MeMyself&I

Archive for August 2009

The 2minuteMoodle motto
“Where before there was a spectator, let there now be a participant.” ~ Jerome Bruner 

Scaffolding can be characterised as acting on this motto (Bransford et al, 2000), and the aim of the 2minuteMoodle is to provide students additional scaffolding in the learning and teaching process at CQUniversity.

What is scaffolding?
In educational setting, scaffolding is a metaphor used to describe learner support mechanisms, which may be delivered by human and/or embedded in computer-based technological tools. Proponents such as Shaphiro suggest that scaffolding provides learners with a “support structure that aids them in attaining a higher level of achievement” (2008, p. 29).

What is involved in instructional scaffolding?
Scaffolding involves a number of activities and tasks. Here are some examples adapted from Bransford et al ( 2000): 

  • Motivating students, by recruiting student’s interest to the task.
  • Identifying critical features of objects to be learned.
  • Providing some direction in order to help the students focus on achieving the goal.
  • Demonstrating and defining the activity to be performed.
  • Simplifying the task to make it more manageable and achievable for students.
  • Controlling frustrations and risks, e.g. providing guidelines for engagement.

How to provide additional scaffolding for students?
The 2minuteMoodle approach provides some quick and easy scaffolding techniques, which involves preparing and recording answers to the following questions on a weekly basis:

The 2minuteMoodle instructional scaffolding approach

The 2minuteMoodle instructional scaffolding approach

Next, do the following:

  1. Choose the media type for the delivery, e.g. audio or video
  2. Do the recording – duration must be two minutes
  3. Provide access on the Moodle course site and/or via RSS
  4. Test that the file is accessible.

Note: It might help to refer to the activities and tasks for instructional scaffolding listed above.

Why two minutes?
It is assumed that other scaffolding techniques are already embedded in the way course sites have been designed in Moodle, as well as in other instructional materials such as Study Guides. The spoken format of the 2minuteMoodle is designed to complement these other techniques. Here the specific aim is to deliver a more personal message. As Gardner Campbell in his well-cited EDUCAUSE article asserts “There is a magic in human voice, the magic of shared awareness… Photographs are undeniably powerful, and perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words but a few words uttered by a dear voice may be worth the most of all (2005, p. 40).

References

Bransford, J. Brown, A.L.,  & Cocking, R.R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. (expanded edn.) Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 

Campbell, G. (2005) ‘There’s something in the air: Podcasting in education’. Educause Review.

Shaphiro, A.M. (2008). Hypermedia design as learner scaffolding. Educational Technology, Research and Development (56)1, 29-44.

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My University has recently adopted the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS)  to replace Blackboard. The Curriculum Design Team in which I am a member is actively assisting in the implementation, one of our tasks is to help academics enhance learning and teaching practice with the use of LMS. I have finally put into paper an idea that has been in my head for sometime about helping academics develop capacity to provide scaffolding in the learning process, which incidentally supports at least four of the 7 Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education (Chickering & Gamson, 1987). I spoke to an academic about this idea and he is very keen to take it up, one of the reasons is the ease with which he can produce a two-minute voice recording once a week in his iPhone. 

The central idea is to record a two minute audio in MP3 format which will then be made available in the Moodle course site and/or provide RSS to the two-minute weekly podcast. The academic will use the questions in the 2minuteMoodle framework (see illustration below) to provide an advanced organiser for his/her students, focused on the idea of scaffolding. Academics who prefer a more visual approach (also useful for hearing impaired students) may be shown how to use Voicethread, which can also be embedded on the Moodle course site. But it must be no more than two minutes duration – the rationale for this I have now documented but will be discussed in a separate post.

 

The 2minuteMoodle instructional scaffolding approach

The 2minuteMoodle instructional scaffolding approach

 

Another purpose for introducing the 2minuteMoodle approach is that I believe it supports the “Learning by Design” framework for academic development that I have been pursuing to embed in my instructional design practice. By providing academic staff a situated context for why, how and when a particular technology might be used in learning and teaching, an academic is empowered to develop knowledge of both technology and pedagogy to complement their content knowledge (Mishra & Kohler, 2006).

My next post will describe the 2minuteMoodle approach in more detail.

References

Chickering, A. W. & Gamson, Z. F. 1987, ‘Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education’, AAHE Bulletin, vol. 39, no. 7, pp. 3-7. 

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record 108 (6), 1017-1054.


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