Wired, But Not Connected (Bo ris Beren feld) Boris Berenfeld International Laboratory for Advanced Education Technologies email@example.com Much money has been spent linking schools to the Internet, but are students actually connected intellectually Do they harness the Internet for anything more than retrieving additional content This paper introduces a new instructional model that we call telecollaborative inquiry in which connectivity recasts how students learn. Telecollaborative inquiry builds communities of networked classrooms that engage students in distributed, collaborative knowledge-construction. Mirroring professional and scientific communities of practice, this paradigm leverages Internet connectivity, technologies, and social networking to teach content and foundational skills like critical thinking, communications, information literacy, and teamwork. It enables synchronized investigations that produce datasets and intellectual discourse that are richer than what individual classrooms can deliver.
It has the power to transform education and justify the investments in wiring schools.
Telecollaborative inquiry-based curriculum was first piloted in the 1990s as the Global Lab project in 30 countries and today, an updated version of Global Lab (v.3.0) deploying Web 2.0 advances is being piloted in 100 upper-elementary classes in Russia with plans to scale worldwide. Based on these trials, the developers are innovating a scaffolded curricular design based on granular instructional modules called Global Learning Units (GLUs™). Each GLU converts a specific instructional topic into a bite-sized telecollaborative investigation, providing all the resources and tools needed to deliver telecollaborative inquiry. When aligned with instructional objectives, the progression of GLUs covers the scope, sequence, and content of traditional curricula, building science content and process skills more effectively than single-classroom inquiries. Tightly integrating content, data collection and analysis, and student communications into a Web-based curricular infrastructure, GLUs provide the framework and scaffolding to make telecollaborative inquiries a reality in mainstream science classrooms. They offer educators a strategy for implementing telecollaborative inquiry-based curricula that will enable students across mainstream education to construct the knowledge and skills necessary for achievement in higher education and professional endeavors.
Using the Questioning Technique to Enhance Students’ Reading Comprehension and Positive Attitudes (Wanwis a Wa nn api pat) Wanwisa Wannapipat North Eastern University, Thailand Wanwisa.firstname.lastname@example.org Introduction A common problem for teachers of English as a foreign language is dealing with a passive class, where students are unresponsive and avoid interaction with the teacher, especially, when the teacher seeks interaction in a teacher-class dialog such as asking questions to the class as a whole. Students can often be very reluctant to give feedback and ask the questions, even though questionings play an important role in learning. Students need to interact among groups and teachers. The learner interaction in the class is meaningful and enhances student motivation towards learning English.
Activities among students in learning are a mechanism that is necessary as a tool for the acquisition of the knowledge, and development of both cognitive and physical skills (Barker, 1994).
Cooperative working promotes learning and encourages students to think more deeply about the topic while developing their thinking skills (Foyle, 1995). Students as a small group can help students retain what they have learned longer. Group discussion is defined as one of an instructional strategy to progress the learning activity. When students work together, they utilize their social skills, by interacting among group members, and have the opportunity to collaborate the higher ordering thinking skills and problem-solving abilities (Kagan, 1997). Group discussion can be used with all four skills which are listening skills, speaking skills, writing, reading skills. But reading skills are emphasized because reading skills contribute to a students’ self realization and increases the ease personal and social skills adapted to a situation (Finocchiaro, 1969).
Good group discussions can be achieved if students are in a supportive atmosphere where students are not afraid to say what is on their minds. A question should be asked by requiring students to use their thinking skills. Bloom's Taxonomy is a hierarchical system of ordering thinking skills from lower to higher. All six levels are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Bloom (Bloom, 1956 cited in Gibson, 199: 6) suggested that the same information can be handled in more and less demanding ways which students can be asked to recall facts, to analyze those facts, to synthesize or discover new information based on the facts, or to evaluate knowledge.
Questions at higher levels of the taxonomy are usually most appropriate for encouraging students to think more deeply and critically, problem solving, encouraging discussions, and stimulating students to seek information on their own. If students can answer lower level questions, the teacher must choose a teaching strategy to help students with the more complex synthesis which the original questions. So, if students can ask and answer themselves, it will help them to think in higher levels and get comprehension more.
The students’ behaviors and responses are important to assess the achievements and comprehensive inputs. A good number of researches demonstrate that the questioning approach has been one of the most focused research topics, but there has been highlighted on teachers using non-inquisitive techniques only. So, in this study the questioning technique was used by students in group discussions which put forward the ideas of students enhancing their reading comprehension and positive attitudes.
The population of this study comprised of 100 students who enrolled in Business English 2 in the second semester of the academic year 2011 at of E-Sarn university, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand.
The 55 students were purposively sampling as a sample group. The group was introduced to the questioning technique. The questioning technique was constructed based on Bloom’s taxonomy.
They took the reading comprehension test as a pretest and posttest in order to examine the scores and measure if their reading comprehension were higher. The learning processes in class were observed by using the observation form. Also, they were given the interviewing to examine their attitudes towards learning the technique.
The instruments used in thus study were a questioning technique, lesson plans, observation checklist, interviewing questions, and reading comprehension test. The two handouts of questioning technique were constructed based on Bloom’s taxonomy. The aim of the questions was to develop a system of categories of learning behavior. The researcher listed and constructed the technique to the sample group. The first handout explained the questioning and the questions used based on Bloom’s taxonomy (Bloom, 1956 citied in Gibson, 1991); the other handout was about the open-ended and close-ended question.
The lesson plans were developed by focusing on reading skills towards the questioning. They were divided into fore week plans. The teacher instructed the students by following those lesson plans.
The teacher approached the students with the questioning technique. They received information regarding how to use the technique, types of questions, and how to conduct questioning in group discussion processes. Then they practiced using the questioning technique through discussion regarding reading passages.
The observation form was used to record the practicing of students in classrooms and also help the teacher improve the methodology of the teaching style. The observation checklist was used to record the students’ responses by checking on the investigated items on regular practice basis in every class. The interview questions was constructed and conducted to ascertain the subjects’ ideas, attitude and opinions about learning English language. After finishing teaching the technique, the interviewing questions were given to the sample group. The students expressed their ideas and attitudes toward the subject.
The reading comprehension test was used to assess students’ reading comprehension. The test comprised 30 questions which aim to assess the comprehension in according to Bloom’s taxonomy.
The researcher focused on reading comprehension asking for main ideas and important supporting ideas, so the questions for each passage were designed focusing on reading comprehension skills.
The scores from pretest and posttest were determined as the effectiveness of the questioning technique. Both pretest and posttest scores were compared in order to measure the differences of the students’ reading comprehension after using questioning. For the pretest and posttest analysis, all the data were analyzed in terms of mean ( ), standard deviation (S.D.), t-test score, and t-value.
For the observation form, the data were presented in percentage and reported in the form of tables with description. For the interview questions analysis, the data obtained were analyzed and presented in the form of description. The researcher also observed the students’ feelings and responses towards the process of the questioning technique while interviewing.
The results showed that the entire sample group realized that English was so useful and important for further study and work. The sample was given 10 question of the interviewing. For the attitudes towards the English language, 91% of sample group were satisfied with the questioning technique.
They said that the technique was interesting and useful for further reading and learning.
Conclusion The aims of the research were to find out if the students had more reading comprehension through using the questioning technique or not, and what their attitudes towards English language were after using the technique. The results found that the technique could enhance the students’ reading comprehension and encouraged them to study and have a positive attitude towards English language. In terms of the enhancement in reading comprehension, it was found that the mean score (X) of the pretest was 19.47 and the standard deviation was 1.34. After using the questioning technique, the mean score of the posttest was significantly higher. The mean score of the posttest was 23.61. And the standard deviation was 1.52. The results revealed that the t-value was 16.98.
The difference of the mean score of the pretest and posttest can be considered as significant at the 0.05 level. The results showed that the students did better. Their reading ability was higher.
When observing the students’ discussion, it revealed that the students were relaxed and comfortable to speak, ask and answer questions, write down new vocabulary and new ideas, discuss, and then find the conclusion. Furthermore, they gained more reading comprehension. They were at ease to explain, summarize, and discuss this technique in their groups among their peers. They liked to ask and answer group questions in order to get the ideas and infer the main idea of the reading passages.
They felt that they did not need to only read the passage and answer the questions. They were delighted to participate and mostly understood the texts.
After interviewing the students in the last week, it was found that they had better attitudes because they were able to make better guesses and understand the texts more. They thought that the questioning technique could enhance their learning and comprehension. Also, they realized that reading skills were one of the most important skills of learning, in order to speak with confidence, express ideas, and summarize the main ideas from reading passages since they were able to ask and answer questions in different levels of comprehension, due to obtain more comprehension through the texts. The advantages of the questioning technique will be discussed in the discussion part.
However after applying the questioning technique, the students still claimed that they had problems with vocabulary and how to interpret some sentences in reading passages. These problems will also be discussed in the discussion part.
2. Finocchiaro, M. B. (1969). Teaching English as a Second Language. New York: Harper & Raw.
3. Foyle, H. C. (1995). Interactive Learning in the Higher Education Classroom: Cooperative, Collaborative, and Active Learning Strategies. Washington, D.C.: National Education Association.
4. Gibbons, P. (1991). Learning to Learn in a Second Language. Newtown: Primary English Teaching Association.
5. Kagan, L., Kagan, M., and Kagan, S. (1997). Cooperative learning structures for teambuilding. San Clemente, California: Kagan Cooperative Learning.
Introducing ICT to a primary school in a developing country:
A Fijian experience (Vi nesh Cha ndr a an d Ramila Cha nd ra) Vinesh Chandra and Ramila Chandra Queensland University of Technology, Australia email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Introduction Digital technologies have created new possibilities for both teachers and students. John and Sutherland (2005) describe this as “extending and deepening classroom in ways hitherto unimagined” (p. 406). Technologies in classrooms can enable students to demonstrate their knowledge through activities such as problem solving, creativity, collaboration, and communication (Kozma, 2003). Some researchers also claim that ICT can have an impact of educational achievement, but like all tools - it depends on how it is used. While the uptake of these technologies maybe slowly but surely happening in developed countries - in many developing countries this transformation in the classroom is yet to occur. As the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for primary education comes to fruition and more children attend primary schools, a concern that has been expressed by some developed countries is that “there will still be huge gaps in the quality of education” (AusAid, 2012). One aspect of quality education in the 21st century is the availability of digital resources in schools. Many developing countries need to build this capability – not just in terms of technology but teacher capacity as well. Knowledge sharing between individuals builds relationships (e.g. teachers and educators in developed and developing countries).
Over time this can have a lasting impact on communities throughout the world.
We introduced laptops and robotic tool kits to a rural primary school in Fiji. In addition we worked with the teachers over two weeks to build their expertise. This was the first phase of a long-term initiative where our primary objective is to develop models, which show how we (in developed countries) can engage productively and meaningfully with schools in developing countries to build their ICT capacity. This paper outlines how the approach was implemented.
The Context The Human Development Index (HDI) ranks countries. In 2011, Fiji was ranked at 100 out of countries with a HDI of 0.688 (Human Development Report, 2011). Fiji comprises of more than 300 islands with a population of approximately 900,000. Almost half of the people (52.3%) live in urban centres (Human Development Report, 2011). Public expenditure on education is 3.4% of GDP ($4,526 – PPP$). While more than 90% of the children attend primary schools and most teachers (97%) are qualified in their roles, 31% of the population live below the poverty line (Human Development Report, 2011). Many families cannot digital technologies and as a consequence, schools become the place where children can access these technologies. However, local communities run more almost 98% of the schools in Fiji. For some rural communities who are already facing hardship, making these technologies available to the students is very low on their priority list.
The rural school in this investigation was in low socio-economic area with 350 students (40% indigenous Fijians, 60% Indians). The school had children in years 1 to 6 (ages 6 to 12). Many were from families whose main income was derived from either farming or the hospitality industry.