Research Questions

As we incorporate social media and Web 2.0 into our classroom curriculum I explore three areas:
Teachers: What do teachers need to know? What should they do differently? What training will they need? What other demands will be placed on them?

Students: What will they do differently? What scaffolding will they need? How can they become valuable contributors in the learning process?

Learning: How will this change learning? What new literacy skills will they need to develop? Will students become more active learners? Will they take more responsibility for their learning? How can multimodal methods support their learning? How will assessment change?

Work in Progress

There are so many questions to ask - as I continue my reading, research and searching for answers I will update this wiki and document my findings and opinions . Throughout this wiki I have used "kwout" which is an online tool that enables the user to quote a part of a web page as an image with an image map.(More information on kwout can be found at

Perhaps to answer many of these questions we should ask those that are most affected in education - the students! This I shall do through action research with my own classes. A quote from Bill Gates:


In Australia young people spend a great deal of their time outside school using social media. Educationalists have realised that using these media in schools can assist teachers to engage their students. This research investigates how teachers can use the Internet and online social media to develop, in middle-years students, a range of skills including newliteracies and creative abilities.
The project uses action research methodology to enable the author to act as a teacher/researcher in the classroom. The approach to teaching, learning and assessment used values students as resources for their own learning and that oftheir peers. Building online collaborative environments to support newliteracies in everyday teaching practice in middle years’ classrooms creates opportunities for students to be mentors, educators and assessors of their peers.
This research (2010/12) builds on the findings from the researcher’s previous action research in 2008/9. It examines ways of making teaching and learning more relevant to students by incorporating activities that require students to use their out-of-school literacy practices. Using online environments as a means to foster local connections in a global context may prove to be an effective mechanism to help prepare students for the complexand global nature of their current and prospective lives, and to provide opportunities for them to engage in the multimodal design of digital texts. Aspart of the learning process, it is intended that students will use a ‘Ning’social networking environment to collaborate and interact. This environment provides students with an immediate method for searching and capturing multiple perspectives on a variety of issues. In online environments students have ready access to information sources, but the development of opinions and the construction of learning avenues (avenues that can be connected within their ‘Ning’ classroom) for other students, requires more complexity. Investigating this complexity is a significant aim of this research.
The researcher will work in collaboration with both students and other teachers. It is intended that this action research will encourage constructive critical feedback both within several classrooms andbetween those disparate class groups. This research will allow an immediate impact on students’ learning because the cyclic process of action research will be an integral part of day-to-day classroom practice.
It is intended that the outcomes of this study will provide samples for educators that will support them in meeting the learning and curriculum needs for future schooling; samples that can assist teachers in moving from the conservative teacher directed approach to learning to one where the students play a more central and active role.

Growing as an educator

Nearly fifteen years ago I took on my first leadership positionin a small country school with 110 students. I was in charge of InformationTechnology (IT) as well as being Student Manager at years 7, 8, 9 and 10: being a small school, most teachers had more than one responsibility. I had no technician to help support the school computer network and the Department ofEducation was pressing for the integration of IT across the curriculum. Neighbouring schools began to plead for help with professional development (PD) and for curriculum ideas and resources. One of my teaching subjects was IT and, hence, my skills were in great demand. This, for me, was the beginning of a decade of professional growth developing teaching resources and materials across the curriculum. At times it seemed like I was training staff as much as I was teaching students. When developing ‘across the curriculum’ activities, two of my favourite areas were (and are still, to this day) global classroom projects and digital storytelling. Gradually, I developed as a presenter and mentor/trainer at local, regional and state level; I now also travel internationally.

It was not until 2005 that I became more interested in the concept of ‘good pedagogy’ in education and as it specifically relates to my teaching. By this time I had been eLearning Leader at three schools, two of them being larger state secondary schools. During 2005 I was granted leave for twelve months to take on the role of Principal Senior Trainer in the Intel Teach to the Future Program. This required me to travel extensively aroundVictoria to implement a ‘Train the Trainer’ program helping teachers develop curriculum resources across all learning areas. At this time, something ‘clicked’ for me: I suddenly became aware that my own teaching and learning attitudes had continued to move away from the traditional teacher directed approach where students are the sponges of knowledge. I realised that embedded in my own classroom practices as well as my training programs for teachers was an underlying desire to change this standard teacher directed approach. The focus of change was using IT as a vehicle to transform classroom practices into a framework to support the skills needed for more than good marks on ‘next weeks test’ or ‘end of year exam’. It was one that encouraged students to be active learners, creative as well as critical learners where digital stories, multimedia and online collaboration opened up an appreciation for new literacies. Through this type of learning I began to develop a framework for teaching and learning where students were valued as participants in the learning process and could be considered a valued resource to both the teacher and their peers - this I connected with the term ‘good pedagogy’.

During my Intel experience I was given opportunities to present in Penang (Malaysia) and Boston (USA) as part of an Intel world wide program. Having previously worked extensively on global classroom projects with a wide range of countries I was left with the desire to explore further approaches to teaching and learning in other countries. I completed a Certificate III in TESOL and in 2007 took 12 months leave and taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in South Korea; South Korea because it valued education and had a fast Internet service which supported my global project work. This experience clarified for me just how much of a burden it is for many teachers to implement IT into their classroom. In a country noted for its fast broadband connections, I found that the teachers I worked with in South Korea were highly competent in teaching in a way that enabled students to achieve very high marks – this was their core role and they were very successful in this - but it was difficult for them to integrate IT into their teaching program. I became frustrated at the lack of what I considered ‘good pedagogy’. I asked myself ‘how can I model and support teachers to ensure that this is not such a burden for them?’

In 2009 I again took twelve months leave to accept the position of IT mentor/trainer in a private school. I found that the staff, as in SouthKorea, was highly skilled in teaching techniques that produced high university entrance scores for their students: parents invested a great deal of money to send their students to a school that was successful in this respect. Staff, however, struggled to integrate IT into their classroom beyond word processing, Internet searching and PowerPoint presentations. I again I asked myself ‘how can I model and support teachers to ensure that this is not such a burden forthem?’ This research will be a start in answering this question.

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