Design Project development so far.
Early on in the paper, when encouraged to think about possible topics for a design project, I was already aware of a professional development gap at my workplace. Traditionally, professional development has been prescribed for the whole teaching staff, but recently I have noticed a shift in teachers’ perspective around the validity and effectiveness of whole staff professional development to an increasingly voiced preference for more personalised professional development that addresses specific teacher needs. A definite professional development need that most of my teaching colleagues have identified is a need to upskill themselves on the use of Google Suite apps, as well as the development of online portfolios to house evidence towards Practising Teachers Criteria. With this information in mind, and with the realisation that I had the beginnings of a Front End Analysis for a project in the presence of a:
- Rationale – I knew who the target audience for the training would be, the reason for the training in instruction/training to help support teachers in upskilling, as well as why the training is needed.
- Possible Outcome- the design and development of instruction to satisfy needs/goals/objectives of my target audience.
I decided to submit my proposal onto the assignment wiki and soon had four colleagues expressing interest in the project. The group came together out of shared interest which reassured me that all involved had a common goal for the project (Brindley, Walti, & Blaschke, 2009).
Although originally my idea, when the group had the first experience of coming together as a design group, I did not want to automatically assume the role of the team leader in consideration towards other team members, one of who already has experience managing teams, although not within a teaching context. The assigning of roles was not what I would consider as a comfortable experience. As a personality, I do not like putting myself at the forefront because I do not like others to think I am presuming expertise, however, in previous experiences such as in Task 2.3 when we had to work in groups, it wasn’t worry about any presumptions, but the need to get the group organised and a job done that prompted me into sharing leadership with another colleague. For this project, after some deliberation and open option for group members to place themselves into roles they thought most suited them through our group wiki, I finalised primary and secondary roles just because someone had to do this for the team to make a start.
Communicating through the assigned wiki to organise the group has certainly been more useful than using STREAM. We also use Google hangouts at the start of our working together just to introduce ourselves and make the experience real.
After only a short while, I felt that our wiki was getting rather cluttered with too many ideas as we waded through information in the development of our Project Brief. I felt really uncomfortable deleting any information from the wiki, because that would be like eradicating a colleagues’ social presence from within the discussion (Kehrwald, 2008). For this reason, I decided to pull the information for our brief and tidy that up for presentation through a separate wiki for a colleague to submit later.
An aspect about this project that has been rather frustrating so far is the fact that the group has been very aware of Assignment 2 deadline as we are getting organised in our project, making us feel like we haven’t been able to knuckle down and get on with our project design as we concentrate elsewhere. The fact that four out of five group members are teachers who are mostly busy preparing for and conducting parent teacher interviews at this time of the year additionally meant that time for the group to meet synchronously has been basically non-existent. Finally, an unforeseen situation which involved a change in paper facilitator mid-year means that any support from a facilitator who by this stage in the paper would have developed a knowledge of how individuals might work together as a group and provide specific guidance or support to the group (Brindley, et al., 2009) might need more time to develop at this stage.
At this stage in our project we have decided to regroup and relook at what we have so far after Assignment 2 has been completed. We feel that the need to go through what we have done so far, relook at the information using a front end analysis lens and determine which areas need further clarification. We also need to delve deeper into the learning analytics of how teachers, our target audience, learn, in order to create a project that is worthwhile and effective. From all of this information, the distribution of tasks can be further refined.
I have found the readings included in 261.270 to be extremely useful in providing insight and guidance from different perspectives that is very well worth noting when designing a project. A reading that particularly stuck with me, and which is being continually utilised as a checkpoint in my design thinking is the one by Goodyear and Ellis (2010), my understanding of which is demonstrated below.
Image 1 My understanding of the reading by Goodyear and Ellis (2010).
Within what I have learnt about Connectivism, this group task came as no surprise. I can see the value in it as it makes us active in the process of acquiring knowledge which is co-created and shared. Being given the opportunity to experience working with a group in an online environment also allows us to understand what difficulties can surface when working in such situations, and allows us to develop strategies to work collaboratively.
Although not something that I can use within my teaching in my present situation, this project is going to be an invaluable resource to refer to once completed. I am finding that planning for this project that will be online is not too different from planning a unit of work that is meant for face to face delivery, although special consideration has to be given to communication channels as well as planning for the development of relationships between students along the way, relationships that in a face-to-face course would probably be easier to establish.
This project certainly pulls together all four learning outcomes for this course. I look forward to continuing my work on this project with no interruptions.
Brindley, J.E., Walti, C., & Blaschke, L.M. (2009). Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(3). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/675/1271
Goodyear, P. & Ellis, R. A. (2010). Expanding conceptions of study, context and educational design. In R. Sharpe, H. Beetham, & S. de Freitas (Eds.), Rethinking learning for a digital age: how learners are shaping their own experiences (pp. 100-113). New York : Routledge.
Kehrwald, B. (2008). Understanding social presence in text-based online learning environments. Distance Education, 29(1), 89-106.