Friday 19 November 2010

Some Key Findings, Plus My First Podcast!

I gave a summary presentation on my research at the University of Cape Town's mini-conference on "Technology in Education", yesterday. After discussing the research problem and rationale, I covered my research questions and findings from 2010’s pilot study in the private school. Some interesting points were:

The emotional intelligence of a Visual Arts class' learners should be a key deciding factor for the type of social media platform an educator chooses. If it is low, giving learners the ability to comment and rate each others work, and interact with audiences outside class, could prove problematic . 

The out-of-school support learners' have should be considered upfront in curriculum design. For example, encouraging learners from well-resourced homes to use scanners and cameras at home to digitize their art, could address bottlenecks in class and free-up equipment for use by less-privlidged learners.

Online portfolios could be a useful reference for exam moderators in the event of learners taking advantage of different schools' exam schedules to exchange work. This is a suprising instance of digital media actually helping to combat plagiarism!

There is considerable scope for the DOE and/or WCED to use training in Web 2.0 technologies and online communities to promote a Visual Arts educator community of practice that could share curricula, best practice and insights into how to teach and benchmark ITC literacies relevant to the post-school realities of modern creative professionals. Unfortunately, given the government's poor record in educational innovation, support for such an initiative is highly unlikely.

Given the support Visual Arts educators in Secondary School need to teach Web2.0 literacies in class, it is magical thinking for the government or school management to think that such initiatives could spontaneously "bubble-up"! The school executive and curricular advisers must get involved in thinking how to bridge the participatory gap between educators and learners AND how best to support learners with developing ICT literacy skills (like e-safety, information assessment and digital citizenship) that now arguably cut across ALL subjects.

All conference speakers' talks were recorded for podcasting by the CET's Lovemore Nalube. I'm sure mine will show how challenging summarizing over a year's research in forty minutes was :).

While feedback to the presentation was enthusiastic, I know I can do much better as a speaker. I also learnt a lot from Kevin Sherman's talk on creating memorable presentations. So, my resolutions for next year will include taking my public speaking to the next level AND simplifying my slides to be more memorable. I trust that this will make my second podcasting appearance so much better!

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