| 0 Comments | 0 TrackBacks
While the notion of digital scholarship is not new, the combination of Twitter and digital scholarship is something I've seen only recently. At the 2011 Learning Design Summer Camp, Dr. Christopher Long, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at Penn State, and Lisa Lotito, his undergrad Research Assistant, presented their research cycle and how they "use the collaborative power of digital media to do scholarly research in philosophy" (Long; 2011). For a detailed explanation of their research cycle, read Dr. Long's blog entry titled Collaborative Research in Philosophy.
Dr. Long and Lisa Lotito at the Learning Design Summer Camp

What I am going to describe and discuss in the following paragraphs is Dr. Long and Lisa's use of Twitter in their research cycle. In Dr. Long's own words:

We used direct messaging in Twitter to communicate in a dynamic and asynchronous way that allowed me to request more resources or ask Lisa to look for specific issues in the secondary literature. This was particularly helpful during the two week period when I returned to the primary text to develop the details of my interpretation. I was able to rely on Lisa to help me recall the terms of the debate in the secondary literature on an issue or theme in the dialogue. (Long; 2011)

dig-sch-3a-sharp.jpgAlthough not explicitly stated in the quote above, Dr. Long and Lisa's interaction involved their own shorthand language relying upon each other's understanding of a modified version of intext documentation, text slang (e.g. lol = laughing out loud), and the language of philosophers, all within 140 characters. As evident in the image on the right, asynchronous did not mean delayed responses. The conversation occurs within a relatively short time period of approx. 15 minutes with the first message sent by Dr. Long at 10:59 a.m. on 6/20/11 followed by Lisa's responses at 11:14 and 11:15 a.m. Other affordances of using Twitter for these conversations are the brief, direct, and to the point responses; the privacy of the direct message feature; the ability to work together on a task in real-time without necessarily being in the same location or even time-zone; and finally, the ability to work across platforms and devices (e.g. the image on the right is of an iPhone although Twitter started as a desktop application).

To summarize... 
Affordances of Twitter in Digital Scholarship:
+ Ability to develop own language system with brief, to the point messages
+ Time of responses only dependent on how often participants check Twitter stream/email/texts
+ No expectation that participants are engaged in synchronous discussion
+ Privacy with Direct Messages
+ Real-time messaging not dependent on location
+ Messaging not dependent on device using and/or owned

There are drawbacks, although few:
- Cannot be used for drafting and/or editing scholarly work 
- If participants are engaged in constant synchronous stream, messages could be seen as distracting and inhibitive to productive work

Before Twitter, my guess is Dr. Long would email and/or wait to meet up with his research assistant to discuss ideas and issues with writing OR work through the issues on his own. With Twitter, while deeply immersed in his own interpretations and writing, Dr. Long can bounce ideas off of his research assistant Lisa and receive valuable feedback and possibly sources that he might have looked over. What a change in the way we think about and practice scholarship! But there's one requirement I haven't mentioned yet that if not available could throw this idea out the window....

The competence of Lisa! It is important that research assistants are given the tools and understanding of both the research process and articles/texts of the topic to succeed in this type of system. 

Long, C. P. (2011, July 21). Collaborative research in philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.personal.psu.edu/cpl2/blogs/cplportfolio/2011/07/collaborative-research-in-phil.html
Last week I attended the 2011 Learning Design Summer Camp at Penn State University and led a small group discussion for the classroom of the future session. Having just attended the Hyper-Public Symposium at Harvard University and written about private and public learning spaces, I facilitated a discussion around the hyper-public learning space. I define hyper-public as complete openness, similar to a person that is followed around by paparazzi. This post provides an overview of the small group discussion and ideas. 

Using Laurent Stalder's notion of thresholds: "when do you begin to be in the building?", I gave an example of a high threshold: Penn State's Pattee Library (Slide 2 of Preso below), and low threshold: the Seattle Public Library (Slide 3 of Preso below). 

The steps and brick walls of the Pattee Library provide a boundary in a way that a person must make an effort to enter the building. There must be prior intent to enter the building. On the other hand, the design of the Seattle Public Library's auditorium invites a person to participate in a lecture/presentation without having planned for it. The Rolex Learning Center at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland is a great example of a hyper-public learning space, a space that invites someone in and provides a high level of openness (Slide 4 of Preso above). The following video link provides a glimpse into the design of the space from SANAA, the architecture team that designed the center: Video of the Design of the Rolex Learning Center

A hyper-public learning space is a space that actively encourages interaction. The design of the space invites participants. In the Rolex Learning Center, the design concept is learning as a social enterprise. That is, learning is an inherently social activity, and the design of the learning center provides an opportunity to engage and learn with others. In the video of the Rolex Learning Center (link above), the architects explain how the physical spaces are based around organic movement. The curves in the design of the center enable people to avoid collisions. The architects are proud of the space and want to be in the space, but what do students say? Our small group decided that before we can use the Rolex Learning Center as a model for a hyper-public design in our own community, we need to know if students want to be in the space. Are students using it in the ways the architects imagined? Moreover, is the color white for walls, floors, furniture too much? Too stark?

More important than the design of the walls, curves, and colors of a space, are the affordances of the objects within a space. Possible examples of affordances of objects are wheels on tables that allow students to move the tables to meet their needs, monitors/computers mounted on walls instead of tables so tables can be moved, couches instead of chairs in back of classrooms so outside students/people feel invited to sit in on class discussions, and pods that allow students to project their laptops onto wall monitors during group work. In the East Quad at the University of Michigan, learning spaces feature many of these objects and affordances. The following slideshow presents a glimpse of the learning spaces: 

These spaces change the concept of privacy in the classroom. Inviting outside students/people to sit in the back of class on a sofa during regular class activities is radically different than traditional notions of higher education. Is it possible to have our students unlearn their notions of a classroom so they will use and feel comfortable in these hyper-public spaces? Same question for faculty? Or are these spaces too radical?

In an episode of Seinfeld, Kramer and Jerry observe a hospital operation but because of the openness, find themselves as participants because of one Junior Mint candy. Inviting everyone to participate as observers or active participants is what the hyper-public learning space is all about. It is changing the classroom culture and requires a change in teacher perspectives. We have telepresence - the ability to communicate across the world; mixing in higher education buildings - living spaces, learning spaces, and faculty offices are all under the same roof; multi-purpose ceilings - sound can be manipulated to meet the demands of an event; and social media - we are no longer bound to physical space and location. The hyper-public learning space is a mash-up of all of these features. But, will our faculty change their paradigms and use these spaces in their practice? That is the important question.

Other examples of hyper-public from our small group discussion:
  • Bruce Mau's Institute without Boundaries 
  • Facebook's all open office building complete with living room type furniture and sushi bar
  • Apple's volleyball games during lunch hours and Ben Harper concerts
This past February, I contemplated the future of pre-service teacher education based on a conversation I engaged in at PETE&C - facilitated by Dr. James Bolton and Mr. Jarrin Sperry. 

"Because of the ever changing fields of technology and the learning sciences, pre-service teachers must be trained to be adaptive experts... Adaptive experts 'are much more likely to evolve their core competencies and continually expand the breadth and depth of their expertise as the need arises or as their interests demand.' (Rook, 2011)"

Just last week (June 28), Dr. Bolton and Mr. Sperry facilitated a panel and follow-up discussion at the 2011 ISTE Conference in Philly titled "Preparing Teachers for the Digital Age." In addition to Dr. Bolton and Mr. Sperry, the panel included the following teachers and/or teacher educators: Dr. Luis Almeida, Dr. Orrin Murray, and Ms. Rosemary Parmigiani. This post provides a synthesis of the discussion based on the backchannel feed and draws on thoughts from my past blog post to rethink the future of teacher education.

What must we avoid in the future of teacher education?
  • "it's not always about the equipment... more about the philosophy of tech integration" ~R. Morse
  • "my teachers struggle not only with the philosophy but how to use them as a part of a classroom routine" ~D. High
The consensus is that pre-service teachers do not have appropriate knowledge of the philosophies behind using technology in a specific lesson. Moreover, consistently using technology based on sound learning theory in a classroom routine presents challenges for pre-service teachers. Rather than separating technology, pedagogy, and content in TPCK models of teacher education, we must present technology in line with appropriate learning theories in specific content lessons, not on its own in an educational technology course. 

How do we present technology in line with appropriate learning theories in specific content lessons?
  • the profs must model for the pre-service teachers to break the cycle" ~V. Glatzer
  • "we can't model based on assumptions that the district will block something... instead model best practice so that they (pre-service teachers) can be a proponent for what should not be blocked" ~V. Glatzer
Teacher educators must lead by example. If there is any hope of having pre-service teachers come away from their teacher ed. programs with the knowledge and skill to use technology to support their teaching and learning processes, the teacher educators must demonstrate how this works. We cannot expect educational technologists who have little to no experience teaching in the K-12 classroom to guide our future teachers in applying appropriate learning theories to practice in technology integration. Instead, we must require teacher educators to be in the K-12 classroom themselves - constantly observing best practices so they are not left behind and teaching old paradigms to a group of pre-service teachers that will be expected to teach using a new paradigm.

What is the takeaway? What should the future of teacher education look like?
  • "we need teachers that can adapt to whatever they have available" ~J. Sperry
Regardless of whether students are asked to BYOT (bring your own technology) or use their mobile devices, we must have an expectation that teachers will adapt to new systems and not fold under the pressure of using new technology. After all, isn't lifelong learning a requirement of the teaching profession? We MUST be willing to fail and go back to the drawing board, learning from our communities of practice: local teachers, students, and learning communities on the Internet. That goes for all in the profession: pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and most importantly, teacher educators. 

Rook, M. M. (2011, February 23). The future of pre-service teacher education [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.personal.psu.edu/sum16/blogs/innovation_studio/2011/02/the-future-of-pre-service-teacher-education.html
How does the design of physical spaces, virtual experiences, and legal codes form the experience of the public and the private? How do people adapt to changes in the boundaries of private and public - or change the technology? What are the risks and beauty of the hyper-public life? How do we cultivate the freedom and diversity that privacy has maintained?

These questions formed the conversation at the first Hyper-Public symposium sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University on June 9-10, 2011. I had the opportunity to participate and gain valuable insight into how architects, legal scholars, and designers look at the future of spaces both physical and online. Throughout the symposium, I thought about the importance of bringing these conversations into the field of learning spaces. This entry provides food for thought on this topic.

What is the hyper-public life?
In today's connected world, user data is recorded and saved everywhere - online and even off-line. For example, online: Amazon uses past purchases to make recommendations, and Facebook uses profile information to individualize advertisements. 

From twitter: RT @zephoria: Never forget... when a social media site is free (Facebook), you're not the customer, you're the product - @zittrain #bigdata #hyperpublic

Everything we do online can be traced and displayed in this hyper-public forum. We once could separate our online and off-line activities, but those days will soon be over. For example, you could argue that off-line no longer exists: Apple's iPhone records user data based on GPS location while the phone supposedly is turned off (i.e. sleep mode), and public objects in networked cities are using identifiers such as our cellphones to record user data of our supposedly off-line activities (see David Bollier's blog entry on Adam Greenfield's thoughts). This reminds me of all of the movies I've seen over the years (e.g. Enemy of the State) that suggest that big brother can track our movements based on tracers found on our bodies. The tracers today are our digital devices.

How does the hyper-public life shape the design of learning spaces?
If you look at the majority of today's college classrooms, you will find two main items: (1) people (i.e. teachers and students); and (2) devices (i.e. laptop computers, tablets, and cellphones, or a combination of the three). To use these devices,
students ask network administrators for fast wireless network capabilities. Students want to stay connected. Because of this, hybrid courses are much easier to facilitate. Professors can invite students from anywhere in the world - as long as they have an Internet connection - to join class conversations. One of the great examples of this over the past few years has been David Wiley's open content courses. Privacy is no longer defined by the walls of the classroom. Any student in class can be engaged in a conversation outside of those walls. Or the opposite may be true: the professor may invite outside participants by encouraging a backchannel feed on Twitter during class discussions. The image on the right shows the backchannel feed during the fourth session of the symposium featuring (from left to right) Charles Nesson, Nicholas Negroponte and Martin Nowak. Projected in the image is Negroponte's mock-up for his new tablet computer to be used in his One Laptop per Child non-profit organization.

How does the design of learning spaces form the experience of the public and the private?
Jef Huang, Director of the Media x Design Laboratory at EPFL Switzerland, is working on the design of a hyper-public university in the desert of Ras Al Khaimah. His vision is similar to the Rolex Learning Center at EPFL Switzerland, presented in the following video:

Glass provides a low threshold of privacy. The space is more inviting and there are no clear boundaries provided by the space. This is in stark contrast to many brick buildings at a gated campus community. The push in education is to move towards openness and the hyper-public life. I see learning spaces soon following this trend. As scholars in the field of learning spaces, we must engage in conversations around public and private and design future spaces based on these conversations.

Beginning this fall, the Penn State University Park campus information technology services (ITS) will provide support for instructor adoption of a clicker student response system in all classrooms across campus. The decision to support this service was based on a successful clicker pilot at Penn State, documented by Brian Young in his meaningful blog titled "Teaching with Clickers".


Having studied the theories of diffusions of innovations, I find it exciting that there is an opportunity to follow the diffusion and adoption of an innovation - the i>clicker system - at Penn State over this next year. It will be most interesting to watch the practices of Penn State instructors and the reasons they give to adopt or reject the clicker system. According to Everett Rogers's seminal work Diffusions of Innovations, diffusions follow a five step process:

1. Knowledge - awareness of the innovation and how it works;

2. Persuasion - attitudes (both positive and negative) towards the innovation;

3. Decision - engagement with the innovation leading to adoption or rejection;

4. Implementation - innovation is added to practice;

5. Confirmation - evaluation of innovation confirms decision regarding practice.

(Rogers, 1995, p. 162).


At this point in time, I think we are at the knowledge and persuasion stages of this diffusion. ITS has provided resources about the clickers and how to adopt the system (http://clc.its.psu.edu/classrooms/resources/clickers) and is asking for instructors to contact them for more information. Reasons for using the clicker system are provided from an ITS perspective: 

"The i>clicker system allows an instructor to pose a multiple choice question to the class, to which students respond by pressing A, B, C, D, or E on their response device. Responses are then compiled by the clicker software. Instructors can choose whether and when to reveal the results to students. They can also use the clicker remote control to advance PowerPoint slides projected in class. Pedagogical uses of clickers include gauging student knowledge on a topic, providing instant feedback, improving class interaction and participation, and promoting more thoughtful discussion."


This is a great way to start the discussion on clickers. However, it cannot stop here. Without adequate examples and pedagogical reasons from a learning theory perspective, instructors will fail to use clickers as more than a replacement of raising hands (see my blog titled Clicking our Way through Race and Ethnic Relations). What we need are examples of using clickers from innovators of teaching practice. The following list provides a brief set of resources that will help the diffusion and adoption of clickers based on sound learning theory - diffusion and adoption for the RIGHT reasons.


What is it about the Staples easy button that makes it so marketable? Is it simply that we (people) want things to be easy?


Since 2003, Staples has used its trademarked easy button for a successful marketing campaign. Staples wants you to remember it as the one click solution for all of your office supplies. In essence, when you think of Staples, you should equate it with easy shopping for office supplies.


Recently in education, there is a push towards data driven decision-making. We want educators to make curricula decisions, teaching decisions, and even classroom management decisions based on theory AND data. Data on the teacher-student and student-student interactions must be collected and analyzed. However, the accumulation and interpretation of data takes time and effort. Add data recording, editing, and analyzing to the already busy schedule, teaching load and research requirements of the professor, and it seems like an uphill battle for the professor to find enough time to gather the data to make these data driven decisions. Educators need a one click solution for data collection and analysis.


On March 23, 2011, a few representatives from Microsoft's Education department visited campus and met with Penn State representatives in the efforts of teaching and learning with technology. Among the representatives from Microsoft were Cameron Evans, Microsoft's Education chief technology officer and Allyson Knox, Academic Program Manager for Microsoft's US Partners in Learning program. During our time with Cameron and Allyson among others, the Krause Innovation Studio staff discussed possible avenues and ways to partner and collaborate with Microsoft to develop one click solutions to current educational problems.


As the conversation developed, Dr. Kyle Peck, Director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory and the Aerospace Education Services Project at Penn State and friend of the Krause Innovation Studio, suggested partnering with Microsoft to develop a one click solution for data collection and analysis in the college classroom. Kyle recommended creating "software that can pull in four flip cameras" and synchronize the timing of the video and audio to create an easy solution for professors. I found out later that Penn State is already testing a similar system that coordinates multiple cameras (angles) and microphones and collects the data onto a flash drive. At the beginning of the lesson/lecture, the instructor inserts a flash drive into the computer and clicks on record (a one click solution)! Immediately following the conclusion of the lesson/lecture, the instructor stops the recording and the data is synchronized and saved on the flash drive, ready to take back to his/her office for analysis purposes.


After Kyle introduced the idea of a one click solution to digital records of practice, Cameron Evans added an innovative idea - using the Kinect software and hardware available on Microsoft's Xbox 360 to "read the temperature of the classroom." Cameron added that the system needs to be "passive, with no responsibility for the teacher." A guerrilla video type system - video recording that involves multiple views/angles and microphones on teacher and on student activities - as opposed to the traditional, back of the classroom surveillance video type system, could add enough detail to enable the professor to understand the learning as it occurs. However, considering the magnitude of space needed to save multiple camera angles, audio feeds, and sensory input (Kinect), it might not be possible to save all synchronized data onto a flash drive, unless that flash drive was rather large in storage space. No, instead of a flash drive, the one click solution could include a cloud computing storage solution to enable access from any computer - both the professor's office and home computers. 

I listen to audiobooks. I just don't seem to have time to read much anymore. Currently I am listening to Emperor of Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It is a great biography of cancer, but it is also a wonderful look into the scientific process and how we solve or address complex problems. One of the most powerful chords that the book struck with me was around how aggressively some researchers pursued cancer treatments independent of understanding how cancer worked. The reason this struck a chord is that it feels like a similar pattern has emerged in educational research where there is a confusion between evaluation (figuring out the efficacy of something) and research (trying to understand how and why it is or is not effective). 

I have seen this pattern in many aspects of the work I do. As a journal editor, I see manuscripts where teacher educators give their students some kind of pre/post measure to see if the methods class they teach changes their students [fill in blank here with something like knowledge or beliefs]. There is no consideration of why this might happen, it is not a theory driven inquiry based on what we know about learning, it is evaluation of a methods course. Not research and yet we get hundreds of these manuscripts a year.

As a new reader in research on learning spaces I have seen the same pattern. Spaces are evaluated for how they impact some factor (activity, engagement, talk, etc.) that the researcher implicitly, but rarely explicitly, links to learning. Again, there is little theory driving the inquiry, and never learning theory. This theory-free type of trial and error seems unlikely (as it was with cancer) to lead to productive advancements in our understanding of the interaction between learning and the spaces where learning happens.

Finally, I have seen the pattern in my work in innovative pedagogy with technologies like the iPad, where educational technologists rush to determine if the iPad transforms learning and teaching by putting lots of iPads in schools. There is no attempt to think about why an iPad might positively impact learning (other than the ever-present "engagement"). There is no theory of learning being tested. It is simply an intuition (which has proven consistently incorrect) that [insert new technology here] will transform education and to prove this we will measure something.

Trying to cure cancer by trial and error using different treatments led to little understanding, and some major misunderstandings about the nature of cancer, not to mention its impact on human health. We seem to make the same mistake when we confuse evaluating the efficacy of an educational intervention and investigating the nature of the process that explains why different interventions are likely to work or not. We have to stop doing educational work from intuition and determining success using superficial measures focused on efficacy and ignoring quality, models and mechanism. We must move to theory-driven research with a focus on how and why and not what or how much. Continuing down the "evaluation in a research disguise" path is likely to lead to some major misunderstandings about learning. And frankly, we can't afford any more of those.
The key word in the title of this blog is "our". Let me explain...

At the end of March, I attended the 2011 Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State University. During one session, The New Clickers: A Panel about the Spring 2011 Clicker Pilot, I had the opportunity to hear current PSU faculty and lecturers discuss the use of the clicker tool in their own college classrooms. I had heard one of the presenters, Dr. Sam Richards, deliver a dynamic and engaging presentation on A Radical Experiment in Empathy at TEDxPSU, and I was interested in observing him in action (using clickers) during one of his classes. I approached him after the session, introduced myself, and set up a time to observe him. The rest of this entry presents a summary of my observation of Soc: 119 and a respectful critique of Dr. Richards' use of clickers in his classroom. 

Observation Date: Tues. March 29, 2011
Time: 4:15-5:30 p.m.
Course Title: Soc 119: Race and Ethnic Relations
Number of Students: approx. 500
Background on Clickers: Students were given iClickers at the beginning of the semester and asked to bring them to class for a minimum of 2/3 of the lectures. Participation in clicker questions during class counted as 5 points towards the final grade for the course.


When Dr. Richards asks a question, students respond using their clicker and the results are displayed. Dr. Richards interprets the results with the students and modifies his lecture on the spot in a teacher-centered manner. In effect, Dr. Richards is clicking his way through race and ethnic relations. His use of clickers in Soc: 119 is not much more than a replacement of asking students to raise their hands, with the added affordance of enabling students to be anonymous. In a classroom of this size, it is hard to argue with Dr. Richards' approach. His lecture works wonderfully and students stay engaged throughout. 

Although Dr. Richards is providing his students with an engaging lecture, there are opportunities he may be missing in regards to using clickers in the classroom. Dr. Richards could be more student-centered with his approach in his lectures. Even though the space is not built for it, he could ask students to interact in small groups with those closest to them, and allow the students to analyze the data from clicker responses on their own before he jumps in with his critique. For example, "Turn to your neighbor and ask them to describe what they see in the data, and once you have an agreement, compare your opinion with others around you," might provide just the student-centered collaboration that could transform Dr. Richards' lectures. This example is much more than a small change in Dr. Richards' lecture. It is a systemic change in how he teaches. He must change the learning environment and his teaching paradigm at the same time. Instead of using a teacher-centered approach based on the number of students and layout of the space, he could change everything by encouraging small groups in the space with student-led reflection and critique. 

With this change, Dr. Richards' will provide opportunities for his students to click their own (our) way through race and ethnic relations.

NOTE: The Story Behind the Image of Dr. Richards...
A little past the half-way mark of the lecture, Dr. Richards invited students to volunteer for what he calls "commercials." Students are given 2-5 minutes to plug an activity, organization, upcoming event, or just talk about something of interest. One student used the time to show a comic and ask his friend to be his girlfriend, all while wearing a red clown nose. Not only did this get some laughs and ooos and ahhs, but Dr. Richards asked for the nose and wore it during the final minutes of the lecture, showing the level of engagement of Dr. Richards with his students. 

Take a look around your office, or better yet, look at your computer desktop.  The files, folders, applications and notes that you have accumulated are just a portion of your online intellectual life.  Think about where you have saved files online---Google Docs, Flickr, Dropbox, Evernote, Endnote, Gmail or one of thousands of other online services that help manage your information workflow.  Consider where you have published formal or informal scholarly works---research articles, proceedings, recordings of presentations; blog posts; books; your graduate thesis.  All of these information sources come together to comprise your personal scholarly library.  More often than not, you serve as your own librarian--gatekeeper, archivist, and organizer of your important scholarly information collections.

As research libraries move forward from an age where large stores of information were kept shelved in a physical building, to one where researchers control their own online information universe, librarians are becoming more invested in helping faculty optimize, organize and archive their personal scholarly information collections. As an Education librarian, I am working with Scott McDonald to develop the Krause Innovation Studio's focus on digital scholarship, centering on the following essential research questions:

What are the research tools that faculty need to maximize their scholarly organization and productivity?

How can the Krause Innovation Studio help faculty optimize, mine and share their personal information collections including published, scholarly works, datasets, research notes, and other materials?

What does it mean to curate your personal scholarly collections, and how can faculty more aggressively document and capture formal and informal scholarly work?

How can the Penn State Libraries best support the needs of researchers, particularly at the individual level, facilitating every stage of a faculty member's scholarly work, from information searching to archiving and socially sharing works with other researchers?

Christine Borgman writes in Scholarship in the Digital Age:

The printed records of scholarship, both data and documents, can survive through benign neglect.  Most are stable enough to be readable or useful for decades or centuries with adequate temperature and moisture controls.  Digital records, however, cannot survive by benign neglect.

Without careful attention to our online personal information collections now, what is readable and easily shared today may be lost to future generations of researchers.  I'm excited to participate in the Krause Innovation Studio's digital scholarship focus, helping develop practices and resources that will heighten faculty's awareness of their disparate, electronic information collections, while making easier their entire scholarly workflow.

This past week, I participated in the 2011 Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (PETE&C). Bringing together approximately 2500 people (PreK-12 teachers, technologists, vendors, administrators, and higher education faculty/students) from across Pennsylvania, PETE&C enables important conversations to occur around the use of technology to support the teaching and learning process.


One of the most interesting conversations I had the opportunity to engage in was around the topic of pre-service teacher education. Dr. James Bolton (Edinboro University) and Mr. Jarrin Sperry (Conneaut School District) facilitated a session titled Pre-service Teacher Prep - What needs to change? In this session, Bolton and Sperry provided question prompts and allowed everyone to contribute, both in-person, and through a backchannel conversation (once you are in the page, scroll down to see the beginning of the conversation). In this post, I will highlight the main takeaways and suggest appropriate action.


The conversation opened with a question for the administrators, "What questions are you asking teacher candidates (on a job interview)?" And, more specifically, what are the candidates responding when asked the question, how do you use technology in your classroom? The general consensus among administrators in the room was that candidates listed PowerPoint as the main use of technology in their classrooms. But, as the backchannel posts suggest, "isn't ppt so 1994? PPT promotes passive learning." What then, should we be asking pre-service teachers? Should we ask "show me your PLN (Personal Learning Network)?" Or is the question not about pre-service teachers at all? "Do me a favor. Teach new students how to connect with others." This last statement suggests that this is not an issue with pre-service teachers, but with teacher educators. 

What is the future of pre-service teacher education? What should we be teaching in pre-service teacher education? The answers in the discussion fell into two main categories: content vs. process. Many participants suggested that we should hire "coaches for our Higher Ed Faculty" and that we need a standards-based system to ensure that all of our pre-service teachers are coming out with the same skill-set. The other participants suggested that we should "create lifelong learners" using "experience, project, problem-based learning" and require "student teachers to have digital portfolios." And, Higher Ed Faculty should "start modeling the expectations."

I think the future of pre-service teacher education is a combination of the two, but different. Let me explain.... a model of expertise developed by Kayoko Inagaki and the late Giyoo Hatano is useful to illustrate my point. In the model, routine expertise is distinguished from adaptive expertise in that routine experts "develop a core set of competencies that they apply throughout their lives with greater and greater efficiency" (Bransford et al., 2006, p. 26). This is similar to the medical and legal/judicial professions, where it is important for doctors and lawyers to pass bar exams that test specific knowledge. Throughout their careers, doctors and lawyers remain lifelong learners, but they develop greater efficiency with the same content. Adaptive experts "are much more likely to evolve their core competencies and continually expand the breadth and depth of their expertise as the need arises or as their interests demand" (2006, p. 26). Because of the ever changing fields of technology and the learning sciences, pre-service teachers must be trained to be adaptive experts. Yes, pre-service teachers take praxis tests, but pre-service teacher education must involve evidence that pre-service teachers have become adaptive experts. Standards are still in place, but the emphasis is on adaptive expertise, not content. 

At the 2011 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Conference in Philadelphia in June, Dr. Bolton and Mr. Sperry will facilitate another conversation around this topic. Be there! Or if you cannot make it, I will get you caught up with a follow up post on this topic. 

In the meantime, what do you think? Write a comment and join the conversation either here or on the backchannel.


Bransford, J., Barron, B., Pea, R., Meltzoff, A., Kuhl, P., Bell, P., Stevens, R., Schwartz, D., Vye, N., Reeves, B., Roschelle, J., Sabelli, N. (2006). Foundations and opportunities for an interdisciplinary science of learning. In R. Keith Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag