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Interactive Technology and Smart Education

Different strokes for different folks: scaling a blended model of teacher professional learning
Deirdre Butler, Margaret Leahy, Michael Hallissy, Mark Brown,
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abilities and competencies to be successful. Specific goals for 21st century teaching and learning are now commonplace and while these goals vary across countries. each of which stresses the potential of technology to transform the learning experiences of students by helping them become engaged thinkers. 2015). ETA.g. 2015).g.g. Different strokes for different folks: scaling a blended model of teacher professional learning Deirdre Butler Margaret Leahy Michael Hallissy Mark Brown Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) 1. these have become “integral skills in every teacher’s professional repertoire” (p. globally connected world of the 21st century (e. communication. has been found to be the determinant factor among conditions that support the performance of the world’s best education systems (Barber & Mourshed. unsustainable population growth and the future of work require critical thinking.. Although these key competencies vary depending on the futures perspective. According to UNESCO (2008). self-regulation and information management (e. In addition. work and thrive in a digital society. How then do we go about ensuring that teachers have these skills? We know that teaching and learning is complex. researchers and policy-makers worldwide that both teaching and learning need to change to help students develop the skills they need to succeed in the complex. 2007). active and contributing members of society in the 21st century. The importance of developing these skills cannot be emphasised enough.g. past experience has taught us that new tools can easily be used to reinforce or perpetuate traditional teaching methods (e.. Ananiadou & Claro. More than ever. 2005a. there is a tendency for teachers to merely tame new technology based on traditional practices rather than embrace transformative models of exploiting the pedagogical affordances of new educational technologies (Brown. it should not be a surprise that efforts to integrate new digital technologies add to this complexity. skills. 2009). Russell et al. The key point is that what the research tells us is that how technology is used determines whether or not its use affects learning outcomes (e. There is growing consensus among education leaders. INTRODUCTION Today’s world is rapidly changing. complex problem-solving and creative solutions.1). not funding.. 2012). global citizens. they must also know how and when to use (and not to use) technology to support student learning. Higgins et al. 2010. 2007). World Economic Forum. the ability to use digital technology effectively and reflectively is a common feature in these initiatives. We live in a period of major social and technological change where a number of grand challenges such as climate change. 2014). social learning environments (Butler & Leahy. Instead.g. and active learners in collaborative. 2015). 2008). common themes . A range of “21st century skills” (often referred to as “Key Skills” or “Key Competencies”. Binkley et al. Put another way.g. Law & Chow. have been identified as necessary to prepare students to live. (e. Nor does it mean that educators will meaningfully integrate technology into teaching and learning (e. Moreover.. Teachers in today’s classroom must not only be prepared to use technology. especially when we consider that teacher quality. Therefore. 2012). collaboration. they generally include skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. we know that the introduction of new technology into a learning environment does not by itself lead to changes in learning outcomes (Dynarski et al. 2003) or develop innovative teaching practices (Fullan & Langworthy. we need to ensure that all students have the knowledge. OECD.

to design learning activities that enable their students develop the dispositions.. Shear et al. as each school was encouraged to select reform goals that were appropriate for its local and national educational context. 2010.. 2015b). 2011. a critical finding from SITES 2006 (Law et al. over nearly a decade. It is also accepted that teachers’ understanding of 21st century skill requirements influence the ways in which .g. It leaves them with little time or flexibility to introduce new ideas or practices. Law et al. 2011. In Ireland. teamwork. Despite this. There is a significant gap or disconnection between the goals for 21st century teaching and learning and well-designed teacher professional learning programmes to develop these skills. 2015). 2008) was that ICT adoption per se did not determine or change pedagogical orientation in education systems. the ISP programme manager in Ireland and the national evaluators (Butler & Leahy. 2015) saw the ISP as a means to make a very rigid system more flexible through the use of digital tools. the focus was placed on the integration of digital technologies into teaching and learning in the secondary sector. in turn. This recognition was because research evidence has repeatedly identified a teacher‘s pedagogical orientation as a crucial factor in how they use technology in their classroom (e. This initiative was implemented in different ways across 12 pilot schools worldwide. the initiative expanded to district level in Phase 2 to include eight more schools (2009-2013). it was also directly linked to a university postgraduate accreditation process (Butler & Leahy. This approach was considered particularly important in Ireland because rigid state standards and a traditional exam-based system of education at secondary level is widely perceived to constrain teachers’ ability to change their instructional practices. we report the development of a scalable model of teacher professional learning in the Republic of Ireland. Ertmer. the training tended to be “technocentric” as the focus was on the “technology” and the acquisition of skills and the development of products for teaching rather than critical reflection on possible new pedagogical practices. teachers rarely have access to specific guidance or support on how to make 21st century goals come to fruition in the classroom (OECD. Across both phases. include problem-solving. and the use of technology to support more impactful life- long learning. Finally. In response to an expressed desire among school leaders and teachers alike. job-embedded and directly related to the teachers' experiences along with their stated needs and interests. The ISP National Evaluators (Butler and Leahy) identified the need not only to work closely with teachers and school management to shift this focus but also to concentrate on the teachers’ beliefs and values as the starting point. The school.. 2. training had been provided to teachers in the school in the use of a variety of applications and a range of hardware. the programme of professional learning developed was school-focused. 2012).Designing a Teacher Professional Learning Framework The ‘Innovative Schools Programme’ (ISP) was a Microsoft Partners in Learning initiative that sought to support teachers around the world as they transformed traditional schools into providers of innovative learning experiences designed to prepare students for the 21st century. We begin by outlining how this approach was developed in a single secondary school engaged in a global project in Phase 1 (2007–2010) and then how building on the success of Phase 1. which has been developed and has matured across three Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) phases. Phase 3 concerned the design and development of what we describe as a 4th wave model of online or blended professional learning through a MOOC which has the capacity to engage teachers globally (2014-to date). 2008.. There was also a strong culture of peer support within the school.1 Phase 1 . the challenge is to design professional learning experiences for teachers that enable them. 2011. 2. skills and competencies required to live and thrive in the 21st century. 2010. However. Faced with this reality. The main objective was to design a framework for the professional learning of teachers relevant to the challenges of teaching in a secondary school. persistence. Prior to the ISP. For example. DEVELOPMENT OF A TEACHER PROFESSIONAL LEARNING SCALABLE MODEL In this paper and against this backdrop.

they use ICT (Plomp et al. 2009). In consultation with Butler & Leahy. and grounded in collective discussions of classroom practice (Warren Little. Finally. 2010. 2009) provided this context (See Table 1). When teachers’ pedagogical orientations are driven by understandings of 21st century learning. There is also a weight of research evidence that demonstrates professional development programmes are most effective when they are embedded into teachers' professional lives and communities within the school (Darling-Hammond et al. 1993). Table 1. 2011. as originally conceptualised the programme was directly linked to a university postgraduate accreditation process. the student develop a successful solution to a real- real-world problems? Are students’ solutions world problem? Did the student implement the implemented in the real world? solution in the real world? 2. The framework enabled the teachers to design learning activities in which they embedded 21st century learning principles. 2010. Previous experience in developing a model of professional learning had led to the realisation that in order to change classroom practice teachers need to ask questions about their existing classroom practices Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) (Butler. Learning Activity and Student Work Dimensions Learning Activity Dimensions Student Activity Dimensions Collaboration: Are students required to share Collaboration: Did the student share responsibility? responsibility and make substantive decisions with Did the student make substantive decisions with other people other people? Knowledge Building: Are students required to build Knowledge Building: Did the student build knowledge? Is that knowledge interdisciplinary? knowledge? Was that knowledge conceptually accurate and interdisciplinary? Use of ICT for Learning: Do students use ICT to Use of ICT for Learning: Were students passive support knowledge building? Is ICT necessary to that consumers. a key feature of the professional learning programme was that it was both directly related to the teachers’ stated needs and experiences and anchored in the meaningful context of their own classroom practices.. are focused explicitly on local goals for student learning (e. 2011). they take on a more facilitative role. the district management decided to invest funding into .2 Phase 2 . The Learning Activity/Student Work (LASW) framework developed by Stanford Research Institute as part of the ISP (Shear et al. develop the meta-language used to describe such learning environments as well as reflect on their teaching and the assignments they set their students (Butler & Leahy. 2004). Shear et al. provide student-centered guidance and feedback. 2011). Darling-Hammond. and engage more frequently in exploratory and team- building activities with students. 2003). Shear et al. To this end. it was critical that the teachers in the school were challenged to question their practice.Evolution of the Peer Coaching Model Observing the changing nature and more innovative practices during Phase 1 that occurred as a result of engagement in the professional learning programme. The approach emphasizes depth of understanding while also providing opportunities to engage in collaborative project-based learning activities that go beyond the classroom. management requested that the programme be expanded to district level..g.. 2009. 2015). According to UNESCO (2008. To do this. this is a knowledge deepening approach and implies teachers make use of ICT in ways that support an enquiry process and enable their students to work on solving complex real-world problems. active users. or designers of ICT knowledge building? Self-Regulation: Is the learning activity long-term? Skilled Communication: Did the student produce Do students plan and assess their own work extended communication? Was the communication well-developed and organized around a thesis? Real-World Problem-Solving and Innovation: Real-World Problem-Solving and Innovation: Did Does the learning activity require solving authentic..

1995. they could not fundamentally change the teachers’ classroom practices or the learning experiences of the students. we needed to design a learning environment which not only developed these skills but also challenged the peer coaches to question their existing traditional pedagogies and classroom practices. this role was redefined whereby ICT coordinators were now expected to support innovative and emerging new pedagogies and technologies to facilitate student learning and the development of 21st century skills. 1998). 1993.. in agreement with district management. 1992. We believed that school- based peer coaching could provide the structure to enable teachers to adopt and implement new teaching and Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) learning practices with digital technologies as it encourages professional collaboration. Joyce and Showers 1996. they needed to be able to communicate these understandings to their peers so that they. could make changes in their classroom practice. The target group identified to become peer coaches were the ICT coordinators from schools across the district. 1995). 1997. Joyce & Showers. Miller. It is also accepted that teachers need time to see new strategies modelled and be provided with opportunities to use new skills in developing and implementing learning activities (Garet. 2002. Otherwise. Darling-Hammond. & Kelley. For these reasons. the role of ICT coordinator was associated with ensuring that hardware was in working order or at best supporting the development of teachers’ technical skills. being observed. In addition. Ringstaff. digital fluency and communication/collaboration skills. Peer Coaching provides ongoing support and just-in-time support that teachers value (Brush et al. In response. 2001. Hargreaves and Fullan. Traditionally. 2008. Darling- Hammond. 1998. observing others. 2002). It can promote teacher learning by offering teachers opportunities to become involved in meaningful discussions and planning.g. Veenman and Denessen. Importantly. It was perceived that these teachers would become peer coaches and promote the creative integration and use of digital technologies in teaching and learning among teachers at their schools. in turn.3 Impact of the Professional Learning Model Across Phase 1 and 2. However. the management team also requested that formal accreditation would continue to be a feature of the programme. 1989. Richardson. Loucks- Horsley.. school leaders and management initially tended to view digital technologies as tools to support traditional practice. 1994. However. Evidence of this change and enhanced quality of education is found in the national evaluation reports of the ISP (Butler & Leahy. Loucks-Horsley et al. & Hewson. Sparks and Loucks-Horsley. 1996.. Rodriguez and Knuth. et al. 2000). 1998. Stiles. 1997. In addition. through participation in the programme. the Digital Learning Peer Coaching (DLPC) programme was developed with 12 teachers participating over two school years (2009-2011). the professional learning of a group of teachers in schools across the district. 1997. 1996). The newly defined role was challenging. 2009) as well as through analysis of the coursework and final dissertations produced by teachers participating in the . teachers. 2001). Norton and Gonzales. Little. 2003). It is well reported that teachers rely heavily on technical support when using digital technologies initially in their classrooms. although they could help support other teachers to embed the use of a range of digital technologies into their classrooms. as they begin to use technology to support project based learning or interdisciplinary learning they also need pedagogical support (White. 2001. The resultant accredited Digital Learning Peer Coaching (DLPC) programme was subsequently designed with three discrete but interrelated elements: understandings of learning. 2002. A peer coaching approach was adopted as it is accepted that a key factor to changing classroom practices is to provide teachers with opportunities for collaboration which promote ongoing discussion and reflection (e. Not only did the ICT coordinators now need be digitally fluent with a range of digital tools but they also needed an in-depth understanding of learning. 1996.. and receiving feedback (Carey and Frechtling. their understanding shifted and they began to perceive digital technologies as tools that facilitate more progressive classroom practices and the development of their students’ 21st century skills. 2. However. Garet et al. Peer coaching can provide the type of support teachers need as they begin to integrate technology with these types of classroom activities that actively engage students in learning (Ike. Yocam. Of equal importance is that teachers are provided with ongoing support as they grapple with new content and methodologies so that they will integrate them into their practice (Corcoran.

The The peer coaching model provided the framework to manage the change of teachers attempting to redesign learning activities for their students and also for the integration of digital technologies into classroom . motivate and stimulate their students with genuine inquiry and challenging tasks.335) From this evidence. It enabled the participating teachers to design learning environments which were more student-led and characterised by the use of a range of digital technologies supporting an enquiry process that demanded the use of essential skills such as knowledge construction. 2015. 2008. Together.339) This change is a significant move away from the narrow exam driven focus towards a knowledge deepening approach (UNESCO. self-regulation. 2015. 2015). coaches and coaching partners were challenged and they began to focus on more innovative approaches to student learning with increased integration of digital technology in the classroom. 2015).it is a means of collective support as teachers take risks when introducing new technologies and ways of working into their classrooms … and encourage teachers to share their knowledge and continually improve their professional practice. (Butler & Leahy. independent and engaging. 2011). The peer coaching model was central to this process of redefining pedagogical orientation which is effectively capture in this description of the process by one of the peer coaches: To successfully integrate technology and 21st century learning skills teachers will have to rethink their pedagogy. p. resulting in learners: • taking control of their own learning • having greater ownership of the learning activities • demonstrating more engagement / participation • increased collaboration • being active rather than passive in their learning • taking on new leadership roles This change is encapsulated by a peer coach as follows: I really believe that during this process we have analysed these 21st century skills. (Butler & Leahy. To borrow from the words of Perkins (1992). problem-solving and innovation. beliefs and classroom practices of all the participating teachers. probed how we can bring them to the fore in our learners and prove that they possess these skills while using ICT to make learning more interactive. exciting. it is apparent that the model of professional learning resulted in a shift in the pedagogical orientation of the teachers who were involved in the programme. these two sources of evidence demonstrate that the overriding impact of the programme was to move teachers “out of their comfort zones” (Butler & Leahy.A peer coaching model would provide the framework to manage the change of … teachers attempting to redesign learning activities for their students and also for the integration of digital technologies into classroom practices……. postgraduate diploma (Butler & Leahy. Traditional assumptions. skilled communication and collaboration. This was evident by the emergence of the following trends in classroom practices: • Student-centered learning • Project based learning rather than discrete lesson plans • Students working collaboratively in groups rather than individual learning • Focus on learning not on subject “content” • Awareness of / designing lessons with opportunities for students to develop 21st century skills • Increase in teacher confidence to use a greater range of pedagogical strategies / digital technologies • Collaboration across and between subject departments / ripple effect Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) The shift in pedagogical orientation along with increased use of digital technologies in learning and teaching had a positive impact on student learning. there was a significant mind- set shift away from training memories to educating minds. p. ….

al. Moreover. and Pomerantz. 2009) as well as the ability and the need to use digital technology effectively and reflectively in Irish schools. readings. 2016). practices. 2014). p. it was a logical step to investigate the use of a MOOC. It is a means of enabling collective support as teachers take risks when introducing new technologies and ways of working into their classrooms and encourage teachers to share their knowledge and continually improve their professional practice 2. 2014).. Ebben & Murphy.4 Problems of Scalability Although the developments and findings outlined above were encouraging. problem-sets) coupled with online assessments and usually some space for student interactions such as a discussion forum” (Greene et al. Ostlund and Svensson. They have the potential when designed well to attract large numbers of learners. MOOCs are now recognised as a valid and valued form of professional learning in a number of professions. There has also been ongoing international demand beyond Ireland to facilitate workshops. coupled with the growing number of open solutions targeting schools (e. When accessed in this way. Policy decisions in relation to the development of a range of “21st century skills” (NCCA.g. WHY A MOOC? Although a number of issues around completion and accreditation have yet to be resolved. Therefore. Microsoft’s Global Educator events. videos. As a way of addressing this problem of scalability. was framed from the outset around the principles of blended learning. 3. While there is still considerable debate over the future of the MOOC (Sherrock. ICEF Monitor.927). Participants can thus interact with the content at their own pace and place over a period of time (Jobe. arguably they have shown the potential of using new online platforms for teaching and reaching large groups of learners. MOOCS are referred to as xMOOCs. al.. 2. 2016. A basic assumption of this so-called 4th wave is that a one-size model of online professional learning will not fit all and that different strokes will be needed for different folks depending on the educational context (Picciano. While MOOC completion rates are low.g. 7). Finnish Board of Education.5 Phase 3 – Scaling the Model of Professional Learning The research literature to date suggests that MOOCs are most popular for those learners who already hold an undergraduate college degree or higher (e. prior level of schooling is considered a predictor of achievement (Greene. .. Oswald. 2013 in Jobe. they can be defined as “typically involving structured and sequenced teacher-led activities (e. 2015) identifies “a need to ensure that ALL teachers are equipped with the knowledge. 2014). a recent MIT Harvard report reflecting on four years of online courses (2012-2016) found that teachers makeup a third of all those participating in MOOCs (Chuang & Dean Ho. Lauillard (2016) considers the use a MOOC as a medium for the continuing professional development of teachers as “a perfect fit” (p.g. 2014). that most importantly. 2014) which builds on the principles and foundations of blended learning. the potential of a MOOC was considered in the wider context of the emergence of a 4th wave of online learning (Picciano. MOOCs which place more emphasis on connecting with learners through blogs and forums rather than on structured resources are referred to cMOOCs (McGreal et al. Vivian et. Ostlund and Svensson. skills and confidence to integrate ICT into their practice” (p. In particular. In contrast. 2014). thus suggesting that teachers completing a MOOC for professional development might be more likely to complete it rather than other participants (Hodges et. 2015. 2016). Although MOOCs can take many forms. Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) many of which could not be sustained (e. 2015). to scale the model of teacher professional learning we had developed to date. has led to ongoing demands to extend the model of professional development. particularly highly qualified professionals to participate in free education programmes (Laurillard. 2015). 2016). 7). the high profile launch by the Minister of Education of the Digital Strategy for Schools (DES. the issue of scalability has become increasingly problematic. Jordan’s Teachers’ Institute).g. Although this observation remains speculative.

2016). Thus. 2016).1 Towards Building a MOOC After a period of research and negotiation. we believed that incorporating these elements would help in scaling the model of teacher professional learning we had developed to date. the xMOOC format may work well at scale by providing a mix of presentations such as videos and digital resources. making it a complex and valuable learning process” (Laurillard.. discussion topics etc. funding was secured from Microsoft to design a MOOC. 2009) which was introduced as part of the coursework. automated assessment. that is.the lesson learned is that teachers naturally talk to each other. 16). we wanted teachers both to try out ideas in their classrooms and report back on their experience. they take on a more facilitative role. . However. peer-assessed assignments and peer discussions (Conole. Akin to a blended learning approach. 2011 involves: networking and interchanges among schools and situations and is strengthened in formalised experiences such as courses and workshops that introduce peer coaching or support Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) collaboration and joint projects . which we entitled the 21CLD MOOC. as opposed to individuals just working through content on their own. contextualised. discussion and production (Laurillard. and engage more frequently in exploratory and team-building activities with students (Shear et al. as ultimately participants will interact with these during the course.3) Cognisant of the research and taking into consideration our experiences in Phase 1 and 2. 2011). Teachers’ claimed the framework had both increased their understandings of the principles underpinning 21st Century learning and also led them to reflect on their own understandings and assumptions about the learning environments they designed for their students. In this sense. p. provide learner-centred guidance and feedback. In this regard. Hodges. self-regulation. p. Working with partners from the wider university and in the SME sector. Findings in Phase 1 and 2 were that the changes observed in the teachers’ pedagogical orientation and the emergence of a culture of self- evaluation among the teachers was directly attributed to the use of the Learning Activity/Student Work (LASW) framework (Shear et al. 2016.). as they relate to innovative uses of digital technologies to support their own and their students’ learning and the development of 21st century skills.e. discussion (comments and conversations) and production (negotiating an output for evaluation by others). was to scale the model of professional learning developed in Phase 1 and 2. collaboration. presentations. the LASW framework enabled the participating teachers to design learning environments which were more student led and characterised by the use of a range of digital technologies supporting an enquiry process. It would thus enable teachers to examine and change their own classroom practices. a big part of developing an xMOOC is the design and development of such assets (i.g. The aim of the MOOC. As already mentioned. problem solving and innovation. the likelihood is that these assets may not provide sufficient opportunities for teachers to interact in a meaningful way with the content or with other learners.. there is a growing interest in how MOOCs can support teacher professional learning (e.. and that such talk can take on an educational purpose. meaningfully rooted in classroom practice and designed to challenge pre-existing teachers’ beliefs. We are critically aware that that a community of practice needs to be built up around a MOOC. 2013 in Laurillard. They are designed so that learners can learn “through practice (construction and responding to feedback). the intention was to design a hybrid of our previous face-to-face model of professional learning combined with the features of a MOOC to promote critical reflection and discussion as well as providing opportunities for teachers to share ideas and resources. (Laurillard. 3. 2016. we accordingly began the design process. a central feature underpinning the MOOC design was the tenet that when teachers’ pedagogical orientations are driven by understandings of 21st century learning.. Thus. Comprising of a set of rubrics that describe key dimensions for innovative teaching and learning: knowledge construction. video. we strove to design a MOOC that could reach large numbers but also provide opportunities for teachers to learn through practice. skilled communication and the use of ICT for learning. The challenge is therefore to design learning experiences that support large numbers of teachers to engage in a model of co- learning which as stated by Avalos. Lowenthal and Grant. 2016). In keeping with Phase 1 and 2.

with the use of forums. the student and on the learning. they’re not really. (Butler & Leahy. which incorporate the development of 21st century skills. explaining and illustrating each of the skills.. Cognisant of the reality of what works in one school does not necessarily work in another. or encourage strategies which will ask students to think more logically and creatively in their subject areas. For example.but broadening our understanding of all the tools that are available. collaboration and self-evaluation. 2016. As well as defining.and how they can impact on the teacher. needs driven nature of the original model of professional learning. problem-solving and innovation.342) The second challenge we face in the implementation of the 21CLD MOOC. 2014). 2015. p. 2015. My objectives are now to improve student engagement and understanding. Canada. (Butler & Leahy. p. we have framed focused . We had never engaged in deep discussion on the teaching and learning of our subject content or on the pressing need to update our methodologies and perceptions…. knowledge construction. 346) The process has encouraged me to design lessons which stimulate more in-depth active learning strategies. 2015. 2015. we have built into the design of each module some opportunities for “more collaborative and constructivist engagement with teachers” (Laurillard. skilled communication. self- directed course to be a core component of the MOOC design. But. self-regulation.2015. I want the students both to exercise logical and creative thinking and at the same time gain 21st century skills such as problem-solving. rather than the typical MOOC forum format which tend to be used for question-and-answer (Hollands & Tirthali. Each of eight teachers from countries such as Finland. we face two key challenges in the implementation of the 21CLD MOOC. (Butler & Leahy. 341) Now I can see. an integral part of each module is an ‘in action’ video in which teachers from across the world showcase how they have embedded a specific skill in their classrooms. First. rooted in the LASW Framework (now called 21CLD). these videos are also intended to be the focus of discussions in which participant teachers analyse and reflect on the learning observed in each classroom. Maths or whatever it happens to be. Teachers are also asked to share ideas as to how they could design learning activities for their own classrooms. South Africa and Australia designed extended learning units for their students which focus on the development of 21st century skills while also embedding the use of a range of digital technologies. Irish.. (Butler & Leahy. we designed an eight-module. p. While the modules we developed provide the content for a MOOC that could support the process of self- reflection on classroom practice. and the use of ICT for learning. p. to get people to think about assignments.. as opposed to just teaching English. p. in Phase 1 & 2 we had provided opportunities for teachers to debate and contextualise how to design learning activities for students which embedded the use of digital technologies as well as the development of 21st century skills.that it’s not just a matter of using computers in the class. and the reason why it was so good from the professional learning point of view was because all the different subject areas had something different to bring to the table… people realised that although they see themselves as teachers of a particular subject. and that we’re all basically should be aiming towards this 21st Century education providing that for our students.330) We had also provided the structure to enable strong collaboration: It afforded me the opportunity to engage with my peers in a very meaningful way. project based learning…to open people’s minds.3). 347) To this end. These modules explore what learning looks Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) like in the 21st century and how innovative teaching practices can support student learning to develop the key 21st skills of collaboration. (Butler & Leahy. In an effort to address these challenges.. I look at the assignments I give the students in a different way…. This in turn I feel will help students understand the desired concept better.. That we’re all part of the one group. As well as illustrating a particular skill in action. is therefore how to recreate the collaborative nature of peer-coaching and develop the communities of practice that can sustain the culture of self-evaluation which occurred in Phase 1 & 2. p. we are concerned about how to maintain focus on the job-embedded..

1583). sharing experiences. ranging from self-study to a blended accredited model. the notion of a MOOC is constantly evolving. such as Adobe Connect or Blackboard Collaborate as all too often such live sessions are overly teacher directed (Hallissy. for this co-learning to be meaningful we are aware that the forum discussions will need to be moderated and supported by other means such as synchronous “live” sessions as well as working online asynchronously. In addition. we have envisioned a framework for how a series of layers could be built around the 21CLD MOOC assets (see Figure 1). the particular pathway will very much depend on what type of . ideas and expertise. Having said that. The value of such certificates has yet to be truly established and although not mutually exclusive. 2014. we want participants to be able to work in peer groups. Figure 1: Possible ways that the 21CLD MOOC can be developed Constructing a series of layers in accordance with a 4th wave approach to online learning is likely to ensure that teachers can interact with the MOOC assets in a variety of ways. 2015). we would argue that a preferred design element in a massive course are pathways that contribute to a recognised university accreditation (Jobe et al. questions related to the design of learning activities to promote what Laurillard (2016) refers to as “co- learning”. 2016) are proposing that layers be built on top of existing courses so that different audiences can have different experiences. Finally. 2014. social interaction [and] peer review” (Jobe et al.. We envisage these “live sessions” should enable teachers to engage in critical discussions around their understandings and classroom experiences of 21CLD in action. However.1581). building on our own experiences of designing the professional learning model described in Phases 1 & 2. Some proponents of MOOCs (see Bang et al. and the premise of needing different strokes for different folks. Again. We know from Phase 1 and 2 that such discussions are a key element of the job embedded professional learning model and can be supported through face-to-face interactions. we are unsure if such deep discussions can be facilitated through the use of synchronous online learning tools. a key Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) principle underpinning many MOOCs designed as a form of continuing professional learning is the importance of offering a certificate/digital badge to clearly recognize and validate the accomplishments of a learner. 2014). and in keeping with “the cMOOCs focus on community building. p. This also aligns with our job embedded approach that recognises the value of the experience and expertise that teachers can offer each other (Butler & Leahy. Ultimately such a pathway would help to address the issue regarding the acceptance of the professional learning and related accomplishments by employers. p. However. Although there is no consensus in the literature..

Brown. Ultimately. K... S. K. Emerging models of learning and teaching in higher education: From books to MOOCs. The need for transformation from simple “resources” (or artefacts) into a dynamic community of practice is the greatest challenge we face to scale this blended model of teacher professional learning. (2009). any teacher can access the MOOC assets developed in Phase 3 of the initiative for the eight modules of the 21CLD course on the Microsoft Educator Platform. Glazewski. B. Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills (pp. McKinsey & Company. B. pp. (2016).. Teaching and Teacher Education. (2015). J. (2011) ‘Teacher professional development in Teaching and Teacher Education over ten years’. Rutowski. been designed or hosted on a MOOC Downloaded by Australian Catholic University At 18:08 01 August 2017 (PT) platform which lends itself to a more blended model of professional learning.. & O’Donovan. 5. Dalsgaard. EDU Working paper no. Springer Netherlands. Herman. discussions are already advanced within the university to extend the previously accredited face to face model to the 21CLD MOOC structure. Defining twenty-first century skills. dynamic. Stromfors. accountable and sustainable learner-centred digital learning ecosystems” (Incheon Declaration Education 2030. job-focused model of teacher professional learning can be scaled effectively so that the teacher professional learning experience is contextualised and rooted in classroom practice. M. old technology debates (pp. Paper presented at the HOME Conference. McGaw and E.). Brown. Galway. K. This network is a key provider of professional learning opportunities for teachers in the region and have indicated an interest in a blended form of the 21CLD model. as yet. dialogue and ongoing reflection that is necessary for the changes in pedagogical orientation and classroom practices (which were observed across phases 1 and 2).H. D. Bang.. (2007). Stock.. & Rumble. Care (Eds. In B Mooney (ed. M. 40-48). MOOCs in Europe Rome. 17-66). M. To this end. J. 1020 in Laurillard.. we are currently working with several potential partners to build a range of social structures and supports to ensure the scalability of the 21CLD MOOC model by embedding it within the existing structures across the education landscape in Ireland. (2003). & Claro. C. & Mourshed. the content has not.pdf . we have still to develop ways that the school-embedded. M. O. (2015). professional learning experience teachers wish to have. Research in Learning Technology. REFERENCES Ananiadou. (2012).. 2015). although the 21CLD resources are now available to a world-wide audience. L. Among the greatest challenges going forward will be to design the social supports within the MOOC structure to sustain the collaboration. 41.. M.. Currently. Berg.ed. The next phase of development is to take these assets and to relocate them on a MOOC platform where we can build learner experiences that relate to the layers outlined in Figure 1. Looking over the horizon: New learning platforms. Van-Nest.. we want to design a MOOC learning experience that resembles the deep professional learning experiences observed in Phase 1 and 2. The educational problem that MOOCs could solve: professional development for teachers of disadvantaged students. In the five months since its launch in February 2016 over 10. How the world's best-performing schools systems come out on top. Brush. Binkley. Griffin. M. so that we “create equitable.asu. 27.. Building OOC layers on top of existing courses. Ireland: Education Matters. (2016). M. Available at: http://pt3. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.500 have participated in the modules and it is consistently in the top 10 courses on the Microsoft Educator Platform. MOOCs as social practice: a kaleidoscope of perspectives. C.. Raizen. M. M. In this sense. & Sutton. However.). Ripley. In addition. Education matters: Shaping Ireland’s education landscape. recreating the collaborative nature of peer coaching and developing communities of practices that would sustain a culture of self-evaluation similar to that which occurred in Phase1 and 2. 21st Century Skills and competences for New Millennium learners in OECD countries. We propose to trial this approach in Ireland in 2017 by working with the national network of teacher education centres... Erstad. In P. Integrating technology in a field-based teacher training program. Avalos. Miller-Ricci. J. M. CONCLUSIONS This paper has described an innovative model of teacher professional learning that continues to evolve. T. Possible ways of doing this include the identification of cohorts of teachers at local and regional levels that would be capable of supporting others. M.. vol. Kjaer. 4. A. Barber.

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