Topic outline

  • Scope

    As we press forward as a group, I’d like to propose our scope and purpose. It was clear from our discussion that our district isn’t as mature with ubiquitous, transparent technology usage in the classrooms as we’d hoped after having it in place for 20 years. We also agreed that educational technology can be broken down into two (2) components:  Logistical technology used to operate the district such as network switches, wireless access points, and servers. The second component, the one that shall be our focus, is the curricular use of technology in the classroom.

    Ideally, we won’t simply focus on the technology, but on proven best practice teaching pedagogy scoped to the following:

    Where technology is a proven best practice, we can model it & advocate it’s usage district-wide.

  • John Hattie

    In Visible Learning, Hattie drew from about 800 meta-analyses (studies on studies) to create a list of teaching strategies that were effective and not effective. Very effective strategies have an "ES" closer to 1, and detrimental strategies have an ES closer to -1. Ineffective strategies or strategies with no measurable effect have an ES of 0. Generally, Hattie likes those strategies that are 0.40 or higher. This is helpful to know going in.

    Hattie et al propose a new model for how learning works. Its premise is that learning must be embedded in something worth knowing. (In other words, teaching "21st century skills" independently is not effective.)

    The model states that there are three important things when it comes to learning: a student's current level of skill, their desire to learn ("will"), and their motivation towards the task ("thrill"). Different strategies are needed at different times in the learning process (which occurs over time, not over just one class). More specifically, stategies depend on whether the "learning intention is surface learning (content), deep learning (the relations between content), or the transfer of the skills to new situations or tasks".

    Here's how learning works, according to this model: students learn surface-level info, encoding it into their brains so that they can access it later. Once they have enough of this, they begin to see patterns in this info ("deep learning") and have a wide variety of strategies to help them learn more. Finally, once they acquire many patterns in more than one discipline, they're able to see what connects these disciplines. All of this is necessary--learners can't skip to interconnections and be successful.

    Now, look at the tables in the article to see what learning strategies are effective for most of the above:

    Table 1: Overall strategies: Between skill, will, and thrill, Hattie shows that the learning strategies related to skill (0.75) are, on average, far more effective than for thrill (0.34) and will (0.48). BUT don't discount either yet!

    Table 2: The Skill: Prior achievement (0.77) and working memory (0.68) are extremely important learning strategies. Hattie disproves my junior high students who say that what they do in grade 7 doesn't matter, and that they'll work harder when they get older. Prior achievement becomes more important the older a student is (as in, junior/senior high & university, and less so for elementary).

    Table 3: The Will: Self-efficacy has an ES score of 0.90, which is extremely high. Wish he defined it. Next is perceived value of task (0.46) and reducing anxiety (0.45). Though those scores are lower than self-efficacy, prior achievement, and working memory, they're still statistically relevant. In other words, teachers need to address the question "Why does this matter?" and help students to not be anxious.

    Table 4: The Thrill: Deep motivation is high (0.75), as is achieving approach (0.70) and deep approach (0.63). Again, no idea what these are. Goal-setting (0.48) is startlingly higher than mastery goals (0.19); Hattie says that students should have "goals relating to their upcoming work, preferably the appropriate mix of achieving and deep goals, ensure that the goals are appropriately challenging and then encourage students to have specific intentions to achieve these goals."

    Table 5: Environment: strategies related to "environmental structuring" (0.41), time management (0.40), and exercise (0.26) are somewhat effective. If you're only going to implement one or two of these strategies in your classroom, you can safely leave these out.

    Table 6: Success: These range from somewhat effective ("worked examples" at 0.37) to extremely effective ("success criteria" at 1.13!). Look at Table 6 as there are significant learning strategies here.

    Table 7: Surface: Integrate current lesson with prior knowledge! (0.93) Other strategies, Hattie notes, are effective within their discipline and not by themselves, so teaching students how to outline (0.85), mnemonics for memorisation (0.76), working memory training (0.72), summarisation (0.66), organising (0.60), record keeping (0.54), underlining and highlighting (0.50), and note taking (0.50) are all effective at surface-level learning.

    Table 8: Consolidating surface learning ("review", maybe?"): It's important to deliberately practice (0.77) and give concerted effort (0.77). Rehearsal and memorisation (0.73) at this stage is effective, as is giving/receving feedback (0.71) and spacing out practice over significant chunks of time (0.60), though how long isn't defined.

    Table 9: Acquiring deep learning: all look effective (0.42 to 0.75), though what they mean... no clue. Look at Table 9.

    Table 10: Consolidating deep learning: Hattie notes that this is when group work/working with a partner (0.83) and classroom discussion (0.82) are most effective. So, take away would be avoiding group work until surface knowledge has been learned and consolidated, and deeper learning has been acquired. Putting together pieces of deeper learning is effective in a group. But so too is evaluation and reflection (0.75), problem-solving teaching (0.68), and peer tutoring (0.54). Interesting that studies show that asking for help from a peer is more effective than the peer who's giving the help. We've always taught the opposite, yes?

    Table 11: Transfer: All three strategies are near 1, and thus are extremely effective. The three are "similarities and differences" (1.32), seeing patterns to new situations (1.14), and far transfer (0.80). Hattie says this: "a key in teaching for transfer involves understanding the patterns, similarities and differences in the transfer before applying the strategies to new task (Table 11). Marton argued that transfer occurs when students learn strategies that apply in a certain situation such that they are enabled to do the same thing in another situation to the degree that they realise how the second situation does (or does not) resemble the first situation. It is learning to detect differences and similarities that is the key that leads to transfer of learning."  & The Chart

    Various articles about Dr. Hattie, both pro & con: