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Research Reviews

DERN provides a weekly review of important educational ICT research with links to research about schools, training and higher education. Research reviews focus on issues and trends that impact on the use of ICT in education.


Personal learning environments

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 with 0 comments
21st century skills Engagement and performance Interactive personal networking Learning environment Personalising learning

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Finding ways to enrich learning through the use of digital technologies has been explored in the literature by a number of educational researchers, academics and writers on a range of topics, none more fascinating than personalised learning. The work of Wendy Drexler on the Networked Student Model for schools was reviewed in October. This week’s post takes the concept of personal learning a step further by examining some significant research and discussion that addresses the topic of personal learning environments, with a focus on higher education.

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Pedagogy and student-teacher interactions

Posted on 11 Nov 2010 with 0 comments
Engagement and performance Learning environment Pedagogy

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Teachers today are expected to work with more diverse communities than ever before and often the use of digital technologies can be involved. The use of digital technologies for learning in education can be argued to centre on the quality of the teaching especially the dialogue between the teacher and the students, as well as among the students themselves. An important piece of research by Denise Beutel (2010) about the quality of teacher-student relationships and pedagogic dialogue has much to guide the type of interactions that are appropriate for learning online. Her study, The Nature of Pedagogic Teacher-student Interactions: A Phenomengraphic Study highlights five different conceptions of pedagogic interactions as: Information providing Instructing Facilitating Guiding participation Mentoring.

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OLPC in Uruguay

Posted on 04 Nov 2010 with 0 comments
Innovation Internet use

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This week's research post is somewhat different from the usual review of research in that it focusses on an innovation as it is happening. Three years ago in Uruguay, South America, a decision was made to introduce digital learning to school students by supplying every student with a computer and connecting all schools to the internet. Under the leadership of visionary Miguel Brechner, students in years 1 to 8 received an XO mesh based computer developed by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Nicholas Negroponte. Students in years 9 to 12 received an Intel Classmate. Uruguay has distributed over 420,000 XO and Classmate computers to students and teachers, and connected over 2,400 schools to the internet. Shanty towns in Uruguay have been connected by wireless and internet access improved throughout the country. Uruguay has become a fully connected country with an emphasis on education, according to Miguel Brechner.


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Constructing a personal learning environment

Posted on 28 Oct 2010 with 0 comments
Learning environment Pedagogy Personalising learning

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DERN reported in early September, 2010, on research into the personal teaching and learning approaches used by some UK schools. This week’s research takes the notion of personal learning environments one step further. In an excellent paper called The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy Dr Wendy Drexler (2010), from the School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida, outlines a practical approach for constructing and using personal learning environments with students.


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Open online learning

Posted on 21 Oct 2010 with 0 comments
Open scholarship Pedagogy

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A small but very pertinent article in the recent edition of the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) by Seth Gurell, Yu-Chun Kuo and Andrew Walker called The Pedagogical Enhancement of Open Education: An Examination of Problem-Based Learning1 is a real gem. The Pedagogical Enhancement of Open Education is a gem because it is focussed on pedagogy and online open learning. Gurell et al argue from a review of the literature and practical experience that problem based learning can work well with online open education. For example, traditional problem-based learning requires the learner to find and review resources which are usually print based materials such as books, journals, newspapers and so on, many of which take time to locate and access. However, using problem-based online learning using open education resources can remove much of the distraction of finding resources and enable greater attention to the learning task.


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Learning environments

Posted on 14 Oct 2010 with 0 comments
Learning environment

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There has been considerable discussion in the last few years about the types of learning environments that stimulate improved learning performance especially those that make good use of digital technologies in schools and higher education. Educational leaders face questions on issues associated with learning environments constantly, an example of which is the Australian stimulus program called the Building Education Revolution (BER). The BER has been outstandingly successful for education in schools although the media may suggest otherwise. Educause Quarterly recently published an interesting study Making the Case for Space: Three Years of Empirical Studies on Learning Environments by Whiteside, Brooks & Walker (2010). In this empirical university study at the University of Minnesota comparing traditional lecture environments with Active Learning Classroom (ALC) environments where digital technologies were deployed, the researchers found some astounding effects on student performance.

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Information sources

Posted on 08 Oct 2010 with 0 comments
Information

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Information sources for researchers, academics and students have been dominantly verbal or the printed text for hundreds of years. The proliferation of electronic information sources has greatly diversified the methods for storing information as well as the formats in which information can be stored eg text, graphics, audio, video and so. So where are the information sources today? One of the best known information sources today is Wikipedia which is an electronic web based store of information sorted by topics, somewhat akin to the notion of a yester-year’s expensive print based encyclopaedia. Wikipedia as an online wiki enables contributors from all over the world to provide their expertise for further comment and refinement by international experts.

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ICT and youth at risk

Posted on 30 Sep 2010 with 0 comments
Equity Personalising learning

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The issues around the social inclusion of youth at risk have not been systematically explored although there are many non-connected activities attempting to reengage these potential learners. A fascinating report has come from the European Commission, ICT and Youth at Risk: How ICT initiatives can contribute to their socio-economic inclusion and how to measure it, by Alexandra Haché and Joe Cullen (2009). ICT and Youth at Risk, raises both the issues to consider and provides an excellent list of European projects with links. The report is based on a workshop in Seville in 2009 and was published this year.

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Delivery and student learning

Posted on 16 Sep 2010 with 0 comments
Engagement and performance Innovation

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This week’s research post is somewhat unusual in that it comes from a non-educational research group at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the US. Further, the research is free to US residents as well as residents of developing and third world countries but it is not free (cost AUD$5), which is very irritating, to residents of developed countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and other OECD countries. Education and science are known for operating collaboratively on a global scale but it would appear not where economists at NBER are involved However, the research working paper, by David Figlio, Mark Rush and Lu Yin is interesting, if not contentious. Is it live or is it Internet? Experimental estimates of the effects of online instruction on student learning (2010) examines the learning affects of two modes educational delivery – face-to-face or the Internet.

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Culture of innovation

Posted on 10 Sep 2010 with 0 comments
21st century skills Innovation

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Developing a culture of innovation in education can be quite challenging, especially in an era of higher accountability for teaching, learning and achievement. However, as society continues to restructure due to the effects of technological innovation and use, cultural bodies, such as education, do need to realign to the requirements for knowledge and skills in our times. DERN began in March 2010 with the thought provoking Australian Education Review 56, Building Innovation: Learning with technologies by Associate Professor Dr Kathryn Moyle. As the case for education to adapt teaching and learning to 21st century skills becomes stronger, then innovation in education becomes imperative. Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel (2009) have made that case extremely well in their book 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times.

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