Dr. Paul Leslie

Dr. Paul Leslie

Monday, 22 January 2018 01:24

Complexity and Curriculum

In support of the work my students are doing in PME 801 and in PME 832, I would like to offer a reading on complexity. In both courses, we are looking at the notion of how to better work with our curriculum to create great learning opportunities for our students. Please see the news items in your respective courses for the articles.

In PME 801, we are reading about the notion of ill-structured domains of knowledge (Jonassen, 2000). In PME 832, we are reading about connecting our learning opportunities. In both cases, we are discussing the difference between complexity and complication. I believe we need to be clear in these distinctions as they will inform our future work in both courses. I trust reading this article by Nijs (2015) will help to clarify these notions.

Please have a look at this post as well that reviews a related article by Nijs (2015) on complexity in design.

 In one discussion board this week, I raised the question of what is the difference between assessment and evaluation. You will no doubt find an explanation in my archives somewhere. At some point, all teachers need to assign grades to students and then we decide if they will pass or fail. We then need to look at the continuum between passing and failing. This leads to a question of whether we can simply say a student has passed or has failed. Onwards we go to looking at whether an assessment is arbitrary (subjective), or based in some larger coherent system. Are our assessments and evaluations objective or subjective? WHat is the difference? Thus we reach complexity.


References

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Toward a design theory of problem solving. Educational Technology Research and Development. 4(48)., 63-85.

Nijs, D. (2015). Introduction: Coping with growing complexity in society. World Futures. 71., 1-7.

Nijs, D. (2015). The complexity-inspired design approach of Imagineering. World Futures. 71., 8-25.

Saturday, 13 January 2018 01:12

832 - Email your Instructor

Dear PME 832 Students,

Thank you for the emails and your questions. They are very revealing in that they give me an insight into the concerns of the class generally and also allow me to focus on certain topics which we may or may not cover during the semester.

I will make every effort to refer to these questions, and to my answers, as we progress through the course. I am not including every question as several were very similar. I have sent these responses to the individual ‘questioneers’ and here will perhaps expand slightly on some of them try and make them more generally applicable or relevant.

Please note that I am happy to accept questions throughout the semester and will respond to every email sent to me.


Q: I am looking forward to learning about how the classroom can be successfully and efficiently connected to the home (as I find it difficult sometimes to draw the line on how much work should be sent home/ should any work completed at home be assessed). I look forward to examining case studies which relate to the teaching profession and be able to apply the knowledge gained to my practice. 

A: Your question is fantastic. I spent years wrestling with how to connect my classroom to the home during my own practice, and worked with many of my students on that very question for the research projects when I was with teacher training in Dubai.

Technology definitely can help, but the diversity of parents and people make this question a tough one! There are questions of how much help can or should parents give? How much feedback do you want from them? Some will argue that teaching is your job! Some are not capable of giving much help. Nevertheless, it is a highly worthy pursuit.


Q: A question that I have is: will we be required to make a blog/ website for this course. If so, I will start preparing my web page right now, and add information as we continue the journey.

A: You are not required to make a blog for this course. However, a teaching portfolio of some sort is a great tool that you can use for your teaching activities and to do such things as communicate with parents (see previous question). In the medical professions, many boards require doctors and nurses to maintain portfolios for demonstrations of competency. See some of my previous posts on portfolios.


Q: I’m currently not in a teaching position. The concern I have is that since I have very limited teaching practice, I’m not sure how to reflect what I have learnt from this course in my own professional practice. Could you please provide some suggestions to me?

A: We will absolutely find great ways to relate this course to your practice. I had a number of non-teachers in this course before and I think we were able to create some very innovative and practical projects.


Q: I like to sum up one of the most important themes as "scrutinize, don't immortalize".  To me, this is the nature of professional inquiry, and understanding that my role as teacher is an ever evolving and progressive one - those that say beyond year three of teaching is a gravy-train are complacent and don't perhaps deserve the privilege of preparing the future generation.

A: First of all, I have only rarely had the opportunity to teach the same course more than once or twice and never with the same students. So, every day is a new day. Evolving and progressing! I operate from the principle that we can always do better. That is dependant in practical issues like time, but we must always be reflecting on our practice and thinking about how to do things better. This is where a portfolio is very useful to help us improve. See my blog on the time span of discretion.


Q: My current generation of students carries the stereotype of entitlement. I would like to explore strategies to instill a sense of community and citizenship in our students, to have them understand better the social responsibility they are preparing for, to value their learning as tools to treat their patients well, and not just pass their next exam. I would like to further that theme by continuing to improve my methods of promoting autonomous learning habits and self-regulation within my students, who are often struggling to evolve from high-school teenagers into young professionals. 

A: As for the students, I believe in a pedagogy of freedom. We need to bring them to learning and the social construction of knowledge and then let them make the decision to actually learn. They are entitled to not learn if they want. However, I would feel a bit of a failure if I thought I did not inspire my students to strive for their own betterment.


Q: At my college there is current PD surrounding the use of technology in the classroom, with emphasis on the distinction between using it simply for the sake of using technology, versus using it to create new opportunities.  I'd be interested if we will delve into this topic, or if there is even merit in this focus?  Obviously, technology can bring in many new opportunities, though my current thoughts are that even if it merely replaces or augments a current practice, a little change can still be good, even if all it does is recapture the students attention.  I also look forward to the topic of technology enhanced learning environments, and how this might help answer this question.

A: I love technology for the things I can do with it, and I include my chainsaw in that mix. However, it is only a tool. If we have nothing to work toward, then we will not need any tools. I do not advocate technology for its own sake, nevertheless, sometimes we do not know the possibilities of a tool until we try It out.


Q: For my PME progression in general, I feel I put in quite a bit of effort and time into the assignments and discussion, and have done well, not just in course results, but more importantly in my own professional development.  That said, I will continue to focus on improving my communication and discussion skills, working to use evidence and resources to better challenge or reinforce the ideas of others. 

A: I will expect you to ask challenging questions and demand answers. That you can do with your entitled students! Please see my post on the use of discussion boards. Also, have a look at how they are graded.


Q: I currently teach ESL in an English for Academic Purposes program where we have a lot of students who are young adults, and tend to use their smartphones in class. I hope to learn how to utilize those smartphones in my teaching, rather than telling them to put them away. 

A: I think that mobile devices are fantastic tools that can do so much for us. The trick is to find the right use for them. I do not advocate technology for its own sake, nevertheless, sometimes we do not know the possibilities of a tool until we try It out.


Q: Does the course focus heavily on collaboration between classmates to demonstrate the importance of being connected with one another?

While I do encourage the use of the discussion boards to work together, the two main assignments are individual. The connections are more about your ability to connect your learning to your ‘world’. In your case, I will expect to see how you can connect the various aspects of practice of being a good technician with the larger practice of being a professional.


Q: I am hoping to improve my technological connectedness throughout this course and be able to apply it to the many roles I play in my profession of being a Clinical Education Leader in an ultrasound department within a hospital.

A: The course really is about understanding why we are doing any particular thing within our studies, either as a teacher or other professional. For example, can you explain to a beginning practitioner the reason behind every single thing that they need to learn?


Q: Regarding the connected classroom, I am interested in exploring new teaching strategies aimed to bridge the gap between theory and practice. I would like to learn more about community-service learning, since I believe it is a great way for increasing students' cultural competence and helps in creating good global citizens. Moreover, I would like to discover the role of technology in connecting curriculum with the real world.

A: You ask some great questions and have some great goals. I hope we can begin to understand how our learning theories play out in the classroom. For example, I often talk about the pedagogy of freedom, but what does that mean when I am working with a student, even if my student is him or herself a practicing teacher? How do I make that person understand how to help themselves be free of those things that detract from their lives?


Q: I currently teach at a school where learning takes place both inside and outside of the traditional classroom. For instance, our students take part in a service learning program every Friday afternoon. Because of this, I have seen first hand the many benefits of this type of education. That being said, It's clear there are certain things we could be doing even better (most notably, making use of the internet to promote global learning). Given this fact, I'm excited to learn more about what others in this class have been doing.

A: I think service learning is a great way for students to learn the value of their own abilities and apply their own learning. The only catch is that the ‘service’ needs to be real.


Q: I tend to take as much of a conversational approach to my discussion posts and assignment submissions.

Very practical question! Yes, actually, I do favour a more academic style because I want my students to get to the point. I appreciate the conversational style in the classroom and F2F, and over coffee. However, I think written communications needs to be much more succinct and direct. Also, I find that to have a successful construction of knowledge, we need to challenge each other. It is for this reason, that I always tell my student teachers that their students are not their friends. You need to dig, challenge and push – all in a friendly and respectful manner of course, but yes you need to dig, challenge and push. That takes energy which I hope is not used up or lost in a more conversational piece of writing.

Also, by forcing you to be more succinct and to the point, you will need to focus your attention on the heart of the matter you are discussing, not get lost in the surrounding swirl. This hopefully will allow you to see the most relevant points of any discussion.

At the risk of being too conversational, how does that sound? I hope this is not a shock, but I find that once students become more comfortable with this style, we start to see some exchanges.


Q: When reading through the tasks, I didn't see a collaborative assignment.  Is the collaborative portion of this course considered to be the discussions that take place each week? 

A: Yes, the collaborative elements are the discussion boards, which I take very seriously. They are worth a significant part of the grade.


Q: If I end up needing an extension on one of the major assessment pieces, is this a possibility if I talk to you ahead of time?

A: The discussion boards need to be completed in a timely fashion for you to really benefit and for the other students to benefit from you. However, I am very flexible on the submission of the two individual assignments and will not penalize anyone for a late assignment.


Q: A question that I have is about best practices for technology is used to enrich learning experiences for early years. 

A: I have found that technology can be great in the early childhood classroom and have noted that children as young as 5 or 6 clearly grasp the concept of a user name and password to save their work.

I have also noted that technology is great to help the teacher save time in admin and preparations so that they have more time to focus on creating great lessons.

Wednesday, 03 January 2018 02:15

Welcome to PME 832 - Syllabus for Winter 2018

Welcome to PME 832. I am very happy to be teaching this course. It is highly relevant to teachers at all levels. The connection referred to in the title of the course includes the connections from each of us to our students, from our students to their classmates, to their community, and perhaps most importantly to the knowledge and experiences they have in their daily lives. The connection also refers to the tools used to create such connections.

Course Format

There are five main modules and two 'bookend' modules in PME 832 – The Connected Classroom. 

  • Introduction Module: Welcome to PME 832
  • Module 1: What is a Connected Classroom?
  • Module 2: Pedagogical Approaches that Support Connected Classrooms
  • Module 3: Theory in Practice: Examining Case Studies
  • Module 4: Technological Tools for Connected Learning
  • Module 5: Technologically-Enhanced Learning Frameworks and the Role of the Teacher
  • Course Closure Module: Leadership in Professional Learning and Reflecting on PME 832

Independent Assignments 

  • Discussion board posts (6 X 6% each for 35%) 
    • Making Connections
    • My Connections
    • Top Two
    • Sharing Case Studies
    • Technological Tools
    • Technological Frameworks and the Role of the Teacher
  • Examining Theory in Practice—Case Studies (30%)
  • Leadership in Professional Learning—Designing a Technologically-Enhanced Connected Learning Experience (35%) 

Module

Topic

Duration

Assessment

Introduction

Week 1

January 8th -  14th

Welcome to PME 832

1 week

 

Discussion Board Post:

  • Making Connections

DUE: END OF WEEK 1 – Jan. 14th  

Module 1

Week 2

Jan 15th - 21st  

What is a Connected Classroom?

1 week 

Discussion Board Post:

  • My Connections

DUE: END OF WEEK 2 – Jan 21st  

Module 2

Week 3

Jan 22nd – 28th

Pedagogical Approaches that Support Connected Classrooms

1 week 

Discussion Board Post:

  • Top Two

DUE: END OF WEEK 3 – Jan 28th   

Module 3

Weeks 5 & 6

Jan 29th - Feb 11th   

Theory in Practice: Examining Case Studies

2 Weeks

Discussion Board Posts:

  • Sharing Case Studies

Mid-course formative assessment

  • Reflection

DUE: END OF WEEK 6 – Feb 11th  

Module 4

Week 7

Feb 12th – 18th  

Technological Tools for Connected Learning

1 Week

Discussion Board Posts:

  • Technology Tools

DropBox Assignment:

  • Examining theory in practice – case studies

DUE: END OF WEEK 7 –  Feb 18th

Reading week – Week 8 – Feb 19th – Feb 25th

Read ahead or catch up. Late assignments may be considered if posted during reading week

Module 5

Week 9

Feb 26th – Mar 4th

Technologically-Enhanced Learning Frameworks and the Role of the Teacher

1 week 

 

Discussion Board Posts:

  • Technological Frameworks and the Role of the Teacher

DUE: END OF WEEK 9 – Mar 4th  

Course Closure

Weeks 10 & 11

Mar 5th – 18th  

Leadership in Professional Learning and Reflecting on PME 832

2 weeks

DropBox Assignment

  • Leadership in Professional Learning—Designing a Technologically-Enhanced Connected Learning Experience (35%)

Final Formative Assessment

  • Reflection

DUE: END OF WEEK 11 – Mar 18th

Wednesday, 03 January 2018 02:01

832 - Discussion Boards and You

In PME 832, you will be required to contribute to several discussion board topics. These are listed in your syllabus. For those of you who have taken PME 801, the boards were required but not graded directly. However, in this course, you will be graded on each board individually. As this entails a lot of extra review and time,  I will not grade each board as we progress through the course. Rather, I will look carefully at your contributions to the boards across the course and take your efforts into account when deciding upon a grade. I will provide an interim grade at the midway point so that you can gause your participation against my expectations. 

To understand more about the grading process, please read this post: http://www.paulleslie.net/index.php/item/742-discussion-boards-in-d2l .

Now, I would like to discuss my expectations for these boards a bit more thoroughly. I will ask you to read about the community of inquiry, (https://coi.athabascau.ca/). Peruse the site and read a few of the articles. If you have not read about this model before, I strongly urge you to read about teaching presence as supplied by the students. The site will provide a few articles about this topic.

In brief, the model highlights how we first must make the community (your classmates) feel safe through social presence – we must make sure everyone understands your  perspective, context and the purpose of your post. This is not always as obvious as you may think. It also requires that you give (literally) permission to others to challenge you, and to feel confident to ask questions of your classmates about their posts. As with any classroom, f2f or virtual, we all must let each of us (the participants) place themselves in the community and in a context where they feel they can contribute.

 COI model front

The next step is the notion of teaching presence. This is the guiding force of the community. These are the questions that we ask each other and more importantly, the answers that we give. I will ask you challenging questions, quite simply to challenge you. Usually, I expect an answer. You are expected to ask questions of your peers. And when asked, you are expected to answer. In other words, to make the most of this discussion board and community, I charge you with asking pointed and direct questions of each other in the posts. Students must ask other students questions. There is only one teacher but many students. Thus teaching presence must come from the students as well as the teacher. This will each of us forward in the quest for knowledge.

 Once we have social presence and teaching presence, then we will get cognitive presence, the creation of new knowledge, and not before.

So, let me reiterate that not only is it appropriate for you to ask each other questions, but it is imperative that you do. Teaching presence not only comes from the teacher (me), but comes in the form of directing questions and inquiry which is what gives the community direction and guidance for sharing our cognitive presence. Social presence is that which makes us comfortable doing so.

 That is why we are here.

Wednesday, 03 January 2018 01:48

PME 801 - Summer 2016 Info

I started teaching this course about 3 weeks after I moved to Australia to start my new position with Western Sydney University.

Hence, in my rush, I did not take the time required to track my work properly in this portfolio.

Wednesday, 03 January 2018 01:09

801 - Winter 2018 Syllabus

Overview

From the course documentation: This course will enable the student to understand the foundational principles of collaborative learning and to enact those principles in professional practice. This, in turn, will lead to the creation of a collaborative learning community within the context of the course where the knowledge and skills of professional inquiry will be explored and demonstrated.

Please note:

  • There is overlap in the timing of the modules and they are of varying lengths.
  • Module 4 is perhaps the most intensive as it requires group work, an extensive literature review and engagement with external communities (the name of the course is Collaborative Inquiry).
  • As you will note in the course Gantt chart (following the weekly syllabus), you should start thinking about potential group members and associated work in Module 2.
  • I urge you to review the entire course structure in order to be clear on the progression of ideas and content and to be able to make connections between the various elements of the course.
  • I am happy to negotiate deadlines and due dates as needed. However, please consider your classmates when doing so.

Module Structure

There are five (main) modules in GDPI/PME 801 - Collaborative Inquiry. Some of the modules overlap throughout the duration of the course. There are also un-numbered modules that mark the beginning (Course & Personal Introductions module), the middle (Mid-course Consultation module) and the end of the course (Course Closure module). The main modular structure is as follows:

  • Module 1: Collaborative Inquiry about Core Concepts
  • Module 2: Knowledge Building
  • Module 3: Develop and Share Artifacts
  • Module 4: Engage in Collaborative Design with Course Peers
  • Module 5: Connect with a Professional Community: Communicating about Collaborative Inquiry 

Evaluation

Feedback and reflection are integral to successful professional inquiry. Across the GDPI/PME courses, participants are provided with various ways to reflect on their progress (e.g. blogging, portfolio development) and to receive on-going feedback about the progress of their ideas, actions and concerns (e.g. group discussion, collaboration, written comments). The instructor, along with other participants in the course, will provide feedback as part of the day-to-day course functioning, however at two points in this course a formal interaction between the instructor and each participant will take place.

At roughly the mid-point of the course, participants will conduct a self-assessment. This process has 2 parts. First, participants will complete the Participant’s reflection section of the GDPI-PME Rubric of Professional Inquiry. In addition, participants will consider the 5 elements of inquiry represented on the rubric and construct a profile of the quality of their own learning to date. Once both sections are completed, participants will submit the rubric to the instructor via the Dropbox.

The instructor will then respond with his/her own assessment of the learning on both the rubric and through the Instructor’s Remarks. No grade is to be assigned as this mid-course use of the Rubric of Professional Inquiry is for formative purposes only. At the end of the course, again using the Rubric of Professional Inquiry and following the same pattern of interaction, a summative assessment will be completed by the instructor.

Syllabus 

Module

Duration

Activity/Assignment

Course & Personal Introductions

 Jan 8th – 14th

1 week

  • Discussion Board:
    • About this Course (only if you have questions)
  • Activity:
    • Collaborator Artifact
    • Discussion Board – Jan 14th
      • Share link to portfolio / artefact
      • About me as a Collaborator
  • Discussion Board: Jan 14th
    • Background

Module 1.

Collaborative Inquiry Core Concepts

Jan 15th – 28th

2 weeks

  • Discussion Board:
    • Collaborative Inquiry Core Concepts Jan 21st  
  • Discussion Board:
    • Case Study Jan 28th
  • Activity: Core concepts map (draft) - Jan 28th
    • Discussion Board:
      • Post concept maps

Module 2.

Knowledge Building

Jan 29th – Feb 11th

2 weeks

  • Activity:
    • Knowledge Forum Feb 11th
  • Activity:
    • Technologies Montage – video (draft)
    • Discussion Board:
      • Post your video Feb 11th
  • Discussion Board: Our Professional Communities
    • Consider potential group members for Module 4
    • Consider one potential professional community to join for Module 3 and 5 Feb 11th

Module 3.

Develop & Share Artifacts

Feb 5th – 18th

 2 weeks

  • Activity: Final Core Concepts Map
    • Submit to dropbox Feb 11th
  • Technologies Montage
    • Submit to dropbox Feb 18th
  • Activity: Professional Community Initial Proposal
  • Submit to Module 2 Discussion board: Our Professional Communities Feb 18th

Mid-Course Consultation - Submit to dropbox Feb 18th

Module 4.

Engage in Collaborative Design with Course Peers

Jan 15th – Mar 11th

Over several weeks

  • Activity: Solution Concept Written Proposal Mar 11th
    • *Note – this is a group activity and assignment
    • Discussion Board:
      • Post your proposal

Module 5.

Connect with a Professional Community: Communicating about Collaborative Inquiry

Feb 26th – Mar 18th

 
  • Activity: Connect with a professional community Mar 18th
    • Or, create digital foothold
    • Discussion board:
      • Submit evidence to “Our Professional Communities”

Course Closure

Reflections

March 12th - 18th

 
  • Activity: My Growth So Far artifact Mar 18th
    • Discussion Board:
      • Submit artefact

Final Course Consultation Submit to dropbox March 18th

 

pme 801 w 2018

Friday, 29 December 2017 05:00

Welcome to 801 - Discussion Boards and You

Welcome to PME 801. I will use this site to hold some of my reflections and directions to you. I hope that you will take the time read my comments here. I encourage you to also read through some of the other posts, even if they are from other courses I have taught. You can download a copy of the syllabus from the bottom of this post.

Discussion Boards

In PME 851, you will be required to contribute to several discussion board topics. These are listed in your syllabus. The discussion board entries are required but not graded directly. However, I do look carefully at what contributions you made to the boards and take this activity into account when deciding upon a grade.

Please have a look at this post to understand how I review the discussion boards in D2L: http://www.paulleslie.net/index.php/item/742-discussion-boards-in-d2l

Now, I would like to discuss my expectations for these boards a bit more thoroughly. I ask you to read about the community of inquiry model, (https://coi.athabascau.ca/). You can peruse the site and if you have not heard of this model I will ask you to read a few of the articles listed therein.

In brief, the model highlights how we first must make the community (your classmates) feel safe through social presence – making sure everyone understands your  perspective, context and the purpose of your post. This is not always as obvious as you may think. It also requires that you give (literally) permission to others to challenge you, and to feel confident to ask questions of your classmates about their posts. As with any classroom, f2f or virtual, we all must let each of us (the participants) place themselves in the community and in a context where they feel they can contribute.

 COI model front

The next step is the notion of teaching presence. This is the guiding force of the community. These are the questions that we ask each other and more importantly, the answers that we give. I will ask you challenging questions, quite simply to challenge you. Usually, I expect an answer. You are expected to ask questions of your peers. And when asked, you are expected to answer. In other words, to make the most of this discussion board and community, I charge you with asking pointed and direct questions of each other in the posts. Students must ask other students questions. There is only one of me and many of you. This is to push each other forward in the quest for knowledge.

 Only once we have social presence and teaching presence will we get cognitive presence, the creation of new knowledge - not before.

So, let me reiterate that not only is it appropriate for you to ask each other questions, but it is imperative that you do. Teaching presence not only comes from the teacher (me), but comes in the form of directing questions and inquiry which is what gives the community direction and guidance for sharing our cognitive presence. Social presence is that which makes us comfortable doing so.

That is why we are here.

Monday, 13 November 2017 21:38

851 - Discussion Board Discussion

Dear students - I have read and commented on all of your mid course reflection, even those two or three that just came in the last couple days. I have given fairly extensive comments and am happy to give more. A few students have written for more feedback and I am always happy to give. I do see that only a few of you have gone to the mid-course reflections to open my comments. I encourage you do so.

I generally comment on the reflection itself, and then give some comments about:

  • The contents of your reflection
  • The contents of your posts
  • The content of your replies
  • A comment or two on the rubric.

ALso, I have noted to each of you that there is a grade of ~6% for each one for a total of 50%. I am not sure about marking each one separately as that is difficult and not really reflective of an overall effort at this level. If you want a grade to date, I will provide one.

Please be assured that I read every post, and usually about 80% of the replies. I hope you do too! For your information:

  • Total Replies (All Forums): 276
  • Total Threads (All Forums): 83

That is 359 items for you to read. Below is a table sorted in order of posts read. As you can see, I have read 257 posts and replies, and made 77 replies. I am very impressed with the person who read more than me!

You should have made at least 6 posts by now.

  Posts Replies Total items read
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Paul
 
Monday, 13 November 2017 21:05

832 - Final assignment - Advice

To give you a bit more clarity on the final project, here are some comments aligned with the various elements of the project.

From the course, the following is the assignment description. (I have added comments to offer further explanation or examples).

Leadership in Professional Learning: Designing a Connected Classroom Program

This culminating task will help you to bring together your learning from all five modules in this course. For this final project, you will envision what connected learning could look like in your professional context (Context is important for this assignment – to really do it justice, try to describe the project within your own context as much as possible).  

As a culminating task, you will individually design a connected classroom project that you could use with your students (You will find it much more rewarding as well if you can design something that you could actually do. This will allow you to point out issues that may arise and give a practical edge to the work. As it is a project for your students, it needs a beginning, middle and end. There needs to be clearly defined goals for the project.).

You may choose to present this project as a project or unit plan or in another format so that you can share your ideas with your colleagues and inspire others to foster and create connections in their own teaching and learning (Whatever format you use to design your regular lessons might work, as long as it is readable and logical. For example, does your plan show sequence, materials, preparation, and the larger context of the semester or work within which the project is set?)

A successful project or program will include:

  • Strong and Authentic connection (to your larger semester or learning context, to your local learning environment e.g. are you in Canada or another country, and to the students own ‘world’)
  • Rich learning that uncovers the curriculum (For example, are there identifiable goals that require individual work, group or community work, and reflection? Do the students have a chance to contribute the design of the project?)
  • Ongoing learning– not a one-time thing (Are they developing skills as well as demonstrating new learning or knowledge? Are they building on previous work? Are there opportunities to use a product or skill beyond the end of the project?)
  • Theoretically-supported pedagogy (Although there are overlaps between some of the approaches you have examined, can we discern a clear adherence to some of the principles throughout the work?)
  • Technology-Enhanced opportunities (How are they recording their work, producing their work and preserving it for posterity? How are they sharing with others and interacting with their classmates and / or the community? How does technology help them do something they couldn’t otherwise do?)
  • Feasible design (Can YOU and your students actually do the project?)

Output: Connected Classroom Program and Written Rationale (35%):

Along with your connected classroom plan, please write a rationale (600 words MAXIMUM, double-spaced) detailing (Please keep to the word count within 20%. Interestingly, virtually no student ever goes under the word count. Use a proper essay / academic writing format as indicated in the blog post about your case students):

  • How the program relates to pedagogical approaches (cite scholarly work)
  • How you decided which digital technologies to incorporate
  • Who you could share this work with and how you might share it.
  • Why you chose this approach and how it shows professional growth from your previous teaching and/or planning.

Both components of this assignment (project plan and rationale) should be shared on the Leadership in Professional Learning Discussion Board.


For those of you who are not actually teaching, here is some feedback I provided to a student who also does not  teach.


“I have just read through the assignment again and watched the video (again!), and read your introduction to remind myself of your context, so I have some familiarity with your role. Here are a few thoughts.

Since you are a point of first contact, or at least, first sustained contact with parents, perhaps you could build on your appreciative inquiry work (https://positivechange.org/how-we-work/appreciative-inquiry-ai/ ) from the earlier assignment and try to think (Dream in the 4D model) of what you think parents could do to contribute to the school and their children’s success through your interactions.

Then, build your project around that (the next 2 ‘D’s, with the intent hopefully of attaining the 4th). I think that will easily comply with the requirements and the rubric.

For example,

  • What do they need from you to keep in touch with teachers?
  • How do they find out about the inner workings of the school and not just the parent-day events.
  • How can you facilitate communications between parents, and between parents and the school, parents and their teachers, and parents and their own children.

 Keep in mind the community aspect and your role at the school. If you use Appreciative Inquiry as your theoretical model for your work and build on the 4D model then you will be inspired to really do something that is real and that you could actually do.

You could even get your colleagues to give you an hour over lunch and work through the 4d model with them in the context of your project. They might give you some great ideas that you can work with.

Capture all your thinking and make it visible. That will help you to design the project part. You might want to use Prezi and think of your project as a process.

Monday, 13 November 2017 12:47

832 - Case Study Feedback

The following comments are collected from all student submissions for the case study assignment. I have depersonalized all comments. I have then organized them into three sections. The first are in-text comments that relate to specific instances in the assignments. I selected some that I thought were revealing to the writing itself. The next two sections are from my general comments. I organized them by Positive feedback and constructive feedback. Some are based on the content of the assignment, and some are based on the technical aspects - the writing style and citations.

Although this feedback is for PME 832, students in my other course (PME 851) will be interested in the writing comments.


In-text Comments

Great start – could you add just one sentence showing some connection between the two, or why you chose them?

Powerful opening -really does a great job of introducing the case study!

It might be good to just introduce both schools here in one short sentence. You have both in your title, but you need to mention here just what you are doing.

What are some more concrete conclusions you could make from these two studies?

After reading the rest of your paper, I see that you have set up a great focus for your paper but you do not return to it.

Can you combine these two paragraphs and use the case study to highlight the main concepts of networked learning rather than discuss the approach separately and then go to the case study? It would give a greater coherence to your paper.

Careful with value-laden adjectives. This may be unfortunate, but I can make that determination from the facts and organization of your sentence. This sounds like being flexible is a bad thing.

Can you provide a conclusion that ties the two studies together or highlights some general improvements that both styles would benefit from – reflection seems to be a common theme.

Interesting conclusion. I would like to see a strong discussion about the comparisons between the two. I think this is where you could develop your ideas about pedagogic approaches more thoroughly to benefit from a greater context. You were asked to look at two studies in order to provide that wider context.

Great writing – very clear and succinct. The sentences are models of how to offer an idea and then support it with evidence.

Can you blend this with the previous sentences to provide a rich description of how the case study demonstrates place based learning? You writing rather separates the two and make me have to work harder to make the connections.

To be concise, just leave out colloquialisms. This is a different form of writing than a discussion board

I think you can combine this with the unpredictable learning issue more clearly. How will the reflections be assessed? Are these the self-assessments?

Only use tables for numerical data or very short text-based data. This all should be in paragraph form. It is harder to write perhaps, but easier to read.

You need to save these conclusions for later in your argument.

Careful – you are not really establishing an argument here. You need to be clear and concise when making these conclusions. I would expect such a statement to come after a few paragraphs leading me through a clear argument.

You have already talked about this topic a few times. Can you reorganize your paragraphs to bring a more coherent argument?


Positive feedback

This is a compelling piece and I can see that you have given a lot of thought to it and you have incorporated a range of literature.

This is a great paper. Although it is much longer than specified (~1800 word compared to 1000 assigned), it was so well written than I didn’t notice the extra words until the end. It might be useful for you to go through and see where you can cut down on your word count without losing any ideas.

You captured the essence of the assignment. Your writing is also a model of efficiency and organization. This contributes so much to the overall readability of the paper and makes what your thoughts and comments so much clearer to the reader. It also helps you to build your own understanding further.

I think you have thoroughly captured the pedagogic approaches demonstrated by each study as well. There could be arguments of other overlapping approaches that they might be modelling, but your arguments in support of the approaches you highlighted clearly support your opinions.

I was also pleased to see how you incorporated the literature. You used quotes and references very well. I would suggest that you could use a few more references to authors, especially when you are making some type of statement or claim.

This was very interesting, especially the HBS section. I thought you captured the essence of the AI and were able to suggest a meaningful way forward supported with a solid example.

I was also impressed with your breakdown of the School Grown case. You did a great job to bring in some of the literature into that section

You have given me a great piece of writing. You stepped out of the assignment box and discussed these two case studies in tandem, which really gave your writing a great focus and a means for you to put your comments into a wider context between the two studies.

You clearly met all the requirements and went well beyond.

This is a very thoughtful and complete paper – almost too complete - 1800 words! I appreciate the effort to piece this together and methodically go through the two projects. You really did cover a lot of ideas and almost every time I had a question, you answered it later in the paper.


Constructive feedback

You have given an interesting discussion of two solid case studies. However, I would like to see you really dig into the actual content of the courses. If you look at my comments above, you will see that you bring up important elements of the case studies but do not fully explore them.

You also have a tendency to use very colloquial language. Students who use this style often get a bit lost in the discussion and do not get to the point.

Your report is interesting and you have brought in experiences from your own work and tied it to the case studies. However, I did feel that you were jumping between the case studies and your work without a logical connection.

I also note that in some sections, you relied heavily on quotes, especially in the discussion of the learning approaches. When you are discussing the various sections, it is important to keep the approaches fresh in your mind and in the reader’s mind. So, by breaking it into section as you did, the connections between the sections broke down. This makes the overall reading of the report less effective and interesting.

I think you have picked two good projects and given a reasonable overview of them. You have also identified some pedagogic approaches within the projects and given examples to support your discussion.

By using tables as you did, I think you have confused the logic of your discussion for yourself and hence, as you will note in my comments, the flow of your discussion is compromised. This format places the onus on the reader to make sense of your ideas. That is actually your job as the writer.

I think that you would benefit greatly from reorganizing this into a proper essay style piece. If you view each paragraph as a solid and concrete idea, you will find that you can better organize each paragraph and then manipulate the ideas by moving the paragraphs back and forth until you find a logical flow to your ideas. Then, your writing will be much easier to read for yourself first as a useful piece of scholarship, and then for your readers as a demonstration of competency.

It is quite late, but I am generally very flexible with dates as I understand the pressures of being a teacher. I do not usually penalize anyone for lateness.

For the challenges and suggestions, while I truly appreciated your effort to combine the two cases and comment on both at once, you perhaps were a bit general. Try to really think of the context of the two case studies and offer some suggestions that could really work in their particular setting.

I understand that you were not specifically asked to compare the studies but I was hoping to see you draw out some comparisons or contrasts – otherwise there is no real value to having two case studies.

I think the paper is reasonably well written, but try to really focus on being concise. This is not a conversation – it is a one-way communication of ideas and I want to get to your points.

I think you have given a comprehensive coverage of the two case studies. As I noted above, I think some of your comments might need a bit further examination, but overall it was interesting.

Also, as I noted, I think there could be a greater focus on comparing the two studies. There are some similarities and there are distinct differences as you note in the conclusion. How can these two studies, and us, learn from their experiences and learn from each other at a more general level to improve their programs.

I would like to suggest that you write in shorter paragraphs and then try to manipulate those paragraphs as discrete objects and move them around. You might find that you have reiterated and repeated yourself a few times, and that you have left an idea only to return to it a paragraph or two later. This makes your paper much longer than it should be.

Nevertheless, I think you did a great job to really dig onto these case studies and bring out some highly practical issues. I appreciate the comments on social injustice and agree that many of these go unnoticed and hence are perpetuated. Systemic injustice of this nature gets embedded because people in positions of power (parents, teachers) often gloss over them leading students to believe they are not all that important.

I would like to suggest that you try to write in a formal essay style so that your ideas are logical and clearly linked – so that you can better show for example, cause and effect, sequence and relative importance of your ideas. Your somewhat bullet pointed style (without the bullet points) makes reading your work a bit more difficult and quite disjointed. There is no flow and so I found myself jumping back and forth to put your ideas together. You are supposed to put them together for your audience.

I agree with your points and think you have some great comments about bringing the community to help guide the projects in order to get more out of them. However, you did not explicitly state how students could be guided, but alluded to the companies who might hire these students. That is important, but can we be student focused?

I have been suggesting to other students that an extensive and logical next step in this paper might have been to try and compare / contrast the two studies more thoroughly. You were not asked to do so, but otherwise there is no real value to having two case studies. You would just do better to examine one more closely or have two separate papers.

Although writing produces a linear text, you should not approach it that way. Start with smaller paragraphs and then see how you can manipulate and combine ideas to really be concise. That will really bring out your ideas and leave you more words at the end for the conclusion.

If you have clear distinct paragraphs, you can move them around like objects and see the overall coherence of your argument.

I think the paper is reasonably well written, but try to really focus on being concise. This is not a conversation – it is a one-way communication of ideas and I want to get to your points.

I see that you have read widely and given a lot of thought to your work. However, there are a few difficulties with the organization, which cloud the impact of your thoughts.

As for your arguments, you are putting conclusions up front an the discussing them afterwards. This makes your writing much longer as well. It also confuses the reader because you end up repeating yourself.

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