Category Archives: Presentations

Connectivism for the ELT Classroom

Introduction imageThis text has been adapted from the chapter on conceptual models in my ebook – Digital Tools for Teachers – Trainers’ Edtition. It’s one of a number of models presented in the chapter that can be used to underpin a sound application of technology within education.

Connectivism is a theory of technology integration that has originated and is unique to the digital world. Connectivism originated as an attempt by Steven Downes and George Siemens to understand and define the ways in which learning naturally occurs in the digitally connected and socially networked world.

connectivism-image

The theory has huge implications for the development of autonomous learning as well as online learning and has been used and misused to support the construction and implementation of a generation of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and MOOC platforms.

Connectivist learning is based on the following set of principles:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.

When thinking about our use of technology in education we can use these principles as a guide to evaluate the effectiveness of our tasks and activities. We can look at the ways we are encouraging and guiding our students in the use of technology to ensure we are helping to reinforce the understanding and practice of these guiding principles.

reflection taskThe training presentation below has an introduction to connectivism, some suggestions for how we respond to each of the principles and some reflection questions for teachers.

Training Presentation
Use this link to view the training presentation: Connectivism

This video is also useful in enabling teachers to understand the changing role of the teacher as more students develop a connectivist approach to learning.

Reference
George Siemens – Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, Journal of Instructional Technology: https://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

Digital Tools for Teachers – Teacher Trainers’ Edition

This text has been adapted from the chapter on conceptual models in my ebook – Digital Tools for Teachers – Trainers’ Edtition. It’s one of a number of models presented in the chapter that can be used to underpin a sound application of technology within education.

Applying the SAMR model in the ELT Classroom

This text has been adapted from the chapter on conceptual models in my ebook – Digital Tools for Teachers – Trainers’ Edtition. It’s one of a number of models presented in the chapter that can be used to underpin a sound application of technology within education.

SAMR (Substitution – Augmentation – Modification – Redefinition) was introduced by Dr Ruben Puentedura in 2006. SAMR is a paradigm for understanding how we can integrate technology into education, though with the proviso that if we want to use technology in a way that is truly transformative we should be aiming to develop tasks and activities that are more towards what it describes as the ‘modification’ and ‘redefinition’ parts of the model.

SAMR Model
The SAMR Model

Understanding the paradigm can help us to analyse the way we are using technology and to think about how we can evolve the way we use it, from the more superficial ‘substitution’ type tasks to ones that redefine the way students interact with content, each other and the teacher.

Here are the four ways it classifies the application of technology along with an example of how a task could be developed through the understanding and application of this process.

View as presentation

Substitution
 – Technology acts as direct substitute with no functional change. The task remains the same but a computer is used as part of that task.

E.g. Find a text online to use in place of one of the texts in your course book. Ask your students to read it and answer comprehension questions.

Augmentation – 
Technology acts as a direct tool substitute for an analogue activity, but with functional improvements.

E.g. Find a text online to use in place of one of the texts in your course book. Ask students to use some digital tools to mark up the text with notes, highlight specific areas to remember and use an online dictionary to check new vocabulary.

Modification
 – Technology allows for significant task redesign.

E.g. Find a text online to use in place of one of the texts in your course book. Ask students to use some digital tools to mark up the text with notes, highlight specific areas to remember and use an online dictionary to check new vocabulary. Then ask students to share their reflections about the text on a blog which is shared within a wider educational community. They then comment on each others’ posts. They later meet together in a virtual live forum to discuss and debate the content.

Redefinition
 – Technology allows for the creation of new tasks previously not possible.

E.g. Find a text online to use in place of one of the texts in your course book. Ask students to use some digital tools to mark up the text with notes, highlight specific areas to remember and use an online dictionary to check new vocabulary. Students then work collaboratively to research the background to the text online and create a digital survey about it. They share the survey through social media. They then collect and analyse the data from the survey and work together online to create an infographic or video report of their analysis of their survey responses.

Approaching technology with this kind of awareness can certainly have its benefits and SAMR has definitely attracted quite a following.

Digital Tools for Teachers – Teacher Trainers’ Edition

You can use this presentation from Digital Tools for Teachers – Trainers’ Edition to train other teachers and encourage them to reflect on their use of technology.