VOC Theme 3 – legal issues

Thursday’s AC-session comprised legal subject matter with a twist of copyright and security topics. The pre-tasks were about good administration (group Alpha), safety in educational work environment (Labrats), privacy and data security in education (EduStars), and copyright in Finnish education (our group).

Group Alpha’s pre-task was to discuss about principles of good administration and possible examples of bad administration. The pre-task raised interesting discussion in Edulab-facebook page, such as equality in administrative service, confidentiality, quick and timely response. The findings of the facebook-conversation were discussed about in the AC-session. Group Labrats’ pre-task was to watch a Youtube-video about safety in educational work. The video was made by the group members and the issues were later discussed by using a Padlet. Edustars’ pre-task was to get familiar with their topic with Prezi-presentation, and to list down privacy concerns into a Padlet in the perspective of education system, education staff-, and students. Our group’s pre-task was to get familiar with copyright issues by using a Prezi-presentation and to think about good and bad examples of using a copyright-protected material in education.

The AC-session began with a nice comic about administration in education, which was made by the group Alpha. The comic strip also listed the administration issues raised in the pre-task -facebook discussion. The comic strip and talk about administration preceded discussion about teacher who has a  dilemma of letting one student to wear a scarf due to her religion and telling someone else to take his beanie hat off during a class. After Anne’s part Sher group Labrats’ lecture about safety in educational institute. There were few technological issues during the AC-session from my audio connection and there were really strange delay which came to my headphones, and from Sher’s connection and it didn’t help in understanding difficult topic from my part. After Sher’s part, it was Paula’s turn to have her lecture about information safety in education with corresponding legislation. The information safety is very important issue nowadays due to social media and other communication technologies, and also what data different authorities can collect and use. The last topic of smaller group AC-session from was our group’s lecture and discussion about copyright in education, but I guess it didn’t go that well, as the emphasis was in copyright issues as a whole, but we discussed only about few areas.

Later the AC-session continued with a information searching -session, which was conducted by Maarit Junkkari. During the session I felt that the legal information, which someone is searching for, is possible to be found by using the online law databases but as in every legal text, choosing the right keywords for searching might be bit harder comparing to other topics (such as learning theories, or teaching methods). And there isn’t necessarily

There seems to be number of legal issues every teacher has to be aware of with their everyday life at work, and every teacher eventually has to ponder, that is something 100% legal, or how about copyrights with a handout, etc. And for me, this copyright-part was somewhat clear before, but I didn’t know that the teacher owns the copyright for lecture material he/she have been conducted so that was new information for me. And I guess, that if there’s some legal questions that I need answer quickly, I can always go back to our Thinglink-material and try to search it from there first… And for copyright purposes, I tried to search for the original author of the image above, but I couldn’t find it! Should I just leave it there without referring to the original author or not? Difficult questions…

Pre-task for VOC Theme 3 – Legal information for teachers

For this pre-task I thought that it might be wise to try search for the up-to-date legal information just by using basic internet search. This legal information I found was mostly in Finnish, but something was also found in English as well. By using Finnish search words “opetus” and “laki”, the search resulted in number of search results, and most relevant links were:

Perusopetuslaki in Finlex -law database

Curricula and qualifications by Finnish National Board of Education

Ministry of education and culture law and regulation about vocational education.

It seems also that many of the laws and legislations are linked to Finlex -database, for example Finnish National Board of Education’s law links, so for my understanding that is the most up-to-date source for legal information for teachers. Also by searching these electronic sources, I came across our school’s Finnish page about that precise topic, so here it is as well:

Legislation and links for vocational teaching by OAMK (in Finnish)

There also seems to a book about that topic as well, called Opettajan Lakiopas (in Finnish), which I also found using these keywords, and that looks to be also good source for legal information with more practical examples.

Micro lesson one: Motivation

When thinking about motivation, for me it seems to quite difficult to grasp. What actually is motivation and how to measure it? Porter and Lawler wrote in 1968 about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, Vroom wrote in 1964 about expectancy-valence theory of motivation, and according to those theories (Gagne and Desi 2005): Intrinsic motivation drives people towards activity because they find it interesting, and they achieve spontaneous satisfaction from the activity itself. Extrinsic motivation requires an instrumentality between the activity and some consequences such as tangible or verbal rewards, so satisfaction comes not from the activity itself but from the extrinsic consequences to which the activity leads. Porter and Lawler (1968) proposed structuring the work environment so that effective performance would lead to both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

So the motivation seems to require some kind of “reward” in return, whether it was spontaneous or tangible. Many people (including me) have had some kind of incentives for having good grades in school tests as a kid, but when thinking about motivation theories, is it always good to find motivation from possible monetary reward? Or is it even possible to somehow provoke intrinsic motivation from studies or e.g. grades?

I think people have different kinds of motivators: some may want to prove to himself, that I will success at something. Or somebody may want to prove someone, that I can do this by myself. Or maybe someone wants to achieve something in life before moving on to other direction in life. Motivation for me is always a personal thing.

When browsing through this topic, I found few interesting videos about motivation. One was about rewards and tasks in terms of motivation, from that video it became clear that by monetary rewards, the results are usually not expected, and the challenge (and mastery) can be what it takes for some people to be motivated for doing challenging tasks (e.g. open-source software, or wikipedia). Here’s the video http://www.wimp.com/surprisingmotivation/

Also I found one book about motivation: “Motivating students to learn” by Jere Brophy. I think I have to try to motivate myself for reading the book about motivation. But which kind of motivation do i need? Intrinsic or extrinsic?

http://www2.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/zablocki/MSTL.pdf

PORTFOLIO STOP 1: View of learning

When thinking about learning, I usually connect learning to be some kind of a process (recurring event), which enables the learner to acquire a new skill, whether it is a mental skill or a certain task. There are many definitions for learning and they even go deep into neuropsychology depending on the definition.

For me, the key issue in learning especially in vocational education is in trying to find (or show) the connection between what to learn with how to learn. If someone has to learn e.g. mathematics, the how is usually by calculating or memorizing the calculation formulas. Or if someone has to learn the basics of computer databases, how is usually first realizing the concept as a whole, and then getting deeper into the structures of databases, and later creating the database itself and start inserting data into it, etc. By using this what & how –concept, the “what” of learning for me seems to be this aforementioned adoption of a skill, and the how seems to be in acquiring the needed information from most suitable or relevant source, and to refine the information to be actual skill.

For my current field of profession, there is a myriad of varying learning methods, and some may work better for one person than other methods. I recently had to learn bunch of new skills when I began working to my current employer, and some methods worked better for me than others, such as a colleague instructing first how to do a certain configuration to a network device, and later repeating the same procedure by yourself following a self-made instructions, which were done during the first session. In most cases finding the best working way in terms of personal preference, facilitates the learning process and motivation.

Yesterday my 8-year old son had homework from school that he had to memorize a short poem. It took few hours altogether for me to try to help him memorizing the poem, and during that time we had to try to change the teaching “style” few times.

First we tried to do it in a way, that he had to read the poem himself out loud, and trying to repeat it after reading it couple of times. The first method was a total disaster, and it end up him being upset and frustrated about few difficult words, such as “lettubaari” and “sangen” (you can translate those if you want). It also felt, that while he was reading the poem, he was acting like a loudspeaker, and he wasn’t paying any attention to the meaning of words or the story of the poem.

Second method was that I divided the poem into three separate parts of two lines each, and he had to read those smaller parts of the poem and trying to learn them without any help – first, one part of the poem well enough, and then moving to second part, and so on. That method was not that successful either, as it felt like he forgot the previous part of the poem while trying to memorise the second part.

Third method was that I took the book instead of him, and told him to repeat the lines of the poem after me. After repeating the lines well enough, we combined the lines to rhyme with next lines of the poem, and they constructed these three separate parts of the poem. And as those separate parts of the poem rhymed, it helped him to understand and to memorise the words better, in addition we had little bit of rhythm with each lines of the poem, and it made repeating the lines of the poem more fun comparing to repeating the lines without any rhythm at all.

Our neighbours’ six-year old son was also listening because he came to ask my son to play out with him, and he started laughing to our poem-learning / reading session. But nonetheless, the third method was the most successful one, and probably because with that “method” I was most involved with, and maybe he needed that motivational boost or encouraging words from a parent. Or maybe he wasn’t ready for memorising the written text, because he had to really concentrate on reading the words right.

I feel, that same type of balancing between learning and teaching methods is everyday issue in the educational field, and of course in vocational education. Building the motivation for the learner by trying out new learning methods, or activating the learner by smaller tasks, and also having a healthy amount of creativity makes it easier for learners to gain the information and learning new skills.

Hot tea, sore throat and VOC6

calvin_2

Tuesday’s AC-session had its emphasis on activating teaching methods, self-regulated learning, engaged pedagogy and alternative education, and from my point-of-view the session was saturated with hot tea, Strepsils (sore throat remedy) and a sore throat…

Pre-tasks for the VOC6-session were to watch few Youtube-videos, play a word game (by our team) and to get familiar with pros and cons of alternative education, and also to familiarise a role of a person having varying opinions about engaged pedagogy. The pre-tasks were not that time-consuming, some theories were bit too philosophical or political for my taste, but nonetheless good preparation helped understanding the pre-tasks and getting ready for the actual session. The session itself went well without unnecessary mishaps, although my worsening sore throat made it almost impossible for me to speak in between times…

Some afterthoughts about the topics:

Activating teaching method

The pre-task consisted of a TedX-video of an American lecturer Garr Reynolds, who teaches in Japanese university, and he speaks about lecturing and presentations in lectures. First, he told the audience to think about boring lecture (bad lecture experiences) and to share the answers with surrounding people. During the presentation, the lecturer presented some personal photos, and also had many first-hand experiences, which he used for keeping the listeners interested about the topic. During his presentation, he stated, that there are few things that helps keeping the listeners interested, such as variety of the lecture, learning by doing, students teaching each other, the usage of multimedia, etc. It was very much in-line with activating teaching methods such as Vilonen et al. 2008, and Rainer Baumann’s article, although the short tasks were in a smaller scale – one lecture vs. whole course. But if the methods work in a smaller scale, why they shouldn’t work with bigger setting?

SRL

In this session, the SRL was introduced by a Prezi-presentation and in a form of few videos, and practical examples of the key points of SRL. Some methods for SRL are such as monitoring, reflection, goal-setting, planning, self-motivation, attention control and guided practice. For my personal experience, the self-regulated learning has happened with my previous studies in terms of planning well ahead my master’s thesis writing process and by following the Pomodoro-technique every now and then, if needed. Also for keeping my personal motivation level high, I usually went studying in a library (at the uni or city library), which had a big impact on my motivation comparing it with working at home. I think the biggest impact on motivation of working in a library, was to actually go somewhere else to work, and to concentrate on the job… I really don’t know how to describe it, but it’s somehow self-generated social pressure, which feels like you’re doing a group work, but only by yourself. Difficult to explain, but I will totally do that later on if I need to work on a bigger writing tasks.

In a way, this blogging and facebook-updates about the progress of our studies, seems to be perfect example of SRL-methods, and it fits well with monitoring, reflection, planning, etc… 🙂

Engaged pedagogy

The engaged pedagogy-part of the AC session had different kind of approach this time! It was a role-based acting of engaged pedagogy -related opinions from different viewpoints. One participant played the role of the teacher, second was the student herself, and third was a father of a student. The engaged pedagogy-play was interesting, and it worked out great, but for me I didn’t remember what to discuss about after the play about the topic itself, but I managed to understand few things about the topic itself. I think that by increasing the dialogue between teachers and students helps to improve the learning, learning atmosphere, self-experience, and also to be able to take into account some students’ shortcomings, and to modify the teaching methods accordingly. It was fun and different task this time! I liked it a lot!

According to the after task, by having this “role” and also trying to go into the mindset of a teacher (in my case) it helped to clarify the theoretical part, and also I wrote down some key words of the topic when they matched with my role. The key words were: respect, students help each other, sharing learning process, “inner narrative”, social & political, self-experience, share in the intellectual growth, both active participants, understand situations surrounding students, students’ ability to structure curriculum, dialogical approaches… I think with this role-based approach I HAD to think about the topic from different angle, which helped in understanding the topic itself.

Alternative education

The pre-task was to watch a PowToons-video about the topic, and to play a SpaceRace-game of the terms connected to the topic. Some classmates even had a little competition with results of the game, which obviously drove them to try better with the game, so successful adoption of that method I guess! During the AC-session we had a discussion of pros and cons of alternative and traditional education, and the discussion went quite ok, although my sore throat made it hard for me to speak, nonetheless we came up with results as follows:

Traditional

Strengths:

Governance

Planning

Weaknesses:

Costs

Practicality (theory doesn’t need that much funds)

Alternative

Strengths:

Cutting the costs

Student-centricism (individual approach)

Weaknesses:

Students can’t take the responsibility in teaching

Cultural variation in education

Lack of rationality

As a whole, this session was somewhat different with a little bit of “acting”, gaming and good discussions. I also think that the pre-tasks are maybe becoming bit more demanding, perhaps because of classmates are getting more experienced with there pre-task methods and therefore more eager to try out new approaches. I still don’t feel that pre-tasks are too difficult, but it seems to be that way, and it was maybe Anne or Riikka, who said it out loud…

But great session altogether!

Until next time,

Matti