Find here all the comments that were given during the first week of the Virtual Forum on Quality.
Forum on "Quality standards set by
communities of knowledge – are they necessarily conservative? "
Moderator: Dov Winer
They are not against
Message: Quality standards set
by communities of knowledge - are they necessarily conservative?
Quality standards set by communities
of knowledge - are they necessarily conservative?
Starting from your first question:
"are the expectations from teachers too conflicting and demanding?" I would
say that teachers are the target of a lot of demanding expectations - it's
true - but that doesn't necessarily create resistance to new technologies
and new teaching/learning resources. Teachers are ever more confronted
with skilled WEB-surfer pupils, with educational publishers changing their
policy and with a huge change in accessing information in every field.
They feel that they have to cope with all these new realities. Thus, -
generally speaking - they won't drive back new teaching resources a priori,
and that - volentes or nolentes, just to survive.
What is going on - in my opinion
- is a logical process of progressive adjustment, which has hopefully not
to be abandoned to a natural course, but managed and assisted:
¨ At a first stage, teachers
will only ask for quality products that simply support their 'traditional'
class work (full texts of literary works, sets of images, sets of exercises,
up-dated statistical data; articles of WEB periodicals, etc. etc.); in
the light of Kuhn theory of scientific revolutions, I wouldn't disdain
this use, which, managed by good teachers, still solves a lot of teaching/learning
problems. I wouldn't be so absolutist in judging quality = novelty tout
court. Even accepting the constructivist approach as a very challenging
revolution, there are learning processes still effectively regulated by
more conservative approaches.
¨ At a second - and/or parallel
- stage, I think that teachers will progressively get used to a different
approach, capable of making the best of the totally new information organisation
on the WEB, provided they have opportunities of changing from 'communities
of interest' into 'communities of practice', according to the definitions
of these communities in the background paper.
This is - in my opinion - the crucial
Teachers will make a contructivist
use of new resources (and will understand the quality standards related
to this use) when they will master new technologies not only from a technical
point of view, but also (and more) from an epistemological point of view.
This cannot be innate knowledge, or just learning by doing. It demands
a strong national and international initiative for initial and in-service
training in the form of scientific analysis, critical thinking, evaluation
of the problem as a whole. At the moment - at least at my knowledge - this
sort of training is not yet so pervasive as it should be. When I wonder
if it's perceived as a priority, I rather feel it is often taken for granted
rather than considered from a problem solving point of view.
quality standards set by communities
of teachers will be only conservative (in the sense: applied to as you
want revolutionary materials but with no awareness of them being related
to a new approach in the construction of the knowledge) until a strong
widespread initiative of in-service training will take place, an initiative
not mainly focused on computer literacy and technicalities, but rather
oriented on cognitive aspects. At that moment the demand for quality
products will take into account also aspects dealing with the specificity
of a virtual learning environment and with the specificity of mental processes
involved in that learning environment
Marisa Trigari (INDIRE - Italy)
Re:They are not against
Message: I've been actively
involved in ITiS (an IT-pedagogical competence development program for
F-12 and adult education in Sweden which involves roughly half of all teachers
in our country) at different levels and not least as a teacher educator.
I agree with Marisa that teachers
get way too little of training in "scientific analysis, critical thinking,
evaluation of the problem". But training is but a small part of the problem.
Teachers rely on their knowledge
gained in practicing their profession together with discussing this practice
with colleagues. They don’t discuss the pedagogical-theoretical foundations
on which their work rest. They don't even have a language for this since
the only time they used it were in teacher's education which for most teachers
are a very long time ago.
The reason is simple: The lack of
practiced pedagogical leadership in our schools.
Tight budgets force principals to
focus their energy on administration which leaves very little time for
How can we even expect teachers
to be progressive when resources are extremly sparse combined with a nowadays
much tougher social climate for their pupils/students?
The problem is alarming to such
an extent that the Swedish government decided to force the municipalities
to employ more people (not necessarily teachers) in the schools.
Who discusses in the media what happens
in our schools? We know that it is not the teachers anyway. Try to imagine
this scenario for any other large group of professionals in our society.
Why? Basically it is the same reason
as for the principals. Having 30 or even 35 pupils where sometimes 1/3
or more come from socially very harsh environments is a very challenging
job which most of us can’t even imagine. They need support from the school
to make a good job but there are no psychologists, nurses or social workers
anymore to help the pupils in need. They cost too much and it is the principal,
teachers and their pupils who pay the price. The surrounding society doesn’t
seem to support them either.
So the teachers try to find strategies
to “survive” in their occupation. Critical thinking and reflection are
a luxury when you have so many practical matters to take care of and so
little time to solve them all. This cannot be changed by more courses for
the teachers. There must be time given for the teachers to actively engage
in these matters together with a reinforced pedagogical leadership. To
make this possible is the big challenge for our politicians.
We pay much attention to web based
resources which I think is quite valueable but if we put our work into
a larger context, will it make any difference? I hope we can put forth
an example which might trigger a broader quality debate and also extend
the quality work to other areas which are valuable and useful to our teachers
and ultimately make our pupils better prepared for the future.
I should remark that I can only refer
to the situation in Sweden but at least major parts of what I wrote can
be controlled against research.
Re:Re:They are not against
Message: I fully agree with
Dippe. What we expect from teachers is unparalleled in other professions.
In business you have diferent departments to support the business
process. In the case of ICT, we should expect that some IT professionals
should be in the school, not only supporting operational aspects, but in
a constant dialog with teachers: understanding the problems the teacher
is facing, and helping the teacher making him aware of the technologies
and method available to him to try new approaches in teaching. In the best
case, such function is filled by some outside visitor (county, education
ministery, etc.). But only a continued dialog of IT professionals and teachers
working together and cooperating can lead to the apropriate climate of
are not against
Message: I would like to take
upon the point of teacher training. The dilemma that I see there is lack
of "self reflection". No matter how advanced the pedagogical trends taught
to teacher trainees are, without deeper reflective examination of one's
beliefs and motives in teaching, the outcome is very narrow.
What I have observed in the teacher
training program (the one I passed in Finland) is that trainees usually,
when in front of the classroom (yes, notice the conventional setting),
they "retrograde" to re-play the same teaching scenario that they had when
they were at school, i.e. play the role of the teacher who taught them
good 10-15 years earlier.
Evoking point is that many time when
talking about teaching these same trainees might give much progressive
view of it. But the lack of professional experience in the situation of
teaching freezes the new progressive schemes and bring back the old memories.
I had a professor (whom we very much
hated at the time, and to whom I give a lot of credit now) who forced us
to do "self reflection" exercises. We had to write a journal of our professional
thought and usually share it with others to be ripped off. We also had
a peer reviewing process going on at our student teaching classes. This
meant a hard aftermath of questioning and reasoning, why did you do this?,
or why did you make them do it like that?
This helped me to realise that so
many things pass unconsciously when in a situation of teaching. A way we
ask questions, from whom, make students to participate, resolve a panicking
unexpected situation, is usually very biased and related to our automatic
mechanisms that we are not aware of.
So in my opinion quality of teaching
could be enhanced in exercising more "self reflection" and deeper reflective
examination of one's motives in teaching, its innovations and how that
could be related to the better learning in any situation. And this not
to do only when teacher trainee, but all along the career!
Title: Is extent of use
a measure of quality?
Message: I would like to sugest
that “extent of use” is a relevant criterion for “quality”. In Management
Information Science, it is common practice to consider the voluntary use
(as oposed to forced use based on organizational policy – a teller in a
bank, for instance) of an Information System as a measure of its success
and value. For a teacher considering the use of an educational resource,
the number of peers that already used it is a relevant consideration.
Title: Re:Is extent
of use a measure of quality?
Message: There can be various
reasons why the use of one is more frequent than the other. Frequent use
is not a quality measure for: there is no known good alternative, nobody
started to review the current processes,the system is rigid etc. Your example
of a teller. What/who is better quality: the teller or the 'cash dispenser'
on the outside wall of a bank? Quality defines success as the summit of
efficiency , flexibility (can I use the info in different situations),quality
(is it clear from all sides without (possible)errors,timeliness (is it
there when I need it). Quality is also when at the design all concerns
of parties involved have been taken notice off in the final design. The
designers should have been able to look even in the future and have it
prepared for it. The success of the resource must incapsulate all 4 items.
The trouble is, that the communication, the conveyer of information, is
subjective. The perception differs from person to person. Does this mean
you can only teach hard facts?
Re:Re:Is extent of use a measure of quality?
Message: In the case
of the teller, his use of the inforamtion system is part of his job dexcription,
he has no choice but using it to
perform his job. The use of the kiosk, on the other side is voluntary and
is used, it can measure quakity
(perceived value/usefulness). I remember hearing an anectode some years
ago that in Germany banks tried
to put cash dispensers to facilitate senior citizens to cash their pensions.
didn't work: they keeped standing
in the queue waiting for the human cashiers: after some inquiry, it turned
out that for many of them, the human
conversation was more important than the time they spent waiting -
The moral is: if people *voluntarly*
use a system (in this case the human teller), when they have an
alternative, it is because it fulfill
extent of use a measure of quality?
Tobe moer precise the service delivered
is added value to the demander. I want to stop the discussion about the
teller and the cash-dispenser because it would take us too far away.
Would you say the perceived amount
of added value is a measure of quality to the receipient? It is hard to
taylor information via an electronic medium, but if we would be able to
'supply' the same information on various ways, so that many of the different
learning types would embrase it, would this fulfil a need?
I doubt if in near future electronic
knowledge conveyers can be that good to substitue part of the need.
Reason for this is that we miss a
mindset and the ability to absorb large parts of information via a static
screen. (If you have a long text we still want to print it before reading)
Title: Something about
Message: Blaming the teachers
for conservationism behavior and as inhibitory to change is a fairly spread
argument. On the other hand, we can observe that in a group of schools
with the same catching area of teacher population, diferent degrees of
innovation can be found. Even in countries like Israel, with a centralized
allocation of resources to schools, some are known for their innovative
approach, some for their conservativism. The teachers are simillar, the
resources allocated the same – so what can explain the diference? One direction
could be that the determininge variable leading to innovation could be
an organizational one, not an individual of a specific teacher. It would
be interesting to found some characteristics common to ENIS schools, in
contrast to a random sample of similar shools. In Israel, in a resarch
conducted by a former teacher in Shaar Hanegev High School, Ora Oz, she
found that some organizational variables could explain the differences
in use of ICT in schools. Her work was based on the “absorptive capacity
model” by Boynton, Zmud, Jacobs http://www.misq.org/archivist/vol/no18/issue3/vol18n3art5.html
Message: thank you Rimon!
you help me to render explicit my uneasiness with quoted sentences of Mr
Haas. There is a logical contraddiction between the first issue (quality
standards etc..) and the opinion of Mr Haas. Were users-teachers the ones
who say at the same time those resources are 'experiences stressing etc…'
and who say we don't like to use them? Stressing importance of communities
of practice for evaluating innovative educational resources shoud mean
stressing the role of an evaluation process which holds together users-reources-activities
with those resources. Maybe this is an application of the 'organisational
variable' introduced by Rimon. This is I think also the meaning of importance
of best practices. Media are invented by scientists as well by users. The
radio of Marconi was thought just for S.O.S. messages! We need to see how
innovative teachers, and the example of ENIS teachers of course is very
interesting, are inventing with their pupils new uses of new resources.
Message: The current exam
culture seems to be another factor that may hinder constructivistic approaches
in education at secondary schools (primary education, in NL at least, seems
to be more flexible: more indepedent learning, differentiation in content
and tasks take place).
Designing (textbook choice is usually
also conservative)and coaching independent learning is difficult (new roles,
new relations , new skills for all actors concerned), there is even
less experience in assessing the outcomes (Dalton and Montessori-schools
Finally I hear teachers often say
that modern approaches are simply not suitable for less talented students.
They would be needing much more structured tasks.
Title: Are the expectations
from teachers too conflicting and demanding?
Message: This is the first,
maybe slightly provocative question, asked by Dov Winer, the moderator
of this weeks quality-forum. Well, what do you think...?
Title: A few thoughts
Message: Hi everyone! The
topics of this first part of the workshop are very interesting, very actual,
but also very comprehensive. As we all work in education, in different
fields, we understand and assume the need for change in the way we learn
and teach. I always think that a good teacher is one for whom the highest
expectations come from himself, and also is one who adapts creatively the
innovation to his own style of teaching, I think the states should do more
to support the teachers - and it seems that the things move in this direction:
in-service training programs should be continued by peer-to-peer collaborations,
by creating communities of learning, best-practice ( such workshops should
be generalized at every level, and the teachers themselves can organize
them ), strategies and sustainability ( even in their salary ) of teachers,
as their continuos development to be recognized and also for not to migrate
to industry ( where their special capacities are almost always better evaluated
Title: my trivial comment
of the day
Message: If I might try an
analogy this would be the following: Take a french man (or woman) . Ask
him to test drive an automatic car. He will hate it. Go and ask french
man (or woman) that has been driving an automatic car for many months (because
they live in the states for instance) then you will find some of them that
will say that they like it. If you do not know how to swim, you do not
feal like jumping in the swimming pool, when you know how to swim then
you might actually enjoy it For the situation you mention the questions
that needs to be asked could be Do professor have a clear picture of what
they want to achieve? Do they feal supported and guided to go toward this
vision Do they have this support? Do they clearly see what is in it for
them? Do they have some kingd of incentive to go in this direction? Do
they have the possibility to experiment in a secured environment? And we
could add many question to the list...
Title: Re:my trivial
comment of the day
Message: Dear Legenvre, Your
comment is not trivial at all. You suggest that the context of use is the
determinant of the readiness to innovate and thus of the norms that will
orient quality decisions by teachers. Would you have some suggestions or
examples of context leading to innovation and others impending it in the
educational system? Regards, Dov Dov Winer email@example.com
trivial comment of the day
Message: By context, I understand
assumptions To give a bit more of background to my statement, I would refer
to the notion of paradigm as it was applied to scientific discoveries.
We all tend to see the world with the same lenses, concepts and tools.
This is a paradigm. How can we judge the physics of Einstein when we still
believe in the one of Newton. It takes a bit of time to surface collective
assumptions To move from one paradigm to another, we need early evidence
that the old paradigm is no longer true or that it could be re-interpreted,
then we need some people to innovate as they want to go beyond the status
quo. Some people will recognise those achievements before others , they
could be qualified as Early Adopters. Then, a critical mass of Followers
can be created. Then the idea becomes obsolete when another paradigm is
appearing. This is also known as the life cycle concept when you look at
innovation My comments about the environment (resources, incentives, training,...)are
expressed with the assumption that some new means of learning have been
identified, that some people have used and validated them and that we need
to go from the innovation phase to the building of a group of early adopters
trivial comment of the day
Message: Legenvre, I like
your view about concepts and tools, early adopters and phases. allow me
complete it with my experiences. You assume that some people have used
and validated some new means of learning. This is right in a very narrow
field of education: computer related courses. There is a simple reason
for this: people in this field passed the threshold of computer technology.
For people that do not understand progamming languages and related things
are not that clear and easy to tackle. (Knowing how the browse through
the vast amount of internet resources is almost a science) On the other
hand education in electronic form is still to be defined. We already know
that a simple 'slide show' combined with multiple choice is not enough
to stimulate learning. For learning we use many scenses, talk, listen,
hear, creativity and so on. Many groups are trying to give an answer about
the 'how'. The workshop we are in now, is an example to test, to see and
above all to learn. Writing an answer to your issue is even a form of learning.
Knowledge grows the more you exhange views and opinions. Learning stands
for willingness to change. Change is linked with quality. It is important
when you intend to learn that you do it first time right. I believe to
a certain extend that teachers with years of experience daily include best
practices in their class. Have you ever had the feeling two classes you
gave are exactly the same? I do not think we are in a phase yet, although
close, to be called early adopters. Now is the time to do it first time
right. Added value for the pupils makes them want to adopt it. In my view
this quality in learning: be that good that you rarely need campains (positive
or negative) to have these initiatives adopted. The thing that interests
me is which models do 'best' teachers use, and how can we use this knowledge
to create an electronic support for pupils? I would be curious to see a
rough drawing -not techniques- of such a model class.
trivial comment of the day
Message: Very interesting
Do you believe there is a best in
I do not...
I feal we have:
Students with some
-Expectations regarding their learning
-existing IT skills,
-desire to learn or not...
Topics that requires different type
of training/learning means:
-topics encompassing a lot of tacit
knowledge (Basketball skills)
-topics encompassing a lot of explicit
knowledge (Basketball rules)
-topics for which it is practical
to develop simulations
-topics for wich conversations can
be an efficient way of learning
Teachers that master or not IT
Teacher that like using computers
and other that do not
and much more parameters to adress
before we find the best possible situation that can be found for a specific
situation within constraints of time, cost and accessibilaty of content
and IT tools...
trivial comment of the day
Message: Let my rephrase
my issue. I do think that every teacher uses concious or sunconsious a
model-framework/structure- that works best for him. If that teacher gives
more and more classes the model becomes refind over and over again. At
a certain stage the refinement becomes relatively little. He/she came to
a 'best' class.
Agreed that there always will be
different kind of students, their attitude and perception vary even day
by day. Maybe the fundamentals of quality can give a hold.
Quality looks at the total traject
that has to be gone through. From idea to design to delivery and having
feedback. In quality teams this is known as the Shewhart cycle. The problem
that occurs is that in quality there are no prescribtions that tell you
exactly how you should proceed to achieve "zero defects". In our case meaning
100% transmission and receipt of the message in the orriginal form. From
the receipient it is known that he tries to link the new information with
his set of knowledge and that it becomes kind of subjective the longer
time has passed before reproduction. (That is why we ask the pupils in
elementary school to repeat and speak al-out what the teacher said)
Quality as I mentioned before is
also about repeatability of an action. Being able to reproduce an item
with the same outcome as before, means that the system is in control. Back
to technology supported class. Do you think the lack of direct contact
with the students puts you out of control? Do you think "we" will be able
to design a system that attracks students and gives you control? Control
like a collaborative effort of content providers e.g. teachers? It would
therefore be important that a class will consist of various items that
tickels the various sences of the student?
Title: Re:my trivial
comment of the day
Message: Hi everyone!I wish
to share with you the experiences I gained from my work with teachers.
I noticed that teachers are willing to learn and test new methods, concepts,
and tools as long as they are convinced that they might advance their work
with the pupils. In order to continue and succeed, even if they have all
the necessary tools, they need - appart from being familiar with the medium
- to have some support and most importantly incentives. I have to admit
that I am a little bit sceptical with the idea of 'early adopters', since
I believe that the innovation concerns all the members of the school community
and effort should be placed to apply in all (if possible at the beginning)
aspects of the daily work at school.In practice, I know that it is not
really feasible due to various constraints, but I am more and more convinced
that we should work in this direction.
trivial comment of the day
Message: I give credit to
your hopes but the innovation life cycle (entrepreneurs-early adopters-mass
use-decline) is something that has been witnessed for all new technology
and also organisational innovation. What we might do is to accelerate the
pace at which it is adopted.
Title: Re:my trivial
comment of the day
Message: Hi Legenvre!
Comming back to your example - That
is actually the point:
a) a teacher today is more or less
forced to test a car (if he likes it or not), but the preassure to be innovative
is clearly growing.
b) the choice of cars is too big
c) and there is not really any advice
which one you should test first and/or how to handle it
The question is if one can eliminate
good from bad through quality criterias....
Title: Re:Re:my trivial
comment of the day
Sopme checklist exist, I will try
to find some references (if I can attach documents somewhere around)
they might be more relevant for adult
learning. but this is a starting point anyway.
Nevertheless as I said somewhere
else I do not believe in a one best solution or model some are more or
less appropriated to different situations, needs and context
||Tuesday, 9 Oct 2001
||Tuesday, 9 Oct 2001