital tools and eLearning;
  • it is a way to introduce complex issues like digital integrity and digital citizenship.
  • It helps students develop 21st century skills through collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, responsibility, etc
I'm so happy to have been part of this course!

I'd like to thank Caroline Kearney and Benjamin Hertz, along with the whole staff of European Schoolnet Academy, for granting me such a great opportunity as teacher instructor on the MOOC. I sincerely hope that I have been of help.

This has been a great course! Great atmosphere! Great teachers!

I wish we could have more of all this in our schools!

We have a dream! Let's dream on!
Created with images by incooldj - "Studenti vintage" • Norman Lear Center - "Lloyd Dangle at USC Creativity & Collaboration" • Phaenomenalex - "Udine, ITA, 2011" • ifindkarma - "Imagine all the people." • media.digest - "stay hungry | stay foolish |" • Cristóbal Cobo Romaní - "ICT skills cloud" • www.audio-luci-store.it - "college boys" • AllanADL - "The Padagogy Wheel" • Mike Sansone - "Maiers Literacy Institute Reflections (Day 1)" • r.nial.bradshaw - "error-calculator-calculations.jpg" • kjarrett - "SMART Board in action" • seantoyer - "Too Connected" • WolfVision_vSolution - "Classroom Application" • jjfbbennett - "Corner Themes slide 4" • jorgeandresem - "Creative Commons" • amandacoolidge - "Scholarship of Teaching and Learning" • Wesley Fryer - "K-12 Online Conference 2013: Transforming Learning" • IsaacMao - "PPTlog" • Barrett.Discovery - "DSC05870" • Pixel Addict - "flickr is hard work" • writtle_teachin - "by viv" • mrsdkrebs - "2013-05-11 Learning" • mrsdkrebs - "What is Learning?" • dougbelshaw - "Interest-based pathways to learning" • <cleverCl@i®ê> - "errors in learning languages-Eng." • MichaelRiedel - "Learning" • tjmwatson - "MSc eLearning: Essay Wordle" • IHA Central Office - "Trevallyn assessment" • symphony of love - "Robert M. Pirsig The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands" • PublicDomainPictures - "lake reflection light" • LoggaWiggler - "water reflections sparkle" • visulogik - "Reflection Hammarby Sjöstad" • zeevveez - "Fallen Flowers with reflection-1" • vernieman - "regram @spinzer Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. - #RIPNelsonMandela. You're a legend, passing away at a legendary age of 95." • woodleywonderworks - "listening in science and math" • mafflong - "Top Tips Tin"

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