Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘problem based learning’

Does combining technology knowledge with a problem based learning approach impact students’ learning?

Walker, A; Recker, M; Ye, L; Robertshaw, B; Sellers, L; and Leary, H. (2012) Comparing Technology-Related Teacher Professional Development Designs: a Multilevel Study of Teacher and Student Impacts, The Instructional Architect Research Group. Paper 6.

This article presents a quasi-experimental study comparing the impact of two technology-related teacher professional development (TTPD) designs, aimed at helping junior high school science and mathematics teachers design online activities using the rapidly growing set of online learning resources available on the Internet. The first TTPD design (tech-only) focused exclusively on enhancing technology knowledge and skills for finding, selecting, and designing classroom activities with online resources, while the second (tech+pbl) coupled technology knowledge with learning to design problem-based learning (PBL) activities for students. Both designs showed large pre-post gains for teacher participants (N=36) in terms of self-reported knowledge, skills, and technology integration. Significant interaction effects show that teachers in the tech+pbl group had larger gains for self-reported knowledge and externally rated use of PBL. Three generalized estimating equation (GEE) models were fit to study the impact on students’ (N=1,247) self reported gains in behavior, knowledge, and attitudes. In the resulting models, students of tech+pbl teachers showed significant increases in gain scores for all three outcomes. By contrast, students of tech-only teachers showed improved gains only in attitudes.

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How can Virtual Social Learning Environments support Communities of Practice?

Keleher, Patrick and Hutchinson, Steven (2010). Communities of Practice, a social discipline of learning: nurturing a physical and virtual social learning environment. In: World Association of Co-operative Education International Conference on Work Integrated Learning, 3-5 Feb 2010, Hong Kong, China.

Communities of Practice are powerful way of thinking about and exploring the social discipline of learning. Rigorous models for informational and cognitive aspects of learning are well defined, but social dimensions of learning are not so well explored nor are the practices involved in establishing an appropriate learning environment. A workshop conducted by Etienne Wenger was specifically structured to model the practices to establish a social learning ‘space’ and provided an opportunity for participants in the professional disciplines of health, social care, education and business to engage in social learning. The workshop enabled a telling and recording of people’s own learning stories, through individual and group face-to-face encounters and further non-face-to-face communication encounters (within the workshop group and the world) through a range synchronous and asynchronous electronic media, video, wikispace1, blog and twitter. This is a powerful process by which to explore the development of professional practices in a Work Integrated Learning or Practice Based Learning context and illustrates the manner in which transitions or boundary encounters arise and are navigated as individuals explore the ‘landscape of professional practice’.

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Can Google docs effectively support Project Based Learning?

Daire Ó Broin, Damien Rafter (2011) Using Google Docs To Support Project-Based Learning, AISHE-J, Volume 3, Number 1 (Spring 2011)

Project-Based Learning is a wide-ranging approach that uses authentic problems to engage students. One of its main benefits is that it enables ideas in the classroom to be linked with real-life. Among its limitations: it is difficult for students to collaborate on artefacts outside of class time and it is problematic for the teacher both to monitor the progress of the project and to assess the individual contribution of each student. These limitations are partly overcome by Google Docs, a suite of free online applications that facilitate collaboration. Firstly, Google Docs enables students in different locations to work simultaneously but independently on the same artefact. Secondly, we, as teachers, can be included as observers on each project group and thus track the development of the work. This year, various groups of students across the Science and Business departments used the Google Docs word-processor to work both collaboratively and individually on a diverse range of projects. We present a case study of one of these class groups, the results of which were largely positive. However, some problems arose that will inform our approach with future student groups.

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What are the Obstacles to Technology-Enhanced Problem-Based Learning (PBL)?

Sung Hee Park and Peggy A. Ertmer (2008) Examining barriers in technology-enhanced problem-based learning: Using a performance support systems approach, British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 39 No 4 2008

This study focused on the barriers that middle school teachers faced when implementing technology-enhanced problem-based learning (PBL) in their classrooms. Using a human performance-based model, we interviewed teachers, administrators, university faculty and technical support staff to determine the perceived importance of multiple barriers to the implementation of technology-enhanced PBL. Twenty-one teachers, two school administrators and a project manager, two faculty members, and two technical support staff participated in the study. Interview data were supported by surveys, classroom observations and researchers’ reflective journals. Results suggested that lack of a clear, shared vision was the primary barrier. Additional barriers included lack of knowledge and skills, unclear expectations and insufficient feedback. Recommendations to support teachers’ efforts to integrate technology- enhanced problem-based learning are presented.

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