iTEC Pedagogical Board
The Pedagogical Board is an advisory body made up of appointed pedagogical experts who support and give advice on the development of innovative scenarios in the iTEC project. In particular, the Board is responsible for assessing and reviewing the scenarios against innovative pedagogic principles and practices.
The Pedagogical Board plays a key role in influencing the direction of iTEC to fit contextual factors – such as political, economic, social, educational and technological environment and trends), bringing in research and good practice in learning and teacher training, selecting relevant scenarios, and ensuring maximum impact through the mainstreaming, scaling up, disseminating and sustaining of results. The Pedagogical Board also advises on the research done to identify both pedagogical models as well as technical and pedagogical teaching skills needed for the classroom of the future.
The Pedagogical Board members are (click here to see the full profiles):
- Pierre Dillenbourg, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL);
- Liisa Ilomäki, University of Helsinki;
- Ingo Kollar, Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) of Munich; and
- Ferry de Rijcke, Coordinating Inspector of Education, The Netherlands.
Pedagogical Board updates
In May 2011, feedback from the Pedagogical Board highlighted the following positive issues:
- Scenario development is a pressing but also difficult task since it lies in the tension between classroom, school and policy-making realities, technology development and educational research on the effectiveness of educational or instructional approaches.
- This set of scenarios developed in the first iTEC project cycle present positive ideas about education and is up-to-date compared to current literature on technology-enhanced learning. All 20 scenarios bear valuable and creative ideas on how to design the future classroom and include inspiring examples of possible futures.
- The selection of the nine scenarios to go to the next round is justified. All of them appear to be sufficiently grounded in approaches from educational research and - even more importantly – are within reach of practitioners to be used in schools and classrooms.
- Promising scenarios are “Insightful Instruction”, because it focuses on individual work, supported by teachers and leading to sharing of results, and “Online repositories rock” which combines focus on content and on digital skills.
However, the board also made a number of more critical observations and provided the following recommendations:
- A number of scenarios tend to overlap and are too general.
Recommendation: In future, more care should be taken to ensure that scenarios taken forward for prototyping do not contain similar elements. Be clear about the nature of innovation in iTEC. For example, an innovation might be quite small but it can improve learning significantly. Sometimes small innovations are elegant and easy to understand – and they can be more easily adopted compared to large / complex innovations that make extensive use of technology.
- It is not always clear what is innovative about the approach being described.
Recommendation: Teachers may need a more precise description of scenarios so that they understand better what is innovative about the approach being described. Specify the scenarios down to the point where one can see that technologies can provide the ‘trick’ in the scenario that will make it work in their classroom.
- The set of scenarios put too strong an emphasis on project-based learning or problem-based learning but it is important to remember that these sorts of learning activities are not inherently innovative. PBL faces several well-documented pitfalls: teams work too late; individuals do not contribute equally; some teams start to work on an unproductive idea and lose weeks and weeks before to realize it; students acquire transversal skills but no domain specific knowledge, etc. To avoid these pitfalls, teachers have to invest a lot of energy in specifying the project (phases, roles, deliverables) and coaching the students: this extra workload probably explains while large PBL projects are not continued after a few years.
Recommendation: iTEC needs to show how technologies can reduce the extra workload of PBL for teachers. Scenarios in future cycles should also focus more on traditional approaches to teaching and learning – which are not all bad!
- With the bias towards group activities, the scenarios often include commonplace ideas such as the teacher as facilitator or a coach.
Recommendation: Avoid terminology that some teachers might regard as jargon or clichés and recognise that in group and student-centred instructional approaches there is still a need for structuring learning activities in a reasonable way and for monitoring student progress.
- A number of scenarios focus on individualized or personalized instruction and Web 2.0 opportunities are largely limited to publishing student work or for finding materials that others have published that might be helpful for new learning experiences.
Recommendation: While both these Web 2.0 ideas are very good, scenarios also need to incorporate real knowledge-building communities in which individuals express ideas that others take up and, in that way, jointly construct knowledge as a result of a close and frequent collaboration with each other.
- There is too much distance between the scenarios and school realities and many are focused on extra-curriculum content, including environmental issues.
Recommendation: To ensure greater impact, iTEC scenarios need to have a greater focus on core curriculum topics and especially topics that are known to be difficult or for which teachers really need fresh ideas.
- Some scenarios may be too ambitious and do not sufficiently take into account limitations in terms of staff and equipment.
Recommendation: Check that scenarios do not require too much of staff or budgets.