Reflection on the Program

The Educational Technology Leadership doctoral program at NJCU has proven to be a community of practice. The key characteristics or criteria for a COP are the following:

 

1. Domain – A COP is defined by its identification of the shared interest. Our COP (cohort) is defined by the interest of the field of educational technology and leadership. We are committed to the domain by our shared expertise and experiences. Through our engaging discussions, group projects, and individual assessments we learn from one another and contribute ways that educational technology can enhance active learning.“The need for such analysis motivates our focus on communities of practice and our insistence that learners must be legitimate peripheral participants in ongoing practice in order for learning identities to be engaged and develop into full participation”.(Lave & Wenger, 1991, p.64)

 

2. Community – As we focus on our interest in the domain, we collaboratively engage in activities and weekly discussions, sharing information, and helping each other. Our relationships strengthen and enable us to learn from each other.


3. Practice – Those who are members of a community of practice are practitioners, they don’t just have a shared interest. All of us in our cohort practice educational technology in some way or another, at all different levels. Through our discussions, group projects, google hangouts, WhatsApp, and a multiple of different approaches we establish a shared collection of resources to address evolving problems and improving e teaching and learning.

 

A network or team is different than a COP. Networks or teams are different as some of the members of networks or teams have their own interest or goals to help achieve an overall goal. Combining a larger set of individuals with different skill sets who work on their own tasks do not share their knowledge with all of the members of the network or team. In a community of practice, on the other hand share their knowledge among all group members.

This program has made me think about my role as a professional staff member in a department of Online Learning and as an online adjunct instructor. As someone who utilizes online educational technologies and trains other who plan on using educational technology, I need to be sure of the implications of the use of these tools. I have learned various ways in which tool can be assessed to determine the effectiveness and suitability for such implementations. For example, I have learned about the TPACK model in order to frame an ecological perspective by using the dynamic interactions between teaching, technology and the school environment: 

Content knowledge is the “what” - this is the teachers expertise of what they teach. Teachers are experts in their subjects: LA, science, math, social studies, etc.

  • Facts

  • Concepts

  • Theories

Pedagogical Knowledge is the “how” -

  • the learning theories

  • instructional design/model - like PBL (project-based learning)

  • teaching methods

  • Assessments

  • Instructional strategies (like think, pair, share)

Technological Knowledge - your knowledge about the technology tools

  • Selection, use, and integration of quality apps, websites

  • Curate content in games for learning

PCK - pedagogical/content knowledge intersect

TCK -  technological/content knowledge intersect

TPK - technological/pedagogical intersect

TPACK - sweet spot in the center where all three converge

  • How tools can support student learning more deeply and effectively

 

I am also now aware of how technology enhancements can tranform learning environments in different ways. As I incorporate new technologies into the courses I teach, I am cognizant of the SAMR model where there are four components: 

substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition.  Substitution and augmentation enhance learning. Modification and redefinition components transform learning.  At the level of substitution, technology is used as a substitute with no functional change. This might include creating a slideshow instead of a poster or collecting and organizing data in a spreadsheet instead of paper.  At the level of augmentation technology is a direct substitute with functional improvement. Functional improvement may include a multimedia in a slide show or using charts within a spreadsheet to illustrate data.

 

The modification level of the SAMR model allows for redesign of a task and redefinition allows for the creation of new tasks.  Learning may be transformed at the modification level with real-time peer collaboration. Transformation of learning is also possible with student created blogs, videos or other published | public products created with technology.  SAMR levels of modification and redefinition to the correlate the higher levels of Bloom’s including: applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating. The SAMR model illustrates the opportunity that embedded technology provides for students to exercise and demonstrate higher order thinking skills (Hamilton, et al. (2016).

This program forced me to adopt a persona of how I believe online course content should be designed and interacted with. I've been drawn to researchers like Brown, Collins and Duguid, who developed the Situated Cognition Theory, in 1989, which explains how the idea of "knowing" is inseparable from "doing." The theory explains that "a learner must grasp the concepts and skills that are being taught in the context in which they will eventually be utilized." 

Brown, Collins and Newman also developed the Cognitive Apprenticeship Model where theoretical learning is necessary, but learners also need real world experiences. This is relatable to Legitimate Peripheral Participation in communities of practice.

References

https://elearningindustry.com/situated-cognition-theory-and-cognitive-apprenticeship-model

Hamilton, E.,  Rosenberg, J. & Akcaoglu, M. (2016/09). The Substitution Augmentation Modification       Redefinition (SAMR) model: A critical review and suggestions for its use. Tech Trends, 60(5).

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, United Kingdom; Cambridge University Press.