Work for week 2. The following is a diary come min-reflection for the work I’m doing for the 2nd week of the ICTs for Learning Design course.

A bug

Oh dear, have just noticed that the banner image on the Moodle course site says “ITCs for Learning Design”

Banners and QA

Double check Week 1

The coordinator for this course has adopted the “weekly update” pattern for this course. Each week an “email” is sent out describing the aims and intent of the week. It’s a practice that is useful to keep a track of what should be done. Time to double check what I’ve missed from week 1.

Ahh, there are two more blog reflections I have to engage in. Better get to them, especially since the feed into the assessment.
So, after completing the week 1 tasks, it’s time to be doing what I should have been focused on.

The overview of week 2

Apparently looking more at “digital pedagogy”. My immediate response is “What, as distinct from blackboard pedagogy and paper pedagogy?”. i.e. somewhat sceptical. It’s just another technology. It appears that TPACK will be one of the things we’re looking at (which links to @sthcrft’s thoughts on educational frameworks). Oh, and we’re also looking at Kerisley and SChneiderman’s Learning Engagement theory framework (a “theory framework”, very meta?) and Bloom’s taxonomy.

The intent is that we’ll be combining these learning design frameworks into a scaffold/framework for our own learning design.

This overview was given in a separate resource page on the Moodle site. I’m glad it’s there, I’ve found it useful.

Teaching in online environments

Introduces a range of questions a teacher might want to consider about why you have an online presence and the implications that arise. I’m not sure many of these reasons differ from those you would consider about anything you would do.

Some more definitions – what is ICT (any digital device). What is pedagogy (art of teaching). What is productive pedagogy (art of teaching that is productive in terms of student learning outcomes). And some more from which it concludes

Learning should be authentic, it should be embedded in a real context. It should be connected to the world beyond the boundaries of the learning context. Learning should be problematic, in real life, learning is always messy and ill-defined.

Learning should be collaborative and support substantive conversation amongst learners, and it should value difference and group identity. Finally, learning should support deep knowledge, higher order thinking.

I really am not a fan of generalisations. My immediate thought is of situations where this may be somewhat inappropriate.

And Education Queensland on Digital Pedagogy

identifies digital pedagogy as being “a new way of working and learning with ICT to facilitate quality learning experiences for 21st Century learners. Digital Pedagogy moves the focus from ICT tools and skills, to a way of working in the digital world”.

I find it interesting that nothing has really been said about why you would use frameworks and the disadvantages.


TPACKis introduced through a Prezi presentation (is “presentation” not needed? is “a prezi” enough). Having looked through it, I’m not sure what value TPACK provides in terms of structuring and making accessible the lower levels used in the presentation. Most of these looked like a grab-bag of different taxonomies/fameworks of software, content, applications etc. I wonder if the TPACK site has any better introductions?

One of the difficulties I guess I had with the presentation is that I was wondering exactly what it is about TPACK that I should remember from this presentation. What should I have been looking for? As it happens, I already have a copy of this article on TPACK

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing Technological Pedagogical Knowledge. In AACTE (Eds.). The Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Educators. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group for the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

Having read that, the contribution TPACK appears to make is the recognition that really outstanding use of ICTs for Learning Design emerges from the interplay of expert knowledge of each of the components: Technology, Pedagogy and Content. It is the interplay that is important. Beyond that, I’m unsure exactly what TPACK can contribute to help us as student teachers in learning design. In fact, given that many of the student teachers are going to be limited in terms of experience with technology, new to the practices of pedagogy, and for some a bit rough on content (e.g. my mathematics knowledge) TPACK suggests that they will struggle to produce really outstanding use of ICTs for learning design.

That said, I think it is important that more people understand the idea that

“We view technology as a knowledge system that comes with its own biases, and affordances that make some technologies more applicable in some situations than others

Which is not to mention that there is more to TPACK and T, P and C knowledge. There’s also PC, TP, TC and TPC knowledge.

Then there is Archambault et al (2010) which critically examine TPACK and reference work that is critical of PCK on which TPACK is based.

At this stage, I am wondering just exactly what purpose TPACK fulfills. It is a description of the types of knowledge required to design ICT-based learning design or is it a framework that guides the design. It is increasingly sounding like the former and hence not all that useful as a framework to actively support learning design. Archambault et al (2010)

There is confusion among the field of educational technology, not only concerning the definitions, but also the specific activities and methods to develop TPACK. This makes it difficult to implement knowledge from a framework that is yet to be fully defined, which limits its practical application.

Engagement Theory

And now onto Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. I hadn’t heard of this particular theory. Wondering about its acceptance a quick Google Scholar reveals that its been cited 263 times, so it’s reasonably important. Now, following the advice given early on that in education you want references that a within 5 years, I went looking for something a bit more recent than 1998. Most of the references since 2005 appear to be reports of particular innovations which are likely to have briefly referenced engagement theory. Have to admit that in current times with the focus on engagement, a theory of engagement for ICTs might go a long way. So what do they have to say.

The fundamental idea

underlying engagement theory is that students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks.

The place of technology is that while not necessarily required, it facilitates engagement in ways that are otherwise difficult to achieve. While not based on existing learning theories, aspects of it connect with ideas from constructivist, situated and adult learning theories.

It is based on the idea of “creating successful collaborative teams that work on ambitious projects that are meaningful to someone outside the classroom”. Can be summarised by 3 components

  1. Relate;
    Focus on group/team: communication, planning, management, social skills. Collaboration increases learning (through explaining ideas), motivation, diversity etc.

    Collaboration can be difficult and unusual. Teacher requires practice and skills.

  2. Create;
    Make learning creative and purposeful through real projects defined by students.

    Project work can be hard, especially project definition and team formation.

  3. Donate.
    Make a useful contribution while learning through an outside customer. Increasing motivation and satisfaction.

Ahh, interesting that it includes a disclaimer that theory has not be subjected to empirical test.

But still, I can see this being a much more useful framework for guiding the design of e-learning.

Bloom’s taxonomy

Ahh, the old friend. Can learning objectives not be too far away? Using this resource on Blooms. Interesting that it is not using the revised version, especially since the revised version places synthesis at a higher level than evaluation. And there is also the focus on the cognitive domain and no apparent mention of the affective and pyschomotor.

I again have this problem with what sort of framework. Bloom’s is not a framework for designing e-learning. It’s a taxonomy useful for describing learning objectives. i.e. of describing the goals for learning, not the actual learning. You might be able to use Biggs’ idea of constructive alignment in conjunction with Bloom’s taxonomy as a design framework, but not Bloom’s by itself.

Design our framework?

Oh dear, we’re now meant to combine these two into a framework that we believe will support excellent e-learning design. The idea being that Learning Engagement Theory provides the “valued learning context” and Bloom’s is used to ensure that students are covering the bases from knowledge through to synthesis. We’re supposed to blog about this.

Mmm, arguably the project-based nature of Learning Engagement theory would work somewhat against using Bloom’s in this way. You could specify Bloom’s hoops, but perhaps at the cost of students being able to follow their passion. Perhaps balancing these two is the nature of the “wicked problem” that is teaching? I can see constructive alignment appearing.

The other problem I have with this is one I’ve had for a while. That is the emphasis on design from scratch. i.e. that learning design involves a blank slate rather than tweaking what is already there. In a school setting, where there is less inertia this might work. It might also work with an expert teacher. But in the case of student teachers, I’m wondering whether an assumption of design from scratch is the reality. I have the same concerns about teaching programming.

Will leave this for another post.

Other activities

This is part of what confuses me. These other activities are on another resource page in the Moodle course. Not part of the other material I worked through.

Wiki, De Bono’s hats and mobile phones

Use a Wiki to contribute some arguments/perspectives about mobile phones in schools. Again, showing off a design model and the use of a Wiki. Okay, but I feel it is somewhat a bolt-on to the content of the week. It doesn’t feel authentic. Not to mention, going by Engagement theory, the Wiki is not for someone else, further reducing its relevance.

Mmm, have to post a reflective blog on that. Will post this first and get to that.


Archambault, Leanna M., and Joshua H. Barnett. 2010. Revisiting technological pedagogical content knowledge: Exploring the TPACK framework. Computers & Education 55, no. 4 (December): 1656-1662. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.07.009.