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LATIRA Learning and Teaching in the Rural Arctic Reconstructing the Field of Rural Educational Research ; reflections from the LATIRA-project. Þuríður Jóhannsdóttir, M. Ed researcher Iceland University of Education (KHÍ).

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ur ur j hannsd ttir m ed researcher iceland university of education kh

LATIRALearning and Teaching in the Rural ArcticReconstructing the Field of Rural Educational Research;reflections from the LATIRA-project

Þuríður Jóhannsdóttir, M. Ed


Iceland University of Education (KHÍ)

ict in education in iceland ict information and communication technology
ICT in education in Iceland(ICT = information and communication technology)
  • In 1992 creation of the Icelandic Educational Network which connected most Icelandic schools to the Internet very early compared to other countries
  • The innovative practices of the early technology adopters were rather slow to spread
  • However, those practices probably influenced government and policy makers
  • In 1996 a national policy was created that called for effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) at all levels of schooling.
kh iceland university of education
KHÍ Iceland University of Education
  • 1500 students 2000-2001, now up to 1800
  • B.Ed. program run on-campus and Net-based, the latter program started in 1993
  • Graduate program: most of ca 400 graduate students are distance learners
  • Most of the 100+ staff members teach both on campus and at a distance
  • Through the distance education programs e-mail was adopted early at the university by most of the staff
schoolyear 2001 2002
Schoolyear 2001-2002
  • More than 800 distance learners - over 50% of the students are distance learners 2001-2002
  • B.Ed. Program – distance learning – first year students
    • Primary school teacher education: 1st year: 127students, 2nd year 58 students
    • Preschool t. ed: 1st year: 53 students
    • Development therapists education 1st year: 22 students
    • Sport teacher ed. 1st : 57 students
  • 1st year students in the teacher ed: 259
course tools and conference systems we have been using
Course tools and conference systems we have been using
  • Conference systems + web editors (component applications):
    • From 1998 - Webboard
    • 2000-2001 an increasing use of Webboard along with web-sites (open or closed).
    • Course tools (integrated applications)
    • 1998 Web course in a Box ( + a “home made” program)
    • 1999-2000 Learning space
    • 2000-2001 WebCT
    • 2001-2002 + Netskólinn - course tool made at KHÍ
research on de at kh so far
Research on DE at KHÍ so far
  • Jón Jónasson, 2001. On-line distance education, afeasible choice in teacher education in Iceland?Submitted in fulfilment for the degree ofMaster of Philosophy,University of Strathclyde
  • A study of the first years of Internet use in distance education in KHÍ. Describesevaluation research that was carried out during the period of the first group1993 to 1996
  • One of the main reasons for offering this B.Ed. distance course was to meet the need for qualified teachers in rural areas
  • The Internet - E-mail - used as the main means of communication
main findings from j n j nassons abstract
Main findings – from Jón Jónassons abstract
  • Although many difficulties were faced running this first B.Ed. distance course it proved to be successful in most aspects.
  • About 88% of the students that graduated from the distance course were teaching the year after.
  • On the traditional face-to-face course about 70% of the ones who graduate each year, begin teaching.
  • One of the interesting spin-offs from the DE-course was that many of the lecturers adapted techniques from their distance teaching and began using them in their traditional settings.
  • In the last questionnaire administered a few months after the students' graduation 98% of them said that they would choose the same kind of study again
inreresting to look further into
Inreresting to look further into
  • Students that were teaching while studying – how they seem to have been experiencing the apprenticeship model of learning. The DE was scaffolding their enculturation into the teacher profession
  • The importance of the student community – e.g. communicating with fellow students were the Internet – e-mail served as a helpful tool.
research on how the use of ict have affected the teaching
Research on how the use of ICT have affected the teaching?
  • We have done some research on how the teachers use the affordances of the Internet in their teaching.Sólveig Jakobsdóttir og Þuríður Jóhannsdóttir.  2001. Narrative Culture in a New Context: Constructiong Collaboration with ICT in Teacher Education
  • How are teachers using?:
      • Internet´s easy access to information and knowledge for themselves and their students ?
      • the possibilties Internet affords for communication and connection making ?
      • Internet as a easy and cheap way to publish their own and their student´s material ?
      • taking advantage of the Internet as an international medium ?
the actual rural condition new demands on teachers
The actual rural condition - New demands on teachers
  • Cultural changes – transformations
    • Multiculturalism
    • Development in Information Technology
  • How is this affecting the work of teachers?
  • What skills, competences and knowledge do they need?
  • How is the DE program corresponding to this new reality?
  • Teacher education institutions have always had their obligations to the rural communities
the student s context first year spring 2002
The student´s context First year spring 2002
  • Where are they from geographically?
    • North Iceland 18 students
    • East Iceland 14 students
    • West-fjords 5 students
    • West-Iceland 9 students
    • South-Iceland 14 students
    • Reykjanes (30-50 km from Reykjavík) 12 students
    • Reykjavík+suburbs 35 students
    • Abroad 4 students
  • 111 students registered for practice teaching – (127 registered in fall 2001)
the rural student s perspective
The rural student´s perspective
  • How is teacher-education in KHÍ (and HiTø) reacting to the new rural situation?
  • How is distance teacher education affecting the students esp. those working as teachers while studying?
    • look at what subject they are studying – how does it relate to the problems they are facing in rural school to day
    • look at instructional methods
    • look at the use of ICT in their studies – how does use of the Internet change their connections to people, to learning materials and so on

Model developed by Allyson Macdonald



Related subjects

Initial state of the


Understanding of

the contents











- note-taking, recording

- discussion

- observations

- examples


Field trips


Preparation, organisation

and observations

Interaction in the


- introduction

- management of


- guidelines








- in words

- in symbols

- practical knowledge

- portfolio evaluation

- performance achievement

learning as a task from the model developed by allyson macdonald
Learning as a task –From the model developed by Allyson Macdonald
  • What is the nature of the learning which goes on in distance education?
  • Is it relevant to the intial state of the student and the demands of the workplace – the rural school in this case?
  • what kind of learning experience is the distance education at KHÍ?
fall 2001 teacher students b ed primary school
Fall 2001 –teacher students B. Edprimary school
  • Developmental psychology
    • 97 students – 68 finished the course ca 70%
  • Culture and society
    • 104 students – 83 finished - ca 80%
  • Icelandic language and writing training
    • 93 students – 82 finished - ca 88%
  • Information technology
    • 124 students – 121 finished – ca 98%
on campus sessions
On campus sessions
  • Usually no more than 10 days in the beginning of each term
    • On week in August for the fall term
    • One week in January for the spring term
  • Used to present the organazation of the distance learning
  • Get to know the kind of technology that is going to be used – if new to the students
  • Teaching sessions in classes (20-30 students)
  • Lectures for the whole course (60-120 students)
different models of ict use
Different models of ICT–use?
  • Developmental psychology
    • Open web-site + e-mail post-lists (ca 70%)
  • Culture and society
    • Open web-site + e-mail post-lists (ca 80%)
  • Icelandic language and writing training
    • Open web-site + WebCT classes with 16- 30 students (ca 88%)
  • Information technology
    • WebCT for the whole group (ca 98%)
different kind of learning tasks
Different kind of learning tasks?
  • Developmental psychology (70%)
    • Reading and reflection – teacher directed, 5 individual written tasks – final examination
  • Culture and society (ca 80%)
    • Reding different kind of articles – photocopies (not Internet)
    • Dialogue on postlist or WebCT
    • Reading parts of the students dialogue with comments from the teahers on the course´s open web
    • Written tasks supposed to be of use for other students – published on the web in some cases (many teachers – different models)
different kind of learning tasks1
Different kind of learning tasks?
  • Icelandic language and writing training(ca 88%)
    • 3 collaborative text analyses, discussion and collaborative text work.
    • 1 individual essay on self chosen material related to teaching
  • Information technology (ca 98%)
    • Many individual tasks to practise skills in ICT
different models of how commuications are used
Different models of how commuications are used
  • Developmental psychology (70%)
    • Post-list where teachers answer students´ questions
  • Culture and society (ca 80%)
    • Postlist where teachers answer students´ questions. Students were reinforced to use e-mail for collaboration – but it was at their own initiative
    • Dialogue on postlist or WebCT in smaller groups – structured ? (Depending on the teacher)
different models of how commuications are used1
Different models of how commuications are used
  • Icelandic language and writing training(ca 88%)
    • Closed areas on WebCT for collaborative groups
    • Real time chat enabled on WebCT
    • Discussion board for the class, students and teachers, on WebCT
  • Information technology (ca 98%)
    • Disscussion board on WebCT for all the 124 students
different models for learning
Different models for learning
  • Traditional delivery model
    • Reading textbooks
    • Getting teaching-letters from the teachers explaining the material
    • Small individual exercises built on reading
    • Final examination
  • Task based model
    • Individuals and groups are supposed to practise skills and construct knowlegde working on authentic tasks
    • Students are reinforced to collaborate on problem solving
    • Teachers are scaffolding via net based communication and by making different kind of resources available on web-sites
how is the use of ict affecting the way distance students learn
How is the use of ICT affecting the way distance students learn?
  • Look at how hypertexts with links to different kind of resources change the nature of the text
  • The nature of the learning tasks ?
  • More open texts - hypertexts – which refer to real context
  • Undermines the traditional textbook use
  • The resources for learning easy to access
  • How are they different from traditional resources?
use new ict critically theoretical references to cultural studies
Use new ICT criticallyTheoretical references to cultural studies
  • Real time commuincation - what does that mean? Affordances and danger. Obscuring reality?
    • The importance of reflection – the danger of communication being nothing but reflex in real time communication
    • The importance of “différance”/timing – Derrida
  • Reality - text - virtual reality; real time is not more true, Baudrillard
  • Paul Virilos: Speed is power, how is it possible to distribute that kind of power – how can we make the speed democratic?
use new ict critically theoretical references to cultural studies1
Use new ICT criticallyTheoretical references to cultural studies
  • The edge – the center – decentralization of culture
  • The possibilities of the multicultural rural as counteractionb to the urban speed which can be dangerous to democracy (Virilos, Derrida)
  • Be open towards the unknown/strange to us – let us not fix the meaning but let it be floating
  • Levinas: “Our connection to the one who is “the other” with the unknown or strange to us is the core of justice - as long as we let “the other” continue to be strange, as long as we welcome the strange on his or her own premises”
theoretical references of interest
Theoretical references of interest
  • Carolan, Brian . 2001. Technology, Schools and the decentralization of Culture. First Monday vol 6, nr. 8 http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue6_8/carolan/index.htm
  • Marsh, Connie and Kelvyn Richards. 2001. Social Inclusion and Professional Development: communities of learners – raising some questions. Journal of In-Service Education. Vol 27, nr 3:477-463
  • McLoughlin, C., Winnips, J. C., Oliver, R. (2000, june). Supporting constructivist learning through learner support on-line. Full paper accepted for EDMEDIA 2000.http://users.edte.utwente.nl/winnips/papers/support.html
  • Ruokamo, Heli og Seppo Pohjolainen. 2000. Distance learning in a multimedia networks project: main results. British Journal of Educational Technology 31 (2):117-125.