Block 4 Activity 18: Considering TEL Complex

Reading for this activity is Scanlon et al., (2013), Beyond Prototypes: Enabling Innovation in Technology-enhanced Learning.

Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) is a complex – a series of components that are interdependent.  If you want to make significant changes  and introduce a TEL innovation such as learning analytics, you need to take the elements below into account:

  • pedagogy – theories and approaches to learning and teaching.
  • technical components – technical elements that support the pedagogy.
  • current practices and technical context- the ways in which learners, educators and support staff work, and the training, support and resources they can access.
  • communities – teachers, students and their families, support staff, governing bodies and people responsible training and managing staff.
  • the wider context – local or national policies, infrastructure and funding.

An innovation will fail if:

  • it is not seen to support teaching and learning
  • the technology doesn’t work
  • it does not fit into the timetable
  • staff are not trained to use it
  • there is no money or support available to keep the innovation going.

Activity 18 considers the elements of the TEL Complex with in scenario where management of an institution or section of the institution want to be able to claim on their website that ‘Learning and teaching at this institution are supported by learning analytics’.  Management team is not sure what would be involved in implementing this change so they need an outline of the changes and developments that might be required.

Short Report for Management

Kennisnet-LA-tree
Learning Analytics: Embedded and Extracted (Dutch School)

 

Any TEL innovation such as learning analytics will be implemented across the school and will impact on your management, students (including their families), teachers and your technical support systems.  Each stakeholder brings their own values, perspectives, objectives and beliefs which may impinge on the successful implementation of learning analytics in school. A change in mind-set and practice will be needed and this barrier may be difficult to remove due to this strong community presence and the current expectations held by  teachers and students about pedagogical practices.

Firstly, as management you will need to consider your overarching vision for learning analytics – not just the ability to input ‘Learning and teaching at ‘X’ school is supported by learning analytics’ and why you consider it is necessary to use, for example the new raising attainment agenda. You need to consider what technologies you use in school at present and if they are able to operate with the learning analytic tools.  If you need to upgrade your existing IT where will the funding come from and how will that effect other educational initiative that are ongoing within the school?

Learning analytics and their benefits will need to be sold to your teachers initially.  I would propose that you involve your technical support team in delivering a basic introduction to learning analytics and from there, undertake an audit of pedagogical practice within school.  Involve your teachers in designing the learning analytics package that they feel they can work best with to support learning and teaching.  Start small with a view to rolling out a more general programme across an extended period such as 1 or 2 years if you want this to be sustainable.

As with any change, you will be met with resistance, so it important that you keep on top of staff capacity during this initial period so that you can direct support from your technical support personnel and your senior management team.  Consideration therefore needs to be taken into account of additional costs involved in staff training events and any additional workload this may impose on your teachers.

Consultation with the school’s many stakeholders is necessary if you want to successfully introduce learning analytics into pedagogical practice across the school.  During your audit process you will need to involve your students, parents and school partners.  Their responses will be an important factor when implementing this change, because without their support then resistance will build up.  The Ethical context of collecting personal data of your students will need to be addressed and students and their parents/carers will need to agree to information being collected and used for support purposes only.

You may wish to consider creating a learning analytics guru within school.  This guru may be a member of your senior management team who also has a teacher remit.  In-school support of some kind will be important for teachers who need quick answers to questions or solutions to problems encountered.

Self-evaluation is essential as you make any changes within your learning environment.  Following your audit, planning and implementation you will need to monitor the effects that the learning analytics have made to the learning and the learner, and evaluate practice as you move on towards rolling this out further across your learning community. The value that the analytics provide need to considered from a positive perspective to keep all stakeholders within the learning environment on board with this innovation.

 

Reference

Scanlon, E., Sharples, M., Fenton-O’Creevy, M., Fleck, J., Cooban, C., Ferguson, R., Cross, S. and Waterhouse, P. (2013) Beyond Prototypes: Enabling Innovation in Technology-Enhanced Learning. Technology-Enhanced Learning Research Programme; also available at http://beyondprototypes.com/ (accessed 24 July 2016).

 

Image available through the LACE Project  website at http://www.laceproject.eu/blog/learning-analytics-making-learning-better-dutch-perspective/#prettyPhoto

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