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Rationale for eLearning #EDUC5608

November 7, 2015

One important goal of technology integration is enhanced student motivation (Pegrum, Oakley & Faulkner, 2013). Another is empowerment (November, 2010). As mobile connectivity enables new access to learning, “learning venues and expectations” will be altered (Rainie, 2013). 

Row of electricity pylons

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Similar enhancement can be achieved when leadership in a flexible dynamic is conceived

according to its function of facilitating organizational and operational processes, rather than defining and controlling them (Stringer, 2007, p. 34).

This is my aim; evolving practices are already generating change, and future directions remain open to imaginative reinterpretation. According to theorists, “revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies – it happens when society adopts new behaviours” (Shirky, 2008, p. 160). Moreover, the networked group

can be quite robust in the face of indifference or even direct opposition (Shirky, 2008, p. 210).


At the micro-level, then, where staff behaviour is enacted through collaborative enterprise, potential obstacles can be overcome by cultivating new pedagogical practices.

From a personal perspective, considering the leadership context for this proposed eLearning course spans local, national and global contexts, I anticipate engaging in multiple opportunities to build my own professional practice as measured against the standards for principals (AITSL, 2014), while undertaking knowledge creation with staff in my local context. The two aspects are interwoven. Simultaneously, implementation challenges exist – testing, accountability, privacy and surveillance will generate concerns.


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To avoid gimmickry, practitioners are advised to maintain a critical stance in relation to emerging technological trends (Pegrum, 2015). Although “Technology revolutions” may be driving changes (Rainie, 2013), building the trust which reinforces social relationships is pivotal.

As a corollary, school leaders will maintain awareness that quality teaching has a mutable nature which has become associated with misleading notions of performance; encouraging collaborative teacher activism becomes the means by which we as a profession counter the negative impact of neoliberalism, compliance and fundamentalism currently gripping the school reform discourse (Mockler, 2014; Sachs, 2003).

Outcomes – wider & longer term issues

Assessing the level of achievement of these outcomes depends on continual monitoring of praxis, and relies on student and staff feedback. Evidence of improvement is readily gathered during walkthroughs and coaching conversations. Student and staff engagement, for instance, will be visible to school leaders undertaking instructional rounds. This pattern is already evident, and will continue to evolve.


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As we focus on adopting strategies to promote digital literacies, “a whole new understanding of the usefulness and applicability of those new skills” will emerge (Cristobal Cobo Romani, 2009, p. 32). Unlike that barely recognisable beginning teacher who lacked suitable tools, I do not underestimate the difficulty of this continuing, mutable challenge to adapt.

The paradigm shift required to integrate digital technologies has been described as “really, really hard” (Daccord & Reich, 2015, para 2), which prompts consideration of whether any change effort in schools could be deemed easy; reformist change in education has been advocated for more than half a century, yet policy review indicates best efforts remain unsuccessful in improving students’ achievement (Levin, 2010).

If our goal becomes teaching in transformative ways, assessment involves effectively achieving modification and redefinition according to the SAMR model (Puentedura, 2011). Conceptual harmonising with reference to TPACK presents an additional avenue to evaluate teaching practice (White, 2013). Aided by these tools, our long term endeavour becomes sustained focus on attaining digital fluency.

International studies indicate that equity of access to ICT is a significant concern to educators seeking to gain improvements in students’ learning. Trend analysis clearly shows

…that in an age in which computers feature strongly in everyday life and in education, the minority of students who have little access to them, who use them little and who are not confident in using ICT are not performing well (OECD, 2005, p. 66).


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Recommendations include moving away from a policy emphasis of technology provision to address teacher training along with curriculum and timetable integration (OECD, 2005). These features are embedded in flexible, asynchronous and differentiated strategies outlined in the course proposal found here. What is lacking, however, is a planned method to overcome loss of momentum which is experienced from the impact of significant change-attendant inhibitors such as implementation dips, time pressures, and performativity demands. Complacency may also be perceived as a constraint.

In combination with neoliberal themes currently holding sway – new managerialism, hyper-accountability and audit culture – all of these features can negatively impact on staff morale and erode goodwill (Barker, 2010; Power, 2000). Perhaps a few critical uncertainties are inevitable (Rainie, 2012). For us at the micro-level, the single most important issue is technology reliability, in particular, ready access to wifi.

Dire warnings issued in relation to economic competition and the unpredictable nature of the future, uncertain job market contribute to drives currently proclaiming technology as a reform tool in schools (Cuban, 2001). While Twitter is rife with technological idealism, it is highly improbable that ICT alone can cure what afflicts our education system.


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Digital fluency skills, on the other hand, are conceived as an increasingly complex and important suite of essential 21st century skills enabling participation in “a globally connected society” (White, 2013, p. 3).  Overall, positive outcomes of heightened focus on improving students’ skill development while addressing specific curriculum content will be achieved by staff opting for fluidity.

Learning paradigms may have evolved since 1989, but one singular lesson resonates: Dynamic approaches are more likely to thrive.

Selected refererences

AITSL. (2014). Australian professional standard for principals. Retrieved October 22, 2015

Barker, B. (2010). Introduction – the dynamics of school reform. In The pendulum swings: Transforming school reform (pp. 1-18). Stoke on Trent, UK: Trentham Books. Retrieved from course materials online

Cristobal Cobo Romani, J. (2009). Strategies to promote the development of e-competencies in the next generation of professionals: European and international trends. Monograph No. 13, SKOPE publications. Retrieved October 20, 2015

Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Daccord, T. & Reich, J. (2015). How to Transform Teaching with Tablets. Teaching with Mobile Tech, 72(8), 18-23. Retrieved from Educational Leadership October 24, 2015

Levin, B. (2010). Governments and education reform: Some lessons from the last 50 years.  Journal of Education Policy, 25(6), 739-747. Retrieved July 5, 2014

Mockler, N. (2014). Simple solutions to complex problems: Moral panic and the fluid shift from ‘equity’ to ‘quality’ in education. British Educational Research Association, 2(1), 2-29. Retrieved July 15, 2014

November, A. (2010). Teaching and learning the structure of information. In Empowering students with technology (pp. 9-30). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Retrieved October 10, 2015

OECD. (2005). Are students ready for a technology-rich world? What PISA studies tell us. Retrieved October 19, 2015

Pegrum, M., Oakley, G. & Faulkner, R. (2013). Schools going mobile: A study of the adoption of mobile handheld technologies in Western Australian independent schools. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 29(1), 66-81. Retrieved October 5, 2015

Pegrum, M. (2015). EDUC5608 Integrating Pedagogy and technology coursework. UWA. Retrieved September 29, 2015

Power, M. (2000). The audit society – second thoughts. International Journal of Auditing, 4(1), 111-119. Retrieved October 11, 2015

Puentedura, R.R. (2011). A brief introduction to TPCK and SAMR. Workshop slides. Ruben R. Puentedura’s weblog. Retrieved October 2, 2015

Rainie, L. (2012). Learning in the digital age. Minnesota: Pew Internet Project. Conference slideshow retrieved October 2, 2015

Rainie, L. (2013). Networked learners. Raleigh Community Colleges retrieved October 23, 2015

Sachs, J. (2003). The activist teaching profession. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Shirky, C. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. Victoria, Australia: Allen Lane.

Stringer, E.T. (2007). Action research (3rd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

White, G.K. (2013). Digital fluency: skills necessary for learning in the digital age. Melbourne: ACER. Retrieved October 25, 2015

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