Tuesday, 28 March 2017

NZ Research & Articles - Online Teaching & Learning

As part of my literature review I am collating as much of the NZ written/NZ based literature on online/virtual learning as I can find. Much of this I have read, and some I have contributed to, been a participant in, or even written myself. Some of it is before my time, but I believe our whakapapa and learning  journey contributes to where we are today, and where we will go tomorrow. I also see that what was relevant in a report for example on Telelearning in the early 90s, is still relevant today and is really a case of 'the more things change the more they stay the same.' Two decades and more down the track virtual/online learning is still on the fringes (and often not even a blip on the radar) of mainstream learning. However this may start to change as policy catches up with practice (see recent post on CoOLs).
Although technology brings us closer together (it is only 2 years ago that we were able to turn cameras on in our VLN Primary classrooms!), we are still challenged by many of the same things online teachers were in the 90s.  The need for schools to be open and collaborative, the professional learning needed by teachers (& students) to become more digitally fluent, the need to change teacher pedagogies to be more student directed; there are many more similar themes running through the literature some of which I will unpick more of over the coming months.

I use Zotero and have a group with shared bookmarks - genuine contributors welcome to join here. In this post I will share some key resources and include abstracts. There are many more in this Zotero folder & I am sure many new readings to discover.

Education Systems & Policy

Barbour, M. K. (2011). Primary and secondary e-learning: Examining the process of achieving maturity. Christchurch, New Zealand: Distance Education Association of New Zealand. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/z1QP1p
The growth of virtual learning in New Zealand has been developing at “grass roots” level
for over a decade now, establishing itself as a recognized form of education provision for a growing number of students. The development of the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) and the Virtual Learning Network Community (VLN-C) are testament to the emerging strength of this movement in terms of human and system capability and capacity. Ministry of Education support for this initiative has been provided in a number of ways, including the development of the LCO Handbook, but there remains a need for further coordination and support – particularly in the policy area.
Barbour, Michael K. and Derek Wenmoth. Virtual Learning as an Impetus for Educational Change: Charting a Way Forward for Learning in New Zealand. CORE Education Research Report. Christchurch, New Zealand: CORE Education, 2013. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/YRlnnR
New Zealand has a long history distance education in the schools sector, beginning with The Correspondence School over 90 years ago. Similar to many jurisdictions, as technology has evolved the schools sector has also evolved in how it has used that technology to provide learning opportunities at a distance. Each technology – from the print-based correspondence model to the current Internet-based virtual learning model – has forced educators to re-think how these educational opportunities are structured and delivered. Over the past two years, there have been significant events within the virtual learning community in New Zealand that place it on the cusp of being the catalyst for a fundamental re-thinking of how all education is delivered within the schools sector. In this report, we outline the history of distance education in New Zealand. We also describe two recent reports that outlined potential future directions for virtual learning organizations in New Zealand. Finally, we consolidate those visions – along with recent educational developments – to chart a vision for the future of education in New Zealand through virtual learning.
 Ministry of Education. (2011). Learning communities online handbook. Wellington, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/u8mzxH
This handbook was started in 2002 as a guide for rural secondary schools in New Zealand who were exploring the use of video conferencing as a means of expanding access to course options for students. It was intended to provide a structured approach to the process of establishing the necessary environment within the school, based on the advice of experienced clusters.
Powell, A., & M. K. Barbour. Tracing international differences in online learning development: An examination of government policies in New Zealand's Secondary Schools. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 15.1 (2011): 75–89. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/XLjKqX
 In 2006 the North American Council for Online Learning surveyed the activity and policy relating to primary and secondary e-learning, which they defined as online learning, in a selection of countries. They found most were embracing e-learning delivery of education as a central strategy for enabling reform, modernising schools, and increasing access to high-quality education. While North American countries appeared to be using the internet as a medium to provide distance education at the secondary level longer than most countries, the lack of a guiding vision has created uneven opportunities for students depending on which state or province they live in. In New Zealand, the government has sought to provide a vision or guiding framework for the development of e-learning. In this article we trace that vision by describing three policy documents released by the New Zealand government over the past decade, and how that vision for e-learning has allowed increased development of primary and secondary online learning.
 Roberts, R. (2010). Increasing access for learners – The Virtual Learning Network. In V. Ham & D. Wenmoth (Eds.), e-Learnings: Implementing a national strategy for ICT in education, 1998-2010 (pp. 144-152). Christchurch, New Zealand: CORE Education Ltd

 Wenmoth, D. (1996). Learning in the distributed classroom. SET Research Information for Teachers, 2(4). 1–4
The virtual classroom has come of age. Through the use of modern telecommunications technologies students can now be linked in a variety of locations, and have access to a variety of “experts” who contribute to the total learning experience. This form of teaching and learning is not bound by geographic location, and is limited only by the ability of the learner and/or teacher to establish the contacts on a local, national or international level. So why is this change occurring? What are the factors which are contributing to it? And what will be the impact on the classroom as we know it?

Teacher Practice 

Bolstad, R., & Lin, M. (2009). Students’ experiences of learning in virtual classrooms. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/IvxldH
  2008–09 the Ministry of Education contracted the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) to undertake research about students’ experiences of learning in virtual classrooms. Virtual classrooms were established to enable secondary schools in New Zealand (particularly those in rural and remote areas, and small schools) to overcome issues of distance and resourcing which might otherwise limit the breadth and quality of the curriculum offered to their students. In these classes, students learn through videoconferencing (VC) with teachers, and often other virtual classmates, who are at another location. Other information communication technologies (ICTs) such as emails, content management systems and relevant websites may be used to support learning throughout the week. All virtual classes are managed by the Ministry’s Virtual Learning Network (VLN). Within this network, there are 13 e-learning clusters receiving funding from the Ministry. Hundreds of New Zealand students are learning in virtual classrooms.
 Roberts, R. (2010) Teaching Under the Microscope - Trends in Online Learning, in Proceedings of ULearn10 - Research Stream. 6 - 8 October, 2010, Christchurch Convention Centre, New Zealand. N. Dabner, S. Bailey, J. Johnson, N. Davis Eds. Available https://goo.gl/qbkcHW
In the recent decade there has been major growth in online learning in New Zealand schools, as a result many teachers have found themselves in the role of ‘eteacher'. This article examines the key trends in online learning such as the convergence of distance learning and face to face teaching methodologies and technologies, the drive towards more flexible and personalised learning opportunities for students, changing pedagogies towards a more constructivist approach to teaching and learning, advancing technologies and changing student expectations. The implications of these trends for teachers are discussed in relation to the changing nature of their roles, the management of workloads and working conditions, and the importance of appropriate professional development opportunities.
 Walsh-Pasco, L. (2005) From teletubbies to teleteacher: Effective practices in video conference teaching. Ministry of Education 2004 eFellow report. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/6huVPG

Ken Stevens

Ken's work is very closely aligned to my research themes and is so prolific it deserves a post of it's own. I will be delving into his writing in more detail as part of my literature review. It was his paper and this quote in particular that set me on this course of inquiry:
“Small rural schools in New Zealand are in the forefront of changes in the application of information and communication technologies to teaching and learning. The emergence of rural school electronic networks is an important step towards the development of virtual classes in New Zealand, requiring new ways of organising teaching and learning. It is particularly appropriate to reconsider the pedagogy of the one- and two- teacher school in relation to the emerging virtual class. These small schools could have a new role in the information age and should, accordingly, be repositioned within the national educational system” (Stevens, 1996, p. 93).
 Stevens, K. (1996), The Technological Challenge to the Notion of Rurality in New Zealand Education - Repositioning the Small School. New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 5, 93 - 102.
Ken's bio and his full list of publications can be found here.
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