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Everything posted by chris_sutton

  1. David I absolutely agree. In some sectors of education herein lies the problem. Many teachers in Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training have had little or no teacher training and their teaching and learning background is very small. One of the professional development issues that Australia and the UK share is how to prepare teachers for teaching with ICT in HE and VET. We need to start right back at the basics of teaching and learning practice before we even think about blending f2f with ICT enhanced teaching. At least in Primary and Secondary schooling you have a base of teacher training to work with. We are starting right at the beginning. Anyway - how do you describe 'good teaching'? What makes a good teacher today? When I was at school the sign of a good teacher was a quiet classroom and everyone knowing their times table!!! Any takers on this question? What makes a 'good teacher'? What makes a 'good' teacher in an online or ICT enhanced classroom?
  2. I agree, Graham, 'blended learning' is not a term I like at all. I'm glad this has turned into such a healthy debate, because it really is about asking 'what are we trying to do?' and 'what do we want to achieve?" To me it's about choice - student choice. Now, as ChristineS pointed out it would be very hard for students in the lower grades [primary school ] to make these sorts of choices but the students in secondary school , a higher education and vocational education the ability to choose how, when, and where they learn is one of the basic tenets of today's education . In our vocational education system in Australia there are many second chance learners to find it very difficult to attend classes . Giving them the choice of learning online , by videoconference , by correspondence or from other electronic media for at least part of a course do some more access to this type of study that they want to undertake . This is the best feature of blended learning . Let's keep the debate going it's a great one !
  3. I couldn't agree more. In both higher education and the vocational education sector we are faced with problems problems of teaching quality because we have a teacher population of content experts with little background in pedagogical understanding . There is no requirement in Australia for teachers in universities or registered training organisations to have formal teacher qualifications . In the vocational education sector the only requirement is that a teacher holds a certificate three in workplace training and assessment which can be completed in as little as four days . It is little wonder that students in our colleges and institutes are sometimes disappointed in the standard of teaching and learning they experience . There's an NCVER research study entitled "the secret is in the teacher " that is most interesting to read . It can be found on the .NCVER web site. This applies also to adult learning. Our teachers deal predominantly with adults and the old "open your head and I will pour the knowledge in - now close it and tell me what I said " doesn't work any better now than it ever did . Unfortunately "trained " teachers often teach the way they were told , without the benefit of current theory . We are now finding that we must take an approach to professional development that begins with an understanding of teaching and learning . After spending the last twelve months investigating in depth the professional development needs of teachers and strategies to meet them in Australia , New Zealand and the UK I have found that this is a problem common to higher and further education everywhere. I suspect that unless the regulatory bodies who control the quality of education are exceptionally vigilant we will, in the near future, find this true of teacher training from kindergarten to lifelong learning. I am thankful that the signs in Australia are that the Australian quality training framework [A. Q. T. F. ] is determined to ensure that teaches in the vocational education sector at least are well educated . There are also signs that the quality standards bodies in higher education are about to follow the same path with regard to university teaching . I have a lot of confidence in both systems to push the quality of teaching as high as possible . That is not to say that they will not meet resistance from both management and teachers , particularly in higher education , when the emphasis is on research dollars and teaching sometimes comes a poor second .
  4. Hi Dan You may find what you're looking for if you start at this URL in EdNA Online Higher Education Community EdNA Online is another great place for Online educators to go to find resources in all areas of teaching and learning. Cheers
  5. Hi Guys Can I give an outsiders perspective to this debate? I have just spent seven weeks in the UK researching the professional development strategies that have been used to prepare teachers for e-learning in higher and further education. I believe that there are some good sound strategies in place in lots of organisations. In open university in particular I found policies and practices and sound professional development strategies in place to take OU into an eLearning future. But I don't believe that e-learning is only for distance education. In further education particularly there are many people who need more flexible ways of learning. Those who wish to further or change careers often find that the learning will allow them to work and times and in places outside normal class hours. while practical classes often need face to face teaching , theory can easily be delivered via electronic means. It is my observation that in the UK the first approach has been to train the teachers. In Australia we have taken an approach that is quite different to that taken in the UK. It is the government's policy that in the Australian vocational education sector we develop an E-learning strategy. Under a program called the flexible learning advisory group our Federal government funded the development of flexible learning materials that can be used to teach online or through other electronic media, the professional development of flexible learning leaders, major projects dealing with such issues as metadata, access to bandwidth and interoperability and innovative practises. An essential part of this strategy has been the creation of an e-learning community on the flag website . We now have materials for teachers to use in elearning (the Toolboxes) and have prepared the way for a vocational education institutions to take up elearning options. We are ready to develop a professional development strategy to prepare them to use the resources we have created. I believe that the strategy must concentrate not on the ICT but on how ICT can enhance quality and innovative teaching practice . At present there are groups of teachers in many institutes who are doing good things in e-learning. we are now ready to encourage all of our teachers to use at least a blended approach to learning and to offer more flexible choices in further education . You can see the flexible learning advisory group programs at this URL FLAG on the first page you will find links to the tool boxes. These are high quality learning materials developed to support vocational education curriculae. Investigate Learnscope, Flexible Learning Leaders, Projects and the Community, I think you will find the most interesting. The Best news or is that membership of this website is free and open to the international community. Jump in and join and have fun!
  6. At the EDUCA Online 2003 conference in Berlin in December , one of the workshop leaders was heard to remark, "Blended learning? Blended learning is just a cop out for those people who are too afraid or unable to teach fully online" What do you think ? Is blended learning a cop out or the best way to offer flexible learning choices to students ? Is teaching online different to teaching face to face ? Do students really want to learn fully online ? Let's open the debate on blended learning!
  7. Andy this is a great forum and a valuable resource. Congratualtions and thankyou! If you'd be willing to have an Australia/New Zealand Board I'd be only too pleased to moderate it. Cheers - and again, thanks for your efforts in getting this going. Chris Sutton
  8. Hi My name is Chris Sutton. I'm the Internet Training Consultant for the Centre for Innovation and Development of TAFE Queensland in Australia. (TAFE is Technical and Further Education - we have 15 institutes that deliver vocational training across Qld) My job is to support teachers in our Institutes who are, or wish to be, using elearning strategies for teaching. I'm also an Australian Flexible Learning Leader - see Flexible Learning Leaders to find out what that is. I'm looking forward to being part of this forum. Greetings to all from Down Under! - and don't anyone mention the cricket or the rugby!!!!!
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