Innovating Pedagogy 2017

Innovating Pedagogy reportThe OU recently released their latest Innovation Report, Innovating Pedagogy 2017. This series of reports explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation. This sixth report, produced in collaboration with the Learning In a NetworKed Society (LINKS) Israeli Center of Research Excellence (I-CORE), proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education.

Spaced Learning

Recent research in neuroscience has found out the detail of how we produce long-term memories. This has led to a teaching method of spaced repetition that occurs in the following
order: (1) a teacher gives information for 20 minutes; (2) students take a break of 10 minutes to participate in an unconnected practical activity; (3) students are asked to recall key information for 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break; and (4) students apply their new knowledge for a final 20 minutes.

Learners Making Science

People need the skills and knowledge to solve problems, evaluate evidence, and make sense of complex information from various sources. A strong understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) topics can help to develop these skills as well as address current demands for STEM-skilled employees across job sectors. Enabling learners to experience how
Science is made can enhance their content knowledge along with developing scientific skills, contributing to their personal growth and result in identity change andan increased understanding of what it means to be a scientist.

Open Textbooks

Open textbooks are freely shareable and editable resources designed to operate in place of a specified textbook. As one approach to open educational resources (OER), they are not locked down by copyright restrictions instead having an open licence that allows everyone to reuse, remix, revise, redistribute and retain them. Open textbooks can be used to challenge the relationship between students and knowledge. Students can edit and amend an open textbook as part of their study. This helps them to understand knowledge as an ongoing process in which they play an
active role.

Navigating Post-Truth Societies

Fake news and information bubbles are not new but awareness of their impact on public opinion has increased. People need to be able to evaluate and share information responsibly. One response is to integrate these skills within the curriculum. However, this raises questions, for example: How can we know which sources to trust? The ways in which people think about such questions are called ‘epistemic cognition’. Researchers have developed ways of promoting learners’ epistemic cognition, these include promoting understanding of the nature of knowledge and justification as well as fostering abilities to assess the validity of claims and form sound arguments.

Intergroup Empathy

Online environments, for example social media, form global virtual spaces. In these, people from different backgrounds interact with each other, even if they come from countries or cultures that are engaged in conflict. This means that skills such as communication, teamwork, and empathy are important. When groups are kept apart, they are likely to develop negative stereotypes of each other. Members of groups that do not have opportunities for constructive social contact may think in terms of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ and this perspective makes it difficult to empathise. The effects of intergroup conflicts can spill over into online communities which can provoke strong negative emotions and the use of stereotypes. Activities designed to promote intergroup empathy can provide effective responses and help to reduce tensions.

Immersive Learning

Learning based on experience and exploration can be intensified through immersion. It can enable people to experience a situation as if they were there, using their knowledge and resources to solve a problem or practise a skill. The learning comes from integrating vision, sound, movement, spatial awareness, and even touch. Traditionally, immersion requires learners to act out scenarios or take part in investigations, with actors and props to simulate reality. By using technologies such as virtual reality, 3D screens or handheld devices, learners can experience immersive learning in a classroom, at home, or outdoors. This enables them to explore possibilities that would be difficult, dangerous, or impossible in everyday life.

Student-Led Analytics

Student-led analytics not only invite students to reflect on the feedback they receive but also start them on the path of setting their own learning goals. These analytics put learners in the driving seat. Learners can decide which goals and ambitions they want to achieve, and which types and forms of learning analytic they want to use to achieve those targets. The analytics then support learners to reach their goals.

Big-Data Inquiry: Thinking with Data

New forms of data, data visualisation and human interaction with data are changing radically and rapidly. As a result, what it means to be ‘data literate’ is also changing. In the big data era, people should no longer be passive recipients of data-based reports. They need to become active data explorers who can plan for, acquire, manage, analyse, and infer from data. The goal is to use data to describe the world and answer difficult questions with the help of data analysis tools and visualisations. Understanding big data and its powers and limitations is important to active citizenship and to the prosperity of democratic societies. Today’s students therefore need to learn to work and think with data from an early age, so they are prepared for the data-driven society in which they live.

Learning with Internal Values

Significant learning is triggered, monitored, and owned by us as individuals which is rooted in our own needs and interests and shaped by our internal values. However, schools that are committed to a national curriculum need to conform to a set of external values, which are unlikely to align exactly with the learning based on individual students’ internal values. Efforts have been made to design and develop programmes that can meet this challenge. The main approach offers students choice about what and how they learn. It equips learners with the means to develop appropriate knowledge, skills and ways of thinking to support their learning. This approach balances the learning based on students’ internal values with the learning that is required by the normative values of educational systems.

Humanistic Knowledge-Building Communities

The goal of humanistic education is to help people become open to experience, highly creative, and self-directed which is a person-centred approach. Knowledge-building communities aim to advance the collective knowledge of a community which is an idea-centred approach. When the two approaches are combined, they create a new one: humanistic knowledge-building communities (HKBC). Research shows that students who participate in HKBCs develop their knowledge and selves in integrated and transformative ways.

Emma Fletcher

Working to the Directorate’s annual objectives and the TEL Quality Framework, Emma’s role as a TEL Advisor is to proactively support and develop staff in using technology to enhance the student learning experience. Her main focus is to advise academic staff on effective use of learning technologies to develop innovative learning resources, processes and practices. Before joining YSJ Emma was a teacher of computing at Castleford Academy. Emma is interested in mobile learning / BYOD and open education.

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